Quotulatiousness

January 9, 2018

The Seven Years War: Crash Course World History #26

Filed under: Africa, Americas, Britain, France, History, India, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

CrashCourse
Published on 19 Jul 2012

In which John teaches you about the Seven Years War, which may have lasted nine years. Or as many as 23. It was a very confusing war. The Seven Years War was a global war, fought on five continents, which is kind of a lot. John focuses on the war as it happened in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. the “great” European powers were the primary combatants, but they fought just about everywhere. Of course, this being a history course, the outcomes of this war still resonate in our lives today. The Seven Years War determined the direction of the British Empire, and led pretty directly to the subject of Episode 28, the American Revolution.

January 8, 2018

Forests in the olden days

Filed under: Britain, Environment, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Lindybeige
Published on 20 Apr 2016

Forests and woodland in the ancient and medieval worlds didn’t look the way they show in the movies.
Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Lindybeige

More archaeology videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…

I visited a local wildlife sanctuary based in a wood. In order to attract birds, they left the woods unmanaged, so that the undergrowth and rotting falling trees afforded good habitat for insects and ground-nesting birds. I talk about a few things, including climax vegetation, the burning of woods by hunter-gatherers, the medieval practices of coppicing and pollarding, and the way a modern managed woodland (the sort that you almost always see in the movies) looks neither like a heavily-managed medieval wood nor a wilderness unmanaged wood.

Lindybeige: a channel of archaeology, ancient and medieval warfare, rants, swing dance, travelogues, evolution, and whatever else occurs to me to make.

Mark Steyn reviews Darkest Hour

Filed under: Britain, History, Media, Military, WW2 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The latest screen depiction of Winston Churchill gets the once-over from Mark Steyn:

Churchill tends to the Churchillian, which is to say the epic. Darkest Hour, by contrast, is very finely focused. Joe Wright, director, and Edward McCarten, writer, confine their two dark hours of screen time to a couple of critical weeks in May 1940, when Hitler’s invasion of Norway precipitated Neville Chamberlain’s retreat from Downing Street. Aside from some rather elaborately choreographed overhead shots and a lush grandiose score, Darkest Hour is filmed claustrophobically, too – in poky sitting rooms, Downing Street basements, attics, Westminster ante-rooms, and chilly lavatories; the lighting is crepuscular. The fate of the world is being determined, but we never glimpse the far horizons, only the dingy backrooms.

What happened that month was a showdown between the two principal contenders for the Prime Ministership, Mr Churchill and Lord Halifax. Stephen Dillane is excellent as Halifax, the vulpine cadaver looking down (in every sense) from the Commons gallery at Churchill’s turns at the dispatch box. Unfortunately, aside from skillful deployments of his inscrutable yet condescending eyebrows, he gets somewhat short shrift on screen, so as a Churchill vs Halifax cage match it never quite comes off – presumably because the third Viscount Halifax is entirely unknown in Hollywood. (“Third Viscount Halifax? Hey, let’s see what the first two gross before we commit to that…”)

This is a pity, because the two men were on opposite ends of the seesaw, and, capacious as Churchill’s own bottom is, most of the other players – the King, Chamberlain, the parliamentary party, defeatist generals, Dominion prime ministers around the globe – were inclined to park their own butts down Halifax’s end. On May 10th, the day Winston became PM, the Germans invaded Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Ten days later, Hitler’s army reached the Channel, and was within reach of throttling the 300,000-strong British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, and seizing the entire French fleet. In that dreadful month of May, Churchill wanted to fight on; Halifax preferred to use Mussolini’s “good offices” to sue for a “peace” that would leave Britain and its empire more or less “intact” – save for East Africa, Suez, Malta, Gibraltar and sundry other places that would have to be addressed, per the Italian ambassador in London, “as part of a general European settlement”.

