Tag european history

European Couples: Mussolini and Hitler

Christian Goeschel— On July 20, 1944, a bomb exploded in the Wolf’s Lair, Adolf Hitler’s East Prussian Headquarters. The Nazi leader survived. Hours later, he received Benito Mussolini. This would be the final encounter between Mussolini and Hitler, leaders of Europe’s most significant fascist dictatorships. It took place almost exactly

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When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940

Robin Prior— The year 1940 could have been disastrous for Britain and for the West. Any number of events that occurred during that year might have seen Germany victorious over Britain. As Churchill said of another series of crises in another war, “The terrible ‘If’s’ accumulate.” If the government of

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The Spanish Monarchy in the Mediterranean Theater

Christopher Storrs— Between the peace of Utrecht that marked the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713 and the close of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1748, King Philip V (1700-46), the first Spanish Bourbon, represented a greater threat to peace in Europe than any other state or

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Writing Children’s Stories in Wartime

The following entries are excerpted from War Diaries, 1939-1945 (Yale University Press, 2016), a transcription of the personal diaries of Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking books. Illustrated with family photographs, newspaper clippings, and facsimile pages, Lindgren’s diaries provide an intensely personal and vivid account of Europe during the Second World War. ∞

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Frederick Barbarossa’s Bittersweet Ending

John Freed— On 22 June 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa. Hitler’s personal decision to name the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union after Frederick Barbarossa (b. 1122, r. 1152-90) was the culmination of the nineteenth-century appropriation of the medieval emperor as the symbol of German national unity. Frederick’s uncle and

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Extra, Extra, Read all about Jacques the Jacobin

Janet Polasky— Jacques the Jacobin did not actually exist. His was a fictional account published in the most widely read of the multitude of new French newspapers, Les Révolutions de Paris (Revolutions of Paris) to draw the uninitiated into the realm of politics. If pamphlets opened revolutionary discussions, newspapers amplified

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Happy Birthday, Louis Barthas!

Louis Barthas; Translated by Edward M. Strauss— Poilu author Louis Barthas was born on Bastille Day, July 14, 1879. In honor of his 137th birthday, here are two letters that Barthas wrote in 1916 to Pierre Brizon, a Socialist member of the French legislature. One asks for the deputy’s help

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Accidental Circumnavigators

Harry Kelsey— The men who sailed for Spain in the sixteenth century were descended from a long line of veterans who had served in the armies of Leon and Castile during several centuries of warfare against Moorish invaders. Battle-hardened and confident, these men of Spain journeyed westward, looking for the

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Personal Accounts of the French Revolution

Peter McPhee— The French Revolution is one of the great turning-points in history. Its achievements and triumphs—like its deceptions and atrocities—were of a scale that has made its stature unique. Never before had the people of a large, populous country sought to fundamentally remake their society on the basis of

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Svetlana Alpers: A Life Spent Looking

“This is not art history, and it is not criticism, nor is it some mixture of the two. It is not, in other words, what people expect me to be doing.”—Svetlana Alpers, Roof Life, “1 Beginning” Svetlana Alpers is one of the most influential art historians of her generation. She

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