European Archive

The Forgotten Pandemic: The 1918 Global Influenza Outbreak

June 15, 2020 @ 10:00 am

In 1918, Death wandered on his horse through the barren grounds of the frontline trenches. The war was nearly over, but the dead continued to rise in numbers. The horrors of this war were unseen up to this point in history; people lost their sons, fathers, mothers, their homes, their everything. What nobody knew is a new horror was lurking, ready to spring up with devastating effect. This came from an unseen enemy, one humanity has faced since the dawn of our existence. Reports of illness sprang up in Kansas, then quickly to the trenches. Spain, uninvolved in the war, began reporting on a strange new type of influenza afflicting the population. Soon, the world referred to this silent killer as the Spanish Flu.

As the war in the trenches continued, a new war ignited, one which infected 500 million people worldwide in 9 months, and kill between 17 million and 50 million. Hospitals became overrun with infected patients, entire Indigenous communities were wiped out, and the bodies of the dead became too much for morgues to handle. At first, governments in Europe and the US denied the severity or even the illness's existence, continuing to hold their patriotic parades and liberty drives, leading to more becoming ill rapidly. A new horseman now walked the Earth on a sickly steed, a horseman named Pestilence. Soon, the horrors of war were accompanied by the horrors of disease.

 

Music

The Dance Macabre, Camille Saint-Saëns

Filed under Pan Historia, Canada, European, United States, Other, Science ·

The Hammer Falls: The End of the Soviet Union

May 4, 2020 @ 10:00 am

Throughout history, humanity has witnessed the rise and fall of countless empires. Typically, internal unrest either weakened these states into collapse, or vulnerability to invading forces. The Soviet Union was like an empire, one meant to be the beacon of workers around the world. Instead, it ended up ruled by the same elites it aimed to destroy. By the time Gorbachev came along, the cracks had already expanded clear across the country, and it was too late to repair. Gorbachev still tried, with Glasnost and Perestroika aiming to improve both domestic issues and diplomacy with the west.

The various Soviet Republics saw this as an opportunity to to seek self determination instead, bringing the union to its denouement. The 80s ended with civil unrest, ethnic tensions, and even civil war across the land, and only the die hards felt anything could be savaged. On a hot August day in 1991, those die hards attempted to seize control, and save the union. To their shock, the people were beyond done with the old Soviet ways, rallying instead to the reformers Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, unafraid of the soldiers and tanks surrounding them. Before the year's end, the world's first communist state came to an end.

 

Music

Frank Sinatra, My Way

CornFlakes Strategy, Soviet Anthem - Slow Piano - instrumental 2000 subs special

Filed under Pan Historia, Political History, Military History, European, Cold War, Asia ·

1:23:45: The Chernobyl Disaster

April 14, 2020 @ 10:00 am

Most of the city of Pripyat was fast asleep in the early morning of April 26, 1986. It was a relatively quiet night, save for the sounds from the nearby Chernobyl Power Station. All was calm until just before 1:30AM, when a small explosion echoed through the air, followed almost instantly by a second, larger fireball. Emergency operators received alarms of a fire at Chernobyl, believed to be a destroyed control system tank setting fire to the roof. Inside, workers frantically worked to ensure Unit 4s reactor continued to receive cooling water and prevent the fire from causing meltdown.

Firefighters rushed to the scene, most having just gotten out of bed, and wearing nothing but short sleeve shirts, some still in pyjamas. As they assembled their hose equipment, all they could think about was the taste of metal in their mouth. Little did they know, only meters away from them, was a hole where the reactor once lay. It was now nothing more than an inferno, burning as hot as the surface of the Sun, and spewing toxic radiation into the sky. A large plume of black smoke floated over the forest towards Pripyat. When it arrived, the city was darkened by the shadow of death.

 

Music:

Tower (Metro 2033 Soundtrack) –  Alexey Omelchuk

Filed under Pan Historia, Political History, Military History, European, Cold War, Disasters, Science ·

When Ronnie Met Mikie: The Friendship of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan

March 9, 2020 @ 10:00 am

One was a man born in Russia during the height of Stalinism, who rose to power through hard work and perseverance.

The other was a man, a proud American with great charisma, and once acted alongside a chimpanzee.

Both men were leader of their respective countries, long rivals who on more than one occasion nearly brought about nuclear war. There was little in common between these two men that could possibly bring them together.

Or was there?

Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and American President Ronald Reagan first met at a summit in Geneva in 1985. It was at this first meeting the two would develop a friendship and mutual respect for one another which – through close calls, stalemate, and disagreement – bring about the thawing of relations between their respective countries, and bring about the end of the Cold War only two years later.

 

Music:

You're My Best Friend, Queen

I Got You, Babe, Sonny & Cher

Filed under Pan Historia, Political History, European, Cold War, United States ·

Solidarity: The Polish Workers Strikes

December 9, 2019 @ 10:00 am

Before the Wall came down, before the days of Glasnost and Perestroika, the people of Poland began a series of defiant acts against their communist government. The Polish people suffered heavily during the Second World War under the brutal occupation of both the Nazis and Soviets. Following the end, the state remained a puppet of the Soviet Union. As the 1980s came around, the economy of Eastern Europe had stagnated due to Premier Brezhnev's limits on trade, production, and workers pay on its satellites. Things came to a head in Poland when it was decided an increase of prices was necessary, albeit while keeping salaries the same.

