Submitted by AutoModerator t3_zu9d4g in history

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday 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 a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts



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409Narwhal t1_j1hzfkg wrote

Around what time period do we see typical Roman names like Pompey, Decimus, Flavius, Antonius, etc turn into more typical Italian names like Lorenzo, Giovanni, Fabrizio etc? It's clear that by the 14th century, we have names like Giovanni Boccaccio writing about the plague in 1341, and by the city state period in Italy there are all the prominent families with typical Italian names like Sfortza and Medici. Where does that start?


Bashstash01 t1_j1qw4ic wrote

This was a transition over many centuries, but became more popular during the Middle Ages, likely because of cultural changes during this time.


Stargate_1 t1_j1hp0yu wrote

I often hear about how, supposedly, people in the mid ages and past times general would bathe like once a week, but does this "myth" have any merit? I mean, would people use stuff like rain to shower? Did peasents in medieval europe really barely bathe at all?

Edit: thanks alot for everyones answers, very fascinating stuff!


Rusty51 t1_j1ht9yl wrote

Bathing is not the same as washing. People washed themselves regularly usually by wiping down with wet and scented towels, and buckets of water. Those who lived near a body of water or streams would swim in there as well.

Almost no one had a bathtub to bathe in and in the Middle Ages bath houses were seen as places of prostitution so they stopped building them.


Stargate_1 t1_j1htkue wrote

Fascinating, so bath houses were a common occurence before then? I did not realize


alaninmcr t1_j1huo44 wrote

Bath houses were extremely common in the Roman Empire. The claim that they were often places of prostitution is also true.


Thibaudborny t1_j1i0a48 wrote

Not really, bath houses were still quite popular in the medieval era, including with ahum, company. It's onlyby the 16th century that the pendulum began to swing in the other direction.


en43rs t1_j1hulsc wrote

>but does this "myth" have any merit?

In the middle ages people had a good understanding of basic hygiene, in short immersing yourself in water (warm if you can afford it) is good. The Romans had bath after all, it's nothing groundbreaking. And yes there were many bathhouses in medieval European cities which served both as bath houses and brothels.

The "dirty era" is actually the modern period (16th-18th centuries). Because bath were seen as dangerous: doctors thought that pores would open in the bath and let enter all the diseases. That's where you see stories of "a man proud of never having taken a bath in his life" and actual doctor saying that washing anything more than the hands and face is unhealthy. There's a reason why everybody stank at Louis XIV's court.


MrSpectre98 t1_j1hsgkz wrote

I think it's dependable on the period and area. The Vikings (or more properly Scandinavians) were notorious for their good hygiene, which, kind of, put to shame the Anglo-Saxons who bathed much rarer. In the 11th century, an otherwise unknown Trotula of Salerno wrote "De ornatu mulierum" a detailed guidebook for proper hygiene of women. John, King of England was known to take a tub along with a "tub-ward" on his journeys. In Poland of High Middle Ages public baths were very common and cheap, and Polish King Władysław Jagiełło (r. 1386-1434) kept a very high hygiene - even receipts for repairs and extensions to the baths he used have survived. Finally, there survived several treatises detailing bathing techniques, such as "Magninius Mediolanesis" and "Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum" - both from Apenine Penninsula from 13th and 14th century respectively.


hillo538 t1_j1ibepv wrote

They didn’t understand germ theory, I’ve read about their baths, they’d use one tub of water and they’d all blow their nose in it and spit in there before the next guy used it


jezreelite t1_j1i94fh wrote

If by bathing you mean "fulling immersing yourself in water", then yes, most people would only bathe once a week. Keep in mind that most people did not have running water in their homes until around the mid-19th century so taking a full bath in the past often meant have to haul multiple buckets of water.

That being said, though, it was very common to take sort of sponge baths everyday by washing the face, hands, feet, armpits, and genitals. (I did that recently when our pipes got filled with resin from a malfunctioning water softener and I found that I stayed surprisingly clean even without taking a full shower.) Also, it's important to remember that handwashing before meals was a must throughout pre-modern Asia and Europe.

The real problem was not so much lack of bathing as a difficulty keeping water clean. That had also been a problem in the ancient Roman public baths; the water in them was not chlorinated like modern swimming pools are, which meant so rather than preventing disease, they seem to have been very likely to given visitors internal parasites.


DigitalTomFoolery t1_j1ht7ds wrote

Theres a good quote in Monty Pythons the Holy Grail:

"He must be a king."


"He hasn't got any shit on him."

Being clean all the time was a luxury mostly only nobles and royalty had.


thisisnotmath t1_j1i7dad wrote

To what extent did ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Norse believe their own myths? Did Norse people literally believe the world was made up of the body parts of a dead giant, and get ticked off if people said otherwise like young earth creationists these days? Or did they recognize it as a story


Bashstash01 t1_j1qvqeu wrote

It's hard to determine, and changed between different people. Some may have believed it as fact, while others thought of it as a myth.


Deep-Site-8326 t1_j1hpf0i wrote

How tf didn't Aztecs get to discover steeeeel


joeri1505 t1_j1hqyfg wrote

"Yo bro, i have these funny red rocks here Want to start a 1500c fire and see if it does anything interesting?"

How tf did we ever discover that stuf???


Lord0fHats t1_j1ioprt wrote

I’ll look for it but there’s a fantastic post right here on reddit explaining how pottery leads to metal working in a very simple and logical progression.

TLDR; pottery processes can produce copper slag. Once people started using that they just gained more knowledge about metal.


joeri1505 t1_j1ips2v wrote

Yeah i somewhat know that theory and it makes sense But you have to see how much has to go right in that process.

The pottery clay just happens to contain metals. That's just luck. The metals melt at a low temperature, luck People figure out how to recognize metal ores Refining ore Building kilns that can get hot enough Adding carbon to make steel from iron.

Its similar to how the Chinese just never really figured out how to make clear glass. Causing them to never develop glasses


Type31971 t1_j1i03oo wrote

Even more importantly, why didn’t the Americas learn to properly utilize the wheel? They knew how to use wheels for milling grain, but didn’t apply it further.


anarchysquid t1_j1i8bga wrote

There's two* main areas in the Americas that had dense urban cultures, Mesoamerica and Peru. Both areas are generally mountainous, with sharp changes in elevation, where wheels wouldn't be bery useful. In addition, Mesoamerica didn't have any large domesticated animals to pull carts, and Peru had llamas, which are fairly dainty and weak. Between the lack of draft animals and the steep terrain, there just wasn't a good use for the wheel.

*there was also the Mississppians, but we don't know a lot about their culture. One can imagine the lack of draft animals was an issue, even if the terrain was flatter.


