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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2answers
141 views

Why was there a reference to the Battle of Hastings in Harper Lee's novel?

I am unfamiliar with details of European history; how is the Battle of Hastings relevant to the historical background in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird? Chapter 1, Paragraph 4: Being ...
5
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4answers
415 views

How did South Korea become one of the most developed nations on Earth?

What I've learnt from South Korean history (roughly, from one of my liberal arts classes) is that because of their geographical disadvantage, they were invaded by China and Japan numerous times in the ...
15
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6answers
1k 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. ...
16
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2answers
5k 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 ...
7
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1answer
328 views

How was the relation between the Ottoman Empire and Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro during the Second Balkan War?

As pointed out by Tom Au in this answer to "Has there ever been a truly multi-sided war?", Turkey fought and lost to Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro in the First Balkan War. However, shortly ...
14
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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 ...
33
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8answers
7k views

Why did Chamberlain act to appease Hitler leading up to the outbreak of World War 2?

There are accounts that British Prime Minister Chamberlain sought to appease Hitler because he just didn't want Britain involved in a war at that time. Others also argue that Chamberlain was naive and ...
15
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3answers
20k views

How many people in the US starved to death during the Great Depression?

I was trying to look this up earlier and could not easily find reliable information on the internet, mostly due to a new popular claim that 7 million people starved to death in the Great Depression! ...
36
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4answers
18k views

Did World War II-era bombs actually whistle?

In WWII-era films and newsreels, aerial bombs are often shown making a whistling sound as they fall; starting high pitched, then decreasing as the bomb approaches the Earth (example here, starting at ...
4
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4answers
3k views

What was the fate of most SS members after World War II?

What happened to most of the members of the SS after the war? Were they punished?
9
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3answers
4k views

Who were the Wright brothers' competitors?

I heard that there was a person who was sponsored by the government to make the first flying airplane. The Wright brothers beat him to it and this made him really depressed and he gave up his career. ...
6
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3answers
542 views

Why did Churchill accept the Order of the Garter in 1953?

Churchill had refused the Order of the Garter in 1945, quipping that he couldn't accept the garter from the king after the people gave him the boot. But in 1953 he relented and accepted the honour? Is ...
20
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6answers
23k views

Why did so many Italians emigrate to Argentina?

On 13th of March, 2013, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became new pope of Catholic Church. He was born and raised in Argentina with Italian origins. There are more than 24 ...
32
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9answers
3k views

What were Hitler's religious beliefs?

Hitler is often cited as an example of an evil atheist (along with Stalin and Mao). But there are several quotes from him that seem to indicate he believed in the Christian God - and even used this to ...
3
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1answer
151 views

Why were Chinese divisions undersized?

Reading the orders of battle for the Second Sino-Japanese War, it seems that in the major battles, the Chinese side consistently fields large numbers of divisions, but not as many total troops as that ...
9
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4answers
4k views

Did either of the World Wars involve South or Central America?

Were any South or Central American nations besides Brazil involved (not necessarily officially) in either of the World Wars? If any were, I'd appreciate information on their degree of involvement.
12
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3answers
6k views

What was Gandhi's post-factum view of the Partition?

Gandhi was vehemently opposed to the Partition of India and tried to avoid it. But what was his stance on it once it had happened? Did he accept it as fait accompli or did he envision some scheme for ...
116
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28answers
60k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

This has always bothered me. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad... and it's also a well known fact that every European country which tried to invade Russia has ...
32
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6answers
2k views

When did the practice of formally “declaring war” cease and why?

Here's a detailed description of ambassador Neville Henderson being received by the foreign ministry in Berlin in 1939. Perhaps the most famous example. He came in looking very serious, shook ...
9
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4answers
16k views

Why was Germany held accountable for WW1?

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept all responsibility for the war. If the war was initially due to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by Serbian assassins, why did the Treaty of ...
13
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2answers
1k views

What are the reasons why the capital of Turkey is Ankara rather than Istanbul?

Turkey's predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, had its capital in Istanbul. Are there any reasons for the capital's move when it became Turkey?
13
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4answers
2k 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, ...
25
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10answers
7k views

Why wasn't the Republic of Ireland invaded (by either side) in WW2?

Ireland was neutral in WW2, however it was never invaded (by either side). How come? Why wasn't Ireland invaded by the UK to prevent the Germans invading? Why didn't germany invade ireland? It would ...
5
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2answers
575 views

Why did Japan take so long to attack Wuhan?

On December 13, 1937 Japan captured Nanjing; from there they could have continued up the Yangtze to attack Wuhan, then the second most populous Chinese city and de facto wartime capital. But ground ...
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2answers
189 views

Why did 1906 Iranian constitutionalists use the Belgian constitution as inspiration?

The Constitutional Revolution of Iran in 1906 resulted in a constitution that established a parliament and a constitutional monarchy. Interestingly, it was based on the Belgian constitution. Was ...
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0answers
70 views

What was the nature of the Japanese cabinet crisis after the Battle of Taierzhuang?

According to Wikipedia, after the Japanese defeat in the Battle of Taierzhuang, "It was reported in the world's newspapers, however, and by mid-April had provoked a Cabinet crisis in Tokyo". What was ...
5
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1answer
139 views

Did Jiang Baili receive a sword from Emperor Meiji for graduating first of his class?

