Professor Buzzkill History Podcast
Professor Buzzkill is an exciting new blog & podcast that explores history myths in an illuminating, entertaining, and humorous way.
info_outline Arleen Lorrance “Be the Change…” Special Episode! 08/05/2020
Arleen Lorrance “Be the Change…” Special Episode! Our Quote or No Quote episodes are roaring back with the most important person we've ever interviewed -- Arleen Lorrance, the teacher and social innovator who created the "be the change you want to see happen" idea. As "be the change you want to see in the world," this idea is usually attributed to Gandhi, but Buzzkill Institute historians and quote history experts have proved over and over again that it started with Arleen Lorrance in 1970!
info_outline The Fuse that Helped Win World War II 08/04/2020
The Fuse that Helped Win World War II The "proximity fuse" was a technological marvel of its time. Produced under enormous time pressure and urgency to save lives, it is often called one of the three most important technological advances that helped win World War II. Award-winning author Jamie Holmes talks to us about it and his new book, 12 Seconds of Silence: How a Team of Inventory, Tinkerers, and Spies Took Down a Nazi Superweapon.
info_outline Hitler and Gun Control 07/28/2020
Hitler and Gun Control Did Hitler disarm the German citizenry as a way to make it easy to control them? Were Jews and other minorities targeted for gun confiscation so that they could be exterminated? Professor Philip Nash explains this _very_ complicated issue, and busts many myths about Hitler and "gun control."
info_outline Ante Pavelic - POS Saturday! 07/25/2020
Ante Pavelic - POS Saturday! It's hard to be a bigger POS than Ante Pavelic, the fascist ultranationalist and dictator who was one of the worst war criminals in Europe during the 1930s and 1940. The Nazi SS even tried to reign in his excesses! Professor Nash explains all! BTW, it's a brutal episode, so don't let the Buzzlings listen.
info_outline Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in US History 07/21/2020
Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in US History Dr. Julia Rose Kraut explains the history of American laws used to bar or expel foreigners based on their beliefs and associations. Immigration history is more complicated than most of us think. Listen and learn!
info_outline European Nationalists and the Confederacy 07/13/2020
European Nationalists and the Confederacy Professor Ann Tucker explains that white American southerners closely analyzed European nationalist movements 1830-1860. This led them to conceive of a separate southern nation, and helped them try to defend and legitimize the Confederacy. This great episode presents a new angle on Confederate nationalism, and refutes the myth that southern enslavers were intellectually isolated and ignorant of the trends of the time.
info_outline Chief Seattle "We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children" Wednesday Wisdom! 07/08/2020
Chief Seattle "We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children" Wednesday Wisdom! As a parting piece of wisdom about generational stewardship of land and nature, Chief Seattle supposedly said to American colonizers pushing west, "we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." But, like spiritual quotes that get attached to a great many leaders, this may have complicated origins. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!
info_outline 1918 Pandemic Second Wave 07/07/2020
1918 Pandemic Second Wave The second wave of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic was more deadly than the first. In this short episode, Professor Buzzkill explains why, but also wonders whether there are useful parallels for the COVID-19 virus. Listen and learn.
info_outline Changes in American Political Parties 07/02/2020
Changes in American Political Parties Current debates, protests, tensions, and turmoil in the United States have revived a number of ahistorical rants on social media about all kinds of things, including the history of American political parties. We explain why the Democratic and Republican political parties have the same names, but totally different attitudes and policies over the decades. Essential listening for the 2020 election!
info_outline Lucy Stone - Unapologetic Warrior for Women's Rights 06/30/2020
Lucy Stone - Unapologetic Warrior for Women's Rights Professor Sally McMillen explains why Lucy Stone should be restored to her rightful place at the center of the nineteenth-century women's rights movement. Stone did not relish the limelight the way Elizabeth Cady Stanton did, nor did she gain the many followers whom Susan B. Anthony attracted through her extensive travels and years of dedicated work. Yet her contributions to the woman's rights movement were no less significant or revolutionary than those of her more widely lauded peers. Listen!
