The day after Christmas in 1931, a constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police went to check on a man named Albert Johnson on suspicion that he was trapping without a license. The confrontation that followed would leave a fiery standoff, an epic manhunt, and an enduring mystery. The History Guy recalls the strange story of “The Mad Trapper of the Rat River.”
Among the strategies for dealing with the U-boat threat to U.S. shipping was a series of small vessels, designed to be built cheaply and quickly, and optimized to find and hunt submarines. The sub chasers were small, but ended up playing out-sized roles along the coasts of the United States and around the world. The History Guy tells the forgotten story of the submarine chasers of the U.S. Navy.
Italy declared war on Germany on August 28, 1916, fifteen months after declaring war on Austria. The strange story of how Italy came to join the Entente, and why they took so long to declare war on Germany, illustrates the complexity of the conflict and the differing motivations of the nations involved. The History Guy recalls one of the least understood and remembered fronts of the Great War.
George Washington became the first President of the United States in 1789. But that leaves thirteen years between when the United States declared independence and when Washington accepted the highest office in the land. In that time, fourteen men held the office of president in the United States. While the rules were different, the contributions of the forgotten fourteen Congressional Presidents deserve to be remembered.
While overshadowed by the Boston Tea Party, the 1772 Gaspee Affair can be seen as the beginning of the events that led up to the battles of Lexington and Concord. The History Guy recalls the little remembered conflict between the Colony of Rhode Island and the Royal Navy that predated “The Shot Heard Around the World,” by more than a decade.
In 1341, John III, the Duke of the sovereign Duchy of Brittany, died, leaving some mixed instructions as to who was supposed to take his place. The war that would come afterward was closely related to the early stages of the Hundred Years War, and would lead to one of the Middle Ages’ best displays of chivalry. The History Guy recalls the “Combat of the Thirty”. It is history that deserves to be remembered.
During the Second World War, there was a very real chance that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be turned into a housing development. The race might have become a thing of the past were it not for the efforts of one of the race’s most legendary drivers, and a man most-known for a brand of baking powder. The History Guy recalls the forgotten story of how Wilbur Shaw and Tony Hulman saved the “Brickyard.”
After the Civil War, immigrants of all types sought the bounty and promise of the Kansas plains. Then, disaster came from the sky. The creatures were so thick they blocked out the sun, and they ate everything, even the clothes off of people’s backs. The History Guy recalls “Stricken Kansas” and the Great Grasshopper Plague of 1874.
In the run up to the First World War, many ocean liners were designed so that they could be easily converted to auxiliary cruisers. Two such vessels met off the coast of Brazil in September of 1914. The History Guy recalls the first naval battle between ocean liners.
The question of whether telegraph, and then telephone lines, should be private or government-controlled has been discussed in Congress since the 1840s. In 1918, the United States entry into the Great War provided Postmaster General A.S. Burleson the opportunity to nationalize the nation’s electric communications. The History Guy recalls the little remembered American dalliance with government-run telecommunications.