Posts Tagged ‘Berlin Airlift

30
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-30-2008: James Meredith

September 30, 1962

Riots over desegregation of Ole Miss

In Oxford, Mississippi, James H. Meredith, an African American, is escorted onto the University of Mississippi campus by U.S. Marshals, setting off a deadly riot. Two men were killed before the racial violence was quelled by more than 3,000 federal soldiers. The next day, Meredith successfully enrolled and began to attend classes amid continuing disruption.

A former serviceman in the U.S. Air Force, Meredith applied and was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962, but his admission was revoked when the registrar learned of his race. A federal court ordered “Ole Miss” to admit him, but when he tried to register on September 20, 1962, he found the entrance to the office blocked by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. On September 28, the governor was found guilty of civil contempt and was ordered to cease his interference with desegregation at the university or face arrest and a fine of $10,000 a day. Two days later, Meredith was escorted onto the Ole Miss campus by U.S. Marshals. Turned back by violence, he returned the next day and began classes. Meredith, who was a transfer student from all-black Jackson State College, graduated with a degree in political science in 1963.

In 1966, Meredith returned to the public eye when he began a lone civil rights march in an attempt to encourage voter registration by African Americans in the South. During this March Against Fear, Meredith intended to walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi. However, on June 6, just two days into the march, he was sent to a hospital by a sniper’s bullet.

Other civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael, arrived to continue the march on his behalf. It was during the March Against Fear that Carmichael, who was leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first spoke publicly of “Black Power”–his concept of militant African American nationalism. James Meredith later recovered and rejoined the march he had originated, and on June 26 the marchers successfully reached Jackson, Mississippi.

“Riots over desegregation of Ole Miss.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Sep 2008, 05:08 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5386.

On This Day

1777 – The Congress of the United States moved to York, PA, due to advancing British forces.

1787 – The Columbia left Boston and began the trip that would make it the first American vessel to sail around the world.

1846 – Ether, an experimental anesthetic at the time, was used for the first time by Dr. William Morton at Massachusetts General Hospital.

1882 – In Appleton, WI, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operating.

1938 – The Munich Conference ended with a decision to appease Adolf Hitler. Britain, and France allowed Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to be annexed by the Nazis.

1946 – An international military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, found 22 top Nazi leaders guilty of war crimes.

1954 – The U.S. Navy commissioned the Nautilus submarine at Groton, CT. It was the first atomic-powered vessel. The submarine had been launched on January 21, 1954.

1955 – Actor James Dean was killed in a car accident at the age of 24 near Cholame, CA. Dean’s mechanic, who was also in the vehicle, eventually recovered from his injuries.

1976 – California enacted the Natural Death Act of California. The law was the first example of right-to-die legislation in the U.S.

1989 – Non-Communist Cambodian guerrillas claimed that they had captured 3 towns and 10 other positions from the residing government forces.

1997 – France’s Roman Catholic Church apologized for its silence during the persecution and deportation of Jews the pro-Nazi Vichy regime.

September 30, 1949

Berlin Airlift ends

After 15 months and more than 250,000 flights, the Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end. The airlift was one of the greatest logistical feats in modern history and was one of the crucial events of the early Cold War.

In June 1948, the Soviet Union suddenly blocked all ground traffic into West Berlin, which was located entirely within the Russian zone of occupation in Germany. It was an obvious effort to force the United States, Great Britain, and France (the other occupying powers in Germany) to accept Soviet demands concerning the postwar fate of Germany. As a result of the Soviet blockade, the people of West Berlin were left without food, clothing, or medical supplies. Some U.S. officials pushed for an aggressive response to the Soviet provocation, but cooler heads prevailed and a plan for an airlift of supplies to West Berlin was developed. It was a daunting task: supplying the daily wants and needs of so many civilians would require tons of food and other goods each and every day. On June 26, 1948, the Berlin Airlift began with U.S. pilots and planes carrying the lion’s share of the burden. During the next 15 months, 277,264 aircraft landed in West Berlin bringing over 2 million tons of supplies. On September 30, 1949, the last plane–an American C-54–landed in Berlin and unloaded over two tons of coal. Even though the Soviet blockade officially ended in May 1949, it took several more months for the West Berlin economy to recover and the necessary stockpiles of food, medicine, and fuel to be replenished.

