Posts Tagged ‘Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

05
Apr
09

On This Day, April 5: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

April 5, 1951

Rosenbergs sentenced to death for spying

The climax of the most sensational spy trial in American history is reached when a federal judge sentences Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death for their roles in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets. Although the couple proclaimed their innocence, they died in the electric chair in June 1953.

The Rosenbergs were convicted of playing a central role in a spy ring that passed secret data concerning the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union during and immediately after World War II. Their part in the espionage came to light when British physicist Klaus Fuchs was arrested in Great Britain in early 1950. Under questioning, Fuchs admitted that he stole secret documents while he was working on the Manhattan Project-the top-secret U.S. program to build an atomic bomb during World War II. He implicated Harry Gold as a courier who delivered the documents to Soviet agents. Gold was arrested a short time later and informed on David Greenglass, who then pointed the finger at his sister and brother-in-law, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Julius was arrested in July and Ethel in August 1950. After a brief trial in March 1951, the Rosenbergs were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. At their sentencing hearing in April, Federal Judge Irving R. Kaufman described their crime as “worse than murder” and charged, “By your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country.” He sentenced them to death.

The Rosenbergs and their attorneys continued to plead their innocence, arguing that they were “victims of political hysteria.” Humanitarian organizations in the United States and around the world pleaded for leniency, particularly since the Rosenbergs were the parents of two young children. The pleas for special consideration were ignored, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953.

Rosenbergs sentenced to death for spying [Internet]. 2009. The History Channel website. Available from : http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2628 [Accessed 5 Apr 2009].

 

On This Day

1242 – Russian troops repelled an invasion attempt by the Teutonic Knights.

1792 – U.S. President George Washington cast the first presidential veto. The measure was for apportioning representatives among the states.

1887 – Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller the meaning of the word “water” as spelled out in the manual alphabet.

1919 – Eamon de Valera became president of Ireland.

1953 – Jomo Kenyatta was convicted and sentenced to 7 years in prison for orchestrating the Mau-Mau rebellion in Kenya.

1998 – The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan opened becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world. It links Shikoku and Honshu. The bridge cost about $3.8 billion.

 

April 5, 1862

Siege of Yorktown begins

Union forces under General George McClellan arrive at Yorktown, Virginia, and establish siege lines instead of directly attacking the Confederate defenders.

This was the opening of McClellan’s Peninsular campaign. He sailed his massive Army of the Potomac down Chesapeake Bay and landed on the James Peninsula southeast of the Confederate capital of Richmond. He reasoned that this would bring him closer to Richmond, and the Confederates would have a difficult time gathering their scattered forces to the peninsula. The first resistance came at Yorktown, the site of George Washington’s decisive victory over Lord Cornwallis to end the American Revolution 91 years earlier.

McClellan was discouraged by what he thought was a substantial force resting inside of strong and well-armed fortifications. The Confederates he saw were actually 11,000 troops under General John B. Magruder. Although vastly outnumbered, Magruder staged an elaborate ruse to fool McClellan. He ordered logs painted black, called “Quaker Guns,” placed in redoubts to give the appearance of numerous artillery pieces. Magruder marched his men back and forth to enhance the illusion. The performance worked, as McClellan was convinced that he could not make a frontal assault.

He opted to lay siege instead. Not until May 4 did Magruder’s troops finally abandon Yorktown, giving the Confederates valuable time to gather their troops near Richmond. The campaign climaxed in late June when McClellan was driven away from the gates of Richmond in the Seven Days’ battles.

Siege of Yorktown begins [Internet]. 2009. The History Channel website. Available from : http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2159 [Accessed 5 Apr 2009].

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05
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-5-08: Pocahontas

Pocahontas marries John Rolfe

Pocahontas, daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indian confederacy, marries English tobacco planter John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia. The marriage ensured peace between the Jamestown settlers and the Powhatan Indians for several years.

