Ever wonder what it is about the month of October? So many battles..
1942 The Second Battle of El Alamein .
1899 Battle at Rietfontein.South Africa.
1854 Charge of the light brigade Crimean War
1781: The American War of Independence ends with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis to George Washington
1066: Battle of Hastings
50 years ago today the world ignored the plight of the brave men and women of Hungary. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Stalinist government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies. It lasted from 23 October until 10 November 1956 when russian tanks appeared in Budapest.
Britian and France had problems in the mediterreanean with the nationalization of the Suez Canal in early 1956 which was a threat to european economic interests. The British government decided in favour of military intervention against Egypt to avoid the complete collapse of British prestige in the region. They concluded a military pact with France and Israel that was aimed at regaining control over the Suez Canal and freeing Gaza of terrorist camps. The operation, aimed at taking the Suez Canal, was highly successful from a military point of view but was a political disaster due to external forces . The United States who saw an opportunity to enhance its own influence in the middle east put financial pressure on Great Britain to end the invasion. They threatened to sell part of the US Government’s Sterling Bond holdings. Britain’s foreign exchange reserves simply could not sustain a devaluation of the pound that would come after the United States’ actions; Within weeks of such a move, the country would be unable to import the food and energy supplies needed simply to sustain the population on the islands. In concert with US actions, Saudi Arabia started an oil embargo against Britain and France. The U.S. refused to fill the gap until Britain and France agreed to a rapid withdrawal. This was completed by the end of 1956. The imposed end to the crisis signalled the definitive ending of the british and French influence and created a vacuum since filled by warlike dictators. It would be another 30 years before Hungary established its freedom from soviet tyranny.
THE BATTLE OF AGINCOURT
On St Crispin’s day, the 25th October 1415 an exhausted, sick and starving English army are faced by a confident foe outnumbering them four to one. Forced into battle and against all odds, they annihilate the French and slaughtered the flower of French nobility.
“If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
‘ King Henry V’
Wm. Shakespeare [1564 – 1616]