House of History: the Podcast
Joseph F. Glidden and the History of Barbed Wire

Joseph F. Glidden and the History of Barbed Wire

April 7, 2021

Barbed wire is something we all know, and perhaps use on a regular basis. the history behind this 'devil's rope' is an interesting one. It certainly changed the world.

The Korean Wehrmacht Soldier Captured on D-Day (after fighting on three sides during WW2)

The Korean Wehrmacht Soldier Captured on D-Day (after fighting on three sides during WW2)

April 5, 2021

One of the most interesting Prisoners of War taken by the Allied powers was a Korean soldier that served in the German Wehrmacht. He had only recently fought on the side of the Germans, however. Before that, he fought in the Japanese Imperial Army in Mongolia and the Soviet Union's Red Army in Ukraine.

What was the Wow! Signal and what caused it?

What was the Wow! Signal and what caused it?

April 3, 2021

Some people consider the unexplained Wow! signal as proof of extraterrestrial life. Although this strong multi-band signal from outer space occurred decades ago, there still isn't a commonly accepted conclusion about what caused it, or how it originated.

The Chinese Wehrmacht Panzer Commander: Chiang Wei-kuo

The Chinese Wehrmacht Panzer Commander: Chiang Wei-kuo

March 31, 2021

When the Wehrmacht rolled into Austria in 1938 during the Anschluss, there was one officer commanding a Panzer regiment that stood out. He wasn't a German, and frankly, wasn't even European. Chiang Wei-kuo was the son of China's generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, received military education in Bavaria, and even commanded a Panzer regiment as Germany annexed their southern neighbour. 

The Prussian Robber-Captain that Seized and Scammed an Entire Town

The Prussian Robber-Captain that Seized and Scammed an Entire Town

March 29, 2021

Wilhelm Voigt was a petty criminal, in-and-out of prison, destined to be forgotten after his death. Yet in 1906 he pulled off a heist that not just made international headlines, but news even reacher Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser was so amused by the way Voigt conducted his robbery, he decided to pardon him not too soon after his arrest.

The Only U.S. Soldier to be Executed for Desertion during the Second World War

The Only U.S. Soldier to be Executed for Desertion during the Second World War

March 27, 2021

During the Second World War, nearly 50.000 United States soldiers and 100.000 British soldiers deserted. But even though these numbers are quite staggering, and desertion tends to lead to a court-martial and harsh sentence, there was only one United States soldier throughout the entire war that was to be executed for that exact crime. His name was Eddie Slovik, and he was well aware he was the only one.

The Greatest Counter-Espionage Operation in World War 2: the Lost Wehrmacht Unit

The Greatest Counter-Espionage Operation in World War 2: the Lost Wehrmacht Unit

March 24, 2021

In August 1944, after multiple devastating losses by the Wehrmacht, the Long Range Signal Intelligence Company (FAK 103) received a message from one of their Soviet spies. This spy, named Alexandr, stated there was a Wehrmacht unit, around 2500 men strong, trapped behind enemy lines trying to reach the German frontlines again. What followed was one of the longest-lasting, most costly, and most successful deception operations of the Second World War.

What happened to the Ghost Ship S.S. Ourang Medan and its Crew?

What happened to the Ghost Ship S.S. Ourang Medan and its Crew?

March 22, 2021

In early February 1948, a strange and urgent morse-code SOS, three dots, three dashes and three dots again, came from a Dutch cargo ship, the S.S. Ourang Medan that sailed through the Strait of Malacca.

When deciphered, they spelt: “... All officers, including Captain dead, lying in the chartroom and on Bridge …. Probably whole crew dead…” A series of frenzied gibberish dots and lines followed, before the closing message came in, simply stating “I die.” And then nothing more. Upon investigation of the ship, indeed, the entire crew was found deceased, supposedly with shocked expressions on their face. But the rescue parties could not identify anything that could have caused it.

Conrad Schumann and the Jump to Freedom over the Berlin Wall (1961)

Conrad Schumann and the Jump to Freedom over the Berlin Wall (1961)

March 20, 2021

When a Berlin Wall Border Guard defected in 1961, little did he know the images taken of his escape would become some of the most iconic pictures of the Cold War. Yet the story behind this man is much lesser-known.

The Purple Heart Battalion: Japanese-Americans in the U.S. Army (WW2)

The Purple Heart Battalion: Japanese-Americans in the U.S. Army (WW2)

March 17, 2021

As war broke out in the Pacific Theatre, on the United States mainland measures were taken against supposedly potentially hostile Japanese as well. In February 1942 President Roosevelt authorised Executive Order 9066, an executive that in practice was used to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps forcibly. The Nisei, a term to describe Japanese that were born and raised in the United States, were forcibly relocated into internment camps. The treatment of Japanese-American citizens during the second world war is pretty well known, even outside of the United States. But what’s so curious is that although Japanese Americans were viewed as a potentially hostile threat by mere reason of their ancestry, the 442nd Infantry Regiment fought as part of the United States Army in the European theatre. This regiment consisted entirely of Nisei soldiers, Americans with Japanese ancestry. And what is more, it became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

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