Posts Tagged ‘27th Amendment

19
May
09

On This Day, May 19: Grant Heads South

May 19, 1864

Battle of Spotsylvania concludes

A dozen days of fighting around Spotsylvania ends with a Confederate attack against the Union forces. The epic campaign between the Army of the Potomac, under the effective direction of Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began at the beginning of May when Union forces crossed the Rapidan River. After a bloody two-day battle in the Wilderness forest, Grant moved his army further south toward Spotsylvania Court House. This move was a departure from the tactics of the previous three years in the eastern theater of the Civil War. Since 1861, the Army of the Potomac had been coming down to Virginia under different commanders only to be defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia, usually under Lee’s direction, and had always returned northward.

But Grant was different than the other Union generals. He knew that by this time Lee could not sustain constant combat. The numerical superiority of the Yankees would eventually wear Lee down. When Grant ordered his troops to move south, a surge of enthusiasm swept the Union veterans; they knew that in Grant they had an aggressive leader who would not allow the Confederates time to breathe. Nevertheless, the next stop proved to be more costly than the first.

After the battle in the Wilderness, Grant and Lee waged a footrace for the strategic crossroads at Spotsylvania. Lee won the race, and his men dug in. On May 8, Grant attacked Lee, initiating a battle that raged for 12 awful days. The climax came on May 12, when the two armies struggled for nearly 20 hours over an area that became known as the Bloody Angle.

The fighting continued sporadically for the next week as the Yankees tried to eject the Rebels from their breastworks. Finally, when the Confederates attacked on May 19, Grant prepared to pull out of Spotsylvania. Convinced he could never dislodge the Confederates from their positions, he elected to try to circumvent Lee’s army to the south. The Army of the Potomac moved, leaving behind 18,000 casualties at Spotsylvania to the Confederates’ 12,000. In less than three weeks Grant had lost 33,000 men, with some of the worst fighting yet to come.

“Battle of Spotsylvania concludes,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2036 [accessed May 19, 2009]

On This Day

1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII, was beheaded after she was convicted of adultery.

1568 – After being defeated by the Protestants, Mary the Queen of Scots, fled to England where she was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth.

1796 – The first U.S. game law was approved. The measure called for penalties for hunting or destroying game within Indian territory.

1911 – The first American criminal conviction that was based on fingerprint evidence occurred in New York City.

1921 – The U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, which established national quotas for immigrants.

1926 – Benito Mussolini announced that democracy was deceased. Rome became a fascist state.

1926 – In Damascus, Syria, French shells killed 600 people.

1958 – Canada and the U.S. formally established the North American Air Defense Command.

1967 – U.S. planes bombed Hanoi for the first time.

1992 – The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The amendment prohibits Congress from giving itself midterm pay raises.

1999 – “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” was released in the U.S. It set a new record for opening day sales at 28.5 million.

2005 – “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” brought in 50.0 million in its opening day.

May 19, 1967

Soviets ratify treaty banning nuclear weapons from outer space

One of the first major treaties designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons goes into effect as the Soviet Union ratifies an agreement banning nuclear weapons from outer space. The United States, Great Britain, and several dozen other nations had already signed and/or ratified the treaty.

With the advent of the so-called “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, which had begun in 1957 when the Russians successfully launched the Sputnik satellite, some began to fear that outer space might be the next frontier for the expansion of nuclear weapons. To forestall that eventuality, an effort directed by the United Nations came to fruition in January 1967 when the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and dozens of other nations signed off on a treaty banning nuclear weapons from outer space. The agreement also banned nations from using the moon, other planets, or any other “celestial bodies” as military outposts or bases.

The agreement was yet another step toward limiting nuclear weapons. In 1959, dozens of nations, including the United States and the Soviet Union, had agreed to ban nuclear weapons from Antarctica. In July 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed, banning open-air and underwater nuclear tests. With the action taken in May 1967, outer space was also officially declared off-limits for nuclear weapons.

“Soviets ratify treaty banning nuclear weapons from outer space,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2672 [accessed May 19, 2009]

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07
May
08

On This Day, 5-7-08: Germany Surrenders

Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims

On this day in 1945, the German High Command, in the person of General Alfred Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France.