LateInTheAfternoon t1_j1iaiv6 wrote

>Both areas are generally mountainous

No, they're not. A lot of lowlands, plains and broad valleys and many cities were built by the coasts (especially far away from any mountains in the case of Peru).


anarchysquid t1_j1idu9e wrote

So here is a map of the valley of Mexico, before Lake Texcoco was drained. As you can see, there are flat areas, especially along the lakeshore, but the valley is lined with hills and there are even hills between major population centers. This isn't to say there are no flat areas, but elevation is a major concern for any significant travel distance.

Here is a map of the Incan Empire. Notice the terrain between major population centers like Cuzco and La Paz or Lima? Again, there are places where a wheeled cart would have helped, but overall the land is quite mountainous.


LateInTheAfternoon t1_j1iftaz wrote

I urge you to look on the rest of the maps while you're at it. Take a gander were most pre-Incan cities were located as well. You'll soon find why "generally" was a poorly chosen word which no cherrypicked examples will change.


Type31971 t1_j1ic67r wrote

Draft animals aren’t a necessity to make the wheel useful for transportation. If anything it’d make weaker animals more useful, and wheeled carts being drawn by humans have existed in Europe and Asia for centuries, if not millennia.

The need for tight turning ability in cities would have made the wheel a welcome addition in mesomerica, and the reduced workload going up inclines with wheels is superior to non-wheeled.


anarchysquid t1_j1ifi5c wrote

Whats your alternative theory?


Type31971 t1_j1ilibh wrote

The Americas were hit and miss. They pioneered the zero in mathematics while large swaths were no farther advanced than the Stone Age when Europeans showed up on their doorstep. Saying they lacked inventiveness is a stretch, but at the same time having access to the wheel but not taking this basic technology to its logical conclusion is maddening


TheBattler t1_j1jorq0 wrote

>wheeled carts being drawn by humans have existed in Europe and Asia for centuries, if not millennia.

Okay but that doesn't matter when our earliest archaeological evidence for carts is often tied to cattle; the Brononice pot abstractly depicts a wagon and was found alongside the remains of an auroch. Tripolye culture toy bull is literally a bull on wheels. Evidence for carts and wagons appear in present-day Ukraine just after the introduction of cattle.

It's a boring answer but for whatever reason, humans didn't think they needed a cart until they had some other poor animal to drag it around.


Type31971 t1_j1jxt69 wrote

Art of cattle pulling a cart doesn’t mean human-pulled carts weren’t developed at the same time or earlier. On top of that there’s no evidence that mesoamerican cultures stopped developing wheeled carts because of an absence of large domesticated draft animals. The Maya didn’t shrug their shoulders and say “This could be awesome, if only… oh well”


TheBattler t1_j1k3y8f wrote

Yes, everybody on this sub knows the absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence...but this is to our best current knowledge.

>On top of that there’s no evidence that mesoamerican cultures stopped developing wheeled carts because of an absence of large domesticated draft animals.

If that's your standard for why they didn't develop wheeled carts, you'll basically never have a satisfactory answer. It's next to impossible to prove a negative using archaeology.


Type31971 t1_j1k8tx2 wrote

There is never gonna be a satisfactory answer. As I said before, large swaths of the Americas were still Stone Age societies when Europeans made contact… You’d think all of continental humanity would have advanced beyond that point


Lord0fHats t1_j1ip5xp wrote

We’ve found toys in west Mexico that are wheeled. They at some point at least did figure it out. As for why it never caught on, common guesses are a lack of draft animals, rough terrain, and more availability of navigable waterways.

Also the possibility that what was being traded didn’t incentivize heavy loads. Most cultures in the Americas were self-sufficient for food. Their currency wasn’t based in valuable metals. Most trade was focused on finished goods and wares, not bulk raw materials.


Type31971 t1_j1ipg5k wrote

This has already been gone over…


Lord0fHats t1_j1iobk8 wrote

It’s a two fold question.

First; the neighboring Tarascan civilization had metal working. In all of meso-American the western side of Mexico is the only part where we find metallurgy being practiced locally. They likely imported this know from South America at some point.

It had been present in West Mexico for more than a thousand years. So, why didn’t the rest of Meso-America adopt it?

We don’t know but we can make some logical guesses.

The first is that there were no known sources of copper. Early metal working derived as a result of pottery. The process of glazing and finishing pottery can produce copper slag. So its an easy progression that pottery leads to metalworking.

Problem is that there isn’t a lot of copper to be found in the soil or pottery styles of the region so they never made the leap.

But they were adjacent to metal workers for centuries. The Aztec were even at war with the Tarascans.

And they weren’t losing.

So here we come to obsidian. Obsidian is a useful rock. Its brittle but it can hold a very sharp edge. It’ll break sure… but so what? Just get more obsidian and make a new edge.

We see a similar pattern int he near east. There were groups slow to adopt metal tools because stone tools are simple. You didn’t need an artisan to make or fix them. They’re cheaper. Anyone can make a basic stone tool.

And that’s probably why the Aztecs didn’t switch to bronze. Obsidian’s general ease of use and practicality was more valuable to them. They didn’t see the advantages si they didn’t adopt copper. Don’t adopt copper you don’t get bronze. Iron takes more skill to work and experience working iron leads to steel.

This is a fairly consistent global pattern but it was stalled in Meso-American by a lack of metal sources and the many uses and ease of use of obsidian.


Norumbega-GameMaster t1_j1hya9d wrote

I think the implication of your question is how is it that some developed this metallurgy when others did not?

This is a question that history can't answer. History can't even tell us why or how those that did develop steel learned how to do it. These questions are more of a metaphysical nature. Any attempt to answer them through history is going to be speculation and conjecture at best.

So there are reasons why I believe that some developed these technologies and others did not, but they are reasons based in my religious beliefs not in historical accounts.


Lord0fHats t1_j1im26b wrote

We sort of can but it involves guessing.


Norumbega-GameMaster t1_j1j2t4n wrote

As I said, speculation and conjecture at best. History simply can't answer why. Who, what, and where can generally be answered fairly easily. When and how can be answered relatively accurately in the more recent history; what the further back you go the harder these questions are to answer. The question of why is simply not addressed in history and can't be.


smoakee t1_j1ii1ih wrote

The pyramids were built all over the world by seemingly unconnected civilisations like Inkas, Egyptians, or by asian civilisations.

My question is: Are there any northern civilisations who built them as well?

I once saw an art of a pyramid covered in snow and ice and … it just stuck with me so hard. Been researching Arctica and Antarctica for any archelogical sites/evidence of something like this, but without success, all of it are hoaxes or conspiracies :/


en43rs t1_j1irist wrote

First, it not that difficult to think of piling rocks, that's why it's common.

Then, northern civilisations: of course there is nothing in Antarctica and the Arctic... there are no human civilisations in the Antarctic and humans living in the Arctic usually do not build permanent structure.

