Various History

Discussion in 'History' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    A Brief History of Birth Control in the U.S.

    By Kirsten M.J. Thompson | December 14, 2013

    Prior to modern methods of birth control, women relied on withdrawal or periodic abstinence. These methods often failed.

    Around 3000 B.C. Condoms made from such materials as fish bladders, linen sheaths, and animal intestines.

    Around 1500 First spermicides introduced which used condoms made from linen cloth sheaths and soaked in a chemical solution and dried before using.

    1838 Condoms and diaphragms made from vulcanized rubber.

    1873 The Comstock Act passed in the United States prohibiting advertisements, information, and distribution of birth control and allowing the postal service to confiscate birth control sold through the mail.

    1916 Margaret Sanger opens first birth control clinic in the United States. The next year she was deemed guilty of maintaining a public nuisance and sentenced to jail for 30 days. Once released, she re-opened her clinic and continued to persevere through more arrests and prosecutions.

    1938 In a case involving Margaret Sanger, a judge lifted the federal ban on birth control, ending the Comstock era. Diaphragms, also known as womb veils, became a popular method of birth control.

    1950 While in her 80s, Sanger underwrote the research necessary to create the first human birth control pill. She raised $150,000 for the project.

    1960 The first oral contraceptive, Enovid, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as contraception.

    1965 The Supreme Court (in Griswold v. Connecticut) gave married couples the right to use birth control, ruling that it was protected in the Constitution as a right to privacy. However, millions of unmarried women in 26 states were still denied birth control.

    1968 FDA approved intrauterine devices (IUDs), bringing early versions like the Lippes Loop and Copper 7 to market.

    1970 Feminists challenged the safety of oral contraceptives (the Pill) at well-publicized Congressional hearings. As a result, the formulation of the Pill was changed, and the package insert for prescription drugs came into being.

    1972 The Supreme Court (in Baird v. Eisenstadt) legalized birth control for all citizens of this country, irrespective of marital status.

    1974 The FDA suspended sale of the Dalkon Shield IUD due to infections and seven documented deaths among users. Although other IUD designs were not implicated, most IUDs were slowly taken off the US market due to the escalating costs of lawsuits in subsequent years.

    1980s Pills with low doses of hormones were introduced, along with a new copper IUD, ParaGard (1998). (CuT380a). Growing awareness of the Yuzpe regimen for emergency contraception.

    1990s Introduction of Norplant, the first contraceptive implant (1990),DepoProvera, an injectable method (1992), FC1/Reality, a female condom (1993) and Plan B, and a dedicated emergency contraceptive product (1999).

    2000s Rapid expansion in method availability and improvements in safety and effectiveness, including introduction of Mirena, a new levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (2000), Ortho Evra, a hormonal patch (2001), Nuvaring, a vaginal ring (2001), Essure, a method of transcervical female sterilization (2002), Implanon, a single-rod implant (2006), and FC2, an improved female condom (2009).

    2002 The first implant, Norplant, is taken off the US market.

    2010s Ella, a new emergency contraceptive pill (2010) and Skyla, a new levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (2013) are introduced. Growing use of the copper IUD for emergency contraception.

    2013 After protracted regulatory and legal battles, one brand of emergency contraceptive pill (Plan B One-Step) becomes available without a prescription on drug store shelves.

    Today More research is needed on woman-controlled methods that protect against STIs and birth control for men. Barriers to accessing reliable contraception remain for women worldwide.

    History of Birth Control by Kathleen London

    Another indication that there is need for increased education regarding birth control is suggested by a question I am constantly called upon to answer: why�when birth control is so available�why do so many adolescents continue to become pregnant? And of course the answer is not easy. Birth control failure is high for adolescents and commitment to effective use is often lacking. You may wish to consider the following points: no method is 100% effective; health care providers may not take time to fully educate clients; the commitment to use contraception effectively may be lacking because the young woman and man are not comfortable with their sexuality, are experiencing guilt or shame about being sexually active, have not fully examined their feelings about the person with whom they are having intercourse, and may not have a feeling of personal control in the relationship. In addition, birth control services have not been consistently and appropriately available to teenagers. Many factors contribute to the lack of birth control use and contraceptive failure. And, indeed, education about the history of birth control in this country is useful only as one contribution to a more comprehensive family-life and human-sexuality education program.

    An examination of the folklore and politics of birth control�and of how the issues, pro and con, have been politically negotiated over the years�may lead students to reflect on their own attitudes and the origins of them and thereby to re-evaluate them. I hope the information in this unit will:

    -offer pertinent information to promote more thorough intellectual and psychological introspection about family planning; -enhance students� sense of identification with women of past, present, and future generations; -encourage students to examine �unseen� forces which affect prevailing morality and legislation, to reevaluate their thinking and to develop a sense of personal control over their bodies and their destinies; -promote more effective use of available contraceptive methods; -motivate students to become and remain informed of health and social services which will affect the quality of their personal and family life. Infanticide, Abortion, Contraception
    Infanticide, the killing of newborn babies, was the most universal solution to periodic overpopulation in pre-industrial societies. It was used to control population and, at times, the sex ratio where the sexual division of labor dictated. Some groups practiced infanticide because, in the absence of medical techniques, it was less risky and painful than abortion. Among some Australian tribes and among the Cheyenne and other Northern Plain Indians, infanticide was practiced so the tribe could maintain its mobility. The Pima of Arizona practiced infanticide when a child was born after the death of its father�thereby relieving the mother of the added economic burden (Woman�s Body, Woman�s Right, Linda Gordon, p.33). When practiced, the decision was almost always made by men, and there is little evidence of male infanticide in any society whereas female infanticide was practiced in Tahiti, Formosa, India, and North Africa. It is significant to note that infanticide was not just a �primitive� practice; Aristotle and Plato recommended it for eugenic reasons. And if infanticide is not acceptable today, it may be (as Gordon suggests) because we have better birth control methods, not because we are morally superior.

    Infanticide and abortion were considered criminal practices during the 18th and 19th centuries and their practice is documented in the transcripts of trials and in newspapers. This evidence suggests that both practices were widespread. Three cases of infanticide have been found reported in the Maryland Gazette on one day in 1761. In 1806, the transcript of the trial of Elizabeth Valpy in Boston was published. Elizabeth was an immigrant girl working as a maid for a Dr. Jarvis; she became pregnant by a Black indentured servant, William Hardy. She attempted to abort the pregnancy, but the medicine failed and she later gave birth to a completely white girl; the infant was discovered drowned twenty-three days later. Elizabeth claimed Hardy had killed it; he had taken the infant ostensibly to a wet nurse so Elizabeth could return to work. He was acquitted for lack of evidence and Elizabeth was not brought to trial also for lack of evidence; this case generated great public interest, perhaps because of the race question and because it remained unsolved. Women found guilty of infanticide were usually hung. Infanticide is clearly a desperate method of birth control and was most likely used by unmarried women frightened by the stigma of bearing an illegitimate child or by women forced by poverty.

    Women, alone or with the help of older women (though there were male abortionists) have attempted to abort unwanted pregnancies since ancient times. A standard method of inducing abortion (ancient and modern) is the abortifacient or potion. Abortifacients are part of a folk culture of herbal medicine handed down among women for thousands of years. In German folk medicine marjoram, thyme, parsely and lavender in tea form were used. The root of worm fern was used by German and French women and was also prescribed by a Greek physician in the time of Nero; in French it was called the �prostitute root�. Other ancient recipes called for a paste of mashed ants, foam from camels� mouths, tail hairs of blacktail deer dissolved in bear fat. In modern times, women have been reported to use turpentine, castor oil, tansy tea, quinine water in which a rusty nail has been soaked, horseradish, ginger, epsom salts, ammonia, mustard, gin with iron filings, rosemary, lavender, and opium (Gordon, p.36; Norman Himes, Medical History of Contraception; George Devereux, �A Typological Study of Abortion in 350 Primitive, Ancient, and Pre-Industrial Societies�

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    Aside from internal abortifacients, women have attempted external methods such as severe exercise, heavy lifting, climbing trees, hot baths, jumping and shaking. As late as the 20th Century, Jewish women of the Manhattan Lower East Side attempted to abort by sitting over a pot of steam (or hot stewed onions), a technique described in an 8th Century Sanskrit source.

    Women�s diaries and correspondence indicate that abortion was commonplace and accepted in the United States during the 19th century. The majority of women before the 19th century and many in the 19th century did not consider abortion a sin. Until the early part of the century, there were no laws against abortions done in the first few months of pregnancy. Prior to the 19th century, Protestants and Catholics held abortion permissible until �quickening��the moment the fetus was believed to gain life.

    In the 1870�s, the New York Times estimated there were 200 full time abortionists in New York City and abortion safety was generally quite high. Today, as likely then, more women die in childbirth than during abortions. The most dangerous abortions were not those done mechanically by abortionists but those attempted with internal medicines which caused abortion by a general harsh treatment of the entire body (Gordon, p.53). During the 1800�s, newspaper ads were plentiful:

    �Portuguese Female Pills, not to be used during pregnancy for they will cause miscarriage.�

    Folk remedies for unwanted pregnancies were common and stories come from all periods of American history.

    In Maryland in 1652, Susanna Warren, a single woman made pregnant by �prominent citizen�, Captain Mitchell, said that he prepared for her a �potion of Phisick�, put it in an egg and forced her to take it. It didn�t work and she brought charges against him.
    In 1862, when the wife of Confederate General William Dorsey Pender wrote him that unfortunately she was pregnant, he wrote her pious phrases about �God�s will� but also sent her pills which his company surgeon had thought might �relieve� her.
    (Gordon, p.55)

    By the first half of the 19th Century, many states had already made abortion a crime at any stage of fetal development. Yet criminal abortionists continued to practice and in fact were often acquitted by juries. During the 1860�s and 1870�s, abortions continued to be available and doctors admitted to being asked frequently to perform abortions. Increasingly during the second half of the 19th century, medical attacks on abortion grew and moral condemnation intensified.
    The evidence of ancient contraceptive knowledge, methods of birth control which (unlike infanticide and abortion) are used before conception, is impressive. A list of contraceptive methods would include: withdrawal by the male; melting suppositories designed to form an impenetrable coating over the cervix; diaphragms, caps, or other devices which are inserted into the vagina over the cervix and withdrawn after intercourse; intrauterine devices; douching after intercourse designed to kill or drive out the sperm; condoms; and varieties of the rhythm methods. None of these methods are new. Except for the addition of the modern birth control pill introduced in 1960, there are no new methods. All of these techniques were practiced in the ancient world and in modern pre-industrial societies.

    Coitus interruptus, withdrawal, was practiced in Africa, Australasia, the Middle East, and in Europe. Though condemned by Judaism and Roman Catholicism, its practice was common enough in Medieval Europe and later to be frequently attacked in canonical writings as a �vice against nature� (Gordon, p.41). Studies in the 1920�s and 30�s in New York and New Jersey found that coitus interruptus was the most common pre-medical form of birth control. Further evidence of its practice comes from documentation of doctors� remonstrances against it�arguing that it was dangerous, caused nervousness, ultimately impotence, and one who said it might lead to hardening of the uterus in women.

    Coitus obstructus was a method recommended in several Sanskrit texts which required pressing on the forepart of the testicle; the pressure of the finger there may block the urethra forcing semen into the bladder. Coitus reservatus is a method whereby the male avoids ejaculation entirely. This method was used by the Hindus and reappeared among some American Utopian societies in the 19th Century.

    Douching was used in ancient times but was not very effective. The Greek physician A�tious know the properties of vinegar but recommended it be applied to the penis rather than used as a douche. 19th Century recipes in women�s books show that douching was known and tried in the United States.

    A pessary is a vaginal suppository used to kill sperm and/or block their passage through the cervix. The pessary was the most effective contraceptive device used in ancient times and numerous recipes for pessaries from ancient times are known. Ingredients for pessaries included: a base of crocodile dung (dung was frequently a base), a mixture of honey and natural sodium carbonate forming a kind of gum. All were of a consistency which would melt at body temperature and form an impenetrable covering of the cervix. The use of oil was also suggested by Aristotle and advocated as late as 1931 by birth control advocate Marie Stopes.

    Another kind of pessary was a solid object to block the cervix. This method was popular in pre-industrial societies, especially Africa; here women used plugs of chopped grass or cloth. Balls of bamboo tissue paper were used by Japanese prostitutes, wool by Islamic and Greek women, linen rags by Slavic women (Gordon, p. 43). The sponge used by Ancient Jews was considered the most effective contraceptive in use until the development of the diaphragm. The sea sponge was wrapped in silk with a string attached.

    The rhythm methods (based on calculating the woman�s fertile period and abstaining from intercourse during it) were widely discussed during the 19th century. Unfortunately it was very ineffective during the 19th and early 20th century, since the female fertility cycle was not understood until 1920. Until that time, observing other mammals lead most to believe ovulation occurred either during menstruation or just before it.

    The condom has been produced in this country since 1840. It was second in popularity to male withdrawal according to the 1920�s and 30�s studies. In fact, though, the condom was fully advocated not to prevent pregnancy but in campaigns against venereal disease. The widespread use of the condom to prevent V.D. following World War I contributed to the acceptance of contraception because even people of fundamentalist persuasion were forced to encourage its use.

    Since ancient times, people have been attempting to control the sizes of their families. Clearly, men and women have wanted to control the number of their offspring for physical, emotional, social, and economic reasons and they have taken responsibility for attempting to use various methods of contraception. Yet, periodically throughout history, some people have attempted to deny women the right to birth control. Their reasons have had social, moral and religious, economic and political foundations.

    In 1873 Anthony Comstock pushed a bill through Congress which defined contraceptive information as obscene. What was the social, economic and political climate in the United States that fostered the passage of the Comstock Law and continued adherence to it at the turn of the century? Why was it not until 1965 before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the 1879 birth control law of Connecticut?

    By the 1860�s in this country, new legislation had outlawed all abortions except those �necessary to save the life of a woman�. In 1869, Pope Pius IX declared that all abortion is murder. While there were many reasons why abortion was suddenly a crime, one reason is quite sensible: abortion was a potentially dangerous operation and a new wave of humanitarianism in the mid 19th century brought laws to protect women. The other reasons for making abortion a crime related to changing views on birth control.

    Medical care for women passed out of the hands of mid-wives and into the hands of male doctors, most of whom did not respect a woman�s right to terminate (or prevent) a pregnancy. Dr. Edmund Bliss Foote was an exception. An ardent feminist, his writings during the 1860�s and 70�s on birth control and sex emphasized women�s rights and he publicly advocated the use of the condom and the �womb veil�, an early diaphragm.

    Attitudes towards abortion changed with a new understanding of the biology of conception and pregnancy which made it clear that the fetus is �alive� sooner than previously thought. Even the Catholic Church had previously considered 40 days after conception for a boy and 80 days for a girl as the moment of �quickening� or the beginning of life.

    Governments and religious groups desired population growth to fill factories and industries and new farming territories. Just as women were beginning to understand conception well enough to attempt to avoid it, President Theodore Roosevelt in March, 1905, attacked birth control and condemned the tendency towards smaller families as decadent, a sign of moral disease.

    Social and moral reformers campaigned to ban �sex for pleasure� and against abortion and birth control. Early suffragists had campaigned for voluntary motherhood during the 1870�s, but they advocated celibacy and abstinence for birth control. But as social moralists began to preach�sex outside of marriage was immoral and, indeed, sex within marriage was immoral if not for making babies�cautious suffragists became ardent feminists. And conservative suffragists began to speak out publicly for birth control in response to President Roosevelt and the social moralists.

    Those who saw fit to define contraceptive information as obscene opposed birth control, citing the following objections: birth control practice is sinful; the nation needs a growing population of large, stable families (and indeed some of them feared that �Yankee� stock would be overcome by immigrants, non-whites and the poor); and birth control represented a rebellion of women against their primary social duty�motherhood.

