May 31, 2020
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This Pandemic Isn’t the First Time the Hajj Has Been Disrupted for Muslims | History

Smithsonian
Saudi Arabia has urged Muslims to delay their plans for the hajj, amid speculation that the obligatory pilgrimage may be canceled this year due to the coronavirus. Earlier this year, Saudi authorities halted travel to holy sites as part of the umrah, the “lesser pilgrimage” that takes place throughout the......
History

The Long, Fraught History of the Bulletproof Vest | Innovation

Smithsonian
Gavrilo Princip’s bullet changed the world. When he fired a bullet and severed an internal vein in the jugular of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, lodging the projectile into the spine of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, it was as much a turning point for world powers......
History

How Winston Churchill Endured the Blitz—and Taught the People of England to Do the Same | History

Smithsonian
For 57 consecutive nights in 1940, Nazi Germany tried to bring England to its knees. Waves of planes pummeled cities with high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices as part of a campaign to break the English spirit and destroy the country’s capacity to make war. One man stood strong against the......
History

Why the Experimental Nazi Aircraft Known as the Horten Never Took Off | At the Smithsonian

Smithsonian
In the years after World War I, when aviation was all the rage in Europe and North America but the Treaty of Versailles banned the production of military aircraft in Germany, glider clubs sprang up across the country. The brothers Walter and Reimar Horten, just 13 and 10 years old,......
History

The Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff | History

Smithsonian
By the time the Soviet Union advanced on Germany’s eastern front in January of 1945, it was clear the advantage in World War II was with the Allies. The fall of the Third Reich was by this point inevitable; Berlin would succumb within months. Among the German populace, stories of......
History

The True History Behind the ‘1917’ Movie | History

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Dec. 20, 2019, 8 a.m. The new World War I drama from director Sam Mendes, 1917, unfolds in real-time, tracking a pair of British soldiers as they cross the Western Front on a desperate rescue mission. Seemingly filmed in one continuous take, the 117-minute epic has garnered accolades......
History

The True Story of the Battle of Midway | History

Smithsonian
“At the present time we have only enough water for two weeks. Please supply us immediately,” read the message sent by American sailors stationed at Midway, a tiny atoll located roughly halfway between North America and Asia, on May 20, 1942. The plea for help, however, was a giant ruse;......
History

The True Story of Netflix’s “The King,” Henry V | History

Smithsonian
Henry V was a man of contradictions. In youth, he was reportedly an “assiduous cultivator of lasciviousness,” but upon ascending to the throne of England in the early 15th century, he won plaudits for his piety. Henry was a formidable warrior—perhaps the greatest the country has ever seen—but thanks to......
History

The Unprecedented Effort to Preserve a Million Letters Written by U.S. Soldiers During Wartime | History

Smithsonian
Andrew Carroll is never far away from the slim black portfolio he calls “the football.” Inside are more than two dozen original letters, creased and faded, bullet-torn and tear-stained, spanning 225 years of American war history, from the early days of the Revolution to 9/11. Each page is sheathed in......
History

What a Warrior’s Lost Toolkit Says About the Oldest Known Battle in Europe | History

Smithsonian
A little more than three millennia ago, hundreds, maybe thousands, of warriors using clubs, swords and arrows clashed along the marshy banks of the Tollense River on Germany’s Baltic coast, staining the grounds with blood. On what may be the oldest battlefield in Europe, archaeologists have been uncovering remains and......

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