You are browsing the archive for 2019 July.

Avatar of admin

by admin

How Anne Frank’s Private Diary Became an International Sensation

July 31, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Usually, the upper floors of the office building at 263 Prinsengracht were silent. But on August 4, 1944, they came to terrible life. Miep Gies never forgot the sounds. “I could hear the sounds of our friends’ feet,” she wrote in her 1988 memoir. “I could tell from their footsteps that they were coming down like beaten dogs.”

Hours later, when she got up the courage, Gies went upstairs. She had helped her friends, the Frank family, live out of sight in the middle of Amsterdam for two years, bringing them the essentials of life as they hid from the persecution of Europe’s Jews. Now, the attic was trashed, ransacked by German police.

Then she saw it: a red checkered diary and years’ worth of papers strewn across the floor. Miep got on her hands and knees and gathered up the writing, then locked it in a drawer to wait for its author’s return.

Anne Frank never came back. Within months of the arrest, the fifteen-year-old died of starvation and disease at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. But her diary outlived her.

Today, it is the Holocaust’s best-known and most widely read document, and its author is seen as a symbol of the 1 million Jewish children who were murdered during the Holocaust. The Diary of a Young Girl has sold more than 30 million copies, is required reading in many schools, and has been translated into more than 70 languages. The building where she hid draws over a million visitors each year. But how did the diary go from a pile of discarded papers to an international publishing phenomenon that still shapes modern historical memory?

A Chronicle of Life During the Holocaust

This photo is one of the last pictures taken of Anne Frank in 1941. The following summer, as Nazi oppression grew worse, the Franks went into hiding.

Anne Frank received her diary as a gift on her thirteenth birthday in 1942. At first, it was her place to record observations about friends and school and her innermost thoughts. But when she and her family went into hiding the month after the diary began, it became a war document.

Inside the “secret annex,” as she called it, Anne documented her daily life, writing about herself, her family and the other people in hiding, Hermann and Auguste van Pels, their son Peter, and dentist Fritz Pfeffer. She wrote about their protectors’ …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Islam's Sunni-Shia Divide, Explained

July 31, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

The split between the two main sects within Islam goes back some 1,400 years.

Though the two main sects within . “This was important, because by the time he died, he had basically brought all the tribes of Arabia together into a kind of confederation that became the ummah—the people or nation of Islam.”

Eventually the Sunni majority (named for sunna, or tradition) won out, and chose Muhammad’s close friend Abu Bakr to become the first caliph, or leader, of the Islamic community. Ali eventually became the fourth caliph (or Imam, as Shiites call their leaders), but only after the two that preceded him had both been assassinated.

Ali, himself, was killed in 661, as the bitter power struggle between Sunni and Shia continued. At stake was not only control of Muhammad’s religious and political legacy, but also a great deal of money, in the form of taxes and tributes paid by the various tribes united under the banner of Islam. This combination of money and power would only grow. Within the century after Muhammad’s death, his followers had built an empire that stretched from Central Asia to Spain.

The Battle of Karbala.

Battle of Karbala and Its Lasting Significance

In 681, Ali’s son Hussein led a group of 72 followers and family members from Mecca to Karbala (present-day Iraq) to confront the corrupt caliph Yazid of the Ummayad dynasty. A massive Sunni army waited for them, and by the end of a 10-day standoff with various smaller struggles, Hussein was killed and decapitated, and his head brought to Damascus as a tribute to the Sunni caliph.

“It was obviously intended by the Ummayads to put the definitive end to all claims to leadership of the ummah as a matter of direct descendence from Muhammad,” says Hazleton of Hussein’s death, and the death of all the surviving members of Muhammad’s family, at Karbala. “But of course it’s not what happened.” Instead, Hussein’s martyrdom at Karbala became the central story of Shia tradition, and is commemorated yearly as Ashoura, the most solemn date on the Shia calendar.

The Sunni-Shia Divide Into the 21st Century

Here’s How The Arab Spring Started and How It Affected the World (TV-PG; 3:44)

In addition to Karbala, the NPR podcast Throughline identified three key milestones that would sharpen Sunni-Shia divisions by the end of the 20th century. First came the rise of the Safavid dynasty in …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

What’s the Difference Between Puritans and Pilgrims?

July 31, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

Both sought a different religious practice than what the Church of England dictated, but they were otherwise distinct groups of people.

