Archive for War & peace

An inescapable dimension of modern history, which I have tried to address in various ways. This strand is also concerned with the fate of internationalist idealism.

Hainburg, on the border between (Czecho)Slovakia and Austria, December 1989 (M. Illik)

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Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge’s farewell to the Western Front »

June 20th, 2008 | Posted in: Found Objects, War & peace

Baldridge (1899-1977) was an American artist whose illustrations appeared in The Stars and Stripes, the official paper of the American Expeditionary Force, during the last year of the First World War. This drawing, which anticipates the rise of what is now called ‘Battlefield Tourism’, is reproduced from Baldridge’s fine autobiography, Time and Chance (1947) – a book that, after so many years of George Bush Junior, should be attributed to the ‘other’ America, from which we look forward to hearing more…

‘Bach’s Christmas Music in England and in Germany’ by Vernon Lee »

May 27th, 2008 | Posted in: Articles General, Found Objects, War & peace

This is the long-forgotten article in which the iron curtain was first taken from the theatre and converted into a political metaphor. It was published in the London-based Suffragist magazine Jus Suffragii, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1 January 1915, p. 218. I count it among the key writings of the First World War. It can also be read – against Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and other latter-day polemicists – as an example of how secular-minded and even atheist writers may engage religious subjects without merely resorting to furious denial. An account of Vernon Lee and her article’s sources, context and influence is given in my book Iron Curtain: from stage to Cold War.

Enemy alien – on Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday »

February 2nd, 2008 | Posted in: Articles General, Literature, War & peace

‘First published in 1943, The World of Yesterday could scarcely be less like the popular confessional autobiographies of our time, which tend to be soft-centred victimologies in which the self is presented as an innocent, child-like entity, while history comes across as a form of abuse…’

An article from Guardian Review, 2 February, 2008.

Trouble on the Old Bridge, Mostar »

December 20th, 2007 | Posted in: Art & its applications, Found Objects, War & peace

The idea of ‘public art’ has often provoked controversy. Its promoters justify their interventions in public space by talking about access and the importance of reaching beyond the confines of gallery and museum.

Theatre of War »

November 3rd, 2007 | Posted in: Articles General, War & peace

‘Winston Churchill took credit for it in 1946, but the phrase ‘iron curtain’ was first adapted from the stage by a pacifist and feminist in 1914.’ Published in the Guardian Review on 3 November 2007, this article describes how the iron curtain was taken from the theatre and converted into a political metaphor by Vernon Lee and others in the early twentieth century.

Omnipresent Eye »

August 16th, 2007 | Posted in: Articles General, Potemkinism and Camouflage, War & peace

A review of Margaret Macmillan’s Seize the Hour: when Nixon Met Mao. Published in the London Review of Books, Vol. 29, No. 16, 16 August 2007, pp. 19-20.

Cubist slugs »

June 23rd, 2005 | Posted in: Art & its applications, Articles General, Potemkinism and Camouflage, War & peace

An article on the art of camouflage. Written as a review of Hardy Blechman et al (eds.), DPM Disruptive Pattern Material: an Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature, Military, Culture, London: DPM, 2004. Published in London Review of Books, Vol. 27 No. 12, 23 June 2005, pp. 16-20.

The stone bomb »

April 8th, 2003 | Posted in: Articles General, Englishness and British national identity, War & peace

In the mid-1930s, and in response to the horrors of aerial warfare as waged by imperial powers in Ethiopia, Burma, India and elsewhere, the socialist-feminist Sylvia Pankhurst joined forces with the Dorset sculptor Eric Benfield to create an Anti-Air War Monument. I’m not finished with this story yet, but a version, published in 2003, can be read on the OpenDemocracy website.

Dropping their eggs »

August 23rd, 2001 | Posted in: Articles General, War & peace

On Sven Lindqvist and his book A History of Bombing. Published as ‘Dropping their Eggs,’ London Review of Books, 23 August 2001, pp. 11-14.

On the United Nations Association »

July 1st, 1995 | Posted in: Articles General, Enthusiasms, War & peace

In the summer of 1995, I was irritated by a dismissal of the UN made by Ann Applebaum in the Daily Telegraph. Against this tendency to see the UN only as a corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy, I wrote this article about the United Nations Association, a voluntary organisation and some of its elderly advocates. Published in the Guardian, 1 July 1995