The Birth of Wheelchair Basketball

World War II Veterans Popularized the Sport—And Changed the Game for the Disability Rights Movement

On an unremarkable Wednesday evening in the spring of 1948, 15,561 spectators flocked to New York’s Madison Square Garden to watch two teams of World War II veterans play an exhibition basketball game.

The servicemen who took to the hardwood that night were as extraordinarily ordinary as any group of veterans. They could have been the “mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys” from Ernie Pyle’s Pulitzer Prize–winning columns, or “Willie and Joe” from Bill Mauldin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoons. They were your brother, your neighbor, your best friend from high school.

Except, they were different. The home …

What We Don’t Understand About Fascism | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What We Don’t Understand About Fascism

Using the Word Incorrectly Oversimplifies History—And Won't Help Us Address Our Current Political Crisis

At the moment, fascism has to be the most sloppily used term in the American political vocabulary. If you think fascists are buffoonish, racist, misogynist despots, the people who support …

The West Virginia Hotel Workers Who Ironed the Sheets of Their Enemies | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The West Virginia Hotel Workers Who Ironed the Sheets of Their Enemies

After World War II Broke Out, Hundreds of Axis Diplomats Were Detained in America’s Rural Luxury Resorts

In the 1930s, as the drumbeats of war in Europe and the Far East grew louder, Americans maintained their workaday lives and strived for business as usual—as did their employers. …

The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The World War II “Wonder Drug” That Never Left Japan

For Workers and Soldiers, Taking Methamphetamine Was a Patriotic Duty That Hooked a Generation

Amphetamines, the quintessential drug of the modern industrial age, arrived relatively late in the history of mind-altering substances—commercialized just in time for mass consumption during World War II. In fact, …

Why Are So Many Eastern Europeans Suddenly Celebrating Nazi Collaborators?

New National Mythologies Rely on ‘Heroes’ That Help Downplay the Holocaust

When is a hero not really a hero? When a country resurrects a tainted figure to serve the needs of a new national mythology. Consider the case of Latvian national …