History Impossible
The Muslim Nazis I: Early Adventures with Imperial German Islamophilia

The Muslim Nazis I: Early Adventures with Imperial German Islamophilia

January 22, 2021
"The peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France. ... Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poiters, then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world."
-Adolf Hitler
 
The first episode of History Impossible's first series introduces one of the most controversial aspects of Nazi Germany's strategy in the Second World War: its implementation of Muslims. Where one could simply write it off as mere opportunism--a claim that isn't without some truth--there was a much deeper connection between the two cultures fabricated by figures operating within them.
 
In this series premiere, the Islamic soldiers who would fight for Hitler's army and even begin to develop a reputation are introduced and then the early days of Imperial German-Islamic allyship is explored. There are visits to the tomb of Saladin by the Kaiser, frantic diplomatic trips full of mishaps undertaken by German Orientalists during the First World War, and the introduction of probably one of the most underappreciated figures in both the Second World War and in the history of Israel and Palestine. 
 
This is the history of the so-called "Muslim Nazis."
 
History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:
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An Impossible Announcement: History Impossible in 2021

An Impossible Announcement: History Impossible in 2021

January 18, 2021

This is a quick announcement I'd like to make regarding History Impossible's immediate future, which is mostly tied up in this inaugural long-term series--a season really--which needs a bit of explaining and reassuring (specifically to folks who prefer one-off stories). In addition, I couldn't resist making a quick comment about history being essentially made on January 6th, 2021 in Washington D.C., regardless of how you interpreted the events. 

2021's future, however uncertain for a lot of people and even for the United States, is looking bright for History Impossible, so I'll be with you all the way, hopefully entertaining and enlightening you as we move into the future with this crazy and no-doubt controversial story involving Islam, the Nazis, Israel and Palestine, and Yugoslavia.

Best wishes,

Alexander von Sternberg

Please note: the first episode of this series is live on Patreon as we speak. If you want early access to the newest episodes of this series moving forward, consider supporting the show on Patreon at the $10 level or above!

An Impossible Interview IV: Aaron Sibarium, The Washington Free Beacon

An Impossible Interview IV: Aaron Sibarium, The Washington Free Beacon

December 4, 2020

The Impossible Interviews series is back with a different, but still special conversation I had with the amazingly talented and insightful Aaron Sibarium. Aaron is an associate editor over at the Washington Free Beacon, as well as a writer for various publications including National Review, Quillette, and American Purpose, the last of which published one of Aaron's essays on October 26th, 2020, the exact same day as Pandemic: Rendering a Hue and Cry was released on History Impossible's feed. The name of Aaron's essay: "The Weimarization of the American Republic." And it was completely and totally brilliant.

Aaron and I had never spoken before I reached out on Twitter to arrange this interview. He had no idea who I was and until I started reading his work, I had no idea who he was. And yet we had largely come to the same conclusion regarding America's current moment in the historical context, completely independent of one another. It was too much to pass up talking to this guy so, as I just said, I reached out and the conversation we had is what follows here.

This is much more of a "current events" style episode, though it's all very firmly rooted in history, both recent and in the Weimar era. After getting into some of Aaron's background and the growing power of the successor ideology to left-liberalism (of which Aaron was at ground zero while attending Yale), we discuss how similar the current moment is to that of the Weimar period and more importantly, how it differs. And as an added bonus, we spent some time discussing another topic Aaron has covered, which is post-liberalism from a conservative perspective and how it's recently manifested itself, and frankly, just where the hell we go from here.

It's an incredibly fascinating conversation and I'm really thankful to Aaron for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with me, so please enjoy! I also encourage everyone to check out Aaron's work and follow him on Twitter @AaronSibarium.

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:
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Infinitesimal Impossibilities 02: The Mad Madame of New Orleans

Infinitesimal Impossibilities 02: The Mad Madame of New Orleans

November 20, 2020
History Impossible is back sooner than some may have anticipated for another installment of the Infinitesimal Impossibilities series, this time recorded in the spirit (and in the last hours) of Halloween 2020.
 
This time, we cover a story that takes place in early 19th century New Orleans. It begins with a fire, or rather perhaps concludes with one. A large mansion whose hosts had been entertaining guests, catches fire from its upstairs kitchen. As people pour into the streets to watch the blaze, they see one of the slaves screaming from an upstairs window before she is engulfed in flames.
 
When the fire brigade arrives, they demand to enter the premises to put out the remaining flames and check for survivors. The owner of the home, a Madame Delphine LaLaurie, and her husband, Dr. LaLaurie, wave away such suggestions. The fire brigade nevertheless gets their wish and enters the home, searching for survivors. After breaking open a secret door, the horrors they encounter on the other side beggar belief.
 
