The True Story of the Reichstag Fire and the Nazi Rise to Power

When the German parliamentary building went up in flames, Hitler harnessed the incident to seize power. By Lorraine Boissoneault Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and where there’s fire, conspiracy theories are sure to follow. At least, that’s what happened in Germany on February 27, 1933, when a sizeable portion of the parliamentary building in Berlin,[…]

Culture War and the Völkischer Beobachter: How the Nazi Party Recast Nietzsche

High culture played an important political role in Hitler’s Germany. References to music, history, philosophy, and art formed a key part of Nazi strategy. High culture played an important political role in Hitler’s Germany. References to music, history, philosophy, and art formed a key part of the Nazi strategy to reverse the symptoms of decline[…]

The Privilege of Liberty: Challenging the Society of Orders in Bourbon France

Privilege was the beating heart of that society of orders known as Bourbon France. Privilege was the beating heart of that society of orders known as Bourbon France. The privileges of the nobility, clergy, and king were only the apex of a structure of privilege that reached into many provinces and affected nearly all cities[…]

Controlling Public Opinion in France’s Old Regime: Did the King Care what the Peasants Thought?

The politicization of the French peasantry before and during the Revolutionary period has been the topic of much debate. Introduction On a chilly day in late November, a peasant named Jean Marrot, who lived in the village of Brassac in the Pyrenees mountains south of Foix, went for a walk in the woods near his[…]

Beyond Bactria: A History of Ancient Afghanistan

Archaeologists and historians suggest that humans were living in Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities of the region were among the earliest in the world. Introduction Archaeological exploration of the pre-Islamic period of Afghanistanbegan in Afghanistan in earnest after World War II and proceeded until the late 1970s when the nation was invaded by the Soviet Union. Archaeologists[…]

Cultural Links between Ancient India and the Graeco-Roman World

Long before the arrival of Alexander the Great on India’s north-western border, there are references in early Indian literature calling the Greeks Yavanas. Introduction Cyrus the Great (558-530 BCE) built the first universal empire, stretching from Greece to the Indus River. This was the famous Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia. An inscription at Naqsh-i-Rustam, the tomb of his able successor Darius I (521-486 BCE), near Persepolis, records Gadara[…]