Countries of Europe Series: England

Written by:
Eugene Lieber
Narrated by:
Eugene Lieber

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2006
2 hours 10 minutes
Formative Periods. Tribal England. Life of bare existence. Roman invasion. Brutal treatment of the native population. "They make a desert and call it peace." The Roman Empire declines. Series of conquests of England by the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons.
William the Conqueror wins the Battle of Hastings, 1056 A.D. Norman control lasts for centuries through dynastic rule, but with incessant fighting. (3.55.00) = War of the Roses. in the 1400s between Richard III's House of York and the Henry VII's House of Lancaster. Henry VII wins, begins the Tudor Dynasty. Question of whether Richard III is the villain Shakespeare makes him out to be (6.37.00) = Absolute divine right monarchy of Henry VIII, a powerful tool for control over peasants. He has an immense ego and size, acquires 6 wives. (8.56.00) = Protestant Reformation. The Pope rejects divorce and annulment, threatening the status of Henry VIII's heir. He founds the Anglican Church, keeps most of the Catholic doctrine, except adds the right to divorce, with himself, the King of England, as the chief authority. His friend, Thomas Moore, opposes his break with the Catholic Church, is executed. Henry VIII is succeeded by Mary, daughter of his first wife, who tries to restore the Catholic Church. (17.51.00) = Elizabeth I, Henry VIII's first wife's 2nd daughter, becomes Queen of England, rules from 1558 until her death in 1603. She resists the pressure to produce an heir, maintains her independent power, entrenches the supremacy of the Anglican Church. After plotting against Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots is executed. England defeats the Spanish armada attempting an invasion, making England a major world power and naval power. (31.35.00) = Emergence of Capitalism. The emphasis on foreign trade for acquisition of wealth makes England more powerful than Spain which emphasizes storage of gold. Elizabeth's capability against the gender bias of others. (33.03.00) = The outpouring of culture. Shakespeare's plays which follow the political lives of the Tudors. (34.31.00) = The Stewart Dynasty lasts from 1600 to1900. Scotland is still independent. King James I is invited to rule after Elizabeth's death in 1603. England is still medieval. The aristocratic class resists capitalism, holding on to the old, the king on to absolutism. The English translation of the bible is called the King James Bible. James I is succeeded in 1625 by Charles 1 who is not very bright but is an absolutist. The Catholic versus Protestant conflict continues. (37.47.00) = Growth of capitalism threatens the aristocracy and absolutism which resist it as a threat. Parliament is centuries old, since the 13th century, is not democratic. has no written laws, only precedents. Although it is a rubber stamp for the king, he still has to go through it. Capitalist voices are raised in Parliament (41.31.00) = Puritanism is the English form of Calvinism. They believe in a one-on-one relationship with God, have simplified ceremonies and church structures. Puritans clash with Anglicans. Puritans are capitalists and promote modernism. The alliance of Parliament, Puritans and capitalists. (44.30.00) = Parliament becomes independent. King Charles I agrees to let Parliament become an independent power in exchange for its approval of the tax money he needs. In 1642, for the first time, it passes a law with no precedent. (50.36.00) = English Civil War begins in 1642. The aristocracy and the king against the Parliament, Puritans, and capitalists. Oliver Cromwell mobilizes the peasants and middle class with promises of more political and economic equality. The king loses in 1649, is captured and executed. The civil war begins in 1642. (52.00.00) = Oliver Cromwell as ruler. Promises are reneged. The Irish uprising is put down ruthlessly. (53.30.00) = Restoration period. Cromwell dies in 1668 and is succeed by his son, Richard, who restores the English monarchy with Charles II, the son of Charles I, as king. The political system is absolute divine right monarchy, but also capitalism with Parliamentary power. The king is seen as a force for stability in the minds of the peasants. Libertine attitudes thrive. (59.21.00) = The Glorious Revolution of 1688. Charles II is succeeded by his brother, James II, in 1685, who makes the mistake of announcing he will raise his son, the heir, as Catholic. The revolution throws him out of the country. John Locke writes that if a sovereign breaks the contract theory of government between the sovereign and those ruled, then citizens have a right to overthrow him. Thomas Jefferson uses this same argument in the American Revolution.

