` Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War between Allies and Germany ‘

#AceHistoryNews – April 09 – The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter’s invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway’s aid with an expeditionary force.

Despite moderate success in the northern parts of Norway, Germany’s invasion of France in May 1940 eventually compelled the Allies to withdraw and the Norwegian government to seek exile in London.

The campaign subsequently ended with the occupation of Norway by Germany, and the continued fighting of exiled Norwegian forces from abroad. The conflict occurred between 9 April and 10 June 1940, the 62 days of fighting making Norway the nation that withstood a German invasion for the longest period of time, aside from the Soviet Union.

Outbreak of the Second World War:

Both Britain and France had signed military assistance treaties with Poland and two days after Germany invaded Poland (on 1 September 1939), they declared war on Nazi Germany. Neither country mounted significant offensive operations, however, and for several months no major engagements occurred in what became known as the Phoney War or “Twilight War”. Winston Churchill in particular wished to move the war into a more active phase, in contrast to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

Almost immediately after the outbreak of war the British began pressuring the Norwegian government to provide the United Kingdom with the services of the Norwegian merchant navy, themselves being in dire need of shipping. Following protracted negotiations between 25 September and 20 November 1939, the Norwegians agreed to charter 150 tankers, as well as other ships with a tonnage of 450,000 gross tons. The Norwegian government’s concern for the country’s supply lines played an important role in persuading them to accept the agreement.

Value of Norway

Norway, though neutral, was considered strategically important for both sides of the war for two main reasons. First was the importance of the port of Narvik, from which large quantities of Swedish iron ore (on which Germany depended) were exported; this route was especially important during the winter months when much of the Baltic Sea was frozen over. Narvik became of greater significance to the British when it became apparent that Operation Catherine, a plan to gain control of the Baltic Sea, would not be realized. The Norwegian ports could have also served as holes in the blockade of Germany, allowing the latter access to the Atlantic Ocean.
Iron ore

The principal reason for Germany’s invasion of Norway was its dependence on Swedish iron ore, which during the winter was shipped primarily from the Norwegian port of Narvik. By securing access to Norwegian ports, the Germans could more easily obtain the supply of iron ore they needed for their war effort

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` George Smiley and his ` Hidden Inertia ‘ of the World Around Him ‘

#AceBritishHistory – BRITAIN – March 29 – Although Smiley has no concrete biography beyond that offered briefly at the beginning of Call for the Dead, le Carré does leave clues in his novels.

Smiley was probably born around 1906 (or 1915 on the revised chronology) to middle class parents in the South of England, and attended a minor public school and an antiquated Oxford college of no real distinction (in the 1982 BBC television adaptation of Smiley’s People, he refers to himself as a fellow of Lincoln College), studying modern languages with a particular focus on Baroque German literature. In July 1928, while considering post-graduate study in that field, he was recruited into the Secret Intelligence Service by his tutor Jebedee.

He underwent training and probation in Central Europe and South America, and spent the period from 1935 until approximately 1938 in Germany recruiting networks under cover as a lecturer. In 1939, with the commencement of World War II, he saw service not only in Germany, but also in Switzerland and Sweden. Smiley’s wartime superiors described him as having “the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin”.

In 1943, he was recalled to England to work at MI6 headquarters, and in 1945 successfully proposed marriage to Lady Ann Sercombe, a beautiful, aristocratic, and libidinous young lady working as a secretary there. Ann would prove a most unfaithful and rather condescending wife. In the same year, Smiley left the Service and returned to Oxford. However, in 1947, with the onset of the Cold War, Smiley was asked to return to the Service, and in early 1951 moved into counter-intelligence work, where he would remain for the next decade. During that period, Smiley first met his Soviet nemesis, Karla, in a Delhi prison. Karla proved impossible to crack, and he took Smiley’s lighter, a gift to Smiley from his wife.

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` Alan Turing `British Mathematician, Logician, Cryptanalyst, Computer Scientist and Philosopher at Bletchley Park '

#AceHistoryNews – March 28 – Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (/ˈtjʊərɪŋ/ tewr-ing; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist and philosopher.

He was highly influential in the development of computer science, giving a formalisation of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer.

Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During World War II, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s code-breaking centre. For a time he led Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.

After the war, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman’s Computing Laboratory at Manchester University, where he assisted development of the Manchester computers and became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis, and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, first observed in the 1960’s.

Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, when such acts were still criminalised in the UK. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning.

An inquest determined his death a suicide; his mother and some others believed it was accidental. On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated.”

