World War II

Beethoven’s handwritten manuscript for the fourth movement of his String Quartet in B-flat Major

Nazi-Looted Beethoven Manuscript Returned to Original Owners

The Czech Republic's Moravian Museum gave the document to the heirs of the Petschek family

This year's picks include Half American, Saving Yellowstone and River of the Gods.

The Best Books of 2022

The Ten Best History Books of 2022

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and illuminate how the nation ended up where it is today

J. Edgar Hoover (second from left) stands behind Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the president signs a bill in 1934.

How World War II Helped Forge the Modern FBI

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover consolidated immense power—and created the beginnings of the surveillance state

Japanese American National Museum volunteer Barbara Keimi stamps the Ireichō.

The First-Ever List of Japanese Americans Forced Into Incarceration Camps Is 1,000 Pages Long

The Ireichō contains 125,284 names—and a new exhibition invites the public to honor them

Nazis set an estimated 1,400 synagogues on fire during Kristallnacht.

These 84-Year-Old Nazi Photos Paint a Harrowing Picture of Kristallnacht

The images show mobs ransacking Jewish-owned homes, businesses and synagogues in 1938

Yale cast (top) and Berlin cast (bottom)

Scientists Find Plaster Copies of Fossil Destroyed by Nazis

Two casts of the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton ever unearthed were hidden in museum collections in Berlin and Connecticut

American ambassador Joseph C. Grew (left) meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda (right) in October 1941, two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Untold Stories of American History

The American Ambassador Who Tried to Prevent Pearl Harbor

A new book explores the diplomatic efforts of Joseph C. Grew, who was assigned to Tokyo between 1932 and 1942

"Sidedoor" host Lizzie Peabody creaks across museum attic floorboards and sneaks into an old house in the woods (above: What lurks inside the Sellman House at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center?) to investigate the spooky stories that only a few dare to tell.

The Ghosts Who Haunt the Smithsonian

Mysterious tales head up podcast offerings for late October and November

An underwater view of the V-1302 John Mahn, which has rested at the bottom of the North Sea since February 1942

A World War II Shipwreck Is Leaking Toxic Chemicals Into the North Sea

Researchers discovered nickel, copper, arsenic, explosives and chemicals found in fossil fuels at the site

Environmental investigators found radioactive waste in samples taken from the playground of Jana Elementary School.

Radioactive Waste Found on Missouri Elementary School Grounds

The contaminants can be traced back to World War II's Manhattan Project

President Joe Biden speaks at a ceremony to create a 53,804-acre national monument in the mountains of Colorado.

Biden Declares His First National Monument at Colorado's Camp Hale

Once home to the Ute Tribes, the site later became a military training base for the skiing soldiers who fought in World War II

Paula, Sam and Sol Messinger aboard the M.S. St. Louis in May 1939. The U.S. denied the ship entry, forcing its 937 passengers to return to Europe. More than a quarter of these refugees were later killed in the Holocaust.

Untold Stories of American History

Why Was America So Reluctant to Take Action on the Holocaust?

A new Ken Burns documentary examines the U.S.' complex, often shameful response to the rise of Nazism and the plight of Jewish refugees

Elizabeth remained staunchly tight-lipped, rarely commenting publicly on current events.

Elizabeth II Was an Enduring Emblem of the Waning British Empire

The British queen died on Thursday at age 96

Oregon’s Umpqua National Forest, where Swastika Mountain is located

Oregon's Swastika Mountain Gets a New Name

The mountain was originally named before the swastika became a symbol of hate

An inmate firefighter monitors flames as a house burns in the Napa wine region of California on October 9, 2017.

Untold Stories of American History

The History of California's Inmate Firefighter Program

The initiative, which finds prisoners working as first responders and rescuers, dates back to the 1940s

Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022, at age 91.

The Contradictory Legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev

The Soviet leader, who died on August 30 at age 91, attempted to enact "revolution from above"

The Dolmen of Guadalperal, nicknamed the “Spanish Stonehenge,” is now visible because of Europe’s ongoing drought.

Europe's Drought Is Revealing Historic Artifacts

World War II-era warships, the 'Spanish Stonehenge' and other remnants of the past are emerging from the continent's waterways

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A Deadly World War II Explosion Sparked Black Soldiers to Fight for Equal Treatment

After the deadliest home-front disaster of the war, African Americans throughout the military took action to transform the nation's armed forces

The so-called frogmen swam into enemy beaches unarmed, wearing only swim trunks, dive masks and fins.

Untold Stories of American History

The Stealth Swimmers Whose WWII Scouting Laid the Groundwork for the Navy SEALs

The Underwater Demolition Teams cleared coastal defenses and surveyed enemy beaches ahead of Allied landings

In the aftermath of the disaster and for decades to follow, numerous theories emerged. The men had been captured by the Japanese. They had been murdered by a stowaway. They had killed each other in a fight over a woman. They had simply fallen out of the blimp.

The 80-Year Mystery of the U.S. Navy's 'Ghost Blimp'

The L-8 returned from patrolling the California coast for Japanese subs in August 1942, but its two-man crew was nowhere to be found

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