Cultuur & Literatuur
BBC World Histories Magazine

BBC World Histories Magazine Issue 20

BBC World Histories magazine is the new global history title from the BBC History Magazine team. Each issue, we delve into a diverse range of topics – from ancient Greek expeditions and the Aztec civilisation to the Cold War and the space race. Our team of international experts explores key historical events, remarkable personalities and the stories behind today’s headlines, taking you on a tour across centuries and continents.

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in deze editie

1 min.

Indeed, thanks to a looming general election and the vagaries of our print schedule, the identity of the UK prime minister who will be in office as you read this issue wasn’t yet clear. Whatever the outcome, though, it seemed an apt time to look to the past for examples of great leadership. For this issue’s cover feature, we asked experts to identify the greatest leader in global history. Their nominations make for fascinating reading. You can find out who made the cut – and what factors make a successful ruler – from page 42. This January marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Holocaust is one of the defining episodes of the 20th century but, as Nikolaus Wachsmann argued when I spoke to him recently, much about it…

7 min.
when cities run dry

The history behind today’s news “Unchecked and unplanned growth, influxes of migrants and inadequate infrastructure have all added to the ravages of climate change, crippling urban India’s supply of piped water” The north-easterly monsoons once again arrived late in southern India in 2019, consigning the residents of Chennai to yet another summer of crippling shortages of drinking and domestic water. But the scenes were starker than usual. Photographs of a bone-dry Chembarambakkam Lake, once a trusted source, and of Adayalampattu Lake – now a parking lot – were plastered across newspapers and social media, as were images of hundreds of demonstrators confronted by police at the municipal government’s offices. Chennai’s plight is hardly new. In his landmark novel Thanneer (‘Water’, 1973), Tamil writer Ashokamitran captured the bitter everyday struggle for access to water…

3 min.
history headlines

1 RALEIGH ISLAND US Shell on Earth Drone-mounted laser technology has revealed details of a pre-Columbian settlement on the Florida coast. Following initial discoveries on Raleigh Island in 1990, dense foliage hindered later work. Now archaeologists from the University of Florida have used Lidar scanners to create 3D maps of the island. These revealed 37 rings of discarded oyster shells, each thought to enclose a residential area and dating from the period AD 900–1200. It is believed that the settlement was a centre for the production of beads made from lightning whelk shells, which were widely traded. 2 GALICIA SPAIN Bible returned A rare Hebrew Bible has returned to the Spanish region in which it was created, over 500 years after its owners were expelled from the area. Decorated with animals, mythical creatures and geometric…

7 min.
alliances on the brink

Alev Scott is a journalist and author. Her new book, co-written with Andronike Makris, is Power & the People: Five Lessons from the Birthplace of Democracy (Riverrun, 2019) In 427 BC, the Athenian demagogue Cleon declared that “democracy is incapable of empire” – a surprisingly modern view recorded for us by the historian Thucydides in his account of the Peloponnesian War fought between democratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta in the years 431–405 BC. Nearly 2,500 years ago, the tension between superpower status and democratic ideals had already become obvious to political leaders and voters alike. The Athenians, early pioneers of democracy and masters of naval supremacy, understood that maintaining an empire requires some heavy handling of both subject states and allies. Cleon was advocating a less democratic, more decisive foreign policy for…

19 min.
“we must try to avoid seeing auschwitz only as a remote monument”

COMPLEMENTS THE BBC’S HOLOCAUST SEASON Matt Elton: Are there aspects of Auschwitz that you think deserve greater attention? Nikolaus Wachsmann: Yes, there are many. Those who are familiar with Auschwitz might think that there is not much more for us to learn or to discover when, actually, there is plenty more for us to find out and to explore. Auschwitz was the most deadly site of the Holocaust. There was no other place in Nazi-controlled Europe in which more Jews were murdered – around one million during the Second World War. So Auschwitz must hold an absolutely central place in the commemoration of the Holocaust. At the same time, Auschwitz had other functions, too, from terror against political suspects and prisoners of war to gruesome human experiments and the murder of Sinti and…

8 min.
the remarkable resistance of lilo

ACCOMPANIES THE BBC WORLD SERVICE DOCUMENTARY THE REMARKABLE RESISTANCE OF LILO, DUE TO AIR ON 25 JANUARY 2020, THEN AVAILABLE ON BBC SOUNDS After the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, the Reich had become gripped with paranoia One day in late November 1944, a cell door clanked open in a Berlin prison. Inside, a prematurely gaunt, 40-year-old woman steeled herself for yet more questions from her Nazi interrogators. She knew, though, that these would be the last she would be called to answer. Elizabeth Charlotte Gloeden, known as Liselotte or ‘Lilo’ was on her way to the ‘House of the Dead’ – the name given by prisoners to Haus III, the cell block in Plötzensee prison in which the condemned were held. Ahead lay a last journey across a small…