Opinion

Personal views from University of Bath researchers on the news of the day

Tagged: anniversary

Is the EU anywhere near getting its own army?

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📥  EU Referendum, Heath Science & Technology

David J Galbreath, University of Bath and Simon J Smith, Staffordshire University

As part of a warning by a group of former military officers that the European Union undermines the UK’s military effectiveness, former General Sir Michael Rose expressed concern at the EU’s plan to set up its own army.

But in a speech on May 9 outlining why the UK would be more secure if it remained in the EU, Prime Minister David Cameron said suggestions of an EU army were “fanciful” and that the UK would veto any suggestion of it.

As Cameron pointed out, there is a significant gap between the rhetoric and reality of the establishment of a fully functional European army.

The creation of a European army is a long way off and by no means inevitable. Even the most supportive nations, such as Germany, would acknowledge this reality.

As defence falls within the intergovernmental sphere of EU law, any single member state can veto its creation ensuring that the prospect of the UK getting dragged into an EU army against its will is zero. In fact, one could argue that the UK remaining inside the EU would do more to prevent an EU army than a Brexit would.

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D-Day teaches us about struggle against tyranny & oppression

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📥  Public Policy

Dr Hanna Diamond, a leading Second World War expert from our Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies says the anniversary of French liberation is an important date to mark and reflect on. 

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the French Liberation, when over 130,000 Allied soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy to drive invading armies from France and re-establish the Republic on French soil.

Dr Diamond’s research has focused on the experience of war by ordinary people living in France at the time and in particular the role of women in liberation efforts. She is the author of ‘Women and the Second World War in France’ and ‘Fleeing Hitler – France 1940’ and its accompanying website www.fleeinghitler.org .Fleeing children

Speaking to our press officer Andrew Dunne, Hanna said: “The 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of France is an important anniversary to mark and reflect upon.

“This is the story of the liberation from Nazism of a major European country both through its own efforts and with the help of the Allies. Seventy years on from D-Day, it teaches us lessons about the struggle against tyranny and oppression and about the need for solidarity in the cause of freedom. These messages are as pertinent today as they were 70 years ago.”

Dr Diamond is currently involved in organising a major international conference, The Liberation of France: Histories and Memories, taking place at the Institut français in London on Friday 13 – Saturday 14 June. This event will be an opportunity to understand more about fighting in France and the role of ‘non- French’ – foreigners who were members of the Free French Forces – in the Liberation. It will also be an opportunity to discuss the ‘other occupation’ in France, of US forces.

The event features contributions from Lord Paddy Ashdown, author of the new book ‘The Cruel Victory – The French Resistance, D-Day and the Battle for the Vercors 1944’, and from Madame Rol-Tanguy, surviving widow of the Commander-in-Chief of the French Resistance forces who helped to liberate Paris.

Dr Diamond added: “Through first-hand accounts, visual records and new research emerging in the field, our upcoming event will help us to understand the Liberation not so much in terms of conflicts and armies and governments, but through the experiences of ordinary people who lived through it.”

Read Hanna's latest article published in today’s The Conversation, 70 years after D-Day, women of the French Resistance are finally being recognised”.