Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Transgenerational transmission of trauma and resilience: a qualitative study with Brazilian offspring of Holocaust survivors

September 4, 2012 Comments off

Transgenerational transmission of trauma and resilience: a qualitative study with Brazilian offspring of Holocaust survivors

Source: BMC Psychiatry


Over the past five decades, clinicians and researchers have debated the impact of the Holocaust on the children of its survivors. The transgenerational transmission of trauma has been explored in more than 500 articles, which have failed to reach reliable conclusions that could be generalized. The psychiatric literature shows mixed findings regarding this subject: many clinical studies reported psychopathological findings related to transgenerational transmission of trauma and some empirical research has found no evidence of this phenomenon in offspring of Holocaust survivors.


This qualitative study aims to detect how the second generation perceives transgenerational transmission of their parents’ experiences in the Holocaust. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with fifteen offspring of Holocaust survivors and sought to analyze experiences, meanings and subjective processes of the participants. A Grounded Theory approach was employed, and constant comparative method was used for analysis of textual data.


The development of conceptual categories led to the emergence of distinct patterns of communication from parents to their descendants. The qualitative methodology also allowed systematization of the different ways in which offspring can deal with parental trauma, which determine the development of specific mechanisms of traumatic experience or resilience in the second generation.


The conceptual categories constructed by the Grounded Theory approach were used to present a possible model of the transgenerational transmission of trauma, showing that not only traumatic experiences, but also resilience patterns can be transmitted to and developed by the second generation. As in all qualitative studies, these conclusions cannot be generalized, but the findings can be tested in other contexts.

“Little Holes to Hide In”: Civil Defense and the Public Backlash Against Home Fallout Shelters, 1957-1963

July 23, 2012 Comments off

"Little Holes to Hide In": Civil Defense and the Public Backlash Against Home Fallout Shelters, 1957-1963

Source: Georgia State University Digital Archive

Throughout the 1950s, U.S. policymakers actively encouraged Americans to participate in civil defense through a variety of policies. In 1958, amidst confusion concerning which of these policies were most efficient, President Eisenhower established the National Shelter Plan and a new civil defense agency titled The Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. This agency urged homeowners to build private fallout shelters through print media. In response, Americans used newspapers, magazines, and science fiction novels to contest civil defense and the foreign and domestic policies that it was based upon, including nuclear strategy. Many Americans remained unconvinced of the viability of civil defense or feared its psychological impacts on society. Eventually, these criticisms were able to weaken civil defense efforts and even alter nuclear defense strategy and missile defense technology.

Proud to Be an American: Perceptions of American Patriotism Portrayed Through Captain America Comic Books, 1941-2009

July 19, 2012 Comments off

Proud to Be an American: Perceptions of American Patriotism Portrayed Through Captain America Comic Books, 1941-2009 (PDF)

Source:  Historia: the Alpha Rho Papers
Patriotism, while easily defined as “love of one’s country” is not easily quantified. Patriotism is neither constant through space nor is it constant through time. Simply put, what constitutes patriotism depends on who is defining it. The United States of America has often been described as being a patriotic country and yet the idea of Patriotism continues to be a divisive and controversial ideal in America. One of the United States of America’s greatest symbols of patriotism in popular culture is Captain America. Created during the World War II, Captain America has defined patriotism for the youth of America, not only reflecting ideas of popular patriotism, but in ways shaping them. This paper seeks to analyze changing perceptions of patriotism since World War II through Captain America comic books. This will not only demonstrate where patriotism has come, but demonstrate the divisiveness of patriotism throughout United States history, how patriotism has be constantly reinvented throughout United States history, and where patriotism may be headed during the post-911 world.

FBI Records — The Vault: Watergate

June 15, 2012 Comments off

The Vault: Watergate
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

On June 17, 1972, several people broke into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters; they were discovered by an on-site guard and were arrested by local police. Subsequent investigations by the FBI, Congress, and the media showed that these intruders were connected to the campaign staff of President Richard Nixon. The White House under Nixon worked to cover-up this connection, and subsequent revelations of the cover-up led to Nixon’s impeachment and resignation in 1974. These files, released many years ago, document the FBI’s investigation into the break-in and related issues between 1972 and 1979.

NASA Offers Guidelines To Protect Historic Sites On The Moon

June 1, 2012 Comments off

NASA Offers Guidelines To Protect Historic Sites On The Moon
Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA and the X Prize Foundation of Playa Vista, Calif., announced Thursday the Google Lunar X Prize is recognizing guidelines established by NASA to protect lunar historic sites and preserve ongoing and future science on the moon. The foundation will take the guidelines into account as it judges mobility plans submitted by 26 teams vying to be the first privately-funded entity to visit the moon.

