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History Myths Buzzkilled

Recapturing the Oval Office

Professor Brian Balogh from the University of Virginia enlightens us about how historians have studied the US Presidency since the 1950s. It’s certainly had its ups and downs, and many historians abandoned the study of the presidency during the 1970s. Rather than just track the fall and rise of presidential history, Professor Balogh explains that the widening of historical fields will “bring the presidency back in” to mainstream historical study. Listen and learn! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Brian Balogh and Bruce Schulman (eds.), Recapturing the Oval Office: New Historical Approaches to the American Presidency (2015). Several generations of historians figuratively abandoned the Oval Office as the bastion of out-of-fashion stories of great men. And now, decades later, the historical analysis of the American presidency remains [...]

Love and Death in the Great War

Professor Andrew Huebner joins us to discuss his fascinating new examination of the what World War I meant for Americans. Was it to “make the world safe for democracy” or was it for home and family. Find out! ---- Andrew J. Huebner, Love and Death in the Great War (2018). Americans today harbor no strong or consistent collective memory of the First World War. Ask why the country fought or what they accomplished, and "democracy" is the most likely if vague response. The circulation of confusing or lofty rationales for intervention began as soon as President Woodrow Wilson secured a war declaration in April 1917. Yet amid those shifting justifications, Love and Death in the Great War argues, was a more durable and resonant [...]

Henry Johnson – Man Crush Monday!!

William Henry Johnson eventually became one of the most decorated soldiers in World War I. His medals and military decorations came only eventually, however. He acted bravely and heroically in the Argonne Forest in May, 1918, killing multiple German soldiers and saving an American comrade, all the while being heavily wounded himself. The French military awarded him the Croix de Guerre, their highest honor. Johnson’s heroism was not recognized by the American military and American government until much later. Find out how much later, and why there was such a delay, listen to this Man Crush Monday episode! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Max Brooks and Caanan White, The Harlem Hellfighters (2014). From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic [...]

How Did World War I End?

Did World War I end with a bang or a whimper? Prof Phil Nash joins us to discuss the complicated road to the armistice of November 11, 1918. A dozen countries were involved, the Russian Revolution intervened, and the US military provided fresh troops for the Triple Entente of Britain, France, and Russia. And the German alliance gradually fell apart. But there’s so much more than that! Listen and learn. ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Paul Kendall, Armistice 1918: Voices From The Past (2017). At 11.00 hours on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent across the battlefields of Europe. After the deadliest conflict the world had ever seen, peace had finally arrived. Since the withdrawal from the Somme and the repulse at Verdun, the Germans [...]

Martin Niemöller, “First They Came…” – Quote or No Quote?

Usually, on these Quote or No Quote episodes, we analyze things attributed to famous people that they didn’t say at all. Sometimes there are famous quotes that have been mangled, changed, or so greatly taken out of historical context that they might as well be considered misquotes. And occasionally, we talk about quotes that are genuine, but whose background illuminates a great deal more about the quote author, and the times in which they lived, than is usually realized. Today I’d like to talk about a quote, a kind of poem, that has become very famous since the end of World War II and the Holocaust. It’s often employed in circumstances when there has been a violent outrage against a minority group, while the [...]

Hate Crimes in US History

One of the things that makes the recent hate crimes in the United States so shocking and outrageous is that they seem to go against the grain of American life. They’re out of character, and un-American. But, if I can paraphrase what one fellow historians, David Silkenat, said recently, “The citizen in me hates what is happening in America now. The historian in me knows that this has always happened in America.” In the wake of everything that happened last week, several of you have asked me about the history of hate crimes in the United States, and if I’d do a show on it. It’ll take a while for me to produce a show on the full history of hate crimes, but since [...]

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