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The end of the war saw a refugee crisis unfold worldwide. "…the roads were thronged with a tide of footsore, weary, starving human beings. They trudged through shell churned fields, or the desolate grey ruins of towns and cities; bent beneath bundles of possessions, pulling rickety handcarts, shivering in threadbare coats as the chill of autumn gave way to the snows of winter. A restless, hungry mass of humanity, stumbling towards some half-imagined notion of home."

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Above right and left: street scenes from Now York and London. By the early nineteen fifties, the economic and commercial dominance of the nations that had forged the alliance against the dictators was to give rise to prosperity and an affluent middle class. These advantages came to Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand soon enough, but they came to none before America. Left: Chiang Kai-shek proclaims a unified Republic of China from the steps of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, Peking. He was to make his capital in Nanking however. Below: High technology, as embodied by the De Havilland Comet airliner, held out the promise of unprecedented advances in human flourishing.

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Left to right: Harry S. Truman (Democrat) 35th President of the United States, in office, 4th March, 1945 - 20th January, 1953. Adalai Stevenson (Democrat) 36th President of the United States, in office, 20th January, 1953 - 20th January, 1957. Archibald Sinclair (Liberal) Prime Minister of Britain, 20th February, 1941 - 15th June 1952. Anthony Eden (Conservative) Prime Minister of Britain, 8th October 1953 - 24th June 1956. Rupert Brabner (Conservative) Prime Minister of Britain, 24th June 1956 – 31st March 1967.

Above left: Lazar Kaganovich, leader of the Soviet Communist Party until 1952 when he was ousted by Nikita Khrushchev (above centre). Above right: Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1975.

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Above left: The flag of the Treaty of Warsaw Organisation, a defensive alliance of Western and Western aligned nations. Above centre: The emblem of the Bucharest Pact nations, a military alliance of the Soviet Union and its satellites. Above right: Prince Faisal of Iraq and his fiance, Sabiha. As King Faisal II he ruled Iraq as a constitutional monarch from 1953 until well into the 21st Century, initiating many reforms and advances. Despite the unsuccessful coup attempt of 1958, he and Queen Sabiha were revered and respected by the people of Iraq.

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The Suez Crisis brought the period of peace and stability that followed the Second World War to an abrupt end. It served as a warning to the western world that the Soviet Union and its proxies were once again determined to follow expansionist policies. Above left: Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Soviet stooge who had been installed as Egypt's leader in a coup, ordered an illegal takeover of the Suez Canal in July 1956. Above: Although their armed forces were unprepared, the British and French dispatched a task force to intervene. From nearest the camera to furthest, the British aircraft carriers HMS Steadfast, HMS Undaunted and HMS Centaur. Left: An RNAA Seahawk fighter, armed with ground to air rockets, prepares to launch from HMS Undaunted, 7th October 1956.

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Above left: French troops after the landings at Port Said. Behind them the oil tanks are burning. Above right: Royal Marine Commandos deploy from helicopters near El Quantara.


Above: An Egyptian MiG 15 fighter aircraft. The capabilities of some of the EAF's Soviet supplied aircraft came as a shock to Anglo-French forces and emphasised the growing capabilities of the USSR and its allies. Right: The Egyptians sank many vessels in the canal but it was back in operation within a few months of the resolution of the conflict.

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A few years after Suez, the Soviets found another proxy willing to help them test the resolve of the West. The Cuban Bomber Crisis again seemed to be impelling the world to the brink. Left: Fidel Castro denouncing America in a speech. Above: Castro and Khrushchev. Below left: A Soviet Tu 95 bomber intercepted by an American F 102 interceptor south of Key West. Below right: President Joseph P. Kennedy.

