Which of the 13 original American colonies
were considered New England, Middle, and Southern colonies?
New England colonies: Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island.
Middle colonies: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania.
Southern colonies: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.
Was there a real Liberty Tree in Boston
during the American Revolution?
Yes. The Liberty Tree was an Elm tree believed
to be about 120 years old at the time of the Revolution and was
known originally as the Great Tree due to its massive size and
handsome shape. It was located on present day Washington Street
at Essex, next to a former 17th century dwelling.
One August morning in 1765, Bostonians
awoke to discover two effigies of British officials hanging from
the lower limbs, with one of them labeled as "The Stamp Officer."
The Great Tree then became known as The
Liberty Tree and was used as a rallying place for American Patriots.
The Tree became famous throughout the American colonies and in
England as well. It was eventually cut down by the British and
gleefully turned into 14 cords of wood.
What city was the first U.S. capital?
In 1789, New York City was selected as
the first capital of the United States, but just a year later
the capital was moved to Philadelphia. In October of 1800, the
government moved from Philadelphia to Washington onto a parcel
of land along the Potomac River personally chosen by George Washington.
Did Abraham Lincoln ever own slaves?
How tall was Abraham Lincoln?
Lincoln was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed
about 180 pounds.
President Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby,
a mother who was believed to have lost five sons in the Civil
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
I have been shown in the files of the
War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts
that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously
on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be
any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the
grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering
you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic
they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage
the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished
memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must
be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
What kind of gun was used to kill Lincoln?
On Friday, April 14, 1865, President Lincoln
and his wife Mary attended a performance of the comedy "Our
American Cousin" at Ford's Theater, located about five blocks
from the White House. About 10:13 p.m., during the third act of
the play, John Wilkes Booth shot the president in the head at
point-blank range using a small muzzle-loading derringer pistol
which measured only six inches in length, but fired a bullet measuring
nearly a half-inch in diameter. Lincoln never regained consciousness
and died at 7:22 the next morning.
When was the Lincoln penny first issued?
The penny was issued in 1909, commemorating
the hundredth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. It was the
first U.S. coin to bear the portrait of an actual American. In
1959, on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, the reverse
side of the coin was redesigned to include a view of the Lincoln
Who were the Buffalo Soldiers?
The term was originated by American Indians
in the Old West to describe U.S. Army soldiers who happened to
be African Americans. The Indians saw a physical resemblance between
the black soldiers' hair and the shaggy coats of the buffalo.
The animals were considered sacred by the Indians and thus the
term was also a tribute to the bravery of the black soldiers they
encountered in battle.
In 1866, an Act of Congress had established
four all-black Army regiments, the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the
24th and 25th Infantry. They were sent to the western frontier
to serve as peacekeepers and to aid in the ongoing war against
the Indians. Patrolling vast areas of land, Buffalo Soldiers chased
outlaw bandits, protected settlers and fought Indians.
The well-disciplined, steadfast Buffalo
Soldiers had the lowest rate of desertion in the West and far
fewer disciplinary problems than white soldiers. Eleven Buffalo
Soldiers and seven white officers who led them were awarded America's
highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for
their heroism on the western frontier.
Where did the term Doughboys originate
in referring to U.S. soldiers?
The exact origin is unknown but it is believed
to have originated in the mid 1800s in reference to large round
brass buttons worn by American infantrymen which looked like little
round doughnuts called doughboys. The term was first used to describe
the buttons and then became the common slang for the infantrymen
themselves and was especially popular during World War I.
Who was the only U.S. Congressman to
vote against entering World War II?
Actually, it was a woman. On December 8,
1941, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 388-1 to enter the
war. The only no-vote came from Republican Representative Jeannette
Rankin, a pacifist from Montana.
Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was the first
woman ever elected to the House and served two terms, separated
by many years. During her first term from 1917 to 1919, she voted
against U.S. entry into World War I and subsequently lost her
bid for re-election.
Her second term was from 1941 to 1943.
Her vote against U.S. entry into World War II, following the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor, caused a sensation and she did not seek
re-election. She devoted the remainder of her life to pacifism
and feminism. In 1968, feisty 87-year-old Jeannette Rankin led
an anti-war march of 5,000 women in Washington, D.C., protesting
the Vietnam War.
Was there a formal declaration of war
by the U.S. for the Korean or Vietnam Wars?
U.S. involvement in the Korean War began
after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution
on June 27, 1950, requesting member countries to assist South
Korea which had been invaded by North Korea two days earlier.
Although 16 member nations sent troops, the United States under
President Harry Truman ultimately provided 90 percent of the military
aid to South Korea. North Korea received aid from China and the
Soviet Union. The conflict lasted until July 27, 1953, when a
cease-fire agreement was signed. However, there was no formal
peace treaty and thus the U.S. still maintains military forces
in South Korea to prevent another invasion.
