Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's If you could completely remove one phrase from your vocabulary, which phrase would you choose? I don't know. Correct answer. No, I meant I don't know which phrase, and the best way to banish I don't know from your life is by cramming your brain full of stuff you should know. Join your host, Josh and Chuck on the Super Popular podcast packed with fascinating discussions on science, history, pop culture and more episodes that ask, was the lost city of Atlantis Real? I don't know. Is birth order important? I don't know. How does pizza work? Well, I do know. Bit about that see? You can know even more, because stuff you should know has over 1500 immensely interesting episodes for your brain to feast on. So what do you say? I don't want to miss the stuff you should know. Podcast you're learning already. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your Co host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast, in this special episode. You're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. For four, oh, months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. What's shooting? What, what's, what's what's shooting? I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ******** the show where we ask what is shooting here with us today to answer that question. Carl Kasarda of in Range TV. Carl, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here. Do you, do you like my the NPR voice I did at the at the end there, kind of trying to professionalize it a little bit. Yeah. I know. It really takes this topic and makes it feel very, you know, astute and erudite. So I'm, I'm excited about this. You know, Carl, you are a like me, very interested in firearms. You are are professionally interested in firearms. Unlike me because I'm just, I'm just a little bit of a hack and a fraud and for in range TV you do all sorts of videos on on different kinds of weapons. Historic. You've got a room full of historic guns that I'm looking at right now, literally right behind me. I'm extremely jealous of your collection. It looks it looks wonderful. Carl, how are you? How are you? How are you feeling today? Feeling pretty good. Today's a pretty good day. You know, today is actually the day we're recording. This is in 1929. Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles, CA. And he, of course, is the prototype for the thin Blue line police brutality we have today. So Hooray. Yeah, good for that. And today, we're not gonna be talking thin blue line stuff today. Although, you know, there might be a couple of shades of that, but we are going to be talking about. We're going to be talking about some gun related ******** which I thought I would have you on for. And the first ******* we're going to talk about is a little fellow you may have heard of called Hiram Maxim. Now what do you know about Mr Maxim? I know that he had designed the belt fed, water cooled machine gun that every side of World War One used to mow each other's children down with. Yeah, he is why Europe is no longer the economic center of the world in a lot of ways. It's there were other factors, but but Mr Maxim played a role in that for sure. Now, obviously, uh, both of us are are very much into firearms as a hobby. I don't consider someone a ******* just because they make a gun, or really necessarily another kind of weapon system. I do think there are certain weapons systems like cluster bombs that you kind of have to be a ***** ** **** to decide. But as a general rule, a gun is a tool and and there's nothing inherently immoral about designing a tool. That said, it's probably fair to note that within the industry of people who design things for the purpose of. Feeling there's probably a higher proportion of ******** than in a lot of fields of industrial design, and we are going to talk today about two of the greatest gun makers in human history this week, about two of the greatest gun makers in human history, both of whom were not very pleasant people. And as I just stated, Hiram Stevens Maxim is our subject today now. Hiram was born on February 5th, 1840, and Sangerville, Maine. He wrote a biography later in life, the bulk of which is a mix of lies and angry rants. About people he'd argued with like it's it's essentially at the very end of his life. He drops like the old time he equivalent of a mix tape yelling at all of the people who he had had fights with over the course of his career in the gun industry. And a lot of it's like very technical stuff that I can't, you know, I can't tell you who actually invented the light bulb, for example, which is a major thing in his. Do you did you actually know much about Maxim the in his career before making the machine gun? Honestly? No, I don't. I mean, I'm very familiar with the gun. Obviously our or the machine gun and how it revolutionized and changed warfare. But As for the individual himself, no, I'm not not really that familiar with his life. Well, he was a really interesting guy. He's one of these dudes that is just a compulsive inventor, like one of those people who. And it's this, this fascinating. The 1800s is this moment where it's also really easy to be an inventor because like industrial, like tooling and machining and whatnot has hit this, this level of professionalization and suddenly all sorts of things. Possible. And if you're into inventing, there's a lot. There's a a number of dudes like Maxim who just over the course of their life invent like 60 things that everybody uses today. And it's Maxim's one of those people, and he's, he's, he's a particularly interesting example on it. Now in his biography, which is again not a super reliable text, he provides some thoughts on his family background that I find interesting, and I'm going to read a paragraph from that now. This is him describing his ancestors. The ancestors of the Maxim family were French Huguenots. They were driven out of France and settled in Canterbury, England, from which place they immigrated to Plymouth County, Massachusetts, where, quote, they could worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience and prevent others from doing the same. And prevent others from doing the same? Yeah, that's very fun. Yeah, that's that's fun. I'm gonna find my freedom so I can use it as a wrench against others. Such a common trend. Yeah. Yeah. And Maxim is being pretty self aware here. He is not that kind. He's not a particularly religious man ever. He famously is more or less an atheist until he goes to Russia to sell the machine guns. And they won't let him talk to the Czar unless he has a religion. So he's like, I guess I'm Protestant. Better pick the right one. Yeah, they didn't care. You just couldn't be a Pagan walking up to the ZAR, I guess. So yeah. Most of the stories you'll find will note that his father was a sheep farmer and very poor. This is technically accurate, but I think it's accurate in a way that gives readers an incorrect idea about Hirams upbringing. Within his autobiography, he describes his family as being comparatively well off. They just didn't have any money because no one really had money at the time and place where he lived. Right, like they're not poor. Money is not a meaningful fact of life for people living in the wilderness of Maine in the 1840s. Like, you don't do a lot of spending and stuff, right? They live in this kind of like community that's pretty spread out and sprawling. They were very self-sufficient. They bartered and traded with the people in their community for the things they couldn't produce on their own. Like they were the kind of people who maybe a couple of times a year they would go into a bigger town and sell some products and use them to buy a thing or two and they would have money for that. And a brief period of time. But like, money's not, they're not poor, they just don't have money. Does that, like, make sense, that kind of person. We don't really have those people anymore. Yeah. Well, I mean, I'm sure there are some places in the world that have some subsistence like that, but the reality is if you're self-sufficient, you don't really need an Amazon prime account at that point, right. You just you just do your thing, you go out, you get your milk, you harvest your, your, your beef from your cows or whatever, and you're good to go. That makes sense. Yeah. So a lot of kind of popular sources on it will say that he grew up poor. He doesn't seem to have considered himself poor. He's like, well. Had everything we needed. We just like we didn't. Why would we have needed money at that point? So yeah, at no point in his childhood does here seem to have considered himself poor, and their community was close to a group of Indigenous Americans living in a small village nearby. Hirams autobiography is filled with the same kind of casual racism you would expect from a book written by a man who grew up in the 1840s. But it's also not he's not, like, hateful in it. And in fact, there's a number of times where he will note stuff that, like the way that the the natives had positioned their village was a lot smarter than how the white people had put their houses, because it was more protected. And rain, and it got better. Sunlight. So he was, he was somebody who was definitely possessed of the bigotry of his time, but was also capable of, like, looking at what these