For many historians of China and even for many Chinese, Chiang Kai-shek, leader of China’s Nationalist Party and then founder of the Republic of China in Taiwan, was a classic “bad guy” of history.
In The Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945, Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper chronicle the war years of the British Empire in its Asian Crescent, which curved from Calcutta to Singapore into Malaysia and Burma.
On the evening of June 24, 1941, Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill came on the radio. He declared: “Any person belonging to a country fighting against fascism will receive British aid.” He went on to say that he will give Russia and its people all the help that the British government can offer.
During World War II the United States shipped an enormous amount of aid to the Soviet Union through the Lend-Lease program. The significance of this aid to the Soviet war effort has long been debated.
Arthur Koestler lived a remarkable life – as dramatic a death-defying tour of twentieth century Europe as you can find. He was born in Budapest (in 1905) and went to school in Vienna.
In what amounted to the last act of World War II, US forces dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and another on Nagasaki three days later. Ever since, controversy has swirled around the decision to drop those bombs and annihilate those two cities. But exactly who made that decision, and how did it come about?
On a mid-July day in 1939, Albert Einstein, still in his slippers, opened the door of his summer cottage in Peconic on the fishtail end of Long Island. There stood his former student and onetime partner in an electromagnetic refrigerator pump, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, and next to him a fellow Hungarian (and fellow physicist), Eugene Wigner. The two had not come to Long Island for a day at the beach with the most famous scientist in the world but on an urgent mission.
Just before dawn on July 16, 1942 the French Police began Opération Vent Printanier, or “Operation Spring Breeze.” That morning over 13,000 Jews were forcibly removed from their homes and trudged through the streets of Paris to the Vélodrome d’Hiver, the Winter Bicycle Racetrack, on the rue Nélaton in the city’s fifteenth arrondisement.
Order 227 called for dramatically expanding the number of penal battalions. Penal battalions were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front to perform semi-suicidal missions such as frontal assaults on the enemy or walking across minefields.