Submitted by AutoModerator t3_11unvv5 in history

Welcome to our History Questions Thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

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

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has an active discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts



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MississippiJoel t1_jcqnpdo wrote

Why was the Hindenburg coming to New Jersey such a special event?

I'm not talking about the accident. I'm wondering why there were four people filming and at least one radio jockey covering the event in live time? Surely everyone had seen lighter than air craft by then, right?


TheGreatOneSea t1_jcqt3p9 wrote

The Hindenburg's company was planning to use the footage for advertising.

As you can probably guess, it didn't quite work out for them...


MississippiJoel t1_jcquqzw wrote

Well, that would explain the aerial chase footage. But what about the amature video? Was it just people that got their first cameras and were looking for any excuse to test it out?


shantipole t1_jcrbjlw wrote

The ship itself was absolutely massive, and made for good footage.

In addition, the cost of passage was very high. Only the very wealthy could afford it, so there was a celebrity-watching aspect to it.

Finally, there were rumors that she was being used by the Nazis for spying and she was certainly being used for propaganda--any day now the US might have stopped allowing her to land at what was a Navy base, ending these flights maybe forever.


krichuvisz t1_jcpi5j8 wrote

Stupid question about french history: Napoleon did roll back the revolution with making himself Emperor, but somehow the french history seems to be unbroken, liberte, egalite, fraternite is still the national motto. How did the french society feel at that time about the "counter revolution " ?


GSilky t1_jcpnbh6 wrote

The emigres pounced on the fact he became emperor. The people were fine with strong hands reigning in the excess. Napoleon, though declaring himself emperor, still carried the anti aristocracy sentiment and didn't hesitate to promote talent wherever he found it. He also issued his Code, which was well received by the people. He made military service, something available to most men, a way to get a better life if you applied yourself, many of his best commanders rose from low positions and it would have been impossible under the ancien regime. Eventually his forever wars outlasted the rosy feeling of "la Gloire" as the bodies started stacking up and the people were much less receptive to him and his ideas.


quantdave t1_jcqqzcu wrote

The republic's had lots of breaks - First Empire and restored monarchy in 1804-48, Second Empire in 1852-70, Vichy and occupation in 1940-44 - each drawing support from an anti-republican element that might have prevailed but for its internal divisions (Emperor? King? - and if the latter, which of various rival claimants?). Even amid the Revolution, monarchist candidates won most of the seats at stake in the legislative elections of 1795 and 1797. A large part of the population hoped if not for the Revolution's undoing, at least for its more orderly governance.

Reaction to Bonaparte's coup and subsequent elevation was thus muted: here perhaps was an end to the chaos of the 1790s, and even his assumption of the rank of Emperor was partly aimed at preventing a future Bourbon restoration by incorprorating the hereditary principle in favour of a new dynasty, securing one of the Revolution's acts by unconventional means. He could for a time be all things to all Frenchmen, or at least most - much like that motto, itself open to various interpretations and simultaneously satisfying radical sans-culotte and respectable bourgeois alike.


mrloube t1_jcsh0gi wrote

Why on earth would the French National Assembly let the tensions between France and Austria escalate to war? Why was Brissot such a warmonger and why did the people in power listen to him?


Thibaudborny t1_jcts89f wrote

Because the Jacobins in control absolutely believed the Austrians (and co.) were out to get the Revolution following the Declaration of Pillnitz (1791). While this was never the idea behind the Habsburg declaration (it was an empty gesture to somehow protect the royal family), it served as a red flag to the hawks in the Convention. One of the better examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy: everyone is out to get us > let's go out and get everyone!! > mon dieu: everyone is out to get us!!!


Eminence_grizzly t1_jcq8g4w wrote

I often come across sentences like 'Caesar led his men into winter quarters' or 'Hannibal spent the winter somewhere before attacking the Romans.' This raises two questions:

  1. Was it possible to wage winter warfare in regions with milder climates such as Palestine, Carthage, or Sicily?

  2. When did European armies stop winter quartering and start winter fighting?


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jcqp3iu wrote

>Was it possible to wage winter warfare in regions with milder climates such as Palestine, Carthage, or Sicily?

The issue is not just weather. You still see cold winters in places like Palestine, but there is also a dearth of food and fodder; many forces throughout history relied on foraging, stealing, buying, or otherwise obtaining food from local sources as they moved. There tends to be rather less of it in winter, which makes supply more difficult. Winter campaigning isn't impossible, but even with a real logistics system, it is more difficult, and there are often other administration issues with maintaining a force year-round. There was an expectation for many forces that, outside of a campaigning season, they would have time to go home, or otherwise find somewhere to become established and start to prepare for the next campaign. Transport, supply, maintenance, etc are all more difficult in winter, and you also have additional costs.

Winter campaigning was done inconsistently for a long time, from the Vikings, to mercenary companies in medieval Italy, to various Roman campaigns, but consistent winter fighting is very modern, and was still influencing plans (especially concerning agricultural workers) in the 20th century. It became less of an issue thanks to industrial and technological factors, so there isn't one point you can definitively identify as the year, but around the 19th century, certainly the latter half, is when armies began to campaign regardless (often with awful results).


TheGreatOneSea t1_jcr1fzr wrote

This thing is the sort that requires an essay, but in brief:

  1. For most of history, war was seasonal: as such, some, if not most soldiers will leave for the winter, and return when the war resumes; those who remain may not have the numbers to launch attacks. Even if the entire army is professional, so skipping planting won't cause starvation, feeding a large force in one place for long is extremely expensive without railroads (and that assumes there's food available at all,) so as much of the army as possible is likely to be dispersed to where they could be fed.

