1
vote
1answer
49 views

How can we evaluate a country's historians for independence?

How can we identify historians from a country who are (willing to be) independent of the interests of the government of it? Whether or not a historian is really able to see and hear about their own ...
6
votes
1answer
84 views

When and why did smiling at strangers and in photos become customary in the United States?

In the US, in my experience, it's customary to smile when meeting a stranger. Even in an interaction as casual as passing someone in the street without a word, a smile is normal and expected. In ...
11
votes
3answers
919 views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
3
votes
1answer
37 views

When did the Ecclesiastical courts in England cease to have authority to mete out punishments such as imprisonment and execution?

In 1401, the ecclesiastical courts in England were given the power to burn heretics. In modern times the ecclesiastical courts have no control over anyone who does not belong to the Church of England, ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

Soviet-German friendship propaganda posters (1939‒41)

Upon reading Putin’s New Nostalgia article by Timothy Snyder, I was specifically intrigued by one particular historical point he mentioned. Given the charged nature of current events, and Snyder’s ...
5
votes
2answers
143 views

Why today's Japan celebrates Western New Year but China still celebrates Chinese New Year?

Before Meiji Restoration, Japan used Chinese calendar and celebrated Chinese New Year just as China did. Nowadays, both Japan and China have adopted Western calendar. However, Japan celebrates ...
37
votes
9answers
15k views

Why did Hitler not invade Sweden?

I was looking over a map of where the Nazis invaded and they never attacked Sweden. I was wondering why since it seems like a much better strategic move than invading Russia. Why might they have ...
49
votes
5answers
2k views

How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's “Guns, Germs, and Steel”?

Jared Diamond wrote a fascinating book that purports to explain, in a very broad way, the development of civilization. It has several explanations for the development of Eurasian civilization rather ...
24
votes
2answers
5k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

Were the Barons who pushed King John to Sign the Magna Carta descended from the Normans? [on hold]

In reading "The Plantagenets" I noticed the names of many of the barons had a name like "so-and-so De so-and-so". It's the "De" that caught my attention as not sounding very British or Anglo. Instead ...
6
votes
4answers
363 views

When did formal social dance fall out of favor in the US?

Up until about the 1950s, one can see instances of social dance (especially ballroom) dominating the social scene. This includes instances such as the tennis court scene with Humphrey Bogart and ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Why did Abraham Lincoln choose Andrew Johnson as a vice presidential running mate?

Given the two were from different parties, I was curious as to why Lincoln would choose a man like Johnson from the opposing party when running for reelection. In addition, I'm curious as to why ...
60
votes
9answers
11k views

Why bother attacking castles at all? Why not go around?

Castles were designed to hold people, weapons, and supplies to survive a siege. They were well-defended. Taking one could easily be a long, bloody struggle. Why attack at all? Most castles I've seen ...
6
votes
5answers
406 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 ...
-1
votes
0answers
31 views

Abolitionism in the north [on hold]

Why were there abolitionists arguing about whether advocating gradualism or Immediatism even after all the northern states were freed? Were they trying to emancipate slavery in the South? And what's ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Rape perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII?

A while back I had a disturbing encounter with someone related to a Jewish survivor from the Auschwitz death camp. This survivor apparently claims that not only Red Army soldiers, but also G.I.'s ...
5
votes
1answer
66 views

Why did the Ming Dynasty Treasure Fleet Voyages end?

Have we come to know more reasons, on why the Treasure Fleet Voyages of the Ming Dynasty ceased, other than eunuch-to-civil power shift? Wikipedia says However, in 1433, the voyages ceased and ...
8
votes
2answers
186 views
+100

How wealthy was Singapore at its independence (1965)?

According to this article Is Singapore the Perfect Country for Our Times? Singapore's defining achievement is summed up in the title of its longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew's memoir, From Third ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Why was Europe so technologically and culturally advanced? [on hold]

In history, why were European populations so advanced, if compared to other populations, such as native Americans? What's the reason why Europeans were so good in technology and science? Why did ...
4
votes
2answers
749 views

When was Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians?

When reading literature about the Babylonian the destruction of Jerusalem I always wonder which year it took place. Some books says 586 B.CE. and some says 587 B.CE. Is this because one don't know? Or ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

What killed Takeda Shingen?

What killed Takeda Shingen? A sniper's bullet? Illness? Old wounds? A combination of the above? Why is the cause of his death shrouded in mystery? Did the Takeda try and keep his death secret or ...
22
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
52 views

How Many German Born American Citizens served for the U.S. in World War II? [on hold]

I have been searching for the number of German born American soldiers in WWII that are still alive (in 2015). I was quite shocked to not even be able to find how many German born American Citizens who ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

Why did Hitler not concentrate more on North Africa?

The Germans knew that oil would be crucial to the war and that they would likely need to capture new sources for the war effort. The main oil-producing regions at the time that might be captured were ...
4
votes
3answers
147 views

What has prevented the United Nations from failing the same way as the League of Nations? [closed]

The League of Nations proved to be incapable of controlling the Axis Powers in the 1930s and was subsequently replaced by the United Nations after WWII. What has kept the United Nations together ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did the USA take no action to help Pakistan during their 1971 war against India? [on hold]

In 1971, USA and Pakistan were known to be strong allies or were they? Why did the USA just pretend to help Pakistan and actually do nothing in the Indo-Pak war of 1971? Why did the 7th fleet not ...
6
votes
1answer
185 views

What did 19th century playgrounds look like?

