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Tag: Military History

‘Today we have the Naming of Parts’: Words, Language and Military History

Written by Mark Connelly

In August 1942 the New Statesman and Nation published Henry Reed’s poem, ‘Naming of Parts,’ which has become one his most famous works. Its focus is a sergeant instructing the men in the handling of their rifle. The instructor luxuriates in the technical language of the weapon. We are told of the lower sling swivel, the piling swivel, the safety catch (and how quickly it can be released with a simple flick of the thumb), the bolt, the breach, the cocking-piece, the point of balance. The rifle is a welter of technical terms and understanding those technical terms means mastering a mystery, it means initiation into a distinct community; it means power.

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Britain at Bay: Past and Present

Reviewed by Oliver Parken

Memories of Britain’s war continue to soothe a fragile national psyche. Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic, two of the greatest political challenges in living memory, have often been unambiguously linked with the myths of Britain’s war. Given the recent turn to the right in mainstream British politics and the conservative underpinnings of Britain’s war memory, politicians and commentators draw freely from the past to provide stability in the present. Britain ‘stood alone’ in forging a Brexit deal as it did against continental Europe in 1940. Beating Covid-19 demands a pulling-together and sacrifice of civil liberties of society reminiscent of the ‘Blitz spirit’ (itself part of a larger, more egalitarian framing of the war which nonetheless feeds into right-wing narratives).

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War, Media and Society: Online Resources

Written by Kate Docking.

In light of the closure of libraries and archives around the word, generated by the current COVID-19 crisis, many historians are now utilising online resources for research purposes. For the study of the history of war, media, society, there is a wealth of enriching digital material at our fingertips; much of which is free to access and can be used at any time, from anywhere. A selection of these resources, which include online courses, archives, journals and magazines, blogs, podcasts, and online lectures, is detailed below.

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