The Devil of History is probably not yet awake. The following is a prerecorded New Years Day announcement.
Welcome to 2013, a year that mostly falls between the obvious anniversaries.
As a year of the War of 1812 that doesn’t end in -12, I wouldn’t expect much publicity for the bicentennial commemoration. Still, for those of us living in Canada, 1813 was the year everything happened: the battles of York, Stoney Creek, Beaver Dams (feat. Laura Secord), Lake Erie, the Thames (feat. Tecumseh’s last stand), Chateauguay (feat. the myth of heroic Canadian militia), and Crysler’s Farm.
Is this a good time to mention that I wrote about two of those for Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids last year?
Most of the world will be gearing up for the start of World War One’s centennial, though the last year of Europe’s long peace isn’t exactly obvious to commemorate. Even if no one else is talking about the anniversary of France’s “Three-Year Law” on conscription and the German Army Law of 1913, you can be sure we will here at Devil of History.
More likely to get a good send-off is the bicentennial of the battle of Leipzig, which broke Napoleon’s empire and led to the end of the Napoleonic Wars (not counting that “close-run thing” two years later at Waterloo). Leipzig and the 1813 campaign are important not just for their climactic role in that war, but also for how they resonated in German memory a century later: expect at least a few words on the Völkerschlachtdenkmal memorial.
Going into year two of the American Civil War sesquicentennial, which includes the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, is the anniversary most likely to make the news. Here at Devil of History we rarely mention the American Civil War, but we will definitely take some time for the 20th anniversary of the filming of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels.