History Does You is a podcast that explores the idea that history always is relevant to today. We also cover topics in current events, foreign policy, and international relations. Through interviews with experts in the field of history, we answer the question, “How is History relevant today?”. From early empires, to the Space Race, we look at the good, the bad and the ugly, and try to have a few laughs on the way. Previous guests have included New York Times Bestselling authors, James Bradley, Roger Crowley, Dr. Andrew Bacevich, and Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. John Gaddis
Where to listen
Episode 11: Operation Varsity and Interview with James Fenelon
This is the first episode where we have covered an event during the first World War. By 1917, the war had been raging for 3 years with massive casualties on all sides as little territory had been gained. The Battle of Passchendaele was a large British offensive in Flanders. The battle was fought over six months in dreadful conditions and by the time Canadian soldiers took the village of Passchendaele in November, there was almost 270,000 Allied casualties. We interviewed Dr Nick Lloyd who is a professor in Military & Imperial History in the Defense Studies Department. He is the author of four books: Loos 1915 (2006); The Amritsar Massacre: The Untold Story of One Fateful Day (2011); Hundred Days: The End of the Great War (2013) and Passchendaele: A New History (2017). We explore the battle, its legacy, and the impact that it had on the war.
On today's episode, we cover the timeline of the decision making process that went into the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Understanding the decision making process is super important for anyone that want to get into the field of foreign policy or government because Iraq is a case study of what not to do. But the timeline starts long before in the 1980's when we decided to support Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. This spurred decades of policy that culminated in the invasion of Iraq and one of the most tragic foreign policy disasters in American History. We interview Michael J. Mazarr who is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Previously he worked at the U.S. National War College, where he was professor and associate dean of academics; senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; senior defense aide on Capitol Hill; and as a special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His work includes, “Leap of Faith, Hubris, Negligence, and Americas Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy.”, “Rethinking Risk in National Security” and “North Korea and the Bomb”.
September 11, 2001 was the defining event for a generation of Americans. The attacks on New York and Washington DC changed the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy at the start of the 21st century. But the attacks go beyond the single day as the story started long before the hijackers ever boarded the planes. But there was intelligent failures across the globe as the sign were missed by many. We had an the opportunity to interview Robbyn Swan who is a award winning journalist and author of two bestselling books: Sinatra: The Life (2005) and The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (2000). She also wrote with her husband, A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame, and a Family's Quest for Justice and The Eleventh Day which was a Pulitzer prize finalist in history in 2012.
For many Americans, the Revolutionary War was a solo effort against the most powerful country in the world at the time. There is little mention of the role that France and Spain played in helping the United States achieve its Independence and this episode will shed light on their effort. The Revolutionary War was part of a larger global conflict between powerful nations in Europe. Spain and France made a tremendous effort to support the revolution with supplies, money, and expeditionary forces along with the French Navy. We talked with Dr. Louis Ferreiro who is a professor of History and Engineering at George Mason University. His book, "Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It" which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in History in 2017 and has done other research in naval history. This reveals that the United States needed a lot of help to achieve Independence that is often overlooked and left out in America history.
The Arab Spring was an important event for the Middle East and was the start of important change throughout the Middle East. However, many of these efforts failed with Egypt and Saudi Arabia keeping Authoritarian leaders in place while other Arab States such as Yemen, Libya, and Syria have descended into ongoing Civil Wars. I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Ahmed Abd Rabou who is a professor at the University of Denver and is from Cairo, Egypt and is also known among Egyptian scholars for his specialization in civil-military relations, political Islam and democratization in the Middle East. He gives us an overarching view of the Arab Spring as well as what happened in specific countries as well as explaining some of the complexities that many people overlook in reading about the Middle East. A super cool interview about one of the most critical events in one of the most important regions in the world.