    A. Comstock, who was born in New Canaan, Connecticut, was responsible for the federal law banning birth control and for the passage of similar laws in twenty two states. The strictest laws were passed in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

    1879 General Statutes of Connecticut, Section 6246: Use of drugs or instruments to prevent conception. Any person who will use any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned.
    Accessories. Section 54-196: Any person who assists, abets, councils, causes, hires or commands another to commit any offense may be prosecuted and punished as if he were the principal offender.

    Comstock worked as a special federal agent charged with the responsibility of enforcing laws aimed at stopping proliferation, distribution and use of �obscene� articles.
    Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) campaigned from 1914 until 1937 to remove the stigma of obscenity from contraception. Working with a doctor to save the life of tenement dweller, Sadie Sachs, from the affects of a self-induced abortion, she made her decision to fight the Comstock Law and to insure that women received contraceptive education, counseling and service. She is credited with coining the phrase, birth control.

    In 1914, Sanger published and mailed a magazine, Women Rebel, advocating the use of birth control techniques she had learned about in France. In 1916, she opened the first birth control clinic in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Hundreds of women attended the clinic; but within one month police arrested Sanger, her sister, and her friend and closed the clinic. Sanger then turned her energy toward the legislative process; the Suffragette Movement contributed to her feeling that legal reform was possible if newly won political power was used. Sanger�s ultimate goal was to make medically prescribed birth control legal and available to anyone for any reason�personal, social, economic or medical.

    Between 1912 and 1930, House Bills to repeal the Comstock Laws in Connecticut were repeatedly rejected. In 1931 doctors began to support the bills. Between 1941 and 1959, seventeen bills were entered; some passed in the House but were defeated in the Senate. Arguments continued to center on religious views and questions of public morality.

    In 1961, Dr. C. Lee Buxton and Estelle Griswald opened a birth control clinic in New Haven, Connecticut. They were arrested and fined. The Planned Parenthood League appealed the Griswald vs. Ct. case and, in 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the 1879 birth control law. After 86 years, birth control could be used legally in Connecticut, and contraceptive services have become increasingly available to teenagers, including minors. During 1980 and 1981, a number of bills and amendments were entered which attempted to limit the availability of these services to adolescents.

    Boston Women�s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves. N.Y.: Simon and Schuster. 1975.

    Gordon, Linda. Woman�s Body, Woman�s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Penguin Books. 1976.

    Guttmacher Report. Teenage Pregnancy: The Problem That Hasn�t Gone Away. New York: The Alan Guttmacher Institute/Policy Analysis and Public Education. 1980.

    Hatcher, Robert A., MD., et al. Contraceptive Technology 1980-81. Atlanta: Emory University/Grady Memorial Hospital, Family Planning Program. 1981.

    History of the Birth Control Movement�Tape of Connecticut Public Radio broadcast�Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

    London, K. �Mainstreaming the Adolescent Mother.� Issues in Health Care of Women Vol. 3, No. 1 Jan.-Feb. 1981.

    Reed, James. From Private Vice to Public Virtue: Birth Control in America Since 1830. New York: Basic Books. 1978.
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  3. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    A History of Birth Control
    Clearing Up Misconceptions

    By Daniel DeNoon
    WebMD Feature

    Aug. 6, 2001 -- The controversial topic of birth control seems like a modern issue -- but it's not. Long before the pill, U.S. men and women wanted -- and successfully used -- a variety of contraceptive devices.

    In her new book, Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America, historian Andrea Tone, PhD, notes that such devices were widely available in the U.S. both before and after the Comstock law of 1873 that declared contraception to be both obscene and illegal.

    "Irrespective of the status of the law, men and women have used birth control -- and mostly it has been successful birth control," says Tone, of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. "The law had very little impact on people's desires and ability to get their hands on what were contraband items. But illegality does not give people the advantage of using goods that are properly tested. Much of the history of black-market birth control involves needless suffering, pain, death in a few cases -- and pregnancy."

    Dozens of Devices

    Before the Industrial Revolution, birth control devices in America relied largely on condoms for men -- fashioned from linen or from animal intestines -- and on douches made for and by women from common household ingredients. Abortion-inducing herbs such as savin and pennyroyal also were used, as were pessaries -- substances or devices inserted into the vagina to block or kill sperm.

    The invention of rubber vulcanization in 1839 soon led to the beginnings of a U.S. contraceptive industry producing condoms (now often called "rubbers"), intrauterine devices or IUDs, douching syringes, vaginal sponges, diaphragms and cervical caps (then called "womb veils"), and "male caps" that covered only the tip of the penis. British playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw called the rubber condom the "greatest invention of the 19th century."

    When these devices were declared illegal, the flourishing trade simply began selling them as "hygiene" products. For example, vaginal sponges were sold to protect women from "germs" instead of sperm. This led to misleading if not downright fraudulent advertising. From 1930 until 1960, the most popular female contraceptive was Lysol disinfectant -- advertised as a feminine hygiene product in ads featuring testimonials from prominent European "doctors." Later investigation by the American Medical Association showed that these experts did not exist.

    "The fraud of the Lysol douche was a byproduct of illegality," Tone says. "Because birth control couldn't be advertised openly, manufacturers would use euphemisms to refer to birth control. They took advantage of consumers' hopes."

    The Failure of Rhythm and 'Just Say No'

    The rhythm method -- that is, having sex only during a woman's "safe period" when she is not ovulating -- was widely recommended by doctors. But doctors had it wrong. Based on animal observations, they thought women were "safe" at the midpoint of their menstrual cycle. This is precisely when women are most likely to conceive. So women who could afford medical advice actually were told to have sex at the exact time they were most likely to become pregnant.

    Similarly, another early effort at behavioral birth control failed during the first World War. Dismayed at the high rates of sexually transmitted disease that were disabling their soldiers, armies and navies issued condoms to their fighting men. The U.S., however, attempted to teach "continence" -- that is, abstinence -- to their troops. Few U.S. troops obeyed this command, and many obtained condoms while abroad.

    Ironically, these likely were American-made condoms, as the war made U.S. manufacturers the leaders in the field. After the war, soldiers brought their new-found knowledge home with them. Condoms became legal in 1918, the same year the war ended.

    Tone sees a lesson in this experience.

    "We are way behind in what we say to young people," she says. "The best example is World War I, where the official government line was that abstinence would make you stronger. But no more than 30% of soldiers were abstaining.

    "We saw this in the Reagan era with the just-say-no approach to drugs, and this has carried over to sex," she continues. "We would prefer to think young people would be able to resist these urges that are universal, and we fool ourselves. We spend less money on birth control because we think if a person does get pregnant or an STD, it is just their own fault -- they weren't disciplined enough."

    By the 1920s, the U.S. birth rate dropped by half -- statistical evidence that the explosion of condom sales and a more modern approach to the rhythm method were in widespread use. Condom reliability was still terrible by modern standards -- but people achieved effective birth control by combining use of condoms, the rhythm method, male withdrawal, diaphragms, and/or intrauterine devices.

    Feminism and Contraception

    Early feminists sought to improve the lot of women by gaining increased respect for their traditional roles. This strategy made it difficult for them to endorse contraception.

    "In the late 19th century, many suffrage leaders frowned on birth control because that meant condoms: which they saw as linked to the brothel, to giving men free reign to cheat on their wives, and to a negative effect on the family," Tone says. "They felt it was important for women to gain political and social power by defending their roles as mothers and protectors of virtue."

    Even Victoria Woodhull, who in the late 1900s advocated free love, felt that only "natural" contraception was acceptable. She nevertheless paved the way for future feminists by insisting that women should have the power to time their own pregnancies.

    "Advocates of voluntary motherhood urged the use of birth control so their family could look like what they wanted it to look like -- three kids, say, and a woman without a ruined body," Tone says. "By the time of Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger, feminists felt that all individuals should have access to safe birth control or else women -- working women in particular -- would be disadvantaged. That was one of Margaret Sanger's great contributions: She illuminated the struggle for control of women's bodies.

    "Sanger and her patron Katharine McCormick felt that not only should women of all classes have quality birth control, but it should be a type of birth control that women have power over. They felt the only way women could be liberated was to have the unilateral power to control sexuality."

    McCormick's husband, Cyrus McCormick -- heir to the International Harvester Company fortune -- was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Fearing that the disease was inherited, she resolved never to have children -- and dedicated huge sums to the search for woman-controlled contraception.

    This research resulted in the development of the birth control pill. Early versions of the pill contained huge doses of estrogen -- and were approved after clinical tests that would be considered totally inadequate by today's standards for drug approval. The high rate of side effects from the pill -- and the later scandal involving the aggressive marketing and defense of the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device, despite the manufacturer's knowledge of safety problems -- led many women to question why birth control had to be aimed at women instead of men.

    Full Circle to Today's World

    Today it is well known that the condom is the only effective barrier to HIV and to many -- but not all -- other sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.

    Despite this, neither condoms nor other forms of contraception are used consistently by those who most need them. Some numbers, released in July 2001 by U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher:

    Nearly half of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended.
    Every year, 12-15 million Americans are infected with a new STD.
    Nearly 1 million Americans are infected with the AIDS virus -- and a third of these people don't even know it.
    According to the CDC, more than 65 million U.S. residents now are living with an incurable sexually transmitted disease.

    "I would like to say today more men and women are turning to condoms as the answer to STDs, but the evidence shows that we are not seeing a dramatic increase in condom use equal to the dramatic increase in STDs," Tone says. "Before the pill, the condom was the most common method of birth control. Now people say men won't do this, but that hasn't always been the case. Today, two-thirds of condoms are purchased by women. Maybe men in the very recent past didn't enjoy taking charge of fertility, but they did it anyway. If we can change perceptions, maybe that time can come back again."

    Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 10:50:51 PM

    A Brief History of Birth Control
    From early contraception to the birth of the Pill
    Monday, May 03, 2010

    1550 B.C.
    An Egyptian manuscript called the Ebers Papyrus directs women on how to mix dates, acacia and honey into a paste, smear it over wool and use it as a pessary to prevent conception

    Casanova's memoirs detail his experiments in birth control, from sheep-bladder condoms to the use of half a lemon as a makeshift cervical cap

    Charles Goodyear invents the technology to vulcanize rubber and puts it to use manufacturing rubber condoms, intrauterine devices, douching syringes and "womb veils"

    Congress passes an antiobscenity law that deems birth control info obscene and outlaws its dissemination. At the time, the U.S. is the only Western nation to criminalize contraception

    A large cervical cap is developed--an early version of the diaphragm

    Margaret Sanger opens America's first family-planning clinic, in Brooklyn. It is shut down within 10 days

    Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which later becomes the Planned Parenthood Federation of America

    Anglican bishops approve limited use of birth control; Pope Pius XI affirms church teaching against contraception

    A judge lifts the federal obscenity ban on birth control, but contraception remains illegal in most states

    Prompted by Sanger, Gregory Pincus begins research on the use of hormones in contraception. In Mexico City, chemist Carl Djerassi creates a progesterone pill

    John Rock, below, in collaboration with Pincus, bottom, conducts the first human Pill trial on 50 women in Massachusetts

    In May, the FDA announces its approval of Enovid as a birth control pill (almost half a million American women are already taking it for "therapeutic purposes")

    (Watch TIME's video "The Pill at 50: Freedom and Paradox.")

    In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court strikes down state laws prohibiting contraception for married couples; 6.5 million American women are on the Pill

    Concerns about the Pill's safety and side effects prompt Senate hearings

    Lower-dose Pills dominate the market; 10.5 million American women are taking the Pill

    A new study of 46,000 women conducted over 40 years found that women on the Pill live longer and are less likely to die prematurely of all causes, including cancer and heart disease. Some 100 million women around the world use the Pill
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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    The World Trade Center Towers Originally Lacked Lightswitches

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    When the World Trade Center in New York City was first opened in 1973, employees didn’t have to worry about turning off the lights when they left work. Why was that? Because their offices didn’t have switches.

    In the early 1970s, electricity was considered “too cheap to meter” so the building’s planners– in a show of bravado, if not wastefulness– opted to forgo the traditional on-off switches, meaning all lights stayed on indefinitely, or at least until a floor manager turned them off for the day.

    After energy prices rose markedly over the the following decade, individual light switches and a programmable scheduling system were eventually installed in 1982.

    Nixon Had a Speech Prepared In Case the Apollo 11 Astronauts Were Stranded in Space

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    When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, they made history. But one thing that didn’t make history that day was the backup speech that President Nixon was slated to give in the event that something went wrong on the mission and the astronauts were stranded 238,900 miles from earth.

    Written by presidential speechwriter William Safire and not revealed until 1999, the speech was planned in case the astronauts had to be abandoned. In that scenario, according to Safire in a July 18, 1999 Meet The Press interview, “then they would have to be abandoned on the moon. Left to die there, And mission control would have to, to use their euphemism, close down communication. And the men would either starve to death or commit suicide. And so we prepared for that with a speech that I wrote and the president was ready to give that.”

    Below is the full text of the speech that Nixon never gave.

    To : H. R. Haldeman
    From : Bill Safire
    July 18, 1969.


    Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

    These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
    These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

    They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

    In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

    In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

    Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

    For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

    The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.

    Kodak Invented the Technology That Later Forced Them Into Bankruptcy

    US Patent number 4,131,919. Though it may not go down in history, it’s sure to be one of the most important inventions in our modern age.

    In 1975, Kodak employee Steven Sasson built the world’s first functional digital camera using then-new but now-ubiquitous CCD chips. Though it would take a few decades for the technology to hit the mainstream, Kodak was responsible for inventing the same technology that would later force it to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in January 2012.

    Although it also brought the world’s first single lens reflex digital camera to market in the early 90s, Kodak was slow to shift its business from film-based to to the digital-based products (the company once made almost all of its income from selling film).

    2007 was the last year that the imaging pioneer turned a profit, and today Kodak relies on suing others for allegedly infringing its patents (ones that it often failed to capitalize upon), and since declaring bankruptcy has resorted to auctioning those patents off to the highest bidder.

    President Roosevelt Used to Ride Around in Al Capone’s Limousine

    Hours after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Secret Service found themselves in a bind. President Franklin D Roosevelt was to give his infamy speech to Congress the next day, and although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents weren’t sure how to transport him safely.

    The White House did already have a specially built limousine for the president that he regularly used, it wasn’t bulletproof, and the Secret Service realized this could be a major problem now that the country was at war. FDR’s speech was to take place at noon December 8th, and time was running out. They had to procure an armored car, and fast.

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    There was one slight problem. US government rules at the time restricted the purchase of any vehicle that cost more than $750 ($10,455 in today’s dollars). It was pretty obvious that they weren’t going to get an armored car that cheap, and certainly not in less than a day.

    One Secret Service agent was a quick thinker. The federal government did already have in its possession a car that just might fit the bill: Al Capone’s, which had been sitting in a Treasury Department parking lot ever since it had been seized from the infamous mobster during the IRS’ tax evasion suit years earlier.

    Capone’s car was a sight to behold. It had been painted black and green so as to look identical to Chicago’s police cars at the time. It also had a specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grille, along with a police scanner radio. To top it off, the gangster’s 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan had 3,000 pounds of armor and inch-thick bulletproof windows. Mechanics are said to have cleaned and checked each feature of the Caddy well into the night of December 7th, to make sure that it would run properly the next day for the Commander in Chief.

    And run properly it did. The car apparently preformed perfectly– so perfectly that Roosevelt kept using it– at least until his old car could be fitted with identical features (and to this day, Presidential limousines have flashing police lights hidden behind their grilles).

    Coca-Cola’s Secret Ingredient Used to be Cocaine

    Where did you think it got the name Coca-Cola anyway? Yes, popular legend is correct, and the soft drink did originally contain cocaine (obtained from the coca leaf).

    Coca-Cola was first conceived between 1885 and 1886 by a John Pemberton, a former Confederate soldier turned drug store owner. He marketed it as a “patent medicine” and claimed that it would cure whatever ailed the consumer, including headaches, impotence and morphine addiction (though it apparently didn’t work too well as the later, because Pemberton later himself got addicted to morphine).