people were doing and recognizing that they they understood the the environment better and we're making smarter choices about it, which he appreciated because he's got this kind of mechanical mind, right? Like he's somebody who thinks a lot about efficiency, and he notes that their lives are a lot more efficient than ours because they understand the area a lot better. There's a point in his childhood. They're like he and his father take advice from a local chief they're friendly with on how to trap and prepare different animals. More than anything, they hunted black bear, which a lot of his early memories are like hunting black bear with his dad. And their community was the kind of place that there's a story he tells where he and his dad are out in the field and they see a black bear. So they run back to their house for a gun, only to find that one of their neighbors had spotted the bear, gone into their house, grabbed their rifle, and taken it out to go shoot the bear. So it's like that kind of of community, you know, not only do people not lock their doors. Will feel fine grabbing like their their their neighbours gun to go shoot a bear if they see one, which is also not a a very common thing today. I don't think I've lived out in the in the sticks a lot of my life, but I have not had that kind of relationship with my neighbors. Yeah, I live in a rural area as well and I I don't have that relationship either. But at the same time we live in a world saturated with with the idea that we know we technically in theory quote UN quote know so many people that we really don't. But I think it's changed the nature of how people live. Yeah it definitely reading his recollections of his childhood. Like, well, aspects of this seem kind of nice. This like every all you worry about is like producing what you need to survive. And that's kind of this, this, this. It doesn't it doesn't seem like a bad childhood is what I will say about it. Now we did a recent episode where he talked about Melville, Dewey, uh, that'll be launching I either before or right after this one. Dewey, who invents the Dewey Decimal system and and hear him grow up in kind of a similar time and and a similar place. And the the part of the northeast they grew up in is commonly known as the burned over district. And it's known that way because there's a **** load of different social and religious extremists like Protestant kind of movements that are swelling up and going, swarming throughout the country during this period of time. And Hiram or was very aware of these kind of evangelical movements and the influence they were having on the culture and he was not positive towards them, neither was his family. And I, I'm gonna read an A long excerpt from his autobiography here because I think it's interesting and it gets you into this guy's head because he's, he is in a very and extremely religious part of the United States and it is absolutely not something that that that that he takes on in any sort of way. Quote, there have been several epidemics of Millerites in the state of Maine. Sometimes called second advents or world burners, these are 7th Day Adventists, or what becomes that that on one occasion, having ascertained by diligent search in the Bible the exact day, hour and minute that the world would come to an end, the Saints disposed of their property. Some failed to plant their crops as they had enough to last until the fatal day when everything was in readiness for the final end of all things, which was fixed for a certain day in February, there was a lot of snow on the ground. Some of the Saints took great care to have their watches and clocks corrected so as to know the exact minute, the final crash. To come. The hour fixed was about 9:00 o'clock at night, and most of the women appeared in their ascension robes. The Saints met at a place called Gillmans Corner in front of Gilligan's little store. Some repairs had recently been made to the roof and a ladder was still in position. A few minutes before the final send off, an old and very fat woman climbed up the ladder, got on to the Ridge pole, and walked forward to the end of the roof. She stood there with her arms extended and her ascension robes fluttering in the wind like a pair of wings. One of the Saints had his watch out and called off the time as it passed and when the exact minute. Arrived. The old lady on the roof started to fly. She gave a jump and landed in a big pile of snow, which had a decidedly cooling effect and knocked every particle of superstition out of her. She never had a relapse. There was no one in the state of Maine that ridiculed this movement with more reason and vigor than my gifted mother. She had a lot of brains in the top and in the front of her head and made the best use of them. So that's his, how he feels about these kind of the, the, the, the, this religious movement that sweeps through the country when he's a little kid. I find that fascinating. Yeah. As an engineer, a person that was clearly going to become a creator and an engineer and a stem minded person. Seems like very often we don't see those types of things coexist. Someone that's really scientific or technical or engineering mind, it tends to not be very superstitious and vice versa. They can be together, but yeah, mostly you don't see them together. Yeah. And it's interesting. He kind of his, his, his. Family seems to be very much opposed to this, like they're they're they're they're very practical people and he's kind of influenced. He he definitely grows up with this kind of very skeptical attitude about everyone around him, which is will kind of become more of a factor in his personality as he gets older. But he grows up curious about the world and a fairly open minded person for his day. When he was 14 years old, he was apprenticed to a carriage maker where he learned the basics of engineering skills that would define his adult life, his first invention. Him shortly thereafter, when he was working in a mill with a terrific mouse problem here, him set to work on his own and designed an automatic mousetrap, which was so successful that he was eventually able to patent it. Minnie Mouse traps today are based off of his design, so like there's still mouse traps that are based off the one he designed when he's like 14 years old. Very smart kid. And he's effectively adult and adult at 14, right? Like that's that's a kid today and like Germany in this period of time you are legally an adult at 14 and he's that. It's pretty much the same where where Maxim grows up like he's he's working full time at this point. He's making a man's wages and he's inventing a a lot of ****. He designs in his late teen years a silicate blackboard in order to like make sketching out plans for other inventions easier. And he he markets that a bit and the older adults around him. Recognize that he's kind of a genius. When he's 24, his uncle Levi hires him to work as an engineer in Abington, MA, and his uncle gives him his nephew freedom to think, an experiment, which Hiram did until two years later, he invented the curling iron. He received his patent in 1866, and this is the first one he gets. He this is he's also the inventor of the curling iron. The guy who made the same dude invented the machine gun and the curling iron. So now we can do our we're beauticians and we're getting rid of mice in our house, all currency. Maxim, thank you so much. You can blame him for the permanent scar I have from a curling iron I touched when I was like 7. So, yeah, that's my favorite meme. The two hand shaking in the middle is Sophie and millions of dead European boys and meeting in the middle at angry at Hiram. Maxim, that's us with a bunch of mice at the bottom with little protest signs. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So young Maxim was off to the races now. He designed an automated sprinkler system soon after, but he struggled to find investors for this. Product. We've talked about some like industrial fires in this. Folks are not convinced that they need sprinklers or any kind of fire safety whatsoever in this period of time. Well, the children workers are easily replaceable. Yeah, there's a ton of kids you need to put sprinklers in. So yeah, he can't really find any investors for this, and he fails to convince any moneyman that there was a future in the idea. But he does draw interest from one wealthy backer, Spencer D Schuyler. Now, Schuyler is not really interested in selling his sprinkler system. It just sees that Maxim is extremely gifted. And it's like, well, I wanna, I wanna hire this kid and profit off of his ideas. Now, this was an era in which electricity had become enough of a thing that people knew any day now somebody was going to make a light bulb that people wanted in their homes, right? There are light bulbs at this point. None of the people involved in the story about to tell invented the first light bulb. But, like, they're not good. They blow up their fire hazards. They're not really a thing you would want in your house. So it's this kind of thing where people are trying to figure out how to do a light bulb well. And everyone knows it's going to happen. It just hasn't quite happened yet, right? Like, and and there's kind of a race, right? All of these different, a lot of money. Edison is putting a lot of money into, like, because