Stalin, Hitler and the fatal mistakes of Operation Barbarossa

Stalin never lost his penchant for executing his officers. In the catastrophic early days of the German invasion, he shot eight generals

Stalin, Hitler and the fatal mistakes of Operation BarbarossaAdolf Hitler launched the German invasion of the Soviet Union – Operation Barbarossa – in the early hours of June 22, 1941. Initially, it looked like a triumph. The Soviets were caught flatfooted and German troops advanced 480 km into Soviet territory within the first week. It looked like an eastern version of the blitzkrieg…

J.F.K. dug a deep hole in his relationship with Khrushchev

Because of the Bay of Pigs disaster, Khrushchev pegged Kennedy as a pushover

J.F.K. dug a deep hole in his relationship with KhrushchevThings didn’t go well when U.S. President John F. Kennedy met with Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev in June 1961. Or at least they didn’t from Kennedy’s perspective. Speaking to American journalist James Reston after the Vienna summit’s second and final day, Kennedy described it as the “roughest thing in my life.” Khrushchev, he said,…

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the world

The choice should seem obvious, yet around the globe governments still spend astonishing amounts of our money building military might

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the worldWhen discussing global issues, there’s a proverbial, weaponized elephant in the room. The topic is central to human suffering yet we seem unwilling to discuss it: the military-industrial complex. There’s a myth that there are good guys and bad guys and if we blow up the bad guys, the world will be safer. But the…

Ancient sand reveals missing piece of 3.2-billion-year-old continent

U of A researchers shed new light on the structure and formation of Earth’s earliest continents

Ancient sand reveals missing piece of 3.2-billion-year-old continentScientists have found evidence for a missing piece of a 3.2-billion-year-old continent, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists. The research identifies the only remnant of ultra-hot lavas within this ancient landmass, located within tiny mineral grains preserved in sandstone. “Our research developed a method to identify and date pieces of our…

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood Reserve

Hopes her work will help intergenerational survivors

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood ReserveThe residential school system is the focal point of truth and reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples in Canada. But a University of Alberta education researcher says the schools, which operated in Canada until 1996, aren’t the whole story. Dr. Tiffany Prete, an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, has been conducting research…

Napoleon was a bitter man in his final years

He bitterly resented his exile to St. Helena, blaming it all on Wellington

Napoleon was a bitter man in his final yearsA childhood history book included a reproduction of Jacques-Louis David’s famous portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps. It’s an idealized representation, not a realistic one. Mounted on a rearing Marengo – his grey Arabian stallion – the man who became emperor of the French and conqueror of Europe gives off an invincible vibe. Two recent…

Student helps unearth the story of a 3,000-year-old tragedy

Master’s research reveals clues into the lives of four people who perished in a fire in the late Bronze Age

Student helps unearth the story of a 3,000-year-old tragedyMore than 3,000 years ago, four people were incinerated and crushed in a blazing fire in the south central city of Azekah, Israel. Their remains were trapped in rubble until discovered by Tel Aviv University archeologists in 2012. That’s when Karl Berendt began volunteering at the excavation site as an undergraduate student at the University…

Archeology can play a powerful role for Indigenous rights

New director of U of A institute sees her mission as reimagining the relationship between archeology and Indigenous histories

Métis archeologist Dr. Kisha Supernant views her mission as nothing less than a radical reimagining of her discipline. “Archeology’s history is grounded in settler colonialism – this idea that non-Indigenous people come onto the land and interpret Indigenous history by studying their material,” says the new director of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Prairie and…

If China invades, will Taiwan be on its own?

China insists that unification with Taiwan is non-negotiable. If it can’t be achieved peacefully, it’ll be done militarily

If China invades, will Taiwan be on its own?Taiwan – an island off the southern coast of China – is home to over 23 million people. It’s also a prosperous democracy, albeit one that’s become something of a diplomatic outcast. The island came into China’s political orbit during the 17th century and was formally annexed in 1683. The origins of the major Chinese…

Snake jaw structure yields new understanding of evolutionary origins

Study re-examining what early snakes might have looked like

Snake jaw structure yields new understanding of evolutionary originsNew research led by a University of Alberta graduate student could lead to reimagining what early snakes might have looked like, suggesting that some of the world’s supposedly simplest snakes have a more complex evolutionary history than traditionally thought. Snakes are broadly divided into two groups based on their feeding mechanisms: macrostomatan snakes, able to…

The Bay of Pigs fiasco upended J.F.K.’s presidential honeymoon

In his first serious foreign policy test in 1961, the new American president flunked badly. He was in way over his head

The Bay of Pigs fiasco upended J.F.K.’s presidential honeymoonThings were going swimmingly for U.S. President John F. Kennedy immediately following his January 1961 inauguration. Despite being elected by a mere whisker, his approval ratings were stratospheric and much of the media was in love with him. It was as if he was a political superman. Then came the fiasco at the Bay of…

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own peril

Confronting the horrors of our past and trying to make things right isn’t an easy task but a peace comes from doing the right thing

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own perilIt seems that everywhere we turn we find a new scandal, some memory from the past that haunts us. Though virtually every state and institution has something to hide, there’s something liberating in speaking the truth. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, many around the world have been relieved to see the openness and…

Compassion and reform, not walls, will halt the flood of refugees

The only way to stop people from fleeing their countries is to hold their governments' culpable for their citizen's suffering

Compassion and reform, not walls, will halt the flood of refugeesEven when boundaries define arbitrary lines between territories, they embody deeper symbolic, cultural, historical and religious meaning that’s often contested for legitimacy. Our belief that borders are indisputable has at times led to remarkable efforts to establish permanent barriers as statements of sovereignty and against foreign intrusion. The Great Wall of China, built for defence…

Is Canada on a well-worn path to destruction?

There are surprising commonalities in the rise and fall of 11 historic empires. Canada is on the same path

Is Canada on a well-worn path to destruction?Could Canada soon meet its end, given its many divides and increasing public debt? If Sir John Glubb is right, the answer is yes. Glubb’s 1976 work, The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, found surprising commonalities in the rise and fall of 11 historic empires. Although they spanned 3,000 years and varied geography,…
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