    Above: Coca-Cola The name Coca-Cola was derived from its two “medical” ingredients: “Coca” came from the coca leaf which is used to create the cocaine the drink contained, and “Cola” from the Kola nut, which provided the drink’s caffeine.

    After the drink was accused of having “similar effects to cocaine, morphine and such like” and being the cause of racial ferment, the Coca-Cola company decided to cut out active cocaine.

    The presence of cocaine was hardly a secret: a drawing of the coca leaf was even featured in the advertising:

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    However, the company was still attached to the name, and, in order to keep calling itself Coca-Cola, they felt they needed to have at least some element of the original coca leaves in the product. As a result, they switched from active cocaine to un-synthesized coca leaves.

    Before this was known, the company was even slapped with a “misbranding” lawsuit by the US government, which claimed that they didn’t have the right to call themselves Coca-Cola if they no longer contained coca leaves (Coca-Cola won this case).

    And, believe it or not, Coke still contains coca leaves. To this day, the Coca-Cola company puts in their syrup what’s left of the leaves, as supplied by a company called Stepan, after they’ve had the cocaine extracted from them. (Stephan, by the way, is the only US company legally licensed to import coca leaves, which they do from Peru. While Coca-Cola gets the “spent leaves,” the active ingredients go to a pharmaceutical company called Mallinckrodt, the only US company legally allowed to use cocaine in their medicines.)
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  7. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member


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    “If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. ” ― Michael Crichton

    “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” ― Mark Twain

    “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ― George Orwell

    “We'll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.” ― Chuck Palahniuk

    “The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” ― Alan Bennett

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    “History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” ― James Joyce

    “Half of writing history is hiding the truth.” ― Joss Whedon

    “History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” ― Julian Barnes

    “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” ― Thomas Jefferson

    “The human race tends to remember the abuses to which it has been subjected rather than the endearments. What's left of kisses? Wounds, however, leave scars.” ― Bertolt Brecht

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  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    It all started with a decision.

    Our company originated with candy-manufacturer Milton Hershey’s decision in 1894 to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the new enterprise was named the Hershey Chocolate Company. In 1900, the company began producing milk chocolate in bars, wafers and other shapes. With mass production, Hershey was able to lower the per-unit cost and make milk chocolate, once a luxury item for the wealthy, affordable to all. One early advertising slogan described this new product as “a palatable confection and a most nourishing food.”

    A company on the move.

    The immediate success of Hershey’s low-cost, high-quality milk chocolate soon caused the company’s owner to consider increasing his production facilities. He decided to build a new chocolate factory amid the gently rolling farmland of south-central Pennsylvania in Derry Township, where he had been born. Close to the ports of New York and Philadelphia that supplied the imported sugar and cocoa beans needed, surrounded by dairy farms that provided the milk required, and with a local labor supply of honest, hardworking people, the location was perfect. By the summer of 1905, the new factory was turning out delicious milk chocolate.

    Looking to expand its product line, the company in 1907 began producing a flat-bottomed, conical milk chocolate candy that Mr. Hershey decided to name HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolates. At first, they were individually wrapped in little squares of silver foil, but in 1921 machine wrapping was introduced. That technology was also used to add the familiar “plume” at the top to signify to consumers that this was a genuine HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolate. In 1924, the company even had it trademarked.

    New products, hard times.

    Throughout the next two decades, even more products were added to the company’s offerings. These included MR. GOODBAR Candy Bar (1925), HERSHEY’S Syrup (1926), HERSHEY'S chocolate chips (1928) and the KRACKEL bar (1938). Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, these products helped the newly incorporated Hershey Chocolate Corporation maintain its profitability and avoid any worker layoffs. Nevertheless, supported by the CIO labor union, a group of workers staged a six-day strike that ended with the strikers being forcibly removed by loyal workers and local farmers.

    HERSHEY’S chocolate goes to war.

    With the outbreak of World War II, the Hershey Chocolate Corp. (which had provided milk chocolate bars to American doughboys in the first war) was already geared up to start producing a survival ration bar for military use. By the end of the war, more than a billion Ration D bars had been produced and the company had earned no less than five Army-Navy “E” Production Awards for its exceptional contributions to the war effort. In fact, the company’s machine shop even turned out parts for the Navy’s antiaircraft guns.

    A family friend becomes a family member.

    The postwar period saw the introduction of a host of new products and the acquisition of an old one. Since 1928, H.B. “Harry” Reese’s Candy Company, also located in Hershey, had been making chocolate-covered peanut butter cups. Given that Hershey Chocolate Company supplied the coating for REESE’S “penny cups," (the wrapper said, “Made in Chocolate Town, So They Must Be Good”), it was not surprising that the two companies had a good relationship. As a result, seven years after Reese’s death in 1956, the H.B. Reese Candy Company was sold to Hershey Chocolate Corp.

    Growing up and branching out.

    The following decades would see the company - renamed Hershey Foods Corporation in 1968 - expanding its confectionery product lines, acquiring related companies and even diversifying into other food products. Among the many acquisitions were San Giorgio Macaroni and Delmonico Foods (1966); manufacturing and marketing rights to English candy company Rowntree MacKintosh’s products (1970); Y&S Candies, makers of TWIZZLERS licorice (1977); Dietrich Corp.’s confectionery operations (1986); Peter Paul/Cadbury’s U.S. confectionery operations (1988); and Ronzoni Foods (1990).

    The Hershey Company enters a new century.

    Today, The Hershey Company is the leading North American manufacturer of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery and grocery products. As the new millennium begins, The Hershey Company continues to introduce new products frequently and take advantage of growth opportunities through acquisitions. HERSHEY'S products are known and enjoyed the world over. In fact, the company markets its products in approximately 70 countries worldwide. With approximately 14,000 employees and net sales in excess of $6.6 billion, The Hershey Company remains committed to the vision and values of the man who started it all so many years ago.

    History of Hershey's Chocolate & Milton Hershey

    In 1894 Milton Hershey started the Hershey Chocolate Company.

    Milton Hershey was born on September 13, 1857, in a farmhouse near the Central Pennsylvania village of Derry Church. Milton was in the fourth grade when his Mennonite father, Henry Hershey, found his son a position as an printer's apprentice in Gap, Pennsylvania. Milton later became an apprentice to a candy-maker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and candy-making became a passion which Milton grew to love.

    Milton Hershey - First Candy Shop
    In 1876, when Milton was only eighteen-years old, he opened his own candy shop in Philadelphia. However, the shop was closed after six years and Milton moved to Denver, Colorado, where he worked with a caramel manufacturer and learned caramel-making. In 1886, Milton Hershey moved back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and started the successful Lancaster Caramel Company.

    Hershey's Chocolate
    In 1893, Milton Hershey attended the Chicago International Exposition where he bought German chocolate-making machinery and began making chocolate-coated caramels. In 1894, Milton started the Hershey Chocolate Company and produced Hershey chocolate caramels, breakfast cocoa, sweet chocolate and baking chocolate. He sold his caramel business and concentrated on chocolate-making.

    Famous Brands
    The Hershey Chocolate Company has made or currently owns many famous Hershey chocolate candies including: Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars, Cadbury Creme Eggs candy, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme candy bar, Hershey's milk chocolate and milk chocolate with almonds bars, Hershey's Nuggets chocolates, Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's Hugs chocolates, Kit Kat wafer bar, Reese's crunchy cookie cups, Reese's NutRageous candy bar, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Sweet Escapes candy bars, TasteTations candy, Twizzlers candy, Whoppers malted milk balls, and York Peppermint Patties.
    Hershey's Kisses chocolates were first introduced in 1907 by Milton Hershey, who trademarked the "plume" extending out of the wrapper in 1924.

    1500 BC-400 BC
    The Olmec Indians are believed to be the first to grow cocoa beans as a domestic crop.
    250 to 900 CE
    The consumption of cocoa beans was restricted to the Mayan society's elite, in the form of an unsweetened cocoa drink made from the ground beans.
    AD 600
    Mayans migrate into northern regions of South America establishing earliest known cocoa plantations in the Yucatan.
    14th Century
    The drink became popular among the Aztec upper classes who upsurped the cocoa beverage from the Mayans and were the first to tax the beans. The Aztecs called it "xocalatl" meaning warm or bitter liquid.
    Columbus encountered a great Mayan trading canoe in Guanaja carrying cocoa beans as cargo.
    Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez recorded the cocoa usage in the court of Emperor Montezuma.
    Dominican friars took a delegation of Kekchi Mayan nobels to visit Prince Philip of Spain. The Mayans brought gift jars of beaten cocoa , mixed and ready to drink. Spain and Portugal did not export the beloved drink to the rest of Eurpoe for nearly a century.
    16th Century Europe
    The Spanish began to add cane sugar and flavorings such as vanilla to their sweet cocoa beverages.
    Cocoa gained popularity as a medicine and aphrodisiac.
    First official shipments of cocoa beans began arriving in Seville from Vera Cruz, Mexico.
    The first chocolate house was opened in London by a Frenchman. The shop was called the The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll. Costing 10 to 15 shillings per pound, chocolate was considered a beverage for the elite class.
    Eating solid chocolate was introduced in the form of chocolate rolls and cakes, served in chocolate emporiums.
    Cocoa beans had dropped in price from $3 per lb. to being within the financial reach of those other than the very wealthy.
    French inventor, Monsieur Dubuisson invented a table mill for grinding cocoa beans.
    Swedish naturalist, Carolus Linnaeus was dissatisfied with the word "cocoa," so renamed it "theobroma," Greek for "food of the gods."
    Chocolate was introduced to the United States when Irish chocolate-maker John Hanan imported cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester, Massachusetts, to refine them with the help of American Dr. James Baker. The pair soon after built America's first chocolate mill and by 1780, the mill was making the famous BAKER'S ® chocolate.
    Dr. Joseph Fry of Bristol, England, employed a steam engine for grinding cocoa beans, an invention that led to the manufacture of chocolate on a large factory scale.
    Antoine Brutus Menier built the first industrial manufacturing facility for chocolate.
    The pioneer of Swiss chocolate-making, François Louis Callier, opened the first swiss chocolate factory.
    The invention of the cocoa press, by Conrad Van Houten, helped cut prices and improve the quality of chocolate by squeezing out some of the cocoa butter and giving the beverage a smoother consistency. Conrad Van Houten patented his invention in Amsterdam and his alkalizing process became known as "Dutching". Several years earlier, Van Houten was the first to add alkaline salts to powdered cocoa to make it mix better with water.
    A form of solid eating chocolate was developed by Joseph Fry & Sons, a British chocolate maker.
    Joseph Fry & Son discovered a way to mix some of the cocoa butter back into the "Dutched" chocolate, and added sugar, creating a paste that could be molded. The result was the first modern chocolate bar.
    Joseph Fry & Son and Cadbury Brothers displayed chocolates for eating at an exhibition in Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England.
    Prince Albert's Exposition in London was the first time that Americans were introduced to bonbons, chocolate creams, hand candies (called "boiled sweets"), and caramels.
    Richard Cadbury created the first known heart-shaped candy box for Valentine's Day.
    John Cadbury mass-marketed the first boxes of chocolate candies.
    Daniel Peter of Vevey, Switzerland, experimented for eight years before finally inventing a means of making milk chocolate for eating.
    Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé joined together to form the Nestlé Company.
    Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, produced a more smooth and creamy chocolate that melted on the tongue. He invented the "conching" machine. To conch meant to heat and roll chocolate in order to refine it. After chocolate had been conched for seventy-two hours and had more cocoa butter added to it, it was possible to create chocolate "fondant" and other creamy forms of chocolate.
    The first known published recipe for chocolate brownies appeared in the Sears and Roebuck Catalogue.
    Canadian, Arthur Ganong marketed the first nickel chocolate bar. William Cadbury urged several English and American companies to join him in refusing to buy cacao beans from plantations with poor labor conditions.
    Swiss confiseur Jules Sechaud of Montreux introduced a machine process for manufacturing filled chocolates.
    Belgian chocolatier, Joseph Draps starts the Godiva Company to compete with Hershey's and Nestle's American market.
  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    History of Get Smart

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    The Beginning

    In 1965, Dan Melnick, a partner in the production company Talent Associates, decided it was time to create a television show spoofing James Bond and the current spy craze. He convinced the other partners of Talent Associates, Leonard Stern and David Susskind, that the idea would work and so Melnick started to put together the show.

    He approached Mel Brooks to create the show. Brooks, who was still trying to produce his first move, The Producers, agreed to do it. He has later said that the money from creating Get Smart allowed him to work on The Producers without having to spend time writing jokes for shows like the Perry Como Holiday Hour.

    There was a slight problem, however. Brooks had plenty of jokes and ideas, but he hated to actually put anything down on paper. Melnick approached Buck Henry and asked him to work with Brooks to create the show, and most importantly, put things down on paper.

    ABC initially expressed interest in the concept and wanted Talent Associates to use Tom Poston as Maxwell Smart. Talent Associates agreed, but ABC hated the initial script and demanded that a dog and Max's mother be added to the script. Brooks added Fang, but refused to add a mother for Max, saying it would destroy the integrity of the character. ABC rejected the script, saying it wasn't funny. Talent Associates bought back the script from ABC, which allowed them to show it to other networks.

    Melnick then approached Grant Tinker at NBC who picked up the show and commissioned a pilot. However, it would have to star Don Adams, not Tom Poston. When initially approached with the idea, Adams was hesitant to commit. When he found out Brooks and Henry had done the script, he immediately signed on for the pilot. Dan Melnick and Leonard Stern had already found Barbara Feldon to play 99 and she was actually cast before Don.

    The initial ideas of the show were conceived by Brooks, who came up with both the shoe phone and Max's name. It was Buck Henry who came up with the idea for the Cone of Silence. Many of the mannerisms and sayings for Maxwell Smart, however, came from Don Adams and his stand-up work, including the famous "Would you believe..." line. It was Leonard Stern who designed the open and close of the show, including the famous "nose gag" at the end of each episode. The theme song was written by Irving Szathmary, who was the brother of Bill Dana. Jon Burlingame of the Film Music Society has written a superb article on Szathmary and I highly recommend it.

    For an excellent behind-the-scenes discussion of the creation of Get Smart, check out my interview with Leonard Stern. You should also check out Jim Benson's TV Time Machine's interview with Mel Brooks.

    Season One

    Producer(s): Jay Sandrich, Arnie Rosen
    Executive Producer: Leonard Stern
    Story Editor: Buck Henry

    The first season saw the introduction of Hymie and the introduction and disappearance of Fang. Fang, who was a poorly trained dog, just was too difficult to work with and was written out of the show (aside from a brief appearance in season two. It's important to note that Mel Brooks' involvement with the show basically ended after the pilot. It's Buck Henry who was the main force behind the show and Henry who rewrote every episode. More than anyone, Buck Henry is responsible for the direction, style, and humor of the show. Stern and Henry won an Emmy Award for scriptwriting with "Ship of Spies."

    Season Two

    Producer: Arnie Rosen
    Executive Producer: Leonard Stern
    Story Editor: Buck Henry

    Season two saw the introduction of Max's favorite enemy, Siegfried, who opened this season by kidnapping the Chief. The Admiral also was introduced at the end of the season, while Agent 44's job was taken over by Agent 13, played by Dave Ketchum. Don Adams won an Emmy Award for his acting ability.

    Season Three

    Producer(s): Burt Nodella, Jess Oppenheimer
    Executive Producer: Leonard Stern
    Story Editor(s): Arne Sultan, Norman Paul

    Season Three saw the open change slightly as Max now drove a blue Kharman Ghia instead of the red Sunbeam. It also saw Buck Henry leave the show. The show received Emmy Awards for directing, acting, and Outstanding Comedy Series of the Year.

    Season Four

    Producer: Burt Nodella
    Executive Producer: Arne Sultan
    Story Editors: Allan Burns and Chris Hayward

    The fourth season saw a big change for the show. Max and 99 got engaged in the season opener and married during the November sweeps. The show's ratings had been slipping and NBC demanded a marriage in order to drum up interest in the show and boost ratings. Larabee began to take on a prominent role in the series, serving as the only agent dumber than Max. The wedding episode only provided a temporary boost in the ratings so NBC canceled the show at the end of the season. Don Adams picked up his third Emmy Award and the show picked up its second for the Outstanding Comedy Series.

