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Showing posts from November, 2019

Amikejo: The Esperanto-Speaking Country

After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the victorious nations in the conflict got to redraw the map of Europe.  The Netherlands were set up as an independent country for the first time, which was welcome news in the eyes of Great Britain, who saw the new country as a kind of buffer state between France and Prussia.  The thinking was that that would help when the next war on continental Europe started, which the United Kingdom figured would come along sooner or later.
After the new nation was designed, there was some territory to the south that was disputed.  It was a small region between the Netherlands and Prussia (now Germany) called Neutral Moresnet.  It was about 1.35 square miles in area and shaped like a long, skinny pizza slice, pointing north.  Neutral Moresnet was divided into Prussian and Dutch zones.  It became particularly desirable after a zinc mine was discovered in the area in 1850, which was coveted by both countries.  When Belgium broke away from the Netherlan…

Duck and Cover

In August 1945, the first (and still only) use of nuclear weapons occurred in Japan, when the United States’ Army Air Corps dropped one atomic bomb each on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Within a week, the Empire of Japan had surrendered, guns fell silent in the Pacific Theater, and peace broke out all over the whole world forever.  Well, maybe not forever, but the United States did stand astride the world like a colossus.  It was a large, resource-rich, industrialized nation, and it had seen remarkably little destruction on its home soil.  While cities in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan and China had seen millions of civilians killed and much infrastructure demolished by bombs, the only significant attack was on the unindustrialized American island of Oahu, in Hawaii, where a good portion of its Pacific Fleet had been stationed when the Japanese attacked it in 1941.  But now, besides enjoying a healthy industrial base and being free of the burden of rebuild…