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The Invasion of the Soviet Union

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The Invasion of the Soviet Union

Territories within the Soviet Union were crucial to Nazi plans to acquire Lebensraum, or prime “living space” for “Aryan” Germans. With continental western Europe firmly under German control, Hitler was ready for war with the Soviets in the summer of 1941. For Hitler, according to historian Wendy Lower, “the ultimate aim of this Vernichtungskrieg (war of destruction) against the Soviet Union was to make a ‘Garden of Eden’ out of the newly won territories in the East.”1 Germany planned to colonize western parts of the Soviet Union, especially the resource-rich lands of the Ukraine, as it had colonized the Warthegau in Poland. This would involve expelling the supposedly inferior “races” of Slavs and Jews who lived there and settling ethnic Germans in their place.2

Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union, which was code-named Operation Barbarossa, on June 22, 1941, deliberately breaking the nonaggression pact that the two countries had signed two years before. The invasion was the largest German military operation of World War II. Battle victories came quickly throughout the rest of 1941, as Germany conquered Soviet-controlled Poland, the Baltic states, and Ukraine. A month after the invasion began, Hitler described his vision for the lands Germany would conquer from the Soviet Union:

The German colonist ought to live on handsome, spacious farms. The German services will be lodged in marvelous buildings, the governors in palaces. . . . What India was for England, the territories of Russia will be for us. If only I could make the German people understand what this space means for our future! Colonies are a precarious possession, but this ground is safely ours. Europe is not a geographic entity, it’s a racial entity.3

From the Nazis’ point of view, in order to establish Europe as a “racial entity,” Operation Barbarossa would need to be fought as a “racial war” against the Jewish and Slavic “races.” Therefore, according to historian Richard Evans, German military officers believed they “were not just officers but also leaders in a racial struggle against ‘Jewish Bolshevism [Communism].’”4 In May 1941, German General Erich Hoepner issued the following orders to his soldiers:

The war against Russia is a fundamental part of the German people’s struggle for existence. It is the old struggle of the Germans against the Slavs, the defence of European culture against the Muscovite, Asiatic deluge, the defence against Jewish Bolshevism. This struggle must aim to smash the Russia of today into rubble, and as a consequence it must be carried out with unprecedented harshness.5

As a result of those orders and similar ones issued by other German generals, many Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) were shot and killed immediately after being captured, in violation of long-standing international agreements. In July 1941, General Hermann Reinecke, the officer in charge of prisoner affairs in the Armed Forces High Command, allowed security forces to screen Soviet POWs for “politically and racially intolerable elements.” Who were those “elements”? They were “intellectuals,” “fanatic Communists,” and Jews. Their executions did not take place in POW camps. Instead, prisoners were transferred to a remote area and shot.

Not all Soviet POWs were executed. But many others died in POW camps as a result of malnutrition and starvation as well as typhus and other diseases that went untreated. The chart below shows the percentage of deaths in the POW camps of various nations.

Deaths of POWs in Prisoner-of-War Camps during World War II 6

Soviet POWs held by Germans


British POWs held by Germans


German POWs held by Soviets


German POWs held by British


German POWs held by French


The Germans fought their “racial war” not only against Soviet soldiers but also against Soviet civilians. Attacks on civilians were carried out by four SS units, known as the Einsatzgruppen, that trailed the German army as it advanced eastward into the Soviet Union. Each of the four units had its own assigned territory: unit A served in the north, unit B along the central Russian front, unit C in northern Ukraine, and unit D in southern Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Crimea. Each had orders to murder anyone the Nazis considered an “enemy of the state,” eventually including hundreds of thousands of Jews, officials of the Soviet Communist Party, Sinti and Roma, and others. According to historian Doris Bergen, “Officially their goal was to secure conquered territory by combating bolshevism and preventing guerrilla warfare. In fact, during the summer of 1941, they began to interpret their primary job as slaughter of all Jews, including women, children, and old people.”7 (See readings, Mobile Killing Units and Reserve Police Battalion 101 in Chapter 9.)

Hitler's invasion of the in June 1941 proved that he would

Hitler's invasion of the in June 1941 proved that he would – Answers: 1, question: Hitler's invasion of the in June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements.The attack against the U.S.S.R. was launched on June 22, 1941. The German army advanced swiftly into the Soviet Union, corralling almost three million Russian prisoners, but it failed to destroy its Russian opponent. Hitler became overbearing in his relations with his generals.Hitler's invasion of the in June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements.