  2. Even if the local weather isn't cold, logistics would still be subject to the polar lows, which can lead to sudden and powerful storms: as such, anyone relying on a supply fleet is taking a big risk, and anyone without such a fleet will have trouble sustaining much of a force.

  3. The term "Winter Quarters" can also be misleading: while most of the army may not move, small bands of around 50 are very likely to be doing reconnocence and raiding. These raids rarely enter the history books, but they often contribute to depopulating an area, which affects the war.

  4. For the most part, winter warfare became more common when steam engines made moving and feeding soldiers much easier. That didn't make it a better idea, though: the logistical issues created by winter still exist, and have still led to disaster when handled poorly.


jrhooo t1_jcra6fe wrote

> For most of history, war was seasonal: as such, some, if not most soldiers will leave for the winter, and return when the war resumes; …

>….so skipping planting won't cause starvation, feeding a large force in one place for long is extremely expensive without railroads

Great respone. Also made me immediately think of an example where this was true even today

Afghanistan - The Fighting Season


LaoBa t1_jd01vpq wrote

The mud season in autumn and spring in Ukraine also has a big impact on the ability of the warring parties to launch offensives. While a network of hardened roads have made logistics much easier, cross-country assaults are still very much inhibited by the mud, keeping the attackers on the roads and thus much more vulnerable.


GSilky t1_jcu1p7x wrote

I live at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, without modern tech it is a giant pain in the ass to get around in the winter. Mud, snow, ice, short days giving way to long nights who's temperatures can kill really makes it difficult for someone to get around, now apply that to a large body of people and supplies drawn by horses. Add in the lack of foraging opportunity and you can begin to understand why they hunkered down for the season.


Puzzled-Weakness-503 t1_jcs8f0m wrote

Why is the goddess Aphrodite-Venus sometimes associated with mirrors? Also, are there any artistic depictions of her that weren't made for men's viewing pleasure but rather for worship or admiration and the like?


en43rs t1_jct7elb wrote

For the mirror thing it’s because she is a goddess of beauty and a mirror is often in art a code for beauty or people concerned by their beauty (looking at yourself in a mirror to make sure you’re beautiful/admire your beauty).

For the other, we have a lot of ancient art depicting her that was made for ritual purposes. What is the issue exactly?


Puzzled-Weakness-503 t1_jcvfr7a wrote

I see. Which ancient art pieces of hers were made for ritual purposes?


en43rs t1_jcvpf3q wrote

It is sometimes difficult to tell if some artworks were decorative, religious or both. I'm really not an art historian, but I can offer some guide lines.

A fresco in a Roman villa is probably decorative. But when you see statues? It becomes hard to tell. We don't always know. And I said that it could be both, because it may have been. Roman religion is not an organized religion like Christianity. There are temple sure, when we find fragments from altars we know it's for religious purposes. But when a rich man orders the crafting of a statue... is it purely aesthetics? Or is he a devout follower that want to honor the goddess? We do not know.

It's also important to understand that since it wasn't an organized religion, different people had different interpretation of what the goddess meant. Sometimes she was Venus the goddess of physical love (there's a reason why we call aphrodisiacs aphrodisiacs...), but at times she was also Venus Genitrix, Venus the mother (this one is thought to be a religious statue of her), Venus Felix the goddess of luck. In Pompei she is often represented in full dress and with jewels.

But my point is... if she is presented nude (like the many many nude Venus you can find)... it doesn't mean it's lewd art for the male gaze. She is a goddess (nudity is associated in antiquity with gods), she is also a goddess of sex. Her beauty doesn't imply that it's lesser. Those statues aren't the ancient equivalent of Playboy.


Puzzled-Weakness-503 t1_jcw4paj wrote

Yes, thank you. I came across a lot of the things you mentioned in my own research and wanted to hear from someone else as well.


bikelifer t1_jcsqerp wrote

Remember learning about yellow journalism and how it almost/ ? actually? Started a war. Anyone interested in the topic able to explain/ give synopsis?


Purple-Missile6907 t1_jcswihe wrote

Sure. William Randolph Hearst and the New York Journal said that the USS Maine was blown up by Spain, based off of false rumor. This made US citizens mad, and drove public support for a war against Spain. So-lies made by the media helped fuel a national desire for war.


quantdave t1_jct9yac wrote

... and four months earlier came the Journal's part in breaking Evangelina Cisneros out of jail as the innocent victim of a Spanish officer's advances. Her account broadly supports the paper's case (though not necessarily the more lurid accounts) , but Hearst would doubtless have been mortified by her Havana military funeral 72 years later as a heroine of the independence struggle.


Purple-Missile6907 t1_jcswl2e wrote

You also have a more realistic side of it. Journalists taking photos of what was going on in Cuba drove up support in the US against Spain. So-coverage of abuse made Spain look bad, built empathy for the Cuban rebels.


SasquatchMcKraken t1_jcvkoo6 wrote

I don't think it was as important as some make it out to be. There were genuine reports of Spanish war crimes in Cuba, aided by a long-standing dislike of Spain ( the not entirely unfounded "Black Legend"). Plus we'd had our eyes on Cuba since the antebellum era. The yellow press just fanned existing prejudices and sentiments. It amplified pre-existing thoughts and was more or less with (rather than leading) the times.


elmonoenano t1_jcvlekm wrote

There's a book called War Lovers about how politicians like Teddy Roosevelt and Hearst worked together to drum up support for an expeditionary war against Spain.

There was also a book a few years ago called Confronting Imperialism that was a collection of essays on The Anti-Imperial League which opposed Hearst and Roosevelt's march to war. The members of the group included notable folks like Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie (this is was one of the key events that pushed him to create the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and Helen Keller.


