Archive for the 'Foreign Policy' Category

06
Mar
14

Munich 1938 vs. Paris 2014 “Peace in our Time

1938 Munich: It was Mussolini’s idea that they should meet and so Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier, and Mussolini met in Munich and determined the fate of the Czechoslovakian region Sudetenland.  No one from Czechoslovakia was present at the meeting.  The claim by Hitler was that ethnic Germans in the region were under threat from the Czech people and that Germany needed to annex the region in order to protect them.  No one seemed to notice that the most important part of Czechoslovakia’s defense network against Germany was in the Sudetenland.  The Munich conference ended with Germany being allowed to annex the Sudetenland and Hitler concluding that the West was weak.  Poland was next and millions of people died in the war (WWII) that followed.

Today: Paris, France: Russia and the United States met to determine the fate of Crimea.  A region Putin claims is filled with ethnic Russians who are under threat from the new government in Kiev, Ukraine.  While these two nations grapple with what needs to be done, it seems strange to me that no one from Ukraine was present at this meeting.

Before another shameful chapter in world history is written, the conference in Paris, France needs to immediately cease until the Ukrainians are included in discussions about the future of their country.

26
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-26-08: The National Security Act

Truman signs the National Security Act

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act, which becomes one of the most important pieces of Cold War legislation. The act established much of the bureaucratic framework for foreign policymaking for the next 40-plus years of the Cold War.

By July 1947, the Cold War was in full swing. The United States and the Soviet Union, once allies during World War II, now faced off as ideological enemies. In the preceding months, the administration of President Truman had argued for, and secured, military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to assist in their struggles against communist insurgents. In addition, the Marshall Plan, which called for billions of dollars in U.S. aid to help rebuild war-torn Western Europe and strengthen it against possible communist aggression, had also taken shape. As the magnitude of the Cold War increased, however, so too did the need for a more efficient and manageable foreign policymaking bureaucracy in the United States. The National Security Act was the solution.

The National Security Act had three main parts. First, it streamlined and unified the nation’s military establishment by bringing together the Navy Department and War Department under a new Department of Defense. This department would facilitate control and utilization of the nation’s growing military. Second, the act established the National Security Council (NSC). Based in the White House, the NSC was supposed to serve as a coordinating agency, sifting through the increasing flow of diplomatic and intelligence information in order to provide the president with brief but detailed reports. Finally, the act set up the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA replaced the Central Intelligence Group, which had been established in 1946 to coordinate the intelligence-gathering activities of the various military branches and the Department of State. The CIA, however, was to be much more–it was a separate agency, designed not only to gather intelligence but also to carry out covert operations in foreign nations.

The National Security Act formally took effect in September 1947. Since that time, the Department of Defense, NSC, and CIA have grown steadily in terms of size, budgets, and power. The Department of Defense, housed in the Pentagon, controls a budget that many Third World nations would envy. The NSC rapidly became not simply an information organizing agency, but one that was active in the formation of foreign policy. The CIA also grew in power over the course of the Cold War, becoming involved in numerous covert operations. Most notable of these was the failed Bay of Pigs operation of 1961, in which Cuban refugees, trained and armed by the CIA, were unleashed against the communist regime of Fidel Castro. The mission was a disaster, with most of the attackers either killed or captured in a short time. Though it had both successes and failures, the National Security Act indicated just how seriously the U.S. government took the Cold War threat.

“Truman signs the National Security Act.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2740.

 

On This Day

1775 – A postal system was established by the 2nd Continental Congress of the United States. The first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin.

1788 – New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1881 – Thomas Edison and Patrick Kenny execute a patent application for a facsimile telegraph (U.S. Pat. 479,184).

1945 – Winston Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister.

1948 – U.S. President Truman signed executive orders that prohibited discrimination in the U.S. armed forces and federal employment.

1953 – Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. Castro eventually ousted Batista six years later.

1956 – Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

1971 – Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL.

1999 – 1,500 pieces of Marilyn Monroe’s personal items went on display at Christie’s in New York, NY. The items went on sale later in 1999.

