Africa

In 1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Britain’s poorest, most dismal African colony, and what he saw there fired him with a fervor that helped found the United Nations

President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not look favorably on European colonialism. Like most Americans, he believed that the self-determination clause of the 1941 Atlantic Charter should apply to all peoples, not just Europeans. Read more >>

Desperate improvisations in the face of imminent disaster saw us through the early years of the fight. They also gave us the war’s greatest movie.

America’s favorite World War II movie has led a charmed life. While it was being filmed, each looming disaster turned out to be a cleverly disguised blessing, and after its completion everything that could go right did go right. Read more >>

The American army that beat Hitler was thoroughly professional, but it didn’t start out that way. North Africa was where it learned the hard lessons—none harder than the disaster at Kasserine. This was the campaign that taught us how to fight a war.

There was no light. Most of the soldiers in the boats couldn’t see anything, but they knew they must be close because the wind offshore brought the smell of charcoal smoke and dry grass. The first assault troops landed sometime after eight bells. Read more >>

A veteran news correspondent recalls his days as a spotter plane pilot

The idea is simple and sound and goes back at least to the American Civil War: to direct artillery fire intelligently, the higher you are above the target, the better. At ground level it’s difficult to tell just how far short or long your shells are falling. Read more >>

The United States remained officially neutral, but many Americans fought alongside both opposing armies and several became legendary heroes

“I have been absorbed in interest in the Boer War,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt to his friend Cecil Spring Rice in 1899. He was not alone. Most Americans took a keen interest in this remote conflict. Read more >>

OR HOW THE BOY SCOUTS CAME TO AMERICA

Africa was part of my childhood. The attic in our Detroit home smelled like a zoo. There were lion, leopard, zebra, antelope, and colobus monkey skins that my sister and I and our friends used to take out of their trunks and forget to put back. Read more >>

A Welsh waif adopted a new country and a new name and then became—thanks to a New York newspaper—the most famous African explorer of his time

On Sunday, December 8, 1872, the manager of the Theatre Comique on Broadway took the unusual step of buying up almost the entire front page of the New York Herald to puff the triumph of his latest presentation. Read more >>

For some men the only solution to the dilemma of blacks and whites together was for the blacks to go back where they came from

Packed like animals in the holds of slave ships, Negroes bound for America were prey to disease, brutal masters, and their own suicidal melancholy.