    Season Five

    Producer: Chris Hayward
    Executive Producer: Arne Sultan
    Associate Producer: David Davis

    As soon as he heard of the cancellation by NBC, Melnick was on the phone to CBS who immediately picked up the show for a fifth season. The opening was made more uptempo by adding a brass section to it and Max was now driving an Opel. Siegfried was eliminated, allowed only one appearance in the show's worst episode. Agent 13 was gone, replaced by Al Molinaro as Agent 44. The Chief also began to get out of the office more to help Max, since 99 was pregnant or taking care of the children. The style and humor in the show took a dramatic change, as it become far less a satire and far more a traditional sit-com, featuring mugging to the camera and other not-subtle attempts at humor. The writing staff also changed, as Whitey Mitchell and Lloyd Turner become head writers and the show changes reflected their style.

    The big change in the Smart's relationship was 99's pregnancy, announced in the season opener. She gave birth to twins (never named) during the November sweeps period. Despite that ratings grabber, the show's ratings were declining and CBS canceled the show after just one year on the network.

    Life After Cancellation

    Get Smart moved to syndication in 1970 and became an immediate success story in that arena. The showed played regularly for over a decade in syndication, well past the normal three-year life of syndicated shows. That interest led to a theatrical movie, The Nude Bomb, bringing back Max. A critical and commercial failure, the movie also left a bad taste with Leonard Stern, Arne Sultan, and Don Adams. Eventually, they were convinced to create a second reunion, this time for ABC. Airing in 1988, Get Smart Again! was a commercial and critical success. In 1995, Fox attempted a rejuvenation of the series by casting Andy Dick (really) as Max's son and making him the star of the show. A total disaster, the show only lasted seven painful episodes. Complete details on these shows can be found on my sequels page. For many years Warner Brothers attempted to create a Get Smart movie, even signing Will Ferrell to play Max, but script problems caused delay after delay. Ferrell dropped out and Steve Carell came in as Max and, despite script problems, an unfunny Peter Segal-directed movie came out in 2008. A sequel was considered but never moved out of development. I was told by several insiders that audience polls held after the movie were not encouraging for a sequel. Details can be found on my movie page.

    A complicated rights picture meant that Get Smart would not be one of the early TV shows to be distributed on DVD. Unfortunately, the battling rightsholders reached agreement on DVD distribution mere weeks before the death of Don Adams, preventing him from participating in any extras for the set. Fortunately, Time-Life and HBO hired the brilliant Paul Brownstein to produce the DVDs and the set is fantastic. Check out the details on my DVD page.

    During the show's run, it generated a number of popular catchphrases, including "Would you believe...", "Missed it by that much!", "Sorry about that, Chief", "The Old (such-and-such) Trick", "And ... loving it," and "I asked you not to tell me that."

    The series centers on bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86. His female partner is Agent 99,[6] whose real name is never revealed in the series. Agents 86 and 99 work for CONTROL, a secret U.S. government counter-intelligence agency based in Washington, D.C. The pair investigates and thwarts various threats to the world, though Smart's bumbling nature and demands to do things by-the-book invariably cause complications. However, Smart never fails to save the day. Looking on is the long-suffering head of CONTROL, who is addressed simply as "Chief."

    The nemesis of CONTROL is KAOS, described as "an international organization of evil." KAOS was supposedly formed in Bucharest, Romania, in 1904.[7] Neither CONTROL nor KAOS is actually an acronym. Many actors appeared as KAOS agents, including Tom Bosley, John Byner, Victor French, Alice Ghostley, Ted Knight, Pat Paulsen, Tom Poston, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Middleton, Barry Newman, Julie Newmar, Vincent Price, William Schallert (who also had a recurring role as The Admiral, the first Chief of Control), Larry Storch. Conrad Siegfried, played by Bernie Kopell, is Smart's KAOS archenemy. King Moody (originally appearing as a generic KAOS killer) portrays the dim-witted but burly Shtarker, Siegfried's assistant.

    The enemies, world-takeover plots and gadgets seen in Get Smart parody the James Bond movies. "Do what they did except just stretch it half an inch," Mel Brooks said of the methods of this TV series.[8] Devices such as a shoe phone, The Cone of Silence and inner apartment booby traps were a regular part of most episodes. (See also: Gadgets section)

    Max and 99 marry in season four and have twins in season five. Agent 99 became the first woman on an American hit sitcom to keep her job after marriage and motherhood.[

    The show was inspired by the success of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Talent Associates commissioned Mel Brooks and Buck Henry to write a script about a bungling James Bond-like hero.[9] Brooks described the premise for the show they created in an October 1965 Time magazine article:
    "I was sick of looking at all those nice sensible situation comedies. They were such distortions of life. If a maid ever took over my house like Hazel, I'd set her hair on fire. I wanted to do a crazy, unreal comic-strip kind of thing about something besides a family. No one had ever done a show about an idiot before. I decided to be the first."[9]
    Brooks and Henry proposed the show to ABC, where network officials called their show "un-American" and demanded a "lovable dog to give the show more heart" and scenes showing Maxwell Smart's mother.[9] Brooks strongly objected to their latter suggestion:
    "They wanted to put a print housecoat on the show. Max was to come home to his mother and explain everything. I hate mothers on shows. Max has no mother. He never had one."

    Notable guest stars

    Get Smart used several familiar character actors and celebrities, and some future stars, in guest roles, including:

    Ian Abercrombie
    Steve Allen
    Barbara Bain
    Billy Barty
    Lee Bergere
    Shelley Berman
    Milton Berle
    Joseph Bernard
    Lynn Borden
    Ernest Borgnine
    Tom Bosley
    Victor Buono
    Carol Burnett
    John Byner
    James Caan
    Howard Caine
    Johnny Carson
    Jack Cassidy
    Ellen Corby
    Wally Cox
    Broderick Crawford
    Dennis Cross
    Robert Culp
    John Dehner
    Michael Dunn
    Robert Easton
    Dana Elcar
    Bill Erwin
    Jamie Farr
    John Fiedler
    Joey Forman
    Alice Ghostley
    Jack Gilford
    Leo Gordon
    Farley Granger
    Buddy Hackett
    Sid Haig
    Bob Hope
    John Hoyt
    Conrad Janis
    Gordon Jump
    Ted Knight
    James Komack
    Charles Lane
    Len Lesser
    Laurie Main
    Judith McConnell
    Pat McCormick
    Robert Middleton
    Al Molinaro
    Howard Morton
    Burt Mustin
    Barry Newman
    Julie Newmar
    Leonard Nimoy
    Alan Oppenheimer
    Pat Paulsen
    Angelique Pettyjohn
    Regis Philbin
    Tom Poston
    Ann Prentiss
    Vincent Price
    Don Rickles
    Alex Rocco
    Cesar Romero
    Vito Scotti
    Larry Storch
    Vic Tayback
    Fred Willard
    Jason Wingreen
    Dana Wynter
    Del Close

    Both Bill Dana and Jonathan Harris, with whom Adams appeared on The Bill Dana Show, also appeared, as did Adams' father, William Yarmy, brother, Dick Yarmy, and daughter, Caroline Adams.

    The series featured several cameo appearances by famous actors and comedians, sometimes uncredited and often comedian friends of Adams. Johnny Carson appeared, credited as "special guest conductor," in "Aboard the Orient Express." Carson returned for an uncredited cameo as a royal footman in the third season episode "The King Lives?" Other performers to make cameo appearances included Steve Allen, Milton Berle, Ernest Borgnine, Wally Cox, Robert Culp (as a waiter in an episode sending up Culp's I Spy), Phyllis Diller, Buddy Hackett, Bob Hope, and Martin Landau.

    Actress Rose Michtom (the real life aunt of the show's executive producer Leonard Stern) appeared in at least 44 episodes[29] – usually as a background extra with no speaking role. In the season 1 episode "Too Many Chiefs" when she is shown in a photograph, Max refers to her as "my Aunt Rose," but the Chief corrects Max by saying that it's actually KAOS agent Alexi Sebastian disguised as Max's Aunt Rose.[30] Fans refer to her as "Aunt Rose" in all of her dozens of appearances, even though her character is never actually named in most of them.
  10. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    All About Leap Day

    History of Leap Year
    The Roman dictator Julius Caesar is considered the “father” of leap year. The ancient Roman calendar system was based on a total of 355 days in a year—a full 10 ¼ days shorter than a solar year, which is the length of time it takes the Earth to make one complete orbit around the sun. To keep the calendar system in line with the seasons, Roman officials were supposed to insert an extra month every so often, but by the time Caesar began to rule Rome, the calendar had gotten seriously out of whack. Caesar consulted with the top astronomers of the day, and in 46 B.C. decided to add one day (known as an intercalary day, or leap day) every four years to make up the discrepancy between the lunar and solar calendars. Caesar also took the opportunity to rename Quintillis, the fifth month of the year (counting from March), leaving us with the month we call July today.

    The leap year tradition took effect in 45 B.C., after a transition year that contained three extra months to make up for the difference that had accumulated over the centuries. The Julian calendar didn’t number days from “1” on up, but instead used calends (first day of the month), ides (middle of the month) and nons (in between). The leap day was set on the day before the 6th of calends of March, so leap day originally came six days before the first day of March, or February 25 (as February normally had 29 days).

    That might have solved the problem, except that a solar year is actually 11 minutes short of 365¼ days: It’s actually closer to 365.2425 days long (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds). Astronomers figured this out around the second century A.D., but the calendar system didn’t change, and by the 16th century it was nearly 10 days off-track, even with the leap year system. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII made his own reforms to the Julian Calendar, restoring the vernal equinox to March 21 from March 11, and producing the calendar system most of us use today.

    • Did you know that according to the Gregorian calendar, leap year doesn’t occur exactly every four years? That’s right—Gregory was even more precise that that, and made leap year occur in years divisible by four, except for those divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400. Confusing enough for you? In effect, that means that 97 out of every 400 years are leap years, including the century years 1600 and 2000 but NOT 1700, 1800 and 1900.

    • According to British tradition, a leap day is the only day of the year a woman can propose marriage to a man. As legend has it, in fifth century Ireland, St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the fact that women had to wait for men to propose. So Patrick allowed women one day every four years to take the initiative. The tradition became the basis for Sadie Hawkins Day in the United States, first dreamed up by Al Capp in his cartoon serial “L’il Abner” and celebrated either on February 29 or November 15, the day the first L’il Abner comic appeared.

    • Because Greek superstition holds that marrying in a leap year brings bad luck, as many as one of every five Greek couples avoid planning their weddings in a leap year.

    • The first warrants for arrests in the Salem witchcraft trials were issued on February 29, 1692.

    Famous “Leaplings”
    Many people born on leap day–known as “leaplings” or “leapers”–don’t usually wait four years to celebrate their birthdays, but choose to celebrate on February 28 or March 1 instead. Some 4.1 million people worldwide have been born on a February 29, and the chances of having a leap birthday are one in 1,461. In a fascinating family coincidence (according to the Guinness Book of World Records), Norway’s three Henriksen siblings were born on three consecutive leap days: Heidi in 1960, Olav in 1964 and Leif-Martin in 1968.

    Some famous “Leaplings” throughout history include:

    • Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker movement (born 1736)
    • Gioacchino Rossini, composer (born 1792)
    • Jimmy Dorsey, jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter and big band leader (born 1904)
    • Dinah Shore, singer and actress (born 1916)
    • Billy Turner, trainer of Seattle Slew, winner of the 1977 Triple Crown (born 1940)
    • Dennis Farina, actor (born 1944)
    • Tony Robbins, self-help guru and motivational speaker (born 1960)
    • Antonio Sabato Jr., actor (born 1972)
    • Ja Rule, rapper/actor (born 1976)
  11. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    January 15, 2014
    Grisly London Discovery May Be Proof of City’s Gladiators By Christopher Klein

    In 1988, laborers working in a pit in the heart of London made a grisly discovery—39 partial or complete human skulls and the shaft of one adult right femur. Archaeologists excavated the ancient remains the following year and stored them in the nearby Museum of London. Now, 25 years later, new forensic research has revealed that the severed heads may offer proof of headhunting by the Roman army as well as the first evidence of gladiatorial combat in the Roman city of Londinium.

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    The findings of the state-of-the-art forensic testing done by Rebecca Redfern, a research osteologist with the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London, and her colleague Heather Bonney from the Natural History Museum were published this week in the Journal of Archaeological Science. While ancient human remains have been unearthed for centuries in the section of London along the course of Walbrook River, which now flows beneath the city, the re-examination of the skulls discovered in 1988 revealed that they were unlike any found in the city ever before and probably belonged to executed criminals, conquered enemies and fallen gladiators.

    The forensic research found that the remains had not been buried in one of the cemeteries outside the boundaries of Londinium and subsequently washed down the Walbrook River, but rather displayed in open waterlogged pits within an industrial area of the Roman city. Unlike in most Roman burial sites that include the very young and old alike, the remains found in the pit were determined by researchers to be from men between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. The bioarchaeological analysis found that one adult male jawbone was even gouged with canine teeth marks, indicating that soft tissue was present on the decomposing head when the dog got hold of it in the pit. Also unusual is that most of the skulls show evidence of multiple healed injuries, lethal blunt- and sharp-force trauma and even decapitation, suggesting that “violence was a common feature of their lives” according to the journal article.

    Redfern and Bonney, however, dated the remains to between 120 and 160 A.D., a time of peace and prosperity in Londinium when it was a powerful imperial outpost of the Roman Empire. There is no evidence of social unrest, warfare or organized violence during that time period, so how did these ancient Londoners come to such a brutal end?

    The most likely theory according to the authors is that at least some of the men were killed in the nearby amphitheatre, either as executed criminals or defeated gladiators. The age of the victims, mostly in their 20s, fits the typical demographical profile of gladiators, and the blunt-forced trauma in the frontal and parietal bones along with the sharp-force weapon injuries found in the victims are similar to those discovered in a gladiator cemetery at Ephesus, Turkey. Decapitation was also a method of dispatching of mortally injured gladiators, which is consistent with the remains found in the pit. If the theory is correct, it will be the first solid evidence of gladiatorial combat in London.

    Another possible explanation for the trauma seen in the remains put forth by the researchers is that some of the skulls were decapitated heads brought back from the fields of battle as trophies by Roman armies. Displaying body parts for ritual purposes is believed to have taken place in Britannia, and the Roman military engaged in the practice of headhunting, which is depicted on Roman architecture such as Trajan’s Column in Rome. During the first and second centuries A.D., military personnel serving in Londinium would have been stationed at the northern frontiers and engaged in sporadic warfare with enemy forces behind the Antonine Wall in Scotland and Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, so the heads that might have been brought back from the battlefields to London as trophies of war could have been those of Scottish barbarians.

    The researchers don’t rule out that the victims in the pit could have been a mix of gladiators, enemy fighters and executed convicts. (While some Roman criminals faced death before the public in the amphitheatre by hanging, crucifixion or burning, the elites had the privilege of a more honorable execution—decapitation.) Ancient remains continue to be exhumed in London—the latest find occurred in October 2013 during construction of a utility tunnel near Liverpool Street Station. With this new research upending the centuries-old view that the ancient remains were simply washed out of Roman cemeteries, London’s Guardian newspaper reports that it “may force archaeologists to have another look at more recent skull finds.”
  12. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    7 Things You Should Know About the Battle of Gettysburg By Christopher Klein

    One hundred and fifty years ago, America experienced three bloody days unlike any others in its history. The Battle of Gettysburg left 51,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead, maimed or missing.

