History Podcasts

Review: Volume 14 - First World War

Review: Volume 14 - First World War

"Liverpool Pals", is a record of duty, courage and endeavour of a group of men who, before war broke out in 1914, were the backbone of Liverpool's commerce. Fired with patriotism, over 4,000 of these businessmen volunteered in 1914 and were formed into the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th (Service) Battalions of the King's (Liverpool Regiment); they were the first of all the Pals battalions to be raised, and they were the last to be stood down.It is commonly held that the North of England's Pals battalions were wiped out on the 1st July, 1916, certainly this befell a number of units, but the Liverpool Pals took all their objectives on that day. From then on they fought all through the Somme Battle, The Battle of Arras and the muddy hell of Passchendaele in 1917, and the desperate defence against the German offensive of March 1918.

Cheerful Sacrifice tells the story of the spring offensive of April - May 1917, otherwise known as the Battle of Arras. Probably because the noise had hardly died down before it started up again with the explosions at Messines, shortly to be followed by the even more horrible Third Ypres - remembered as Passchendaele - the Battle of Arras has not received the attention it deserves. Yet, as the author points out, on the basis of the daily casualty rate it was the most lethal and costly British offensive battle of the First World War. In the thirty-nine days that the battle lasted the average casualty rate was far higher than at either the Somme or Passchendaele. Jonathan Nicholls, in this his first book, gives the Battle of Arras its proper place in the annals of military history, enhancing his text with a wealth of eye-witness accounts. One is left in no doubt that the survivor who described it as 'the most savage infantry battle of the war', did not exaggerate. Nor can there be much doubt that the author is destined to rise high in the firmament of military historians.

Parent reviews for Call of Duty: WWII

I allowed my older son to play the game. I made sure that he understands that video games do not translate to real life and also told him gun violence is never an acceptable response to any situation.

My younger 14 year old son, on the other hand, was not allowed to play any call of dutys until this year. Not because it made him particularly violent, but because he slept in the same room as my youngest (about to turn 8) and the tv he uses to play games is in that room.

If you’re still not sure take a moment to observe yours child's environment. How much television does he watch? What kind is it? Does your child do his chores and homework with minimal argument? Is your son friendly with his peers? I used those as guideposts to determine whether my kids were ready for mature games.

World War I Draft Registration Cards
Draft registration cards for more than 24 million men who registered for the WWI draft in 1917 and 1918.

U.S. World War I Mothers' Pilgrimage
More than 10,000 names of widows and mothers entitled to make the U.S. government sponsored pilgrimage to visit their loved one's grave in Europe.

World War I, World War II and Korean War Casualty Listings
Names of more than 135,000 casualties from World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Woodrow Wilson’s Rise in Politics

In 1910, Woodrow Wilson was elected governor of New Jersey, where he fought machine politics and garnered national attention as a progressive reformer. In 1912, the Democrats nominated Wilson for president, selecting Thomas Marshall (1854-1925), the governor of Indiana, as his vice presidential running mate. The Republican Party split over their choice for a presidential candidate: Conservative Republicans re-nominated President William Taft (1857-1930), while the progressive wing broke off to form the Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party and nominated Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), who had served as president from 1901 to 1909.

With the Republicans divided, Wilson, who campaigned on a platform of liberal reform, won 435 electoral votes, compared to 88 for Roosevelt and eight for Taft. He garnered nearly 42 percent of the popular vote Roosevelt came in second place with more than 27 percent of the popular vote.


During the First World War, the horror of facial mutilation was evoked in journalism, poems, memoirs and fiction but in Britain it was almost never represented visually outside the professional contexts of clinical medicine and medical history. This article asks why, and offers an account of British visual culture in which visual anxiety and aversion are of central importance. By comparing the rhetoric of disfigurement to the parallel treatment of amputees, an asymmetrical picture emerges in which the ‘worst loss of all’—the loss of one's face—is perceived as a loss of humanity. The only hope was surgery or, if that failed, prosthetic repair: innovations that were often wildly exaggerated in the popular press. Francis Derwent Wood was one of several sculptors whose technical skill and artistic ‘wizardry’ played a part in the improvised reconstruction of identity and humanity.