 

Liberian independence proclaimed

The Republic of Liberia, formerly a colony of the American Colonization Society, declares its independence. Under pressure from Britain, the United States hesitantly accepted Liberian sovereignty, making the West African nation the first democratic republic in African history. A constitution modeled after the U.S. Constitution was approved, and in 1848 Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected Liberia’s first president.

“Liberian independence proclaimed.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5208.

FBI founded

On July 26, 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is born when U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte orders a group of newly hired federal investigators to report to Chief Examiner Stanley W. Finch of the Department of Justice. One year later, the Office of the Chief Examiner was renamed the Bureau of Investigation, and in 1935 it became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“FBI founded.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6970.

Real-life Psycho Ed Gein dies

On July 26, 1984, Ed Gein, a serial killer infamous for skinning human corpses, dies of complications from cancer in a Wisconsin prison at age 77. Gein served as the inspiration for writer Robert Bloch’s character Norman Bates in the 1959 novel Psycho, which in 1960 was turned into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Edward Theodore Gein was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on July 27, 1906, to an alcoholic father and domineering mother, who taught her son that women and sex were evil. Gein was raised, along with an older brother, on an isolated farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin. After Gein’s father died in 1940, the future killer’s brother died under mysterious circumstances during a fire in 1944 and his beloved mother passed away from health problems in 1945. Gein remained on the farm by himself.

In November 1957, police found the headless, gutted body of a missing store clerk, Bernice Worden, at Gein’s farmhouse. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered a collection of human skulls along with furniture and clothing, including a suit, made from human body parts and skin. Gein told police he had dug up the graves of recently buried women who reminded him of his mother. Investigators found the remains of 10 women in Gein’s home, but he was ultimately linked to just two murders: Bernice Worden and another local woman, Mary Hogan.

Gein was declared mentally unfit to stand trial and was sent to a state hospital in Wisconsin. His farm attracted crowds of curiosity seekers before it burned down in 1958, most likely in a blaze set by an arsonist. In 1968, Gein was deemed sane enough to stand trial, but a judge ultimately found him guilty by reason of insanity and he spent the rest of his days in a state facility.

In addition to Psycho, films including Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs were said to be loosely based on Gein’s crimes.

“Real-life Psycho Ed Gein dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=57191.

 

The very concept of history implies the scholar and the reader. Without a generation of civilized people to study history, to preserve its records, to absorb its lessons and relate them to its own problems, history, too, would lose its meaning.
George F. Kennan

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
John Maynard Keynes

17
Jul
08

World War III or The Chinese Cold War

Will America return to the Cold War?  Will there be World War III with the Chinese?  Is China preparing for a massive invasion of Russia?  Taiwan?  Japan?  A friend of mine made an interesting statement yesterday while we argued some of the above questions.  He’s a high school science teacher and he said, “Ask the typical high school student how many Jews died in the Holocaust and most will answer six million.  They’ll get fairly close.  Ask them how many Chinese died in World War II and they’ll answer, China was in World War II.”

I’ve failed you.  As an Historian I’ve failed you.  I’ve read estimates that place the number of people who starved to death in China because of World War II as high as fifty million.  China suffered from the chaos of WW II well into the sixties and only now is beginning to emerge on the world as one of the great players in world politics.  Which has me wondering why it took so long for a country with the world’s largest population to emerge as a world leader? China should have always been a world leader.

We argued about the potential for World War III with China.  I like to believe that Chinese leadership isn’t that stupid, and that the United States won’t get caught flatfooted like at Pearl Harbor or 9/11.  A sneak attack on an unsuspecting United States with nuclear weapons could be a very bad thing.  It would probably involve the west coast and that personally would be a sad thing because their are several family members of mine and friends whom I love in California.

Is China planning to start World War III?  I doubt it.  From the information I have the Chinese still only maintain about twenty inter-continental ballistic missiles.  The really big ones that are capable of hitting the United States.  The Chinese believe this is enough of a deterrent to keep the United States from launching on them.

Are they planning on attacking Russia?  There again doubtful.  When I was in the seventh grade I had a teacher who taught a Core curriculum class.  Core was one of those liberal programs that was tried way back when I went to school and it included studying English, History, Social Science, and Geography in one two hour class that met daily.  A typical assignment from that Core class involved reading a book about history and reporting on it, which would cover English and History.  

