This Month's Magazine

Cover of the February issue.
Cover of the February issue.

In the February issue:

  • Africa’s global powerbrokers
  • Policing postwar Vienna
  • Victorian ‘freak shows’
  • Portugal’s soft fascism
  • Homosexuality in India
  • Russian propaganda
  • The history of goulash

You can buy this issue from our website or at newsagents across the United Kingdom from 24 January. You can also subscribe or read it as a digital edition via the History Today App.

There's also a Spotify playlist to accompany the issue, featuring songs inspired by the magazine's contents:

 

Selected articles from this issue

Fresh perspective? Making the BBC Three drama Our World War. BBC Photo Library

Four historians consider how their discipline can best reach a mass audience. 

Illustration by Ben Jones.

India’s decision to decriminalise homosexuality is presented as the country shaking off the last vestiges of colonialism. The reality is not so simple.

Though long established as the national dish of Hungary, its origins lie with the rootless, itinerant stockmen who roamed the plains of medieval Mitteleuropa

He Xian Gu on a celestial crane, from the album of 18 Taoist paintings by Zhang Lu (1464-1538), displayed in the Shanghai Museum.

The Taoist Immortal.

The Catalan Atlas (detail) by Abraham Cresques, 1375.

Africa has been global for millennia, but its history is too often eclipsed by narratives that focus on slavery and its abolition.

Soviet soldiers on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, 1945.

At the centre of a war-shattered Europe, Vienna was divided between the victorious Allied powers. Restoring civil society proved a major challenge. 

The ‘Great Farini’ (William Leonard Hunt) and Krao, by W. & D. Downey, 19th century.

In Victorian Britain, attitudes towards race, gender, disability and Empire were all to be found in the popular ‘freak shows’.

Charles Hutton, engraving by H. Ashby, 1824.

From the pit to Pythagoras, the self-made man rose to the top of the mathematical world and divided it in two. 

Section of the Thai- Burma Railway along the River Kwai, Thailand, December 2009.

The Thai-Burma railway was built by prisoners of war in appalling conditions. The dead were treated with a dignity denied the living.

Illustration by R. Fresson.

A dog sled relay came to the rescue of an epidemic-struck Alaskan community on 2 February 1925.

Pin-heads: postcard showing the Imperial government bowled over by the threat of revolution, Russian, 1905.

Short, angry missives pinged across the world – Russian propagandists used postcards to get their message across.

Stark warning: AIDS poster, UK, c.1980s.

Good intentions, misinformation and fear contributed to haemophiliacs becoming the hidden victims of HIV in Ireland.

Palace of Communications: the Lisbon Post Office, known as Palácio das Comunicações, early 1950s.

The buildings that came out of Portugal’s New State were described as an ‘architectural lie’.

Castro (right) with fellow revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos, 8 January 1959.

Were US-Cuban relations soured for the want of ten dollars? 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin, designed by Peter Eisenman and inaugurated in 2005.

A long and detailed challenge to the modern cult of memory.

From Heimat: A German Family Album, Nora Krug, 2018.

The question of the responsibility of the ‘everyman’ and ‘everywoman’ remains a pressing one.

Denis Diderot.

The trials and tribulations of Denis Diderot.

Llannerch, Denbighshire, Wales, c.1667, unknown artist.

Four centuries of horticultural endeavours in the modest plots of the ‘lower orders’. 

Woke: Mary Queen of Scots, early 17th century.

We like historical films to be factually accurate, but we also like them to reflect our sensibilities.