Category Archives: European History

The king in a car park: Digging up Richard III

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By Daniel Ross “Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.” Duchess of York, Act IV, Scene IV, Richard III Shakespeare’s Richard III is one of fiction’s classic villains, a schemer who knocks off one family member after another on his way to the crown. Even his mother the Duchess would rather he was dead, and she gets her wish… Read more »

Charlie Hebdo in Historical Context

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By Geoff Read One of the courses I teach at Huron University College is called “Current Crises in Historical Context,” wherein we use the tools of historical analysis to try to shed light on the origins of some of the crises confronting the world. This year we are looking at topics such as the Russian annexation of the Crimea, the… Read more »

Who/What Really Is Charlie?

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By Alban Bargain-Villéger In the wake of the January 7-9 attacks in France, millions of tweets, millions of demonstrators, thousands of heads of state, intellectuals, and celebrities of all kinds not only condemned the murders of seventeen people (including four as a result of an anti-Semitic hostage taking linked to the other shootings), but also praised Charlie Hebdo’s courage in… Read more »

“We Are the People:” Nativism in Germany?

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By Aitana Guia On Mondays for the past 13 weeks, thousands of Germans have marched on Dresden declaring “Wir sind das Volk,” we are the people. Were it 1989 on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, these same protestors might have been those who delivered the message to the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic that… Read more »

Putin’s Lessons from History

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By Andriy Zayarnyuk Now that Vladimir Putin has acknowledged his responsibility for invading Ukraine in February 2013, finding out about his worldview is no longer a matter of mere curiosity. Putin’s statements of the last decade demonstrate that his thinking about Ukraine and Russia is deeply mired in history. Already in 2005, reminding the upper chamber of the Russian parliament… Read more »

A Historian on Catalan Independence

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By Aitana Guia On November 9, 2014, hundreds of thousands of Catalans, perhaps millions, will print their own unofficial ballots and head to improvised polling stations to cast a vote for independence that nobody else but them will consider valid. Most Catalans opposed to independence will stay at home and lament growing political polarization. The result will be a resolute… Read more »

Feeling the City: Getting at the Historical Sights and Sounds of Downtown

Like most of us humans—80% in Canada, more than 50% worldwide—my home is in the city. And like so many urbanites, I take a whole range of day-to-day sensations for granted. The screech of garbage trucks, the overheard conversations on public transit; the smells of street food and exhaust; the sight of thousands of other people going about their lives…. Read more »

‘1914-1918 In Memoriam’: A View from the Grandstand

ActiveHistory.ca is featuring this post as the first piece for “Canada’s First World War: A Centennial Series on ActiveHistory.ca”, a multi-year series of regular posts about the history and centennial of the First World War.  By Nathan Smith A sizeable audience turned out for a First World War commemorative event held at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium this past… Read more »

Call for Blog Posts – Canada’s First World War: A Centennial Series on ActiveHistory.ca

By Sarah Glassford, Christopher Schultz, Nathan Smith, and Jonathan Weier August 4th is an important day in the centennial of the First World War. It was on this day a century ago that Britain declared war on Germany, committing Canada to the “Great War” as a British Dominion, confirming its alliance with imperial France and Tsarist Russia, and making enemies… Read more »

European Nativism Narrows the Horizons of the European Union Project

By Aitana Guia From its inception in 1950, federalists and intergovernmentalists wrestled for control of a project to unify Western Europe on economic and political terms.  For most of its six decades of existence, those who were reluctant to cease a growing share of their sovereignty to European institutions in Brussels held federalists at bay. Booming postwar economic times fueled the… Read more »