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15-Minute History

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15-Minute History

15-Minute History Podcast

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Walking in the footsteps of history, fifteen minutes at a time. Join us for a 15-minute episode covering a person, place, or event in history, and stay for an extended discussion. New episodes every Monday. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/15minutehistory/support
 
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He looked up at the white sky. The flakes did come into view until they came through the holes in the roof. A breeze blew through the building. Men around him huddled close together. He didn’t smell the stink anymore. It was all the same smell. Among the flakes now contrasting with the dark of the roof, he centered on one that moved slowly down to …
 
Here it is: the pious childhood, the voices, the missions, the uncanny miraculous insights, the fearless warring, the taunting and threatening, the temper, the visions and prophesies, and the prodigious feats of the Maid of Orleans. According to Twain, this was far and away the most amazing human being to ever live, and that is saying an awful lot.…
 
The old man lay in his bed surrounded by courtiers and family members. He had traveled from Rome to visit the place where his father had died many years ago, and now his own life was nearing its end. History records his last words as, “Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.” Caesar Augustus, the first citizen of Rome and the founder o…
 
Arrows filled the sky above the battlefield and rained down on the French knights as they slogged through the mud in heavy armor. Their effect was devastating, and hundreds of France’s noblest men fell screaming as the English longbowmen poured fire into their ranks. The French commander urged his men forward, while at the other end of the field th…
 
In this episode we set the stage for the story of Joan of Arc, one of the most enigmatic and fascinating people in history. To understand Joan we have to understand the Hundred Years' War, the festering quagmire into which she was born, and which she helped put an end to. Herein are dragons and whirlwinds, blood-soaked Vikings, slaughtered monks, b…
 
The steamboat passed the port and he looked out at the brown, muddy water. The heat was failing and the humidity began to soak his clothes. Soon it would be twilight and the lighting bugs would begin to flash on the shoreline. As the boat moved downriver, he saw an old wooden raft hitched to a tree near the shore. It had a battered steering rudder,…
 
In August 2019, The New York Times commemorated the four hundred-year anniversary of the first black Africans arriving in the New World by launching a long-form journalism project called the 1619 Project. Developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones, the project was designed to shift the focus of American history away from the American Revolution and hone in o…
 
From 1531-1532, Pizzaro and his group conquered and destroyed the Inca Civilization. Climbing the Andes Mountains, they probably never questioned the ability of the Inca Empire to feed itself in the absence of cattle and wheat. That was, by most estimations, the farthest thing from the mind of the conqueror. Amongst the riches they stole and the mi…
 
They are one of the two most implicated groups in the history of conspiracy theories. But their real history is, if less mysterious and ominous, just as unsettling. From a humble beginning, to becoming the richest order in Christendom, to being imprisoned, tortured, persecuted and executed. This is the story of the Knights Templar.…
 
"Cortés and his men leapt across the breach in the causeway to pursue the fleeing Aztecs, only to see them turn and attack. Drawn into the trap, Cortés and sixty-eight other Spaniards were captured and dragged off, leaving scores of others dead on the road. Ten captives were killed immediately, and…the remaining fifty-eight were taken to the toweri…
 
General Marshall had arrived early in 1946 with orders from Harry Truman to build a coalition government that included both Communists and Nationalists in China. Mao Tse Tung eagerly accepted Marshall’s intervention, continuing his public relations campaign to depict the Chinese Communist Party as kinder and gentler than its Stalinist counterpart i…
 
We continue our series on the Inquisition with the campaigns to suppress the Waldensians. These "Poor Men (and Women!) of Lyon" were known for their sandals and their beards; but mostly for their Christian piety, humility, and charity. So of course they had to die. And die they did, in the tens, hundreds, and thousands.…
 
The raft floated in the midst of the River Niemen. On it were two beautiful pavilions, one for the Emperor of the French and the other for the Czar and Autocrat of All the Russias. In the French tent, Napoleon Bonaparte argued with his foreign minister, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, over how harsh the peace terms with the defeated Russians should …
 
In this episode we begin a full immersion experience into that most infamous of offices, The Inqusition. From the forces at play in the persecution society where it began, through a few early burnings, to the papal bull that started it all, we refuse to shrink from staring it in all its repressive sanctimony. We also cover some of the early heretic…
 
In this episode Steve Rathje, social psychologist specializing in social media and political polarization, explains to us why we are prone to conspiratorial thinking, and how we got into the state we find ourselves in Western societies. Virality, engagement, fake news, motivated reasoning, negativity bias, and much more are covered the way only Ste…
 
In this episode I speak to Professor Jan Bremer about human sacrifice. We touch on Greek, Roman, Maya, Indian, Aztec, Druid, Egyptian, Chinese, and other instantiations of this most intentionally terrifying of all practices. Who were the victims? How common was it? What motivated it? The answers, from Prof. Bremer, were suprising. I will not say he…
 