U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War first
began in the 1950s as French forces battled North Vietnamese communists/nationalists
led by Ho Chi Minh. The U.S. provided up to 80 percent of military
supplies to the French. However, the French were defeated in 1954
at Dien Bien Phu and withdrew completely from Vietnam. The U.S.
then assumed the role of defending South Vietnam by providing
military equipment and training. But by the early 1960s, the U.S.
began direct combat involvement to aid the sagging South Vietnamese
army. In the summer of 1964, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly
passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution empowering President Lyndon
Johnson to take all necessary measures to protect U.S. forces
in the region following a North Vietnamese gunboat attack on a
U.S. Navy destroyer. Massive U.S. escalation then began with American
forces in Vietnam peaking at over 500,000 soldiers. By 1968, one
thousand Americans were killed each month. As public support for
the war seriously eroded, the U.S. under President Johnson and
his successor, President Richard Nixon, began a gradual military
withdrawal while negotiating for peace with the North Vietnamese.
In January 1973, a peace treaty was signed in Paris and the U.S.
withdrawal was complete. The U.S. continued to supply the South
Vietnamese army but chose not to resume an active combat role
after the North Vietnamese army successfully invaded the South
What was the quote by President John
F. Kennedy about how we all came from the sea?
The quote is actually a one paragraph excerpt
from an address the President gave during a dinner hosted by the
Australian Ambassador in Newport, Rhode Island, during the 1962
America's Cup festivities at The Breakers, the former Cornelius
"I really don't know why it is that
all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is
because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the
light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from
the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of
us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our
blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt
in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the
ocean. And we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to
watch it we are going back from whence we came."
What does the D in D-Day stand for?
It stands for the Designated Day for Operation
Overlord, the code name for the Allied invasion of Northern France
on June 6, 1944, during World War II.
Each major offensive during the war had
a code name. For example - Operation Torch was the name for the
Allied invasion of North Africa. Each Operation also had its own
D-Day, the actual day on which the attack would begin. Within
each D-Day, there was an H-Hour, designating the starting time
for the attack, usually just before dawn at 0500 hours in military
time, or 5 a.m. in civilian time.
Operation Overlord is now popularly referred
to simply as D-Day, a practice begun by news correspondents covering
the invasion, given the tremendous significance of the day in
which the long hoped-for liberation of northern Europe finally
Who made the 'And I did nothing' statement
concerning the Nazis?
It was Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a German
Protestant Pastor, who initially supported Hitler but later became
an outspoken critic of the Nazis. He was arrested in 1937 and
spent most of the war in German concentration camps.
His statement on how the Nazis took over
First they came for the Socialists, and
I did not speak out -- because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak
out -- because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out -- because
I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak
Why did the Nazis burn books?
The burning of books containing "un-German
ideas" by Nazi storm troopers and Nazi-affiliated college
students in May 1933 was a symbolic act demonstrating that the
new Nazi regime would not tolerate artistic, literary, scientific,
or political ideas that differed from their own anti-Semitic,
nationalist ideology, and also indicated they would use violence
to silence any opposition.
In the early 1800s, over a hundred years
earlier, the German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine had stated, "Where
books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too."
What does 'Sieg Heil' actually mean?
It means 'Hail to Victory.'
Heil - Hail
Sieg - Victory
But due to rules of German grammar, the sentence order is reversed
to Sieg Heil. It was a triumphal salute commonly used at Nazi
What did SA and SS stand for?
SA was the commonly used abbreviation
for the German term Sturmabteilung, which means 'storm detachment'
or 'storm troopers,' the brown-shirted Nazi street fighters. The
SA was a violent revolutionary political organization of young
men that helped Hitler achieve power by roaming the streets, battling
political opponents, and intimidating all those opposed to Hitler.
However, after Hitler came to power in
1933, he had much less need for this revolutionary force and wanted
to diminish it, instead relying on traditional German institutions
such as big industry and the Army to consolidate his position
as leader. But SA leaders wanted to continue in their revolutionary
role and even wanted to replace the traditional German Army. This
led Hitler to conduct a 'Blood Purge' in 1934 of the top SA leadership
and also led to the rise of the SS.
SS was the commonly used abbreviation
for the German term Schutzstaffel, which means 'defense echelon'
or 'elite guard,' the black-shirted personal guard of Adolf Hitler.
Founded in 1925 as Hitler's body guard,
the organization grew under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler
and was ultimately responsible for all police functions in Germany
and throughout occupied Europe. The SS also operated the Nazi
network of concentration camps as well as extermination centers
such as Auschwitz in occupied Poland, where nearly two million
civilians were murdered.
SS personnel wore lighting-bolt styled
SS letters on their collars and helmets styled after the ancient
Germanic 'Sieg' letter, meaning victory.
The military branch of the SS was known
as the Waffen (Armed) SS and featured troops with a reputation
as fanatical fighters and ruthless executioners.
How many Germans were actually card-carrying
Nazi Party members?
Before Hitler seized power (in 1933) only
850,000 out of 66 million Germans were card-carrying Nazis. After
the Nazi seizure of power, there was a big surge in membership.
At its peak, Party membership reached 8 million out of 80 million
Germans in 'Greater Germany' or about ten percent of the population.
