Saturday, November 28, 2009

The 'Cold War'.

I found this quite useful short video, summarising some of the background to and key flashpoints of the 'Cold War'. I think it is a bit 'simplistic' in places but nevertheless a good starting point and includes interesting primary source footage. Let me know what you think of it.

Vietnam War Maps

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Vietnam War - Warfare and Tactics

This clip includes interesting observations on the tactics of warfare from different viewpoints - a US General who was Chief of Staff of US Airforce and the main Vietnamese General and leader.(Warning - some disturbing scenes towards the end - dead bodies)

The US General observes " We dropped 6 and a half million tons of bombs on Vietnam and still lost the war".

Question to consider - Why did the most powerful country in the world suffer defeat in Vietnam?

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Summary of The Sunningdale Agreement and Power-Sharing Executive 1973-1974

~ 1972- Whitelaw(Northern Ireland Secretary) calls a meeting for all parties
~ Border Poll to ease Unionist worries: boycotted by Nationalists but Unionists
99% support for remaining part of the UK
~ White paper from Whitelaw has 4 key components: 1) Assembly 2) Executive 3) Council of Ireland 4) Guarantee that Northern Ireland remains part of UK as long as majority want it.
~ Split in Unionists: Faulkner leads Unionist Party supported by moderates and agree to White Paper must pledge their support now called “Pledged” Unionists”
~ Those Unionist against: Paisley and DUP, Craig and his Vanguard party, Orange Order and the “Unpledged” Unionists led by Harry West.
~ The Nationalist welcome White Paper with caution support from SDLP
~ Republicans reject it as it reinforces partition
~ Election results: 64% in favour of Power-Sharing, 36% against
~ All factions of Unionists results: 26 seats for anti-White Paper 24 seats for pro-White Paper
~ Faulkner now in a difficult position to unite Unionists within his own party and the more extreme Unionists.

~ Whitehall has great skill and patience as a negotiator
~ Faulkner wants a Unionist majority in the Executive
~ Council of Ireland agreed on and would have influence on policing and representatives from the Dail.
~ SDLP agree to end rate strike against internment
~ Whitelaw called back to London and replaced by Francis Pym, ( no experience)
~ 6th Dec. meet in Sunningdale, Berkshire
~ Liam Cosgrave, Taoiseach along with Garret Fitzgerald and Conor Cruise O Brien attend
~ John Hume from SDLP good negotiator for Nationalists- gets real power for the Council of Ireland which could open doors for a United Ireland at a later date
~ Prime Minister Heath chairs the meeting and quickly gets impatient with Unionists.
~ Irish Government agrees to give a verbal agreement on Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK as long as the majority wanted it.
~ Conference ends 9th Dec and that was the Sunningdale Agreement

~ 1ST JAN 1974, Faulkner as Chief Minister and Gerry Fitt (SDLP) as Deputy, power-sharing begins
~ Orange Order, DUP, Vanguard and Unpledged Unionists led by Harry West unite to form the United Ulster Unionist Council ( UUUC) is created to resist power-sharing and a Council of Ireland.
~ Faulkner resigns as leader of the Unionist party after a motion on the Council of Ireland fails to pass at a meeting. He is replaced by Harry West.
~ Faulkner sets up the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland
~ IRA and Loyalist attacks continue
~ Election called by Heath against the advice of the Executive who said it was bad timing
~ UUUC use election as a referendum on Sunningdale and put forward one anti-Agreement candidate in each constituency
~ UUUC win 11 out of 12 of the Westminster seats (Paisley, Craig and West all win)
~ Gerry Fitt the only pro-agreement candidate to win a seat.
~ In Britain, Heath (Conservative) loses the election and Wilson becomes PM (Labour )
~ Pym replaced by Meryln Rees as Northern Ireland Secretary (indecisive and not as committed a party)
~ Assembly remained despite violent and abusive behaviour from anti-agreement members

~ Northern Ireland industries employed predominantly protestant workers.
~ The Ulster Workers’ Council was a group of loyalist workers who worked in shipbuilding, engineering and electricity generation.
~ 15th May 1974, they called a strike
~ Loyalist paramilitaries became involved and workers were ‘persuaded’ not to return to work.
~ Road blockades were established and youths armed with clubs turned back lorries delivering milk, groceries or petrol.
~ Strikers managed to cut electricity out-put by 60% and more factories were forced to close.
~ The British Army and Police stood by and did nothing.
~ Many Protestants supported the strike.
~ The UWC did not alienate their own and made sure needed supplies got through to Protestant areas.
~ Loyalists were strongly suspected as being involved in bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in May.
~ The Executive was isolated and had no control.
~ Rees the Northern Ireland Secretary failed to stop the strikes.
~ Faulkner tried to get the Dublin government to reduce the powers of the Council of Ireland and despite them agreeing to hold off implementing it was too late.
~ Hospitals were about to close and the Executive resigned.
~ The Power-Sharing Executive had ended in failure.

~ Northern Ireland Secretary Rees was unwilling to use the police and army to stop the strike.
~ The Labour party under Wilson who were in power were not as keen as the Conservatives about the Agreement.
~ The UWC strike brought the North to a halt.
~ The Council of Ireland was greatly feared by the Unionists as they believed it would lead to a United Ireland.

Vietnam War - the background

Check out this clip, exploring the background to the Vietnam War. Warning - some disturbing scenes (Buddist monk sets fire to himself as protest)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The U.S. Civil Rights Movement

Some significant moments in the Civil Rights Struggle
1948 - Truman signs law to desegregate in the armed forces
1954 - landmark case, Brown vs Board of education - unanimously agreeing that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
1955 - NAACP member Rosa Parkes refuses to give up her seat in a bus in Montgomery, leading to a successful year long bus boycott by the black community.
1956 - Victory for the bus boycott and desegregation of buses in Montgomery
1957 - 'Little Rock Nine' students are blocked from entering a formerly 'white only' Central High School by State Troops. US president Eisenhower sends in The National Guard to support the students action.
1960 - Student sit ins at Lunch counters and public places
1961 - 'Freedom Riders', on interstate buses in the South, test out the new laws prohibiting segregation.
1963 - Protests marches against segregation in Birmingham get international attention when the police use police dogs and hoses against civil rights protesters.
1963 - March on Washington - Martin Luther King delivers 'I have a dream speech'
1964 - 'Freedom Summer' - civil rights movement to register black voters.
1964 - Civil Rights Act comes into law , prohibiting discrimination in public places..
1965 - Selma to Montgomery March to support voting rights. Attacked by police. 'Bloody Sunday'
1965 - Voting Rights Act passed. Tests used to restrict black voting are made illegal.
1968 - Martin Luther King is shot.