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History News Network
Updated: 1 hour 59 min ago
In the BBC series Blackadder Goes Forth, Baldrick memorably described the finest culinary delight available in the trenches of the First World War as “rat-au-van” – rat that had been run over by a van. In fact, new research suggests the standard of fare on offer to the men on the Western Front was, if perhaps repetitive, at least nutritious, plentiful and, on occasions, flavoursome.
Andrew Robertshaw, curator at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, has produced a guide to the food eaten by British soldiers of the First World War, complete with recipes for some of the meals.
Although there was no rat-au-van, there were some now largely forgotten dishes, such as beef tea, mutton broth, brawn, potato pie and duff pudding.
But Mr Robertshaw also shows how some modern favourites, such as egg and chips, and curry were popularised by the conflict.
The research, contained in a new book Feeding Tommy, involved an investigation of the archives of the RLC – the successor to the Army Service Corps, whose job it was to feed the men – as well as study of memoirs from serving soldiers....Source: Telegraph (UK) Source URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/10066467/Beef-tea-potato-pie-and-duff-pudding-How-to-eat-like-a-WW1-Tommy.html Date: 5-19-13
Visitors to a Second World War-themed event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Dambuster have turned out in Nazi uniforms despite a ban on the costumes.
Organisers of the 1940s weekend in Haworth, West Yorkshire, faced complaints last year from a party of German tourists about the flaunting of regalia linked to the Holocaust.
This year, an attempt to prevent a repeat of the controversy, signs warning "No Nazi or SS Insignia or uniforms on these premises" were displayed on shops pubs and camp sites.
Businesses all over the town were given signs saying Nazi or SS uniforms "not welcome," in a bid to avoid "unnecessary offence"....Source: Telegraph (UK) Source URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10067006/Visitors-flout-ban-on-wearing-Nazi-uniforms-to-WWII-event.html Date: 5-19-13
As one of Britain’s top spies in the Second World War, being arrested in Spain dressed as a woman caused a major headache for his political masters.
Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke, a key figure in British intelligence in the Middle East, was detained in Madrid after being seen “in a main street dressed, down to a brassiere, as a woman”.
The spy was on his way to Egypt to pass on key information and the incident sparked a mad scramble in London to ensure he was released and sent on his way as quickly as possible.
Files released by the National Archives show that Lt Col Clarke – who was supposed to maintain a low profile, travelling under cover as a war correspondent for The Times – had stopped off in the Spanish capital on his way to north Africa in October 1941....Source: Telegraph (UK) Source URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/10074050/Intelligence-archive-Cross-dressing-spy-who-caused-a-headache-for-British-masters.html Date: 5-23-13
NEW YORK — The Muppets may have taken Manhattan, but they're getting a spiffy new home in Queens.
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Bert and Ernie of "Sesame Street" fame, the stars of "Fraggle Rock" and other puppets, costumes and items from throughout Muppets creator Jim Henson's career have been donated to the Museum of the Moving Image, which is building a new gallery to house them, the institution announced Tuesday.
Encompassing almost 400 items ranging from original puppets to behind-the-scenes footage, the gift is a boon for the 25-year-old museum, which saw attendance skyrocket in 2011 and 2012 during a temporary exhibit of Henson's work. And it fulfills a cherished goal for Henson's widow and collaborator, Jane Henson, who died last month at 78....Source: AP Source URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP5c2473115f42456dacb4823e52b35b96.html?KEYWORDS=history Date: 5-21-13
For years, historians have disagreed whether the New York Public Library's original copy of the Bill of Rights is the one that went missing long ago from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday, the state and the library are expected to call a truce after agreeing to share custody of the 223-year-old document for the next century, at which point the agreement must be renegotiated or extended.
While no clear-cut answer has emerged as to the document's rightful owner, the pact ends five years of discussions between Pennsylvania and the library and closes the door on a legal fight.