everyone knows, like as soon as we figure this **** out, it's going to be huge. You know, artificial light anytime a day or night, that's a that's a big deal. A lot of money in that idea. So Schuyler wanted in on that cash, and he formed the US Electric lighting company with the aim of being first to market. He made the young hero Maxim his chief engineer. Now the story that follows is very messy and a little beyond our scope today. The short version is that Maxim worked alongside a guy named William Sawyer. Sawyer was an inventor and is probably the man who created the incandescent electric lamp, the first good light bulb that you could like again, like the the sawyers, probably the guy who. Figures this out first, but this is very messy because Edison also around the same time his people come out and there's a a series of lawsuits over this and Sawyer wins most of the lawsuits with Edison over the invention of the light bulb. Again, he's probably the guy you would credit with us. He's also kind of a sketchy character himself. In 1880 he shot a doctor in the face during an argument about their wives. So like he's he is a messy fellow. And for the rest of his life, Sawyer and Hiram work together at this company. For the rest of his life, Hiram would argue that he was the inventor of the first incandescent electric lamp, or at least he claimed to have solved the problems that made Sawyer's lamp possible. Now, he never names Sawyer in his autobiography, probably because he was scared of getting sued. But he does go into a lot of detail about the fact that his partner, who he calls Mr D, was a nearly useless alcoholic, and I feel the need to read an extensive. Quote from his autobiography here, because again, this is like the guy who probably invented the first electric incandescent lamp, and Maxim is so jealous about him that he has to turn him into like a ******* goblin in his autobiography, and I'm going to read a quote from that now. I found a very curious state of affairs in Mr Schuler's office. He had in his employ a large, clumsy, brutal looking fellow, clean shaven, who we will call Mr D he was said to be an expert electrician and Telegraph operator, but he was a great drunkard, being comfortably corned all the time. Had not heard that description of drunk. I think we should bring that back. You wanna get corned? Let's go get corned. Yeah. The next day he told me that he was a great believer in the future of electric lighting, that he was the first in the field and that if I would take hold in a system, he would give me a salary of $10 a day as well as a quarter interest in whatever might accrue from the work. This was an exceedingly good offer, especially as I had complete charge of the place. He informed all the men that I had been put in charge and the first thing I did was have a talk with Mr DI. Told him that it was not quite the thing to have. Randy brought into the place several times a day and to keep drinking it while at his desk. I assured him that there was a great deal more nourishment and a pint of milk than a gallon of Brandy and advised him strongly to try milk. The next day he provided himself with a 2 quart tin pail and his brother was sent out two or three times for milk. Mr D said the change was a good one and he felt much, much better for it. Shortly after I learned that the so-called milk was just about half Brandy and that the fellow was still in 1/2 drunken condition all day. I have no idea if that's true. I was gonna say, did he just invent the branding milk? Lunch he may have it's possible that that Maxim is just lying because he's jealous. It's also possible that Maxim is telling the truth. This guy was a raging drunk, and he still was invented the first incandescent electric lamp. I just find that very funny. And also I I I have trouble thinking of a more disgusting drink combination than Brandy milk. That doesn't sound good to me. It's OK. That doesn't mean. Like I like. I like a White Russian. But Brandy and milk. Just straight Brandy and milk. Well, let's just look at corn and we'll figure it out. Yeah, we'll get corn. Maybe, maybe I'd throw like a coffee liqueur in there or something, but that changes everything. Yeah, that would. Yeah. Wonder how, if you have, if it curdles anyway. So whatever the precise truth about Sawyer and his level of drunkenness, by 1881, Hiram was a powerful and respected engineer is in his own right. They they don't beat Edison, but they make a bunch of electric lamps that are good for, like, industrial and entertainment lighting and, like, they make a bunch of money, right? They're they're selling lights all over the *** ****. Place. So they made the Betamax of lights? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it works a little better than that. Well, unless you're a Betamax supremacist. No, I'm. I'm not. I'm not. Sitting underneath one of your antique rifles is a bad man. Yeah, I watch all my video in Beta Max. Hmm. So 1881, he goes to the Paris Exposition. Now, we talked about in our Basil Zaharoff episodes where we're talking about like, the birth of the arms industry is in its modern form. These expositions are where a lot of that. Happens. And they're not just about weapons, right? Every kind of a lot of ****** being invented. There's combines and electric lights and all sorts of **** there. But the most popular things are always weapons, right? Because human beings are are human beings and people are not that interested in, in new ******* tractors. But if somebody makes a new gun, everybody's gonna be like, well, I want to look at that ************. And this is where, like, we talked about the crops, this is like, these are the same places where, like, Alfred Krupp is is putting his cannons out and the like. So 1881, Hiram goes to Europe for the Paris Exposition. His company had made a bunch of fancy new lighting equipment to show off, and he was basically running their booth. This was a very important job, but herrin's interested heart already started to drift away from lighting. Now, the story that comes next may be apocryphal. I did not find it in his autobiography, but every write up you ever find, if you're a maxim, will include this story. I don't know if it actually happened. I think Hiram said it happened that some occasions. It seems a little bit like. Anyway, I'll just tell you the story while he's at this this exposition. He's friends with an American and they're having a conversation about like the the Exposition and the different inventions there. And his friend says to him, hang your chemistry and electricity. If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable those Europeans to cut each other's throats with greater facility. And that is supposedly what gets him to start working on the Maxim gun. And if that's true, it does say a lot about him that somebody's like, you know how you make a lot of money helping Europeans murder each other. And he's like, absolutely wasn't wrong. Wasn't wrong, not at all wrong. Makes me think of all Ron Hubbard where they had the bed about how to make a bunch of money, invented religion in this instance. Make something to kill Europeans kill each other. Yeah. Yeah. And he he decides to do this. Now, there's another, possibly apocryphal story to explain. This is how he gets the idea of how to make the Maxim gun, which is that he's out hunting with like his family. When he's a little kid and he tries to fire, it's a it's usually set as a rifle. I it seems like, I don't know if it's a rifle or a shotgun or something, but he's trying. He tries to fire a gun that's too powerful him because he's little in it knocks him down. And this is what gives him the idea to make the the thing that made the maxim gun so revolutionary is that it used the recoil and obviously you know this, but for the listeners it used the recoil of firing. Round to advance the next round. And that's why it's automatic, right? And that had not been done. There was no fully automatic weapons in that way at the time that we're actually like worked very well. I don't know that I believe that, you know, he knocks himself down and that's what gives him the idea whether or not it's true. If you're an engineering minded person, it's not hard to notice that, like, oh, every time I shoot a gun, it recoils and this energy is just wasted, right? Like there's all, all this energy that I'm not, we're not doing anything with like, and it's an efficiency minded person. I have no trouble seeing how Herem could be like. I gotta find some way to tap into to make use of that. Now, at the time, the closest thing we had to a machine gun was the Gatling gun, and and the Gatling gun is there. They're actually not legally that difficult to get in a lot of the US today because they're not legally automatic, because you don't pull the trigger and fire them. It's crank operated, right. The legal definition of a machine gun is the fire. More than one round per Press of the trigger. Yeah, and the Gatling gun does not do that. Yeah. So you could go get a Gatling gun right now, listeners, if you want to defend your Stagecoach. I don't know what a Gatling gun would be useful for in a modern context. You could conceal carry it to go to the Walgreens and pick up your prescription. It's a dangerous world, but a pistol brace on a Gatling gun? So the Gatling gun was pretty good at what