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 #323 - Man Crush Monday: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 08/19/2019
#323 - Man Crush Monday: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel One of the Republic of India’s Founding Fathers, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is not as well-known outside India as he should be. This Man Crush Monday is the brief story of his life and career, as perhaps the man most responsible for the unification of India between 1947 and 1950. And you’ll also learn why the tallest (that’s right, the tallest) statue in the world is of him.
info_outline *Throwback Thursday* #119 - Douglas MacArthur Part 2 08/15/2019
*Throwback Thursday* #119 - Douglas MacArthur Part 2 Douglas MacArthur is one of the most famous and celebrated generals in American history. Along with Patton, however, he’s one of the most misunderstood and most mythologized. Born in the 19th century, MacArthur served in both World Wars, the Korean War, and other, less extensive US military actions. Yet he is also considered another attention hound (like Patton), sometimes overly-dramatic, and often letting his over-inflated view of his own abilities and destiny get in the way of sound judgement. In this Throwback Thursday episode, the Professors look at his career from the end of World War II to his dismissal by Truman in 1951, and try to determine who was the real Douglas MacArthur.
info_outline #322 - When Did The NRA Become Extremist? 08/13/2019
#322 - When Did The NRA Become Extremist? How did the National Rifle Association become one of the most controversial and divisive organizations in American history? It used to be a sportsmen’s group. Since the 1970s, however, it has taken a very strict view of the US Constitution’s Second Amendment and has gone to extremes in its defense of gun ownership. We explain how and why this happened, and dispel historical and cultural myths along the way.
info_outline *Wisdom Wednesday* #237 - Quote or No Quote: Mahatma Gandhi | First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." 08/07/2019
*Wisdom Wednesday* #237 - Quote or No Quote: Mahatma Gandhi | First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." There's a great quote and sentiment about sticking with a righteous movement for much-needed change, particularly when it's faced with a big, entrenched and powerful foe. That quote goes like this: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." It's often attributed to Gandhi. That's not very surprising. But we here at the Buzzkill Institute don't call him the Mahatma of Misquotation for nothing, and as we'll see in a couple of minutes, if you were forced to boil down one of Gandhi's very lengthy and sophisticated arguments to a bumper sticker slogan, the "First they ignore you…" saying would fit, more or less. Find out the full story in this episode!
info_outline *Throwback Thursday* #117 - Douglas MacArthur Part 1 08/01/2019
*Throwback Thursday* #117 - Douglas MacArthur Part 1 Douglas MacArthur is one of the most famous and celebrated generals in American history. Along with Patton, however, he’s one of the most misunderstood and most mythologized. Born in the 19th century, MacArthur served in both World Wars, the Korean War, and other, less extensive US military actions. Yet he is also considered another attention hound (like Patton), sometimes overly-dramatic, and often letting his over-inflated view of his own abilities and destiny get in the way of sound judgement. In this Throwback Thursday episode, the Professor looks at his early life and his career through World War II and tries to determine who was the real Douglas MacArthur.
info_outline #321 - WWII in the Pacific: the Defeat of Japan, 1944-45 07/30/2019
#321 - WWII in the Pacific: the Defeat of Japan, 1944-45 Japan’s defensive perimeter kept shrinking during 1944 and 1945, yet the war dragged on. The battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa were as bloody and horrific as any others during the Pacific war. Strategic bombing of Japan increased, both from the Asian mainland, and from the Pacific side. Japan eventually surrendered in 1945, but we discuss why that was so complicated and difficult. And we bust the many myths surrounding the “unconditional surrender” of Japan. Listen and learn!
info_outline #320 - Quote or No Quote: Harry Truman | "Socialism is a Republican Scare Word" 07/29/2019
#320 - Quote or No Quote: Harry Truman | "Socialism is a Republican Scare Word" The Harry Truman “quote” about socialism being a Republican scare word is flying around the internet, in response to the over-heated rhetoric of American politics these days. But did “Buck Stops Here” Harry really say it? If so, when, where, and in what context. We explain all in this highly relevant Quote or No Quote episode. Don’t listen to the American news these days without listening to us first!
info_outline *Wisdom Wednesday* #61 - Quote or No Quote: Patrick Henry "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" 07/24/2019
*Wisdom Wednesday* #61 - Quote or No Quote: Patrick Henry "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" "Give me liberty or give me death," Virginia patriot Patrick Henry was supposed to have said in a stirring speech before the American Revolution. We Buzzkill this quote and show that, like most "quotes," it was written decades after the event. Download Professor Buzzkill and download death to history myths!
info_outline #319 - WWII in the Pacific: Guadalcanal to the Philippines, 1942-44 07/23/2019
#319 - WWII in the Pacific: Guadalcanal to the Philippines, 1942-44 The brutality of World War II in the Pacific continued from Guadalcanal to the Aleutians, from China to the Solomon Islands, and was also a propaganda war at home in Japan and in Allied countries. Professor Nash comes back to tell us about these middle years in the Pacific War, and explain how the power balance shifted to the Allies, and yet why the fighting still took so long and why it was so bloody. Listen and learn!
