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27
Stickied postModerator of r/history

Do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

2.3k

In both World War 2 and the French Invasion of 1812 the Russians retreated until the enemies supply lines became stretched and waited for the winter to weaken them. Why did this not occur in World War One- when at the armistice Russians were still in Moldavia, Ukraine and most of Belorussia?

174

As far back as the bickering pagan tribes all the way to Bismarck, I’m looking for a concise history book on a concise her detailed account of the history of Germany (I understand it wasn’t always ‘germany’, I’m using the term for sake of brevity).

Thanks!

Edit: so a lot of people are getting very triggered by my usage of the word “concise”. To clear up any frustration at my diction, lets change it to “digestible”. Please let me know if this term is equally offensive. I merely didn’t want people to literally suggest me textbooks or encyclopedias.

2.9k

The Edwardian Era, on both sides of the Atlantic, prior to the outbreak of WWI, seems to me to be a fascinating historical period, an era with one foot in pre-modern history, and the other in the modern world. A world that would be in some ways recognizable to citizens of today (they had primitive cars, telephones and such) in ways past epochs would not have been, and yet a world where Empires were still commonplace and powerful and there were even still some powerful monarchies reigning in Europe with real power. Yet you also had the beginnings of social welfare programs; you had Theodore Roosevelt as President in the U.S.A and his chosen successor, Taft, in this period and you began to see regulations regarding food and worker safety, steps toward more equal rights for women and minorities, as well as America beginning to step onto the world stage as a major player - but at the same time not the behemoth it is today, arguably still a second rate power.

All in all a fascinating period. Anyone agree?

93

The lion is depicted as a symbol of strength and nobility in many cultures where lions were not a native species. Even the island nation of Singapore has the merlion (half lion half fish) play a large role in its traditional mythologies. How did the lion gain such worldwide fame as the "king of beasts" when other native charismatic megafauna such as bears, wolves, raptors, or other big cats were passed over?

53

During the development of humankind there were milestones that, figuratively speaking, were such a game changer that they influenced nations as earthquakes do to lands.

What were those points?

Example:

The invention, construction and application of printing press, speeding up the creation and distribution of ideas and knowledge was an escalator for the declining of catholic power, the rise of varied denominators, and spreading of education in European kingdoms.

9

I'm in my 50's and I've seen a few First Ladies come and go. it seems like no one cares about them but as soon as the die, holy crap, they are in line for sainthood and they were the picture of strength and grace.

Are they all amazing human beings or is the media looking for warm fuzzy stories?

12

Why didn't the Americans launch a full scale invasion of the north? I imagine if they had captured Hanoi, it would have been a pretty crippling blow to the NVA, and could have ended the war. They had the manpower for it. The could have even used the Ho Chi Minh Trail against them.

10

It is quite strange that Imperial Japan had its own share of ultra-nationalism during the second World War and committed its own atrocities like the Rape of Nanjing or Unit 731 but when we think of Japan, we often think of Tokyo and its technologically advanced notion and even its own culture such as anime, manga and even Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism and Confucianism and Zen and the Samurai during Imperial Japan that fascinated the West

It is weird on how a nation that was once an enemy is now considered as a valuable ally in the world

41

Which criminal conspiracy in history has involved the biggest consequences, most moving parts, most illegal activity, or any combination thereof?

I am using the word "criminal" here colloquially rather than literally - that is to say, something may not have necessarily been illegal due to lax or even no laws at the time, but would be considered criminal by today's mores.

3

I understand how a battle works for guns but in war where there was little range and most of the fighting was swords, did armies just rush into each other like it shows in the movies?

I know strategies like Roman Phalanx exists but did they just stand there and make stabs as bodies piled in front of them?

7

I need to identify this weapon for a class and it's very difficult to find out what it is through some Google searches so if anyone has a clue or actually has the name of it then please feel free to comment. A hint that I received about it is that it is definitely a weapon and from the middle eastern. It's an old weapon so I assumed that maybe r/history could help figure out what it is. Maybe we'll all learn something new from this but even if you throw in a guess all comments are appreciated :), thanks. https://m.imgur.com/a/dCNEswl

1.5k

The background of this question is almost (I believe) self explanatory.

It is almost like, which technologies or more likely event have turned out into a great impact in history by people who remained anonymous forever?

I can think of the chinese man in Tiangman square (probably misspelled by me, sorry) and although that makes a cute pic, I do not know if it actually changed anything.

The Bitcoin guy has changed a lot.

I think the assassin who started WWI was known, what if he was not?

There is a russian guy responsible for not launching a nuclear attack, we know.

Back to the question, what has happen in history that we know "someone" did something and the result had a huge positive or negative or neutral-still-huge outcome in history?

English is not my mother language but if you get my drill, my bet is that some comments might turn out really interesting.

20

I was baffled when it came to my knowledge that the french population around the year 1800 was around 30 million people, a number way above comparative numbers in Russia, Britain or Germany. Still before that France always was a real powerhouse when it came to it's population. However despite no major emigration from France to the New World, it's population seems to have stagnated on the onset of the 19th century.

