In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537
, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance
that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men
. The third Chicken War
was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States
. [more inside]
World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell
” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America
" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via
In advance of Euro 2012, the Guardian has made animated histories
of six of the competitors: England
, the Republic of Ireland
. (Autoplay video in last six links.)
Early 1940: British police listening for radio transmissions from German spies within the UK pick up weird signals, and pass them to Bletchley Park
, the United Kingdom's main decryption establishment in WWII. The source of these German messages is an unknown machine, which the Brits dub Tunny
(10 minute video with Tony Sale
describing the Tunny). August 30, 1941: German operators send two very similar messages with the same key, providing insight into the encryption scheme. By January 1942, British cryptographers deduced the workings of the German code machines, sight unseen. The British were able to create their own Tunny emulators to decrypt messages sent by German High Command. After the war, these and other British code-breaking and emulating machines were demolished and/or recycled for parts and their blueprints destroyed, leaving a hole in the history of the British WWII code breaking. Efforts to rebuild the British Tunny emulator started in the 1990s, and quite recently a Tunny emulator replica was completed
. [more inside]
Secret agent Huub Lauwers was parachuted into occupied Holland
in 1941 to relay intelligence back to London. His capture by the Germans marked the beginning of the Englandspiel
, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse intelligence that cost the lives of over fifty agents. Lauwers frantically tried to inform the SOE
that he had been caught, but the Baker Street Irregulars
just didn't get it. Or did they? [more inside]
Johannes Matthaeus Koelz: A Life Divided.
An artist who escaped to England from Nazi Germany. From the exhibition
'Koelz, a painter, was living in a small cottage in the Bavarian forest estate of Hohenbrunn. One morning he travelled to nearby Munich on a routine visit to police headquarters to renew his exit visa for a planned trip to Italy.'
'At some point during the following night Koelz instructed a young man from the local woodmill to take his major work - a triptych which had occupied him since the early 1930s and cut it into pieces. He left Hohenbrunn at dawn, arranging for his family to follow ... It was the first stop on a journey that would take them to England. '
'Meanwhile the state police had raided their home and interrogated family members left behind. They were searching for the painter and his triptych, a massive anti-war painting which not only questioned the horrors of war but also the rising power of the Nationalist Socialist Party and by implication, its leader, Adolf Hitler.''Thou Shalt Not Kill'
, Koelz's tryptych.Timeline
England 5 Germany 1
there is a god, and his name is Michael Owen