World’s Strangest

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The Teenager Who Flew into Red Square

Do you remember Mathias Rust? Hard to believe, but it’s been 25 years since the 19-year-old pilot flew from his home in West Germany and landed in the center of Moscow, breaking through every Soviet defense. Once the police had recovered from the shock of finding an unauthorised aircraft parked at the gates of the Kremlin, [...]

The Kuba Komet

The Kuka Komet was a home entertainment system manufactured in West Germany from 1957-1962. The oddly angular upper section could rotate and included eight speakers. The bottom section opened to reveal a radio, a record player and an optional wire audio recorder. The Komet was very expensive: The suggested retail price for this model was 2,798 DeutchMarks [...]

A Brief History of Olympic Defectors

Getty Images For some athletes, the Olympics aren’t just a competition: they’re a chance to escape oppression. Earlier this week, seven of Cameroon’s athletes disappeared from London’s Olympic Village. The week before, three runners from Sudan’s Olympic training squad filed for asylum in Britain. Here’s a look at some other Olympic defections. 1948 Summer Olympics: London Marie Provaznikova, [...]

6 Revolutionary Groups That Robbed Their Country’s Banks

© ALI HAIDER/epa/Corbis Back in May, The Washington Post reported that Libyan rebels had obtained funds by “liberating” government assets worth $505 million in the Central Bank of Libya’s Benghazi branch. Ali Tarhouni (pictured), the rebels’ minister of finance, explained the move to foreign journalists: “Let me put this way: We robbed our own bank.” Locksmiths [...]

The Fall of the Wall

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into History Again. The East German government called the Berlin Wall “the Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier.” But the machine guns along its length were pointed inward, toward East Berlin, not outward. Shortly after midnight on August 13, 1961, the city of Berlin was cut [...]

How Moby Dick Cleaned Up The Rhine

by Michael Ward In 1966, a beluga whale swam the wrong way up the Rhine—and wound up paving the way for environmental reform in Germany. When World War II finally came to an end, Germany was in shambles. Its cities had been transformed into forests of twisted steel and broken concrete, and the German people were [...]

Chicken Bomb

During the early years of the Cold War, Britain proposed placing nuclear mines along the eastern border of West Germany. These could be detonated when Warsaw Pact armies crossed, destroying them and deterring follow-on forces from invading Western Europe. But there was a problem with the mine design. It tended to freeze during the winter [...]

10 Controversial Horror Movies For Halloween

If you’re looking to ramp up for Halloween by watching some horror flicks, you could go the typical route of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street marathons, but if you’re really looking for a spooky movie fest, why not go the extra mile. The films on this list are all so violent [...]

Color Photos of Germany’s WWII Surrender

Photo: Ronald Playforth Early in May, 1945, officers from the German army and Gestapo met with Allied commanders, including Field Marshall Montgomery to offer their country’s surrender at his headquarters near Hamburg. Interestingly, the only color photographs of this event were taken by a clerk, Ronald Playforth, who hid in the trees during the meeting. Thequintessential wrote [...]

Angela Merkel: The Sharp Axe of Reason

The global recession has hit Germany hard; its economy will likely shrink by 6 percent this year alone. Why should you care? Because it has the biggest economy in Europe and it’s the biggest exporter in the world. More than that, you should care because an economic meltdown in Germany could change the course of [...]