Just as they discover the secret room, Dr. and Madame LaLaurie are spirited away in a carriage, never to be seen again.
 
Who was Madame LaLaurie? Who was her husband, the good doctor? What was found behind the secret door? To where did this couple from the cream of the New Orleans high society crop disappear? Why did people come to believe the rebuilt mansion and its grounds were haunted? How much of the stories spun about the Mad Madame, as she came to be known, are even true? How does Nicolas Cage fit into all this? This will all be answered and more in this next installment of Infinitesimal Impossibilities.
 
History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:
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Pandemic: Rendering a Hue and Cry

Pandemic: Rendering a Hue and Cry

October 26, 2020

This episode is dedicated to Franco Bolelli.

Since it's the year of our lord 2020, it was only inevitable that we'd talk about pandemics on History Impossible.

What follows is an exploration of not just a pandemic and not just the most physically destructive pandemic in all of human history. What follows is an exploration of what a pandemic actually does. And by "does," we're talking about what it does to the human body, the human mind, and the wider social psychology of societies themselves, and of course, the historical consequences that result.

The 1918 H1N1 Influenza A pandemic--better known as the "Spanish flu"--is known as a lot of things. A bizarre historical footnote that no one wanted to discuss. A force of nature more destructive than the Great War itself, rivaled only by the Second World War. And according to a small handful of medical historians, sociologists, and economists, quite possibly the reason for how things in that so-called "War to End All Wars" turned out and thus, everything that happened afterward.

These are all things that will be covered and more, as the impossible case is laid that the Spanish flu was not just the secret fuel that powered the monumental tragedies of the 20th century, but gives us insight into the very thing that could eventually act as the fuel for the tragedies for the 21st.

Special thanks to Vinny Andreotti, Sergey Cheremisinov, and Molly Pan & Eric Guillen for their incredible musical skills.

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:

  • Elias Borota
  • Matthew Dakus
  • Gavin Edwards
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  • Jose Martinez
  • Mike Mayleben
  • Judy McCoid
  • Kostas Moros
  • Molly Pan
  • Jake Petersen
  • John Pisano
  • Edmund Plamowski
  • Brian Pritzl
  • PJ Rader
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  • Sam
  • Emily Schmidt
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BONUS! Ripples of Impossible History (on Fire): Confucius

BONUS! Ripples of Impossible History (on Fire): Confucius

October 9, 2020

As many of you are aware, I was recently featured among many other, far more talented history podcasters on Daniele Bolelli's History on Fire podcast in which we all discussed various figures and events in history that created massive ripples that no one could have predicted. My segment was focused on Confucius and how he basically shaped Chinese civilization forever, from the level of the family to the running of the government even under the Communists.

In a generous move, the fine people at Luminary Media decided to let all of us present our segments on our own podcast feeds, so if you would like to hear my segment on its own as a little bonus, here you go! It's short (well, miniscule) by History Impossible standards, but it's got all the hallmarks: a weirdo main character, far reaching effects and influence, and consequences no one could possibly have predicted. 

Many thanks to Daniele Bolelli for organizing this, to my amazingly talented fellow podcasters, and to the folks at Luminary for making this all possible.

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:

  • Elias Borota
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Infinitesimal Impossibilities 01: The American Turtle

Infinitesimal Impossibilities 01: The American Turtle

September 24, 2020
As History Impossible reaches its two year mark and the episodes get longer and longer, I figured that now was the time to do something different, namely to add a new show to the History Impossible family, as I've been calling it: Infinitesimal Impossibilities. These are stories that are simply too small--bite-sized, if you will--in comparison to the epic stories that have come to characterize History Impossible and to help me out with this, I've brought on my amazing Pop Quiz co-host (and victim) Molly Pan to help keep us on course.
 
And speaking of staying on course, this first Infinitesimal Impossibility is indeed about a device that had a lot of a trouble staying on course without an amazing pilot behind it (and an ingenious design for its time). That would be the American Turtle, the first combat submarine ever deployed in the world. What makes this story so seemingly impossible has everything to do with when this device operated, namely in the lack of appropriate technology and the insane ingenuity and clever know-how by its creator, David Bushnell.
 
So sit back and enjoy this first of hopefully many installments of Infinitesimal Impossibilities. As always, many thanks to Molly Pan for the artwork AND co-hosting duties.
 

