Blog: Sir Martin's writing

Churchill & Roosevelt

“a lasting union”

Photo: Churchill meets Roosevelt at Quebec before the start of the first Quebec conference, 16 August 1943. Imperial War Museum photograph 525 words/2  1/2 minute read In 1944, as victory came closer, Churchill saw a bolder and brighter future for the Anglo-American relationship than victory alone. In a speech in London

Kovner-With-Avengers-NLI

“To perish, but with honour”

Photo: Jewish partisans from Vilna return to the city from the Rudnicka forest immediately after liberation, 14 July 1944, while fighting is still going on just outside the city. From left to right (standing): Elchanon Magid, Jacob Prener, Bluma Markowicz (she was killed in a bombardment a few days after

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Belarus: the Back Story

Photo: 25 August 2020, peaceful Belorussian protest of August 9 election results 985 words/5 minute read 1991: At the time of the collapse of the Tsarist empire at the end of the First World War there had been a brief but unsuccessful attempt by White Russia (Byelorussia) to assert its independence.

Hiroshima

“The momentous day” 6 August 1945

Photo: Hiroshima; the scene near the centre of the atomic explosion of 6 August 1945 700 words/3 ½ minute read  6 August 1945: The scale and nature of the destruction of human life at Hiroshima was eventually to alter the whole nature of how mankind looked at wars, power, diplomacy

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Smashing Statues – the Biblical Precedent

Photo: A Soviet-era statue of Lenin in the tiny hamlet of Zaverichchya, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine, with Ukrainian post-independence commentary, August 2011. Letters to Auntie Fori, an excerpt 625 words/3 minute read Dearest Auntie Fori, According to the Biblical chronology, Abram, the son of Terah (later known as Abraham), was born

Mala Tribich Zigi Shipper Chaim Olmer (1)

Triumph Over Adversity

Photo: Mala Tribuch, Zigi Shipper, Chaim Olmer, child survivors who came to Britain, photo by Garry Crystal Editor’s Note: This mid-May was to have seen a reunion of The Boys and their families in Windermere, in the English Lake District. They were to return, as a group, to the place

Berlin 1945

Liberation

Photo: A Soviet soldier raises the Hammer and Sickle on the roof of the Reichstag, Berlin, 30 April 1945 500 words/2 ½ minute read Editor’s Note: April was meant to be a time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of German concentration camps by British and United States

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

Churchill_Roosevelt Aug 41 (1)

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.”

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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