Showing posts from 2017

Yang Kyoungjong - The Most Captured Man of WW2

     It is rare that a man can say that he fought for three different sides in a war. However Yang Kyoungjong could. And what makes his story particularly amazing is that never once did he volunteer, instead he was conscripted every single time. Here is his story     His adventure began in 1938. Now most basic history books show World War Two started in 1939, and while this is certainly the case for Europe, the war in Asia goes all the way back to 1931 with the initial Japanese invasion of Chinese Manchuria. In 1938, eighteen year old Yang, a Korean national was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army. At the time Korea was a Japanese colony and Koreans were often drafted into service, especially for support roles. A year later Yang found himself stationed with the Japanese Kwantung Army along the Mongolian border with  Manchukuo (Japanese name for occupied Manchuria). At the time Mongolia was a communist state allied closely with the Soviet Union.That is a nice way of saying that Mo

Going Postal- The Birth and Death of the American Letter Mail Company

     In the modern world we are very used to ordering something online and having someone from FedEx, UPS, DHL, or the United States Postal Service delivering it to our door. The competition between carriers has largely benefited the consumer, as it helps to keep prices moderately low. However, there was a time in the history of the United States when there was only one delivery service, and the United States Post Office was terribly expensive. One man decided he could do it better and cheaper. His name was Lysander Spooner. Lysander Spooner in his later, and more radical years. He turned to individual anarchism following the Civil War.      Today if we want to mail a letter via the post office, we buy a forever stamp for one ounce of mail. However from the dawn of the post office until the 1840's, there was no real standardized rate. You were charged based on the size of the letter, where it was sent from, as well as its destination. If it had to go on a boat, extra fee

The Bat Man of Iowa

Some of you readers may recall the post about the famous "Angels of Mons" that I wrote about a few years back. It was about a historical legend of the British army regarding an early battle in the First World War. Well this post is something similar and closer to home (since I live in Iowa). Hopefully you will enjoy this curious Edwardian urban legend which is part of our social history in the Hawkeye State. If you go to the town of Van Meter Iowa today you will see a sleepy little community of around 1,100 people. At the turn of the 20th century, the number of residents was about 40% of what it is today. It was truly a small quiet village about 20 miles from Des Moines. However over the course of several days in the autumn of 1903, something bizarre happened in Van Meter that would gain the attention of the national and worldwide press.  One evening, an agricultural implement dealer named U.G. Griffith reported seeing something on a downtown rooftop. He initially thought

The Communist Chocolate Bar Plot

      In 1947, life in Canada was changing. Much like in the USA, the economy was transitioning away from the wartime model and back to nor mal. In many ways this was a truly positive thing. As the war contracts ran out, many manufacturers started producing goods for the civilian marke t again in large numbers. Automobile makers had t heir first new mo dels in years, rationing of goods li ke sug ar, gasoline, rubber tires, and nylon were phased out. Life looked on the sur face to be getting back to the nor malcy people knew before t he Germans marched into Poland in 1939. However for quite a few, the transition was hurting them in the one place people hate the most, in their pocketbook.        Du ring the wartime years it was well understood by many governments that suppl ying the troops as well as the homefront with goods would cause shortages. Simple supply and demand economics dictates a sharp rise in prices when there are short ages. Governments were eager to keep the populac