Many Americans get the Pilgrims and the Puritans mixed up. Common thinking is: They were both groups of English religious reformers. They both landed in modern-day Massachusetts. And they were both stuffy sourpusses who wore black hats, squared collars and buckled shoes, right?

Well, maybe not the buckles.

To understand the biggest differences between the Pilgrims and the Puritans, one has to go back to the Protestant Reformation, which swept across Europe after Martin Luther (supposedly) nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door in 1517.

Martin Luther and the 95 Theses (TV-PG; 2:54)

Thanks to the printing press, non-clergy had access to the Bible in their native languages for the first time. They began to question why the Roman Catholic worship services were so different than those of the primitive Christian church.

The Reformation was slower to arrive to the British Isles, but England had its own split from the Roman Catholic church in 1534 when King Henry VIII wanted a divorce and the Pope wouldn’t grant it. The newly created Church of England was similar to Catholicism in every way, except instead of the Pope carrying divine authority, it was the British Crown.

READ MORE: How Henry VIII’s Divorce Led to Reformation and the Church of England

Who Were the Pilgrims?

Every British citizen was expected to attend the Church of England, and those who didn’t were punished by the state. One group of farmers in Northern England, known disparagingly as the Separatists, began to worship in secret, knowing full well that it was treasonous.

“Once they decided that the only way they could be true to their conscience was to leave the established church and secretly worship, they were hunted and persecuted, and many of them faced the loss of their homes and the loss of their livelihood,” says Donna Curtin, executive director of the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. “When it became impossible for them to continue in this way, they began to seek another place to live.”

Pilgrims Look to the New World

Pilgrim leader William Bradford, later the Governor of Plymouth Colony, reads the Mayflower Compact on board the Mayflower off the coast of what became known as Massachusetts.

The Separatists first fled to …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why Thomas Jefferson Rewrote the Bible Without Jesus' Miracles and Resurrection

July 31, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

The ex-president bent over the book, using a razor and scissors to carefully cut out small squares of text. Soon, the book’s words would live in their own book, hand bound in red leather and ready to be read in private moments of contemplation. Each cut had a purpose, and each word was carefully considered. As he worked, Thomas Jefferson pasted his selections—each in a variety of ancient and modern languages that reflected his vast learning—into the book in neat columns.

Thomas Jefferson was known as an inventor and tinkerer. But this time he was tinkering with something held sacred by hundreds of millions of people: the Bible.

Using his clippings, the aging third president created a New Testament of his own—one that most Christians would hardly recognize. This Bible was focused only on Jesus, but none of his mystical works. It didn’t include major scenes like the resurrection or ascension to heaven, or miracles like turning water into wine or walking on water. Instead, Jefferson’s Bible focused on Jesus as a man of morals, a teacher whose truths were expressed without the help of miracles or the supernatural powers of God.

Made for his private use and kept secret for decades, Jefferson’s 84-page Bible was the work of a man who spent much of his life grappling with, and doubting, religion.

READ MORE: The Bible Says Jesus Was Real. What Other Proof Exists?

A bible assembled by Thomas Jefferson from four different translations on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Prepared near the end of the ex-president’s life, the Jefferson Bible, as it is now known, included no signs of Jesus’s divinity. In two volumes, The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth and The Life and Morals of Jesus and Nazareth, Jefferson edited out biblical passages he considered over-the-top or that offended his Enlightenment-era sense of reason. He left behind a carefully condensed vision of the Bible—one that illustrated his own complex relationship with Christianity.

The book was kept private for a few reasons. Jefferson himself believed that a person’s religion was between them and their god. Religion is “a matter between every man and his maker, in which no other, & far less the public, [has] a right to intermeddle,” he wrote in 1813.

But there was another reason for Jefferson to keep his revised Bible private. In the early 19th century, …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

The July Plot: When German Elites Tried to Kill Hitler

July 30, 2019 in History

By Jesse Greenspan

Fed up with Hitler, though only partially for moral reasons, high-level German resisters nearly succeeded in assassinating him in July 1944.

Roughly 200 German resisters participated in “Operation Valkyrie,” the failed . He adds that the aristocracy tended to view the Nazis “with distaste, not least on class grounds.”

Some of the main plotters, as Moorhouse points out, were “principled opponents of the Nazis from the outset.” Henning von Tresckow, for instance, privately disavowed the regime as early as 1935, following the passage of the Nuremberg race laws.