General_Kenobi_77BBY t1_jcpf8nj wrote

Hi I need help with research on the Freikorps

Some keywords according to Nationalww2

Wilhelm Reinhard

Reinhard’s freikorp

Kiel iron brigade

Potsdam regiment

Franz von Stephani

I alrdy checked wiki, not enough info


elmonoenano t1_jcrbrn8 wrote

Have you read the Nigel Jones book yet? It's only about 300 pages and is a reasonable place to start. It's only about 15 years old so it's fairly up to date.


General_Kenobi_77BBY t1_jcrtvqf wrote

Well I don’t have the money or the location to buy

For reference what’s it called, and could u quote smth there


elmonoenano t1_jcs4xhh wrote

Sounds like it's time to get a library card. A librarian can also help you structure searches so you can find more sources. And a library is probably going to have access to databases like JSTOR so you can look for papers.


calijnaar t1_jcupikb wrote

I don't know what exactly you are trying to research, and for most purposes you will obviously need to get access to some literature about the subjects, so a library would be your best starting point, but for a preliminary overview an online search is not a bad idea. However, a WW2 site is not really the best starting point for something that happened a good 20 years before WW2, and the English wikipedia is probably not the best site for detailed information about early 20th century Germany. I only know the very basics about the Freikorps, but for an online search maybe using google translate for the relevant German wikipedia pages might be a better start (assuming you don't speak German).

Wilhelm Reinhard

Reinhard’s freikorp

Kiel iron brigade

Potsdam regiment

Franz von Stephani


getBusyChild t1_jcpqmmi wrote

Why did the Polynesians have Roosters with them on their ships? Did it really help with navigation, or is that just a movie trope?


so-it-goes-and t1_jcsvcxt wrote

Hmmm, I'm answering as a New Zealander who knows a bit about Māori migration, I'm not sure if this is a relevant answer but:

Māori not only had food on their waka (boats) for eating on the way, but they also took animals and seeds, plants etc to establish food sources once they got to their destination.

Sorry if this is not what you're asking.


dark_angel_8 t1_jcqij6z wrote

Are there any books about the British occupation of Iceland during WW2?


WorkUsername69 t1_jcr5xix wrote

I haven’t read any of these so can’t speak on them, ut here is a list of sources for the Wikipedia page in the subject:

Bittner, Donald F. (1983). The Lion and the White Falcon: Britain and Iceland in the World War II Era. Hamden: Archon Books. ISBN 0-208-01956-1.

Cadogan, Sir Alexander George Montagu (1971). Dilks, David (ed.). The diaries of Sir Alexander Cadogan, O.M., 1938–1945. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-93737-1.

Karlsson, Gunnar (2000). Iceland's 1100 Years: History of a Marginal Society. London: Hurst. ISBN 1-85065-420-4.

Magnúss, Gunnar M. (1947). Virkið í norðri: Hernám Íslands: I. bindi [Fortress North: Iceland Occupation: Volume I]. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja. Miller, James (2003). The North Atlantic Front: Orkney, Shetland, Faroe and Iceland at War. Edinburgh: Birlinn. ISBN 1-84341-011-7.

Stacey, C. P. (1970). Arms, Men and Governments: The War Policies of Canada, 1939–1945. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. D2-5569. Archived from the original on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2016.

Stacey, C. P. (1955). Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Vol. I: Six Years of War. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2016.

Whitehead, Þór (1999). Bretarnir koma: Ísland í síðari heimsstyrjöld [The British are coming: Iceland in World War II]. Reykjavík: Vaka-Helgafell. ISBN 9979-2-1435-X.

Whitehead, Þór (1995). Milli vonar og ótta: Ísland í síðari heimsstyrjöld [Between hope and fear: Iceland in World War II]. Reykjavík: Vaka-Helgafell. ISBN 9979-2-0317-X.


Hot_Advance3592 t1_jcqvsvf wrote

I’m listening to history of times and civilizations on YouTube now.

It’s mostly a list of kings and the wars between places, and a few other killings and the results of that.

Important of course, but there’s so much more to think about when it comes to telling stories of history, right?

Maybe I could get some direction for more expanded accounts of history?


quantdave t1_jcrqm1i wrote

Most scholarly history today tends to reach far beyond the old "kings, queens & wars" narrative, delving into social, economic, demographic, cultural or technological development rather than just the headline political and military upheavals. But the way we compartmentalise the subject leads to such approaches often being shunted off into discrete realms of economic history, social history, cultural history etc, so that the undifferentiated "history" that's left can end up looking suspiciously like those kings, queens & wars that we though we'd escaped. And the problem's accentuated in an audio-visual format that thrives on drama and visual impact - TV history shares many of youtube's limitations, and even radio can be an unsatisfying medium.

MeatballDom's reply usefully points to a rewarding approach: rather than trying to bite off too much, looking at the context of a specific event or process from different angles can shed new light on it: "So x happened. What was happening with population, economic activity, technology or social relations that might have contributed to x happening in the way that it did and having the consequences that it did?" sometimes the continuities can be as revealing as the transformations: if w didn't change, something else must have caused x to happen. Sometimes that will mean setting your topic aside for a moment to explore wider or longer-term developments and conditions in connection with a particular theme. Another approach I find valuable (or a variation on the same approach) is to look at the behaviour of narrower geographical areas within your study area: great events might have played out on a national or international stage, but their impacts were experienced locally, and often in different ways, and how different areas responded in turn fed into wider development.

