Category Archives: 20th Century

More Tales of 1923 Inflation

Yesterday I introduced the billion mark stamp from 1923 Germany with a bit of background  behind this truly absurd item. Today, I visited a stamp store (which the owner says now officially makes me a philatelist, rather than a person who just happens to have stamps) and had a lovely conversation with the owner.  I related how I had come into my collection and how I could appreciate them more now than as a teen because I knew some of

U.K. finally pardons computer pioneer Alan Turing

Almost 50 years after his death, Alan Turing is finally pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II. Turing was a pioneer in cryptography (most notably in connection with breaking the WWII Enigma codes) and early computing. He wrote on the possibilities of artificial intelligence, which he expected we would develop within fifty years. He was also a homosexual, which was criminal in 1950s Britain.  He was found guilty of “gross indecency” and chemically castrated for the last few years of his life,

Yesterday in History: Declaration of War and the Representative Who Refused

USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor

This should have been a “Today in History” post, but I am a day late. On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The resolution passed unanimously in the Senate, but a single representative refused to approve it. Rep. Jeannette Rankin, R-Montana, was a pacifist even in the face of aggression. According to Wikipedia: “As a woman I can’t go to war,” she said, “and I refuse to send

People I Like: Sir Nicholas Winton

Sir Nicholas Winton

Studying history comes with both bad and good. It’s important we remember both, both as something to celebrate and something we try not to repeat. Modern history is not my thing, but of that era, the Holocaust is one of my interests, although it’s so awful I sometimes literally have to ration how much I read at a sitting. But it’s important to understand, and I think it’s really important my students understand, since most of them don’t know much

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