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    1. Gettysburg ended the Confederacy’s last full-scale invasion of the North.
    Following his victory at Chancellorsville, a confident Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River into Union territory in June 1863. Lee had invaded the North the prior year only to be repelled at Antietam, but on this occasion his army was at the peak of its strength as it pressed across the Mason-Dixon line into Pennsylvania. A victory at Gettysburg could have launched Confederate forces to Philadelphia, Baltimore or even Washington, DC. Instead, Lee’s army suddenly shifted from offense to defense after the defeat and 10 days later crossed back over the Potomac into Virginia. Never again would the Confederacy regain its momentum and push as deeply into Union territory, which is why many historians consider Gettysburg the “high water mark of the rebellion.”

    2. The battle proved that the seemingly invincible Lee could be defeated.
    While Lee had been fought to a draw at Antietam, the Union high command had yet to achieve a decisive victory over the Confederate general as the summer of 1863 began. In spite of being outnumbered, Lee had engineered significant victories at Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville among others. Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln relieved a string of Union generals—George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker—of command of the Army of the Potomac due to their failure to stop Lee’s army. Lincoln’s latest choice—General George Meade—had been installed just days before Gettysburg. Lee’s sterling record inspired complete trust in his troops and fear in his enemy. The Battle of Gettysburg, however, finally proved the bold general to be fallible.

    3. Gettysburg stunted possible Confederate peace overtures.
    Five days before the start of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate President Jefferson Davis dispatched Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens to negotiate a prisoner of war exchange with Lincoln under a flag of truce. Davis also gave Stephens license to proceed with broader peace negotiations. On July 4, Stephens sat aboard a boat in Chesapeake Bay awaiting permission to sail up the Potomac. Once news of victory at Gettysburg reached Lincoln, however, he denied the Confederate vice president’s request to pass through Union lines to come to Washington, DC, for negotiations.

    4. The battle bolstered badly sagging Union morale.
    The spirits of a war-weary North had reached a low ebb at the beginning of the summer of 1863. The Union had endured a string of losses, and now Lee had brought the war to their territory. A loss at Gettysburg could have devastated Union morale and pressured the Lincoln administration to negotiate a peace that would have resulted in two nations. Linked with news of the victory at Vicksburg on July 4, however, Gettysburg renewed public support for the war. Davis called Gettysburg the “most eventful struggle of the war” because “by it the drooping spirit of the North was revived.”

    5. Gettysburg ended Confederate enslavement of free blacks from the North.
    Thousands of slaves served in support roles for the Army of Northern Virginia, and as Lee’s army marched north into Pennsylvania, they seized as many as 500 African-Americans—some former slaves, some free their entire lives—and brought them back to Virginia to be sold into slavery. One resident of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, reported seeing some of the town’s African Americans “driven by just like we would drive cattle,” and at least one Confederate brigade threatened to burn down any Union house that harbored a fugitive slave.

    6. The battle led to the Gettysburg Address in which Lincoln redefined the Civil War as a struggle for freedom and democracy.
    Land preservation efforts began immediately after the Battle of Gettysburg and resulted in a national cemetery, consecrated by Lincoln on November 19, 1863. In a mere 272 words, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address recast the war as not merely a struggle to maintain the Union, but as a battle for larger human ideals. Lincoln called for “a new birth of freedom” and asserted that the survival of democracy itself was at stake. He told his countrymen that the task remaining was to ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    7. The battle forever transformed the town of Gettysburg.
    Prior to the Civil War, Gettysburg had been a prosperous village that supported two small colleges. After the battle, however, it would forever be seared by the memories of the slaughter. In the battle’s immediate aftermath, corpses outnumbered residents of the village of just over 2,000 by four to one. While it took years for the town to recover from the trauma, the first pilgrims arrived just days after the guns fell silent. In his book Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, Allen C. Guelzo reports that hundreds of people arrived by wagon just two days after the battle to see the carnage for themselves and that by August 1863 visitors could be found picnicking on Little Round Top amid shallow graves and rotting bodies of dead horses. Striking the balance between battlefield preservation and commercial development remains a constant debate in Gettysburg.
  13. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    6 Legendary Mercenary Armies

    Going back to ancient history, some of the world’s most feared fighting forces were made up of freelance warriors who weren’t aligned with any particular nation or king. Many of these soldiers of fortune were little more than glorified killers who sold their skills to the highest bidder and switched sides at will, but others employed rigorous codes of honor and chains of command as sophisticated as most national militaries.

    1. The Ten Thousand

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    As chronicled in the historian Xenophon’s “Anabasis,” the “Ten Thousand” were a motley assortment of Greek warriors contracted by Cyrus the Younger to help oust his brother King Artaxerxes II from the Persian throne. In 401 B.C., the Hellenic soldiers-for-hire—many of them hardened veterans of the Peloponnesian War—fought alongside Cyrus and his rebel army in a clash with the King’s forces near Baghdad. While the Ten Thousand held their own in combat, Cyrus was killed in the battle, and the mercenaries’ generals were double-crossed and murdered while trying to negotiate a retreat.

    Under pursuit from Artaxerxes II’s troops and hostile natives alike, the surviving members of the Ten Thousand were forced to band together and fight their way out of enemy territory. After electing Xenophon as one of their new leaders, the army of rogues embarked on a grueling nine-month odyssey that took them from the heart of Babylonia all the way to the Greek Black Sea port at Trapezus. Despite facing constant ambushes, punishing weather and famine, they arrived on friendly soil with nearly three fourths of their numbers still intact. Xenophon’s account of the Ten Thousand’s fighting retreat has since become a classic tale of heroism, and even served as the inspiration for the 1979 cult film “The Warriors.”

    2. The White Company

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    The White Company was one of the most infamous of the so-called “free companies”—bands of for-profit soldiers who conducted the lion’s share of warfare in 14th century Italy. The unit first rose to prominence in the 1360s before falling under the command of Sir John Hawkwood, an Englishman who had been knighted for his service in the Hundred Years’ War. With Hawkwood at the helm, the White Company became known as one of the most elite mercenary armies in Italy. Its troops—a cultural hodgepodge of English, German, Breton and Hungarian adventurers—were renowned for their skill with the longbow and the lance, and they terrified opponents with their lighting-quick surprise attacks and willingness to do battle during harsh weather or even at night.

    In an era when Italy was splintered between warring city-states and medieval lords, the men of the White Company made a killing auctioning their services off to the highest bidder. Between 1363 and 1388, they fought both for and against the Pope, the city of Milan and the city of Florence, but they were rarely out of the field even during times of peace. In fact, when unemployed, the adventurers often kept their coffers full by launching raids on nearby villages and towns.

    3. The Swiss Guard

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    Today, the Swiss Guard is known as striped-uniformed protectors of the Pope in the Vatican, but their history stretches back to bands of mercenaries that flourished during the Renaissance. More than one million Swiss adventurers fought in Europe’s armies between the 15th and 19th centuries. These troops were among the first European soldiers to master the use of pikes and halberds against more heavily armored foes, and by the 1400s, their revolutionary tactics and sheer ruthlessness had earned them a reputation as the best contract troops money could buy. Swiss mercenaries often worked for the French, and they fought and died in large numbers during the French Revolution.

    A small contingent of 150 Swiss soldiers of fortune began serving as papal bodyguards in 1506, and the unit endured as the official watchmen of the Vatican even after Switzerland banned its citizens from working as mercenaries. Still clad in their brightly colored Renaissance-era uniforms, the Swiss Guards of today are required to be Roman Catholics, stand at least 5 foot 6 inches tall and have a military background. Their role is often ceremonial, but in the past they have been required to fight to protect the pontiff. During one attack on Rome in 1527, nearly four-fifths of the Swiss Guard were slain while defending Pope Clement VII from capture.

    4. The Flying Tigers

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    Officially known as the American Volunteer Group, the famed “Flying Tigers” were a three-squadron force of fighter pilots who fought with the Chinese against the Japanese during World War II. The unit was first organized in early 1941 in the months just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Eager to impede the Japanese takeover of China while still appearing neutral, President Franklin D. Roosevelt allowed former U.S. military officer Claire Chennault to quietly recruit fighter jocks from the ranks of the U.S. Army Air Force. The risks were high, but so was the pay: while most Air Force pilots received a salary of around $260 a month, Chennault’s mercenaries earned between $600 and $750, along with a $500 bonus for each Japanese aircraft they shot down.

    Around one hundred American contract pilots arrived in Burma in mid-1941, where they were assigned to protect a crucial supply road from Japanese attacks. The “Flying Tigers”—famous for the iconic rows of shark teeth painted on the noses of their P-40 fighters—went on to rack up an unprecedented combat record. Despite flying slower, less maneuverable fighters than the enemy, the Americans downed 296 Japanese aircraft and destroyed more than 1,300 riverboats, all while only losing 69 planes and some two-dozen men. The group was officially disbanded in July 1942, but some of its members later rejoined their old units and served for the remainder of World War II.

    5. The Catalan Grand Company

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    First organized in 1302 by the adventurer Roger de Flor, the Catalan Grand Company was primarily composed of rugged Spanish veterans of the War of the Sicilian Vespers in Italy. Left unemployed at the conflict’s end, De Flor and his mercenaries contracted themselves to the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II, who brought them to the Eastern Mediterranean to fight off invading Ottoman Turks. The 6,500-strong Catalans succeeded in sweeping the Turks away from Constantinople, but their penchant for wanton sacking and looting also drew the ire of the Byzantines. In 1305, De Flor and some 1,300 of his men were ambushed and killed by another group of mercenaries in the Emperor’s employ.

    Rather than disband, the surviving Catalans embarked on one of the bloodiest and most bewildering adventures in medieval military history. Following an abortive attempt to establish an outlaw state in Gallipoli, they marched to Greece and found work as muscle for the Duke of Athens. But when a dispute arose over back pay, the Catalans once again went to war with a former employer. After crushing the Greek armies and killing the Duke at 1311’s Battle of Kephissos, they found themselves the de facto lords of the Duchy of Athens. Amazingly, the mercenaries managed to consolidate their power and rule over large swaths of Greece for more than 75 years until an army from Florence finally defeated them in battle. The remnants of the Catalan Grand Company disbanded shortly thereafter.

    6. The Varangian Guard

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    The descendants of Norsemen who originally ventured south as pirates and traders, the Varangian Guard were a band of Viking mercenaries paid to serve as the personal bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperor. The Guard first took up their post in the late 10th century for the Emperor Basil II, who preferred the axe-wielding barbarians to his more easily corruptible countrymen. The unit immediately proved useful in putting down a rebellion, and they went on to serve as the protectors of Constantinople for over two hundred years.

    At first, the Varangian Guard was almost entirely composed of hard-fighting, hard-drinking Vikings, but by the late 11th century their ranks began to be filled out by Englishmen, Normans and Danes. Winning entrance into the unit was no easy task. Initiates had to demonstrate their prowess in battle, and were forced to pay a small fortune in gold as an entrance fee. Still, the gifts showered on the Varangians ensured that its members left extremely wealthy, and some even went on to achieve positions of immense power. One of the most famous guardsmen was Harald Hardrada, who later claimed the throne of Norway.

    Did You Know?
    The Pinkerton National Detective Agency served as a mercenary police force in the United States for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The company was renowned for its relentless pursuit of Old West outlaws, and at its height it boasted more men than the standing U.S. Army. It was later condemned for its violent role in strikebreaking and other anti-union activities, most famously after 1892’s deadly Homestead Strike.
  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    National Geographic Cover Features Afghan Girl

    In December 1984, Afghanistan was five years into a bloody civil war between the Soviet Union, which sought to maintain a Marxist government there, and anti-government Islamic rebels called mujahideen.

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    Millions of refugees were pouring over the borders into Pakistan to escape the fighting.

    National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry was in the region for a story on the refugee crisis. While touring a refugee camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, he entered a large tent that served as a girls school. The first child he saw was a shy girl with fiery eyes, about 12 years old.

    McCurry approached the girl, and she agreed to let him take her picture.

    "I didn't think the photograph of the girl would be different from anything else I shot that day," he later recalled.

    What emerged was a searingly beautiful image of a young girl with haunting eyes who came to symbolize the plight and the pain and the strength of her people.

    National Geographic chose a close-up of the girl as the cover photo for the article, which ran in the June 1985 issue. Her sea green eyes striped with blue and yellow peered with a mixture of bitterness and courage from within a tattered burgundy scarf. The "Afghan girl" touched the souls of millions.

    A Mystery for Years

    Her name was Sharbat Gula, which means "sweetwater flower girl" in Pashtu, the language of her Pashtun tribe. But McCurry, and the world, wouldn't know this or any other details of her tragic life until 17 years later.

    Sharbat Gula came to Pakistan in 1983 after her parents were both killed in a Soviet air raid on their Afghan village. She had trudged through the jagged mountains in winter for nearly two weeks with her grandmother, brother, and three sisters. She had lived in several refugee camps before coming to the one where McCurry met her.

    McCurry said the photo of her "summed up for me the trauma and plight, and the whole situation of suddenly having to flee your home and end up in refugee camp, hundreds of miles away."

    In the years after the photo was published, McCurry attempted several times to find Sharbat Gula again, but to no avail. A trip to Pakistan in January 2002 finally bore fruit. He returned to the same refugee camp, still open, and showed her photo around. A man who had lived in that camp as a child recognized the girl and told McCurry he knew her brother. He would go and get her.

    Afghanistan has known precious few days of peace since the 1979 Soviet invasion. But years ago, during a lull in the country's many conflicts, Sharbat Gula had returned home to her village in the Tora Bora region. Now, after three days of hiking, the man from the camp returned with her and her family.


    Examination by a local ophthalmologist and an iris-recognition test from a New Jersey lab revealed that this woman and the schoolgirl in the photo were the same. The Afghan girl was found.

    "She's as striking as the young girl I photographed 17 years ago," McCurry said.

    Sharbat Gula's face bears signs of the hardships she's survived, but her unforgettable eyes still glow. She does not know her exact age, but she remembers the day Steve McCurry came to her school tent. She lives a simple, anonymous life in Afghanistan with her husband and three daughters. She'd never seen McCurry's famous photograph. She had no idea her face had become an icon.

    A devout Muslim, Sharbat Gula agreed only with her husband's consent to appear without her chadri, or burka. National Geographic published her story with before-and-after photos in April 2002.
  15. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Afghan Girl Revealed

    Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more.

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    The young Afghan refugee who stared from the cover of National Geographic in June 1985 was an enigma for 17 years. What was her name? Had she survived? This past January photographer Steve McCurry joined a crew from National Geographic Television & Film to methodically search for her. They showed her photograph around the refugee camp in Pakistan where McCurry had encountered her as a schoolgirl in December 1984. Finally, after some false leads, a man who had also lived in the camp as a child recognized her. Yes, she was alive. She had left the camp many years before and was living in the mountainous Tora Bora region of Afghanistan. He said he could find her, and three days later he and a friend brought her back to the camp. There, the remarkable story of this woman, Sharbat Gula, began to be told.

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    “She's as striking as the young girl I photographed 17 years ago,” says Steve McCurry. Then as now, Sharbat Gula looks at the world with uncompromising, unforgettable eyes. Until she was shown the June 1985 Geographic this year, she had no idea that her image had been seen by millions. People have told McCurry that her face alone inspired them to aid refugees.

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    The focus of Sharbat Gula's life is her husband, Rahmat Gul, and their daughters. She remembers her wedding day, when she was perhaps 16, as a happy one—possibly, her older brother told the Geographic team, the only happy day of her life. She became an orphan and refugee of war at about age six. Soviet bombing killed her parents, and her grandmother led her and her brother and sisters on foot, in winter, to Pakistan, where they lived in various camps. Here Sharbat holds Zahida, age 3, and her husband holds one-year-old Alia. Their oldest, Robina, is 13. A fourth daughter died in infancy. Sharbat says she hopes that her girls will get the education she was never able to complete.
  16. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member


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    Sharbat Gula does not know her exact age, but she is likely 28, 29, or 30. In the mid-1990s, during a lull in the fighting that has rocked Afghanistan for most of her life, she returned to her village. Hers has been a hand-to-mouth existence. She had not been photographed since Steve McCurry made her portrait in 1984, and she only agreed to be photographed again—to appear unveiled, without her burka—because her husband told her it would be proper. She is a private woman, uncomfortable with the attention of strangers. A devout Muslim, she attributes her survival to the “will of God.”