As for northern civilizations... it's tricky. Building a monument like this supposes a complex society (a powerful and rich government) that is able to build large structures: so you find some in China for example (it's not that complicated to pile rock). Not really in Europe and North American because before the Middle Ages they didn't have the wealth, when they did (by late Antiquity), it just wasn't the style anymore).

What you find a lot in those places is earth pyramids, tumulus. So yeah they kinda build those.


RiceAlicorn t1_j1jd3lg wrote

Fantastical pyramids like those found in South America, Egypt and Asia are simply impossible to build in Arctic and Antarctic locations with the technology available to the historical habitants of those areas. That's why you can't find anything.

  1. Materials and tools. The materials pyramids are constructed from are typically obtained from quarries — open pit mines in the ground. This is... not very possible, to say the least. The grounds of extremely cold places like the Arctic and Antarctic are permafrost: soil whose groundwater is totally frozen. The peoples of the Arctic didn't have tools that would have allowed them to easily get through this permafrost, much less harvest rock for pyramids. Only some groups had access to metals like iron (see: the Cape York meteorite), and none had advanced forging available to them to refine metals for greater use.

  2. Work environment. The Arctic environment maintains a very high and consistent level of deadliness that workers would have to work through, which is nigh impossible. In contrast, most if not all pyramids were built in environments that didn't actively kill people.

  3. People. There has been no record of any permanent or long-lasting human habitation in Antarctica. As for the people of the Arctic, there's plenty of evidence for habitation but none on the scale of a permanently established city. The pyramids you describe took a ton of time and labour to make, from populations that simply did not exist in the Arctic.


edgy_secular_memes t1_j1j1ztc wrote

A question I’ve always wondered and been afraid to ask, where did the rumors of Katherine the Great sleeping with a horse start and why?


jezreelite t1_j1jq4mi wrote

Virginia Rounding puts that rumor down to three factors:

  • The scholar and traveler Adam Ölschläger had claimed in the mid-17th century that Russians liked sleeping with horses and his claims became sort of an in-joke in Western Europe.
  • Catherine loved horse riding.
  • Catherine wasn't married throughout her reign, but still had a vigorous sex life with her various favourites.

19Backrooms93 t1_j1jditn wrote

I absolutely love history. Lately I’ve been studying the French Revolution. Did Robespierre want to stop the reign of terror even though he is considered the main leading figure behind it or was he as radical and unhinged as he is depicted in history? Why did they agree to execute him? Did he turn his back on his egalitarian beliefs and become too self important and king-like?


Thibaudborny t1_j1jq1uv wrote

Who said he turned his back on his beliefs? On the contrary, he was going to force his beliefs on everyone, you know, for their own good. The road to hell and good intentions, you know.


19Backrooms93 t1_j1od5r2 wrote

He probably didn’t turn his back on his beliefs but I heard that he started to glorify himself too much with the Cult of the Supreme Being celebration. He is fascinating to say the least. People like him are a rarity in this world.


getBusyChild t1_j1inyjp wrote

Merry Chrstmas!

Now on to the question. Is there any evidence that Werner Heisenberg intentionally delayed or even sabotaged the German atomic bomb project? Seeing how news of Hiroshima it only took him a couple of minutes to figure out how the US/Allies did it, but he could not in 6-7 years under the Nazi's?


TheGreatOneSea t1_j1j31cn wrote

The theory isn't really the hard part, as a practical matter: making the Nuclear bomb in the US took over 30 project sites and over 100,000 workers, and about $36 Billion in today's money, and the US wasn't being bombed during development.

Germany, by contrast, hadn't even finished expanding its conventional factories at the start of WW2, and its entire warplan required the war to be over by the start of 1943, as Germany would simply run out of fuel if that wasn't the case, and could do little more than gradually lose.

The Germans were fully aware of all of this, and any work on a nuclear bomb was basically cannibalized for use in other projects. By 1943, an effective Nazi nuclear bomb program was about as realistic as gaining air supremacy with jets, so it didn't really matter what fantasy project Germany pursued.


Kobbett t1_j1j6zvs wrote

I believe he claimed later that he intentionally delayed the German project, but from the transcripts recorded while a held as a prisoner after the war he didn't believe an atomic bomb was practical anyway, and was surprised when he heard the news of the bombs dropped on Japan.


elmonoenano t1_j1j5r7s wrote

My understanding is it mostly came down to resources. Everyone leading up to the war was pretty much on the same page as far as theory went. There were a few paths that were the most likely to be successful. But the Germans estimated the cost and the timeline to develop them and thought it wasn't feasible for them, and that they should put there limited resources into other things.

The US was able to work on all the paths and quickly found out that one of the paths was much more viable then the others and then focused on it. When they released information a few days after the Hiroshima bomb to prove that it was an atomic bomb that they dropped on Japan, the release had enough information that Heisenberg and the others then understood the steps to get there.

The BBC has a podcast on the topic. The last episode focuses on the events your question is about. It's not my favorite podcast, but it's not a huge time suck and there is lots of good info in it.


mobilgroma t1_j1iqw6i wrote

Why did armies have a vanguard? Why is it separately named to the rest of the army and not just a part of it?


bradnelson t1_j1irub0 wrote

Sending a smaller unit out ahead of the main body is primarily done to locate the enemy and scout positions. A smaller unit is more mobile and can fall back to the main body. Sometimes you want your enemy to chase the vanguard as it retreats so that your main force can then attack the enemy from favorable ground. Very commons in Napoleonic and American Civil War era tactics, though you still see good examples of it in the world wars.


mobilgroma t1_j1isbia wrote

Thanks for the quick and very good reply!

And because they do different things than the main army, they are organised and named differently?


bradnelson t1_j1ix5gs wrote

Essentially, yes. There are variations on this based on the time period (and thus technology) as well as the theories of any given army. But broadly speaking, a vanguard could be any given army unit that is simply assigned that task. The next time they advance, it could be a different unit serving as the vanguard. Some armies might prefer to make the same unit the vanguard on a regular basis and train/equip it differently because of that. In some instances, it might be sending horse cavalry out ahead of the infantry, or it could be a specialized tank unit in WWII. I tend to think in the context of the American Civil War, so I typically picture infantry units ("skirmishers"). Usually they want to clear out any enemy units separated from the main enemy force (stragglers, scouts, or the enemy vanguard). Depending on who intends to go on the offensive, the vanguards might engage each other in a minor "battle" but they are never intended to carry out a proper fight, only to "feel out" the enemy, get them to retreat to avoid the main force, prevent the enemy from gathering intelligence about the size or position of the main force, or like I said before to coax the enemy into an attack on an entrenched main force.


jrhooo t1_j1mgk7o wrote

Depends on time and task.

