Tag Archives: World War II

this day in the yesteryear: Adolf Hitler Publishes First Volume of Mein Kampf (1925)


Adolf Hitler Publishes First Volume of Mein Kampf (1925)

Hitler dictated his manifesto, whose title means “my struggle,” while serving a prison term for treason. The book, filled with anti-Semitic outpourings, political ideology, and strategy for world domination, became the bible of National Socialism. By the end of WWII, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany—owing much to the fact that every newlywed couple and every soldier at the battlefront received a free copy. Where is it illegal to sell copies of the book? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Medal of Honor Authorized by US Congress (1862)


Medal of Honor Authorized by US Congress (1862)

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the US. It is presented by the president for “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of…life above and beyond the call of duty” while engaged in an action against an enemy. Members of all branches of the US military are eligible to receive the medal, but each branch has its own special design. The Philadelphia Mint designed the medal, which was first awarded during the Civil War. How many soldiers have received the medal twice? More… Discuss

Refugee Numbers Highest Since World War II (51, 000, 000 people forced to leave their homes: shame on the world leaders and ONU!)


Refugee Numbers Highest Since
World War II

The number of refugees worldwide has risen to levels not seen since World War II. There are an estimated 51.2 million people now displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution. Of these, 6.3 million have been living in “protracted” refugee situations, meaning they have been refugees for years, even decades. The surge in refugees is straining available resources and destabilizing some of the countries to which they have fled. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Jean Moulin (1899)


Jean Moulin (1899)

Jean Moulin was a high-profile member of the French resistance during World War II. At Charles de Gaulle‘s

Logo Résistance française (Jean Moulin et Croi...

Logo Résistance française (Jean Moulin et Croix de Lorraine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

bidding, he formed the National Council of the Resistance, which coordinated the actions of the different groups that made up the Resistance. A day after his birthday in 1943, he was captured and tortured by the Gestapo and died soon after. He is remembered as a symbol of civic virtues, moral rectitude, and patriotism. Why is Moulin often depicted wearing a scarf around his neck? More… Discuss

Richard Strauss – Metamorphosen, für 23 Streicher, Staatskapelle Dresden, Rudolf Kempe (1973): In Memoriam!


Richard Strauss – Metamorphosen, für 23 Streicher, Staatskapelle Dresden, Rudolf Kempe (1973)

Dresden WWII bombing pre- and after pictures (English) 

View of the city, aka Florence of the north.
After the bombing.
View of the city, aka Florence of the north. After the bombing.
Sophie-Church, as it looked before.
It's never been rebuild.
Sophie-Church, as it looked before. It’s never been rebuild.
Church of our Lady.
Collapsed later due to heavy destruction.
Church of our Lady. Collapsed later due to heavy destruction.
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this day in the yesteryear: D-Day: The Allies Land on Normandy Beaches (1944)


D-Day: The Allies Land on Normandy Beaches (1944)

The Battle of Normandy during World War II was fought between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allied armies. More than 156,000 troops crossed the English Channel during the initial invasion, which remains the largest amphibious landing in history. The campaign continued for more than two months and concluded with the liberation of Paris. Of the Allies’ five landing points, Omaha Beach proved to be the most deadly. How many troops were killed there that day? More… Discuss

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historic musical momants: Ravel plays Ravel – Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1913 Welte Mignon Recording)


Ravel plays Ravel – Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1913 Welte Mignon Recording)

An excellent reproduction of Ravel’s 1913 Welte Mignon reproducing piano recording. This recording is free of the tempo hiccups and pedaling errors which hackneyed previous releases. The mechanism of the Welte Mignon reproducing piano system is not fully understood, as the inner workings of the units were a heavily guarded secret. There are no known Welte Mignon recording units still in existence. There were very few to begin with, and all were either dismantled or destroyed during World War II.

Special thanks to Professor Anatole Leikin of the University of California, Santa Cruz for recommending this fantastic recording and taking time to answer my questions about reproducing pianos. Be sure to pick up Professor Leikin’s fantastic new book, “The Performing Style of Alexander Scriabin” in which he explores the nuances of this unique composer’s performing style in the broader context of Romantic performance practice. Follow the link below to purchase this wonderful book!