The Berlin Airlift was a tremendous Cold War victory for the United States. Without firing a shot, the Americans foiled the Soviet plan to hold West Berlin hostage, while simultaneously demonstrating to the world the “Yankee ingenuity” for which their nation was famous. For the Soviets, the Berlin crisis was an unmitigated disaster. The United States, France, and Great Britain merely hardened their resolve on issues related to Germany, and the world came to see the Russians as international bullies, trying to starve innocent citizens.

“Berlin Airlift ends.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Sep 2008, 05:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2806.

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26
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-26-08: Berlin Airlift

Berlin Airlift begins

On this day in 1948, U.S. and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin after the city is isolated by a Soviet Union blockade.

When World War II ended in 1945, defeated Germany was divided into Soviet, American, British and French zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, though located within the Soviet zone of occupation, was also split into four sectors, with the Allies taking the western part of the city and the Soviets the eastern. In June 1948, Josef Stalin’s government attempted to consolidate control of the city by cutting off all land and sea routes to West Berlin in order to pressure the Allies to evacuate. As a result, beginning on June 24 the western section of Berlin and its 2 million people were deprived of food, heating fuel and other crucial supplies.

Though some in U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s administration called for a direct military response to this aggressive Soviet move, Truman worried such a response would trigger another world war. Instead, he authorized a massive airlift operation under the control of General Lucius D. Clay, the American-appointed military governor of Germany. The first planes took off from England and western Germany on June 26, loaded with food, clothing, water, medicine and fuel.

By July 15, an average of 2,500 tons of supplies was being flown into the city every day. The massive scale of the airlift made it a huge logistical challenge and at times a great risk. With planes landing at Tempelhof Airport every four minutes, round the clock, pilots were being asked to fly two or more round-trip flights every day, in World War II planes that were sometimes in need of repair.

The Soviets lifted the blockade in May 1949, having earned the scorn of the international community for subjecting innocent men, women and children to hardship and starvation. The airlift–called die Luftbrucke or “the air bridge” in German–continued until September 1949, for a total delivery of more than 1.5 million tons of supplies and a total cost of over $224 million. When it ended, the eastern section of Berlin was absorbed into Soviet East Germany, while West Berlin remained a separate territory with its own government and close ties to West Germany. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, formed a dividing line between East and West Berlin. Its destruction in 1989 presaged the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and marked the end of an era and the reemergence of Berlin as the capital of a new, unified German nation.

“Berlin Airlift begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jun 2008, 12:31 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52635.

1096 – Peter the Hermit’s crusaders forced their way across Sava, Hungary.

1483 – Richard III usurped himself to the English throne.

1794 – The French defeated an Austrian army at the Battle of Fleurus.

1819 – The bicycle was patented by W.K. Clarkson, Jr.

1844 – John Tyler took Julia Gardiner as his bride, thus becoming the first U.S. President to marry while in office.

1900 – The United States announced that it would send troops to fight against the Boxer rebellion in China.

1917 – General John “Black Jack” Pershing arrived in France with the American Expeditionary Force.

1924 – After eight years of occupation, American troops left the Dominican Republic.

1945 – The U.N. Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, CA.

1959 – U.S. President Eisenhower joined Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in ceremonies officially opening the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1961 – A Kuwaiti vote opposed Iraq’s annexation plans.

1963 – U.S. President John Kennedy announced “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner) at the Berlin Wall.

1996 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state support.

1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that made it illegal to distribute indecent material on the Internet.

1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld state laws that allow for a ban on doctor-assisted suicides.

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers are always potentially liable for supervisor’s sexual misconduct toward an employee.