Adolf Hitler – World War II | Britannica – Click here 👆 to get an answer to your question ️ In June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements See answers (1) Ask for details ; Follow Report Log in to add a comment Answer 0. anonymous576. Answer: Adolf Hitler proved that he would constantly break agreements. 0Hitler's invasion of the ____ in June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements. soviet union In 1940, Hitler indicated his switch to military conquest rather than annexation by invadingHitler intended to defeat Great Britain by a massive bombing attack. Hitler's invasion of the ______ in June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements.

Adolf Hitler - World War II | Britannica

What was the most likely response of the American people – Hitler's invasion of the ____ in June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements.First is Operation Barbarossa – Hitler broke the treaty of non aggression treaty and launched offense on June 1941 against Russia. During the initial days, the German army was successful however when they reached the inner landscape of Russia andHitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 proved that he would consistently break agreements.

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The Atomic Age – COLD WAR – The Second World War saw scientific and technological
advancements proceed at an almost unprecedented pace.
Those advancements paired themselves
to a willingness to win by any means necessary and to destroy the enemy. What was born from
this destructively fertile ground was an atomic industry, harnessed and directed by the military
to create a new weapon of mass destruction, a nuclear bomb. These are weapons so powerful
and capable of such indiscriminate destruction, that they have only been used in a hostile
manner twice, by the same nation it should be added, despite being possessed by a number
of nations. I’m your host David, and today we will begin talking about the advent of
the nuclear weapons programs in the Second World War and the early Cold War period. I
am also going to outline one of the guiding theories of nuclear weapons use during this
entire period, the nightmare-inducing Mutually Assured Destruction. This is…The Cold War.
So to start, we should probably go over a quick history of the development of the atomic
bomb. For once, our story isn't going to start during World War II, but rather just before,
with the discovery in 1938 in Germany of a process called Nuclear Fission. This is a
process where atoms of radioactive materials are split, causing a powerful release of energy.
This knowledge and research, as I’m sure you would expect, was quickly taken over by
various militaries to see if it could be harnessed into a usable weapon.
In the United States, a 1939 letter written to President Roosevelt by physicist Leo Szilard
and signed by Albert Einstein, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner warned of the possibility
of Nazi Germany developing atomic weapons and urged the United States to develop its
own nuclear program while at the same time stockpiling as much uranium ore as possible.
In October of 1941 Roosevelt approved the Army to begin an atomic research program.
Just over a year later, in December of 1942, one of the most famous science experiments
of all time was established, the Manhattan Project, bringing together scientists and
the military to build an atomic weapon. The United Kingdom was also invited to participate
in the Manhattan Project however, they already had their own independent research project
underway, codenamed Alloy Tubes, and Churchill declined the offer of cooperation. American
offers of financial cooperation were also refused, as the British felt their own program
was further ahead than the Americans and the British did not want to lose control of the
technology. However, due to financial stress from the War, the British had a difficult
time providing adequate funding, leading Churchill to eventually agree to cooperate with Roosevelt,
albeit informally. By 1943, however, British cooperation had
all but ceased, with the British no longer sending scientists or even their research
to the United States. In response, the US stopped sharing any of THEIR information.
Collaboration only resumed after the August 1943 Quebec Agreement at the urging of the
scientists involved in the projects themselves. This sort of reminds me of my kids, fighting
