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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!

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Historical negationism or denialism is an illegitimate distortion of the historical record.


Rule 3: No historical negationism or denialism

We do not allow posts and comments about fringe hypotheses, false narratives, misunderstood or misrepresented history, genocide denial, and other disingenuous revisionism. They have proven to be magnets for those wanting to push a distortion of historic consensus and/or records. Engaging in historical negationism or denialism will result in a permanent ban.


TLDR: Historical negationism is more than not history, it is an attempt to negate history. Additionally, "Just asking questions" is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and we aren't going to fall for it.


So, we expect there are two big questions here.

1) Why disallow Historical Negationism? Won't it just be downvoted or shown to be wrong?

At its most basic, we don't allow it because it is more than simply not history, but an attempt to negate history and even in the best of circumstances, their presence in a discussion will result in a thread going far off-kilter as it becomes the dominating topic.

However, we are not blind to the fact that in quashing posts which advocate of such notions, we risk feeding them ammunition as they in-turn complain that we are "suppressing the truth". In an ideal world, every time a piece of Historical Negationism was posted in /r/History, a dozen learned scholars would immediately pounce and tear their "argument" apart point by point. But simply put, that isn't always going to happen. A lot of their "arguments" are constructed in a way that they seem very plausible, which means that often it indeed takes someone with above average knowledge about this particular subject to debunk them. On a userbase as large as ours this also means that we can't reasonably expect everyone to have that knowledge yet. Which in return means that sadly we too often see that it takes a while before Historical Negationism does receive the pushback it deserves. At which point the damage already has been done and the false information has been seeded. This is what people championing such views count on.

Even worse, often enough we see it getting upvoted as well before receiving any pushback, giving it an even greater impression of legitimacy, which in turn means that they get even more exposure. These upvotes originate from a variety of sources; outside brigades trying to push the subject, the earlier mentioned ignorance on a subject and reasons we don't understand ourselves (on a userbase of millions you will always have the group of people that for some reason seem to look for the contrarian view no matter if it is true or not). So while we would perhaps prefer to see claims quickly and definitely countered, the mod team, which is made up of volunteers, simply don't have the time to do that for every such comment, nor can we reasonably expect that the wider userbase would be able to counter each one either. So in light of that, we would much prefer to see those comments simply removed rather than risk them stand uncontested.

Is that the right call in the big scheme of things? Who knows. But we do firmly believe that given the limited resources available to us, and our stated mission of keeping /r/history a place for real historical discussion, there is no reasonable alternative to deal with it.

2) So, why can't we ask questions about it?

Quite simply, we ban Historical Negationist and people naturally want to defend their causes. Such threads become more of a honeypot and shooting fish in a barrel doesn't really seem sporting.

Additionally, one of the major Negationist tactics is "just asking questions" as a round about way of pushing their agenda.

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Goodmorning r/history

Album link at the end.

Yesterday I was reading a post about Polish soldiers during World War 2, and noticed there are few veteran grand-children great-grand children whos family were fighting in Africa campaign and I realised that probably most of them dont have any or only few pictures to remember their loved ones.

Luckly for me time had spared few his belongings from that horrible time (im pretty sure I even saw as a kid pack of cigarettes, need to visit my grandmother to find it), Beside some pre-war obligations or something like that I have found a pack of photographs he, or his friend took during his tour around the Africa. It would be too selfish to keep them hidden from a world.

Photos are smaller then a pack of cigs, probably to easily keep them in pockets and were very heavily rolled, tried my best to make a photo. Grandmother didnt allow me to take them from house to scan them in some professional point, scared that someone can steal last memories of her father.

I'll copy my comment from the Polish Soldiers during WW2 post.

"My great grandfather was at first in Samodzielna Brygada Strzelcow Karpackich, then war began. He told my great grandmother with two small daughters: "Ill be back in a few weeks". They never saw themselves after that. Then I have small blank space what happened later, but he ended up in Africa with Gen. Anders. What I heard he went thru all Africa, Tobruk battle etc, ended up in Monte Cassino. One of his war stories was about a soldier whos legs were blown off, and he didnt even realise that and was still trying to run on what left of them.