In other words, we are at the great hinge moment of the twentieth century: Had Halifax prevailed, there would have been a neutered Berlin-friendly British Empire directly bordering America on the 49th parallel and all but directly the Soviet Union in Central Asia. There would have been no potential allies for Moscow in the event of war with Germany, thus incentivizing a successful conclusion in late 1940 to Molotov’s talks in Berlin to join the Axis; and no allies whatsoever for Washington, assuming Japan still felt the need to bomb Pearl Harbor the following year. Instead, Churchill prevailed – and Britain and its lion cubs fought on, playing for time until first the Soviets and then the Americans joined the war against Germany, Italy and Japan. That year in which the moth-eaten Britiish lion and its distant cubs stood alone is, more than any other single factor, the reason why the world as ordered these last seventy years exists at all.

[…]

As with Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, one’s admiration for the film is tempered by a terrible profound sadness – for a people who “won the war, and lost their country anyway”. To anyone old enough to remember an England where one could “walk into any pub in the country and ask with perfect confidence if the major had been in”, the sense of loss can bring tears to the eye. Unlike Iron-Man 5 and Spider-Man 12 and Cardboard-Man 19 and Franchise-Man 37, this is the story of an actual, real-life superhero: You leave the theater with the cheers of the House ringing in your ears …and return to a world where quoting Churchill in his own land can get you arrested.

January 7, 2018

Inside the Rolls Royce Armoured Car I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Britain, History, Military, Technology, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 6 Jan 2018

Check out The Tank Museum on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/tankmuseum

Indy speaks to David Willey, curator of The Tank Museum in Bovington, about the Rolls Royce Armoured Car, one of the most iconic armoured cars of World War 1. From its early, improvised days on the Western Front to deployment in the far corners of the British Empire.

January 6, 2018

THE GREAT WAR and C&RSENAL Special Hangout – Russian Rifles and Pistols of WW1

Filed under: History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Streamed live 6 hours ago

Check out C&RSENAL: http://youtube.com/candrsenal
Ask questions here: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheGreatWarC…

The EU and its many separatist movements

Filed under: Europe — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Theodore Dalrymple explores an odd thing in Europe which has often puzzled me: that movements to separate linguistic or economically distinct regions from their parent country are almost all equally eager to remain part of the EU:

[…] But having said all this, we still have not explained why nationalist centrifugalists, if I may so call them, are so eager to form an alliance with EU centripetalists, who wish to efface the very thing the nationalists claim to be seeking. Several hypotheses are possible, and none susceptible of final proof.

The first is that that these nationalists are not even aware of the contradiction. Few of us are logical calculating machines who work out the full implications of our beliefs, let alone always act in our own best interests. I am only too aware that I have no consistent doctrine of life, morality, or politics, that I am not even consistent from day to day or moment to moment, and am, on the whole, quite untroubled by this. Entirely consistent men are apt to be spine-chilling.

Second, nationalist dislike of immediate neighbors, whether the explanation for it be reasonable or unreasonable, may loom so large that it overcomes logical thought. Jumping out of frying pans into fires is a well-known human phenomenon.

There is a third explanation, which is that the leaders of the nationalist parties or separatist groups want there to be more places at the top table — vacancies that they would then fill. They might even rise to the dizzying heights of the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who has long bestridden the world, or Europe at any rate, like a colossus. This he could never have done without the existence of the EU. In other words, personal ambition and the megalomania of petty potentates.

But what should be the attitude of leaders of the European Union toward the potential fracturing of the EU member states as they are at present constituted? In the short term, EU leaders have to pretend to support the current arrangements, because for the moment power is concentrated in the hands of the leaders of those member states. If the power in Madrid or London begins, however, to seep away, the path to a Europe not of the nations but of (as Professor Guérot puts it) “the regions” is cleared. Then, as she says, the citizens of Europe “will elect their president by direct universal suffrage. Finished with the system of checks and balances … ”

I can’t wait for all those terrible checks and balances to be swept away. And, while we are at it, why should this process be confined to Europe? Is Professor Guérot a closet nationalist — even a racist? If Europeans can, why can’t the entire population of the world, elect their president (of a Republic of the World) by direct universal suffrage?

