27
votes
0answers
471 views

Did Kim Jong-Il wrest away power (rather than inherit it) from Kim Il-Sung in a power struggle?

I know little about North Korean history, but their official narrative and what I had also believed is that - long story short - Kim Jong-Il basically just inherited his dictatorial powers from his ...
27
votes
0answers
377 views

When did songs extolling leaders of companies go out of fashion?

When recently visiting Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA I came across an exhibit called "Songs of the IBM". It's from 1930s and has a song called "Ever onward" which extols then IBM ...
19
votes
0answers
353 views

CIA mole in Indira Gandhi's Cabinet

It is discussed in several books that the CIA had a mole in Indira Gandhi's cabinet around the time of the Liberation war for Bangladesh in 1971. There are conflicting reports about who the mole could ...
13
votes
0answers
422 views

Rommel's letter to his wife from November 16, 1942

I'm looking for the original German version of Erwin Rommel's letter to his wife Lucie Rommel from November 16, 1942. You can find the English translation on page 354 of "The Rommel Papers". The ...
12
votes
0answers
237 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 ...
11
votes
0answers
292 views

Why did Switzerland not grant votes to women until 1971?

I was shocked to learn yesterday that Switzerland didn't grant votes to women until 1971. Other European foot-draggers like France granted this right at the end of the second world war, making ...
11
votes
0answers
145 views

What was the Nove / Millar debate, how is it important to the historiography of the Soviet Union?

The Nove / Millar debate was a debate amongst economic historians in the 1970s, where the Western understanding of Soviet economic development in the 1920 and 1930s was seriously revised. In ...
10
votes
0answers
122 views

What is the band beneath Nefertitis crown?

I'm sure I read somewhere that the yellow band at the bottom of the crown was a sweatband and not part of the crown itself. Is this true? Would this be linen that is wrapped around the forehead and ...
10
votes
0answers
77 views

When did it become common for optical brighteners to be added to commercial laundry detergent?

While watching The Theory of Everything, during a scene set in the 1960s, Steven Hawking remarked to his future wife that peoples' clothing were glowing because of the florescent brightener dyes added ...
10
votes
0answers
214 views

What government functions, if any, did the archchancellor of the HRE actually exercise?

Although the Holy Roman Empire was famous for being a loose confederation of largely independent feudal lords, it nevertheless possessed institutions akin to a unified state even near the end of its ...
10
votes
0answers
130 views

Was the Iraqi Mukhabarat modelled on the German Reichssicherheitshauptamt, and in what ways?

In Charles Stross (urban fantasy-ish) novel "The Atrocity Archives", it is claimed that the Iraqi Intelligence Service Mukhabrat was modelled on the Nazi-German Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). The ...
9
votes
0answers
127 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
458 views

What relief efforts did the Japanese attempt after the atomic bombings?

Obviously, once the atomic bombs dropped in 1945, the war was almost over. There wasn't much time to rebuild, or even offer aid, to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the Japanese ...
9
votes
0answers
275 views

Which fruits and vegetables did Chinese migrants introduce to Australia during the gold rush?

The gold rush in Australia saw many Chinese migrate to the country, with the Chinese population in Australia reaching around 40000 in the 1860s. Many brought with them vegetable seeds to grow near ...
8
votes
0answers
149 views

What lead to migration of Brahmins into Kerala?

I am amused by the practices and beliefs of a community native to Kerala - India, the Kerala Iyers not Namboodris, they are Tamil Brahmin communities residing in Kerala, who migrated centuries ago ...
8
votes
0answers
87 views

How was Canadian sovereignty in the arctic threatened in the 1950s?

Wikipedia article on the settlement of Grise Fiord in the Canadian Arctic strongly suggests that Canada in the 1950s was striving to populate its arctic territory in response to challenges to its ...
8
votes
0answers
239 views

What actions did the KKK take against miscegenation after 1967?

Although the racial attitudes of the (third) KKK are well known, I haven't been able to find much about actions, demonstrations or speeches by the KKK against the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws in ...
7
votes
0answers
122 views

Language used on a dagger hilt, supposedly of Persian provenance, ca. 1700-1750

Could anyone guess what language is used in the sign made on this dagger hilt, supposedly of Persian provenance, and dated approx. 1700-1750? A fellow translator asked if I knew, and naturally I ...
7
votes
0answers
106 views

How come La Réunion and Mauritius were uninhabited ?

