The reflections and rantings of one obsessive history student
Today, I found (what I think to be) the most awesometastic twitter ever. No, it’s not some random celebrity…. it is one Oxford history grad, Alwyn Collinson, who has taken it upon himself to tweet events from WWII in “real time” for the next 6 years. Of course, for it to be real time you have to imagine that the year is 1939, but the day’s tweets correspond with actual events that occurred that day more than 60 years ago. I have never spent 2 hours reading someone’s twitter history before I found @RealTimeWWII
In an interview that Collinson gave with The Telegraph, he explains why he’s doing this project
“I’m hoping to use Twitter to help bring the past to life, helping people understand the past as people at the time saw it, without the benefit of hindsight,”
This guy is just so amazing. As far as Collinson’s goal goes, he’s certainly achieved it with me. His tweets are informative and incredibly human. Collinson’s tweets are also loaded with contemporary sources such as pictures, sound bites, newsreel and eyewitness accounts. Right now, most of his accounts talk about America’s “Neutrality Act” and Hitler’s invasion/occupation of Poland. I love how in just 140 characters, Collinson can still make these tweets hit home. Some are uplifting, but in such a dark and uncertain time as 1939 was, most are heartbreaking. Such as this one, posted on Veteran’s (Remembrance) Day. It an except from the diary of Canadian Lt. Gen. Alan Brooke reflecting on the Remembrance Day ceremony he’d attended.
"The poppies served as a vivid reminder of the floods of blood spilt on this very ground, & the futility of again causing such bloodshed"
His posts on Remembrance Day are also quite revealing. They make you think of how people must have felt at the time, many had just barely survived the massacre that was supposed to be “the war to end all wars” and now they find themselves subjecting their own children to horrors that they spent the last decade trying to forget about. I believe everyone should check out this twitter, even if they aren’t a history fan. I mean, @RealTimeWWII may not promote useless products like @KimKardashian, but you might just learn something.
Basically, I made this blog as an outlet. I have yet to find someone who is as interested to hear me ramble about history as I am to ramble about it. So I figure, hey the internet is filled with people who like to read about random shit, so I’ll just ramble there and whoever the fuck cares can read this. Also, maybe I can use this blog to put my history classes into perspective (and sort of study). Right now, I am taking a courses on: the formation of the Russian Empire (pre-Soviets), American legal history from the colonial era to the Civil War, and U.S. aggression in Latin America. I’ll mention these classes more often than not.
To start let me just say that I really love talking about history. Sometimes I actually get physically excited about it. Which means that most of my posts will tend to go on and on and on and on… Anyway, let me just give a quick overview of some of my favorite historical things, because I’ll probably mention them a lot. Just to mention, I don’t know too much about African, Asian, Latin American, and European history (yet). But I hope this blog will give me motivation to pursue these fields.
My favorite historical figure: John Brown. I could seriously talk forever about how interesting and complex a character he was. I have also taken it upon myself to learn the words to the song “John Brown’s Body”. I can’t say what I’m more amazed/appalled at, his part in Bleeding Kansas or the siege on Harper’s Ferry (arguably America’s first terrorist attack). I can’t decide if I admire his dedication to his cause or think he’s a homicidal maniac with a God-complex.
Favorite President: this one is sort of tricky, if it were based on their ideologies and actions I would definitely have to say it would be James Madison. Since I have been taking my American Legal history class this quarter, I have grown to admire him more. Especially after reading Federalist Paper #10. I also deeply admire his wife Dolly Madison for everything she did during her husband’s term as president (ex. saving almost every important document in the White House before the British burned Washington). Dolly Madison would definitely be my favorite first lady.
Now on the subject of my favorite president just because he was an all around badass was Theodore Roosevelt. I mean come on, the dude killed half of the Africa exhibit in the Natural History Museum. Theodore Roosevelt has probably done more to preserve America’s natural beauty than any other president. Without him, we wouldn’t have the National Parks Service and Yellowstone (seriously beautiful, go there if you ever have the chance) might just be an oil field by now. However, I do question much of his actions in Latin America and the Philippines. And the whole believing in the White Man’s Burden and everything…. I might have to do a post on old Teddy soon. I just have so much I want to say about him.
Favorite Era: I think some my favorite subjects in U.S. history would regard the anti-government movements of the 70’s (such as the Black Panthers, the Weathermen and the American Indian Movement), the Gilded Age (Tammany Hall, Roscoe Conkling and James Blaine, Stalwarts vs. Half Breeds, and all the awesome post-Civil War drama), and the goings on of Puritanical Massachusetts in the 17th century (Salem Witch trials, Quakers, John Winthop, “for we shall be as a city upon a hill…”).
However, if there is one think that I believe is wholly American and I just LOVE to talk about is MORMONS. They have such a unique and amazing history that is unlike any other mainstream religion. Mormonism is the only religion that can truly call itself American. I will probably dedicate at least one posting to Mormons (It’s topical, I mean, we might have a Mormon president soon - we should know what we’re getting into). I myself, am not an LDS (or FLDS) member, I did go to some Mormon youth things as a kid but most of what I have learned about them has come from either:
Now that I feel like I have rambled about many different topics for a while, I think I should end this post. But I now have about 7 or 8 topics in my mind for my next post. Until then dear Tumblr…