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General Information

  • World War I: Topic Page
    War between the Central European Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and allies) on one side and the Triple Entente (Britain and the British Empire, France, and Russia) and their allies, including the USA (which entered in 1917), on the other side.
  • Treaty of Versailles: Topic Page
    World War I ended in November 1918. At the beginning of 1919 the victorious allies met at the French Palace of Versailles, near Paris. Their aim was to decide how to treat the defeated enemy (Germany) and to redraw the map of Europe.
  • World War II: Topic Page
    War between Germany, Italy, and Japan (the Axis powers) on one side, and Britain, the Commonwealth, France, the USA, the USSR, and China (the Allies) on the other.
  • Maastricht Treaty: Topic Page
    Treaty establishing the European Union (EU). Agreed in 1991 and signed in 1992, the treaty took effect on 1 November 1993 following ratification by member states.

Wartime Britain

  • Battle of Britain
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    World War II air battle between German and British air forces over Britain from 10 July to 31 October 1940.
  • British Expeditionary Force
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    During World War I (1914-18) the term commonly referred to the British army serving in France and Flanders, although strictly speaking it referred only to the forces sent to France in 1914; during World War II it was also the army in Europe, which was evacuated from Dunkirk, France in 1940.
  • El Alamein
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    Two decisive battles of World War II in the western desert of northern Egypt. In the first (1-22 July 1942), the British 8th Army under Auchinleck held off the German and Italian forces under Rommel; in the second (23 October-4 November 1942), Montgomery defeated Rommel.
  • Gallipoli Campaign: Topic Page
    1915, Allied expedition in World War I for the purpose of gaining control of the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, capturing Constantinople, and opening a Black Sea supply route to Russia.
  • London Blitz
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    German air raids against Britain September 1940-May 1941, following Germany's failure to establish air superiority in the Battle of Britain. It has been estimated that about 42,000 civilians were killed, 50,000 were injured, and more than two million homes were destroyed and damaged in the Blitz.

The United Kingdom

  • Easter Uprising (1916)
    From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
    In Irish history, a republican insurrection against the British government that began on Easter Monday, April 1916, in Dublin.
  • Home rule: Topic Page
    In Irish and English history, political slogan adopted by Irish nationalists in the 19th cent. to describe their objective of self-government for Ireland.
  • Irish Republican Army: Topic Page
    A militant organization of Irish nationalists founded with the aim of striving for a united independent Ireland by means of guerrilla warfare.
  • SInn Fein: Topic Page
    Irish nationalist movement. It had its roots in the Irish cultural revival at the end of the 19th cent. and the growing nationalist disenchantment with the constitutional Home Rule movement.
  • Thatcherism
    From A Glossary of UK Government and Politics
    Margaret Thatcher gave her name to a set of political attitudes and a style of leadership that became known as Thatcherism. Even before coming to power she was nicknamed the ‘Iron Lady’ in Soviet media (because of her vocal opposition to communism), an appellation that stuck.

Notable People

  • Elizabeth II (1926 - ): Topic Page
    Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952–), elder daughter and successor of George VI.
  • Ernest Shackleton (1874 - 1922): Topic Page
    Irish Antarctic explorer. In 1908-09, he commanded the British Antarctic expedition that reached 88° 23′ S latitude, located the magnetic South Pole, and climbed Mount Erebus. He was knighted in 1909.
  • Horatio Kitchener (1850 - 1916): Topic Page
    British field marshal and statesman. Trained at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (1868–70), he had a brief period of service in the French army before being commissioned (1871) in the Royal Engineers.
  • Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013): Topic Page
    Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman prime minister, decisively changed the way in which British politics had worked since the end of World War II.
  • Princess Diana (1961 - 1997): Topic Page
    Member of the UK royal family. Daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer, Diana married Prince Charles in St Paul's Cathedral, London, in 1981. She had two sons, William and Harry, before her separation from Charles in 1992.
  • Robert Scott (1868 - 1912): Topic Page
    British explorer who reached the South Pole (January 1912) only to find that Roald Amundsen had discovered the spot one month before.
  • Tony Blair (1953 - ): Topic Page
    British Labour politician, prime minister 1997-2007. He was leader of the Labour Party 1994-2007. On standing down as prime minister in 2007, he became a Middle East special envoy for the ‘Quartet’ - the USA, European Union, Russia, and the United Nations.
  • Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965): Topic Page
    British Conservative politician, prime minister 1940-45 and 1951-55. In Parliament from 1900, as a Liberal until 1924, he held a number of ministerial offices, including First Lord of the Admiralty 1911-15 and chancellor of the Exchequer 1924-29.

End of Empire

  • Decolonization: Topic Page
    Gradual achievement of independence by former colonies of the European imperial powers, which began after World War I.
  • Partition of India
    From Chambers Dictionary of World History
    Under the Indian Independence Act of July 1947, the formerly British-ruled Indian sub-continent was partitioned on 14–15 Aug into two independent countries, a predominantly Hindu India and a predominantly Muslim Pakistan.
  • The Suez Crisis
    From Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History
    The Suez Crisis is the term given to the events beginning with Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956 and ending with the withdrawal of British, French, and Israeli troops from Egyptian territory in 1957.
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