The Mexican-American War was a critical event in the mid 1800's as it helped add a large swathe of what is now the Western United States. It helped fulfill the idea surrounding Manifest Destiny and the expansionism of territorial claims for the United States. It had social, economic, and political consequences for both Mexico and the United States. I had a conversation with Dr. Peter Guardino who is a professor of History at Indiana University. His work includes includes "Peasants, Politics, and the Formation of Mexico’s National State: Guerrero, 1800-1857", and "The Dead March: A History of the Mexican-American War" which won the Distinguished Book Award for non-United States History from the Society for Military History and Bolton-Johnson Prize from the Conference on Latin American History. The Mexican-American War is an overlooked event in the history of the United States and had long lasting impacts throughout the 1800's
The Napoleonic Wars was a series of conflicts between the French Empire led by Napoleon Bonaparte and other European Powers. In the aftermath of the French revolution and changes under Napoleon, the French won multiple campaigns against the Austrian, Russian, and Prussian Empires expanding its influence all across Europe. But from that point on, the Peninsular War in Spain and Continental system chipped away at the French Empire. Ultimately, the tipping point came when Napoleon decided to invade Russia in 1812 losing the majority of his army as the European empires formed a coalition to get rid of him. Napoleon returned to power in 1815 but was quickly defeated again signaling an end to the conflict. The wars led to unprecedented social, economic, and political change throughout Europe and led to almost 100 years of peace until World War I. We also interviewed Dr. Alexander Mikaberidze who is a professor at LSU Shrevport. He researches extensively on this period and his recent book is, "The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History" which we highly recommend. A great overview of one of the most important events in world history!
A bit of a different episode today, I had a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Dr. John Gaddis about his book, "On Grand Strategy". Drawing on different leaders from Octavian to Abraham Lincoln, we talked about how different leaders were able to balance their ambition with their capabilities. Drawing on both triumphs and failures, we can see how history seems to repeat itself and how leaders with certain qualities tend to succeed while others fail. I would highly encourage you to read his book or listen to the whole episode because it is a great insight into historical leaders on how they succeed and fail in different times!
The Ottoman-Hapsburg wars was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and Hapsburg Dynasty which ruled a variety of states such as Spain, Austria, and Italian city states. The conflict raged from the plains of Hungary to Islands in the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, European states fought for supremacy over the vital trade routes and strategic positions throughout the world. Key battles were the sieges at Rhodes, Tunis, and Malta. The campaign culminated in the sea battle at Lepanto which was one of the largest naval clashes in Maritime history involving over 490 ships . It was the last of the great clashes between Islam and Christianity as Ottoman power peaked. I had the opportunity to interview Roger Crowley who is the New York Times Bestselling author of "Empires of the Sea". His other work includes, "1453", "City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas", "Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire" and his most recent book is "The Accursed Tower: The Fall of Acre and the End of the Crusades". An interesting interview and great episode about one of the most overlooked periods in World History.
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the Operation Varsity, which was the largest single day Airborne operation of World War II. The 17th Airborne Division and 6th British Airborne Division dropped behind the Rhine River in order to better secure crossings for British soldiers on the other side of the river. The operation was highly successful and ensured that the Allies could safely cross the river and helped bring a faster end to the war. I had the chance to interview James Fenelon who wrote the book, "Fours Hours of Fury" which documents the 17th Airborne's role during Operation Varsity. He is a former Army paratrooper and graduate of the University of Texas-Austin. A great episode about one of the most overlooked battles of World War II.
Alexander the Great was one of worlds most successful military commanders never losing a battle and creating an empire that stretched from Greece to Modern day India. He also played an important role in spreading Greek Culture and values in areas that had never come into contact with the Greeks. He named over 20 cities after himself including the great city of Alexandria in Egypt which became an importance center for intellect, trade, and philosophy in the ancient world. I also had the opportunity to interview Dr. Philip Freeman who is a professor of History at Pepperdine University and is the author on several biographies of ancient figures including Alexander the Great, St. Patrick, and Julius Caesar. A great interview and episode about one of the most important leaders in the ancient world!
On today's episode, we talk about one of my favorite periods of history, the Space Race. The Space Race occupied the scientific communities of the United States and Soviet Union as the two superpowers dueled for supremacy in Space. I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. John Logsdon who is the award winning author of John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (2010) and After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (2015). We talked about the timeline of the race, the various space programs, and the men and women who led the charge to the moon culminating in the Apollo 11 landing on July 20, 1969. A great episode about one of the most interesting periods in American history.
The Cold War ended in 1991 marking the end of a bipolar world pitting the U.S. and its allies against the Soviet Union and its Allies. The United States pursued a global liberal economic policy in order to reflect its own system. However, over the last 30 years various mistakes in those policy goals has led the United States to squander that Cold War victory and left its political system polarized to the point of no return, deficit spending that will impact the economy, and interventionist wars that have cost thousands of lives. I had the opportunity to talk to New York Times Bestselling Author Dr. Andrew Bacevich who has written, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008) Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War(2010) include and his most recent book is The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory. (2019). A very interesting conversation about the failures of the past and how it is going to effect American policies going forward!