How come the Mascarenes islands, La Réunion and Mauritius (and Rodrigues), were uninhabited until Europeans arrived ? Many islands off the coast of Africa remained uninhabited until the arrival of ...
7
votes
0answers
120 views

Where did Roman senators mostly live in the time of Tiberius or Caligula?

My understanding is that under the Republic the Palatine was the most popular place for senators and their families, but from the time of Nero the Imperial family more-or-less took over the Palatine. ...
7
votes
0answers
71 views

Why didn't Emperor Gaozu of Tang let Crown Prince Li Jiancheng command battles more often?

When Emperor Gaozhu of Tang (唐高祖) was reigning, there were a number of battles that were helmed by his second son, Li Shimin(李世民) instead of the crown prince Li Jiancheng(太子李建成), such as: The ...
7
votes
0answers
218 views

What are the ancient origins of the Medicine Ball?

Seeing this question about the oldest known exercise equipment, I remembered a scene from I, Claudius when Tiberius is working out with a medicine ball, so I thought that might be a good candidate. I ...
7
votes
0answers
124 views

How were the Venera Probe missions received/presented in the western world during the space race?

I can find barely any historical documentation on this subject. If you know anything about its development, please chip in as well. I'm writing a paper on the missions and putting them into ...
7
votes
0answers
366 views

Who deposited German fuel drums on a Japanese air base in the Kuriles in 1943?

The Imperial Japanese Navy operated two all-weather, heated, lit runways on Matsuwa Island in the Kurile island chain. This island is littered with German fuel drums manufactured in 1943. It also ...
7
votes
0answers
124 views

Were dissident KPD members ratted out to the Gestapo?

In her essay "Gestern Morgen", Bini Adamczak tells a story from Manes Sperbers "Wie eine Träne im Ozean." I'll paraphrase: In 1935, a member of the German Communist Party (KPD) finds himself ...
7
votes
0answers
169 views

Were there any other systems which resemble the complex election procedure for the doge of Venice

I was fascinated by a passage in Thomas F. Madden's Venice: a New History describing the complex process used to elect the doge of Venice. This process is explained briefly here: Wikipedia: Doge of ...
7
votes
0answers
90 views

How did Bedouins exercise tribal governance?

According to the Wikipedia article Bedouins travel together in groups of 1-2 family units however in the same article it mentions the presence of a Tribe who share common descent and are led by a ...
6
votes
0answers
95 views

Has there ever been a mass migration of factories comparable to the USSR's in WW2?

When the Soviet Union was invaded in 1941, the authorities quickly decided to move their factories east across the Urals in anticipation of the Blitzkrieg. This saved a lot of production capacity and ...
6
votes
0answers
112 views

When did individual graves and modern cemetary and tombstones become common place?

There is already a question on when the tombstone was first recorded, but my question is when did the modern Western concepts of cemeteries with organized plots and tombstones and other markers with ...
6
votes
0answers
105 views

How much would votes sell for in early America?

I am reading an essay by Alfred F. Young right now in which the author mentions that Gouverneur Morris said of enfranchising those without property: Give the vote to people who have no property ...
6
votes
0answers
147 views

Has being a single mother been always stigmatized?

Being a single mother was obviously a big economic disadvantage. And in the times when the Christian church morality dominated every day life, being a single mother was obviously a proof of a sin. But ...
6
votes
0answers
150 views

Ancient Indian caste system in relation to martial arts

I know that in the area now known as India, there was a rigid caste system as a part of traditional Hindu beliefs. I also know that there are a number of Indian martial arts going back centuries. I ...
6
votes
0answers
164 views

What documented criteria (if any) did the CIA use to determine targets for political assassination during the Cold War?

Did the CIA follow a documented set of criteria when determining targets for political assassination during the Cold War, especially in regards to foreign heads of state or government? There have been ...
6
votes
0answers
81 views

How did the European and international left react to the Cafe War?

