Posts Tagged ‘Czar Nicholas II

09
Jan
09

On This Day, 1-9-2009: Common Sense

January 9, 1776

Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense

On this day in 1776, writer Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet “Common Sense,” setting forth his arguments in favor of American independence.  Although little used today, pamphlets were an important medium for the spread of ideas in the 16th through 19th centuries.

Originally published anonymously, “Common Sense” advocated independence for the American colonies from Britain and is considered one of the most influential pamphlets in American history.  Credited with uniting average citizens and political leaders behind the idea of independence, “Common Sense” played a remarkable role in transforming a colonial squabble into the American Revolution.

At the time Paine wrote “Common Sense,” most colonists considered themselves to be aggrieved Britons.  Paine fundamentally changed the tenor of colonists’ argument with the crown when he wrote the following:  “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.  Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Paine was born in England in 1737 and worked as a corset maker in his teens and, later, as a sailor and schoolteacher before becoming a prominent pamphleteer. In 1774, Paine arrived in Philadelphia and soon came to support American independence.  Two years later, his 47-page pamphlet sold some 500,000 copies, powerfully influencing American opinion. Paine went on to serve in the U.S. Army and to work for the Committee of Foreign Affairs before returning to Europe in 1787.  Back in England, he continued writing pamphlets in support of revolution. He released “The Rights of Man,” supporting the French Revolution in 1791-92, in answer to Edmund Burke’s famous “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790). His sentiments were highly unpopular with the still-monarchal British government, so he fled to France, where he was later arrested for his political opinions.  He returned to the United States in 1802 and died in New York in 1809.

“Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense.” 2009. The History Channel website. 9 Jan 2009, 11:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4210.

On This Day

1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first successful balloon flight in the U.S.

1861 – The state of Mississippi seceded from the United States.

1902 – New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.

1905 – In Russia, the civil disturbances known as the Revolution of 1905 forced Czar Nicholas II to grant some civil rights.

1951 – The United Nations headquarters officially opened in New York City.

1972 – The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by fire in Hong Kong harbor.

2002 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that it was pursuing a criminal investigation of Enron Corp. The company had filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.

January 9, 1952

Truman warns of Cold War dangers

In his 1952 State of the Union address, President Harry S. Truman warns Americans that they are “moving through a perilous time,” and calls for vigorous action to meet the communist threat.

Though Truman’s popularity had nose-dived during the previous 18 months because of complaints about the way that he handled the Korean War, his speech received a standing ovation from congressmen and special guest Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Truman spent much of his speech addressing foreign policy concerns. The primary focus was on meeting the communist challenge. The president declared that the United States was confronted with “a terrible threat of aggression.” He also pointed with pride to U.S. action in meeting that threat. In Korea, combined U.S. and United Nations forces “turned back the Chinese Communist invasion;” elsewhere in Asia, U.S. assistance to its allies was helping to “hold back the Communist advance;” and in Europe and the Middle East, the fight against Soviet expansion was also ongoing.

Truman was particularly proud of the Point Four program, which provided U.S. scientific and technical assistance (such as in the field of agriculture) to the underdeveloped world, claiming that it helped “feed the whole world so we would not have to stomach communism.” There could be no slacking of effort, however, since the Soviet Union was “increasing its armed might,” and with the Soviet acquisition of atomic bomb technology, the world was still walking “in the shadow of another world war.”

Truman’s speech was a stirring rebuttal to domestic critics like Senator Joseph McCarthy, who attacked Truman’s “softness” on communism. Perhaps such criticism contributed to Truman’s decision not to run for re-election. Adlai Stevenson ran as the Democratic candidate, but he lost the election to Dwight Eisenhower.

“Truman warns of Cold War dangers.” 2009. The History Channel website. 9 Jan 2009, 11:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2541.