Being the budding young history genius, at the time, I found a book that had about two hundred pages of pictures with short one line captions to report on.  I learned a lot about photo analysis from trying to use that book.  The book itself had pictures of the German Army and its exploits during World War II, from the redevelopment of the German Army through to the final defeat of Germany.  The teacher picked one picture in that book and proceeded to challenge my mind and taught me a lot about looking at pictures.  The picture involved three Germans who had gotten their Kubelwagen stuck.  One German was steering and two were pushing.  The two pushing were covered in mud and quite obviously from the huge smiles on their faces having a joyous time being stuck in the mud.

“What do you see?” He asked.

“Three happy Germans in Russia.”

“Why are they happy?” 

“It’s early in the war and they’re winning.”

“Good.  What else do you see?”

“It’s raining and they aren’t wearing rain gear, and they’re stuck in the mud.  It’s probably late September, or October, 1941.”

“Good.  What else?”

Confusion set in because their wasn’t anything else to see.  I looked at him with one of those kid looks that asked, what in the hell do you want from me old man, but of course didn’t say it.  “I don’t see anything else.”

“Ok,” he stated and asked, “what don’t you see?”

“There aren’t any buildings.  No other people.  There are some trees.”  Is it the trees my mind questioned? Is there something in the trees that I’m supposed to be seeing?

“Ok, what’s all over the Germans?”

“Mud.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s raining and the Russians have crappy roads.”

“Very good!  What about the Russian roads?”

I thought for a minute and then he coaxed the answer out of me.

“What are our highways made of?”

“Concrete or some other kind of pavement,” I answered, still somewhat confused.

“Why do you suppose that is?”

“So they won’t turn to mud when it rains.”

“And what kind of vehicles need paved roads?”

Realization overwhelmed me as I got it.  “Heavy vehicles like tanks and trucks that would easily get stuck in the mud.  Tanks that fight and trucks that re-supply them so they can fight.”

“Very good!”

The lack of Russian roads bogged the Germans down and allowed the Russians the time they needed to reorganize their defense.  Now, what does this have to do with whether or not China is planning on invading Russia?  We don’t drive tanks to the battlefield.  We carry them.  We carry them on trucks or, more preferably, on trains.  Trains can carry hundreds of tanks and their troops to the battle or staging area where an impending invasion is to begin.  This link will take you to a map of Chinese population density current for today:  http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/LUC/ChinaFood/data/maps/pop/all_1_h.htm.

The second map shows the development of US population in 1990.  The original United States is east of the Mississippi.  The western states are where people were going; states like California, Washington, or Oregon.  They went there because they could.  They went their because there was a reason to.  The original intrepid explorers went by wagon, but after 1870, most went by train.  In the China map there is no such movement toward the Russian or India borders because it is too difficult to get there and there is no reason to go there.  They don’t have the trains or the highways to carry their armies to the border.  If the Chinese did population centers would spring up along the rails and highways and at the extreme ends of those roads.  The Chinese population is still centered along the rivers and coastal regions because their primary form of transportation is water. 


Map courtesy of :http://www.cast.uark.edu/local/catalog/national/html/Population.htmldir/USpop1990.html.

Is China going somewhere?  Of course.  They’re going wherever they can go.  Are they going to Taiwan?  I’m fairly certain that China and Taiwan will formalize a relationship similar to what China has with Hong Kong.  Hong Kong is part of China but maintains semi-autonomous control of Hong Kong.  They govern themselves but are watched over by Beijing.

Is China going to start World War III?  The greatest challenge facing the world today is socio-economic dependence on oil.  China needs oil as badly as anyone else.  They can’t take it from the Russians because they can’t get there.  China pumps oil from the East China Sea in areas that are in dispute with the Japanese.  There is the potential for this to be a flash point that could trigger a wider greater war.  While still a possibility these countries still have too much to lose by going to war.  The economic gain is not greater than the economic loss that would be incurred by going to war, which makes the war highly unlikely in this decade.  But things do change.  Maybe in the next decade.

