Questions tagged [20th-century]

For questions spanning a significant proportion of the 20th century. Questions focused on the latter decades should consider using the contemporary-history tag. Individual tags exist for specific decades.

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In the early 20th century, was there any difference in the size of war horse between heavy cavalry and light cavalry?

In the early 20th century(during WW1), was there any difference among the sizes of war horses used by heavy cavalry (dragoons, schweres reiters, cuirassiers) and light cavalry (hussars, uhlans, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How was coffee brewed in Philadelphia (or surrounding area) in 1904?

I am writing a story about a physician in Philadelphia in 1904. I read that Hills Bros. packaged the first 'vacuum packed tins' of coffee. I just don't know if there was enough distribution that he ...
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1 answer
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What was a Purity Chapter?

In turn-of-the-last-century American newspapers, I keep finding notices of numbered "Purity Chapters" holding meetings, like this... The annual meeting for the election of officers of ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Who was Professor Henri Andre and what did he publish?

Looking at the history of electrochemical batteries, I came across this article from NASA where it says: In the late 1920s, French Professor Henri André finally made the first practical silver-zinc ...
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Did mother Teresa ask to allow to Christianise Arunachal Pradesh to receive Bharat Ratna?

Mother Teresa is a popular person, generally known for her humanitarian work. But from my childhood, I repeatedly used to hear that she promoted and converted many Indians to Christianity either ...
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20 votes
11 answers
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Is there any instance of part of a country successfully seceding and then unifying with a neighbouring country in the last century?

There have been and still are plenty of groups who are fighting for independence of their home regions, and many who have been successful, but is there any precedent for groups fighting to leave the ...
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2 votes
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Did Deng Xiaoping really break his leg playing billiards?

I am reading the biography of Deng Xiaoping by Ezra Vogel. In the biography, it mentions that Deng Xiaoping once broke his leg playing billiards. I personally find that highly unlikely. Billiards is ...
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1 vote
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Where can I find primary sources about the 1973 Arab oil embargo? Specifically from a non western perspective?

I'm trying to compare U.S/British media portrayals (newspaper articles, speeches, etc.) to ones coming from the Middle East at the time, but it's very difficult to find the latter, especially ...
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When did people first think of plastic as bad for environment?

I know that at first plastics was thought of as good. It replaced certain natural materials. For some decades after plastics was invented, it wasn’t thought as bad for environment and nature. Since ...
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How colonialism have been done right (benevolently)? [closed]

The British Empire (& Europeans, Arabs etc.) colonised many countries but the colonial experience, advertised as a "westernizing the backward people for their own good" masked the ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What did MLK, Jr. mean by "Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor"?

In his famous 1968 "I've been to the mountaintop" speech in support of the striking Memphis Sanitation Workers, Martin Luther King, Jr. made a reference to then-mayor Henry Loeb: You know ...
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How many visits did the Mitford sisters or Oswald Mosley make to Nazi Germany?

The youngest Mitford sister, Unity, first met Hitler in Munich 1934, who invites her older sister Diana over to meet him in April 1935. Sometime in 1935 Unity delivers the televised speech at ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Why were French maids apparently so common outside France?

Wikipedia article doesn't help at all. It's surprisingly thin and essentially doesn't explain anything. It's only vaguely implied that this was a thing outside of France. Why exactly did so many ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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Can you identify the military uniform on the man in this photo?

I found this photo in a box I inherited from my grandmother. The photo is on heavy card-like stock, but there is no writing or any markings on the back. My grandparents were born in Germany, but came ...
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What did US presidential ballots look like when unpledged electors were offered?

Unpledged presidential electors have run in at least four US presidential elections. In 1960, 14 were elected. In this age, where the electoral college is almost a mere formality and we rarely think ...
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1 vote
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Where can I find Information about small businesses in Europe who formed 'co-op' currency & traded among each other between WW1/2?

Several years ago I read an essay on a small/independent website about companies in Europe which got together during the hyper-inflationary 1920s & 30s and negotiated amongst each other for ...
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Was Castro City ever a city?