Then, in July 1941, Tresckow learned of the mass killing of Jews. At that moment, Hoffmann explains, he dedicated himself to deposing Hitler, forming a cell that initiated several assassination attempts, culminating in Operation Valkyrie. “It was a question of personal honor,” Hoffmann says, “and the need to prove to the world that there were Germans who had tried for years to bring the killing and destruction to an end.”

Stauffenberg likewise came to view Hitler as a monster. Yet he was among those who joined the resistance late, having apparently been seduced by the initial successes of the Nazi war machine. During the 1939 invasion of Poland, he wrote that the “inhabitants are an unbelievable rabble” who would surely only be “comfortable under the knout,” and that “the thousands of prisoners-of-war will be good for our agriculture.” In a tacit sign of support for the regime, he even wed in a steel military helmet and honeymooned in Fascist Italy.

A few of the plotters committed horrific war crimes. Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorf, Berlin’s police chief, was notorious for harassing and extorting Jews; Arthur Nebe commanded a mobile death squad that murdered tens of thousands of Jews in territory conquered from the Soviet Union; and Georg Thomas was a driving force behind the so-called Hunger Plan, which aimed to starve to death millions of Soviet civilians.

Eduard Wagner, who provided Stauffenberg with a plane for the July 20, 1944, assassination attempt, was perhaps worst of all. Christian Gerlach, a professor of modern history at the University of Bern in Switzerland, who writes about the Holocaust, describes him as “a leading mass murderer,” responsible for “all sorts of atrocities,” including the “ghettoization of Jews” and the starvation of Soviet prisoners. Wagner moreover advocated for the siege of Leningrad, Gerlach says, “in which at least 600,000 civilians …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Naked Cooks, Excrement, Rats: The Secretly Disgusting History of Royal Palaces

July 30, 2019 in History

By Hadley Meares

In July of 1535, King , the fastidious Henry VIII “waged a constant battle against the dirt, dust, and smells that were unavoidable when so many people lived in one establishment,” which was fairly unusual for the time. The king slept on a bed surrounded by furs to keep small creatures and vermin away, and visitors were warned not to “wipe or rub their hands upon none arras [tapestries] of the King’s whereby they might be hurted.”

READ MORE: The Mysterious Epidemic That Terrified Henry VIII

Many of the rules laid down by the King indicate that his battle against the advancing grime was a losing one. To keep servants and courtiers from urinating on the garden walls, Henry had large red X’s painted in problem spots. But instead of deterring men from relieving themselves, it just gave them something to aim for. Calls for people not to dump dirty dishes in the hallways—or on the King’s bed—seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Amazingly, Henry was even forced to decree that cooks in the royal kitchen were forbidden to work “naked, or in garments of such vileness as they do now, nor lie in the nights and days in the kitchen or ground by the fireside.” To combat the problem, clerks of the kitchen were instructed to purchase “honest and wholesome garments” for the staff.

Part of the Hampton Court Palace kitchen, pictured in the 1940s, which had been kept exactly as it was in the early 16th century.

While the King had a relatively sophisticated lavatory system for himself, other waste measures intended as hygienic seem disgusting today: servants were encouraged to pee in vats so that their urine could be used for cleaning. As actual cleanliness was often unachievable, the royal court resorted to masking the offending odors. Sweet-smelling plants covered palace floors, and the fortunate pressed sachets of scent to their noses.

Once Henry and his court moved on to the next royal residence, the scrubbing and airing out of the palace began. The waste from the King’s non-flushing lavatories was held in underground chambers when the court was in residence. But after the court left, the King’s Gong Scourers, tasked with cleaning the sewers in his palaces near London, went to work.

“After the court had been here for four weeks, the brick chambers would fill head-high,” Simon Thurley, curator of Historic Royal Palaces, told The Independent. …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Can China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea Agree on Policy toward North Korea?

July 30, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

President Trump’s continuing willingness to meet with Kim
Jong-un reflects both a major shift in U.S. policy and the
importance of China’s constructive influence.  Beijing has
pushed Washington for years to open a bilateral dialogue with
Pyongyang.

Previous U.S. administrations spurned or deflected China’s
advice. The closest Washington came to adopting that course was as
a participant in the Six-Party Talks that Beijing hosted and
chaired beginning in 2003. There were
reports of informal bilateral discussions
on the sidelines, but
the Bush and Obama administrations steadfastly refused to hold
formal two-party negotiations with the North Korean government. The
Six-Party Talks gradually
became moribund
, since the United States was the only country
that could grant most of the meaningful benefits Pyongyang sought,
especially a complete lifting of economic sanctions and
Washington’s formal diplomatic recognition of the DPRK.

