Mapping the world's opinions

Welcome to History

This is a place to read about and contribute to discussions about history. Discover the controversies surrounding the world of colonialism, war, historical movements, and national self-determination.
Welcome to History
Welcome to History
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Was Nazi Germany built on consent or coercion of the population?

By 1934, Hitler considered the National Socialist revolution in Germany to be complete. Yet, although powerful in his own right, Hitler could not have executed such a successful ascent in Germany political life alone. Thus, was Hitler's successful rise and Nazi Germany's infamous future built on the consent or coercion of its citizens?

How do we think about removing controversial statues in the US?

Throughout the US, activists are calling for the removal of controversial statues, which most often depict individuals with slavery or colonization ties. These statues have long been a subject of debate, but the American public’s renewed attention to systemic, racially-motivated violence has brought this conversation into the forefront of public discourse. According to those in favor of removal, t...

What role did Fidel Castro play in the Cuban Revolution?

Fidel Castro was the Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and the President of Cuba from 1976 to 2008. Castro led the 1959 Cuban Revolution, which ousted the U.S backed military-dictator Fulgencio Batista. Under Castro, Cuba became a single-party communist state in which most industries were entirely nationalized. Castro played various roles in the Cuban Revolution and the formation of Cuba's...

Can the Holocaust be forgiven?

As a result of the Holocaust, over 6 million innocent Jews perished under Nazi rule. Beyond that, millions more of innocent civilians were also murdered under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. When examining the atrocities and lasting trauma that the Holocaust inflicted on people, this begs the question of who, if anyone, should be forgiven of their involvement in the Holocaust?

Should there be a united Ireland?

The status of Northern Ireland has been the subject of intense debate and decades of violence known as the Troubles, which started in the 1960s. Though Northern Ireland has been at peace since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the question of whether Northern Island should remain in the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland remains a source of contention. Should there be a united Ireland...

Mapping the world's opinions.

Is a world without any borders a good idea?

Nation-states maintain borders for safety, maintaining political jurisdiction. Yet, some forms of open borders exist between nation-states: the Schengen Agreement in the European Union, borders between India and Nepal, Ireland and the U.K., and the CA4 Border Control Agreement in Central America. Most nation-states maintain strict border controls, restricting travel between countries and barring e...

Did nationalism predate nation states?

Today, we are used to both the nation-state and the idea of nationalism. However, it may be possible to have one without the other. Authors have written about nationalism for centuries, but the nation state as we know it has existed a relatively short amount of time. So, did nationalism predate the nation?

How do we think about taking down controversial statues in the UK?

In June 2020 protestors circulated a hit list of controversial UK statues to be taken down. These included Gandhi, Winston Churchill and Robert Baden-Powell. Campaigners say these statues must be ripped down because they contribute to racialised systemic violence. In turn, this trickles down into every facet of public life and subordinates ethnic minorities. On the other side, groups made up of mo...

What is the intellectual framing of the UK statues debate?

In June 2020 Bristol protestors rioting against the murder of George Floyd tore down a statue of Edward Colston. Having hauled it from its plinth, they eventually abandoned the statue in the city's harbour. Hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch, viewing this as a momentous step in the fight against racism. Colston is known as the man who built Bristol. He bequeathed his enormous fortune to the c...

Was Persephone kidnapped?

Persephone, wife to Hades, daughter of Demeter and Zeus. The myth of Persephone says that she was kidnapped by Hades and that she is allowed to visit her mother Demeter for six months out of the year...or does it? Was Persephone kidnapped, or did she go willingly?

What are the forms of European anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitism is prejudice or hatred against Jews. Those feelings are tied to a number of different issues and express themselves in different ways. Unfortunately, these views still exist in places around the world.

Where does 420 come from?

For stoners worldwide, the 20th of April has long represented a day of celebration. Known commonly as '4:20' participants spend the day smoking cannabis and glorifying the culture that comes with it. But why? Competing theories exist over its origins. So, where does 420 come from?

What caused the American Civil War?

The American Civil War (1861-1865) officially began with the battle of Fort Sumter on April 12th-13th, 1861 and fundamentally shifted the trajectory of American history. Arguably the first instance of modern total war for the United States, the war impacted virtually every facet of American society. However, different perceptions of its origins and legacy persist across regions and demographics i...

Did British colonial powers invent the Indian caste system?

The four-tiered caste system gives Hindu society a strict hierarchical structure, with teachers and religious leaders at the top, and the fifth "undesirable" category performing "unclean" work. Where did it come from? Was it a colonial invention? Or are its roots embedded in ancient Indian culture?

Were Indian police complicit in the Palghar lynching?

