Posts Tagged ‘China

31
Mar
09

On This Day, March 31: Dalai Lama Flees Tibet

March 31, 1959

Dalai Lama begins exile

The Dalai Lama, fleeing the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet, crosses the border into India, where he is granted political asylum.

Born in Taktser, China, as Tensin Gyatso, he was designated the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940, a position that eventually made him the religious and political leader of Tibet. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tibet increasingly came under Chinese control, and in 1950 communist China invaded the country. One year later, a Tibetan-Chinese agreement was signed in which the nation became a “national autonomous region” of China, supposedly under the traditional rule of the Dalai Lama but actually under the control of a Chinese communist commission. The highly religious people of Tibet, who practice a unique form of Buddhism, suffered under communist China’s anti-religious legislation.

After years of scattered protests, a full-scale revolt broke out in March 1959, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee as the uprising was crushed by Chinese troops. On March 31, 1959, he began a permanent exile in India, settling at Dharamsala in Punjab, where he established a democratically based shadow Tibetan government. Back in Tibet, the Chinese adopted brutal repressive measures against the Tibetans, provoking charges from the Dalai Lama of genocide. With the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China, the Chinese suppression of Tibetan Buddhism escalated, and practice of the religion was banned and thousands of monasteries were destroyed.

Although the ban was lifted in 1976, protests in Tibet continued, and the exiled Dalai Lama won widespread international support for the Tibetan independence movement. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end the Chinese domination of Tibet.

“Dalai Lama begins exile.” 2009. The History Channel website. 31 Mar 2009, 10:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4879.

On This Day

1776 – Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John that women were “determined to foment a rebellion” if the new Declaration of Independence failed to guarantee their rights.

1854 – The U.S. government signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with Japan. The act opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakotade to American trade.

1870 – In Perth Amboy, NJ, Thomas P. Munday became the first black to vote in the U.S.

1917 – The U.S. purchased and took possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million.

1918 – For the first time in the U.S., Daylight Saving Time went into effect.

1933 – The U.S. Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps to relieve rampant unemployment.

1939 – Britain and France agreed to support Poland if Germany threatened invasion.

1948 – The Soviets in Germany began controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.

1980 – U.S. President Carter deregulated the banking industry.

2004 – Google Inc. announced that it would be introducing a free e-mail service called Gmail.

March 31, 1492

Jews to be expelled from Spain

In Spain, a royal edict is issued by the nation’s Catholic rulers declaring that all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity will be expelled from the country. Most Spanish Jews chose exile rather than the renunciation of their religion and culture, and the Spanish economy suffered with the loss of an important portion of its workforce. Many Spanish Jews went to North Africa, the Netherlands, and the Americas, where their skills, capital, and commercial connections were put to good use. Among those who chose conversion, some risked their lives by secretly practicing Judaism, while many sincere converts were nonetheless persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Muslims, or Moors, were ordered to convert to Christianity in 1502.

“Jews to be expelled from Spain.” 2009. The History Channel website. 31 Mar 2009, 10:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4877.

18
Mar
09

On This Day, March 18: Fighting the Red Menace

March 18, 1950

Nationalist Chinese forces invade mainland China

In a surprise raid on the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC), military forces of the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan invade the mainland and capture the town of Sungmen. Because the United States supported the attack, it resulted in even deeper tensions and animosities between the U.S. and the PRC.

In October 1949, the leader of the communist revolution in China, Mao Zedong, declared victory against the Nationalist government of China and formally established the People’s Republic of China. Nationalist troops, politicians, and supporters fled the country and many ended up on Taiwan, an island off the Chinese coast. Once there, they declared themselves the real Chinese government and were immediately recognized as such by the United States. Officials from the United States refused to have anything to do with the PRC government and adamantly refused to grant it diplomatic recognition.

Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek bombarded the mainland with propaganda broadcasts and pamphlets dropped from aircraft signaling his intention of invading the PRC and removing what he referred to as the “Soviet aggressors.” In the weeks preceding the March 18, 1950 raid, Chiang had been particularly vocal, charging that the Soviets were supplying the PRC with military advisors and an imposing arsenal of weapons. On March 18, thousands of Nationalist troops, supported by air and sea units, attacked the coast of the PRC, capturing the town of Sungmen that lay about 200 miles south of Shanghai. The Nationalists reported that they killed over 2,500 communist troops. Battles between the raiding group and communist forces continued for weeks, but eventually the Nationalist forces were defeated and driven back to Taiwan.