The prevailing U.S. attitude was that the onset of bilateral
negotiations would be a prestigious diplomatic coup for Pyongyang -
especially if the United States agreed to a summit meeting. U.S.
officials were firm that Washington would not participate in
bilateral talks – much less a summit – unless Pyongyang first made
major moves toward shuttering and gradually eliminating its nuclear
program.

The prevailing U.S.
attitude was that the onset of bilateral negotiations would be a
prestigious diplomatic coup for Pyongyang – especially if the
United States agreed to a summit meeting.

China continued making efforts to facilitate a breakthrough on
bilateral talks. With the election of President Moon Jae-in, the
Republic of Korea (ROK) pursued a similar strategy as part of its
own conciliatory policy toward Pyongyang. Under President Donald
Trump, however, the United States adopted an alarmingly
confrontational approach. Washington lobbied for harsher economic
sanctions against the DPRK and prodded its allies (and China) to
tighten enforcement efforts. The United States deployed more

air and naval forces
to Northeast Asia, and Trump’s own
rhetoric turned nasty, punctuated by his scornful public
reference
to Kim as “Little Rocket Man” in November 2017.

Tensions on the Peninsula had reached their worst level in
decades. Japan and the ROK officially supported their American
ally, but only Japan seemed truly on board with Washington’s
hardline approach. Then, in early 2018, Trump changed course
dramatically.  For the first time, not only did the United
States agree to bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang, but Trump
did so at the highest level, holding a summit meeting with Kim in
Singapore in June 2018. Both
China
and
South Korea
expressed strong approval of that course change.
Japan’s reaction, while supportive, was noticeably more subdued. As
the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi approached in February, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Congress Tackles the "100-Mile" Border Zone for Federal Checkpoints

July 30, 2019 in Economics

By Patrick G. Eddington

Patrick G. Eddington

The migrant crisis along America’s southwest border has,
with good reason, received a lot of attention this year, including
the Trump administration’s use of what have been
appropriately described as concentration camps for those fleeing violence
and poverty in the lands of their birth. But another long-festering
issue affecting the entire U.S. border on the north, south, east,
and west is finally getting congressional attention: the so-called
100-mile border zone” that has existed
under regulation for more than 50 years. A still controversial 1976
Supreme Court decision, U.S. v Martinez-Fuerte, essentially validated
the federal law enforcement practice of stopping and questioning
motorists in a broadly defined “border zone” about
their citizenship status—a decision I have
sharply criticized
.

The Border Zone Reasonableness Restoration Act of 2019 (S. 2180, offered by Senator Patrick Leahy
(D-VT), and H.R. 3853, offered by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT))
would reduce the “border zone” from 100 miles to 25
miles into the United States from the physical border, within which
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may make vehicle stops
and searches, and from 25 miles to 10 miles for DHS access to
private property.

Thus far in the Senate, only Leahy’s Democratic colleague
Patty Murray of Washington state has signed onto the bill.
Welch’s House version is also a Democrats-only affair to
date, with Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ),
James P. McGovern (D-MA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Ann M. Kuster
(D-NH) having signed on.

As I’ve noted previously, the DHS Customs and Border
Patrol (CBP) internal checkpoints these bills are designed to limit
have led to frequent confrontations with local residents in southwestern
border states, as well as
litigation
over Fourth Amendment rights violations. Indeed,
earlier this month the issue of commercial bus lines allowing CBP to stop and
search their buses and passengers resurfaced as another flashpoint
in the ongoing controversy over “border zone”
immigration enforcement operations.

If enacted, would the Leahy-Welch bill at least reduce the
number of people encompassed by the “border zone”? Not
significantly, which speaks to one of the larger problems with the
bill.

A CityLab analysis of “border zone”
population density conducted last year illustrates the point.
Reducing the zone from 100 to 25 miles would still leave nearly all
of the major cities well inside the “border
zone”—Chicago, New York, Washington, Norfolk,
Charleston, Miami, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco,
and Seattle. And even the Leahy-Leach 10-mile limit for access to
private property would have the same effect.