To steal from wikipedia here, an example of a Middle ages vanguard (literally “advance guard”) would have been the ubits tasked with first up duties. So..


Engineers (to clear obstructions from the road)

And even some messengers/diplomats (to reach towns first and basically say “ok, the rest of the army is coming up, do you guys want to just surrender now? Or do we have to bother setting up the whole siege thing? Come on. Save us all a headache and just surrender eh? We’ll give you a nice deal)


jrhooo t1_j1ml00l wrote

If you read the BOOK Generation Kill, they have good sort of example of this. (The TV Show is good but incomplete. It doesn’t explain whats happening as well)

But basically, on the initial invasion of Iraq, 2003, it LOOKS LIKE a Marine Corps Force Recon unit is being used as a traditional maneuver element, and (per the perspective of the book) being put in some needlessly risky positions, like obvious ambush routes.

Later the book sort of explains that the main force was on a “speed run”.

The Iraqi army was large, but notoriously disorganized and bad at command and control, SO the Allied war plan was speed. Overwhelm the Iraqi army and move too quickly for them to organize and coordinate defensive lines. Thus taking most of the country without a fight, and minimizing casualties all around.

Problem: slowing doen was not an option. Getting bogged down = giving the Iraqis a chance to regroup and dig in, snd them having to slug it out more often.

(In the words of Gen Mattis himself, in the prebrief, moving slow was a good way to land in an unpleasant convo with him. See: the Colonel he fired on the spot for getting stuck at a bridge)


They were worried the Iraqis had a bunch of delaying ambushes set up that would bog down the main force

The Recon units were (according to the book) actually decoys, meant to trick the Iraqis into springing their ambushes early, so that your main force could just bypass them.

Hell of a tough task for the recon guys, BUT the whole idea dis that your toughest, best trained guys are the ones able to

A - lay down enough orce snd firepower for them to bluff an opponent into thinking they are a full sized unit

B - go around finding and baiting ambush positions, and actually survive doing it.


elmonoenano t1_j1j3cxc wrote

Besides the main reasons /u/bradnelson mentioned, sometimes they would be used to tie down an army. The Battle of Gettysburg is a good example of this. Lee was trying to avoid an engagement while his forces were concentrated and Meade was reluctant to do anything b/c he was worried about the political ramifications on his job for any action. Meade's vanguard was lead by John Buford and he knew Lee had to go through Gettysburg. So he got there and started setting up defensive lines. His Confederate counterpart, Pettigrew spotted him while scouting and went and reported back to his CO, A. P. Hill. Gen Hill didn't believe him and set out a larger scouting force. This gave Buford an opportunity. He had just a small force, they weren't really supposed to engage, the main force of the Potomac was still a day or so away. But Buford used the time between running into Pettigrew and the second scouting force to set up defensive works and pick the best positioning. When that scouting force pulled up, they saw the force wasn't large and the two sides engaged each other. Buford did well enough that Hill diverted more forces from the withdrawal to Gettysburg, and as they showed up the beginning of the AoP start to show up. The whole thing snowballed from there.

Buford, was able to force Meade to commit, by drawing Hill, and then the rest of the AoV into the fight.

/u/wetworth on the /r/civilwar made this for me, the other day to give you an idea about Meade's whole vibe during the battle.


bradnelson t1_j1kflxp wrote

John Reynolds played a role in this too. Buford’s cavalry was the true vanguard, though Reynolds was in command of the advance corps (Meade’s various corps were all strung out at this point and not unified in preparation for a battle). His orders were explicit not to bring on a general engagement, which made sense given the state of his army. Meade also wanted to fight back at Pipe Creek, some 20 miles southeast, and had issued orders to ultimately draw his army together there. To fight in Gettysburg would mean issuing all new orders to generals who were many miles in many directions. There was uncertainty of where Lee’s forces were in PA, and the belief was they would try to attack Washington from the NW, so it made sense not to advance too far north.

Reynolds clearly understood that Gettysburg had favorable terrain and ordered Oliver Howard’s corps to join him there, rather than fall back to Pipe Creek. After Reynolds was killed and Winfield Hancock arrived at Gettysburg, he confirmed Reynold’s decision to fight there rather than fall back. That was good enough for Meade, who abandoned the Pipe Creek line and moved up to Gettysburg.

It’s worth noting that a similar process was happening to Lee’s army. Buford had engaged Devin’s brigade (Hill’s corps), which was the vanguard of the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee had to quickly bring his three corps together at Gettysburg. Both he and Meade benefitted from the many, many roads that led to Gettysburg like the spokes of a wheel.


jrhooo t1_j1mj22p wrote

Important to note: at least in less movile eras, the vanguard could presictably be expected to encounter the enemy FIRST.

Even on a single fixed battlefield, thus their unit position in a battle formation, front of the group, right end of the group.

This was considered a very prestigious position for that reason.

In a fixed battle, the vanguard position would logically go to the “best” of your line units to strike the first blows.

But who that best unit would be could change. It could be decided by the leader of battle for that battle. There are plenty of examples of Viking or Celtic clans agreeing to fight together, but bitterly arguing over whose troops would have “the honor” of leading the formation. (To the point that there were even fights over the right to lead the following days actual fight)

On the other hand, some leaders might make a specific unit their vanguard unit, and continually maintain that unit as a vanguard.

To describe that in modern military terms, you could have 1st infantry, 2nd infantry, 3rd infantry, and you COULD select the best one of them at any given time to be your vanguard,


You could say,

“We have an Army Ranger regiment. They’re going to take vanguard, because that’s what they’re for. We specifically select, train, and equip them that unit to be our vanguard unit. Thats why the get extra pay and special uniform markings and the prestige of being on the first-string-all-star team”


randomname_24 t1_j1j890x wrote

Where is the original copy of the German Armistice Papers (1918)


Bashstash01 t1_j1qvee3 wrote

The original copy is at the National Archives in Washington D.C.


swornds8261 t1_j1jb6p0 wrote

Did the great Wall of China cause the Eurasian steppe nomads to migrate West? Just a theory I read about that the great Wall made it difficult for tribes to move in great numbers, so instead if moving south the nomads went westward displacing other tribes which forced them to migrate West until some reached Europe.


TheBattler t1_j1jkub9 wrote

The Great Wall didn't really prevent people from crossing into China, it was more of an early detection system than a true barrier. The Steppe pastures that horse nomads want extend westward, so it was a natural channel for them to go that way.

Pastoralists like the Scythians had been making regular crossings into Europe through the Danubefor centuries before the Great Wall.

The real impetus for crossing into China, and thus the reason for the Great Wall, was to take over parts of a rich civilization. That was a regular occurrence even with the Great Wall in place. When Steppe conquerors noticed new goods being traded from a rich civilization at the other end of the world like Rome, they migrated in that direction.


