Tag Archives: British Empire

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Christopher Hale, a distinguished freelance executive producer, producer/director and writer, to discuss the less distinguished elements of the career of Winston Churchill. Yet another Churchill film, Darkest Hour, was released on 12 January 2018 in the United Kingdom. The film begins in May 1940, with Churchill about to take on the role of Prime Minister. Indeed, Churchill’s charismatic resilience has defined the popular interpretation of Britain’s experience of the Second World War. However, there is far more to Churchill than his wartime leadership. Indeed, several chapters of the real Churchill story are deeply unpleasant. The Bengal famine of 1943-44, when two million people died, is such an example. What was Churchill’s attitude towards the people of British India? What type of person was Churchill? Was he a racist even by the standards of his time? These questions, and more, including a discussion on remembering the British Empire, are examined on this episode. We must understand our history, all of it, not just the patriotic triumphs, to become a modern democratic nation. ‘Become a modern democratic nation’, you say?

Christopher has numerous documentary credits to his name, for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, and National Geographic, amongst other broadcasters. His programs include Why Reading Matters’ for BBC4, ‘The Year the Earth Went Wild for Channel 4, Naked Science: Universe for National Geographic, Oasis of the Golden Mummies for Discovery, Accidents in Space for BBC/Travel Channel, and many more. Christopher’s 2013 book, Massacre in Malaya: Exposing Britain’s My Lai, covers the Malayan Emergency of 1948–1960, which was the longest war waged by British and Commonwealth forces in the twentieth century. Christopher has also written a number of books on wartime Nazi Germany, including Hitler’s Foreign Executioners: Europe’s Dirty Secret.

For more information on Christopher, visit http://www.christopherhalemedia.org/. You can find Christopher on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chalemedia.

Links to items mentioned on this episode:

Peter Hitchens, ‘So uniquely British, but funeral tells a tale of a different country’, Mail Online, 18 January 2015.

Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson in Michael Gove WW1 row‘, BBC News, 05 January 2014.

The Aidan Project #46 – The Emergency: Empire, Massacre, Duterte

The Aidan Project  #48 – Project Extra: Atlantis Reimagined

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Coming Soon: Churchill’s Many Dark Hours

churchill-1713093_1280
Yet another Winston Churchill film,
Darkest Hour, will be released on 12 January 2018 in the United Kingdom. The film begins in May 1940, with Churchill about to take on the role of Prime Minister. Indeed, Churchill’s charismatic resilience has defined the popular interpretation of Britain’s experience of the Second World War.

However, there is far more to Churchill than his wartime leadership. Indeed, several chapters of the real Churchill story are deeply unpleasant. The Bengal famine of 1943-44, during which two million people died, is such an example. Was Churchill to blame for this tragedy? What was his attitude towards the people of British India? In an upcoming podcast, I will be exploring the darkest elements of the Churchill story.

Do you have any thoughts about Churchill you would like to send across? I would love to hear from you.

I look forward to sharing the new episode with you during the early part of next week.

Aidan.

p.s. For my thoughts on the 2017 film, Dunkirk, please click here.

#46 – The Emergency: Empire, Massacre, Duterte

cave-1090749_1920 Cropped[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

The British Empire, and other European powers, began to leave South East Asia in the aftermath of World War 2. The region has changed dramatically since this era; a period when British troops were fighting communists in Malaya, several years before the US attempted its own communist suppression in Vietnam. It was during the British Empire’s response to Chin Peng’s insurgency that the colonial rulers committed an atrocity that could be called ‘Britain’s My Lai’. On this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is talking to Christopher Hale, a distinguished freelance executive producer, producer/director and writer, to discuss British rule in Malaya, post-colonial South East Asia, press constraints in Malaysia and Singapore, Donald Trump’s tenuous grasp of history, and the incomparable Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, a man who has claimed to have personally killed criminals, among other controversies. Christopher has numerous documentary credits to his name, for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, and National Geographic, amongst other broadcasters. His programs include ‘Why Reading Matters’ for BBC4, ‘The Year the Earth Went Wild’ for Channel 4, ‘Naked Science: Universe’ for National Geographic, ‘Oasis of the Golden Mummies’ for Discovery, ‘Accidents in Space’ for BBC/Travel Channel, and many more. Christopher’s 2013 book, ‘Massacre in Malaya: Exposing Britain’s My Lai’, covers the Malayan Emergency of 1948–1960, which was the longest war waged by British and Commonwealth forces in the twentieth century.  Christopher has also written a number of books on wartime Nazi Germany, including ‘Hitler’s Foreign Executioners: Europe’s Dirty Secret’. For more information on Christopher and to check out his voluminous work, visit http://www.christopherhalemedia.org/. You can find Christopher on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chalemedia.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#42 – Notes on Dunkirk

In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan looks at the glorious myths and gloomy realities of the real Dunkirk, and examines how accurately Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster addresses the bittersweet events of Operation Dynamo. Is the movie mere flag-waving or a true account of the disastrous chaos on the beaches of the French town of Dunkerque in 1940? Did the French receive fair treatment in the film? How does the script handle the German’s costly halt, which allowed so many men to make it off the beaches? If you have not yet seen the film, Aidan will signpost when to press pause to avoid the film review section of this episode. Current events, history and culture merge in this edition of the Aidan Project Podcast – enjoy the episode! Referenced in this podcast is an article Aidan wrote in December 2016. What did you think of the film? You can Tweet Aidan @theaidanproject.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#28 – Notes on America’s Great War

In this first spoken essay edition of the Aidan Project Podcast, Aidan examines why, and with what effects, the United States opted to enter World War One in 1917. The essay also looks at the idealist US President, Woodrow Wilson, who declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917, following repeated provocations. This essay takes a deliberately contentious look at the US’s role in the war, which adds a few ‘what-ifs’ into the mix for your consideration. Could, or should, the Bolshevik take-over have been snuffed out before it began? What about the conditions for Hitler’s rise to power? The roots exist within World War One and its aftermath. For more Project podcasts on the US involvement in World War One, take a look at the ‘America’s Great War’ two-part series with Dr. Paul Dean. Part one covers the period of US non-belligerence, up until the Zimmermann Telegram. Part two looks at ‘America’s Forgotten War’ from Wilson’s declaration of war, up until the Treaty of Versailles, for which this essay serves as a useful companion piece. You can find a full archive of podcasts at iTunes, YouTube and www.AidanCoughlan.org. Enjoy the essay.

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#24 – The Irish Famine: Tragedy and Propaganda

In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Professor Liam Kennedy, Emeritus Professor of History at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy for Social Sciences. The Great Famine was the most traumatic event of modern Irish history. Professor Kennedy explains the famine and seeks to provide context to the argument, propagated by some, including a number of Irish Americans, that the Great Famine is comparable to the Holocaust that occurred in Eastern Europe. Professor Kennedy also provides some thoughts on the death of the Irish republican and Sinn Féin politician, Martin McGuinness. Professor Kennedy’s most recent book is ‘Unhappy the Land: The Most Oppressed People Ever, the Irish?’, which is available at all good bookstores and at Amazon.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.