The greatest, and worst, moment in British history?

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Napp
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I'm curious as to peoples perspectives on this. What do people think was the greatest, and conversely the worst, aspect/point/occurrence in our island nations history?


For best, it's hard to say in ones book due the plethora of great moments and whilst i'm tempted to say winning WWII it seems a bit trite. Thus, i'll have to go with the defeat of the Armada that paved the way for Britain to become the power that it was.

On the worst, the opium wars. There is no greater stain on our national memory as what that war sought to achieve in my book.

What does everybody else think ?
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LuigiMario
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I'm not stalking, honest @Napp . You start some interesting threads!

Armada, wow - it's portrayed as a great victory, but it was a real mess. I think I heard a BBC WS programme last year on the Spanish side of the story. Eye-opening, looking at the other side sometimes. I sort of agree that UK didn't 'fall' to Catholicism, possibly as a result of the bad weather, not a 'planned' greatest hour, lot of happenstance involved.

I thought the WWII story of Churchill flying over to USA with a super 'gift' in his pocket might also have been apocryphal. I rate this highly, based upon Brit Engineering. It did however happen, exactly eighty-years ago, this week. But WSC just approved the Tizard Mission. The Magnetron RADAR valve was offered. I also like WSC's activities post-WWII when he co-founded the CoE. that showed the national wisdom & compassion, to prevent abuses of human rights, post-war.
Magnetron Wiky here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tizard_Mission
CoE (not the EC, but the Council of Europe, Human Rights) https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rig...hen-i-grow-up-

Worst: Opium? Unsure, there are a few 'highly likely' contenders, Opium War did at least provide us all with indian tea (stolen from China) and gave Britain Hong-Kong for a hundred years.
I think imprisoning an, say, aussie journalist, under barbaric conditions, were that ever to happen? - could be the worst ever achievement of the British state. But if it's not being talked about, then it isn't happening, obviously. see https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rig...hen-i-grow-up- again
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04MR17
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Personally I think the worst might be the civil war and/or reign of James II

I'd like to think our best has yet to come, though I do think Britain 1776-1789 was fairly decent.
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PTMalewski
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I think one of the most disgusting moments was the opium trade and wars in China.

I could add in Poland there is a concept of so called 'Western Betrayal' about WWII.

Several events account for the concept of the Western Betrayal:

1. The Munich Pact. The destruction of Chechoslovakia forced the Polish command to adopt a defense plan that assumed the long borders must be protected, instead of forming a central defense ring. The fear was that if Poland gave up the western lands without a fight, the Reich would then stop military action and the Allies would agree for another pact like the Munich Pact. However Polish authorities were partially guilty to this, as when Czechoslovakia was annexed, they also send an army to annex some disputed territory instead of backing up Czechoslovakia and opposing the pact.

2. Mobilization was announced on 30 August and called off under the pressure of the Allies. Together with generally poor mobilisation plan, this made the Polish Army to stand up against the invasion having 30% fewer troops that it could have had, and with many units concentrated at random places.

3. The agreements made at Yalta conference were openly contrary to the insterests of Poland and to the safety of its citizens. For these reasons it's also called 'Yalta Betrayal'

4. Only a cherry on top after selling Eastern Europe to the USSR, was that the Polish soldiers were not allowed to take part in the victory parade in the UK. Those who came back to Poland were killed, and those who stayed in the West did not receive any help from the British government. Even generals and heroes like general Sosabowski and Maczek had to earn their living working as low rank blue collar workers in factories and warehouses, or as bar tenders and so on.

The memory of this is vivid to this day, and among other historical events helps feeding Siege mentality that is cynically used by local politicians to do whatever they want and exploit the nation.
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Napp
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
3. The agreements made at Yalta conference were openly contrary to the insterests of Poland and to the safety of its citizens. For these reasons it's also called 'Yalta Betrayal'

4. Only a cherry on top after selling Eastern Europe to the USSR, was that the Polish soldiers were not allowed to take part in the victory parade in the UK. Those who came back to Poland were killed, and those who stayed in the West did not receive any help from the British government. Even generals and heroes like general Sosabowski and Maczek had to earn their living working as low rank blue collar workers in factories and warehouses, or as bar tenders and so on.

The memory of this is vivid to this day, and among other historical events helps feeding Siege mentality that is cynically used by local politicians to do whatever they want and exploit the nation.
In fairness, whilst it was still a damn shabby affair by the allies, there was practically nothing they could have done to save Poland at this point given the USSR was occupying it and there was no physical way to eject it.
Definitely a low point but one with no real alternative unfortunately.
On the other hand, handing over our allies and general opponents to Stalin - famously Ukrainians - was absolutely unforgivable in its cowardice.
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
I'm curious as to peoples perspectives on this. What do people think was the greatest, and conversely the worst, aspect/point/occurrence in our island nations history?


