This month we consider some big historical exits. On that theme, for our July 4th broadcast we make some comparisons ( – some more tenuous than others – ) between the run up to American independence from Great Britain and the United Kingdom’s recent severance from the European Union.

In the second half of the show, we look at July 1957 and why and how Mao ended his invitation to ‘let a hundred flowers bloom’. In February he began to invite criticism of communist policies, in July he showed his true intentions. And many a dictator – not to mention demagogic corporate managers – have used the same tactics ever since.

Paul Letters is a historian, journalist, educator and novelist. See for more history, including a daily ‘On-This-Day-75-Years-Ago’ feed, with photographs. Plus the novel that combines: the real history of the Allies’ first strike against Nazi Germany; Paul’s granny’s escape (as a teenager) from 1939 Poland to 1940 Paris to wartime London; the ‘Double-Cross System’, the Special Operations Executive and assassination in Prague.

Each month on Noreen Mir’s 1-2-3 Show (RTHK Radio 3), Paul Letters examines events from this month in history. Recorded at Radio Television Hong Kong Studios, Broadcast Drive, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Cover work by Gill Bertram.