Thibaudborny t1_j1jqbd0 wrote

No, also consider that for most of its existence, it was never even a non-stop barrier, but rather a collection of. The emblematic wall you know today was the product of the Ming dynasty, by which point the era of migrations was at its end.


xSicilianDefenderx t1_j1kpzss wrote

What is the smell of the people in the Dark Ages?


GlacierFall t1_j1lf2jc wrote

I hope I may answer this as a historical reenactor.

It really depends on where you were spending time, worked, which upbringing you belonged to, etc. Of course, after a while you get used to smells and perceive them less, if even.

Throughout most of history, businesses with a bad smell where often put in one place to aboid them easier, tanners for example who handled many foul smelling things. Since smells generally stick to fabric, especially wool, hair and even skin, you would probably be able to spot someone who has worked as a tanner for a long time if you stood close to them. Same went for street cleaners. People who could afford it dabbed some perfume on themselves, but they were pretty expensive (from what I know, 'The Perfume' is a good source not for facts, but for a general 'how-to').

Also more of a personal anecdote, but you surprisingly stop smelling the sweat of the people around you if you spent enough time in front of a fireplace. The smoke sticks to you and after two days you smell of mostly nothing else. After a week of reenacting especially my hair will still smell of smoke for a week, despite daily washing.

I hope that's somewhat of an answer to you :)


mouse_8b t1_j1idqbi wrote

What historical figure should I compare Rudolph to at the end of the song, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?


smurf_professional t1_j1im4s9 wrote

Rudolf I of Habsburg, the first King of Germany, also sporting a prominent nose.


annatheorc t1_j1iljqd wrote

Why did depictions of witches have pointy hats? Is that a new portrayal or were they always shown to wear pointed hats?


en43rs t1_j1iqd9f wrote

Because witches are based on medieval antisemitic stereotypes: in medieval art Jews are sometimes represented with big noses and pointy hat. The hats are loosely based on a hat some Jews wore in some areas.

After expelling the Jews from their lands European Christians started using their antisemitic stereotypes on a new marginalized enemy: the "witches". It wasn't intentional to be clear, it's was basically just "that's what bad people look like".

Interesting facts: Spain expelled their Jews way later than the rest of Europe (1492 compared to the 1200s-1300s in other places) and there weren't that many witch hunts in Spain (but a lot of paranoia about "secret Jews")


annatheorc t1_j1itf4f wrote

Thank you for explaining! That's terrible. Do you know what the marginalized group called witches was? Where they people the group decided to hate or were they their own distinct group with their own culture? We're witches a gendered group like they're mostly seen as today?


en43rs t1_j1j804t wrote

Contrary to the Jewish people (who are, you know, actually a thing) there is no single definition of who is a witch. There is not a parallel community that was tolerated and then marginalized. Who was targeted vary from time to time and place to place. In some places mostly men, in other mostly women. Sometimes the witches are lone actors, for the 17th century puritans there was a global conspiracy against Christendom (akin to contemporary global conspiracies). But usually it’s the people who are different or not liked. Foreigners, unmarried adults, those who live alone or are not as pious as others… and women who do not fit the mold. Widows, those who know “secrets” (traditional midwives and healers),… it varies a lot but it’s those who are already “suspects”.


BobbaFett2906 t1_j1ilqia wrote

How long is the movie Triumph of the Will? I'm trying to educate myself on the rise of the Nazis and the events leading to the Holocaust and I decided I wanted to see Triumph of the Will (1935), but I encountered a problem. Wikipedia, and many other sources, say the movie is 114 minutes old. However, all of the versions I could find online of the movie are only 104 minutes old. What are the other 10 minutes? Thanks in advance.


theotherkeith t1_j1iu71t wrote

To add to your confusion, IMDB lists it as 1:50.

In general, films do come out in different edited forms. However as a historical document, you would want the earliest release time.

If this question is related to a research paper, cite the primary source(s) you find most authoritative (Wikipedia is a secondary), then footnote that the length is different in other reference materials.


BobbaFett2906 t1_j1j9vn3 wrote

Yeah actually I found a version online that is 1:50 long. It had 2 minutes of extra credits/context and the other 4 minutes of difference I think was in the FPS. Someone suggested to me that even all of the 10 minute difference could be explained by FPS so I am almost at peace now.


CheckoTP t1_j1ivjvk wrote

With most of America in a deep freeze, any interesting or funny anecdotes about blizzards?


phillipgoodrich t1_j21ky41 wrote

Apparently not a lot of takers on any interesting, and most assuredly not "funny," anecdotes regarding blizzards, harsh cold conditions, or etc. But the "take home" message is clear from accounts like Alive by Piers Paul Reid, or any of the many accounts of the Donner party in the High Sierras/Truckee Meadows: if you find yourself in a situation of extreme cold/ice/snow and a distance from civilization, someone in the group with good survival and orienteering skills is going to have to walk out, or the entire party will die. Just to keep it in mind. Survival against cold is rare beyond 96 hours without taking some steps toward warming, and protection from the elements.


Tropical_Geek1 t1_j1k8xek wrote

For a silly one: is there any case of a battle in which almost all participants were killed?


Thibaudborny t1_j1kf41y wrote

Technically, the Battle of the 300 Champions fits your bill.


Comedican t1_j1kjwj9 wrote

Lmao! That’s so crazy! 300 vs 300 and only 1 and 2 survived. Those two guys probably agreed to tell everyone they gave that last guy what for and made him run for home!


jezreelite t1_j1lv8qq wrote

The Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Both sides took heavy losses which included the leaders of both armies, the Ottoman sultan Murad I and Lazar Hrebeljanović.


BoomerSweetness t1_j1kw5mw wrote

Has there been any person with 19 "3 digits year badges"? You get a 3 digits year badge whenever you live in a year that has 3 similiar digits in it, after some wikipedia digging i found some people with 18 of these badges (Liu Wansu, Enrico Dandolo) but none has 19 or 20, are there any more 18 badgers or that's all of the notable people who live long enough to get 18 of them (to get 20 of them you must be alive between 1110-1222, alternatively you can be alive between 1101-1211). If not then in 2220, we might get some of our first potential 20 badgers


stunna006 t1_j1txqa6 wrote

I think you are correct that 2220 will be the first people to have those dates and live to be 110 years old


Top-Associate4922 t1_j1lbgsz wrote

Are there any surviving written documents from ancient Greece or Rome? I heard that writings we know today are copies done by either medival Christian monks or Arabs. If that is true, can they be trusted to do exact copies without their own significant input or censuring? And did originals texts survived until medival periods, or was there a need to copy them every few years?


en43rs t1_j1lrdqm wrote

So, there are layers to this.

Yes there are quite a lot of primary documents from antiquity. The easiest ones to find: engraved texts. That's how we managed to recreate for example the Res Gestae, a kind of autobiography/propaganda made by the emperor Augustus: we found several copies of it in ruins.

