Posts Tagged ‘Douglas MacArthur

16
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-16-2008: Jonathan Wainwright

Senior U.S. POW is released

On this day in 1945, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, (captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor, in the Philippines), is freed by Russian forces from a POW camp in Manchuria, China.

When President Franklin Roosevelt transferred Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his command in the Philippines to Australia in March 1942, Maj. Gen. Wainwright, until then under MacArthur’s command, was promoted to temporary lieutenant general and given command of all Philippine forces. His first major strategic decision was to move his troops to the fortified garrison at Corregidor. When Bataan was taken by the Japanese, and the infamous Bataan “Death March” of captured Allies was underway, Corredigor became the next battle ground. Wainwright and his 13,000 troops held out for a month despite heavy artillery fire. Finally, Wainwright and his troops, already exhausted, surrendered on May 6.

The irony of Wainwright’s promotion was that as commander of all Allied forces in the Philippines, his surrender meant the surrender of troops still holding out against the Japanese in other parts of the Philippines. Wainwright was taken prisoner, spending the next three and a half years as a POW in Luzon, Philippines, Formosa (now Taiwan), and Manchuria, China. Upon Japan’s surrender, Russian forces in Manchuria liberated the POW camp in which Wainwright was being held.

The years of captivity took its toll on the general. The man who had been nicknamed “Skinny” was now emaciated. His hair had turned white, and his skin was cracked and fragile. He was also depressed, believing he would be blamed for the loss of the Philippines to the Japanese.

When Wainwright arrived in Yokohama, Japan, to attend the formal surrender ceremony, Gen. MacArthur, his former commander, was stunned at his appearance-literally unable to eat and sleep for a day.

Wainwright was given a hero’s welcome upon returning to America, promoted to full general, and awarded the Medal of Honor.

“Senior U.S. POW is released.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6553.

 

On This Day

1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bennington took place. New England’s minutemen routed the British regulars.

1812 – Detroit fell to Indian and British troops in the War of 1812.

1861 – U.S. President Lincoln prohibited the Union states from trading with the states of the Confederacy.

1923 – Carnegie Steel Corporation put into place the eight-hour workday for its employees.

1937 – Harvard University became the first school to have graduate courses in traffic engineering and administration.

1948 – Babe Ruth, Born February 6, 1895, died at the age of 53.

1960 – Cyprus was granted independence by Britain.

1962 – Ringo Starr was picked to replace Pete Best as the drummer for the Beatles. Best had been with the group for about 2 1/2 years.

1978 – Xerox was fined for excluding Smith-Corona Mfg. from the copier market. The fine was $25.6 million.

1984 – John DeLorean was acquitted on eight counts of a $24 million dollar cocaine conspiracy indictment.

1999 – In Russia, Vladimir V. Putin was confirmed as prime minister by the lower house of parliament.

 

George Carmack discovers Klondike gold

Sometime prospector George Carmack stumbles across gold while salmon fishing along the Klondike River in the Yukon.

“George Carmack discovers Klondike gold.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4614.

 

Poet Charles Bukowski is born

Charles Bukowski, leader of the “Meat School” of tough, masculine poetry, is born on this day in Andernach, Germany. Bukowski’s writing is filled with images of sex, violence, and heavy drinking.

“Poet Charles Bukowski is born.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4065.

 

Paul Robeson loses appeal over his passport

Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America.

“Paul Robeson loses appeal over his passport.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2761.

 

Elvis Presley dies

Popular music icon Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42. The death of the “King of Rock and Roll” brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

“Elvis Presley dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 03:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6991.

28
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-28-08: World War I

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

On July 28, 1914, one month to the day after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War.

Threatened by Serbian ambition in the tumultuous Balkans region of Europe, Austria-Hungary determined that the proper response to the assassinations was to prepare for a possible military invasion of Serbia. After securing the unconditional support of its powerful ally, Germany, Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with a rigid ultimatum on July 23, 1914, demanding, among other things, that all anti-Austrian propaganda within Serbia be suppressed, and that Austria-Hungary be allowed to conduct its own investigation into the archduke’s killing. Though Serbia effectively accepted all of Austria’s demands except for one, the Austrian government broke diplomatic relations with the other country on July 25 and went ahead with military preparedness measures. Meanwhile, alerted to the impending crisis, Russia—Serbia’s own mighty supporter in the Balkans—began its own initial steps towards military mobilization against Austria.

In the days following the Austrian break in relations with Serbia, the rest of Europe, including Russia’s allies, Britain and France, looked on with trepidation, fearing the imminent outbreak of a Balkans conflict that, if entered into by Russia, threatened to explode into a general European war. The British Foreign Office lobbied its counterparts in Berlin, Paris and Rome with the idea of an international convention aimed at moderating the conflict; the German government, however, was set against this notion, and advised Vienna to go ahead with its plans.

