title

History Unplugged Podcast

Scott Rank, PhD

813
Followers
5.7K
Plays
History Unplugged Podcast
History Unplugged Podcast

History Unplugged Podcast

Scott Rank, PhD

813
Followers
5.7K
Plays
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About Us

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.

Latest Episodes

When Does A Scorched-Earth Policy Work? A Look at the Civil War's Final Year

Ulysses S. Grant arrives to take command of all Union armies in March 1864 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox a year later. Over 180,000 black soldiers in the Union army. And most of all, William Tecumseh Sherman launches his scorched-earth March to the Sea. Other events include the rise of Clara Barton; the election of 1864 (which Lincoln nearly lost); the wild and violent guerrilla war in Missouri; and the dramatic final events of the war, including the surrender at Appomattox and the murder of Abraham Lincoln.Today I'm talking with S.C. Gwynne, author of Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War. We discuss unexpected angles and insights on the war. Ulysses S. Grant is known for his prowess as a field commander, but in the final year of the war he largely fails at that. His most amazing accomplishments actually began the moment he stopped fighting. William Tecumseh Sherman was a lousy general, but probably the single most brilliant man in the war. We also meet a different Clara Barton, one of the greatest and most compelling characters, who redefined the idea of medical care in wartime. And proper attention is paid to the role played by large numbers of black union soldiers—most of them former slaves. They changed the war and forced the South to come up with a plan to use its own black soldiers.

57 MIN1 d ago
Comments
When Does A Scorched-Earth Policy Work? A Look at the Civil War's Final Year

Medic! First Aid in Combat, From WW1 Trenches to Operation Iraqi Freedom

Up until the recent past, if a soldier was wounded in battle, he remained in the field where he had fallen without hope of rescue. Maybe a comrade would drag him to safety, but more likely he would remain there for days, hoping for aid (or, barring that, death). Not that ancients knew nothing of combat medicine. Alexander the Great had tourniquets applied to soldiers with bleeding extremity wounds. Stretchers made of wicker were used in medieval battles. Triage was used in the Napoleonic corps. It was not until the Civil War that something like an ambulance service developed. Everything change in 1862 when Dr. Jonathan Letterman developed a three-tier evacuation system still used today. First was the field dressing station near the battlefield. The second was the field hospital (or MASH units). Finally a large hospital for those needing prolonged treatment.Today, death rates in battle have plummeted, thanks to the work of combat medics, who keep soldiers from dying at their most vul...

47 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Medic! First Aid in Combat, From WW1 Trenches to Operation Iraqi Freedom

The Confederacy Dominated the Early Civil War. So Why Did It Ultimately Lose?

The Confederacy won the early battles of the Civil War, led by brilliant generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee (to name a few) against blundering Union commanders like the endlessly dithering George McClellan. The war only turned after Lincoln found the right generals such as Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. This Civil War narrative—that Union generals improved while Confederate ones worsened—is popular and well-supported. Is it accurate, or did circumstances of the war bring out the true character of each general?The answer isn't a simple 'yes' or 'no' but Scott will do his best to explain what makes a Civil War general a good one and how they improved or worsened over the course of the war.

44 MIN1 w ago
Comments
The Confederacy Dominated the Early Civil War. So Why Did It Ultimately Lose?

Constantine's Conversion to Christianity: Opportunism or a Sincere Gesture?

History Channel documentaries and pop historians have argued that when Constantine converted to Christianity in the fourth century, he was merely following the religious demographic trends of the Roman Empire and thought paganism to be a political dead end. The idea makes sense at first glance. But the story of Constantine's conversion—and later the entire empire's—goes far beyond political opportunism (although there is plenty of that). Constantine did not choose his new religion to chase after changing demographics in the Empire; Christianity was a lower-class religion disfavored by the pagans who overwhelmingly made up the Roman army and cavalry—the exact people that an emperor really needed to appease to hold onto power. Plus, recent studies on Constantine argue that Christianity would have spread regardless of the emperor's choice, although it would have happened at a later date. The Roman Catholic Church did drape itself in Roman symbolism and forged fictional lines of cont...

54 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Constantine's Conversion to Christianity: Opportunism or a Sincere Gesture?

Was the US Involvement in World War One a Mistake?

Most Americans are unclear about their country’s contribution to victory in World War I. They figure we entered the conflict too late to claim much credit, or maybe they think our intervention was discreditable. Some say we had no compelling national interest to enter the Great War; worse, our intervention allowed Britain and France to force on Germany an unjust, punitive peace that made the rise of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party inevitable. Had we stayed out of the war, the argument goes, the Europeans would have been compelled to make a reasonable, negotiated peace, and postwar animosity would have been lessened. In this episode, we explore whether American involvement in World War One led to needless slaughter or served the purpose of creating a better future for Europe and the United States than would have been the case if Germany's Second Reich had dominated the continent.

