Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday 3 March 2014

The possibilities for peace in 1914

I saw that the BBC website has an interesting piece of informed speculation on what might have happened in the summer of 1914 had events turned out differently. It can be seen at How close did the world come to peace in 1914?

This is not a full blown exercise in "Counter-factualism", but rather something which does show how disaster came about through chance - or mischance - and accident - or misadventure. I was struck by the point about the men of the Austro-Hungarian army going off that summer on home leave to help get in the harvest. It  is a reminder of how armies and societies conducted themselves in such practical matters until very recently indeed.

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