For questions spanning a significant proportion of the 20th century. Questions focused on the latter decades should consider using the contemporary-histroy tag. Individual tags exist for specific decades.

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1answer
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Did President Kennedy really cut 100,000 government jobs during his presidency?

In Michel Crozier's book, La crise de l'intelligence, he states that during John F. Kennedy's presidency about 100,000 government jobs were terminated. Is this figure accurate? Where can I find any ...
14
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2answers
1k views

World War 1 Indian propaganda posters

In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all ...
14
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2answers
4k views

Why is Thailand considered an Axis power in WWII?

I read a Wikipedia article about military history of Thailand and it left me a taste of anti-Thai bias. It is known that Thailand in 1940 (after the fall of Paris and establishment of Vichy ...
13
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6answers
9k views

How did the US/South Vietnam lose the Vietnam war?

South Vietnam was helped by US. Even when the US was gone, they had a 1 million army. So why did they lose? Even without US support, South Vietnam had about the same manpower, higher technology, and ...
13
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3answers
3k views

What happened in 1914 that ended the golden age of microbiology?

I was reading a microbiology textbook and all it said was "The work that began with Pasteur started an explosion of discoveries in microbiology. The period from 1857 to 1914 has been appropriately ...
13
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4answers
9k views

Did Hitler really support Subhash Chandra Bose's cause and did he do anything to help Bose?

Bose had come to realize that Gandhi's doctrine of non-violence was not doing much in forcing the British to retreat. He went to Germany to seek Hitler's assistance in India's struggle for freedom. ...
13
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5answers
928 views

Why were there civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia, but not in Slovenia or Macedonia?

It seems that during the breakup of Yugoslavia there were civil wars during speakers of the (then officially) same language - Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, but not, e.g., between Serbs and Slovenians. ...
13
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1answer
305 views

What set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the other border checkpoints in Berlin during the Cold War?

How did "Checkpoint Charlie" become known as the border crossing between East and West Berlin? Out of the countless border checkpoints, what set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the rest for defectors?
13
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1answer
979 views

How much oil was spilled by the naval combatants during WW2?

The war at sea took a huge toll during WW2. Has there been an official estimate of how much oil was spilled into the oceans during the world wide conflict?
13
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1answer
245 views

How did the existence of the Alps impact the development of Switzerland?

Can anyone tell me what was the role of Alps and Alpine region in Swiss development of Switzerland?
13
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1answer
146 views

Gazan attitudes to Egyptian rule 1948-1967

Was Egyptian rule viewed favourably by the population? Were there uprisings? Another related question: were there travel restrictions of some form (i.e. could Gazans travel freely in Egypt)? UPDT: ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Why does the map of Jordan look as it does?

Most countries land borders are somewhat rounded, and it's easy to guess why - it's eazy to defend a rounded shape, and it's hard to defend "bulges" because it can be easily surrounded and occupied. ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Did anyone warn about the potential for stock market crashes in 1929, and if so why were their warnings ignored?

I can't seem to find information about economists, or others, warning about the overheated stock market of the 1920s in the US that would culminate in the stock market crashing on Black Thursday, ...
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2answers
1k views

Did Japan ever pay Russia war reparations after WW2? Why or why not?

Russia had the largest number of casualties during WW2, and Russia had taken many Japanese prisoners. So, why didn't Russia receive a reparation from Japan to help boost Russia's economy after the ...
12
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2answers
134k views

How many troops died on D-day?

How many troops (allied and axis) died at Normandy beach on June 6th, 1944? I've searched all over the internet, but can't find an accurate number.
12
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4answers
1k views

Is the steel pan the only acoustic musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century and used widely around the world?

I have seen claims that the steel pan (commonly called steel drum) was the only acoustic instrument developed in the 20th century. Is this true? There are related instruments (the Hang or hand pan) ...
12
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4answers
335 views

Why were the Prague Spring leaders treated more leniently than Nagy and his colleagues?

Following the Warsaw Pact's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia the lead Czech reformer Alexander Dubček was dismissed and given a lowly job with the forestry commission. A decade or so earlier, the ...
12
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3answers
657 views

Was the Titanic tragedy at least partly avoidable?

Was there any way that Titanic's collision with the iceberg could have been avoided after the iceberg had been spotted? Could the ship have been saved from sinking by the pilot or captain after the ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Why did the USA stay out of the League of Nations?

Woodrow Wilson, who was President of the USA at the time of the League's creation, was the person who pushed for the inclusion of the League in the Treaty of Versailles in the first place. Why is it ...
12
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2answers
4k views

Why was the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959) ultimately successful?

Communist revolutions have been attempted across the world - what were the primary reasons that the Cuban Revolution succeeded while others failed?
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2answers
1k views

Why did JFK give approval for the CIA to encourage Diem's deposal

In 1963, weeks before his own assassination, President Kennedy gave approval for the CIA to encourage a group of South Vietnamese generals to depose President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. The ...
12
votes
1answer
463 views

To what extent was Prohibition supported by the American public?

I read an answer here that said the prohibition was imposed on cities against their will. A bit of research on Google seem to say that it was pushed through because people didn't realize even wine ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What percentage of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with enemy in World War II

How large a proportion of British and American troops were involved in direct combat with the enemy in World War II? What was the casualty rate among those men?
12
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1answer
750 views

What was the situation of homosexuals in the early Soviet Union?

