This page includes, in addition to news about historians, news about political scientists, economists, law professors, and others who write about history. For a comprehensive list of historians' obituaries, go here.
SOURCE: Jerusalem Post (7-27-11)
Seventy years after the Holocaust, the issue of America's response to it, and whether more Jews could have been saved, still arouses passions.
At a July 17 academic conference at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem featuring the institution's leading historians alongside scholars from the U.S.-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, they locked horns over the question.
The historian David S. Wyman, in his book that appeared 28 years ago – “The Abandonment of the Jews” – exposed a pattern of apathy and obstruction at the highest of levels of the U.S. Government and among the Jewish organizational establishment led by Rabbi Steven S. Wise.
In his book, Wyman detailed the actions of an activist named Hillel Kook – who, using the pseudonym Peter Bergson – led a series of political action committees precisely 70 years ago that came to be known collectively as the Bergson Group.
That group was said to be ahead of its time, as it took-out full-page ads in leading American newspapers; planned public rallies; staged theatrical plays with the participation of some of Hollywood's leading stars; planned a dramatic march of 400 Rabbis to the steps of the Capital and to the White House in 1943; and successfully lobbied Congress to introduce a resolution calling for the creation of a federal government agency to rescue refugees....
SOURCE: NYT (7-26-11)
Few battles in history have been more scrutinized than Gettysburg’s three blood-soaked days in July 1863, the turning point in the Civil War. Still, there were questions that all the diaries, official reports and correspondence couldn’t answer precisely. What, for example, could Gen. Robert E. Lee actually see when he issued a series of fateful orders that turned the tide against the Confederate Army nearly 150 years ago?
Now historians have a new tool that can help. Advanced technology similar to Google Earth, MapQuest and the GPS systems used in millions of cars has made it possible to recreate a vanished landscape. This new generation of digital maps has given rise to an academic field known as spatial humanities. Historians, literary theorists, archaeologists and others are using Geographic Information Systems — software that displays and analyzes information related to a physical location — to re-examine real and fictional places like the villages around Salem, Mass., at the time of the witch trials; the Dust Bowl region devastated during the Great Depression; and the Eastcheap taverns where Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Prince Hal caroused.
Like the crew on the starship Enterprise, humanists are exploring a new frontier of the scholarly universe: space.
“Mapping spatial information reveals part of human history that otherwise we couldn’t possibly know,” said Anne Kelly Knowles, a geographer at Middlebury College in Vermont. “It enables you to see patterns and information that are literally invisible.” It adds layers of information to a map that can be added or taken off at will in various combinations; the same location can also be viewed back and forth over time at the click of a mouse.....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (7-21-11)
Ian Mortimer talks about researching his books and what he's learned, including the power that historians have.
SOURCE: NOLA.com (7-23-11)
Few New Orleanians would identify themselves as of Basque heritage, but according to one of them, that's only because they're unaware of their families' origins a few centuries ago.
From Abadie and Alciatore to Yzaguirre and Zatarain, says Michel-Antoine Goitia-Nicolas, dozens of longtime local families can trace their origins back to the Basque region that straddles the border between France and Spain.
Most of them, he says, are aware only that their ancestors emigrated from France or Spain, not of their exact ethnic background.
But, he says, whether Barbe or Begue, Chachere or Charbonnet, Gayarre or Goyeneche, Lacombe or Lemoyne, Mandeville or Marigny, Sapir or Soraparu -- all have Basque origins.
Goitia-Nicolas, 46, who was born in Canada and has lived in New Orleans since 1984, founded a nonprofit group, the Louisiana Basque-American Society and Cultural Organization, or LABASCO, in 2003 to promote awareness of the state's Basque heritage....
SOURCE: Arlington Sun Gazette (7-23-11)
Dr. Nicholas Schlosser of Arlington recently received the 2011 Brig. Gen. Edwin Simmons-Henry I. Shaw Award, which recognizes superior historical scholarship by a member of the Marine Corps History Division Staff....
SOURCE: Montreal Gazette (7-22-11)
Before the 2010 U.S. midterm elections, Joe Walsh was a two-time political loser who almost no one - excluding maybe his family and close friends - thought would win a seat in Congress.
Now the 49-year-old former American history professor and investment banker is among a group of first-term House Republican lawmakers who, arguably, wield more power over America's debt crisis than the president of the United States.