Perhaps more important than the military encounter was the war of words between the United States and the PRC. Communist officials immediately charged that the United States was behind the raid, and even suggested that American pilots and advisors accompanied the attackers. (No evidence has surfaced to support those charges.) American officials were cautiously supportive of the Nationalist attack, though what they hoped it would accomplish beyond minor irritation to the PRC remains unknown. Just eight months later, military forces from the PRC and the United States met on the battlefield in Korea. Despite suggestions from some officials, including the commander of U.S. troops Gen. Douglas MacArthur, that the United States “unleash” the Nationalist armies against mainland China, President Harry S. Truman refrained from this action, fearing that it would escalate into World War III.

“Nationalist Chinese forces invade mainland China.” 2009. The History Channel website. 18 Mar 2009, 11:08 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2610.

On This Day

0037 – The Roman Senate annuls Tiberius’ will and proclaims Caligula emperor.

1532 – The English parliament banned payments by English church to Rome.

1541 – Hernando de Soto observed the first recorded flood of the Mississippi River.

1766 – Britain repealed the Stamp Act.

1865 – The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourned for the last time.

1917 – The Germans sank the U.S. ships, City of Memphis, Vigilante and the Illinois, without any warning.

1937 – More than 400 people, mostly children, were killed in a gas explosion at a school in New London, TX.

1938 – Mexico took control of all foreign-owned oil properties on its soil.

1943 – American forces took Gafsa in Tunisia.

1945 – 1,250 U.S. bombers attacked Berlin.

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was ratified.

1965 – Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first man to spacewalk when he left the Voskhod II space capsule while in orbit around the Earth. He was outside the spacecraft for about 20 minutes.

1969 – U.S. President Nixon authorizes Operation Breakfast. It was the ‘secret’ bombing of Cambodia.

1974 – Most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their five-month embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.

1981 – The U.S. disclosed that there were biological weapons tested in Texas in 1966.

March 18, 1970

Lon Nol ousts Prince Sihanouk

Returning to Cambodia after visits to Moscow and Peking, Prince Norodom Sihanouk is ousted as Cambodian chief of state in a bloodless coup by pro-western Lt. Gen. Lon Nol, premier and defense minister, and First Deputy Premier Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, who proclaim the establishment of the Khmer Republic. Sihanouk had tried to maintain Cambodian neutrality, but the communist Khmer Rouge, supported by their North Vietnamese allies, had waged a very effective war against Cambodian government forces. After ousting Sihanouk and taking control of the government, Lon Nol immediately set about to defeat the communists. Between 1970 and 1975, he and his army, the Forces Armees Nationale Khmer (FANK), with U.S. support and military aid, would battle the Khmer Rouge communists for control of Cambodia.

When the U.S. forces departed South Vietnam in 1973, both the Cambodians and South Vietnamese found themselves suddenly fighting the communists alone. Without U.S. support, Lon Nol’s forces succumbed to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. The victorious Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Penh and began reordering Cambodian society, which resulted in a killing spree and the notorious “killing fields.” Eventually, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were murdered or died from exhaustion, hunger, and disease. During the five years of bitter fighting for control of the country, approximately 10 percent of Cambodia’s 7 million people died.

“Lon Nol ousts Prince Sihanouk.” 2009. The History Channel website. 18 Mar 2009, 11:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1735.

01
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-1-2008: Yosemite

October 1, 1890

Yosemite National Park established

On this day in 1890, an act of Congress creates Yosemite National Park, home of such natural wonders as Half Dome and the giant sequoia trees. Environmental trailblazer John Muir (1838-1914) and his colleagues campaigned for the congressional action, which was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison and paved the way for generations of hikers, campers and nature lovers, along with countless “Don’t Feed the Bears” signs.

Native Americans were the main residents of the Yosemite Valley, located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, until the 1849 gold rush brought thousands of non-Indian miners and settlers to the region. Tourists and damage to Yosemite Valley’s ecosystem followed. In 1864, to ward off further commercial exploitation, conservationists convinced President Abraham Lincoln to declare Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias a public trust of California. This marked the first time the U.S. government protected land for public enjoyment and it laid the foundation for the establishment of the national and state park systems. Yellowstone became America’s first national park in 1872.

In 1889, John Muir discovered that the vast meadows surrounding Yosemite Valley, which lacked government protection, were being overrun and destroyed by domestic sheep grazing. Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson, a fellow environmentalist and influential magazine editor, lobbied for national park status for the large wilderness area around Yosemite Valley. On October 1 of the following year, Congress set aside over 1,500 square miles of land (about the size of Rhode Island) for what would become Yosemite National Park, America’s third national park. In 1906, the state-controlled Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove came under federal jurisdiction with the rest of the park.