I obtained a map of a South-East SF Bay. Officially it is Page 8 of San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley set, compiled by the Soviet Main Intelligence Department of General Staff (ГРУ ГШ) in 1976....
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What should I read to understand the New Deal coalition?

I'm interested in learning about the history and the structure of the New Deal coalition formed during the 30s up until its end in the 60s from an academic perspective, particularly with regards to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What percentage of US households had electricity and telephones in 1940?

I'm trying to find a published source giving the percent of U.S. households having electricity and percent having telephones in 1940 (+/- a year or two). Not interested in the rural vs city divide per ...
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19 votes
4 answers
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Why was the Israeli army strong enough to win the 1948 war?

How did the new state of Israel already have an army strong enough to secure a military victory against multiple neighboring armies in 1948? According to a inadequately cited Wikipedia article, we ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What did whistling bombs actually sound like?

Apparently some WWII-era bombs had whistles built into their design, so that they would whistle as they fell. Often, for example in Looney Tunes cartoons, this is depicted as a whistle that gradually ...
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What did anti-Greek stereotyping look like in the United States in the early 20th century?

I am writing a story that is set in the 1920s. Several of the characters in the story are either immigrants from southern or eastern Europe (e.g., Greece, Italy) or their children, and I'm trying to ...
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1 vote
1 answer
156 views

Was "Nobody intends to build a wall" Machiavellian? [closed]

When Ulbricht said in 1961: "Nobody intends to build a wall", is there any truth to the idea that he was being deliberately Machiavellian, knowing that most East Germans would read the signs ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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West Berlin: who else fled besides East Germans?

When the Iron curtain descended across Europe, and Berlin was the only hole unplugged, did large numbers of other Eastern Europeans flee that way as well? I know that East Europeans could across into ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Are there any good books in English about the mechanics of German reunification?

Are there any good books in English about the mechanics of German reunification? I'd be interested to know how such things as: Criminal justice. Who was released and who remained in prison? Did ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How common was Nixon-esque espionage in 20th-century American politics?

During the Watergate scandal, President Nixon's supporters were reportedly fond of saying, "Everyone does it." When I listened to Slate's Slow Burn podcast recently, I remember them saying ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Has the paradigm of interpretation of the 20th century as "short" been criticized in historiography?

In "The Age Of Extremes: 1914-1994 " Hobsbawm describes those years as "short" as opposed to the long 19th century. Is there any historiographic source that criticized this kind of ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What cars were used with the Crocodile Class Ce 6/8 locomotive during its active years, especially at the beginning?

The Crocodile Class Ce 6/8 locomotive was manufactured around a century ago, between 1919 and 1927. It was used by Swiss Federal Railways. Wikipedia claims that These locomotives were developed for ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What was wrong with carrying a bag on one's back in a town in the USA in the first decades of the 1900?

A geologist working in the field needs a container for rocks specimens: The collecting-bag may be in the form of a pouch to carry at the side, a knapsack, or a rucksack. If one is working afoot the ...
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37 votes
8 answers
6k views

Did a significant number of women drive in late 1950s/1960s USA?

During lockdown, I have become addicted to old 1950s/60s Perry Mason series. I am struck by the number of women, from all walks of life - waitresses to wealthy matrons - who owned and drove their own ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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When was this picture taken?

This is a picture from my family's book & stationery store that was in Aspen, Colorado, and I'd love to get a better idea when it was taken. We owned the store between maybe 1905 and maybe 1945. ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Did legal interracial marriage hit a nadir that was above 50% in 1948?

Did legal interracial marriage hit a nadir that was above 50% in 1948? Explain XKCD for this comic, which is currently down so I'm using an archive... said: Since the establishment of the United ...
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Can anyone help to identify this picture of a relative wearing a possibly Polish/Russian/Prussian uniform?

I found this photo and tried to match to uniforms of the time around 1911. Can’t find one with similar pockets or stripes. Can you help to identify? My sister says person on left is grandfather. They ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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How did AIDS generate losses? And what are the methods to compensate for them? [closed]

Several organizations have nevertheless attempted the exercise. "According to UNAIDS estimates, in countries with HIV prevalence rates above 20%, gross domestic product (GDP) could be reduced by ...
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2 votes
2 answers
278 views

When did households become electrified?

