Blog! - Two-Fisted History


The Stars At Night,
Are Big And Bright
Deep In The Heart Of
New Germany!

A few years back, I brought to your attention the attempt made by some brave, yet ill-prepared Scots to establish a Scottish colony in what is now Panama.  Another nation that doesn't get talked about when it comes to colonization is Germany.  At least, not until the end of the 19th Century when Germany gets the rest of Europe's   Read More. . .

Tags : History Colonization Texas Germany

The Battle of Texel:
When General Winter Sided With France

I've never been a fan of the French Revolution.  It was a violent, bloody affair responsible for a great deal of the socio-political problems of the past two hundred years.  Worse yet, it's often misrepresented as a great step for 'Liberty, Equality, & Fraternity.'  That being said, there were some nifty parts of the Revolutionary   Read More. . .

Tags : History FrenchRevolution Netherlands Navy

America's Smallest Nuke
The Deadly Davy Crockett

Even more than micronationalism, I love the Solid Grease era of the 1950s and Early 1960s.  Poodle Skirts and Doo-Wop.  Ike and the Brooklyn Dodgers.  And of course, a fanatical* infatuation with atomic weapons. Following the armistice in Korea in 1953, the United States and NATO were concerned by the potential for Soviet and   Read More. . .

Tags : History 1950s Nukes USHistory

The Genovesi Man With A Plan
The Real Meaning Of Columbus Day

Note: This article originally was posted on 12 October 2015.  It's been updated for this year and has a postscript with thoughts I've had after some debates from last Columbus Day. Today is Columbus Day, and here at Two-Fisted History, we happily celebrate it!  We happily celebrate it, but it makes us wary for one particular   Read More. . .

Tags : History Exploration Columbus Antirevisionism CriticalThinking PrimarySources

Qiu Jin:
China's Modern Mulan

The history of China is pretty rad.  For starters, China is the longest continually running civilization – going back to at /least/ 2100 BC.  China has tons of great stories to tell. Even at the end of the 19th century, China was still an Imperial Monarchy. In 1875, during the Qing/Manchu Dynasty, a woman named Qiu Jin was born   Read More. . .

Tags : History China Nationalism Women

Europe's Anomalous Neutral Zone:
Neutral Moresnet

Moresnet I love geopolitics.  Specifically, nationalism.  Even more specifically, Micronationalism.    The idea of city-states and the smallest number of like-minded and similarly cultured people ruling themselves gives me goosebumps.  This story isn't quite an example of Micronationalism. But I think it'll be a   Read More. . .

Tags : History Micronationalism Europe FrenchRevolution Napoleon

Hey! Unto You!

Some may be wondering what has happened to regular posting over the past three weeks.  I do apologize for the tardiness in my posting, but there has been an exciting development at Two-Fisted History Athenaeum & Respository of Relics and Antiquities. I'm pleased and honoured to announce the birth of the first in the next generation of   Read More. . .

Tags : History Family

American Eugenics
The Case of Buck v. Bell

Disclaimer:  The work below is wholly the work of the late Dr. Warren Carroll.  It's presented with permission from Dr. Andrew Beer at Christendom Press.  I'm greatly indebted to both.  Eugenics, whether in the form of forced sterilization, abortion, or the insidious promotion of contraceptive and abortifaicent agents is a   Read More. . .

Tags : History Eugenics USHistory WoodrowWilson TheodoreRoosevelt SCOTUS

Margaret Sanger:
Patroness of Eugenics

This 22 January will mark the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's handing down of their decision in the controversial case of Roe v. Wade which guaranteed the right to abortion in the United States.  It seemed as if this was an appropriate time to take a couple weeks to discuss the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger,   Read More. . .

Tags : History Nazi Eugenics

Kitty Fisher:
The First Woman Famous
For Being Famous.

When it comes to the Kardashians, or Paris Hilton, or anyone else who is 'famous for being famous,' I sigh, roll my eyes, and wonder how humanity could've fallen in love with such vapid people who don't contribute to society.  'When did we start valuing such uselessness?'  I ask myself as I start sounding like a member of the   Read More. . .

Tags : History GreatBritain HighSociety Paparazzi

Terror From The North:
The St. Albans Raid

The American Civil War.  A nation divided.  State versus State.  Brother versus Brother.  Talk of the Civil War usually makes one think of the Great Battles: Vicksburg in Mississippi. Antietam in Maryland.  First & Second Bull Run in Virginia.  Sherman's March through Georgia and the Carolinas, and of course,   Read More. . .

Tags : History USCivilWar Vermont Canada

Betsy Doyle:
Way More Of A Hero Than
Laura Secord.

