After a wedding ceremony that lasted four hours and receiving a ring worth more than the average village this side of the Don River, Catherine and Peter were an item – a dysfunctional royal one. The obsession so many young girls have with becoming a princess and being whisked away to a powerful kingdom to have a happily ever after with some Prince Charming is…fantasy at that. Catherine’s marriage was Peter was objectionable at best.
Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg was born in the small city of Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia. Depending on the calendar system you use, we’re talking about either April 21st or May 2nd of 1729. Stettin, once part of the Kingdom of Prussia, is now renamed and within jurisdiction of modern-day Poland. In fact, it’s now the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, serving as a major seaport for Poland by the Baltic Sea.
During July of 1940, the people of Berlin were delighted with Hitler’s promises of success. France had collapsed after six weeks of fighting, and German troops stood on guard throughout Europe. Norway and Belgium, not to mention Poland, were under occupation. All that stands between Adolf Hitler and dictatorship of all of Europe is Great Britain. Conquest seems to be only a matter of time. Winston Churchill announced that Britain was unconquerable and that “the curse of Hitler will be lifted”, and for some period of time the British never thought of losing.
Let me introduce you to The Third Wave, a social experiment that took place in a Californian high school during April of 1967. High school history teacher Ron Jones found it difficult to answer the question “How did the Germans not realize what the Nazis were doing during the Second World War?” His students, your typical 15-year-old sophomores within a contemporary world history class, could not grasp the idea that the Germans claimed ignorance when it came to the extermination of the Jewish people within the Holocaust. Lost for words, Mr. Jones decided to demonstrate it to his students.
On September 1st, 1939, sixty three German divisions and over 2,000 planes advance into Poland. The German’s armor make them entirely unstoppable. London and Paris are entirely furious at Hitler’s advancement. The ideas of the Treaty of Versailles and the laws set down after The Great War had been ignored. On September 3rd, 1939, war is declared against Germany — although the assemblies were not unanimous towards the idea of war at the time. The atmosphere wasn’t as enthusiastic as the first war during these assemblies. According to many, the people of Britain and France were concerned with what was happening before their eyes.
Sweden maintained a policy of neutrality throughout World War II. Although the fate of the great Scandinavian state was, in the very least, unclear at the beginning of the conflict, Sweden managed to maintain official political neutrality throughout it all. A combination of geopolitical location (the Scandinavian Peninsula proved to be fruitful during this period of global uncertainty) and successful diplomatic factors (realpolitik) during the unpredictable timeline of the Second World War allowed Sweden to sit through, in short, a Cold War.
The Industrial Revolution caused several European nations to expand their economies and create new job opportunities. While some European countries, such as France and Germany, eventually did catch on to aspects of the growing Industrial World, the nation of Great Britain industrialized much faster than the rest of them and stood above the rest in industrial growth. Great Britain had several reasons that helped them succeed and industrialize faster than other nations, such as the fact that their population and middle class grew substantially, their coal and iron ore deposits were large and bunched in a close proximity of each other, and that their political policies on loans made it easy for enthusiastic merchants to begin a business.
What exactly is propaganda? Propaganda is often defined as any form of communication, usually in the form of posters and other visual aids such as news print, that promotes a certain belief or cause and is often biased. Propaganda is aimed to influence a general population towards a belief, organization, person, or cause. While the idea of propaganda has a strong connection with negativity (mostly due to manipulative uses by Nazi Germany to justify their horrific actions during the Holocaust), propaganda throughout most of history was more often for overall neutral and positive gain. Some examples of positive propaganda would be encouragement for public health, crime stoppers advertisements, and even election banners. In synopsis, propaganda is any encouragement in the form of communication that is used to force an opinion down a population’s throat — whether it be subtle or not.
Imagine a world where World War II could have ended years beforehand. A world where millions of men, women, and children weren’t slaughtered horrendously in genocide. A world where Nazi Germany never really became a global, or even continental, threat. Alternative history is very interesting, perhaps one of the most interesting things to study in the recordings of our world’s past.