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    [–] Did Muhammad spread Islam violently or peacefully? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules.

    [–] Reasons for the second Yugoslav Wars jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    I'm sorry, but this is not an acceptable basis for an answer in this subreddit, so I have had to remove your comment. In the future, please keep in mind our subreddit rules, specifically what we are looking for in an answer, before attempting to tackle a question here. For further discussion on how sourcing works in this subreddit, please consult this thread.

    Please note: You've been previously warned here about dropping in a book recommendation in lieu of an actual answer. The next time you do this, you will be banned.

    Thank you!

    [–] Why do Holocaust deniers/revisionists believe 6 million never died? jschooltiger 10 points ago in AskHistorians

    Hi! As this question pertains to basic, underlying facts of the Holocaust, I hope you can appreciate that it can be a fraught subject to deal with. While we want people to get the answers they are looking for, we also remain very conscious that threads of this nature can attract the very wrong kind of response. As such, this message is not intended to provide you with all of the answers, but simply to address some of the basic facts, as well as Holocaust Denial, and provide a short list of introductory reading. There is always more than can be said, but we hope this is a good starting point for you.

    What Was the Holocaust?

    The Holocaust refers the genocidal deaths of 5-6 million European Jews carried out systematically by Nazi Germany as part of targeted policies of persecution and extermination during World War II. Some historians will also include the deaths of the Roma, Communists, Mentally Disabled, and other groups targeted by Nazi policies, which brings the total number of deaths to ~11 million. Debates about whether or not the Holocaust includes these deaths or not is a matter of definitions, but in no way a reflection on dispute that they occurred.

    But This Guy Says Otherwise!

    Unfortunately, there is a small, but at times vocal, minority of persons who fall into the category of Holocaust Denial, attempting to minimize the deaths by orders of magnitude, impugn well proven facts, or even claim that the Holocaust is entirely a fabrication and never happened. Although they often self-style themselves as "Revisionists", they are not correctly described by the title. While revisionism is not inherently a dirty word, actual revision, to quote Michael Shermer, "entails refinement of detailed knowledge about events, rarely complete denial of the events themselves, and certainly not denial of the cumulation of events known as the Holocaust."

    It is absolutely true that were you to read a book written in 1950 or so, you would find information which any decent scholar today might reject, and that is the result of good revisionism. But these changes, which even can be quite large, such as the reassessment of deaths at Auschwitz from ~4 million to ~1 million, are done within the bounds of respected, academic study, and reflect decades of work that builds upon the work of previous scholars, and certainly does not willfully disregard documented evidence and recollections. There are still plenty of questions within Holocaust Studies that are debated by scholars, and there may still be more out there for us to discover, and revise, but when it comes to the basic facts, there is simply no valid argument against them.

    So What Are the Basics?

    Beginning with their rise to power in the 1930s, the Nazi Party, headed by Adolf Hitler, implemented a series of anti-Jewish policies within Germany, marginalizing Jews within society more and more, stripping them of their wealth, livelihoods, and their dignity. With the invasion of Poland in 1939, the number of Jews under Nazi control reached into the millions, and this number would again increase with the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Shortly after the invasion of Poland, the Germans started to confine the Jewish population into squalid ghettos. After several plans on how to rid Europe of the Jews that all proved unfeasible, by the time of the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, ideological (Antisemitism) and pragmatic (Resources) considerations lead to mass-killings becoming the only viable option in the minds of the Nazi leadership. First only practiced in the USSR, it was influential groups such as the SS and the administration of the General Government that pushed to expand the killing operations to all of Europe and sometime at the end of 1941 met with Hitler’s approval.

    The early killings were carried out foremost by the Einsatzgruppen, paramilitary groups organized under the aegis of the SS and tasked with carrying out the mass killings of Jews, Communists, and other 'undesirable elements' in the wake of the German military's advance. In what is often termed the 'Holocaust by Bullet', the Einsatzgruppen, with the assistance of the Wehrmacht, the SD, the Security Police, as well as local collaborators, would kill roughly two million persons, over half of them Jews. Most killings were carried out with mass shootings, but other methods such as gas vans - intended to spare the killers the trauma of shooting so many persons day after day - were utilized too.

    By early 1942, the "Final Solution" to the so-called "Jewish Question" was essentially finalized at the Wannsee Conference under the direction of Reinhard Heydrich, where the plan to eliminate the Jewish population of Europe using a series of extermination camps set up in occupied Poland was presented and met with approval.