Having gone to school with Canadians and being married to one, I've heard about Laura Secord, a Massachusetts Loyalist who moved to Canada after the War for Independence and became a Canadian national hero during the War of 1812, ad nauseum.  Fortunately, this Two-Fisted History isn't about that no-good, rotten collaborator.  This   Read More. . .

Tags : History Warof1812 Canada Niagara

Operation Hannibal:
The Reichsmarine's Finest Hour

Most people don't think of East Prussia when they think of Germany, but at one point in History, Germany owned a good chunk of what is today Poland's Baltic coast; including Gdańsk and Königsburg.  Like other parts of Germany, East Prussia was ravaged and despoiled by the Soviet Red Army juggernaut which swept across the Eastern   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII Germany Russia

The Genovesi Man With A Plan
The Real Meaning Of
Columbus Day

I know usually at Two-Fisted History, I alternate between one week a History article, and the next an article about Education Theories & Practices.  I felt the need today to switch that up a bit. Today is Columbus Day, and here at Two-Fisted History, we happily celebrate it!  We happily celebrate it, but it makes us wary for one   Read More. . .

Tags : History Exploration Columbus Antirevisionism

Those Intrepid Aeronauts:
A Brief Look At
Manned War Ballooning

'Venice is being bombarded with balloons. . . ' Sounds like something out of a Jules Verne novel, doesn't it?   Wrong!  That's what the Presse of Vienna announced, according to Scientific America in August of 1849.  Believe it or not, the history of balloons in military operations predates the Austrian reconquest of Venice by   Read More. . .

Tags : History Aeronautics Steampunk USCivilWar WWI FrenchRevolution

'Snakes Will Smoke'
The Brazilians Fight Against Germany

A couple weeks ago, Germany thoroughly trounced Brazil in their World Cup match.  A reader who follows Two-Fisted History on Facebook sent in this request:     'With the focus surrounding the 7-1 defeat of Brazil by Germany, I heard Brazilians were in WWII and fought against the Nazis, maybe there's a possibility you could   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII SouthAmerica Brazil Germany Italy WorldCup

Benedict Arnold:
Hero of the Revolution

You read that title right.  Benedict Arnold was a hero of the American War for Independence.  We all know the stories of his treason & betrayal of the American cause.  Do you know the rest of the story, though? Before the war, Arnold was a businessman – first as a pharmacist, then getting into shipping.  He had a   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory RevolutionaryWar

Finding Uncle Sam
Stand Back!
I'm Going To Do

I have to confess: I really haven’t written an article this week.  I’ve spent just about all of my free time this week working on a side project. I’ve always been fascinated by the few stories I’d been told of my Great Uncle Sammy who was a tail gunner on a B-24 Liberator in the 15th Air Force.  He was shot   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII UncleSammy SocialStudies Education

The Madagascar Plan

For nearly 2,000 years, since the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish people have roamed the Earth.  By the Middle Ages, most wound up settling in Eastern & Southern Europe.  It’s not a secret that anti-Semitic attitudes flourished throughout Europe from the Middle Ages onward. By the 1800s, both Jewish Nationalists and   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII Africa Madagascar Germany

Holding Out For A Hiroo:
The Last Japanese Holdout

Pop Quiz:  How long did the Second World War last?  Depending on where you’re from and your point of view, you might say anywhere from three years to five years.  For one man, the war lasted much, much longer than that. Hiroo Onoda was working at a trading company in Japanese-held Wuhan, China.  He enlisted in the   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII Japan Philipines

If Ifs & Buts. . .
Winnipeg holds 'If Day'

Hey, did you know that the Nazis occupied the bustling Canadian metropolis of Winnipeg?  It’s true, and as a result, over $60 million was raised for the war.  How did they manage all this?  Well hold on a minute and I’ll tell you about it. In early 1942, the Winnipeg Victory Loan Committee needed to sell more Victory   Read More. . .

Tags : History Canada WWII

Robert Smalls
And The
Hijacking of CSS Planter

Robert Smalls was born in 1839 in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Being of African descent, you might probably assume that he was born a slave. . . and you’d be right. Robert spent his early years living in his master’s house.  When he turned 12, however, his master shipped him off to Charleston where he was leased out to   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory USCivilWar USNavy

Czechs & Balances:
The Revolt Of The
Czechoslovak Legions

The end of the 19th century saw the rise of Nationalism, the belief that every ethnic group should be free to rule itself.  By August 1914, Nationalism had erupted into one of the major causes of World War I. Austria-Hungary was an empire made up of many different ethnic groups and one of the members of the Central Powers during the Great   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWI Nationalism Russia RedOctober

The Founder of Public Education:
St. John Baptist de La Salle

Last Monday (7 April) was the Church's feast day (Yeah, I know it's 15 May for Lasallian organizations) of St. John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers and one of my role models in Education.  I thought it might be a good idea to cobble together a short biography of the man that established the modern Public School system In   Read More. . .

