World War I nearly started in 1909 over Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Worried about a changing circumstance in Europe after the Young Turk Revolution and increasingly bothered by the rhetoric from Serbia, Austria-Hungary felt it had to act in order to preserve the integrity of its borders and its empire.  On 6 October 1908, they announced …

  • May 3, 2021
  • History
  • Comments Off on Almost the First World War

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When Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife the Duchess Sophie came to Sarajevo on 25 June 1914, they were ushered into a suite at a spa resort in the nearby municipality of Ilidža.   The room, decorated in a Turkish style in vogue at the time, was provided by a local Jewish merchant from the …

  • June 28, 2021
  • History
  • Comments Off on The World Changed Forever

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Aminatta Forna tackles trauma, although not in the way that most western readers are used to dealing with trauma’s effects.   Her previous book, Happiness, brings a different explanation to how different cultures deal with trauma.  The problem, rather than the trauma itself, is societal expectations of trauma.  Those who expect a trauma-free life as …

  • April 19, 2021
  • Reading , Review
  • Comments Off on Different Worlds of Trauma

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The Pig War was not actually a war, and the weapons that started it were purchased, not shot.   Nevertheless, when the Austro-Hungarians decided to teach Serbia a lesson, it was triggered by Serbia’s decision to purchase weapons from outside the Habsburg sphere of influence.  The weapons were French, not coincidentally a treaty-partner to the …

  • March 3, 2021
  • History , Interesting
  • Comments Off on The Weapons That Started the Pig War

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When Serbia, which had long been considered a satellite of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, began attempting to branch out their economic and trade relationships, Austria-Hungary reacted decisively in an attempt to quell any thoughts of an independent Slavic Balkans. The result, on 1 March 1906, was the Pig War of 1906-1908.  The Pig War was not …

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On 1 March 1906 Austria-Hungary decided they had enough of what they considered Serbia’s perfidy and decided to hit the Balkan country back where it would hurt – by denying Serbian products entry into the Austro-Hungarian market.  This decree hit one economic sector in particular, and it is that sector that gave this crisis its …

  • February 16, 2021
  • Bulgaria , Serbia
  • Comments Off on The War That Wasn’t Quite a War

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The separate yet intertwined conflicts of 1956, in Hungary and Egypt, changed the presentation and path of the Cold War.  Most stunning among the changes and yet one of the least mentioned outside scholarly works is that Great Britain began the month of October 1956 as one of the great powers at the center of …

  • January 5, 2021
  • Reading , Review
  • Comments Off on Book Review: Blood and Sand: Suez, Hungary, and the Crisis that Shook the World

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On 8 January 1912 in an unprepossessing Wesleyan Church in the Black community of Waaihoek near Bloemfontein several men and one women met to create the organization that would shake the foundations of the South African nation. The South African Native National Congress would become the African National Congress eleven years later in 1923, but …

  • December 14, 2020
  • South Africa
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“We couldn’t, on one hand, complain about the Soviets intervening in Hungary, and, on the other hand, approve of the British and French picking that particular time to intervene against Nasser,” Richard Nixon. October/November 1956 was a crazy time. No less than two earth-shaking events were taking place, both intimately involving the Soviet Union and …

  • November 27, 2020
  • History
  • Comments Off on Twin World Crises

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