Jiang Baili was a famous Chinese military trainer who attended the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. Some sources, including the Wikipedia article, claims that he graduated top of the class and that ...
16
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1answer
429 views

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 ...
76
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13answers
22k views

Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
22
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3answers
4k views

What were the Allies' plans if they caught Hitler alive?

Hitler committed suicide in 1945, but I'm curious as to what would have happened to him if he hadn't. Did the Allies have any formal plans as to what they would do with Hitler if they caught him ...
14
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2answers
437 views

Where did Japan get their oil during WWII?

To my understanding the United States was the largest exporter of oil to the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese islands aren't known for their oil fields. It's also believed that the attacks ...
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0answers
65 views

Legal guardians for minors in the U.S in 1910? [closed]

What were the different types of guardianship in the United States in 1910 ? Until what age did the legal guardian take care of the minor (21 Years old or 18) ? Was possible for parents to name a ...
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2answers
177 views

Reasons for transfer of leadership in computing from Britain to US after WWII

Great advances were made in field of computing until end of WWII. Many of them happened in Britain. However, by about 1960 it can be safely said that US became home of computer science. Why didn't ...
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0answers
121 views

Whig party identification in the House of Lords

After the Whigs became subsumed into the Liberal party, did the label survive in the House of Lords? As of today, the longest serving current peer began his tenure during the Second World War. It ...
5
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1answer
678 views

What happened to Justice, Nelson Mandela's cousin (or stepbrother)?

Reading Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela ran away from his guardian, Jogintaba the regent of Transkei, with the regent's son who was called Justice. Then Justice simply drops out of the story. ...
10
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2answers
707 views

What do “zones of influence” mean, according to the Treaty of Sevres after WWI?

After its defeat in World War I, European powers partitioned the Ottoman Empire, annexing some of its territories, and setting up other territories as their "zones of influence". What do the zones of ...
1
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2answers
187 views

What military first used fire support bases?

What country first introduced the use of fire support bases (FSB) as seen, for example, during the Vietnam War? Is this a uniquely U.S. military doctrine that developed out of that specific war? The ...
8
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1answer
252 views

Suffragettes vs. Einstein

A long time ago -- either when I was in school, or via some documentary -- I learned that Einstein had to face a public immigration hearing in 1933 [edit: probably it was a naturalization hearing in ...
8
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2answers
677 views

Did Franco really ask “Why? Are they going somewhere?”

The story goes that Franco on his deathbed in 1975 hears the noise of a crowd outside and asks what it is. And is told: "The people of Spain have come to say goodbye" Franco replies: "Why? ...
6
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1answer
684 views

What were acceptance criteria/process to the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in 1906-7?

One famous applicant rejected by the Vienna Fine Arts Academy was of course, Hitler. I got to thinking: so who was accepted instead? To make sense of this we would need to know how was the admission ...
13
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1answer
2k views

How was Martin Luther King Jr. viewed by white Americans at the time? [closed]

In today's United States, MLK Jr. is universally regarded as a hero and patriot (...or as universally regarded as one can be in this nation). By that, I mean all races, all political parties—everyone ...
8
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3answers
804 views

Who introduced Yoga to the West?

Yoga has been accepted as a way of life by so many people around the world irrespective of the religion and country. There is world wide promotion for Yoga and June 21 is going to be celebrate as ...
7
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4answers
4k views

How did Egypt become a protectorate of the British empire?

How did Egypt become a protectorate of the British empire in 1914? (Feel free to add more content to this question)
10
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1answer
397 views

When did retailers stop wrapping purchases in paper and twine?

Listening to stories from relatives, it sounds like it was a near-universal practice (in the US, before the 1970s) to wrap retail purchases with brown paper and twine. Searching for information about ...
48
votes
3answers
12k views

How did Israel win the Six-Day War?

Considering Israel fought several Arab countries, which had troops largely outnumbering the Israeli, how did they manage to win the war decisively, with much fewer casualties than the Arab countries? ...
10
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3answers
599 views

Where did the so-called “Jap Skulls” end up?

I have read that there was a disturbingly common practice of American soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII to take the skulls of dead Japanese soldiers as trophies to take home, give to ...
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0answers
88 views

Is Britain currently undergoing a sea-change in its history? [closed]

When, a few years ago, in my retirement, I took an undergraduate degree in history one of my early courses was British political history in the 20th century. At the first lecture the Professor of ...
34
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9answers
10k views

Why did Britain and France not declare war against the Soviet Union when it invaded Poland in WW2?

At the beginning of WW2, although they were slow in actually attacking Germany, Britain and France did declare war against it after Germany invaded Poland. The reason for this was the treaty where ...
7
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1answer
438 views

Why didn't Ronald Reagan become Republican candidate for the President of the USA in 1976?

I'd really like to know, how did it happen that Ronald Reagan lost the Republican Party presidential primaries in 1976, against Gerald Ford. It's easier for me to understand that he could fail in the ...
28
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2answers
1k views

Did the end of the British Raj in India create an economic loss for Britain?

I know the economic downturn of the World War and the victory of the Labour Party played some role in Britain deciding to quit India. Did GB have any serious economic implications because of this? ...