During Algerian decolonization, one episode was the Cafe War, when the mainstream Algerian independence group FLN and the communist MNA killed each other's members. This left several thousand dead in ...
6
votes
0answers
206 views

How many of Japan's 29 lost Pearl Harbor aircraft have been accounted for?

I've seen varying numbers regarding the amount of Japanese aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, but the number of attacking planes that failed to return to Japan's carriers remains ...
6
votes
0answers
225 views

What were the FBI's motives for wanting to discredit MLK?

J. Edgar Hoover's FBI had a vendetta against Martin Luther King, Jr. They wiretapped him, threatened to expose his sexual misconduct, accused him of Communist sympathies, and even went so far as to ...
6
votes
0answers
136 views

How similar were Finnish and Lenape slash-and-burn agriculture?

Slash-and-burn agriculture is a technique where farmers cut down woodland and burn the debris to form farmland. This farmland is usually used for a few years until it loses its fertility, then the ...
6
votes
0answers
57 views

How did people dress at the Jesuit missions to the Hurons?

The Jesuits established a number of missions among the Huron people of what is today Ontario during the 1600s. Unlike many other proselytizing groups of that era, the Jesuits were known for ...
6
votes
0answers
277 views

Countries which banned Ferdinand the bull?

Background The book "The Story of Ferdinand " is a short illustrated children's story featuring a bull who would not be provoked by a matador. When it was published in 1936, it was widely interpreted ...
6
votes
0answers
178 views

What were conditions like for Chinese men subject to recruitment by the army during the Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War?

In several accounts, it is claimed that conditions of men being recruited by the Chinese army were comparable to those in Nazi death camps. Are such accounts hyperbolic or largely accurate? Thunder ...
6
votes
0answers
375 views

Where were visa documents invented?

Do we know where the first Visa documents were issued? The history of passports is old with Wikipedia dating them back to 450 BC. But when did Visas come into the picture? The etymology suggests a ...
6
votes
0answers
149 views

Date of the death of Socrates

Question 1: The death of Socrates is usually said to have happened in 399 BC, but I've sometimes seen a question mark after the date. Is there actually a possible uncertainty about the exact year? ...
6
votes
0answers
73 views

When was the modern manuscript for the Torah agreed upon?

(This question is also asked on judaism.SE for a different approach.) Considering that variations have occurred in the Torah's text over time (I think the Gemara/Talmud may mention events where a few ...
6
votes
0answers
136 views

Did Palmerston contribute to Louis Philippe's downfall?

I am reading this book and have come across a slightly puzzling passage on p. 154: [Palmerston] kept on good terms with Louis Philippe of France until he felt, in 1846, that Louis was taking an ...
6
votes
0answers
198 views

The Rosenberg diary and the functionalist-intentionalist debate

Today it was announced that the diary of Alfred Rosenberg was been found, after it had disappeared in 1946. Prima facie, this would seem to be a major piece of historical evidence for the ...
5
votes
0answers
135 views

Was the British Empire financially capable of maintaining India as a colony after WW2?

In India, it is generally accepted that Indian Independence from the British was the culmination of the 190 year long freedom struggle; from the armed conflicts of the mid-1800s to the more peaceful ...
5
votes
0answers
81 views

What other courts were similar to Louis XIV of France's court in Versailles?

After reading about feudalism in the middle ages it became apparent that lords lived on their lands far away from the king and provided military services themselves in exchange for said lands. However,...
5
votes
0answers
142 views

Were Roman marching songs still bawdy during principate/dominate?

We know from writers such as Suetonius in his Vita Divi Iuli that legionnaires would sing some quite raunchy and bawdy tunes, even during a triumph of their leader. There were open allusions to ...
5
votes
0answers
106 views

What is the oldest authentic example of people complaining about modern times and the young?

There are quotes, attributed to a king of Mesopotamia, attributed to Socrates and Hesiod, about how lazy the youth are, and how things were better when they were kids. Unfortunately, the veracity of ...
5
votes
0answers
135 views

Diverse ways of admitting new states to the Union

Admission of new states into the United States must be consistent with Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution, but that leaves some discretion to Congress in a number of matters. What were the ...

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