"Then and Now" connects events from the past with today's news headlines. Current episodes are history topics from my global culture and history course.
In 2006, the podcast started with students in my introductory global history and culture course at the Univ of Minn. Previous episodes reviewed history topics, special music episodes connecting a country's culture with its music, interviews with voices of students and community members as they were part of historical events, and other topics. Episodes featured independent music artists. Share comments about the podcast with David Arendale, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Bonus) Aftermath of WWII
(Bonus) The aftermath of World War II was the beginning of a new era for all countries involved, defined by the decline of all European colonial empires and the simultaneous rise of two superpowers; the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US). Once Allies during World War II, the US and the USSR became competitors on the world stage and engaged in the Cold War, so called because it never resulted in overt, declared total war between the two powers but was instead characterized by espionage, political subversion and proxy wars. Western Europe and Asia were rebuilt through the American Marshall Plan, whereas Central and Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet sphere of influence and eventually behind an "Iron Curtain". Europe was divided into a US-led Western Bloc and a Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Internationally, alliances with the two blocs gradually shifted, with some nations trying to stay out of the Cold War through the Non-Aligned Movement. The war also saw a nuclear arms race between the two superpowers; part of the reason that the Cold War never became a "hot" war was that the Soviet Union and the United States had nuclear deterrents against each other, leading to a mutually assured destruction standoff.
(Bonus) Demobilization of United States armed forces after WW II
(Bonus) The Demobilization of the United States armed forces after the Second World War began with the defeat of Germany in May 1945 and continued through 1946. The United States had more than 12 million men and women in the armed forces at the end of World War II, of whom 7.6 million were stationed abroad. The American public demanded rapid demobilization and soldiers protested the slowness of the process. Military personnel was returned to the United States in Operation Magic Carpet. By June 30, 1947, the number of active duty soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in the armed forces had been reduced to 1,566,000.
(Bonus) German Nuclear Weapons Program during WWII
(Bonus) The Uranverein (English: "Uranium Club") or Uranprojekt (English: "Uranium Project") was the name given to the project in Germany to research nuclear technology, including nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors, during World War II. It went through several phases of work, but in the words of historian Mark Walker, it was ultimately "frozen at the laboratory level" with the "modest goal" to "build a nuclear reactor which could sustain a nuclear fission chain reaction for a significant amount of time and to achieve the complete separation of at least tiny amount of the uranium isotopes." The scholarly consensus is that it failed to achieve these goals, and that despite fears at the time, the Germans had never been close to producing nuclear weapons.
(Bonus) Japanese Nuclear Bomb Program During WWII
(Bonus) The Japanese program to develop nuclear weapons was conducted during World War II. Like the German nuclear weapons program, it suffered from an array of problems, and was ultimately unable to progress beyond the laboratory stage before the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
(Bonus) Manhattan Project the US Nuclear Weapons Program
(Bonus) The Manhattan Project was a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory that designed the actual bombs. The Army component of the project was designated the Manhattan District as its first headquarters were in Manhattan; the placename gradually superseded the official codename, Development of Substitute Materials, for the entire project. Along the way, the project absorbed its earlier British counterpart, Tube Alloys. The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939 but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (equivalent to about $23 billion in 2020). Over 90 percent of the cost was for building factories and producing fissile material, with less than 10 percent for developing and producing weapons. Research and production took place at more than thirty sites across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
(Bonus) Operation Unthinkable of WWII
(Bonus) Operation Unthinkable was the name given to two related possible future war plans by the British Chiefs of Staff against the Soviet Union in 1945. The plans were never approved or implemented. The plans were created by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in May 1945 and developed by the British Armed Forces' Joint Planning Staff in May 1945 at the end of World War II in Europe.