Legend claims that when sentenced to death in 1776 by the British for spying, Nathan Hale proclaimed, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” But British officer Captain Frederick Mackenzie reports in his diaries that Hale said, “It is the duty of every good officer to obey any […]
The United Nations occupied four sites, three of them in New York. The first regular session of the General Assembly was held in October 1945 at Central Hall in London. The United Nations then moved to Hunter College in the Bronx, before establishing interim headquarters at Lake Success on Long Island in August 1946. The […]
Big Ben in London is not a clock. It is a 13.5-ton bell in the clock tower of England’s Houses of Parliament. Cast in 1858, the bell’s installation was directed by the rotund Sir Benjamin Hall, commissioner of works. The bell was originally to be called Saint Stephen’s, but the British newspapers renamed it Big […]
The Babylonian Exile took place in the sixth century B.C., after the Babylonians conquered the kingdom of Judah. Not all Jews were deported to Babylonia; in fact, there were several deportations, each one occurring after an uprising. The date of the first deportation was probably 597 or 586 B.C. The exile ended in 538 B.C., […]
The Brownshirts in the Nazi army were the ordinary soldiers. The Black-shirts were members of the army chosen to be bodyguards for high-ranking officials and supervisors of concentration camps. The latter were also known as the SS, short for Schutzstaffel, or elite guard.
As a colonel in the Libyan army, Qaddafi deposed King Idris I in a military coup in September 1969. In the following years, he expropriated Libya’s Jewish and Italian communities and nationalized foreign-owned petroleum assets.
In 1942, about 100,000 Japanese-Americans were moved to ten internment camps in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. The camps were closed in late 1945.
The names of these two English political parties Whig and Tory were each invented by the respective party’s rival as a pejorative term. The Country Party, representing the merchants and middle class, called their opponents tories, a word for Irish plunderers. The Court Party, representing the aristocrats, squires, and Anglican clergy, called their opponents Whigs, […]
Eight countries are currently known or suspected to have nuclear weapons. They are: China, France, India, Israel, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Five people have held the post of secretary-general. With their countries of origin and terms of office, they are: Trygve Lie, Norway (1946-1952) Dag HarnmarskjOld, Sweden (1953-1961) U Thant, Burma (1961-1971) Kurt Waldheim, Austria (1972-1981) Javier Perez de Cuellar, Peru (1982–present)
Attila is the name for the man described by sixth-century historian Jordanes as “short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head”. It means “Little Father.” Attila was born circa 406 and died in 453.
The Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO now claims to represent 4 million Palestinians. It was founded in 1964 to unify splintered Palestinian organizations.
On October 1, 1946, in Nuremberg, 12 of the original 24 defendants were condemned to death by hanging. They were: Hermann Goring, Joachim Ribbentrop, Field Marshal General Wilhelm Keitel, Ernest Kaltenbrunner, Dr. Albert Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Fritz Sauckel, Colonel General Alfred Jodl, and Arthur Seyss-Inquart. Martin Bormann, who succeeded Rudolf Hess […]
Hitler married Eva Braun on the eve of their joint suicide, which took place on April 30, 1945. They had met in the early 1930s, when she was a saleswoman in the Munich shop of Hitler’s photographer, Heinrich Hoffinan. Braun became Hitler’s lifelong mistress, though she was never allowed to appear in public with him.
The Nazi anti-Jewish demonstrations of November 9 and 10, 1938, also known as Kristallnacht destroyed 815 shops and 29 warehouses. Fires were set to 171 dwellings and 191 synagogues, with 76 other buildings completely destroyed by fire.
The bulge was a break in the Allied lines caused by a German advance in the Ardennes forest in Luxembourg and Belgium, beginning on December 16, 1944. The Germans advanced 50 miles on a 50-mile-long front. On December 26, the Allies began to push the Germans back, and by the end of January 1945, the […]
The Truce of God was an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church in 1041 to limit war. In this decree, the Church proposed that no country do battle between Lent and Advent, as well as from the Thursday to the next Monday of important festivals. Although the Lateran Council approved the truce in 1179 and […]
According to scholars, the Trojan War took place during the thirteenth century B.C. The Iliad, Homer’s epic account of the war, is thought to have been written in the ninth century B.C.