59 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Was the US Involvement in World War One a Mistake?

Hans Kammler, Nazi Architect of Auschwitz, Defector to the US?

Hans Kammler was among the worst of the Nazis. He was responsible for the construction of Hitler’s slave labor sites and concentration camps. He personally altered the design of Auschwitz to increase crowding, ensuring that epidemic diseases would complement the work of the gas chambers. So pleased was Hitler by his work that he put him in charge of the Nazi rocket and nuclear weapons programs. At the end of the war he had more power than SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Even among the SS he was feared for his brutish nature.So why has the world never heard of him? Today I'm speaking with Dean Reuter, author of the new book “The Hidden Nazi: The Untold Story of America’s Deal with the Devil” he and collaborators Colm Lowery and Keith Chester spent a combined decades tracking down Kammler's trail. Long believed to have committed suicide, they discovered that he may have escaped exposure and justice through a secret deal with America.

56 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Hans Kammler, Nazi Architect of Auschwitz, Defector to the US?

Announcement: Mid-Season Break for "Key Battles of the Revolutionary War"

44 s2 w ago
Comments
Announcement: Mid-Season Break for "Key Battles of the Revolutionary War"

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 12: Crossing the Delaware

At the end of 1776 George Washington was in a desperate situation. The Continental Army had retreated completely out of New York after losing Long Island to British General William Howe. Many of his soldiers' contracts were set to expire at years end. He needed a dramatic victory, and fast. An opportunity arose when intelligence revealed Hessian forces camped in Trenton, New Jersey that were vulnerable to a sneak attack.

38 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 12: Crossing the Delaware

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 11: New York Campaign (2/2)

The New York Campaign ended in decisive victory for the British and terrible defeat for the Continental Army, which barely escaped destruction. It was completely driven out of New York fro the rest of the war, and the British used it as a base of attack against other targets for years to come.

37 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 11: New York Campaign (2/2)

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 10: The New York Campaign (1/2)

When the British left Boston, George Washington realized that their eventual destination would be New York City. He quickly traveled to NYC to oversee the building of defenses, organized the Continental Army into divisions, and prepared for the invasion. What happened next was the largest battle of the entire war and (if not for a miraculous stroke of good luck in the form of fog) the near-total defeat of the Patriots.

44 MINOCT 17
Comments
Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 10: The New York Campaign (1/2)

Latest Episodes

When Does A Scorched-Earth Policy Work? A Look at the Civil War's Final Year

Ulysses S. Grant arrives to take command of all Union armies in March 1864 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox a year later. Over 180,000 black soldiers in the Union army. And most of all, William Tecumseh Sherman launches his scorched-earth March to the Sea. Other events include the rise of Clara Barton; the election of 1864 (which Lincoln nearly lost); the wild and violent guerrilla war in Missouri; and the dramatic final events of the war, including the surrender at Appomattox and the murder of Abraham Lincoln.Today I'm talking with S.C. Gwynne, author of Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War. We discuss unexpected angles and insights on the war. Ulysses S. Grant is known for his prowess as a field commander, but in the final year of the war he largely fails at that. His most amazing accomplishments actually began the moment he stopped fighting. William Tecumseh Sherman was a lousy general, but probably the single most brilliant man in the war. We also meet a different Clara Barton, one of the greatest and most compelling characters, who redefined the idea of medical care in wartime. And proper attention is paid to the role played by large numbers of black union soldiers—most of them former slaves. They changed the war and forced the South to come up with a plan to use its own black soldiers.

57 MIN1 d ago
Comments
When Does A Scorched-Earth Policy Work? A Look at the Civil War's Final Year

Medic! First Aid in Combat, From WW1 Trenches to Operation Iraqi Freedom

Up until the recent past, if a soldier was wounded in battle, he remained in the field where he had fallen without hope of rescue. Maybe a comrade would drag him to safety, but more likely he would remain there for days, hoping for aid (or, barring that, death). Not that ancients knew nothing of combat medicine. Alexander the Great had tourniquets applied to soldiers with bleeding extremity wounds. Stretchers made of wicker were used in medieval battles. Triage was used in the Napoleonic corps. It was not until the Civil War that something like an ambulance service developed. Everything change in 1862 when Dr. Jonathan Letterman developed a three-tier evacuation system still used today. First was the field dressing station near the battlefield. The second was the field hospital (or MASH units). Finally a large hospital for those needing prolonged treatment.Today, death rates in battle have plummeted, thanks to the work of combat medics, who keep soldiers from dying at their most vul...

