Posts Tagged ‘Chandra Levy

23
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-23-2008: Ribbontrop-Molotov Pact

The Hitler-Stalin Pact

On this day in 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact, stunning the world, given their diametrically opposed ideologies. But the dictators were, despite appearances, both playing to their own political needs.

After Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Britain had to decide to what extent it would intervene should Hitler continue German expansion. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, at first indifferent to Hitler’s capture of the Sudetenland, the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia, suddenly snapped to life when Poland became threatened. He made it plain that Britain would be obliged to come to the aid of Poland in the event of German invasion. But he wanted, and needed, an ally. The only power large enough to stop Hitler, and with a vested interest in doing so, was the Soviet Union. But Stalin was cool to Britain after its effort to create a political alliance with Britain and France against Germany had been rebuffed a year earlier. Plus, Poland’s leaders were less than thrilled with the prospect of Russia becoming its guardian; to them, it was simply occupation by another monstrous regime.

Hitler believed that Britain would never take him on alone, so he decided to swallow his fear and loathing of communism and cozy up to the Soviet dictator, thereby pulling the rug out from the British initiative. Both sides were extremely suspicious of the other, trying to discern ulterior motives. But Hitler was in a hurry; he knew if he was to invade Poland it had to be done quickly, before the West could create a unified front. Agreeing basically to carve up parts of Eastern Europe-and leave each other alone in the process-Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, flew to Moscow and signed the non-aggression pact with his Soviet counterpart, V.M. Molotov (which is why the pact is often referred to as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact). Supporters of bolshevism around the world had their heretofore romantic view of “international socialism” ruined; they were outraged that Stalin would enter into any kind of league with the fascist dictator.

But once Poland was German-occupied territory, the alliance would not last for long.

“The Hitler-Stalin Pact.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Aug 2008, 04:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6560.

 

On This Day

1838 – The first class was graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, MA. It was one of the first colleges for women.

1839 – Hong Kong was taken by the British in a war with China.

1902 – Fannie Merrit Farmer opened her cooking school, Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, in Boston, MA.

1914 – Tsingtao, China, was bombarded as Japan declared war on Germany in World War I.

1926 – Rudolph Valentino died. He was 31 and had been a silent film star.

1927 – Nicola Sacco and Bartolemeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston, MA, for the murder of two men during a 1920 robbery.

1947 – Margaret Truman, U.S. President Truman’s daughter, gave her first public performance as a singer. The event was at the Hollywood Bowl and had an audience of 15,000.

1959 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Sally debuted as an infant.

1979 – Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defected while the Bolshoi Ballet was on tour in New York City.

1987 – Robert Jarvik and Marilyn Mach vos Savant were married. The event was called the “Union of Great Minds” since Savant had an IQ of 228 and Jarvik was the inventor of the artificial heart.

1998 – Boris Yeltsin dismissed the Russian government again.

2001 – California Congressman Gary Condit gave an interview to ABC’s Connie Chung. Condit denied involvement in Chandra Levy’s disappearance and avoided directly answering questions about whether they had an affair.

 

Dolley Madison saves portrait from British

On this day in 1814, first lady Dolley Madison saves a portrait of George Washington from being looted by British troops during the war of 1812.

According to the White House Historical Society and Dolley’s personal letters, President James Madison left the White House on August 22 to meet with his generals on the battlefield, as British troops threatened to enter the capitol. Before leaving, he asked his wife Dolley if she had the “courage or firmness” to wait for his intended return the next day. He asked her to gather important state papers and be prepared to abandon the White House at any moment. The next day, Dolley and a few servants scanned the horizon with spyglasses waiting for either Madison or the British army to show up. As British troops gathered in the distance, Dolley decided to abandon the couple’s personal belongings and save the full-length portrait of former president and national icon George Washington from desecration by vengeful British soldiers, many of whom would have rejoiced in humiliating England’s former colonists.