There were two Children’s Crusades, both in A.D. 1212. In the first, a French peasant boy named Stephen of Vendome led thousands of children toward Palestine to free the Holy Land; they were either shipwrecked or sold into slavery. In the same year, a boy preacher named Nicholas led thousands of German children as far […]
Roman citizens wore the woolen garment called the toga when they were in public. There were three types of togas: the toga pieta, embroidered with golden stars and worn by emperors and victorious generals; the toga virilis, the unadorned white toga worn by males fifteen and older; and the toga praetexta, bordered in purple and […]
The kingdom of Israel, formed in 930 B.C. by 10 of the original 12 Hebrew tribes, was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. Those 10 tribes were exiled and assimilated into other nations, and so vanished from history. The other two tribes, founders of the separate kingdom of Judah, lived on.
The self-governing colony of New Zealand gave women the right to vote on September 19, 1893. Ninety thousand women voted in their first election on November 28, 1893. Switzerland was the last Western country to grant women the vote in 1971.
This first great Chinese empire the Chin dynasty ran from about 221 to 206 B.C. It established the approximate boundaries and governmental system of China for the next 2,000 years, and gave its name to the nation. The effects of the dynasty lasted until the 1911 revolution, which overthrew the empire and created a republic.
When and where did American forces meet Russian forces during the invasion of Germany in World War II?
The two Allied armies from America and Germany met on April 25, 1945, on the Elbe River at the town of Torgau. The Americans had been advancing from the west and the Russians from the east.
D Day is a standard military term referring to the day set for the beginning of an attack. The D stands for “Day” (Day-Day). Similarly, the time for an attack is H-Hour (Hour-Hour). The most famous D Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, took place on June 6, 1944.
Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western allies and Russia at 2:41 A.M., French time, on Monday, May 7, 1945. In the United States, this was 8:41 P.M., Eastern Wartime, on Sunday, May 6, 1945. Japan unconditionally surrendered through a note delivered to the U.S. State Department at 6:10 P.M. on Tuesday, August 14, 1945.
On Friday, September 23, 1949, President Truman announced: “We have evidence that within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the USSR.”
The Spanish Inquisition lasted about 350 years. It was begun in 1478 by Queen Isabella of Castile to search out converted Jews secretly practicing their original faith. In 1483, it was broadened as a means of persecuting any and all heretics. The Spanish Inquisition was not completely abolished until 1834.
Three cities were destroyed when the volcano erupted. They were Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae, all southeast of modern Naples. When were the ruins of Pompeii discovered? Destroyed in A.D. 79, the city was not discovered until the late 1500s. Formal excavation did not begin until 1748.
On October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War, James Thomas Brudenell, Seventh Earl of Cardigan, led the British cavalry against the Russians in the Battle of Balaklava. The charge was disastrous, but it did inspire the admiration of the British public, particularly that of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who wrote the 1855 poem “The Charge of […]
There were between 1,490 and 1,635 deaths in the April 19, 1912, disaster when the Titanic sank, 100 of whom were women.
It was in 44 B.C. that Julius Caesar was assassinated. The date was March 15, the Ides of March.
Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took the picture of marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima. The island of Iwo Jima spanned only eight square miles, but was strategically important for its closeness to Japan and hence its value as an air base. About 6,800 marines were killed and more than 18,200 […]
After World War I, the British Empire, or Commonwealth, covered over 14 million square miles and dominated 450 million people. It encompassed a quarter of the world’s population and land surface. Among the countries under its dominion were: Antigua, Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, Iraq, Ireland, and Pakistan.
The Great Fire of London happened in September 1666. The worst fire in London’s history, it destroyed many civic buildings and churches, along with 13,000 houses.
The most destructive air attack of World War II was not the atomic bombing of Hiroshima but the firebombing of Tokyo by 279 Superfortress bombers on March 9-10, 1945. Over 1,650 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the city, raising a massive firestorm and killing from 80,000 to 120,000 people. The bombing represented a […]
Potsdam was the setting of the July 1945 meeting between Truman, Churchill, and Stalin is near Berlin, Germany.
The female work force grew from 11 million to approximately 20 million during World War II. Most of these women helped with the war effort in relevant industries.