Swept into office last November on a wave of support from Tea Party conservatives, Walsh, who represents Illinois' 8th district, is one of 87 GOP freshmen whose opposition to a compromise over raising America's debt ceiling risks pushing the U.S. government into default.
Call them uncompromising, or call them principled, this much is undisputed about the Republican newcomers: Without their backing, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will have extraordinary difficulty getting the necessary 218 votes to pass bipartisan debt legislation before the U.S. reaches its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit on Aug. 2....
SOURCE: David Hackett Fischer in the NYT (7-23-11)
SOURCE: WSJ (7-23-11)
The Opium War is a touchy subject, admits Julia Lovell.
The Chinese often refer to the conflict that began in 1839 as the beginning of colonial submission, while for many British it has faded to the footnotes of history.
But the myths of the war are still relevant, as they explain China's complicated relationship with the West, Ms. Lovell argues in her new book, "The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China."
The 36-year-old, who teaches history at the University of London, spoke with The Wall Street Journal's Jason Chow about the book's inspiration, why writing it put her in a bad mood, and how James Bond inspired her to study Chinese. The following interview has been edited.
I started off as a history major in university. In my Christmas holiday of my first term, being an undergraduate, I was watching a James Bond movie on TV. It was "You Only Live Twice," the one where he goes to Japan.
There's a scene where Miss Moneypenny asks him, "How are you going to manage with the language?" He says, "Don't worry, Moneypenny, I studied Oriental languages in Cambridge." I thought this was my only chance to have something in common with James Bond....
SOURCE: Times Record News (TX) (7-22-11)
Former Midwestern State University professsor Michael Flavin, 69, died Thursday morning after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Services are pending.
Flavin began his career at MSU in 1969 and prided himself on a balanced approach in the classroom; students could freely express their political views but, as he told a colleague, “they better be ready to back it up with facts.”
An acknowledged expert on the history of local, state and national politics and election lore, Flavin was often called on by the Times Record News and local television stations for political analysis; he never hesitated to predict the outcome of elections and referendums....
SOURCE: CS Monitor (7-21-11)
..."Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861" by David Detzer, translates the bewildering intricacies of warfare while exploring the lives of those who fought, those who sent them there and those left back at home. (The book is part of Detzer's trilogy about the early days of the war.)
In an interview, I asked the Connecticut-based historian to talk about the nation's lessons from the first battle of an incredibly bloody war, a conflict that hardly anyone thought would last very long or leave so many bereaved.
Q: What did the North and South misunderstand about warfare as this battle began?
A: Both sides were innocent, and both sides were clueless about war would be like.
Q: That seems so remarkable. How did they manage to be so out of touch?
A: I've read the kinds of things they’d read about war. The books romanticized things, No book or magazine told of reality at its rawest. They only told of war from the point of view of officers and, occasionally, heroic soldiers....
SOURCE: Commentary (7-22-11)
Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Civil-Military Relations; and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has demanded an explanation from Yale University about whether the George W. Bush administration interfered with or intimidated the university prior to Yale’s rejection of University of Michigan professor and polemicist Juan Cole’s application to teach at Yale. (Curiously, MESA neglects to mention the failure of Juan Cole’s job application at Duke the same year, where professors found him arrogant, self-serving, and superficial)....
1) Should MESA truly value free speech above politics, should it not then condemn none other than Juan Cole who demanded the FBI investigate a fellow professor with whose politics Cole disagreed? As Cole wrote in 2004: “FBI should investigate how [Professor Walid] Pharis, an undistinguished academic with links to far rightwing Lebanese groups and the Likud clique, became the ‘terrorism analyst’ at MSNBC.”
2) Likewise, while Cole said he was disinvited from events, after the FBI arrested former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin on allegations he shared sensitive documents with AIPAC, Cole bragged about how he had spurned Defense Department invitations to discuss Iraq. “In a conversation with me, Franklin indicated that he was in very close contact with Wolfowitz, and he offered to get me an audience. I said, “You don’t read my web log, do you?”...
