27
votes
7answers
7k views

When and why did having long hair become associated with women, and short hair with men?

It's obvious that having short or long hair is an identity sign for men and women respectively, more or less worldwide. I wonder why something like this happened, though. Maybe it was a way to ...
16
votes
2answers
11k views

Did India turn down a permanent seat in the UN in 1955?

As per this article, India was offered a permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 1955 but Jawaharlal Nehru turned it down and the seat went to China. In light of the current lobbying that India ...
22
votes
13answers
64k views

Why didn't Alexander invade India?

Alexander conquered most parts of the Western World, but there is a great deal of controversy over his invasion of India. In BC 327 Alexander came to India, and tried to cross the Jhelum river for the ...
17
votes
3answers
6k views

Are there any records that indicate a submarine vs submarine battle?

I am aware of only one which is the U-864 was sunk by the HMS Venturer but that was when both were being submerged -- according to wikipedia. Is that accurate? Which battles did happen between two ...
12
votes
9answers
8k views

Why did English become Lingua Franca of the modern world? [closed]

According to a guy on Quora: English became the lingua-franca of the world because of the United states and not England. But, throughout the 17th and 18th century, many Europeans (English, ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

Did Hitler not intend a major war while invading Poland?

A J P Taylor in his book "The Origins of the Second World War" writes, "Hitler never intended a major war and at most was prepared for only a limited war against Poland." "In 1938-39, the ...
24
votes
2answers
7k views

When did homosexuality become unacceptable in Europe?

In the ancient greek world male homosexuality was common and didn't attract the same scorn as it did even 100 years ago. So 2,000 years ago, it was acceptable, and 100 years ago it was unacceptable. ...
19
votes
3answers
10k views

Who is the earliest recorded person?

Who is the earliest person recorded in history? Whose fame has survived the greatest amount of time to come down to us today?
13
votes
3answers
7k views

What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger land territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
11
votes
7answers
4k views

Why does Latin America has a higher number of surviving Native Americans than North America?

Despite having the same disease susceptibility and technological inferiority against the Europeans, it seems that Native Americans have much more surviving descendants in Latin America compared to ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What was the status of specialized workers during Greek times?

In Ancient Greece, what kind of social status would specialized workers have? Did they have any extra privileges when compared to the average person, and did they have less rights than rulers and ...
25
votes
6answers
55k 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? ...
19
votes
4answers
7k views

How did the gold of the new world cause the Spanish Empire to collapse?

There are some arguments that Spain over-exploited the precious metal deposits of the new world, leading to wide-scale inflation. This, coupled with their expulsion of Jewish money lenders, caused ...
19
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages?

Is there any difference between the "Middle Ages" and the "Dark Ages"?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How did the Soviets decide what to annex in WW2?

During and after World War II Soviet Union annexed some countries while others eventually became member states of the Warsaw Pact. What is known about how the Soviets made the decisions about which ...
15
votes
3answers
25k 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! ...
14
votes
8answers
18k views

Why did Canada, Australia and New Zealand separate from the UK?

I asked this question in various places on the Web. I haven't received a clear answer. The USA separated from the UK because the people felt that they were not British, and they weren't. Weren't ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Did the syphilis epidemic start the 16th and 17th century wig craze?

I've read that one reason that the nobility attending royal court in the 17th century had a passion for wigs, powdered faces, and gloves was the then prevalence of syphilis. By this reasoning those ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Are there any historians who believe that the crusades were not motivated as a distraction from internal conflicts?

I was just debating with a Catholic acquaintance. He ascribed merit to the Catholic crusades and said that many historians agreed with him. Are there any historians who believe that the crusades were ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How did former Spanish colonies in the Americas become so fragmented?

If we only consider countries that are connected by land, there are 16 Spanish speaking countries in the Americas, totaling 11,301,072 km2 in area. That's only slightly larger than Canada (9,984,670 ...
11
votes
5answers
686 views

Have any armies equipped/fed their officers and enlisted men equally?

In the Soviet army during WW2 the officers had bigger food rations. They also had better boots (kirza vs. leather). The air force pilots were fed even better (but that is not very relevant). What ...
11
votes
3answers
713 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Wiliam Wallace vs. Robert Bruce: Why Did One Win and One Lose?

At the battle of Falkirk in 1298, William Wallace (aka "Brave Heart") abandoned the guerrilla tactics that served him so well at Stirling Bridge, and adopted a strong, but "conventional" defensive ...
10
votes
1answer
667 views

How successful were Einsatzkommando Tunis and how much was Rommel complicit?

This Einsatzkommando was headed by SS officer Walter Rauff and according to his wikipedia article it had great effect on the local Jewish population. An example is given, a quote from a German TV ...
10
votes
1answer
507 views

What corrections did the Catholic church make to the Copernicus work “De revolutionibus”?

