Three Reasons the British Should Have Won the Revolutionary War (and Three Reasons the Patriots Did Win)

Washington-Crossing-Delaware
By Jack Kelly

George Washington called the American victory in the Revolutionary war “little short of a standing miracle.” In 1776, an overwhelming British army had defeated his poorly trained force, driven them out of New York City, and chased them across New Jersey. Washington then lost Philadelphia, and his men had barely survived the wretched winter at Valley Forge. In 1780, the British captured the major southern port at Charleston, imprisoning the American garrison there, and utterly defeated a second patriot army. Before that year was out, his long-suffering troops were on the verge of mutiny and one of his senior generals had gone over to the enemy.

A year later he had effectively won the war. How was it possible? Of the many factors that influenced the war’s outcome, here are the ones that were among the most decisive.

The British should have won because . . .

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Posted in Military History, Modern History

A ‘Most Honest Horse Thief’: James Byrnes’ Role In Japan’s Conditional Surrender

Henry-Stimson-James-Byrnes-Gatow-Airport
By Paul Ham

Upon his swearing in as President Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, on 3rd July 1945, James Francis ‘Jimmy’ Byrnes quietly assumed greater powers than his new position entailed. In coming weeks, Byrnes would act as Truman’s big brother and almost as a de facto president.

On one issue Byrnes appeared utterly uncompromising. It was that America should never waver from her insistence on the ‘unconditional surrender’ of Japan.

The new Secretary had hitherto been crystal clear by what he meant by ‘unconditional surrender’: it meant the dismantling of the Japanese Imperial system and putting the Emperor on trial as a war criminal.

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Posted in Contemporary History, Military History

The Man Who Burned Washington D.C.

Portrait-George-Cockburn
By Peter Snow

The only time other than 9/11 that an outside force has attacked the United States capital (Washington D.C.) was on 24 August 1814. And one man more than any other was responsible for it: George Cockburn, a Rear Admiral in the British Royal Navy. Strange, you might think, that an Admiral was the driving force in an attack on a city some way from the ocean, but George Cockburn was a very unusual admiral.

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Posted in Military History, Modern History

Shedding the Mythology of the Good Slaveholder

Tomlinson Hill Welcome Sign
By Chris Tomlinson

My grandfather used to tell me that our family had owned slaves before the Civil War, and they loved us so much that they took our last name. The descendants of the former slaves, he said, still lived on the land where their ancestors had planted cotton, a place called Tomlinson Hill.

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Posted in Contemporary History, Modern History

Today in History: Almost 100 Years After the Death of the Romanovs

The Romanov Sisters cover

On this day in history, 96 years ago, the Romanov Family was awakened from their sleep and executed, under the impression they were being moved for safety reasons. Helen Rappaport depicts the personal lives of the four Romanov sisters through extensive research, uncovering details in never before published diaries and correspondence all presented in her New York Times bestselling book, The Romanov Sisters.

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Posted in Modern History

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