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Aaron BurrSunday, February 19, is the 205th anniversary of the arrest of the former hero of the American Revolution and Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, on charges of treason.

The anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden on February 13 and 14, 1945 has become an increasingly contentious memory for thousands of Germans. Historians have debated the military value of the old and crowded city, some saying it had little significance, with others pointing out that until the bombing it was still active with war production. What few doubt is that the war was already lost for Germany before the bombing of Dresden, and that the unconditional surrender demanded by President Roosevelt was inevitable in a few weeks no matter what.

Algerian flagAlgeria — just west of Libya in northwest Africa — has been part of the civilized world since before Christ. In ancient times, it was first associated with the colonies of Phoenicians who, in competition with Greek colonists from various cities, founded cities along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Carthage was such a city in what is present-day Tunisia (between Algeria and Libya), and the Punic Wars of the late Roman Republic were a battle to the death between the two great powers of Carthage and Rome, one of which would dominate the Mediterranean Sea.

The nation of Yugoslavia was a creature of the Versailles Treaty, first cobbled together out of the remnants of the old Austro-Hungarian empire and the nations of Serbia and Montenegro. Serbia itself included ethnic minorities such as Slovenes and Croats. These people did not speak the same language or share the same religious confessions. They were simply defined as “South Slavs,” who were put together to create a nation that it was hoped would contain imagined future threats to peace and to reward Serbia, one of the victors in World War I.

Seventy-five years ago, on January 25, 1937, the terror known generally as the Moscow Show Trials entered its second phase. The first phase began in August, 1936, and the intended political enemies of Stalin constituted the “Trotskyite-Zionvievite Terrorist Center.” This was a purging of the notional “left” within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev were among the most prominent members in this purge. Zinoviev had been considered one of the leading theoreticians of the party. Kamenev had been the head of the Moscow Soviet and then the Deputy Premier under Lenin. Zinoviev and Kamenev followed Stalin (left) in pushing Trotsky out of party leadership in 1924. 

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