Friday, November 18, 2011

A Non-Serious, Non-History related post

  • I’m just putting this on my blog for the fun of it. It has next to ZERO historical value.  Well, it has ZERO.
  • But as an historian, I’m inclined to make observations and draw conclusions.
  • Here are observations I’ve made about (let’s face it, everyone who knows me well knows that this is one of my favorite shows) Downton Abbey. Here are the observations I’ve made about the fans…they seem to have multiple things in common. Why?  They blog about all the things they love and hate.  Oh, the irony in all of this!

This one is probably pretty obvious, but Downton Abbey fans all seem to love period pieces.  If you go on YouTube you can see the people who upload DA clips are the same people uploading North and South clips, Larkrise to Candleford clips, Persuasion clips, and Pride and Prejudice clips (but only the 1996 BBC version with Jennifer Ehle and pssssst…the real Mr. Darcy).
NO ONE can do what I do

Another unifying theme amongst Downton fans is their love of Meyers-Briggs typology.  One conversation on a message board went something like this: “Do you think Mary is INTJ? Another poster: “Well, she’s certainly a dominant extrovert, introverted thinking…so I believe she may be an ENTJ, given her goals for achievement and her ruthlessness”.  My personal theory…Mary is an extroverted feeler, with a melancholy-sanguine temperament.  But that’s just my opinion.

Downton Abbey fans love dogs.  Especially Labrador Retrievers.  I know this because when you go on IMDB’s Downton Abbey website, look under the question heading (and there are questions similar to this) “which of the characters should have an expanded story line?”…many people answer“Isis!” Yes, Isis, the adorable yellow lab on Downton.  People even joke that Isis should have a similar story to Branson and Sybil.  Isis gets impregnated by a campy dog and they have mutts, Irish-English mule children. 

Let’s face it, dog lovers usually either hate cats (they are rather bizarre animals), or just don’t like cats all that much. There are no cats on Downton Abbey. Well ok-there was one cat in series 1 and the maid, Gwen, told it to “get back to the stables!”  Okay, I retract my previous statement. There’s a possibility that there are indeed two cats on DA: the one that Gwen told off, and the mummified cat in Lord and Lady Carnarvon’s King Tut exhibit.  I’m sorry. The dark humor that I attribute to my Irish heritage is showing through. 

 Downton Abbey fans seem to have a fascination with Dame Maggie Smith.  Fans are either huge Harry Potter fans “It’s Professor McGonagall!” Or are just huge fans because #everythingshedoesisbrilliant:  A brief recap of my first impressions of her awesomeness as a kid.  Maggie Smith…


As Lady Hester Random in Tea with Musulinni

As Mrs. Madlock in The Secret Garden
As Granny Wendy in Hook
Oh man…all of those are Edwardian (or soon after) Era storylines.  Must be she’s the shizzz (or I’ve discovered a theme in my life).

It’s also a unifying belief for Downton Abbey fans, who are also inadvertently fans of Greek drama*, that you should have a Twitter account. (Because we ALL know the Dowager Countess referenced Mary/Matthew’s relationship being like a Greek drama for a reason…because Julian Fellows WRITES Downton Abbey itself like a Greek drama).  It’s important to have a Twitter account just so the actors can reassure you that the characters are going in a certain direction. Fact: so many Twitter accounts were made during the second series.

*for those of you who need a refresher have been living under a rock, a Greek Drama is a drama where half of the story takes place off-stage (or in this case off screen) and the audience is left to connect the dots.

Downton Abbey fans also love Sci Fi.  We’re talking Dr. Who, Torchwood, Firefly, Star Wars, Star loser Trek and of course, Tron Legacy. In case you had any doubts about DA fans being HUGE dorks, your suspicions have now been confirmed.  But as I said as a dorky little 19 year old, I will say again as a dorky little 24 year old…people love dorkiness because it’s real.

Most Downton Abbey fans wax sentimental that more people should watch Downton Abbey, because they don’t have enough people to talk about it with.   Hahaha!  I think these people coincidently, are American viewers. *Goes in a corner and sobs. *

We’re all fabulous.   And I should live in the UK now, bye!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Importance Of Submarines In World War I

German U-boat U-14
      The submarine  made its debut as a successful addition to the navy and became fully implemented in World War I.  No other war up until this point had been able to use the submarine to its best capacity and to as great a deal of success as it was in World War I.  The Civil War in America had been one of the first to use something like submarines, but it was to little if any advantage and these submarines were very primitive and quite dangerous.  During World War I, the submarine was a viable tool, and the Germans were the first to use it to their advantage starting in 1914. The German "U-boat" as it was called, shortened from the word Unterseeboot, was the finest example of submarines during this time and their primary use was to transport cargo. At the beginning of the war submarines were largely used near the shoreline, but the U-boat set the bar for submarines in warfare.  The U-boat was able to chart 12 knot speeds when surfaced and 7 knot speeds underwater, (close to 12 and 7 mph respectively). Submarines during this time operated by diesel when surfaced, and ran on electricity when submerged.

Germany had about 20 operational U-boats in 1914, and while submarines were seen simply as a cargo transport tool at the onset of the war, submarines were making their mark as an essential and permanent component to any well rounded navy.  During World War I, more than 5,000 allied ships were sunk by German U-boats and Germany also developed technology that enabled U-boats to lay mines on the ocean floor. At the outset of the war America was neutral but sending supplies to Great Britain.  When the Germans learned of this, their first reaction was sabotage; to completely disable their enemy, and this meant torpedoing any ship that was sending food, basic supplies, or arms equipment.  The bombing of American convoys to Great Britain by German submarines was one of the major factors, among others, that led to America joining the allied powers in World War I.   Germany declared unrestricted Submarine Warfare on January 9th, 1917. The English Channel and the Irish Sea were declared a month later to be a war zone. This declaration ensured America’s entrance into the war, and Germany knew that American entrance was likely to happen.  Prior to the declaration of 1917, America made it clear that Germany was responsible for any American casualties.  German Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg persuaded German generals to not sink any neutral ships. The sinking of any civilian passenger ships was also off limits.  This rule was followed unless neutral ships were carrying supplies to aid the Allies.  But the sinking of the British ships the Lusitania and the Arabic both in 1915, which carried American passengers, threatened American-German diplomacy.  It was the final straw when in 1916 the passenger ferry Sussex was torpedoed by a U-boat and outright unrestricted submarine warfare was declared by Germany in 1917 that America joined the Allied Forces. 

It is somewhat lost upon the general population the importance of  submarines in warfare other than for stealth, but the submarine did make a substantial mark upon the nature, and overall outcome of World War I.  We can conclude that the two most marked attributes of World War I were the introduction of trench warfare, and submarines.  As cliche as it sounds, the constitution of war was never the same after

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Tree of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (later renamed House of Windsor)

-Basic family tree of the British Monarchy, pre-Edwardian and Edwardian.

Prince Edward Duke of Kent and Strathearn+ Princess Victoria of Saxe -Coburg- Saalfeld

Queen Victoria
+Prince Consort Albert of Saxe- Coburg-Gotha

Edward VII
+ Princess Alexandra of Denmark

George V
+ Princess Victoria Mary “May” of Teck