Without knowing more about your particular interests it's difficult to offer any specific recommendations: general histories tend to be unrewarding because they'll inevitably focus on some aspects and overlook others according to the author's focus or taste. For youtube presentations, I find academic lectures and panel discussions the most useful - the second especially, as it offers multiple perspectives and highlights areas of scholarly disagreement. But at some point you're going to dragged into the books and research papers, many of which are available online - and that's where you'll find in-depth answers and infuriating new puzzles to solve.


MeatballDom t1_jcqyaby wrote

Part of the problem is that a lot of recorded history focused on the "great men" the kings, the generals, etc. It's a relatively new (in the grand sense of things) movement to look actively at the more common people, the day to day grind.

But we can find you sources and material that can go further into these other areas. Is there a specific area, topic, hobby, something that you're really interested to learn more about? The further we expand our scope, the smaller we often need to make our overarching theme so specifics can help.


elmonoenano t1_jcrfq23 wrote

Yeah, there's a lot more to history. Most good history books, even if they're focusing on something like war, are going to talk about the politics, economics, technology and infrastructure/logistics of the situation. Those questions are usually more important than the war itself b/c the cause of the war and the resolution are tied up in those factors.

If you look at something like Ukraine's fight today, the explanation for tactics are intricately tied to global supply and politics. Why Russia lost so many tanks has to do with their politics and economic situation. You need to have some idea of those things to understand what is going on and it's no different in the past.


guiscardv t1_jcstgbh wrote

If you want a video series you can try Kenneth Clark’s civilisation, it is old but I remember it being really excellent and certainly not a list of kings and queens


quantdave t1_jcto0xi wrote

It was very much a history of post-Roman western European high art and elite thought, though, except perhaps the final episode when he had to contend with the industrial age. Clark himself had qualms about the title, seeking to emphasise the A personal view subtitle. It's really an account of only one or two socially quite narrow strands of the historical experience of one region of the world, as which it doubtless still ranks highly but it can't claim a wider perspective (and indeed didn't, apart from the unfortunate title).

For a general introduction I'd say Felipe Fernández-Armesto's wider-ranging Millennium series is a better place to start: it doesn't cover the millennium before, of course, but then Clark skims over it in just his opening episode so the chronological difference isn't so great, whereas the thematic and geographical one is vast. General histories are inevitably unsatisfying, but I thought Millennium was a cut above the rest for all its popularising style (then again, we want history to be popular, so who am I to complain?): the book's more rewarding.


phrogbuttmom1952 t1_jcx9k5y wrote

I love the podcast Our Fake History. It dispels a lot of historical myths, and it's very clever and humorous.


GSilky t1_jd0lz7d wrote

Check out art history. Often, if you study an individual work, the circumstances surrounding it are examined. Everything from the mood of the artist to whatever event inspired the work is covered. For instance, if you read Candide you will get a tour of Europe and such as known by one of the smarter people of the 18th century. You would learn about why he wrote it, as well as the effects it had on the culture and politics. Art history is a great inroad for something besides political or military history.


DsXano t1_jcru7cx wrote

Can someone please explain the warsaw pact and its members and where they are today to me? I love history but I never really learned about it.


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jcsezql wrote

The Warsaw Pact was essentially meant to mirror NATO as a military alliance. The countries are where they where then, they haven't moved or anything. East Germany no longer exists as it reunified with West Germany. Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, the Czech Republic all joined NATO over the past 20-odd years. The USSR dissolved.


elmonoenano t1_jcvfor2 wrote

It was also supposed to create an economic sphere to rival the common market in western Europe. It didn't really work well at that. But part of the reason for it was so that the USSR could offer something in place of the Marshall plan money that the USSR was forcing those countries to turn down.
Tony Judt's book, Postwar, does a good job of covering it, but it covers pretty much everything during the postwar period so it's a pretty weighty tome. But it's one of the best history books I've ever read.


Eminence_grizzly t1_jd23899 wrote

I think the pact itself was no more than a formality. The Russians de facto controlled all those countries so they decided to write that fact down somehow. Some kind of a cargo cult mimicking NATO, I'd say.


Timely_Traffic_7331 t1_jcwiu85 wrote

I have been doing some research into Iron Age Europe and found that most of what the we know of pre Roman Gaul and the celts themselves has been widely based on Caesars writings on the conquest of Gaul. Therefore I was wondering, since he is obviously a biased writer, what are the main things he altered and what we’re the biggest things that we don’t know / are wrong abt the Celts and Pre Roman Gaul?


Thibaudborny t1_jcx8tgo wrote

One of the most blatant simplifications Caesar entered into his accounts was the Germanic-Celtic divide along the Rhine. Going by his writings, the Celtic & Germanic world were separated by this river. Caesar's motivation here was political. All his actions in Gaul were justified by the alliances with Roman proxies, by it being 'in' Gaul. The Germanic tribes were the 'others', whom he had to keep out of Gaul, but he had no goals beyond the Rhine. Convenient.

In reality, this divide didn't follow a river but was more of a patchwork. Some Germanic tribes most probably did live on the canonically Gallic side of the Rhine and vice versa. What is notably hard here. Is that we can only base ourselves on archeology, and artifacts sadly don't talk. So we are quite certain Caesar is lying/twisting facts here, but it is very hard to get the real picture.


WW06820 t1_jcvf7sy wrote

Ok I have a question. What are some of the reasons why so many cults have popped up in Los Angeles?


elmonoenano t1_jd3whwz wrote

I think this is probably one of those things where it appears something is the case b/c attention is focused there rather than somewhere else. LA has a big media industry and people looking for stories. So, there's a lot of resources already looking for something novel. On top of that people who are looking for attention purposely go there b/c of the potential of gaining that attention. None of that is going on in rural Utah. But anyone who's been out to rural Utah can tell you it's full of all sorts of weird off shoots of the LDS/Mormons.