Then, texts on paper: we have those too. Quite a lot actually, but not from the region of Rome or Greece... but Egypt (which was under Greek then Roman control). The dry climate is excellent for the conservation of papyri. So we regularly find new fragments there. Often it's everyday stuff (personal or even legal writings like a will) which are a gold mine for historians but there are also quite a lot of fragment of ancient texts. Which help us with the next part: how can we know if our texts are exact?

So. First thing to understand: with very very few exception: we do not have complete primary documents from antiquity. We rely on copy and sometimes fragments that concur with the copies. Which for example help us establish that one major text from Antiquity had a fixed form relatively early in its history: the Bible. It also confirmed that our Homeric texts are also correct (since those were used in school we have quite a lot of them). And no, ancient text did not survive a thousand years, they were regularly copied.

So with taking that into account how can we know that we have the exact copy? We usually can't and we need to accept that. Usually not because of malicious intent, but due to mistakes. What we can have are usually close approximations though. First, we compare texts. We trace the origin of manuscripts and see if they have the same text: if a manuscript copied from a French manuscript and one copied from one that originally comes from Constantinople what's more likely is that it's the correct one. Same idea with differences, if only one text differ we assume that it's wrong. If one version is more complex we assume that it's the right one though (since simplifying is more likely to happen that increased complexity). And so on and so on and so on.

Now censorship. To be honest it had happened at times, it's pretty blatant (the usual non christian writing that says stuff like "and in Judea came a man that was the true son of the One God" and stuff). But usually it's rare and we see it. So don't worry about that.

I want to add one final thing though, that underlines your question... Christian monks and Arab copyists are not in anyway more likely suspects than your average ancient copyist. If they did not like a text, or did not care, they did not record it (this actually happened before the Christian era too, books needed to be copied regularly, it's long and expensive). If they copied a text, that's because they had an interest in it. And medieval scientist and philosophers would not dare modify ancient texts, why would they? Those are their work tools. They know they were pagans, and may try a lot in their commentary to justify that "no if they knew about Jesus/the Prophet they would totally have converted" or so. But they didn't touch the text (again the exceptions we have are far and few).


Thibaudborny t1_j1ls0xo wrote

There are for example, the Herculaneum Papyri (buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius, but which xray technology now allows us to decipher). Egypt, too, has delivered many documents preserved by the arid conditions, and of course, we have a score of inscriptions on hard surfaces like stone.

As to the veracity, consider this article , it does a nice job explaining.


Aggressive-Ad5292 t1_j1i5qux wrote

Did the Central/Southern American natives have some kind of ships that could travel long distances and carry plenty of goods? It seems to me they never really traveled far, yet they somehow still had access to sooo many resources.


Skookum_J t1_j1ijr5k wrote

Balsa Wood rafts were used for trade along the Pacific coast from Peru to Mexico. The rafts were not too complex, but they were rigged with sails, could be 30 feet long, and cary 20-30 tons of cargo.


meloaf t1_j1i9j98 wrote

What are the origins of foot fetishes? To clarify when was this phenomenon first recorded or examined in a case study? Top of my mind is Krafft-Ebing's 'Psychopathia Sexualis'.


Elmcroft1096 t1_j1k8unm wrote

Fetishes are by nature a product of the sexualization of a non sexual thing for sexual gratification. An easy one to explain is urophila or the fetishistic sexual obsession with urine, there are many versions of this paraphilia but chiefly it's thought it is caused in some people who are raised in extremely religious households where the rare time they can touch their genitals or explore their sensations is during urination therefore at the onset of their sexual awakening they associate urinating with the ability to even momentarily touch their genitals and possibly engage in a quick act of masturbation these episodes continue and out it grows to where the individual associates urine with sex and will seek out a partner to engage with them and play out that fantasy. Feet maybe in a society like most Western cultures where we usually wear a foot covering like a shoe rhat covers the whole foot and that seeing people nearly naked in swimsuits at a beach including their feet may initiate a sexual feeling in an individual that eventually becomes a foot fetish, of course there are other possibilities too. Recording them is as old as the written word, several ancient texts talk of people and their sexual proclivities including punishments for some, even the Bible has rules against things that are fetishes and notes them. Kraft- Ebing like you say was one of the first if not the first to write it down and study it, although his ideas were very much like many others of his day, incorrect and subsequently disproven. He thought in the same vein as the Church that sex was an act for procreation alone and that any other sex was a perversion and may require "treatment".


noahmatt1002 t1_j1r0ygc wrote

Can someone please explain what free masons were


AngryBlitzcrankMain t1_j1r9fbz wrote

Its like a fraternity for enlightened people. People whose goal is betterment of humanity, charity and similar things meet and discuss the best way to go about it. But since most of them were rich and powerful people and the fraternity thing meant that they were relatively secretive, there are billion conspiracies related to them and their actions.


en43rs t1_j1rfggp wrote

It's not a secret organization per se, they never denied existing, it's that their rituals are kept secret.


Megidola0n t1_j26xelc wrote

is there a book or documentary about the excesses and the "dark side" (meaning things like sexual depravity or something along those lines) of royalty in Europe across history?


kiasari t1_j1ko6hx wrote

Is this true that Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire drowned 280 of his concubines?


Bashstash01 t1_j1qv4er wrote

There is no evidence to support this, and is likely just a myth or rumor.


GroovyJungleJuice t1_j1l0pt8 wrote

Does anyone know of a source for those stats about perception of who liberated Europe in ww2, Russia/England/US? Obviously it’s not a nuanced poll for a nuanced topic but I am curious about changes in attitude since the Russian invasion of ukraine


WorkUsername69 t1_j1n1m40 wrote

I think that depends heavily on who you ask. For example, not many in France would credit the USSR because the red army never set foot in France. On the contrary, I don’t believe any western powers set foot in Lithuania so they would probably credit Russia.

Then, as you mention there is a lot of nuance in certain countries not wanting to give other countries credit due to post-war relations.


Larielia t1_j1lzt5p wrote

What are some good books about the mythology of the ancient world?

Specifically... Egypt, Greece, and Rome.


DarthGators t1_j24cr86 wrote

Edith Hamilton‘s Mythology is a great summary of Greek and Roman mythology.


Thibaudborny t1_j1mgq8o wrote

As far as introductory works go on Greek mythology, but not in the academic sense, I'd say give Stephen Fry's works a go: Heroes and Mythos.


Dazzling-Fail-3847 t1_j1ogvwy wrote

What are some minimum wage jobs in the 1950s, im making a story set then and I can’t find and info about the jobs from then


Bashstash01 t1_j1quupt wrote

Retail salesperson, fast food worker, factory worker. These are some examples of minimum wage jobs back then.


elmonoenano t1_j2001f0 wrote

Not a housekeeper. They were excluded from FLSA, along with agricultural workers. Housekeepers got FLSA protections in 1974. I'm not sure agricultural workers have them yet. I think most ag worker protections are under state law.