Tags : History Biography Education Methodology PublicEducation Pedagogy

The Darién Scheme:
The Scottish Plan To
Colonize Panama

The Scots are a proud people, and before the Acts of Union in 1707, they were a proud nation.  The last half of the 17th Century was rough on them, however.  After a series of civil wars and several years of famine devastated the population, things were looking pretty bleak.  The Scots felt that they needed something with some   Read More. . .

Tags : History Scotland Colonization Spain GreatBritain

Terror On Wall Street

Ah, the Progressive Era.  Monopolies and Trustbusting.  Muckrakers and Philanthropy.  Temperance movements and. . . Terrorism? Between 1870 and 1916, the number of millionaires in the U.S. climbed from 100 to 16,000.  Although most of the upper class, like Rockefeller & Carnegie, gave their money to philanthropic causes,   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory Terrorism GildedAge

Sailing on Ice:
Project Habbakuk

Geoffrey Pyke was a man who was always coming up with some kind of crazy, zany, improbable, yet often practical idea.  During World War I, he was captured and thrown into a POW camp while serving as a war correspondent.  He escaped by hiding in a shed which he noticed that, die to the way the Sun hit at a particular time, would obscure   Read More. . .

Tags : History WWII NavalHistory

Brazilian By Birth,
Confederado By The
Grace Of God

The American Civil War ended in the Spring of 1865 with a crippling defeat of the Confederacy.  Suddenly, 9 million residents of the Southern United States found themselves as people without a country.  Many families had had their homes looted and burned.  Southern railroads and riverboats had been destroyed.  Northern   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory USCivilWar SouthAmerica Brazil

Defence Scheme No. 1:
Canada's Plan to Invade
The United States

Canada is a wonderful place with wonderful people.  I love their peameal bacon and their pea soup.  Their real maple syrup, Mounties, moose, & Hockey Night.  Canadians are pretty awesome people and great neighbours for the most part.  The US and Canada haven’t always been on the greatest of terms, however.  In   Read More. . .

Tags : History Canada

The Hines Identity:
The Confederacy's Top Action Spy

In April 1861, both the Union and the Confederacy thought that the War Between The States would be an open-and-shut case.  The Confederates thought that the Union wouldn’t really want to put up a fight over the matter, and the Union believed that they were just going to war against some ignorant planters.  Little did either   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory CivilWar Canada

Slower'n Molasses in January:
The Boston Molasses Flood

It was an unseasonably warm day in Boston back on January 15, 1919.  The temperature had risen from a frosty 2 degrees the night before to over 40 degrees.  In the North End, Bostonians merrily went on with their business – blissfully unaware of the grumblings and groaning coming from the Purity Distilling Company. The Purity   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory Disasters NewEngland

Coming Up Roses For Caltech:
The Great 1961 Rose Bowl Prank

This past week, 95,173 spectators watched the Spartans of Michigan State beat the Sanford Cardinal in the 100th Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  53 years ago, the real ‘Play of the Game’ didn’t belong to either the Minnesota Golden Gophers or the Washington Huskies, but to a plucky band of Caltech students. Caltech,   Read More. . .

Tags : History Sports

Two-Fisted History's
#1 Christmas Gift Wish

I hope all of you have been enjoying Christmas Break.  Two-Fisted History has been visiting the beautiful province of Ontario this week assisting in all sorts of Two-Fisted shennanigans.  As you might imagine, things have been a bit hectic, so I thought I'd share something that I've been thinking about for a while.  It's my number   Read More. . .

Tags : History EdTech Christmas

Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas:
The Historical Person Behind
Santa Claus.

For many, Santa Claus is a kindly, portly old man who shows up on 25 December and brings presents to all the good little boys and girls.  What’s the true skinny on this portly elf? Saint Nicholas was born in 280 AD in the city of Patara in Asia Minor. . . what today we call Turkey.  His parents were quite rich, and raised him   Read More. . .

Tags : History Rome Religion

The Doctors' Riot of 1788

Many of us who take US History learn about the challenges that the early Republic faced in the form of Shays’ Rebellion and Whiskey Rebellion, but do you know the story of America’s first riot? Before the Mid-to Late 1800s human dissection was not only illegal, it was one of the most heinous crimes.    Still,   Read More. . .