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    Is Sharbat Gula without question the famous “Afghan girl”? Though she remembers being photographed in the school tent of her refugee camp, and her resemblance to the girl in McCurry's photo is apparent, the Geographic sought expert opinion. In Pakistan, ophthalmologist Mustafa Iqbal examined Sharbat, with her husband at her side. Iqbal felt “100 percent certain” that her iris patterns and eye freckles matched those in McCurry's photo. A scar on the right side of her nose was another distinguishing mark.

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    “I'm 100 percent sure this is the same person,” said Thomas Musheno, a forensic examiner for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. Musheno did a facial comparison between the photographs Steve McCurry took in December 1984 and those taken of Sharbat Gula in Pakistan early this year.

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    Iris patterns are even more individual than fingerprints. So the Geographic turned to the inventor of automatic iris recognition, John Daugman, a professor of computer science at England's University of Cambridge. His biometric technique uses mathematical calculations, and the numbers Daugman got left no question in his mind that the haunted eyes of the young Afghan refugee and the eyes of the adult Sharbat Gula belong to the same person.
  17. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

  18. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Roman Roads
    By Logan Thompson | Published in History Today Volume: 47 Issue: 2 1997

    'All roads lead to Rome' – tribute to a phenomenon that held a world empire together. But who built them and how were they planned and maintained?

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    For many centuries, the expansion and protection of the Roman Empire rested upon the broad shoulders and discipline of heavy infantry legionnaires. It was due to the efforts of these carefully recruited, ruthless, tough, highly trained and well-led soldiers that Roman civilisation advanced and developed unhindered.

    It was these legionnaires who ultimately ensured efficient, uniform administrative standards, gigantic ambitious building projects, mesmeric but succinct Forum oratory, a guaranteed peace and real certainty of its continuation for the majority, and an extremely, luxurious and decadent life-style for the few. Without the powerful army, one of the best in history, and certainly the most effective for the longest period, none of the former would have been possible. The primary reason for such military effectiveness was the metalled roads the soldiers constructed and upon which they marched. Why, and how, did the Romans devote so much time, physical effort and considerable funds to developing extensive route networks, and how were these planned, built and maintained?

    The principles of firm road construction arose because unmetalled paths and tracks could not withstand passage of large numbers of horses, carts and infantry. Such routes soon disintegrated, particularly in wet weather, into deep mud which seriously impeded a unit's movements. Accurate staff movement calculations could therefore not be made, and campaign planning was impeded. Firm, paved roads, however, resolved these problems and guaranteed movement of very heavy traffic. As a result, armies could progress twenty- five miles a day, even in inclement weather conditions, rapidly reaching distant areas in which unrest had been reported. Knowledge of the army’s ability to achieve this was itself often a major deterrent to the development of hostilities.

    Eventually, a most comprehensive road network embraced the entire Empire. Roman governments could thus control their territories and population with an army of 180,000 legionnaires, plus auxiliaries – a figure markedly out of proportion to the total population of 55 million. Good roads thus saved both time and expensive military manpower.

    Metalled routes also ensured unimpeded movement from a tactical viewpoint. If a road network existed towards a campaign area, all arms groups could move to it in battle order, at high speed, behind a screen of auxiliary cavalry. Consequently, when contact was made with an enemy situated near the route, forces could be rapidly deployed into battle formation and commence fighting with little delay. The marching rate, whilst carrying over 60lbs of equipment, was either twenty miles in five hours, or, when forced-marching, twenty-four miles in the same time. Legionnaires were trained to fight effectively immediately after such marches. In troubled areas, roads afforded the essential means of rapidly resupplying isolated camps and forts with vital information, equipment and food.

    Speed of transmissions being vital; roads were a crucial means of passing essential information. Messages from the emperor, or his high officials, were delivered by couriers of the Cursus Publicus, the Imperial communication service. This organisation spanned the entire Empire utilising post houses and inns along major routes. Post houses, where a horse could be changed, were sited every ten to fifteen miles. Inns (mansiones) provided accommodation and were the Roman equivalent of motorway service stations. These were found at twenty to thirty-mile intervals. Their catering was good too. Suetonious (AD75-160), the Roman biographer and antiquarian, states:

    Vitellus would display his gluttony in wayside taverns seizing almost from the very fire dishes that were still steaming, or leftovers from the day before, and half eaten food.

    So, post houses and inns enabled couriers to travel approximately fifty to sixty miles daily. Provincial governors were responsible for correct maintenance of all aspects of main routes.

    Private individuals were only allowed to travel by the Imperial Post if issued with a special permit. The seriousness with which this rule was enforced is illustrated by letters between Trajan (emperor from AD98- 117) and Pliny. Pliny wrote from Bithynia inquiring if outdated permits could be used as he was anxious not to hold up important despatches. The emperor's response was short and curt, he stated; 'It is my invariable rule to have fresh permits sent to each province before the dates are required'.

    Roads enabled transmission of critical intelligence and orders from headquarters to camps, forts and moving troops. Messages were additionally sent via signal stations, but these were naturally restricted by content brevity, and foggy or misty weather.

    The first proper Roman road was constructed in 312BC during the Samnite wars to provide fast, reliable communications and supply links between Rome and Capua. This was the Appian Way later extended to Brindisi. The Samnites were a particularly formidable foe whose well-armed soldiers had inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Romans at Caudine Forks in 321BC. Perhaps this contributed to the road building decision. The route followed a remarkably straight, direct, well-drained 122 mile course, firmly topped with neatly fashioned blocks of volcanic lava.

    It is commendable that Roman engineers and surveyors managed, with their first-ever route, to incorporate most of the construction principles so closely followed during the next 700 years. Thereafter, route networks constantly expanded in every direction, like the spokes of a wheel, with Rome as the hub. Construction of military service routes, based upon deep foundations, was generally governed by strategic and operational circumstances. They often followed the courses of victorious military campaigns. This was so in Britain. Keith Branigan explains; the routes were Watling Street from Richborough via Canterbury, London, St Albans, Dunstable, Towcester to Wroxeter; Ermine Street from York and thereafter Scotland. From London to the south-west was via Staines, Silchester, Salisbury, Dorchester linking up with the Fosse Way at Seaton.

    Major camps or existing settlements would often be incorporated with the new routes. Eventually, lateral/link roads increased network size by embracing other town sites and forts. These hastened the pacification process whilst providing easier travel to larger numbers of the population. Road repair and building programmes continued constantly until the Empire reached its maximum geographical expansion. By then, some 55,000 miles had been built. Therefore, when the phase of empire consolidation took place excellent routes remained beyond the new boundaries, for example in Scotland. These enabled areas forward of the Roman boundaries to be dominated, and were of great value when major forays were made beyond the new frontiers. For instance, during the genocide campaigns of Septimus Severus in Scotland between AD208 and 211.

    The greatest potential expense in terms of construction costs was manpower. However, this was actually reasonable because surveying, engineering, stone quarrying and hard physical tasks were done by soldiers. In newly conquered territories slave labour was also utilised. Furthermore, road and fort or camp building and maintenance was a routine part of a soldier's duties – almost equal in importance to fighting and training.

    Troops, being paid, were automatically expected to perform these tasks whenever necessary. Consequently, when no priority duties were out- standing after barrack administration, patrolling and training etc, route maintenance and road building tasks were done.

    Periodic expenditure was sometimes necessary but such costs seem to have been containable. Sometimes important people contributed financially to road repairs. Suetonius states that Emperor Augustus (27BC-AD14) arranged for repairs at his own expense to the Via Flaminia as far as Arminium, the other roads being shared out amongst the generals honoured by a triumph, who had to find the money for this out of their battle spoils’.

    The Roman central government, throughout the Empire period, made a top priority of efficient military service routes maintenance. Consequently, road repairs continued to be undertaken until alter the Empire fell. For instance, tasks were undertaken at the end of the fourth century on the road near Goathland in North Yorkshire, including the resupply of route gravel dumps. 1t is probable that regular military service route maintenance continued in Britain on a major scale until at least AD409. This is particularly likely in tactically sensitive areas, for example the Solway defence line, which was manned until about AD425.

    Evidence I have observed from towns indicates that some roads therein were resurfaced until as late as the fifth century. As Peter Salway mentions in his book, The Illustrated History of Roman Britain:

    The fact that Rutilius Namatianus, early in the fifth century, considered it as worthy of special comment that the bridges were still down and the posting-inns were deserted in Italy after the sack of Rome by Alaric suggests that, to his Gallic correspondent, such a failure in the system would still have seemed unusual in AD417.

    So it would appear likely that far from a 'rise and fall' of Roman roads during the Empire period, they continued to the end in a state of efficiency similar to that achieved in the second century, including the various services based upon them.

    All military service routes were planned and constructed by the army. Military engineers and surveyors possessed considerable experience and knowledge of the techniques involved. Essential prerequisites of route planning were that each should: be as straight as possible, remain close to one contour throughout their course to reduce additional soldier and horse fatigue, avoid swamps, marsh, forest, hills, spurs, and knolls wherever possible. These principles ensured a selected route was short, flat and straight for the majority of its course. It was not, naturally, always possible to achieve the ideal, hence the periodic use of sudden sharp bends to avoid obstacles. Once these were circumnavigated the road reverted to its planned line. Cuttings and viaducts were sometimes employed to maintain a straight road.

    Mountainous or hilly terrain caused particular problems. In such areas, for instance, the achievement of a level track was sometimes sacrificed in favour of a straight route. As a result, a. few sections of some roads soar majestically and irrepressibly straight up steep slopes, then dramatically downwards before rushing up the next slope thus creating an exhilarating switchback course. The shorter route advantage was obviously offset by the greater exertions imposed upon subsequent travellers.

    The route from Tavira (in southern Portugal) to Alportel necessarily rises, winds and bends through very hilly country. However, fascinating on-ground study reveals how surveyors managed, whenever possible, to create the maximum number of straight, albeit short, sections. In Hungary, generally a land of flat plains periodically punctuated by high knolls, engineers' tasks were probably easier, hence magnificent stretches of long, straight routes. Nonetheless, even these periodically make sharp bends to avoid contemporary problems, the causes of which are no longer apparent today.

    Legionnaires were thoroughly practised in road building, whilst many were qualified tradesmen such as carpenters and stonemasons. These attributes obviously assisted the performance of non-military administrative tasks. This is confirmed by the only extant Roman soldier ever discovered, at Herculaneum, in 1980. He died when Vesuvious erupted on August 24th-25th, AD79. J.W. Deiss in his Herculaneum book mentions the comments of Dr. S. Bisel. After a lengthy and expert forensic examination the following characteristics were established:

    He was about 3, years old, 5 feet 8 1/2 inches tall, well nourished, strong and tough. The carpentry tools on his back included a hammer with attached adze, two chisels and a hook for pulling down tree branches. He had his sword and dagger. Heavy muscle build up of the forearms was indicated by the way the bones had been remodelled to accommodate musculature needed for heavy work perhaps also for holding sword and shield in the drill position.

    The first surveying task for grommatici (surveyors) was to plot and mark out the new route course from points A to B. Territory was usually surveyed in straight sections within the planned overall long-distance route with alignment changing direction at necessary or convenient sighting points. Naturally, the best use was made of local terrain. This involved gathering topographical information, a frequently difficult task, due to the presence of hills, forests, and marshes. Surveyors used theodolites (instruments for measuring horizontal angles), and portable sundials for direction finding. This combined with detailed reconnaissance and smoke lines enabled a route course to be selected. Thereafter, all available manpower was assembled. This usually involved one entire legion (6,000 men), plus a similar number of supporting auxiliaries and slave labour. In pacified provinces, civilian contractors were hired to assist, particularly with movement of stone from quarries.

    The first construction task was clearing trees and undergrowth from the route line. In heavily wooded countryside, which surveyors had been unable to avoid, the task was an exceptionally arduous one. The second phase was to dig a trench along the route to facilitate the foundation construction. The depth of this depended upon the existence and height of the natural rock strata. If present for long distances in the right direction, for example on Wiltshire chalk, the legionnaires task was much simplified. The effort of moving thou- sands of tons of soil, in an era lacking earth-moving equipment, was enormous. The accuracy of route direction planning was amazing. For example, as Keith Branigan mentions, the Fosse Way from Exeter to Lincoln never deviated more than six miles over its entire length of 200 miles.

    Materials were generally those available near the proposed route. In Britain, legions serving in the North frequently employed limestone, sandstone and granite, whilst in the South they used flints and chalk. To make firm foundations the base of the deep route trench was packed with large stones bonded with mortar. Upon this was laid several layers of successively smaller stones, also mixed with lime to produce a particularly tough, waterproof binding agent. This was frequently used in tasks requiring extra strength such as walls, arches and foundations. However, in areas where rock or chalk formations provided a firm natural base the depth of man-made foundation trenches were acceptably shallow.

    In certain areas, such as Italy, North Africa and Turkey, most road surfaces were comprised of neatly-laid, level paving stones.

    Roads in Britain were usually surfaced with a mix of gravel and sand, or broken flints and little pebbles. Nonetheless, a few routes, such as the Blackstone Edge near Rochdale, and a recently excavated section of the Fosse Way near Axminster, were metalled. The latter revealed a 50ft wide section with cobbled surface and drainage system upon both sides. Some roads, like the one near Goathland in North Yorkshire, were topped with fairly flat stones similar to those used in Lake District dry stone walls These were covered with sand to fill the cracks between stones, and finished with gravel. Roads were sometimes built up above the surrounding countryside (highways) to afford better surveillance for troops and to deter ambushes.

    Road crowns were higher than the sides to facilitate rainwater removal. Water flowed to the road edges where it passed into the flanking drainage system. In very wet areas, road crowns were even more pronounced. Verges were often denoted, and the road supported by, high upright stones. The Romans were always concerned about efficient drainage. Route sections across low ground liable to flooding would be constructed on a built-up embankment called an Agger, to prevent road immersion and to achieve drainage flow. In the only letter from The Vindolanda Trust concerning roads (No 946) written in AD110, Octavius tells Claudius that: 'he cannot collect his goods from Cataractorium (Catterick, an army base where shoes and uniforms etc. were made) while the roads are so bad (dum viae male sunt)'. Perhaps this problem was caused by horizontally sheeting rain and high winds for which the area is still renowned!

    Road widths depended upon the volume of prevailing two-way traffic. New routes were about 20 to 23ft wide, sufficient to accommodate legions marching in six-man wide columns, and their supporting equipment supply wagons. When civilian traffic developed, and then increased appreciably, it was often necessary to widen existing routes to cater for the new volumes. Possibly, the army would sometimes be involved in such tasks. The new road width would probably then be about 40ft wide.

    Despite extreme care taken by surveyors and engineers, some routes would inevitably encounter natural obstacles. Streams were traversed by sturdy, miniature bridges upon which stones and gravel might be laid. Small rivers were often crossed by paved fords at shallow points. Wider rivers were spanned by long wooden bridges supported either by masonry columns or robust timber piles. Sometimes, particularly at important towns, these were later replaced by magnificent stone bridges, such as the Fabricus over the Tiber, at Tavira and Aldwincle in Northamptonshire.

    Unavoidable marshes and swamps were often overcome with stout wooden pontoons upon which bridges were laid. Viaducts acting as long bridges were constructed to negotiate wide obstacles such as a series of hillocks interspersed with marsh. Whilst campaigning, army engineers frequently made pontoon bridges using several small boats which were secured together and attached to both banks. A long series of planks were laid together on top of these, providing an emergency bridge. Occasionally tunnels, or cuttings, were dug through mountains, or spurs, to maintain a level, straight route section.