Join us as we discuss Season Four of the 15-Minute History Podcast, ask each other questions we neglected throughout the season, and talk about Season Five and the bonus episodes you can expect during the break. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/15minutehistory/support
 
Conclusion (at last) of a three-part episode on the ways our perceptions and processing distort reality. For the stalwart (and patient) seekers of knowledge only. 0:00 Groupthink 6:13 Halo Effect 10:41 Just World Fallacy 17:21 Negativity Bias 22:16 Optimism and Pessimism Bias 27:19 Reactance 31:44 Self-Serving Bias 34:41 Sunk Cost Fallacy 39:40 The…
 
Twenty-one men sat in the dock awaiting their fate. Once the leaders of Europe's mightiest nation who had strutted proudly across the world stage arrogantly proclaiming the supremacy of the Aryan race, their faces remained defiant as their empire lay in ruins outside. Some showed open contempt for the victors who now sat in judgment over them. Othe…
 
Today I begin a pedantic journey into the tragicomic ways our perceptions and judgments are altered and distorted by our own cognitive processes -- goofy, heartbreaking, and humorous all at once, Index of topics included: 0:00 Intro 04:52 Anchoring Bias 08:59 Availability Heuristic 13:25 Backfire Effect 16:05 Barnum Effect 19:45 Belief Bias 23:06 B…
 
The last landing was unique. It was a 100-foot cliff facing the English Channel, situated between Utah and Omaha beach. At the top of the cliff were 155mm guns with a range of 3.5 miles that could fire on both Utah and Omaha beaches and cause maximum casualties. The challenges facing these men were obvious, with the sheer rock face and no cover, an…
 
Join us as we discuss the impossible landing at Pointe du Hoc, its role in Operation Overlord, and the story of the heroic Rangers who scaled and took the hill under direct enemy fire. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/15minutehistory/support
 
In which we continue to Dumbest things in history series by looking at some of the glitches in us that make them possible. And also that they are not the result of our lizard brain, because we don't have one. In this episode, we cover conspiracy thinking and theories and the apophenia that makes them possible, including pareidolia, the gambler's fa…
 
In Great Britain calls for negotiations with Hitler were on the rise, with some leaders in the House of Commons outright promoting it. Churchill wouldn’t hear of it. “I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man,” he said in an informal meeting with his Cabinet. “I a…
 
Join us as we discuss part two of the life of Winston Churchill, from his taking of the Premiership to the leading of the English people through one of the darkest periods in history. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/15minutehistory/support
 
As stated by Andrew Roberts in his book, Churchill: Walking with Destiny, "Before the new MP had even taken his seat, he had fought in four wars, published five books, written 215 newspaper and magazine articles, participated in the greatest cavalry charge in a half a century and made a spectacular escape from prison. ‘At twenty-five, he had fought…
 
A bad decision for the ages--welcoming a pretentious narcissistic ignoramus into your family to weaken your already precarious hold on power, ignoring all warnings and thumbing your nose at the public outrage it engendered. And worse, taking said lecher's advice on all matters, sacred and secular, because he claimed it came from God himself. It sou…
 
In 1814, as the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte crumbled from the onslaught of the Sixth Coalition powers, the people of Paris felt the ground shudder as cannon shells burst outside the city walls. A year later, the returned emperor's defeat at Waterloo had brought the Germans back to their beloved "City of Lights." In 1870, Paris was besieged by the …
 
Around him lay the carnage of battle, men killed or nursing wounds. Smoke filled the air and burned the colonel's lungs. His depleted regiment had already repelled three attacks by rebels charging up the hill and was nearing the end of their strength. And yet the grey-coats kept coming. His superior's orders rang in his ears, "You must hold the lin…
 
The streets of Washington buzzed with the news. Now seven states had seceded from the Union, and the country stood on the brink. The White House saw streams of officials entering and leaving as the president summoned the Cabinet and members of Congress to find a solution to the country's plight. Most believed that his inaction the previous December…
 
Join us as we discuss the beginnings of the American Civil War, the vile and evil institution of slavery, and the beginning of the bloody process by which it was finally brought to an end. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/15minutehistory/support
 
The concept of moving water from one place to the other has been on the minds of humans since their creation. Conversely, the desire to move soiled water away automatically has – at times – been considered equally important. The means by which this could be done has evolved as civilizations have come and gone. In all of them, a basic pattern emerge…
 
It is very common throughout history to see periods of great innovation and artistic expression follow times of great turmoil and death. The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) were some of the worst years in the history of Europe, and in their wake, many artists, writers, philosophers, and common people took stock of what they had just endured. Join us as…
 
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