SOURCE: History.com (7-21-11)
On July 21, 1861, 35,000 Union troops led by Brigadier General Irvin McDowell faced off against more than 20,000 Confederates under Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard near a railroad junction at Manassas, Virginia, 25 miles from Washington, D.C. The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as Manassas, was the first major land battle of the American Civil War. To commemorate the battle’s 150th anniversary, we asked HISTORY’s chief historian Libby O’Connell about its significance and what every American can do to help preserve our shared history.
What events led up to the First Battle of Bull Run?
The war had begun three months earlier at Fort Sumter, but since then there had only been small-scale clashes between the two sides. Abraham Lincoln decided to strike first. The Union strategy was to deal a crushing blow to Confederate forces near Manassas, Virginia, and quickly march on Richmond, the Confederate capital. Union General Irvin McDowell, worried that his untrained troops were unprepared for such an endeavor, protested the plan, but Lincoln overruled him. Why did he do this? Well, there was enormous pressure in the North, primarily from the press, for a quick, decisive action to end the war. More importantly, however, the 90-day term of enlistment for most of the soldiers who had joined the Union Army after Fort Sumter was set to expire. Lincoln believed that this might be his only chance to use this massive military force before he lost it.
What exactly happened during the battle?
At first, the Union Army seemed on the verge of victory, pushing back P.G.T. Beauregard’s forces at Warrenton turnpike, while one Southern brigade, led by General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, desperately tried to hold the high ground at Henry Hill House. The tide of the battle turned later in the day, with the arrival of Confederate reinforcements under the command of Joseph E. Johnston. The increasingly disorganized and overwhelmed Union Army collapsed under the pressure of the Confederate counterattack, resulting in a frantic retreat. However, the Confederate troops were just as exhausted and disorganized, and they were unable to mount a pursuit of the fleeing Union Army.
What happened in the aftermath of the battle?
It took the shattered Union Army nearly 36 hours to get back to Washington, D.C., marching almost without rest or food. As one soldier put it, this army that was supposed to crush the Confederates limped back into the capital “more dead than alive.”...
SOURCE: AHA Blog (7-20-11)
The Association enjoyed a modest increase in membership over the past year. The number of annual dues-paying members increased by 227, alongside the addition of four new life members. We also modestly increased the number of complimentary memberships we give out, primarily to journalists and others that we hope will engage with and share our work. As a result of these changes, we show a net increase of 250 total memberships over the previous year—an increase of 1.7 percent—to 14,196 total members.
Much of the overall gain came from graduate students and faculty at an early stage in their careers. We have seen substantial growth in the number of new and student members in recent years, and a significant number of former students are moving into the new Early Career category, which now holds almost 500 members.
Students at all levels now account for 32 percent of the Association’s members. A decade ago (in 2001), they accounted for only 15 percent of the total membership. The growth in the number of younger members offers a positive indicator for the future of the Association—assuming the difficulties in the job market settle out soon....
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (7-21-11)
Europe is down. Asia is up. And some specialties that scholars have feared were disappearing appear to be alive and well.
Those are some of the results available in an analysis by the American Historical Association of its members and their primary fields of interest (by both geography and subject matter). As a popular major and as a key provider of general education courses, the discipline of history is watched for even slight shifts in its focus. (AHA membership does not, of course, include all historians, and the membership is probably less reflective of community colleges, which tend to hire Americanists or generalists. But the membership shifts generally are viewed as consistent with trends in the field.)
Currently the top geographic area of specialization is Europe, with 37.2 percent of historians. That's down from 41.5 percent a decade ago -- a drop of such magnitude that historians of North America are now almost equal, at 36.2 percent. Asian history, at 8 percent, has overtaken Latin American history as the third most popular area of specialization....
SOURCE: Greensboro News & Record (7-18-11)
GREENSBORO -- A former UNCG professor who wrote the history of the university's first century died Friday at the age of 83, Chancellor Linda Brady announced today.
Allen William Trelease, UNCG professor emeritus of history and former department head, died at Friends Homes in Greensboro.
"Dr. Trelease will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues, and his death will be felt across the campus," Brady said. "Our sympathy and prayers go out to his family."
He was a well-known historian who specialized in and wrote several books about Southern history, especially of the Civil War and Reconstruction....
SOURCE: Oak Ridger (7-18-11)
After years of work, a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that could include Oak Ridge is one step closer to reality, and local historians are reacting with excitement.
"We're just thrilled," Oak Ridge City Historian Bill Wilcox said. "A major milestone has been reached."