In the appropriately named Lenin Shipyard of Gdansk, the stevedores banded together to demand concessions from the government to improve working conditions in Poland, and bring the country closer to democracy. It was here the Solidarity movement began, the downfall of Poland's communist government commenced, and the ripples spread across Eastern Europe originated, which in turn would bring an end to the Warsaw Pact, and the Cold War itself.

Filed under Political History, European, Cold War ·

“You Can’t Stop the Spring”: The Velvet Revolution

November 25, 2019 @ 10:00 am

"They may crush the flowers, but they can't stop the spring."
-Alexander Dubcek, 1968

Hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered in the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia, as the country's politburo finally decided there was nothing more they could do. Having witnessed change in Poland, East Germany, and Hungary already come to pass, they knew it was only a matter of time before they were next. In one swift action, the entire politburo resigned, deciding to rip the band aid off quickly, and without further harm. Across town, members of the opposition Civic Forum were in the midst of a press conference when news of the resignations reached them. The room erupted into cheers and applause, and one man even opened champaign in celebration

Alexander Dubcek, former General Secretary of Czechoslovakia, had tried 20 years prior to bring reform to the country. His efforts were crushed beneath the tracks of Soviet tanks, and he was allowed to retire back into obscurity. Now, on that late November evening, the people were once again chanting his name. As he stepped onto a balcony, he was overcome with emotion and unable to speak. Improvising and a massive smile on his face, Dubcek walked to the balcony rails and curled his arms slowly towards the crowd, effectively embracing the them. The Czech and Slovak people were all entwined in an embrace that night. Without a shot being fired, or a molotov flying, Czechoslovakia had become free.

Music:

Nad Tatrou sa blyska (Lightning Over the Tatras), Slovanian National Anthem 

Kde domov muj(Where My Home Is), Czech National Anthem

Filed under Political History, Military History, European, Cold War ·

Edifice of Fear: The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 9, 2019 @ 10:00 am

The Iron Curtain across Europe Winston Churchill described was metaphorical rather than physical, at least at the time he made his famous speech. The divide between East and West had become an ideological conflict, Capitalism versus Communism. The defeated Germany was occupied by the Allies of the United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, Germany was organized into two states, the Federal Republic of Germany in the west, and the German Democratic Republic in the east. Along with this, Berlin found itself two separate entities.

Millions of people fled west to avoid falling under the brutal suppression the Soviets had become known for. This resulted in nearly 20% of the GDR's population falling, which included a large number of the country's intellectual population. It was soon clear to the politburo this could not continued. Seemingly overnight in August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected. With it, the Iron Curtain had a physical representation.

Intro:

Sinews of Peace, Winston Churchill

Outro:

Looking for Freedom, David Hasselhoff

Filed under Pan Historia, Political History, Military History, European, Cold War ·

The Silent Service: A History of Submarine Warfare

August 19, 2019 @ 10:00 am

Deep in the ocean stalks a hidden hunter, virtually undetected and silent. Within, its crew works away, cramped, having not seen the sun in weeks. The crew drives blind through the depths, with only a pinging sonar available to aid navigation. They lay down there, waiting for the possibility to strike.

Submarines have had a long history behind them, one which is seldom talked about except for blockbuster films from Das Boot to Hunt for Red October. Today, Pan Historia dives into a brief, but detailed history of Submarine Warfare.

Intro: Theme from Crimson Tide

Outro: In the Navy by The Village People

Filed under Pan Historia, Canada, Military History, European, Cold War, United States, Disasters ·

The Road to Confederation: Canada Day Special

July 1, 2019 @ 10:00 am

In 1864, delegates from the Maritime Colonies and the Province of Canada met in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to discuss proposals to create a union to better British North America's economic and defensive strength. By the end, the groundworks for a new country were born. A further two conferences and a Royal Assent later, Canada was born on July 1, 1867. The story behind its creation is not well known, even those living in it. There, Pan Historia is proud to present the story of Confederation.

Happy Canada Day!

Music:

God Save the Queen (Royal Anthem)

O Canada! (National Anthem)

Filed under Pan Historia, Political History, Canada, European ·

I Know the Devil Exists: The Rwandan Genocide

May 27, 2019 @ 10:00 am

I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God.
–Roméo Dallaire

Even today, the countries of Africa are in their youth. Yet, already, the continent has seen more than enough violence in the 50 years since decolonization. The scars from European rule run deep, and continue to cause untold hardship. By far, the most well know scar rests on Rwanda, a small country in Central-East Africa in the great lakes region. Tensions between the Tutsi and Hutu population had grown significantly since its independence, and a civil war began in the late 1980s between the predominant Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front and the predominant Hutu government. A peace compromise as eventually negotiated in 1993, and the UN stepped in to observe the ceasefire. However, the peace would be destroyed in a plane crash, and result in the worst genocide the world had seen since the Holocaust.

Immediately after the crash, the radios across Rwanda had one message:

"Cut the tall trees!"

Music:

Ne Me Laisse Pas Seule Ici from Hotel Rwanda

Things Fall Apart by Philanthrope

Filed under Pan Historia, Canada, European, Africa ·

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