Questions tagged [contemporary-history]

Use this tag for history from 1945 to the present.

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58
votes
11answers
49k views

Why didn’t Japan attack the West Coast of the United States during World War II?

In the early months of World War II, the United Stated spent several millions of dollars to fortify the West Coast against possible Japanese attack, going as far as to stretch a gigantic submarine net ...
52
votes
5answers
12k views

How did such a relatively minor event as the assassination of an archduke start World War I?

The assassination of the Austrian archduke was, considered in the context of all Europe's near-explosive politics, a relatively minor event. So how did it cause such a major war?
52
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2answers
7k views

How did 300,000 people survive the 3 1/2 year siege of Sarajevo?

How did the inhabitants of Sarajevo survive a 3 1/2-year siege from 1992 to 1996? Specifically, how did they deal with water, food, and heating? Background: In 2018, Sweden sent out a leaflet "If ...
37
votes
3answers
8k views

Has any country ever had 2 former presidents in jail simultaneously?

I suspect that today, this achievement has been granted for the first time to Brazil, with the arresting of Michel Temer, and considering that Lula da Silva is still under arrest. It is normally big ...
30
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5answers
5k views

What is the object moving across the ceiling in this stock footage?

It's a large cuboid box, looks to be around 2 feet by 1 by 1, tapered/bevelled at the edges, moving across an office ceiling at roughly 1 metre per second on a rail. The narration accompanying the ...
24
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3answers
4k views

Why didn't the participants of the Korean War also fight in the Vietnam War?

In the Korean war from 1950 to 1953, a lot of countries including the U.S., the U.K., France, Canada, Australia, and even Colombia, the Philippines and Ethiopia participated in the war under the U.N. ...
21
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3answers
5k views

Did any European ever witness a major Inca religious festival?

Did any European witness an Inca religious festival?
20
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3answers
1k views

Strange Symbol Painted on Basement Floor

Given the layers of dirt this symbol and the walkway were found under, I assume it was painted before the 1960s. The house was likely built between 1900-1913, with the basement being dug at the same ...
18
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10answers
29k views

Are steam engines still in regular use anywhere in the world?

Are there any countries in which steam engines have a regular purpose, or are still dominant on the railway? When did they officially fade out of use in the western world? In Australia at least, they ...
18
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5answers
5k views

Why was Washington State an attractive site for aluminum production during World War II?

Some months ago I read that many aluminum manufacturing plants were attracted to Washington State during the 1930's and 40's. What made Washington so different from other states that these companies ...
16
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2answers
2k views

What happened to all the French guillotines?

Quoting Wikipedia on Guillotine: The guillotine remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981. The last guillotining in France was that of ...
15
votes
1answer
998 views

How did Saudi Arabia become and remain strongly Wahhabi?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia staunchly follow Wahhabism, a very conservative and strict brand of Islamism that probably is the major factor of Saudi's strict policy and harsh implementation of Sharia. ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Is the Cold War still going on? [closed]

Do any historians consider the Cold War, or Cold War II, to be going on? I'm asking because some features of the Cold War still exist, such as an antagonism between Russia and the Western world, and ...
12
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2answers
7k views

Why is Las Vegas located where it is?

Anybody know the history of Vegas and basically why that location was chosen as the main hub for gambling, hotels, and entertainment given that (at that time) it was pretty much a random desert in the ...
11
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3answers
3k views

How much has U.S. currency inflated since 1792?

How much has U.S. currency inflated since the Coinage Act of 1792 established the U.S. Mint? Adjusting for inflation, what amount of modern currency would have the same buying power as a 1792 dollar? ...
9
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2answers
383 views

Pre-Islamic cultural inheritance in contemporary Iran

In contemporary Iran, what are the effect of pre-Islamic Persian cultural heritage that are not linked to Islamic culture, religion and literature? In a previous question, I asked about ...
7
votes
2answers
580 views

What evidence is Chomsky alluding to when he states the US is preventing a settlement between Israel & Palestine?

