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Historic Notes

Historic Notes

England's Break from Rome (1532-40)

29 October 2016

The English Reformation evolved from the need of Henry VIII to divorce. Such a relatively trivial episode in led to a process that ultimately brought the total reconstruction of political power and social attitudes in England.

London rebuilt

6 September 2016

As London commemorates 350 years since the Great Fire of 2 September 1666, we are reminded of what a real catastrophe looks like – unlike the spurious and risible warnings of the “disaster” of Brexit.

The Earth and the Sun

25 August 2016

In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries two men, Copernicus and Galileo, helped to cast out ancient ideas about physics and astronomy. Their work laid the foundation for modern scientific understanding.

1916: out of empire and war

13 February 2016

The 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin stubbornly troubles the present. Prompting strong feelings, it has been categorised wildly as dismal failure and tragic folly, daring adventure and noble sacrifice. Yet the Easter Rising obstinately shines through as a most extraordinary, challenging event whose ideals are not yet fulfilled.

1945: America drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

28 July 2015

Seventy years ago, in August 1945, America exploded atomic bombs over two Japanese cities. Controversy still rages as to why they were used and whether these weapons should have been authorised. The USA remains the only state to have deployed nuclear weapons in warfare.

Victory in Europe: 8 May 1945

8 May 2015

The Soviet Union bore the brunt of the Second World War in Europe, which ended with the defeat of fascism 70 years ago on 8 May 1945. The balance of class forces shifted away from capitalism for a few post-war decades... 

1707: The Treaty of Union

Great Britain was born as a state in 1707. In essence, the Treaty of Union was a formal recognition of the ascendancy of capitalism over feudalism in all of this country. Once united, the combined resources and talents of the two countries were at the service of capital.