"One of the things we have avoided here is the tremendous cost of litigation and the uncertainty in a court of law," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said....Source: WSJ Source URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324787004578497601561471328.html?KEYWORDS=history Date: 5-21-13
WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama said Wednesday that stories of toil and sweat by slaves once held at a historic home within sight of the White House are an important part of U.S. history, including her own personal story, and are “as vital to our national memory as any other.”
The first lady commented as American Express announced its donation of $1 million to the White House Historical Association to preserve Decatur House and pay for education programs for children. The nearly 200-year-old house is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operated by the association.
Most of the money will be spent to preserve the building’s former slave quarters, where about 20 men and women “spent their days serving those who came and went from this house” and their nights “jammed together on the second floor of the slave quarters, all the while holding onto a quiet hope, a quiet prayer that they, too, and perhaps their children, would someday be free,” Mrs. Obama said....Source: AP Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/michelle-obama-lauds-preservation-of-dc-slave-quarters-says-its-vital-to-national-memory/2013/05/22/f75d276e-c304-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html Date: 5-22-13
VICKSBURG, Miss. — Even 150 years later, Vicksburg is still overshadowed by Gettysburg — so much so, that the Mississippi city is having its Civil War commemoration a few weeks early rather than compete with Pennsylvania for tourist dollars around July 4.
Union forces waged a long campaign to conquer Vicksburg and gain control of the lower Mississippi River. The effort culminated in a concentrated military attack that started May 18, 1863, and a siege that started eight days later. Confederate forces surrendered the city on July 4.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1-3, 1863, and it produced a shockingly high number of casualties — 51,000 dead, wounded or missing....Source: AP Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/vicksburg-marks-150th-anniversary-of-civil-war-siege-that-gave-union-control-of-miss-river/2013/05/23/7f8bf59c-c3c4-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html Date: 5-23-13
Edward VIII was bugged on the orders of the Home Secretary in the days before his abdication as part of a wider Government campaign to control the impending scandal.
Intelligence files kept secret for almost 80 years today reveal that phone calls from Buckingham Palace and the monarch’s Windsor residence, Fort Belvedere, were monitored while he decided whether to give up the throne for Wallis Simpson.
The revelation suggested an extraordinary breakdown of trust between Edward and his Government amid the constitutional crisis in December 1936.
The Cabinet papers also show the huge lengths the then Home Secretary Sir John Simon went to try and keep a lid on the looming controversy after a journalist leaked the story....Source: Telegraph (UK) Source URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/10073461/Intelligence-files-Edward-VIII-bugged-by-own-Government-as-he-prepared-to-abdicate.html Date: 5-23-13
Britain paid millions of pounds to military and political leaders in Spain to ensure they remained neutral during the Second World War, secret files reveal.
Some $10 million was paid to one double agent alone to distribute to key individuals, including General Franco’s brother Nicholas, in the hope they would not enter the conflict.
But despite the money, intelligence officers later suspected General Franco of ordering his officials to pass on secrets to the Germans.
The effective bribes also sparked a row with the US after the Americans froze the money planned for Britain’s “friends in Spain”.
The $10 million were to be paid to Juan March, a contact who had served as a double agent for Britain during the First World War, according to the intelligence papers released by the National Archives....Source: Telegraph (UK) Source URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/10074243/Intelligence-archives-Britain-bribed-Spain-to-stay-out-of-Second-World-War.html Date: 5-23-13
British military chiefs thought Hitler was more use alive than dead in the later stages of the Second World War because of the “blunders” he was making.
The view emerged as the Government discussed bombing a rumoured hiding place of the Nazi leader two weeks after the launch of the D-Day landings.
MI6 had also been asked to draw up a hit list of key German and French figures ahead of Operation Overlord to ensure the landings were a success, previously secret intelligence files reveal today.
