Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Stalin

12
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-12-2008: Yuri Andropov

November 12, 1982

Yuri Andropov assumes power in the Soviet Union

Following the death of long-time Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev two days earlier, Yuri Andropov is selected as the new general secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. It was the culmination of a long, but steady march up the Communist Party hierarchy for Andropov.

Born in Russia in 1914, by the 1930s Andropov was an active participant in the Communist Youth League. During World War II, he led a group of guerilla fighters who operated behind Nazi lines. His work led to various positions in Moscow, and in 1954, he was named as Soviet ambassador to Hungary. During the Hungarian crisis of 1956, Andropov proved his reliability. He lied to Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy about Soviet military intentions, and later assured Nagy that he was safe from Soviet reprisals. Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest in November 1956 and Nagy was captured and executed in 1958.

Andropov’s work in Hungary brought him back to Moscow, where he continued to rise through the ranks of the Communist Party. In 1967, he was named head of the KGB, Russia’s secret police force. A hard-liner, he supported the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and oversaw the crackdown on dissidents such as Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn. In 1982, with Brezhnev deathly ill and fading fast, Andropov left the KGB and began jockeying for power. When Brezhnev died on November 10, 1982, Andropov was poised to assume power. He was named general secretary on November 12.

His rule was short-lived, but eventful. At home, he tried to reinvigorate the flagging Russian economy and attacked corruption and rising alcoholism among the Soviet people. In his foreign policy, Andropov faced off against the adamantly anticommunist diplomacy of President Ronald Reagan. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were severely strained when Soviet pilots shot down a Korean airliner in September 1983. Later that year, Soviet diplomats broke off negotiations concerning reductions in Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces and the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). Andropov had suffered from nearly debilitating illnesses since early 1983, and died on February 9, 1984. He was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko .

“Yuri Andropov assumes power in the Soviet Union.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Nov 2008, 10:18 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2482.

On This Day

1815 – American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, NY.

1840 – Sculptor Auguste Rodin was born in Paris. His most widely known works are “The Kiss” and “The Thinker.”

1859 – The first flying trapeze act was performed by Jules Leotard at Cirque Napoleon in Paris, France. He was also the designer of the garment that is named after him.

1915 – Theodore W. Richards, of Harvard University, became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

1918 – Austria was declared an independent republic only one day after the end of World War I.

1920 – Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis was elected the first commissioner of the American and National Leagues.

1927 – Joseph Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union. Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party leading to Stalin coming to power.

1942 – During World War II, naval battle of Guadalcanal began between Japanese and American forces. The Americans won a major victory.

1944 – During World War II, the German battleship “Tirpitz” was sunk off the coast of Norway.

1948 – The war crimes tribunal sentenced Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo and six other World War II Japanese leaders to death.

1954 – Ellis Island, the immigration station in New York Harbor, closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since 1892.

1979 – U.S. President Carter ordered a halt to all oil imports from Iran in response to 63 Americans being taken hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran on November 4.

1980 – The U.S. space probe Voyager I came within 77,000 miles of Saturn while transmitting data back to Earth.

1987 – The American Medical Association issued a policy statement that said it was unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person had AIDS or was HIV-positive.

1997 – Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

2002 – Stan Lee filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment Inc. that claimed the company had cheated him out of millions of dollars in movie profits related to the 2002 movie “Spider-Man.” Lee was the creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Daredevil.

November 12, 1946

First drive-in banking service

On this day, the Exchange National Bank of Chicago, Illinois, instituted the first drive-in banking service in America, and anticipated a cultural phenomenon that would sweep across America in the coming decade. In 1946, America’s Big Three automobile companies were still engaged in the laborious process of retooling from war production to civilian automobile company. With the influx of returning soldiers, and economic signs pointing to a period of great American prosperity, market demand for automobiles was high. At first, U.S. carmakers responded by offering their old pre-war models, but beginning in 1949, the first completely redesigned postwar cars hit the market, and Americans embraced the automotive industry as never before. By the early 1950s, the U.S. was a nation on wheels. With a seemingly endless reserve of cheap gas available, drive-in culture–featuring everything from drive-in movie theaters to drive-in grocery stores–flourished alongside America’s highways and main streets. In 1946, the Exchange National Bank of Chicago anticipated the rise of America’s drive-in society by several years, featuring such drive-in banking innovations as tellers’ windows protected by heavy bullet-proof glass, and sliding drawers that enabled drivers to conduct their business from the comfort of their vehicle.

“First drive-in banking service.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Nov 2008, 10:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7788.

On This Day: November 12

1836 – Governor Dodge Signs First Law
On this date territorial governor, Henry Dodge, signed the first law passed by the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature. The law prescribed how the legislators were to behave, and how other citizens were to behave towards them. For example, it authorized “the Assembly to punish by fine and imprisonment every person, not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect, disorderly or contemptuous behavior, threats, in the legislature or interference with witnesses to the legislature; also to expel on a two thirds majority in either house a member of its own body…” This did not keep the members from vociferous arguments, fist fights, or even shooting one another (see Odd Wisconsin or the entry in This Day in Wisconsin History for February 11th)

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17
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-17-08: Potsdam

Potsdam Conference begins

The final “Big Three” meeting between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain takes place towards the end of World War II. The decisions reached at the conference ostensibly settled many of the pressing issues between the three wartime allies, but the meeting was also marked by growing suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