Dolley wrote to her sister on the night of August 23 that a friend who came to help her escape was exasperated at her insistence on saving the portrait. Since the painting was screwed to the wall she ordered the frame to be broken and the canvas pulled out and rolled up. Two unidentified “gentlemen from New York” hustled it away for safe-keeping. (Unbeknownst to Dolley, the portrait was actually a copy of Gilbert Stuart’s original). The task complete, Dolley wrote “and now, dear sister, I must leave this house, or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it by filling up the road I am directed to take.” Dolley left the White House and found her husband at their predetermined meeting place in the middle of a thunderstorm.

The next night, August 24, British troops enjoyed feasting on White House food using the president’s silverware and china before burning the building. Although they were able to return to Washington only three days later when British troops moved on, the Madisons were not again able to take up residence in the White House and lived out the rest of his term in the city’s Octagon House. It was not until 1817 that newly elected President James Monroe moved back into the reconstructed building.

“Dolley Madison saves portrait from British.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Aug 2008, 04:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=55386.

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06
May
08

On This Day, 5-6-08: Gorbachev

Gorbachev reviews the Cold War

In an event steeped in symbolism, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev reviews the Cold War in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri-the site of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech 46 years before. Gorbachev mixed praise for the end of the Cold War with some pointed criticisms of U.S. policy.

In 1946, Winston Churchill, former prime minister of Britain, spoke at Westminster College and issued what many historians have come to consider the opening volley of the Cold War. Declaring that an “iron curtain” had fallen across Eastern Europe, Churchill challenged both Great Britain and the United States to contain Soviet aggression. Forty-six years later, the Soviet Union had collapsed and Mikhail Gorbachev, who had resigned as president of the Soviet Union in December 1991, stood on the very same campus and reflected on the Cold War.

Gorbachev declared that the end of the Cold War was the “shattering of the vicious circle into which we had driven ourselves” and a “victory for common sense, reason, democracy, and common human values.” In addressing the issue of who began the Cold War, Gorbachev admitted that the Soviet Union had made some serious mistakes, but also suggested that the United States and Great Britain shouldered part of the blame. He decried the resulting nuclear arms race, though he made clear that he believed the United States had been the “initiator” of this folly. With the Cold War over, he cautioned the United States to realize the “intellectual, and consequently political error, of interpreting victory in the cold war narrowly as a victory for oneself.”

Gorbachev’s speech, and particularly the location at which he delivered it, offered a fitting closure to the Cold War, and demonstrated that scholarly debate about those years would continue though the animosity had come to an end.

“Gorbachev reviews the Cold War.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 May 2008, 11:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2659.

1527 – German troops began sacking Rome, bringing about the end of the Renaissance.

1851 – The mechanical refrigerator was patented by Dr. John Gorrie.

1851 – Linus Yale patented the clock-type lock.

1861 – Arkansas became the ninth state to secede from the Union.

1877 – Chief Crazy Horse surrendered to U.S. troops in Nebraska.

1882 – The U.S. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. The act barred Chinese immigrants from the U.S. for 10 years.

1941 – Bob Hope gave his first USO show at California’s March Field.

1942 – During World War II, the Japanese seized control of the Philippines. About 15,000 Americans and Filipinos on Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese.

1945 – Axis Sally made her final propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

1954 – British runner Roger Banister broke the four minute mile.

1957 – U.S. Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Profiles in Courage”.

1959 – The Pablo Picasso painting of a Dutch girl was sold for $154,000 in London. It was the highest price paid (at the time) for a painting by a living artist.

1962 – The first nuclear warhead was fired from the Polaris submarine.

1994 – The Chunnel officially opened. The tunnel under the English Channel links England and France.

1997 – Four health-care companies agreed to a settlement of $600 million to hemophiliacs who had contracted AIDS from tainted blood between 1978-1985.

1999 – A parole board in New York voted to release Amy Fisher. She had been in jail for 7 years for shooting her lover’s wife, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, in the face.

2001 – Chandra Levy’s parents reported her missing to police in Washington, DC. Levy’s body was found on May 22, 2002 in Rock Creek Park.

