Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

European History

Hitler’s Early Rise and the Night of the Long Knives

Over the course of several days in 1934, Adolf Hitler, who was at the time the Nazi Party Leader and Reich Chancellor, directed an action which eliminated all of his political enemies and enabled him to declare himself Fuhrer. See more »

Copernicus

While he's known primarily as the astronomer who promoted the idea of a heliocentric solar system, Copernicus was also a master mathematician and a doctor. He worked for the church his entire life, and wrote a manuscript on devaluation of currency. See more »

Six Impossible Episodes: Soldiers, Snipers and Spies

This installment of our impossible episodes series features a set of stories that are all about front-line heroism. Most of them are listener requests. See more »

The Cato Street Conspiracy

Urbanization and mechanization, and all the downsides they brought with them, had continued in Great Britain in the years since the Luddite Rebellion. In response, a radical group plotted to assassinate the Prime Minister's entire cabinet. See more »

The King's Evil and the Royal Touch

The practice of the monarch laying on hands to cure sick people lasted from the medieval period all the way to the 18th century in Britain and France. One disease in particular was so often "cured" it came to be known as the King's Evil. See more »

Maria Montessori

While she's mostly associated with education, Maria Montessori worked in several fields. Her theories on early education still shape the way kids learn today around the globe. See more »

Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross

After witnessing the brutality of a battle first-hand, Swiss-born Dunant dedicated his life to easing the suffering brought by war. But he did so at great cost to his personal life. See more »

Live From FanX: Nazis, the Occult and Indiana Jones

It's fairly common knowledge that the Nazis were prolific looters and that there was occult interest among the officers of the organization. How weird did things actually get, and how close are the Indiana Jones movies to what really happened? See more »

Denmark's Early Royalty and the Jelling Stones

The beginning of Denmark's monarchy more than a thousand years ago is linked to two large rune stones at Jelling. Is it possible that the stones were part of an effort on Harald Blåtand's part to revise the history of his parents, Gorm and Thyre? See more »

A Brief History of the Pietà

While Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding the deceased body of Christ is the most famous depiction of that moment in art, that scene has been the focus of many works. And once, the famous version took a trip across the ocean. See more »