over a toy until I need to step in and break up the fight. Only, in this case, the politicians
are the kids and the scientists are the adult. Not much of a stretch, really…
Anyways, back to the Manhattan Project…by June of 1944, one hundred and thirty thousand
people were dedicated to the program. In a time of total war, this was a major undertaking,
assigning so many skilled workers and scientists to one specific project. The project itself,
under the direction of the theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer and primarily located in
Los Alamos, New Mexico, was cloaked in secrecy. The vast majority of the people involved in
the project actually had no idea what they were even working on. Any mention of the project’s
purpose was punishable with a severe fine or a ten year jail term.
The German nuclear program, for it’s part had suffered delays and setbacks, in part
the result of Allied attacks on research facilities including the SOE sponsored Operation Gunnerside,
which destroyed the heavy water facilities in Telemark, Norway. If you don’t know this
story, go find out about; it is fascinating! But anyway, after the Allied landings in Normandy
and the liberation of northern France, a team of scientists was dispatched to accompany
the advance and gain information about the status of the German nuclear program, while
at the same time, denying any found information to the Soviet Union. The Allied conclusion
from this information gathering was that the German program lacked sufficient resources
to produce an atomic weapon in the near future, leaving the United States well ahead of any
other country in its progress towards the nuclear age. On July 16, 1945 the Trinity
test was conducted at the Alamagordo Bombing Range in New Mexico and the successful completion
of the test brought the world into a new age. A few weeks later, on August 6th The United
States stepped further into the history books, detonating Little Boy, a uranium-based weapon
over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, becoming the only nation to use a nuclear weapon in
anger. Three days later, it doubled down on this record, detonating Fat Man, a plutonium-based
bomb over the city of Nagasaki. These two raids killed over 100,000 people outright,
the result of the blast effects, the heat and the subsequent radiation. Although the
Americans were prepared to conduct further nuclear strikes, the Japanese surrender on
August 15 prevented further nuclear use. So that is the Allied nuclear project…but
what were the Soviets doing? While they weren’t ignoring nuclear technology during the war
years, the Soviet program had a different trajectory than that of the Western Allies.
The struggle against Nazi Germany was THE clear priority after 1941 and it absorbed
the vast majority of Soviet resources. This meant that very little human and material
resources were available for theoretical projects. This changed however in April of 1942 when
the Soviet physicist Georgy Flyorov wrote directly to Stalin to point out that Western
scientific publications surrounding the topic of fission had all but stopped after 1939.
Flyorov surmised, correctly as we already know, that secret projects were underway to
weaponize the technology. The letters to Stalin and Molotov urged Soviet leadership not to
ignore this new field of research and went so far as to encourage the development of
a uranium bomb as soon as possible. Stalin, as we have pointed out previously,
was always a pragmatist, and recognizing the importance that such technology would bring
to whoever possessed it, immediately initiated a bomb project of his own. He appointed the
physicists Anatoly Alexandrov and Igor Kurchatov to head the project. Of course, “guidance”
from senior leadership was still required and initially this role fell to Molotov however,
the project was eventually transferred to the responsibility of the Soviet Army, but
with major support from Lavrenty Beria, the head of the NKVD. Clearly, everybody wanted
a piece of what they all knew would be a crown jewel of Soviet power and authority.
One of the largest challenges faced by the Soviet nuclear program was sourcing a sufficient
amount of uranium. The first uranium mine in the Soviet Union had been established in
Tajikistan in 1945 but the amounts produced were not enough for military production. It
was only after uranium supplies from the German nuclear program had been seized, as well as
