The unbelievable story of how Pepsi Cola once owned the 6th Largest Navy, but failed to win the cola wars in Eastern Europe. by James McKean During the reign of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union existed almost entirely free of western influence. Stalin’s U.S.S.R strove for self-sufficiency, meaning minimum effort was put into forming trade relationships with other states. The Soviet Union’s...
Hungry Duck Moscow
Sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. Rock stars promote it, but only one bar truly epitomised the hedonistic lifestyle adored by so many. Bullets in the walls, hundreds of bar fights, and with a reputation for female customers dancing on bar tops, the Hungry Duck earned its infamous standing in history. But what brought the downfall of Moscow's most infamous bar? By...
According to the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, Ivar's bonelessness was the result of a curse. But he was not an imaginary character in a viking saga; he was a real man who won real battles. History Channel's 'Vikings' recently portrayed him as a cruel, disabled leader. What is myth and what is truth in the tale of Ivar the...
The story of the Lewis Chessmen and why Igor Radulovic believes they do not just represent Scottish history but also a shared European history By Igor Radulovic When we look at the history of humankind, and all the civilisations that have existed over thousands of years, we can create a conclusion that there has been no social game with the same...
Culloden Anniversary 2020 – Ceann-bhliadhna Chùl Lodair 2020 Rare audio of Gaelic songs inspired by the Jacobite cause has been shared online to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. On 16th April 1746 a battle took place on Drumossie Moor that would echo around the world. It was here that the Jacobites lost their final stand against Government forces,...
Hanns Scharff
The Nazis had a well-deserved reputation for brutality but one officer Hanns Scharff seems to have taken the opposite approach to interrogations – baking for Pows and inviting them to go on country walks. His approach was successful – and emulated by the CIA. Who was Hanns Scharff, how did his techniques work, and what is his legacy? By James...
Shebeen Scotland
Shebeens are a phenomena that have lasted centuries. These illegal, secretive places were kept under wraps. Knowledge passed on by word of mouth, friend to friend. Yet where did these Shebeens come from? And are they still around today? By Andrew Cook It’s typical of humanity. We created alcohol, we set restrictions around drinking alcohol, then we kept drinking anyway, regardless...
Potato Famine memorial
An Gorta Mór, or The Great Hunger, was a time of tragedy, famine, and death for Ireland, however less mentioned is the Gaiseadh a’ bhuntàta. The blight reigned down death and destruction upon the Highlands, but paved the way for a new era in Scotland’s future. By Andrew Cook 18th and 19th Century Scotland was an era of struggle. The Jacobites...
President Abraham Lincoln is known for many things such as his signature stovepipe hat, his great height, and the Emancipation Proclamation,. But his early life as a champion wrestler comes as a surprise to many - he is even honoured in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame! By Phil Taylor Abraham Lincoln might be known for being one the greatest Presidents...
Gay DDR
East Germany forged an infamous reputation. With overpowering displays of totalitarianism, the German Democratic Republic employed it’s secretive State Police Agency, the Stasi, ruthlessly and overzealously. Yet LGBT freedoms eventually rivalled, and even surpassed many other countries. But what was behind the Stasi’s pro-LGBT policies?  By Andrew Cook November 9th, 1989. The Berlin Wall came crashing down. After 40 years of...