The language of most separatist leaders draws on the airy — and usually not defined in detail — concept of independence, being in charge of their own destiny, Maîtres Chez Nous, out from under those foreign rulers in [London|Madrid|Rome], etc. Yet the very next most important issue always seems to be jumping right back into a different form of foreign rulership. Almost as if the whole “independence” thing was merely a vehicle to getting better parking spots in Brussels.

Caesar in Gaul: REVOLT! (54 to 53 B.C.E.)

Filed under: Europe, France, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Historia Civilis
Published on 21 Jun 2017

January 5, 2018

Machinations In The British High Command I THE GREAT WAR Week 180

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 4 Jan 2018

1918 starts with machinations in the British High Command since Prime Minister Lloyd George is holding back troops and generally would like to replace Sir Douglas Haig as commander.

January 4, 2018

HMS Ocean to be sold to Brazil

Filed under: Americas, Britain, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In The Register, Gareth Corfield sums up reports on the disposition of the Royal Navy’s current flagship after a 20-year service life:

HMS Ocean at the Thames Barrier in 2012, being moved into position to support the Olympic Games in London.

The 22,000-tonne helicopter carrier, which returned from her last British deployment to the Caribbean just weeks ago, will be formally decommissioned from the RN in spring this year.

Although it was well known that Ocean was up for sale and that Brazil (as well as Turkey) were interested in buying the 20-year-old warship, confirmation of the deal and the purchase price were all “known unknowns” until now.

The news was broken by defence blog UK Defence Journal, citing a Brazilian journalist.

The Brazilian Navy’s end-of-year roundup statement, published on Christmas Eve 2017, also included the line: “Minister Raul Jungmann and the Brazilian Navy Commander Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira took the opportunity to announce the purchase of the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean multifunction vessel, valued at £84m sterling.”

A British Ministry of Defence spokesman told El Reg: “Discussions with Brazil over the long-planned sale of HMS Ocean are at an advanced stage, but no final decisions have been made. HMS Ocean has served admirably with us since 1998 and the revenue she generates will be reinvested in defence as we bolster our Royal Navy with two types of brand new frigates and two huge aircraft carriers.”

HMS Ocean at the 2005 International Fleet Review, showing Landing Craft on davits and Stern Ramp deployed.
Photo via Wikimedia.

At the Thin Pinstriped Line, Sir Humphrey explains why selling the ship now makes sense for the Royal Navy:

The big change to this requirement came in 2015, when the SDSR [Strategic Defence and Security Review]confirmed that the RN would keep both carriers in active service, and that neither would be CTOL [conventional take-off and landing]. Suddenly the RN found itself planning for a future where it would have two CVF available [the Queen Elizabeth class carriers], both of which would need to have manpower available to crew them. It also meant that the RN could make modifications to the ships to ensure that either of them could operate as an LPH [Landing Platform Helicopter] and carry helicopters and troops as well as a fixed wing airgroup.

This decision has had major ramifications for Ocean – suddenly the need for her to remain in service was gone. The LPH role that she would have done would now be filled by two newer and vastly more capable ships – the UK wasn’t losing capability but gaining it. In practical terms the RN actually would have more chance of an LPH being available without Ocean as CVF availability will be higher, both can role as an LPH (rather than CTOL which would not do this task) and with both platforms active, there is far less chance of the nightmare situation of both the CTOL carrier and the old LPH being stuck in refit at the same time.

From a capability perspective, the move to CVF makes a lot of sense. There are issues to be resolved (arguably the littoral manoeuvre capability offered by her landing craft, the vehicle issue and the question of what to do about afloat 1&2* command platforms and where to put them), but Ocean paying off is not going to remove the LPH capability from the UK toolkit.

The second problem has been that even if the RN wanted to run Ocean on, it has run out of manpower to do so. This year will see Queen Elizabeth at sea doing complex trials, drawing heavily on the Fleet Air Arm personnel to do so. As Prince of Wales (POW) stands up, more and more crew (usually very specialised engineers and the like) will be needed to bring her out of build. On the old plan this wouldn’t have been an issue – one would have gone straight into reserve. Now, the RN has to bring both carriers into service at roughly the same time (a helpful reminder of RN capability here is that it is the only navy in the world currently introducing two supercarriers into service at roughly the same time).

