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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51
votes
8answers
12k views

Why did the USSR give Crimea to Ukraine?

In 1954 Soviets transferred Crimea from Russian Soviet Republic to Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Why is this strange? The whole act, at least officially, was meant to be "a gift", a token of ...
25
votes
1answer
736 views

How did people react to Cavendish bananas when they first replaced the Gros Michel strain?

I was reading that the bananas we eat today (Cavendish) weren't particularly popular until the 50s, when the more popular Gros Michel variety was virtually wiped out by a nasty disease. Apparently ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

Where was the pre-war (ww2) border between Poland and Germany?

I am interested in mapping the pre-war (WWII) border between Poland and Germany. Is there any data available in a public resource? Can anyone describe waypoints along the border in terms of modern ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

How were blacks excluded from juries in the US southern states in the 1930s?

As I am in the process of re-reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird, I did a bit of elementary research on the subject of jury selection in Alabama. I discovered that in the Scottsboro boys case ...
33
votes
4answers
15k 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
votes
4answers
451 views

What were the causes of the “Dardenelles” fiasco in World War I

During World War II, the Allies sent supplies to the Soviet Union via Murmansk/Archangelsk in the north, via Persia and the Caspian Sea in the south, and via the Tran-Siberian railroad. Why didn't ...
18
votes
4answers
8k views

What did Germany do after World War II to recover so successfully that it became more prosperous than its WW2 victors?

Germany lost in World War II. Being the loser, its economy started at a disadvantage compared to her World War II victors in the aftermath of WW2. However, Germany managed to recover more ...
4
votes
3answers
365 views

What is the origin of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's surname?

This is my first time posting on History.SE, so I hope my question is appropriate for this site. I've tried to look up the nationality of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's parents, that is Ernst and Elsa ...
4
votes
5answers
393 views

Why did email use develop in tandem with the internet, rather than other technologies?

During the 1980s, I envisioned a (primitive) version of email that would come off telex machines. That is, a person would sit down at a keyboard, create a document, store it on a cartridge, stick the ...
67
votes
12answers
18k 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 ...
10
votes
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
votes
2answers
174 views

What institutional precursors enabled labor unions to emerge in the United States?

What institutions and organizations existed in the United States before the structured and recognizable labor unions formed as a visible sign of organizations to come? How did these predecessor ...
11
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

In Montgomery, Alabama, how common was it to be arrested for sitting in the incorrect section of the bus?

Rosa Parks' arrest, which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, is the most famous case, while Claudette Colvin is often listed as the first. (Sometimes she is listed as first, other times as the first ...
7
votes
2answers
216 views

Why didn't Stalin use force to bring Tito into line?

In 1956 and 1968, the Soviets invaded Eastern European countries because they had deviated from Moscow's model. Why didn't they do this to Tito? His independent inclinations are usually explained by ...
9
votes
1answer
130 views

Did Radio Free Europe say that the Allies would come to the rescue during the Hungarian Revolution?

I found this video (in Spanish) where a woman claims that Radio Free Europe encouraged the Hungarians to resist, and that aid was on its way. Is this true? Is there any evidence? And if it is true, ...
10
votes
2answers
894 views

Did Goebbels realize that his wife used to know Arlozorov?

One of the versions for Arlozorov's 1933 murder (not solved to this day!) is that it had something to do with his early friendship with Magda Goebbels. This is what wikipedia says, soberly hedging its ...
14
votes
1answer
250 views

What were the key factors to the fall of domestic socialism in the USA?

During the late 1800s, and early 1900s the United States saw the rise of trade union membership, the coming and going of the populist party, and watched the progressive era come to institute reforms ...
7
votes
1answer
379 views

Who was in charge of the Barysaw massacre (20 October 1941)?

I'm looking for information about the Barysaw Massacre of 20 October 1941. Who performed it and who was in charge of this operation?
37
votes
10answers
9k views

Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?
13
votes
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. ...
21
votes
4answers
16k views

Why didn't the US choose to demolish Tokyo with an atom bomb?

Tokyo was Japan's capital. Why didn't the US choose Tokyo to demolish with Atom Bomb? Bonus Question: What factors decided to bring Hiroshima and Nagasaki on table?
5
votes
3answers
247 views

When and what was the maximum extent of Nationalist China?

The Republic of China (1912–49) claimed a large area of land, the most notable difference compared to present-day China being the inclusion of Mongolia. However, it's my understanding that at no point ...
-1
votes
1answer
94 views

Was smoking allowed aboard hydrogen-filled zeppelins?

