On May 23rd, 1967, the United States Air Force scrambled to ready nuclear missile-laden aircraft for deployment. Radar systems designed to detect incoming Soviet missiles had just been disrupted, in what the military perceived to be an act of war. But before any nukes were launched in retaliation, it seems Air Force…
The onset of World War I and the current climate change crisis have a lot more in common than you might think. Here’s why the two historical events are eerily similar—and why it’s so damn hard for us to prevent a self-inflicted disaster that everyone knows is coming.
Chances are you’ve never heard of the Port Chicago disaster. Yet it was the worst catastrophe on the US home front during World War II. It was the single deadliest incident on the mainland during the war, and remains one of the worst calamities to ever hit the San Francisco Bay Area.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the first time in history that one nation tried to defeat another using airstrikes. Here’s how the Nazis thought they could do it—and how agonizingly close they actually came to achieving victory.
From 1932 to 1943, the Soviet ambassador to London kept a personal diary, the details of which were only recently revealed. It tells the exceptional story of a diplomat who tried to harmonize Soviet and British interests, while also demonstrating how events could have unfolded very differently.
The First World War was instigated by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but it’s no small miracle that a general European war didn’t happen earlier. Here are 7 international crises in the years before 1914 that could have started a global-scale conflict.
Sometimes progress requires huge risks. Just ask William Randolph “Randy” Lovelace II, who wanted to prove that an oxygen mask could protect pilots from blacking out at high altitudes when they bailed out of their planes. See his story for yourself, in this Fusion video which we’re premiering exclusively at io9.
The United States has experienced its share of military successes over the years. But its armed forces have also suffered some terrible setbacks. Here are eight of the very worst.
A century ago today, the world’s most famous luxury liner, the Lusitania, was sunk by a German U-boat. It was a shocking incident, one that signaled a disturbing change in how the war was to be fought. It also set the U.S. on a path that would eventually lead it to war. Here’s what happened on that fateful day in May.
This coming Sunday marks the centenary of one of WWI’s most infamous campaigns: Gallipoli. It was an audacious attempt by the Entente to break the European deadlock with a master stroke. Instead, it quickly turned into a hellish ordeal and a resounding defeat. Here’s why Gallipoli seemed like a good idea at the time…
A lot of brainpower goes into designing weapons of war. Unfortunately, in a complicated situation, brainpower is a terrible substitute for testing. Here are some of the ingenious weapons of war that were great on paper and terrible in practice.
It's the 70th anniversary of one of the darkest days of the Second World War, when Allied planes bombed the medieval German of city of Dresden into oblivion. To commemorate this tragic event, a photographer has revisited the sites to compare archived historical photos with present day scenes.
Ever since the first armored vehicles crawled across the tortured battlescapes of World War I, tanks have become an indelible fixture of land warfare. Many tank-on-tank engagements have occurred over the years, some more significant — and epic — than others. Here are 10 you need to know about.
Recently declassified documents obtained by the National Security Archive reveal that the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations were considering military action to prevent or delay China from building nuclear weapons — even if that meant working with Moscow to stage an accidental bombing.
From 1802 until his exile in 1815, Napoleon embarked on several massive campaigns across virtually all of Europe. This new video shows the changing front lines from his position as Consul for Life to his historic defeat at Waterloo.
Amateur military historian EmperorTigerstar has created a fascinating timelapse video showing the changing front lines of the American Civil War for each day of the conflict.
The First World War may have have featured static battlefields and attritional strategies, but that doesn't mean the course of events from 1914 to 1918 couldn't have unfolded differently. Here are 11 events that could have changed the outcome of the Great War.
Researchers from the NOAA have discovered two sunken vessels from a Second World War convoy battle about 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The German U-boat 576 and a merchant ship, Bluefields, were found just a few hundred yards apart. The find shows just how close the war came to American shores.
History remembers trench warfare as wasteful, futile, and uninspired, but in reality it was a deeply thought-out system that underwent constant revision. Here's how it worked during World War I.
Nearly two decades before the onset of World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm II set his imperialistic sights on the Americas. But to establish a presence there, Germany would have to put the U.S. in its place. To that end, it devised not one, but three plans to attack and invade America. Here's how history could have unfolded…