Disfigurement and mutilation were ubiquitous on the battlefields of the First World War, in military hospitals, convalescent homes, towns and villages: an estimated 60,500 British soldiers suffered head or eye injuries, and 41,000 men had one or more limbs amputated. 1 At the specialist hospital for facial injuries near Sidcup in Kent, over 11,000 operations were performed on some 5,000 servicemen between 1917 and 1925. 2 Many soldiers were shot in the face simply because they had no experience of trench warfare: ‘They seemed to think they could pop their heads up over a trench and move quickly enough to dodge the hail of machine-gun bullets’, wrote the American surgeon Fred Albee. 3 Military medical archives contain exhaustive visual evidence of the injuries inflicted by machine guns and modern artillery on the faces of young British men (Figure 1). Until the past few years, however, these X-rays and surgical diagrams, photographs and stereographs, plaster casts and models were rarely publicly exhibited. It has even been claimed that they amount to a ‘hidden history’ of the First World War. 4

Photographs from Moss case file Source: Gillies Archives, Queen Mary's Hospital Sidcup. Photograph courtesy of the Gillies Archives.

Photographs from Moss case file Source: Gillies Archives, Queen Mary's Hospital Sidcup. Photograph courtesy of the Gillies Archives.

During the war, visitors to the Queen's Hospital at Sidcup would be able to see Henry Tonks' remarkable life drawings of patients before and after surgical reconstruction. They were one of the ‘sights’, although Tonks himself thought them ‘rather dreadful subjects for the public view’. 5 Aside from these unusual studies, the disfigured face is almost entirely absent from British art. Francis Bacon's heads and portraits from the 1940s onwards bear an uncanny resemblance to Tonks' studies of wounded soldiers, but there is a crucial difference: Bacon was painting his lovers, friends and drinking companions his violations of the human form are altogether more theatrical, more stylistically consistent in their violence. There was no British Otto Dix, Max Beckmann or George Grosz: the mutilated body of the war veteran was not explored as a site of shame and revulsion the way it was in Weimar Germany. 6 Neither the drawings by Tonks, nor the photographs in the men's case files, found their way into anti-war publications, as happened in Germany, and they never featured in the illustrated histories of the war. 7 As historical documents, they speak volumes about the kinds of injuries sustained in modern combat, and the medical response to these injuries, but it could not be said that they have been part of British cultural history in any broader sense at least not until very recently. 8

In 2002, Tonks' delicate studies of facial injuries were displayed alongside photographs and notes from the case files in the Strang Print Room at University College London. In June 2007, the full set of portraits was made available on the website of the Gillies Archives. 9 Renewed interest in the cultural history of medicine and science has coincided, in the UK, with a number of major exhibitions and art-science projects, and Henry Tonks has emerged as a recurring (I am tempted to say, haunting) presence in this interdisciplinary domain. 10 The most recent of these are War and Medicine, at the Wellcome Collection in London and Faces of Battle, at the National Army Museum. 11 Both exhibitions probed the strange symbiosis of military technology and medical innovation both juxtaposed scientific and artistic responses to bodily mutilation. This article is evidently part of a trend. But it is different from these other projects in two key respects: rather than reiterating the pervasive idea of ‘progress through bloodshed’, or telling ‘untold stories of suffering, heroism and hope’ (as in Faces of Battle), I approach this rhetoric in one of its primary historical formations, during the First World War. 12 The second difference concerns the relationship between art and medicine, which I discuss in the context of facial reconstruction. When curators place art and medical artefacts in the same room, it is usually art's role to either illustrate or illuminate, to answer a need for documentation or contemplation. 13 Francis Derwent Wood's portrait masks do something else. They point to the inadequacy of medicine just as much as they fail to hide the human cost of war. Above all, these fragile, intimate objects prove that being human is an aesthetic matter as well as a biological one.

My focus here is the public discourse, the rhetoric of bodily and facial reconstruction (in the sense that we are dealing with arts of persuasion, both literary and plastic). In the sources I will be concentrating on—newspaper and periodical articles, the reminiscences of doctors and nurses—a fairly consistent picture emerges. The response to facial disfigurement was circumscribed by an anxiety that was specifically visual. 14 Patients refused to see their families and fiancés children reportedly fled at the sight of their fathers nurses and orderlies struggled to look their patients in the face. 15 Ward Muir, who worked as an orderly at the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth, was surprised by his reaction to patients on the facial ward: ‘I never [before] felt any embarrassment … confronting a patient’, he confesses, ‘however deplorable his state, however humiliating his dependence on my services, until I came in contact with certain wounds of the face’. 16 I have speculated elsewhere about the culture of aversion that surrounded facially-disfigured veterans of the First World War. 17 This collective looking-away took multiple forms: the absence of mirrors on facial wards, the physical and psychological isolation of patients with severe facial injuries, the eventual self-censorship made possible by the development of prosthetic ‘masks’, and an unofficial censorship of facially-disfigured veterans in the British press and propaganda (Figure 2). Unlike amputees, these men were never officially celebrated as wounded heroes. 18 The wounded face, as Sander Gilman intimates, is not equivalent to the wounded body it presents the trauma of mechanised warfare as a loss of identity and humanity. 19

Horace Nicholls, Repairing War's Ravages: Renovating Facial Injuries. Various plates and attachments in different stages of completion. Source: Imperial War Museum, Q.30.460. Photograph courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London.