taking advantage of mines in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland
that sufficient resources were secured to proceed with the program.
Design Bureau 11, commonly referred to as KB-11, was created on April 9, 1946 by the
Council of Ministers. KB-11 was tasked to map out and work towards creating a nuclear
weapon, using the American approach and weapons grade plutonium as the detonation trigger,
instead of uranium, which was proving more difficult to work with. Work on this project
was carried out quickly and the first Soviet nuclear came online in late October of 1946.
Now, we should address one of the more debated topics in the history of the Cold War. I am
of course talking about the role of espionage in the development of the Soviet nuclear program.
There are many that argue that without the large spy network employed by the Soviet Union,
that the USSR would never have been able to develop their own bomb.
The Soviets had not only seized much of the knowledge from the German nuclear program
but had also infiltrated the Allies nuclear programs, with such names and Klaus Fuchs,
Julius and Ethel Rosenburg, as well as members of the Cambridge Five feeding information
back to Soviet Intelligence. For those who are interested, definitely stay tuned to The
Cold War as we will definately be exploring those stories!
So there is no controversy that the Soviets took advantage of Western intelligence. But
I did say, that it was a debated topic, didn’t I?? Where this debate rests is if the Soviets
could have developed their own bomb independent of any “borrowed” American ideas. The
Soviet physicist and scholar, Yulii Khariton, who also happened to be a part of the Soviet
nuclear program, admitted in later interviews that the information obtained from intelligence
sources was very important. He also however insisted that the role played by Soviet scientists
and researchers was still key. His argument was that since the Soviet program was already
well underway, they were in a position to make sense of the intelligence they were receiving
and to then know what was feasible and what might be disinformation.
Ultimately, the Soviet program was successful and they test launched their first ballistic
rocket in 1948 and on August 29, 1949 successfully detonated the RDS-1 device. Named First Lightning
by the Soviets, it was nicknamed Joe-1 after its original sponsor, this man right here!
The test sight was in an area that became known as the Polygon, outside the town of
Semipalatinsk in the Kazhak Soviet Socialist Republic.
OK, so now that both East and West had harnessed atomic weapons, both sides realized the terrible
destructive power they both possessed and agreed to get rid of them forever, right?
RIGHT?? Not so much… What both sides embarked on was a program
of escalation, developing and building atomic weapons of greater and greater yield capable
of destroying huge swathes of the earth with the push of a button. I’m going to jump
ahead here in our timeline for a second to mention a theory that wouldn’t be named
until 1962, after the Cuban Missile Crisis but whose seeds were planted in the story
I just told. Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD theory, is a security doctrine that
preaches deterrence, or avoiding conflict based on the understanding that any attack
made by one side using nuclear weapons would be met by an equally destructive response.
MAD theory is basically the understanding that in an atomic war where both sides are
armed with enough firepower to destroy the planet several times over, nobody wins and
therefore war is to be avoided. Now, as I said, this is jumping ahead a little
from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. We still need to go through the 1950s which saw
unprecedented nuclear advancements, of increasingly devastating magnitude, including the Tsar
Bomba and the infamous Castle Bravo test. But as we get to those stories, I want you
to keep in mind the idea that underpin Mutually Assured Destruction, the total destruction
of the planet, and how that can affect both political and social decision making.
We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode so to avoid missing future shows please make
sure you are subscribed to our channel and have pressed the bell button. We can be reached
via email at [email protected] or on facebook at
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This is the Cold War Channel and we will catch you on the next one. .

