History

Police stands guard around the statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen in Hoorn, the Netherlands, on June 19.

The Dutch Are Uncomfortable With Being History’s Villains, Not Victims

A refusal to confront colonial atrocities persists in the Netherlands.

Empty envelopes of opened vote-by-mail ballots for the presidential primary are stacked on a table at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on March 10, 2020.

‘The Tea Leaves Suggest That if He Doesn’t Cheat, He’s Going to Lose’

The presidential historian Timothy Naftali notes there’s no historical precedent for delaying an election, even in the middle of major wars, but Trump’s Republican Party is all about holding on to power.

Reenactors dressed as Greek hoplites attack Persians during an event  to commemorate the 2,500-year anniversary of the Battle of Marathon in Marathon, Greece, on Sept. 10, 2011.

Oh God, Not the Peloponnesian War Again

Western strategists need to learn some new history. Here are eight suggestions from Asia.

A frieze on an altar in Rome

American Police Should Know Where Rome Went Wrong

Ancient notions of authority show where U.S. policing went wrong.

Illustrations depicting smallpox from  the Imperially Commissioned Golden Mirror of Medical Learning, published in 1742.

Empire’s Little Helper

Chinese history shows that where soldiers march, plague follows.

Sculptures of Vladimir Lenin and other Soviet-era statues and busts sit in a former National Guard Armory in Culver City, California—now the permanent home of the Wende Museum—in 2014.

Tearing Down Statues Won’t Undo History

From the Berlin Wall to Confederate monuments, destroying a historic marker means destroying a learning opportunity.

People gather around the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, on June 4, amid continued protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Where Should Confederate Statues Go to Die?

The United States can learn from the graveyards of fallen regimes worldwide.

Demonstrators dance at the World War II Memorial during an "Immortal Regiment" Remembrance Walk to mark the 73rd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day in Washington on May 5, 2018.

We Remember World War II Wrong

In the middle of the biggest international crisis ever since, it’s time to admit what the war was—and wasn’t.

Two Afghan mujahideen in 1989

Hard Times Don’t Make Strong Soldiers

Western strategists keep falling for myths of invincible barbarians.

A 14th-century painting showing the caravan of Niccolò and Maffeo Polo crossing Asia.

The ‘Chinese Virus’ Spread Along the New Silk Road

Western democracies may lose the coronavirus propaganda war, but China certainly won’t win it.

"The Plague" by C. Audran after P. Mignard.

The Coronavirus Is Accelerating History Past the Breaking Point

Every era gets the infectious diseases—and the resulting political upheaval—it has coming.

The RTV 31 hovercraft train in Peterborough, England, on Jan. 25.

A Train to Nowhere

Hovertrains were meant to revolutionize British transport. But they never arrived.

An American propaganda poster from World War II.

The Coronavirus War Economy Will Change the World

When societies shift their economies to a war footing, it doesn’t just help them survive a crisis—it alters them forever.

A passenger wearing a face mask as a protective measure looks at two police officers  at the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport in Barajas on March 20, 2020.

How Governments Got Their Quarantine Powers

If you're locked inside, thank the British Empire for the laws that make it possible.

The multimedia artist Gabi von Seltmann's "Reconstruction" projects an image of the Great Synagogue of Warsaw, destroyed by the city's Nazi occupiers in 1943, onto the facade of the office tower that currently occupies the site. Scheduled to appear next in April, the work also features the single Hebrew word ליבע: “love.”

Poland Is Becoming a Global Capital of Chutzpah

As the government cracks down on Holocaust remembrance, the country’s Jewish art scene is thriving like never before.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony on the 75th anniversary of the Leningrad siege near St. Petersburg on Jan. 18.

Vladimir Putin Wants to Rewrite the History of World War II

The Russian president’s amateur history lessons are outraging neighboring countries. While he is right to criticize a recent EU Parliament resolution, his historical revisionism doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Then-Omani leader Sultan Qaboos and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani review the honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Muscat, Oman, on March 12, 2014.

Why Oman Loves Iran

The special relationship between the two countries traces back to a personal debt incurred by Sultan Qaboos.

A Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain.

Is the World Getting Safer?

New research debunks the theory that wars are becoming less deadly and less frequent.

The BT-9 guard tower, part of the 
Berlin Wall exhibit at the Newseum in Washington before its closure in December.

Why the Berlin Wall Still Matters

Fragments of the wall have become museum pieces. But with the rise of extremist parties in Germany, the debate over the barrier’s legacy is anything but history.

Foreign Policy illustration/Getty Images and AP photos

The Kaiser’s Family Wants Its Stuff Back. Germany Isn’t Sure They Deserve It.

The former royal family lost countless artworks, palaces, and wealth in the 20th century. But were they victims—or enablers of the Nazis?