Horace Nicholls, Repairing War's Ravages: Renovating Facial Injuries. Various plates and attachments in different stages of completion. Source: Imperial War Museum, Q.30.460. Photograph courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London.

The argument advanced here rests primarily on textual evidence: what was said and written about disfigurement by nurses, orderlies, doctors, journalists and artists. Although almost none of these sources were illustrated, they reveal a great deal about the visual culture of the injured body, if ‘visual culture’ is taken to mean ways of seeing and imagining (and cultural prohibitions against looking) as well as visual artefacts. In a recent interview, W. J. T. Mitchell said he suspected that ‘the most interesting new questions for visual studies … will be located at the frontiers of visuality, the places where seeing approaches a limit and is faced with its own negation’. 20 This article explores one such limit case, and proceeds from the premise that what cannot be represented or looked at is as important as what is shown or pictured.

We begin, then, with the documentary evidence for a culture of aversion surrounding facial injury: the popular and professional perception of unsustainable loss. The central part of the article contrasts the perceived ‘indignity’ of facial mutilation with the sentimentalised and often idealised representation of amputees, whose prosthetic limbs and altered bodies were highly visible in the wartime press. The final section considers the promise—and limits—of surgical and prosthetic reconstruction. The bespoke masks produced by Francis Derwent Wood belong within a history of aversion (to the extent that they concealed what must not be seen), but—as portraits—they also represent a remarkable attempt to realign appearance and identity.


Toynbee (born in London on 14 April 1889) was the son of Harry Valpy Toynbee (1861–1941), secretary of the Charity Organization Society, and his wife Sarah Edith Marshall (1859–1939) his sister Jocelyn Toynbee was an archaeologist and art historian. Toynbee was the grandson of Joseph Toynbee, nephew of the 19th-century economist Arnold Toynbee (1852–1883) and descendant of prominent British intellectuals for several generations. He won scholarships to Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford (Literae Humaniores, 1907–1911), [2] and studied briefly at the British School at Athens, an experience that influenced the genesis of his philosophy about the decline of civilisations.

In 1912 he became a tutor and fellow in ancient history at Balliol College, and in 1915 he began working for the intelligence department of the British Foreign Office. After serving as a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 he served as professor of Byzantine and modern Greek studies at the University of London. It was here that Toynbee was appointed to the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King's College, although he would ultimately resign following a controversial academic dispute with the professoriate of the College. [3] [4] From 1921 to 1922 he was the Manchester Guardian correspondent during the Greco-Turkish War, an experience that resulted in the publication of The Western Question in Greece and Turkey. [5] In 1925 he became research professor of international history at the London School of Economics and director of studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdoms national academy for the humanities and social sciences, in 1937. [6]

His first marriage was to Rosalind Murray (1890–1967), daughter of Gilbert Murray, in 1913 they had three sons, of whom Philip Toynbee was the second. They divorced in 1946 Toynbee then married his research assistant, Veronica M. Boulter (1893-1980), in the same year. [7] He died on 22 October 1975, age 86.

In his 1915 book Nationality & the War, Toynbee argued in favor of creating a post-World War I peace settlement based on the principle of nationality. [8] In Chapter IV of his 1916 book The New Europe: Essays in Reconstruction, Toynbee criticized the concept of natural borders. [9] Specifically, Toynbee criticized this concept as providing a justification for launching additional wars so that countries can attain their natural borders. [9] Toynbee also pointed out how once a country attained one set of natural borders, it could subsequently aim to attain another, further set of natural borders for instance, the German Empire set its western natural border at the Vosges Mountains in 1871 but during World War I, some Germans began to advocate for even more western natural borders—specifically ones that extend all of the way up to Calais and the English Channel—conveniently justifying the permanent German retention of those Belgian and French territories that Germany had just conquered during World War I. [9] As an alternative to the idea of natural borders, Toynbee proposes making free trade, partnership, and cooperation between various countries with interconnected economies considerably easier so that there would be less need for countries to expand even further—whether to their natural borders or otherwise. [9] In addition, Toynbee advocated making national borders based more on the principle of national self-determination—as in, based on which country the people in a particular area or territory actually wanted to live in. [9] (This principle was in fact indeed sometimes (albeit inconsistently) followed in the post-World War I peace settlement with the various plebiscites that were conducted in the twenty years after the end of World War I--specifically in Schleswig, Upper Silesia, Masuria, Sopron, Carinthia, and the Saar—in order to determine the future sovereignty and fate of these territories. [10] [11] )

