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  1. History Pitch introduction
  2. About the format
  3. The History Pitch event: a marriage between offline and online content
  4. A unique integration of social media and the classical lecture
  5. WW1 as an example. How does a History Pitch event work?
  6. The Iron Wire on the Dutch-Belgian border
  7. A format for extra content
  8. The transfer of Allied intelligence
  9. A clandestine postal service: letters from the Western front
  10. German deserters, Belgian military aged men and local smugglers
  11. The faith of the victims: electrocution
  12. To sum up the History Pitch format

Welcome to Castle Groeneveld 1. in Baarn My name is Peter Kruit. I’m an historian and military researcher. 2. 3. 4. I want to tell you about a new platform of information; History Pitch. 5. History Pitch gives YOU the ability to share historical lectures online for a wider audience, in an attractive, easily accessible manner. We will do this by changing the way we deliver the messages.

On the screens around me, you will see additional information: We’ve have a ‘table of contents’, helping you to navigate through topics of the lecture. ‘Presentation points’ show you a summary of the information. There could be images and films, with clickable and downloadable content… …and there are references showing where you can get additional information. What’s new about this approach, is that all this information is synchronized with the spoken words. In this way we can offer more varied and interesting content, without losing sight of the key messages.

We’ll start by organizing a series of short pitches or lectures about an historical event. One History Pitch event will have 10 or 12 pitches, each roughly 15 minutes in length . They will be live events you can visit in person, or, watch in realtime online. The pitches will then be available at any time via the website 6.. By having a series of History Pitch events, over time, a massive library containing a wide variety of subjects will be formed.

So what’s so special about this platform? Well, History Pitch integrates social media and the classical lecture in a way that has never been done before. It becomes a modern encyclopedia, a “facebook” of knowledge. The audience meets on the website; shares information, discusses new ideas and a community of information is created.

So, how do we start? 2014 marks the Centennial Commemoration of World War One–“The Great War”. 7. This would be an ideal time to host a History Pitch event, so let’s use this as an example of how an event will work.

During World War One the Netherlands maintained a reasonably neutral position, but the war had a much bigger impact on the country than most people know. In the spring and summer of 1915 the German military erected a massive, high-voltage electric fence that spanned a distance of over 300km. 8. 9. It ran from the southwestern tip of the Netherlands to the German border in the southeast. The fence known as the “Iron Wire” 10. 11. And carried a deadly charge of 2000 volts. 12.

On the screens around me you can see the information I wouldn’t share directly with my audience in a normal lecture. But History Pitch gives another way into the subjects being discussed enabling you to find out more. The German occupation forces in Belgium had many reasons for the construction of the Iron Wire.

The British foreign espionage agency MI6, had its European headquarters in the Netherlands–in the city of Rotterdam. 13. 14. 15. At the time, MI6 had a vast network of informants and spies gathering intelligence in occupied Belgium, but they had to transfer the information across the border to Rotterdam HQ, before it could be sent securely to London and then finally inform the Commanders on the Western Front. 16. 17.

A similar round-about route was taken by a clandestine postal service. The soldiers of the Belgium Army on the Western Front were cut off from their families in occupied Belgium and so in the first months of the war, a postal system was organized to go via Great Britain and the Netherlands into Belgium and visa versa. 18. These letters could contain sensitive information and there was no way for the German forces to control it.

The German Army also wanted to obstruct deserters 19. fleeing into the Netherlands and to halt the stream of Belgian men making their way to fight on the Western Front. 20. Local smugglers, who been transporting fuel and provisions through the area for centuries 21., acted as guides for anyone who wished to cross the border, including British spies and the fence was designed to put a stop to it.

At a height of over 3 meters it was a formidable obstacle 22. and although 25,000 men and women and children successfully breached the barrier at least 500 people are known to have been electrocuted whilst trying and some say as many as 3000. Today monuments still remember the victims of the Iron Wire. 23.

Of course I could tell you a lot more about the Iron Wire... …what it meant for the border communities to have a deadly electrified fence cutting through their hamlet… 24. …or how the Belgian Count Lionel de Secillon set-up a pole–vaulting training center in his castle close to the Dutch border, for anyone who had the guts to jump the Iron Wire. 25. To sum up the History Pitch format. It offers the opportunity to share inspiring stories to a wider audience. The extra content for the overview, references, images and films, enables you to share more information than would be possible during a typical lecture. In time, a whole online library of lectures with all manner of additional content is created. And the pitches can be shared very easily in a community where people can meet, discuss and get inspired. Both in person and online. Thank you for your time and I hope to see you at a History Pitch event soon.

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