On This Day in Wisconsin: January 9

1859 – Carrie Chapman Catt Born
On this date Carrie Chapman Catt was born in Ripon. Born Carrie Clinton Lane, she was the only woman in the 1880 graduating class at the Iowa Agricultural College. After graduation, she worked as a law clerk, school teacher, and principal. She was one of the first women in the U.S. to be appointed Superintendent of Schools. In 1885, she married Leo Chapman. He died a year later in San Francisco. Carrie Chapman stayed on in San Francisco and became the first female reporter in the city. In 1890, she married George Catt. At the same time, she began to work for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1892, she succeeded Susan B. Anthony as the NAWSA president. In 1902, she organized the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. She campaigned worldwide for suffrage equality. After the passage of the 19th Amendment, Carrie Chapman Catt continued to be active in politics. She founded the League of Women Voters, published books on suffrage, and lobbied for world peace and child labor laws. [Source: Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home Restoration Project]

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29
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-29-08: NASA

NASA created

On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

“NASA created.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52738.

 

On This Day

1588 – The English defeated the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines.

1773 – The first schoolhouse to be located west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Schoenbrunn, OH.

1890 – Artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers, France.

1914 – The first transcontinental telephone service was inaugurated when two people held a conversation between New York, NY and San Francisco, CA.

1957 – The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1967 – Fire swept the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin. 134 U.S. servicemen were killed.

1968 – Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against artificial methods of birth control.

1975 – OAS (Organization of American States) members voted to lift collective sanctions against Cuba. The U.S. government welcomed the action and announced its intention to open serious discussions with Cuba on normalization.

1981 – England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married.

1985 – General Motors announced that Spring Hill, TN, would be the home of the Saturn automobile assembly plant.

1993 – The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.” His death sentence was thrown out and he was set free.

2005 – Astronomers announced that they had discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun.

 

Spanish Armada defeated

Off the coast of Gravelines, France, Spain’s so-called “Invincible Armada” is defeated by an English naval force under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake. After eight hours of furious fighting, a change in wind direction prompted the Spanish to break off from the battle and retreat toward the North Sea. Its hopes of invasion crushed, the remnants of the Spanish Armada began a long and difficult journey back to Spain.

“Spanish Armada defeated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:31 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6973.

Belle Boyd is captured

Confederate spy Marie Isabella “Belle” Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. It was the first of three arrests for this skilled spy who provided crucial information to the Confederates during the war.

“Belle Boyd is captured.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2266.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams

In the early hours of July 29, 1914, Czar Nicholas II of Russia and his first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, begin a frantic exchange of telegrams regarding the newly erupted war in the Balkan region and the possibility of its escalation into a general European war.

“Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=829.

Washington wages war on the Bonus Army

The Great Depression sent poverty-stricken Americans scrambling for any available source of income. Veterans of World War I certainly felt pinched, and cast about for ways to haul in cash, but, unlike Americans who hadn’t fought in the war, the veterans seemingly had a solution: in the wake of the war, the government had promised to hand out handsome cash bonuses to all servicemen. The catch was the bonuses were to be paid out in 1945. In dire need of money, veterans called on legislators during the spring and summer of 1932 to speed up payment of the bonuses. In May, a group of veterans from Portland, Oregon, staged the “Bonus March” and headed to Washington, D.C., to plead their case. The March fast became a mini-movement, and by June a “Bonus Army” of 20,000 vets had set up shop in Washington. At first all seemed to go well for the veterans, as the House of Representatives passed the Patman Bonus Bill, which called for the early payment of bonuses. The Senate, however, put the kibosh on the movement and killed the Patman legislation. Though chunks of the Bonus Army fled Washington after the bill’s defeat, a hefty handful of veterans stayed on through late July. President Herbert Hoover ordered the ousting of the vets who had decamped in government quarters. When the eviction proceedings turned ugly, and two veterans were killed, Hoover called on the army to disperse the remaining Bonus protesters. General Douglas MacArthur, and his young assistant Dwight Eisenhower, marshaled troops, tanks and tear gas in their war to send the stragglers home. Duly persuaded by this gross show of force, the remaining members of the Bonus Army headed home on July 29, 1932.

“Washington wages war on the Bonus Army.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5941.

Japanese sink the USS Indianapolis

On this day in 1945, Japanese warships sink the American cruiser Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen in the worst loss in the history of the U.S. navy.

“Japanese sink the USS Indianapolis.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6534.

