Archive for July 12th, 2008

12
Jul
08

Crystal Lake at Sunset

Crystal Lake

Sunset over Crystal Lake near Saynor, Wisconsin.  This lake is part of the 225,000 acre Northern Highland — American Legion State Forest.  http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/forestry/StateForests/SF-NH-AL/

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12
Jul
08

Messerschmitt Bf-109

Bf 109

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane held the line for the German Luftwaffe during World War II.  It served throughout the war but had limitations.  Limited fuel range meant it could not stay over England for long, which greatly hampered the Luftwaffe’s efforts during the Battle of Britain.  When the Americans arrived the plane had passed its prime, being easily outclassed by faster more maneuverable planes like the P-38, P-47 and the P-51

The version pictured here has two nose mounted 7.92 millimeter machine guns that shoot through the propeller, and a 20 millimeter cannon that shoots from the tip of the propeller cowling.  It packed enough firepower to take on the B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators, but with a speed of under 380 miles per hour it proved too slow to fight it out with American fighters.  The Luftwaffe would have to wait for the development of the Messerschmitt Me 262 and the Focke Wulf FW 190 before it could duke it out with the American fighters.

12
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-12-08: Boris Yeltsin

Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party

Just two days after Mikhail Gorbachev was re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, announces his resignation from the Party. Yeltsin’s action was a serious blow to Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together.

In July 1990, Soviet Communist Party leaders met in a congress for debate and elections. Gorbachev, who had risen to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, came under severe attack from Communist Party hard-liners. They believed that his political and economic reforms were destroying the Party’s control of the nation. Gorbachev fired back at his critics during a speech in which he defended his reforms and attacked the naysayers as backward-looking relics from the dark past of the Soviet Union. He was rewarded with an overwhelming vote in favor of his re-election as head of the Communist Party. Just two days after that vote, however, Yeltsin shattered the illusion that Gorbachev’s victory meant an end to political infighting in the Soviet Union. Yeltsin had been a consistent critic of Gorbachev, but his criticisms stemmed from a belief that Gorbachev was moving too slowly in democratizing the Soviet political system. Yeltsin’s dramatic announcement of his resignation from the Communist Party was a clear indication that he was demanding a multiparty political system in the Soviet Union. It was viewed as a slap in the face to Gorbachev and his policies.

During the next year and a half, Gorbachev’s power gradually waned, while Yeltsin’s star rose. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union officially dissolved. Yeltsin, however, retained his position of power as president of Russia. In their own particular ways, both men had overseen the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Yeltsin remained president of Russia until December 31, 1999, when he resigned. Despite his attempts at economic reform, his tenure in office saw the country’s economy falter badly, including a near-complete collapse of its currency. His administration was also marked by rampant corruption, an invasion of Chechnya and a series of bizarre incidents involving Yeltsin that were reputedly a result of his alcoholism. Yeltsin’s opponents twice tried to impeach him. With his resignation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became acting president until new elections could be held. On March 26, 2000, Putin became Russia’s new president.

“Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 10:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2726.

1543 – England’s King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr.

1862 – The U.S. Congress authorized the Medal of Honor.

1864 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln witnessed the battle where Union forces repelled Jubal Early’s army on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

1941 – Moscow was bombed by the German Luftwaffe for the first time.

1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a highway modernization program, with costs to be shared by federal and state governments.

2000 – Russia launched the Zvezda after two years of delays. The module was built to be the living quarters for the International Space Station (ISS.)

Russians halt German advance in a decisive battle at Kursk

On this day in 1943, one of the greatest clashes of armor in military history takes place as the German offensive against the Russian fortification at Kursk, a Russian railway and industrial center, is stopped in a devastating battle, marking the turning point in the Eastern front in the Russians’ favor.

“Russians halt German advance in a decisive battle at Kursk.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 10:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6517.

Ferraro named vice presidential candidate

Walter Mondale, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, announces that he has chosen Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate. Ferraro, a daughter of Italian immigrants, had previously gained notoriety as a vocal advocate of women’s rights in Congress.

“Ferraro named vice presidential candidate.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 10:29 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5173.




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