The question is self explanatory: Were passengers aboard rigid airships filled with hydrogen, like the Hindenburg, allowed to smoke?
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Was George Wallace's American Independent party (1968) “the same party” as Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat party (1948)?

The party that nominated George Wallace for president in 1968 (the American Independent Party) seems very similar to the State's Rights Democratic Party (aka. Dixiecrat) that nominated Strom Thurmond ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Other examples of Enclave created for protection of a Mixed Race

McCluskieganj/McCluskiegunj was a town created out of several villages to secure a place for Anglo-Indians. Disambiguation: By Anglo-Indians I mean it in the way it has been used since the Indian ...
31
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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?
8
votes
2answers
155 views

Did the German authorities respell Polish names to be more German during the time of the Empire?

How were Polish names handled by Prussian and German authorities during the times of the German empire? It is well known there was intense Germanisation throughout the area, for example all location ...
9
votes
0answers
183 views

How many firearms were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA?

How many firearms in total were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA (cumulatively, not simultaneously)? The timeframe is what I would consider "Old West" timeframe, but starting ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

What was the general attitude of people in states without anti-miscegenation laws toward interracial marriage?

Can we say that interracial relationships were somehow tolerated in states that had not passed any anti-miscegenation laws?
13
votes
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. ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

When penicillin was initially introduced, was it effective against all gram positives?

I'm trying to investigate the history of resistance. Just how good was penicillin when it first emerged? Were there any gram positives it couldn't get?
6
votes
2answers
263 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
924 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
396 views

Was “Blitzkrieg” at least partly intended for trapping the Jews?

I encountered a point of view that the German tactic of "Blitzkrieg", besides purely military purpose to achieve victory as quick as possible, was in fact designed to trap the Jews so that they could ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

Why did Puerto Rican families send their children to New York?

I'm currently reading Run Baby Run, an autobiography by Nicky Cruz. Mr Cruz is a former New York City gang leader who became a Christian minister. In the first chapter, in which he describes how he ...
8
votes
1answer
395 views

What was Poland's involvement in Vietnam War?

So far I've found a few stories about Poland's involvement in Vietnam War: historycy.org (in Polish) Operation Marigold Multinational UN peacekeeping force International Commission of Control and ...
9
votes
3answers
877 views

When passports/border checks became widespread?

I was reading the Wikipedia on passports, and there were numerous important dates in passport history, but I didn't find any date when passports became widely used documents for travelling. I see ...
6
votes
1answer
356 views

Cover Art of “Álbum de la Revolución Cubana”

On the cover of the famous "Álbum de la Revolución Cubana": Who is the person whose face is painted in the top-right corner? What is his importance? Is the cover (where we see Fidel Castro actively ...
15
votes
2answers
14k 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! ...
3
votes
2answers
630 views

Why would staff officers carry swords during combat, in World War II?

I realise one purpose as ceremonial, as depicted in Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi's surrender (eg this picture), but when Isoroku Yamamoto was killed, his white-gloved hand [was still] ...
16
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
18
votes
13answers
11k views

What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
9
votes
1answer
209 views

Did hanging tyres from Mostar's bridge help at all to protect it?

At various points (e.g. 00:14) in this BBC documentary on Mostar's Stari Most (Old Bridge) you can see dozens of car tyres hanging from the bridge prior to its destruction in the Croat-Bosniak ...
23
votes
6answers
37k views

Why did Italy abandon its alliance with Germany in WW1 and join the Allied side?

Before WW1 Italy was part of an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, yet it didn't join them when the war started and it even joined the Allied side later during the war. Why did Italy do this? ...
5
votes
2answers
536 views

What does a slitterman do?

On my Great-Uncle's Naval Entry Form, it says: Occupation upon entry: Slitterman (paper) I found this article, which says a slitterman is: A representative for the Travellers Aid Society ...
21
votes
5answers
663 views

What were the reasons for making Prohibition a constitutional amendment?

What were the reasons that the Prohibition in the United States was passed as a constitutional amendment, rather than a normal federal law, or a set of state laws?
5
votes
1answer
235 views

How big was the percentage of white people in the USA who were not against granting the blacks equal rights? [closed]

How big was the percentage of white people in the USA who were not against granting the blacks equal rights at the time when the blacks finally got the equality of rights (which I think was in 1964). ...