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!
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!
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.
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."
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 reign in his excesses! Professor Nash explains all! BTW, it's a brutal episode, so don't let the Buzzlings listen.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
The Great Escape (1963) is in the pantheon of World War II films, and deservedly so. Generations of Buzzkillers have grown up watching Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, and other film stars try to outsmart their captors at Stalag Luft III. But how true was the “Great Escape” story that became a best-selling novel and box-office smash at the movie theater? Listen carefully, or Professor Buzzkill will send you to the cooler!
When and why were statues to Confederate soldiers, generals, and politicians put up across the American south? Why is the Confederate Battle Flag so proudly waved and displayed in many parts of the US? Professor Nash joins us to explain why all of this happened, who was selected for commemoration, and what it all means for American history and culture. Listen and learn.
Frances and Charlotte (Lottie) Rollin occupied a special place in 19th century South Carolina. They were involved in politics, female suffrage, and civil rights for African-Americans. Cappy Yarbrough from the College of Charleston enlightens us on this Women Crush Wednesday!
We're seeing the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote “...riot is the language of the unheard” a lot on social media recently. Unlike most famous “quotes” that we see on the internet, this is genuine. Listen to the context and the full speech in this special episode.
The idea that Jesus handed the United States Constitution to the American Founding Fathers seems to have become more powerful in recent decades. Why? What was the role of religion in the founding of the country? What was the nature of the “Christianity” felt by the Founders Fathers and the colonial populations? Professor Craig Hammond from Penn State explains all. Listen and learn!
We're trying something new! Historical Fiction! Join us as we interview Ellen Marie Wiseman, the author of The Orphan Collector. It's a powerful tale of upheaval, resilience, and hope set in Philadelphia during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak—the deadly pandemic that went on to infect one-third of the world’s population.
It's 80 years after the Battle of Dunkirk and the subsequent evacuation of allied troops from that area between the 26th of May and the 4th of June 1940. The evacuation has become a very famous and celebrated event in World War II history and especially in British history. "Dunkirk Spirit," the British refusal to give up in the face of disaster, and to keep plugging away at a problem until it's solved, comes from the whole Dunkirk experience. But Dunkirk history and Dunkirk myths are very important parts of World War II and the subsequent ways in which it has been taught. We examine some of the bigger Dunkirk myths and misunderstandings in this episode!
Professor Philip Nash tells us the broader context of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history. He takes the story up to the present day to explain the trajectory of gender parity in US foreign relations.