The road to war — I

Spithead review

Today I had my very first radio appearance, on ABC New England North West, talking to Kelly Fuller on the Mornings show. I was talking about what was happening in Europe 100 years ago, during the July Crisis of 1914. More specifically, I spoke about the Royal Navy's test mobilisation at Spithead (above) and the drafting of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia in response to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Despite a throat infection and a couple of stumbles, and going under time, I think it went alright. You can listen to it here.

This is my first contribution to a weekly radio series, 'The Road to War', where historians from the University of New England (mostly) and Flinders University will discuss the events of 1914 and then 1915, a century after they happened. The idea, at least at this stage, is that we will highlight what was happening in the First World War (and the lead up to it) before Gallipoli, which is essentially when Australian memory of the war begins -- even though there was actually a lot going on before then. So something like the post-blogging I've done from time to time, but less time-intensive. Particularly since I'm just one member of a team: the others are my colleagues Richard Scully (whose idea all of this was), Nathan Wise, Erin Ihde (all from UNE), and hopefully Melanie Oppenheimer (Flinders). Richard has already given a couple of talks, on the assassination itself and the German blank cheque, and Nathan spoke last week about Europe going on its summer holidays while Austria-Hungary decided what to do; next week Erin will look at the Serbian response to the ultimatum and the firing of the first shots. Future episodes will be available from here or here. My contributions will mainly focus on the war in the air (naturally -- I even managed to sneak the RNAS in today) and at sea, but I'll be covering some aspects of the land war, too. It should be fun and educational -- maybe even at the same time!

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4 thoughts on “The road to war — I

  1. Alan Allport

    Ye Gods, the bounder's an Australian. Why were we never warned?

    Since this post seems like an opportunity for some shameless-self-promotion, let me advertise my own Origins of the First World War mini-lecture series. I'm doing these in connection with a summer course I'm teaching; we're up to part 20 of 24. Feel free to tune in and hear me mispronounce the names of major historical figures of all nations.

  2. Well done Brett. Started listening, but someone interrupted - looking forward to finding out how it all ends!

    Looks like you've already been hijacked by a Pom. We'll send in the easily-pronounced (and best ducked) Lillee & Thomson for you Alan. And who knows, we may tune in too.

  3. Post author



    Ha, I've used 3 or 4 of the cover images you've got there in my own lectures. And I usually spend the last few minutes before a lecture (or indeed the radio talk) on Forvo frantically looking up how pronounce names. Which I then promptly forget.

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