 

William Franklin warns Dartmouth of repercussions from Lexington and Concord

In a candid report to William Legge, 2nd earl of Dartmouth and the British secretary of state for the colonies, on this day in 1775, Benjamin Franklin’s illegitimate son, New Jersey Royal Governor William Franklin, writes that the violence at Lexington and Concord greatly diminishes the chances of reconciliation between Britain and her North American colonies.

Reconciliation between Britain and America was not the only relationship at stake for Franklin. He would never repair the damage done to his relationship with his father, famed Patriot Benjamin Franklin, when he decided to remain loyal to the crown.

“William Franklin warns Dartmouth of repercussions from Lexington and Concord.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 May 2008, 11:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=614.

The Hindenburg disaster

The airship Hindenburg, the largest dirigible ever built and the pride of Nazi Germany, bursts into flames upon touching its mooring mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 36 passengers and crewmembers.

The Hindenburg disaster.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 May 2008, 11:37 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4978.

John Steinbeck wins a Pulitzer for The Grapes of Wrath

On this day in 1940, John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

“John Steinbeck wins a Pulitzer for The Grapes of Wrath.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 May 2008, 11:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=3961.

01
May
08

On This Day, 5-1-08: Law Day

President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day

On this day in 1958, President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day to honor the role of law in the creation of the United States of America. Three years later, Congress followed suit by passing a joint resolution establishing May 1 as Law Day.

The idea of a Law Day had first been proposed by the American Bar Association in 1957. The desire to suppress the celebration of May 1, or May Day, as International Workers Day aided in Law Day’s creation. May Day had communist overtones in the minds of many Americans, because of its celebration of working people as a governing class in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

“President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 May 2008, 12:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=609.

0408 – Theodosius II succeeded to the throne of Constantinople.

1308 – King Albert was murdered by his nephew John, because he refused his share of the Habsburg lands.

1707 – England, Wales and Scotland were united to form Great Britain.

1805 – The state of Virginia passed a law requiring all freed slaves to leave the state, or risk either imprisonment or deportation.

1863 – In Virginia, the Battle of Chancellorsville began. General Robert E. Lee’s forces began fighting with Union troops under General Joseph Hooker. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own soldiers in this battle. (May 1-4)

1867 – Reconstruction in the South began with black voter registration.

1877 – U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.

1884 – The construction of the firt American 10-story building began in Chicago, IL.

1898 – The U.S. Navy under Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines.

1927 – Adolf Hitler held his first Nazi meeting in Berlin.

1931 – The Empire State Building in New York was dedicated and opened. It was 102 stories tall and was the tallest building in the world at the time.

1934 – The Philippine legislature accepted a U.S. proposal for independence.

1941 – “Citizen Kane,” directed and starring Orson Welles, premiered in New York.

1944 – The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, made its first flight.

1945 – Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escaped from the Fuehrerbunker as the Red Army advanced on Berlin.

1945 – Admiral Karl Doenitz succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich. This was one day after Hitler committed suicide.

1961 – Fidel Castro announced there would be no more elections in Cuba.

1967 – Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.

1970 – Students at Kent State University riot in downtown Kent, OH, in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia.

1986 – The Tass News Agency reported the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

1992 – On the third day of the Los Angeles riots resulting from the Rodney King beating trial. King appeared in public to appeal for calm, he asked, “Can we all get along?”

2001 – In Washington, DC, Chandra Levy disappeared. She was an intern at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. California Representative Gary Condit was named in the investigation. Her body was found on May 22, 2002 in Rock Creek Park.

 

American U-2 spy plane shot down

An American U-2 spy plane is shot down while conducting espionage over the Soviet Union. The incident derailed an important summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that was scheduled for later that month.

The U-2 spy plane was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency, and it was a sophisticated technological marvel. Traveling at altitudes of up to 70,000 feet, the aircraft was equipped with state-of-the-art photography equipment that could, the CIA boasted, take high-resolution pictures of headlines in Russian newspapers as it flew overhead. Flights over the Soviet Union began in mid-1956. The CIA assured President Eisenhower that the Soviets did not possess anti-aircraft weapons sophisticated enough to shoot down the high-altitude planes.

“American U-2 spy plane shot down.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 May 2008, 12:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2654.




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