Author: Manuel Trottmann

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History Editor | 19-20

The geopolitical tensions between the Western and the Eastern bloc – known as the Cold War – shaped the world history of the second half of the 20th century. Despite the name, the period of the Cold War was everything but cold. Although the two blocs never directly fought each other, proxy wars served as an indirect trial of strength. But the capitalist West and the communist East also fought each other by other means. The Space Race was a competition for power and superiority over the respective political system. Another such showdown was in sports. The Olympic Games became…

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Part 3: The Attack! A group of soldiers crouch in a trench. There is the signal! They leap over the parapets. Next shot: they climb over barbed wire as they move on and ultimately disappear in the midst of battle. Some do not even make it out of the trench, others fall while approaching the enemy. The audience was shocked and impressed at the same time and the film was a huge success. Everyone wanted to see the documentary that showed the reality of war in northern France. Within the first six weeks after The Battle of the Somme had…

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In 532, two rival hooligan groups joined forces to rebel against the Byzantine emperor. It is the evening of Sunday, the 18th January 532. The uprising has been defeated. Over 30 000 citizens of Constantinople have lost their lives and wide areas of the city have been destroyed. What happened? Riots had begun five days earlier in the hippodrome where the legendary chariot races took place. It was initiated by supporters of the greens and blues, the two factions of ancient Constantinople. Chariot races were an enormously important event in the Roman Empire. Long after gladiator fights had been abolished,…

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70 years before the Brexit referendum, Winston Churchill called for the unity of Europe It’s the 19th September 1946. Noise level rises as Winston Churchill steps up to the podium of the assembly hall at the University of Zurich. “I wish to speak to you today about the tragedy of Europe”, he begins his speech. “What is the plight to which Europe has been reduced? Some of the smaller states have indeed made a good recovery, but over wide areas a vast quivering mass of tormented, hungry, care-worn and bewildered human beings gape at the ruins of their cities and…

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Writing slates appear unspectacular and boring. But the small black tablet was an important factor in the educational reforms of the 19th century: The medium of the Enlightenment. In the 19th century, Welsh industry was heavily relying on slate extraction. Wales became the world’s most important supplier of slate. What appears like a rather unspectacular material has had a major influence not only on the Welsh landscape, which was changed through slate extraction, but also on modern education systems. Years ago – before notebooks and tablets made their way into the classroom – writing slates were the common medium for…

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