Ocean requires a lot of specialist crew who will be needed on QE and POW, and more importantly so will their reliefs. The manpower planners have not been working on the assumption of three carriers available and at sea (something the RN arguably has not done consistently for many years), and so the manpower structure is not designed to provide this. It could be changed, but would need many years to produce the right numbers of people in the right slots to deliver it without breaking manpower and causing retention challenges.

January 2, 2018

The Defence of Baku – The Adventures of Dunsterforce Part 2 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Britain, History, Middle East, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 1 Jan 2018

In part two of the Adventures of Dunsterforce, we follow the Hush Hush Army on their travels through the Caucasus. Picking up where we left off, the Dunsterforce leave Enzeli, clash with Jangalis en route, and head for Baku. They had to journey through territory controlled by warlords, cossacks and bolshevik soviets and when they arrived during the Siege of Baku, Dunsterville and his men meet the five dictators that make up the Centrocaspian Dictatorship.

January 1, 2018

“A Nice Cup of Tea”, the animated version

Filed under: Britain, Randomness — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

I used the original essay as a QotD entry back in September.

H/T to Open Culture for the link.

December 31, 2017

The Sopwith Snipe – WW1 Pilot’s Gear I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Britain, History, Military, Technology, WW1 — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 30 Dec 2017

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https://warthunder.com/play4free?r=greatwar

Indy takes a look at the Sopwith Snipe and meets Trevor who shows us the typical gear of a WW1 pilot.

Who Invented Hawaiian Pizza?

Filed under: Cancon, Europe, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Today I Found Out
Published on 4 Dec 2017

In this video:

On June 8, 2017, Greek-born, Canadian-bred pizza maker Sam Panopoulos died. His career slinging pies was rather unremarkable save for one notable thing – he was the inventor of the popular, yet infamous pineapple-topped “Hawaiian Pizza,” named as such because of the brand of canned fruit he used. Loved by some and hated by others, the sweet and salty pizza is so controversial that it once triggered an argument between friendly nations. While such arguments rage on both sides of it being a delicacy or an abomination, the fact is that the Hawaiian pizza is actually not Hawaiian – it’s Canadian. Here now is the story of pizza and the man who decided to add pineapples to it.

Want the text version?: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.p…

December 30, 2017

The Dark Ages of Sex – All Pleasure is Sin! l THE HISTORY OF SEX

Filed under: Europe, History, Religion — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

IT’S HISTORY
Published on 21 Sep 2015

Sex became a sin in the Middle Ages. Following the promiscuous Ancient Rome and Greece, the Western World was indoctrinated with Medieval concepts of guilt and immorality. Adultery and sex for pleasure became unthinkable. Churches implemented strict rules, breaking them could result in public shaming. The severity of punishments would only increase after the Reformation.

QotD: The “Celtic” peoples

Filed under: Europe, History, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

… I became a little more aware of what might be described as a genetic disorder, shared generally by the “Celtic” peoples, from Shetlands and Orkneys to Galicia.

“Celtic” is of course a creation of the modern academic mind, which keeps tidier files than I do. There never was, in fact, such a race or people. They were just a bunch of mongrels driven west, ever west, until they came against The Ocean — while the more settling tribes established their European lebensraum.

Also, perhaps, they flit north, and east, but let us put those refugees out of sight and mind, as most were made extinct. For I refer expressly to “the people of the fiddle,” who, when delivered to the New World (invariably by some persecution), instinctively found the least arable land, and scattered up anything that resembled mountains. We find them still today not only in “the highlands” of Cape Breton, but right down the Appalachian cordillera, where they dug in as “hillbillies” and such. They remain the ethnic backbone of our English-speaking armies, ever eager to sign up.

David Warren, “Of mercy & forgiveness”, Essays in Idleness, 2016-06-02.

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