History

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The Game That Ruins Friendships and Shapes Careers

For me, Diplomacy is an addictive quarantine hobby. For my high school frenemy, it was training for the Trump administration.

John F. Kennedy feeds the pigeons at the Piazza San Marco in Venice circa 1937.

The 4 False Deathbeds of John F. Kennedy

The 35th president grew up wealthy, privileged, callow—and extremely sensitive to the weakness of others.

A statue of Christopher Columbus, which was toppled to the ground by protesters

How Bad History Feeds Far-Right Fantasies

Justifying colonialism’s atrocities plays a toxic role in politics today.

A protester waves a QAnon flag

QAnon’s Creator Made the Ultimate Conspiracy Theory

There’s no fact the sprawling movement can’t dismiss—and no madness it can’t imagine.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows (right) watches as U.S. President Donald Trump walks off Marine One upon arrival at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Oct. 2 following the president's COVID-19 diagnosis.

What Happens When Presidents Get Sick?

Just when the U.S. public needs clarity about Trump’s health, tradition and the president’s proclivities make that unlikely.

A protester carries a “Register to Vote” sign during a peaceful demonstration against police brutality in Los Angeles on June 6.

Our Top Weekend Reads

Media bubbles get a reality check, Sudan toys with Tel Aviv, and the ivory tower comes full circle.

United Nations peacekeepers in the Middle East circa 1955.

Document of the Week: The Mighty U.N. Fighting Force That Never Was

After World War II, the United States envisioned the creation of a big-power fighting force to keep world peace. But the ambitious plan foundered amid bickering between Washington and Moscow.

Indian author Pankaj Mishra in 2006.

You Can Only See Liberalism From the Bottom

Why Pankaj Mishra sees the ideology’s limits more clearly than its most powerful fans.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, meeting during the Casablanca conference, preparing the Normandy and Italy landing, which lasted from Jan. 14 to 24, 1943.

The Postwar Global Order That Never Happened

After the wreckage of World War II, a new form of global community had huge momentum—but the United States rejected it.

General Douglas MacArthur and Japan's Emperor Hirohito in 1945, a few weeks after Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945.

The Dangerous Illusion of Japan’s Unconditional Surrender

For decades, U.S. foreign policy has been badly distorted by the way that World War II ended.

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.