After a war he ended up in England because everyone told him what was happening to vets back in "Poland". He stayed there to the end of his life. I found in one book about war veterans that he and few his army friends bought small farm and decided to be farmers.. It was probably one of the worst farms ever ;D they didn't know shit about farm life.

My great-grandmother raised her daughters alone, great-granddad never returned and died in England. It's hard to believe but they actually never started any new families and are finally together resting beside themselves in Veteran Cementary.

My second grand-father was a Scoutmaster before war, and during the war he joined the resistance in woods. One day he told one of his friend that he finally want to visit his wife because he didnt saw her for a very long time. When he came back to the city the Gestapo was already waiting for him under her house. It was never prooved if the friend was a traitor, or it was just a tragic accident. He was send to Auschwitz-Birkenau and never came back. So yeah, and I didn't even hold a gun in my whole life, how times change."

ALBUM LINK: https://polar-ocean-4195.herokuapp.com/696d6775722e636f6d/a/tuwiE

Maybe someone will be superb happy to see someone they knew, loved or never ever met but heard stories about him.

Cheers.

ps. I would love to hear if anyone recognise any of those places captured there. Are those building, statues still standing, etc.

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I thought it was pretty gripping. There a group of dudes that scout out probable sites of WWII relics. They return the remains and findings 100% to museums.

The first two episodes were in Latvia for latter part of WWII with Russia and Germany, but the way they know the history and the respect they have for the men who died was really humbling.

On one episode, they discovered a femur next to half of a skull, which obviously is a sign that someone died a horribly violent death. They found his razor, which made the vastness of the Russian front seem so personal. I think you guys would dig it. No pun intended.

EDIT: Battlefield Recovery**, my bad. Also Netflix in the USA.

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I thought of this while reading a book about beekeeping and how it stated that bees were native to the americas. I’ve heard that horses and cattle were new to the Indians, but what else? And what types of animals did the colonist see that were completely new to them?

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Ever since I learned about WW2 the most common thing I heard was how cowardly or incompetent the Italian military was. So I was hoping to have light shed on this reoccurring theme. Was the Italian military as bad as everyone says it was? If so then why? I’m sorry if this is a repost but I’m very curious about this topic.

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I've been combing sources for information on what type of rifles and muskets the GMBs of Vermont were using regularly, but have been coming up dry on specifics. I know typical American weapons of the time were battlefield pickups, usually British Brown Bess muskets, or if it was American made it would be the Pennsylvania Rifle.

In all historical sources I've read so far, the GMBs were cited by their British and Hessian foes as being successful Rangers and remarkable sharpshooters (as much as one can be called a sharpshooter when armed with a front-stuffer), relying on accurate weapons fire over bayonet charges, though I suspect that was a matter of necessity which had more to with the lack of bayonets many American commanders repeatedly complained about.

Since most engagements the GMBs took part in happened before they had a chance to even score a battlefield pick-up, what type of muskets and rifles were predominant in New England militia forces and the civilian market before the revolution broke out?

Following the successful battle of Bennington in '77, I'm assuming a great many Hessian/German style weapons were captured. The few accounts I've found of the Jager's rifles was that they were supposedly far superior, but I have no details of what that rifle actually was called to look it up; I'm assuming these would have been considered an upgrade over a British or American rifle.

My sources for all this is Google searches to various Revolutionary war pages, and several secondary source history books about the revolution at large where this type of minutia isn't usually given attention. If anyone has any good recommendations about weapons specific texts and sources, I know that's where I'm probably going to find a satisfactory answer.

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US preferred to continue trade with the Great Britain and proclaimed neutrality when the french republic declared war on Great Britain.Given that the debt from financing the american revolution destroyed France, what was the reaction in France when the US did not fulfill the terms of Treaty of Alliance (1778) and Treaty of Amity and Commerce ? Did either the French government under Louis XVI or the French Republic felt betrayed or used ?

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I've been trying to find some good history podcasts lately, as I love podcasts and I love history, but I wanted to find some that are fairly unbiased, or at least present both sides of an issue. Anyone have any good recommendations? I would especially love a podcast that relates to or covers the interwar years of 1919-1939 because I feel like a lot of interesting things happened during that time other than just the rise of Hitler and we don't learn enough about them. I just recently discovered the song "which side are you on" and the Harlan County War, and I feel like the Coal Wars is just one of many interesting things I'd love to hear a podcast about. Please share any podcasts that you know of, they don't have to be any specific area of history as long as they're fairly unbiased. thanks so much

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Just finished reading Bernard Cromwell’s superb Sharpe novels for what feels like the hundredth time and I again come to wondering why Napoleon didn’t feel the need too change his tactics when facing the British.

