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Letters SEPTEMBER 2010

The opinions expressed by our commentators are their own and may not represent the views of BBC History Magazine, Bristol Magazines Limited or BBC Worldwide


Partners in arms gazine 5 Gloves off, then back on In Milestones (July), it sta tes that on 4 July 1910 Jack

Johnson defeated James Jeffries t o become the first black he avyweight champion of t lthough all Heavyweight ch ampion Jack Jo he world. Actually, Johnson wa s already the heavyweight cham pion when he defeated the reigning champion Tommy

ON HIS VISIT to President Obama in July, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a historical hiccough when he appeared to say that Britain was the junior partner to the US in the fight against the Nazis in 1940. Of course, America did not officially enter the war until late 1941. The Battle of Britain, during the summer of 1940, has come down to us as the time when Britain (and her empire) stood alone against Hitler, and certainly not as a junior partner to anyone. On the 70th anniversary, we consider what the experience was like for the pilots in the air and the British people on the ground.

On page 56, Mark Glancy looks at film representations of the American ‘occupation’ of Britain as Allied troops massed for the invasion of Europe in 1944. The wartime alliance forged between America and Britain did not look strong in the years immediately after the victory. By the time of the Korean War in the 1950s, however, Britain and America were once more allies in arms. As Tim Benbow points out in his feature on page 60, it was this conflict that set the tone for the partnership between the two nations into the second half of the 20th century.

For a complete change of subject, how hard was it for a medieval queen to prosper in a world of kings? Helen Castor considers that question on page 46. I hope you enjoy the issue.

Burns in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, A ustralia, on 26 Decem ber 1908. The significance of th e Jeffries fight is that Jeffri es had been champion between 18 99–1905 and then retired in 1905 claiming to have beaten ‘all logical c hallengers’ while ignori

ng Johnson. When Johnson wo n the title and having successful ly defended it, the call went out from white reporters such as Jack London that Jeffries had to come out of retirement and save the white race. Because Jeffries had retired unbeaten, many peop le believed that the title could onl y be won or lost in the ring, so that h e was still the champion and t he original ‘Great W hite Hope’. Ian Davies

Port Talbot Brunel

􏰀 􏰀 e Dr David Musgrove Edito in the bar I received my subscript ion copy of the July 2010 i ssue, which contained an article a bout the ss Great Eastern, on t he same day that my local pub was knocked down. The pub, which w as built in 1862 and named aft er Brunel’s ship, stood on the bank of the River Mersey above the spot where the vessel was rs of On the September po dcast To complement features in the magazine, we ha ve an audio podcast each month. It’s free, and you can l isten at any time. Download from 10 September fro m our website or subscribe via i broken up. The bar in the p ub had been built with panelling fr om the ship and many other ar tefacts had adorned the building. A

Tunes Tim Benbow discusses the Korean War 􏰀 The new alliance in Korea, p age 60 Helen Castor on Queen Matilda 􏰀 A queen in a king’s world, page 46 Helen Rosslyn talks about Rosslyn Chapel 􏰀 The rebirth of Rosslyn,

page 53 r of the fixtures and fittings rela ted to the ship were said to have b een removed from the pub more t han a decade ago, it was still sad to see a tangible link to the past be ing removed from the local ar ea. I wonder if the inhabitants of the houses that are to be bu ilt where the pub stood will even be aware of the link with Brunel and his ocean-going leviath an. Mick Robe rts Merseys ide Abandoned by Church ill You note with pride that Wins ton Churchill’s face was on the co ver of your first and tenth anniver sary copies (Letters, July). While your regard of him is understanda ble, Australians have a much more equivocal regard of him. He was largely responsible for the disastrous massacre of our young men on Gallipol i in the First World War an d in Greece and Crete in the Second World War . He sold Singapore down the drain in the Second W orld War for the los s of significant numbe hnson, 1915 Australians in ast-page BBC History


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