For best, it's hard to say in ones book due the plethora of great moments and whilst i'm tempted to say winning WWII it seems a bit trite. Thus, i'll have to go with the defeat of the Armada that paved the way for Britain to become the power that it was.

On the worst, the opium wars. There is no greater stain on our national memory as what that war sought to achieve in my book.

What does everybody else think ?
Best - The Commonwealth immigration allowed to the UK during the 40s/50s/60s.

Worst - The British response to the Sepoy mutiny of 1857/Bengal Famine.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
Best - The Commonwealth immigration allowed to the UK during the 40s/50s/60s.

Worst - The British response to the Sepoy mutiny of 1857/Bengal Famine.
Or to boil that down, when Britain was nice to India?
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by Napp)
In fairness, whilst it was still a damn shabby affair by the allies, there was practically nothing they could have done to save Poland at this point given the USSR was occupying it and there was no physical way to eject it.
Definitely a low point but one with no real alternative unfortunately.
On the other hand, handing over our allies and general opponents to Stalin - famously Ukrainians - was absolutely unforgivable in its cowardice.
I perfectly agree with that, but I'm from family that generaly shares believes contrary to the popular ones in Poland and I've graduated from political science. The concept is popular among the society and I'd say it's one of the reasons why these mobs are in power. There is no discussion with politically active Poles, either you agree with them, either you're a/an enemy agent/paid troll/not a true Pole/traitor.

I only disagree with how the generals were treated. It was just a few people, they should have been given pensions for their merits or at least some decent jobs somewhere. It would have helped your reputation at practically zero costs, and them to aid the veterans of the Polish Armed Forces in the West.
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
Or to boil that down, when Britain was nice to India?
Britain was rarely nice to India. In fact, they were too busy shoving spices up people's various holes.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
Britain was rarely nice to India. In fact, they were too busy shoving spices up people's various holes.
Well it kept them all employed in the 18th/19th centuries... if by drugging China :lol:
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
Well it kept them all employed in the 18th/19th centuries... if by drugging China :lol:
Drugs and spices. Summaries the British Empire quite well.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
Drugs and spices. Summaries the British Empire quite well.
Doesnt reflect very well on India either though..
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
Doesnt reflect very well on India either though..
How does it not reflect well on India?
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
How does it not reflect well on India?
Because one the key reasons Opium was continued to be exported into China was to ensure Indias economy didnt implode.
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(Original post by Napp)
Because one the key reasons Opium was continued to be exported into China was to ensure Indias economy didnt implode.
And who's fault was it that India's economy was collapsing? Oh yeah, the British policy of just plundering anything valuable.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
And who's fault was it that India's economy was collapsing? Oh yeah, the British policy of just plundering anything valuable.
Well thats clearly not true, especially to anyone with even a passing interest in economics.. Case in point, Indias drugs, Indias problem..
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Gundabad(good)
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(Original post by Napp)
Well thats clearly not true, especially to anyone with even a passing interest in economics.. Case in point, Indias drugs, Indias problem..
Stop saying that opium was India's fault when the British purposely decided to start shipping it to China to start a war in order to get the land of Hong Kong.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
Stop saying that opium was India's fault when the British purposely decided to start shipping it to China to start a war in order to get the land of Hong Kong.
Your grasp of the history of the opium war seems a bit off. The British did not grow opium in india specifically to start a war over Hong Kong. What absolute rubbish. Not least of all because Indian traders had been shipping opium to China for centuries before the British got their hands on the industry.
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(Original post by Napp)
Your grasp of the history of the opium war seems a bit off. The British did not grow opium in india specifically to start a war over Hong Kong. What absolute rubbish. Not least of all because Indian traders had been shipping opium to China for centuries before the British got their hands on the industry.
But the British did use opium to start a war or at least weaken China from the inside.
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Napp
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(Original post by Gundabad(good))
But the British did use opium to start a war or at least weaken China from the inside.
There is a vast chasm between selling opium to a country to extract money (specifically to lower the huge trade deficit with the celestial kingdom) and plotting to overthrow it through narco terrorism.
Any history on the matter will happily affirm the former and rubbish the latter. Britain not planning for any war with China on the matter, least of all to grab Hong Kong - that being purely incidental and a byproduct of the war not planned.
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