De Valera in America Part 2 | Sept – Dec 1919 – Episode 16 – Dia daoibh a chairde go léir, my name is James Nagle,
welcome to The Irish Nation Lives.
On the 13th of September 1919 Éamon de Valera
sailed aboard a luxury yacht into Newport, Rhode Island. There he was
welcomed at City Hall, feted with a banquet and given a guard of honour by
veterans of the First World War. This all stood in marked contrast to the chaos in
Ireland where Dáil Éireann had been suppressed by the British authorities on
the 10th of September and the day before his arrival in Newport Sinn Féin
headquarters on Harcourt Street had been raided, almost resulting in the capture
of Michael Collins. You might expect that this would have ended the fighting
between the rival factions in America, between de Valera's Irish delegation on
one side and the Friends of Irish Freedom on the other. Instead it made
matters worse. On the 14th of September Joseph McGarity and Dr. Patrick McCartan
held a protest meeting in New York, condemning the suppression of the Irish
parliament and calling on Congress to cut off British funding. While it
generated much publicity neither John Devoy nor Judge Daniel Cohalan were
invited to attend but they were sent the bill! The Irish delegation was utterly
dependent on the Friends of Irish Freedom for funds until their own bond
drive started but they weren't afraid to bite the hand that fed them. while
waiting for arrangements on the bond drive to be finalised de Valera set out
on another major tour of the United States. On the 1st of October a bodyguard
of 3,000 veterans marched beside his car as he set off from Philadelphia and in
Indiana his visit to Notre Dame has gone down in legend as popularizing the
college's use of the nickname "the Fighting Irish". One of the most famous
moments in his trip, if not indeed his entire life, occurred on the 18th of
October when he visited the reservation of the Chippewa tribe in Wisconsin. He
was welcomed as a representative of "one oppressed nation to another" and was made
a chief of the Chippewa Indians. Given the name Dressing Feather in their
language he would take great pride in being referred to in Ireland authority
as "The Chief". Up until now de Valera could have been forgiven for
thinking that he had the entire United States behind him in support of Irish
independence. Wherever he went he had been met by massive cheering crowds and the political elite fought to outdo each
other in singing his praises. But this was because his appearances so far had
mostly been in areas with large Irish populations. Those politicians were
generally of Irish descent or dependent on Irish votes to stay in office. As he
and his entourage expanded to other areas in a bid to promote the bond drive
they began to face the first serious opposition to his presence in America.
Many in the United States saw Britain as a close friend considering that they
were allies who had fought side-by-side in the First World War. They considered
the 1916 rising, for which the rebels had sought German support, to have been a
treacherous act and were opposed to their country being used to finance
Ireland's bid for independence. Anti-Catholic sentiment was still common
in the United States and the war in Europe had led to a rise in nativism and
it distrust for "hyphenated Americans", mainly the German Americans whose
loyalty to the United States was questioned but also groups like the
Irish Americans and the Italian Americans. De Valera seemed to be proof
that these groups would be used by foreign interests to attack allies of
the United States and interfere in their political system. While one set of
veterans were providing a bodyguard for the Irish president in Philadelphia
others were meeting to oppose him. The state's branch of the American Legion, a
veterans organization founded earlier in the year, passed a motion condemning de
Valera and those who supported him. Towards the end of the month the mayor
of Kansas City refused to formally welcome him on his arrival
due to speeches that he had delivered criticizing the Versailles peace
conference. In November at Portland, Oregon the driver of his car, which was
flying both the American and Irish flag, was accosted by members of the American
Legion. They demanded that the tricolour be removed as it wasn't officially
recognized by the United States and tore it off of the car. The mayor then went on
to declare the tricolour to be objectionable and banned its display
during de Valera's presence. On the day of his departure his car was again
decorated with both flags and protected by a group of Irish Americans who faced
off against a contingent of Legionnaires. As it left the city de Valera's car was
chased down by another which pulled alongside it and a passenger reached out
and ripped off the Irish tricolour. His trip to Los Angeles was preceded by a
week's long anti-Irish campaign. Veterans groups denounced him as a slacker and a
fugitive and accused him of spreading insidious propaganda to stir up hatred
between the Anglo-Saxon people. The Masonic owners of the Shrine Auditorium
cancelled a planned meeting of 7,000 people there on the 19th of November
citing pressure from their own membership against their hall being
used for anti British speeches. The meeting was hastily rescheduled for
Washington Park baseball stadium where upwards of 10,000 people turned out for