Link to book:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Performing-…

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this day in the yesteryear: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England (1953)


Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England (1953)

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, is the elder daughter and successor of George VI. At age 18, she was made a state counsellor, a confidante of the King. During World War II, she trained as a second lieutenant in the women’s services. In 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh. They were in Kenya when the King died and Elizabeth succeeded to the throne. Her coronation was the first to be televised. Elizabeth is Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch. Who is the first? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: Ho Chi Minh (1890)


Ho Chi Minh (1890)

Ho was a Vietnamese nationalist leader, president of North Vietnam, and one of the most influential political leaders of the 20th century. Near the end of World War I, he went to France and became a founding member of the French Communist Party. He studied revolutionary tactics in Moscow and organized revolutionaries in Indochina. During World War II, Ho returned to Vietnam and declared it a republic. Why was news of his death in 1969 initially withheld from the North Vietnamese people? More… Discuss

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this day in the yesteryear: J. Edgar Hoover Appointed Director of FBI (1924)


J. Edgar Hoover Appointed Director of FBI (1924)

As FBI director from 1924 until his death in 1972, Hoover built a more efficient crime-fighting agency and established a centralized fingerprint file, a crime laboratory, and a training school for police. After World War II, he turned to the perceived threat of Communist subversion with a focus that his many critics considered obsessive. It has been verified that he orchestrated systematic harassment of political dissenters and activists, including what celebrated civil-rights leader? More… Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: POST-WAR JAPANESE CONSTITUTION GOES INTO EFFECT (1947)


Post-War Japanese Constitution Goes into Effect (1947)

The Constitution of Japan was drawn up under the Allied occupation that followed World War II. It replaced Japan‘s previous imperial system with a form of liberal democracy, which provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees human rights. Under its terms, Japan renounces the right to wage war, and the emperor exercises a purely ceremonial role, with the prime minister acting as the head of government. What amendments have been made to the constitution since its adoption? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP (1893)


Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893)

Ribbentrop was Nazi Germany’s foreign minister from 1938 until 1945, during which time he helped negotiate the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939, which set the stage for Germany‘s attack on Poland that touched off World War II. He, like so many other Nazi officials, was an active participant in the “Final Solution” and various other atrocities and was one of the few who paid with his life at Nuremberg, where he was tried, convicted, and hanged for his war crimes. What were his last words? More…Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: “BRITISH BANG” ON GERMAN ARCHIPELAGO (1947)


“British Bang” on German Archipelago (1947)

Heligoland is a pair of small German islands located in the North Sea, comprising the main island and the smaller island of Düne. The main island is commonly divided into three geographic sections, the last of which came into being in 1947, when the British Royal Navy detonated 6,700 tonnes of explosives on the island, actually changing its shape. The so-called British Bang was one of the largest non-nuclear single detonations in history. Why did the British bomb the island? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: ROD STEIGER (1925)


Rod Steiger (1925)

American actor Rod Steiger got his start in the 1950s and quickly made a name for himself in Hollywood. Over the course of the next five decades, he appeared in dozens of motion pictures. He was thrice nominated for an Academy Award and won once—for his portrayal of Sheriff Bill Gillespie in In the Heat of the Night. As a teen, Steiger ran away from home to join the US Navy during World War II, but later his refusal to glorify war led him to turn down the title role in what film? More… Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: HARRY TRUMAN BECOMES 33RD PRESIDENT OF THE US (1945)


Harry Truman Becomes 33rd President of the US (1945)

Truman was the 33rd president of the US. He is remembered for authorizing the use of atomic bombs against Japan and for his opposition to Communism. A Democrat who largely accepted the New Deal tradition, he presided over victory in World War II and the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. His administration also oversaw the beginning of the Cold War and the desegregation of the US armed forces. What famous headline ran in the Chicago Tribune the day after Truman won his second term? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: BATAAN DAY


Bataan Day

This is a national legal holiday in the Philippines, in commemoration of the disastrous World War II Battle of Bataan in 1942, in which the Philippines fell to the Japanese. It is also known as Araw ng Kagitingan, or Heroes Day. Also remembered on this date are the 37,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers who were captured, and the thousands who died during the infamous 70-mile “death march” from Mariveles to a Japanese concentration camp inland at San Fernando. Ceremonies are held at Mt. Samat Shrine, the site of side-by-side fighting by Filipino and American troopsMore… Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: HOSTESS TWINKIES ARE INVENTED (1930)


Hostess Twinkies Are Invented (1930)