    Construction of extermination camps had already begun the previous fall, and mass extermination, mostly as part of 'Operation Reinhard', had began operation by spring of 1942. Roughly 2 million persons, nearly all Jewish men, women, and children, were immediately gassed upon arrival at Bełżec, Sobibór, and Treblinka over the next two years, when these "Reinhard" camps were closed and razed. More victims would meet their fate in additional extermination camps such as Chełmno, but most infamously at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where slightly over 1 million persons, mostly Jews, died. Under the plan set forth at Wannsee, exterminations were hardly limited to the Jews of Poland, but rather Jews from all over Europe were rounded up and sent east by rail like cattle to the slaughter. Although the victims of the Reinhard Camps were originally buried, they would later be exhumed and cremated, and cremation of the victims was normal procedure at later camps such as Auschwitz.

    The Camps

    There were two main types of camps run by Nazi Germany, which is sometimes a source of confusion. Concentration Camps were well known means of extrajudicial control implemented by the Nazis shortly after taking power, beginning with the construction of Dachau in 1933. Political opponents of all type, not just Jews, could find themselves imprisoned in these camps during the pre-war years, and while conditions were often brutal and squalid, and numerous deaths did occur from mistreatment, they were not usually a death sentence and the population fluctuated greatly. Although Concentration Camps were later made part of the 'Final Solution', their purpose was not as immediate extermination centers. Some were 'way stations', and others were work camps, where Germany intended to eke out every last bit of productivity from them through what was known as "extermination through labor". Jews and other undesirable elements, if deemed healthy enough to work, could find themselves spared for a time and "allowed" to toil away like slaves until their usefulness was at an end.

    Although some Concentration Camps, such as Mauthausen, did include small gas chambers, mass gassing was not the primary purpose of the camp. Many camps, becoming extremely overcrowded, nevertheless resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of inhabitants due to the outbreak of diseases such as typhus, or starvation, all of which the camp administrations did little to prevent. Bergen-Belsen, which was not a work camp but rather served as something of a way station for prisoners of the camp systems being moved about, is perhaps one of the most infamous of camps on this count, saw some 50,000 deaths caused by the conditions. Often located in the Reich, camps liberated by the Western forces were exclusively Concentration Camps, and many survivor testimonies come from these camps.

    The Concentration Camps are contrasted with the Extermination Camps, which were purpose built for mass killing, with large gas chambers and later on, crematoria, but little or no facilities for inmates. Often they were disguised with false facades to lull the new arrivals into a false sense of security, even though rumors were of course rife for the fate that awaited the deportees. Almost all arrivals were killed upon arrival at these camps, and in many cases the number of survivors numbered in the single digits, such as at Bełżec, where only seven Jews, forced to assist in operation of the camp, were alive after the war.

    Several camps, however, were 'Hybrids' of both types, the most famous being Auschwitz, which was a vast complex of subcamps. The infamous 'selection' of prisoners, conducted by SS doctors upon arrival, meant life or death, with those deemed unsuited for labor immediately gassed and the more healthy and robust given at least temporary reprieve. The death count at Auschwitz numbered around 1 million, but it is also the source of many survivor testimonies.

    How Do We Know?

    Running through the evidence piece by piece would take more space than we have here, but suffice to say, there is a lot of evidence, and not just the (mountains of) survivor testimony. We have testimonies and writings from many who participated, as well German documentation of the programs. This site catalogs some of the evidence we have for mass extermination as it relates to Auschwitz. I'll close this out with a short list of excellent works that should help to introduce you to various aspects of Holocaust study.

    Further Reading

    [–] Who was the person most removed from a royal family that became monarch due to their inheritance? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    This submission has been removed because it violates the rule on poll-type questions. These poll-type questions do not lend themselves to answers with a firm foundation in sources and research, and the resulting threads usually turn into monsters with enormous speculation and little focussed discussion. “Most”, “least”, "best" and "worst" questions usually lead to vague, subjective, and speculative answers. For further information, please consult this Roundtable discussion.

    For questions of these types, we ask that you redirect them to more appropriate subreddits, such as /r/history or /r/askhistory.

    [–] When did humour first occur? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    Hi there -- as this is a question that predates written history, you might try posting it at our sister subreddit r/AskAnthropology. Here, it would unfortunately run afoul of our "example seeking" rule. Thanks!

    [–] Modern Battles and Forest Fires jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    [one sentence]

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules.

    [–] Has anyone wearing armour ever been hit by lightning? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    Sorry, we don't allow "example seeking" questions. It's not that your question was bad; it's that these kinds of questions tend to produce threads that are collections of disjointed, partial, inadequate responses. If you have a question about a specific historical event, period, or person, feel free to rewrite your question and submit it again. If you don't want to rewrite it, you might try submitting it to /r/history, /r/askhistory, or /r/tellmeafact.

    For further explanation of the rule, feel free to consult this META thread.

    [–] Ancient Greek changes in military aurmor. jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules and our Rules Roundtable on Speculation.

    [–] What was the public reaction in Britain to impending handover of Hong Kong throughout the 1990's? jschooltiger 24 points ago in AskHistorians

    You're fine on the 20 year rule here -- we count it as inclusive of the years starting Jan. 1, so anything that happened in 1997 is fair game here. It would drive us nuts trying to do this by date.

