Archive for April 11th, 2008

11
Apr
08

Shoah

The U.S. army liberates Buchenwald concentration camp

On this day in 1945, the American Third Army liberates the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany, a camp that will be judged second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposed on its prisoners.

As American forces closed in on the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Gestapo headquarters at Weimar telephoned the camp administration to announce that it was sending explosives to blow up any evidence of the camp–including its inmates. What the Gestapo did not know was that the camp administrators had already fled in fear of the Allies. A prisoner answered the phone and informed headquarters that explosives would not be needed, as the camp had already been blown up, which, of course, was not true.

The camp held thousands of prisoners, mostly slave laborers. There were no gas chambers, but hundreds, sometimes thousands, died monthly from disease, malnutrition, beatings, and executions. Doctors performed medical experiments on inmates, testing the effects of viral infections and vaccines.

Among the camp’s most gruesome characters was Ilse Koch, wife of the camp commandant, who was infamous for her sadism. She often beat prisoners with a riding crop, and collected lampshades, book covers, and gloves made from the skin of camp victims.

Among those saved by the Americans was Elie Wiesel, who would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.”The U.S. army liberates Buchenwald concentration camp.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Apr 2008, 03:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6415. 

Requiem pour un massacre

 Gorecki Symphony No. 3 “Sorrowful Songs” – Lento e Largo

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11
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-11-08: Apollo 13

Apollo 13 launched to moon

On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13, the third lunar landing mission, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise. The spacecraft’s destination was the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon, where the astronauts were to explore the Imbrium Basin and conduct geological experiments. After an oxygen tank exploded on the evening of April 13, however, the new mission objective became to get the Apollo 13 crew home alive.

“Apollo 13 launched to moon.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Apr 2008, 01:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6864.

1512 – The forces of the Holy League were heavily defeated by the French at the Battle of Ravenna.

1783 – After receiving a copy of the provisional treaty on March 13, the U.S. Congress proclaimed a formal end to hostilities with Great Britain.

1803 – A twin-screw propeller steamboat was patented by John Stevens.

1895 – Anaheim, CA, completed its new electric light system.

1898 – U.S. President William McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war with Spain.

1899 – The treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

1940 – Andrew Ponzi set a world’s record in a New York pocket billiards tournament when he ran 127 balls straight.

1941 – Germany bombers blitzed Conventry, England.

1945 – U.S. troops reached the Elbe River in Germany.

1945 – During World War II, American soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald in Germany.

1947 – Jackie Robinson became the first black player in major-league history. He played in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1968 – U.S. President Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

1974 – The Judiciary committee subpoenas U.S. President Richard Nixon to produce tapes for impeachment inquiry.

1981 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan returned to the White House from the hospital after recovering from an assassination attempt.

1985 – The White House announced that President Reagan would visit the Nazi cemetery at Bitburg.

1986 – In Groton, CT, the submarine Nautilus exhibit opened to the public.

2001 – China agreed to release 24 crewmembers of a U.S. surveillance plane. The EP-3E Navy crew had been held since April 1 on Hainon, where the plane had made an emergency landing after an in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese pilot was missing and presumed dead.

 

Truman relieves MacArthur of duties in Korea

In perhaps the most famous civilian-military confrontation in the history of the United States, President Harry S. Truman relieves General Douglas MacArthur of command of the U.S. forces in Korea. The firing of MacArthur set off a brief uproar among the American public, but Truman remained committed to keeping the conflict in Korea a “limited war.”

Problems with the flamboyant and egotistical General MacArthur had been brewing for months. In the early days of the war in Korea (which began in June 1950), the general had devised some brilliant strategies and military maneuvers that helped save South Korea from falling to the invading forces of communist North Korea. As U.S. and United Nations forces turned the tide of battle in Korea, MacArthur argued for a policy of pushing into North Korea to completely defeat the communist forces. Truman went along with this plan, but worried that the communist government of the People’s Republic of China might take the invasion as a hostile act and intervene in the conflict. In October 1950, MacArthur met with Truman and assured him that the chances of a Chinese intervention were slim. Then, in November and December 1950, hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops crossed into North Korea and flung themselves against the American lines, driving the U.S. troops back into South Korea. MacArthur then asked for permission to bomb communist China and use Nationalist Chinese forces from Taiwan against the People’s Republic of China. Truman flatly refused these requests and a very public argument began to develop between the two men.

“Truman relieves MacArthur of duties in Korea.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Apr 2008, 02:01 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2634.

Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
Douglas MacArthur

Swigert: “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” http://history.nasa.gov/Timeline/apollo13chron.html




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