it did for the time, right? Like if if you're in a world where there's not even a whole lot of semi automatic weapons and some other ******* got a Gatling gun, that can be a pretty potent tool. It has its uses, but it is not, we would not call it today a good weapon. It's very heavy, it's not easy to use, it is extremely prone to failure, and they're very hard to mass produce due in part to the fact that it's got a **** load of barrels, right? And because it has a **** load of barrels. It's much easier. It's actually much easier for a gun with a **** load of barrels to get way too hot than than the gun that Maxim makes. Maxim Gun has one barrel, but it's water, cool. There's a big jacket around it that they fill with. I think it's like a gallon of water. And it turns out that's a much better way to stop a barrel from melting as quickly then then then just having like 8 barrels on a rotating gun. So Maxim's gun is like, it's like going from, it's like everybody had a go Kart. And he's he pulls up in like a a Toyota Hilux, like it's it's it's just so much better than what it existed before. One of the things that's probably important to know is that Gatling guns, most of them is about 200 rounds a minute was the rate of fire, which seemed huge for the day. The Maxim gun could fire 600 rounds a minute, and that's like the first version. It actually gets a lot faster. I think they get up to like 1000 rounds a minute. But but it's he's it's it's it just blows every other machine type. One that exists at the time, there's a number. There's like volley guns. People have all sorts of different ways they tried to make a weapon that could suppress people by shooting a bunch of bullets. Maxims is just like there's not even a comparison to what came before. Yeah. And and when you said, like, with the water cooling properly, set up in a position, when you have a water tank to the left or right of it with a hose going into it, it evaporates and the evaporate of water from the heat of the machine gun goes back into a condenser. And you can actually keep a maximum machine gun fire essentially in perpetuity. Yeah. As long as there's bullets, like, keep it going, bullets and water, you can keep shooting. Yeah. Which come World War One, that's exactly what will happen. Yeah. It's an it's a remarkable device. Now Maxim immediately dubbed his new weapon, once they had tested it out a Daisy, and he's set to work putting it in front of representatives of several European governments. He starts trying to sell this to anyone who will buy it. The British are very impressed by this, and they give Maxim his first order. So he fought founds the Maxim Machine Gun Company in London, but after this first big get, he has this, like, really impressive start. But then no one else is interested in the thing, right? Like he just can't find buyers. There's a number of reasons we'll talk about. With this part of it is because maximum winds up in a conflict with ******** pod alumni Basil Zaharoff, who was kind of like one of the dudes who invents the military industrial complex. Basil is an arms dealer at this point, and he initially dedicates himself to stamping out the Maxim gun because it's bad for his profits. I'm going to read a quote from American Heritage magazine here. Maxim soon found that it was one thing to build a machine gun and quite another to sell it. When he tried to peddle his weapon to the European powers he discovered they preferred. Nordenfelt machine gun even by the standards of the 1880s, the Nordenfelt was a was primitive, but its makers had one great commercial advantage. Basil Zaharoff, a mysterious E European who was the best army salesman in the world. Suave, persuasive and utterly ruthless, Zaharoff shadowed backs him around Europe. Telling would be buyers that the superb new weapon was the work of a Yankee philosophical instrument maker who painstakingly made each gun to measurements of the utmost accuracy. 100th part of a millimeter here or there, and it will not work. Do you expect you could get an army of? Austin philosophical instrument makers to work them. So that's zaharoff's like tactic. He's not saying it's a bad gun. He's being like, well, it's too good a gun. You can't train your, like, these bum **** infantrymen. You have to actually operate this thing like it's way too smart for them. They're gonna break it, which is, which is a a smart way like and anyone who sees it knows it's a good gun. So that's how you convince them it's a bad thing to buy. When mellifluous lying failed, Zaharoff bribed officials to buy the Nordenfelt. When bribery failed, he sabotaged Maxim's guns. On the eve of their demonstration, finally, Maxim merged with the Nordenfelt company. But even with the indefatigable Zaharoff now on his side, he found the going rough. Many countries were suspicious of the revolutionary weapon, and others simply didn't care. One Turkish official waived Maxim aside, saying in Vinta new vice for us, and we will receive you with open arms. That is what we want. And you do find that line in his autobiography. Whether or not it's apocryphal, I don't know. But he was really ahead of the game. No one people couldn't. He was envisioning something that these people couldn't comprehend. You. Yeah. Yeah. And there's a lot of resistance. He tries to sell this to the United States and the War Department doesn't want the thing. We think it's it. It's seen as unworthy by military standards. And there's this. You see this again when there starts to be this move to like, give infantrymen semi automatic and automatic weapons where it's like they're just going to waste the ammo. Like this isn't going to help anything out. They're just going to, like, ruin our supply lines and run through bullets too. Technically, there's this, you know, the, these, these old kind of like military brass types aren't don't really see how much this is going to change the nature of conflict. There are some guys who do, but, but but the people who are making purchasing decisions in the United States are like, absolutely not. We don't want these ******* things, which is, man, it says, it says a lot that Americans are turning down a gun like this about like, just how stuck in their ways they are. But he like, yeah, and perhaps the machine gun would have remained a curiosity, something large mustache general scoffed at as they drank Brandy in their war tents before ordering bayonet charges. But the British were more farsighted than most. Not all of them. There's a lot of resistance in the British military towards adopting the Maxim gun, but there are guys who see the use that this thing is going to have, not to fight European wars, but to help them police their enormous colonial empire. Because the British at this point. Control more of the world than damn near anyone has ever controlled. And there's not a lot of ******* British people, right? Like, they don't have all that many soldiers, you know, many, you know, many more boars per minute you can kill with the machine gun. Yeah, yeah. Seriously. Yeah, yeah. You need to do an ad break real quick. You know who else killed a lot of bowlers? I'm just laughing at who it could possibly we we are. This podcast is entirely supported by Lord Kitchener. Ohh yeah. So uh, go. Occupy mafeking. And listen to these ads. That was a Boer War. Joke for all you sitting at home before the empire. Yeah, whatever. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying. Or for a family. And it meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month, and no one expected plot twists at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet. Very happy at Mint Mobilcom behind. Now a word from our sponsor that our help. If you're having trouble stuck in your own head, focusing on problems dealing with depression, or just, you know can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, you may want to try therapy. And better help makes it very easy to get therapy that works with your lifestyle and your schedule. A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy. Try better help is a great option. It's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time when you want to be a better problem solver therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better Betterhelp from behind. Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. If we don't help them find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can't save chimps, forests or anything else. And that becomes very clear when you look at poverty around the world. If you're living in poverty, you can't afford to ask as we can. Did this product harm the environment? Was it cruel to animals, like, was it factory farmed? Is it cheap because of unfair wages paid to people? And so alleviating poverty is tremendously important. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. OK, we're back so. Yeah, the British, some guys in the British Army see the Max and then it's like, well, this is a thing that could actually help us deal with the manpower shortages we have and the fact that like this, the scramble for Africa is happening in this. They've massively expanded their holdings. And this is also a period where kind of early on in the the European occupation, they have this shock and awe thing because their weaponry is a lot better than what's available on the continent to the indigenous people. That's starting to change by the late 1800s. Indigenous resistance in Africa in this. Isn't mostly like dudes with, you know, the, the, the, the, the. Very, like kind of stereotypical images of guys with like Shields and Spears charging volleys of gunfire. It's insurgents with rifles, like they have rifles now, and they're resistance is starting to get a lot more effective. So while European weaponry had initially represented a Titanic advantage that started to turn, in this. Africans have a lot more access to guns. And enough time has passed that different groups have developed an understanding of European combat tactics and how to disrupt and counter them. This came to a head with the modest uprising like the Mahdi the the. The Islamic sort of, yeah. Messianic figure. Yeah. The Mahdi is like is like the Islamic messianic. Messianic is the word I was for. It's the Islamic messianic figure. So there's this guy. Calls himself the Mahdi. There's a big uprising in like NE Africa against the British, like in the Sudan and everywhere, and it doesn't go great for the British. They suffer some really significant reversals, and it leads to like, this whole situation gets out of hand enough that one of their governors, a guy named Emin Pasha, gets surrounded and sieged by this massive, fairly well equipped army of modest warriors. Now, despite the British Army's purchase of a number of Maxim guns, many generals still preferred the Gatling gun. Others considered it, and this is a direct quote. From a British general. Unsporting. So there's this attitude that, like, it's not sporting to have a machine gun, which it is not. They're not incorrect. Like colonialism is sporting. Yeah. Killing too many of them with an automatic weapon is unsporting. So, yeah, you have to at least give them some illusion of chance, right? Yeah. Yeah. And in 1886, Sir Henry Morton Stanley, who we have talked about a lot on this show, is sent to relieve and rescue him and Pasha from the Mahdis men. Now, this relief effort is kind of a mess, but he's sent with a prototype of the Maxim gun, and this is like the first time it's really used in colonial combat, mostly in like, protecting his forces as they retreat. And it it's it works great. Like, if you are trying to run away while outnumbered, having a maxim gun at your back is a pretty, pretty sweet thing to ******* have. So folks start to take notice within the British military brass that like, well, this thing's this could this could solve a lot of problems for us, and the battle leads to more. Widespread adoption of the Maxim gun by the Brits in 1893. All of this comes to a head in what is now Zimbabwe at the Battle of Shangani. Now this was the most decisive battle of the First Matabele War. We talk about this a bit during our Cecil Rhodes episodes, but the the, the the Battle of Shanghai is a fight between or the the Matabele War is a fight between the forces of the British South Africa Company. So these are British soldiers, but they're soldiers of a corporation. That's also kind of a government. Its own right. We talked about this in the most evil corporation in the world episodes we we've got over a number of these things and these guys, these British South Africa soldiers, this the, the, the, the Matabele War is the war that like leads to the establishment of Rhodesia, right? This is like where we get the roadies and stuff from and a whole lot of problems as a result of that. It's still having that debate today. Still having that, probably, yeah. Still still an uncomfortable number of Facebook ads selling me Rhodesian camouflage gear. It is a nice pattern, so yeah, ohh no, yeah, nothing against their aesthetics. Going out and fighting in that camo with your short shorts looked pretty cool, but what they were actually doing wasn't all that cool. No, it was not cool, but yeah, so the leader of the matchabelli, a guy named Lobengula, has 20,000 riflemen and the matchabelli were competent strategists and pretty well organized and disciplined at Shangani 3000 of their best men surrounded a force of 700 British soldiers. Now, in an earlier period this probably would have been a massacre or at the very least a hard fought and brutal retreat for the British. But on this day the forces of the South Africa Company had the Maxim gun and the Matabele had not. In the slaughter that followed, more than 1500 Matchabelli are killed largely by the four Maxim guns the British brought to bear on their forces. 4 British soldiers died. Nothing like this had ever been seen in colonial warfare. Like a kill ratio like this. It was it was unthinkable. Is a disaster for the montabella their leader commits suicide on the battlefield, several other warriors hang themselves during the retreat. It is a calamity for them, and it is. It's like it's a shock around the world because this is the first time that you see what a machine gun can do. And obviously 1500 to 4, it's a pretty stark lesson here. Yeah, real shades of 1914 there. Yeah, yeah, exactly. This is, I mean, I mean, a number of the men killing the montabella that day would probably die. Go on to get killed by machine guns on the Western Front. So it was very impactful back home. Shangani, the battle is an instant hit. Back in England, there's breathless nudge coverage. There's all these lurid illustrations of like, British soldiers heroically surrounded, fighting off hordes of Barbarians. And this is compounded a week later when a force of 6000 Montebello attack Bimbi and are again massacred by massed fire from Maxim's gun. 2500 Warriors die in this battle, and Matabele resistance crumbles after this, bringing the whole World Rhodesia. And these are just like, these are nightmare battles. Like, if you actually think about what it means to mow down 2500 men with machine guns, it's horrific. But that's not the picture that the British people, like the people back home, are actually getting of these battles, which is what we're going to talk about in a bit. But the impact of this gun on the colonization of Africa is enough on its own, that Maxim would get a place in behind the ********. His gun makes the largest and most terrible era of European domination. In Africa possible, right? The actual like the the the real like the scramble for Africa and the the real complete lockdown of the continent by Europeans, I don't think happens without the maxim gun. It's absolutely necessary in a lot of the atrocities that comes next. And without Maxim, there is certainly no Rhodesia. And we could go on for a long time about the the horrors and lingering consequences of that pariah state. There's some the centrality of the maxim gun to colonial military strategy. Was immortalized by the writer Hilaire Belloc in a lion uttered by one of his characters. Whatever happens, we have got the maxim gun and they have not. Now, that's a quote I think a lot of people have heard, especially if you've listened to Dan Carlin's wonderful series on World War One. But it actually it's very meaningful for how soldiers thought about the maxim gun. That's not how civilians thought about the maxim gun. And the actual the influence of the maxim gun on the culture of colonizing nations is a lot more. Insidious than you might think. Now, I wanna show you a popular picture of the battle of Shangani, illustrated by artist Richard Woodville junior. Sophie, can you drop that into the chat? This is really interesting and not something I really had thought about because I had assumed when I read it. I read about this battle a few times. I I thought I assumed the people back home knew, oh, we had a machine gun. And so we were able to kill a **** load of people. And that's why we didn't have so many warriors die. That's not what a lot of British people know. They just know four of our guys died for 1500. There's because we're such good fighters, right? Like that's that's the lesson that they take and it's a lesson that is. It's a it. It's put forward in a lot of these colonial paintings and illustrations and this, this, this illustration I'm showing you right now. There's like a bunch of British soldiers and like cowboy style hats on a wagon train. And they've got like rifles in hand and there's there's natives charging at them at very close range, getting gunned down. There's dead horses, wounded British soldiers. And and it looks like it's happening at very close range. And it's this, like desperate struggle, right? That's fascinating because as as as as is noted, there's not a maxim. Their insight, it really looks this this this artwork is the typical authoritarian style artwork at which it shows the the massive fighting capabilities and brilliance of our heroic men fighting off at this last stand. And they're they're capabilities made it four to what, 1500, you said? Yeah. But the reality is we didn't want to give the citizens the reality that we were just massacring essentially defenseless people with improved technology. Yes. And it is, it is really important to note, like you said, there's not a maxim gun visible. In this every it's it's men with rifles, right? That's that's really worth noting. So the fact that this picture excludes the maxim gun to present an unrealistic picture of the battle is not an isolated event. In fact, historians have studied and written extensively about how comprehensively the Maxim