The wall that ran through Berlin was 26.5 miles long. The Berlin Wall was put up on the night of August 12-13, 1961. Its function as a barrier between East and West Germany ended on November 9, 1989, when the East German government declared an end to restrictions on emigration and travel to the West.
The Persian Empire was about as large as the continental United States. Under its Achaemenid rulers, the Persian Empire encompassed not only Persia but Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and much of modern Afghanistan. The wars between Greece and Persia lasted from 499 to 479 B.C., ending in Greek victory.
Columbus did not realize he had discovered a new continent that would be named America, but Amerigo Vespucci, who explored the New World between 1497 and 1504, did. German mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller first applied the name to the new continent on a map published in 1507.
The oldest legal code, the Code of Hammurabi was developed circa 1950 B.C. during the reign of Babylonian leader Hammurabi. It is now known for its emphasis on the law of retaliation (an eye for an eye).
Red stands for the blood of the dead. Black represents pride in the color of the skin. Green is for the promise of a new and better life in Africa.
The six wives of Henry VIII were: Catherine of Aragon. Married 1509, divorced 1533; mother of Mary Tudor. Anne Boleyn. Married 1533, beheaded 1536; mother of Elizabeth I, born 1533. Jane Seymour. Married 1536, died in childbirth 1537; mother of Edward VI, born 1537. Anne of Cleves. Married and divorced 1540. Catherine Howard. Married 1540, […]
The Marshall Plan was named for U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall and was formally known as the European Recovery Program. The Marshall Plan expended $12.5 billion in U.S. loans and grants to help rebuild Europe after World War II. Payments were made in the fiscal years 1949 through 1952.
The 4,000-mile trade route called the Silk Road joined the ancient kingdoms of China and Rome. It started in Siam, followed the Great Wall of China to the northwest, bypassed the Takla Makan Desert, crossed the Pamir Mountains, passed through Afghanistan, and ended at the Levant. Goods were then transported across the Mediterranean Sea to […]
As listed in the second century B.C. by Antipater of Sidon, the Seven Wonders of the World were: 1. The Pyramids of Egypt 2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon 3. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia 4. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus 5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus 6. The Colossus of Rhodes 7. The […]
Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, six days after Nagasaki was bombed on August 9 and nine days after Hiroshima was bombed on August 6.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) was born V. I. Ulyanov. Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein. Josef Stalin (1879-1953) was born Josef Dzhugashvili.
Bangladesh was founded in 1971. Formerly East Bengal and then East Pakistan, it rebelled against Pakistan, with help from India in 197. Bangladesh was not recognized by Pakistan until 1974.
Krakatoa the volcano, located in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra, erupted on August 27, 1883. Four hours later, the sound of the eruption could be heard nearly 3,000 miles away; 10 days later, volcanic dust fell at points more than 3,000 miles away.
In Russian, Bolshevik means “those of the majority.” It was used by a wing of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party led by V. I. Lenin after they had gained a temporary majority on the party’s central committee in 1903. The Bolsheviks believed in a disciplined, centralized party of professional revolutionaries. They called their opponents in […]
The Elizabethan Age ran for the 45 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, from 1558 to 1603.
An attempt to revive the Roman Empire of the West, the Holy Roman Empire was founded by Charlemagne in A.D. 800. Surviving for more than a thousand years, this entity was not formally abolished until 1806, when it dissolved under pressure from Napoleon.
About 300,000 persons lived in the city of Athens during the Age of Pericles. Slightly less populous than modern Albuquerque, New Mexico, with its 330,000-plus inhabitants.
The seven bond drives during World War II, often led by top movie celebrities, yielded $61 billion. Among the more popular celebrity bond spokespersons were Bob Hope and Marlene Dietrich.
The Soviet port Yalta in the Crimea (now part of Ukraine) was the site of the February 1945 meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin.
The Hundred Years’ War was a conflict between France and England for control of France. It took place over a period of 116 years, from 1337 to 1453, with peaceful intervals of varying length. The French won.
The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed twice. The first Temple was razed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
Sir Francis Drake (1545-1596) was the first man to sail around the earth in 1580. His predecessor, Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1480-1521), started such a trip but died before the last of his ships finished the voyage.