    [–] How did two civilisations communicate on first contact? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    Sorry, we don't allow "example seeking" questions. It's not that your question was bad; it's that these kinds of questions tend to produce threads that are collections of disjointed, partial, inadequate responses. If you have a question about a specific historical event, period, or person, feel free to rewrite your question and submit it again. If you don't want to rewrite it, you might try submitting it to /r/history, /r/askhistory, or /r/tellmeafact.

    For further explanation of the rule, feel free to consult this META thread.

    [–] The arabians brought the horse to europe? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules, and take these key points into account before crafting an answer:

    Thank you!

    [–] In the 15th Century, how easy was it to be accused of being a Witch? jschooltiger 5 points ago in AskHistorians

    Yes, an explainer is linked in the comment you replied to, but I'll also post it here:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1jsabs/what_it_means_to_post_a_good_answer_in/

    If you have other questions about our policies, please send us a mod-mail or start a META thread so as not to clutter this one further.

    Thanks!

    [–] What proportion of the South was actually a slave owner was a slave owner? How did the average southern citizen feel about going to war over something that would benefit (i assume) was a small fraction of the population? jschooltiger 6 points ago in AskHistorians

    Not discouraging new answers, but: You might find this answer from u/the_alaskan to be useful to the question of how many Southern citizens owned slaves. I also wrote about it here, in the context of what we mean when we say someone owned property in the antebellum US -- you can pretty easily find stats that e.g. only five percent of all Americans owned slaves, which is true but also misleading for a variety of reasons.

    I wrote about the question of "how did people feel about the war" in the context of Missouri, a border state. You can find that old answer here.

    Since those are all old threads and locked, feel free to ask follow up questions here.

    [–] In the 15th Century, how easy was it to be accused of being a Witch? jschooltiger 3 points ago in AskHistorians

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules.

    You've been warned before about bad answers. The next time you post like this, you will be banned.

    [–] Why has Country Music remained so white? What cultural and industry forces kept the genre that so willingly borrowed from blues, gospel, norteño, and mariachi so completely dominated by white artists and tied to white identity? jschooltiger 18 points ago in AskHistorians

    How does this thread have 23 comments but you can only see 3 and two removed ones (before I post obviously), consisting of two posts by a mod and one that isn't answering the question, and yet still has 700 upvotes?

    Hi there, and welcome to AskHistorians! People upvote interesting questions, and because it can take time to write a good answer that conforms to our subreddit rules, other people will rush to write useless, rule-breaking comments like the one you've just left here.

    We remove those, and warn or temporarily ban users who leave them.

    The good news is that you now have a couple of good answers in the thread; the bad news is that by ignoring a top-level warning (that is, replying to it with a comment that is removed and will simply drive up the comment count), you have now earned yourself a three-day temporary ban as a warning to not do this again.

    If you'd like to continue this conversation, you can (as the comment you replied to suggests) contact us in mod-mail, or alternatively post a META thread in the subreddit when your brief, temporary ban expires. And yes, this comment of mine is done in the spirit of Voltaire: Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

    Thanks!

    [–] Can anyone recommend a good book on naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars? jschooltiger 3 points ago in AskHistorians

    How in-depth do you want to go? I have a few on my user profile, which I will copy over here:

    General British Naval History

    • N.A.M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Britain, 660-1649: The first volume of Rodger's multi-volume naval history of Britain, this book covers seapower from the earliest days of "England" until the end of the second English Civil War. He includes passages on non-English British navies, though the research in that area is still incomplete and spotty. The series the first comprehensive naval history of England/Britain in nearly a century. Rodger divides his books into four types of chapters: ships; operations; administration; and social history. The books can successfully be read as a narrative straight through, or each chapter can be read sequentially; I have done both. Replete with references and with an excellent bibliography.

    • N.A.M. Rodger, The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815: The second volume of Rodger's history covers operations, administration, ships, and social history through Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.

    • N.A.M. Rodger, The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy: An earlier (than the two previous citations) and arguably more accessible introduction to the navy of the mid-18th century, while still providing substantial detail. Establishes Rodger's interest in organizations and organizational history as a way to drive the conversation about navies and their successes or failures.

    • Patrick O'Brian, Men-of-War: Life in Nelson's Navy: A slim volume but replete with illustrations, this was intended as a companion to O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, about which more below. Useful to understand details of daily life, ship construction, rigging, etc.

    • King, Hattendorf and Estes, A Sea Of Words: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian: Meant as an atlas and glossary for the O'Brian novels, it's a useful companion for all sorts of naval reading.

    • The Social History of English Seamen, 1485-1649, edited by Cheryl A. Fury. A series of essays on the social history of English seamen from the Tudor period onwards. Includes a very interesting chapter on the archaeology of the Mary Rose.

