WWI: Battle of Fromelles Begins (1916)

The Battle of Fromelles was fought in France during World War I between Germany and a combined force of British and Australian troops. More than 1,500 British and 5,500 Australian soldiers were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. The battle resulted in a decisive victory for Germany, which suffered 1,500 casualties. The Australian War Memorial describes the battle as “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history.” The Allies had planned to launch the attack sooner, but were delayed by what? Discuss

La Cantuta Massacre (1992)

In 1992, a professor and nine students from Lima’s La Cantuta University were abducted by a military death squad, murdered, and secretly buried. The murders occurred during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori and his government’s battle against the guerilla terrorist group Shining Path. The massacre contributed to Fujimori’s conviction in 2009 on charges of human rights abuses, for which he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. What bombing was used as a justification for the La Cantuta Massacre? Discuss

Napalm Incendiary Bombs Dropped for First Time by US Air Force (1944)

Napalm is an organic compound used to thicken gasoline for use as an incendiary in flamethrowers and firebombs. The thickened mixture burns more slowly and can be propelled more accurately and farther than gasoline. When it comes in contact with surfaces, including the human body, it sticks and continues to burn. It was developed and first used by the US in World War II. Its use in the Vietnam War became highly controversial. “Napalm” is a combination of what two words? Discuss

Fire Ravages Rome's Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (1823)

In 1823, a worker repairing the roof of Rome’s Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls accidentally started a fire that resulted in its almost total destruction. The church, built under Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, had retained its original character for nearly 1,500 years. Reconstruction work began almost immediately with the aim of recreating the original structure. The viceroy of Egypt contributed alabaster pillars to the rebuilding effort, while the Russian emperor sent what? Discuss

The Darién Scheme: Ships Leave Scotland for Isthmus of Panama (1698)

In 1695, the Scottish Parliament passed an act chartering a trading company to open trade with Africa and the Indies in the hope that this would make Scotland a world trading nation. Backed by about a quarter of the country’s liquid assets, the Darién Company tried to establish a colony on the Isthmus of Panama to compete with the Dutch and Spanish, but both of its expeditions failed, nearly bankrupting Scotland in the process. The failures led to what acts of Parliament? Discuss

New York Draft Riots (1863)

The New York Draft Riots, in which more than 100 civilians were killed, were the largest civil insurrection in US history after the Civil War. The rioters were mainly working-class men who were angry because, for a $300 fee, the wealthy could buy their way out of the Civil War draft. The rioters burned draft headquarters and other buildings. Mobs also attacked African Americans, whom they blamed for the war. The riots are portrayed in an alternate-history novel co-written by what politician? Discuss

French National Assembly Adopts Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790)

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was an act passed during the French Revolution that subordinated the Roman Catholic Church to the state. Under the act, citizens would elect clergymen and the state would pay their wages. When the National Assembly ordered the clergy to take an oath supporting the Civil Constitution, many refused. The resulting schism within the French church caused many Catholics to turn against the Revolution. What effect did the constitution have on monastic orders? Discuss

The Los Alfaques Disaster (1978)

The Los Alfaques disaster was an explosion that took place near a campsite in Tarragona, Spain, when a leaking tanker truck loaded with 23 tons of highly flammable liquid propylene ignited. This resulted in a massive explosion and fireball that reached over 1000° F (538° C) and destroyed everything within a 1000-ft (300-m) radius. It killed 217 people, including the truck’s driver, and severely burned more than 200. What regulations were later instituted to prevent future disasters of this sort? Discuss

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) Formed (2000)

EADS is one of the world’s largest aerospace companies. It was formed in 2000 from the merger of Aerospatiale Matra of France, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace of Germany, and Construcciones Aeronáuticas S.A. of Spain. Responsible for the final assembly of Airbus aircraft, it is one of the top makers of commercial and military aircraft. It is also one of the major arms manufacturers in Europe, and its divisions also produce communications systems, space rockets, and satellites. Where is it based? Discuss

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans Exhibition Opens (1962)

One of the most influential artists of the late 20th century, Warhol began painting in the late 1950s and received sudden notoriety in 1962, when he exhibited 32 silkscreened paintings of Campbell’s soup cans in a California art gallery. The blatantly mundane content of the exhibition ran contrary to the abstract expressionist aesthetic of the time and generated much controversy, establishing Warhol as the leading exponent of the pop art movement. How did the soup cans differ from one another? Discuss