war/crime

The “King of Bombs” and the Craze of Cold War Nuclear Armament

The “King of Bombs” and the Craze of Cold War Nuclear Armament

Zone of total destruction of the Tsar Bomba on a map of Paris: red circle = total destruction On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya, which still is the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise. Just to get an idea of the bomb’s power, the Tsar Bomba measured ten times the power of all explosives used during World War II. Still,…
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The Peace of Westphalia and the End of the Thirty Year’s War

The Peace of Westphalia and the End of the Thirty Year’s War

The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, Painting by Gerard Ter Borch (1648) On October 24, 1648, the signing of the Peace of Westphalia treaty in Osnabrück and Münster put an end to Europe’s Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War (1568 – 1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic. “In the name…
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The Legend of Klaus Störtebeker, Privateer

The Legend of Klaus Störtebeker, Privateer

Possible reconstruction of Störtebeker’s headImage: Sebastian Sonntag On October 20, 1401, Klaus Störtebeker, representative of a companionship of privateers known as the Victual Brothers, was executed by order of the senate of Hamburg. His life has become legend and he often is compared to other historic freedom fighters such as Che Guevara or Robin Hood, because he fought the rich in the name of the poor. The exact roots of Klaus Störtebeker…
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The Captain of Köpenick

The Captain of Köpenick

Wilhelm Voight leaving prison in Berlin Tegel On October 16, 1906, German shoemaker Wilhelm Voight, just released from prison for forgery, purchased parts of used captain’s uniforms. In this masquerade of a Prussian military officer he arrested the mayor and the treasurer of Köpenick for suspicion of crooked bookkeeping and confiscated the municipal funds. In Germany Voigt is not seen as a criminal, but rather as a folk hero and a victim…
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The Fate of Western Civilization at Stake on the Catalaunian Plains

The Fate of Western Civilization at Stake on the Catalaunian Plains

The Huns at the Battle of Chalons by Alphonse de Neuville (1836–85) On September 20, 450 AD, the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains also referred to as the Battle of Chalons took place. A coalition led by the Roman general Flavius Aëtius and the Visigothic king Theodoric I against the Huns and their allies commanded by their leader Attila faced each other in a decisive battle that should decide the fate of Europe…
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Allessandro Cagliostro – Imposter and Adventurer

Allessandro Cagliostro – Imposter and Adventurer

Count Alessandro di Cagliostro(1743 – 1795) On August 26, 1795, Italian physician, occultist and adventurer Giuseppe Balsamo aka Count Alessandro di Cagliostro passed away. The history and stories around Cagliostro are shrouded in rumour, propaganda, and mysticism. Some effort was expended to ascertain his true identity when he was arrested because of possible participation in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace. Despite the fact that Giuseppe Balsamo had to deal with a…
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The Last Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

The Last Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

Torture Chamber during the Spanish Inquisition(1805 – 1859) On July 26, 1826, Cayetano Ripoll, a schoolmaster in Valencia, Spain, teaching deist principles should become the last victim executed by the Spanish inquisition. Ripoll has the dubious honor of being the last of the many people known to have been executed under sentence from a Church authority for having committed the act of heresy. For almost 350 years the Spanish inquisition tried to…
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Glienicke Bridge – The Bridge of Spies and the biggest Agent Swap in History

Glienicke Bridge – The Bridge of Spies and the biggest Agent Swap in History

On June 11, 1985, the biggest agent swap known in history occurred at the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam. There was a swap of 23 American agents held in Eastern Europe for Polish agent Marian Zacharski and another three Soviet agents arrested in the West. The exchange was the result of three years of negotiation The History of the Glienicke Bridge The Glienicke Bridge became very famous during the Cold War, not only…
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