    • Royal Tars: The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy, 875-1850 by Brian Lavery. A social history of the lower deck (common crew/sailors) of English and British ships.

    • Able Seamen: The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy, 1850-1939 by Brian Lavery. The follow-up to his Royal Tars, covering the British navy during its transition from sail to steam and the run-up to World War II.

    • The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command by Andrew Gordon. Gordon looks at the battle of Jutland and the failures in command and control that made it a stalemate, drawing on a history of British command during the Edwardian era to understand how C&C failed in World War I.

    Ships and Battles and Tactics

    • Ian W. Toll, Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy: Toll's book is a popular history of the founding of the American navy, but it does spend some time on design and construction and what made the American heavy frigates so successful in limited engagements.

    • Tunstall and Tracy, Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail: The Evolution of Fighting Tactics, 1650-1815: Meticulously written and illustrated, this is a deep dive into tactics in British, French, Dutch and Spanish navies. A bit dense for beginners, but rewarding.

    • Roy Adkins, Nelson's Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed The World: A recent popular history of Trafalgar, very accessible to novices but with a great attention to detail.

    • Adam Nicolson, Sieze the Fire: Heroism, Duty and the Battle of Trafalgar: This is Nicolson's attempt to examine ideals of heroism and the heroic persona set against Trafalgar. It's interesting reading, if not completely successful.

    Biographies

    • John Sudgen, Nelson: A Dream of Glory and The Sword of Albion: These two books are Sudgen's contribution to the voluminous biographical literature about Horatio Nelson, and well worth a read. A Dream Of Glory in particular takes a very searching look at Nelson's early years, which are often minimized in favor of the more exciting narrative of the Nile/Copenhagen/Trafalgar. Sudgen does become a Nelson fan throughout the books, but his writing is not uncritical and does not tip into hagiography.

    • Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane, The Autobiography of a Seaman: Written in a midcentury style, this covers the life of Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, who is often seen as the "real Jack Aubrey." While that comparison is both fair and also lacking in nuance, this autobiography is a good primary source from the horse's (ok, captain's) mouth.

    Historial Fiction (that doesn't suck)

    • Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series (start with Master and Commander): Both a well-researched story of life aboard British men-of-war and an excellent series of novels in their own right. Later books are written more sloppily and hastily, but you'll want to read them all.

    • C.S. Forester's Hornblower series: An early version of the historical naval series. Less well-written than O'Brian's, but with interesting characterization and attention to detail.

    [–] Why were the Nazis so young? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules, and take these key points into account before crafting an answer:

    Thank you!

    [–] Why has Country Music remained so white? What cultural and industry forces kept the genre that so willingly borrowed from blues, gospel, norteño, and mariachi so completely dominated by white artists and tied to white identity? jschooltiger 187 points ago in AskHistorians

    Hey y'all,

    If you are a first time visitor, welcome! This thread is trending high right now and getting a lot of attention, but it is important to remember those upvotes represent interest in the question itself, and it can often take time for a good answer to be written. The mission of /r/AskHistorians is to provide users with in-depth and comprehensive responses, and our rules are intended to facilitate that purpose. We remove comments which don't follow them for reasons including unfounded speculation, shallowness, and of course, inaccuracy. Making comments asking about the removed comments simply compounds this issue.

    So please, before you try your hand at posting, check out the rules, as it would break our hearts to have to ban you. It is very rare that a decent answer doesn't result in due time, so please do come check back on this thread in a few hours. If you think you might forget, send a Private Message to the Remind-Me bot, and it will ensure you don't!

    Finally, while we always appreciate feedback, it is unfair to the OP to further derail this thread with META conversation, so if anyone has further questions or concerns, I would ask that they be directed to modmail, or a META thread.

    Thank you!

    [–] Why is WWII taught as, "It started because Hitler," but WWI is taught as, "It's too complicated to explain just know that the Arch Duke got shot"? jschooltiger 4 points ago in AskHistorians

    We ask that answers in this subreddit be in-depth and comprehensive, and highly suggest that comments include citations for the information. In the future, please take the time to better familiarize yourself with the rules, and take these key points into account before crafting an answer:

    You've been warned before about posting bad answers. There won't be a warning next time.

    Thank you!

    [–] Who was the most influential invader of Britain? jschooltiger 1 points ago in AskHistorians

    This submission has been removed because it violates the rule on poll-type questions. These poll-type questions do not lend themselves to answers with a firm foundation in sources and research, and the resulting threads usually turn into monsters with enormous speculation and little focussed discussion. “Most”, “least”, "best" and "worst" questions usually lead to vague, subjective, and speculative answers. For further information, please consult this Roundtable discussion.

    For questions of these types, we ask that you redirect them to more appropriate subreddits, such as /r/history or /r/askhistory.