NASA recognizes that many spacefaring nations and commercial entities are on the verge of landing spacecraft on the moon. The agency engaged in a cooperative dialogue with the X Prize Foundation and the Google Lunar X Prize teams to develop the recommendations. NASA and the next generation of lunar explorers share a common interest in preserving humanity’s first steps on another celestial body and protecting ongoing science from the potentially damaging effects of nearby landers.

NASA assembled the guidelines using data from previous lunar studies and analysis of the unmanned lander Surveyor 3′s samples after Apollo 12 landed nearby in 1969. Experts from the historic, scientific and flight-planning communities also contributed to the technical recommendations. The guidelines do not represent mandatory U.S. or international requirements. NASA provided them to help lunar mission planners preserve and protect historic lunar artifacts and potential science opportunities for future missions.

Afghanistan’s Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events

April 6, 2012 Comments off

Afghanistan’s Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events
Source: PLoS ONE

Afghanistan has held a strategic position throughout history. It has been inhabited since the Paleolithic and later became a crossroad for expanding civilizations and empires. Afghanistan’s location, history, and diverse ethnic groups present a unique opportunity to explore how nations and ethnic groups emerged, and how major cultural evolutions and technological developments in human history have influenced modern population structures. In this study we have analyzed, for the first time, the four major ethnic groups in present-day Afghanistan: Hazara, Pashtun, Tajik, and Uzbek, using 52 binary markers and 19 short tandem repeats on the non-recombinant segment of the Y-chromosome. A total of 204 Afghan samples were investigated along with more than 8,500 samples from surrounding populations important to Afghanistan’s history through migrations and conquests, including Iranians, Greeks, Indians, Middle Easterners, East Europeans, and East Asians. Our results suggest that all current Afghans largely share a heritage derived from a common unstructured ancestral population that could have emerged during the Neolithic revolution and the formation of the first farming communities. Our results also indicate that inter-Afghan differentiation started during the Bronze Age, probably driven by the formation of the first civilizations in the region. Later migrations and invasions into the region have been assimilated differentially among the ethnic groups, increasing inter-population genetic differences, and giving the Afghans a unique genetic diversity in Central Asia.

Facts for Features Special Edition — 1940 Census Records Release

April 4, 2012 Comments off

Facts for Features Special Edition — 1940 Census Records ReleaseSource: U.S. Census Bureau

On April 2, the National Archives and Records Administration will make individual records from the 1940 Census available to the public for the first time. The 1940 Census was conducted during a momentous time in our nation’s history, as the Great Depression was winding down and not long before our entry into World War II (although the war was already raging in Europe). It marked the only census conducted during the lengthy presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was also notable for many other reasons, as detailed below. In this edition of Profile America Facts for Features, we compare notable 1940 Census facts with corresponding information from the 2010 Census. Included is an early look at plans for the 2020 Census.

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974

January 18, 2012 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972-August 1974
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974. Continuing the practice established in recent Foreign Relations volumes on the Soviet Union, this volume places Soviet-American relations in the global context of the Cold War, highlighting the conflicts and collaboration between the two superpowers.

The volume includes numerous direct personal communications between President Richard Nixon and Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev covering a host of issues, including clarifying the practical application of the SALT I and AMB agreements signed in Moscow. Other major themes covered include the war in Indochina, arms control, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commercial relations and most-favored-nation status, grain sales, the emigration of Soviet Jews, Jackson-Vanik legislation, and the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. High-level meetings and summits, both in the United States and the Soviet Union, are documented in detail, including Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko leading up to Nixon’s final visit to the Soviet Union in June 1974.

Department of State Announces Publication of 29th edition The World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers Report

January 17, 2012 Comments off
Source:  U.S. Department of State
The Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance is pleased to announce its recent online publication of the 29th edition of the State Department’s World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (WMEAT) report, covering the years 1995-2005, on the State Department’s website at

