The Soviet Union’s most brutal dictator was in the papers this week when one of the last Stalin statues was torn down, in his birthplace of Gori, Georgia. This move represents an attempt by the pro-Western Georgian government to move away from its Communist past. However it may cause consternation with some Georgians who are proud that a local man became one of the world’s most powerful rulers.
One of Stalin’s last major actions on the international stage was his support for the Communist north in the Korean War, the 60th anniversary of which was marked this week. Disputes continue about who was responsible for starting the conflict, with signs that the Chinese may be reassessing their opinion of North Korean responsibility.
Back in England, there are concerns about the state of places of worship. An English Heritage report suggests that one in nine are in a very bad or poor condition and that close to £1 billion will be needed to bring them up to scratch. When it comes to museums though, the future seems much brighter, at least that’s what the nominations for the Arts Fund Prize seems to suggest.
History education is in the news again this week. The head-teacher of a top London private school fears that history is being downgraded in schools. Meanwhile a former Cabinet Secretary has expressed concerns about the prominence of Hitler in the history curriculum at the expense of other subjects.
One of the costliest pieces of history this week was a lock of Napoleon’s hair, which has just been sold at auction. Taken from his head after the French leader’s death in 1821, the hair sold for over £8,000. Mind you, that pales in comparison with a flag from Little Bighorn expected to cost £3 million when sold at auction.
And finally, 51 heritage enthusiasts had to be freed from a Welsh castle when a crane accidentally crushed the drawbridge. Nobody was hurt in the incident but repairs had to be carried out.