But the head of the Secret Service disliked the idea as did another intelligence chief even though there were people he would happily “kill with my own hands” without “spoiling my appetite”....Source: BBC News Source URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/10073759/Intelligence-archive-Hitler-helped-Allied-case-late-in-war-due-to-blunders-he-was-making.html Date: 5-23-13
Plans to assassinate key German figures, including Erwin Rommel, in the run-up to D-Day are revealed in newly-released British intelligence files.
It was discussed in communications between the British government, military and intelligence services with the aim of aiding the landings.
They planned to target those involved in the Gestapo and enemy logistics.
However it was dismissed as "the type of bright idea which... produces a good deal of trouble and does little good".
The letters and telegrams detailing the plans were revealed in a file, dated 1944 and obliquely entitled "War (General)", from the foreign office's permanent under-secretary of state Sir Alexander Cadogan....Source: BBC News Source URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22625164 Date: 5-22-13
The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia has called the Constitution’s original clause to count blacks as three-fifths of a person an “anti-slavery amendment.”
In an April 28, 2011 statement while he was a Senate candidate, conservative minister and lawyer E.W. Jackson held up the three-fifths clause as an “anti-slavery” measure. The context of his statement was to attack President Obama after a pastor at a church service he attended referred to the three-fifths clause as a historical marker of racism.
“Rev. [Charles Wallace] Smith must not have understood the 3/5ths clause was an anti-slavery amendment. Its purpose was to limit the voting power of slave holding states,” Jackson, an African-American, said in his statement....
The clause was demanded by Southern proponents of slavery as a way of enhancing their congressional representation. They wanted slaves to be counted as full persons but settled on three-fifths. People of African descent would have had no real rights either way. The inclusion of the clause greatly enhanced the South’s political power and made it harder to abolish slavery. The clause was effectively eliminated after the Civil War by the Thirteenth Amendment....Source: Talking Points Memo Source URL: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/ew-jackson-three-fifths-clause-slavery.php?ref=fpb Date: 5-22-13
Get ready for months of John F. Kennedy nostalgia.
The calendar is dotted with 50th anniversary commemorations of events from JFK's crowded last year of life, ending with the saddest of anniversaries in November.
In speeches, books, magazines, conferences, symposiums, news stories and television specials, admirers will pay tribute to the forever youthful president who inspired millions and was cut down in his prime in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
"He's frozen in people's minds at age 46," said Kennedy biographer Robert Dallek. "Kennedy still gives people a sense — to this day — of hope for the future."...Source: USA Today Source URL: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/05/23/john-kennedy-assassination-obama-50th-anniversary/2352697/ Date: 5-23-13
A group of Japanese intellectuals on Tuesday rebutted their government's territorial claim to Dokdo and urged Japan to have a correct understanding of history.
During a press conference in Busan, they called on Shimane prefecture to rethink its annual observance of Takeshima (Dokdo in Japanese) Day, designated in 2005 to underline its sovereignty claim to the Dokdo islets in the East Sea.
"We perceive the Dokdo issue as a historical issue rather than a territorial one," said Kuboi Norimo, former history professor at Momoyama Gakuin University.
"Japan occupied Dokdo to lead the (1904-05) Russo-Japanese War more advantageously, and Tokyo has since recognised it as its territory. Regarding it as a territorial issue is like glorifying its invasion into Korea rather than repenting for it."...Source: Korea Herald/Asia News Network Source URL: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130522-424410.html Date: 5-22-13
“A few things remain constant in America – death, taxes, baseball and, since the 1950s, widespread, often successful efforts by a passionate minority to keep fluoride out of drinking water,” Donald R. McNeil wrote in Wilson Quarterly.
McNeil has written one of the more complete histories of the fluoridation wars that I was able to find. It starts on Jan. 26, 1945 when the city of Grand Rapids, Mich. became the first city to fluoridate its water supply. It was meant to be a public health experiment, to test whether fluoridation could protect against tooth decay, especially among younger children.
