politics

Karl Marx and Das Kapital

Karl Marx and Das Kapital

On May 5, 1818, German philosopher and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx was born in Trier, Germany. He is best known for his publications ‘The Communist Manifesto‘ and ‘Das Kapital‘, as well as his ideas have played a significant role in the establishment of the social sciences and the development of the socialist movement. Karl Marx was born in Trier, Germany, the third of nine children of Heinrich (Heschel) Marx, a lawyer, and his…
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Reckless Power Play Politics – Niccolò Machiavelli

Reckless Power Play Politics – Niccolò Machiavelli

On May 3, 1469, Florentine civil servant, diplomat, historian, philosopher and author Niccolò Machiavelli was born. Besides his seminal work ‘Il Principe‘ (The Prince) he is also known for writing comedies, carnival songs, and even poetry. “One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” Niccoló Machiavelli, Il Principe Machiavelli was born in a tumultuous era in which popes waged acquisitive wars against Italian city-states, and people and…
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Henry IV and his Walk to Canossa

Henry IV and his Walk to Canossa

On January 25, 1077, Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV arrived at the gates of the fortress at Canossa in Emilia Romagna beyond the Alpes to declare atonement and to pledge for forgiveness from Pope Gregory VII, who had excommunicated Henry earlier from church. Henry’s act of penance became known as the “Walk to Canossa”. It took wisdom, patience, and self-restraint. It was also a brilliant strategy because he basically forced the Pope to forgive…
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George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell (1903-1950) On January 21, 1950, British novelist and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, better known under his pen name George Orwell, passed away. The author of the famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and his works are well known for the awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. For sure you will have heart of George Orwell. Even a computer scientist like myself living in his personal “ivory tower” cannot…
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Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

On January 18, 1698, French philosopher and political thinker Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally only referred to as Montesquieu, was baptized. He is best known for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. “If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin…
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J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

Title page with Émile Zola’s famous public letter ‘J’accuse…!’ On January 13, 1898, French novellist Émile Zola published an open letter in the newspaper L’Aurore entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”, or, in context, “I accuse you”). In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France Félix Faure, and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. Alfred Dreyfus was…
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The ‘Trabbi’ – an Icon of the Fall of the Berlin Wall turns 60

The ‘Trabbi’ – an Icon of the Fall of the Berlin Wall turns 60

On November 7, 1957, the first Trabant left the factory of the former East German car manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau. Although it is often seen as symbolic of the defunct East Germany and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general, it was a sought-after car in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the early 1950s, vehicle construction in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was slow and…
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Jacques Necker and the Finances of France

Jacques Necker and the Finances of France

On September 30, 1732, Swiss banker, French statesman and finance minister for Louis XVI Jacques Necker was born. Necker helped make decisions that were critical in creating political and social conditions that contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. In 1780, Necker published the Compte rendu au roi, in which he summarized governmental income and expenditures to provide the first record of royal finances ever made public. Jacques Necker grew…
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The Volksempfänger VE301

The Volksempfänger VE301

On August 18, 1933, the original Volksempfänger VE 301 was presented at the 10. Große Deutsche Funkausstellung in Berlin. The purpose of the Volksempfänger-program was to make radio reception technology affordable to the general public. Nazi Propagandaminister Joseph Goebbels realized the great propaganda potential of this relatively new medium and thus considered widespread availability of receivers highly important. The first model, the Volksempfänger VE301 was developed by the company Dr. G. Seibt…
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The Case of the Chief of the General Staff Alfred Redl

The Case of the Chief of the General Staff Alfred Redl

On May 25, 1913, officer of the Imperial Austrian army Alfred Redl passed away. Redl, who rose to head the counter-intelligence efforts of Austria-Hungary, was one of the leading figures of pre-World War I espionage. His term in office was marked by innovation, and he used advanced technology, for the time, to ensnare foreign intelligence agents. But he was himself a paid spy for the Russians. Claims that Redl also worked for…
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