Opinion Articles

H&P encourages historians to use their expertise to shed light on issues of the day. If you are interested in submitting an opinion piece for publication, please see our editorial guidelines. We currently have 293 Opinion Articles listed by date and they are all freely searchable by theme, author or keyword.


Fixing loneliness – a pre-pandemic problem

Loneliness is discussed as a key effect of the pandemic, but David Vincent points out that the problem pre-dates Covid-19 and there is little evidence yet that the crisis has made things worse

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Thucydides on epidemics and social norms

Thucydides' account of the Athenian plague and its social disruption has been heavily drawn upon during today's pandemic, as Neville Morley explains. Yet Thucydides was not offering immutable laws of human behaviour – and there are aspects of today's social norms around Covid-19 that he might have approved.

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India’s worst affected: the socio-economic parallels between influenza (1918-19) and Covid-19 in Mumbai

Mrunmayee Satam shows that mortality rates in the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 differed startlingly by caste in Mumbai, and the same risks remain today in the city's most congested quarters, where social distancing and self-quarantine is all but impossible

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Epidemics and society: plague in early modern Italy

John Henderson finds some familiar features of the current lockdown situation in early modern Italy - and some compassionate, charity-driven behaviour.

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Loosening lockdown: lessons from the blackout

The Second World War blackout offers us a close analogy to the Covid-19 lockdown, say Henry Irving and Marc Wiggam – complete with flouting of the rules, and opposition to its being lifted.

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On VE Day: we should look to 1942 for inspiration, not the Blitz or 1945

1942 saw the nadir of the war, but also the publication of the Beveridge Report and a profound national discussion on what postwar society should be like, says Lucy Noakes. What should we change in a post-Covid future?

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Covid-19 is not a Black Swan: predictable shocks need fully-funded, resilient public services

In a globalised world, new pathogens made their way to Britain and killed thousands, while a social security system depleted for ideological motives failed to cope. Not today, but the 1830s and 1840s, says Simon Szreter.

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The need for a new National Food Policy: food supply problems during national emergencies

Supply chain inadequacies and agricultural worker shortages - the Covid crisis is highlighting the lack of a coherent and integrated national food policy, say John Martin and James P. Bowen

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Public Enemy number one: terrorism, security, and Covid-19

The terrorist threat metaphor acted as a wake-up call at the start of the crisis, says Chris Millington – but it may open the door to authoritarian measures in the name of public health security.

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Soldiering a pandemic: the threat of militarized rhetoric in addressing Covid-19

Christoph Laucht and Susan T. Jackson explore the language leaders deploy to map certainty onto an uncertain, frightening time - but at what cost to international co-operation, and to individual empowerment? 

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