Obviously a genius general I just saw this as either a massive over sight on his end or extreme arrogance. After seeing his armies (admittedly not commanded by him in person) time and time again fall foul of the British infantries superior fire rate when deployed in column, why didn’t he change when it came to Waterloo?

I find this a fascinating time in history to learn about and would love to hear from people who have a much greater knowledge of the military tactics of the time!

N.B if anyone knows anyone in Netflix or Amazon, please please please make a big budget Sharpe series for Tv, just wish Sean Bean was still old enough to reprise the role!

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After the fall of a regime is usual delete all the name of the streets related to the past government. It has happened in Rome too, after the fall of Fascism. Rome was liberated by Allied in June 1944 and the city suffered much less damage than other (the presence of Vatican in the city has prevented by hard airstrikes like other italian cities), and between 1944 and 1945 has changed a lot of street's name. You can find at this link (in Italian) all of these change.

Some of these changes was Via Hitler that changes the name in Via delle Cave Ardeatine, in the memory of the Ardeatine's massacre (where the Nazis killed 335 civilians and members of resistance), Ponte del Littorio (by the Fasces Littorii, a symbol of fascism) has change the name in Ponte Giacomo Matteotti in the memory of the socialist member of parliament killed by a fascist group in 1924, Viale dei Martiri Fascisti (fascist martyrs) became Viale Bruno Buozzi, in memory of a socialist member of trade unions killed by Nazis. Those are only three of dozens of name changed: You can find here the complete list.

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One of the biggest historical mistakes seems to be invading Russian and sticking around until the Winter, a la Napoleon. And yet, the Mongols took Russia without a sweat. What enabled them to do it? How come the campaigns of 'General Winter' didn't stop them in their tracks?

I have very limited knowledge here, so bring on the most obvious of answers.

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I really enjoy the history of Free France , recently I finished a video about their participation in western front during ww2 on Youtube , however I always wonder how many French men or women came to join the Free France Army all the way from Vichy France ,since the video didn't mention it at all,are there any books or documents about this still exist ?

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https://polar-ocean-4195.herokuapp.com/692e696d6775722e636f6d/E6zY6VY.png

I am writing a 14th-historical fiction novel about the von Warte family in Switzerland. Pictured is the von Warte family Coat-of-Arms, as it would be displayed on a shield. I am trying to describe their coat-of-arms on the shield, however I'm not fully aware of the variety of proper terms used. Is anyone aware of how this particular heraldry would be described? If not, is anyone aware of a complete guide to the different types of heraldry?

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Hi folks, long time lurker, first time poster, here.

So, I was listening to NPR this morning and they had a segment about Nancy Pearl's picks for summer reading, and one was 1947: Where Now Begins by Elizabeth Asbrink, a nonfiction account of the title year. It really caught my attention and it made me think about all the layperson friendly history books I may have missed out on since grad school (MA in US History, here).

I was hoping the academics and laypersons alike here might have a few recommendations for me. After graduation (10 years ago) I went back to fiction and haven't picked up a nonfiction book since. I feel like I'm ready to dive back in so what are the must reads from your area of focus/interest (hopefully not too theory heavy--it is summer reading after all).

Thanks guys!

TL;DR - summer history reading suggestions

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If the two sides had never previously battled, how did side A know that side B was level or weaker than side A? There were not many recordings or books with each country’s army stats, right? So, to an uneducated person like myself, it seems like you could underestimate or overestimate an opponent quite easily.

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I’ve been reading about the late Roman Republic and I recently read that Julius Caesar was Pontifex Maximus the highest religious position in Rome. Did this significantly impact his rise to power? Did it improve the morale of his men? Thanks in advance, I haven’t found any reading on this subject so I look forward to see what you guys can teach me.

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I'm watching Generation War and I've noticed the soldiers using both the 'normal' salute and the 'Nazi salute'. Is this an oversight with the normal salutes, or did they use both? If they used both, when was an appropriate time to use each?

