Her Majesty’s first speech

On 5th April 2020 from Windsor Castle Queen Elizabeth II addressed Her speech to the people of the UK, to the Commonwealth and to the whole world urging people to stay disciplined and resolve.

Apart from Her anual Christmas broadcasts She rearly addresses the nation. In fact She only did it four times troughout Her 68 year reign excluding Her Sunday night speech.  Her Majesty appeared on the screens in 1991 during the first Gulf war, in 1997 when Princess Diana died, in 2002 at the death of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and in 2012 marking Her 60th anniversary as sovereign.
But did you know that Her Majesty adressed Her first speech to the public when She was only 14?

In October, 1940 Britain was on the edge of defeat to the Germans. Prime minister Winston Churchill wanted the young princess to make Her own contribution to the war effort by giving Her first radio broadcast. He asked the King, George VI to let His daugther make Her speech. The PM’s goal was to send comfort to the children who had been evacuated overseas. But there was a hidden motive.
Britain was in the need of a powerful ally against Nazi Germany so Churchill wanted to lure the United States of America into war.

According to Ingrid Seward form the Majesty Magazine the young princess was very nervous and went through a long prepearing process prior to Her speech. She practiced breathing and practiced the script in front of the Royal Family several times.

It was broadcasted from one of the rooms in Windsor Castle, from that moment the Castle became the symbol of a safe home. Princess Elizabeth was joined by Her sister, Margaret. This was the first time that the public had heard the princess’ voice.
Princess Elizabeth: „ All of us children who are still at home think continouly of our friends and relations who have gone overseas. Who have travelled thousands of miles to find a war time home and a kindly welcome in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America. […].
My sister is by my side and we are both going to say good night to you. Come on Margaret.”
Princess Margaret: „Good night children!”
Princess Elizabeth: „Good night and good luck to you all!”

It was an instant success and She was able to convince the American public whether they should join the war or not.

If you haven’t seen Her Majesty’s latest speech you can watch it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2klmuggOElE

As She said, „We will meet again!”



A brief history of puzzling

In the redundancy of consecutive days spent at home, locked away from the devastating pandemic outside our doors, many are turning to board games and puzzles to occupy their minds and their time.

Puzzles are an anomaly. They have the ability to entertain the little ones, the young adults and the elderly. They teach, challenge, entertain and relax whoever decides to attempt them.

And who do we owe our gratitude to for the creation of such a time- well- spent invention?

“Dissected Maps:”

Spilsbury Jigsaw

John Spilsbury was born in Britain in 1739 and grew up to become a British mapmaker and engraver. He created the first- known Jigsaw puzzle in the year 1766, by pasting a world map onto a block of mahogany wood and cutting around the country boundaries with a hand saw. He used this concept to help children at the local school with their geography education. Spilsbury called his new invention “Dissected Maps,” and they were hugely effective in schools, subsequently inspiring him to create seven other puzzle themes: Africa, America, Asia, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

The “Dissected Maps” inventor built these until his death in 1769, when his wife took over his business and continued selling her late husband’s creation.

Growth in Popularity:

More and more education systems began using these “dissected maps” as an educational tool, and the popularity of the puzzle grew It was especially popular among the wealthy families as the hardwood to make the puzzles caused prices to be fairly expensive. Very soon, other companies and entrepreneurs began copying the idea, creating different images for other school subjects, such as pictures of farms or scenes from religious images.

A rise in the popularity of jigsaw puzzles was seen among adults between the mid 1800s and early 1900s. Where few people saw puzzles as a child’s toy, many adults began to enjoy a puzzle’s entertainment factors, and would buy puzzles for their parties hosted over weekends.

Development:

It was around the same time that adults began to show an interest in puzzles, that new methods of creating and cutting puzzles came to be. A new, more effective saw, known as the tredie jig- saw was invented to cut puzzles a lot quicker than the latter hand saw, and allowed puzzle makers to cut even more complex shapes out of the puzzle pieces.

Puzzle makers also introduced cheaper materials for making the puzzles, like plywood and cardboard, but the population still preferred the hardwood puzzles as they were perceived as higher quality.

Mass Production:

With the increase in demand for puzzles, many companies started mass producing jigsaw puzzles, such as Milton Bradley and the Detroit Publishing Company, although the most popular of all the puzzle manufacturers were the Parker Brothers.

The Parker Brothers popularity remained for approximately fifty years and they named their product ‘Pastime Puzzles.’ They experimented with puzzle design, turning the pieces into figures, like elephants and dogs, known as ‘whimsy pieces’ to make the experience more challenging. They also started creating pieces that would lock together so as to prevent pieces being lost or moved from their place in the puzzle.