 

I could have gone on flying through space forever.
Yuri Gagarin

16
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-16-08: The Manhattan Project — Alamogordo

Atom bomb successfully tested

On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939, when Italian emigre physicist Enrico Fermi met with U.S. Navy department officials at Columbia University to discuss the use of fissionable materials for military purposes. That same year, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt supporting the theory that an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction had great potential as a basis for a weapon of mass destruction. In February 1940, the federal government granted a total of $6,000 for research. But in early 1942, with the United States now at war with the Axis powers, and fear mounting that Germany was working on its own uranium bomb, the War Department took a more active interest, and limits on resources for the project were removed.

Brigadier-General Leslie R. Groves, himself an engineer, was now in complete charge of a project to assemble the greatest minds in science and discover how to harness the power of the atom as a means of bringing the war to a decisive end. The Manhattan Project (so-called because of where the research began) would wind its way through many locations during the early period of theoretical exploration, most importantly, the University of Chicago, where Enrico Fermi successfully set off the first fission chain reaction. But the Project took final form in the desert of New Mexico, where, in 1943, Robert J. Oppenheimer began directing Project Y at a laboratory at Los Alamos, along with such minds as Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, and Fermi. Here theory and practice came together, as the problems of achieving critical mass-a nuclear explosion-and the construction of a deliverable bomb were worked out.

Finally, on the morning of July 16, in the New Mexico desert 120 miles south of Santa Fe, the first atomic bomb was detonated. The scientists and a few dignitaries had removed themselves 10,000 yards away to observe as the first mushroom cloud of searing light stretched 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb sat when detonated was vaporized.

The question now became-on whom was the bomb to be dropped? Germany was the original target, but the Germans had already surrendered. The only belligerent remaining was Japan.

A footnote: The original $6,000 budget for the Manhattan Project finally ballooned to a total cost of $2 billion.

“Atom bomb successfully tested.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6521.

 

On This Day

1779 – American troops under General Anthony Wayne capture Stony Point, NY.

1791 – Louis XVI was suspended from office until he agreed to ratify the constitution.

1862 – Two Union soldiers and their servant ransacked a house and raped a slave in Sperryville, VA.

1862 – David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

1912 – Bradley A. Fiske patented the airplane torpedo.

1918 – Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg, Russia.

1926 – The first underwater color photographs appeared in “National Geographic” magazine. The pictures had been taken near the Florida Keys.

1942 – French police officers rounded up 13,000 Jews and held them in the Winter Velodrome. The round-up was part of an agreement between Pierre Laval and the Nazis. Germany had agreed to not deport French Jews if France arrested foreign Jews.

1944 – Soviet troops occupied Vilna, Lithuania, in their drive toward Germany.

1951 – J.D. Salinger’s novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” was first published.

1969 – Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, FL, and began the first manned mission to land on the moon.

1979 – Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq after forcing Hasan al-Bakr to resign.

1999 – The plane of John F. Kennedy Jr. crashed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. His wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, were also on board the plane. The body of John Kennedy was found on July 21, 1999.

 

Congress declares Washington, D.C. new capital

On this day in 1790, the young American Congress declares that a swampy, humid, muddy and mosquito-infested site on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia will be the nation’s permanent capital. “Washington,” in the newly designated federal “District of Columbia,” was named after the leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president: George Washington. It was Washington who saw the area’s potential economic and accessibility benefits due to the proximity of navigable rivers.

George Washington, who had been in office just over a year when the capital site was determined, asked a French architect and city planner named Pierre L’Enfant to design the capital. In 1793, the first cornerstones of the president’s mansion, which was eventually renamed the “White House,” were laid. George Washington, however, never lived in the mansion as it was not inhabitable until 1800. Instead, President John Adams and his wife Abigail were the White House’s first residents. They lived there less than a year; Thomas Jefferson moved in in 1801.

“Congress declares Washington, D.C. new capital.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=784.

Senate begins investigations into secret bombing of Cambodia

The Senate Armed Services Committee begins a probe into allegations that the U.S. Air Force made thousands of secret B-52 raids into Cambodia in 1969 and 1970 at a time when the United States recognized the neutrality of the Prince Norodom Sihanouk regime in Cambodia. The Pentagon acknowledged that President Richard Nixon and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird had authorized the raids against Cambodia, but Sihanouk denied the State Department claim that he had requested or authorized the bombing. Though it was established that the bombing records had been falsified, Laird and Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, denied any knowledge of the falsification. The Senate hearings eventually exposed the extent of the secrecy involved in the bombing campaign and seriously damaged the credibility of the Nixon administration.