Rusty_Shakalford t1_j1s82re wrote

Did Roman Baths slope like modern pools? That is, did they tend to have “deep” and “shallow” ends?


Bashstash01 t1_j1uilob wrote

They were not typically designed like this. Instead they were more like a large, rectangular, area that was about chest-high with steps leading in. Similar to a modern pool, but there were definitely a few differences.


Rusty_Shakalford t1_j1wddpi wrote

Interesting. Thanks for the answer. Was swimming earlier when the question popped into my head and I realized I didn’t know if they were just large baths or used more like modern pools.


_zzzquil_ t1_j1tovl3 wrote

A question for anyone that may have info in this subreddit, I've been doing research into the Burma rifles, and from my understanding of my readings, the Burma rifles turned into the Burmese military, is this correct?


Bashstash01 t1_j1ui6tv wrote

In 1948, the Burma Rifles did indeed become part of the Burmese army. However, Myanmar's military didn't ever really evolve from the Burma Rifles.


_zzzquil_ t1_j1uz8yw wrote

It seems to be related to Burma’s independence that the Burma rifles were disbanded though I am still curious as to if the Burmese Military’s ideals have any relation to the Burma rifles, not sure if that makes sense but thank you for the response!


IndependentFit2325 t1_j1w8gfv wrote

Yes 1948 was the year that British Colonialism downsized redrawing borders for India ,Pakistan and India. THe vacumn left generated much violence. They also pulled back from Jerusalum and the Jews took over. They had been secretly making weapons and ammo for just this occaision.


_zzzquil_ t1_j1xs5ns wrote

Not sure what that last stuff has to do with my question not to mention that is really only partially true as while there were certain terrorist acts brought out by some of the Jewish population, they also purchased the large large majority of the land from the Palestinians, but thank you for the input


jokste1124 t1_j1ydbyq wrote

I work with spreadsheets/finance all day after getting my history degree. Does anyone think it’d be a funny niche account to make historical meme spreadsheets? Any ideas?


No-Objective-Today t1_j1yza0g wrote

Any books you recommend to understand the ideology of fascism?


elmonoenano t1_j1zzlkl wrote

Besides the Paxton book the other poster mentioned, I'd check out Ruth Ben-Ghiat's book, Fascist Modernities.


bangdazap t1_j1z5smm wrote

The Anatomy of Fascism by Robert Paxton.


darwinnerist t1_j27759r wrote

I recommend Umberto Eco's Ur-Fascism for the bullet points.


Dazzling-Fail-3847 t1_j21wtkp wrote

Does anyone know how much railroad workers and teachers made a day in the 1840s?? I can’t find any info about it when I look it up


Critical-Ad-407 t1_j24f4jb wrote

What are some old swears from medieval and renaissance times? I like to write as a little hobby, and would like some appropriate vocabulary for the more sailor-mouthed individuals.

For modern examples and context, you've got the classic "Fuck you" or "Fuck off" that's meant to be directed at another person that pisses you off. "Shit!", or "Fuck!" for when something goes wrong. And of course things like "Bitch" or "Shithead" that are simply direct insults.


Short-termTablespoon t1_j27lu9o wrote

Is there like any good recommended textbooks to read everything about ancient history and civilizations?


Highelf04 t1_j28p6yy wrote

Anyone know the law/legislation JFK introduced which provided amnesty for people and their last names?

Under the Chinese Exclusion Act, I believe there couldn't be any new Chinese immigrants to the USA (beyond sons - I think?)

So many chinese people moved to American, under the pretense of being someone's son when in reality they were not. This was done changing last names and the like.

Any information on the law/legislation JFK made which allowed people to change their last names etc.


Simmocic t1_j2d3il4 wrote

New Year themed question! Before the change to the Gregorian calendar- does anyone know how the ancients traced and spoke about the years? Like in what year would Julius Caesar himself have thought he crossed the rubicon? Or in which year did Leonidas believe be was making his last stand at Thermopylae?

And what was the measure of their years? Did romans count from the foundation of Rome? Greeks from establishment of Olympus?


en43rs t1_j2d4i5i wrote

Every nation had his own calendar. Usually people counted years by kings (in the nth year of king X’s reign), this is called a regnal year. But ancient historians sometimes used a (often mythical) date of origin of their city.

Example : Romans usually used the consul of the year in everyday life (“in the year when Cicero was consul”) but for history work they counted “AUC”/ad urbe condita, meaning from the foundation of the city, the mythical date of the foundation of Rome of 753BC. We only stopped using that date as year zero one around the 6th century btw.

Other examples: the ancient Greeks counted from 776 thought to be the first Olympic Game (a very important cultural Panhellenic event).

The regnal count was still the most common. Still used today: in Japan date (for ceremonial purposes) is sometimes recorded as year X of an era (“era” being here the rule of an emperor, 2022 is the fourth year of the Reiwa era for example).


LateInTheAfternoon t1_j2dewbh wrote

>We only stopped using that date as year zero around the 6th century btw.

*Year 1. All calendar eras (with the exception of some modern ones) start with year 1.


interp567 t1_j2d81nt wrote

Was clodius despicable?

Context: Since his second triumph pompey captured 1000 fortress and 900 cities. He also founded 39 cities and captured 800 ships from the cilician pirates. Also he taxed 50 million in money from the conquered territory and looted 85 million and 20 thousand talents more and gave it to the roman state and its people, while to his soldiers he gave at least 15000 drachmae to each

When lucullus had returned from asia after being ill treated by pompey, he was received by the senate with the utmost honor and when later on pompey also had returned from asia, the senate started begging lucullus to defend the interest of the state from pompeys supposed machinations. Although lucullus had accustomed himself with a life of leisure and he had catos help, he nevertheless vigorously retracted pompeys banishment of his laws. Pompey, now humiliated, sought protection with tribunal power, therefore giving himself to young and inexperienced men, the most despicable being clodius

Clodius used to walk around the forum with pompey by his side making sure that all the interest of the common folk were being attended. Clodius also made pompey to exile cicero, the one who had helped Pompey a lot before. Cicero even tried to plea for his life but pompey shut his house door and fled from the back. So fearing for his life, cicero immediately left the city

Now, caesar being returned from his governorship he passed a law that brought him much popularity, then he got the consulship and started passing laws that would distribute land and found new cities so he could increase even further his popularity


Dutchie-4-ever t1_j1hyby9 wrote

Why was hitler called the second Stalin? I never understood why…. Hitler was here first and I think hitler and Stalin were evil but not equal due to their believes and background


Litt82 t1_j1i1s5x wrote

>Hitler was here first

He was? Stalin became General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922, 11 years before Hitler became Chancellor.


elmonoenano t1_j1jl3zc wrote

I've never heard that phrase. They're some superficial similarities, but they were very different individuals, in very different contexts, doing very different things. Can you point us to where you heard the term?