The Twinkie was invented by baker James Dewar, who noticed that the shop’s shortcake pans were only used during the strawberry season and otherwise sat idle. His thrifty idea to use the pans during the off-season led to the development of the banana-filled Twinkie snack cake. During a World War II banana shortage, vanilla filling replaced the original banana. Twinkies disappeared from US shelves in 2012 when Hostess declared bankruptcy but returned in 2013. What is the “Twinkie defense”? More… Discuss

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NEWS: WORLD WAR II STILL CLAIMING LIVES


World War II Still Claiming Lives

At least seven people were killed and 19 others injured when a World War II-era bomb detonated in a scrap metal warehouse in Bangkok, Thailand. The 500-lb (227-kg) bomb had been found by construction workers, who assumed it was inactive and sold it for scrap. When warehouse workers attempted to disassemble the bomb using a blowtorch, it exploded with devastating effect. This incident serves as a tragic reminder of the dangers posed by unexploded munitions and the need to call in experts any time such a device is found. More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: WILLIAM MANCHESTER (1922)


William Manchester (1922)

Manchester, an American historian, biographer, and bestselling author, published 18 books during his lifetime, including three popular volumes on US president John F. Kennedy. His writings have been translated into multiple languages. He served as a Marine during World War II, and his wartime experiences formed the basis for Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War. Why did Jacqueline Kennedy file a lawsuit to prevent the publication of Manchester’s The Death of a PresidentMore… Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: FAEROE ISLANDS GAIN HOME RULE (1948)


Faeroe Islands Gain Home Rule (1948)

The Faeroe Islands are a group of volcanic islands first settled by Irish monks circa 700 CE and colonized by Vikings about a century later. Since 1380, the islands have been under Danish rule. After World War II, the Faeroese sought independence, but the Danish king blocked any chance of this by dissolving the Faeroese parliament following a 1946 referendum in which residents voted for independence. Two years later, they were granted self-government. Where in the world are the Faeroe Islands? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: MYANMAR ARMED FORCES DAY


Myanmar Armed Forces Day

Throughout most of the 1800s, the Union of Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989, was ruled by the British.Aung San, an outspoken student leader, helped the Japanese oust the British, and the Japanese ruled Burma from 1942 until 1945. On March 27, 1945, he helped the World War II Allied forces remove the Japanese from power. Myanmar celebrates Armed Forces Day on March 27 to commemorate the day that Aung San rebelled against the Japanese. The day is celebrated with a military parade and fireworks. Since 1989, the Tatmadaw has made it a tradition to pardon several prisoners on this day. More… Discuss

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ARTICLE: THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA


The Leaning Tower of Pisa

In 1173, construction began on the final building of the cathedral complex in Pisa, Italy. The bell tower was designed to stand 185 feet (56 m) tall, but uneven settling of its foundation caused its 5.5-degree lean. Work was suspended several times, but the structure was still leaning upon completion in the 14th century. The tower’s tilt only worsened over time, prompting a recent strengthening project to prevent collapse. How did the tower narrowly escape destruction during World War II? More… Discuss

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: JAPAN ATTACKS AUSTRALIA (1942)


Japan Attacks Australia (1942)

In aviation’s early days, the pearling port of Broome in Western Australia served as a refueling point for planes flying between the Dutch East Indies—now Indonesia—and inland Australia. Therefore, when Japan invaded Java during World War II, the Allied evacuation route for Dutch refugees included a stop in Broome. On March 3, 1942, Japanese fighter planes attacked Broome, destroying upwards of 20 Allied aircraft, some of which were loaded with refugees at the time. How many died? More… Discuss

 

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ARTICLE: GEISHA: “ART PERSON”


Geisha: “Art Person”

A geisha is a traditional Japanese artist-entertainer skilled at conversation, singing, and dancing. The geisha system likely originated in the 17th century to provide a class of well-trained entertainers separate from courtesans and prostitutes. Even though geisha are usually women, the first ones were actually men. The numbers of geisha have declined from some 80,000 in the 1920s to a few thousand today. Why did geisha often paint their teeth black as part of their formal make-up? More… Discuss

 

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: POPE PIUS XII (1876)


Pope Pius XII (1876)

Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli succeeded Pope Pius XI as Pius XII in 1939. Though he pursued projects aimed at helping prisoners and refugees of World War II, he maintained the Vatican‘s neutrality for the duration of the conflict, believing that preserving relations with all the belligerents would aid his efforts to bring about peace. These wartime policies have since aroused considerable controversy. Which famous Jewish figures have expressed gratitude for his actions? More… Discuss