Chomsky in his book Neccesary Illusions, published in 1989 says: U.S. ... efforts to prevent a political settlement of the Arab–Israeli conflict over many years, readily documented, but unwelcome ...
7
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2answers
15k views

What is the source and history of “green on blue attack” expression?

Every time in the news when an Afghan attacks a US army the news say it is a „green on blue” attack, of course the green being the Afghan and the blue being the US/Nato soldier. What is the source ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Any history to the current flag used by ISIL? [closed]

I know the current flag used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is black with white letters stating: "There is no God but Allah" and in the middle of a white circle in black letters ...
6
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3answers
716 views

What were the flaws in the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey?

According to this source, "Some historians have identified flaws in the [U.S. Strategic Bombing] survey, based on contemporary evidence." I have unsuccessfully searched the internet for these ...
6
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2answers
25k views

Why was Japan not colonized? [closed]

Why was Japan NOT colonised by any of the European countries when practically all of the Asian countries were being colonised by a European nation? Why did no army even clash against the Japanese army(...
6
votes
1answer
881 views

How did IKEA design evolve?

How did IKEA develop the characteristic style? I know there is a catalog each year, but I'm looking more for a summary and overview of the design evolution. I understand it's not as significant as, ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

When did the U.S. Postal Service completely transition from horse-drawn to motorized transport?

Simple question, hopefully not too broad. When did the USPS stop using horses & horse-drawn carriages for most of its transport and delivery? Were there any private competitors (such as modern-...
5
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5answers
422 views

Does US law permit spending taxpayers' money to support foreign political parties? [closed]

Here is a video, showing a number of Russian opposition activists visiting U.S. embassy before Russian presidential elections: http://www.youtube.com/v/yf3LjntNX20?version=3&feature=...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How did women's roles and rights change during the early Republican period in China?

How did attitudes towards women and their role within the family unit and greater society change under the Chinese Republican government? What rights did they gain? Did they generally benefit from the ...
5
votes
2answers
662 views

When did the Saxons settle Britain?

In approximately what year did the Germanic tribe of the Saxons invade and settle the island of Britain? Apparently they had not yet arrived when Julius Caesar visited Britain in 44 B.C.; neither ...
5
votes
2answers
579 views

Why do people (governments) hang on to the idea of East and West?

The idea of "East and West" originated in the (nowadays) Middle East during "Trojan" times. The meaning of "East and West" changed since then but the "Western" governments (and by default, Eastern ...
5
votes
2answers
650 views

What is modern criticism of Nazism? [closed]

When I was studying, one student girl asked the teacher what is so bad with Nazism. She asked what's so bad if other peoples are exterminated? The teacher thought for a while and said that it would be ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the purpose of the bridge to the Russkiy island? [closed]

Russky bridge is a bridge to a sparsely populated Russky island in the Far East whose construction started in 2008 and completed in 2012. It is the world's largest cable-stayed bridge, the 1104 m long ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Have any big events happened during DST changeover?

The alt-text for the XKCD comic published on 2017-08-30 notes: Someday, some big historical event will happen during the DST changeover, and all the tick-tock articles chronicling how it unfolded ...
5
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0answers
77 views

Given the direct involvement of tech companies has there been any strikes over tech companies’ participation in surveillance culture? [closed]

Google employees have staged a mass strike over sexual harassment. This obviously fits into a tradition of labour disputes and is a conflict over contemporary mores. However, the article does ...
5
votes
0answers
170 views

What was the reason behind total transition towards wide screen displays by the manufacturers? [closed]

I often hear complains by users who are not satisfied by the wide-screen monitors and prefer traditional screen ratios of 4:3 and 5:4. Unfortunately such monitors now are quite rare and the laptops ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Why is there an Islamic revolution in Iran?