The United States and Mexico's relationship has often been overlooked in history despite the fact that the two countries have been as closely tied as any in the world. In today's episode we focus on the relations between the Cold War to now which has changed drastically from than to now. I has the opportunity to sit down and talk to Dr. Ana Covarrubias who is a professor in the Center for International Studies at El Colegio de México and is considered to be one of the leading scholars on U.S.-Mexico relations. We had a in depth conversation about economics, immigration, and foreign policy within Mexico and in relation to the United States. Overall, a great episode from a perspective that is overlooked by many Americans and informative about the roots and what has led to where U.S.-Mexico relations now.
In today's episode we talk about the Battle of Iwo Jima whose 75th Anniversary was this past Wednesday. The battle produced arguably the most iconic image of the war with 6 US Marines raising the American Flag on Mount Suribachi. I had the honor of interviewing James Bradley who wrote the #1 New York Times Bestseller Flags of our Fathers , based off the raising of the flag. His father John Bradley was apart of the event and served with the 5th Marine Division during the battle. His other work includes Bestsellers, Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, The Imperial Cruise, and The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia. A Great Interview about one of the most important and costliest battles of World War II.
The Congress for Cultural Freedom was anti-communist advocacy group started in 1950 to project western Democratic values in philosophy, art, and culture. Contrary to popular belief, the Cold War was not limited to economic and military supremacy between the U.S. and Soviet Union, but also in values and the systems that were polar opposites in every way. In today's interview with fellow DU student Dylan Fox, we cover the Congress for Cultural Freedom and its impact on the Cold War. Super cool interview and episode about a topic in the Cold War that often gets overlooked.
I am very excited to announce that we have our first interview today with Dr. Frank Russell who is Professor at Transylvania University and researches ancient counterinsurgency, intelligence and frontier studies. In our interview, we specifically discuss the Roman-Jewish war from 66-73 CE and the first counterinsurgency tactics to occur in war. A super interesting interview with many lessons that can be applied to today. In addition we look at the fall of the Roman empire beginning with the Crisis of the third century as the Roman empire continued to suffer internal unrest and outside invasions from barbarian tribes across the frontier. This concludes the three part series into the Roman Empire but will definitely be revisiting in the future!
Under the Reign of Augustus, the Roman empire shifts from a republic to an empire with a more centralized government under the leadership of an Emperor. Its from this period of about 27 BC to 200 AD that the empire reaches its greatest extent stretching from Britannia all the way to the Persian Gulf. This is more of an overview of the era and the emperors who led the empire. None the less, a super interesting period in history and one of the greatest empires in history!
In this first part of a three part series. We look at the rise of the Roman Republic which began in its earliest days to expand beyond its borders. However, Rome was not built overnight and faced extensive campaigns against regional foes. These led to wars against Regional powers such as Carthage and the Greek Kingdoms. After years of War, Rome ascended as the premier power in the Mediterranean and began to expand rapidly, however with this came much change and the first civil war. It was after this that Strongmen such as Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar emerged where military victories translated directly to political influence. The destruction of the alliances between these men led to more civil war and the Assassination of Julius Caesar marking the end of the Republic and transition to Empire. This episode goes very heavily into the timeline of expansion, not so much into culture, religion, or economics, I hope to eventually do another episode on that in the future. Regardless it is interesting to learn how Rome was built and how the die was cast. Next week well dive into the Empire and the Pax Romana.
30:00: Rise of the Roman Republic and the Punic Wars
47:00: The Macedonian wars and expansion into Greece
1:00:00: Social Unrest and the First Civil Wars
1:11:00: Pompey the Great
1:18:00: Julius Caesar and the end of the Republic
1:32:00: Summary and Conclusion
Who I am?
Why I’m doing this?
Podcasts are cool
History hasn’t kept up with the times
Why History Matters?
Where I want to go from here?
Adding guests, all parts of history
Tribute to MLK
Gerald R Ford Class Carrier to be named after Doris Miller
Next Episodes 3 part series on the Roman Empire
Republic to Caesar
The Empire and Pax Romana,
The Fall and the Eastern Roman Empire