The Great Depression:

Unemployed men queued outside soup kitchen during the Great Depression

Although interest in puzzles had been radically growing up until this point, the crash of the stock market and the onset of the Great Depression in the 1920s and early 1930s surprisingly brought even more popularity to the jigsaw puzzle. Their cheaper prices, as cheaper materials were being used more and more, made it a logical pastime, as people could not afford their more expensive past entertainment, such as shows and restaurants. Building puzzles also helped get the puzzle- builders’ minds off of the fears and catastrophe that the Great Depression was bringing upon their personal lives as well as their cities.

Companies also began giving away free puzzles when their product was bought, to increase their sales and create a bigger interest in their goods.

How We Remember Heads Of State That Die In Office

William Henry Harrison

It is interesting to note how quickly the tone in the media changed when it was announced that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had coronavirus. For a man who has received more brickbats than bouquets from the British and American media – both for his handling of the virus and before that – , the suddenly sympathetic coverage he has obtained might seem a little surprising. Indeed, an editorial for the New York Times just two days ago was titled, “Boris Johnson is not cut out for this crisis (1).” After it was announced that he had tested positive, the New York Times and indeed most of the British media have limited themselves strictly to reporting on the factual information regarding not only his condition, but him personally. Moreover, the “goodwill” expressed by Johnson’s main adversaries, Jeremy Corbyn (Labour) and Ian Blackford (Scottish National), have come together to form a significantly more positive – or at least less hostile – image of Boris Johnson in the press and, in consequence, the public eye. Indeed, Bloomberg News reported that,  “ [polls] found personal ratings for Boris Johnson — himself now diagnosed with coronavirus — that have not been seen for a British Prime Minister since the early days of Tony Blair’s premiership in 1997. (2)”

Looking at the history of heads of state who have fallen ill, or died, can give us a better understanding of the current situation in Britain, which is certain to repeat itself elsewhere. Furthermore, it can even give an insight into how Boris Johnson will be remembered in the future. As with most things, this varies by county, so we can examine both what can be expected of the U.S, and Britain itself. 

The United States has had quite a few examples of presidents who have died in office, William Henry Harrison most famously catching either a cold or cholera and dying within 30 days of taking office. Historical analysis of his presidency is, however, obviously limited. More important examples are those of John F. Kennedy and James Garfield. In particular, Garfield, who served as president from March to September 1881, dying from an infection caused by a bullet-wound, bears some resemblance to Boris Johnson. Running on a campaign of moderate economic reform and radical changes to the bureaucracy, neither of which he lived long enough to see passed. Nevertheless, much like Kennedy would later be credited with the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, Garfield was praised by historians for his stance as a far-sighted reformer and largely credited with later changes, in spite of how little he was able to accomplish during the time he was actually in office. Furthermore, those American presidents who died in office after leading extremely controversial administrations, namely James Polk and William McKinlley, have been held in either beningin obscurity by historians, or had only the most positive effects of their tenure emphasized. 

Assasination Of James Garfield

The United Kingdom has had a different experience with its own Prime Ministers dying in office. This is largely due to the fact that only Spencer Percival, who was assassinated, ever held the distinction of having done so His reputation was much enhanced by his death, given the mass discontent caused by his total-war style measures against Napoleonic France. Indeed, for a long time he was hailed as a sort of martyr against foreign radicalism, before being largely forgotten, which in any case resulted in him having a far better reputation than he would have had otherwise. This being said, there was one other Prime Minister who effectively died in office, being forced to resign due to ill health and dying of a heart attack a week later. Henry Campbell-Bannerman, much like Boris, came to power through a series of byzantine maneuvers in Parliament, and after leading a minority government to the greatest victory of any party in a generation, laid out a plan for massive reform of the British economy and foreign relations. Unlike James Garfield, however, few historians ever mention Campbell-Bannerman. His Liberal Party opponents were much more effective at taking credit for his reforms, and his importance was further obscured by the outbreak of a period of mass instability and violence from 1914 to 1945, only six years after his death.

Postcard Of Campbell-Bannerman, Shortly After His Death

In the end, we can extrapolate from this analysis two conclusions: Firstly, there is an inherent quality to sickness in heads of government or state, and a possibility of incapacity to continue in office which that implies, that makes positive re-evaluation of politicians more desirable to contemporary commentators and historians alike. Secondly, the legacy of Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister who could be forced out of office due to incapacity by disease, will depend on events that occur after he leaves office. If the incoming global recession does result in a period of instability comparable to that of 1914-45, then Boris runs the risk of becoming a new and unfairly forgotten,  Campbell-Bannerman. If indeed the economic consequences of the coronavirus are mild, then he is likely to be more akin to James Garfield. Either way, Boris Johnson can, for now, take some relief in the more positive press that he is getting. 

Bibliography

1. Russell, Jenni. “Boris Johnson Is Not Cut Out for This Crisis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Mar. 2020.

