Category Archives: history

Anna Chennault: ‘Steel butterfly’ who charmed US and China

To the Americans, she was a staunch anti-communist. But to the Chinese, she was a renowned war hero’s widow. And to the Taiwanese, she was a key lobbyist who ensured vital US support.

Born in 1923 in Beijing to well-educated and wealthy parents, she attended university in Hong Kong and later became a reporter for a Chinese news agency.

In 1944, she received the assignment that would change her life. She was sent to Kunming to interview US Maj Gen Claire Chennault, the leader of the Flying Tigers volunteer group of US pilots who battled against Japanese planes to protect China.


Winston Churchill the Racist War Criminal

An Indian politician has compared him to Hitler and Stalin.

“It will always be a mystery why a few bombastic speeches have been enough to wash the bloodstains off Churchill’s racist hands.” This was how Shashi Tharoor, a successful and popular Indian politician, concluded his recent op-ed for the Washington Post. Tharoor began his piece with the sensational claim that Churchill was a mass murderer in the vein of Hitler and Stalin. One would expect such statements to have a mountain of evidence behind them. There is a mountain of evidence on these and similar issues, but from even the briefest expedition up the slopes one will see Tharoor’s arguments for what they are — revisionist, manufactured history.

By my count, Tharoor makes twenty-two distinct claims about or against Winston Churchill in his 900-word article. I could deal with each of these one at a time, but here I will examine some of the most serious. In so doing, I aim to reveal Tharoor’s allegations against Churchill as unfounded and his historical analysis as embarrassingly sloppy.


What really happened after these photos were taken

Photojournalist Eddie Adams captured one of the most famous images of the Vietnam War – the very instant of an execution during the chaos of the Tet Offensive. It would bring him a lifetime of glory, but as James Jeffrey writes, also of sorrow.

Warning: This story includes Adams’ photo of the moment of the shooting, and graphic descriptions of it.

The snub-nosed pistol is already recoiling in the man’s outstretched arm as the prisoner’s face contorts from the force of a bullet entering his skull.


The bomb too big to use

On the morning of 30 October 1961, a Soviet Tu-95 bomber took off from Olenya airfield in the Kola Peninsula in the far north of Russia.

The Tu-95 was a specially modified version of a type that had come into service a few years earlier; a huge, swept-wing, four-engined monster tasked with carrying Russia’s arsenal of nuclear bombs.

The last decade had seen enormous strides in Soviet nuclear research. World War Two had placed the US and USSR in the same camp, but the post-war period had seen relations chill and then freeze. And the Soviets, presented with a rivalry against the world’s only nuclear superpower, had only one option – to catch up. Fast.


My father fought the CIA’s secret war in Laos

The summer before university, my dad and I went for a drive in the old Volvo – just the two of us, something we never did. We buckled our seatbelts, and kicked up dust on the gravel lane.

“Peter, it’s time to tell you about the family business,” my dad said as he tapped his fingers on the wheel waiting for a red light. The light turned green and we pulled out onto the main road.



Man who saved the world dies…

Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

A former Soviet military officer credited with averting a possible nuclear disaster at the peak of the Cold War has died at the age of 77.

Stanislav Petrov was on duty at a Russian nuclear early warning centre in 1983 when computers wrongly detected incoming missiles from the US.

He took the decision that they were a false alarm and did not report them to his superiors.

His actions, which came to light years later, possibly prevented nuclear war.

Petrov died at his home in Moscow in May but his death has only now been made public.

More here…


Mystery deaths of HL Hunley submarine crew solved – they accidentally killed themselves

The mystery of how the crew of one of the world’s first submarines died has finally been solved – they accidentally killed themselves.

The HL Hunley sank on February 17 1864 after torpedoing the USS Housatonic outside Charleston Harbour, South Carolina, during American Civil War.

She was one of the first submarines ever to be used in conflict, and the first to sink a battleship.


The USS Indianapolis is found after 72 years on the sea bed

Billionaire tech mogul Paul G. Allen announced Friday that a research vessel belonging to his organization has located wreckage from the USS Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea.

The sinking of the Indianapolis by a Japanese submarine in 1945 remains the single biggest loss of life in US Naval history, and the discovery of the wreckage promises to shed new light on the war-time disaster.

‘To be able to honor the brave men of the USS and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War II is truly humbling,’ Allen said in a statement published to his website.

‘As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.’