The Queen gave him a posthumous pardon on 24 December 2013.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

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` Mavis Batey was 19 when she was Recruited as a `Bletchley Code Breaker ‘ during ` World War ll ‘

#AceHistoryNews – March 28 – Mavis Batey was a British student of 19, midway through her university course in German Romanticism, when she was recruited for a top-secret assignment during World War II.

“This is going to be an interesting job, Mata Hari, seducing Prussian officers,” she years later recalled thinking. “But I don’t think either my legs or my German were good enough because they sent me to the Government Code and Cipher School.”

In May 1940, Mrs. Batey — then the unmarried Mavis Lever — joined the team of code breakers at Bletchley Park, the British cryptography headquarters. Trained in the enemy’s language and endowed with a facility for words, she became a key contributor to a wartime project that remained classified for decades.

But by the time of her death on Nov. 12 at 92, Mrs. Batey was regarded in England as a national heroine. Working with Alfred Dillwyn “Dilly” Knox and other celebrated code breakers, she learned to decipher what she called the “utter gibberish” of encrypted German communications.

Like many of her colleagues, Mrs. Batey worked on a “need-to-know” basis and did not understand at the time the significance of her efforts. In recent years, with the release of British wartime records, it was revealed that her code-breaking helped the Allies cripple the Italian navy in 1941 and assisted the 1944 Normandy invasion.

Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime prime minister, was said to have called the Bletchley Park code breakers his “geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled.” Fuelled by what Mrs. Batey described as “ersatz coffee,” they toiled in secrecy to decipher the encoded messages spat out by the Axis powers’ Enigma machines.

By Emily Langer, The Washington Post
Posted Nov. 17, 2013, at 4:44 p.m.

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` Richard the Lion Heart ‘

#AceHistoryNews – Richard I (September 8, 1157 – April 6, 1199) was King of England from 1189 to 1199. He was often referred to as Richard the Lionheart, Coeur de Lion. He was considered a hero in his day and has often been portrayed as one in works of literature.

Richard I the Lionheart, King of England

Richard I the Lionheart, King of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Life: 

The third of King Henry II‘s legitimate sons, Richard was never expected to accede to the throne.

He was, however, the favourite son of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Although born in Oxford, England, he soon came to know France as his home. When his parents effectively separated, he remained in Eleanor’s care, and was invested with her duchy of Aquitaine in 1168, and of Poitiers in 1172.

This was his consolation prize for the fact that his eldest brother, Henry the Young King, was simultaneously crowned as his father’s successor. Richard and his other brother, Geoffrey, duke of Brittany, thus learned how to defend their property while still teenagers.

As well as being an educated man, able to compose poetry in French and Provençal, Richard was also a magnificent physical specimen, his height is estimated at six feet four inches (1.93 m) tall, and gloried in military activity.

From an early age he appeared to have significant political and military abilities, became noted for his chivalry and courage, and soon was able to control the unruly nobles of his territory.

As with all the true-born sons of Henry II, Richard had limited respect for his father and lacked foresight and a sense of responsibility.

In 1170, his elder brother Henry the Young King was crowned king of England as Henry III. Historians know him as Henry “the Young King” so as not to confuse him with the later king of this name who was his nephew.

Read More : Richard the Lion Heart

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` Constitution of the `United Kingdom ‘ 1668 ‘and the `Glorious Revolution ‘

#AceHistoryNews The Constitution of the United Kingdom is the set of laws and principles under which the United Kingdom is governed.

Unlike many other nations, the UK has no single constitutional document. This is sometimes expressed by stating that it has an uncodified or “unwritten” constitution. Much of the British constitution is embodied in written documents, within statutes, court judgement’s and treaties. The constitution has other unwritten sources, including parliamentary constitutional conventions (as laid out in Erskine May) and royal prerogatives.

Historically, “No Act of Parliament can be unconstitutional, for the law of the land knows not the word or the idea.”

Since the Glorious Revolution in 1688, the bedrock of the British constitution has traditionally been the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, according to which the statutes passed by Parliament are the UK’s supreme and final source of law. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution simply by passing new Acts of Parliament. There is some debate about whether this principle remains valid, particularly in light of the UK’s membership in the European Union.

Parliamentary supremacy and the rule of law

In the 19th century, A. V. Dicey, a highly influential constitutional scholar and lawyer, wrote of the twin pillars of the British constitution in his classic work Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885). These pillars are the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law. The former means that Parliament is the supreme law-making body: its Acts are the highest source of English law (the concept of parliamentary sovereignty is disputed in Scots law, see MacCormick v Lord Advocate).
The latter is the idea that all laws and government actions conform to principles. These principles include equal application of the law: everyone is equal before the law and no person is above the law, including those in power.

