Saturday, January 08, 2005

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument. This is the official site of the National Park Service's park site. It is located in San Diego, California. I would like to visit this one in the future if I have a chance.

From the site:
The park offers a superb view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline. At the highest point of the park stands the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which has been a San Diego icon since 1854. A statue and museum in the Visitor Center commemorate Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's exploration of the coast of California. In a former army building an exhibit tells the story of the coast artillery on Point Loma. In the winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. Native coastal sage scrub habitat along the Bayside Trail offers a quiet place to reflect and relax. On the west side of the park is a small but beautiful stretch of rocky-intertidal coastline.On September 28, 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landed at San Diego Bay. This event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the west coast of the United States. His accomplishments were memorialized on October 14, 1913 with the establishment of Cabrillo National Monument.

The park offers a superb view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline. At the highest point of the park stands the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which has been a San Diego icon since 1854. A statue and museum in the Visitor Center commemorate Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's exploration of the coast of California. In a former army building an exhibit tells the story of the coast artillery on Point Loma. In the winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. Native coastal sage scrub habitat along the Bayside Trail offers a quiet place to reflect and relax. On the west side of the park is a small but beautiful stretch of rocky-intertidal coastline.

Friday, January 07, 2005

History of Cambodia

History of Cambodia. This is a good overview to the history of the Asian nation of Cambodia.

From the site:

Over a period of 300 years, between 900 and 1200 AD, the Khmer Kingdom of Angkor produced some of the world's most magnificent architectural masterpieces on the northern shore of the Tonle Sap, near the present town of Siem Reap. The Angkor area stretches 15 miles east to west and 5 miles north to south. Some 72 major temples or other buildings dot the area. Suryavarman II built the principal temple, Angkor Wat, between 1112 and 1150. With walls nearly one-half mile on each side, Angkor Wat portrays the Hindu cosmology with the central towers representing Mount Meru, home of the gods; the outer walls, the mountains enclosing the world; and the moat, the oceans beyond. Angkor Thom, the capital city built after the Cham sack of 1177, is surrounded by a 300-foot wide moat. Construction of Angkor Thom coincided with a change from Hinduism to Buddhism. Temples were altered to display images of the Buddha, and Angkor Wat became a major Buddhist shrine.

During the 15th century, nearly all of Angkor was abandoned after Siamese attacks. The exception was Angkor Wat, which remained a shrine for Buddhist pilgrims. The great city and temples remained largely cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century when French archaeologists began a long restoration process. France established the Angkor Conservancy in 1908 to direct restoration of the Angkor complex. For the next 64 years, the conservancy worked to clear away the forest, repair foundations, and install drains to protect the buildings from their most insidious enemy: water. After 1953, the conservancy became a joint project of the French and Cambodian Governments. Some temples were carefully taken apart stone by stone and reassembled on concrete foundations. Tourism is now the second-largest foreign currency earner in Cambodia's economy, and Angkor Wat has helped attract international tourism to the country.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Hogan’s Heroes and the Holocaust: The Association That Just Won’t Go Away

Hogan’s Heroes and the Holocaust: The Association That Just Won’t Go Away. A paper that explores the connection between the popular TV sitcom and the historical event. It is by Leslie Campbell Rampey, Ph.D.

From the site:

Barbed wire, guard towers, attack dogs, low-slung wooden huts, and pre-dawn roll-calls all are images from a collectively remembered past that remind us that during its twelve-year reign of terror the German Third Reich took many prisoners for many reasons -- from "asocials" to political antagonists to labor slaves to victims marked for genocide. For seven of those years, Germany was at war, which meant that prisoners-of-war also found a place among the burgeoning population of the Nazis’ inmates. Stories both fictional and non-fictional of all those classes of prisoners have been told in many ways innumerable times on both the large and small screens – from documentary films to feature-length movies to even television mini-series. Given the real life atrocities experienced by untold millions of those prisoners, one hardly could imagine that an appropriate format for one of those stories would be a weekly television situation comedy. Yet, the U.S. television sitcom Hogan’s Heroes tried to do just that – tell a story about some prisoners of the Third Reich, specifically Allied prisoners-of-war. For a dramatic vehicle that almost everyone agrees has nothing at all to do with the events that came to be collectively labeled as "the Holocaust," through the years the show has remained a curious flash point of perceptions about it. That Hogan’s Heroes is both confused and associated with events of the Holocaust is due in part to historical images that the show evokes and also to a number of extra-textual ironies that continue to swirl about its periphery.

