Episode 034

It was a shot that resounded across the world. 100 years ago this month, Gavrilo Princip, a young Serbian nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, in Sarajevo. The hapless Archduke fell victim to the rising tide of nationalism within the ramshackle empire, which was falling apart at the seams. The subsequent geopolitical developments would quickly envelop the world in the First World War. Joining us first is our own house historian on matters of war: Max Arthur OBE.

European empires grew vastly rich on the ghastly trade of enslaving other human beings. Slavery largely, though not wholly, died out but the racism which underpinned it never did. Britain of course was the pre-eminent European slaver, but the Netherlands – nowadays synonymous with liberal values – was a brute slaver too, and perhaps first in the race to racialize all discourse. Our second guest, Dr Dienke Hondius, teaches in Amsterdam and has released a new book on slavery and racism called ‘Blackness in Western Europe’.

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