14
votes
4answers
12k views

What does the skull and crossbones on the Nazi uniform represent?

I was watching The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, and I saw this skull and crossbones on this Nazi's cap. Why is it there? (That is, what does this represent?)
-1
votes
3answers
195 views

In the USSR, did they ever stop 'officially' believing in the future Communist utopia?

Karl Marx taught of a state which 'withered away' until 'communism' had been achieved: that is a stateless, communal society of prosperity and perpetual peace. To begin with at least, the Soviet Union ...
7
votes
3answers
526 views

Before the use of Anno Domini dating (BCE/CE), how were years numbered?

Currently we use Anno Domini (A.D.) year numbering, sometimes secularized as "BCE" (Before Common Era) or "CE" (Common Era). What was the prevailing method of dating years in Western culture before ...
1
vote
2answers
284 views

Historical assessments of the effectiveness of torture

With the Senate Torture report in the news, one of the arguments against torture is that it is ineffective: torturing someone just makes them tell you anything they think will make the torture stop, ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What happened to all the notable Roman families?

What happened to the numerous (patrician) families of Rome? Like the Gens Julia for example. There are no ancestors today leading back to them like for example the famous Medici family from ...
4
votes
1answer
247 views

How were Warrant Officers appointed to Royal Navy ships during the Age of Sail?

As I understand it, Warrant Officers got their name from the warrant issued by the Admiralty (depending on the applicant having the correct qualifications). From the descriptions I've read, these ...
6
votes
1answer
210 views

What was the typical range of travel of a Pennsylvanian resident for everyday life in the late 18th early 19th Century Pennsylvania?

How much traveling did a typical Pennsylvanian resident do for everyday life in the late 18th early 19th Century (1775-1825) Pennsylvania, and what was the 'typical' range (in miles) from their home ...
1
vote
0answers
182 views

Where to find a list of participants in The Crusades? [closed]

I am curious as to where a compiled list of participants in The Crusades exist and how would one access this, particularly of European Crusaders but would find it interesting of any records of both ...
3
votes
1answer
462 views

In the past were there gifts on the days leading up to Christmas instead of them all being on the one day?

Sometimes I'm tempted to give my kids gifts in a spread out way, instead of all at once, so they can appreciate each gift. In the song The 12 Days of Christmas the author describes getting gifts on ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

How did the Allies communicate during World War II?

I was wondering how the allied (America and England, since France was occupied by the Nazis) communicated securely with each other in 1943. I know that the SIGSALY existed, but I am most interested in ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What was the age of majority in 1900 United States?

What was the age of majority in 1900, in the United States? For women and for men? I am not asking about the age of consent. The age of majority is the chronological moment when minors cease to ...
3
votes
1answer
465 views

What is the meaning of this samurai crest?

From User Jordan Miles Hamanaka Kaplowit's comment to this question: Meaning of samurai crest / symbol What is the meaning of the sixth crest symbol?
3
votes
1answer
220 views

Which cultures considered dual-gender sacred

Which cultures have historically considered the manifestation of two or more genders by one individual to be either a divine trait (being a deity) or to be an indication of divine favor or association ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Who is Heckler?

On researching the Black Plague I have a few times run into the name of "Heckler" who supposedly is the source for the information that 25% of the population of Europe was killed by the plague. For ...
5
votes
1answer
225 views

Yearly population growth rate throughout history

Has there been a comprehensive analysis of relative human population growth rate throughout history? I'm interested in seeing how the growth rate (not world population) has evolved in the past ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

WWII: Did the entire war depend on breaking the ENIGMA cipher? [closed]

I recently watched this great historical movie called Enigma (2001) As I saw the movie, a British general claimed that the entire war was depended on breaking the Enigma cipher? Is this really a ...
5
votes
2answers
234 views

Were there prominent secular philosophers in the European middle ages? If so, who?

I've only done a small amount of reading on the middle ages, and on the history of Western philosophy, but from what I can glean education and religion were tightly coupled during the period, so most ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

What was the death toll of Plague of Justinian?

