The guns fell silent on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Over four years of incredible destruction came to a silent end. For the belligerent Central and Allied Powers the armistice brought tremendous uncertainty. The Kaiser had just been overthrown and a new alliance of Liberals and Socialists announced a democratic regime at Weimar. The other Central Powers had collapsed in disarray and revolution. Russia, out of the war in early 1918 was in the midst of a deepening Civil War. Many of the Allies were exhausted and drained.
The delegates that crafted the treaty that ended the First World War believed that they had brought a lasting peace to Europe. President Wilson believed that the war had made much of the world safe for democracy to spread. However, conflicting goals, the harsh terms of the treaty and Germany’s response to those terms would to the most destructive conflict in world history – World War Two.
Firefighting began to be a focus only with the rise of very large cities such as Rome. Earlier cities, such as those in Mesopotamia or the Indus, likely developed ad hoc firefighting departments and respondent to events. As with other institutions, however, the history of firefighting is complicated and influenced by major technical and social change that occurred in different centuries.
Early fighting developed in the early urban societies of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus. Very likely, however, these were not dedicated fire departments but rather as volunteer or paid individuals who would be responsible in assembling a crew and extinguishing a fire in the city. Few archaeological remains have attested to such firefighters, but laws, such as those from Hammurabi’s law code, indicate they existed. There was a law that stated that a firefighter who stole from a burning house that he was responsible for would be punished by death by being thrown into the fire. The law makes it clear though that it is a volunteer that the law applies to. This does not mean there were no paid firefighters but it could mean volunteers may have volunteered because fires gave opportunity for theft.
Baseball is called America’s pastime and looking at it one can see that the modern sport of baseball not only developed in the United States but it continues to be associated with the United States, similar to iconic places such as the Statue of Liberty or the Grand Canyon. The path baseball took to becoming the sport it is today started in the early Medieval period, where it was a very different game. As with other major American sports, key developments occurred in Great Britain before then developing differently in the United States.
In Medieval England, during the Anglo and Norman periods, there appears to have been a game played in a type of field or clearing in the woods. This may have involved some type of ball game and some have suggested the word for this game, craic, which may have developed into the term cricket. The game may have been played by children but almost no records exist of how this game was played. Another game developed in France in the Medieval period, which may have had similarities to craic, was La soule. This was a type of ball game using a leather or wooden ball that would involve people forming teams in a field and the ball would be hit or kicked around. Scoring a goal was likely the objective and, similar to many other games of the day, the game seemed violent and injury was common.
In 1871, in Paris, there was one of the first modern left-wing revolutions in the world. It came amidst a background of war and siege. The Paris Commune as the revolution was known, sought to implement some of the most radical ideas of the French Revolution. The revolutionaries were much influenced by anarchism and were in many ways the precursors the Soviet Communist in Russian in the early 20th century. The Paris Commune was ultimately defeated, but it served as a model for many revolutionaries at the time and to the present day.
In 1870, the Prussian Chancellor Bismarck engineered a war with France, under its Emperor Napoleon III. The two nations fought each other mainly in north-eastern France. The Prussians and their German allies defeated the French at the Battle of Sedan and captured the Emperor and they then proceeded to besiege Paris. In the city, the local defence was often in the hands of the the local militia, the National Guard and they were organised on the basis of neighbourhoods. At this time, many citizens of Paris, especially in the poorer neighbourhoods, effectively governed themselves, as they were cut off from the control of the central government, during the Prussian siege. A new provisional French government was located in Bordeaux, far in the South-West of France. Many of the members of the National Guard had left-wing sympathies and they had long resented the autocratic rule of Napoleon III and were eager for change.  Many of the more radical elements in the National Guard were radicals and wanted a revolution. Many of these were sympathetic to the first Socialist movement the ‘First International’. Many in Paris felt abandoned by the new French government and angry at their handling of the war effort.
On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrender his Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the American Civil War. The four years of bloody carnage forever altered the course of the nation. Perhaps the pivotal period in American History, the Civil War was led by some of the most renowned figures in American History.
The library of texts pertaining to the Civil War Era ranges from scholarly research to pure fiction. Some of the most informative works come in the biography genre. The countless memoirs and autobiographies are essential to professional researchers and historians and have proved indispensable to the modern biographer. Cohesively combining letters, memoirs, reports, and oral histories is a monumental task for the biographer; yet when successfully completed, a Civil War biography brings the 19th century legends to life. Below is our list of the biographies essential to library of any student of the Civil War.
It is estimated that 56,000 Texans served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, yet the approximately 4,000 men, organized into thirty-two companies that formed the Texas Brigade, were the only Texans who fought in both theaters of operation. They have been compared to the famous Stonewall Brigade in terms of bravery, skill, and fortitude. As was the case with numerous troops throughout the war, the actions of the Texas Brigade directly contributed to the outcome of certain battles and the general course of history.
Although the Texas Brigade participated in renowned battles such as Gettysburg and Antietam, the achievement for which they are most acclaimed occurred during the Peninsula Campaign at the Battle of Gaines’s Mill.
The imposing John Bell Hood was born in Owingsville, Kentucky in 1831, yet was a self-declared Texan. He had travelled extensively through Texas and was impressed with the possibilities the state held. Additionally, he was dismayed that his home state of Kentucky remained neutral rather than joining the Confederate States of America. (C.S.A.) Hood was a West Point graduate, class of 1853, yet was able to maintain a frontier attitude, which immediately endeared him to his men.
Universities today are a key component for modern states and economies, where the professional classes and academic research are fostered. We often rate societies by their abilities to produce scientific achievement and develop economic success where universities play a critical role in this. However, the history of universities was very different and these institutions were first relatively parochial and only in recent times have they become pervasive.
Early institutions of higher learning existed long before universities were established. These early institutions conducted research and taught pupils, similar to our ideas of universities today. Early recordings from Egypt and Mesopotamia suggest there were not only scholars who conducted research but also these scholars likely taught and were affiliated with institutions of learning. The Ashurbanipal Library at Nineveh and Library at Sippar were collections of knowledge that likely also had students and teachers associated with them that taught a select group of individuals who not only learned the complex written languages of their day but also began to study and apply their knowledge.