The Savage Years: Tales From the 20th Century

The suicide of Hitler’s niece, World War Two’s first victim, the killing of Rasputin, the assassinations of Malcolm X and Franz Ferdinand, the Battle of the Somme, the betrayal of Anne Frank and the woman who almost killed Lenin – these are some of the stories you’ll find in Rupert Colley’s new collection of articles, The Savage Years; Tales From the 20th Century.

Covering World War One, World War Two, the Cold War, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and much more besides, immerse yourself in sixty stories from some of the key moments of modern (and a few not so modern) history.


Fully illustrated, with 140 photos, this makes perfect reading for commuters, students or the curious.

Available as an ebook and paperback.


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21 January 1924, the Death of Vladimir Lenin
23 January 1930, the Birth of Tanya Savicheva, young victim of the Leningrad Siege
27 January, the ‘Jews Out’ Board Game
29 January 1928, the Death of Douglas Haig
30 January 1933, Hitler appointed Chancellor
30 January 1945, the Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the Worst Maritime Disaster In History
2 February 1943, the Germans Surrender at the Battle of Stalingrad
13 February 1945, the Bombing of Dresden
21 February 1965, the Assassination of Malcolm X
23 February 1930, the Killing of a Nazi Martyr, Horst Wessel
27 February 1881, the Death of the Cleverest General, Sir George Pomeroy Colley
27 February 1933, the Reichstag Fire
8 March 1655, John Casor becomes the ‘first legally-recognised slave’
15 March 1938, the Execution of Nikolai Bukharin
21 March 1960, the Sharpeville Massacre
10 April 1971, Ping Pong Diplomacy During the Cold War
22 April 1915, Fritz Haber and the First Successful Gas Attack
30 April 1945, the Death of Hitler
1 May 1945, the Suicide of Joseph Goebbels, the not-so-great novelist
2 May 1957, the Death of Joseph McCarthy
3 May 1975, the Death of Dmitri Bystrolyotov, Stalin’s Romeo Spy
6 May 1937, the Hindenburg Disaster
9 May 1946, the Abdication of Italy’s Victor Emmanuel III
10 May 1857, the Start of the Indian Mutiny
10 May 1941, Rudolph Hess arrives in Scotland
24 May 1941, the Sinking of HMS Hood
4 June 1937, the Death of Ekaterina Dzhugashvili, Stalin’s mother
16 June 1953, the Start of the East German Uprising
16 June 1958, the Execution of Imre Nagy
18 June 1974, the Death of Georgy Zhukov
20 June 1756, the Black Hole of Calcutta
22 June 1940, France Surrenders
22 June 1941, Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa, Germany’s invasion of Russia
28 June 1914, the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
30 June 1934, the Night of the Long Knives
1 July 1916, the First Day of the Battle of the Somme
4 August 1944, the Betrayal of Anne Frank
9 August 1942, the Greatest Performance: The Leningrad Symphony
19 August 1969, the East German Athlete Who Made a Dash for Freedom‏
20 August 1968, the USSR Invades Czechoslovakia
21 August 1940, the Assassination of Leon Trotsky
30 August 1918, Fanny Kaplan Tries to Kill Lenin
31 August 1939, World War Two’s first death
18 September 1931, the Suicide of Geli Raubal, Hitler’s niece
12 October 1915, the Execution of British Nurse, Edith Cavell
15 October 1946, the Suicide of Hermann Goring
20 October 1952, the Start of the Mau Mau Uprising
23 October 1956, the Start of the Hungarian Revolution
27 October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis
30 October 1979, the Death of Rachele Mussolini
8 November 1939, Georg Elser Almost Assassinates Hitler
9 November 1970, the Death of Charles de Gaulle
10 November 1918, the Abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II
19 November 1863, Lincoln Delivers his Gettysburg Address
22 November 2011, the Death of Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin’s Daughter
Winston Churchill, born 30 November 1874, and the First World War
7 December 1941, Pearl Harbor, the Day of Infamy
23 December 1953, the Execution of Lavrenty Beria
23 December 1948, the Execution of Hideki Tojo
30 December 1916, the Assassination of Grigori Rasputin

These articles, originally published on the History In An Hour website, have all been updated and expanded.