Tags : History England USHistory Riots MedicalHistory

Decatur's Raid
the Burning of USS Philadelphia

One of my favourite events in US History is a story that almost all Americans knew 200 years ago, but is rarely talked about today – even though Admiral Horatio Nelson called it ‘the most bold and daring act of the age.’  In the early years of the 19th century, the young American nation was at war with the Barbary States   Read More. . .

Tags : History USHistory NavalHistory Africa Mediterranean Pirates

The Pine Tree Riot

If you’re an American, no doubt you’ve heard about the Boston Tea Party.  More than a year and a half before that, however, colonists in New Hampshire were frustrated about trees, not tea. Back in the 16th-18th centuries, most European countries with any navy to speak of had fleets of ships with tall wooden masts –each   Read More. . .

Tags : History England USHistory Independence Riots

The Pig War
Between Great Britain
the United States

Before 1846, the Oregon Country was a hotly contested piece of real estate located between California, Russian Alaska, British Canada, and the chunk of the United States Where the Louisiana Territory ended.  In 1846, Britain and the U.S. signed a treaty making the border between Canada and the U.S.   ‘. . . the 49th Parallel   Read More. . .

Tags : History England USHistory Canada

Thinking Like A Historian

Thinking as a Historian does can help you learn how to analyze information, see the relationships between causes & effects, make sense out of the past and make connections to the present, learn how to communicate by making well-reasoned arguments, and give a deeper understanding of people.  Just like the Scientific Method, Historians have   Read More. . .

Tags : Education History SocialStudies PublicHistory

The Axe Murder Incident
Operation Paul Bunyan

Since 1953 when the Armistice between North Korea, China, and the United Nations Command was signed, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates Communist North Korea from Republican South along the 38th Parallel has been the scene of the United States’ longest active military conflict.  The Armistice that was signed didn’t end   Read More. . .

Tags : History ColdWar Asia Korea

Free Beer:
The Great London Beer Flood

October 17th, 1814 was a grey, dreary Autumn morning much like any other in St. Giles Parish in Central London.  St. Giles Parish was a poor and generally residential neighbourhood with the obligatory pub. Anarchic and poverty-stricken, it was particularly overcrowded and had little sanitation for the many people who lived side-by-side in   Read More. . .

Tags : History England London Europe Beer Disasters

The Short-Lived Soviet Republic
of Alsace-Lorraine

In the final days of the First World War, several members of the German General Staff, led by General Erich Ludendorff, refused to admit that they had lost the war.  They planned a bold final attack against the Royal Navy.  However the war-weary German sailors mutinied at Kiel, the main German port.   Soon workers and members   Read More. . .

Tags : History Germany France WWI Socialism

German Zion:
The Anabaptist Rebellion at Münster

I first came across this one way back when I was finishing my undergraduate program, and it's probably what first gave me the idea to write on fun, strange, & interesting historical people, things, & events that you likely won’t learn in Social Studies. Europe was a crazy place in the Mid-1500s.  The Protestant Revolution had kicked   Read More. . .

Tags : History Germany Religion Europe Battles

Fueling Revolutions: History of Coffee Pt. II

Up until the 1710s, and even after for a while, most of Europe’s coffee was shipped either from Alexandria or from the port of Mocha in what is today Yemen.  As I said last week, however, the Dutch plantnapped some saplings and cuttings from the Ottomans in 1616 and started growing coffee across the empire they established over the   Read More. . .

Tags : History Coffee CulturalDiffusion Trade

Blessed Bean or Devil's Brew?
History of Coffee Pt. I

Like most teachers, I drink a lot of coffee.  I’m not as into it as one teacher I know who has his own roaster and grinder in his room, but I do need a cup or two of Joe to get me going in the morning.  What’s the real skinny on this bitter bean?  How was it first discovered and how has it changed the world? Coffee   Read More. . .

Tags : History Coffee CulturalDiffusion Trade

'Why Do We Have To Study History?' - Part II

'. . .But Mr. S, History is booooooooring!' I never knew why so many people thought of History as ‘boring.’  My best guess is that, with the way that most state curriculums are set up, History is just one long series of causes and effects with a bunch of names and dates tossed in.  History is so much more than that,   Read More. . .

Tags : Education History SocialStudies

'Why Do We Have To Study History?' - Part I

The most frequent question I hear from students is, ‘Why do we have to study history?  It’s soooooo boring!’   One of the most important reasons for studying History is that it teaches us how to think critically. What is Critical Thinking?  We all think.  ‘What am I going to do after   Read More. . .

Tags : Education History SocialStudies

Resources for Social Studies Students & Teachers