Posts Tagged ‘Echo one

12
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-12-2008: The Berlin Wall

East Germany begins construction of the Berlin Wall

In an effort to stem the tide of refugees attempting to leave East Berlin, the communist government of East Germany begins building the Berlin Wall to divide East and West Berlin. Construction of the wall caused a short-term crisis in U.S.-Soviet bloc relations, and the wall itself came to symbolize the Cold War.

Throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s, thousands of people from East Berlin crossed over into West Berlin to reunite with families and escape communist repression. In an effort to stop that outflow, the government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin. The U.S. government responded angrily. Commanders of U.S. troops in West Berlin even began to make plans to bulldoze the wall, but gave up on the idea when the Soviets moved armored units into position to protect it. The West German government was furious with America’s lack of action, but President John F. Kennedy believed that “A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” In an attempt to reassure the West Germans that the United States was not abandoning them, Kennedy traveled to the Berlin Wall in June 1963, and famously declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (“I am a Berliner!”). Since the word “Berliner” was commonly referred to as a jelly doughnut throughout most of Germany, Kennedy’s improper use of German grammar was also translated as “I am a jelly doughnut.” However, due to the context of his speech, Kennedy’s intended meaning that he stood together with West Berlin in its rivalry with communist East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic was understood by the German people.

In the years to come, the Berlin Wall became a physical symbol of the Cold War. The stark division between communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin served as the subject for numerous editorials and speeches in the United States, while the Soviet bloc characterized the wall as a necessary protection against the degrading and immoral influences of decadent Western culture and capitalism. During the lifetime of the wall, nearly 80 people were killed trying to escape from East to West Berlin. In late 1989, with communist governments falling throughout Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall was finally opened and then demolished. For many observers, this action was the signal that the Cold War was finally coming to an end.

“East Germany begins construction of the Berlin Wall.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Aug 2008, 11:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2757.

 

On This Day

1656 – “King Phillip’s War” came to an end with the killing of Indian chief King Phillip. The war between the Indians and the Europeans lasted for two years.

1865 – Disinfectant was used for the first time during surgery by Joseph Lister.

1867 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him when he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

1877 – Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and made the first sound recording.

1898 – Hawaii was annexed by the U.S. Hawaii was later given territorial status and was given Statehood in 1959.

1898 – The Spanish-American War was ended with the signing of the peace protocol. The U.S. acquired Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Hawaii was also annexed.

1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed with his co-pilot when their Navy plane exploded over England. Joseph Kennedy was the oldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

1953 – The Soviet Union secretly tested its first hydrogen bomb.

1960 – The balloon satellite Echo One was launched by the U.S. from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was the first communications satellite.

1981 – IBM unveiled its first PC.

1988 – “The Last Temptation of Christ” opened.

1990 – The first U.S. casualty occurred during the Persian Gulf crisis when Air Force Staff Sergeant John Campisi died after being hit by a military truck.

1992 – The U.S., Canada, and Mexico announced that the North American Free Trade Agreement had been created after 14 months of negotiations.

 

 

Hitler institutes the Mother’s Cross

On this day in 1938, Adolf Hitler institutes the Mother’s Cross, to encourage German women to have more children, to be awarded each year on August 12, Hitler’s mother’s birthday.

The German Reich needed a robust and growing population and encouraged couples to have large families. It started such encouragement early. Once members of the distaff wing of the Hitler Youth movement, the League of German Girls, turned 18, they became eligible for a branch called Faith and Beauty, which trained these girls in the art of becoming ideal mothers. One component of that ideal was fecundity. And so each year, in honor of his beloved mother, Klara, and in memory of her birthday, a gold medal was awarded to women with seven children, a silver to women with six, and a bronze to women with five.

“Hitler institutes the Mother’s Cross.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Aug 2008, 11:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6548.

Soviets test “Layer-Cake” bomb

Less than one year after the United States tested its first hydrogen bomb, the Soviets detonate a 400-kiloton device in Kazakhstan. The explosive power was 30 times that of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and the mushroom cloud produced by it stretched five miles into the sky. Known as the “Layer Cake,” the bomb was fueled by layers of uranium and lithium deuteride, a hydrogen isotope. The Soviet bomb was smaller and more portable than the American hydrogen bomb, so its development once again upped the ante in the dangerous nuclear arms race between the Cold War superpowers.

“Soviets test “Layer-Cake” bomb.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Aug 2008, 12:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5255.

Advertisements



September 2019
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers

Advertisements