And if your cult is doing something like having child brides/polygamy/something else of questionable legality, you probably don't want people to notice or be a member.

So, this may just be a perception and not have any basis of fact.

Also, b/c a cult isn't really an objective thing, mostly just a pejorative term used for groups that are found to be weird, it's incredibly hard to quantify.

But I would think, just based on what I've seen, is that there are more cults in places like Utah, where a religion is fairly new and has a culture of "prophets" that allow lots of splits, or places like West Virginia where specific communities are fairly isolated geographically and can develop in idiosyncratic ways b/c of that isolation.


TheBattler t1_jcwbc5l wrote

High population. Diversity of peoples and religions/beliefs. Lots of money flowers in LA, enough to allow for "start-up" cults, and enough for cults to take advantage of people and subsist on.


WW06820 t1_jcwbj52 wrote

Why do you think there haven’t been as many notable ones out of Miami or NYC? Between Scientology, the Mansons and Synanon seems like there’s some kind of special sauce.


en43rs t1_jcxlvni wrote

One theory is that in the early to mid 20th century California had two factors going for it: lots of rich people (that's where Hollywood is) and a relatively weak presence of organized religion, so you could more easily find rich spiritual people who do not already frequent a church/religious organization.

Another factor is that it's a self fulfilling prophecy, if all cults expect California to be a good starting ground... they're all going to go to California.


GSilky t1_jd0g7to wrote

The weather and the people. SoCal has a climate in which being broke and begging is tolerable, if you notice, many of the cults accentuate poverty as a lifestyle. The population is also a more receptive audience, much of the population moved there to live their life on their terms and experiments are common. This population also has the double whammy of not only being more receptive, but also unmoored from their community and it's an easy way to find friends. Many cult experts will tell you that not having access to strong family or friends support is a risk factor when dealing with cults.


Beginning_Brick7845 t1_jcywcr7 wrote

WWII Counterfactual Question.


I've been trying to work through a question I came up with and haven't been able to resolve it to my satisfaction. My question centers around the resources put toward the Manhattan Project. As we all know, the program to develop the atomic bomb was a miracle of modern science that consumed vast amounts of time and resources while the world was at war. Although the Allies could not have known it then, the Nazis weren't close to producing a bomb. Meanwhile, the Nazis were busy perfecting jet airplanes while American designs were advancing but not ready for production. So, my inarticulate counterfactual question is this: with the benefit of hindsight, would the Allies have been better off not investing in the Manhattan Project and instead devoting those resources to developing jets? Would it have ended the war faster if the Allies had developed operational jets in time for major combat operations?


quantdave t1_jd64bg4 wrote

Remarkably the Project cost only nine days' worth of Federal spending of the period, such was the scale of the country's wartime mobilisation. In the event, the bomb wasn't needed against Germany, but could the US take the risk of foregoing its development?

Would US jets have changed the outcome? Germany's various projects didn't, and even with a major US development effort it seems unlikely that successful fighters would have entered service in large numbers before aerial superiority was achieved anyway.

The controversy surrounding the bomb's eventual use may make us question the desirability of its development, but the outcome wasn't so clear in 1942 or 1943 when a major diversion of effort into other weapons would have to have been initiated. But it's an interesting question. Might other avenues have been more useful? That inter-Allied bugbear of landing-craft springs to mind.


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jcz151d wrote

>Would it have ended the war faster if the Allies had developed operational jets in time for major combat operations?

I don't see how. While jet aircraft were often more capable, pioneering them is one thing, getting the massive production lines ready during wartime when airframes are needed is another. Without interrupting production, you would need an enormous duplication of effort to bring in jet aircraft in sufficient numbers to make a substantial difference, and that difference still pales next to the leap forward in destructive power nuclear weapons offered. The first nuclear weapons offered 15-20 kt blast yields, which is 15,000-20,000 tons of TNT. In order to drop that much conventional explosive, you would need hundreds of B-52s, which takes more time, effort, fuel, organisation, maintenance, spares, etc.


jrhooo t1_jdk6eo8 wrote

I don’t see how TBH.

By late in the war, the Allies had air superiority.

Even WITH a few German jets in the air, the Allies owned the skies.

The big issue was German production and logistics. It was bad.

Sure WWII Germany knew how to build a jet, but they couldn’t build them or deploy them at any relevant scale.

They can no longer produce precision parts or high quality steel needed to build any serious numbers of jets or even quality traditional planes.

The can no longer get high quality fuel. The lack of good fuel means the plabes they do have can’t run as fast/hard. So allied planes are outperforming them.

Put all this together and its easy to see how allied air power took control of the skies late in the war.

So could the allies have gotten jets? Maybe. But so what?

If they’ve already taken control of the skies, getting a wonder plane that gives them more control of the skies doesn’t really change much.


Accomplished_Pie9653 t1_jczgbaw wrote

Did Caesar write about the extent to which he murdered people in Gaul and surrounding regions of Britan and Germania? I have been doing lots of research into new archeological perspectives on the wars and while it is more than obvious that the Romans slaughtered and killed huge chunks of the population, it is not clear whether Caesar explicitly wrote about these actions. On one hand, they are incredibly gruesome and something that was maybe best kept under the rug, but contextually, wouldn't it have been great propaganda in his conquest of Gaul? At the time atrocities done during times of war were seen as patriotic acts and I know he mentions his total tally of murdered individuals towards the end of his commentaries (a blatantly inflated number)


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jczsw15 wrote

The Commentarii de Bello Gallico is an exercise in exaggeration, written to give an audience a totally distorted view, which was probably effective because there was so little contrary information to combat it. The fearsome Suevi who have no neighbours for six hundred miles, who don't drink wine for fear of becoming effeminate, who only wear animal skins, and so on, are among many other tribes who are carefully depicted (when the text isn't outright contradicting itself) as being completely at odds with Rome, and requiring domination.