It would take decades to have any results and, therefore, ”the pioneers of fluoridation were generally a cautious lot,” McNeil writes, noting that they thought “that communities should at first fluoridate only on a test-batch basis.”...Source: WaPo Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/21/a-brief-history-of-americas-fluoride-wars/ Date: 5-21-13
Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Amdur got to see how much of a difference 50 years could make to nuclear submarines when he got to his new command.
Amdur had previously served as the engineering officer of the Virginia-class submarine North Dakota, which will become the service’s newest sub when it is delivered in 2014, a Navy release said. On Tuesday, he became the officer-in-charge of the Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered ship, during a ceremony in Groton, Conn.
“I’m amazed every day at how far we have come in 50 years of nuclear power, and, as a credit to the original nuclear designers of Nautilus, I am also amazed on a regular basis at the similarities between them. How many things they got right the first time,” Amdur said in the Navy release....Source: Military Times Source URL: http://blogs.militarytimes.com/scoopdeck/2013/05/21/from-newest-to-oldest-50-years-of-nuclear-history/ Date: 5-21-13
MADRID — Six months after announcing a significant easing of the naturalization process for Sephardic Jews, the Spanish government has yet to put the rules into practice, leaving many applicants for citizenship frustrated.
The change, announced in November by the foreign and justice ministers, was presented at the time as a conciliatory gesture toward Sephardic Jews, whose ancestors were expelled more than five centuries ago during the Spanish Inquisition, one of the darkest chapters in Spanish history.
Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said the time had come “to recover Spain’s silenced memory.”...Source: NYT Source URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/world/europe/many-of-spains-sephardic-jews-still-waiting-for-citizenship.html Date: 5-20-13
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Tree-lined Cendana street in an upscale neighborhood in central Jakarta has not changed much in recent decades, save for the demolition of a few Dutch colonial homes in favor of modernist villas. Yet the former resident whose home once took up the entire middle of the block initiated dramatic changes in his country, and 15 years after he disappeared from Indonesia’s political scene, debate still rages about whether they were for better or worse.
Cendana is synonymous with Suharto, the army general-turned-president who ruled Indonesia for 32 years while residing in the houses at Nos. 6, 8 and 10, which were renovated and connected. After his death in 2008, an Indonesian Web portal dedicated to paranormal activity published an account by an elderly servant who said that Mr. Suharto’s ghost was still there and occasionally pinched and poked him.
Perhaps. But more certain is that Mr. Suharto’s spirit continues to loom over modern-day Indonesia....Source: NYT Source URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/world/asia/suhartos-indonesian-legacy-15-years-later.html Date: 5-20-13
An international team of scientists has finally solved one of history’s greatest mysteries: What caused the devastating Irish potato famine of 1845? The research team, which published its findings in the journal eLife this week, used DNA sequencing of plant specimens dating from the mid-19th century to identify the pathogen that led to the death of nearly 1 million people and the mass emigration of another 2 million from Ireland by 1855. The discovery marks the first time scientists have successfully sequenced a plant’s genome from preserved samples and opens the door for further research into the evolution of pathogens and the spread of plant disease around the world.Source: History.com Source URL: http://www.history.com/news/after-168-years-potato-famine-mystery-solved Date: 5-21-13
Monticello is one of the region's most popular landmarks, bringing in tourists from around the country to view the mansion and garden of Thomas Jefferson.
But it's also a former plantation with deep racial history that's often been overlooked on tours and in public dialogue.
Monticello opened in 1923, and for the first 50 or so years there was little, if any, mention of slavery.
"For a long time it wasn't a topic that was talked about," said Gary Sandling, the vice president of visitor programs and services for Monticello. "There would have been talk of servants, or field hands, or a skilled workforce," he said....Source: NBC 29 News Source URL: http://www.nbc29.com/story/22348087/monticello-works-to-include-slavery-into-comprehensive-history Date: 5-21-13