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  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Remembering Bremen, the first-ever school shooting

    On Friday, June 20, 1913, 100 years ago, death arrived at the Marienschule school in Bremen, Germany. What happened that day wasn't just any old murder -- it was the first documented mass school shooting in history.It was shortly before 11 a.m., as teacher Maria Pohl lined her students up in two lines to leave the school building for recess. As the girls began to move, a man stormed up the stairs and opened fire. His name was Heinz Jacob Friedrich Ernst Schmidt, a 29-year-old unemployed teacher who had only lived in the city since December of the previous year.Panic broke out as Schmidt continued to fire his gun. Two girls were shot dead. A third fell and broke her neck as she tried to climb over a stair railing to escape. A few other girls retreated back into the classroom, where they were pursued by the killer. The five- and six-year old girls begged for their lives: "Uncle, please don't shoot us!"...

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Is 2013 the New 1913?

    BEIJING — It’s a provocative idea — and a disturbing one. The world in 2013 looks “eerily” like the world in 1913, writes Charles Emmerson, a senior research fellow at Chatham House.Substitute the United States for the United Kingdom, and China for Germany, and the parallels are fairly clear.“The leading power of the age is in relative decline, beset by political crisis at home and by steadily eroding economic prowess,” Mr. Emmerson writes in “Eve of Disaster,” a piece in Foreign Policy magazine.“Rising powers are jostling for position in the four corners of the world, some seeking a new place for themselves within the current global order, others questioning its very legitimacy. Democracy and despotism are locked in uneasy competition.In his essay, Mr. Emmerson notes that “the United States in 2013 may not be a perfect analogue for Britain in 1913 (nor China in 2013 a perfect analogue for Germany in 1913).” But, he says, “The world of 1913 — brilliant, dynamic, interdependent — offers a warning.”...