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Above left: The launch of Sputnik, the Soviets' first Satellite sparked terror in an already nervous American population. above right: A Russian cargo ship intercepted by an American destroyer near the Cayman Islands

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Top Row, left to right: Earl Warren, 37th president of the United States, in office, 20th January 1957 - 20th January, 1961 (Republican); Joseph P Kennedy, 38th president of the United States, in office, 20th January 1961 - 20th January, 1965 (Democrat); Barry Goldwater, 39th president of the United States, in office, 20th January 1965 - 20th January, 1973 (Republican); George McGovern 40th president of the United States, in office, 20th January 1973 - 20th January, 1977 (Democrat). Lower row, left to right: Harold Wilson, Prime Minister of Britain, 31st march 1967 - 5th April 1976 (Liberal); Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, 14th January 1964 - 5th December 1975; Chiang Kai-shek, President of China, 10th October 1928 - 5th April 1975, In his last years, Chiang Kai-shek’s outlook mellowed noticeably. A man who had previously never missed an opportunity to preen in the gaudy uniform of Generalissimo of China now mostly wore a ‘Chung Shan’ Suit; Dair Asanov, leader of the Adolat resistance movement and first President of Turkestan.

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Left: A Poster for the 1964 Nanking Olympics. The games signalled a new confidence and a growing prosperity in the Chinese state. Above left: American Astronaut John Glenn was the first man in space. Above right: The Dutch author Anne Frank won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. She based her first novels on her experiences of life in Nazi-occupied Holland.

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In Britain, tradition vied with modernity. Above left: The state funeral of Sir Archibald Sinclair, Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, took place on Saturday 20th June 1970. It was attended by six thousand people including representatives from a hundred and twenty countries. More than 300,000 people lined the route of the funeral cortege and it was witnessed by nearly 450 million through the medium of television. It was the largest state funeral ever staged anywhere. Above right: A revolution in attitudes was mirrored by radical changes in fashion and social mores. The photo depicts Carnaby Street, London in the summer of 1970.

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The sixties and early seventies were a time of change, realignment and upheaval worldwide. Top left and right. In South Africa and the United States the issues of civil rights and racial equality came to the fore. Left: A demonstration in Holland against the American military presence in Europe. Above: American motorcycle gangs seemed to present a serious danger to society. As one commentator put it: 'These weren’t just depraved, criminal savages, they were depraved, criminal savages on motorcycles! These filthy sub-human beasts could go anywhere in America over Earl Warren’s new Interstate Highway system! Unwashed pagans who fetishized their desires, gloried in their lack of personal hygiene and were liable to commit merciless slayings and other acts of random butchery at the slightest provocation! They were coming to your town! They were coming for your wives and daughters! They were coming for you!'

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The Crisis Cascade of 1973 I. Tensions over a tiny island on the Soviet - Chinese border threatened to cause war in north-east Asia. Top: A show of strength. M48 tanks of the Army of the Republic of China parade in Mingkunmen Square in Nanking. Above: T55 tanks of the Red Army on manoeuvres near the Chinese border.

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The Crisis Cascade of 1973 II. The situation in Japan spiralled into chaos. Above: The Diet in Tokyo became a battle ground when extremist positions of both left and right, whipped public sentiment into a frenzy. Right: Yukio Mishima an ultra nationalist and one of the instigators of Japan's descent into civil war. Below left: Demonstrations whose participants numbered in the hundreds of thousands were commonplace. Below right: They frequently turned violent.

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The Crisis Cascade of 1973 III. Right: There was a marked increase in the number and frequency of  Bucharest Pact forces seeking to provoke a confrontation with Western forces. Here A Soviet destroyer sails dangerously close to  a British aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. Below: An RAF Hawker Hotspur intercepts a Russian Tu 95 bomber over the North Sea.

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The Crisis Cascade of 1973 IV. The Middle East erupted into war as Western aligned Israel, fought Soviet aligned Syria and Egypt. Top left: An IAF Skyhawk Jet takes off for a patrol over the Jordan Valley. Top right: Israeli Centurion tanks on the Golan Heights. Above left: A Syrian T62 fires its main armament near the village of Nafah. Right: Soviet supplied SAM 6 missile batteries made the task of the Israeli Air Force difficult.


The Crisis Cascade of 1973 V. The Yellow Sea Incident of 12th October. An American aircraft carrier, the USS Ranger, was deliberately attacked in international waters by a Korean Tu 22 'Blinder' strike aircraft with anti-ship missiles. Both aircraft and missiles were Soviet supplied and Korea was a member of the Bucharest Pact. This action made an already dangerous international situation even worse. Above: A Korean Tu 22 aircraft. Above right: Ranger on fire in the Sea of Japan. Right: Damage on Ranger's flight deck after the strike. The fire left forty-six men dead and a hundred and fifty-one injured. It was the largest loss of life on an American warship since the Second World War.