the final speech of this tour. After a whirlwind journey which considerably
raised his profile but also presented the first serious opposition to his
presence de Valera returned to New York on the 29th of November and devoted his
attention to the bond drive. James O'Mara had arrived recently from
Ireland, having been personally summoned by de Valera to completely take over the
matter. A former Irish parliamentary party MP who had resigned his seat in
1907 to join Sinn Féin, O'Mara was the scion of a wealthy merchant family and
his financial background was required to sort out the bond issue. Legally
financing the treasury of a government that didn't technically exist was a
massive, complex undertaking and the continuous delays were putting a strain
on the funds provided by the Friends of Irish Freedom. De Valera's return to
New York also saw a resumption of his conflict with Devoy and Cohalan. He
proposed the creation of a new separate structure for handling the bond drive
and this caused considerable worry for the Irish Americans who were afraid that
it would form the nucleus of a rival organization. It was clear de Valera felt
limited by his need to operate under the Friends of Irish Freedom and his
dependence on them for funding. Some in the Irish delegation believed that Cohalan was more interested in the following year's U.S. presidential
election than affairs in Ireland as he championed the idea that Ireland's best
interests could be served by first building a strong United States. There
was also a lack of political cohesion between the two groups as the
Irish Americans were supportive of self-determination, a step down from
the Republic de Valera had proclaimed himself president of. John Devoy on the
other hand had been financing the struggle for Irish independence since
before de Valera was even born and through him Clan na nGael had provided
the Irish Republican Brotherhood with the funds and contacts with Germany
which had kick-started the 1916 risin, the event on which de Valera's entire
political career was built. In de Valera Devoy saw an upstart, obsessed with power
and prestige, whose ego wouldn't allow him to defer to those who had spent
decades building up the movement in America and who had a better
understanding of how to get things done. Though the relationship between the two
groups hadn't broken down completely it was heading in that direction an open
conflict would erupt in February of 1920. At his final speech of the year on the
22nd of December de Valera addressed a crowd of 8,000 at the
Broadway auditorium and was asked to comment on the statement made earlier
that day by Lloyd George in the House of Commons. After months of silence on the
deteriorating situation in Ireland the Prime Minister was finally ready to make
known his plans. He put forward a form of self-government based on three
considerations; Ireland must remain an integral part of the United Kingdom and
nationalist opposition to British rule in Ireland had to be satisfied as well
as unionist opposition to Irish rule. to solve this two Parliament's would be
created on the island; one for Southern Ireland the other for Northern Ireland.
The division of Ireland and its continued presence in the United Kingdom
made the plan a non-runner in de Valera's mind. he didn't even
consider it to be a serious suggestion and to those gathered in the Broadway
Auditorium that night he said "we deny the right of any foreign statesman to
dictate to the Irish people what form of government they shall live under. It is
my belief that this new parliamentary plan outlined by the British prime
minister is nothing more than another attempt of British politicians to fool
the Irish people." But Lloyd George was very serious.
He refused to recognize that Ireland was a nation like those liberated from the
Austro-Hungarian Empire following the world war and felt justified in
partitioning the island to satisfy the demands of the unionist minority. The
government of Ireland Act would become law a year later with elections for the
two Parliament's held on the 24th of May 1921. With his plan implemented he would
offer a truce to bring the War of Independence to an end and meet with de
Valera to arrange the Treaty negotiations. While willing to compromise
on Irish membership of the United Kingdom, Lloyd George's refusal to
consider de Valera's External Association and insistence on an oath of
allegiance would split the Nationalists and plunge Ireland into civil war.
Wut for now de Valera can look forward to spending an enjoyable Christmas with
his mother and her family. The bond drive will finally kick off in the new year
but his lack of understanding of U.S. foreign policy will prove to be the
final straw in the fraught relationship with the Friends of Irish Freedom,
kicking off the decisive battle for control of the Irish American movement.
Meanwhile in Ireland, with attacks against the RIC & resignations from the
force leading to a breakdown in British law and order, preparations were being
made for the deployment of the notorious Black and Tans. If you enjoyed this
episode please give it a like and subscribe to be kept up to date with
everything happening on the channel. New episodes are coming shortly on the
continuing intelligence war in Dublin and an attempt to assassinate the head
of the British administration in Ireland. A chairde, thank you for joining me on the Irish Nation Lives, slán go fóill. .