In Nationality & the War, Toynbee offered various elaborate proposals and predictions for the future of various countries—both European and non-European. In regards to the Alsace-Lorraine dispute between France and Germany, for instance, Toynbee proposed a series of plebiscites to determine its future fate—with Alsace voting as a single unit in this plebiscite due to its interconnected nature. [12] Toynbee likewise proposed a plebiscite in Schleswig-Holstein to determine its future fate, with him arguing that the linguistic line might make the best new German-Danish border there (indeed, ultimately a plebiscite was held in Schleswig in 1920). [13] In regards to Poland, Toynbee advocated for the creation of an autonomous Poland under Russian rule (specifically a Poland in a federal relationship with Russia and that has a degree of home rule and autonomy that is at least comparable to that of the Austrian Poles) [14] that would have put the Russian, German, and Austrian Poles under one sovereignty and government. Toynbee argued that Polish unity would be impossible in the event of an Austro-German victory in World War I since a victorious Germany would be unwilling to transfer its own Polish territories (which it views as strategically important and still hopes to Germanize) to an autonomous or newly independent Poland. [15] Toynbee also proposed giving most of Upper Silesia, Posen Province, and western Galicia to this autonomous Poland and suggested holding a plebiscite in Masuria [16] (as indeed ultimately occurred in 1920 with the Masurian plebiscite) while allowing Germany to keep all of West Prussia, including the Polish parts that later became known as the Polish Corridor (while, of course, making Danzig a free city that the autonomous Poland would be allowed to use). [17] [18] In regards to Austria-Hungary, Toynbee proposed having Austria give up Galicia to Russia and an enlarged autonomous Russian Poland, give up Transylvania and Bukovina [19] to Romania, give up Trentino (but not Trieste or South Tyrol) to Italy, and give up Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia so that newly independent states can be formed there. [18] Toynbee also advocated allowing Austria to keep Czechia due to the strategic location of its Sudeten Mountain ridges and allowing Hungary to keep Slovakia. [18] Toynbee also advocated splitting Bessarabia between Russia and Romania, with Russia keeping the Budjak while Romania would acquire the rest of Bessarabia. Toynbee argued that a Romanian acquisition of the Budjak would be pointless due to its non-Romanian population and due to it providing little value for Romania however, Toynbee did endorse Romanian use of the Russian port of Odessa, which would see its trade traffic double in such a scenario. [20]

In regards to Ukraine, or Little Russia, Toynbee rejected both home rule [21] and a federal solution for Ukraine. [22] Toynbee's objection to the federal solution stemmed from his fear that a federated Russia would be too divided to have a unifying center of gravity and would thus be at risk of fragmentation and breaking up just like the United States of America previously did for a time during its own civil war. [22] In place of autonomy, Toynbee proposed making the Ukrainian language co-official in the Great Russian parts of the Russian Empire so that Ukrainians (or Little Russians) could become members of the Russian body politic as Great Russians' peers rather than as Great Russians' inferiors. [23] Toynbee also argued that if the Ukrainian language will not be able to become competitive with Russian even if the Ukrainian language will be given official status in Russia, then this would prove once and for all the superior vitality of the Russian language (which, according to Toynbee, was used to write great literature while the Ukrainian language was only used to write peasant ballads). [24]

In regards to future Russian expansion, Toynbee endorsed the idea of Russia conquering Outer Mongolia and the Tarim Basin, arguing the Russia could improve and revitalize these territories just like the United States of America did for the Mexican Cession territories (specifically Nuevo Mexico and Alta California) when it conquered these territories from Mexico in the Mexican-American War back in 1847 (a conquest that Toynbee noted was widely criticized at the time, but which eventually became viewed as being a correct move on the part of the United States). [25] Toynbee also endorsed the idea of having Russia annex both Pontus and the Armenian Vilayets of the Ottoman Empire [26] while rejecting the idea of an Russo-British partition of Persia as being impractical due to it being incapable of satisfying either Britain's or Russia's interests in Persia–with Toynbee thus believing that a partition of Persia would merely inevitably result in war between Britain and Russia. [27] Instead, Toynbee argues for (if necessary, with foreign assistance) the creation of a strong, independent, central government in Persia that would be capable of both protecting its own interests and protecting the interests of both British and Russia while also preventing both of these powers from having imperialist and predatory designs on Persia. [27] In addition, in the event of renewed trouble and unrest in Afghanistan (which Toynbee viewed as only a matter of time), Toynbee advocated partitioning Afghanistan between Russia and British India roughly along the path of the Hindu Kush. [28] [29] A partition of Afghanistan along these lines would result in Afghan Turkestan being unified with the predominantly Turkic peoples of Russian Central Asia as well as with the Afghan Pashtuns being reunified with the Pakistani Pashtuns within British India. [29] Toynbee viewed the Hindu Kush as being an ideal and impenetrable frontier between Russia and British India that would be impossible for either side to cross through and that would thus be great at providing security (and protection against aggression by the other side) for both sides. [30]