What Congress Looked Like From Inside the Eisenhower White House

January 13, 2012 Comments off

What Congress Looked Like From Inside the Eisenhower White House

Source:  Brookings Institution
As a parting gift to each of us who served on President Eisenhower’s staff, our colleagues Fred Fox and Jim Lambie compiled White House…Staff Book…1953-61. It was something like a high school yearbook, with photos and bios of the graduates. After nearly a half century, it’s a useful place to start memory-jogging on who was there and how Congress looked to us.
It’s also a way to keep in perspective the differences in White House staffs, then and now. First, there’s the matter of size. Ours was tiny. On most days we could all have lunch at the same time in one small oblong room in the West Wing basement. In compiling their staff list, Fox and Lambie didn’t give us the key to who was in and who was out, but my hunch is that they included only those with White House Staff Mess privileges. One hundred-three names made the A-List for serving at some point during Eisenhower’s two terms. Exclude 15 military aides, such as the Air Force One pilots and the President’s doctors, and this left just 88. The group included six college presidents, six who had been generals, five former governors, but only three who had been elected to Congress.
The burgeoning of White House staffs over time reflects two trends. One: Adding people to perform added functions. When I returned to the White House in 1969, for instance, I worked for a unit, the Urban Affairs Council, that hadn’t existed when I left the White House in 1961. Two: A more rapid turnover rate among staffers.   Had overheated White House operations produced more burnout, a different sort of person, or the lure of more opportunities outside of government? Of the 88 staffers at Eisenhower’s White House,  a dozen stayed for the full eight years, among them a core of such prominent aides as James Hagerty (press secretary), Bryce Harlow (speechwriting, legislative relations), Gerald Morgan (legislative relations, counsel), Wilton Persons (legislative relations, chief of staff), and Thomas Stephens (appointment secretary). Another dozen stayed almost as long.
The demographics reflect major differences from recent staffs. The 88 were almost all male, all white: There were three women and one African-American. When Kathryn Dunn Tenpas and I examined what we called “The A Team” of Bill Clinton (1993) and George W. Bush (2001), the percentages for women were 29 percent and 28 percent; for minorities, 8 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Full Paper (PDF)

Credit Availability and the Collapse of the Banking Sector in the 1930s

October 8, 2011 Comments off

Credit Availability and the Collapse of the Banking Sector in the 1930s
Source: Federal Reserve Board

This paper examines the mechanism through which banking sector distress affects the availability of credit. We use the experience of the United States during the Great Depression, a period of intense bank distress, to conduct our analysis. We utilize previously neglected data from a 1934 survey conducted by the Federal Reserve System of both banks and Chambers of Commerce regarding the availability of credit, and examine which aspects of the banking system collapse affected credit availability as indicated by the survey. A number of scholars have posited different ways that bank distress constrained credit availability and impacted economic activity during the 1930s; however, the empirical evidence regarding these channels is modest. In this study, we find that bank failures had the most dominant impact, but there is also some evidence for the importance of funding constraints from deposit outflows and of protracted deposit liquidation.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Complete Pentagon Papers At Last! All Three Versions Posted, Allowing Side-by-Side Comparison

September 19, 2011 Comments off

Complete Pentagon Papers At Last! All Three Versions Posted, Allowing Side-by-Side Comparison
Source: National Security Archive

For the first time ever, all three major editions of the Pentagon Papers are being made available simultaneously online. The posting today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (, allows for a unique side-by-side comparison, showing readers exactly what the U.S. government tried to hide for 40 years by means of deletions from the original text.

To make the most of this new resource, the Archive is unveiling a special contest inviting readers to make their own nominations for the infamous “11 words” that some officials tried to keep secret even this year!

Today’s posting includes the full texts of the “Gravel” edition entered into Congressional proceedings in 1971 by Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) and later published by the Beacon Press, the authorized 1971 declassified version issued by the House Armed Services Committee with deletions insisted on by the Nixon administration, and the new 2011 “complete” edition released in June by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Accompanying the posting is the National Security Archive’s invitation for readers to identify their own favorite nominees for the “11 words” that securocrats attempted to delete during the declassification process for the Papers earlier this year, until alert NARA staffers realized those words actually had been declassified back in 1971.  Best submissions for the “11 words” — as judged by National Security Archive experts — will appear in the Archive’s blog, Unredacted, and on the Archive’s Facebook page.  National Security Archive senior fellow John Prados wrote the introduction and analysis for the posting. Archive analyst Carlos Osorio coordinated the data processing for publication. Archive staff Wendy Valdes and Charlotte Karrlsson-Willis did the input, indexing and cross-referencing, and the Archive’s webmaster Michael Evans managed the online publication of the Pentagon Papers.

