What We Love This Week, Volume XXXIV

October 11, 2013

Anne Frank’s Amsterdam

The present-day haven for lighthearted excesses and leisure, Amsterdam in the 20th century was home to one of the most harrowing–and inspiring–tales of recent memory. In June 1942 the Frank family moved into a shop annex so as to avoid arrest and transfer to a concentration camp. It was there that 13 year old Anne Frank took to her journal, offering future readers a rare glimpse into the extraordinary heart and mind of a young girl trapped in the most tragic of circumstances. Blending the two together, the world-renown Anne Frank House has merged images of World War II-era photos (and the Frank family before they entrenched themselves in the attic) and present-day Amsterdam. The result is as chilling as it is reassuring. For more, head over to My Modern Met.

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The Haunting Detonation Of The World’s First Atom Bomb

October 10, 2013

First Atom Bomb Detonation 1945

Who knew that James Chadwick’s remarkable 1932 discovery of the neutron would ultimately lead to the deaths of over 150,000 Japanese people? Following subsequent research on the uranium atom and its ability to be split in half, Roosevelt and Truman-backed scientists spent hours upon hours studying nuclear fission and ultimately developed the atom bomb. Detonated first in Los Alamos, New Mexico in July 1945, scientists were aghast at what they had achieved: the bomb produced an enormous flash of light and a fireball that expanded over 2,000 feet in two seconds and reached a staggering height of 7.45 miles, forming a mushroom-shaped cloud. The equivalent of 18.6 kilotons of TNT, the Truman administration wasted no time in implementing the deadly device in warfare. Three weeks following its first test, atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the lives of hundreds of thousands as well as World War II yet instigating a potentially more deadly arms race.

New York’s Garment District In 1930

October 8, 2013

Garment District 1930 New York

New York’s status as the fashion capital of the world has surprising roots in slavery. Intent on maximizing slave productivity, plantation owners ordered clothes from the burgeoning Apple so that slaves wouldn’t “waste” their working hours by sewing clothes for themselves. A handful of decades later, the one square-mile fashion mecca was responsible for doling out ready-made soldiers’ uniforms and by extension the shift from making your own clothes to buying them. At the dawn of the 20th century, around 70% of the nation’s women wore clothes made in the Garment District, followed by around 40% of men. And thus, an empire was born.

The Incredible Evolution Of France’s Borders

October 3, 2013

Evolution Of French Borders

Like so many other superpowers, France–the largest country in Western Europe–had to undergo a series of rapid territory squabbles and handovers before becoming the high-culture capital it is today.

Carl Akeley, Conservation-Minded Leopard Killer

October 1, 2013

Featured above, Carl Akeley’s life is something from a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. A true survivor, neither the simultaneous charge of three rhinoceros into Akeley’s body nor an elephant’s stomping onto his chest cavity led Akeley to the pearly gates. Rather, it was his fascination with nature that led him to pioneer taxidermy as well as major facets of the conservation movement. Regarding the leopard, when attacked by his spotted foe Akeley punched it in the esophagus from the inside…and killed it.

The American Communist Party In Madison Square Garden, 1931

September 30, 2013

While the “red scare” quickly quelled the burgeoning communist movement from the United States before it could gain any longterm hold on the political debate, there was a time when communist and socialist ideologies weren’t found only in some rather dusty corners of San Francisco. The Communist Party USA played an integral role in fighting Jim Crow laws, racial injustices and founding unions to protect worker rights, and by 1919 CPUSA claimed over 50,000 registered members. Today, however, a mere 2,000 individuals belong to the party.