Another is no person is punishable in body or goods without a breach of the law: as held in Entick v Carrington, unless there is a clear breach of the law, persons are free to do anything, unless the law says otherwise; thus, no punishment without a clear breach of the law.

According to the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, Parliament may pass any legislation that it wishes. By contrast, in countries with a codified constitution, the legislature is normally forbidden from passing laws that contradict that constitution: constitutional amendments require a special procedure that is more arduous than that for regular laws.

There are many Acts of Parliament which themselves have constitutional significance. For example, Parliament has the power to determine the length of its term.
By the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, the maximum length of a term of parliament is five years but this may be extended with the consent of both Houses.
This power was most recently used during World War II to extend the lifetime of the 1935 parliament in annual increments up to 1945.
Parliament also has the power to change the make-up of its constituent houses and the relation between them.
Examples include the House of Lords Act 1999 which changed the membership of the House of Lords, the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 which altered the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords and the Reform Act 1832 which made changes to the system used to elect members of the House of Commons.

The power extended to Parliament includes the power to determine the line of succession to the British throne.

This power was used to pass His Majesty’s Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, which gave constitutional effect to the abdication of Edward VIII and removed any of his putative descendants from the succession, and most recently to pass the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which changed the succession to the throne to absolute primogeniture (not dependent on gender) and also removed the disqualification of marrying a Catholic. Parliament also has the power to remove or regulate the executive powers of the Monarch.

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` History of Women’s Right to Work Act ‘

A Woman's Work

A Woman’s Work (Photo credit: jumpinjimmyjava)

#AceHistoryNews says following on from `International Woman’s Day‘ l thought this post about `Women’s Right to Work’ was apt.

Firstly this act changed the previous legal situation, in which all property automatically transferred to the control of a husband on marriage.

It granted some limited separate protection to a married woman’s property and also permitted women to retain up to £200 of their own wages or earnings.

Similar changes did not take effect in Scotland until 1877.

“PLEASE NOTE WELL SOME PARTS OF THIS ARTICLE AND POST ARE COPYRIGHTED AND ARE MARKED”

` Thank You Editor ‘ 

International Woman's Day :*Denomination: 60 F...

International Woman’s Day :*Denomination: 60 Filler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Families and households:

Because of high birth rates and improving life expectancy, Victorian families were generally large. The growth of residential domestic service, even low down the social scale, and the prevalence of lodgers, especially in towns, meant that many households were further swollen in size and complex in formation.

Although households consisting of more than two generations or containing more than one husband/wife partnership had never been common in Britain, there was a tendency, especially in textile districts, for grandparents to live in households containing young children, particularly where mothers were working outside the home.

…many households were dependent upon female earnings, especially those households run by widows.

Many young people, especially young women, migrated to towns and cities in search of work as the possibilities of agricultural employment declined. Migration was facilitated by family and other connections: communities were recreated in towns and cities through local concentrations of settlement of particular ethnic, religious, regional or familial groups and by the possibility of finding accommodation through lodging or domestic service in the homes of contacts of this kind.

Most households necessarily drew income from a number of sources, with many women and juveniles adding to wage earning even if their employment was usually more intermittent and low-paid than that of adult males. Although the male breadwinner wage was increasingly regarded as the ideal and even the norm, in practice many households were dependent upon female earnings, especially those households run by widows.

As the mid-Victorian boom got under-way the demand for female and juvenile labour expanded, particularly where new technologies or patterns of work were resented by skilled men. Cheap female and immigrant labour was often used to undercut male workers. Urbanisation created manifold opportunities for female employment despite the regulation of hours and conditions of work for women and juveniles in certain sectors, and the coming of compulsory education after 1871. Thus most women in Victorian society, in the two-thirds of the population below the upper and middle classes, worked for wages. But in what occupations and how much?

The evidence of women’s work:

Two Victorian woman at work in a hat factoryWorkers in a hat factory  ©One of the greatest problems facing the historian of women’s work is the absence of reliable information. The census enumerators’ books are the most obvious source, especially for the period after 1841 when occupations were included; but in practice such information is vastly more accurate for men than for women for several reasons. Firstly, contradictory and inconsistent instructions were given about how to classify women’s work, particularly where this involved home-working or consisted of helping in a family run business (such work was sometimes deliberately excluded from the record). Furthermore, women’s work was often part-time, casual, and not regarded as important enough to declare.

