Posts Tagged ‘Guam

10
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-10-2008: Japan Accepts Potsdam Declaration

Japan accepts Potsdam terms, agrees to unconditional surrender

On this day in 1945, just a day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan submits its acquiescence to the Potsdam Conference terms of unconditional surrender, as President Harry S. Truman orders a halt to atomic bombing.

Emperor Hirohito, having remained aloof from the daily decisions of prosecuting the war, rubber-stamping the decisions of his War Council, including the decision to bomb Pearl Harbor, finally felt compelled to do more. At the behest of two Cabinet members, the emperor summoned and presided over a special meeting of the Council and implored them to consider accepting the terms of the Potsdam Conference, which meant unconditional surrender. “It seems obvious that the nation is no longer able to wage war, and its ability to defend its own shores is doubtful.” The Council had been split over the surrender terms; half the members wanted assurances that the emperor would maintain his hereditary and traditional role in a postwar Japan before surrender could be considered. But in light of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, as well as the emperor’s own request that the Council “bear the unbearable,” it was agreed: Japan would surrender.

Tokyo released a message to its ambassadors in Switzerland and Sweden, which was then passed on to the Allies. The message formally accepted the Potsdam Declaration but included the proviso that “said Declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as sovereign ruler.” When the message reached Washington, President Truman, unwilling to inflict any more suffering on the Japanese people, especially on “all those kids,” ordered a halt to atomic bombing, He also wanted to know whether the stipulation regarding “His Majesty” was a deal breaker. Negotiations between Washington and Tokyo ensued. Meanwhile, savage fighting continued between Japan and the Soviet Union in Manchuria.

“Japan accepts Potsdam terms, agrees to unconditional surrender.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6546.

 

On This Day

1792 – King Louis XVI was taken into custody by mobs during the French Revolution. He was executed the following January after being put on trial for treason.

1846 – The Smithsonian Institution was chartered by the U.S. Congress. The “Nation’s Attic” was made possible by $500,000 given by scientist Joseph Smithson.

1856 – In Louisiana, a hurricane came ashore and killed about 400 people.

1869 – The motion picture projector was patented by O.B. Brown.

1914 – Austria-Hungary invaded Russia.

1921 – Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio.

1927 – Mount Rushmore was formally dedicated. The individual faces of the presidents were dedicated later.

1944 – U.S. forces defeated the remaining Japanese resistance on Guam.

1954 – Construction began on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1969 – Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were murdered. Members of the Charles Manson cult committed the crimes one day after the killing of Sharon Tate and four other people.

1977 – The “Son of Sam,” David Berkowitz, was arrested in Yonkers, NY. Berkowitz, a postal employee, had shot and killed six people and wounded seven others.

1988 – U.S. President Reagan signed a measure that provided $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans who were interned by the U.S. government during World War II.

1994 – In Germany, three men were arrested after being caught smuggling plutonium into the country.

2003 – Ekaterina Dmitriev and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko were married. Malenchenko was about 240 miles above the earth in the international space station. It was the first-ever marriage from space.

 

New state west of the Mississippi

Missouri enters the Union as the 24th state–and the first located entirely west of the Mississippi River.

Named for one of the Native American groups that once lived in the territory, Missouri became a U.S. possession as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In 1817, Missouri Territory applied for statehood, but the question of whether it would be slave or free delayed approval by Congress. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was reached, admitting Missouri as a slave state but excluding slavery from the other Louisiana Purchase lands north of Missouri’s southern border. Missouri’s August 1821 entrance into the Union as a slave state was met with disapproval by many of its citizens.

In 1861, when other slave states seceded from the Union, Missouri chose to remain; although a provincial government was established in the next year by Confederate sympathizers. During the war, Missourians were split in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops. Lawlessness persisted during this period, and Missouri-born Confederate guerrillas such as Jesse James continued this lawlessness after the South’s defeat. With the ratification of Missouri’s new constitution by the citizens of the state in 1875, the old divisions were finally put to rest.

“New state west of the Mississippi.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5247.

Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri

The struggle for Missouri erupts with the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, where a motley band of raw Confederates defeat a Union force in the southwestern section of the state.

“Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2279.

Truman signs National Security Bill

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Bill, which establishes the Department of Defense. As the Cold War heated up, the Department of Defense became the cornerstone of America’s military effort to contain the expansion of communism.