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The Crisis Cascade of 1973 VI. 15th October, the 'Prayer From the Ocean of Storms.' Against the backdrop of the alarming events on Earth, the crew of Apollo 13 landed on the moon. Broadcasting live from the surface, astronaut 'Buzz' Aldrin, the mission commander, offered a prayer for peace that was heard around the world. Top left: Aquarius, the moon lander, shortly after undocking from Odyssey the lunar module. Top right: Aldrin in the lunar module shortly after landing. Above left: Planet Earth seen from space. Above right: John Farley, Apollo 13's mission pilot and the first Briton to walk on the moon.  

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Above left: Alexander Yakovlev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 5th December 1975 to 6th November 1978. Above right: Yuri Andropov who led the coup of May 1978 against him. Right: Moscow, Leningrad and other Russian cities became battlegrounds and at least a thousand people died in the fighting.

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The Mingkunmen Square Incident of 10th December 1977. Sixty-seven demonstrators were killed and several hundred injured in pro-democracy demonstrations in Nanking.

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The Iranian Revolution. The Shah had made many mistakes. Much of the vast wealth he had got from oil had been lost to corruption and poor planning and he had failed to greatly improve the lot of the Iranian people apart from a few at the top. Top left, top right and above: For months leading up to the end of 1978, Iran was shaken by rioting, political turmoil and anti-Shah protests. Above centre: Shapour Bakhtiar who was appointed prime minister 29th December 1979. Far right: The Shah and Shahbanu leave the country 16th January 1979. Right: A statue of the Shah in Tehran is torn down by rioters. Socialism, nationalism and liberalism all played a part in the fall of the House of Pahlavi, yet the label most commonly attached to the revolution in the short term was ‘Islamic.’

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Above, left to right: Ronald Reagan (Republican) 41st President of the United States, in office: 20th January, 1977 - 20th January, 1985. Albert Gore (Democrat) 43rd President of the United States, in office: 20th January, 1993 - 20th January, 2001. Mickey Leland (Democrat) 42nd President of the United States, in office: 20th January, 2001  - 20th January, 2005.

Left: Chiang Ching-kuo, President of China 20th May 1978 - 13th January 1988. He led the country from the death of his father, Chaing Kai-Shek, on 5th April 1975 but did not immediately assume the title of President. His reforms changed the Chinese state completely. Above: (Anson) Fang On-san, President of China 20th March 2004 - 7th June 2016. One of the chief architects of the NEATA Trade Agreement, she led China with with strength, grace and wisdom.

Three Prime Ministers of the UK. Left to right: Roy Jenkins (Liberal), in office 5/4/1976 – 22/4/80. Margaret Thatcher (Conservative), 22/4/80 – 15/2/91. David Owen (Liberal), 21/5/94 – 2/12/02.

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Above left: A Skylon spaceplane taxiing at Cape Canaveral spaceport. A vehicle capable of reaching space while taking off and landing conventionally, it was primarily used to deliver cargos to the Space Station where the spacecraft of Project Athena, the first manned missions to Mars, were assembled. Designed in the UK, it was a joint product of the British and American aerospace industries and a symbol of the technological heights the human race were capable of achieving in the early 21st Century. This vantage point also shows why it was nickamed 'The Crab.' Above right: Drake's Drum. Francis Drake took a drum with him on his voyage to circumnavigate the world which he undertook between 1577 and 1580. As he lay on his death bed off the coast of Panama in 1596 he ordered that the drum be taken to Buckland Abbey in Devon, where it remains to this day. People have claimed to have heard the drum beating on several occasions: in 1815 when Napoleon was brought into Plymouth Harbour as a prisoner; in August 1914 at the outbreak of the Great War and when the German navy surrendered at Scapa Flow in 1919. The last reported occasion on which the drum was heard was during the German invasion of Britain. Several of the survivors of the crew of HMS Revenge claim to have heard the drum at different times during their passage from Rosyth to St Mary’s Bay and there was a report that some German sailors claimed to have heard it as well.

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