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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast

Professor Buzzkill is an exciting new blog & podcast that explores history myths in an illuminating, entertaining, and humorous way.
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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast
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Sep 15, 2020

Professor Bill Schwartz explains the relationship between Churchill worship, Brexit, and Boris Johnson’s rise to the office of Prime Minister. This crucial episode also explains how “wartime nostalgia continues to work in conjunction with the fashioning of new installments of the Churchill myths, each acting upon the other,” as Professor Schwartz writes in the new book, “The Churchill Myths” (available on the Buzzkill Bookshelf). Episode # 377. Our listeners get a free trial at The Great Courses Plus! Click here to go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/buzzkill !!

Sep 10, 2020

Debates about the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution (“right to bear arms”) never seem to address the 18th-century meaning and importance of “militias” (included in the amendment’s first clause). Professor Noah Shusterman explains the long history of citizen militias since ancient Rome, and what the Constitution’s Framers accepted as the meaning of “militia.” Episode #376. Our listeners get a free trial at The Great Courses Plus! Click here to go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/buzzkill !!

Sep 8, 2020

Professor Martha Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women -- Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more -- who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals. Episode #375

Sep 1, 2020

How did Southern slave-owners "manage" their plantations? Was it pastoral or was it more professional and driven by hard-headed accounting, record-keeping, and statistics? Professor Caitlin Rosenthal explains her fascinating new research on "masters and management" in the 19th century US south. Episode #374

Aug 25, 2020

Professor Richard Toye tells us how Churchill’s long life and career developed in parallel with the changes in the development of modern media and news. Churchill’s first career was as a journalist and author, and it stayed with him as a second vocation as he moved through his life in the military, in politics, and as a world statesman. In essence, Toye analyzes whether there was a “public Churchill” whose image was at odds with the behind-the-scenes reality, or whether, in fact, his private and public selves became seamlessly blended as he adjusted to living in the constant glare of the media spotlight.

Aug 24, 2020

Our first "Movie Myths Monday" episode! We look at the famous, and heart-warming musical, The Sound of Music, and discuss the historical accuracies and inaccuracies. What Captain Von Trapp a member of the Nazi Party? How did the family escape? And what's the real story behind the much-misunderstood song, "Eidelweiss"? Listen and sing along!

Aug 18, 2020

Advanced Placement student researchers from Caddo Parish Magnet High School in Shreveport, Louisiana explain their research into the career of J. Marion Sims. His medical experiments on enslaved women during the 19th century are still controversial. In addition, they discuss Sims's legacy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Important listening! Episode #372.

Aug 17, 2020

Your favorite Professor, Philip Nash, tells us about Albert Battel, a German Army lieutenant and lawyer recognized for his resistance during World War II to the Nazi plans for the 1942 liquidation of a Jewish ghetto in Poland. Battel was posthumously recognized by the State of Israel as “Righteous Among the Nations” in 1981. Listen to his remarkable story! Episode #371.

Aug 11, 2020

Historian Heath Hardage Lee tells us the remarkable story of Sybil Stockdale, Jane Denton, Louise Mulligan, and other wives of American Navy and Air Force pilots who pressured the LBJ and Nixon administrations to get their POW husbands freed during the Vietnam War. Listen to this story of highly sophisticated, persistent, and dedicated political activism!

Aug 5, 2020

Our Quote or No Quote episodes are roaring back with the most important person we've ever interviewed -- Arleen Lorrance, the teacher and social innovator who created the "be the change you want to see happen" idea. As "be the change you want to see in the world," this idea is usually attributed to Gandhi, but Buzzkill Institute historians and quote history experts have proved over and over again that it started with Arleen Lorrance in 1970!

Aug 4, 2020

The "proximity fuse" was a technological marvel of its time. Produced under enormous time pressure and urgency to save lives, it is often called one of the three most important technological advances that helped win World War II. Award-winning author Jamie Holmes talks to us about it and his new book, 12 Seconds of Silence: How a Team of Inventory, Tinkerers, and Spies Took Down a Nazi Superweapon.

Jul 28, 2020

Did Hitler disarm the German citizenry as a way to make it easy to control them? Were Jews and other minorities targeted for gun confiscation so that they could be exterminated? Professor Philip Nash explains this _very_ complicated issue, and busts many myths about Hitler and "gun control."