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You often hear people say things like "Napoleon forever changed the face of Europe" or "he was the most important military leader in history" but I don't really get it.

Yes, what he did was incredible, but he lost it all really quickly and France never became as powerful or gained it's land back.

To my knowledge, he was never relevent again after he was deposed.

Could someone please explain this to me? Thanks.

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I have always been interested in the development and fielding of weapons during World War I and II but have also been somewhat ignorant on how this was done. I have heard of “design contests” but am not really sure what that means.

Did Armaments Industry hand out specifications to private companies (“The tank has to go THIS fast”) or did they give more broad requests (“We want a medium tank”) and then picked the best one?

When these products were developed, is it just like a business transaction? Company A sells 500 planes to the Government for $50,000 a piece? Is there price negotiation? What happens?!

Thanks!

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In most fiction and even history books, when discussing things like the Persian invasion and the Peloponesian wars, Athens is always portrayed as the good faction. Even though Sparta had a possibly even more heroic role at Thermopylae, they are almost always subtly portrayed as the worse empire. Is there any reason why historians and the general public seem to favor Athens?

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Although I will forever value hearing the stories of world war 2 veterans in their twilight years, I've always wanted to hear some of these guys talking about their experience when they were in their prime or at least close to it. I think it'd be great to show to younger people making it more relatable to them and detaching it from history, a kind of "see at one point they looked and sounded just like you" thing. I've been searching the Internet far and wide for archive footage but can't seem to find anything. Anyone know where I can find footage like this?

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Reading the first apology of St. Justin Martyr I find:

after Christ's ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome: — Simoni Deo Sancto, To Simon the holy God. And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god [...] And a man, Menander, also a Samaritan, of the town Capparetæa, a disciple of Simon, and inspired by devils, we know to have deceived many while he was in Antioch by his magical art. [...] the Samaritans Simon and Menander, who did many mighty works by magic, [...] even among yourselves, as we said before, Simon was in the royal city Rome in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, and so greatly astonished the sacred senate and people of the Romans, that he was considered a god, and honoured, like the others whom you honour as gods, with a statue.

Whereas the 8th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles asserts,

9 A man named Simon used to practice magic in the city and astounded the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 All of them, from the least to the greatest, paid attention to him, saying, “This man is the ‘Power of God’ that is called ‘Great.’” 11 They paid attention to him because he had astounded them by his magic for a long time, [...] 13 Even Simon himself believed and, after being baptized, became devoted to Philip; and when he saw the signs and mighty deeds that were occurring, he was astounded. [...] 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me this power too,

The Wikipedia article "Simon Magus" summarizes legends written about him centuries later, but what do we know about him and other such people? What things did they actually do?

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So, I've stumbled across this question while reading a bunch of arguments pro-US and pro-USSR stances describing that US had a huge impact on the Eastern Front while on the other hand, USSR had already established a mass load of production factories and has a massive amount of natural resources.

Since I am Russian, and by default want to believe that US's lend-lease while helpful, wasn't really impactful in the big picture, I want to read or find sources that have actual numbers in them and I won't disbieleve them if it happens that lend-lease supplies were not only necessary for a victory in Eastern front but also prominent enough to make the difference, since I already believe that without lend-lease it would be a lot tougher for USSR.

While trying to find sources, both in English and Russian language, I've generally stumbled upon English articles that described only the amount of supplies, not the percentage of produced in US supplies used in USSR, but one Russian article answers my question to a tee. However I want the full picture here, while this russian article is indeed quite informative, I can't judge the full impact of lend-lease with one article alone even if it provided sources.

I'll try to summarise what is written in that article, for your curiousity sake guys, but remember that I'm not here to bash how USSR would have survived without the help of US or something. I'm here, making this post, so that I can find more information and encourage you as well to do so.

While TLDRing the article, I'll exclusively focus upon the USSR side of things. However I think it is interesting to note that it is mentioned in the article that Britain recieved 69% of all supplies that US sent, totaling in 30.3 billions dollars worth of these supplies, while USSR 25% totaling in 10.8 billions.

