London at War Series

London At War

Some interesting events here from World Wars I and II; catch some of this now (before number III breaks out…?!)

With walks, workshops, lectures and talks, this special events series explores some of the unexpected dimensions of the city during the two world wars. The series takes place across May and is open to all. It is convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and some of the museums, archives and galleries which make up its History and
Heritage Adult Learning Network (HHALL).

Events include:

· Keynote Lecture: Jerry White, ‘London in the Great War’, 8 May

· Sex in the Wartime City 1914-1918, guided tour, 13 May

· Bethnal Green tube disaster, talk with Juliet Gardiner and a panel, 21 May

· The politics of the Imperial War Graves Commission 1917-1939, Michèle
Barrett, 22 May

· Animals and humans on the London Home Front 1939-1945: exploring diaries and letters, Hilda Kean, 28 May

· King and Country (1964), film screening, 12 May

· National Maritime Museum: Drawing the War, 7 May

· The exiled nation – London Poles during the Second World War, archive
talk, 14 May

· ‘Taking London’s wartime pulse’, Londoners’ health archive talk, 15 May

· Told and untold stories: Protecting London’s children during the Second
World War, reminiscence workshop, 16 May

· Archives and war workshop at Bishopsgate Institute, 20 May

· The war-torn City 1914-1918, London Metropolitan Archives, archive talk
and tour, 23 May

· Bloomsbury at War: Closing talk and drinks reception in the Keynes Library with Dr Jo Winning, 3 June

To see the full programme, go to:

or see the events section of the RSHC website

We hope that you can join us for the London at War series.

Katy Pettit

Administrator, Raphael Samuel History Centre @RSHistCentre

I work part time and usually respond to emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If your message is urgent, please contact Barbara Taylor

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Real World War One FreeSchool

Sunday 18 May 2014

at No. 88 Fleet Street
London EC4 1DH

(entrance in St. Brides Avenue),
Blackfriars or Chancery Lane Tube)

 11.30am – 6.00pm

In all the hype surrounding the centenary of World War 1, where are the voices of those who opposed the war? The official commemorations and the deluge of TV documentaries, exhibitions and art projects so far have mostly reflected the myths of national unity, self-sacrifice, a war for freedom… The other side of the story needs to be told – the origins of the war in the imperial rivalries of the great powers, how they sold the lie of the ‘just war’ to those they used as cannon fodder, and the collective and individual resistance that resisted and undermined the war effort, and in the end, helped to bring it to an end.

The official accounts and commemorations of the anniversary of World War One mask the real social history of the period. This conference is a chance for us to educate ourselves about the protests, strikes, mutinies and revolutionary upheavals that preceded, provoked and, eventually, ended the war. We will also discuss how best to oppose both the official commemorations and future wars. Please bring food to share if you can.




Why did the war start: Imperialism? The reassertion of masculinity? An attempt to forestall European revolution? Why did so many support the war? Did World War One ever really end? Why does capitalism need war?


Why were the first mass protests of the war started by women? Did politicians keep the war going to prevent the Russian Revolution from spreading? Did mutinies in the Russian, French and German armies end the war? What about the rebellions in the British army?


Was the Maidan Square uprising a revolution – or a fascist coup? Should we take sides between Putin and the West? Will the Ukrainian crisis lead to another European conflict?


Why is Cameron so keen to celebrate World War One? How do we celebrate the mutinies and revolutions of the period instead? How do we counter the official commemorations without disrespecting the dead?

All welcome, this event is free, but donations would be gratefully received on the day. Disabled access is unfortunately poor…


This event is organised by Remembering the Real WW1 (London). We are a small group of activists, historians and rebels, part of a growing network of groups and individuals working to highlight the histories of the Great War that official ‘commemorations’ will sweep under the carpet.

For more information email us on:



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All their pledges to international socialism proved to be worthless

JT Murphy on the left and the outbreak of the First World War

An excerpt from ‘Preparing For Power: A Critical Study of the History of British Working Class Movement’, 1932.

Initially involved in the militant trade union movement, and industrial unionism before World War 1, Murphy came to prominence in the militant shop stewards’ movement in 1916-18. A leading light of the Sheffield Workers’ Committee, he joined the Socialist Labour Party, one of the small British Marxist groups that had opposed WW1 from its beginning. He was elected to the National Administrative Council of the Workers’ Committees and Shop Stewards’ Movement. After the Russian Revolution, he moved towards a Bolshevik position, and was a prominent force in the merger of elements of the SLP, the British Socialist Party, and other smaller groups into the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1920-21. Murphy later became a big wheel in the Red International of Labour Unions and the Comintern, and sided with Stalin against Trotsky and the Left Opposition. However, he himself left the Communist Party in 1932, after disagreements over policy.

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Neither Gove, Nor Baldrick, But Shirking and Skulking

Recently we’ve been treated to a publc spat between education secretary Michael Gove and Sir Tony ‘Baldrick’ Robinson, about whether the glorious history of ‘our boys’ and their noble sacrifice during World War 1 was being undermined by ‘leftwing teachers and historians’ using Blackadder Goes Forth, and anti-war spoofs such as the musical Oh What a Lovely War, as examples of WW1 history.

Gove told the Daily Hate Mail that people’s understanding of the war had been overlaid by “misrepresentations” which at worst reflected “an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage…The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.
“Even to this day there are left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.”

Baldrick, who since he hung up his turnips, has enjoyed a good living making history on TV duller, hit back, claiming Gove was just having a go at teachers… As a leading member of the Labour party, Robinson will also no doubt exhort us to remembering the patriotic, honourable, and courageous WW1.

For those of us who choose to dig a bit deeper, who celebrate the mutineers, deserters, the shirkers, draft-dodgers and objectors, the networks of resistance who hid them, the strikers and food rioters, and all the men and women who spoke out against the first world war – we also remember Labour’s part in sending many off to die, in supporting the war effort (With some honourable exceptions). Squeaky Gove and Cunning Tony are two sides to the same coin, really.

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