14
votes
7answers
15k views

Why did Nazi soldiers do Hitler's bidding?

The atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during World War II are well known. I'd like to know what motivated those soldiers to do Hitler's bidding. Were they brainwashed? Did they believe they were ...
44
votes
11answers
12k views

Did the Soviets excel in one area of weaponry during World War II?

The Germans had some of the best machine guns and tanks during World War II. Likewise, the Americans had a big advantage with the M1 Garand (which Patton famously called "The greatest battle implement ...
32
votes
6answers
7k views

How did people travel to remote islands like Easter Island?

Easter Island is extremely remote, being thousands of kilometers from its nearest neighbor. How did people get there safely, and how did they even know it was there?
22
votes
2answers
1k views

How did cities operate in medieval times?

Modern fiction is often filled with fantasy versions of the Middle Ages, from Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, and everything in between, but how did the reality of this trope operate? There ...
20
votes
2answers
776 views

What was the structure of religious beliefs among the Arabic peoples before conversion to Islam?

Other questions on this topic has addressed the pre-Islamic religious beliefs in broad detail, including the conversion of near-Arab cultures. What was the specific nature of the pre-Islamic ...
44
votes
10answers
11k views

Why didn't France and UK invade Germany September 3rd 1939?

On September 3rd 1939, when UK and France declared war on Germany, both ordinary Polish people and government officials became enthusiastic. There were spontaneous demonstrations of support for the ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

Who believed the earth was flat?

Christians are sometimes mocked for having once believed the earth was flat. However, the only references I can find are Lactantius in the beginning of the 4th century, and Copernicus, who says ...
31
votes
10answers
10k views

Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
22
votes
6answers
12k views

Why was the Treaty of Versailles so harsh?

When Germany signed the armistice in the first world war, they were still (technically) in a decent bargaining position. Germany still had troops in France and Belgium There were no enemy forces in ...
34
votes
10answers
3k views

Are there confirmed cases where a country changed its language without being conquered?

I thought about this question and wondered: Are there any known cases where a country switched to a different language other than because of being conquered? If some country ever did this I would be ...
31
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is it that the maiden name is traditionally dropped when a woman is getting married?

Haven't seen anything online, even after googling. Wikipedia seems to only list the countries that support the practice, but offers no history. Why is it that the maiden name is traditionally dropped ...
24
votes
2answers
967 views

When did the term “Nationality” first come into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?

When was the term "Nationality" first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? When we refer to Ancient Civilizations, did they consider themselves a nation in the modern ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

How was the United States able to produce excellent tanks in 1942?

Most military histories of the war in North Africa, and especially those produced from a British point-of-view, emphasise the greenness of the American troops which landed there in 1942. There is a ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Why did native Americans and Europeans mix in South America but not in North America?

A large part of the current population of South America are descendants of both native Americans and Europeans. In contrast, in north America the intermingling of native Americans and Europeans was ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

What are the counterarguments to calling German nazism a right-wing movement?

I notice that the media routinely refer to Hitler's politics as "extreme right-wing". "extreme right-wing" and "neo-nazi" have become practically a synonym. Is this accurate? The obvious "but" is ...
35
votes
10answers
6k views

Has anyone ever named a war after their own country or faction?

An interesting conversation has come up on the Science Fiction and Fantasy SE site. I will try to summarize it as briefly as possible. Someone asked a question about the second Star Wars prequel. ...
33
votes
4answers
4k views

Which year in history had the highest ratio of non-natural deaths?

A silly question maybe but wondering which year in history was the bloodiest? Is it one of the last two years of WWII? Or are there any other such bloody time in history? I only wish to include ...
29
votes
2answers
3k views

Where did the Romans store their cash?

In the era before banking was invented, where did wealthy Romans store their cash? The emperor probably could store it somewhere in the imperial palace thanks to the Praetorian guard, but what about ...
26
votes
2answers
3k views

How beneficial were war bonds to the US during WWII

I've been watching classic cartoon shorts from Disney and Warner Brothers. So many devoted time to encouraging Americans to buy war bonds. Did money collected from war bonds amount to a significant ...
25
votes
9answers
13k views

How Did Moscow Become the Capital/Most Important City in Russia?

Early in the past millennium, Kiev was probably the largest, most modern city in the former Soviet Union, at least until the Mongols came. One might have expected it to be the capital of the Soviet ...
24
votes
4answers
6k views

Last death caused by World War I

Today, I heard about seven deaths attributed to an explosion of a bomb from World War 2: Seven dead as war bomb explodes in Bangkok scrap yard Hopefully, the last death or deaths that can be ...
21
votes
2answers
935 views

What is the historical basis for the Exodus?

As a sideline to the question How Long Did the Belief in the Egyptian Sun God Ra Last?, the comments have become a long discussion on the historicity of the Exodus. Rather than have pages of comments ...
19
votes
5answers
853 views

Recognition of Palestine?

