History's HEROES?

What is a hero? section

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"Oliver Cromwell was the greatest Englishman who ever lived.

He was a humane and compassionate man. As a husband and father, he loved his family deeply. As a military commander, he developed a completely new kind of army which won the Civil War for parliament. As a political leader, he tried hard to avoid having his opponent, the king, executed, and was saddened when he had no option but to take that course. He also opposed extremists amongst his own supporters who would have caused havoc within the country, and very possibly caused England's enemies to invade. As a ruler, he showed religious tolerance unusual for the times by encouraging Jews back to these shores.

As for the so-called Irish massacres - one of them at least was caused by his soldiers getting out of hand - something that happens in every war in history, whoever is in command; and remember, this was at a time when the 30 Years War in Germany was just ending - with a third of Germany's population dead! Wars in those days were terrible. Cromwell wanted to minimize the death toll, to end the Irish war as quickly as possible, and he hoped that by dealing severely with towns that resisted him, others would lay down their arms. And that is what happened.

What Cromwell achieved has endured down to our own day. Under his leadership, Parliament showed its strength. From his time on, no monarch could ignore it. Within a generation of his death, in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, all the freedoms and rights for which Cromwell had fought were granted to the English people and their elected representatives. As a result, even today we have probably the most admired system of government of any country in the world."

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