Thirty-five years ago in 1965, just 20 years after the end of World War II, the sitcom Hogan’s Heroes premiered. In a genre not normally associated with controversy, at least not yet in those days, the show raised a firestorm from its very inception. Set in a luft stalag (prisoner-of-war camp run by the German air force) during World War II, the show’s premise elicited howls of protest because critics imagined that Nazism somehow was going to be depicted in an amusing light and thus that the dark realities of its genocidal atrocities would be trivialized. Even people who eventually benefited greatly from the highly-rated show’s long run and subsequent syndication had their initial doubts. CBS president William Paley found the idea "’reprehensible’" (Royce, 21); title lead actor Bob Crane was at first incredulous (Graysmith, 118); and co-star Werner Klemperer was "’totally stunned’" and thought the creators "’out of their minds’" (Royce, 82). These people, however, were intimately connected with the production of the show and grew comfortable with and confident in the premise, but among the general public unfavorable rumors abounded. Not only was there a general feeling that the lot of POWs was not humorous, as Brenda Scott Royce points out in her book about the show, but she further attributes the dismay to confusion of "prisoner-of-war camps with concentration camps, where millions of inmates were starved, treated inhumanely, and murdered" (xi-xii).

Only 20 years after the end of the war – and the end of the Holocaust – that was an understandable confusion. After all, as Tim Cole states, "It was only in the 1960s and 1970s that the nature of the Holocaust began to be grasped by both the academic community and the general public in the United States and Europe" (p. 2). Ten years earlier Alain Resnais in his documentary Night and Fog makes no distinctions between extermination camps and concentration camps, nor between the Nazis’ political prisoners and their victims marked for genocide. Little wonder then that in 1965 a U.S. general public who encountered Hogan’s Heroes -- replete with those images of the barbed wire, guard towers, and dogs -- might have thought the similarities to the newsreel footage of concentration camps and survivor testimony to be a little too close for comfort. One does have to wonder why the association with popular movies such as Stalag 17 (1953) and The Great Escape (1963), both of which depicted POW camps, were not the associations generally made with Hogan’s Heroes. Apparently, however, it was the announced comedic treatment (although Stalag 17 did contain muted instances of black comedy) that caused the outcry and the subsequent confusion of Hogan’s Heroes’ POW camp setting with that of concentration/death camps.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Little Bear

The Little Bear. A selection of university-level papers and links to medieval history on the internet. This is a nice medieval history site and worth a visit by those interested in this area of history.

From the site:

The primary aim of this site is to provide students of medieval history, as well as others with a special interest in the Middle Ages, with a general overview and reference to some of the most important and useful resources on medieval history available on the internet. The section devoted to this aim contains a number of links to some of the best sites available on the internet in this respect. It should be noted that this site is relatively new and as such contains only a rather limited amount of links at present. I hope to improve and expand the link section in the future, and to add a number of features to the site not currently available at the moment.

The second section features a list of the university papers that I have written, or contributed to, during the course of my studies. The titles in English are available for viewing and printing in their full length, whereas the titles originally written in my native tongue Danish has been listed with an English abstract attached to them, outlining their basic content and conclusions. The list is intended to provide history students and others taking an interest in one or more of the topics, with material at honours student level covering each specific subject in an incisive, well-documented, and, needless to say, inherently subjective way. My hope is that the list will provide for interesting reading and for some form of inspiration or guidelines in case you wish to deal with similar subjects yourself. The majority of the papers have been graded with the first class grade A (or equivalent) by my professors and tutors at Roskilde University in Denmark and The University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

George Washington

George Washington. This is a short biography of the first American President under the Constitution. Several individuals were technically President of the United States under the Articles of Confederation but few serious historians really consider them to have been President as the role was largely ceremonially.