On Wednesday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced he is recommending to Congress the establishment of a national historical park to commemorate the Manhattan Project, the top-secret federal program to build atomic bombs during World War II. The proposed park could include three sites where much of the critical scientific activity occurred: Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, N.M; and Hanford, Wash.
"Now is a good time to take a breath, stop for a minute, and realize how far we have come and enjoy the success by celebrating our progress," Ray Smith, Y-12 National Security Complex historian and columnist for The Oak Ridger, said after Wednesday's announcement. "Then we will need to focus on the next steps to making our park a reality."...
SOURCE: National Catholic Register (7-19-11)
FRONT ROYAL, Va. — Warren H. Carroll, the founder and first president of Christendom College, died at home July 17 at the age of 79.
He had received the last rites the prior week, and a priest brought him holy Communion the day before he died peacefully in his sleep.
“He was a great man,” said Timothy O’Donnell, current president of Christendom. “He was a convert. In 1968, the time of great chaos, when many were leaving the Church, he came in. He had a deep love for Our Lord and our Blessed Mother and the Church. That’s something that was communicated in everything he did after his conversion.”
O’Donnell sees Carroll as among those unsung heroes who stood in the breech when people started leaving after Humanae Vitae came out.
With another papal document, Carroll was a pioneer Catholic educator with the perspective of a visionary.
“The example of Christendom as one of the few early colleges to really embrace the message of Ex Corde Ecclesiae even before it was issued,” said Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, “has given rise to a whole series of new Catholic colleges modeled after Christendom — schools that have embraced a strong Catholic identity in reaction to the decline of Catholic identity elsewhere.”...
SOURCE: The Browser (7-18-11)
As a historian, what do you make of the American left’s turn back to the term progressivism?
Ever since Reagan and the first Bush turned liberal into a term of abuse, it’s very hard to find politicians who will forthrightly proclaim themselves liberals. The term progressive is a substitute. It sounds good. How can anyone be against things that are progressive as opposed to retrograde? Of course, the term progressive relates to the Progressive Era of a century ago, when certain views that we associate with liberalism entered the political spectrum. Things like governmental regulation of corporations and provision of basic social security for people. If you read the platform of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 Progressive Party, it laid out much of the agenda for 20th century liberalism through the New Deal.
Modern liberals and turn-of-the-century progressives share a similar view of the role of government in society. But going back to the term progressive is a little misleading. Earlier progressives had no interest, by and large, in race issues. They accepted segregation. And they were uninterested in civil liberties, which has become a basic element of modern liberalism. They were statists – they weren’t interested in standing up against the state. So today’s progressivism is different from what progressivism meant a century ago.
What would you define as the core tenets of today’s progressivism?
As I see it, the core tenets are somewhat at odds with each other. On the one hand you have the belief in governmental assistance to the less fortunate, governmental regulation of economic activity and very modest governmental efforts to redistribute wealth to assist those further down the social scale. So it’s active government, in the pursuit of social goals, when it comes to the economy. On the other hand, modern liberalism emphasises privacy, individual rights and civil liberties – keeping government out of your life when it comes to things like abortion rights. In other words, in the private realm liberalism is for autonomy and lack of government intervention. And also I think today’s liberalism is strongly identified with the rights of various minority groups within American society. This multicultural element was not really part of liberalism until the radical movements of the 1960s. One of the reasons I chose these books is that I think liberalism has changed significantly since the 1960s. It is no longer the same thing it was in the era of Theodore Roosevelt or even Franklin Roosevelt....
SOURCE: CS Monitor (7-18-11)
Postcard after postcard came addressed to Naomi Oreskes after she wrote her first book on how scientists study the movement of continents.
A groundswell of attention, perhaps? Not exactly. Her mother wrote them all, dashing off each postcard after finishing a chapter. Outside the worlds of science and academia, the book didn't attract much attention.
But 12 years later, the Manhattan-raised historian is traveling a much more public path, drawing both praise and condemnation. She's a fierce defender of scientists and a leader in the vanguard of those who strongly advocate that the world must acknowledge and deal with global warming.
"Professor Oreskes has turned vilified scientists into the heroes they deserve to be," says John Abraham, an associate professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. She's performing a service regarding global warming by showing "how a few organized and influential people were able to confuse the country long after the science was settled," he says.