47 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Medic! First Aid in Combat, From WW1 Trenches to Operation Iraqi Freedom

The Confederacy Dominated the Early Civil War. So Why Did It Ultimately Lose?

The Confederacy won the early battles of the Civil War, led by brilliant generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee (to name a few) against blundering Union commanders like the endlessly dithering George McClellan. The war only turned after Lincoln found the right generals such as Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman. This Civil War narrative—that Union generals improved while Confederate ones worsened—is popular and well-supported. Is it accurate, or did circumstances of the war bring out the true character of each general?The answer isn't a simple 'yes' or 'no' but Scott will do his best to explain what makes a Civil War general a good one and how they improved or worsened over the course of the war.

44 MIN1 w ago
Comments
The Confederacy Dominated the Early Civil War. So Why Did It Ultimately Lose?

Constantine's Conversion to Christianity: Opportunism or a Sincere Gesture?

History Channel documentaries and pop historians have argued that when Constantine converted to Christianity in the fourth century, he was merely following the religious demographic trends of the Roman Empire and thought paganism to be a political dead end. The idea makes sense at first glance. But the story of Constantine's conversion—and later the entire empire's—goes far beyond political opportunism (although there is plenty of that). Constantine did not choose his new religion to chase after changing demographics in the Empire; Christianity was a lower-class religion disfavored by the pagans who overwhelmingly made up the Roman army and cavalry—the exact people that an emperor really needed to appease to hold onto power. Plus, recent studies on Constantine argue that Christianity would have spread regardless of the emperor's choice, although it would have happened at a later date. The Roman Catholic Church did drape itself in Roman symbolism and forged fictional lines of cont...

54 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Constantine's Conversion to Christianity: Opportunism or a Sincere Gesture?

Was the US Involvement in World War One a Mistake?

Most Americans are unclear about their country’s contribution to victory in World War I. They figure we entered the conflict too late to claim much credit, or maybe they think our intervention was discreditable. Some say we had no compelling national interest to enter the Great War; worse, our intervention allowed Britain and France to force on Germany an unjust, punitive peace that made the rise of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party inevitable. Had we stayed out of the war, the argument goes, the Europeans would have been compelled to make a reasonable, negotiated peace, and postwar animosity would have been lessened. In this episode, we explore whether American involvement in World War One led to needless slaughter or served the purpose of creating a better future for Europe and the United States than would have been the case if Germany's Second Reich had dominated the continent.

59 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Was the US Involvement in World War One a Mistake?

Hans Kammler, Nazi Architect of Auschwitz, Defector to the US?

Hans Kammler was among the worst of the Nazis. He was responsible for the construction of Hitler’s slave labor sites and concentration camps. He personally altered the design of Auschwitz to increase crowding, ensuring that epidemic diseases would complement the work of the gas chambers. So pleased was Hitler by his work that he put him in charge of the Nazi rocket and nuclear weapons programs. At the end of the war he had more power than SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Even among the SS he was feared for his brutish nature.So why has the world never heard of him? Today I'm speaking with Dean Reuter, author of the new book “The Hidden Nazi: The Untold Story of America’s Deal with the Devil” he and collaborators Colm Lowery and Keith Chester spent a combined decades tracking down Kammler's trail. Long believed to have committed suicide, they discovered that he may have escaped exposure and justice through a secret deal with America.

56 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Hans Kammler, Nazi Architect of Auschwitz, Defector to the US?

Announcement: Mid-Season Break for "Key Battles of the Revolutionary War"

44 s2 w ago
Comments
Announcement: Mid-Season Break for "Key Battles of the Revolutionary War"

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 12: Crossing the Delaware

At the end of 1776 George Washington was in a desperate situation. The Continental Army had retreated completely out of New York after losing Long Island to British General William Howe. Many of his soldiers' contracts were set to expire at years end. He needed a dramatic victory, and fast. An opportunity arose when intelligence revealed Hessian forces camped in Trenton, New Jersey that were vulnerable to a sneak attack.

38 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 12: Crossing the Delaware

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 11: New York Campaign (2/2)

The New York Campaign ended in decisive victory for the British and terrible defeat for the Continental Army, which barely escaped destruction. It was completely driven out of New York fro the rest of the war, and the British used it as a base of attack against other targets for years to come.

37 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 11: New York Campaign (2/2)

Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 10: The New York Campaign (1/2)

When the British left Boston, George Washington realized that their eventual destination would be New York City. He quickly traveled to NYC to oversee the building of defenses, organized the Continental Army into divisions, and prepared for the invasion. What happened next was the largest battle of the entire war and (if not for a miraculous stroke of good luck in the form of fog) the near-total defeat of the Patriots.

44 MINOCT 17
Comments
Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 10: The New York Campaign (1/2)
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