info_outline *Flashback Friday* #36 - Black Adder and World War I 07/19/2019
*Flashback Friday* #36 - Black Adder and World War I It's time to go over the top, Buzzkillers! We interview Professor Richard Grayson about the wildly popular BBC television series, BlackAdder, and how close it is to historical reality. There are probably more myths about war than any other part of history, and Black Adder addressed many of them. Let's "go forth!" and see if they got their history right.
info_outline #318 - WWII in the Pacific: Pearl Harbor to Midway, 1941-42 07/16/2019
#318 - WWII in the Pacific: Pearl Harbor to Midway, 1941-42 Superstar historian, Professor Nash, joins us to talk about the opening years of American involvement in Pacific during World War II. From Pearl Harbor to Midway, it’s a brutal chess match across the Pacific - a chess match that includes massive battles, massive casualties, and massive war crimes. And that’d only through 1942! So this is Part 1 of our WWII in the Pacific series. Listen and learn.
info_outline *Throwback Thursday* #23 - Betsy Ross Didn't Sew the First American Flag 07/11/2019
*Throwback Thursday* #23 - Betsy Ross Didn't Sew the First American Flag It's a great and heart-warming story, Buzzkillers, but meek and modest Betsy Ross did not design or sew the first American flag. The story itself follows the classic myth pattern, a second-hand family tale that caught on with a receptive public. Listen up as some young American Buzzkillers help set the record straight.
info_outline #317 - Quote or No Quote: Marie Antoinette | “Let Them Eat Cake” 07/09/2019
#317 - Quote or No Quote: Marie Antoinette | “Let Them Eat Cake” The one thing that everyone knows about Marie Antoinette (Queen of France in the late 18th century) is that, when told that the peasants were starving because they had no bread, said, “then let them eat cake.” How cold is that, Buzzkillers? It’s Royal Arrogance of the First Order. She deserves some kind of medal for her sheer bravado. But did she actually say it? Listen and find out!
info_outline #316 - The Many Myths about the Declaration of Independence 07/02/2019
#316 - The Many Myths about the Declaration of Independence Every July, American Buzzkillers get inundated with chain emails, Facebook posts, and Tweets that spread more myths about the Declaration of Independence. No matter how many times they’ve been disproved, the seem to crop up every year. John Hancock signing his name so large that “King George can read it without his spectacles.” And “The Price They Paid” -- the undying email myth about what happened to the signers of the Declaration. We explain these, and a lot more!
info_outline *Wisdom Wednesday* #169 - Quote or No Quote: Gandhi Be the Change You Wish to See in the World 06/26/2019
*Wisdom Wednesday* #169 - Quote or No Quote: Gandhi Be the Change You Wish to See in the World Mohandas K. Gandhi should also be known as the Mahatma of Misquotation. Did he ever say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” as we read in so many inspirational tweets and messages? Listen as Professor Buzzkill delves into the origin of this quote in this flashback episode, avoiding snake bite and 1970s urban violence along the way .
info_outline #314 - The US and the Treaty of Versailles 06/20/2019
#314 - The US and the Treaty of Versailles Why did Woodrow Wilson get the rock star treatment in Paris in 1919? He arrived to help negotiate the Treaty of Versailles that was supposed to settle World War I. Did he deserve his rock star reputation? Did he get the treaty approved by the US Congress? How did the treaty finally get approved by the Europeans? What was its long term significance and its historical reputation and interpretations? We discuss all!
info_outline #313 - The Treaty of Versailles and the World 06/18/2019
#313 - The Treaty of Versailles and the World How did World War I end, and what led to the Paris Peace Conference? How did the Conference proceed, how were the various national demands handled? What territorial changes resulted? And was it a purely European Conference? How did it affect other parts of the world? We discuss all these things and more!
info_outline *Flashback Friday* #238 - Vietnam: Myth and Memory 06/14/2019
*Flashback Friday* #238 - Vietnam: Myth and Memory Professor Phil Nash explains how the myths and misconceptions about the Vietnam War started, grew, and have plagued our historical consciousness since the late 1950s. Among other things, the large number of myths about the Vietnam War shows us that our understanding of even relatively recent historical events can be twisted. From the "JFK wouldn't have Americanized the war" to the "POW-MIA" myth, the true history of American involvement in South-East Asia has often been obscured by myths and myth-making. It's one of our very best episodes, and we hope you find it enlightening.
info_outline #312 - Loving Day 06/12/2019
#312 - Loving Day It’s June 12th! Loving Day! Loving Day is being celebrated world-wide. You might think that Loving Day is Valentine’s Day, February 14th, but it’s not, it’s today, June 12th. If you don’t know what Loving Day is, listen to the story we tell you in this brief, special episode. And go to lovingday.org to find out more!
info_outline #311 - Harriet Tubman on the Currency 06/11/2019
#311 - Harriet Tubman on the Currency The Professor calls for social and fiscal revolution! Harriet Tubman’s portrait was supposed to replace Andrew Jackson’s on the US $20 bill, but that’s been delayed yet again. In this episode, we explain why change is actually the tradition in the history of American currency, and we insist on more change in the years to come! Of course, our suggestions for changed imagery and design are the best! Listen and join the movement!