The first households were supplied with electricity in the 1880s (from wikipedia). I think by around 1950 most urban households in the US had electricity. Rural households got there a few years later? ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Was there an official order on ships' cats per vessel?

In the funny, but still (I assume) historically accurate material about "The history of Ships Cats", the author states that "many navies had standing order for minimum acceptable number ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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What are the flags in this Yellow Peril Cartoon from Italy?

Can somebody help me to identify the different flags in this Italian Cartoon from 1900?
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6 votes
1 answer
446 views

How far did Malcolm X get with taking the United States to the United Nations?

In Malcolm X's original The Ballot or the Bullet speech, delivered in Ohio on 3 Apr 1964, just after he left the Nation of Islam, he outlines his case for taking the civil rights movement to the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Is there audio of Malcolm X's original The Ballot or the Bullet speech?

Malcolm X's famous Ballot or the Bullet speech - his first after leaving the Nation of Islam and "ranked 7th in the top 100 American speeches of the 20th century by 137 leading scholars of ...
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24 votes
1 answer
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How much did J. Robert Oppenheimer get paid while overseeing the Manhattan Project?

I am curious to determine how much J. Robert Oppenheimer got paid in today's dollars when he was the head of Los Alamos National Laboratory? Do we have any HR or accounting documents of the Los Alamos ...
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4 votes
1 answer
286 views

Did Argentine President Juan Peron grant free access to the radio, the press and two soccer stadiums to a preacher called Tommy Hicks in 1954?

The title is a summary of claims I've read from several informal sources. For example, this site claims: It was in this environment that Tommy Hicks was welcomed into the presidential office. After ...
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1 vote
2 answers
244 views

Can you identify this US Army uniform?

This is my great-grandfather. I would like to know what he did in the Army. Can you identify whether he was infantry or cavalry?
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5 votes
1 answer
279 views

What is the meaning behind this Panama joke published in a 1914 newspaper?

The following was published in a column of jokes in The Washington Herald on May 10, 1914: But as a matter of fact the real Panama hats are not nearly as pretty as the imitation ones. I assume the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
176 views

Where can I find historical taxation/revenue datasets for imperial countries in the early 20th century?

I'm a grad student trying to conduct research, and my project depends on finding a dataset which enumerates taxation and revenue by colonial-era and post-colonial governments within the early 20th ...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did "music pendants" exist in the 1800s/early 1900s?

I watched somebody play a video game recently (Maid of Sker) which is a period horror set in the late 1800s, and in it there is an object that caught my attention. They call it a "music pendant&...
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49 votes
4 answers
6k views

During the breakup of the Soviet Union, on what basis was citizenship granted or withheld for each of the fifteen new republics?

The politics and economics of the Soviet Union caused large numbers of people to be transplanted from one region to another, for example: The Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia; Ethnic ...
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1 vote
0 answers
219 views

Can you identify this Empire flagged c1913 single stack ocean liner?

I believe my great-grandparents arrived on this ship in 1913. I cannot find the name of the ship. The family immigrated to Canada in 1913 from Belgium. They may have arrived in Quebec, or Saint John, ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Who was Mathilda von Merckens and which was her castle?

I am reading “The Magic Lantern”, the autobiography of Ingmar Bergman. In it, he describes a castle of a musicians' patron: Every summer before the war [World war II], they were invited close to ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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What happened to the Heart of Atlanta motel after the ruling of Heart of Atlanta v. United States?

The Heart of Altanta Motel was a resort motel in Georgia that infamously sued the United States for the right to discriminate against customers against the provisions of the public accommodations ...
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4 votes
0 answers
156 views

Was the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay actually important in 1985? And was it in any danger?

In the real world case that A Few Good Men is based on, in 1985 part of the guard for the base was a group called "The Ten" that went through grueling physical training in order to guard a ...
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