10 Notable People Who Were the Product of Incest – It was with great pride — and only mild
nausea — that we shared with our readers 10 examples of historically significant people
who committed incest through marriage.
It left us curious, though: What about the
offspring? Which people who were prominent in the course
of human events had that blemish on their origins? Did it have significant impact on who they
became? How did they feel about it if they ever expressed
an opinion? It is indeed highly dangerous for offspring,
as Psychology Today reported that fewer than 46% of children of incest within the immediate
family do not have severe genetic defects. We won’t be focusing solely on European
aristocrats. We’ll be trying to reach every corner of
the globe and every social strata — although this is probably an area where diverse representation
won’t be particularly appreciated… 10. Ben-Ammi Many children were taught in Sunday School
the story of how Lot, descendant of Abraham, fled the city of Sodom with his family and
how his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. After they grew up a bit, many of those Sunday
School students learned the unsavory part of the story where Lot had children by his
two daughters after they got him drunk — one of those inbred children being Ben-Ammi, by
his youngest daughter. As noted in the intro, no product of incest
wants to be defined by that aspect of their life, but Ben-Ammi literally means “Son
of My Kin,” so he wasn’t really able to escape it. Ben-Ammi is mostly remembered for founding
a tribe called the Ammonites. That tribe was, for a long time, a thorn in
the side of the Israelis. They would often raid Israeli travelers. By the 6th century BC they reached a much
greater threat level when they joined an alliance with Syrians and invaded Judah. Curiously, after King David waged a grueling
war against them (during the time that he was having his notorious affair with Bathsheba)
and conquered their capital, he was persuaded to worship their god for a time. They wouldn’t be defeated once and for all
by the Judeans until the 2nd century BC, under the command of Judas Maccabeus. 9. Saint Gregory Also known as either Gregory I or Gregory
the Great, he was Pope of the Catholic Church from 590 to 604. According to the 14th century document the
Gesta Romanorum, he was conceived by two of the children of Emperor Marcus around 540
AD, and was abandoned by his naturally ashamed parents near the sea. He was found by fishermen and delivered to
the local monastery. It was after he grew up that he found tablets
that informed him about the truth about his origins. Gregory’s legend might seem like it was
some sort of slander, or maybe anti-church propaganda. But in the story, as soon as he learned about
it, he traveled to the Holy Land as an attempt to cleanse the sin of his disgraceful origins,
including living in poverty on a coastal rock for 17 years. It would be his extreme piety that would lead
to his assent to the role of pope. Fittingly, he was able to provide absolution
to his mother. 8. Darwin’s Children Charles Darwin was one of the most esteemed
members of our previous list about historical figures with incestuous marriages, and it’s
time to revisit that family and get to know them better. Many of his seven children that survived into
adulthood would lead distinguished lives, such as George Darwin — who became a professor
of astronomy and experimental philosophy at Cambridge University — or Leonard Darwin,
who became president of the Royal Geological Society. But their most notable contribution to science
was less something they did, than something that was done to them. Beginning with his first son, William Erasmus
Darwin, Charles Darwin began to take extensive notes on the development of his children. He certainly didn’t go to the extremes of
seeing how they reacted to deliberate abuse or neglect, but the tone of his notes would
become so detached that he at least called one of them “it.” He published his observations in 1872 as part
of the book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. The experiments performed on William, Anne,
and other Darwin children would be cited heavily by such giants in the burgeoning field of
psychology as Sigmund Freud. 7. Charles II It’s not an obscure fact that there was
a lot of inbreeding the Hapsburg Dynasty, especially considering that it contained people
like Philip II, who engaged in it with so many wives. The unseemly practice culminated in the final
Hapsburg King of the Spanish Empire, who reigned from 1665 to 1700, beginning at age four. His parents, Philip IV of Spain and Mariana
of Austria, were first cousins. They had as many as 11 incestuous marriages
in their family history. Charles II suffered from hydrocephalus, was
constantly ill, had a congenital heart defect, and went bald by age 30. He was supposedly extremely easily manipulated
by other heads of state, as he could barely even read or write. His own subjects referred to him with pity
as “El Hechizado” (“The Hexed”). He passed away at the age of just 39 without
producing an heir, and so his death was followed in short order by the War of Spanish Succession. It was a fittingly uninspiring note on which
to end the reign of a deeply unhealthy dynasty. 6. Mahidol Adulyadej It may seem that this 20th century monarch
was the inverted answer from Thailand (then Siam) to Charles II. He was born in 1892 to King Rama V and the
scion of one of his four half-sisters that the king kept as concubines. As he was the Rama V’s 69th son, he did
not seem likely to be in the line of succession. However in 1925, his eldest brother King Vajiravudh
died, and all others in the line of succession had either died of natural causes or lacked
children, so he reluctantly took the throne. He had health problems that were attributed
to his incestuous origin, but his mind did not seem afflicted by his birth, to say the
least. While the prince spent much of his time during
his developing years in Europe, his most significant education began in Harvard University in 1917. After graduating with a medical degree in