During a course where both Germany and the UK experienced major population growth, France simply stayed almost at the same level as it always had. It was even felt during the time when propaganda from before WWI encourages french women to have more children, otherwise France would be hopelessly outmatched by the more populous German empire. Even today the UK:s population is marginally bigger.

Was the lower growth a result of France reaching it's demographic potential way earlier than other european countries? Was it a result of the continous warfare during the revolutionary wars that led to more people simply dying of, or maybe a lack of immigration from other countries? Or was it something else?

3

So during the first couple of months of WW1 generals commanded their men using 19th century tactics which agaisnt machine gun fire was completely useless, And during the war dropped the outdated methods of war and adapted to the new weaponry, But what tactics did the generals use during the start of the war and what did they instead start to do?

38

Those two buildings have always fascinated me. There's just something about a comprehensive collection on ancient knowledge about various cultures being lost forever.

I was just wondering do we have an idea of what works were actually lost in the destructions of those buildings even if we don't know what was actually written in them?

5

By politically significant I mean significant at the time of the battle, not whether the battle had a long lasting political impact.

Mine are

Battle of Hastings 1066

Battle of Hattin 1187

Battle of Bouvines 1214

Battle of Bannockburn - 1314

Battle of Poitiers - 1356

Battle of Agincourt - 1415

Battle of Castillon - 1453

Battle of Towton - 1461

Battle of Tewkesbury - 1471

Battle of Bosworth Field - 1485

I know this isn't the best list and there are probably more battles in this period that were far more significant.

What are your guys lists?

Edit: This list is very anglocentric only because English battles are the ones I'm most familiar with. Sorry for it being so anglocentric.

Edit: I accidentally forgot the Siege of Constantinople 1453.

184

I am interested to know if the precise location of the ancient city is positively identifiable, or are there simply remnants of the city in the approximate location. The reason I ask is that some seem to report Hillah is the closest approximate town to what is suspected to be ancient Babylon, while others have reported they have been to the actual site of the old foundation of the place. Can someone enlighten me?

180

I am reading up on the battle of Berlin and what stands out, is the iron will of the German leadership and army to fight until the last breath. Usually it seems that countries surrender once they realize they are beaten. I realize that this is a broad question, but how common in history is it for a country to "fight to the death" like Nazi Germany did and what are the requirements for it?

63

What's a good way to find a specific area of history to study as a hobby? I'm interested in many sectors of American history, I just don't know where I should start my search in finding specific topic. Thanks for the help.

58

From what I understand, swords are generally difficult to make and maintain. However, they are common weapons in art and stories throughout the Middle Ages. How common were swords in reality, and who could afford them?

1

The BBC has done some really good historical reenactment series where people go and live as if they were in the past. All the stuff with Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands has been amazing to watch and I've really enjoyed it.

I'm looking for suggestions of others series or documentaries that would be similar to what they did in bringing history to life.

30

I'm guessing there aren't many veterans who could post for themselves, but I am old enough that when I joined the workforce there were still some still working. I heard a couple surprising stories from those who were willing to talk about it. I'd think it would make a good subreddit or something. I will tell one I thought was surprising and see if there are others who have talked to some of the surviving veterans over the years.

I worked with a guy named Phil. This was the late 70s, I'd put him close to 60, so certainly the times line up. He was in the army during the battle of the bulge. I think he was some kind of officer, at least a NCO. He was in some small squad and they, or at least he, was captured. He didn't really say anything about how he was captured, but he was taken to a small school building for interrogation.

He said they smacked him around, more or less beat him up, I don't think it had gotten too bad yet, but he was on the floor. Apparently American officers were sometimes give a map on a silk hanker chief. It was easy to hide and pretty durable. The Germans thought he might have one and were trying to get it from him.

When he was on the ground one of the Germans pushed a heavy desk onto his legs, I guess probably the teacher's desk. It broke his legs. He said then the Germans felt bad and sent him for whatever medical services they had available around there. It wasn't a detailed story, the only reason he told me about it was he had to go into the hospital for some surgery on his legs, and when I asked him about it he said it was an old injury that had gotten bad and they had some new procedures that might help him. We had to stand up all day on the production line and I'd see him leaning on the table often with a look of misery & pain, and the story was strange enough to sound believable.

Anyway, I just saw a video about the battle of the bulge. They talked about the massacre at Malmendy committed by the SS troops. I guess that happened before Bastogne and rumors had spread. One of the GIs they interviewed said when the Germans sent their ultimatum to surrender to Bastogne, the rumors had already spread thru, and everyone figured there was no use surrendering because you knew what would happen to you. Part of the video stated that Hitler had specifically ordered the troops to show no mercy, and the spreading of fear was desired. I think that probably didn't work out too well for the Germans, it just firmed out the American resolve. They interviewed a few old Germans and they were all surprised at the stubbornness of the Americans. I don't think the German army held the American soldiers very high regard prior to the Bulge, afterwards that changed.

Anyway, his story had the ring of truth to me, but just wondered if anyone had every heard that officers in the army were sometimes given silk maps?

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