In the beginning of the novel Cold Mountain, a character recollect his childhood at a school house (maybe in the 1840s or 1850s in rural North Carolina) and describes flinging his hat out onto the ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Why did Spain not participate in World War I?

Spain was losing influence in America for the previous 100 years, and there was a recent Spanish-American war. So how could have Spain remained neutral? Why could Spain not find a place in the ...
6
votes
3answers
329 views

Is there a student of Arnold J Toynbee with an opinion about the state and fate of Western Civilization?

Toynbee studied history centering his work on the life and death of civilizations. As Wikipedia says: Toynbee argued that "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder." For Toynbee, ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Napoleon's role in serfdom abolition

It is known that Napoleon has given constitutions to a set of countries. The constitutions were written in the style of the French one. How many of those napoleonic constitutions have played a role ...
6
votes
1answer
852 views

Why did Japanese samurai disembowel themselves?

Japanese samurais were known to commit ritual suicide by stabbing themselves in the belly. Why? Why not hang themselves? Cut their own throats? Does Japanese culture view disembowelment differently ...
3
votes
2answers
123 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] ...
60
votes
6answers
13k views

Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Why did Native Americans die of European diseases while Europeans didn't have serious diseases from the New World? I read that most Native American victims of colonization in the new world died of ...
3
votes
1answer
111 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?
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Was there a constitutional mechanism to overturn the election of Adolf Hitler?

In March 1933 Hitler received 44 % of the votes during the elections and became relatively fast a dictator. Were there any constitutional or other legal mechanisms in place through which this ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

Cultural history of Saudi Arabian rulers' uniform beard style?

Why is it that all Saudi Arabian rulers and prices both of the present and past generations apparently wear the same style of chin beards? (Yes, they wear the same styles of headdresses as well.) Is ...
6
votes
2answers
186 views

Are Russian birch bark manuscripts fake?

There are more than a 1000 birch bark manuscripts found in Novgorod and other Russian cities in last 50 years. Many of them stayed in the soil for more than 700 years. In the same time, no special ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Anti-personnel use of blowguns

The wikipedia entry for blowguns currently states that blowguns were historically used to hunt small wild game and only rarely used as an anti-personnel armament. This made me wonder if there are any ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

How much do we know about Emperor Ashoka?

A recent Indian Tevevision series is showing a detailed a life characteristic of Ashoka's childhood. Though its a work of fiction, I would like to know how much of that is actual fact, and how much do ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

historical name(s) for area between Syria and Mesopotamia?

Apologies if this is "really" a geographical question, but I suspect it must have been addressed by scholars of the past millenium of Middle Eastern history, not least because it is so central to a ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

Who is ISIS/ISIL, Really? [on hold]

For the past 6 months or so (probably longer), I've heard a lot about ISIS, and I know that they are involved in military actions in Syria, but I am still confused as to what their true purpose is. If ...
-3
votes
1answer
114 views

What do they do with corpses after a battle?

In the ancient time (maybe Roman era) when a war finishes, when an army killed (yield) another army, generally speaking what do they do with the corpses? My question is specified to a war in a ground ...
5
votes
2answers
138 views

Did Trotsky serve as a hate-figure in PRC propaganda?

Maoism and Trotskyism share some similar ideas (by Maoism I am referring specifically to the guiding philosophies of the PRC during Mao's rule, and by Trotskyism I mean the beliefs of Trotsky, not ...
3
votes
5answers
468 views

What name is taken if a man marries into a noble house?

In regards to marrying into noble houses, if a noble man marries a noble woman from a different house, I would assume one of two things happens: 1. The woman takes the man's name and the two houses ...
14
votes
13answers
6k views

Why does Europe have so few skyscrapers compared to East Asia?

The European Union has virtually no skyscrapers except the newly built 'The Shard' in London. There are also a series of newly-built state-funded skyscrapers in Moscow. On the other hand if you look ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the origin of the rampant lion herald?

We often see the image of the rampant lion used as a symbol in heraldry and other places. I understand the significance of the lion, and I am aware that ancient art often incorporated the lion, but ...
-4
votes
0answers
47 views

Why and since when military exercises are considered acts of aggression?

One hears often that this or that country performed military exercises in this or that region in the context that implied these were threats, almost acts of aggression. I wonder why and since when it ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Could The Soviet Union have continued fighting World War II without Caucasus oil?

In 1942, Germany's Fall Blau was initially aimed at capturing or interdicting shipments of oil from the Caucasus to the rest of the Soviet Union. Even though armies were diverted to Stalingrad and ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

What was the prevalence of ethnic minorities in 15th century Bohemia?

What was the prevalence of what we in contemporary western culture would consider "ethnic minorities" (Africans, East Asians, South Asians, Latinos, etc) in the population of early 15th century ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

Why is the bishopric of canterbury located in london?

As far as I understand the seat used to be in Canterbury and then was transferred to London but kept the title. Is that true and when did this happen?

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