Dutchie-4-ever t1_j1legj8 wrote

It was a long time ago in my history book at hs. My teacher couldn’t explain the phrase and it stuck by me…

Question; why did I get the negative karma? I didn’t offend anyone….


hunterf123 t1_j1ichte wrote

As a previous comment stated, Stalin was in power years before Hitler. It is hard to measure how "evil" they were and comparing them is pretty useless. Both of them committed horrendous acts of genocide. Stalin was in power before Hitler so Stalin had a head start, so to speak, on his evil acts. By the 1930's, just as Hitler was gaining significant power, Stalin himself was ordering the mass execution civilians based on ethnic justifications. Stalin's policies lead to massive famine throughout the Soviet Union even before WWII.

Saying they were "not equal due to their beliefs and background" is misguided at best and very harmful at worst. Both Stalin and Hitler were selfish, paranoid men. They were much more worried about their legacy than the well-being of their peoples. Their genocidal acts exemplify that they both were evil men. Genocide is genocide, there is no "nice" way of commiting it. Neither them believed in individual freedom and both of them show that they held true hatred in their hearts.

To answer your initial question, Stalin was a violent tyrant who came before Hitler, who was also a violent tyrant, so Hitler was a second Stalin. Both of them rose to power though violent political suppression. Even before WWII Stalin's atrocities and political suppression were well known. When the academia and politicians noticed that Hitler was doing many of the same things Stalin was, like killing political adversaries, it was fitting to call Hitler a second Stalin.


Aftershock416 t1_j1j35c5 wrote

Your question is based on a false premise.

Hitler was not "first" by any measure.

It's also unlikely that anyone with even a modicum of historical knowledge would try and equate him with Stalin on any level but the sheer human suffering caused by both regimes.


Elmcroft1096 t1_j1ialsx wrote

It was a few factors, in addition to Stalin being in power for more than over a decade prior and the higher death count, Stalin also had first cultivated a cult of personality, purged not only critics but allies too, and though Stalin did it in the name of communism's idea of atheism, Stalin and Hitler were both personally antisemitic and targetted Jews. They both targetted Catholics and other religious and ethnic groups for example Slavs for Hitler and Ukrainians for Stalin, both targeted Gypsyies just to name 2 groups. And although Stalin did allow for the Russian Orthodox Church to start operating again openly in Russia during WWII and to continue (Stalin prior to joining Lenin's communist group had been a seminarian and was training to be an Orthodox Church Priest) because it was his religion and he allowed for a worship of it because it was sanctioned by him, while Hitler was building a religion that was based on his vision that would be sanctioned by him. The OSS (the CIAs predecessor) had a lot of knowledge on these men that was shared between themselves and the British and they saw little difference between Stalin and Hitler. Also some at that time actually considered Stalin worse and that working with him after Hitler turned on Stalin in Barbarossa as a kind of a deal with the Devil.


MewMimo t1_j1hz374 wrote

Why is hitler the poster boy of sin where we can clearly find better candidates for that role? (I'm not defending fascism i'm pretty sure the "better" candidate would also be a fascist)


Thibaudborny t1_j1i0ruy wrote

Tell me which other poster boy unleashed a world war and decided that genocide was best done in an industrialized fashion? Yes, we have many examples of equally depraved behaviour and wild cruelty by dictators, but few of those unleashed a war that would engulf the world.


LateInTheAfternoon t1_j1i21ds wrote

Who else put up not only concentration camps, not only labor camps (where people worked to death), but also death camps? Who else, not merely satisfied with these, tried to maximize the hell out of the system to produce as many deaths and as much suffering as possible?


Type31971 t1_j1i0tf5 wrote

I think the Nazis mastery of propaganda and mass marketing assisted greatly. Nazis wanted to brag about themselves to anyone and everyone they could, making all kinds of stylized films and creating an image of aryan perfection. That isn’t to say Soviets weren’t proficient at propaganda or didn’t make attractive art… as a matter of fact Soviet art can be quite beautiful and modern. But the brand image of “Look how strong and beautiful our pure blooded people are. Don’t you wish you could be just like us?” is more alluring than “Class solidarity” or oddly homerotic paintings of Slavs and Chinese men embracing


bradnelson t1_j1iscou wrote

This, and by the 1930s mass media made it possible to disseminate propaganda to a wide audience. Photography, film, and radio were powerful.


Type31971 t1_j1itk9i wrote

That was part of my point. Leni Riefenstahl, The 1936 Olympics, Goebbels Nazi movie making enterprise, among others


CrocoMaes t1_j1imzu1 wrote

He came about at the perfect time: long ago enough that we can compare him to other historical figures like Nero or Torquemada without falling into cultural bias (unlike for instance with Richard Nixon or even Donald Trump). His reign having ended completely long enough not to have any influence on the current world (unlike for instance Mao or Stalin) yet still no so long ago as there are still people around remembering him and his reign (unlike for instance Ghengis Khan)


elmonoenano t1_j1jk78h wrote

A lot of the terms in your question are very general and it's not clear what you mean. Sin is pretty clear, but what do you mean by better? You need to put what kind of metric you're using to mean better. If you're just looking at straight up numbers, sure, lots of other leaders have caused the deaths of more people.

But that's not the only thing that's measured when people claim that Hitler was uniquely awful. People look at how much destruction he caused, the time frame in which he did it, Stalin for instance was in power almost 3 times longer than Hitler yet didn't create a European wide catastrophe on par with WWII. Mao was in power for even longer, if you include his leadership of the CCP during the revolution.

You can also look at who the various other contenders killed, and except for Hitler, it was mostly their political enemies, or people who were thought to be enemies. Hitler killed a lot of people just b/c they were there. There's no Maoist or Stalinest equivalent of murdering the majority of the Slavic people for lebensraum. Neither Stalin nor Mao had any philosophy that required the total eradication of groups like Jews and Roma. Stalin and Mao generally killed people b/c of what they did or might do, not b/c of who they were.

You can also look at where they killed. Most of the other contenders were killing people within their own political entities. Hitler rampaged across all of Europe and North Africa, far outside the borders of Germany and Austria.

There's also the impact on what Hitler did to his own countryman. It wasn't just the military that was out killing people. He involved the whole society in the process, from the railroad workers shipping people to camps, to people who were given stolen property of Jewish people, to every business (which was almost every manufacturing concern of any size) that used slave labor. Under Nazism, it wasn't just the military, secret police, and political operatives. It was everyone.