Jul 25, 2020

It's hard to be a bigger POS than Ante Pavelic, the fascist ultranationalist and dictator who was one of the worst war criminals in Europe during the 1930s and 1940. The Nazi SS even tried to rein in his excesses! Professor Nash explains all! BTW, it's a brutal episode, so don't let the Buzzlings listen.

Jul 21, 2020

Dr. Julia Rose Kraut explains the history of American laws used to bar or expel foreigners based on their beliefs and associations.  Immigration history is more complicated than most of us think. Listen and learn!

Jul 13, 2020

Professor Ann Tucker explains that white American southerners closely analyzed European nationalist movements 1830-1860. This led them to conceive of a separate southern nation, and helped them try to defend and legitimize the Confederacy. This great episode presents a new angle on Confederate nationalism, and refutes the myth that southern enslavers were intellectually isolated and ignorant of the trends of the time.  

Jul 8, 2020

As a parting piece of wisdom about generational stewardship of land and nature, Chief Seattle supposedly said to American colonizers pushing west, "we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." But, like spiritual quotes that get attached to a great many leaders, this may have complicated origins. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!

Jul 7, 2020

The second wave of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic was more deadly than the first. In this short episode, Professor Buzzkill explains why, but also wonders whether there are useful parallels for the COVID-19 virus. Listen and learn.

Jul 2, 2020

Current debates, protests, tensions, and turmoil in the United States have revived a number of ahistorical rants on social media about all kinds of things, including the history of American political parties. We explain why the Democratic and Republican political parties have the same names, but totally different attitudes and policies over the decades. Essential listening for the 2020 election!

Jun 30, 2020

Professor Sally McMillen explains why Lucy Stone should be restored to her rightful place at the center of the nineteenth-century women's rights movement. Stone did not relish the limelight the way Elizabeth Cady Stanton did, nor did she gain the many followers whom Susan B. Anthony attracted through her extensive travels and years of dedicated work. Yet her contributions to the woman's rights movement were no less significant or revolutionary than those of her more widely lauded peers. Listen!

Jun 24, 2020

The Irish slaves myth claims that Irish people were enslaved by the British and sent to the Americas (especially the Caribbean) to work on plantations. The history of Irish slaves has been buried by our politically-correct world, so the myth goes, and has been replaced by an over-emphasis on the enslavement of Africans in the New World. But is there any truth to it, Buzzkillers? Listen and learn.

Jun 24, 2020

We all love, and should live by the sentiment expressed in "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness." But did Eleanor Roosevelt say it? Was it Confucius or an ancient Chinese proverb? Or does it come from the 19th century? We explore the origins of the ideas behind the quote, who said it, and how it got attached to Eleanor Roosevelt. Listen to this Quote or No Quote episode!

Jun 23, 2020

The protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong in recent months may have been overwhelmed by other world news. Many listeners have been asking us how Hong Kong came to have its special status over the last couple of centuries. Professor James Carter explains the immense complications in Hong Kong’s history, the difficult period between British colonialism and Chinese control in the 20th century, and what history can teach us about the possible courses of Hong Kong’s future.

Jun 17, 2020

Professor Adam Domby explains why the Lost Cause of the Confederacy is full of fraud, fabrication, and white supremacy. And he analyzes how it is expressed in statuary, memory, and commemoration in the American south in the Jim Crow era. This is a complete examination of the Lost Cause and its destructive effect on American life and culture. Listen and learn.

Jun 16, 2020

Operation Biting was a daring RAF raid to capture important German radar technology in France during World War II. Award-winning military historian, Damien Lewis explains the planning and execution of this overlooked incident in the war. More importantly, he shows us how complex and fraught with danger the whole operation was. The full context of this commando raid, the politics surrounding it, and its effect on war morale and the Allied war effort is gripping!

Jun 15, 2020

Dr. Ty Seidule, Brigadier General U.S. Army (Retired) and Emeritus Professor of History at the United States Military Academy (West Point), enlightens us about the founding of Confederate-named military bases in the United States. Forts Bragg, Lee, Benning, Gordon, Rucker, Hood, Pickett, Beauregard, Hill, and Polk are in the news now. Demands for them to be re-named get stronger every day. General Seidule explains all, and there is no higher historical authority than that!

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