2. Singh, Matt. “One Battle Boris Johnson Is Clearly Winning.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 28 Mar. 2020

7 History Shows to Watch in Quarantine

This is a trying time for most of us. The rapid spread of the Coronavirus has closed schools and workplaces, causing us to spend much of our time at home. Without the possibility of going out to enjoy yourself.

Therefore the question arrives, what should i do with all my new won time?

A good long series, is perhaps the answer.

With plenty of episodes and seasons these shows are guaranteed to keep you busy. While you at the same time can fully emerge yourself in a fascinating passed time.

7. The Tudors

English history is equally long and fascinating. The best part is perhaps its long list of kings. From William the Conqueror to Edward the 8th. England has truly had some remarkable rulers. Perhaps no one as remarkable as Henry the 8th.

This series tells the story of the english monarchs troubled personal life and reign. The divorces, the beheadings and the deaths. From Catherine of Aragon to Catherine Parr and everybody in between. With a great amount of historical detail, this show is a great way to experience the fascinating 16th century.

Imdb rating: 8.1

Year(s): 2007-2010

Season(s): 4

6. Peaky Blinders

Jumping 400 years up in english history, Peaky Blinders tells the story of a much different England. Set in Birmingham during the 1920s, the show emerges us in a smoke filled and industrialized city life, with everything that has to offer.

The Series follows Great War veteran Tommy Shelby and his family of criminals and their rise from local thugs to powerful players in interwar Britain. Tommy is a perfect antihero that you can’t stop rotting for, no matter how bad he gets. Perhaps because of that great 1920s fashion.

Imdb rating: 8.8

Year(s): 2013-

Season(s): 5

5. Rome

Jumping back a few years in history, the show Rome chronicles the final days of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

The series includes many of the late republics great historical characters like Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony and Octavian. While at the same time following two ordinary roman soldiers experience of these great events. Giving us a great mix of the top of roman society and the bottom, resulting in a incredibly fascinating and informing series.

Imdb rating: 8.7

Year(s): 2005-2007

Season(s): 2

4. Spartacus

Continuing in ancient times the show Spartacus, tells the story of the real life thracian gladiator Spartacus, who from 73 to 71 BC led a large slave revolt against the Roman Republic.

Even though this is not the first adaptation of the story of Spartacus the show does a fantastic job of showing us the bloody hardcore world of the romans republics underclass. While telling one of the greatest stories ever told.

Imdb rating: 8.5

Year(s): 2010-2013

Season(s): 3

3. The Crown

As stated english history is very long, and currently the monarch of England is the longest reigning throughout that long history. Having reigned an incredible 68 years! It is none other than Queen Elizabeth the Second.

The Crown chronicles the reign of Elizabeth from the early 1950s to the modern day. Telling the stories of the drama behind the gates of Buckingham Palace, while at the same time emerging us in post war britain’s national development. We experience Britain’s fall from a first grade imperial power to a secondary world power, from the seat of its ancient monarchical power.

Imdb rating: 8.7

Year(s): 2016-

Season(s): 3

2. Band of Brothers

Of course we have to have something about the Second World War on this list. That is no shame, with this amazing show though. Band of Brothers is a series about the U.S army´s Easy Company of the 101 Airborne Division.

The shows chronicles their mission during WW2 from Operation Overlord to V-J Day. From the companies landings in Normandy to the capture of Hitler’s impregnable “Eagles Nest”. Every episode is also based on interviews with real life members of the company giving the show a beautiful and scary realness, creating a historical authenticity that very few shows manages to capture.

Imdb rating: 9.5

Year(s): 2001

Season(s): 1

1. Vikings

Heading north to the cold fjords of Scandinavia. Perhaps no part of history is so mysterious and fascinating at the same time, as the viking era. In large part because we in reality know very little of this remarkable period in european history. But the few stories we know are fantastic.

The show Vikings tells the story of real life historical character Ragnar Lothbrok and his fictional rise from farmer to king. Sucking us into a violent world of war, raids and brawls.

Imdb rating: 8.6

Year(s): 2013-

Season(s): 6

What is your favorite history show?

How Isaac Newton Used His Quarantine Productively

In 1665 when the great plague of London hit the english capital chaos erupted. It was a form of bubonic plague that ended up killing 75-100.000 citizens of the city. Almost a quarter of all its inhabitants.

Even though it would take around 200 year for scientist to realise what exactly had hit the city, Europe was not unfamiliar with large plague outbreaks. Therefor procedures like the ones used today to combat the Coronavirus were already widely used. Things like social distancings.

London before the great fire of London 1666

One of the 17th century englishmen affected by this, was none other than Sir Isaac Newton. However at that point Newton was not yet a Sir. He was a relatively ordinary student at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Newton was sent home by his university. Like all well off people like Newton that meant fleeing to the countryside and the young college student went to the family estate Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire.