04
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-4-08 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Inaugurated

Dulles asks for action against communism

Speaking before the 10th Inter-American Conference, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles warns that “international communism” is making inroads in the Western Hemisphere and asks the nations of Latin America to condemn this danger. Dulles’s speech was part of a series of actions designed to put pressure on the leftist government of Guatemala, a nation in which U.S. policymakers feared communism had established a beachhead.

Dulles was stern and direct as he declared that there was not “a single country in this hemisphere which has not been penetrated by the apparatus of international communism acting under orders from Moscow.” Communism, he continued, was an “alien despotism,” and he asked the nations of Latin America to “deny it the right to prey upon our hemisphere.” “There is no place here,” he concluded, “for political institutions which serve alien masters.” Though he did not mention it by name, it was clear to most observers that Dulles was targeting Guatemala.

The United States had been concerned about political developments in Guatemala since 1944, when a leftist revolution overthrew long-time dictator Jorge Ubico. In the years since, U.S. policymakers were increasingly fearful that communist elements were growing in power in Guatemala and deeply troubled by government policies that seemed to threaten U.S. business interests that nation. By 1954, Dulles and President Dwight D. Eisenhower were convinced that international communism had established a power base in the Western Hemisphere that needed to be eliminated. As evidence, they pointed to Guatemala’s expropriation of foreign-owned lands and industries, its “socialistic” labor legislation, and vague allegations about Guatemala’s assistance to revolutionary movements in other Latin American nations.

Dulles’s speech did get some results. The Latin American representatives at the meeting passed a resolution condemning “international communism.” As Dulles was to discover, however, the Latin American governments would go no further. In May, Dulles requested that the Organization of American States (OAS) consider taking direct action against Guatemala. The OAS was established in 1948 by the nations of Latin America and the United States to help in settling hemispheric disputes. Dulles’s request fell on deaf ears, however. Despite their condemnation of “international communism,” the other nations of Latin America were reluctant to sanction direct intervention in another country’s internal affairs. At that point, Eisenhower unleashed the Central Intelligence Agency. Through a combination of propaganda, covert bombings, and the establishment of a mercenary force of “counter-revolutionaries” in neighboring Nicaragua and Honduras, the CIA was able to destabilize the Guatemalan government, which fell from power in June 1954. An anti-communist dictatorship led by Carlos Castillo Armas replaced it.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2596

1933: FDR inaugurated

On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his inaugural address, Roosevelt outlined his New Deal–an expansion of the U.S. federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare–and famously asserted that the only thing that Americans had to fear was fear itself. Although criticized by some in the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he swept to reelection. He won re-election two more times, in 1940 and 1944, making him the longest-serving U.S. president in history.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_March_4.php

I AM certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

For the complete text please see: http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres49.html  

1634 – Samuel Cole opened the first tavern in Boston, MA.

1681 – England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn for an area that later became the state of Pennsylvania.

1766 – The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, which had caused bitter and violent opposition in the U.S. colonies.

1778 – The Continental Congress voted to ratify the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance. The two treaties were the first entered into by the U.S. government.

1789 – The first Congress of the United States met in New York and declared that the U.S. Constitution was in effect.

1791 – Vermont was admitted as the 14th U.S. state. It was the first addition to the original 13 American colonies.

1794 – The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. The Amendment limited the jurisdiction of the federal courts to automatically hear cases brought against a state by the citizens of another state. Later interpretations expanded this to include citizens of the state being sued, as well.

1813 – The Russians fighting against Napoleon reached Berlin. The French garrison evacuated the city without a fight.

1861 – The Confederate States of America adopted the “Stars and Bars” flag.

1904 – In Korea, Russian troops retreated toward the Manchurian border as 100,000 Japanese troops advanced.

1908 – The New York board of education banned the act of whipping students in school.

1917 – Jeanette Rankin of Montana took her seat as the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.

1933 – Labor Secretary Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve in a Presidential administrative cabinet.

1952 – Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married.

09
Feb
08

On This Day 2-9-08: Turning Points, Guadalcanal

1825 – The U.S. House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams president. No candidate had received a majority of electoral votes.

1861 – The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elected Jefferson Davis as its president.

1870 – The United States Weather Bureau was authorized by Congress. The bureau is officially known as the National Weather Service (NWS).

