New York Welcomes De Gaulle

“A Greater and Better Humanity”: Memory and trails of De Gaulle

Like most cities, New York is awash with memorials which speak of civic, national and international memories of past conflicts. Yet, in writing a lecture, I enjoyed discovering more about a memorial on its outskirts which struck me as decidedly unusual. I was writing a lecture about the aftermath of war, De Gaulle’s presidency, and the ways in which the legacies of conflict shaped diplomacy. … Continue reading “A Greater and Better Humanity”: Memory and trails of De Gaulle

My daughter's drawing of me

Message in a Bottle

I wrote a blog about my experience of trying to ‘do history’ under lockdown (with a little help from a toddler). It’s up as a guest-post on my friend Jerry DeGroot’s excellent blog, which is tracking his own reactions to the current crisis and inviting others to contribute. Head on over to see what it’s all about: Continue reading Message in a Bottle

Resistance by Moonlight

There’s always a slightly awkward moment when you talk to a room full of history enthusiasts about your favourite item in a Military Aviation Museum. For me, it’s not the Hawker Hunter in which Neville Duke broke the Air Speed Record, nor even the wreckage of a Hawker Hurricane shot down in the Battle of Britain. My favourite item, as I nervously admitted, is a … Continue reading Resistance by Moonlight

Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

In March 1942, the trade-unionist Christian Pineau secretly flew to London from Nazi Occupied France, seeking to connect his resistance network with the broader efforts of the Free French based in London. Upon arriving, he was granted an audience with General Charles De Gaulle, and they dined at the Connaught hotel in Mayfair. There he discovered the difference between the internal resistance being carried out … Continue reading Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

Myths, Battle & Rail: Two Stories About Waterloo Station

UPDATE: Here’s a video of me talking to The Independent about Waterloo and its contemporary importance On the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, it makes sense to think about myths, about legends and about national identity. To be honest, you’ll struggle to avoid these things. There are 2 key myths surrounding Waterloo station that relate to the battle, both of which it seems are pretty much false. … Continue reading Myths, Battle & Rail: Two Stories About Waterloo Station

Tale of Two Cities: Memory, Identity, Maps

Memory is a rich and powerful intoxicant. It can be as seductively misleading as it can be corrective. By invoking memory and heritage we can chide as we inspire, promoting a sense that life’s challenges can be more ably met when clad in the armour of past experience. Significantly, this has often been the case with national identity, and memory has often framed the values … Continue reading Tale of Two Cities: Memory, Identity, Maps