    Roman roads were so well made that little repair work was actually necessary, except on the wooden bridges. Many were still in perfect working order centuries after their construction. Nonetheless, once a route was finished it became the task of the local authority (civitates) to maintain it. Private roads linking farms, villas and small villages to main routes were the responsibility of the landowners to build and maintain. There were doubtless exceptions to this principle when legions were not on active service but had to be kept occupied. Despite periods of most rigorous combat training, there was still opportunity for units to undertake useful community tasks which practised soldiers' artisan skills. Bridge building, road widening, and new route construction was therefore most probably undertaken. These benefited the local population, maintained military engineering skills and improved civilian/military relations.

    Milestones – tall, round stones set upon plinths with details either engraved or painted upon them – were the means whereby travellers could check route destination and distance information. Keith Branigan says that local authorities usually established these, mentioning upon them the name of their authority in abbreviations, for example, Respublica Civitatis Doburronum – RPCD – was inscribed upon milestones found at Kenchester in Hereford, and at Worcester. Very often, the name of the ruling emperor at the date upon which the stone was erected was also marked. At points where three routes met (tria via) a noticeboard would be set up upon which all recent important news was reported. Hence the origin of our word 'trivia'. A Roman mile was calculated at 1000 double paces, making 2000 paces. Thiis equalled 1481.5 metres or 1620 yards.

    Road control duties were undertaken by detached, seconded regular soldiers. The beneficarious was a military police officer with special responsibilities for traffic control on main routes, major junctions, frontier posts and the maintenance of police posts. The singularis was an official messenger and overseer of supply routes and communication links. The military policemen working under these officials were called speculatores.

    Details of all Empire main roads are shown upon the Peutinger Table. This is a twelfth-century copy of an original document of about AD217. This fascinating scroll map is an accurate guide to all main routes covering the entire Empire. Over 500 towns and relay stations are mentioned. The map is enhanced and amplified by the Antorine Itinerary, compiled around the same time, which is a military route selection manual for the assistance of couriers.

    Romans were accustomed to long journeys and how to plan them in the most comfortable way. Pliny the Younger (AD62-114), a friend of Tacitus, when travelling with his entire staff to his appointment in Bithynia, wrote to the Emperor Trajan that he had decided to travel partly by carriage and partly by coastal boat: 'for the great heat makes it too difficult to go all the way by road and the prevailing wind prevents me from travelling entirely by sea'. Road conveyances were numerous. They comprised mules, donkeys, horses, carts, carriages and chariots. Heavy loads were often moved in a. slow but sure way on large wagons pulled by oxen or mules. A light cart drawn by one horse could cover about fifteen miles a day. Imperial messengers travelled by horse, or light carts drawn by one, two or even three horses. Larger carriages, pulled by two or more horses or mules, could cover up to seventy-five miles a day.

    The Roman Empire generally possessed strong central governments and a single, stable currency. The scale of inter-provincial trade was substantial, whilst export and import volumes were remarkably high. The manner in which the latter were achieved was extremely efficient and sophisticated. Goods were constantly and simultaneously being moved from one country to another. For example, Britain exported jet jewellery, hunting dogs and warm woollen cloaks, whilst importing wine, fish sauces and decorated Samian tableware. This large trade movement was facilitated by widespread river and canal systems; large merchant ships carrying goods from well-organised ports to others overseas; and the elaborate road systems. Roads provided the initial, and final, means of trade movements.

    Once province routes were established and the network enlarged with link roads, a villager who could walk easily to a little town by road and sell his vegetables, for which he was paid in coin, might eventually perhaps purchase one Samian plate from GauL Province populations thus contributed to and benefited from overall trade development and the Empire trading systems which would not have been possible without the road networks. Furthermore, small settlements (vici) which sprang up adjacent to Roman camps and mansiones would not have enjoyed a constant rise in prosperity.

    Route systems contributed significantly to fostering economic development and were a vital link in the sophisticated, well-regulated trading routes, an essential means of spreading a civilised outlook, and inculcating much improved living standards for millions of citizens. As Peter Salway observes:

    An enormous amount of archaeological material from Roman sites throughout the Empire, including Britain, proves the mass distribution of goods over long distances, and a high proportion must have gone to private individuals.

    A Lockhead Company advertisement, in the Financial Times recently, well summarised Roman road building achievements: 'All the roads they built, including minor ones, would encircle the Earth ten times, and many of these lasted without repair for 1000 years'. Much of their route network has been used for centuries, thus bequeathing to twentieth- century engineers a system providing correct directions and firm foundations. The Romans made life easier for us. They fully realised, of course, that firm roads guaranteed heavy troop movement towards operational areas. Above all, they appreciated that 'flexibility is critical to an efficient defence. Julius Caesar understood it. All Romans understood it'. Without their route network the Roman Empire would not have lasted as it did, for the mere knowledge that legions could be on the scene within weeks was usually sufficient to keep the peace.

    To travel upon a Roman route system is an invigorating and fascinating experience; a constant and vivid reminder of the accuracy and efficiency of Roman engineering, where no obstacle was insuperable. No wonder that our Anglo-Saxon forebears regarded them with astonishment and uncomprehending bewilderment, concluding that they must have been built by giants.

    Logan Thompson is a freelance journalist and historical researcher.
  19. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Roman road system

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    Roman road system, outstanding transportation network of the ancient Mediterranean world, extending from Britain to the Tigris-Euphrates river system and from the Danube River to Spain and northern Africa. In all, the Romans built 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of hard-surfaced highway, primarily for military reasons.

    The first of the great Roman roads, the Via Appia (Appian Way), begun by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus in 312 bce, originally ran southeast from Rome 162 miles (261 km) to Tarentum (now Taranto) and was later extended to the Adriatic coast at Brundisium (now Brindisi). The long branch running through Calabria to the Straits of Messina was known as the Via Popilia. By the beginning of the 2nd century bce, four other great roads radiated from Rome: the Via Aurelia, extending northwest to Genua (Genoa); the Via Flaminia, running north to the Adriatic, where it joined the Via Aemilia, crossed the Rubicon, and led northwest; the Via Valeria, east across the peninsula by way of Lake Fucinus (Conca del Fucino); and the Via Latina, running southeast and joining the Via Appia near Capua. Their numerous feeder roads extending far into the Roman provinces led to the proverb “All roads lead to Rome.”

    The Roman roads were notable for their straightness, solid foundations, cambered surfaces facilitating drainage, and use of concrete made from pozzolana (volcanic ash) and lime. Though adapting their technique to materials locally available, the Roman engineers followed basically the same principles in building abroad as they had in Italy. In 145 bce they began the Via Egnatia, an extension of the Via Appia beyond the Adriatic into Greece and Asia Minor, where it joined the ancient Persian Royal Road.

    In northern Africa the Romans followed up their conquest of Carthage by building a road system that spanned the south shore of the Mediterranean. In Gaul they developed a system centred on Lyon, whence main roads extended to the Rhine, Bordeaux, and the English Channel. In Britain the purely strategic roads following the conquest were supplemented by a network radiating from London. In Spain, on the contrary, the topography of the country dictated a system of main roads around the periphery of the peninsula, with secondary roads developed into the central plateaus.

    The Roman road system made possible Roman conquest and administration and later provided highways for the great migrations into the empire and a means for the diffusion of Christianity. Despite deterioration from neglect, it continued to serve Europe throughout the Middle Ages, and many fragments of the system survive today.

    Roman Roads

    The engineers of ancient Rome built an unparalleled network of roads in the ancient world. Approximately 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of roads spanned the Roman Empire, spreading its legions, culture and immense influence throughout the known world. The old saying "all roads lead to Rome", simply couldn't have been truer. Rome was the hub of commerce, trade, politics, culture and military might in the Mediterranean, and the grand achievement of her road network all led directly to the city and back out to her many territories.

    Despite the grand spectacle that the road network really was, the original functionality of Roman roads was mainly designed for military exploitation. Starting with local roads, Rome was connected first to Latium, Ostia and surrounding areas. By the mid 4th century BC, as they pushed south into Samnite territories and Campania, longer highways were developed to give the legion an advantage over Rome's adversaries. The Via Appia, built between was the first, and most famous, of these. Begun in 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus, it ran southwest out of Rome, to Capua, then to Tarentum and later was pushed across to Brundusium (Brindisi) on the Adriatic eventually stretching all the way to the Straits of Messina.

    Like most major Roman fortifications and public works, Roman roads were primarily built by the legions themselves, as they stretched the frontiers. Engineers were regular members of the Roman army and their expertise in roads, forts and bridge building was an invaluable asset unmatched by any other culture for 2 millenia. Estimating the cost of road building varies dramatically depending on the era and terrain, but there is no question regarding the cost effectiveness. As the empire expanded the cost responsibility for building and maintaining the roads were borne by local populations and tribes rather than by the Roman treasury itself.

    As Roman generals marched with their legions, they were expected to provide road construction from their own resources. However, with complete authority in any given jurisdiction, those resources turned out to be mostly collected from locals, in coin, raw materials and additional labor. Essentially for 7 centuries, Roman road building continued and was well maintained, until economic decline and external pressure began to give way. By the fall of the west in 476 AD, the condition of the roads paralleled the circumstances of the empire, and many roads would fall into disuse, disrepair and ruin throughout the medieval age.

    Outside of the speed and accessibility provided to the Roman legions, the roads also provided an opportunity for trade, travel and communication unknown to the rest of the world. While travel of any considerable length was generally limited to the wealthy, theoretically one could travel from Spain to Greece without ever stepping off a road. While having obvious advantages for trade, once again, the roads were never a primary source of commerce. Most trade and transportation occurring on roads was limited to short routes, as sea traffic was by far the more attractive alternative. Road routes allowed the convenience of moving goods from the source, directly to a nearby port, or legionary supplies by sea could be moved to their final distance by road. The heaviest traveled roads were those connecting inland towns to nearby ports in the provinces and from ports, such as Ostia, to Rome in Italy.

    A sort of ancient pony express was also developed along with a vast network of postal way stations along the road routes. Both horse driven carts and ridden horses were used for fast delivery of correspondence to distant places. For the first time in history it was possible to receive a letter in Rome, from as far away as northern Gaul, in as little as a few days. While military couriers were a considerably more common occurrence, dispatching letters between commanders, the Senate, the Emperor or various installations, the civilian mail service was a booming business as well.

    Did you know?

    Roman roads were so effective that in the later empire they actually became a liability because invading forces could travel along them just as quickly as the Roman armies.
  20. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    The 1954 World Cup: Triumph of a New Germany
    By Paul Legg | Published in History Today Volume: 64 Issue: 7 2014

    When West Germany won the competition for the first time in 1954 they were the unfancied representatives of a divided nation emerging from defeat and humiliation, says Paul Legg.

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    July 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of a sporting triumph which is credited with playing an important role in the rehabilitation of Germany after the Second World War. Few observers gave the West German football team any real chance when they met the highly regarded Hungarian side, ‘the Mighty Magyars’, led by the great Ferenc Puskás in pouring rain in the World Cup final in Berne’s Wankdorf Stadium on July 4th, 1954. The Germans, contrary to received wisdom today, had little pedigree in international football up until this point. The Hungarians, on the other hand, were the ‘Golden Team’ of the postwar period, unbeaten for four years and having outclassed England twice in the build up to the tournament in Switzerland.

    In the event, West Germany’s remarkable 3-2 victory (despite being 2-0 down after ten minutes) was indisputably the biggest sporting sensation since 1945. Not only that, but for the first time since the end of the war the Germans felt able to raise their heads above the parapet and display national pride in an achievement that was both a legitimate cause of celebration and appeared to have no connection with the recent Nazi past. In this context, the words of the West German radio commentator, Herbert Zimmermann, ‘It’s over! Over! Over! Germany are the World Champions’ – as famous in Germany as Kenneth Wolstenholme’s ‘They think it’s all over’ is in England – appear not just to refer to the outcome of the match but also to the promise of an end to the hardship and humiliation Germans had experienced since 1945, the so-called ‘Zero Hour’.
  21. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Victory on Lake Nyasa
    By Janie Hampton | Published in History Today Volume: 64 Issue: 7 2014

    The opening naval battle of the First World War took place not in the North Sea but in Central Africa in August 1914. It would change the course of the African conflict in Britain’s favour, says Janie Hampton.

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    Facing each other across Lake Nyasa (now Lake Malawi) were British East Africa (Malawi) and German East Africa (Tanzania). Their navies each had one gunboat. The German SS Hermann von Wissmann was named after the explorer and anti-slaver. Like her British counterpart, she was built in Europe and shipped in pieces to East Africa and up the Zambezi River. From there the sections were carried by porters to Fort Johnston (now Mangochi) at the south end of the lake, where they were reconstructed. In 1893 the hull of the von Wissmann was towed by a British gunboat up the lake to the German port of New Landeburg for fitting out.

    The larger HMS Gwendolen was a steamship, named after Lady Gwendolen Gascoyne-Cecil, daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. In 1899 Miss Helen Caddick of West Bromwich visited Fort Johnston and admired the red corrugated iron-roofed shops and the nearly finished ship. ‘The noise made by the workmen hammering on the iron plates reminded one of the Clyde,’ she commented.

    For over a decade Commander Edmund Rhoades and Kapitan Berndt patrolled the lake for slavers and met on each other’s ships. They even practised mock battles, trying to sneak up on one another.

    On August 4th, 1914 the British Governor of the Protectorate of Central Africa, Sir George Smith, was informed by telegram that war had been declared between Britain and Germany. He immediately cabled the District Commissioner, Frank Webb, in the northern lakeside province of Karonga. They both knew that the 30 African policemen and nine Europeans stationed there – none of them soldiers – could not hold back the 2,000 German askaris (local soldiers) assembled on the border. Control of Nyasaland was vital to both sides: whoever ruled the 350-mile lake also controlled the supply lines for food, fuel and minerals to and from Rhodesia and South Africa.

    The nearest British troops, the King’s African Rifles (KAR), were over 400 miles south and the only route to Karonga was via the lake. On water they risked attack by the von Wissmann, which, unlike the Gwendolen, had electric spotlights and a gun turret. The Gwendolen was fitted with a six-pounder Hotchkiss, but it had never been used and nobody knew how to fire it. The shells were eventually found in a box labelled ‘Spares’ and Jock, a Scottish shop assistant in Fort Johnston, was enlisted, after he bragged that he had been a volunteer seaman-gunner in Glasgow, though he was not sure how much he remembered. The Gwendolen set sail with five Britons, 30 African stokers and 25 KAR askaris commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Beaumont, an official in the Public Works Department, who wore a monocle and was known as ‘Champagne Charlie’.

    After four days the ship reached the British base at Nkhata Bay on the western shore. Tonga fishermen reported having seen the von Wissmann three weeks earlier, pulled up on a slipway in the German harbour of Sphinxhaven – so called because a rocky outcrop nearby looked vaguely like an Egyptian sphinx. She might still be under repair, or waiting to surprise them from one of many inlets and bays.

    On the evening of August 13th the Gwendolen set off to cross the lake. Rhoades hoped that the early mist would shield the ship from view but the 14th dawned bright. Dr Sanderson, the temporary ship’s surgeon, had set up a casualty station by erecting his camp-bed below deck and piling sacks of rice against the bulkheads. Gunner Jock was ready at the Hotchkiss, with the funnel behind him shielded from gunfire by steel plates.

    As the Gwendolen sailed into Sphinxhaven bay, a swell caught the ship broadside on and she began to roll. At that moment the white-hulled von Wissmann came into view, hauled up on the beach. At 2,000 yards Rhoades ordered Jock to open fire. The ammunition was over 15-years-old and the first shell was a dud. The next few landed way beyond their target, which at least scared the African villagers away. Finally Jock landed a direct hit on the von Wissmann, sending up a shower of splinters. At this moment a small boat containing a stout European clad in vest and shorts started rowing towards them from the beach. Rhoades ordered ‘Cease Fire’. Its furious occupant rose to his feet and shook both fists above his head. ‘Gott for damn, Rhoades, vos you drunk?’ he exclaimed.

    ‘Afraid not old chap,’ called Rhoades. ‘Our countries are at war. Best thing you can do is surrender.’

