12
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-12-2008: Yuri Andropov

November 12, 1982

Yuri Andropov assumes power in the Soviet Union

Following the death of long-time Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev two days earlier, Yuri Andropov is selected as the new general secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. It was the culmination of a long, but steady march up the Communist Party hierarchy for Andropov.

Born in Russia in 1914, by the 1930s Andropov was an active participant in the Communist Youth League. During World War II, he led a group of guerilla fighters who operated behind Nazi lines. His work led to various positions in Moscow, and in 1954, he was named as Soviet ambassador to Hungary. During the Hungarian crisis of 1956, Andropov proved his reliability. He lied to Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy about Soviet military intentions, and later assured Nagy that he was safe from Soviet reprisals. Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest in November 1956 and Nagy was captured and executed in 1958.

Andropov’s work in Hungary brought him back to Moscow, where he continued to rise through the ranks of the Communist Party. In 1967, he was named head of the KGB, Russia’s secret police force. A hard-liner, he supported the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and oversaw the crackdown on dissidents such as Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn. In 1982, with Brezhnev deathly ill and fading fast, Andropov left the KGB and began jockeying for power. When Brezhnev died on November 10, 1982, Andropov was poised to assume power. He was named general secretary on November 12.

His rule was short-lived, but eventful. At home, he tried to reinvigorate the flagging Russian economy and attacked corruption and rising alcoholism among the Soviet people. In his foreign policy, Andropov faced off against the adamantly anticommunist diplomacy of President Ronald Reagan. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were severely strained when Soviet pilots shot down a Korean airliner in September 1983. Later that year, Soviet diplomats broke off negotiations concerning reductions in Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces and the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). Andropov had suffered from nearly debilitating illnesses since early 1983, and died on February 9, 1984. He was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko .

“Yuri Andropov assumes power in the Soviet Union.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Nov 2008, 10:18 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2482.

On This Day

1815 – American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, NY.

1840 – Sculptor Auguste Rodin was born in Paris. His most widely known works are “The Kiss” and “The Thinker.”

1859 – The first flying trapeze act was performed by Jules Leotard at Cirque Napoleon in Paris, France. He was also the designer of the garment that is named after him.

1915 – Theodore W. Richards, of Harvard University, became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

1918 – Austria was declared an independent republic only one day after the end of World War I.

1920 – Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis was elected the first commissioner of the American and National Leagues.

1927 – Joseph Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union. Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party leading to Stalin coming to power.

1942 – During World War II, naval battle of Guadalcanal began between Japanese and American forces. The Americans won a major victory.

1944 – During World War II, the German battleship “Tirpitz” was sunk off the coast of Norway.

1948 – The war crimes tribunal sentenced Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo and six other World War II Japanese leaders to death.

1954 – Ellis Island, the immigration station in New York Harbor, closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since 1892.

1979 – U.S. President Carter ordered a halt to all oil imports from Iran in response to 63 Americans being taken hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran on November 4.

1980 – The U.S. space probe Voyager I came within 77,000 miles of Saturn while transmitting data back to Earth.

1987 – The American Medical Association issued a policy statement that said it was unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person had AIDS or was HIV-positive.

1997 – Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

2002 – Stan Lee filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment Inc. that claimed the company had cheated him out of millions of dollars in movie profits related to the 2002 movie “Spider-Man.” Lee was the creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Daredevil.

November 12, 1946

First drive-in banking service

On this day, the Exchange National Bank of Chicago, Illinois, instituted the first drive-in banking service in America, and anticipated a cultural phenomenon that would sweep across America in the coming decade. In 1946, America’s Big Three automobile companies were still engaged in the laborious process of retooling from war production to civilian automobile company. With the influx of returning soldiers, and economic signs pointing to a period of great American prosperity, market demand for automobiles was high. At first, U.S. carmakers responded by offering their old pre-war models, but beginning in 1949, the first completely redesigned postwar cars hit the market, and Americans embraced the automotive industry as never before. By the early 1950s, the U.S. was a nation on wheels. With a seemingly endless reserve of cheap gas available, drive-in culture–featuring everything from drive-in movie theaters to drive-in grocery stores–flourished alongside America’s highways and main streets. In 1946, the Exchange National Bank of Chicago anticipated the rise of America’s drive-in society by several years, featuring such drive-in banking innovations as tellers’ windows protected by heavy bullet-proof glass, and sliding drawers that enabled drivers to conduct their business from the comfort of their vehicle.

“First drive-in banking service.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Nov 2008, 10:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7788.

On This Day: November 12

1836 – Governor Dodge Signs First Law
On this date territorial governor, Henry Dodge, signed the first law passed by the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature. The law prescribed how the legislators were to behave, and how other citizens were to behave towards them. For example, it authorized “the Assembly to punish by fine and imprisonment every person, not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect, disorderly or contemptuous behavior, threats, in the legislature or interference with witnesses to the legislature; also to expel on a two thirds majority in either house a member of its own body…” This did not keep the members from vociferous arguments, fist fights, or even shooting one another (see Odd Wisconsin or the entry in This Day in Wisconsin History for February 11th)

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