History Guild General History Quiz 211
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History Quiz 211

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The stories behind the questions

1. Which Battle saw Henry V of England order the French prisoners he had captured to be executed?

Agincourt – The 1415 battle was something of a surprise victory for the English, who captured significant numbers of French knights. During the course of the battle it looked like the French may be gaining the upper hand, at which time Henry V ordered that the prisoners be executed.

2. Which neutral nation provided an infantry division to the German military to fight on the Eastern front during WW2?

Spain – When the Spanish Civil War ended, Spain was left in ruins, and with a fascist-sympathizing government with a deep hatred of the Soviet Union. So when Hitler needed volunteers for Operation Barbarossa, Francisco Franco delivered, sending 47,000 men to serve in the Blue Division. Men from this forgotten expeditionary force would fight for the Third Reich to the bitter end.

3 .The overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979 ended how many years of continuous rule by Persian monarchs?

2,500 years – Under Shah Mohammad Reza’s reign, Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great.

4. How long was Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in operation?

29 years – Operating from 1934 to 1963, the prison saw 14 escape attempts, including the famous 1962 escape that resulted in the disappearance of the three escapees.

5. In the 1970s which two countries engaged in ‘ping pong diplomacy’?

USA and China – One of the early stages of the thaw in diplomatic relations between China and the USA was a visit by a delegation of US table tennis players to China.

6. In which conflict was the Claymore mine first used?

Vietnam War – A directional mine, famous for the instruction ‘Front toward enemy’ emblazoned on its front, it saw significant use from the Vietnam war onwards.

7. When was the first known medical malpractice lawsuit?

1374 – Stratton v Swanlond saw an English woman who’s treatment was unsuccessful suing her physician. While the case was unsuccessful, it established the principle that the physician would not be responsible if a patient’s treatment was unsuccessful, but they could be found to be liable if their treatment was negligent.

8. Which 1949 book contains the line ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past’?

1984 – Published in the aftermath of Nazi tyranny, and as Soviet tyranny was expanding, the book provides a stark warning about the risks of allowing history to be subverted by authoritarian governments.

9. What did the USA provide to Afghan forces fighting the Soviets in the 1980’s, and then subsequently tried to buy-back in the 1990’s?

Stinger anti-aircraft missiles – The U.S.-built Stinger anti-aircraft missile, supplied to the mujahideen in very large numbers beginning in 1986, struck a decisive blow to the Soviets. The Stingers were so renowned and deadly that in the 1990s, the United States conducted a “buy-back” program to keep unused missiles from falling into the hands of anti-American terrorists, an effort which was covertly renewed in the early 2000s.

10. Which two countries concluded the ‘Auld Alliance’ in 1295?

Scotland and France – Scots for ‘Old Alliance’, it remained in force until 1560, although it was never formally dissolved. It required that if either was invaded by the English, the other would invade English territory. It was invoked many times!

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