From the site:

George Washington (February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799) was the first (1789 - 1797) President of the United States of America and is recognized by Americans as "The Father of His Country." (The earliest known image in which Washington is identified as such is on the cover of the circa 1778 Pennsylvania German almanac, Lancaster: Gedruckt bey Francis Bailey . This identifies Washington as "Landes Vater" or Father of the Land .)

George Washington's birthday is celebrated on February 22 using the Gregorian calendar, but under the Julian calendar, which was in use throughout Britain and its colonies at the time of this birth, he was born on February 11.

Monday, January 03, 2005

History of Central African Republic

History of Central African Republic. This is a good overview to the history of this African nation. The major emphasis is on recent history.

From the site:

The C.A.R. appears to have been settled from at least the 7th century on by overlapping empires, including the Kanem-Bornou, Ouaddai, Baguirmi, and Dafour groups based in Lake Chad and the Upper Nile. Later, various sultanates claimed present-day C.A.R, using the entire Oubangui region as a slave reservoir, from which slaves were traded north across the Sahara and to West Africa for export by European traders. Population migration in the 18th and 19th centuries brought new migrants into the area, including the Zande, Banda, and Baya-Mandjia.

In 1875 the Egyptian sultan Rabah governed Upper-Oubangui, which included present-day C.A.R. Europeans, primarily the French, German, and Belgians, arrived in the area in 1885. The French consolidated their legal claim to the area through an 1887 convention with Congo Free State, which granted France possession of the right bank of the Oubangui River. Two years later, the French established an outpost at Bangui, and in 1894, Oubangui-Chari became a French territory. However, the French did not consolidate their control over the area until 1903 after having defeated the forces of the Egyptian sultan Rabah and established colonial administration throughout the territory. In 1906, the Oubangui-Chari territory was united with the Chad colony; in 1910, it became one of the four territories of the Federation of French Equatorial Africa (A.E.F.), along with Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), and Gabon. The next 30 years were marked by small-scale revolts against French rule and the development of a plantation-style economy.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Rome at its Height

Rome at its Height - Part of the Lectures in Medieval History Series, by Lynn Harry Nelson at University of Kansas. Includes a map as well as an analysis of the Roman Empire at its peak.

From the site:

In many ways, the Roman empire remains the ideal upon which Western civilization has shaped itself. One need only look at the Capitol in Washington to see how extensively the founders of the United States followed the Roman model in fashioning a new nation. Because so many Roman principles are embodied in modern institutions, people feel that it is important to know why the Roman empire fell. question The answer might, after all, reveal a flaw or weakness in the Roman tradition that was passed on to modern Western civilization and which could eventually lead to the end of the centuries in which Western civilization has been able to expand and to dominate the globe. Much our of high standard of living has been a result of our ability to take what we wanted from the rest of the world, and the loss of that ability would mean that our lives would become significantly less comfortable and luxurious.

And so people are always interested in attempts to answer the question "Why did the Roman empire fall?" Every now and then, one sees a magazine or tabloid reporting the latest theory - all the Romans caught malaria and were sick most of the time; they were poisoned by the lead in the glaze of their cooking pots and went crazy; they started having orgies all the time and their moral fiber was weakened by their preoccupation with sex; their conversion to Christianity focused their attention on the next world rather than the present one; and so on. This question may or may not have an answer, but first we have to understand the nature of the Roman empire. You see, it was not so much a question of why it fell but what had kept it standing for so long. I'll state a proposition that will give you something to think about as you cover the next few lectures.