It does talk quite openly about not just what we would consider Roman military victories, but also the raiding and destruction of camps, including the killing of women and children, and sometimes mass suicide, caused by one misfortune or another. These are all, one way or the other, perfectly acceptable for the time, and any underhandedness or duplicity on the part of the Romans is always preceded, of course, by some nefariousness on the part of the barbarians.

Inflating the number of enemy was common, and was done to either heighten the glory of Rome and the Roman force and their commander, or to help explain away defeats. This has a long history of use in Rome.


Odd-Ad-3721 t1_jd5o3lk wrote

What happened to British people who were on mainland Europe at the time of WW2?

specifically, I'm looking for accounts of British people in Nazi occupied france whilst the war was raging, or at the very least, around the time of the fall of France.


quantdave t1_jdjucim wrote

In German-occupied areas they were generally interned as enemy aliens, much as happened to Axis nationals in the UK, though those on a particular nazi hate-list faced greater danger. The internment camps seem to have been more civilised affairs than those for nazism's perceived racial or ideological enemies, subject to Red Cross inspection with some inmates being released after a period of incarceration, notably men over 75 and women over 60: there's a study of women in the Besançon and Vittel camps here.


HightowerComics t1_jdh00l3 wrote

I’ve always dug the 1910s/20s on an aesthetic/vibes level, but I want a more substantial knowledge of the era. The look, the fiction, the fashion, the science of the time. Other than the Great Gatsby, are there any books or sources about what life would’ve been like for the average American at the time?


phillipgoodrich t1_jdk7xus wrote

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston will give you an unusual glimpse of Black life in the 1920's.


Radiant-Door-6421 t1_je8pxul wrote

Did colleges always require classes unrelated to your degree?


Aurora_Panagathos t1_jcx28rj wrote

Can anyone suggest some books on the gold rush, preferably something that covers the human experience in a western mining town with a lot of anecdotes?


GSilky t1_jd7pjnu wrote

While fiction, Jack London had some decent books that took place during the Yukon rush, which he was a part of IIRC, and my Jr High history class read them for atmosphere. They are quick reads and I think in the public domain now.


Key-Caterpillar-3641 t1_jcxbdub wrote

My textbook is asking for two effects on Soviet Union of Lenin’s death, based on my textbook i can think of only one, rivalry for the power, what would the second be? Genuinely lost here


MeatballDom t1_jcxep05 wrote

You might need to pull it apart further. There's a lot of threads with the rivalry for power. Who comes to power as a result of his death? What policies do they enact that differed from Lenin's? How did the Soviet Union change as a result of this? What ideologies were different? How did those that didn't win the struggle for power end up? How did this differ than before, how did this impact future power struggles?


Key-Caterpillar-3641 t1_jcza0po wrote

I figured out the question was for the overall topic not just the specific chapter which had limited amount of information


LordFlameBoy t1_jcyvaig wrote

I’ve got a school history project (A-Level History coursework for those interested) and was wondering if anyone could help me trying to choose a topic.

The time period must cover 80-120 years and start no later than 1807.

It should examine the factors behind something e.g. ‘to what extent was the main cause of the American CW slavery?’

I’m particularly interested in political systems (e.g. formation of the Reichstag 1871) and would ideally like it to be as late as possible i.e. 19th century


en43rs t1_jcz0b1r wrote

Unification of Germany ? You can start with Napoleon’s confederation of the Rhine and end in the 1880s with a unified Germany. You’ve got lot to talk about in between.

Or the idea of republic in France. It took 90 years, three republics, three monarchies and two empire (and like 6 uprisings and two civil wars) to get a stable republican government in the 1870s… but that may be a bit too much.


quantdave t1_jd3c54c wrote

France occurred to me too: we tend not to recall what a close-run thing it (repeatedly) was. Germany (like Italy) seems a bit well-trodden, but could be interesting with a non-Prussia (or non-Piedmont) focus. Austria/Austria-Hungary's always fascinating, and this period encompasses the whole 1804-1918 empire. Spain & Portugal would be a bit more "out there" and are quite a challenge, but they're potentially rewarding and less vast than Russia's rise at the other end of the continent. And of course there's always the familiar rise of representative government in Britain and national aspiration in Ireland as in Poland or the Balkan lands.

Further afield, it's the "crisis" of the Chinese empire - but how much of it was home-grown, how much exogenous? It's the period of British supremacy in India and the first stirrings of modern nationalism. For Latin America it's the era of independence, export-led development and the rise of US hemispheric power. In Africa it's the period from the end of the Atlantic slave trade to the start of the full-scale colonial scramble: how were they linked, and what happened in between? Globally the century sees perhaps thirtyfold growth in international trade and the rise of gold to monetary hegemony (and the first signs that it may not have been such a brilliant idea after all). And it's the great age of European industrial & population growth and emigration (the last however mostly from the 1840s) - though others too were on the move. And of course it sees the rise of secularism, science and challenges on class, race and gender, though these were all foreshadowed in the 18th century and sometimes the 17th.

A fascinating century, then, with considerable unity but in some respects marked by a new dynamism from around 1850, yet it's arguable that we didn't truly emerge from its shadow until a century later - but that's anther story lying outside the chronological range.


elmonoenano t1_jd4nwxp wrote

I don't know how in depth it has to be, but it might be fun to compare UK policy in China during the Opium Wars vs. US policy in Japan and how they shaped each other.

