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      Today in context, September 30, 2020

      “Peace for Our Time”

      On September 30, 1938, Britain and France approved the German annexation of the Sudetenland in an ultimately futile effort to head off World War II.
      Where is the Sudetenland?
      Composed of sections of the historical regions of Bohemia and Moravia, it is now part of the Czech Republic.
      Who is most associated with the Munich Agreement?
      British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared that Britain and France had obtained “peace with honor” by forsaking their Czechoslovak allies.
      So...appeasement didn’t work?
      Shockingly, the world would discover that trying to engage in dialogue with heavily armed fascists is not a winning strategy.
      And nobody saw that coming?
      Churchill observed, “We seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feeling is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a little later on even more adverse terms than at present.”

      Was Rebel Without a Cause Cursed?

      On September 30, 1955, James Dean died in a car accident. The 24-year-old actor had made only three movies by that point, including Rebel Without a Cause, which was released posthumously. After two of that film’s other stars also suffered untimely deaths—Natalie Wood drowned under mysterious circumstances at age 43 and Sal Mineo was murdered at 37—some came to consider the movie “cursed.”
      A Classic Tale of Teenage Rebellion and Angst
      article / Entertainment & Pop Culture
      ? Warner Borthers, Inc.
      Did James Dean Win an Oscar?
      article / Entertainment & Pop Culture
      ? 1955 Warner Brothers, Inc.; photograph from a private collection
      At What Age Did Natalie Wood Begin Acting?
      article / Entertainment & Pop Culture
      United Artists/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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      Presidential Debates

      Illustration of Republican presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln debating his opponet Stephen A. Douglas in front of crown, c. 1858. (Stephen Douglas)
      The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

      The contest for a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois became a proxy for the debate over slavery in the United States.

      Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon, left, debates Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic presidential nominee uring a live broadcast from a New York television studio of their fourth presidential debate, Oct. 21, 1960. (John Kennedy, Richard Nixon)
      The Kennedy-Nixon Debates

      The first televised presidential debates marked the dawn of a new era in campaigning. Audiences who listened on the radio tended to think Nixon had won, while those who watched on TV claimed victory for Kennedy.

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      Entertainment & Pop Culture Entertainment & Pop Culture
      Entertainment and leisure activities have been a part of all cultures in one form or another since the ancient times, whether the activity in question involved participating in a dance performance, attending a Broadway show, going to a music festival, or watching a movie.
      Geography & Travel Geography & Travel
      Planet Earth contains some extraordinarily diverse environments, some of which are easily habitable and some not so much. In different areas of Earth, one might find sweltering deserts, dense tropical rainforests, or bone-chilling tundras. Each biome and habitat comes with its own selection of flora and fauna, and it may include physical features such as canyons, volcanoes, rivers, or caves. Human beings have built homes in many different environments, settling the area and organizing it into units such as cities, states, regions, and countries, each with its own points of interest. Shifting trends in human migration have resulted in a human geography that is profoundly different from that of centuries ago.
      Health & Medicine Health & Medicine
      The study of the human mind and body, how these function, and how they interact—not only with each other but also with their environment—has been of utmost importance in ensuring human well-being. Research on potential treatments and preventive medicine has expanded greatly with the development of modern medicine, and a network of disciplines, including such fields as genetics, psychology, and nutrition, aims to facilitate the betterment of our health.
      Lifestyles & Social Issues Lifestyles & Social Issues
      It's easy enough to agree that human beings all around the world have certain basic requirements that must be fulfilled in order to ensure their individual and collective well-being. History has shown us, however, that it's not so easy to form societies or communities that fulfill these requirements for all members. The fight over human and civil rights has persisted for hundreds of years and remains alive today, both within the borders of nations and on an international scale. It has led to large-scale social movements and reforms concerning issues such as suffrage, slavery, women's rights, racial discrimination, environmentalism, gay rights, and more.
      Literature Literature
      With the development of language, the human imagination has found a way to create and communicate through the written word. A literary work can transport us into a fictional, fantastic new world, describe a fleeting feeling, or simply give us a picture of the past through novels, poems, tragedies, epic works, and other genres. Through literature, communication becomes an art, and it can bridge and bond people and cultures of different languages and backgrounds.
      Philosophy & Religion Philosophy & Religion
      Humans have long pondered not only how we came to be but also why we came to be. The earliest Greek philosophers focused their attention upon the origin and nature of the physical world; later philosophers have theorized about the nature of knowledge, truth, good and evil, love, friendship, and much more. Thus, philosophy involves a methodical assessment of any and all aspects of human existence and experience. The realms of philosophy and religion have sometimes intersected in conducting inquiries such as these. As with philosophy, the study of religion underscores how humankind has long speculated about its origins. The possibility of a higher being (or beings) to which livings things owe their existence has long captived human thought. Many religions also offer their own views on the nature of good and evil, and they may prescribe guidelines and judgment on different kinds of human behavior.
      Politics, Law & Government Politics, Law & Government
      The world today is divided territorially into more than 190 countries, each of which possesses a national government that claims to exercise sovereignty and seeks to compel obedience to its will by its citizens. Governments can be classified in any number of ways. For example, they might be classified by the number of rulers, thus distinguishing government by one (as in a monarchy or a tyranny) from government by the few (in an aristocracy or oligarchy) and from government by the many (as in a democracy). Governments can also be classified by mode of succession; for example, ascension to governmental leadership may follow the rules of hereditary succession, or it may be determined through elections or by force. Governments also vary in terms of the laws and rules of conduct that each political entity follows.
      Science Science
      How can the sky be blue one day and stormy the next? Why do heavy objects tend to fall downwards when dropped? How are birds able to fly (and why can’t I do the same?)? Human beings have long been curious about the world in which we live, striving to identify connections among the phenomenons we witness and to understand how it all works. The field of science has developed over many centuries as a way of studying and understanding the world, beginning with the primitive stage of simply noting important regularities in nature and continuing through the rise of modern science. The modern-day sciences cover a vast range of fields, including biology, chemistry, meteorology, astronomy, physics, and much more.
      Sports & Recreation Sports & Recreation
      Physical contests and recreational games have long played a part in human society. In both team and solo sports, the human body has been pushed to its limits in the name of improving athletic performance and to break record upon record. The ancient Olympic Games are an early example of the contests in which humans have engaged to showcase physical prowess. In modern times, sports and games have evolved into a lucrative and competitive industry, while other leisure activities, such as card and video games, can be competitive or can just be a way to unwind or socialize.
      Technology Technology
      Humankind has long striven to improve its living conditions through the development of tools, instruments, and transportation and communications systems, all with the goal of making our lives easier, more productive and—why not—more fun, too! Thanks to human curiosity and technological research, many significant inventions have been made throughout history that in turn made a difference in our daily lives.
      Visual Arts Visual Arts
      These are the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion through an expression of skill and imagination. They include the most ancient forms, such as painting and drawing, and the arts that were born thanks to the development of technology, like sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation art, the latter a combination of multiple creative expressions. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different eras in art history have had their own principles to define beauty, from the richly ornamented taste of the Baroque to the simple, utilitarian style of the Prairie School.
      World History World History
      Does history really repeat itself, or can we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us? History provides a chronological, statistical, and cultural record of the events, people, and movements that have made an impact on humankind and the world at large throughout the ages. Investigating the causes and results of past events is critically important in gaining a full understanding and perspective of present-day issues.

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