The bill also contains a disturbing provision allowing the
Secretary of Homeland Security to expand …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Ominous Ally Quarrel That's Giving Washington a Headache

July 29, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

One of the problems a great power faces is how to handle
situations where two or more allies quarrel and adopt antagonistic
policies towards each other. The United States faces that challenge
now, as Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) engage in escalating
disputes involving both economic and security issues. Their spats could scarcely come at a
worse time. President Trump is pursuing a delicate policy of
rapprochement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. For that
initiative to have even a reasonable chance of success, both Tokyo
and Seoul need to be supportive and not undermine Washington’s
approach.

This is hardly the first time that an American leader has dealt
with headaches caused by allies or security dependents that seem to
loathe each other. Since Turkey and Greece joined NATO in 1952,
they have frequently pursued conflicting foreign policy
goals—most notably with respect to the Bosnia and Kosovo
conflicts in the 1990s. Worse, they have nearly come to blows on
several occasions. The worst incident occurred in 1974 when the
military junta ruling Greece helped unseat the moderate president
of neighboring, majority-Greek Cyprus in a bid to orchestrate a
merger of the two countries. Turkey responded by invading Cyprus on
the pretext of protecting the Turkish ethnic minority there, and
proceeded to occupy nearly 40 percent of the island, expelling the
Greek inhabitants. Washington was barely able to prevent a war.
Even before the Cyprus incident, Turkey had made a habit of sending
its warplanes into Greek airspace, stoking tensions. These
antagonisms continue even now: there were some 36 violations
on a single day in December 2018.

A desire to preserve their security ties with the United States
against a larger, more powerful potential aggressor was the major
factor that inhibited Greece and Turkey from letting their own
rivalry spiral out of control. A similar situation exists with
Japan and the ROK. During the Cold War, worries about North Korea,
China, and the Soviet Union compelled a degree of unity as
Washington put both countries behind the U.S. security shield. In
the post-Cold War years, concerns over Pyongyang’s volatile
behavior muted the animosity between Japan and South Korea.

Nevertheless, there is no love lost between these two countries.
Many Koreans have never forgiven Japan for the abuses Tokyo
committed between 1910 and 1945 as Korea’s colonial master. Forcing
young Korean women into sexual servitude to the Japanese military
was only the most egregious of the offenses, and Tokyo’s reluctance
to apologize for that outrage and compensate the victims has
exacerbated the resentment among South Koreans.

Other quarrels flare up from time to time. One …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Congress Should Bring 'New Starts' to an End

July 29, 2019 in Economics

By Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

In 1991, Congress created the “New Starts” program to help fund
the construction of new transit infrastructure. Unfortunately, New
Starts has done more harm to our cities than any federal program
since the urban renewal projects of the 1950s.

On July 16, the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a hearing
on New Starts, which will expire in 2020 unless it is reauthorized.
Transit agencies attending the hearing told the subcommittee that
New Starts has helped them build high-capacity transit projects
that have generated economic development, provided mobility for
low-income people, and helped protect the environment. None of this
is true.

New Starts is an “open bucket” fund that requires local matching
funds, and the more expensive the project, the more money is
provided by New Starts. This has led cities to plan increasingly
expensive projects to get “their share” of federal
funds.

For example, the average, inflation-adjusted cost of new
light-rail lines has increased from $17 million a mile in 1981 to
more than $200 million a mile today. To provide local matching
funds, transit agencies have imposed large increases in taxes and
gone heavily into debt.

Worse, light rail is an obsolete form of transportation because
buses are not only less expensive to buy and less expensive to
operate than light rail, they can move far more people per hour. In
fact, light rail is by definition low-capacity transit because, for safety
reasons, light-rail lines can only move about 20 trains per
hour.

By comparison, busways can move hundreds of buses per hour,
enabling them to move more than twice as many people per hour as the highest
capacity of any light-rail line in America. Because of this, a
recent report from the Institute for Transportation & and
Development Policy concluded, “there are currently no cases
in the US where LRT [light-rail transit] should be favored over BRT
[bus-rapid transit].”

Streetcars, as illustrated by Washington’s H Street streetcar,
are even worse than light rail and commuter trains are no better.
Most new commuter-rail lines carry so few riders that it would have
been less expensive to give every daily round-trip rider a
new Toyota Prius every other year for the life of the project than
to build and run the rail line.

Contrary to claims that rail transit generates economic
development, research funded by the Federal Transit Administration
concluded, “Urban rail transit investments rarely
‘create’ new growth, but more typically redistribute
growth that would have taken place without the investment.”

This hasn’t stopped transit agencies from claiming that
everything that happened to be built near a rail …read more

Source: OP-EDS