You could also do a compare and contrast of US and UK policy in some other colonial context like Liberia vs. Sierra Leone and how UK emancipation differed from US emancipation and colonization scheme.


penislmaoo t1_jd1asx0 wrote

So I am learning abt the history of the Barbaries pirates. And in classI learned abt the baños for slaves in class and how there was bars in the baños. And the professor said that they became like social centers for Muslims as well as the Christian’s that lived there.

Which is suprising because those were slave quarters! For the Christian slaves! But my professor made it seem like ordinary Muslims would just pull up and grab a glass too!

So that got me wondering. Assuming my professor was correct, what was the interaction between those two groups like? Cuz the Christian’s in slavery had a relatively nice time of things in the baño compared to what thier own people were doing to more southern Africans. And it’s so bizzare that there would be communal centers for both Christian slaves and Muslim citizens! But there also SLAVES!

So yeah. We’re the baño bars segregated? Was it mostly ex-euro barbaries that visited the baños? Was there fights? Did each group keep to themselves? Or was things just chillin? Did they make friends across the aisle? So many questions.


Salty-004 t1_jd5ssfw wrote

How did ancient cultures get tattoos? They didn’t have modern technology which we have now, also what did they use in the dye?


MeatballDom t1_jd6aqg2 wrote

Tattooing is not difficult, you can do it with a needle and a pen. You simply need ink, and something sharp to drive it under the skin. Maori use a chisel tattooing technique, "hammering" an ink chisel into the skin. See video here:

The modern tattoo gun does this automatically by driving the needle in and out of the skin, so no need to hammer it down, but it's still going in and out of the dermal layer.

As for ink, soot was very common and easy to make.


Level-Acanthisitta72 t1_jd9hwc6 wrote

Did colleges always require classes unrelated to your degree?


nanoman92 t1_jdcgxrw wrote

They don't in many countries in the world as per today


metallurgyhelp t1_jd9oudy wrote

Was it fairly common to have a female master teaching either naginatajutsu (naginata polearm) or kyudo/kyujutsu (bow) to fellow women during the Meiji era and pre-WWII? Or did men teach this to women back then too, in a dojo setting? Or did only their husbands/father teach them?

I've noticed a common trend that these arts tend to have mostly women practitioners nowadays, but how about as far back as over a century ago?


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jdbu77q wrote

>Or did men teach this to women back then too, in a dojo setting?

The system has been relatively stable for a long time. The teachers, up until fairly recently, were overwhelmingly male. Naginatajutsu/kyujutsu would have been a subset of the curriculum of a kobudo, and the teachers would have been expected to know and teach across the curriculum, not just sections of it that women were expected to know. There would have been plenty of female practitioners and experienced students, but female teachers would be unusual, and much more so the higher in the hierarchy you went.


Tsunominohataraki t1_jdlr9ph wrote

> Naginatajutsu/kyujutsu would have been a subset of the curriculum of a kobudo,

Kyujutsu has typically (and if I’m not mistaken, indeed exclusively) been taught in specialised ryuha.


enderwiki t1_jd9r38x wrote

What were some key events from the Kosovo war (1998-1999)?

Wanting to share passion of mine with my classmates through a presentation, I'm looking for some key, culturally rooted or surprising events from the conflict.

Not necessarily looking for the ones that get most of the international attention (e.g. Račak massacre, NATO's bombing campaign - they'll be included as well and you could point them out as well) but I was curious if there were more cases like the take down of the one NATO's F-117 (and I bet there have been since it's a modern Balkan conflict).

All sorts of info welcome!


Outrageous-Door8924 t1_jd9rgk2 wrote

Is there any historical/architectural connection whatsoever between Hotel New Nederland (demolished 1927) and the Plaza Hotel, in NYC? I'm uneducated on the topic, and this is just a personal observation, but I think there is a visual resemblance between the two.


GSilky t1_jdayyub wrote

How do you think LIDAR tech is going to upend our understanding of history? Or, do you think it is not a big deal? I hope you speculate in a rational way, but go nuts. I think it's going to show us something new in central Asia and Eastern Europe like it did in the Amazon and meso America. Maybe give us a better perspective on those "barbarians" that invaded Rome or possibly cities that were erased before history. Thoughts?


Doctor_Impossible_ t1_jdbqkbe wrote

>How do you think LIDAR tech is going to upend our understanding of history?

It isn't, because that isn't how historical study works. Everything you discover using any method is added to what you already know. The most it does is upend people, who either have long-held beliefs about a certain aspect of history, or are crackpots who seize on it as proof their personal (and otherwise unsupported) brand of lunacy is correct and everyone else is wrong. Fruit loops, like Hancock for instance, always talk about totally upsetting established history, because they don't have a single bit of proof for what they believe, and they desperately want some evidence, any evidence, for what has become their individual religion, if not brand.

>Maybe give us a better perspective on those "barbarians" that invaded Rome

If you're talking about Alaric and the Goths, his name was Flavius Alaricus, and he was a Roman citizen. We have plenty of evidence showing Rome didn't 'fall' as commonly thought, and the pop history narratives around it are comprehensively wrong, based on writings that are hundreds of years out of date.

>or possibly cities that were erased before history.

LIDAR is great for finding sites. It's not going to find something that isn't there. This thread shows what LIDAR surveys can find, as an example. It's a fantastic method, relatively fast, surprisingly accurate. But like any method, it has to be used in conjunction with many others, over the course of years, to do patient, careful research to establish new evidence, and add that evidence to what has already been accumulated.


quantdave t1_jdbq8k3 wrote

I think it's potentially a big deal in broadening and deepening our knowledge, but I'm less convinced that it's about to upend history as we know it. My impression (and correct me if I'm wrong, I may be overlooking something) is that where evidence has been found for more intensive development than previously identified, it's been among cultures that were already known to have a fairly developed organisational capability, indeed that's often what drew the researchers to the site: the revelations seem to me to be quantitative advances (and important in their own right) rather than an overturning of existing perspectives. Angkor springs to my mind, its urban core found to have been bigger than previously thought and more intricately connected with the surrounding zone of intensive cultivation, but still not the the vast megacity imagined by some: the new information requires us to imagine a more ambitious scale and a more sophisticated regional supply network, but doesn't consign previous perspectives to the scrap-heap.