At first, General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender to only those forces still fighting the Western Allies. But General Dwight Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces, those fighting in the East as well as in the West. If this demand was not met, Eisenhower was prepared to seal off the Western front, preventing Germans from fleeing to the West in order to surrender, thereby leaving them in the hands of the enveloping Soviet forces. Jodl radioed Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Hitler’s successor, with the terms. Donitz ordered him to sign. So with Russian General Ivan Susloparov and French General Francois Sevez signing as witnesses, and General Walter Bedell Smith, Ike’s chief of staff, signing for the Allied Expeditionary Force, Germany was-at least on paper-defeated. Fighting would still go on in the East for almost another day. But the war in the West was over.

Since General Susloparov did not have explicit permission from Soviet Premier Stalin to sign the surrender papers, even as a witness, he was quickly hustled back East-into the hands of the Soviet secret police, never to be heard from again. Alfred Jodl, who was wounded in the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944, would be found guilty of war crimes (which included the shooting of hostages) at Nuremberg and hanged on October 16, 1946-then granted a pardon, posthumously, in 1953, after a German appeals court found Jodl not guilty of breaking international law.

“Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 May 2008, 12:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6446.

1274 – The Second Council of Lyons opened in France to regulate the election of the pope.

1429 – The English siege of Orleans was broken by Joan of Arc.

1525 – The German peasants’ revolt was crushed by the ruling class and church.

1912 – The first airplane equipped with a machine gun flew over College Park, MD.

1915 – The Lusitania, a civilian ship, was sunk by a German submarine. 1,198 people were killed.

1937 – The German Condor Legion arrived in Spain to assist Franco’s forces.

1939 – Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.

1942 – In the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese and American navies attacked each other with carrier planes. It was the first time in the history of naval warfare where two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other.

1946 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp. was founded. The company was later renamed Sony.

1954 – The United States and the United Kingdom rejected the Soviet Union’s bid to join NATO.

1958 – Howard Johnson set an aircraft altitude record in F-104.

1975 – U.S. President Ford declared an end to the Vietnam War.

1977 – Rookie Janet Guthrie set the fastest time on opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500. Her time was 185.607.

1984 – A $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who claimed they had suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant while serving in the armed forces.

1992 – A 203-year-old proposed constitutional amendment barring the U.S. Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise was ratified as the 27th Amendment.

1997 – A report released by the U.S. government said that Switzerland provided Nazi Germany with equipment and credit during World War II. Germany exchanged for gold what had been plundered or stolen. Switzerland did not comply with postwar agreements to return the gold.

1999 – In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens were killed and 20 were wounded when a NATO plane mistakenly bombed the Chinese embassy.

 

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu

In northwest Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces decisively defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu, a French stronghold besieged by the Vietnamese communists for 57 days. The Viet Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu signaled the end of French colonial influence in Indochina and cleared the way for the division of Vietnam along the 17th parallel at the conference of Geneva.

“French defeated at Dien Bien Phu.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 May 2008, 12:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4981.

Pontiac’s plot is foiled

On this day in 1763, Major Henry Gladwin, British commander of Fort Detroit, foils Ottawa Chief Pontiac’s attempt at a surprise attack. Romantic lore holds that Gladwin’s Seneca mistress informed him of the western Indians’ plans for an uprising.

When Pontiac arrived at the fort with his men, who were concealing weapons under their trading blankets, they discovered that Gladwin had assembled his men and prepared them for a defense of the fort. Knowing that, without the element of surprise, their efforts would not be successful, Pontiac withdrew and instead laid siege to the fort for the rest of the summer, while his allies successfully seized 10 of 13 British forts in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions by June 20. The western Indians’ efforts to unite all Native Americans in an attempt to free themselves of addictions to European trade goods and alcohol, guided by their spiritual leader, a Delaware named Neolin, seemed to be succeeding. However, the French failed to come to the Indians’ aid in driving the British back to the Atlantic as hoped, dooming the rebellion.

“Pontiac’s plot is foiled.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 May 2008, 12:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=615.




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