1900 – Dwight F. Davis put up a new tennis trophy to go to the winner in matches against England. The trophy was a silver cup that weighed 36 pounds.

1909 – The first forestry school was incorporated in Kent, Ohio.

1942 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff held its first formal meeting to coordinate military strategy during World War II.

1943 – During World War II, the battle of Guadalcanal ended with an American victory over Japanese forces.

1950 – U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy charged that the State Department was riddled with Communists. This was the beginning of “McCarthyism.”

1971 – The Apollo 14 spacecraft returned to Earth after mankind’s third landing on the moon.

1975 – The Russian Soyuz 17 returned to Earth.

1989 – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. completed the $25 billion purchase of RJR Nabisco, Inc.

1997 – “The Simpsons” became the longest-running prime-time animated series. “The Flintstones” held the record previously.

I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.
Joseph R. McCarthy

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
John Adams

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.
John Adams

One reason I have always been fascinated with History is because of points in time when something so significant happens that it alters life on Earth.  When it happens it may just be something deemed newsworthy by the press; such as, the US victory over the Japanese at Guadalcanal, or US Senator Joseph McCarthy (R, Wisconsin) charging that the United States State Department was riddled with Communists.  Events that may be viewed with great cheer or great consternation, but events so important that the course of mankind is forever altered.

The battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands of the South Pacific significantly altered the course of World War II against Japan in that from that point on Japan could not stop the US military. 

A grinding battle of attrition, Guadalcanal tested the endurance of each nation’s armies and navies.  Soldiers fought battles so closely that eye to eye hand to hand combat became the norm, rather than the firepower battles fought between dueling artillery batteries that have dominated warfare since the first time Stonewall Jackson lined up his artillery wheel to wheel in mass formation during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of the American Civil War. 

Navies gave no quarter as American PT boats and destroyers challenged Japanese destroyers and cruisers, or American cruisers took on Japanese battleships.  Both nations sacrificed air craft carriers, and desperate efforts to keep the soldiers supplied on Guadalcanal resulted in horrific casualties with American supply ships driven off and US soldiers forced to survive on captured Japanese supplies, or the desperate “Tokyo Express” runs made by fast Japanese destroyers carrying as many as a thousand soldiers each running through “The Slot” of the Solomon Islands, attempting to supply the Japanese Army on the island.  Caught out it in the open seas these ships could not outrun pursuing dive bombers or strafing fighters sent out by Japanese air craft carriers, or from the American held Henderson Air Field resulting in the untimely deaths of thousands of soldiers and sailors.  So many ships sunk in the area of sea between Guadalcanal and Tulagi it has forever been dubbed Iron Bottom Sound. 

For more pictures and information about this battle, please follow this link:  http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/guadlcnl/guadlcnl.htm

The Battle of Guadalcanal typifies the horrific cost of war and the terrible sacrifice made for American freedom. 

image 1The very real threat of foreign enemies fought during World War II gave way to a perceived threat of foreign enemies following the war.  A perceived threat that US Senator Joseph McCarthy (R, Wisconsin) defined in a speech before the US Senate on this day in history, a definitive moment in history and in how Americans define freedom. 

Dubbed McCarthyism this dangerous perception of Communists in the midst of the American government, military and society forever altered how Americans would interpret freedom.  No longer would Americans debate the nature of freedom.  What is freedom of the press?  What is freedom of speech?  Because Joe McCarthy defined it as freedom is not being Communist. 

If you lived in a Communist country, if you studied Communism, if you had ever attended a lecture about Communism, if you had ever quoted a Communist, you were not free.  The careers of scientists, writers, actors, movie producers, government workers, military officers, and common citizens could be ruined with the mere suggestion that they had Communistic tendencies.  If you worked in a union, supported unions or tried to organize unions you were labeled Communist.  If you argued against the war in Vietnam, you were labeled a Communist.  If you argued against government taxation or against government meddling you were labeled a Communist.  

Understanding the significance of a moment in time fascinates me.  Understanding how those moments alter life sometimes enthralls me and sometimes angers me.  Joe McCarthy’s power hungry paranoia and disregard for the sacrifices made by Americans in the many battles like Guadalcanal in the name of freedom and freedom loving peoples has altered how Americans interpret their freedom and significantly altered life on Earth.  For more on Joe McCarthy:  http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmccarthy.htm.