I actually do think there are towns (or perhaps we should say strongly clustered differentiated settlements) out there waiting to be found in unexpected places (indeed even where they're abundant the distribution suggests we're missing lots), but the ones I have in mind are modest local centres and trading posts strongly integrated with the adjacent territory or with more distant similar locations, which I find more interesting than the higher-profile tribute cities or ceremonial complexes that will doubtless also turn up, because it's the less ostentatious sites that rely on exchange rather than status, hinting at an active economic role and greater regional complexity.

Either way, it's an exciting technology. I'm happy with whatever turns up, even if it's nothing: a negative finding is itself a positive addition to our knowledge (and in fact I wish they were more fully reported: knowing a location's devoid of any unusual feature that might have been there tells us something of value even if it doesn't make the headlines). Let's see what turns up, it's all good stuff. But I'm not expecting any wholesale undoing of our current broad picture: just more to go on will be fine.


Outrageous-Door8924 t1_jdcgjnn wrote

What was "the Fula playbook", in regards to Thailand's history? As mentioned at 3:43 in this video (timestamp should be included in the link).


quantdave t1_jdha7gd wrote

You misheard, it's plain old Führer, a reference to Phibun's borrowings from European regimes of the period. I'd consider him more comparable with Mussolini than Hitler, but such inspirations weren't uncommon among nationalist stongmen or authoritarian movements of the global "periphery", generally inspired more by fascist models of superficial national unity enforced by top-down discipline than by the rabid racial mania epitomised in Berlin.


Outrageous-Door8924 t1_jdnfgv3 wrote

Aww, okay. I appreciate the correction. That makes it all clear. Thanks for the whole explanation!


Orioram t1_jdgzau9 wrote

Is McPherson wrong in his seminal book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era?

On page 108 McPherson states that the negotiated area of the Gadsden Purchase was "55,000 square miles, but northern senators cut out 9,000 of these before enough northern Democrats joined southern senators to approve the treaty in 1854."

But according to Wikipedia and other websites the territory purchased ended ub being 29,670 square miles. So, the figure of 55,000 square miles can't possibly be correct right? Or am I missing something?

I was just surprised to find that this mistake somehow made it to print.


quantdave t1_jdhs8uf wrote

The US Department of State further complicates matters by offering an area of 45,000 sq mi agreed at the end of 1853 before the final reduction to 29,670, while wikipedia suggests that the chosen package initially came to 38,000 sq mi.

There may be a confusion among the various parallel alternative packages Gadsden was authorised to negotiate, the biggest option ($50m) including Baja California (55,360 sq mi according to wiki). So could that be where the higher number comes from?

Why State should give yet another size remains a puzzle, but its 45,000 sq mi could relate to that envisaged in the original $15m proposal for that section of the frontier before successive reductions to 38,000 or so at the signing and the eventual $10m for 29,670 sq mi.

Four numbers, four different areas of which we know one's right. But the 55,000 does seem out of line with all the others.


Orioram t1_jdijisg wrote

Very interesting. Thanks for the answer


EmperorUrielSeptim11 t1_jdi34oj wrote

Hi guys.

Were there any instances of graffiti on the east side of the Berlin Wall before it was taken down? I know the west side was covered in graffiti from various artists, and I know that the East side was heavily guarded but I feel like there must have been some instances that were captured of art of some kind on the east side before it was painted over. Does anyone know or have any evidence of this as I am studying it for my university course and can't seem to find anything online.


en43rs t1_jdli17h wrote

Actually yes there is. The wall didn't go down in a day, so between November 9 1989 (when the border opened) and when the wall was demolished (early 90s) artists started to paint on the Eastern side. It's still there, it's called the "East Side Gallery" and some of the most famous Berlin Wall art is actually there, like this very famous one.

If you mean graffiti before 1989... then no. There weren't. Because the wall wasn't just "heavily guarded" as you said. There was a litteral death strip where the guard shoot on sight.


HaroldTheScarecrow t1_jdjqery wrote

What kind of "ball" did George Washington play? I'm reading Ron Chernow's biography of GW, and came to this note:

"In another sharp departure from European formality, Washington engaged in sports with subordinates and “sometimes throws and catches a ball for whole hours with his aides-de-camp.”"

Clearly, they were many years from anything at all like the sports we know today. But they were also many years from even the materials or manufacturing methods to create balls like we'd use in those sports. So what was he using? What were the games like that he and his aides might have played? Colonial era sports are not something I have ever even heard referred to before.

According to he liked Archery, Swimming, and Pool, in addition to playing catch. But, he wasn't just chucking billiard balls at his buddies, right? What is this revolutionary war ball they were playing?


phillipgoodrich t1_jdk7nnq wrote

Most likely a variant of football/"soccer" with some form of rugby variant as well, based on the "throwing" and "catching." The ball likely about the size of today's volleyball, with an animal bladder to hold air, or a leather version stuffed with cotton or feathers or etc.


throwaway9394792 t1_jdc6bsa wrote

Honestly this is very random. But I am going to be getting a realism tattoo on my arm and want it to represent my Celtic heritage. Anyone know of any fables myths or legends that could add some inspiration to my arm??? Thank you