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History Myths Buzzkilled

Drugs in the Third Reich (or “Nazi Punks on Dope”?)

Was the Nazi high command, including Hitler, soaked in hard drug use? Over the course of the war, Hitler became increasingly dependent on injections of a cocktail of drug (including a form of heroin) administered by his personal doctor. Drugs alone cannot explain the Nazis’ toxic racial theories or the events of World War II, but if drugs are not taken into account, our understanding of the Third Reich is fundamentally incomplete. Professor Phil Nash gives us the clean story! Buzzkill Bookshelf

Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death
your right to say it.

Outrageous charges and indefensible political ideas are often hurled around in times of political turmoil and rhetorical strife. Commentators sometimes respond by wheeling out the old "quote" by the French philosopher and Enlightenment writer, Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" in an attempt to calm things but also to support the principle of freedom of speech. Voltaire was indeed a champion of free speech and free-flowing political discourse. But did he actually write or say: "I disapprove of what you say, but I [...]

Gloria Steinem: A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle

Ah, the 1970s. Lots of important things happened then, including the political coming of age of yours truly. This crucial development in world history was only surpassed by things like the high point of the women’s rights movement. These two great events came together in that other late-60s and early-70s development -- the t-shirt with writing on it. T-shirts with sayings on them have been so common for so long now that it’s difficult for us to remember a time when they didn’t exist. But when I was a little Buzzling, kids wore plain white t-shirts, [...]

FDR’s Fireside Chats

President Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats” are famous for breaking new ground in how political leaders communicate with their people. But where they really as ground-breaking as we all tend to believe? Did they really help the American people get through the Great Depression and World War II? Was it FDR’s tone and confidence that connected to the people, or was there something more mundane that explains the popularity of the Fireside Chats? Professor Phil Nash enlightens us! Buzzkill Bookshelf

Abe Lincoln: Fool Some of the People

There’s a lot to be said for the old adage, “You can fool all of the Buzzkillers some of the time, and some of the Buzzkillers all of the time, but you cannot fool all Buzzkillers all of the time.” You Buzzkillers are just too intelligent and thoughtful to be taken in by snake-oil salesmen trying to convince you of historical myths and misquotations. I am, therefore, fully confident that you’ve always been skeptical that President Abraham Lincoln ever said this. And I’m right to be so confident. You weren’t fooled. There is no evidence that [...]

Clean Wehrmacht

How “clean” was the regular German army (Wehrmacht) during World War II? The Nazis and the SS usually get all the blame for war crimes and for the Holocaust. How much blame can be placed at the feet of “ordinary” German military units? Turns out that the “clean Wehrmacht” story is not only a myth, but it also greatly influenced how post-War Europe was re-built. Professor Nash joins us to examine how deep and wide the war guilt goes. Buzzkill Bookshelf

Sigmund Freud: Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

Ah the burdens of celebrity are mighty, especially when you’re a famous intellectual. Of course, I’ve referring to myself, Buzzkillers, but other brainiacs have suffered before me. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and one of the most famous scientists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, has been heavily burdened with a lot of quote attributions since his death, including the “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” line. As you know, Freudian analysis placed a lot of analytical weight on the symbolic and psychological meanings how people used and valued common items, such [...]

ENCORE: Washington’s Birthday

George Washington, the general who won the American War of Independence and became the first President of the United States, is probably the most revered politician in American history. People generally consider him the wisest of the founding fathers. Not a heavy duty intellectual like Jefferson or Madison, and not a vote-counter like Hamilton, but a practical thinker capable of balancing ideals with reality. Americans have ascribed almost every political philosophy to him whenever they need an appeal to authority to bolster their arguments. What does that mean? It means that, like Gandhi and Churchill, quotes and ideas are [...]

Marilyn Monroe: Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Lots of people are credited with coining the great phrase, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” They include Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Boleyn, and our own Aunt Ginger from the Buzzkill Institute. Given time, any powerful woman with backbone and nerve will get credit for this phrase and sentiment. It’s a great quote, but we should credit its actual author. And we’re so happy that it came from an academic scholar, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who is a professor of Early American history at Harvard. Academic historians rarely make history, but Professor Ulrich certainly has. [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich

Blitzed: Drugs in the Third ReichA fast-paced narrative that discovers a surprising perspective on World War II: Nazi Germany’s all-consuming reliance on drugs.

The Portable Voltaire

 An excellent and concise collection of Voltaire's essential writings on philosophy and humanity.

The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs

The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs is almost impossible to put down. Every page shows the vitality of proverbs and their colorful contributions to our oral traditions.

Buzzkill Book Shelf

Buzzkillers! Here are the books that we have featured on certain episodes. We highly recommend them!

American History, British History, and World History Myths Busted by Professor Buzzkill

Don’t forget to check-in every week for new history myths being busted.

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