    ‘Surrender be hanged. Come and have a drink.’ A second shot took away von Wissmann’s funnel. Rhoades informed Berndt he was now his prisoner.

    ‘One could see his anger turn to horror’, recalled Sanderson. ‘He seemed to shrivel and allowed Rhoades to usher him into a cabin without a word. We all felt very sorry for him.’

    Champagne Charlie and his askaris searched the harbour and found a German engineer in a grass shack hiding under a bed. He, too, was taken prisoner. A Royal Navy engineer called Haynes removed the gun and the ship’s bell from the von Wissmann, while the doctor, with no wounded to tend to, unscrewed the clock from the chartroom.

    That afternoon Rhoades sent a coded telegram from Nkhata Bay: ‘Wissmann taken completely by surprise.’ The following day British newspapers reported ‘Naval Victory on Lake Nyasa.’

    The same day Webb received a telegram from the District Officer or Bezirksamtmann at Neaulaughgeuburg on the German side of the border:

    I am not clear whether England is at war with Germany or not. But I understand you are mobilising your forces and are even distributing breachloaders to the Natives on our border. If you wish to attack our province I must courteously remark that we are prepared to greet you in a somewhat unfriendly fashion. The position decidedly needs clearing up and therefore I beg you most politely and urgently to let me have a clear answer.

    Webb replied: ‘War has broken out between Great Britain and Germany. Our Natives on the frontier are not being armed as alleged and HM’s government would deprecate in the circumstances of the African Colonies the employment of any other disciplined troops.’ As soon as the District Officer heard this, German troops began to march south towards Karonga.

    With the von Wissmann out of action, it was now safe to transport the several hundred British troops up the lake to repel them. From Karonga the column made its way north, avoiding the road. Unwittingly, the two armies passed each other less than a mile apart. When the British realised, they doubled back and attacked the superior German force from the rear. With this victory on September 9th the British saved Karonga and captured two four-pounder machine guns. The guns were mounted on SS Chauncy Maples, which had recently been commandeered from the Universities Mission to Central Africa. Designed in 1895 by Isambard Brunel’s son, Henry, she had been built in Glasgow and shipped in pieces to Lake Nyasa. Chauncy Maples had been the only link between remote lakeside mission stations and functioned as a floating church, a post office and a clinic. Now she was the second British gunboat.

    The steam ships were powered by wood, which was bartered for calico from ‘wooding stations’ around the lake, at one yard of cloth for a cubic yard of wood. The boilers required that amount every hour and the ships could carry only enough fuel for a few days. The process of bartering and loading wood could take all day. The firewood had to be guarded: in 1915 a man from Portuguese East Africa was arrested carrying 120 sticks of dynamite, fuses, a brace and bit and letters in German to a ‘Portuguese Mahommedan’, suggesting the explosives be used to destroy British lives and property. The brace and bit indicated that the plan was to conceal the dynamite inside fuel logs.

    In March 1915 the Lake Nyasa fleet, now numbering three gunships, two missionary steam ships, a trader’s paddle steamer and two sail boats, came under the command of Lieutenant George Dennistoun, a New Zealander. Dennistoun belonged to an adventurous family; his brother Jim was a mountaineer who had volunteered to be in charge of the mules on Captain Scott’s ill-fated 1911-12 Antarctic expedition. Dennistoun, recently married, arrived in London via Tahiti and Egypt. Giving him his orders, Admiral Sir Henry Bradwardine Jackson said: ‘What a chance for a youngster! Wish I was going myself. Bring me back a kudu’s head. You’ll be back in six months and we’ll promote you to Commander.’ Dennistoun bought food on tick at the Army & Navy Stores and gathered up two sub-lieutenants. Their journey via the Cape and up the Zambesi to Nyasaland took over three months.

    Within a month of Dennistoun’s arrival, local fishermen informed the British that the von Wissmann had been repaired and would soon set out to hunt down the Gwendolen. Dennistoun’s orders were to overcome any resistance, secure the bay and either capture the von Wissmann or blow her up. The 1915 log book of Chauncy Maples describes the events of May 30th. Before dawn, in pouring rain, KAR troops disembarked three miles south of Sphinxhaven, guided by Jimmy Sutherland, an elephant hunter. At first light the Gwendolen and the Chauncy Maples steamed slowly into the bay and were fired on from the shore. The KAR troops charged up the slope towards the German trenches. ‘They were found to be deserted’, recalled Dennistoun, ‘except for a German dachshund which we had on Chauncy Maples for some time afterwards.’

    Once the military gave the all-clear, Engineer Haynes went ashore to examine the von Wissmann. Several hull plates were damaged and Dennistoun decided that, with German troops in the vicinity, there was not enough time to repair the ship. Haynes replaced the fishing nets he found in the hull with explosives. At noon the Gwendolen opened fire and the von Wissmann blew up. Just as the last of the troops clambered back on board, the Germans returned and retaliated. ‘Two Maxims and troops opened fire from deck of “CM”,’ reported the logbook. ‘Gwendolen shelling. Took all [life] boats in safely without casualties. Crew behaved admirably under heavy fire from Germans on shore.’ The British had got out just in time.

    A year later Dennistoun learned that once again the Germans had repaired the von Wissmann. Before dawn on April 28th, 1916 the Gwendolen and Chauncy Maples approached Sphinxhaven and dropped off askaris, who rowed silently into the dark bay. Meeting no resistance, they boarded the von Wissmann and towed her away. She was renamed HMS King George.

    ‘I turned our “fleet” into a sort of maritime Pickford’s Carrier service,’ wrote Dennistoun. ‘We just ran up and down the lake with men and materials. I felt I could run the Cunard Company by the time I came home. On the other hand, I did not know one end of a gun from the other end of a torpedo. But the life was pleasant and interesting.’

    In addition to transporting local porters, troops and prisoners, the Chauncy Maples carried food, arms and petrol for army trucks. On two occasions the crew were injured by explosions caused by igniting petrol fumes. Other hazards included malaria and fierce storms. At the end of the war the crews of Gwendolen and Chauncy Maples succumbed to the influenza that was blighting Europe. Both ships were placed under quarantine, which was only lifted when all the men had either recovered fully or died.

    Dennistoun finally left for home in late 1918 having taken no leave in over three years. HMS King George was bought by the Lake Nyasa Steamship Company and renamed Malonda (trader) as a cargo steamer. Its final owner was Mr Finlay-Bissett, a notorious poacher, who scrapped her in 1951. The same year a German missionary travelling on the Chauncy Maples revealed that when Sphinxhaven was attacked in 1915 he had been the only European present, with a mere 20 German askari under his command.

    HMS Gwendolen was retired from the Royal Navy in 1940 and became a passenger ferry. After she was scrapped in 1943, parts were used to repair the bulk heads of Chauncy Maples. In 1967 Chauncy Maples was refitted with a diesel engine. Currently under renovation as a mobile clinic, she is Africa’s oldest working ship and the last working vessel to have taken part in the First World War.

    Commander Rhoades’ former house in Fort Johnston is now a hotel where guests may sleep in his bedroom. From the veranda there is a fine view of a roundabout, on which sits the Gwendolen’s six-pounder gun, the weapon that secured the first naval victory of the First World War.

    The two cannons that the King’s African Rifles towed around Nyasaland stand outside Mangochi police station and provide a popular backdrop for wedding photos. Nearby is the former Nyasa Yacht and Gymkhana Club, which as the Lake Malawi Museum now displays the wheel, engine-room telegraph and compass from HMS Gwendolen. The significance of Rhoades’ action on August 14th, 1914 has been underestimated. If the SS Hermann von Wissmann had not been disabled in the first weeks of the war, Germany may well have won the East African campaign.

    Janie Hampton is a social historian who has worked in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Congo and Uganda. She is patron of the Malawi Association UK.
  22. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Sarajevo's Elusive Assassin
    By Tim Butcher | Published in History Today Volume: 64 Issue: 7 2014

    Numerous untruths have persisted about Gavrilo Princip, the man who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand. One of them was used by Austria-Hungary as grounds for its declaration of war against Serbia in 1914.

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    No other assassin, it may be argued, had a greater impact on world history than Gavrilo Princip, the gunman who triggered the First World War by killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914. But I would also maintain that no other assassin has had their story so mangled in the retelling.

    We have been told by historians, some of whom have published in the run-up to the war’s centenary, that: Princip jumped on the running board of the archduke’s limousine to take his shot; the archduke’s wife was pregnant when she died in the shooting; it happened on the anniversary of their marriage; the car did not have a reverse gear so was incapable of correcting the driver’s error that delivered it to the assassin; the archduke bravely caught the grenade thrown earlier at the couple and tossed it nonchalantly away; and Princip stopped to eat a last sandwich at a corner café before emerging to take his shot.

    All these details, and many more published over the last century, are untrue, fanciful, frothy nonsense. Perhaps Napoleon was right when he observed that history is nothing but the lies that are no longer disputed. The most egregious mistake is the famous photograph that purports to show Princip being bundled away by the Austro-Hungarian gendarmerie moments after the attack.

    It has been used ad nauseam over the years and, sad to see, illustrates the cover of a new Cambridge history of the July Crisis. The problem is that it does not show Princip. It shows another man, an innocent bystander called Ferdinand Behr, being taken in for questioning. As Behr wrote in a 1935 statement, which today’s Wikipedia authorities would do well to read, he was always surprised by the muddle, as he stood over 6ft tall and was of solid build, difficult to confuse with the much slighter and shorter Princip.

    It is fair to say that Princip, a peasant-farmer’s son from remotest Herzegovina, born at a time when Bosnia-Herzegovina was an outlying part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, is not the easiest historic subject to focus on. I have spent the last three years researching him and found that even his date of birth was difficult to establish. The Church authorities in Obljaj, the dirt-poor hamlet where he was born, wrote it in the parish record as July 13th, 1894. They, like the Princip family, were Orthodox Christians, an identifier that, in the vernacular of modern ethnic labelling, made them Bosnian Serbs and they wrote in Cyrillic. A second record, this time for municipal authorities more comfortable with the Latin script of the Habsburg occupiers, noted it as June 13th, 1894. To the non-Cyrillic reader, July and June are easily confused.

    The difference was of no great significance until the assassination. Princip, arrested within seconds, could only face the death sentence under Austro-Hungarian law if he was 20 or more. If his birthday was in July, he would face nothing steeper than a jail term. If in early June, he could hang.

    With the best legal minds available of the time focused on the issue, every avenue was explored. I found, in a tatty file held at the National Archive in Sarajevo, a scrap of paper with pencilled calculations converting the dates from the Julian calendar, which was routinely used by local Serbs and was then a little under two weeks out from the western, Gregorian calendar.

    The Habsburg prosecutors wanted to make sure the accused did not miss out on the death penalty, if he really was 20 on the day of the shooting. In the end, a birth date of July 13th, 1894 was accepted by the court and Princip was jailed for 20 years. He died in prison of skeletal tuberculosis in April 1918, a few months before the end of the war his actions had precipitated.

    So, going through archives in Vienna, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Istanbul, each detail about Princip had to be handled with care. Incredibly, I found items missed by others: graffiti left by Princip in 1909, his appearance in the Habsburg census of 1910 and, most thrillingly for me, his secondary school reports. These allowed me to build a compelling picture of a slow-burn revolutionary. He was not headstrong but thoughtful in his slow and deliberate move to radicalism. Clever, academic and disciplined, the reports chart him falling off the rails and into the hands of revolutionaries.

    The most important historical discovery was that there was no evidence to support Vienna’s claim that Princip was an agent of Serbia, the grounds given in July 1914 for Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war on its small, troublesome neighbour. This was the key strategic act that drew in the Great Powers to four years of slaughter in the trenches, the multiplier that spun a localised Balkan assassination into a global conflict.

    Yet there remain no reliable grounds in the historic record to justify Vienna’s claim. Princip spent a few months in Belgrade, capital of Serbia, and there he met extremist nationalists, who helped arm him and smuggle him back to Sarajevo. It does not follow that these extremists were backed, authorised or even known about by the Serbian government.

    Vienna’s attack on Serbia had about as much legitimacy as a declaration of war by Britain on Ireland in retaliation for Louis Mountbatten’s murder in 1979 by Irish nationalists. The best evidence on record shows Princip not as a Serbian nationalist but as a Slav nationalist, committed to liberating all locals, known as South Slavs, whether they be Croats, Muslims, Slovenes or Serbs, then under the control of a foreign occupier, Austria.

    It is an important difference that undermines completely the stance by the hawks in Vienna that an attack on Belgrade was justified retaliation for a Serbian plot to kill the archduke. Yet, just as with the incorrect photograph of the arrest, historians have often repeated these unproven claims to portray Princip as an agent of Belgrade.

    Wilfred Owen wrote of the patriotic invocation dulce et decorum est pro patria mori as ‘the old lie’, but I have come to see an even greater lie that triggered the First World War. It is the lie used by Vienna in its deliberate misrepresentation of the Sarajevo assassination and the role of history’s most misunderstood assassin.

    Tim Butcher is the author of The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin who Brought the World to War, published by Chatto & Windus.
  23. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    A Nationalism Born of the Great War
    By Martin Pugh | Published in History Today Volume: 64 Issue: 7 2014

    The 1914-18 conflict changed the nature of Scottish identity.

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    It is well-known that the First World War stimulated nationalism in Australia and India during the 1920s, but its impact on the Scots is less recognised, especially south of the border. In 1914 the Union with England was secure and most Scots regarded their nationalism and distinctive culture as compatible with Britishness. However the stability of the Union was conditional on material advantage. Moreover, several decades of pressure for Home Rule in Ireland had led many Scots to seek their own parliament within the framework of the Union. In 1913 a majority of MPs voted for a Scots Home Rule bill. However, the political disruption caused by the Great War checked this development, largely because it led to the decline of the Liberals, who had dominated Scots politics and were pro-devolution. Between the wars Scotland was increasingly represented by the Labour and Conservative parties, who were less interested in constitutional reform and hostile to any challenge to the Union.

    Yet the First World War had a radicalising impact on Scottish society. The mortality rate for the British Army was 12 per cent, but for Scottish troops a horrendous 26 per cent. As a result Scots commemorated their losses in a more sombre fashion than the English, culminating in the erection in 1924-27 of a significantly titled National War Memorial, designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, at Edinburgh Castle, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. The memorial symbolised not just war deaths but the loss of the imperial greatness that had underpinned the Union with England. In 1919, fearful that the end of the war signalled the disappearance of their economic gains, Scottish workers organised a 40-hour strike to oppose the abolition of rent restrictions and wage controls. The mass demonstrations in Glasgow that followed were denounced as a ‘Bolshevist uprising’ in Westminster; the installation of 12,000 troops, six tanks and hotel-top machine-gun nests made Scotland seem like a country under foreign occupation.

    The strikers were basically correct. By 1920 their economy, based on shipbuilding, textiles, steel and heavy engineering, collapsed. For the rest of the century unemployment remained much higher in Scotland than south of the border, recovery from depression was much slower and manufacturers began to relocate, closing their offices in Scotland, which gradually became a colonial economy. As a result emigration remained high, reaching around 400,000 in the 1920s. This in turn undermined Scottish self-esteem and fostered anti-English opinion.

    One symptom of the mood was an attempt to revive national sentiment through a literary renaissance, led by the poet Hugh MacDiarmid and others, who denounced the Scottish political elite as ‘toadies and lickspittles of the English ascendancy’. However, the literary revival made nationalism seem more marginal and its immediate effects were slight. In 1928 a left-wing National Party of Scotland was formed, followed in 1932 by a right-wing Scottish Party, the two amalgamating in 1935 to become the Scottish National Party of today. As the party enjoyed little electoral success before 1939, it proved easy to ignore the gradual, long-term unravelling of the economic-imperial basis of the Union that followed the Great War. Yet this was the process that created the seedbed from which an effective modern national movement eventually emerged, leading to the referendum of 2014.

    Martin Pugh’s latest book is Britain: Unification and Disintegration (Authors Online, 2012).

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