Michael Lang says that for much of the twentieth century,

Toynbee was perhaps the world's most read, translated, and discussed living scholar. His output was enormous, hundreds of books, pamphlets, and articles. Of these, scores were translated into thirty different languages. the critical reaction to Toynbee constitutes a veritable intellectual history of the midcentury: we find a long list of the period's most important historians, Beard, Braudel, Collingwood, and so on. [31]

In his best-known work, A Study of History, published 1934–1961, Toynbee

. examined the rise and fall of 26 civilisations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. [32]

A Study of History was both a commercial and academic phenomenon. In the U.S. alone, more than seven thousand sets of the ten-volume edition had been sold by 1955. Most people, including scholars, relied on the very clear one-volume abridgement of the first six volumes by Somervell, which appeared in 1947 the abridgement sold over 300,000 copies in the U.S. The press printed innumerable discussions of Toynbee's work, not to mention there being countless lectures and seminars. Toynbee himself often participated. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1947, with an article describing his work as "the most provocative work of historical theory written in England since Karl Marx's Capital", [33] and was a regular commentator on BBC (examining the history of and reasons for the current hostility between east and west, and considering how non-westerners view the western world). [34] [35]

Canadian historians were especially receptive to Toynbee's work in the late 1940s. The Canadian economic historian Harold Adams Innis (1894–1952) was a notable example. Following Toynbee and others (Spengler, Kroeber, Sorokin, Cochrane), Innis examined the flourishing of civilisations in terms of administration of empires and media of communication. [36]

Toynbee's overall theory was taken up by some scholars, for example, Ernst Robert Curtius, as a sort of paradigm in the post-war period. Curtius wrote as follows in the opening pages of European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (1953 English translation), following close on Toynbee, as he sets the stage for his vast study of medieval Latin literature. Curtius wrote, "How do cultures, and the historical entities which are their media, arise, grow and decay? Only a comparative morphology with exact procedures can hope to answer these questions. It was Arnold J. Toynbee who undertook the task." [37]

After 1960, Toynbee's ideas faded both in academia and the media, to the point of seldom being cited today. [38] [39] In general, historians pointed to his preference of myths, allegories, and religion over factual data. His critics argued that his conclusions are more those of a Christian moralist than of a historian. [40] In his 2011 article for the Journal of History titled "Globalization and Global History in Toynbee," Michael Lang wrote:

To many world historians today, Arnold J. Toynbee is regarded like an embarrassing uncle at a house party. He gets a requisite introduction by virtue of his place on the family tree, but he is quickly passed over for other friends and relatives. [41]

However, his work continued to be referenced by some classical historians, because "his training and surest touch is in the world of classical antiquity." [42] His roots in classical literature are also manifested by similarities between his approach and that of classical historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides. [43] Comparative history, by which his approach is often categorised, has been in the doldrums. [44]

While the writing of the Study was under way, Toynbee produced numerous smaller works and served as director of foreign research of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (1939–43) and director of the research department of the Foreign Office (1943–46) he also retained his position at the London School of Economics until his retirement in 1956. [32]

Toynbee worked for the Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office during World War I and served as a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He was director of studies at Chatham House, Balliol College, Oxford University, 1924–43. Chatham House conducted research for the British Foreign Office and was an important intellectual resource during World War II when it was transferred to London. With his research assistant, Veronica M. Boulter, Toynbee was co-editor of the RIIA's annual Survey of International Affairs, which became the "bible" for international specialists in Britain. [45] [46]

Meeting with Adolf Hitler Edit

While on a visit in Berlin in 1936 to address the Nazi Law Society, Toynbee was invited to have a private interview with Adolf Hitler, at Hitler's request. [47] During the interview, which took place a day before Toynbee delivered his lecture, Hitler emphasised his limited expansionist aim of building a greater German nation, and his desire for British understanding and co-operation. He also suggested Germany could be an ally to Britain in the Asia-Pacific if Germany were to have her colonies restored. [48] Toynbee believed that Hitler was sincere and endorsed Hitler's message in a confidential memorandum for the British prime minister and foreign secretary. [49]