If Zoroastrianism is so strong in Iran, why was there an Islamic revolution? Why is it proclaimed as the Islamic Republic of Iran?
4
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1answer
2k views

Which nation on Earth has been under foreign rule the longest? [closed]

The Philippines was under Spanish rule for over 333 years. After the Battle of Manila Bay and the Treaty of Paris (1898), rule of the Philippines was transferred from Spain to the USA. From a brief ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

What is the proportion of Harki descendants in today's French Algerian community?

I was having this discussion once with someone, and now I am curious: Q: What proportion of today's Algerian immigrants (of first and second generation, who may or may not have French nationality) in ...
4
votes
0answers
125 views

Why has mechanized mining never developed in Congo?

Lack of infrastructure has often been cited as one of the main reasons for the conflicts in eastern Congo. The mining areas are hard to reach, mining work is done by hand and simple, makeshift tools ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
624 views

Why was Hanford, Washington, selected during World War II as the site of America’s first nuclear energy plant?

In 1942, as part of the plan to manufacture atomic bombs to drop on Japan, the U.S. Army began to seek out a suitable location to build a factory for producing plutonium, necessary for the atomic bomb ...
3
votes
1answer
565 views

Why did Charlemagne retreat after the Battle of Pamplona?

After Charlemagne defeated the Christian Basques in Pamplona, why did he retreat through Roncevaux Pass (thereby setting himself up for ambush) instead of going on to conquer more of Iberia? "After ...
3
votes
1answer
390 views

Mexico has the right to possess firearms? [closed]

I have lived and grown up in Mexico for most of my life. I have always known firearms to be illegal here, as well as everyone I know. But just today, I came across this article on Wikipedia, (Gun ...
3
votes
2answers
555 views

Why didn't the knights of Western Europe drive the Moors out of Granada in 1212 when they invaded Iberia?

In 1212, the knights of the Holy Roman Empire, France, and Spain pushed the Moors far down the Iberian Peninsula... but why didn't they go on and drive the Muslims completely off that peninsula? Did ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Why was the Nihonmachi sector of Seattle selected for the Yesler Housing Project of the 1930s?

In the late 1930s the Seattle community of Japanese suffered a substantial loss when large parts of Nihonmachi (the city's Japanese district) were confiscated and torn down to make way for the Yesler ...
3
votes
1answer
403 views

How and why did limerence come to be idolized as it is in modern Western society? [closed]

Limerence - the involuntary, infatuated state that has been romanticized as love. Before you read in, the basics of my question have to do with the historical forces that have shaped the modern ...
3
votes
1answer
658 views

When did India become a major trading center?

As stated on this site, India is unique in that it has easy sea trading routes to every continent, and is therefore a major trading center. When did India become one— during British occupation, after ...
2
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4answers
1k views

Why was Apple not able to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market?

Most of desktop market belongs to Microsoft, which is surprising to an Apple user. What went wrong, what factors were against Apple, what decisions were made that prevented it from conquering the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How did China become so **populous**? [duplicate]

China is the world's most populous nation. But why is it? In other words, what historical factors made China as populous as it is today?
2
votes
1answer
560 views

How did silk manufacturing become a major industry in medieval Europe?

In the beginning of the Middle Ages, silk in Europe was known only as the expensive fabric imported from Asia. But by the end of The Middle Ages, silk had become one of Europe's major industries. How ...
2
votes
1answer
255 views

What is the story of this image?

I've seen this image a lot, particularly since the passing of Steve Jobs. I'm wondering if this is actually a photo of Steve before or after a presentation. Or, has there been a similar photo and this ...
2
votes
1answer
385 views

Changes to the school leaving dates in Scotland and Northern Ireland

I am looking for sources that tell me about when and how the school leaving dates were changed in Scotland and Northern Ireland after World War 2. I define school leaving date as the date you do not ...
2
votes
0answers
80 views

What was the justification of morality in Puritan antinomianism? [closed]

As far as I know, Puritans were devout Calvinists. According to Theopedia, it is associated with disobedience to the established authority, so it may be connected with the idea of lawlessness, ...