2016   |   November

Monarchy à la Hollywood

Did you know that Ptolemy miscalculated the circumference of Earth; early German victories in WWII were facilitated by the political division of the Allies, allowing Hitler to take risks worthy of a true gambler; and Grace Kelly could not play a role in Hitchcock’s movie because it was considered derogatory to a royal family?

2016 November Monarchy à la Hollywood
The father of modern geography

The father of modern geography

Ptolemy had miscalculated the global circumference of the Earth by as much as 10,000 km. It is no wonder that Columbus and Magellan believed it was possible to sail west to get to the east. Without this mistake they would probably have never set off on such daunting voyages, and the shape of the age of discovery might have looked very different.

The unstoppable Germans

The unstoppable Germans

After World War I the Entente powers sought to ensure that Germany would never grow capable of launching another larger-scale war against them. However, political division of the Allies allowed Hitler to take risks worthy of a true gambler openly ignoring the Versailles provisions.

Monarchy à la Hollywood

Monarchy à la Hollywood

For observers more used to the muted expressions of gaiety and sorrow typical of the British royal family, who are much more frequent guests in the international media, the coronation of Prince Albert of Monaco featured something rather unexpected: during the ceremony on November 19, 2005, it was not just Princess Caroline, Albert’s elder sister, and Stephanie, his youngest sibling, who could be seen crying, but the new ruler of the principality also wiped away a few tears.

The Sunken Pride of the Swedish King

The Sunken Pride of the Swedish King

The Vasa, one of the world’s most famous ships, has been spending its days as one of the main tourist attractions of the city of Stockholm. At the time of its construction, however, this was far from the purpose that it was intended to serve: the ship was originally meant to guarantee the naval superiority of Sweden over its adversaries on the Baltic Sea for good. But the experiment ended in a historical failure when the Vasa sank on its maiden voyage. There have been several attempts at uncovering the reasons behind the catastrophe, and the period since the ship’s recovery has also yielded new theories.

The canal of blood

The canal of blood

The building of the Panama Canal was overshadowed by a series of corruption scandals, and there was even a lottery in 1888 to help pay for the accumulated debt. The work was made even more difficult by tropical diseases, especially yellow fever in which thousands of lives were lost.

Poison of affair

Poison of affair

In 1676, Paris was abuzz with one of its most fashionable trials. The marquise de Brinvilliers, Marie-Madeleine d'Aubrey, had joined forces with a French cavalry captain named Jean-Baptiste Gaudin Sainte-Croix. The captain had agreed with the marquise that her husband was financially irresponsible, squandering the monies he had gained as a result of their marriage.

A Forgotten Hero of World War II

A Forgotten Hero of World War II

When discussing World War II resistance efforts, most people are reminded of the perseverance of the French la Résistance, the heroism of the Polish Home Army, or the contribution of the Yugoslavian partisans to the Allied victory. Although the Hungarian antifascist resistance was indeed of more moderate size than the above examples, there were still many people who took part in the effort to rescue the Hungarian Jews, who were practically doomed after the German invasion of the country. One of the most notable figures of this struggle was a 32-year-old man named Géza Soos, who took part in two missions during the war, both of which are worthy of a silver-screen adaptation.

Münster rebellion

Münster rebellion

Between 1534 and 1535, the German city of Münster was seized by radical Anabaptists – an outlawed religious sect – who set about creating a ‘new Jerusalem’ in anticipation of the end of the world. Besieged by the local ruler, for over a year the city was held in the grip of a fire-and-brimstone theocracy, its citizens subject to fanaticism, violence, communalism, and enforced polygamy.

Surprising 7: Bizarre Acts of War

Surprising 7: Bizarre Acts of War

History has seen war break out for love, war, pride and glory, but there have also been cases where the proverbial last straw was the killing of a pig, the stealing of a bucket, or a border violation committed by a guard chasing a stray dog. In this story, we introduce seven wars which broke out for bizarre reasons.

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