Untitled

The first rule of driving traffic to your blog is to give each post an eye-catching title, since that’s as far as most potential readers will get. But I’m going to leave this one untitled because I don’t want anyone offering a knee-jerk reaction to a five- or six-word headline. See, this one is about Donald Trump. And … More Untitled

The Political Misuses of Holocaust History

In recent decades, public consciousness of the Holocaust has increased exponentially. One unfortunate by-product of this otherwise salutary development has been the increased temptation for politicians to exploit references to Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust to stigmatize their opponents. So writes historian Christopher Browning, in an essay for Foreign Policy that argues that the “Political exploitation of the … More The Political Misuses of Holocaust History

Starvation as a Weapon

Today’s must-read article comes from Anne Applebaum, pointing to a perhaps underreported dimension of the crisis in Syria: mass starvation brought about by the policies of Bashar al-Assad. While the international community is haggling over [Assad’s] chemical weapons, the stuff of modern nightmares, he is following the example of his medieval and his 20th-century predecessors and … More Starvation as a Weapon

This Day in History: A WWII Convergence

I don’t pretend that historical coincidences like this mean anything. But perhaps because I’ve just finished teaching a course on the history of World War II for the first time, I couldn’t help but notice a convergence of WWII-related anniversaries on my Twitter feed this morning: I’m sure there’s something profound to note about this … More This Day in History: A WWII Convergence

The Second World War Before Pearl Harbor: France, 1940

Too much about higher education of late… Let’s cleanse the palate with a dose of military history! It was during my first year of college, when I had decided to forego my planned career in international law and instead devote myself to the study of European history, that I first realized how little of the … More The Second World War Before Pearl Harbor: France, 1940

The Second World War Before Pearl Harbor: Poland, 1939

I started this series — introducing American readers to the Second World War as it was fought years before the United States joined the conflict — with Japan’s 1937 offensive against China. Let’s continue with an invasion that’s probably more familiar to most Americans and Europeans: Having already remilitarized the Rhineland (March 1936), absorbed Austria … More The Second World War Before Pearl Harbor: Poland, 1939

Best of The Pietist Schoolman: Teaching WWI in Europe

With two exams to grade at work, it seems like a good moment to rerun some favorite posts from the first three months of 2013. We’ll start by stretching the “Best of The Pietist Schoolman” definition a bit and collate four posts I wrote for our department blog, at different points along the way in … More Best of The Pietist Schoolman: Teaching WWI in Europe

Back from Europe!

Good to be back home after three weeks in Europe teaching about World War I… I’ll be easing back into blogging this week, starting with a post tomorrow soliciting readers’ thoughts about the questions I’ll be asking Feb. 8-10 when I teach the Winter Seminar at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis. Then I’ll stretch out … More Back from Europe!

Text in Context: Readings for Our World War I Travel Course

In less than a month now, fourteen of us from Bethel University will leave for London to start a three-week travel course on the history of World War I. After eight days in England, we’ll cross the Channel to tour battlefield and memorial sites in Belgium and northern France, then wrap up with five days … More Text in Context: Readings for Our World War I Travel Course

For the Last Time, It’s Not a Good Idea to Make Nazi Analogies

I know that Godwin’s law pertains to Internet discussions, but perhaps it’s also true that the closer we get to a vote on a contentious issue in the culture wars, “the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Take, for example, the state of Minnesota, whose voters will be asked to answer … More For the Last Time, It’s Not a Good Idea to Make Nazi Analogies