27
Jan
08

On This Day 1-27-08: Boxer Rebellion

1606 – The trial of Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators began. They were executed on January 31. http://www.bonefire.org/guy/gunpowder.php

1870 – Kappa Alpha Theta, the first women’s sorority, was founded at Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University) in Greencastle, IN.

1880 – Thomas Edison patented the electric incandescent lamp.

1888 – The National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, DC.

1900 – In China, foreign diplomats in Peking, fearing a revolt, demanded that the imperial government discipline the Boxer rebels. http://www.smplanet.com/imperialism/fists.html

1926 – John Baird, a Scottish inventor, demonstrated a pictorial transmission machine called television.

1927 – United Independent Broadcasters Inc. started a radio network with contracts with 16 stations. The company later became Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

1943 – During World War II, the first all American air raid against Germany took place when about 50 bombers attacked Wilhlemshaven.

1944 – The Soviet Union announced that the two year German siege of Leningrad had come to an end.

1945 – Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

1951 – In the U.S., atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.

1967 – At Cape Kennedy, FL, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo I spacecraft.

1967 – More than 60 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty which banned the orbiting of nuclear weapons and placing weapons on celestial bodies or space stations.

1973 – The Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.

1977 – The Vatican reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on female priests.

1997 – It was revealed that French national museums were holding nearly 2,000 works of art stolen from Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

First Open Door Note (1899)

Department of State, Washington, September 6, 1899

At the time when the Government of the United States was informed by that of Germany that it had leased from His Majesty the Emperor of China the port of Kiao-chao and the adjacent territory in the province of Shantung, assurances were given to the ambassador of the United States at Berlin by the Imperial German minister for foreign affairs that the rights and privileges insured by treaties with China to citizens of the United States would not thereby suffer or be in anywise impaired within the area over which Germany had thus obtained control.

More recently, however, the British Government recognized by a formal agreement with Germany the exclusive right of the latter country to enjoy in said leased area and the contiguous “sphere of influence or interest” certain privileges, more especially those relating to railroads and mining enterprises; but as the exact nature and extent of the rights thus recognized have not been clearly defined, it is possible that serious conflicts of interest may at any time arise not only between British and German subjects within said area, but that the interests of our citizens may also be jeopardized thereby.

Earnestly desirous to remove any cause of irritation and to insure at the same time to the commerce of all nations in China the undoubted benefits which should accrue from a formal recognition by the various powers claiming “spheres of interest” that they shall enjoy perfect equality of treatment for their commerce and navigation within such “spheres,” the Government of the United States would be pleased to see His German Majesty’s Government give formal assurances, and lend its cooperation in securing like assurances from the other interested powers, that each, within its respective sphere of whatever influence–

First. Will in no way interfere with any treaty port or any vested interest within any so-called “sphere of interest” or leased territory it may have in China.

Second. That the Chinese treaty tariff of the time being shall apply to all merchandise landed or shipped to all such ports as are within said “sphere of interest” (unless they be “free ports”), no matter to what nationality it may belong, and that duties so leviable shall be collected by the Chinese Government.

Third. That it will levy no higher harbor dues on vessels of another nationality frequenting any port in such “sphere” than shall be levied on vessels of its own nationality, and no higher railroad charges over lines built, controlled, or operated within its “sphere” on merchandise belonging to citizens or subjects of other nationalities transported through such “sphere” than shall be levied on similar merchandise belonging to its own nationals transported over equal distances.

The liberal policy pursued by His Imperial German Majesty in declaring Kiao-chao a free port and in aiding the Chinese Government in the establishment there of a customhouse are so clearly in line with the proposition which this Government is anxious to see recognized that it entertains the strongest hope that Germany will give its acceptance and hearty support. The recent ukase of His Majesty the Emperor of Russia declaring the port of Ta-lien-wan open during the whole of the lease under which it is held from China to the merchant ships of all nations, coupled with the categorical assurances made to this Government by His Imperial Majesty’s representative at this capital at the time and since repeated to me by the present Russian ambassador, seem to insure the support of the Emperor to the proposed measure. Our ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburg has in consequence, been instructed to submit it to the Russian Government and to request their early consideration of it. A copy of my instruction on the subject to Mr. Tower is herewith inclosed for your confidential information.

