Archive for July 14th, 2008

14
Jul
08

Luftwaffe: Focke Wulf 190 (FW 190)

FW-190

Arguably the best propeller driven fighter plane of World War II, the Focke Wulf 190 (FW 190) had superior speed and performance over the British Spitfire V and later FW 190 versions would stay a step ahead of its British contemporaries.  The brainchild of Germany’s legendary aircraft designer Kurt Tank, the FW 190-A originally had a top speed of 390mph, and carried four 20mm cannons in the wings.  Later versions with better engines and fewer guns, would be able to reach speeds around 470mph.  In the hands of a novice pilot the plane was forgiving and easy to handle, making the machine a match for experienced and seasoned allied pilots.  In the hands of a veteran Luftwaffe pilot the FW 190 was a devastating weapon capable of destroying B-17 Flying Fortresses, was an easy match for the P-38, P-47 and could go toe to toe with the P-51.  Fighting alongside the Messerschmitt Me 262, the Germans had discovered a very capable replacement for the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

This plane can be found at: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

For more history on this type of plane follow this link: http://www.aviation-history.com/focke-wulf/fw190.html

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14
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-14-08: Bastille Day

French revolutionaries storm Bastille

Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.

The Bastille was originally constructed in 1370 as a bastide, or “fortification,” to protect the walled city of Paris from English attack. It was later made into an independent stronghold, and its name–bastide–was corrupted to Bastille. The Bastille was first used as a state prison in the 17th century, and its cells were reserved for upper-class felons, political troublemakers, and spies. Most prisoners there were imprisoned without a trial under direct orders of the king. Standing 100 feet tall and surrounded by a moat more than 80 feet wide, the Bastille was an imposing structure in the Parisian landscape.

The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum. Joined by four-fifths of the French army, the revolutionaries seized control of Paris and then the French countryside, forcing King Louis XVI to accept a constitutional government. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.

By order of the new revolutionary government, the Bastille was torn down. On February 6, 1790, the last stone of the hated prison-fortress was presented to the National Assembly. Today, July 14–Bastille Day–is celebrated as a national holiday in France.

“French revolutionaries storm Bastille.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6958.

 

On This Day

1430 – Joan of Arc, taken prisoner by the Burgundians in May, was handed over to Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais.

1914 – Robert H. Goddard patented liquid rocket-fuel.

1933 – All German political parties except the Nazi Party were outlawed.

1940 – A force of German Ju-88 bombers attacked Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.

1941 – Vichy French Foreign Legionaries signed an armistice in Damascus, which allowed them to join the Free French Foreign Legion.

1945 – American battleships and cruisers bombarded the Japanese home islands for the first time.

1965 – The American space probe Mariner 4 flew by Mars, and sent back photographs of the planet.

1966 – In a Chicago dormitory, Richard Speck murdered eight student nurses.

2001 – Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics. It was the first time that the China had been awarded the games.

 

Sedition Act becomes federal law

On this day in 1798, one of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history becomes federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known as the Quasi-War, Alexander Hamilton and congressional Federalists took advantage of the public’s wartime fears and drafted and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, without first consulting President John Adams. The first three acts took aim at the rights of immigrants. The period of residency required before immigrants could apply for citizenship was extended from five to 14 years, and the president gained the power to detain and deport those he deemed enemies.

President Adams never took advantage of his newfound ability to deny rights to immigrants. However, the fourth act, the Sedition Act, was put into practice and became a black mark on the nation’s reputation. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act. In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, declaring the acts to be a violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. President Adams, appalled at where Hamilton and the congressional Federalists were leading the country under the guise of wartime crisis, tried to end the undeclared war with France to undercut their efforts. He threatened to resign from the presidency and leave the Federalists with Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson if they did not heed his call for peace. Adams succeeded in quashing Hamilton and the Federalists’ schemes, but ended any hope of his own re-election in the process.

“Sedition Act becomes federal law.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50377.

Rupture between USSR and China grows worse

Relations between the Soviet Union and China reach the breaking point as the two governments engage in an angry ideological debate about the future of communism. The United States, for its part, was delighted to see a wedge being driven between the two communist superpowers.

In mid-1963, officials from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China met in Moscow to try to mend their ideological rift. The Chinese government had become openly critical of what it referred to as the growing “counterrevolutionary trends” in the Soviet Union. In particular, China was unhappy with the Soviet Union’s policy of cooperation with the West. According to a public statement made by the Chinese government on June 14, 1963, a much more militant and aggressive policy was needed in order to spread the communist revolution worldwide. There could be no “peaceful coexistence” with the forces of capitalism, and the statement chided the Russians for trying to reach a diplomatic understanding with the West, and in particular, the United States.

“Rupture between USSR and China grows worse.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2728.

Quotes

Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.
Maximilien Robespierre

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.
Maximilien Robespierre




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