On July 28, 1914, after a decision reached conclusively the day before in response to pressure from Germany for quick action—apart from Kaiser Wilhelm II, who by some accounts still saw the possibility of a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the conflict, but was outmaneuvered by the more hawkish military and governmental leadership of Germany—Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. In response, Russia formally ordered mobilization in the four military districts facing Galicia, its common front with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That night, Austrian artillery divisions initiated a brief, ineffectual bombardment of Belgrade across the Danube River.

“My darling one and beautiful, everything tends towards catastrophe and collapse,” British naval official Winston Churchill wrote to his wife at midnight on July 29. He was proven right over the next several days. On August 1, after its demands for Russia to halt mobilization met with defiance, Germany declared war on Russia. Russia’s ally, France, ordered its own general mobilization that same day, and on August 3, France and Germany declared war on each other. The German army’s planned invasion of neutral Belgium, announced on August 4, prompted Britain to declare war on Germany. Thus, in the summer of 1914, the major powers in the Western world—with the exception of the United States and Italy, both of which declared their neutrality, at least for the time being—flung themselves headlong into the First World War.

“Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=828.

The Russians mobilized faster than the Germans had counted on, causing Germany to withdraw important elements of its army from attacking France thus dooming the attack on France to failure and forced the Germans into a two-front war.  World War I as it is now known destroyed the great monarchies of Europe, cost millions of lives, bankrupted empires and elevated Serbia to an almost mythical status of being the little nation that will eventually bring about Armageddon.

 

On This Day

1540 – King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed. The same day, Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

1794 – Maximilien Robespierre was sent to the guillotine. He was a leading figure in the French Revolution.

1821 – Peru declared its independence from Spain.

1866 – The metric system was legalized by the U.S. Congress for the standardization of weights and measures throughout the United States.

1868 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment guaranteed due process of law.

1945 – A U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City’s Empire State Building. 14 people were killed and 26 were injured.

1965 – U.S. President Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.

1998 – Serbian military forces seized the Kosovo town of Malisevo.

1998 – Monica Lewinsky received blanket immunity from prosecution to testify before a grand jury about her relationship with U.S. President Clinton.

 

 

Bonus Marchers evicted by U.S. Army

During the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover orders the U.S. Army under General Douglas MacArthur to evict by force the Bonus Marchers from the nation’s capital.

Two months before, the so-called “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of some 1,000 World War I veterans seeking cash payments for their veterans’ bonus certificates, had arrived in Washington, D.C. Most of the marchers were unemployed veterans in desperate financial straits. In June, other veteran groups spontaneously made their way to the nation’s capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong. Camping in vacant government buildings and in open fields made available by District of Columbia Police Chief Pelham D. Glassford, they demanded passage of the veterans’ payment bill introduced by Representative Wright Patman.

While awaiting a vote on the issue, the veterans conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful fashion, and on June 15 the Patman bill passed in the House of Representatives. However, two days later, its defeat in the Senate infuriated the marchers, who refused to return home. In an increasingly tense situation, the federal government provided money for the protesters’ trip home, but 2,000 refused the offer and continued to protest. On July 28, President Herbert Hoover ordered the army to evict them forcibly. General MacArthur’s men set their camps on fire, and the veterans were driven from the city. Hoover, increasingly regarded as insensitive to the needs of the nation’s many poor, was much criticized by the public and press for the severity of his response.

“Bonus Marchers evicted by U.S. Army.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5215.

Worst modern earthquake

At 3:42 a.m., an earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale flattens Tangshan, a Chinese industrial city with a population of about one million people. As almost everyone was asleep in their beds, instead of outside in the relative safety of the streets, the quake was especially costly in terms of human life. An estimated 242,000 people in Tangshan and surrounding areas were killed, making the earthquake one of the deadliest in recorded history, surpassed only by the 300,000 who died in the Calcutta earthquake in 1737, and the 830,000 thought to have perished in China’s Shaanxi province in 1556.

The Chinese government was ill-prepared for a disaster of this scale. The day following the quake, helicopters and planes began dropping food and medicine into the city. Some 100,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army were ordered to Tangshan, and many had to march on foot from Jinzhou, a distance of more than 180 miles. About 30,000 medical personnel were called in, along with 30,000 construction workers. The Chinese government, boasting self-sufficiency, refused all offers of foreign relief aid. In the crucial first week after the crisis, many died from lack of medical care. Troops and relief workers lacked the kind of heavy rescue training necessary to efficiently pull survivors from the rubble. Looting was also epidemic. More than 160,000 families were left homeless, and more than 4,000 children were orphaned.

Tangshan was eventually rebuilt with adequate earthquake precautions. Today, nearly two million people live there. There is speculation that the death toll from the 1976 quake was much higher than the official Chinese government figure of 242,000. Some Chinese sources have spoken privately of more than 500,000 deaths.

