" To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. "
Robert Louis Stevenson

Back in the day


Battle of the Bulge Begins

Officially called the Ardennes Offensive, this major German counter-offensive on the Western Front during World War II was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the US Army during the war. Hitler planned to split the Allied line, enabling the German army to capture Antwerp and trap four Allied armies, thus ensuring a victory. An American force that held out at Bastogne and an attack on the German salient from the north and south foiled Hitler's plans. How did the battle get its name?



The Mad Baron

Known as both the "Mad" and "Bloody" Baron, Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg was a military commander who became an independent warlord after the Russian Civil War. A mystic who believed he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, he aimed to unite the Far-Eastern nations under one monarch. In 1921, he achieved this goal, becoming dictator of Mongolia before being captured by his own troops and executed by the Red Army. How did he trick the Chinese into abandoning Mongolia's capital city, Urga?

Born on a day like today


Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon was queen consort of England and the first of King Henry VIII's six wives. When, after 18 years of marriage, Catherine had not produced a male heir, Henry resolved to have the marriage annulled and marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn. When the Pope refused his request, Henry had Parliament pass the Act of Supremacy, repudiating Papal jurisdiction in England, making the king the head of the English church, and beginning the English Reformation. Did Catherine accept the divorce?

Last updated on Tuesday, 16th December 2008

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