Yosemite’s natural beauty is immortalized in the black-and-white landscape photographs of Ansel Adams (1902-1984), who at one point lived in the park and spent years photographing it. Today, over 3 million people get back to nature annually at Yosemite and check out such stunning landmarks as the 2,425-foot-high Yosemite Falls, one of the world’s tallest waterfalls; rock formations Half Dome and El Capitan, the largest granite monolith in the U.S.; and the three groves of giant sequoias, the world’s biggest trees.

“Yosemite National Park established.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Oct 2008, 11:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=51644.

1781 – James Lawrence was born. He was the American naval officer whose dying words were “Don’t give up the ship.”

1800 – Spain ceded the territory of Louisiana back to France. Later the property would be purchased by the U.S. effectively doubling its size. (A little known clause in this deal states that Spain would let France have this territory provided France didn’t allow the United States to have it.)

1890 – The U.S. Congress passed the McKinley Tariff Act. The act raised tariffs to a record level.

1908 – The Model T automobile was introduced by Henry Ford. The purchase price of the car was $850.

1936 – General Francisco Franco was proclaimed the head of the Spanish state.

1938 – German forces enter Czechoslovakia and seized control of the Sudetenland. The Munich Pact had been signed two days before.

1940 – The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened as the first toll superhighway in the United States.

1946 – The International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg sentenced 12 Nazi officials to death. Seven others were sentenced to prison terms and 3 were acquitted.

1964 – The Free Speech Movement was started at the University of California at Berkeley.

1972 – The Chinese government approved friendly relations with the United States.

1979 – The United States handed control of the Canal Zone over to Panama.

1989 – The authorized Charles Schulz biography, Good Grief, was published.

1989 – 7,000 East Germans were welcomed into West Germany after they were allowed to leave by the communist government.

October 1, 1949

Mao Zedong proclaims People’s Republic of China

Naming himself head of state, communist revolutionary Mao Zedong officially proclaims the existence of the People’s Republic of China; Zhou Enlai is named premier. The proclamation was the climax of years of battle between Mao’s communist forces and the regime of Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek, who had been supported with money and arms from the American government. The loss of China, the largest nation in Asia, to communism was a severe blow to the United States, which was still reeling from the Soviet Union’s detonation of a nuclear device one month earlier.

State Department officials in President Harry S. Truman’s administration tried to prepare the American public for the worst when they released a “white paper” in August 1949. The report argued that Chiang’s regime was so corrupt, inefficient, and unpopular that no amount of U.S. aid could save it. Nevertheless, the communist victory in China brought forth a wave of criticism from Republicans who charged that the Truman administration lost China through gross mishandling of the situation. Other Republicans, notably Senator Joseph McCarthy, went further, claiming that the State Department had gone “soft” on communism; more recklessly, McCarthy suggested that there were procommunist sympathizers in the department.

The United States withheld recognition from the new communist government in China. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, during which communist Chinese and U.S. forces did battle, drove an even deeper wedge between the two nations. In the ensuing years, continued U.S. support of Chiang’s Republic of China, which had been established on the island of Taiwan, and the refusal to seat the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations made diplomatic relations impossible. President Richard Nixon broke the impasse with his stunning visit to communist China in February 1972. The United States extended formal diplomatic recognition in 1979.

“Mao Zedong proclaims People’s Republic of China.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Oct 2008, 11:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2438.

14
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-14-2008: Japan Surrenders

Japan’s surrender made public

On this day in 1945, an official announcement of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies is made public to the Japanese people.

Even though Japan’s War Council, urged by Emperor Hirohito, had already submitted a formal declaration of surrender to the Allies, via ambassadors, on August 10, fighting continued between the Japanese and the Soviets in Manchuria and between the Japanese and the United States in the South Pacific. In fact, two days after the Council agreed to surrender, a Japanese submarine sank the Oak Hill, an American landing ship, and the Thomas F. Nickel, an American destroyer, both east of Okinawa.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor. The news did not go over well, as more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers stormed the Imperial Palace in an attempt to find the proclamation and prevent its being transmitted to the Allies. Soldiers still loyal to Emperor Hirohito repulsed the attackers.

That evening, General Anami, the member of the War Council most adamant against surrender, committed suicide. His reason: to atone for the Japanese army’s defeat, and to be spared having to hear his emperor speak the words of surrender.