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:

  • Elias Borota
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A Very British Samurai (Assimilation)

A Very British Samurai (Assimilation)

August 7, 2020

Japan in the 16th and 17th century was going through profound changes, not least of which being the ongoing civil war that had been ripping it apart for over a century, with warlord fighting warlord on a whim, the famed samurai chopping each other to bits on scales rarely seen elsewhere in the world. The other profound change involved men in black robes preaching the word of a god that the Japanese people had never heard of, but who many nonetheless gravitated toward. The Jesuits of Portugal followed by the Franciscan friars were in the process of converting an entire nation to their religious apparatus, as part of a long game of colonization, all while the three great unifiers of Japan--warlords who took control in sequence, sometimes by force--we struggling to bring Japan together under their own banner.

 

It was in April of 1600 that everything would change for everyone, when a Dutch ship piloted by one of the best English pilots Europe had ever seen, laid anchor off the coast of the southern island of Kyushu, its crew starving and half-mad after nearly two years trying to brave the two largest oceans on earth, losing not just most of their crew but the other four ships of the fleet she'd been a part of. 

 

The pilot of this ship would not only become the spokesperson for both the Dutch and the British, but essentially all foreign powers trying to do business in Japan from here on out. And somehow, against all odds, he would manage to not just impress the shogun vying to rule over all of Japan--the famous Tokugawa Ieyasu--but he would become so valuable to the man and to his kingdom that he would become one of the few non-Japanese men to be granted the title of samurai, and one of even fewer Europeans. 

 

This pilot's name was William Adams, and he was and remains the only British samurai to this day. This is the story of how something this impossible managed to happen, all through the simple act of assimilating to this new and alien culture.

 

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:

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The Devil Soldier and His Ever Victorious Army (Approbation)

The Devil Soldier and His Ever Victorious Army (Approbation)

June 12, 2020

In the mid-19th century, as one country in the West was on its way toward the most famous civil war, another country in the East was in the grips of one far larger and more significant than any that had come before or would come afterward, if only in terms of numbers. By the end of this conflict, known as China's Taiping Rebellion, over 20 million people would lay dead, and China's relationship with the West would never be the same.

While the man who started this conflict--a self-proclaimed prophet and younger brother to Jesus Christ named Hong Xiuquan--was forming the seeds of this rebellion within his tortured mind, the man who would change the course of the Rebellion itself was coming of age and beginning his habit of traveling the world looking for adventure and action. That man's name was Frederick Townsend Ward, and his influence would be felt and then eventually forgotten across the world, thanks to his largely omitted place within the ranks of great men who fought in this great conflict.

This is the story of Frederick Townsend Ward, as well as the story of the fall of China as everyone--including the Chinese--would know it for nearly 100 years. This is the story of how an American adventurer became an American mercenary and then became a citizen of the Chinese Empire, and more importantly, a hero to its people, namely those living in the growing port city of Shanghai, largely thanks to his formation of the greatest soldiers China had yet to see: the Ever Victorious Army, whose elite training at Ward's hand would shape the future of China's military forever.

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:

  • Elias Borota
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An Impossible Interview III: JD Huitt, History Underground

An Impossible Interview III: JD Huitt, History Underground

May 3, 2020

In this newest entry into the Impossible Interview series, I had a chance to sit down (via Zoom) with the incredibly talented and generous-with-his time J.D. Huitt, the brains behind and face of History Underground and the excellent History Traveler series on YouTube (remember: LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE!). He ranks among the top three history content creators that I diligently follow on YouTube for his excellent-quality videos exploring famous (and not-so-famous-but-should-be-famous) historical locations, ranging from Arlington Cemetery to the beaches of Normandy to Ford's Theater to a German U-boat housed in a museum I somehow missed while living in Chicago. It's a little overwhelming at first due to the sheer volume of content, but it's all top-notch and I was glad to get to know a fellow history fan a little better (and keep in mind: J.D. is fighting the good fight working as a high school history teacher and from the sounds of it, doing it very well).

This was more of a two-way interview since it both appears here in glorious audio form and on YouTube in video form, but it turned into a very interesting conversation both about History Impossible's process and History Underground's process, as well as the psychological approach to history, the consequences and realities of COVID-19, the weaponization of history, and even our stories of encountering political extremists. It was a fun time for both of us and I think it'll be a fun time for all of you as you wait for the next installment of the West Meets East trilogy.

And quick note before anyone corrects me: I called J.D. the first history teacher I've managed to interview for the podcast, by which I meant the first HIGH SCHOOL history teacher I've gotten to interview. My previous two conversations with Daniele Bolelli and CJ Kilmer were indeed conversations with history teachers, but they are operating at the college level, so I'd be more inclined to call them professors. Semantics aside, enjoy the show!

History Impossible has been made possible by the following generous supporters on Patreon and PayPal:

  • Tony Androsky
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