Westmoreland given authority to commit U.S. forces

Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam, is given formal authority to commit American troops to battle when he decides they are necessary “to strengthen the relative position of the GVN [Government of Vietnam] forces.” This authorization permitted Westmoreland to put his forces on the offensive. Heretofore, U.S. combat forces had been restricted to protecting U.S. airbases and other facilities.

The first major offensive by U.S. forces under this new directive was launched two days later by 3,000 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in conjunction with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit. These forces assaulted a jungle area known as Viet Cong Zone D, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The operation was called off after three days when it failed to make any major contact with the enemy. One American was killed, and nine Americans and four Australians were wounded.

“Westmoreland given authority to commit U.S. forces.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jun 2008, 01:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1931.

24
Apr
08

On This Day, 04-24-08: With Us or Agin Us

Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster

On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

“Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4948.

1519 – Envoys of Montezuma II attended the first Easter mass in Central America.

1547 – Charles V’s troops defeated the Protestant League of Schmalkalden at the battle of Muhlburg.

1800 – The Library of Congress was established with a $5,000 allocation.

1877 – Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1884 – Otto von Bismarck cabled Cape Town that South Africa was now a German colony.

1898 – Spain declared war on the U.S., rejecting America’s ultimatum for Spain to withdraw from Cuba.

1915 – During World War I, the Ottoman Turkish Empire began the mass deportation of Armenians.

1916 – Irish nationalist launched the Easter Rebellion against British occupation forces. They were overtaken several days later.

1948 – The Berlin airlift began to relieve the surrounded city.

1961 – U.S. President Kennedy accepted “sole responsibility” following Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

1968 – Leftist students took over several campus buildings at Columbia University.

1970 – The People’s Republic of China launched its first satellite.

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer was introduced.

1989 – Thousands of students began striking in Beijing.

1990 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope.

1997 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. The global treaty banned the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

 

General Orders No. 100 issued

The Union army issues General Orders No. 100, which provided a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. The code was borrowed by many European nations, and its influence can be seen on the Geneva Convention.

The orders were the brainchild of Francis Lieber, a Prussian immigrant whose three sons had served during the Civil War. One son was mortally wounded while fighting for the Confederacy at the Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1862. Lieber’s other two sons fought for the Union. Lieber was a scholar of international law who took a keen interest in the treatment of combatants and civilians. He wrote many essays and newspaper articles on the subject early in the war, and he advised General Henry Halleck, general-in-chief of the Union armies, on how to treat guerilla fighters captured by Federal forces.

Halleck appointed a committee of four generals and Lieber to draft rules of combat for the Civil War. The final document consisted of 157 articles written almost entirely by Lieber. The orders established policies for, among other things, the treatment of prisoners, exchanges, and flags of truce. There was no document like it in the world at the time, and other countries soon adopted the code. It became the standard for international military law, and the Germans adopted it by 1870. Lieber’s concepts are still very influential today.

“General Orders No. 100 issued.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2183.

The Bandung Conference concludes

The Afro-Asian Conference–popularly known as the Bandung Conference because it was held in Bandung, Indonesia–comes to a close on this day. During the conference, representatives from 29 “non-aligned” nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East met to condemn colonialism, decry racism, and express their reservations about the growing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The United States government was generally appalled by the Bandung Conference. Although invited to do so, it refused to send an unofficial observer to the meetings. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was already on record as equating neutralism in the fight against communism as close to a mortal sin. For the United States, the issue was black and white: join America in the fight against communism or risk being considered a potential enemy. This unfortunate policy brought the United States into numerous conflicts with nations of the underdeveloped world who were struggling to find a middle road in the Cold War conflict.

“The Bandung Conference concludes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2647.

Westmoreland makes controversial remarks

At a news conference in Washington, Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam, causes controversy by saying that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.” Though he said that, “Ninety-five percent of the people were behind the United States effort in Vietnam,” he asserted that the American soldiers in Vietnam were “dismayed, and so am I, by recent unpatriotic acts at home.” This criticism of the antiwar movement was not received well by many in and out of the antiwar movement, who believed it was both their right and responsibility to speak out against the war.

“Westmoreland makes controversial remarks.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1803.

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http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm




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