Miscellanies is History Today's free weekly long read. Every Wednesday, we publish a specially commissioned essay or long read from our archive. The subject? History. As the name suggests, we can’t be more specific…
After its liberation in 1945, Czechoslovakia soon fell behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. That it would do so was not a formality: the US could have brought the country into the Western Bloc – had it been so inclined.
If you want to know what really mattered to a medieval king or queen, look at what they called their children. The names given to royal offspring reveal rebellious, pious and pretentious parents.
The career of Tunisian singer Habiba Messika was cut tragically short in 1930. Her murder devastated her fans, but in its aftermath her records spread across the French-occupied Maghreb, fanning the flames of insurgent nationalism.
Historians have overplayed the extent of the moral, social and economic impact of the 17th-century craze for trading tulip bulbs. The original Dutch sources reveal a much more subtle cultural turning point behind its collapse in 1637.
Best known for being upstaged by Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address, Edward Everett was also the first American to receive a PhD and a classicist who became an unlikely spokesperson for Greek revolutionaries.
Built as tangible symbols of repression and control, by the 18th century castles were more likely to be invaded by tourists than soldiers. When castles lost their military function, the crowds arrived, looking for history that was not there.
Young, idealistic and prone to violence, Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just embodied the spirit of the French Revolution. He was devoured by the Terror he helped unleash.
Despite advances in technology, the fledgling music industry had a problem: it could not mass-produce records. For a brief period, every recording committed to wax was unique, forcing labels to find creative ways of meeting demand.
Nazi art never caught on, its architecture was unbuilt or destroyed, but its films were shot and seen by millions. The German dictator was a keen believer in the power of cinema and used it to spread the ideology of his murderous regime.
New universities sprung up across medieval Europe at a rapid rate, yet at the start of the 19th century, England had only two: Oxford and Cambridge. For centuries, England’s two oldest institutions enjoyed a strict duopoly on higher learning, enforced by law. Why were they allowed to?