info_outline The Irish Slaves Myth 06/24/2020
The Irish Slaves Myth The Irish slaves myth claims that Irish people were enslaved by the British and sent to the Americas (especially the Caribbean) to work on plantations. The history of Irish slaves has been buried by our politically-correct world, so the myth goes, and has been replaced by an over-emphasis on the enslavement of Africans in the New World. But is there any truth to it, Buzzkillers? Listen and learn.
info_outline Eleanor Roosevelt: "Better to Light a Candle Than Curse the Darkness" 06/24/2020
Eleanor Roosevelt: "Better to Light a Candle Than Curse the Darkness" We all love, and should live by the sentiment expressed in "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness." But did Eleanor Roosevelt say it? Was it Confucius or an ancient Chinese proverb? Or does it come from the 19th century? We explore the origins of the ideas behind the quote, who said it, and how it got attached to Eleanor Roosevelt. Listen to this Quote or No Quote episode!
info_outline Hong Kong's Complex History 06/23/2020
Hong Kong's Complex History The protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong in recent months may have been overwhelmed by other world news. Many listeners have been asking us how Hong Kong came to have its special status over the last couple of centuries. Professor James Carter explains the immense complications in Hong Kong’s history, the difficult period between British colonialism and Chinese control in the 20th century, and what history can teach us about the possible courses of Hong Kong’s future.
info_outline The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory 06/17/2020
The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory Professor Adam Domby explains why the Lost Cause of the Confederacy is full of fraud, fabrication, and white supremacy. And he analyzes how it is expressed in statuary, memory, and commemoration in the American south in the Jim Crow era. This is a complete examination of the Lost Cause and its destructive effect on American life and culture. Listen and learn.
info_outline Churchill's Shadow Raiders: the Race to Develop Radar during World War II 06/16/2020
Churchill's Shadow Raiders: the Race to Develop Radar during World War II Operation Biting was a daring RAF raid to capture important German radar technology in France during World War II. Award-winning military historian, Damien Lewis explains the planning and execution of this overlooked incident in the war. More importantly, he shows us how complex and fraught with danger the whole operation was. The full context of this commando raid, the politics surrounding it, and its effect on war morale and the Allied war effort is gripping!
info_outline Confederate-Named Military Bases in the U.S. 06/15/2020
Confederate-Named Military Bases in the U.S. Dr. Ty Seidule, Brigadier General U.S. Army (Retired) and Emeritus Professor of History at the United States Military Academy (West Point), enlightens us about the founding of Confederate-named military bases in the United States. Forts Bragg, Lee, Benning, Gordon, Rucker, Hood, Pickett, Beauregard, Hill, and Polk are in the news now. Demands for them to be re-named get stronger every day. General Seidule explains all, and there is no higher historical authority than that!
info_outline The Great Escape: Flash Back Friday! 06/12/2020
The Great Escape: Flash Back Friday! The Great Escape (1963) is in the pantheon of World War II films, and deservedly so. Generations of Buzzkillers have grown up watching Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, and other film stars try to outsmart their captors at Stalag Luft III. But how true was the “Great Escape” story that became a best-selling novel and box-office smash at the movie theater? Listen carefully, or Professor Buzzkill will send you to the cooler!
info_outline Confederate Statues, Memorials, and Flags: Encore Special 06/11/2020
Confederate Statues, Memorials, and Flags: Encore Special When and why were statues to Confederate soldiers, generals, and politicians put up across the American south? Why is the Confederate Battle Flag so proudly waved and displayed in many parts of the US? Professor Nash joins us to explain why all of this happened, who was selected for commemoration, and what it all means for American history and culture. Listen and learn.
info_outline Frances and Charlotte Rollin - Women Crush Wednesday! 06/10/2020
Frances and Charlotte Rollin - Women Crush Wednesday! Frances and Charlotte (Lottie) Rollin occupied a special place in 19th century South Carolina. They were involved in politics, female suffrage, and civil rights for African-Americans. Cappy Yarbrough from the College of Charleston enlightens us on this Women Crush Wednesday!
info_outline Martin Luther King, “Riot is the Language of the Unheard” 06/03/2020
Martin Luther King, “Riot is the Language of the Unheard” We're seeing the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote “...riot is the language of the unheard” a lot on social media recently. Unlike most famous “quotes” that we see on the internet, this is genuine. Listen to the context and the full speech in this special episode.
