Rasputin Dissemination

The term ‘conspiracy’ is binary to the man Rasputin, it follows the subject of him around but mainly due to the mystery that surrounds it. It is still a hot topic to this day as new evidence is constantly being unearthed and the various conspiracy theories are either being disproved or expanded. This is the very reason why our group decided to research into this mystifying topic; no one truly knows the answer to who killed Rasputin but we feel almost a step closer every time a new piece of evidence is discovered.



Organised and Sadistic; Genocide under Pol Pot

Between 1975 and 1979 Pol Pot and his communist party, known as the Khmer Rouge, attempted to implement a communist utopia upon Cambodia. Pot’s regime is regarded as one of the ugliest the world has ever seen due to the starvation, disease and genocide that killed over 1.5 million Cambodian’s. Marxist ideas, which Pot had come across in Paris as a student, inspired him to join the underground communist party. Pot soon lost scholarship in Paris and returned to Cambodia in 1953 where he and quickly became the party leader. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge seized power off the Cambodian government and the persecution of the Cambodian people began. The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia after several boarder clashes in 1979 and helped exposed the atrocities. A Hollywood movie and the worlds press brought global attention to the Khmer Rouge’s war crimes, yet the support of America and other Asian allies aloud a guerilla war still to carry on. Pot died in 1997 under house arrested.
Pol Pot
(An Image of Pol Pot)
Genocide and Support
There are many aspects to the genocide under Pol Pit and the Khmer Rouge as it spread across the whole of Cambodia, however two Key Places are the S-21 prison and the Choeng Ek Killing fields. S-21 was a secondary school converted into prison outside Phnom Phen, the Capital of Cambodia. This facility held over 14,000 victims throughout the regime and was the place of torture and interrogation for many. Once no longer needed, Cambodian prisoners; men, women and children alike were taken to the Choeng Ek killing fields and executed before being buried within mass graves. Foreign prisoners however were not buried but burned until no bones remained, removing all evidence of their existence.
S-21Prison, Phnom Phen
(An Image of the S-21 Prison in Phenom Phen)
Followers of Pol Pot’s regime namely arise from a peasant background and were commonly of the younger generation, with many S-21 prison guards aging from 15 to 19 years old . The chain of command and support of the Khmer Rouge is also important to understand when looking at the genocide in Cambodia. The collection of ‘Upper Brothers’ were the leading three members of the genocide. All had to be approved by ‘Brother One’, Pol Pot, however all was not controlled by him. ‘Brother Dutch’ (Kang Kech Leu) was commandant of the S-21 prison, and with the assistance of Son Sen, the ‘Brother’ responsible for National Security and Defence, oversaw the torture and execution of all those convicted of illegal activities and treason.
“The Communists practiced killing several million innocent people.” This quote from the memoirs of a Khmer Rouge survivor shows how virtually anyone could have been killed by the Khmer Rouge regime. For example, many people who were thought to be intellectuals were killed; often this could be for knowing a foreign language or simply wearing glasses. During the period that the Khmer Rouge was in power, 1975-1979, it is estimated that between one million and two million people were executed, with thousands more dying of starvation or overwork, with many people working for twelve hours a day on almost no food, “from 1976 to 1978 we didn’t have enough food to eat.”

The appalling nature of the Pol Pot regime and the consequential affect it had upon the Cambodian population cannot be overstated. The victims were systematically murdered, given numbers as opposed to names; these people were cattle going to slaughter. The Khmer Rouge that ended with the entrance of Vietnamese troops Into Cambodia on 8th January 1979[1], meaning Pol Pot was forced to retreat into Thailand with his fragmented and significantly weakened Khmer Rouge army and, for the next 17 years, continued to launch guerrilla attacks against the Cambodian government[2]. Pol Pot finally lost control over his Khmer Rouge army in April 1998, leading to his consequential arrest and supposed suicide at the age of 78. Pol Pot laid was a merciless dictator, from the S21 killing fields to the malnutrition and poor medical care endured by the Cambodian population as a result of his radical agrarian socialism. When reflecting on the life of Pol Pot one is forced to think of the overwhelming death and suffering endured by his people and the unwavering brutality of his regime.