I am looking for approximate number of people that died in Europe during 541–542 Plague of Justinian. All wiki has is Modern scholars believe that the plague killed up to 5,000 people per day in ...
6
votes
2answers
632 views

How close did Germany come to interdicting Soviet oil shipments from the Caucasus in 1942?

In 1942, the Germans captured a relatively small oil complex at Maikop in the North Caucasus, and got within 25 miles of a larger one at Grozny. But the biggest prize was at Baku, on the "far" ...
8
votes
1answer
152 views

Forms of address of Roman Magistrates under Constantinus

In The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon mentions that Roman magistrates under Constantinus the Great had such titles as; your Sincerity, your Gravity, your Excellency, your ...
14
votes
1answer
545 views

Instances of Jauhar around the world

Is there any evidence that the practice similar to Jauhar existed in places other than India? It seems like a pretty effective way, however brutal it may be, to escape slavery, rapes and imprisonment ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

What is the historical relationship between Yule and Christmas?

What is the historical relationship between Yule and Christmas? Yule is in part a set of secular and religious observances of a festival, arising out of pagan Germanic cultures. Christmas is in part ...
-2
votes
1answer
113 views

Kingdom of Judah under Babylonian rule

I'm writing some work about the kingdom of Judah under the Babylonian rule (604-539 BC). I am looking for the reasons that led to the instability of Judah under the Babylonian rule. I would ...
1
vote
1answer
125 views

Will someone help me understand the following quotation about Calvinism?

Okay, working on some class notes for school, and I stumbled upon a sentence which seems like it's in another language to me in the text: "To Luther’s emphasis on the individual’s relationship ...
2
votes
2answers
263 views

Was it possible to navigate a river against the current on a medieval boat?

I'm aware of the historically importance of rivers for earlier civilizations. Some of the most significant economies of the past were built on the bank of a river. I would like to know if: Was it ...
2
votes
0answers
152 views

Was it controversial when Parliament restricted the suffrage to the Forty Shilling Freeholders in 1430?

According to this House of Commons Library research paper, suffrage in the county constituencies was initially open to every man who was head of a household, or at least that's my understanding of the ...
63
votes
3answers
6k views

How did people distinguish slaves from free people in Ancient Rome?

I've tried to find some information about it, but failed. Somehow it doesn't seem to be important enough to write about it. Let's say there is an educated slave living in a relatively rich household ...
6
votes
2answers
758 views

Did the Japanese try to start peace negotiations while in a position of strength in WWII?

As I understand it, the Japanese plan for the Pacific War was to grab a bunch of territory, then negotiate peace from a position of strength. Did the Japanese ever try to start those peace ...
-1
votes
1answer
164 views

Were 'Phillipe de Croy' and 'William Whyte' historical people? [closed]

Not sure if this goes here, but I couldn't work see a literature stack exchange... In the Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet, I have always wondered about the following passage: '"I have my ...
2
votes
3answers
197 views

Did the proto-Indo-Europeans displace or overlay the pre-existing European tribes?

The various proto-Indo-European groups which entered European in the 2nd millennium BCE replaced local languages very thoroughly. Basque and Sami might be remainders of pre-PIE people's languages. ...
-2
votes
1answer
163 views

How were the first computers on the internet connected? [closed]

The internet started as a small "net" of interconnected computers, but how were those computers connected? Was a chip manufactured to be installed onto the computer? Was it software?
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it true that Proto-Ukrainians conquered Europe and India?

I am a Ukrainian high school student. Recently we were told by a teacher that Proto-Ukrainians, the people who lived in the modern territory of Ukraine and ancestors of modern Ukrainians, once ...
2
votes
1answer
224 views

Detailed dimensions of the Colosseum

I know that the Colosseum is about 189x156 meters, and 48 meters high, but I am having trouble finding any information on the dimensions of each of the 4 rows of seating. To be exact, where each row ...
1
vote
2answers
203 views

What type of people were most likely to be suspected of witchcraft in Salem?