Newton trived without his professors guidance and controle. His year away from Trinity is today referred to as his “years of wonders”. Newton himself called it the most intellectually productive period of his life.

Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton

First he began with the mathematics that he had already worked on in school, and developed part of of the foundation for modern algebra. However he quickly began mathematically experimenting himself.

He acquired prisms and observed light going through them. At that point no one knew what caused the rainbow like colors it created. Newton was fascinated by this mystery. He decided to use his new won time solving this mystery.

He even bore a hole in his shutters and observed the light flowing through. From here his theory of optics arose, which laid the foundation for a great part of modern physics.

A page of Isaac Newton’s notes on light and color, written during his qarantine in 1665-66

Outside his window stood an apple three. Need i say more?

However the widely told story that Newton was hit in the head with an apple and then all of a sudden understood gravity and motion is not entirely true. However the tree did play a role in his theory, and this was the period were Newton’s theory of gravity was developed. Head injury or not.

You might not be an Sir Isaac Newton. However you and Newton probably have something in common. You both would probably prefer to stay at your university, school or job. Sticking to your regular schedule. However nothing is so bad that something good can´t come out of it.

If you wish to be a bit more like Newton you might be able to create or understand something you wouldn’t have been able to in your normal circumstances. You might just solve a mystery like Newton, when your are unleashed from your daily rituals.

History’s Biggest Stock Market Crashes

The panic caused by the rapid international spread of the Coronavirus has caused a large fall on stock exchanges throughout the world. This crash has been called the worst fall for Wall Street since 1987.

However stock exchanges has existed for far longer than 1987, so what can cause larger crashes than a worldwide pandemic outbreak? And how do they compare to the economic crisis we face today?

Black Monday 1987

Wall Street broker outside office building on Black Monday

On 19th October 1987 stock markets around the world suffered one of the worst days in its history. US markets feel around 20%, while Hong Kong and Australia saw loses around 40%.

The cause of the crash is still today, more than 30 years later, uncertain. A great deal of uncertainty in international monetary relations might have been a factor, as the G7 experienced a conflict over the price of the dollar.

However a prevalent theory is that the newly adopted trading computers played a vital role in the crash. The use of computers in investment strategies was still fairly new on Wall Street in 1987. When the market began dropping a few points, computers began automatically selling off. The market had therefore never experience thousands of order that at the same time tried to insure their portfolios by selling off. Causing disruption and panic on the market and a massive sell-off sending the market down with it.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929

A janitor sweeps the floor of New York Stock Exchange following the Wall Street Crash, 1929

The wall street crash of 1929 has become perhaps the most infamous stock crash in history. The crash began on october 29th 1929 on a day that has become known as “Black Tuesday”. This crash helped spur the great depression which lasted all the way up to the early 1940s.

During the 1920s the US economy had experienced a massive post war economic boom. The period became known as america’s “Jazz Age”. Stock prices had followed and soared. However as the decade was ending production was slowing down and unemployment was rising. This left a greatly overpriced stock market.

In September and october prices slowly began to drop until their total collabs on october 29th. It remains to this day the largest drop in the history of financial markets in terms of total value lost. 14 Billion dollars worth of stock was lost on Wall Street. But with far larger economic loses in the decade to follow for the whole world.

The South Sea Bubble 1720

A scene in “change alley” 1920

The South Sea Bubble was a economic crisis that occured in England in the early 18th century. The crisis centered on the South Sea Company. A franchise focused on the slave trade with the spanish colonies in South America.

As the War of the Spanish Succession was drawing to a close in 1711 the company was founded on the hope of profiting of the coming peace treaty. However the treaty became less favorable to the english, than had been hoped for by the company. In the end only one english slave ship was allowed access to spanish ports every year.

The company was therefore only moderately successful. However in 1720 the company was able, through an act of parliament, to takeover the english national debt. From there the price of the company’s stock skyrocketed from 128 in january to more than 1000 in august. Bad actors saw a opportunity to inflate the price of the company to enrich themselves, by lying and promoting the stock. However by september the price of the company had crashed, along with the rest of the english economy.

Tulip Mania 1637

Satire on Tulip Mania 1640

In 1593 tulips first arrived in the Netherlands from Turkey. A few years later these tulips contracted a virus which gave them a unique multi-color look. This made the already popular flower even more popular among the fascinated dutch people.

Prices for the tulips therefor began to rise with an astonishing rate. In one month prices increased 20 fold. People began selling their land and valuables to get their hands on more tulips, and hopefully make a nice profit.

Eventually people began selling the tulips in order to cash out, however a domino effect developed as more and more people began selling. Effectively bursting the bubble of the price of the tulips. However now no one was interested in buying tulips, causing many to be left without a penny. The first example in history of economic crash of its kind. Causing a devastating recession in the dutch economy.