101 votes
Accepted

Why does this London Underground poster from 1924 have a Star of David atop a Christmas tree?

The hexagram is not an exclusively Jewish symbol. For that matter, the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism (as opposed to a symbol used by Jews) is far newer than people realize, dating only to 1897 ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,563
76 votes

Was World War I a war of liberals against authoritarians?

Seeing WWI as an ideological battle between liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes requires hindsight and taking the Western perspective and adjusting your lenses for what was considered "...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 55.2k
69 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

In Moscow, under former mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, it was built a line (Butovo line) which is mostly elevated. I think the practice was not considered quite successful as a result. There are many drawbacks: ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 32.7k
66 votes
Accepted

Are there photos/footage of the Titanic sinking?

Short answer: No. The only film footage of the RMS Titanic shows her being towed into the outfitting wharf at Belfast in February 1912, and moored at Belfast. A clip of Lusitania leaving port has ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
57 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

This is mostly about urban planning, and how much change the local government can or will be able to make to the existing streets. In London, the central parts of the city (Westminster and the City) ...
Carmi's user avatar
  • 3,312
53 votes

Why was the Scout movement so successful?

Baden-Powell had been besieged in the town of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. He had formed the Mafeking Cadet Corps, which was a group of youths that supported the defending troops by carrying ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
52 votes
Accepted

When did FDR announce he was running a 3rd time, and was there any outrage?

SHORT ANSWER TO THE MAIN QUESTIONS We can't be sure when FDR decided to stand for a third term but the evidence suggests it was not long before the Democratic National Convention (15th to 18th July ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
51 votes
Accepted

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

This question gets really complicated really fast. After the breakup, each of the former Soviet republics established its own set of laws, and then these laws were rewritten multiple times. The region ...
default locale's user avatar
49 votes
Accepted

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

Looking at driver's licenses held by women and considering that manufacturers were aiming certain car models specifically at women, female drivers were not uncommon or unusual in the US in the 1950s ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
46 votes

Uniform identification: c20th male, General, mid/light green double breasted, red facing, red neck tags, blue/green shoulder boards

It appears to be a painting of Pavlo Shandruk (Ukrainian: Павло Шандрук, Polish: Pawło Szandruk). As Pieter noted it is a mid 20th century fascist German uniform in style. As Luiz noted the cockade ...
Samuel Russell's user avatar
45 votes
Accepted

How was the Luftwaffe able to destroy nearly 4000 Soviet aircraft in 3 days of operation Barbarossa?

The Soviets were caught by surprise and suffered massive casualties as a result. See this Wikipedia article. Lots of aircraft were destroyed on the ground, not the air. The first attacks began at ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 6,329
41 votes
Accepted

Did people in China resort to cannibalism during the reign of Mao?

Yes we have at least one account of cannibalism. First source: A teenage orphan kills and eats her four-year-old brother. Guardian Second source: I didn't know that there were thousands of cases of ...
MCW's user avatar
  • 33.7k
41 votes
Accepted

Why was the Israeli army strong enough to win the 1948 war?

Overview This has been much discussed over the decades since the war and there are various views on this. Even if historical bias could be left aside, we are still left with the problem of measuring ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
40 votes

What is the origin of the "No Symbol"?

The design was actually developed during the 1931 congress, by a sub-committee. Early traffic signage was mostly confined to warning signs for motorists. The 1908 World Road Congress started out with ...
ccprog's user avatar
  • 5,304
38 votes
Accepted

Why did China annex Tibet?

The other two answers speak in terms of Tibet's legal status; and these answers, while correct, don't properly explain why Tibet is important to China. This answer relates entirely to geography. The ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

Was a passport needed to travel between UK and France in 1972?

Piecing together various sources, it is clear that there was a no-passport agreement between the United Kingdom and France from 1961 until 1984 and that, even after the termination of this agreement, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
35 votes

Did people in China resort to cannibalism during the reign of Mao?

Jung Chang -author of bestseller Wild Swans (Harper Collins, London 1992) together with her husband, British sinologist, Jon Halliday, in their biography, Mao,The Unknown Story (Cape, London 2005) ...
WS2's user avatar
  • 2,242
35 votes

Were there military operations that targeted individual enemy commanders?

Operation Flipper, in November 1941 was a British special forces operation aimed at killing or capturing Erwin Rommel. The intention was to disrupt the German Command and Control infrastructure ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
34 votes

About how many immigrants were on the Titanic?

tl; dr Virtually all the Third Class (steerage) passengers were intending to emigrate. The majority were headed to the United States, while the rest intended to journey onward to Canada. For ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
32 votes
Accepted

In this cartoon from Puck, what indicates the identities of France and Britain?

Short Answer The identities of France and Britain are indicated by their heads of state, namely President Armand Fallières and King Edward VII respectively. There is also (as Roddy of the Frozen Peas ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

How much did J. Robert Oppenheimer get paid while overseeing the Manhattan Project?

On page 14 of FAS.org it indicates his salary was initially set at $10,000. Since that exceeded his previous UC professor’s salary he asked that it be reduced in line with others. Apparently the ...
Jon Custer's user avatar
  • 2,655
30 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

For New York, the answer is related to real estate value. In New York City, the construction of the metro was performed by real estate developers. The idea was to build homes, then connect them to ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

What was the economic basis for West Berlin?

how did it stay competitive with West Germany, which would be free of West Berlin's particular logistical challenges? Or were they being directly subsidized by the Federal Republic and/or the western ...
knut's user avatar
  • 5,617
26 votes

Why are the ceilings so high in older houses?

Smoke. The high ceilings provided somewhere for it to dissipate above mouth and eye level. It's rather hard to imagine how prevalent smoke was before mid-20th century. Not only was tobacco smoking ...
pjc50's user avatar
  • 863
26 votes

Why does the first decade of the 21st century start with 2000?

A decade is simply a time span of 10 years and a century a span of 100 years. The start dates of each are determined by how they are being used. The first decade of 21st century is 2000s I think ...
KillingTime's user avatar
  • 4,801
26 votes
Accepted

Did the Soviet Union hand over thousands of Jews to the Nazis in the spirit of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact?

Short Answer No - the Soviets did not hand over thousands and thousands of Jews to the Nazis before the outbreak of World War II. The claim is inaccurate. The pact was signed by Molotov (seated) ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,202
25 votes
Accepted

In the first half of 20th century, how was gold inspected for authenticity?

As Denis observed in the comments above, for many countries, gold would have been traded through securities in the first half of the twentieth century. In those cases the physical transfer of the gold ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
24 votes
Accepted

Was PepsiCo really sixth largest military force?

No, but for a short while in 1989 they were the owners of 17 ex-military submarines. In 2000 China had about 65 submarines. In 1990 Britain had about 29 submarines (about ten now). Currently Japan ...
RedGrittyBrick's user avatar
24 votes
Accepted

Why did the USSR stop in the Winter War against Finland in 1940?

The relevant archives are still closed and, I think, will continue to be closed for a long time. One, thus, has to look for memoirs of former Soviet leaders (of that time). Three of them wrote such ...
Moishe Kohan's user avatar
  • 6,315
24 votes

What publication claimed that Michael Jackson died in a nuclear holocaust?

The headline (or more specifically, a variation thereof) was used on the debut edition of the Post New York Post, a satirical take on the New York Post by Robert Vare and the same crew of satirists ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar

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