What was Palestine before, if not a country? Could you give me some history on this? Also, the recent recognition of Palestine as a country in the UN could have far reaching implications. Are there ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

What were the 52 kinds of victims persecuted by the Nazis?

Out of the surviving 6,808 arrest files of Duesseldorf, a small city of half a million population, 1,440 were those of Communists alone. They were, however, only one among the 52 types of ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Was there an assassination attempt against Xerxes in the battle of Thermopylae?

I watched Frank Miller's 300 last night with my girlfriend, and after the movie ended she mentioned the assassination attempt against Xerxes would have been a great plot element for the movie and that ...
18
votes
13answers
16k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
4k views

Why did Stalin keep the famine of 1932 a secret?

The famine of 1932 took millions of lives, before the Soviet authorities took some measures to alleviate the lives of the peasants. During the whole time, and for decades afterwards, the affair was ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Did Stalin believe Israel would go communist?

In Anne Applebaum's recent book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 she claims the USSR supported the new state of Israel and states "Stalin believed Israel would quickly join the ...
15
votes
4answers
12k 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. ...
14
votes
8answers
970 views

How to rebut Holocaust denial argument?

I came across a Holocaust denier who claims that there is a plaque outside Auschwitz which says that the Nazis murdered 1.5 million people there (mostly Jewish). However, the plaque used to say 4 ...
13
votes
3answers
573 views

Historical/legendary/mythological accounts that turned out to be true

Reading Herodotus' Histories, one is often baffled by passages like (3.102): {102} [...] Indians [..., of the North] make expeditions for the gold. For in the parts where they live it is desert on ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin of Indian weekday names?

The days of the week in several Indian languages are named after the same planets/gods as the Graeco-Roman days of the week. Did these arise from some common source predating both (PIE?), or was the ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
12
votes
1answer
13k views

How did Germany rebuild so quickly after World War I?

After World War I, Germany suffered severe economic damage. Germany was asked to make horrendous war reparations, suffered hyperinflation, social chaos .... In addition, world economic conditions were ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Has the existence of a matriarchal society really been discredited?

I always thought that there was proof of the existence of matriarchal society in the ancient times but apparently, according to Wikipedia this hypothesis is mostly discredited today. Why? Wiki cites: ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Why did the Germans fall behind the Americans in the development of the atomic bomb after an initial lead?

I actually know certain facts about this matter, but am seeking guidance in interpreting these facts into "theories." 1) Theory 1, Economic: The Americans spent something like $2 billion (in money of ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Jewish Slave Owners in the United States

David Duke has a video on YouTube about Jewish participation in various slave trades in Western history. At the 7:40 mark he states: In the pre-Civil War United States 2% of white gentile ...
8
votes
5answers
701 views

The Needham Question: What stunted China's technological and proto-scientific advancement?

According to Joseph Needham Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at ...
8
votes
1answer
429 views

How is history studied?

What are the unique and distinct features of the study of history in terms of: Epistemology Purpose Theory Method Methodology Does the study of history produce unique perceptions? Does the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How did commoners in late medieval to early modern Europe learn to read?

Literacy in the early Middle Ages was very low, but as I recall, by the time of Reformation quite a lot of commoners could read. Even if they were not very good in reading and writing, by the 17th ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

At what point did Soviet armored units have qualitative parity with Wehrmacht armored units?

Was the T-26 a match for the Panzer II,III, and IV in the early stages of Barbarossa? The T-34 has been given a lot of credit as the tipping point where Soviet technology created a weapons platform ...
7
votes
1answer
191 views

The history of the idea that lack of moral censure leads to decline

"The decline of a civilization has long been linked, anecdotally, to less moral censure and a decline in manners (manners being self, usually-moral censorship)." (Brock Adams, commenting an earlier ...
24
votes
4answers
6k views

Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome after the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal Barca defeated 8 Roman legions in the Battle of Cannae. At that time Carthage also had control over Hispania. Why did Hannibal not seize Rome at that time?
20
votes
10answers
8k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there any evidence that the Catholic Church slowed innovation during the Middle Ages?

I often hear that the rate of innovation was very high during ancient times in Greece and the Roman empire. I've also heard that the rate of innovation was reduced once the Catholic Church gained ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the earliest evidence of contact between Ireland and Egypt?

There is a folk tale of an Egyptian princess in Ireland around 1700 BC. Is there credible evidence of early contact between the two places?
19
votes
3answers
3k views

Why was Newton's observation of the falling apple significant?

As described in this article at Wikipedia, in 1666, Newton was in a garden when he noticed an apple falling. Surely, Newton could not have been the first person to notice that things fell when ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...
17
votes
2answers
542 views

Has any foreign embassy ever been entered without permission?

I was just looking at this article: UK 'threatens' to raid Ecuador embassy over Assange "Today we've received a threat by the United Kingdom, a clear and written threat that they could storm our ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Was any significant percentage of Mongol army infantry?

Mongols of Khan's time are generally considered to be a cavalry army, which makes sense logistically, given the width and speed of their military maneuvers. But is there historical evidence of Khan's ...

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