July 22nd 2011: Norway terror attacks
On this day in 2011, the 7/22 attacks occurred in Oslo and Utøya, Norway. In Oslo, a car bomb was set off near prominent government buildings killing eight people and injuring 209. The second attack under two hours later in Utøya took place at a Norwegian Labour Party (the ruling party) youth summer camp on the island. There, a gunman killed 69 and injured 110. Four days after the devastating events, 150,000 Norwegians gathered in Oslo carrying roses in memory of those who were killed in the attacks. Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, was arrested on Utøya island and subsequently found guilty of both attacks. The brutal attacks were the deadliest in Norway since World War Two and three years on we remember all of the 77 victims of this senseless violence.
"Evil can kill a human being but never defeat a people"
- Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg after the attacks
Anonymous said: I would like to get a degree in history but my parents aren't very happy with that, they think it's useless and waste of money. Do you know of anything that could change their minds?
Well I guess that’s something you’ve got to work out with your parents. If you really want to do it just explain that to them and remember that any degree is good to have and will put you in good stead with employers - but history is a particularly desirable one. But at the end of the day this is something you can only work out between you and your parents. Good luck :)
July 21st 1969: Man walks on the Moon
On this day in 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon. The Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon on July 20th at 20:18 UTC. and Armstrong’s boot hit the surface of the Moon at 02:56 UTC the next day. Aldrin soon joined Armstrong and the pair planted the flag of the United States on the lunar surface, and they received a brief phone call from US President Richard Nixon. The moon landing was broadcast live, reaching an estimated global audience of 450 million. The astronauts returned safely to Earth on July 24th where they were met by the President and celebrated globally. The landing was a major victory for the United States in the Cold War space race with Soviet Russia and fulfilled the goal put in place by the late President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.
"That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind"
Anonymous said: Why do you chose to study history? I want to study history too, but I don't know what kind of job you will do afterthe study. It would be nice if you could help me :) Thanks in advance!
The thing with studying history is that, as you have suggested, there is no definite career in mind after graduation; it is not like medicine or engineering where you are training for a certain job. That being said, one of the benefits of having a History degree is the flexibility it provides you, it gives you skills that are needed in countless jobs (like writing skills, research, persuasion, teamwork and even public speaking) and you really can go anywhere with a history degree. My university often like to stress the wide fields of employment their History graduates have found themselves - including politics, civil service, business, banking, academia, media, journalism etc.
As for why I personally decided to study history it is essentially just because I love the subject. I find it fascinating to study how people lived and to try to empathise with people who lived so far separated from our own time. I also think history is incredibly important to understanding our modern world. Take the current situation in Ukraine and Crimea - having knowledge of the Crimean War of the 1850s helped me understand the deep history behind the conflict. Similarly one cannot understand the situation in the Middle East and the rise of ISIS without an understanding of the historic divisions between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam. History is a living subject, not a dead one, and studying it is not only really interesting but also very important to understanding how we got to where we are now.
I hope that has helped, if anyone has any questions about studying History at university I’d be happy to answer them!
Anonymous said: Could you post more black and African history?
Yes I certainly will. My particular area of knowledge that I study is European and American history (as you can tell from the predominance of these in my posts) but I would like learn and thus post more black and African history. If anyone has any suggestions for particular events to cover please let me know!
July 19th 64: Great Fire of Rome begins
On this day in 64 AD, a fire began in the merchant area of Rome and soon swept across the rest of the famed city. The fire burned for six days, and destroyed much of Rome in the process. Some have claimed, though it is debated, that the infamously insane Emperor Nero failed to do anything to control the fire and merely ‘fiddled while Rome burned’. It has not yet been determined whether the fire was caused by accident or arson, but it has been suggested that Nero began the fire himself and made Christians a scapegoat. Indeed, after the fire Nero did take the opportunity to blame the devastation on Rome’s Christian population, thus beginning one of the most intense and prolonged persecutions of the period - the so-called Neronian persecution. However, modern scholars have begun to doubt this old story of Nero’s role in starting the fire.
July 17th 1790: Adam Smith dies
On this day in 1790 the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith died in Edinburgh aged 67. He is best known for his 1776 work ‘The Wealth of Nations’, a treatise on economics which has earned him the title of father of modern economics. He is also remembered as one of the first thinkers to expound the principles of what is now referred to as ‘capitalism’; an economy based upon rational self-interest and a competitive free market in which the ‘invisible hand’ of the market should be trusted. Having enjoyed an illustrious career as a teacher and famed thinker, Smith died at an Edinburgh hospital after a long illness.
