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In this podcast Brian and I talk about the Bomber Offensive of the Second World War with particular focus on what later-on became known as “Big Week”. I must admit that this was something I had never heard of but it turns out it was crucial for the Allies in gaining air superiority in Western Europe. 

Big Week was made possible by the introduction of the P45 Mustang, the fighter that could go all the way with the bombers. Much to my surprise it turns out that this quinitessentially American plane had a huge amount of British involvement. Inevitably, we mention the Merlin engine and then demonstrate our ignorance trying to explain what was so good about it.

We get diverted - as is our wont - into talking about Dowding and the aftermath of the Battle of Britain. I had always found it odd that he was removed from command immediately after having won the most important battle since Trafalgar. Brian explains why. He also explains Dowding’s achievement.

We have a brief discussion about the morality of this but it turns out that neither of us is particularly interested. We do however discuss the role of bombing as punishment and deterrent. And then we get on to the subject of corporal punishment at public schools. 

Brian has a great anecdote about an Me262 pilot.

Towards the end Brian points out a practical difficulty in the theory that bombing could have won the war alone. 


  1. James Holland's book on Big Week.
  2. Sherman production was slightly less than 50,000 and Panther production a bit more than 5,000.
  3. The successor to Ira Eaker was Hap Arnold
  4. I have not yet been able to find where I found that stuff about Germany allowing Japan to enter the war.
  5. Steve Davies is a mere PhD and his opinions can therefore be ignored.
  6. Rolls Royce Merlin engine
  7. Bishop George Bell
  8. That book on the collapse of Army Group Centre
  9. The Soviet Union went to war against Japan the day after the Hiroshima bombing.
  10. The war between Russia and Japan in 1939.
  11. This is the Harris snippet that Brian was referring to.
  12. The Allies were indeed intent on dropping nuclear weapons on Germany.
  13. He177
  14. This is the book by John Ray that we talk about.

In this episode we discuss the Falklands War of 1982. We find there is a lot to talk about from nuclear submarines, logistics, the Labour Party, how the British won when they were outnumbered, Bluff Cove and the Harrier, to the Black Buck raids and how a year later we were all almost engulfed in nuclear armaggedon.

By the way, the Admiral who convinced Thatcher to fight was Henry Leach.

A few weeks ago I gave a talk on what happened after the First Wold War. I mainly concentrated on the many ethnic conflicts that broke out in Central Europe. In this podcast we decided to do a follow up. There were quite a lot of issues, surrounding the chaos of the time, which were brought up which on the face of it at least led us to some rather uncomfortable conclusions - as you will hear.

In doing so we talk about massacres in the English Civil War - spoiler: there weren’t many - the inviolability of national boundaries, Ireland, the potential for a Welsh Civil War, Brexit - inevitably - Great Men and anti-semitism. 

It’s grim but it’s my feeling - and I think Brian’s too - that you have to go where the facts take you.

I start by outlining my dilemma. 

We then go on to talk about Biblical tales, the Quakers, Christianity and children, architecture and music.

Further in we talk about the influence of Christian intellectual tools and Biblical support for the division of labour. Before getting back to architecture again.

We finish off by talking about war.


Brian talks about the origins of the word “religion” (not according to Wikipedia). But others disagree

My comment about universities being all about religion is probably wrong.

This is the Siedentop book Brian mentions.

And, no, the gladius did not look like a crucifix.

With the clock counting down to what in theory was going to be Independence Day on 29 March, Brian and I sat down to discuss Brexit. We - or, more accurately, I - began by making a prediction of what would happen in the next month or so.

We then try to get inside the heads of Remainers. I think they’re mad. Brian thinks they’re in shock. 

We talk a little bit about the referendum campaign and how surprised we were at the result. 

Brian raises David Goodhart’s The Road to Somewhere and the battle between the “somewheres” and “anywheres”. 

After that we talk about the Vote Leave campaign, the EU’s incompetence, how we have to thank convinced Remainers like Gordon Brown and the prospects for a second referendum.

The uncomfortable subject of immigration gets an airing. And hot on the heels of that: the Anglosphere. And after that - inevitably - Emmanuel Todd. 

We finish by discussing the influence that libertarians have on the world and how while it is easy to spot losers from Brexit it is much harder to spot winners. 

We begin by talking about what the Cold War was and the importance of NATO, nuclear weapons, communism, the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall.

We then talk a little bit about Cold War movies and the general lack of them. The movie I refer to is The Deadly Affair which was based on Le Carré’s novel Call for the Dead

We ask why the Russians didn’t copy the Chinese but don’t get very far.

We mention the problems the West had such as the welfare state, and a communist 5th column.

We also ask why the Soviet Empire collapsed without a fight. The best answer seems to be that Gorbachev was played by the West. I can’t deny I am a bit dubious about that one. By the way, it was Boris Yeltsin on that tank not Mikhail Gorbachev.

We finally get round to talking about the horribleness of the Soviet Union. It started early. The Ukraine Famine, the Gulags. You weren’t even safe if you were a loyal communist. The Purges. “Stalin only ever trusted one person in his whole life and that was Hitler.” The Crozier Monarchy Theory gets an outing.

Brian advances the theory that in the end competence is decisive. 

Corrections, footnotes and further reading:

The Economic calculation debate refers to this

The Lubyanka was the headquarters of the KGB (the Soviet secret police)

This was a Trabant.

This is what we were referring to when we talked about the Bekaa Valley 

In this podcast we talk about why we like history and what we seek to gain from it. In so doing we talk about narratives, putting oneself in other peoples’ shoes, how the world has become more peaceful and grand theories of history.

A few links: Detlev Schlichter; Alan McFarlane; Arnold Toynbee and our podcast on the First World War.

Unfortunately, we got cut off at 48 minutes. Mea culpa. About a week later we reconvened to see if we could remember what we said.

In this episode Brian and I attempt to cover the vast subject of transport. Our conversation ranges from British Rail privatisation to robot cars via fares, Coase’s theorem, Selfridges and the amazing Chuo Shinkansen.

By about 1900 it was becoming clear that Britain was going to be overtaken by both the United States and Germany and that one of them would emerge as top dog. It is Brian’s contention that Britain chose America. 

So we talk about that and Roosevelt’s desire to get America into the Second World War and his dislike of the British empire. After that we digress - as is our wont - and talk about such subjects as Anti-Americanism, the rise of the English language, Trump’s taste in art, the half-hearted nature of the War of the Roses before speculating on Russia acting as number three between the US and China.

One correction. China, of course, did invent a few things.  Rather important things. Just a long time ago.

Also, Towton was even bloodier than I had thought. Worse, indeed than the first day of the Somme.

In this podcast Brian and I talk about Trump. Eventually. I thought our pre-formal proceedings chit chat was interesting enough to include.

We begin by asking how it was that Trump won. In doing so the financial crisis comes up as - bizarrely - do the Empire Loyalists. We agree that his tweeting was hugely important. That and apple pie.

We go on to discuss the delusions of the global elite, the Rat Pack and Kanye West before returning to the subject of Trump’s tweets.

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