Toynbee's lecture – delivered in English, but copies of which in German were circulated in advance by officials – was warmly received by his Berlin audience, who appreciated its conciliatory tone. [48] Tracy Philipps, a British 'diplomat' stationed in Berlin at the time, later informed Toynbee that it 'was an eager topic of discussion everywhere'. [48] Back home, some of Toynbee's colleagues were dismayed by his attempts at managing Anglo-German relations. [48]

Russia Edit

Toynbee was troubled by the Russian Revolution since he saw Russia as a non-Western society and the revolution as a threat to Western society. [50] However, in 1952, he argued that the Soviet Union had been a victim of Western aggression. He portrayed the Cold War as a religious competition that pitted a Marxist materialist heresy against the West's spiritual Christian heritage, which had already been foolishly rejected by a secularised West. A heated debate ensued, and an editorial in The Times promptly attacked Toynbee for treating communism as a "spiritual force". [51]

Greece and the Middle East Edit

Toynbee was a leading analyst of developments in the Middle East. His support for Greece and hostility to the Turks during World War I had gained him an appointment to the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History at King's College, University of London. [3] However, after the war he changed to a pro-Turkish position, accusing Greece's military government in occupied Turkish territory of atrocities and massacres. This earned him the enmity of the wealthy Greeks who had endowed the chair, and in 1924 he was forced to resign the position.

His stance during World War I reflected less sympathy for the Arab cause and took a pro-Zionist outlook. He also expressed support for a Jewish State in Palestine, which he believed had "begun to recover its ancient prosperity" as a result. Toynbee investigated Zionism in 1915 at the Information Department of the Foreign Office, and in 1917 he published a memorandum with his colleague Lewis Namier which supported exclusive Jewish political rights in Palestine. In 1922, however, he was influenced by the Palestine Arab delegation which was visiting London, and began to adopt their views. His subsequent writings reveal his changing outlook on the subject, and by the late 1940s he had moved away from the Zionist cause and toward the Arab camp.

The views Toynbee expressed in the 1950s continued to oppose the formation of a Jewish state, partly out of his concern that it would increase the risk of a nuclear confrontation. However, as a result of Toynbee's debate in January 1961 with Yaakov Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to Canada, Toynbee softened his view and called on Israel to fulfill its special "mission to make contributions to worldwide efforts to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war." [52] [53] In his article "Jewish Rights in Palestine", [54] he challenged the views of the editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review, historian and talmudic scholar Solomon Zeitlin, who published his rebuke, "Jewish Rights in Eretz Israel (Palestine)" [55] in the same issue. [56] Toynbee maintained, among other contentions, that the Jewish people have neither historic nor legal claims to Palestine, stating that the Arab

"population's human rights to their homes and property over-ride all other rights in cases where claims conflict." He did concede that the Jews, "being the only surviving representatives of any of the pre-Arab inhabitants of Palestine, have a further claim to a national home in Palestine." But that claim, he held, is valid "only in so far as it can be implemented without injury to the rights and to the legitimate interests of the native Arab population of Palestine." [57]

Dialogue with Daisaku Ikeda Edit

In 1972, Toynbee met with Daisaku Ikeda, president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), who condemned the "demonic nature" of the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Toynbee had the view that the atomic bomb was an invention that had caused warfare to escalate from a political scale to catastrophic proportions and threatened the very existence of the human race. In his dialogue with Ikeda, Toynbee stated his worry that humankind would not be able to strengthen ethical behaviour and achieve self-mastery "in spite of the widespread awareness that the price of failing to respond to the moral challenge of the atomic age may be the self-liquidation of our species."

The two men first met on 5 May 1972 in London. In May 1973, Ikeda again flew to London to meet with Toynbee for 40 hours over a period of 10 days. Their dialogue and ongoing correspondence culminated in the publication of Choose Life, a record of their views on critical issues confronting humanity. The book has been published in 24 languages to date. [58] Toynbee also wrote the foreword to the English edition of Ikeda's best-known book, The Human Revolution, which has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. [59]

Toynbee being "paid well" for the interviews with Ikeda raised criticism. [60] In 1984 his granddaughter Polly Toynbee wrote a critical article for The Guardian on meeting Daisaku Ikeda she begins writing: "On the long flight to Japan, I read for the first time my grandfather's posthumously, published book, Choose Life – A Dialogue, a discussion between himself and a Japanese Buddhist leader called Daisaku Ikeda. My grandfather [. ] was 85 when the dialogue was recorded, a short time before his final incapacitating stroke. It is probably the book among his works most kindly left forgotten – being a long discursive ramble between the two men over topics from sex education to pollution and war." [61]

An exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of Toynbee and Ikeda's first meeting was presented in SGI's centers around the world in 2005, showcasing contents of the dialogues between them, as well as Ikeda's discussions for peace with over 1,500 of the world's scholars, intellects, and activists. Original letters Toynbee and Ikeda exchanged were also displayed. [62]

With the civilisations as units identified, he presented the history of each in terms of challenge-and-response, sometimes referred to as theory about the law of challenge and response. Civilizations arose in response to some set of challenges of extreme difficulty, when "creative minorities" devised solutions that reoriented their entire society. Challenges and responses were physical, as when the Sumerians exploited the intractable swamps of southern Iraq by organising the Neolithic inhabitants into a society capable of carrying out large-scale irrigation projects or social, as when the Catholic Church resolved the chaos of post-Roman Europe by enrolling the new Germanic kingdoms in a single religious community. When a civilisation responded to challenges, it grew. Civilizations disintegrate when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilisations then sank owing to nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. According to an Editor's Note in an edition of Toynbee's A Study of History, Toynbee believed that societies always die from suicide or murder rather than from natural causes, and nearly always from suicide. [63] He sees the growth and decline of civilisations as a spiritual process, writing that "Man achieves civilization, not as a result of superior biological endowment or geographical environment, but as a response to a challenge in a situation of special difficulty which rouses him to make a hitherto unprecedented effort." [64] [65]

Named after Arnold J. Toynbee, the [Toynbee Prize] Foundation was chartered in 1987 'to contribute to the development of the social sciences, as defined from a broad historical view of human society and of human and social problems.' In addition to awarding the Toynbee Prize, the foundation sponsors scholarly engagement with global history through sponsorship of sessions at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, of international conferences, of the journal New Global Studies and of the Global History Forum. [66]

The Toynbee Prize is an honorary award, recognising social scientists for significant academic and public contributions to humanity. Currently, it is awarded every other year for work that makes a significant contribution to the study of global history. The recipients have been Raymond Aron, Lord Kenneth Clark, Sir Ralf Dahrendorf, Natalie Zemon Davis, Albert Hirschman, George Kennan, Bruce Mazlish, John McNeill, William McNeill, Jean-Paul Sartre, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Barbara Ward, Lady Jackson, Sir Brian Urquhart, Michael Adas, Christopher Bayly, and Jürgen Osterhammel. [67]

Find out more

The Second World War by Winston Churchill (6 vols, 1948-54, and subsequently)

The speeches of Winston Churchill edited by David Cannadine (Penguin, 1990)

Churchill edited by Robert Blake and William Roger Louis (1990)

1940 - Myth and Reality by Clive Ponting (1990)

Churchill on the Home Front by Paul Addison (1992)

Churchill. A Study in Greatness by Geoffrey Best (2001)

Churchill as Warlord by Ronald Lewin (1973)

Churchill's Generals edited by John Keegan (1991)

Churchill's Grand Alliance: the Anglo-American Special Relationship 1940-1957 by John Charmley (1995)

Five Days in London, May 1940 by John Lukacs (1999)

The People's War: Britain 1939-1945 by Angus Calder (1965)

Roosevelt and Churchill: Men of Secrets by David Stafford (1999)


Despite Austria-Hungary becoming little more than a German satellite, the Eastern Front was the first to be resolved, the war causing massive political and military instability in Russia, leading to the Revolutions of 1917, the emergence of socialist government and surrender on December 15. Efforts by the Germans to redirect manpower and take the offensive in the west failed and, on November 11, 1918 (at 11:00 am), faced with allied successes, massive disruption at home and the impending arrival of vast US manpower, Germany signed an Armistice, the last Central power to do so.


The Best and the Brightest,’ by David Halberstam

In “The Best and the Brightest,” Halberstam sets out to discover how the United States got involved in Vietnam. It is a “valuable contribution to the literature not only on Vietnam but on the way Washington and our foreign policy establishment work,” showing us how “bureaucratic considerations triumphed over ideological or even common-sense ones.” According to The Times 1972 review, the “book’s main and most remarkable contribution is to introduce us in depth to the architects of America’s involvement in Vietnam.”

For black soldiers, fighting in Vietnam was especially bad. “Not only were they dying at a disproportionate rate — they made up 23 percent of the fatalities during the early years of the war — but they also faced discrimination within the military in terms of decorations, promotions and duty assignments.” This oral history gives the “reader a visceral sense of what it was like, as a black man, to serve in Vietnam and what it was like to come back to ‘the real world’.”