July 15th 1979: Carter’s ‘Crisis of Confidence’ speech
On this day in 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter made a televised address that has become known as the ‘crisis of confidence’ or ‘malaise’ speech. The address came during an energy crisis which had its roots in the 1973 oil embargo, which led Carter to conclude that America needed a focus on conserving energy and the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Carter also encouraged people to be more responsible in their use of gas and electric. It was in this environment that the President made his July 15th speech, which he had spent many weeks preparing at Camp David. He identified a ‘crisis of confidence’ throughout the nation in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. The reception to the speech was initially favourable, but came to be seen as a scolding lecture where Carter was blaming the American people for the crisis in his emphasis on over consumption and consumerism. The address has since become identified with the general period of ‘malaise’ that characterised America in the 1970s, with a flagging economy, uninspiring politicians, heightened racial tensions and seemingly endless war; however Carter never actually used the word in his speech. Jimmy Carter lost his re-election bid the year after this speech in 1980 against charismatic Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.
July 22nd 1977: Deng Xiaoping restored to power
On this day in 1977 the Chinese politician Deng Xiaoping returned to government. He had been a prominent figure during the Chinese Civil War, having first become active in the communist movement while studying in France in the 1920s. He rose through the ranks of the Chinese Communist party but his policies differed from those of Communist leader Mao Zedong, especially regarding the economy and the rapid industrialisation and collectivisation of the Great Leap Forward campaign. He was therefore purged for his ‘capitalistic’ tendencies during Mao’s consolidation of Chinese communism in the Cultural Revolution. Deng was especially sidelined by the hardline leftist ‘Gang of Four’, but after their fall in October 1976 he emerged as the next likely leader of China following Mao’s death a month earlier. Therefore on July 22nd 1977 Deng was restored to the posts of Vice Premier of the State Council, Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Military Commission and Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army. He then succeeded in pushing aside Mao’s chosen successor Hua Guofeng and Deng thus became China’s de facto leader. Whilst in power, Deng made a reputation as a reformer who aimed to open up Chinese society by allowing criticism of the Cultural Revolution; he firmly argued that "Poverty is not socialism" and aimed to lift millions of peasants out of poverty. He also led market reforms that helped make China the global economic force it is today. However Deng was inflexible in his devotion to communism, and the 1989 brutal suppression of protests in Tienanmen Square occurred during his tenure. He also introduced the infamous ‘one-child policy’ in China. In 1984 Deng Xiaoping negotiated with Britain the return of Hong Kong to Chinese control by 1997, but did not live to see its fruition as he died in February 1997 aged 92.
Anonymous said: It would be awesome to see some more Hong Kong history in particular! Thanks for running an awesome blog :)
Thanks! Yeah I’ll try to include some more posts on it :)
Anonymous said: Maybe you can start with Juneteenth
Thanks! This anon also suggested Rosewood, the Tulsa Burning and Madam CJ Walker so look out for posts on them when their anniversaries come by
Anonymous said: Hello! I was wondering if it'd be possible to post more Asian history as well, given the ask regarding Black history.
I’ve had quite a few asks also asking for Asian history so I’ll take that on board as well! I actually studied Japanese history for a semester so I’ll make sure to post more related to that
July 20th 1944: Assassination attempt on Hitler
On this day in 1944, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler narrowly survived an assassination attempt in what became known as the July 1944 bomb plot. The plot was led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and several military figures who also planned a military coup d’etat after the assassination. The plan was to place a bomb under the table in a briefcase in a conference room in Hitler’s Prussian Wolf’s Lair headquarters. However one of the attendees at the meeting moved the case behind the table leg with his foot, thus deflecting the blast from Hitler, though the blast did kill four in attendance. The Gestapo arrested at least 7000 people in response to the attack and almost 5000 were executed.
July 18th 1969: Chappaquiddick incident
On this day in 1969, after a party on Chappaquiddick island, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) drove his car off a bridge, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy, brother of late President John F. Kennedy, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and admitted he failed to report the incident to the authorities until fishermen found the car and Kopechne’s body. He denied that he was under the influence of alcohol, but whilst negligent driving was considered the cause of Kopechne’s death Kennedy was not prosecuted. Chappaquiddick continued to haunt Kennedy’s political career, and weakened his hopes of a run for the office of President of the United States. Some have taken the incident as another indication of a ‘Kennedy curse’.
On this day in 1999 John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette died in a plane crash. JFK Jr., the son of the late President, was flying the aircraft when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The crash was supposedly due to pilot error. They were reported missing on July 16th and their bodies were found on the ocean floor on July 21st. The tragic death of the assassinated President’s son at age 38, who captured the heart of the nation when he saluted his father’s coffin, fueled the idea of a ‘Kennedy curse’ on the family.
"We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side.But, like his father, he had every gift but length of years”
- John’s uncle Senator Edward Kennedy at his memorial service