In 1947, the National Security Act established the Cabinet-level position of secretary of defense, which oversaw a rather unwieldy umbrella military-defense agency known as the National Military Establishment. The secretary of defense, however, was just one of a number of military-related cabinet positions, including the pre-existing secretaries for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The growing complexity of the Cold War, a war in which the mishandled application of military force could lead to a world war of cataclysmic proportions, convinced U.S. officials that the 1947 act needed to be revised.

In 1949, the National Security Bill streamlined the defense agencies of the U.S. government. The 1949 bill replaced the National Military Establishment with the Department of Defense. The bill also removed the cabinet-level status of the secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, who would henceforth be subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. The first person to hold this position was Louis Johnson. Finally, the bill provided for the office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an effort to bring an end to the inter-service bickering that had characterized the Joint Chiefs in recent years. World War II hero General Omar Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The National Security Bill of 1949 was the result of the realization that more coordination and efficiency were needed for America’s military-defense bureaucracy, which had experienced tremendous growth during and after World War II. The Cold War was a new and dangerous kind of war for America, and the 1949 reorganization was recognition of the need for a different approach to U.S. defense.

“Truman signs National Security Bill.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2755.

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21
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-21-08: Stonewall

The First Battle of Bull Run

In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard.

Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the Confederacy could be crushed quickly and with little loss of life. In July, this overconfidence led to a premature offensive into northern Virginia by General McDowell. Searching out the Confederate forces, McDowell led 34,000 troops–mostly inexperienced and poorly trained militiamen–toward the railroad junction of Manassas, located just 30 miles from Washington, D.C. Alerted to the Union advance, General Beauregard massed some 20,000 troops there and was soon joined by General Joseph Johnston, who brought some 9,000 more troops by railroad.

On the morning of July 21, hearing of the proximity of the two opposing forces, hundreds of civilians–men, women, and children–turned out to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream, and the Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. However, at this strategic location, Beauregard had fashioned a strong defensive line anchored by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas J. Jackson. Firing from a concealed slope, Jackson’s men repulsed a series of Federal charges, winning Jackson his famous nickname “Stonewall.”

Meanwhile, Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart captured the Union artillery, and Beauregard ordered a counterattack on the exposed Union right flank. The rebels came charging down the hill, yelling furiously, and McDowell’s line was broken, forcing his troops in a hasty retreat across Bull Run. The retreat soon became an unorganized flight, and supplies littered the road back to Washington. Union forces endured a loss of 3,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action while the Confederates suffered 2,000 casualties. The scale of this bloodshed horrified not only the frightened spectators at Bull Run but also the U.S. government in Washington, which was faced with an uncertain military strategy in quelling the “Southern insurrection.”

“The First Battle of Bull Run.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5195.

 

On This Day

1733 – John Winthrop was granted the first honorary Doctor of Law Degree in the U.S. The honor was given by Harvard College in Cambridge, MA.

1873 – Jesse James and his gang pulled off the first train robbery in the U.S. They took $3,000 from the Rock Island Express at Adair, IA.

1930 – The Veterans’ Administration of the United States was established.

1940 – Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia were annexed by the Soviet Union.

1944 – American forces landed on Guam during World War II.

1947 – Loren MacIver’s portrait of Emmett Kelly as Willie the Clown appeared on the cover of “LIFE” magazine.

1949 – The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

1954 – The Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

1957 – Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition.

1959 – A U.S. District Court judge in New York City ruled that “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was not a dirty book.

1980 – Draft registration began in the United States for 19 and 20-year-old men.

1997 – The U.S.S. Constitution, which defended the United States during the War of 1812, set sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years.

 

 

Monkey Trial ends

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” ends with John Thomas Scopes being convicted of teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee law. Scopes was ordered to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed.

“Monkey Trial ends.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:01 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5196.

Hitler to Germany: “I’m still alive.”

On this day in 1944, Adolf Hitler takes to the airwaves to announce that the attempt on his life has failed and that “accounts will be settled.”

Hitler had survived the bomb blast that was meant to take his life. He had suffered punctured eardrums, some burns and minor wounds, but nothing that would keep him from regaining control of the government and finding the rebels. In fact, the coup d’etat that was to accompany the assassination of Hitler was put down in a mere 11 1/2 hours. In Berlin, Army Major Otto Remer, believed to be apolitical by the conspirators and willing to carry out any orders given him, was told that the Fuhrer was dead and that he, Remer, was to arrest Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda. But Goebbels had other news for Remer-Hitler was alive. And he proved it, by getting the leader on the phone (the rebels had forgotten to cut the phone lines). Hitler then gave Remer direct orders to put down any army rebellion and to follow only his orders or those of Goebbels or Himmler. Remer let Goebbels go. The SS then snapped into action, arriving in Berlin, now in chaos, just in time to convince many high German officers to remain loyal to Hitler.

