Portrait: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States of America

December 26th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Offical portrait of Harry S. Truman at White House © Greta Kempton - Harry S. Truman Library

Offical portrait of Harry S. Truman at White House © Greta Kempton – Harry S. Truman Library

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), taking office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A World War I veteran, he assumed the presidency during the waning months of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. He is known for implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, for establishing the Truman Doctrine and NATO against Soviet and Chinese Communism, and for intervening in the Korean War. In domestic affairs, he was a moderate Democrat whose liberal proposals were a continuation of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, but the conservative-dominated Congress blocked most of them. He used the veto power 180 times, more than any president since, and saw 12 overridden by Congress; only Grover Cleveland and Franklin D. Roosevelt used the veto more often, and only Gerald Ford and Andrew Johnson saw so many veto overrides. He is the only world leader to have used nuclear weapons in war. He desegregated the U.S. Armed Forces, supported a independent Israel and was a founder of the United Nations.   read more…

Portrait: Emperor Titus

November 21st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Château de Versailles - Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Château de Versailles – Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Prior to becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. The campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian’s bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple so that the city became uninhabitable for over 60 years (the present day Old City was then the whole of Jerusalem). For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph: the Arch of Titus commemorates his victory to this day. The influence on the later developments of Christianity and Judaism through the results of the Jewish-Roman Wars (First Jewish–Roman War, Kitos War and Bar Kokhba revolt) was considerable. While Christianity experienced a rapid worldwide growth, Judaism declined into Diaspora groups.   read more…

Portrait: Roman emperor Hadrian

October 24th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Emporer Hadrian and Antinous busts in the British Museum in London © SanGavinoEN/cc-by-sa-3.0

Emporer Hadrian and Antinous busts in the British Museum in London © SanGavinoEN/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus, probably at Italica, near Santiponce (in modern-day Spain), into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank, and was a first cousin of the emperor Trajan. Early in Hadrian’s career, before Trajan became emperor, he married Trajan’s grand-niece Vibia Sabina, possibly at the behest of Trajan’s wife, Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan’s close friend and adviser Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that immediately before his death, he had nominated Hadrian as emperor.   read more…

Portrait: Marie Curie, physicist and chemist

September 26th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Marie Curie

Marie Curie

Marie Skłodowska Curie, born Maria Salomea Skłodowska was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.   read more…

Portrait: Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

August 22nd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

US President Barack Obama taking his Oath of Office © defenseimagery.mil - Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

US President Barack Obama taking his Oath of Office © defenseimagery.mil – Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017. The first African American to assume the presidency, he was previously the junior United States Senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008. Before that, he served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997 until 2004. For the moment, he is the last US president who is obliged to the values of the West: democracy, freedom, respect for the right and dignity of man, irrespective of origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or political attitude, and in compliance with national and international law.   read more…

Portrait: Hans and Sophie Scholl

July 25th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Ludwig Maximilians University Munich - Lichthof © Cfaerber/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ludwig Maximilians University Munich – Lichthof © Cfaerber/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hans and Sophie Scholl, often referred to in German as die Geschwister Scholl (literally: the Scholl siblings), were a brother and sister who were members of the White Rose, a student group in Munich that was active in the non-violent resistance movement in Nazi Germany, especially in distributing flyers against the war and the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. In post-war Germany, Hans and Sophie Scholl are recognized as symbols of the Christian German resistance movement against the totalitarian Nazi regime.   read more…

Portrait: Albert Schweitzer, a French-German theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician

June 27th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

© Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0

Albert Schweitzer, OM, was a French-German (Schweitzer was born in the province of Kaysersberg, which changed hands between France and Germany near and during his lifetime. Schweitzer considered himself French and wrote mostly in German. His mother-tongue was Alsatian) theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at this time, as well as the traditional Christian view. His contributions to the interpretation of Pauline Christianity concern the role of Paul‘s mysticism of “being in Christ” as primary and the doctrine of Justification by Faith as secondary. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life”, expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, west central Africa (then French Equatorial Africa). As a music scholar and organist, he studied the music of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and influenced the Organ Reform Movement (Orgelbewegung).   read more…

Portrait: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics

May 23rd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was a German mechanical engineer and physicist, who, on 8 November 1895, produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range known as X-rays or Röntgen rays, an achievement that earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. In honour of his accomplishments, in 2004 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) named element 111, roentgenium, a radioactive element with multiple unstable isotopes, after him.   read more…

Portrait: Thomas Mann

April 25th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Thomas Mann at Hotel Adlon in Berlin, 1929 © Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

Thomas Mann at Hotel Adlon in Berlin, 1929 © Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0-de

Paul Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas are noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. Mann’s work influenced many future authors, including Heinrich Böll, Joseph Heller, Yukio Mishima, and Orhan Pamuk.   read more…

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