June: Anniversaries and updates

Monday 3 June 2019

Anniversaries of world changing events and updates to Paper 2 Cold War topic to bring it in line with the ammendments for 2020.


This month sees some important anniversaries; as ever these are a great way of re-visiting historical events and discussing their signficance with students in your school via lessons, assemblies or noticeboards.

The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings has led to a range of articles in the media on this key event of the Second World War and must be one of the last signficant anniversaries of this event where we can still hear directly from those who took part:

'I count myself lucky': D-Day remembered on the 75th anniversary (the Guardian)

The stories of those who were there on 6 June 1944 and others involved in this weekâ€s commemorations

This overview for the Imperial War Museum in London provides a good overview of the significance of the landings and puts the wider battle for Europe into context:

The 10 Things you Need to Know about D-Day (Imperial War Museum)

On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France. Codenamed Operation 'Overlord', the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation.

A similar overview is provided by CNN:

D-Day Fast Facts (CNN)

Read CNN's Fast Facts on D-Day and learn more about the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

I have also shown my students today the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan which gives a graphic snapshot of the kind of horrors that the troops landing on the beaches went through.

Another significant anniversary this month is that of the Tiananman Square Massacre.

Returning to Tiananmen Square (BBC News)

A man who helped lead the protest that ended in bloodshed returns to the square for the first time.

Tiananmen: The image that China forgot (BBC News)

The defining image of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest has been all but erased by Chinese censorship.

The Financial Times this week argues that the crushing of the Tiananman Square protests is significant for allowing the China that we see today: "It now seems possible that future historians will conclude that the most significant event of 1989 was the crushing of the Tiananmen uprising, not the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was Tiananmen that secured the Chinese Communist party’s grip on power, thus ensuring that the rising power of the 21st century would be an autocracy not a democracy."


Meanwhile this article from the NYT discusses how the memory of the massacre is kept alive in China despite efforts of the government to prevent this:

Opinion | Thirty Years After Tiananmen: Someone Always Remembers (www.nytimes.com)

How people in China keep the memory of the massacre alive despite the government’s efforts to make them forget.

Other interesting articles

There are still so many women who have played a key role in history and yet who are unheard of. I was fascinated by a book review this week in The Economist on a biography of Virginia Hall - a woman who played an significant and daring role during the Second World War in France – and also in the events following the D-Day landings.

Virginia Hall, the greatest spy you’ve never heard of (The Economist)

A stirring biography of an astonishing, one-legged woman.

Site update

Changes to the History curriculum for first exams in 2020 include a change in Topic 12 The Cold War under the theme ‘Leaders and Nations’.

Previously the US and USSR were excluded as options to study for the impact of the Cold War upon nations. The second BP in this theme has now been reworded: The economic, social and cultural impact of the Cold War on two countries, each chosen from a different region.

The previous exclusion of the USSR and US has been removed

Thus we have added two pages on the US and USSR to this section (which already includes the impact of the Cold War on Cuba and Egypt).

4. Nations affected by Cold War tensions: US

The Cold War affected not only the internal politics and the foreign policy of the US; it influenced economic thinking and spending and it had a profound impact on the lives of ordinary Americans.

5. Nations affected by Cold War tensions: USSR

As in the US, the Cold War affected the the economy, society and culture. However the nature and the extent of the impact was different to the US in each of these areas.


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