Arrests, torture sessions, executions, and suicides followed. Count Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who actually planted the explosive in the room with Hitler and who had insisted to his co-conspirators that “the explosion was as if a 15-millimeter shell had hit. No one in that room can still be alive.” But it was Stauffenberg who would not be alive for much longer; he was shot dead the very day of the attempt by a pro-Hitler officer. The plot was completely undone.

Now Hitler had to restore calm and confidence to the German civilian population. At 1 a.m., July 21, Hitler’s voice broke through the radio airwaves: “I am unhurt and well…. A very small clique of ambitious, irresponsible…and stupid officers had concocted a plot to eliminate me…. It is a gang of criminal elements which will be destroyed without mercy. I therefore give orders now that no military authority…is to obey orders from this crew of usurpers…. This time we shall settle account with them in the manner to which we National Socialists are accustomed.”

“Hitler to Germany: “I’m still alive.”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6526.

Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan

President Dwight D. Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan at the 1955 Geneva summit meeting with representatives of France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The plan, though never accepted, laid the foundation for President Ronald Reagan’s later policy of “trust, but verify” in relation to arms agreements with the Soviet Union.

“Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2735.

20
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-20-08: West Virginia

Oil flows in Alaska

With a flip of a switch in Prudhoe Bay, crude oil from the nation’s largest oil field begins flowing south down the Trans-Alaska pipeline to the ice-free port of Valdez, Alaska. The steel pipeline, 48 inches in diameter, winds through 800 miles of Alaskan wilderness, crossing three Arctic mountain ranges and hundreds of rivers and streams. Environmentalists fought to prevent its construction, saying it would destroy a pristine ecosystem, but they were ultimately overruled by Congress, who saw it as a way of lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil. The Trans-Alaska pipeline was the world’s largest privately funded construction project to that date, costing $8 billion and taking three years to build.

“Oil flows in Alaska.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jun 2008, 07:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6934.

 

0451 – Roman and Barbarian warriors brought Attila’s army to a halt at the Catalaunian Plains in eastern France.

1782 – The U.S. Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States.

1791 – King Louis XVI of France was captured while attempting to flee the country in the so-called Flight to Varennes.

1793 – Eli Whitney applied for a cotton gin patent. He received the patent on March 14. The cotton gin initiated the American mass-production concept.

1898 – The U.S. Navy seized the island of Guam enroute to the Philippines to fight the Spanish.

1923 – France announced it would seize the Rhineland to assist Germany in paying its war debts.

1941 – The U.S. Army Air Force was established, replacing the Army Air Corps.

1943 – Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit. Federal troops were sent in two days later to end the violence that left more than 30 dead.

1955 – The AFL and CIO agreed to combine names and a merge into a single group.

1967 – Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.

1997 – The tobacco industry agreed to a massive settlement in exchange for major relief from mounting lawsuits and legal bills.

 

West Virginia enters the Union

During the Civil War, West Virginia is admitted into the Union as the 35th U.S. state, or the 24th state if the secession of the 11 Southern states were taken into account. The same day, Arthur Boreman was inaugurated as West Virginia’s first state governor.

When Virginia voted to secede after the outbreak of the Civil War, the majority of West Virginians opposed the secession. Delegates met at Wheeling, and on June 11, 1861, nullified the Virginian ordinance of secession and proclaimed “The Restored Government of Virginia,” headed by Francis Pierpont. Confederate forces occupied a portion of West Virginia during the war, but West Virginian statehood was nonetheless approved in a referendum and a state constitution drawn up. In April 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the admission of West Virginia into the Union effective June 20, 1863.

“West Virginia enters the Union.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jun 2008, 07:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5109.

United States and Soviet Union will establish a “hot line”

To lessen the threat of an accidental nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union agree to establish a “hot line” communication system between the two nations. The agreement was a small step in reducing tensions between the United States and the USSR following the October 1962 Missile Crisis in Cuba, which had brought the two nations to the brink of nuclear war.

“United States and Soviet Union will establish a “hot line”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jun 2008, 07:53 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2704.




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