Facts, figures and historical battles from around the world

Zelaya, José Santos

(1853–1919) Nicaraguan leader The president of Nicaragua from 1893 to 1909, José Santos Zelaya was leader of the Liberal Party in Nicaragua for many years and a critic of U.S. foreign policy in the region. Zelaya was born on November 1, 1853, and on May 20, 1893, he became one of the three members of… read more »

Washington Conference and Treaties (1921–1922)

In 1921 President Warren Harding of the United States called an international conference in Washington, D.C., and invited representatives of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, China, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Portugal to attend. The issues at hand were a looming naval race between the United States and Japan, the uneasiness felt by Great Britain and… read more »

Weimar Republic

The term most commonly used for the government of Germany from 1919 until 1933, named after the town in central Germany where its constitution was drafted, the Weimar Republic was Germany’s first experiment with a liberal democratic government. Throughout its existence the Weimar Republic faced almost constant attacks from the radical left and radical right… read more »

Chaim Weizmann

(1874–1952) Zionist leader, first president of Israel Chaim Weizmann was one of the founders of the modern state of Israel. Born in Motol (now in Belarus) when it was under Russian rule, Weizmann studied chemistry in Switzerland, where he met his future wife, Vera Chatzman, a medical student. In 1904 they moved to England, where… read more »

Woodrow Wilson

(1856–1924) U.S. president Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, in 1856. Wilson’s father, a Presbyterian minister, moved the family during the Civil War to Georgia, where his son witnessed the devastation wrought upon the South by Northern troops; this left a lifetime impression on him. Wilson graduated from the College of New Jersey… read more »

women’s suffrage and rights

It took civil disobedience and a world war, but after 1900 new campaigns in the long struggle for woman suffrage finally succeeded. By 1950 most of the world’s women could vote, although holdout nations remained. Legal restrictions and customs also discouraged women from seeking political office. Success made some important changes in women’s lives. Yet… read more »

World War I

In the spring of 1914 President Woodrow Wilson sent his chief adviser, Colonel E. M. House, on a fact-finding mission to Europe. Greatly disturbed by the obvious escalating tension generated by international rivalries House reported: “The situation is extraordinary. . . . It only needs a spark to set the whole thing off.” The incident… read more »

World War II

The eventful years between September 1, 1939, and September 2, 1945, form a landmark in world history. From the march of the German war machine into Poland to the Japanese surrender, the world witnessed the most destructive war in human history, fought on land, in the air, and on the sea worldwide. The causes of… read more »

Xi’an (Sian) incident (1936)

The Long March (1934–35) severely damaged the Chinese Communists, who continued to fight from their new base in northern Sha’anxi (Shensi) province in northwestern China. Pursuing his policy of “first domestic pacification, then resisting Japan,” Chiang Kaishek, leader of the Nationalist government, appointed Zhang Xueliang (Chang Hsueh-liang), the ousted warlord of Manchuria, and his Manchurian… read more »