info_outline *Flashback Friday* #236 - Vietnam: War and History 06/07/2019
*Flashback Friday* #236 - Vietnam: War and History Professor Phil Nash explains the history of Vietnam in the 20th century, and the very complicated ways in which it was torn apart by war and civil war throughout the mid-century. Along the way, we learn about the deep complications in the history of the Vietnam War that have allowed myths and misconceptions to solidify. In particular, we talk about how post-World War II wars in Vietnam become Americanized. Finally, we discuss the impact of the war in the United States, as well as its impact in Vietnam itself. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers!
info_outline *Encore Episode* #202 - D-Day 06/06/2019
*Encore Episode* #202 - D-Day D-Day, June 6, 1944, is one of the most well-known events of World War II. Why did it happen the way it did and why did it succeed? Was it the turning point in the war in Europe? How many other military operations were going on at the same time in Europe that might explain victory in Europe? There are so many complications to the story that you need the Buzzkill Institute to help explain it all!
info_outline #310 - Violence and Terrorism in American Slavery 06/04/2019
#310 - Violence and Terrorism in American Slavery Prof Craig Hammond joins us to discuss the violence used in maintaining slavery, both on the farm/plantation, and in broader society before the Civil War. The violence and terror inflicted on slaves is horrific by our 21st standards. Yet, slave-owners did not consider themselves sadistic torturers. But how did they justify the punishments inflicted on insubordinate slaves, or on slaves suspected of rebellion?
info_outline *Encore Episode* #260 - Man Crush Monday: Tommy Flowers 06/03/2019
*Encore Episode* #260 - Man Crush Monday: Tommy Flowers Tommy Flowers was a very important British scientist and engineer during the first half of the 20th century. Not only did he do essential work in cracking secret German codes during World War II, he is usually credited with inventing (and building) the world’s first programmable electronic computer, the Colossus. He’s not as famous as Alan Turing, but he’s at least as important to history. Listen to our Man Crush Monday!
info_outline *Flashback Friday* #252 - Civil War Medicine 05/31/2019
*Flashback Friday* #252 - Civil War Medicine We usually hear that surgery and medical treatment during the Civil War was backward butchery. But was it? Historian Nic Hoffman from Kennesaw State University tells us how complicated it really was. We discuss: medical care before the war; the shock of Civil War carnage and how medics initially reacted; and changes in medical treatment and surgery because of the War. Listen and learn!
info_outline #309 - Why We Need a New Civil War Documentary 05/28/2019
#309 - Why We Need a New Civil War Documentary Dr. Keri Leigh Merritt joins us to argue for a new documentary series about the US Civil War. It’s been nearly 30 years since PBS aired the famous series. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of that classic series, as well as why PBS’s new series on Reconstruction might serve as a template for a new Civil War documentary. Dr. Merritt schools old Professor Buzzkill about the possibilities of new media and new media venues for dynamic historians. Listen and Learn! PBS’s Reconstruction Series may be found on-line at: https://www.pbs.org/show/reconstruction-america-after-civil-war/ Professor Merritt’s website is: kerileighmerritt.com
info_outline *Flashback Friday* #250 - Benjamin Lay and Anti-Slavery in the 18th Century 05/24/2019
*Flashback Friday* #250 - Benjamin Lay and Anti-Slavery in the 18th Century In this Flashback Friday, the Professor interviews Professor Marcus Rediker about his book, Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist. Benjamin Lay was one of the most famous anti-slavery protesters in colonial Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. He agitated against slavery and the slave trade in very unusual ways, and was eventually kicked out of his church, the Quakers, for his actions. He was also one of the pioneers of political boycotting of certain consumer goods. Professor Rediker tells the story of one of the most interesting men of the early 18th century, and learn why he deserves more attention from historians!
info_outline #308 - Quote or No Quote: Winston Churchill | "If you're not a liberal at 25, you have no heart..." 05/21/2019
#308 - Quote or No Quote: Winston Churchill | "If you're not a liberal at 25, you have no heart..." “If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain” is always bandied about when discussing political differences, particularly during election season. But who said it, and what did they mean? Was it George Bernard Shaw, François Guizot, Benjamin Disraeli, Otto von Bismarck, or Mark Twain? Or perhaps it was that massive, rotund planet in the quotation universe -- Winston Churchill. Find out!
info_outline *Flashback Friday* #213 - FDR, Polio, and the Press 05/17/2019
*Flashback Friday* #213 - FDR, Polio, and the Press FDR became governor of New York and later President for four terms despite having contracted polio. Professor Matthew Pressman from Seton Hall University joins us to discuss how the press and the American public were told about his disability, and how they reacted. We also learn how the Roosevelt campaign and administration tried to control public knowledge of FDR's condition by managing how information was obtained and used. We examine whether the famous "gentlemen's agreement" between the FDR administration and the press to suppress information about the president's condition was true. A fascinating episode about a complex historical issue.