[1] 1979: Vietnam Forces Khmer Rouge Retreat http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/8/newsid_2506000/2506533.stm Date Accessed: 04/03/14

[2] Pol Pot in Cambodia, http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/pol-pot.htm, Date Accessed: 25/03/14


Sources Used:

Dutch, Chief od S-21; http://www.killingfieldsmuseum.com/s21-victims.html Date Accessed 25/03/14

Genocide in Democratic Kampuchea; http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/a/Pol-Pot.htm Date Accessed: 25/03/14

Pol Pot: Life of a Tyrant; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/78988.stm Date Accessed 25/03/14

Pol Pot in Cambodia, http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/pol-pot.htm, Date Accessed: 25/03/14

Pol Pot’s Secret Prison; http://www.tuolsleng.com/history.php Date Accessed: 25/03/14

Prak, Sarom, “The Unfortunate Cambodia” in Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors, ed. By DePaul, Kim, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997)

The Khmer Rouge; http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1879785,00.html Date Accessed: 03/03/14

Yan, Arn, “My Mother’s Courage” in Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors

1979: Vietnam Forces Khmer Rouge Retreat; http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/8/newsid_2506000/2506533.stm Date Accessed: 03/03/14


A Bloody Disaster

The tragedy of Bloody Sunday occurred on Sunday the 30th January 1972. Thousands of members of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association began their march to “Free Derry Corner” in the Bogside area of Londonderry. As a group of protesters approached the British Army blockade, a riot broke out, which lead to the British soldiers from the First Battalion to open fire on the civilian protesters. The Bog side massacre, as it has been known locally, involved the ‘murder’ of 13 supposedly innocent protestors of the Civil Rights campaign. It has taken a whole generation to come to terms with the horrific massacre, and a ‘report’ to published by the British Government which explains  why certain actions were called into play, by both the British Army, and individuals who held supposedly dangerous Nationalistic views which led to violent tendencies.[1]

bloody sunday picture

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10320609

Public opinion over the liability of Bloody Sunday has been split for the past 32 years. This opinion has been driven by the media, which helped shape judgement on numerous occasions. Decisions made back in the 1970’s by Parliament, Army and media have been called into question by the inflicted and curious. The last few decades has revealed certain aspects of Bloody Sunday, and in doing so, highlighted ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland’s distorted nature.

Evaluated from the earliest evidence, the events that occurred on that of the 30th of January 1972 was an eruption caused by the atmosphere between the Army and Irish Republican protesters. The Army, working on behalf of the British Government, had been sent to control another outbreak of rioting within this planned protest. The marches initial turnout was to be expected, but the decision to act upon the crowd with the use of gunfire was due to the paranoia that the march was attended by the IRA.

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Left: A map of the Bogside region.
Right: A map detailing the locations of soldiers and the IRA present
The location for the events was key to the decision to use Army presence, the Bogside was a highly Catholic area, in which the IRA had been known to be operating. But as shown below by  the round up of the headlines that followed the shootings, public opinion began to change from sharing the blame of both sides engaging the bogside region in to a riot, to focusing on the several eyewitness accounts actually blamed the Army for opening fire first.3

Above: The Guardians 31 January 1972 headlines – coverage of a ‘illegal’ march which broke out with both the IRA and Paratroopers engaging in warfare
Below: The Guardians 2nd February 1972 headlines – expresses how many killed were shot in the back

Alongside the established newspapers who reported on the events in Bogside, campaigning entities across the United Kingdom were also becoming involved in the pursuit to educate people on these current affairs. The University of Ulster’s CAIN (Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland) web service logs many of these self publications, amongst them a series of Anti-Internment leagues bulletins.


Above: The Anti-Internment News, Bulletin of the Anti-Internment League

It is the rather unique origins for a anti-internment bulletin, in which  this particular document stand out. Printed in the ‘Basement Flat’ of Holland Road in London, it shows that there was at least support for the release of nationalists who had been imprisoned by the Government unfairly. In addition to this, there also seems to be strong communication between the witnesses of the Bogside Massacre and the publication. What is obvious, is that these publications were not held questionable to that of the political spectrum, instead the bulletin circulated amongst regional parts in which were only consumed by the Citizen.
In addition this citizen support was encouraged by the notion of Civil Rights. The government was unable to hide its utter embarrassment therefore when the Army was to open fire amongst one of the largest demonstrations that London Derry had experienced. The true number of protesters is still disputed, although there were claims to be as many as 30,000 people in total.


