Spies Helped the USAF Shoot Down a Third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s
This story originally appeared on Dec. 30, 2014. On Jan. 2, 1967, around 30 U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter jets flying from Ubon in Thailand shot down a full third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s—for a loss of just one of their own. It was a strategic victory in... Read more
Georgy Zhukov’s Close Call With Stalin’s Killers
Beginning in 1936, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin set about deliberately murdering 700,000 people in the Great Purge, an act of mass killing that “constituted a form of rule” unto itself, as Stalin biographer Stephen Kotkin explained. The armed forces were not spared. The purges swept through the officer corps,... Read more
The CIA Battled the Kremlin With Books and Movies
Originally published on May 2, 2015. During the Cold War, Moscow’s Ministry of Culture was a master of censorship. The Kremlin’s cultural bulwark screened non-Russian films, suppressed literature and shaped the lives of Soviet artists. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency also dabbled in the dark arts of cultural influence.... Read more
This Aircraft Carrier Did Not Exist
This story originally appeared on Sept. 22, 2015. One of the strange little stories of World War II involves the aircraft carrier USS Robin, which didn’t really exist. There was a carrier that sailors called the Robin. She and her sailors were underneath U.S. Navy command, took part in American... Read more
The U.S. Army Had a Whole Unit of Psychic Spies
This story originally appeared on Aug. 27, 2016. On Sept. 15, 1995, Army chief of staff Gen. Gordon Sullivan held a meeting with a colonel from the service’s top watchdog agency as well as with another colonel who had served as a psychologist at Army Intelligence and Security Command. The... Read more
Take Another Look at This Incredibly Detailed Soviet Map of Washington, D.C.
This story originally appeared on Aug. 21, 2016. This detailed map of Washington, D.C. was compiled by a secret Soviet map-making program during the Cold War. Wired published an amazing 6,000-word article on the topic, which you should read in full here. “The maps were part of one of the... Read more
Infinite War
“The United States of Amnesia.” That’s what Gore Vidal once called us. We remember what we find it convenient to remember and forget everything else. That forgetfulness especially applies to the history of others. How could their past, way back when, have any meaning for us today? Well, it... Read more
Captain Blackadder Really Did Fight in World War I
This story originally appeared on June 26, 2014. BBC’s Blackadder is one of the funniest historical T.V comedies ever. The four series, which ran from 1983 to 1989, follow the conniving, cowardly Edmund Blackadder and his sidekick Baldrick through various epochs. The final series, Blackadder Goes Forth, is set... Read more
Sherman Tanks Battled Banzai Charges at Tarawa
This article was originally sponsored by Open Road Media on July 20, 2016. “Once inside, a man quickly found that you could not be claustrophobic and serve in a tank,” Oscar Gilbert and Romain Cansiere write in Tanks in Hell: A Marine Corps Tank Company on Tarawa. “In fact many... Read more
In 1980, Friendly Fire Was One of the Biggest Killers of Iranian Fighter Pilots
This story originally appeared on Oct. 4, 2016. September 2016 marked the 36th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War, which killed hundreds of thousands of people between 1980 and 1988. Most people don’t know that this brutal conflict also saw a great number of friendly-fire incidents on the... Read more
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