“Senate begins investigations into secret bombing of Cambodia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1971.

02
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-2-08: Ussuri River Incident

1807 – The U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

1836 – Texas declared its independence from Mexico and an ad interim government was formed.

1877 – In the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election by the U.S. Congress. Samuel J. Tilden, however, had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

1897 – U.S. President Cleveland vetoed legislation that would have required a literacy test for immigrants entering the country.

1899 – Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was established by the U.S. Congress.

1901 – The U.S. Congress passed the Platt amendment, which limited Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

1908 – In Paris, Gabriel Lippmann introduced three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.

1917 – The Russian Revolution began with Czar Nicholas II abdicating.

1919 – In the Soviet Union, the first Communist International (Comintern) meets in Moscow.

1933 – The motion picture King Kong had its world premiere in New York.

1946 – Ho Chi Minh was elected President of Vietnam.

1969 – Russian and Chinese forces exchange fire at a border outpost on the Ussuri River in eastern Russia.

1974 – Postage stamps jumped from 8 to 10 cents for first-class mail.

1995 – Russian anti-corruption journalist Vladislav Listyev was killed by a gunman in Moscow.

2000 – In Great Britain, Chile’s former President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was freed from house arrest and allowed to return to Chile. Britain’s Home Secretary Jack Straw had concluded that Pinochet was mentally and physically unable to stand trial. Belgium, France, Spain and Switzerland had sought the former Chilean leader on human-rights violations.

Ussuri River Incident

At a time in world history when it seemed Communism was on the verge of realizing the Marxist dream of global revolution, the two principle Communist nations, China and the Soviet Union, squabbled over an island in the Ussuri River.  A squabble which allowed the United States to make inroads into Communist China and eventually led to diplomatic relations between the United States and China.

The first incident as reported by CNN’s Bruce Kennedy in an online article, Chinese-Soviet border clashes:  Centuries-old dispute became open combat during Cold War, occurred on March 2, 1969. 

Christian Ostermann, of the Cold War International History Project, recently uncovered a report, sent to East Germany’s leadership, in which the Soviet Union describes its version of the first deadly border clash, which took place on Damansky, or Zhen Bao, Island on March 2, 1969:

“Our observation posts noted the advance of 30 armed Chinese military men on the island of Damansky. Consequently, a group of Soviet border guards was dispatched to the location where the Chinese had violated the border. The officer in charge of the unit and a small contingent approached the border violators with the intention of registering protests and demanding (without using force) that they leave Soviet territory, as had been done repeatedly in the past. But within the first minutes of the exchange, our border guards came under crossfire and were insidiously shot without any warning. At the same time, fire on the remaining parts of our force was opened from an ambush on the island and from the Chinese shore.” http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/15/spotlight/

Colonel David M Marks in his report about the Ussuri River Incident wrote, “The Chinese claimed that from 23 January 1967 until 2 March 1969 Soviet troops intruded into Damansky sixteen times, using “helicopters, armored cars and vehicles.” The Chinese further assert that the Soviets were guilty of  “ramming Chinese fishing boats, robbing Chinese fishermen, turning high-pressure hoses on fishermen, assaulting and wounding Chinese frontier guards, seizing arms and ammunition, and even violating Chinese air space by overflights.” Finally, the Chinese charged that the Soviets provoked a total of 4189 border incidents from the breakdown of border negotiations on 15 October 1964 to the March 1969 incident. Thus, there was an increasing degree of border tension and dispute beginning with the January phase of the Cultural Revolution and extending to the end of that period of Chinese history, 1966-68.” http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1971/jul-aug/marks.html

At first glance it would appear that at a time in history when Communist Revolution seemed poised to spread throughout the world, the truth was something less clear and it may actually be stated that global Communism controlled by the Kremlin was in fact waning.

A Chinese saying goes: ” Whoever understands the times is a great man.”  http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/zt/zgxz/t46100.htm




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