Blog: Sir Martin's writing

MG Blog Dec

2019, A century of anniversaries

Photo: The Berlin Wall comes down, 1989 670 words / 3 minute read 1909: Official figures released in St Petersburg in 1909 revealed that 782 political offenders had been executed in the previous year, an increase of more than a hundred from the year before that. The number in exile

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Political Leadership by Sir Martin Gilbert

Photo: Martin, speaking at Hillsdale College 2950 words/15 minute read It is an honour to be asked to speak today, at the first Yossi Harel annual lecture. I thank Sir Ronald Cohen for inviting me to reflect on political leadership from an historical perspective. I have been fortunate to have had

Crematorium IV at Birkenau, shortly before it was ready to be put into operation in the spring of 1943. Photo from Auschwitz and the Allies

The fire at Crematorium IV

Photo: Crematorium IV at Birkenau, shortly before it was ready to be put into operation in the spring of 1943. Photo from Auschwitz and the Allies 700 words/3 minute read At Birkenau the Jews of the Sonderkommando were preparing to revolt. It was an enterprise of supreme hazard, and of supreme

Polish POW 2nd WW (1)

The Second World War – the Backstory

Photo: Polish prisoners-of-war, captured by the Germans in September 1939. 1530 words/8 minute read The Second World War, the first phase of which broke out on 1 September 1939 when Germany attacked Poland, had its origins twenty-one years earlier, when the First World War – then known as the Great War

Warsaw Uprising partial map

Churchill & Poland

Churchill & Poland  speech excerpt                                                                             3 minute read /646 words             When, in

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Travels with Martin, 2

Photo: Vera Brittain Étaples, France, November 2005 1.30 minute read/ 326 words Along with reading wall plaques and war memorials, Martin also believed in visiting war cemeteries in whatever region or country he found himself. One of the more powerful and overwhelming is that of the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery

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A “horrible episode” Oran, 3 July 1940

Photo: Roosevelt and Churchill, August 1941 As part of the Franco-German Armistice, France had agreed to transfer its warships to German control. Part of that fleet was at Oran, in French North Africa. When Lothian asked Roosevelt if he would support Britain’s “forcible seizure” of the ships, Roosevelt replied, “certainly.”

2

D-Day

Photo: Sir Martin on the beach at Normandy, describing the invasion, May 2003. Photo © Bernie Pucker, with thanks to Liz Burgess. The Allied landing in 1944 might have ended in disaster. Winston Churchill thought he would be woken up to be told of massive casualties. General Eisenhower prepared a

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Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Photo: David Ben-Gurion declaring Israeli independence, with a photo of Theodor Herzl above him. Israel’s Declaration of Independence read out by David Ben  Gurion, Tel Aviv, 14 May 1948 The Jewish people came into being in Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel]. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was

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Judy’s Laundry Basket

Photo: Venetia Stanley, 1887-1948 1971, Martin, just back in Oxford from a visit to Gallipoli to research Churchill’s time there for Volume III of the biography, writes: Shortly after my return to Britain, with the image of the Dardanelles still vivid in my mind I received a visitor. She was

Budapest map

BUDAPEST Chronology

Photo: BUDAPEST MAP From The Righteous 1941 June 27: Hungary enters the war on the side of Germany. August: Hungary agrees to German request for 20,000 Jewish forced labourers in German-occupied Russia. More than 15,000 are killed, 11,000 at Kamenets Podolsk on 23 August 1941. 1943 April 17: The Hungarian

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The Battle of Cable Street

I was born on 25 October 1936, three weeks after the Battle of Cable Street, and therefore have no recollections of it. I have prepared an account of it from contemporary documents, the newspapers of the time, and the recollections of some of those who took part in it for

Brit & Germ Airbases

BOMBER COMMAND CAMPAIGN MEDAL

A vital part of the success of the RAF was played by Bomber Command.  Sir Martin was involved in an attempt to see those who took part in Bomber Command awarded with a campaign medal, an honour that has still sadly eluded them.  In 2008 he wrote this dedication: My

July newsletter photo

When Churchill Went to War with America

On Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, Winston Churchill was Minister of Munitions. As Big Ben struck 11, and the guns fell silent on the Western Front, he was looking out of his ministerial window over Northumberland Avenue. The broad street was deserted. Suddenly, as he wrote, he saw “the slight