The human dimension of fire regimes on Earth

September 15, 2011 Comments off

The human dimension of fire regimes on Earth
Source: Journal of Biogeography

Humans and their ancestors are unique in being a fire-making species, but ‘natural’ (i.e. independent of humans) fires have an ancient, geological history on Earth. Natural fires have influenced biological evolution and global biogeochemical cycles, making fire integral to the functioning of some biomes. Globally, debate rages about the impact on ecosystems of prehistoric human-set fires, with views ranging from catastrophic to negligible. Understanding of the diversity of human fire regimes on Earth in the past, present and future remains rudimentary. It remains uncertain how humans have caused a departure from ‘natural’ background levels that vary with climate change. Available evidence shows that modern humans can increase or decrease background levels of natural fire activity by clearing forests, promoting grazing, dispersing plants, altering ignition patterns and actively suppressing fires, thereby causing substantial ecosystem changes and loss of biodiversity. Some of these contemporary fire regimes cause substantial economic disruptions owing to the destruction of infrastructure, degradation of ecosystem services, loss of life, and smoke-related health effects. These episodic disasters help frame negative public attitudes towards landscape fires, despite the need for burning to sustain some ecosystems. Greenhouse gas-induced warming and changes in the hydrological cycle may increase the occurrence of large, severe fires, with potentially significant feedbacks to the Earth system. Improved understanding of human fire regimes demands: (1) better data on past and current human influences on fire regimes to enable global comparative analyses, (2) a greater understanding of different cultural traditions of landscape burning and their positive and negative social, economic and ecological effects, and (3) more realistic representations of anthropogenic fire in global vegetation and climate change models. We provide an historical framework to promote understanding of the development and diversification of fire regimes, covering the pre-human period, human domestication of fire, and the subsequent transition from subsistence agriculture to industrial economies. All of these phases still occur on Earth, providing opportunities for comparative research.

CRS — U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Current Conflicts

September 13, 2011 Comments off

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Current Conflicts (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

Many wars or conflicts in U.S. history have federally designated “periods of war,” dates marking their beginning and ending. These dates are important for qualification for certain veterans’ pension or disability benefits. Confusion can occur because beginning and ending dates for “periods of war” in many nonofficial sources are often different from those given in treaties and other official sources of information, and armistice dates can be confused with termination dates. This report lists the beginning and ending dates for “periods of war” found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties. Also included are dates for the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This report will be updated when events warrant. For additional information, see CRS Report RL31133, Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications, by Jennifer K. Elsea and Richard F. Grimmett.

Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?

August 18, 2011 Comments off

Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?
Source: Quarterly Journal of Economics

We investigate whether individual experiences of macroeconomic shocks affect financial risk taking, as often suggested for the generation that experienced the Great Depression. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances from 1960 to 2007, we find that individuals who have experienced low stock market returns throughout their lives so far report lower willingness to take financial risk, are less likely to participate in the stock market, invest a lower fraction of their liquid assets in stocks if they participate, and are more pessimistic about future stock returns. Those who have experienced low bond returns are less likely to own bonds. Results are estimated controlling for age, year effects, and household characteristics. More recent return experiences have stronger effects, particularly on younger people.

$1.2 Million Awarded to Preserve Battlefields

August 1, 2011 Comments off

$1.2 Million Awarded to Preserve Battlefields
Source: National Park Service

More than $1.2 million in National Park Service grants will be used to help preserve and protect America’s significant battlefield lands. The funding from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) will support 25 projects at more than 76 battlefields nationwide.

This year’s grants provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields from the Pequot War, King Philip’s War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War II and various Indian Wars. Awards were given to projects in 24 states or territories entailing archeology, mapping, cultural resource survey work, documentation, planning, education and interpretation.

Winning projects include a National Register nomination and management plan at the War of 1812 Battle of Bladensburg in Maryland; an archeological assessment of Creek War battle sites in Alabama; a preservation plan for the Civil War Battle of Lone Jack in Missouri; a digital, web-based tour of the Civil War Battles in Saltville, Virginia; archeology for resource identification at the Revolutionary War Battle of Fort Boonesborough, Kentucky; public interpretation and educational activities at Pequot War battlefields in Connecticut; and a nomination project for seven Nez Perce and Cheyenne-Great Sioux Wars in Montana.

Includes list of grant winners.

CRS — Brief History of the Gold Standard in the United States

July 19, 2011 Comments off

Brief History of the Gold Standard in the United States (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The U.S. monetary system is based on paper money backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government. The currency is neither valued in, backed by, nor officially convertible into gold or silver. Through much of its history, however, the United States was on a metallic standard of one sort or another.

On occasion, there are calls for Congress to return to such a system. Such calls are usually accompanied by claims that gold or silver backing has provided considerable economic benefits in the past. This report briefly reviews the history of the gold standard in the United States. It is intended to clarify the dates during which the standard was used, the type of gold standard in operation at the various times, and the statutory changes used to alter the standard and eventually end it. It is not a discussion of the merits of such a system.

