Friday, July 27, 2012

Recreating the vain tyranny of Louis XIV in Brussels' EU

David Starkey's first episode of a new series is a tour de force, particularly for its relevance to events in Europe today, (just as for the two periods it covers, namely the 1680s and 1930s,) should be watched by whatever means you can find. A review from The Independent of this morning is linked from here.

Starkey's underlying theme was that Winston Churchill, while researching a biography of his illustrious ancestor, John Churchill, Ist Duke of Marlborough (so created following his victory at the Battle of Blenheim which changed the course of European history) was able to spot by 1932 the dangers in the rise of Nazism in Germany. So far he has not gone on to draw the similarities between events today and those around the turn of the 17th to18th centuries, the resulting tyranny from which, John Churchill eventually put down, but I will now do so.

Louis XIV, ruled France as an absolute monarch for over 72 years in such a manner as many believe made the eventual and bloody French Revolution a racing certainty, although its arrival was delayed for another 70 odd years of such rule. The programme did make clear the importance of the difference in outcome of the earlier religious wars between France and Britain and the impact in England of the arrival of so many Huguenot refugees, fleeing the Catholic tyranny in France, but has yet to signal the importance of John Churchill's West Country roots, which I consider especially important.  

Earlier posts of mine on this same topic may be read here from May 2008; "Why does Europe seem to hate Britain"; also in November 2009 "Europe's New Rulers" and most recently and importantly "Britain's Greatest UK Traitors at Westminster Hall", the latter with the sole tag "treason" reflecting the occasion and nature of the Pope's visit.

Starkey did highlight one very interesting point that had previously not occurred to me, right  at the end of this first episode, that being that it was only after Blenheim that French and British history can truly be said to have really parted.

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Blogger Robert said...

The programme is repeated tonight at 7pm on the 4Seven channel.

3:39 PM  

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