In May 1607, about 100 English colonists settled along the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. The settlers fared badly because of famine, disease, and Indian attacks, but were aided by 27-year-old English adventurer John Smith, who directed survival efforts and mapped the area. While exploring the Chickahominy River in December 1607, Smith and two colonists were captured by Powhatan warriors. At the time, the Powhatan confederacy consisted of around 30 Tidewater-area tribes led by Chief Wahunsonacock, known as Chief Powhatan to the English. Smith’s companions were killed, but he was spared and released, (according to a 1624 account by Smith) because of the dramatic intercession of Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s 13-year-old daughter. Her real name was Matoaka, and Pocahontas was a pet name that has been translated variously as “playful one” and “my favorite daughter.”

In 1608, Smith became president of the Jamestown colony, but the settlement continued to suffer. An accidental fire destroyed much of the town, and hunger, disease, and Indian attacks continued. During this time, Pocahontas often came to Jamestown as an emissary of her father, sometimes bearing gifts of food to help the hard-pressed settlers. She befriended the settlers and became acquainted with English ways. In 1609, Smith was injured from a fire in his gunpowder bag and was forced to return to England.

After Smith’s departure, relations with the Powhatan deteriorated and many settlers died from famine and disease in the winter of 1609-10. Jamestown was about to be abandoned by its inhabitants when Baron De La Warr (also known as Delaware) arrived in June 1610 with new supplies and rebuilt the settlement–the Delaware River and the colony of Delaware were later named after him. John Rolfe also arrived in Jamestown in 1610 and two years later cultivated the first tobacco there, introducing a successful source of livelihood that would have far-reaching importance for Virginia.

In the spring of 1613, English Captain Samuel Argall took Pocahontas hostage, hoping to use her to negotiate a permanent peace with her father. Brought to Jamestown, she was put under the custody of Sir Thomas Gates, the marshal of Virginia. Gates treated her as a guest rather than a prisoner and encouraged her to learn English customs. She converted to Christianity and was baptized Lady Rebecca. Powhatan eventually agreed to the terms for her release, but by then she had fallen in love with John Rolfe, who was about 10 years her senior. On April 5, 1614, Pocahontas and John Rolfe married with the blessing of Chief Powhatan and the governor of Virginia.

Their marriage brought a peace between the English colonists and the Powhatans, and in 1615 Pocahontas gave birth to their first child, Thomas. In 1616, the couple sailed to England. The so-called Indian Princess proved popular with the English gentry, and she was presented at the court of King James I. In March 1617, Pocahontas and Rolfe prepared to sail back to Virginia. However, the day before they were to leave, Pocahontas died, probably of smallpox, and was buried at the parish church of St. George in Gravesend, England.

John Rolfe returned to Virginia and was killed in an Indian massacre in 1622. After an education in England, their son Thomas Rolfe returned to Virginia and became a prominent citizen. John Smith returned to the New World in 1614 to explore the New England coast. On another voyage of exploration in 1614, he was captured by pirates but escaped after three months of captivity. He then returned to England, where he died in 1631.

“Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Apr 2008, 02:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6858.

1792 – U.S. President George Washington cast the first presidential veto. The measure was for apportioning representatives among the states.

1887 – Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller the meaning of the word “water” as spelled out in the manual alphabet.

1908 – The Japanese Army reached the Yalu River as the Russians retreated.

1930 – Mahatma Ghandi defied British law by making salt in India.

1941 – German commandos secured docks along the Danube River in preparation for Germany’s invasion of the Balkans.

1951 – Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for committing espionage for the Soviet Union.

1955 – Winston Churchill resigned as British prime minister.

1998 – The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan opened becoming the largest suspension bridge in the world. It links Shikoku and Honshu. The bridge cost about $3.8 billion.

Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”

On this day in 1774, Benjamin Franklin writes an open letter to Great Britain’s prime minister, Frederick, Lord North, from the Smyrna Coffee House in London. It was published in The Public Advertiser, a British newspaper, on April 15, 1774.

“Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Apr 2008, 02:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=453.

For the actual letter: http://www.historycarper.com/resources/twobf3/north.htm




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