One of the theories out there for the cause of the Witch Trial is that economic jealousy motivates the poor to accuse the rich. This seems very contradictory to what is said in books on The Witch ...
0
votes
4answers
372 views

Why didn't the senate of Carthage reinforce Hannibal in Italy?

During the second Punic war, Hannibal Barca fought in Italy for 14 years, and yet the Romans managed to bring the war to Africa. How is that possible, especially after battles such as Cannae? If ...
19
votes
7answers
4k views

When was the last time a reigning monarch personally participated in battle?

A similar question was asked about only British monarchs. The conditions in this question are the same, but for monarchs world-wide. For the sake of this question, tribal chiefs are not considered ...
10
votes
1answer
178 views

How was birth control realized in ancient times? [closed]

In ancient days, there were no birth control methods like condoms or contraceptive pills available. How did they control pregnancy?
4
votes
1answer
999 views

When did the French Revolution end?

Is there a consensus among historians on when the regarding when the French Revolution ended? Google results including Wikipedia names Napoleon's coup d'etat in 1799 as the end of the French ...
6
votes
6answers
5k views

Did the division between East and West Germany coincide with cultural boundaries?

I understand that at the conclusion of World War II, Germany was divided into East Germany (under the Soviet Union) and West Germany (under the Western powers). Prior to the division, was there any ...
4
votes
2answers
366 views

Did the USSR have a more positive relationship with France than other west european countries after 1945?

France and the USSR were allies before World War 2. A number of things intervened before then and 1945, not limited to the war itself. After the war, did Soviet officials publicly (or privately) ...
0
votes
2answers
173 views

Why did the US pay money to the losers, at the end of both barbary wars?

According to Wikipedia, the US decisively won both barbary wars and could press on if they wanted to. However, they signed peace treaties, which incredibly granted to the loser a significant sum of ...
10
votes
1answer
253 views

When did the First Barbary War start?

I am reading about the First Barbary War from both Swedish and American perspective. I have what I believe to be a very reliable source in Swedish, and it says that the Pascha of Tripoli declared war ...
13
votes
3answers
558 views

Why didn't Henry A. Wallace become President in 1945?

Henry A. Wallace was Roosevelt's vice-president during WWII. Shortly before Roosevelt's death (82 days) following a slow decline in health, the Conservative wing of the Democratic Party started an ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What did the nobles do after the French Revolution?

After the French Revolution, the privileges of the aristocracy were abolished. Some nobles were executed, others migrated, but what happened to those who stayed in France? Did they live off what ...
13
votes
2answers
379 views

Was there a serious proposal to offer India territory in East Africa?

In the recent World Service series The War That Changed The World the episode dealing with India contains a rather extraordinary claim. A panel member, an Indian, says there was a notion during WW1 ...
20
votes
1answer
655 views

What is the meaning of people “looking elsewhere” on medieval paintings?

Looking at some medieval paintings I noticed that there are sometimes people "looking elsewhere" even though they take part in an important event and would be expected to pay attention: Is ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

What was the true state of relations between Baathist Iraq and Taliban Afghanistan?

Not sure if this is too recent to be a history question, but... All this stuff about Saddam collaborating on the World Trade Centre attack has been shown to be humbug over and over again. The two ...
7
votes
1answer
545 views

Why did the Italians (and to some extent Jewish & Irish) dominate organized crime in the US in the 20th century?

Immigrants of a great many nationalities came to American shores, so why was it the Italians who reached such elaborate levels of criminal organization? (The Jewish & Irish seem to have come in ...
6
votes
1answer
628 views

Why did J. Edgar Hoover publicly deny the existence of the Mafia for so long?

According to Wikipedia, Hoover denied or ignored the existence of the Mafia as a criminal organization until the Apalachin Meeting in late 1957, when it became impossible to ignore. What good did ...
2
votes
0answers
68 views

Who really controls the area behind the Sahara wall [closed]

I would like to know who really controls this blank area which is possessed by Morocco and behind the sahara wall, it's controlled by the moroccan army or by the polisario ? or it's blank area ...

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