“Japan’s surrender made public.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Aug 2008, 12:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6551.

 

On This Day

1248 – The rebuilding of the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, began after being destroyed by fire.

1756 – Daniel Boone married 16-year-old Rebecca Bryan.

1805 – A peace treaty between the U.S. and Tunis was signed on board the USS Constitution.

1848 – The Oregon Territory was established.

1873 – “Field and Stream” magazine published its first issue.

1880 – The Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany was completed after 632 years of rebuilding.

1917 – China declared war on Germany and Austria during World War I.

1935 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. The act created unemployment insurance and pension plans for the elderly.

1941 – U.S. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter. The charter was a statement of principles that renounced aggression.

1947 – Pakistan became independent from British rule.

1980 – People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was incorporated.

1995 – Shannon Faulkner became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina‘s state military college. She quit the school less than a week later.

1997 – Timothy McVeigh was formally sentenced to death for the Oklahoma City bombing.

2000 – A Russian submarine Kursk sank to the bottom of the Barrent Sea. There were 118 sailors on the nuclear-powered vessel. All of the crew were pronounced dead on August 22.

 

Peking relieved by multinational force

During the Boxer Rebellion, an international force featuring British, Russian, American, Japanese, French, and German troops relieves the Chinese capital of Peking after fighting its way 80 miles from the port of Tientsin. The Chinese nationalists besieging Peking’s diplomatic quarter were crushed, and the Boxer Rebellion effectively came to an end.

“Peking relieved by multinational force.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Aug 2008, 12:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6989.

Confederate invasion of Kentucky begins

Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith begins an invasion of Kentucky as part of a Confederate plan to draw the Yankee army of General Don Carlos Buell away from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to raise support for the Southern cause in Kentucky.

“Confederate invasion of Kentucky begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Aug 2008, 12:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2283.

U.S. bombing of Cambodia ceases

After several days of intense bombing in support of Lon Nol’s forces fighting the communist Khmer Rouge in the area around Phnom Penh, Operations Arc Light and Freedom Deal end as the United States ceases bombing Cambodia at midnight. This was in accordance with June Congressional legislation passed in June and ended 12 years of combat activity in Indochina. President Nixon denounced Congress for cutting off the funding for further bombing operations, saying that it had undermined the “prospects for world peace.” The United States continued unarmed reconnaissance flights and military aid to Cambodia, but ultimately the Khmer Rouge prevailed in 1975.

“U.S. bombing of Cambodia ceases.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Aug 2008, 12:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1270.

Massive labor strikes hit Poland

Workers in Gdansk, Poland, seize the Lenin Shipyard and demand pay raises and the right to form a union free from communist control. The massive strike also saw the rise to prominence of labor leader Lech Walesa, who would be a key figure in bringing an end to communist rule in Poland.

“Massive labor strikes hit Poland.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Aug 2008, 12:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2759.

08
Aug
08

On This Day 8-08-08: Nixon Resigns

Nixon resigns

In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

“Nixon resigns.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6983.

Vice President Agnew under attack

Vice President Agnew branded reports that he took kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland as “damned lies.” Agnew had taken a lot of heat in the media when he assumed a lead position as Nixon’s point man on Vietnam. He frequently attacked the student protest movement, blaming the intellectual community, which he referred to as “impudent snobs,” for campus unrest. Despite the charges of bribery and income tax evasion, Agnew vowed that he would never resign and blamed his troubles on the press, who, he said, were out to get him for his controversial stand on the war. Ultimately, however, he resigned from office on October 10, 1973.

“Vice President Agnew under attack.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1253.

 

1588 – The Spanish Armada was defeated by the English fleet ending an invasion attempt.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for St. Helena, in the South Atlantic. The remainder of his life was spent there in exile.

1844 – After the killing of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young was chosen to lead the Mormons.

1866 – African-American explorer Matthew A. Henson was born. Henson, along with Robert Peary and their Eskimo guide, were the first people to reach the North Pole.

1876 – Thomas Edison received a patent for the mimeograph. The mimeograph was a “method of preparing autographic stencils for printing.”

1899 – The refrigerator was patented by A.T. Marshall.

1911 – The number of representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives was established at 435. There was one member of Congress for every 211,877 residents.

1940 – The German Luftwaffe began a series of daylight air raids on Great Britain.

1942 – Six Nazi saboteurs were executed in Washington after conviction. Two others were cooperative and received life in prison.

1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed by U.S. President Truman.

1953 – The U.S. and South Korea initiated a mutual security pact.