Between 1917 and 1930, homosexuality was decriminalised in the Soviet Union. From the Wikipedia article on LGBT history in Russia: The Russian Communist Inessa Armand publicly endorsed both ...
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4answers
129k views

If Bill Clinton was impeached, why did he finish up his second term

I don't understand how he could have been impeached but did not have to leave office.
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3answers
1k views

When did aircraft carriers eclipse battleships as the “King of the seas”?

During the 19th century and into the early 20th century, battleships were the Kings of the Sea, and every naval power of note had at least one. When did they lose this title to the aircraft carrier, ...
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5answers
1k views

What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
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4answers
2k views

Did the Germans lose the U-Boat war in World war II because of a shortage of quality, rather than quantity?

In the "Battle of the Atlantic," the Germans lost almost 800 of their 1200 submarines (nearly two-thirds) sinking 3,500 Allied merchant ships and 175 warships. ...
11
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2answers
549 views

Amount of time an aeroplane could stay in the air during the last stages of WW1

I know for a fact that aeroplanes were used at the last stages of the first world war to capture images of the enemy trench system and supply lines. They were also used to alert the artillery how far ...
11
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4answers
923 views

Did Hitler make the right decision for Germany when he called off Operation Zitadelle (during the Battle of Kursk)?

On the night of 9/10 July, the Western Allies mounted an amphibious invasion of Sicily. Three days later, Hitler summoned Günther von Kluge and Erich von Manstein to his Wolfsschanze ...
11
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3answers
978 views

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1?

What factors related to the Eastern Crisis contributed to the outbreak of World War 1? The Eastern Crisis pertains to problems posed by the decay of the Ottoman Empire. Primary among these problems ...
11
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1answer
3k views

German Government branches during World War 2

During World War 2, what government branches, if any, existed in Germany? I've always heard about the Third Reich and Hitler, but I never heard about the rest of the government.
11
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2answers
703 views

Were there any pilots that declined to carry out the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Were there any pilots that refused (or politely declined) to take part in the operations of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," knowing the destruction these would cause? Similarly, were there any scientists ...
11
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1answer
245 views

Are submarine launched ballistic missiles still inaccurate?

In the early 1980s documentary First Strike, one of the arguments made for the development of the MX missile program was that in the event of a massive Soviet attack on the land-based missile and ...
11
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3answers
497 views

What was (if at all) Hitler's Plan B if Molotov-Ribbentrop had not worked out?

As we know, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union amicably agreed to attack Poland and to share it between themselves. Did Hitler and his staff have a detailed or formal contingency plan in case the ...
11
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2answers
922 views

What role did Lucky Luciano play in faciliting South Europe invasion?

On the night of July 9, 1943, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the extreme southwestern shore of Sicily. After securing a beachhead, Gen. George Patton's U.S. Seventh Army launched an offensive into ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Why were there more Muslims in East Bengal than in West Bengal

When India and Pakistan were partitioned, Muslims were in a majority in east Bengal whereas Hindus were in a majority in west Bengal. What is the historical reason behind this demographic statistic?
11
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2answers
888 views

What were the operating principles of Japan's MITI during the 1950s and 60s?

Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) guided Japan's economy through two decades of unprecedented economic growth. MITI was the primary instrument of Japan's industrial policy, ...
11
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2answers
9k views

Did Erwin König Exist?

Erwin König Was a sniper supposedly killed by Vasily Zaytsev in the Battle of Stalingrad. The diary of Vasily Zaytsev mentions killing Erwin Konig, and there is a sniper scope in Russia, but there is ...
10
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4answers
696 views

Why was the Irish War of Independence in 1918 successful when other revolts failed?

In a nutshell, what events, occurrences, or mishaps took place that allowed the Irish to win the war of Independence over what could arguably be the most powerful nation of the time, when they were ...
10
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4answers
5k views

War Guilt Methodology: Was Germany solely to blame for WWI? [closed]

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles places the blame of the war solely on Germany and her allies. This is the quote: The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the ...
10
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3answers
836 views

Why is Finland represented as a Soviet satellite in this 1947 cartoon?

The cartoon is a British one. I found it at http://lenta.ru/articles/2013/05/28/secretwar/ but without any specific attribution.
10
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5answers
414 views

What factors contributed to the popularity of Eastern cultures in the USA in late 20th century?

Question says mostly all. To be more concrete, I am talking about the popularity of Krishna and Buddhism on the religious side, and stuff like yoga on the more practical side. Some other things might ...
10
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4answers
1k views

Did Stalin want to restore the Russian Empire's borders?

On one hand, it seems so because the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact defined the border between the two spheres of influence to be the border of the Russian Empire before WWI. On the other hand, the USSR ...
10
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4answers
532 views

How to validate a historical source

You can learn and understand history various ways such as learning in a university, reading books, being taught by someone with a background in history, watching TV, browsing the internet, or, in my ...
10
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3answers
594 views

What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?

To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states)? While articles like these news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm ...
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1answer
1k views

How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
10
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2answers
684 views

Why didn't the Arab states industrialize?

Why didn't the states of the Arabian peninsula industrialize around the time that Europe and East Asia were? Was it simply a lack of accessible natural resources? Why not import coal?
10
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1answer
6k views

Why did anti-Chinese riots occur during the Indonesian Reformation of 1998?

The protests and events in Indonesia in May 1998 led to the fall of the dictator Suharto, the reform of Indonesian government and political system, and a more liberal and democratic era. During the ...
10
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1answer
2k views

What was Lenin's major criticism of or differences with Marx?

I'm interested in what specific differences in Lenin's writing might address what he perceived to be the shortcomings of Marx's work. Wikipedia is weak on this topic.