Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Growing and growing!

Hello history friends! Thanks for the support so far! The reason why I wanted to do this 6 month celebration thingamy is to show you guys how important you all are to WDF. The best way to do that, I think is to give you your own voice, so now's your chance!

If you want to ask a question, then send me a facebook mail, an actual email OR and this is the really cool part- send me a recorded message!
How do you send a recorded message you may ask, well it's very simple really. All you need is recording software which can be easily acquired for free, and you're good to go.
You might even have recording software on your PC already, eg GarageBand if you have a MAC. If so, well done you, but if not, then Audacity is your best bet. It's super easy to use and comes recommended by me.

Once you get your free download of Audacity, simply record your message and email it to me!

I really, REALLY look forward to hearing from you guys, so please do send me whatever you've got.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Leaving The Crimea behind

I always label things in my head, always. You of course know this by now, since I use that expression as a kind of warning before I begin one of my observations that I hope you'll agree with or at least recognise. I am about to label something else right now: the Crimean War. I hope you've listened to both parts of it so far, since I really am passionate about the use of TALK episodes with my best mate Sean to bring you the full report on a war's goings on. Anyway, what I wanted to get into here, just briefly so don't worry, is to explain what I believe the Crimean War contributes to the First World War.
What am I talking about you might say, and why do I always have such a roundabout way of writing/doing/saying things. Well, that's just my style. But I often label the Crimean War in my head as the war which sets the tone for the next 100 years of power politics, thus encompassing WWI and II. This of course was before Germany existed as a state, so it is quite interesting to see that France and Britain's original cause for cooperation switches from Russia to Germany, without significant breakdown or altering of the Franco-British relationship itself.
What I see as the first steps to WWI others might criticize, since Germany is nowhere to be found in the Crimean Alliances, and the decade before Germany began to aggressively intimidate Britain it often looked as though the two might form an alliance themselves which would exclude France. But the Crimean War proved to both Britain and France that their past rivalry could be put aside for the common good. In the 1850's that common good was stopping Russia, and in the early 1900's the common good became containing Germany. None of the alliances which hoped to do the latter would have been possible, in my opinion, had Britain and France not cooperated in the Crimean War and demonstrated their potential and collective power.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Just Cause? Examining the Ethics of the M/A War

It's interesting how one's perception of the other side can change when you investigate something. Case in point: the Mexican American War I just covered. While I do accept that the US was not completely at fault, what I don't accept is the view of the apologists who claim that the US was justified in not just invading, but belittling and shaming its weaker neighbour. The war reeks of opportunism, rather than the defensive policy President Polk insisted it was. It was about halfway through the episode that I realised just how altered our view of history can be when it's written by the victors.
The Texas situation, I'll admit that wasn't viable for Mexico, and it was just plain stupid of it to try and hold on and perhaps, a case could be made for the unrealistic policy adopted by Mexico in holding its other states on the US border too.
The fact was though, once the war started neither side seemed willing to treat, as that source I had said. Mexico because they were fighting to the bitter end and America because, I assume, they had plans to ensure the expected seizure of territory went off without a hitch. The US were really the only ones capable of defusing the situation before the war started, at least in my opinion. Texas was a hot topic, but let's think realistically here; do we really believe that just because Mexico claims hegemony over Texas that Texas, or the US for that matter will take that claim seriously when Mexico has no means with which to back that claim up? Additionally, say you were the US and you didn't want a war, would you allow the fact that Mexico claimed part of your land act as a cassus beli?
This is really just me rambling at this stage, but the fact that Mexico was so clearly vulnerable to attack is no secret; just look at the damage the Native American tribes were able to inflict without barely a response from Mexico.
Conversely, if you wanted to look at it from the point of view of the US you could say that they were trying to secure their borders and ensure internal security. But Manifest Destiny comes into it again, and was actually used by many in the US to justify their actions with respect to the war once it was over and Mexico had been left a smoldering shell of its former self. Could the US moves be justified simply because it was in their imperial plans to expand in that direction? I don't think it could. Although I would also argue that it was only a matter of time before the states joined America anyway.
Texas had rebelled without direct US help and had achieved de facto independence from Mexico, California would rebel itself in June 1846 just as the war was about to begin; this was before they knew US soldiers would soon be fighting with them by the way. New Mexico was perhaps more secure, but the fact that two of the three states supposedly under Mexican control broke away without America speaks volumes about their future had the US not invaded.
I'll let you draw your own conclusions here, but I hope you'll share some of you opinions on the subject, and remember that WDF 11: The Mexican American War is out now! Thanks for reading history friends.

Monday, 6 August 2012


Here we are online! As a sort of celebration for reaching past my 10th epsiode, I've decided to just take the plunge and jump on the donation train. After encouragement from a few loyal fans (whom I dearly love) it seemed like the right thing to do! Of course, the content, quality and format of the podcast won't change, the only difference is that now, if you really want to donate to my cause (that of providing a historical podcast for you each week) then you can.
Other than that, since I'm quite busy elsewhere I probably won't update this blog very much, so I'll be mainly using it as a donation facility. The Facebook page is where you should head for all the additional info on the weekly episode, plus to keep updated on the weekly struggles I go through when releasing it!
So thanks, for everyone who has supported by following BEFIT so far, it really has made a big difference, the next step though, is donations!
Wish me luck, and thanks a million history friends