Tuesday, 23 July 2013

WDF 24: The Anglo-Spanish War 1585-1604

How does someone even begin to approach a conflict like this one? I often find that with wars that are so well known, there is the added pressure to deliver, whereas with the lesser known wars, though they are in their own right harder to research, because less is known about them I will generally be less criticised. There is also the fact that this period, the Armada and all its consequences, has been covered so many times, that it is difficult to really put my own spin on it. That said though, it is a thoroughly fascinating time.
I especially love the idea of a powerful Spain, because such an idea does not last very long in the grand scheme of things. Indeed, as we shall soon see, once the 30 Years War changes the balance of power in a big way, Spain becomes perhaps the largest non-entity in the world, culminating in its domestic and international collapse in 1702, which we know as the War of the Spanish Succession.

It is a fall from power which Philip no doubt did not see coming, as he plotted his invasion of England in the late 1580's. Indeed, upon his succession to the throne in 1555, the Habsburgs, of which Philip was a member, could count among his dominions the majority of Europe, not to mention the majority of the known world.
It must have been inconceivable to Philip that Elizabeth and her tiny island dominion would be his downfall, but that's exactly what happened. After years of ruling the world, Philip's son would inherit a Spain unsure of its place in the world, and unaware that its ship had sailed in the never-ending struggle for European, and by extension world, dominance.

Check me out as I cover the Armada and more in WDF 24: The Anglo-Spanish War 1585-1604, coming soon! Thankssssss.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

WDF 23: The Greek War of Independence Bibliography and More

Hey guys, thanks for dropping by!

I just wanted to give a little of my own thoughts on how the actual episode itself went, and as usual give you the Bibliography afterwards. First of all, a huge thankssss to John, Phil and Joseph on their donations; your financial support is seriously appreciated so cheers sincerely.

If you were expecting an account of how the Greeks were militarily successful in this war then you may be disappointed. Everyone knows by know, I'd assume, that this isn't a military history podcast, but even so, I think this may well have been the least military detail I ever put into an episode. The reason for this is that I got so caught up in everything else, namely, the awesomeness that is Metternich.

Ever since I started WDF I've been dreaming up ideas for other podcasts, yet I simply don't have the time to do them. What I have been considering, after a few listeners suggested it, is taking a few episodes out to cover important figures in diplomacy. Metternich is an obvious example of such a figure, but I'd also love to properly get into the life of Bismarck again, and other figures I don't know that much about, in completely different eras, such as Kissinger. What I'm saying is that the giant presence of Metternich in this episode was no accident...kind of. You should expect him to reappear in the future, hopefully in that important figure episode format, but also just generally. I really enjoyed looking at the impact he made and what his concerns were within his foreign policies. I hope my focus on him, and often narration of the episode from his point of view was a positive thing, and that those looking for a more militarily focused episode weren't too upset.

I hope that in general the episode greets you well. I had wanted originally to delve into the Russo-Turk War of 1828-29 in more detail, but I simply did not have the time. Also, sincere apologies for saying I was going to release the episode on Friday 12th and not actually releasing it until 5 days later. I am a bit of a mess at the moment between everything that's going on.

So I hope you enjoyed this trip forward into the post-Napoleonic era, we'll be going back to our more familiar late Medieval narrative next time, specifically to look at the Spanish Armada of 1588, so I hope you'll join me for that!

Here is the bibliography. As usual any questions please send them on. Thankssss once again history friends.

  • Douglas Dakin, The Greek Struggle for Independence: 1821-1833 (University of California Press; 1973).
  • Virginia Penn, ‘Philhellenism in Europe, 1821-1828’, The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 16, No. 48 (Apr., 1938), pp. 638-653.
  • Virginia Penn, ‘Philhellenism in England’, The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 14, No. 42 (Apr., 1936), pp. 647-660.
  • Angelo Repousis, ‘The Cause of the Greeks": Philadelphia and the Greek War for Independence, 1821-1828’, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 123, No. 4 (Oct., 1999), pp. 333-363.
  • Allan Cunningham, ‘The Philhellenes, Canning and Greek Independence’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May, 1978), pp. 151-181.
  • Walter Laquer, Guerrilla Warfare: A Historical and Critical Study (Transaction Publishers; 1976).
  • http://www.tc-america.org/issues-information/turkish-history/greek-war-of-independence-and-its-toll-on-turks-668.htm
  • http://www.chioshistory.gr/en/itx/itx25.html

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

WDF 23: The Greek War of Independence

This episode takes a different period, that of post-Napoleonic, pre-Crimean Europe, and focuses mainly on the history of the Ottoman Empire up to 1821, when the Greeks proclaimed a national uprising. This proclamation was not the first in the history of a Greece controlled by the Turks, but it would be the last. Additional attention is paid to the international intervention in this Greek War; why foreign nations such as France, Britain and Russia chose to get involved and what such involvement meant not just for Turkish sovereignty, but for its empire as a whole.

All in all, it's a fascinating glimpse at what is to become the norm for the Ottomans, and is also a key stop off for Europe before the Crimean War, because it demonstrates Russia's newfound sense of purpose on the international stage, when such actions were not altogether familiar to the Western European camp. It is something of a detour from our Medieval European narrative, but I hope you won't mind that too much!

Once again, thankssss to listener Benjamin Ashewell, and be sure to look out for his podcast on the unification of Italy soon!