Oreskes, a professor of history and science studies at the University of California, San Diego, acknowledges that she's trying to save the world. Earlier, though, her goal was simpler. She wanted to understand scientists by studying their past, in terms of both their findings and their funding....
SOURCE: CBC News (7-15-11)
When the long-serving, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin disappeared from public view — most conspicuously during the celebrations earlier this month marking the anniversary of the China Communist Party — sinologists and journalists assumed he must have died. After all, he was 84 and when top leaders leave the picture in one-party states, that's usually the case. Chinese authorities vigorously denied Jiang was dead. But reports then surfaced that he has been quite ill and the suggestion that he might be at death's door prompted considerable discussion about his legacy and the China he presided over for almost 12 years, particularly in the turbulent 1990s....
Victor Zatsepine is a Russian-born Chinese historian who lived in China throughout the 1990s, studying and working there as a journalist. He is currently an assistant professor of history at Hong Kong University. CBC News: Jiang Zemin came to power after the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989 and rose to become "paramount leader" in the 1990s. What was Jiang's particular stamp on China during this decade? Victor Zatsepine: In the 1990s, most Western observers downplayed Jiang as a transitional leader, hoping that socialism in China would collapse in a "domino effect" following the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This did not happen. Jiang's background as a Soviet-trained engineer and his adoption of Deng Xiaoping's pragmatic thinking made him a supporter of further economic reforms, wrapping them in a formula of "socialism with Chinese characteristics." During Jiang's leadership, the Chinese economy became more diverse and its markets gradually attracted foreign investment. Thus, the idea of Chinese socialism acquired a new dimension....
SOURCE: AP (7-18-11)
Britain has been transfixed by the phone hacking scandal that has shaken its media world. But will it really change the nation's press?
Much depends on the shelf life of the outcry over alleged skullduggery by journalists working for British papers owned by Rupert Murdoch, who closed a newspaper, dropped a major business deal and agreed to testify before parliament in an attempt to defuse the uproar....
"The public's interest in these matters is fickle to say the least," said Steven Fielding, professor of political history at the University of Nottingham. "Murdoch is probably thinking, 'Well, if I can last for about six months, then everything will return back to normal.'"
Fielding said Britons were more concerned about the economy, jobs, services and quality of life, especially at a time when the government is implementing painful austerity measures aimed at getting the country's finances in order....
Jeremy Black, a professor of history at the University of Exeter, said the scandal was a welcome distraction for political parties that are struggling for answers to economic challenges at home and across Europe, and that broader concerns about a "coarsening of public life" and the salacious nature of large segments of British media coverage are not being addressed.
He cited some of the reporting on Madeleine McCann, a British girl whose disappearance in Portugal in 2007 drew global attention. Her father, Gerry McCann, complained of sensational journalism in the case, and the parents won libel damages from some British newspapers over suggestions that they were responsible for their daughter's death....
SOURCE: NYT (7-15-11)
WASHINGTON — Barry H. Landau, author and well-known presidential memorabilia collector, displayed his connections like pearls on a necklace.
Photographs of him with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin and Martha Stewart adorn his Web site, adding celebrity credentials to the title he has given himself: “America’s presidential historian.”
So it was all the more noteworthy when Mr. Landau, 63, who is based in New York City, was arrested last Saturday at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore and charged with stealing historical documents, including ones signed by Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. Landau’s lawyer, Steve Silverman, said he expected Mr. Landau would plead not guilty. He criticized the decision to hold Mr. Landau without bail, and said he had filed a habeas corpus petition to have the ruling reconsidered....
SOURCE: Juan Cole at Informed Comment (7-14-11)
Spencer Ackerman at Wired reports on the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit launched on my behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union against the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. See also the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.
“At the heart of this action is whether the CIA, FBI and other agencies undertook an investigation of a U.S. citizen for the simple fact that he was a critic of U.S. government policy. Such a chilling of First Amendment freedoms, if it did in fact take place, would send shock waves through the public arena, threatening to limit the open debate that makes our democracy strong. The public has an urgent need to know whether government agencies are sweeping aside the law and spying on Americans who do nothing more than speak their minds.”