 

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: THE 228 MASSACRE (1947)


The 228 Massacre (1947)

Following Japan‘s defeat in World War II, Taiwan was placed under the administrative control of the Republic of China. The transition did not go smoothly. The Taiwanese had been content under Japanese rule and quickly grew to resent the heavy-handed tactics of the Kuomintang. On February 27, 1947, a dispute between a cigarette vendor and authorities escalated the next day into an anti-government uprising that was violently suppressed. How many Taiwanese are thought to have been massacred? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: PAUL WARFIELD TIBBETS, JR. (1915)


Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. (1915)

A US Air Force colonel during World War II, Tibbets is best known for piloting the Enola Gay—named for his mother—on August 6, 1945, when it dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The bomb, code-named Little Boy, was the first atomic weapon deployed in the history of warfare and killed tens of thousands of people. Initially hailed as a hero in the US, Tibbets became a target of controversy in the debate over the ethics of atomic warfare. What was his stance on the bombing later in life? More… Discuss

 

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION (ISO) IS FOUNDED (1947)


International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Is Founded (1947)

The ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 100 countries. It was founded in Geneva after World War II to promote the development of standardization and related activities, with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services as well as intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic cooperation. At first glance, ISO appears to be an acronym for the group’s full name, but it is not. Rather, it is derived from a Greek word for what? More… Discuss

 

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NEWS: THE NAZIS AND INSECT WARFARE


The Nazis and Insect Warfare

Biological warfare was prohibited by the 1925 Geneva Protocol, but this did not stop Nazi scientists from looking for ways to weaponize diseases. A review of World War II-era archives from the Entomological Institute at Dachau reveals that biologists were studying mosquitoes and their ability to survive outside of their natural habitat. Doctors at the concentration camp also deliberately infected prisoners with malaria in order to study the disease. The conclusion drawn by a researcher investigating the topic is that the Nazis were exploring the feasibility of infecting mosquitoes with malaria and then releasing them over enemy targets. More… Discuss

 

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ARTICLE: TECHNOPHOBIA


Technophobia

Technophobia—a fear of advanced technology—emerged alongside the mechanical innovations of the Industrial Revolution and became ever more pervasive as inventions ranging from the light bulb to the atomic bomb demonstrated technology’s astounding capabilities. Mild technophobia is quite common—many experience it when facing an unfamiliar computer system at a new job. More acute technophobes see technology as inherently dangerous. What well-known novel was one of the first to tackle technophobia? More… Discuss

 

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: PIERRE BOULLE (1912)


Pierre Boulle (1912)

At the start of WWII, engineer Pierre Boulle enlisted in the French Army. Later, while a secret agent for the Free French, he was captured and imprisoned in a labor camp, an experience that inspired him to write his acclaimed work of historical fiction The Bridge over the River Kwai. Its 1957 film adaptation won seven Oscars, including one for screenplay that was awarded to Boulle since the actual writers had been blacklisted as communist sympathizers. What other famous novel did he pen? More… Discuss

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOMBING OF DARWIN


Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin

On February 19, 1942, Japanese bomber and fighter planes conducted a devastating air raid on the town ofDarwin, the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory. As a tribute to honor the dead and those who defended Darwin, an annual commemoration is held in Bicentennial Park by theCenotaph, a monument to those slain in World War I. At 9:58, the exact time the attack began, a World War II air raid siren sounds. During some observances, Australian regiments will reenact the attack: ground units fire their guns, and fighter planes perform  fly-bys over the memorial site. More…Discuss

 

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: DOMINIQUE PIRE (1910)


Dominique Pire (1910)

Pire was a Belgian Dominican friar who devoted himself to helping the poor and to promoting peace. Witnessing the horrors of World War II, he became active in the anti-German resistance. After the war, he devoted himself to caring for the refugees, writing a book about the issue, founding aid organizations, and building villages to house displaced persons. He was rewarded for his humanitarian efforts with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1958. What “university” did he found thereafter? More…

 

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: USS LAFAYETTE, FORMERLY SS NORMANDIE, BURNS (1942)


USS Lafayette, Formerly SS Normandie, Burns (1942)

The luxuriously appointed SS Normandie was the fastest ocean liner of her day and carried such distinguished passengers as Ernest Hemingway, Fred Astaire, and the von Trapps before a twist of fate brought that to an end. When World War II began, the French vessel was docked in New York. The US seized her for use as a troop transport, but a fire broke out on the renamed USS Lafayette during the refit, causing her to capsize. Who claimed to have sabotaged the ship? More… Discuss

 

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BBC News – Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor’s tale


 

 

Warsaw Jews being held at gunpoint by SS troop...