Women may have also have preferred to keep their income-earning a secret from their husband.

Sometimes it was illegal (as with prostitution) or performed in unregulated sweatshops (a further reason for failure to record). Women may have also have preferred to keep their income-earning a secret from their husband. An occupational designation, for whatever reason, meant something very different for men than for women.
With the emphasis primarily upon their role as wives and mothers, women workers did not usually see their occupation as a centrally defining characteristic of their lives, and therefore frequently failed to declare it.

Business records can be used to supplement the census and to give an indication of the gender-specific nature of employment and wage earning in certain firms and regions. But the survival of wage books is generally poor and biased in favour of larger firms in the regulated sector – for example factory textile employment, where wages and employment levels were generally much higher than the norm.

Trade directories are another useful source but suffer from the fact that they were published irregularly, and record not employment but the names of business proprietorships. Household budgets have recently been used for research on women’s work. They have the advantage that they generally record all incomes, including poor relief and self-provisioning, allowing one to assess the contribution of women and juveniles to the family economy. Their disadvantage is that they have patchy survival over time and region, and they have varying levels of detail, accuracy and comparability because they were compiled for differing purposes.

The varieties of women’s work:

Two Victorian woman working on the stitch work of a womans dressWorking in the rag trade  ©What do we know from the difficult evidence about patterns of women’s work over time and in different regions and sectors of the economy? The most obvious feature of women’s work was its importance to most families, its variability across time and space and its persistent association with certain trades and sectors.

Female employment in the 1850s, 60s and 70s appears to have been higher than any recorded again until after World War II. Family budget evidence suggests that around 30-40 per cent of women from working class families contributed significantly to household incomes in the mid-Victorian years. This might have been even higher during the industrial revolution decades, before the rise of State and trade union policies regulating female labour and promoting the male breadwinner ideal.

Domestic service of all kinds was the single largest employer of women ...

As in earlier centuries, the bulk of waged work for women appears to have been found in trades associated with female skills or proclivities, particularly where these were also casual and low paid.
Domestic service of all kinds was the single largest employer of women (40 per cent of female occupations stated in the census of 1851 in provincial cities and 50 per cent in London). The textile and clothing sectors came a close second. Women were also found in large numbers in metal wares and pottery and in a variety of petty trades, especially in towns: confectionery, brewing and other provisioning, seam-stressing, laundry work, cleaning and retailing. Because many sectors which employed large numbers of women were concentrated in certain regions of the country (as with the cotton and woollen industries of south Lancashire and west Yorkshire), the statistics of female labour force participation varied across the country.
Women and the family firm:

Outside the working classes the traditional view of Victorian women is that they were little involved in business or enterprise and that their lives were largely devoted to the private sphere of domestic and family life. Certainly the cultural and evangelical ideals of the period placed women on a pedestal of moral probity, motherhood and domestic orderliness. There is some evidence that middle class women in some sectors of the economy did increasingly withdraw from direct involvement in family firms in the mid-Victorian period, whilst the legal status of married women and their limited property rights made it difficult for them to operate in business on their own account at least before the 1880s.

…the stereotype of the middle-class woman as the angel in the house can easily be overplayed.

 However, the stereotype of the middle class woman as the angel in the house can easily be overplayed. Widows and spinsters were rarely in a position to rest on their laurels or be ladies of leisure. Many of the former carried on family businesses after the death of their husbands, whilst the significant surplus of spinsters in Victorian society found work as governesses or in trades which were regarded as suitable for women such as millinery and inn-keeping, grocery retailing and other victualling.
Both widows and spinsters were prominent in property ownership and in financing businesses as sleeping partners. The typical firm in the 19th century was a small family partnership. Because of this many opportunities existed for wives and daughters to be closely involved. There is evidence of their important roles, especially behind the scenes: in retailing, book-keeping, correspondence, dealing with clients, arranging deals.
Women’s work, industrialisation and gender:

A photograph showing a Victorian woman working on making hat boxesMaking hat boxes  ©The nature of industrialisation was much influenced by the prevalence of women’s work and by the wider role of women in Victorian society. Women were prominent in many sectors which underwent considerable technological and organisational change partly because employers at first found it easier to recruit women and juveniles to new practices in the face of opposition from established, unionised or skilled adult male workers. Women provided a flexible, cheap and adaptive workforce for factories and sweatshops, and had feminine skills associated with some of the most rapidly expanding consumer goods industries at the forefront of industrialisation such as textiles, pottery, clothing and victualling. Some new technologies were adapted and modified with young female workers in mind, while the cheap labour of women and children could also hold back mechanisation in favour of traditional labour intensive methods.

