Kosovo land swap could end conflict – or restart war

Best case: Redrawing borders leads to peace, prosperity and EU membership. But there's also a worst case.

Image: SRF
  • The Yugoslav Wars started in 1991, but never really ended.
  • Kosovo and Serbia are still enemies, and they're getting worse.
  • A proposed land swap could create peace – or reignite the conflict.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less

The mystery material that can survive 75 nuclear blasts

Recipe for awe: Coat one egg with Starlite. Blast it with a ridiculous amount of heat until charred black. Crack it open.

(Miodownik/BBC Reel)
  • A professional hairdresser and amateur chemist invented an unbelievably heat-resistant coating called Starlite.
  • Military applications brought governments running, but the inventor's odd negotiating style ruined discussions.
  • Was Starlite lost when he died, or had it already been stolen?
Keep reading Show less

How President Woodrow Wilson tried to end all wars once and for all

Following World War I, President Woodrow Wilson nearly died trying to ensure world peace.

Getty Images
  • President Wilson proposed "Fourteen Points" at the end of World War I.
  • He wanted an organization created – the League of Nations – to settle international disputes.
  • The League was a precursor to the United Nations, but the U.S. never actually joined it.
Keep reading Show less