I had told the ACLU, “Americans don’t need permission from their government to write and publish their political opinions. If the Bush White House pettily attempted to use the CIA to destroy my reputation by seeking dirt on my private life in order to punish me for speaking out, that would be a profound violation of my Constitutional rights.”
Eminent New York Times national security correspondent James Risen reported on the front page of the New York Times on June 15 that a retired CIA operative had alleged that he was tasked with providing information of a potentially damaging sort on my private life as the result of a request made to his boss, David Low, by the Bush White House. The operative, Glenn Carle, declined, but discovered that his immediate boss did pass over a report on me. Later on he found out that another, junior, analyst had been given the task of digging dirt on me so as to discredit me.
All I can figure is that the Bush White House was upset over my analysis of the course of the Iraq War, which it depicted as a bright and glorious enterprise. In contrast, I was simply trying as best I could from a distance to understand what exactly was happening in that country, using the Arabic press and my own sources on the ground. My depiction did not accord with theirs. Carle reports the junior analyst as being disturbed at my criticisms of the Bush administration. (It is hard to remember now, perhaps, that US conservatives actually made the argument in 2005 that it was unpatriotic to criticize a president prosecuting a foreign war! )
My initial response to the story is here.
Given Mr. Carle’s revelations, ACLU and I filed a request with all four agencies for an expedited FOIA process. That is, while the Freedom of Information Act allows citizens to request the files government agencies may hold on them, in most cases the agency concerned can take its own sweet time about responding to the request. But sometimes there is a “compelling need,” and the agency agrees to meet the request quickly, or is instructed to do so by a judge.
A compelling need is often acknowledged where the government interferes in the freedom of speech rights of journalists, and I do a fair amount of journalism. In this instance, the urgency is also increased by the possibility that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence may launch its own investigation into the allegations.
But the CIA and the FBI haven’t deigned to respond to the request for an expedited FOIA process (which is contrary to the FOIA law, specifying that they must respond within 10 days). The DOJ replied that they’d check for documents in a very limited way. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence bald-facedly denied that there was any compelling need to speed up the FOIA release of documents it might hold on me. In other words, the ODNI is not alarmed and feels no urgency about the revelation that a White House asked the CIA to violate its charter and US law in order to have it investigate me and try to discredit me merely for speaking my mind.
Since these agencies seem not to be taking this whole affair very seriously, the ACLU and I were left with no choice but to launch this lawsuit. Mr. Carle’s account affirms that there was a paper trail to this Bush administration attempt to enlist the CIA in domestic surveillance on an American in order to play dirty tricks on him. We need to see those documents in order to fight back and keep American democracy strong.
SOURCE: Jewish Press (7-13-11)
How did so many Nazis and Nazi collaborators manage to escape Europe after World War II? Who helped them flee and why? What routes did they take on their way to freedom?
These and other questions are answered in painstaking detail in a new book, Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice, by Gerald Steinacher, an assistant professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The book, originally written in German, was translated into English by Oxford University Press and hit bookstores last month. The Jewish Press recently spoke with Steinacher.
The Jewish Press: According to your book, a great many Nazis escaped Europe through Italy. Why Italy?
Steinacher: Because the Allies were in Germany and Austria but had retreated from Italy. There was no Allied government there after December 1945, so once you were in Italy, you were free. This is one reason. The other reason is that for many people from Eastern and Central Europe the ports in Italy were just the closest in terms of geography....
SOURCE: AP (7-13-11)
WASHINGTON — A historian and former director of the National Portrait Gallery is returning to the Smithsonian Institution to serve as acting director of the National Museum of American History.
Marc Pachter retired from the Smithsonian in 2007. On Wednesday, the museum complex announced he will return Aug. 15 to temporarily replace Brent Glass, who is leaving the American history museum....
SOURCE: NYT (7-12-11)
WASHINGTON — A presidential historian and author, Barry H. Landau, was arrested with a colleague on Saturday in Baltimore on charges of stealing historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society, including ones signed by Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. Landau, a collector of presidential memorabilia based in New York City who cultivated actors and former statesmen, was taken into custody after spending several hours reviewing documents at the historical society with a colleague, Jason Savedoff, the Baltimore Police Department said.
An employee called the police to report having seen Mr. Savedoff put a document inside a laptop case and leave the building. The employee followed Mr. Savedoff to a nearby men’s bathroom and identified him when the police arrived....