18th century England is changing. . William & Mary are co-rulers. Parliamentary rule continues. The Act of Religious Tolerance allows people to worship as they will. Business and political power is important, not religious power. Capitalism is triumphant. The monarchy is not absolute. England becomes a major world power. (4.57.00) = Competition with France over quest for empire in North America. England establishes the 13 colonies in America. South America is controlled by Spain. England wins the 7-Year War with France, acquires Canada. (7.42.00) = The American Colonies. . England's mercantile relationship with the Colonies, which provide timber for English ship building, has loose enforcement. The American Revolution. King George III imposes taxes on the Colonies to help pay off England's war debt. Resistance to this leads to the American Revolution of 1776. How the American Revolution might have been avoided. (12.56.00) = The Early Industrial Era from 1780-1830. Landowners change peasant families from serfs to renters. Soon many are forced off the land to operate factories in cities. Food is now provided by new cash crops. Rivers are sources of power for mills around which industrial cities grow. Rivers are also used for transportation and disposal of industrial wastes. Abominable working conditions. Children as young as 6 are working. England is the industrial power of the world. The transportation revolution of railroads and canals., (27.20.00) = The Napoleonic Wars. The Continental System aims to squeeze out England. England helps Spain fight off Napoleon, who is later defeated in Russia. He comes back with a new army but is defeated at Waterloo in 1815. The Congress of Vienna accepts the bourgeois gains of the French Revolution but opposes subsequent revolutions. England dominates with the strongest navy in the world. (30.41.00) = The Victorian Age from the 1830s to the turn of the 20th century. Emergence of the 2-party system, the Tory Disraeli versus the Liberal Gladstone. England's harsh policy with Ireland leads to the Irish potato famine. (32.27.00) = The New Imperialism of 1870s. Territorial control and the drying up of Africa by the European powers India is England's centerpiece of imperialism. Enforced backwardness aims to keep it dependent. India is an economic power before England's control. England's harshness, yet the native bureaucracy is trained to carry out English dirty work as police and tax collectors. This educated bureaucracy becomes the leadership for freedom and independence. Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance and India's freedom after World War II. (40.30.00) = Industrial reform. Factory workers are still abused but there is some reform to forestall revolt. The impact of Charles Dickens' images. (42.12.00) = The 20th Century. The rise of Germany. At the turn of the century Germany begins to catch up and surpass England, challenging its dominance. Now England and France join against Germany. Germany aligns with Austria and Italy. (45.46.00) = World War I. In the summer of 1914 England goes to war against Germany. The English officer class look forward to war's glory. The Germans are stopped before Paris, the war bogs down into trench warfare and a war of attrition. The machine gun takes a terrible toll on both sides. The class attitude of officers toward solders underlies their ordering suicidal attacks. German submarine warfare is effective. America enters the war in 1917 and the war ends on November 11, 1918. England and France are victors, attempt to hold on to their empires, but will never be the same. (50.42.00) = The Treaty of Versailles. As revenge for damage inflicted, Germany is forced to pay reparations. This becomes a factor leading to the rise of Nazism. The influence of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Fear that England will turn to socialism. Disillusionment with the slaughter of the war. (53.55.00) = The 1930s Depression. World-wide depression, unemployment of the working class, and the fears of a new war after the rise of Hitler. The Spanish Civil War. The rebels are backed by Germany and Italy. The English government and the U.S. remain neutral, dooming the loyalists. (55.56.00) = The English response to the rise of fascism. . The upper classes are sympathetic, fearing Communism and revolution, approving the sense of order it brings, and to a degree approving of its anti-Semitism. Class in English history. Rigid sense of privilege of the upper class, denigration of the lower class. Women's suffrage is a long struggle.. (57.08.00) = Winston Churchill shares upper class values but is outspoken in the 1930s about the Nazi danger to England. ( = World War II. Germany invades Poland on September 1, 1939. England and France declare war. Churchill becomes Prime Minister in 1940. The mass evacuation of Dunkirk. The blitz and the survival of the RAF is an heroic story. ( = Pearl Harbor. Japan attacks on December 7, 1941 and the U.S. is in the war. The German all-out invasion of Russia in June, 1941. England and Russia become allies against a mutual enemy. Churchill and FDR have agreeable relationship despite the fact that England is the junior partner. The D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45. The turning point of the battle of Stalingrad. The inspiration of Churchill. The planned division of post-war Europe is in conflict with the people of those countries. Churchill's callousness in the matter of the German destruction of Coventry and the allied destruction of Dresden. ( = The war ends in 1945. Churchill is out of power at the moment of victory when Clement Attlee of the Labor Party wins Gains in the working class protections greatly improve their lives. ( = Churchill's Iron Curtain speech of 1946 is enthusiastically supported by President Harry Truman. ( = The effort to preserve its empire. The use of the Cold War to get the U.S. to help England preserve the British Empire. Greece is an example. The imposed European values, including backwardness, destruction of native cultures, and corruption are legacies of the colonial period. ( = Post-World War II England. The social gains endure. The Thatcher Years of the 1980s. The rise of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher. It is pro-business, anti-labor, anti-union. Massive layoffs after steel and other factories need only a fraction of past labor force, most unemployable. Social welfare blocked. The Falkland Island War against Argentina and the continued sense of empire. ( = Revival of the Labor Party. Under Tony Blair, it is more center, more pro-business. He backs the U.S. in Iraq War, unpopular in Europe. Speculation about Tony Blair's motivation. The future of English policies is up in the air. ( = Perspective. Culturally English history in science and literature is its own marvel. There is much greatness, much tragedy, much tribulation. This will continue into the future.
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