TIME’s top history stories of the year

2 months ago 8

From the history of pandemics to World War II |

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By Olivia B. Waxman
Staff Writer

As 2020 comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the year’s most popular history stories on TIME.com. Unsurprisingly, the most-read story in our section was about a past pandemic, “How Does a Pandemic End? Here’s What We Can Learn From the 1918 Flu.” In fact, the end is more in sight, as two COVID-19 vaccines received emergency approval from the FDA since we published that article on Oct. 6.

World War II continues to be a popular topic, and during a year of a national reckoning over race relations in the U.S., histories of underrepresented groups in America also topped the charts.

Happy New Year, and we look forward to bringing you more in 2021. Here’s the history that made news this year:

How Does a Pandemic End? Here’s What We Can Learn From the 1918 Flu
By Olivia B. Waxman
Current scientific understanding is that only a vaccine will end this pandemic, but how we get there remains to be seen
Read More »
In Nazi-Occupied Norway, Glimpsing the World Hitler Wanted
By Despina Stratigakos
The story of occupied Norway has a great deal to tell us about how Hitler and his henchmen envisioned the world under the swastika, argues Despina Stratigakos
Read More »
The Civil War Wasn't America's Only War Involving Slavery
By Phillip Goodrich
More important, more direct and much less well-publicized was the impact of slavery in instigating the American Revolution
Read More »
How Methamphetamine Became Part of Nazi Military Strategy
By Peter Andreas
World War II was not only the most destructive war in human history but also the most pharmacologically enhanced. It was literally sped up by speed
Read More »
The Tribe That Fed the Pilgrims at the 'First Thanksgiving' Is Still Fighting for Its Land
By Olivia B. Waxman
Many Wampanoag hoped that the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing would be a galvanizing event to remind people that they still exist
Read More »
2 Latinas Who Fought for Workers' Rights in U.S. History
By Olivia B. Waxman and Video by Arpita Aneja
Latinas were active in the labor movement nearly three decades earlier, and that work is not taught as often in schools
Read More »
‘It’s a Struggle They Will Wage Alone.’ How Black Women Won the Right to Vote
By Olivia B. Waxman
The activism of Black women often predated that of famous white suffragists—and still informs debates over what history is worth remembering
Read More »
Was Martin Luther King Jr. a Republican or a Democrat?
By Olivia B. Waxman
Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece has said he was a Republican, but the civil-rights leader's party affiliation remains a mystery to scholars
Read More »
‘You Must Wash Properly.’ Newspaper Ads From the 1918 Flu Pandemic Show Some Things Never Change
By Suyin Haynes
Medicine has advanced, but the core messages from a century ago are similar to today
Read More »
What the Freemasons Taught the World About Secrecy
By John Dickie
Who could resist the promise to join an élite in possession of occult truths?
Read More »
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