For the duration of entire war, since 28th of October 1941 to 12th of May 1945 the amount of ammunition, tanks and other supplies, as stated in the article is as follows:

  • Tanks - 86.1 thousands units. Amounts to 12.3% of all tanks in USSR, meaning that only 12.3% were US tanks while the 87.7% were whether produced in USSR or from other source.

  • Self-propelled guns - 23.1 thousands units. Amounts to 7.8% of all self-propelled guns in USSR.

  • Armoured vehicles - 7185 units. Amounts to 100% since USSR didn't produce those.

  • Aviation - 138 thousands units. Amounts to 13% of all planes in USSR.

  • Air Defence Guns - 38 thousands units. Amounts to 21% of all Air Defence Guns in USSR.

  • Anti-Tank Rifles - 54 thousands units. Amounts to 9% of all Anti-Tank Rifles in USSR.

  • It is also noted that out of all special purpose Rifles in USSR only 2.7% were thanks to lend-lease.

  • Ships - 2588 units. Amounts to 22.4% of all ships in USSR.

  • Automobiles/Motorbikes - 744 thousands units. Amounts to 64% of all cars in USSR. Plus 35 thousands motobikes, the article didn't specify what it amounts to.

  • Guns/Rifles - 19.85 mil units. Amounts to 0.75% of all guns/rifles in USSR.

  • Automobile fuel - 242.3 thousands tons. Amounts to 2.7% of all automobile fuel in USSR.

  • Aviation fuel - 2230 thousands tons. Amounts to 40% of all fuel for planes in USSR.

  • Railways - 622.1 thousands tons. Amounts to 36% of all railways in USSR.

  • Locomotives - 1900 units. Amounts to 72% of all locomotives in USSR.

  • Carriage/Trucks - 11075 units. It isn't specified how much it is in comparison to all trucks in USSR, but it is said that during 1942-1945 USSR have produced 1092 trucks.

  • Explosives - 312 thousands tons. Amounts to 36.6% of all explosives in USSR.

  • Aluminium - 328 thousands tons. Amounts to presumably 55% of all aluminium in USSR.

  • Copper - 387 thousands tons. Amounts to 45% of all copper in USSR.

  • Tires - 3606 thousands tons. Amounts to 30% of all tires in USSR.

  • Sugar - 610 thousands tons. Amounts to 29.5% of all sugar in USSR.

  • Cotton - 108 mil tons. Amounts to 6% of all cotton in USSR.

    It is also mentioned that out of all produced rifles in US and Britain (22 mil units) only 150.000 were lend-leased to USSR which amounts to 0.68% of their ammunition. However, it is also noted that Allies couldn't physically lend-lease more due to lack of transport.

I hope that it is interesting to look at all of the numbers above, for the perspective alone at least. For me it was. However the original purpose of my post is to find other sources of information, all of the above was to show what kind of info I am looking for and to give you more information that I found in Russian side of things so that you could exchange with me some of your own. It is important to note that I do not believe all of the information above at face-value and just want as many perspectives on the issues as there is. I would really appreciate it if you could help me in finding an answer to this issue.

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The fall of the Western part of the Roman Empire is still up for debate but perhaps one of the few factors that historians think that led to the instability of Roman politics was when the Roman army started to hire the barbarians and other tribes that fought against into the Roman army.

However, while they did their best to teach these people that values and virtues of Rome and show their loyalty to the Roman emperor and the empire and show their love for Rome, they often did the opposite and remained only loyal to their money or gold or their commanders who may or may not felt the same way about Rome during that time since many things were changing fast and led to a lot of civil wars, confusion and low morale and even fear.

But when you consider this approach of hiring barbarians of other foreign tribes in the Byzantine empire, this actually worked like the Germanic people actually became the Varangian Guard, the most elite soldiers in the military which were the counterparts of the Praetorian Guard.

So how did this tactic not work in the case of the Western Roman Empire but in the Eastern Roman Empire, it actually worked?

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I was just watching Braveheart, which I know is notorious for being very historically inaccurate. However I did notice something that intrigued me. In the film the Scots are often depicted in battle wearing war paint. How common was this practice? I know the ancient Picts were reported to wear war paint by the Romans, but how prevalent was this in Scotland during the Medieval Period? And if this is indeed something the Scots did, how long did this practice continue?

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