The Times described “Born on the Fourth of July” as a memoir about “killing and being killed on the battlefields of Southeast Asia.” Kovic came back “to a town built by veterans of a prouder war who didn’t understand the veterans of Vietnam. It is an account of one man and one community, but it could be the account of a whole generation and a whole country.”

The power of this book “lies in its anger” as it showcases the “confused or venal men in Washington and Saigon.” According to the 1988 Times review, “if there is one book that captures the Vietnam War in the sheer Homeric scale of its passion and folly, this book is it.”

Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam,’ by H. R. McMaster

McMaster’s book looks at the “human failures” of President Lyndon Johnson and his advisers. “What gives ‘Dereliction of Duty’ its special value,” according to the Times review, “is McMaster’s comprehensive, balanced and relentless exploration of the specific role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

Dispatches,’ by Michael Herr

Here’s what the 1977 Times review had to say about this book: “If you think you don’t want to read any more about Vietnam, you are wrong. ‘Dispatches’ is beyond politics, beyond rhetoric, beyond ‘pacification’ and body counts and the ‘psychotic vaudeville’ of Saigon press briefings. Its materials are fear and death, hallucination and the burning of souls. It is as if Dante had gone to hell with a cassette recording of Jimi Hendrix and a pocketful of pills: our first rock-and-roll war, stoned murder.”

Fredrik Logevall’s book focuses on the French conflict in Vietnam at the end of World War II and the beginning of the American one in 1959. The Times review called the book “excellent” and “comprehensive,” and a “powerful portrait of the terrible and futile French war from which Americans learned little as they moved toward their own engagement in Vietnam.”

In “Ending the Vietnam War,” Kissinger offers “no great revelations” and “no personal mea culpas.” Still, “he is a deft portrayer of his allies and adversaries,” as he tries to get the United States out of Vietnam, and “he knows how to make the driest diplomacy surprisingly suspenseful.”

“Father, Soldier, Son” is a “searing memoir of Vietnam by a veteran who fought honorably but without patriotism or illusions.” The Times review called it a “moving story” about the author’s “efforts to find solace through love and family.”

According to the 1972 Times review, “Fire in the Lake” is a “compassionate and penetrating account of the collision of two societies that remain untranslatable to one another, an analysis of all those features of South Vietnamese culture that doomed the American effort from the start, and an incisive explanation of the reasons why that effort could only disrupt and break down South Vietnam’s society — and pave the way for the revolution that the author sees as the only salvation.”

Bowden “applies his signature blend of deep reportage and character-driven storytelling to bring readers a fresh look at the 1968 battle in the Vietnamese city of Hue.” The Times review praised it for bringing “an old war to life for young Americans” that may “prompt a wider reflection on how to apply the lessons of Vietnam to our wars of today.”

In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam,’ by Robert S. McNamara with Brian VanDeMark

The Times review of “In Retrospect” opens like this: “In his 79th year, Robert S. McNamara at long last offers the public a glimpse of his aching conscience.” McNamara tries to “prove that the mistakes were ‘mostly honest,’ even if traceable to a ghastly ignorance of the Vietnamese people, culture and terrain, and the historical forces of that time.” The review found “McNamara’s unwillingness to explore the human tragedies and political legacies” of the Vietnam War disappointing.

Reporting Vietnam,’ by the Library of America

The Times 1999 review of this two-volume collection of writing and reporting on the Vietnam War chronicles the “war of soldiers in the field, not the one at home, or the one described in Saigon by American military spokesmen at a daily briefing reporters called ‘the 5 o’clock follies’ — a war of units, numbers, objectives, initiatives, programs, targets, enemy body counts given in exact numbers and American casualties described as ‘light’ or ‘moderate.’”

A Rumor of War,’ by Philip Caputo

In “A Rumor of War,” Philip Caputo forces the reader to “see and feel and understand what it was like to fight in Vietnam,” The Times Book Review wrote. ” He does this by “placing himself as a Marine lieutenant directly before the reader and giving the American involvement a sincere, manly, increasingly harrowed American face.”

Vietnam: A History,’ by Stanley Karnow

The Times Book Review described Stanley Karnow’s “Vietnam” as a “less dogmatic, more objective” historical account “that leaves no reasonable questions unanswered.” Because Mr. Karnow “has a sharp eye for the illustrative moment and a keen ear for the telling quote, his book is first-rate as a popular contribution to understanding the war.”

“We Were Soldiers Once … And Young” centers on “four days and nights in November 1965, when American soldiers in the central highlands of Vietnam endured what proved to be the bloodiest campaign of the war.” The 1992 Times review said it “goes as far as any book yet written toward answering the hoary question of what combat is really like.”

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