The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history, made all the more tragic by the fact that, with more willingness by both sides to negotiate differences, it might have been avoided. It has long raised constitutional questions, as well, with its alteration of the fundamental relationship between the federal and state governments continuing to this day.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous Shanghai Communiqué, the joint diplomatic agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China issued during President Richard Nixon's visit to Communist China in 1972. In the document, the two nations pledged to work toward "normalization" of their economic and cultural relations. They further agreed that neither country would "seek hegemony in the Asian-Pacific region."

On February 28, 1972, the United States also acknowledged the "One China Policy," and agreed to cut back on its military bases on Taiwan (the Republic of China or "Free China").

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.