How Opera, Fairy Tales, Trees, and Lullabies Led to Nazism

Sea of Ice (Das Eismeer), Caspar David Friedrich, 1823-1824.

Midnight in Paris–a film that takes us back to Jazz Age Paris and the Lost Generation. And then the city in the Belle Epoque. It could just as well have been turn-of-the-century Vienna, 1950s New York, Victorian London, Hollywood in the silver screen era, or the Silicon Valley in the 70s.  Today, I want to share part one of a favorite, and often overlooked, example of this idea–the idea that a time and a place so captures and consumes an age, it changes history so utterly, for better or worse or both. Germany in the mid-19th century “Romantic” period did just that, with beautiful, and sometimes terrifying, ideas.

Continue reading “How Opera, Fairy Tales, Trees, and Lullabies Led to Nazism”

Monday at the Museum: 14 X-planes at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force


The “X” classification in research and development simply marks an invention’s current use as “experimental.” Some such inventions make it beyond that stage; the majority of those that follow did not. Whatever their contributions to aeronautics in the United States, these X-planes can be appreciated for their interesting designs.

Continue reading “Monday at the Museum: 14 X-planes at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force”

God’s Giants in China

China Inland Mission’s Shanghai headquarters in the late 1800s. Source: Wikipedia.

Many people today know and support the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), but few may know its past–a past dedicated specifically to China. Previously the China Inland Mission (CIM), it led thousands to Christ under near-constant persecution resulting in internment, torture, and death for many of the missionaries as they faced the Boxer Rebellion, the Xinhai revolution, decades-long conflict between nationalists and communists, the communist revolution, and the Japanese occupation over the course of CIM’s presence in China for nearly 100 years. Continue reading “God’s Giants in China”

On the Radar: The Massive Soviet Lun-Class “Ekranoplan”


This “Ekranoplan” looks like part-plane, part-ship. In reality, it’s what one would call a “ground effect vehicle,” which uses the ground effect concept to “fly” seriously low over ground or, more commonly, water. Though Russia retired this particular vehicle, the country has plans to develop similar military crafts very soon, armed with cruise missiles.

Watch a video of the Lun Ekranoplan soaring over the seas here.

Image source here.

What Did the 1919 Paris Peace Conference Have to Do with the Vietnam War?

Hồ Chí Minh at the French Communist Party’s first congress in 1920. Found on the University of Exeter’s Imperial & Global Forum blog. U.S. Library of Congress records this same photo as that of Hồ Chí Minh at the Peace Conference.

All roads lead to Paris, or so it seemed to what remained of the young male generation following the Great War. And certainly for colonists desiring nations of their own, the only place worth a shot was Paris in 1919, especially when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson introduced the idea of “self-determination” in his famous “Fourteen Points.” Having traveled the world for the past eight years, one particular disillusioned colonist found himself in Paris at the end of Empires. Continue reading “What Did the 1919 Paris Peace Conference Have to Do with the Vietnam War?”

The Little French Village that Cared

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The picturesque town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon may look like an idyllic French village, tucked among the hills of the Loire and filled with quiet people wholly committed to the contentment found in daily routine. But this town is “Righteous Among the Nations,” and its population can count many heroes in its ranks. Together, its people saved thousands in a country divided by war. What seemed daring and different to many came but naturally to this French ville with a heart for resistance and faith. Continue reading “The Little French Village that Cared”

The “Silent Duel” Between Stalin and Doctor Zhivago

Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago. Source: Wikipedia.

The author of the famed novel-turned-film has a colorful and complex history with his home country. For all of his frequent brushes with the NKVD (Russian police, precursor to the KGB, and in charge of the USSR’s infamous labor camps), he was never once sent to the Gulag or even put on trial. His mistress once wrote: “I believe that between Stalin and Pasternak there was an incredible, silent duel.”* But in the beginning of his writing career, Pasternak wrote poems lauding the 1905 Revolution and party leaders. So how did he become a Soviet enemy, and why was he never “punished” by the government that disowned him? Continue reading “The “Silent Duel” Between Stalin and Doctor Zhivago”

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