“Worst modern earthquake.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6972.

08
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-8-08: PBSUCCESS

Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala

Col. Carlos Castillo Armas is elected president of the junta that overthrew the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in late June 1954. The election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of U.S. efforts to remove Arbenz and save Guatemala from what American officials believed to be an attempt by international communism to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1944, Guatemala went through a revolution that saw the removal of a long-time dictator and the establishment of the first democratically elected government in the nation’s history. In 1950, Guatemala witnessed another first with the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president, Arbenz. Officials in the United States had watched the developments in Guatemala with growing concern and fear. The Guatemalan government, particularly after Arbenz came to power in 1950, had launched a serious effort at land reform and redistribution to Guatemala’s landless masses. When this effort resulted in the powerful American-owned United Fruit Company losing many acres of land, U.S. officials began to believe that communism was at work in Guatemala.

By 1953 and into 1954, the U.S. government was intent on removing Arbenz from power and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was given this task by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The CIA established a multifaceted covert operation (code named PBSUCCESS). Beginning in June 1954, the CIA saturated Guatemala with propaganda over the radio and through leaflets dropped over the country, and also began small bombing raids using unmarked airplanes. It also organized and armed a small force of “freedom fighters”–mostly Guatemalan refugees and mercenaries–headed by Castillo Armas. This force, which never numbered more than a few hundred men, had little impact on subsequent events.

By late June, the Arbenz government, diplomatically and economically isolated by the United States, came to the conclusion that resistance against the “giant of the north” was futile, and Arbenz resigned on June 27. A short time later, Castillo Armas and his “army” marched into Guatemala City and established a ruling junta. On July 8, 1954, Castillo Armas was elected president of the junta.

For the United States, the election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of a successful covert operation against international communism. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that Guatemala had been saved from “communist imperialism.” The overthrow of Arbenz had added “a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition of the American states.” Many Guatemalans came to have a different perspective. The new regime rounded up thousands of suspected communists, and executed hundreds of prisoners. Labor unions, which had flourished since 1944, were crushed, and United Fruit’s lands were restored. Castillo Armas, however, did not long enjoy his success. He was assassinated in 1957. Guatemalan politics then degenerated into a series of coups and countercoups, coupled with brutal repression of the country’s people.

“Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2722.

1099 – Christian soldiers on the First Crusade march around Jerusalem.

1608 – The first French settlement at Quebec was established by Samuel de Champlain.

1709 – Peter the Great defeated Charles XII at Poltava, in the Ukraine, The Swedish empire was effectively ended.

1776 – Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence to a crowd at Independence Square in Philadelphia.

1815 – Louis XVIII returned to Paris after the defeat of Napoleon.

1865 – C.E. Barnes patented the machine gun.

1879 – The first ship to use electric lights departed from San Francisco, CA.

1881 – Edward Berner, druggist in Two Rivers, WI, poured chocolate syrup on ice cream in a dish. To this time chocolate syrup had only been used for making ice-cream sodas.

1919 – U.S. President Wilson returned from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.

1950 – General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

1960 – The Soviet Union charged Gary Powers with espionage. He was shot down in a U-2 spy plane.

1986 – Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.

Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, sails into Tokyo Bay, Japan, with a squadron of four vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but under threat of attack by the superior American ships they accepted letters from President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it had been declared closed to foreigners two centuries before. Only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to continue trade with Japan after 1639, but this trade was restricted and confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki.

After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Commodore Perry returned to Tokyo with nine ships in March 1854. On March 31, he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in over 200 years reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks, discussing expansion of trade with the United States. Treaties with other Western powers followed soon after, contributing to the collapse of the shogunate and ultimately the modernization of Japan.

“Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:30 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5161.

First Americans killed in South Vietnam

Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas strike a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group had arrived in South Vietnam on November 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers, and province and district headquarters.

“First Americans killed in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1954.

29
Feb
08

On This Day, 2-29-08: Gone With the Wind

1940: Gone with the Wind sweeps Oscars

Regarded as the most popular movie of all time, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on this day. An epic romance set during the hard times faced by the South after the American Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories.

However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of Mammy, a former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African-American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar. http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_February_29.php

1288 – Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man. In the event that he refused the proposal he was required to pay a fine.

1860 – The first electric tabulating machine was invented by Herman Hollerith.

1904 – In Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal.

1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began with “Operation Brewer.” U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces onto Los Negros.

1944 – Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama became the first woman to be appointed secretary of a national political party. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee.

1944 – The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year in a row, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area. This was an effort to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime.

1960 – American entrepreneur Hugh Heffner opens his first ‘Playboy Club’ in Chicago.

1980 – Buddy Holly’s glasses and the Big Bopper’s wristwatch were found in old police files by the Mason City Sheriff. The items were worn by the men when their plane crashed on February 3, 1959.




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