Above: The demonstartion of London Derry on the 30th of January 1972

From the images that were taken before the Army opened fire, it hardly seems that any threat was apparent. Still the inquiries over the last 38 years have seen the restoring of a very difficult picture. The British Government dedicates time to inquire , and works closer with the old nationalists. However as time goes on sources become more sparse as eye witness accounts become blurred as this eye witness demonstrates – ‘I can no longer recall the order of fire or who fell first’ (Witness’s 027 1975 statement).
Statements regarding the Bloody Sunday

Washing to Working: Women in World War II

propagandaIn World War II, propaganda was crucial in boosting the war effort in Britain through recruiting people into the army and volunteer groups. World War II particularly increased the importance of the role of women in Britain, as much of the propaganda focused on recruiting women into working roles in society, which had not been available to them before. This was performed through the use of posters and speeches specifically used to prompt women into participating in the war effort.  This poster from the Women’s Land Army shows a clear example of the type of posters used in World War II that targeted women, depicting them in masculine positions to encourage their participation.

Propaganda was often used to encourage women to enrol in volunteer groups, such as the Women’s Land Army and Air Raid Precautions, in order to help out with the war effort while much of the male population were away fighting. The Women’s Land Army played a crucial role in the war as it helped to relieve the burden in the scarcity of food, which was due to a lack of supplies in the war, by working on the land growing crops. They performed typically male duties such as milking cows, lambing, managing poultry, ploughing, gathering crops, digging ditches, catching rats, chopping trees and running saw mills.[1]  As well as posters words from distinguished members of the public were used as propaganda to encourage volunteers; for example this quote from Lady Denman stating ‘The land army fights in the fields. It is in the fields of Britain that the most critical battle of the present war may well be fought and won’. [2] By 1943 there were more than 80,000 ‘Land Girls’ showing the extent of women targeted by the propaganda.[3]

Air Raid Precautions played an equally important role with women who were perceived as the primary potential victims of air raids this meant they were encouraged to take responsibility for defending the home and its occupants in ways ranging from teaching children how to use gas masks, to evacuation and membership of the Air Raid Warden’s Service. They were recruited into the volunteer group through the use of speeches written specifically to target women. This is notably shown through a powerfully emotive speech published by the A.R.P, illustrating the techniques used to recruit women, such as playing on their fear by stating ‘the raiders won’t give you time to train’ and using imperative phrases such as ‘enrol at once’. Furthermore the use of strong emotive language aims to target their protective nurturing sides, which would encourage them to enrol. However, this involvement of women in civil defence had the potential to create an image of ARP as a feminized service, undermining both the appeal of ARP to men, and the masculinity of men in the service, an identity already threatened through them not fighting on the frontline.

ARP recruitment women

Women were not only recruited into volunteer working roles, but also fully paid employment, which was unusual for the time. Jobs such as factory workers, nurses, receptionists, bus drivers and even clerical positions became available to women. By mid-1943, almost 90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were employed in essential work for the war effort.[4] The success of the propaganda in World War II is highlighted by a huge rise in working women during the war, which is illustrated in this graph comparing  the number of women in factory and clerical positions in 1940 compared to 1945. The graph shows that by 1945 there were 4.5 million women in clerical positions, an overall increase of 89 per cent from 1940 and illustrates that by 1945 there were 4.7 million women in factory positions an increase of 112 per cent from 1940. [5]

Untitled 1

The success of the posters and speeches used as propaganda in World War II increased the opportunities and status of women in society through the establishment of groups such as the Land Army specifically aimed at women and by increasing the number of working roles available to them, many of which were typically masculine. This has been demonstrated by the vast number of women involved in volunteer groups during the war and the increase of women in working roles by 1945.


[1] WW2 People’s War: BBC Fact  File 25/03/14

[2] © 2013 Women’s Land Army.co.uk 12/02/14

[3] WW2 People’s War: BBC Fact File 25/03/14

[4]  Carol Harris, Women Under Fire in World War Two, 17-02-2011.  11/02/14

[5]  Mary M. Schweitzer, ‘World War II and Female Labor Force Participation Rates’, The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 40, No. 1 (1980), pp. 89-95

Journal articles

Noakes, Lucy ‘Serve to Save’: Gender, Citizenship and Civil Defence in Britain 1937-41″ Journal of Contemporary History, vol 47, (2012), p737.