Architecture was one of Adolf Hitler's passions, and he commissioned hundreds of buildings and arenas reminiscent of imperial Rome to inspire and intimidate.

It's a legacy Germany has struggled to erase by re-purposing or razing Nazi-era structures. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, for example, was placed in an old SS barracks in Nuremburg, while the German Finance Ministry took over the Nazi aviation building in Berlin.

The Berlin bunker where Hitler spent his final days was reduced to a parking lot.

Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

As the brutal civil war in Syria grinds on in its fifth year, it's clear that civilians have borne the brunt of the tragedy. 

Syrian and Russian armed forces are regularly criticized for bombing civilians in rebel-held areas.

That's well documented in media reports. 

But people like Michael Beshara, a Syrian American who lives in upstate New York, argue that the Western media's portrayal of the war in Syria glosses over the human tragedy in government-controlled areas.

Fidel Castro and his rag-tag band of fighters assembled on the shores of Mexico, stealthily navigated their overcrowded boat to southeastern Cuba, and unleashed a 1956 insurgency that rocked all of Latin America. That temblor lasted 60 years and ended, more or less, on Monday.

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Even by the grim standards of Syria’s five-year-old civil war, the news from Aleppo has been particularly shocking in recent days. 

Syrian military forces and their Russian allies appear to be trying to wipe out whatever remains of the opposition in the northern city with an intense bombing campaign. 

Warplanes were pounding rebel-held areas of Aleppo hours after Syria's government launched a new offensive amid the collapse of a cease-fire earlier this week — and internationally renowned rescue volunteers say their centers are being targeted by the airstrikes.

The regime announced the offensive on state media Thursday. "A Syrian military official said airstrikes and shelling in Aleppo might continue for an extended period and the operation will expand into a ground invasion of rebel-held districts," The Associated Press reported, quoting Syrian state media.

A Syrian cease-fire went into effect at sundown on Monday, at approximately 11:45 a.m. EDT.

Just hours before the start of the planned cease-fire, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced on state media that he plans to "reclaim every area from the terrorists," The Associated Press reports. Assad's government had earlier indicated it would abide by the negotiated truce.

Sara K. Schwittek JDP/Reuters

Author Lawrence Wright was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, which meant he was required to do two years of what was called "alternative service." He ended up in Egypt, teaching at the American University in Cairo. And it was there that the man from Texas started his obsession with the Middle East.

Since then, Wright has written a lot about the region and about terrorism as a staff writer for The New Yorker. Now, he has compiled his many New Yorker essays into a new book called The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Surrounded by shouting, he's completely silent.

The child is small, alone, covered in blood and dust, dropped in the back of an ambulance with his feet dangling off the edge of a too-big chair.

He doesn't cry or speak. His face is stunned and dazed, but not surprised. He wipes his hand over his wounded face, looks at the blood, wipes it off on the chair.

Success on the battlefield against the Islamic State won't translate into an immediate reduction in the threat from attacks in the West, the top U.S. counterterrorism leader tells NPR.

Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the tactical gains the U.S. military and its partners are making in Iraq and Syria are a "necessary" part of quashing the danger it poses — but not "sufficient."

"We do need that success — but there'll be a lag in the benefits we accrue," he said.

The White House has declassified its procedures for approving operations against terror suspects outside of the United States, providing a window into the decision-making process for authorizing drone strikes and other forms of lethal force.

The redacted document, issued by the administration in May 2013, was released in response to a court order resulting from an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

During the decade before the U.S. Civil War, a different conflict made a big impact on the future of the Oregon Territory. It's known as the Rogue River Indian War. But unlike the Civil War battlefields in the eastern U.S. or American South that receive hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, you’ll be hard pressed to tour -- or even find -- those battlefields.

Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Bombs are raining down from the sky every day in Aleppo. 

When residents hear the buzz of planes overhead, most dash for cover.

But a group of volunteers, known as the "White Helmets," continue to rush toward the destruction. And these days it seems their work just doesn't stop. 

"The last few days were like hell," says 29-year-old White Helmet Ishmael Alabdullah. "We don't have any electricity in Aleppo city, the darkness is everywhere ... All that we have now is just bombing, bombing, bombing." 

At These Museums, Tragedy Is A History Lesson

Aug 3, 2016

Last week, NPR Ed rounded up our favorite children's museums — places dedicated to letting kids learn in kid-friendly exhibits. That got us thinking about a different kind of museum: the ones that teach about the toughest episodes of history. How do you explain what happened during the Sept. 11 attacks to a child? What about the Holocaust, or the Oklahoma City bombing? We asked leaders from three memorial museums around the U.S.