Posts Tagged ‘Harvard

28
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-28-2008: The Volstead Act

October 28, 1962

The Cuban Missile Crisis comes to an end

The Cuban Missile crisis comes to a close as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agrees to remove Russian missiles from Cuba in exchange for a promise from the United States to respect Cuba’s territorial sovereignty. This ended nearly two weeks of anxiety and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union that came close to provoking a nuclear conflict.

The consequences of the crisis were many and varied. Relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union were on shaky ground for some time after Khrushchev’s removal of the missiles, as Fidel Castro accused the Russians of backing down from the Americans and deserting the Cuban revolution. European allies of the United States were also angered, not because of the U.S. stance during the crisis, but because the Kennedy administration kept them virtually in the dark about negotiations that might have led to an atomic war. Inside the Soviet Union, hard-liners were appalled at Khrushchev’s withdrawal of the weapons. Two years later, in 1964, Leonid Brezhnev and Aleksei Kosygin pushed him from power and proceeded to lead the Soviet Union on a massive military buildup.

There was perhaps one positive aspect of the crisis. Having gone to the edge of what President Kennedy referred to as the “abyss of destruction,” cooler heads in both nations initiated steps to begin some control over nuclear weapons. Less than a year after the crisis ended, the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to end aboveground testing; in 1968, both nations signed a non-proliferation treaty.

“The Cuban Missile Crisis comes to an end.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Oct 2008, 12:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2467.

On This Day

1636 – Harvard College was founded in Massachusetts. The original name was Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was the first school of higher education in America.

1776 – The Battle of White Plains took place during the American Revolutionary War.

1886 – The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by U.S. President Cleveland. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

1904 – The St. Louis Police Department became the first to use fingerprinting.

1922 – Benito Mussolini took control of the Italian government and introduced fascism to Italy.

1936 – The Statue of Liberty was rededicated by U.S. President Roosevelt on its 50th anniversary.

1940 – During World War II, Italy invaded Greece.

1949 – U.S. President Harry Truman swore in Eugenie Moore Anderson as the U.S. ambassador to Denmark. Anderson was the first woman to hold the post of ambassador.

1965 – Pope Paul VI issued a decree absolving Jews of collective guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

1976 – John D. Erlichman, a former aide to U.S. President Richard Nixon, entered a federal prison camp in Safford, AZ, to begin serving his sentence for Watergate-related convictions.

1986 – The centennial of the Statue of Liberty was celebrated in New York.

1988 – Roussel Uclaf, a French manufacturer that produces the abortion pill RU486, announced it would resume distribution of the drug after the government of France demanded it do so.

1996 – The Dow Jones Industial Average gained a record 337.17 points (or 5%). The day before the Dow had dropped 554.26 points (or 7%).

October 28, 1919

Congress enforces prohibition

Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, also known as the Prohibition Amendment.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for national liquor abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. In January 1919, the 18th amendment achieved the necessary two-thirds majority of state ratification, and prohibition became the law of the land.

The Volstead Act, passed nine months later, provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, repealing prohibition.

“Congress enforces prohibition.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Oct 2008, 12:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5476.

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.

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.

13
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-13-08: Alliance for Progress

Kennedy proposes Alliance for Progress

President John F. Kennedy proposes a 10-year, multibillion-dollar aid program for Latin America. The program came to be known as the Alliance for Progress and was designed to improve U.S. relations with Latin America, which had been severely damaged in recent years.

When Kennedy became president in 1961, U.S. relations with Latin America were at an all-time low. The Latin American republics were disappointed with U.S. economic assistance after World War II. They argued that they had supported America during the war by increasing their production of vital raw materials and keeping their prices low–when the United States began massive aid programs to Europe and Japan after the war, Latin American nations protested that they also deserved economic assistance. Their anger was apparent during Vice President Richard Nixon’s trip through the region in 1958, when a mob attacked his car at a stop in Caracas.

More troubling to American officials was the threat of communism in Latin America. In 1954, the Central Intelligence Agency had funded and supplied a revolution that overthrew the leftist government of Guatemala. In 1959, Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba and by 1961, the United States had severed relations with his government. In response to these developments, Kennedy made his plea for the Alliance for Progress. In requesting funds from Congress, the president stressed the need for improved literacy, land use, industrial productivity, health, and education in Latin America. The United States needed to help Latin America, where “millions of men and women suffer the daily degradations of hunger and poverty” and “discontent is growing.” The United States would provide money, expertise, and technology to raise the standard of living for the people of Latin America, which would hopefully make the countries stronger and better able to resist communist influences.

In response to Kennedy’s plea, Congress voted for an initial grant of $500 million in May 1961. During the next 10 years, billions were spent on the Alliance, but its success was marginal and there were many reasons that the program was ultimately a failure. American congressmen were reluctant to provide funds for land redistribution programs in Latin America because they felt it smacked of socialism. Latin American elites directed most of the funds into pet projects that enriched themselves but did little to help the vast majority of their people. The Alliance certainly failed in its effort to bring democracy to Latin America: by the time the program faded away in the early-1970s, 13 governments in Latin America had been replaced by military rule.

“Kennedy proposes Alliance for Progress.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Mar 2008, 04:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2605.

1519 – Cortez landed in Mexico.

1639 – Harvard University was named for clergyman John Harvard.

1660 – A statute was passed limiting the sale of slaves in the colony of Virginia.

1777 – The U.S. Congress ordered its European envoys to appeal to high-ranking foreign officers to send troops to reinforce the American army.

1868 – The U.S. Senate began the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

1881 – Tsar Alexander II was assassinated when a bomb was thrown at him near his palace.

1900 – In South Africa, British Gen. Roberts took Bloemfontein.

1901 – Andrew Carnegie announced that he was retiring from business and that he would spend the rest of his days giving away his fortune. His net worth was estimated at $300 million.

1902 – Andrew Carnegie approved 40 applications from libraries for donations.

1918 – Women were scheduled to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York due to a shortage of men due to wartime.

1925 – A law in Tennessee prohibited the teaching of evolution.

1928 – The St. Francis Dam in California burst and killing 400 people.

1935 – Three-thousand-year-old archives were found in Jerusalem confirming some biblical history.

1941 – Adolf Hitler issued an edict calling for an invasion of the U.S.S.R.

1946 – Premier Tito seized wartime collaborator General Draja Mikhailovich in a cave in Yugoslavia.

1963 – China invited Soviet President Khrushchev to visit Peking.

1964 – 38 residents of a New York City neighborhood failed to respond to the screams of Kitty Genovese, 28 years old, as she was stabbed to death.

1974 – An embargo imposed by Arab oil-producing countries was lifted. (ahem)

Viet Minh attack French garrison

A force of 40,000 Viet Minh with heavy artillery surround 15,000 French troops at Dien Bien Phu. French General Henri Navarre had positioned these forces 200 miles behind enemy lines in a remote area adjacent to the Laotian border. He hoped to draw the communists into a set-piece battle in which he hoped superior French firepower would destroy the enemy. He underestimated the enemy.

Viet Minh General Vo Nguyen Giap entrenched artillery in the surrounding mountains and massed five divisions around the French positions. The battle began with a massive Viet Minh artillery barrage, followed by an infantry assault. Fierce fighting continued to rage until May 7, 1954, when the Viet Minh overran the last French positions. The shock of the fall of Dien Bien Phu led France, already plagued by public opposition to the war, to agree to the independence of Vietnam at the Geneva Conference in 1954.

“Viet Minh attack French garrison.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Mar 2008, 05:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1726.




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