Sunday, March 8, 2009
Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk huːˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to the presidency.
Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago prior to earning his law degree, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the United States Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. During his tenure as Senator, he served on several committees, including the Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works, Veterans' Affairs, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
After a particularly close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary against rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination as a candidate for president, becoming the first major African American candidate for president. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP), popularly known as the Nazi Party. He was the ruler of Germany from 1933 to 1945, serving as chancellor from 1933 to 1945 and as head of state (Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945.
A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the Nazi Party in 1920 and became its leader in 1921. Following his imprisonment after a failed coup in 1923, he gained support by promoting nationalism, antisemitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and propaganda. He was appointed chancellor in 1933, and quickly established a totalitarian and fascist dictatorship. Hitler pursued a foreign policy with the declared goal of seizing Lebensraum ("living space") for Germany, directing the resources of the state toward this goal. His rebuilt Wehrmacht invaded Poland in 1939, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe.
Within three years, Germany and the Axis powers occupied most of Europe and large parts of Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. However, the Allies gained the upper hand from 1942 onward and in 1945 Allied armies invaded Germany from all sides. His forces committed numerous atrocities during the war, including the systematic killing of as many as 17 million civilians including the genocide of an estimated six million Jews, a crime known as the Holocaust.
During the final days of the war in 1945, Hitler married his long-time mistress Eva Braun. Less than 40 hours later, the two committed suicide.
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616)[a] was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays,[b] 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.