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On April 29, 1945, Italian partisans brought the bodies of Benito Musslolini, his mistress and lackeys to Milan and publicly displayed them hanging upside down before a crowd of citizens and American GIs. Sgt. Weldon Reynolds had a camera and took a few pictures, and discussed his memories of the event in an embedded 2 and a half minute excerpt 56 years later.

By the end of their lives George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were no longer on speaking terms. The breakdown of their friendship reveals much about politics in the early American Republic.

It also echoes in today's political world. I try to avoid politics but in researching this article, I was struck by how similar the newspapers that supported either the Federalists or Republicans are remarkably similar to Fox News/MSNBC in the outright bias, willingness to exaggerate their reporting and character assassination. Frankly, I found what Washington's opponents had to say about him to be shocking. Some called him stupid and a monarchist-- and those were the "moderates." Others called the Father of Our Country greedy, a thief, a murderer, a traitor and so on with some calling for his impeachment.

Donald Trump is no George Washington and I am not taking sides on this one, hence I mentioned Fox and MSNBC. The attached link is a shorter version . I also wrote a longer version that is linked at the top of the shorter post which includes a bunch of quotes, if you are interested. I welcome any thoughts, observations.

historyarch  ·  1360 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Khaled al-Asaad, Historian, Scholar and Defender of Civilization

Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad dedicated his life to excavating and restoring the historic ruins at his hometown Palmyra. In 2015, he risked his life to save many artifacts removing and hiding them as ISIS approached. After ISIS captured the region, he remained behind to continue efforts to prevent their destruction. ISIS detained and tortured the 82 year-old archaeologist and when he refused to reveal the hiding places of those ancient artifacts, the barbaric, hateful ISIS interrogators beheaded him. Al-Asaad died for his beliefs and trying to preserve priceless and irreplaceable monuments to human history.

historyarch  ·  1377 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Scraping, Scraping, Scraping Or A Slow Descent Into Madness

Very cool. The conservator has a wide variety of expertise from chemical knowledge to artistic ability to mix colors. I had no idea cracks could be removed from oil paintings. There's a fine line in using chemicals and heat to preserve a painting as opposed to destroying it. Thanks for sharing this link.

historyarch  ·  1378 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 44,000-Year-Old Indonesian Cave Painting Is Rewriting The History Of Art

One wonders how many images were created and destroyed or made out in the open where they wore away. I imagine conditions have to be just right to preserve drawings like these for thousands of years. It's not the same I know but looking at oil paintings that are 400 and 500 years old and many are faded.

For Halloween I thought I would offer a true witch story, well at least partially true. I wrote an article about Grace Sherwood, the "Witch of Pungo." In 1706, she became the only person to be ducked (submerged in water) in Virginia history as part of a witchcraft trial. Since then, layers of folklore have obscured what actually happened. So many inaccuracies have arisen that in 2006, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine exonerated Sherwood of a witchcraft conviction-- a conviction that may never have occurred. Read more about the history of witchcraft in Europe, New England and Virginia and what actually happened in 1706.

historyarch  ·  1438 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The NBA, Chinese Repression, Hong Kong Protests and Lessons in American Liberty

The Chinese repression that has come to light in the recent controversy with the NBA and protests in Hong Kong offers a reminder of how fortunate Americans are.

historyarch  ·  1457 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The First Africans in Virginia and the Establishment of Slavery in America

400 years ago, the first Africans arrived in Virginia. At the time, the survival of the colony was still in doubt and the "20 and odd" Africans were part of the early waves of migrants who ensured Virginia would grow and thrive. As some of the first Americans, they should be remembered and commemorated. I have synthesized recent research with some analysis of the statutory and case law to uncover more about the men and women who were forcibly transported to Virginia and how slavery developed in the US.

400 years ago representative democracy was born in America with the first meeting of the House of Burgesses in Virginia. It is the oldest democratically elected body in the Western Hemisphere and part of a series of reforms enacted that form important pillars in American political philosophy.

historyarch  ·  1556 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Kyshtym: The Nuclear Disaster That Was Kept Secret For 30 Years

Wow. I had never heard of this. It makes you wonder what else happened in the USSR that remains a secret. This is hat they are willing to reveal.

historyarch  ·  1556 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Legend of the Dannebrog: the World’s Oldest National Flag Turns 800

On June 16, 1219, the Danes were in big trouble. They had gone crusading in pagan Estonia and found the pagans more than a match. As the Danish line was about to collapse, a bishop cast his arms skyward pleading for salvation. The clouds parted and out of the light fluttered a red banner emblazoned with a white cross. The Danish King Valdemar II seized the banner and held it aloft for his men to see. God was with the Danes! They roared and pitched into the Estonians with new found strength turning the tables and winning a dramatic victory. Denmark won the battle and gained a new national flag. At least that's the story.

The real story though is still pretty interesting providing a window into Medieval culture and demonstrating how symbols, ideas and legends influence future generations even down to today.

historyarch  ·  1565 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: D-Day and Stalin

Roosevelt wasn't that Machiavellian, Stalin's view was always fueled by paranoia. FDR misunderstood Stalin, calling him "Uncle Joe." FDR thought he could work with Stalin. Churchill understood what was happening in the East, his call for invading the Balkans and Norway instead of Normandy was to get western Allied troops as far east as possible to prevent the Soviets from getting into Eastern Europe. Churchill was listening to people like the Poles who were already complaining in 1944 that Soviet occupation was little better for them than the Nazis.

Intriguing point about the Soviets accepting a separate peace if the Normandy invasion failed. I'm not so sure the Russians would have given up though. They suffered too much. It's all speculation of course, but I believe the biggest implication of a failed Normandy invasion likely would have meant much of Western Europe would have ended up under Soviet domination.

In any event, the war in Europe ends in August of 1945 when the US is capable of deploying the atomic bomb. If Normandy fails, could the Soviets have taken Berlin by May 1945? If the Germans can shift divisions from west to east maybe they are still in Russia when the atomic bombs drop. One wonders how that would have affected the outcome of the war. Hitler would never surrender but if Berlin were nuked and Hitler were dead, maybe Germans like Donitz form a new government, make a separate peace and the Reich continues in some form. Maybe things return to 1939 borders. Maybe the Soviets can't get as much of Eastern Europe. Europe/the world would have been a much different place with an independent German power, the Soviet Union and a US and Britain that had not beaten the Germans on the battlefield. Once again, it's all pure speculation but there's no right or wrong answer since it's all hypothetical.