1966 – Michael DeBakey became the first surgeon to install an artificial heart pump in a patient.

1978 – The U.S. launched Pioneer Venus II, which carried scientific probes to study the atmosphere of Venus.

1994 – Representatives from China and Taiwan signed a cooperation agreement.

2000 – The submarine H.L. Hunley was raised from ocean bottom after 136 years. The sub had been lost during an attack on the U.S.S. Housatonic in 1864. The Hunley was the first submarine in history to sink a warship.

 

Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria

On this day in 1945, the Soviet Union officially declares war on Japan, pouring more than 1 million Soviet soldiers into Japanese-occupied Manchuria, northeastern China, to take on the 700,000-strong Japanese army.

The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima by the Americans did not have the effect intended: unconditional surrender by Japan. Half of the Japanese inner Cabinet, called the Supreme War Direction Council, refused to surrender unless guarantees about Japan’s future were given by the Allies, especially regarding the position of the emperor, Hirohito. The only Japanese civilians who even knew what happened at Hiroshima were either dead or suffering terribly.

Japan had not been too worried about the Soviet Union, so busy with the Germans on the Eastern front. The Japanese army went so far as to believe that they would not have to engage a Soviet attack until spring 1946. But the Soviets surprised them with their invasion of Manchuria, an assault so strong (of the 850 Japanese soldiers engaged at Pingyanchen, 650 were killed or wounded within the first two days of fighting) that Emperor Hirohito began to plead with his War Council to reconsider surrender. The recalcitrant members began to waver.

“Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6544.

25
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-25-08: Louise Joy Brown

World’s first “test tube baby” born

On this day in 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.

“World’s first “test tube baby” born .” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:35 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=59456.

 

On This Day

0326 – Constantine refused to carry out the traditional pagan sacrifices.

1394 – Charles VI of France issued a decree for the general expulsion of Jews from France.

1587 – Japanese strong-man Hideyoshi banned Christianity in Japan and ordered all Christians to leave.

1593 – France’s King Henry IV converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.

1805 – Aaron Burr visited New Orleans with plans to establish a new country, with New Orleans as the capital city.

1845 – China granted Belgium equal trading rights with Britain, France and the United States.

1850 – In Worcester, MA, Harvard and Yale University freshmen met in the first intercollegiate billiards match.

1850 – Gold was discovered in the Rogue River in Oregon.

1866 – Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army. He was the first American officer to hold the rank.

1909 – French aviator Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel in a monoplane. He traveled from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes. He was the first man to fly across the channel.

1914 – Russia declared that it would act to protect Serbian sovereignty.

1934 – Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss was shot and killed by Nazis.

1941 – The U.S. government froze all Japanese and Chinese assets.

1946 – The U.S. detonated an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. It was the first underwater test of the device.

1946 – Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a team at Club 500 in Atlantic City, NJ.

1952 – Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S.

1956 – The Italian liner Andrea Doria sank after colliding with the Swedish ship Stockholm off the New England coast. 51 people were killed.

1984 – Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. She was aboard the orbiting space station Salyut 7.

1994 – Israel and Jordan formally ended the state of war that had existed between them since 1948.

 

Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution

The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution passes, declaring that the war is being waged for the reunion of the states and not to interfere with the institutions of the South, namely slavery. The measure was important in keeping the pivotal states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland in the Union.

This resolution should not be confused with the Crittenden Compromise—a plan circulated after the Southern states began seceding from the Union that proposed to protect slavery as an enticement to keep the Southern states from leaving—which was defeated in Congress. At the beginning of the war, many Northerners supported a war for to keep the Union together, but had no interest in advancing the cause of abolition. The Crittenden-Johnson plan was passed in 1861 to distinguish the issue of emancipation from the war’s purpose.

The common denominator of the two plans was Senator John Crittenden from Kentucky. Crittenden carried the torch of compromise borne so ably by another Kentucky senator, Henry Clay, who brokered such important deals as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 to keep the nation together. Clay died in 1852, but Crittenden carried on the spirit befitting the representative of a state deeply divided over the issue of slavery.

Although the measure was passed in Congress, it meant little when, just two weeks later, President Lincoln signed a confiscation act, allowing for the seizure of property—including slaves—from rebellious citizens. Still, for the first year and a half of the Civil War, reunification of the United States was the official goal of the North. It was not until Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862 that slavery became a goal.

“Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:33 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2258.

Mussolini falls from power

On this day in 1943, Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost. Mussolini responded to it all with an uncharacteristic meekness.

“Mussolini falls from power.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6530.

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.




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