Warsaw Jews being held at gunpoint by SS troops. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, April 1943. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

BBC News – Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor’s tale.

 

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TODAY’S HISTORY: MYANMAR INDEPENDENCE DAY


Myanmar Independence Day

The southeast Asian country of Burma (renamed Myanmar in 1989 by its military government), was given independence in 1948, when it refused to rejoin the British Commonwealth following Japanese occupation in World War II. The former capital,Yangon (formerly Rangoon), is decorated for Independence Day festivities, and the day is marked by sports and fairs in most cities. Burmese people dress in their national costume, which consists of an aingyi (blouse or shirt) and a longyi (skirt); panthay khowse (noodles and chicken) is traditionally served on this day, as is nga sak kin (curried fish balls). More… Discuss

THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: HIROHITO BECOMES EMPEROR OF JAPAN (1926)


Hirohito Becomes Emperor of Japan (1926)

Hirohito was the longest reigning Japanese monarch, ruling from 1926 to 1989. During his reign, militaristic Japan entered World War II and bombed Pearl Harbor. After the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Hirohito pushed for surrender. He then broke the precedent of imperial silence by making a national radio broadcast to announce Japan’s surrender. After World War II, Hirohito changed the importance of the monarchy when he renounced what? More… Discuss

 

Today’s Birthday: GEORGES-MARIE GUYNEMER (1894)


Georges-Marie Guynemer (1894)

A top French fighter ace during World War I and a national hero, Guynemer shot down 53 enemy planes and survived being shot down several times before he presumably died in a firefight on September 11, 1917. During an engagement that fateful day, Guynemer’s plane disappeared, reportedly shot down by a German pilot who was himself killed in action weeks later. To ease the blow of the loss of their young hero, French schoolchildren were taught that what had happened to him? More…

 

Today’s Birthday: SELMA LAGERLÖF (1858)


Selma Lagerlöf (1858)

Lagerlöf was a Swedish author who is best known for her children’s book, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. While working as a teacher, Lagerlöf got her big break as a writer when chapters of her first novel, Gösta Berling’s Saga, won first prize in a literary contest. Lagerlöf rooted her work in legend in a reaction against contemporary Swedish realism. In 1909, she became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. What did she do with her medal during World War II?More… Discuss

 

This Day in the Yesteryear: THE ROYAL AIR FORCE SINKS GERMAN BATTLESHIP TIRPITZ (1944)


The Royal Air Force Sinks German Battleship Tirpitz (1944)

The German Tirpitz, sister ship of the similarly ill-fatedBismarck, was the largest battleship ever built in Europe. Though she was sent to waters around German-occupied Norway and never really saw action in World War II, her mere presence threatened Allied convoys and tied up their naval resources. The Allies therefore launched numerous attacks on the Tirpitz in an effort to destroy her. After the Allies succeeded, her armor plates were supposedly repurposed for what use?More… Discuss

 

This Day in the Yesteryear: PUBLISHING MAGNATE ROBERT MAXWELL DIES MYSTERIOUSLY AT SEA (1991)


Publishing Magnate Robert Maxwell Dies Mysteriously at Sea (1991)

A Czechoslovakian Jew, Maxwell fled to the UK during World War II and joined the British army. After the war, he purchased publishing house Pergamon Press. The company’s success helped him win election to Parliament in 1964, but a 1969 financial scandal cost him control of Pergamon and his political career. He regained control of the company in 1974 and rejuvenated and expanded his empire. What did investigators discover about Maxwell’s business dealings after his mysterious drowning death? More… Discuss

 

News: TROVE OF NAZI-LOOTED ART FOUND IN MUNCH MAN’S APARTMENT


Trove of Nazi-Looted Art Found in Munch Man’s Apartment

A cache of 1,500 works of art looted by the Nazis has been found in the apartment of a Munich, Germany, recluse being investigated for tax evasion. The man in question is the son of an art dealer who worked hand in hand with the Nazis during World War II. Valued at about one billion euros ($1.35 billion), this may well be one of the largest recoveries of Nazi-looted art, yet it represents only a small fraction of what was taken. Authorities discovered the trove in 2011, but news of the find is only emerging now. More… Discuss