info_outline Did Jesus Write the US Constitution? 06/02/2020
Did Jesus Write the US Constitution? The idea that Jesus handed the United States Constitution to the American Founding Fathers seems to have become more powerful in recent decades. Why? What was the role of religion in the founding of the country? What was the nature of the “Christianity” felt by the Founders Fathers and the colonial populations? Professor Craig Hammond from Penn State explains all. Listen and learn!
info_outline The Orphan Collector - Fiction Friday! 05/29/2020
The Orphan Collector - Fiction Friday! We're trying something new! Historical Fiction! Join us as we interview Ellen Marie Wiseman, the author of The Orphan Collector. It's a powerful tale of upheaval, resilience, and hope set in Philadelphia during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak—the deadly pandemic that went on to infect one-third of the world’s population.
info_outline Dunkirk - Throwback Thursday! 05/28/2020
Dunkirk - Throwback Thursday! It's 80 years after the Battle of Dunkirk and the subsequent evacuation of allied troops from that area between the 26th of May and the 4th of June 1940. The evacuation has become a very famous and celebrated event in World War II history and especially in British history. "Dunkirk Spirit," the British refusal to give up in the face of disaster, and to keep plugging away at a problem until it's solved, comes from the whole Dunkirk experience. But Dunkirk history and Dunkirk myths are very important parts of World War II and the subsequent ways in which it has been taught. We examine some of the bigger Dunkirk myths and misunderstandings in this episode!
info_outline Breaking Protocol: America’s First Female Ambassadors, Part 2 05/26/2020
Breaking Protocol: America’s First Female Ambassadors, Part 2 Professor Philip Nash tells us the broader context of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history. He takes the story up to the present day to explain the trajectory of gender parity in US foreign relations.
info_outline Breaking Protocol: America's First Female Ambassadors, Part 1 05/19/2020
Breaking Protocol: America's First Female Ambassadors, Part 1 Professor Philip Nash tells us the history of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history. He explains how these trailblazers helped pave the way for more gender parity in US foreign relations!
info_outline The Making of the Non-Smoker - Throwback Thursday! 05/14/2020
The Making of the Non-Smoker - Throwback Thursday! The “Non-Smoker” as a category of person seems obvious in the 21st century. But it wasn’t always this way. Professor Sarah Milov gives the history of the non-smoking movement, including the medical, legal, and political battles that eventually led to smoke-free public places. Hear about pressure groups like GASP, ASH, and the countless local movements that helped clear the air.
info_outline Abe Lincoln, “Fool Some of the People All of the Time…” Wednesday Wisdom! 05/13/2020
Abe Lincoln, “Fool Some of the People All of the Time…” Wednesday Wisdom! Have we all been fooled all the time by people applying this quote to Abraham Lincoln? Where did the quote originate? Honest Abe or someone else? When was it said? During the Lincoln-Douglas Debates? During the 1860 Presidential Election? Find out in this Quote or No Quote episode of Professor Buzzkill!
info_outline G. Gordon Liddy: Piece of Sh*t Saturday! 05/09/2020
G. Gordon Liddy: Piece of Sh*t Saturday! G. Gordon Liddy is the subject of our second Piece of Sh*t Saturday. An American political operative and extremist, Liddy was one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. But why was he so sh*tty? Find out!
info_outline Fireside Chat on Tehran and Cairo 1943: FDR Friday! 05/08/2020
Fireside Chat on Tehran and Cairo 1943: FDR Friday! On Christmas Eve, 1943. Roughly half-way through the United States’ involvement in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt reported to the American people about a war that was far from over, and that was about to cost even more Allied and American lives.
info_outline The Wild West 05/05/2020
The Wild West “The Wild West,” is one of the strongest conceptions in American history. But “where” was the west? How “wild” was it? “Who” settled it? Did settlers build the west with their hands? How many of the stories about settlers and Native Americans are myths or misconceptions? Professor Edward O’Donnell helps us explain it all, including the central role that Buffalo Bill played in creating and spreading the story of the “wild west.”