Jonathan Freedland takes The Long View of Spring Offensives.
As Ukraine prepares for what is anticipated will be a Russian Spring Offensive, Jonathan is joined by two historians. Dr Michael Jones looks back at the spring offensive of 1356 in the Hundred Years War, which would lead eventually to the Battle of Poitiers and the capture of the French King. Professor Heather Jones of University College London discusses the German offensive of 1918 at the end of the First World War.
In both cases the winter season forced the conflict to pause and allowed both sides to prepare for the Spring to come. The transition to spring is a time too for anxiety and tension.
The actors Roger Ringrose and Leah Marks provide illustrative readings.
The Producer is Tom Alban
Jonathan Freedland sheds light on current events through stories from the past.
As Donald Trump announces he's running for President a second time Jonathan takes the Long View of political leaders who made a comeback. The 7th century Byzantine Emperor Justinian II generated enormous opposition during his first reign from 685 to 695 with unfair tax rises, military defeats and ultimately ordering mass murder in Constantinople. He was overthrown, had his nose cut off by way of punishment and banished in exile to modern day Kherson, in Ukraine. Now known as 'Slit Nose' he declared he would become emperor again and slipped back into Constantinople with a military consort and retook power. He then embarked on an even more despotic and bloodthirsty reign meting out vengeance on his enemies past and present, until his own life was brought to a violent end, abandoned by his troops.
And the only US President to ever gain office in two non consecutive terms, Grover Cleveland. In the 1880's and 1890's, the Democrat won each time on tight margins. Although he was seen as a hard working, upstanding politician of probity, scandal surrounding extra-marital relations and I child out of wedlock dogged his presidential campaign. He declared 'Reform!' on the bloated Civil Service but when the vote went against him after his first term he vowed to his support base that he may have lost the battle, but not the war and he would be back. Four years later, he was. But the second term was even less successful than the first.
With Professor Adam Smith from Oxford University and Associate Professor Rebecca Darley from University of Leeds
Readings by David Hounslow, Chloe Sommer and Roger Ringrose
Producer Neil McCarthy
As Liz Truss resigns after 44 days in office, the shortest serving Prime Minister in UK history, Jonathan Freedland takes the Long View of short-lived leaders; from Emperor Didius Julianus in AD 193 to Prime Minister Lord Goderich in 1827.
Professor Tim Cornell, Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester
Dr Luke Blaxill, Political historian at Oxford University
Producer: Sarah Shebbeare
Strikes and the Labour Party
This summer, many Brits are striking or thinking about striking. From railway workers to barristers, Post Office workers to teachers, an unusually large wave of strikes continues to build as the summer goes on. As workers struggle with the cost of living and turn to industrial action, the Labour Party is divided on how to act. As the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer is walking a tightrope: the Party was founded on workers rights but strikes are disruptive and unpopular with many voters.
So how have Labour leaders in opposition dealt with mass strike action in the past? Jonathan Freedland takes the Long View.
Contributors: Professor Steven Fielding of the University of Nottingham and political historian Anne Perkins
Producer: Sarah Shebbeare
Studio Manager and mixing: Tim Heffer
Removing and Replacing Prime Ministers
In this edition of The Long View Jonathan Freedland finds historical comparisons to the current Tory leadership contest, considering moments in history when the Conservative Party has removed a prime minister and sought a new figure for Number 10.
He is first joined by Professor Laura Beers to discuss the removal of David Lloyd George in October 1922. Lloyd George, a Liberal, had led a War Time Coalition consisting of majority Conservative MPs. A charismatic figure, Lloyd George had a reputation as an innovator and a doer, but his time as PM was also plagued by scandal. Unhappy with the PMs economics, his foreign policy and his reputation, Conservative MPs met at the Carlton Club to decide whether to abandon the coalition and oust Lloyd George. Some of the loudest criticisms came from rising star and future PM, Stanley Baldwin who described Lloyd George as a 'dynamic force'.
Fast forward 40 years to 1963 and the Party is once again seeing a change of leader. This time after Harold Macmillan decides to resign on the eve of the Tory Conference, citing ill health. The non-democratic 'soundings' procedure, run by the party elite, settles on Alec Douglas-Home to be leader, refusing to back any of the favourites. The choice causes controversy and will have a lasting impact on how future leaders of the party are selected.
Presented by Jonathan Freedland
Produced by Sam Peach
Readings by David Hounslow