The United States began with a bimetallic standard in which the dollar was defined in terms of both gold or silver at weights and fineness such that gold and silver were set in value to each other at a ratio of 15 to 1. Because world markets valued them at a 15½ to 1 ratio, much of the gold left the country and silver was the de facto standard.

In 1834, the gold content of the dollar was reduced to make the ratio 16 to 1. As a result, silver left the country and gold became the de facto standard. In addition, gold discoveries drove down the value of gold even more, so that even small silver coins disappeared from circulation. In 1853, the silver content of small coins was reduced below their official face value so that the public could have the coins needed to make change.

During the Civil War, the government issued legal tender paper money that was not redeemable in gold or silver, effectively placing the country on a fiat paper system. In 1879, the country was returned to a metallic standard; this time a single one: gold. Throughout the late 19 th century, there were efforts to remonetize silver. A quantity of silver money was issued; however, its intrinsic value did not equal the face value of the money, nor was silver freely convertible into money. In 1900, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the gold standard and relegated silver to small denomination money.

Throughout the period under which the United States had a metallic standard, paper money was extensively used. A variety of bank notes circulated, even without being legal tender. Various notes issued by the Treasury also circulated without being legal tender. This use of paper money is entirely consistent with a gold standard. Much of the money used under a gold standard is not gold, but promises to pay gold. To help ensure that the paper notes theretofore issued by banks were honored, the government created the national bank system in 1863. In 1913, it created the Federal Reserve System to help ensure that checks were similarly honored. The creation of the Federal Reserve did not end the gold standard.

The gold standard ended in 1933 when the federal government halted convertibility of notes into gold and nationalized the private gold stock. The dollar was devalued in terms of its gold content, and made convertible into gold for official international transactions only. Even this quasi-gold standard became difficult to maintain in the 1960s. Over the period 1967-1973, the United States abandoned its commitment to covert dollars into gold in official transactions and stopped trying to maintain its value relative to foreign exchange. Despite several attempts to retain some link to gold, all official links of the dollar to gold were severed in 1976.

U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography

July 13, 2011 Comments off

U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography (PDF)
Source: U.S. Marine Corps (History Division)

This anthology presents a collection of 21 articles describing the full range of U.S. Marine Corps operations in Iraq from 2004 to 2008. During this period, the Marines conducted a wide variety of kinetic and non-kinetic operations as they fought to defeat the Iraq insurgency, build stability, and lay the groundwork for democratic governance.

The selections in this collection include journalistic accounts, scholarly essays, and Marine Corps summaries of action. Our intent is to provide a general overview to educate Marines and the general public about this critical period in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, the United States, and Iraq. Many of the conclusions are provisional and are being updated and revised as new information and archival resources become available. The accompanying annotated bibliography provides a detailed overview of where current scholarship on this period currently stands.

The editor of this anthology, Nicholas J. Schiosser, earned his doctorate in history from the University of Maryland in 2008 and has worked as a historian with the Marine Corps History Division since 2009. His research examines U.S. Marine Corps operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, focusing on irregular warfare, counterinsurgency operations, and the al-Anbar Awakening.

Pentagon Papers

June 20, 2011 Comments off

Pentagon Papers
Source: National Archives (via Council on Foreign Relations)

The Pentagon Papers report regarding U.S. conduct in Vietnam was released in this version on June 13, 2011 on the National Archives’ website; the website states,

“The Pentagon Papers, officially titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force”, was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967. In June of 1971, small portions of the report were leaked to the press and widely distributed. However, the publications of the report that resulted from these leaks were incomplete and suffered from many quality issues.

On June 13th, 2011, the 40th anniversary of the leak to the press, the National Archives, along with the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Presidential Libraries, will be releasing the complete report. There are 48 boxes and approximately 7,000 declassified pages. Approximately 34% of the report will be available for the first time.

Just Released — The Nation’s Report Card: U.S. History 2010

June 14, 2011 Comments off

The Nation’s Report Card: U.S. History 2010
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The average fourth-grade U.S. history score in 2010 was higher than in 1994. Some of the largest gains from 1994 to 2010 were made by the lowest-performing students with a 22-point increase at the 10th percentile. There was no significant change in the average score from 2006 to 2010.

The average eighth-grade U.S. history score in 2010 was higher than in previous assessment years. As at grade 4, scores also increased from 1994 for lower-performing eighth-graders. The average twelfth-grade U.S. history score in 2010 was not significantly different from the score in 2006 but was higher than the score in 1994.


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