gun, arguably the most essential tool for this phase of colonialism, was excised from the British popular imagination. And I'm going to quote now from a write up by Rami Mize of the Rutgers. Art Review graduate journal quote these brutal imperial campaigns were subsequently met with a mountain of printed pictures in order to satiate the interests of an eager British public. Few artists contributed as prolifically as Richard Caton Woodville Junior to the Wealth of war imagery that colored the widely circulated illustrated newspapers. A self professed special war artist of the 1880s and 1890s, albeit one who had never personally experienced battle, Woodville submitted thousands of drawings to a wide variety of publications. Covering almost every Imperial crusade, his illustrations, prints, and oil paintings incorporated the accepted motifs of high Victorian military art, such as the belief in great men and military heroes. The depiction of war is an inspiring adventure filled with noble sacrifice and a compositional focus on hand to hand combat and glorious cavalry charges fraught with soldiers courageously lunging and thrusting with swords and bayonets. However, almost never does the machine gun upon which the majority of these colonial victories were wholly dependent make an appearance. So from the 1890s up to the early 1900s, colonial victories against what seemed like long odds were celebrated in the news and popular nonfiction with stories of heroism next to full color illustration of small bands of Englishmen surrounded, fighting back-to-back against hordes of enemies. The Maxim gun isn't in almost any of these pictures. It it it virtually does not appear in British popular illustrations of war in this. Meanwhile, the individual man with a rifle is nearly worshipped, and there grows to be an increasing. Connection between the very idea of manhood and the rifle, as F Norris Connell wrote in his 1899 book How Soldiers Fight. Apart from his physique, the Britisher has no particular qualification as a cavalier, and he lacks the quick intelligence of the Bourne artillerymen. But give him a rifle and bayonet and let him have two years training to make a man of him, and yet two more to remind him that he cannot be one without the other. You see what he's saying there? You you need all this training not just to teach you how to use a rifle. And to make you into a man that, but to remind you that you're not a man without a rifle. Like, that's it. This is masterful propaganda. Yeah. And a lot of the history work I do within range, I find what is so interesting to me isn't that the narrative itself that's painted. And frequently the the narratives are lies, or even if they're not lies, what's most interesting is the things are are the things that are intentionally left out that paint the picture they want. And this is a great example of that. It's not. It's not what they say. It's what they don't say that frequently makes the narrative. Yeah. And it's remind me to talk about how that kind of refers. What I think what might be about to be the modern version of this with modern weaponry, because there's a conversation there. But in his paper, Raymie mice cites this this guy's quote and makes what I think is an extremely astute observation quote. In this estimation, the firearm is not simply an ancillary tool, but rather a constitutive agent in the making of the modern male soldier. Woodville Pictures, when examined through this lens, demonstrate that the machine guns usage and physical mechanisms both. Analogize and re inscribe the volatile nature of constructions of masculinity at the turn of the century. In other words, the act of being a man with a rifle is seen as the ideal of manhood, but the reality, which is that individual riflemen matter very little next to the presence of a maxim gun that's hidden Raymi goes on to write the effectiveness of the gun was impervious to mass casualties. As long as one man survived to aim a functional gun, the odds remained in his favour, manpower was rendered almost irrelevant and the gun reigned supreme. As such, the machine gun was a vitally useful tool in the colonization of Africa. And as John Ellis chillingly pronounces time and time again, automatic fire enabled small groups of settlers or soldiers to stamp out any indigenous resistance to their activities and to extend their writ over vast areas of the African continent. Yet also, according to Ellis, in England and other countries machine guns remained hidden until the very outbreak of World War One. As previously mentioned, this is certainly corroborated by the machine gun's absence and popular war imagery. In news coverage, what might be the underlying reasons for such reluctance on the part of the Army and special War artists to acknowledge the machine guns influence in their campaigns for one, to quote Ellis once more, where was the glory? Where was the vicarious excitement for the readers back home if one told the truth about the totally superior firepower, one couldn't pin a medal on a weapon. The machine gun refuted the need for almost all forms of traditional Victorian military heroics, direct combat cavalry charges, and the traditional British infantry square. As Ellis observes, Europeans, as particularly the British, were too concerned with trumpeting the virtues of their small squares of heroes to admit that much of the credit for these sickeningly total victories should go to the machine guns. I don't want to get ahead of the discussion here, but this makes me think right off the bat about the machine gun or using these weapons against the indigenous people. Not that different than someone sitting at a computer launching drone strikes. Hmm, yeah, that's one of the things I I want to talk about. Another of them would be the wire guided missile, which? Is almost invisible in American popular depictions of combat, but is the most important weapon system and a lot of the different conflicts that we're involved in right now and is I I have some some friends who are deep. Like one of the things they're concerned about is that like, well, if you look at a lot of our near peer adversaries, one of the things that they're doing is they're putting a lot of wire guided missiles on small transports, little armored vehicles and stuff like that, even on like technicals and the United States. Which is very dependent on large armored vehicles like wraps, does not do that to nearly so much of an extent. And these huge vehicles that we've built in order to render our troops effectively invulnerable to roadside bombs and all forms of incoming fire, you very almost can't shoot one of those things to pieces unless you've got like a ******* Milan or some other kind of wider guided missile, in which case it's just a big tomb. And it's one of those things I can remember sitting in the the ******* dust in Mosul with a couple of little Iraqi kids drinking water and like, watching these massive. Wrap strobe by those are the only times I ever saw Americans that weren't journalists out in Mosul. You never saw them in person. They were in these Titanic and vulnerable vehicles, and those things are more or less invulnerable when you're fighting somebody who's best anti armor weapon is a homemade RPG or something. They may have stolen from the Iraqi Armory, but they're going to be increasingly useless in a world that has so many more of these weapons, in part because we've just been shotgunning them all over the *** **** place. Like that's the big thing. Gave the Kurds a **** load and we we we've given them all over the place because it's an easy weapon system to give your allies to enable them to take out any kind of armoured vehicle, effectively. And the the fact that it makes no presence in American popular imagination and is the kind of thing that I think could be completely disruptive to US. Battle doctrine is something that is, is, is going to be a thing at some point like that. Umm. But you know what else is completely disruptive to US? Battle doctrine, Carl? Social media. Well, yeah, actually, yeah, that's that, that that. That might take a hit, too. Yeah, Twitter. Twitter could be a real problem, but also the products and services that support this podcast. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying. Or for a family. And it meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. You can use your own phone with any mint mobile plan and keep your same phone number along with all your existing contacts. Just switch to Mint mobile and get premium wireless service starting at 15 bucks a month. Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month, and no one expected plot twists at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet. Very happy at Now a word from our sponsor that our help if you're having trouble stuck in your own head, focusing on problems dealing with depression, or just you know can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, you may want to try therapy. And better help makes it very easy to get therapy that works with your lifestyle and your schedule. A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy. Try better help is a great option. It's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey, and if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time when you want to be a better problem solver therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better Betterhelp com behind. Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. Anything, particularly young children out into nature so that they can experience it and take time off from this virtual world of being always on your cell phones and so on. And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, we're back. One thing I should also note. You ever do any play any warhammer when you were a kid, Carl? Actually, I didn't. I I mean, I'm really familiar with the aesthetic, but no, I never played it myself. I, I, I it it struck me as I was looking through all these old paintings of like, British military victories in Africa. Like, Ohh, that's what all of the old Warhammer artist based on. Because obviously those are kids all grew up in like, British public schools and saw a million of these a circle of men. Surrounded by a horde of enemies like that sort of thing. Like a lot of these things. Some pictures. Yeah. It's interesting when you find those connections like that, the things that the the the echoes of things from the past that then manifest themselves in ways in the future. Even something as simple as science fiction art. Yeah, I always find that fascinating. Yeah, it's really interesting to me and I I'm sure there's more to be. I'm sure somebody who wanted to could write a very interesting paper on that. But yeah, so the point that mice the author of this paper. Is making is crucial to a number of the historical events that come next. After kind of the scramble for Africa, the supposed fearlessness of colonial soldiers against tremendous numerical odds was made entirely possible by machine guns. But the massive popular imagination around these events led to widespread attitudes in Victorian England, and beyond that, the truest way to become a real man was to go and see war. And it was a pretty safe bet. Because since you've got the ******* Maxim gun, you'll probably survive. And you'll you'll come back. This story or whatever, and you continue this, this kind of legend of, of what these fights are like because you don't want to tell people, well, we just kind of pulled the trigger on a maxim gun until there weren't people left. Victorian scholar Angus McLaren notes. To be a man required effort and labor, and that was not required of a woman. One did not go to female by force to will her to be a woman. She was born one. And maize goes on to include the machine gun, however, negated most of these characteristics of manhood. Indeed, it obstructed. And the opportunity for legitimate confrontation when used against poorly armed opponents and rendered obsolete qualities like strength and skill and hand to hand combat. So the British and other colonizing nations are increasingly glorifying this idea of the colonial soldier, of the man willing to fight for his empire, of of the value of like physical courage and like being willing to get stuck into a fight, and also obscuring the fact that none of those qualities matter anymore because machine guns exist. We see this echo again in Rhodesia. When their slogan was being man amongst men. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It's this. It's this very false idea of the nature of conflict in order to. In this. It's less of a con because most of the men who joined the army in this. Like that you go over and get shipped to Africa, yeah, you'll probably make it back. You're you're not likely to face serious threat because you've got this weapon. Once the machine guns get turned on each other, you know, it's a different it's a different thing. And of course, the reality is that Maxim's gun had rendered courage, skill and toughness completely meaningless. Nothing matters when you're standing in front of a machine gun, but that there's a man behind that machine gun, but an entire. Generation of British and European manhood was raised on fantasies about what war was going to mean in the 21st century. Here are Maxim got unfathomably rich selling governments the instruments by which this generation would be slaughtered, and mass. By the end of the 1800s, all the nations of Europe were going Gaga for Maxim's gun. He sold it to the Germans as the MG O 9, to the British as the Vickers, and as his weapon flew off the proverbial shelves, he made regular improvements and upgrades to increase its reliability and killing power. He developed his own. Smokeless powder alongside his brother Hudson, which made the weapon much easier to use in mass confrontations between two proper armies. This is the last big development that makes it effective for European conflict, because the first version of the maxim gun, there's this. The kind of smoke that it makes is so distinctive that you can target it with artillery very easily. The new smokeless powder makes it a lot harder to see and thus harder to like, just blow up the machine guns where you find them with, you know, field guns or whatnot. Maxim is over was overjoyed to sell his weapon to multiple sides in the same war. This happened first in 1905, when both the Russians and Japanese went to battle with his guns. If any of these powers were irritated at Maxim, they wanted his weapon badly enough to keep their mouths shut. The Queen of England made him a British citizen in 1900, which he was happy to accept. He had never quite forgiven the United States for refusing to buy his weapon. Most of the rest of Maxim's life was in fact a process of him using his fame and wealth to harp on slights. Begrudges, his autobiography, was largely a canvas for him to lay out petty irritations against other inventors. He even fell out with his brother Hudson, jealous that Hudson had an equal faculty for invention. At one point, Hiram hired a private detective to stalk his brother and sabotage his work. Hudson would later claim he told me one time that if the telescope hadn't been invented, he would have invented it, and I think he never felt kindly towards Galileo for having got ahead of him. Like, that's very offended by the fact that other people make things. So, yeah, a bit of * ****. Hudson responded to his brother's provocation by tracking down Helen Layton, a teenage girl that Hiram had tricked into marrying him while he was already married to someone else. Maxim was charged with bigamy. Although he was acquitted, the charges ensured that he was the subject of mockery and whispered discussion for the rest of his life. By the time he was an old man, Hiram was completely deaf from years of weapons testing without hearing protection. He also suffered bronchitis for the last 16 years of his life, which was probably had something to do with. You know, all of the gunpowder and explosions and stuff he hung out around or whatever chemicals he was snorting everyday. Good God. God only knows what kind of **** he was inhaling, you know? Yeah. And that actually led to his last really significant invention, which was an inhaler to basically help with like, asthma and the like. He called it the pipe of peace, his design because you couldn't spray with the kind of force that you can today. It was like a long glass tube where you would kind of like a crack pipe, heat a thing in a glass bulb and then inhale it to the back of the throat, which was it was it was a big improvement over similar kinds of devices that had existed before he filled his with menthol and Evergreen. Mixed with water. And he believes this is the first time that menthol was ever used for this account to like actually decongest and sue the throat. He's the first person to use menthol for that purpose, he claims. I don't I I I haven't found any arguments against that. I'm sure it was used in in some sort of indigenous medicine before he came across it, but he's certainly the first person to like do this and market it. And these are very popular. His inhalers, he sells hundreds of thousands of these. And it's it's funny because like, this is actually. A really significant invention. It's a major device within kind of the line of descendant of the asthma inhaler and stuff like, it's a very meaningful development for like human health that he contributes to here. But a lot of people make fun of him for it. They call it like a quack remedy and attack him for it in a way that he never had been before in his career. And so in his 1915 autobiography Maxim wrote quote, it will be seen that it is a very creditable thing to invent a killing machine and nothing less than a disgrace. To invent an apparatus to prevent human suffering. He ain't wrong. That's what people like, right? No, yeah. Seriously, this is so interesting. This guy was all over the board. I mean, from not being being associated with the light bulb to, yeah, making one of the worst in terms of effective killing machines on the battlefield, to something that actually, legitimately was a medical health device. I mean, that's wild. Yeah, it is. I mean, you got curling iron, don't forget. Ohh, curling iron is obviously A and the curling iron as well. Yeah. Yeah. You're not wrong, Hiram. Maxim lived long enough to see his weapon. Reach its apotheosis during the outbreak of the First World War. He died in the winter of 1916, most of the way through the Battle of the Psalm. By that point in the war, more than 750,000 British soldiers had been killed. The majority of these deaths, by some accounts, like 2/3, were