On 16 April 2020, two Hindu priests and their driver were killed. This happened after the men were stopped by a crowd of men at a checkpoint amid coronavirus lockdown, accused of being thieves or child kidnappers, and then taken away and killed. The presence of the police at the scene has raised questions about their involvement. Did they do enough to try to stop the killings? Or did they let it t...

Were the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?

Was President Harry Truman justified when he authorised the use of nuclear weapons against Japanese civilians? Did the bombings end the war with fewer deaths than an American invasion of Japan would have resulted in? Or was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki unimportant to Japanese military leaders when they decided to surrender?

Who killed John F. Kennedy?

On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Decades later, his death is still considered one of the biggest mysteries of American history. Despite the Warren Commission concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK, there is still a conspiracy surrounding whether or not he was the actual assassin, and if he was working alone. Who actually assassin...

How does coronavirus compare to other pandemics?

COVID-19 has been devastating, affecting people across the world and killing thousands. However, it is far from the first pandemic of its kind. From the Spanish flu to the bubonic plague, throughout history pandemics have killed huge amounts of the population. Is the coronavirus pandemic the worst in history? Or have previous pandemics been worse?

Is history important?

By definition, the study of history is the study of the past. To many this is an important pursuit, as understanding the past could hold important lessons for the future - history repeats itself, after all. But to others, this is pointless, simply the memorization of irrelevant names and dates.

Who was Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper was one of the most notorious serial killers in history. In 1888, the Ripper was suspected of brutally killing at least five women in and around the Whitechapel district in the East End of London. The Ripper killings were the focus of an intensive police investigation and garnered enormous attention from the public and media, but the case went unsolved, and the identity of the Ripp...

What happened at Chernobyl?

On April 26, 1986, one of the most devastating nuclear disasters in history occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. An explosion at Chernobyl's reactor number 4 destroyed the facility's protections against nuclear radiation and sent massive quantities of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere. In the aftermath of the disaster, scientists and historians have studied Ch...

Should confederate monuments be removed?

Whether or not confederate monuments should be removed is hotly debated. On one hand, confederacy has a negative history. Automatically, it’s associated with slavery and Civil War. On the other hand, confederate monuments are simply a representation of history. Shouldn’t all history, good or bad, be put on display?

Did Alexander Hamilton's financial plan put America first?

Of all the founding fathers of the American nation, Alexander Hamilton remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial characters. In his role as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton submitted a financial plan to Congress designed to reduce the national debt by creating a national bank and encouraging economic diversification and the establishment of a manufacturing economy. But more than 200 y...

Were the moon landings faked?

NASA successfully sent six Apollo missions to the Moon . Twelve astronauts in total landed on the Moon's surface. Critics imply that all missions were faked and no men have landed on the Moon. They say that related photos and videos were actually taken in a studio.

Why did the US lose the Vietnam War?

Vietnam was an undeniable failure for the United States government. Despite expending more than $141 billion, and 56,000 American lives, the world’s largest military superpower was unable to achieve its sole strategic objective: to prevent Vietnam from falling under communist control. Historians are deeply divided over the reasons that led to US defeat. Most attribute the loss to several factors t...

Was Bolivian President Evo Morales ousted in a coup?

Bolivia has been a site of political upheaval since Evo Morales, president of the country for 13 consecutive years, declared his victory in the October 20th election. The streets have been filled with both violent and peaceful protestors. Some argue against the legitimacy of the vote. Others defend the re-election of the left-wing, indigenous leader. On November 10th, Morales resigned and sought p...

Was Boris Johnson's move to prorogue parliament legal?

Boris Johnson took the decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks in the run-up to Britain's deadline for leaving the EU on October 31. His government argues that he was legally able to do so. The preceding parliamentary session was the longest on record and the prorogation was designed to bring it to a natural close. Opposition MPs believe Johnson's motives were to stymy debate and were, ther...

What is Italy's Immigration Debate? (2018)

In 2016, over 180,000 migrants reached Italy by irregular means. During the first ten months of 2018, this number had dropped to under 21,000. Although the number of unauthorized immigrants in Italy has been decreasing over the last decade, racial tensions have increased after a mix of anti-immigrant campaigns, fake news and horrific tragedies. As a result, “immigration” is the nation’s most discu...

Who was Shakespeare?

"What's in a name?" one of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers asked. When it comes to the identity of the greatest writer in the English language, a great deal. That mantle has long been bestowed on a glover's son from Stratford-Upon-Avon. But since the 19th century, there have been doubts over William Shakespeare's identity as the writer of the works attributed to the playwright. Was the Bard from...

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