The History Portal
History is the discovery, collection, organization, analysis, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean a continuous, typically chronological record of important or public events or of a particular trend or institution. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of knowledge which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to objectively investigate the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present. The stories common to a particular culture but not supported by external sources (such as the legends surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than as the "disinterested investigation" needed by the discipline of history. Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory.
Amongst scholars, fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus is considered to be the "father of history"; the methods of Herodotus along with his contemporary Thucydides form the foundations for the modern study of history. Their influence (along with other historical traditions in other parts of their world) has spawned many different interpretations of the nature of history which has developed over the centuries and are continuing to change. The modern study of history has many different fields, including those that focus on certain regions and those that focus on certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. Often, history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.
The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989
spans the period of Soviet Communist
dominance imposed after the end of World War II over the Polish People's Republic
. These years, while featuring many improvements in the standard of living
in Poland, were marred by social unrest
and economic depression
Near the completion of World War II the advancing Soviet Red Army pushed out the Nazi German army from occupied Poland. At the insistence of Joseph Stalin, the Yalta Conference sanctioned the formation of a new Polish provisional and pro-Communist coalition government in Moscow, which ignored the Polish government-in-exile based in London. This has been described as a Western betrayal of Poland on the part of Allied Powers to appease the Soviet leader and avoid a direct conflict. The Potsdam Agreement of 1945 ratified the westerly shift of Polish borders and approved its new territory between the Oder–Neisse line and the Curzon Line. Poland, as a result of World War II, for the first time in history became an ethnically homogeneous nation state without prominent minorities due to destruction of indigenous Polish-Jewish population in the Holocaust, the flight and expulsion of Germans in the west, resettlement of Ukrainians in the east, and the repatriation of Poles from Kresy. The new communist government in Warsaw solidified its political power over the next two years, while the Communist Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) under Bolesław Bierut gained firm control over the country, which would become part of the postwar Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. Following Stalin's death in 1953, a political "thaw" in Eastern Europe caused a more liberal faction of the Polish Communists of Władysław Gomułka to gain power. By the mid-1960s, Poland began experiencing increasing economic, as well as political, difficulties. In December 1970, a price hike led to a wave of strikes. The government introduced a new economic program based on large-scale borrowing from the West, which resulted in an immediate rise in living standards and expectations, but the program faltered because of the 1973 oil crisis. In the late 1970s the government of Edward Gierek was finally forced to raise prices, and this led to another wave of public protests.
(April 25, 1906 – July 13, 1964) was a Hungarian sailor and odd-job man who became known for his role during the Holocaust
in trying to save the Hungarian-Jewish community from deportation to the Auschwitz concentration camp
. Described by historian Yehuda Bauer
as a brave adventurer who felt at home in underground conspiracies and card-playing circles, Brand teamed up with fellow Zionists in Budapest to form the Aid and Rescue Committee
, a group that helped Jewish refugees in Nazi-occupied Europe
escape to the relative safety of Hungary, before the Germans invaded that country too in March 1944. Shortly after the invasion, Brand was asked by SS
officer Adolf Eichmann
to help broker a deal between the SS and the United States or Britain. Eichmann said he would release up to one million Hungarian Jews, if the Western Allies would supply Germany with 10,000 trucks and large quantities of soap, tea, and coffee.
The negotiations, described by The Times as one of the most loathsome stories of the war, became known as the "blood for goods" proposal. Nothing came of it and historians can only guess whether Eichmann's offer was genuine. There are theories that it was a trick intended to persuade the Jewish community to board the trains to Auschwitz thinking they were being resettled, or that it was a cover for high-ranking SS officials to negotiate a peace deal with the U.S. and Britain that excluded the Soviet Union and perhaps even Adolf Hitler himself.
Did you know...
A Chola dynasty sculpture depicting Shiva. In Hinduism, Shiva is the deity of destruction and one of the most important gods; in this sculpture he is dancing as Nataraja, the divine dancer who unravels the world in preparation for it being remade by Brahma.
On this day
April 24: Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
The original Library of Congress building, Washington, D.C.
- 1479 BC – Thutmose III became the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, with his aunt Hatshepsut as co-regent.
- 1800 – The Library of Congress (building pictured), the de facto national library of the United States, was established as part of an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the nation's capital from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
- 1914 – The Franck–Hertz experiment, the first electrical measurement to clearly demonstrate quantum mechanics, was presented to the German Physical Society.
- 1980 – Eight U.S. servicemen died in Operation Eagle Claw, a failed attempt to rescue the captives in the Iran hostage crisis.
- 2013 – A building in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1,134 people, making it the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern history.
Xu Guangqi (b. 1562) · G. Stanley Hall (d. 1924) · Kelly Clarkson (b. 1982)
What transforms this world is — knowledge. Do you see what I mean? Nothing else can change anything in this world.
"Russia—a state which contains all type of soil, from the warmest to the coldest, from the burning environs of Erivan to icy Lapland; which abounds in all the products required for the needs, comforts, and pleasures of life, in accordance with its present state of development—a whole world, self-sufficient, independent, absolute."
— Mikhail Pogodin
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