the result of German machine guns. In one day at the Psalm, more than 20,000 British boys were cut down by machine gunfire. When he lives to see it, and in the days before his death, there's no evidence that he was actually troubled by this at all. According to the website American Heritage Quote, he had other concerns. In his last years, he had rented a front room at the top of the building in a London Business district, and there he spent hours blowing black beans out of a pea shooter at a Salvation Army band that regularly played across the street. This raises such interesting questions about like, it raises such interesting questions because technology is going to advance whether you're the person doing it or not. Sure if someone Maxim there was gonna be another machine gun, right? And so I'm not justifying at the same time. The question is if it wasn't maximum with someone else. So I bet you that was pretty much where he was putting his mindset at that point. You have to right? Especially when you're like, oh, I made a thing in 20,000 kids died in a day because of it. Like, yeah. Of course you you. And you're not like, obviously other people were working on this. Someone would have made a machine. And I think you could argue that like, yeah. But maybe he was so smart. Maybe it would have taken another 10 years. And maybe that means colonialism in Africa never really gets to the same point. Or like, maybe we can do what ifs all the day live long day. Obviously I I tend to be more trends and forces than great man. And it it like, someone would have developed this right there would have been machine guns mowing down a generation of of of European youth. In World War One, with or without Hiram Maxim, maybe the guns wouldn't have worked as well. Maybe it would have taken longer. You know, these are all the things that that can be debated on. Knee was predominantly done with single shot trapdoor rifles, right. I mean, yeah. So yeah, so obviously it's one of those things. It's probable. I think it's either kind of between him or crup because field artillery also kills an astronomical number of people probably, but probably him or crop that you would say is like the weapon. Inventor who's who's invention killed the most people, both directly and like every other machine gun that exists up to the modern day is in some way descended from the Maxim gun, right? Like, even if it's just ascended and that machine guns have a place in every military as a result of the success of the Max, and it's the same with like, crops, artillery, right? Like it's all descended. That said, if Trump hadn't figured out how to make cannons better than the big old brass Napoleonic ones, someone was going to right? Like it. These are all. Worth talking about? Yeah. That's one of the interesting questions that always pops up with the work I do, especially with firearms. And it applies to this, which is I I intrinsically come from the idea that technology is going to happen regardless. Yeah. And that the question isn't, should or should not technology exist? I mean, there's a lot of things in this world I wish didn't exist. It'd be nice to live in a world without water cooled belt, failed machine guns and nuclear weapons, but the reality is they do. And the problem isn't necessarily the technology is what we as humans do with it. Yeah. And it's and I think that's where the the degree to which he's more morally. Hubble is the yeah, of course I'll sell to both sides and everyone should have this thing. I want to get this out there as much as it's ******* possible. And then to be honest, though, like the the the greatest evil done as a result of the Maxim gun is I think what we talked about in the middle of the episode the the hiding it from the populaces of the nations using it until it couldn't be hidden anymore. That's and that's not on Maxim. That's just. That that there's a lot of blame to go around there. And it's it's a really fascinating thing to think about. And that's the thing that didn't have to happen, right? Someone was going to make a machine gun. It wasn't inevitable that the machine gun would be hidden from the people paying for it to be used on other folks. That's wasn't inevitable. Makes you wonder what we're not aware of right now. Yeah. Well, yeah, we can talk about a number of different weapons systems. Yeah. Or other things for that matter, right? Or other things. Yeah, but. Yep, that's the story of Hera, Maxim, Carl. That's that's pretty amazing. I mean, obviously I'm very familiar with the weapon and what it was, what it was used for in World War One. I was not as familiar with its use in the colonial efforts, which is, yeah, particularly fascinating. Like I said earlier, the what's what's masterful propaganda is less about what people talk about but what they leave out of the narrative. And that, in this instance, painted a very dismal picture. Like you said, there's no honor in going to be a soldier for the British Empire and then pushing a button and slaughtering 1500 people defenseless sly. There's no honor in that. Even that's not sporting, as they would say. Right. And but at the same time they definitely wanted people to feel as though that they that honor was to be in that in that empire and to further the empires goals. The amount of people murdered in the process. Totally irrelevant. Yeah and it is this thing where. War becomes very unsporting. And that's, that's a big part of like this the the first year particularly of World War One as all of these these gallant French soldiers and their colorful pants and these, you know, legions of German 16 year old boys at the slaughter of the Hitler's first big battle, if I'm not mistaken. All of these young men who learned very quickly that there's nothing sporting about war any longer if indeed there ever was an interesting read in that regard, if you ever read Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Barons autobiography. He talks about being in the first cavalry charges of the war and very quickly being someone of Russian descent and the ability to do something different. He decides, wow, this isn't what I thought it was going to be joining. I'm going to go join the air service, right. But but it's a real interesting. The first couple chapters of his autobiography are very much about. This is what I thought I was going to see and this is what I actually saw. Yeah. And it's it's a lot of people were shocked, I think, when they ran into that few first fusillade of fully automatic fire. It's it's remarkable. And and in terms of like, how recent a lot of this was, I I interviewed a man once who had he was 14 when World War ended, and in the Hitler Youth he was a German man. His grandfather was a Prussian cavalryman who had fought in the War of 1870 and and charged men on horseback with the sword. And I, like I shook hands with this man who had shaken hands with a man who fought on horseback with a Saber like that. It's it's not that far ago. It's not that long ago. That like that was war. And it was Maxim's gun that had a major role in why that seems like the ******* medieval days now. Yeah, that and the aircraft, right. Those are the two that, to me right off the bat, changed everything so much that the world was completely unrecognizable within, say, two years. Yeah, yeah, it's it's really it's something else. Well, Carl, we've got more to talk about another another guy who made a gun and also a guy who we don't have to do the whole will. Someone would have made a thing because absolutely no other ******* person would have made the kind of weapons. This dude was obsessed with making alright, yeah, he's a beautiful maniac. We will be talking about him in Part 2, but for right now, Carl, do you have any plegables to plug? I mean, just my normal thing. I run in range TV, you can find my content, you can find all my different distribution points at in I'm sometimes referred to as an alternative voice in the firearms content creator community in that I'm actually trying to be inclusive and believe that rights are for everyone, not for a specific category of people. And that makes you controversial in the firearms community. But if that's your bag, come check me out at Definitely check Carl out at Inrange TV and, you know, get yourself a Gatling gun. There's nothing stopping you. Not stopping you. I don't know. I was. I mean, if you're feeling a little colonial, you might wanna Maxim, right? Yeah. Or if you're feeling like world domination, maybe some sort of tactical nuke. I mean, it's probably available in the market now, right? I mean, fingers crossed that that would really make me feel a lot safer when I go out to Fred Meyer to to do my grocery shopping. Well, I mean, what? Yeah, I mean, one minute. Ten or two. Just a couple of minute men. You know, like a derringer with them. What's more viable than a personal self-defense item except like a little tiny tactical nuke on your belt? Look, if everybody had a tiny tactical nuke, we would no longer have fist fights. Hey, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke. That's right, that's right. That's well that that was the story of the Cold War. It was. All right. Well, that's all for part one, Part 2. Electric boogaloo coming up? Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. 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