 

Article: SIMA QIAN


Sima Qian

Near the end of the 2nd Century BCE, Qian succeeded his father as grand historian of the Chinese court. He extended a project planned by his father into a history of China and all regions and peoples known at the time. TheShih chi became a model for subsequent Chinese dynastic histories, and its wide range, many-faceted characterizations, and vivid dialogue have won admiration for over 2,000 years. He finished it after being castrated as punishment by the emperor for what offense? More… Discuss

 

ATONALITY


Atonality

Musical compositions that do not use an established musical key are said to be atonal. Atonality is a radical alternative to the diatonic system—the natural major or minor scales that form the basis of the key system in Western music. After World War I, an atonal system of composing emerged using 12 tones. By World War II, however, “atonality” had become a pejorative term to condemn music perceived as lacking structure and coherence. In Nazi Germany, atonal music was also criticized as what? More…

 

This Day in the Yesteryear: THE UNITED NATIONS IS FORMALLY ESTABLISHED (1945)


The United Nations Is Formally Established (1945)

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded to promote peace, security, and economic development. Representatives from the US, the UK, the Soviet Union, and China first met in 1944 to discuss the problems involved in creating such an agency, and the results of their talks became the basis for the UN Charter that was ratified in 1945. Established immediately after WWII, it replaced the essentially powerless League of Nations. Who first coined the term “United Nations”? More… Discuss

 

Today’s Birthday: EDWARD “EDDIE” RICKENBACKER (1890)


Edward “Eddie” Rickenbacker (1890)

A skilled American racecar driver, Rickenbacker entered World War I as a driver but soon became a fighter pilot. He shot down 26 enemy aircraft, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor and the moniker “Ace of Aces.” After a failed foray into automobile manufacturing, he ran several airlines for General Motors and eventually acquired one of them. In 1942, his plane was lost while on a tour of military bases in the Pacific, and he was presumed dead, but he was rescued after how many days adrift? More…Discuss

 

This day in the Yesteryear: RAYTHEON PATENTS PERCY SPENCER’S MICROWAVE (1945)


Raytheon Patents Percy Spencer’s Microwave (1945)

Self-taught engineer Percy Spencer discovered the cooking potential of microwaves in the 1940s. While working on magnetrons for the Raytheon Company, he noticed that a peanut butter chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. He determined that microwaves emitted from his magnetrons had cooked the candy bar and confirmed this theory by testing it on popcorn. Raytheon patented Spencer’s microwave oven in 1945 and put it on the market in 1947. What was the first food to explode in a microwave? More… Discuss

Today’s Birthday: ALICE MARBLE (1913)


Alice Marble (1913)

Marble was an American tennis player who began playing at age 15 and rose rapidly in the national tennis rankings after 1931. She won 18 Grand Slam championships: five in singles, six in doubles, and seven in mixed doubles. Her personal life, however, was filled with tragedy and intrigue. Her husband was killed during World War II, just days after Marble had suffered a miscarriage. She attempted suicide but recovered and, in 1945, began spying for US intelligence. What was her mission? More… Discuss

 

This Day in the Yesteryear: GERMANY, ITALY, AND JAPAN SIGN TRIPARTITE PACT (1940)


Germany, Italy, and Japan Sign Tripartite Pact (1940)

The World War II alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan was fully realized in September 1940, with the signing of the Tripartite Pact. The agreement called for the Axis Powers to come to each other’s aid if attacked by a nation not already involved in the European War or the Sino-Japanese Conflict and to assist one another in their efforts to “establish and maintain a new order of things”—Germany and Italy in Europe and Japan in Greater East Asia. How did the treaty get the nickname “Roberto”? More…Discuss

 

Today’s Birthday: MAURICE CHEVALIER (1888)


Maurice Chevalier (1888)

Chevalier was a French actor, singer, and vaudeville entertainer known for his trademark tuxedo and straw hat. While a prisoner of war during World War I, Chevalier studied English. After the war, he began acting in the US, where he appeared in movies that helped establish the musical as a film genre. Though he put on a heavy French accent while performing in English, he actually spoke the language quite fluently with only a subtle accent. Why did his popularity dwindle during World War IIMore…Discuss