Catholic encyclopedia says: On 5 March, 1616, the work of Copernicus was forbidden by the Congregation of the Index "until corrected", and in 1620 these corrections were indicated. Nine sentences, ...
8
votes
4answers
534 views

Was the American Civil War the first to include multiple multi-day battles?

Looking at wikipedia reveals that there were plenty of multi-day battles in the American Civil War. I looked at its article on the Crimean War, which as far as I know was the previous significant ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

What family or other connection bound Chiang Kaishek and Cai Yuanpei, two ideological opposites?

Politically, Nationalist China's Chiang Kaishek must be considered a "strange bedfellow with Cai Yuanpei. Chiang was a disciplined, narrow-minded conservative of the type one might expect from a ...
5
votes
2answers
422 views

Who was the oldest recorded participant in a battle whom we know of?

This is a record of a eighy-year-old's participation in a battle -- the Battle of Vienna in 1683 -- from Andrew Weatcroft's The Enemy At the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe; he ...
18
votes
3answers
825 views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

How did people realize that America was a different continent?

American schools teach that the American continents are named after Amerigo Vespucci because he realized that Columbus had not sailed to Asia but rather a new continent. If this story is true, how ...
16
votes
4answers
11k views

How many lives were estimated to have been saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?

**President Truman in a August 9, 1945 radio address to the American people, outlined the reasons why we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and later Nagasaki) I realize the tragic significance ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years, the Japanese have a curious custom where they perform Beethoven's 9th symphony. This has produced some stunning sights on youtube But there's nothing particularly festive or New ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

When was slavery abolished in Russia?

It is usually agreed that the Russian serfdom which was abolished in the mid-19th century originated in the 16th century as a form of martial law needed for armed campaigns and was especially ...
14
votes
4answers
15k views

Was Alexander the Great Greek or Macedonian?

This question has been confusing me for a while. Was Alexander the Great Greek or Macedonian? He was born in Pella, Macedonia, but is he considered Greek? Did nationality and ethnicity mean different ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we find a large number of nude male characters in ancient Greek paintings and sculptures?

Why do we find a large number of nude male characters in ancient Greek paintings and sculptures? What was the social status of nudity in ancient Greece?
13
votes
1answer
226 views

Song school vs. Han school of Confucian thought in the Qing dynasty

The Song school eventually prevailed due to favor from the Qing emperor and also because some Han texts were determined to be not genuine by scholars of the time. My question is, were the scholars ...
12
votes
1answer
551 views

What do historians do when there are no sources?

Historians rapidly come up against absence sources: the documentary record of the past is by its nature fragmentary, selective, partial and obtuse. What strategies do historians use when there are ...
11
votes
1answer
554 views

What did Native Americans know, or speculate, about the Old world?

When Columbus "discovered" the New World, the Old World had little to no knowledge of it. What little was known was perhaps Greenland, and - based on accurate knowledge of the size of the world - a ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Gold Confiscation Act of 1933

On March 9, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) called Congress in for an emergency session, which would result in the speedy passing of the Gold Confiscation Act. According to FDR's Executive Order ...
10
votes
3answers
935 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
708 views

What was the summer uniform of the streltsy?

The Russian streltsy (shooters) of 17th century are usually depicted in winter uniform wearing fur hats and dress. What was their summer uniform?
8
votes
2answers
410 views

State boundaries in mountainous regions

I have in front of me a map of South-East Europe (as depicted below) from the inside cover of the 1967 German edition of John Stoye's The Siege of Vienna. A detail shows three then dukedoms situated ...
8
votes
3answers
622 views

How many people were affected by the Golodomor [Famine-Genocide in Ukraine]

How many people were affected during the famine? Are there any sources for Soviet records on the Golodomor?
8
votes
2answers
418 views

At what point do armies tend to break?

I remember hearing something about where it was discerned that after a certain percent of losses armies tend to break (ie retreat). Does research on this exist? If so, at what point do armies tend ...
7
votes
2answers
304 views

When did Greek historians stop believing Greek mythology to be historical fact?

In Greek mythology, there are all kinds of historical stories. Fire from Mount Olympus, founding of Thebes, not to mention actions of the gods. First, is it safe to assume that there was a time in ...
7
votes
1answer
731 views

Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union?

Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union? That is what the world history teacher told me. Please show your sources.
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Where were the western legions when the Roman empire fell?

Whenever I read about the collapse of the western half of the Roman empire, I get a feeling of total collapse, as if no legions existed there anymore. The collapse of the empire would also mean no ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary? [closed]

The United States bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Before the Japanese could surrender, they bombed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The two bombs killed over 200,000 people, most of them civilians. ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

About Naval Formations?

What are the differences between the "line ahead" and "line abreast" formations in naval warfare? Which is more likely to lead to the (advantageous) of "crossing the opponents' T" (or being crossed)?

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