Did Adolf Hitler have a middle name?
No. He was listed in the baptismal registry
simply as Adolfus Hitler.
How tall was Hitler?
He was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed
about 150 pounds.
Did Hitler have a favorite pet animal?
"Blondi" was the name of Hitler's
Alsatian dog, which he was very fond of. It was even with him
in his Berlin bunker at the end of the war and was destroyed on
Hitler's orders with poison shortly before his own death.
What kind of pistol did Hitler use to
Hitler used a 7.65-caliber Walther pistol
to kill himself inside his Berlin bunker about 3:30 p.m. on April
Does the Munich beer hall from Hitler's
Beer-Hall Putsch still exist?
No. The Bürgerbräu Keller, which
could seat over 2,000 persons, was the place where Hitler, Göring
and a few hundred Nazi storm troopers launched the failed Munich
Putsch (rebellion) on November 8, 1923, in an attempt to topple
Germany's democratic government. In November 1939, on the 16th
anniversary of the Putsch, a bomb was planted inside the beer
hall and exploded shortly after Hitler left the building. The
impact was so severe that it caused the roof to cave in. The hall
was later rebuilt and used as a service club for American troops
after the war but was demolished in 1958.
A second beer hall in Munich frequently
used as a meeting place by Hitler and his followers is called
the Hofbräuhaus. This is where Hitler outlined the 25 Points
of the Nazi Party program in 1920. This building was heavily damaged
during World War II but was restored and today serves as a popular
Where did the term Holocaust originate?
Holocaust is a word originally derived
from the Greek language, literary meaning 'burning.' The term
is also found in the Old Testament as a reference to burnt sacrifices.
In 1956, Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, wrote
a book entitled "And the World was Silent" which applied
the term Holocaust to the Nazi murder of six million Jews during
World War II. Over time, Wiesel's special usage of the term became
part of the English language and today is understood worldwide
as a reference to the systematic destruction of Europe's Jews
by the Nazis and their collaborators. In Israel, among those who
speak the Hebrew language, the term Shoah is commonly used instead
of Holocaust. Shoah is a Hebrew term from the Old Testament meaning
desolation or total destruction.
During World War II did the Japanese
ever attack the U.S. mainland?
Yes. On February 23, 1942, the oil refinery
at Ellwood near Santa Barbara, California, was shelled by a Japanese
submarine using its 5.5 inch deck gun. This was the first attack
on the U.S. mainland. Then on June 7, Japanese soldiers invaded
the U.S. Aleutian Islands off Alaska and remained there until
American troops retook the islands in May 1943.
are the names of the men in this famous photo?
During World War II in the Pacific, five
U.S. Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman raised the flag on Mount
Suribachi, Iwo Jima, using a piece of Japanese pipe as a mast,
on February 23, 1945.
The photo, which actually shows the second
flag raising on Mount Suribachi, was taken by Joe Rosenthal of
the Associated Press and became the most famous photo of the war.
There are four men seen in the front and
two somewhat hidden in the back. The front four are - left to
right, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Navy corpsman PhM
2/c John Bradley, and Cpl. Harlon Block. The back two are - Sgt.
Michael Strank, behind Sousley, and Pfc. Rene Gagnon, behind Bradley.
Three of the flag raisers, Franklin Sousley,
Harlon Block, and Michael Strank, were later killed as the fighting
raged on. By March 16, 1945, when Iwo Jima was declared secured,
6,821 Americans and 21,000 Japanese (the entire force) had died.
After the war, the three survivors of the
flag raising, Rene A. Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and John Bradley, posed
for sculptor Felix W. de Weldon, who constructed a statue inspired
by the scene which became the Marine Corps War Memorial at Arlington
National Cemetery. Inscribed on the statue's base is the tribute
of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to the fighting men of Iwo
Jima: "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue." Opposite
this, is the inscription: "In honor and in memory of men
of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to
their country since November 10, 1775." The Memorial was
officially dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November
What was the name of the plane that
dropped the (second) atomic bomb on Nagasaki?
The B-29 Superfortress was named "Bock's
Car" by Commander Frederick Bock, and was piloted by Major
Charles Sweeney, the only man to fly in both of the atomic missions
during World War II. On August 9, 1945, "Bock's Car"
departed the tiny island of Tinian in the South Pacific, overcame
a series of technical difficulties, and dropped the plutonium-based
bomb nicknamed "Fat Man" on Nagasaki. The original (primary)
target had been the city of Kokura, but it was bypassed due to
heavy cloud cover. At Nagasaki, the bomb, equivalent to 22,000
tons of TNT, destroyed nearly half the city and killed over 25,000
persons, with another estimated 45,000 later killed by radiation
How about the famous photo of the kissing
sailor at the end of the war?
Times Square, New
York, August 14, 1945. The photo was taken by Lt. Victor
Jorgensen of the U.S. Navy. His caption -- "New York
City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything
and kissed anybody in Times Square."
When did World War II officially end?
On December 31, 1946, President Harry Truman
issued a proclamation of formal cessation of World War II hostilities.