Kennedy-Nixon Debates in the Election of 1960

Almost every presidential election of my buzzkilling lifetime has included a debate between the main candidates. And practically every time the debates roll around, the question of style over substance rears its overly made-up face. Do the debates inform voters about the candidates’ stand on the issues of the day, or are they just political…

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White House Painted White after War of 1812

One of the more obvious and visible effects of the War of 1812 was the damage caused during the British attack on Washington on 24 August 1814, two years into the war. After defeating American forces at the Battle of Bladensburg, the British marched on defenseless Washington DC, and sacked and burned it. The Capitol…

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Hitler in Power

Super Buzzkiller Prof Philip Nash joins us to examine the many myths surrounding Adolf Hitler’s rise from Chancellor to the outbreak of World War II. These include: how Nazi Germany functioned; the myth of purely tyrannical dictatorship; and the myth of an efficient, orderly dictatorship. We also explore Hitler’s genuine popularity, and explain the destructive…

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Genghis Khan

So you think you know all about Genghis Khan, the 13th century Mongol who built an enormous empire by slaughtering millions? But much of what you know is either exaggerated or just plain untrue. He was unmistakably brutal, but not as brutal as you may think. Listen to our interview with Professor John Giebfried, an…

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Hitler’s Early Years

Super Buzzkiller Prof Philip Nash joins us to examine some of the zillion myths surrounding Adolf Hitler and his early years. We discuss the myth of his brutal childhood and youthful poverty, the complicated story of his service in World War I (and the ways in which he wrote about it later in Mein Kampf),…

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Bridge on the River Kwai

The Academy Award-winning film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, is about British prisoners of war during World War II who are forced by their Japanese captors to help build a railway bridge connecting Burma and Siam. One of the characters in the film is a British officer named Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson (played by Alec…

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The Olympics

The Olympics are never free from controversy and criticism: infrastructure problems and doping allegations in Rio 2016; political boycotts of Los Angeles in 1984 and Moscow in 1980; apartheid South Africa being banned from participation from 1964 to 1992; and, of course, the Nazi-fication of the 1936 Berlin games. One consistent critique of the Olympics…

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Hitler, Jesse Owens, and the 1936 Berlin Olympics

The Olympics have always been controversial: Rio’s infrastructure problems and the zika virus in 2016; political boycotts of Los Angeles in 1984 and Moscow in 1980; apartheid South Africa being banned from participation from 1964 to 1992; and, perhaps the most famous of all, the 1936 Berlin games, held under Hitler’s Nazi government and chock…

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Amelia Earhart

The accomplishments of Earhart & other female aviators Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) was one of the most famous Americans of the twentieth century. Most of you know the basic outlines of her career. She was a very important aviator, and she set all kinds of records for solo flying, and for being the “first female aviator”…

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Molly Pitcher

An ode to Revolutionary War camp followers The more we study the American Revolutionary period and the stories that are told about it, the more we realize that many of those stories are really about 1876, rather than 1776. In other words, a lot of our perceptions about the American Revolution come from stories crafted…

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