1927, he returned home with the training in the field where he would make his greatest
mark. His health and sanitation reforms, financed
in large part through the Rockefeller Foundation, would led to him being dubbed the “Father
of Modern Medicine and Public Health in Thailand.” This achievement was so celebrated that today
there is a Prince Mahidol Award given internationally for outstanding work in medicine and public
health. 5. Theodore Stravinsky The composer Igor Stravinsky and his cousin
Catherine Nossenko had been childhood friends and mutual artistic supporters before they
were married in 1905. In 1907, she gave birth to their son Theodore,
who was named after his grandfather. The elder Stravinsky went on to worldwide
fame for such compositions as The Rite of Spring and The Firebird and completely overshadowed
his son in the eyes of the world. However, the younger Stravinsky went on to
a career of his own that’s worth getting to know better. In 1927, Theodore Stravinsky had his first
solo exhibition in Paris, securing him in the painting career that would make him an
international success. By 1940, he would be exhibited in New York
as well, just before being arrested by the Vichy government. By 1948, he secured commissions doing high-profile
clerical stained glass windows. By 1977, these commissions would earn him
the insignia Commander of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great, a title bestowed
on him by Pope Paul VI. Little wonder there is a foundation dedicated
to his memory today. 4. John Byrne For years, he was one of the the biggest names
in the field of British television writing and theater. His credits include the scripts for the plays
The Slab Boys and Colquhoun and MacBryde, which premiered in the Royal Court Theater
in London. He also wrote the teleplays Tutti Frutti and
Your Cheatin Heart. Many also know him for being the ex-husband
of A-List actress Tilda Swinton after 14 years together. The incestuous union that made him was between
his mother and his grandfather. He learned about it in 2002 from his cousin
Aileen Kane, and he claimed that it explained why his mother went to visit his parents in
their home of Cardonald so often. He didn’t explain how he learned of the
affair, but he did claim that the affair unsurprisingly left his mother with a mental illness that
claimed her life in the 1980s. Byrne has expressed a somewhat morbid sense
of humor about it, saying “that’s what they do in Ireland. I presume it’s what they do in unlettered
places and lettered places. It’s traditional, and nobody speaks about
it.” 3. Pleistarchus It reasonably didn’t come up in any version
of Frank Miller’s 300 or most tellings of the Battle of Thermopylae, but Queen Gorgo
was actually King Leonidas’s niece. There is speculation among historians that
the reason for the marriage was to heal a rift between Leonidas and Gorgo’s father
Cleomenes, as Cleomenes had no male heirs to Sparta’s throne and needed a line of
succession. What’s not disputed is that when Leonidas
died at the famous battle, Pleistarchus was too young to rule, and so for a time the regent
was Pausanias, who defeated the Persians in the Battle of Platea after the war had turned
decisively against the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. The most recorded venture of the reign of
Pleistarchus was when he put down a huge Helot (i.e “slave”) revolt in the wake of a
massive earthquake in 463 BC. It was a considerable achievement, as most
of the population of Sparta at the time was slaves (a source from the same century claims
that slaves outnumbered Spartan citizens seven to one). This success would still prove disastrous
for Sparta down the line, because it kept the Spartans too occupied to aid Athens in
stopping a revolt on Thasos, or to aid Thasos by conquering Athens when it was vulnerable. In either case, it helped set the stage for
the Peloponnesian War shortly after Pleistarchus’s death, a decades long civil war which would
leave Greece itself too weakened to resist conquest by Macedonian King Philip II, father
of Alexander the Great. 2. Moab We return to the subject of Lot and the children
he had with his daughters. With his older daughter, he had Moab, and
it turned out that Ben-Ammi had gotten away relatively light when it came to names. Moab translates to “from my father.” Despite such a setback, he also became the
creator of a tribe of his own, and he followed the tradition of his brother and called his
clan the Moabites in the 14th century. Like the Ammonites, the Moabites would become
bitter enemies of Israel. It began as early as the 13th Century. King Saul and King David would both go to
war against them in the 11th Century BC, and King Solomon would attempt to put an end to
the wars by erecting an idol to their god Chemosh. For a time, “moabite” just became a generic
slang term for any group that the Judeans considered enemies of God. According to the historian Josephus, they
were killed off by the Babylonians. Later historians estimated that this happened
in 582 BC. We have to say, roughly eight centuries is
a pretty good run for any community that was the result of incest. 1. Amenhotep I He’s certainly not as famous as Egyptian
pharaohs such as Ramses and King Tut, but if you like warmongers, he was much more successful
as a pharaoh than either of them. By the time his sibling parents Ahmose I and
Ahmose-Nefertiti had him around 1540 BC, incest was a centuries-old tradition among Egyptian
royalty. Amenhotep I would continue the tradition by
marrying his sister Merytamun. It would continue after him for more than
a millenia and a half. His military accomplishments include defeating
an invasion from Libya that threatened the Nile Delta. He would spread the empire far to the south
into modern day Sudan, or Nubia as it was known then. To the east, there is archaeological evidence
that he spread his empire all the way to Syria. On the domestic front he had accomplishments
such as reopening mines in the Sinai Peninsula and having temples built in Northern Egypt,
though he was not so generous with the newly conquered Southern territory. By the standards of his time, it was certainly
a reign to take pride in. .