The commercial interests of Great Britain and Japan will be so clearly observed by the desired declaration of intentions, and the views of the Governments of these countries as to the desirability of the adoption of measures insuring the benefits of equality of treatment of all foreign trade throughout China are so similar to those entertained by the United States, that their acceptance of the propositions herein outlined and their cooperation in advocating their adoption by the other powers can be confidently expected. I inclose herewith copy of the instruction which I have sent to Mr. Choate on the subject.

In view of the present favorable conditions, you are instructed to submit the above considerations to His Imperial German Majesty’s Minister for L Foreign Affairs, and to request his early consideration of the subject.

Text prepared by the U.S. Historical Documents collection at Wiretap.Spies and converted to HTML by Jim Zwick
for From Revolution to Reconstruction – an .HTML project.
Last update: 2003-4-18 time: 08:37
© 1994- 2008. All rights reserved.
Department of Humanities Computing

http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1876-1900/foreignpolicy/opendr.htm

17
Jan
08

Fat Man

100_0771

On August 9th, 1945 a lone American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb like this one on Nagasaki, Japan.  The instantaneous destruction of that city and roughly eighty thousand of its inhabitants brought about an immediate decision by the Japanese government to bring an end to World War II.  It also caused US planners to change their minds about the post-war world.  Europe under the Allies; United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union and France had been carved into zones of influence with the Soviet Union dominating huge parts of eastern Europe.  Six months later US leadership realized the Soviet Union would do the same thing in post-war Asia.  The race was on to see who would control what.  The United States decided, after having previously stated that it had no intentions toward Korea, that Korea would be divided at the 38th parallel.  The Soviet Army, then invading North Korea, halted at the the 38th parallel and waited while the United States tried to find a military unit to establish American control over the zone now known as South Korea.  The first American ground troops didn’t enter South Korea until over a month after the war had ended.

Since then, millions of Koreans have died because their country was divided between a Communist North Korea and a Capitalist South Korea.  There was precedence for such a division elsewhere in the world.  After all Germany had been divided into East Germany and West Germany.  And why not?  Germany had caused the untold suffering of millions of people, started a war that had destroyed dozens of countries, enslaved whole peoples and murdered millions of so-called undesirables (untermenschen).  With the end of the war in Asia it was fair to divide Korea because the Koreans had attacked dozens of countries, the Koreans had started a war that led to the deaths of millions of people and the Koreans had bombed Pearl Harbor.

Oh wait, that was the Japanese.

What did the Koreans do to deserve being divided?  They had been enslaved by the Japanese to work in Japanese labor camps, forced to fight in the Japanese Army, and tens of thousands of Korean women were forced into the “joy brigades.”  “Joy brigades” served the comforts of Japanese soldiers.  So these Koreans deserved to be punished? Their country deserved to be split.  Families divided.  Their nation occupied by foreign armies.  Why?  Because the Korean peninsula is strategically located as a staging area to invade mainland Asia.  Surrounded by water on three sides, the United States, with control of the seas, is able to control Korea with a minimal amount of troops.  So millions of Koreans have suffered because of the aggressively expansionistic policies of the Soviet Union, American strategic greed to maintain a staging area on the Asian mainland, and Chinese desire to rid itself of a threatening foreign army pointed like a dagger at its back.

World War II, for the United States, started when hundreds of bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor, and ended when two bombs dropped on two different days compelled the Japanese to surrender, which created a situation that continues to cause Korean suffering and provide for further world political tension.  Apologist historians have tried to assuage Japanese anger because of the total destruction of the Japanese cities, saying it was excessive force.  Well, if you don’t want the United States to drop bombs on your country, don’t drop bombs on the United States.  America has justified the occupation of South Korea because the United States was trying to stop the spread of Communism.  In case you folks have forgotten, Gorbachev took a walk on Broadway and Communism disappeared from most of the world.  It has stopped spreading.  So why is Korea still divided?




June 2017
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