Women provided a flexible, cheap and adaptive workforce…

Regional and sectoral variations in the extent to which women were involved in waged work had a major impact upon regional differences in gender relations within families and communities, and upon the complexion of local politics and trade unionism. Women’s wage-earning ability often gave them more influence over wider familial and community decision-making. This included decisions about consumption, and has been held partly responsible for the increasing independence and fashion consciousness of young women, and the rise in mass spending on household goods, clothing, furniture, curtains and foodstuffs. The more women worked for wages the less time they had to produce their own goods for the home.
A double burden:

A Victorian wife keeps house for her on looking husbandVictorian working women bore the brunt of household duties (Punch cartoon, 1894)  ©In areas where many women, including married women, worked full-time for wages (for example in some of the cotton textile towns of the north-west such as Preston) there may have developed greater sharing of housework between men and women, and a more prominent role for women in local politics. However, there are more examples where working women shouldered the double burden of waged work and the bulk of household responsibilities, and where their role in politics remained marginal.

…working women shouldered the double burden of waged work and the bulk of household responsibilities…

As the 19th century progressed, there was a greater prevalence of gender-specific employment which was often used to enhance control and discipline in the workplace.
Supervisory roles were almost exclusively taken by men, and men also came to operate the most expensive and sophisticated machinery and to monopolise the high status and higher paid jobs even in textiles.
The expansion of heavy industries such as iron, steel, mining, engineering and ship building in the later century also created sectors which employed almost exclusively male labour, which were associated solely with male attributes and which endorsed the male breadwinner ideal. Thus a hardening of gender assumptions in the nineteenth century was closely associated with corresponding changes in the workplace.
Find out more:

Books

Women’s History in Britain, 1850-1945 ed. June Purvis (London UCL Press 1995) A collection of essays covering a range of topics from women’s work and the family to education, health, sexuality and politics.

Women, Gender and Industrialisation in England, 1700-1870 by Katrina Honeyman (Basingstoke Macmillan, 2000) A concise volume good on gender, class and industrialisation.

The First Industrial Woman by Deborah Valenze (Oxford OUP, 1995) Good on the implications of shifting employment patterns, agricultural work and domestic service.

A History of European Women’s Work, 1700 to the present by Deborah Simonton, (New York Routledge, 1998) Good for the longer time perspective and for European similarities and contrasts.

Links:

The Womens’ Library An organisation of historians of women in Britain promoting research and writing on women’s history. This website also contains a number of very useful links to other websites associated with the history of women.

Spartacus Schoolnet A website directed at schools containing biographies of key women in the history of the British women’s movement.

Places to visit:

There a several museums which help to recapture the nature of Victorian society and the place of women within it, most obviously the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which has wonderful collections of art and artefacts reflecting the nature of the middle and upper-class Victorian home. Smaller museums yield information and evidence of women’s work and their patterns of dress and consumption. Most notably Quarry Bank Mill at Style, Cheshire; the textile museum in the Halifax Piece Hall; and Platt Hall Museum, Manchester.

The new industrial and commercial middle classes of the Victorian era were great patrons of the arts, and some British provincial art galleries contain major collections of the sorts of works which they commissioned as well as work depicting domestic interiors and women. Amongst the best of these art galleries are the Birmingham City Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Consult some primary sourcesT detailing the nature of women’s work and household activities such as business records, census enumerator’s books, trade directories, household budgets and private diaries. Details of business records relating to women in the West Yorkshire textile industries can be found in The West Riding Wool Textile Industry: a catalogue of business records by Pat Hudson, (Edington, Pasold, 1976). Other guides to archive holdings can be found on the websites of most major repositories. Many collections of working class autobiographies have been published and include several written by women. For a guide see for example, The Autobiography of the Working Class: an annotated critical bibliography vols 1-3 ed. by J. Burnett, D. Vincent and J. Mayall, (Hassocks Harvester 1984, 1987, 1989).

Examining surviving Victorian housing from outside and from within can be very revealing particularly if these can be matched to information from Census returns. It is possible to reconstruct Victorian households at each census point and to imagine where each household member resided within the house. In many major cities there are now organised walks which are helpful in tracing Victorian history and women’s history trails. Details of these can usually be obtained from local history libraries.

About the author:

Pat Hudson is Professor of History in the School of History and Archaeology at Cardiff University. She specialises in the impact of economic and social change within different local and regional, economic, social and cultural settings. Her books include The Industrial Revolution (London, 1992).

 

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