On July 17, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam to discuss issues relating to postwar Europe and plans to deal with the ongoing conflict with Japan. By the time the meeting began, U.S. and British suspicions concerning Soviet intentions in Europe were intensifying. Russian armies occupied most of Eastern Europe, including nearly half of Germany, and Stalin showed no inclination to remove his control of the region. Truman, who had only been president since Franklin D. Roosevelt died three months earlier, arrived at the meeting determined to be “tough” with Stalin. He was encouraged in this course of action by news that American scientists had just successfully tested the atomic bomb. The conference soon bogged down on the issue of postwar Germany. The Soviets wanted a united but disarmed Germany, with each of the Allied powers determining the destiny of the defeated power. Truman and his advisors, fearing the spread of Soviet influence over all Germany–and, by extension, all of western Europe–fought for and achieved an agreement whereby each Allied power (including France) would administer a zone of occupation in Germany. Russian influence, therefore, would be limited to its own eastern zone. The United States also limited the amount of reparations Russia could take from Germany. Discussion of the continuing Soviet occupation of Poland floundered.

When the conference ended on August 2, 1945, matters stood much where they had before the meeting. There would be no further wartime conferences. Four days after the conference concluded, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan; on August 9, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. World War II officially came to an end on August 14, 1945.

“Potsdam Conference begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2731.

 

On This Day

1212 – The Moslems were crushed in the Spanish crusade.

1453 – France defeated England at Castillon, France, which ended the 100 Years’ War.

1762 – Peter III of Russia was murdered. Catherine II the Great took the throne.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to the British at Rochefort, France.

1821 – Spain ceded Florida to the U.S.

1898 – U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter took Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

1941 – Brigadier General Soervell directed Architect G. Edwin Bergstrom to have basic plans and architectural perspectives for an office building that could house 40,000 War Department employees on his desk by the following Monday morning. The building became known as the Pentagon.

1944 – 232 people were killed when 2 ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, CA.

1946 – Chinese communists opened a drive against the Nationalist army on the Yangtze River.

1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA.

1960 – Francis Gary Powers pled guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court after his U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.

1966 – Ho Chi Minh ordered a partial mobilization of North Vietnam forces to defend against American air strikes.

1975 – An Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit. It was the first link up between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

1987 – Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and rear Admiral John Poindexter begin testifying to Congress at the “Iran-Contra” hearings.

1997 – After 117 years, the Woolworth Corp. closed its last 400 stores.

 

Congress learns of war of words

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress learns of General George Washington’s refusal to accept a dispatch from British General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Viscount Howe, opening peace negotiations, because it failed to use the title “general.” In response, Congress proclaimed that the commander in chief acted “with a dignity becoming his station,” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them “in the characters they respectively sustain.”

“Congress learns of war of words.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=55035.

Confiscation Act approved

In a big step toward emancipation, President Lincoln approves the Confiscation Act, which declares that any slaves whose owners were in rebellion against the government, would be freed when they came into contact with the Union army.

“Confiscation Act approved.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2250.

Fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia

On this day in 1917, a three-day stretch of fighting in the streets peaks in Petrograd after the provisional government falls temporarily amid anger and frustration within and outside the army due to the continuing hardships caused by Russia’s participation in World War I.

“Fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=817.

09
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-9-08: Monitor vs Virginia

One of the most famous naval battles in history occurs as the ironclads Monitor and Virginia fight to a draw off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The ships pounded each other all morning but the armor plates easily shed the cannon shots, signaling a new era of steam-powered iron ships.

The C.S.S. Virginia was originally the U.S.S. Merrimack, a forty-gun frigate launched in 1855. The Confederates captured it and covered it in heavy armor plating above the waterline. Outfitted with powerful guns, the Virginia was a formidable vessel when the Confederates launched her in February 1862. On March 8, the Virginia sunk two Union ships and ran one aground off Hampton Roads.

The next day, the U.S.S. Monitor steamed into the bay. Designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, the vessel had an unusually low profile, rising from the water only 18 inches. The flat iron deck had a 20-foot cylindrical turret rising from the middle of the ship; the turret housed two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The shift had a draft of less than 11 feet so it could operate in the shallow harbors and rivers of the South. It was commissioned on February 25, 1862, and arrived at Chesapeake Bay just in time to engage the Virginia.

At 9:00 am, the duel began and continued for four hours. The ships circled one another, jockeying for position as they fired their guns. The cannon balls simply deflected off the iron ships. In the early afternoon, the Virginia pulled back to Norfolk. Neither ship was seriously damaged, but the Monitor effectively ended the short reign of terror that the Confederate ironclad had brought to the Union navy.

Both ships met ignominious ends. When the Yankees invaded the James Peninsula two months after the battle at Hampton Roads, the retreating Confederates scuttled their ironclad. The Monitor went down in bad weather off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at the end of the year. Though they had short lives, the ships ushered in a new era in naval warfare.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2131

1454 – Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. Matthias Ringmann, a German mapmaker, named the American continent in his honor.

1788 – Connecticut became the 5th state to join the United States.

1796 – Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais were married. They were divorced in 1809.

1832 – Abraham Lincoln announced that he would run for a political office for the first time. He was unsuccessful in his run for a seat in the Illinois state legislature.

1839 – The French Academy of Science announced the Daguerreotype photo process.

1863 – General Ulysses Grant was appointed commander-in-chief of the Union forces.

1905 – In Manchuria, Japanese troops surrounded 200,000 Russian troops that were retreating from Mudken.

1916 – Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico. 17 people were killed by the 1,500 horsemen.

1933 – The U.S. Congress began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.

1936 – The German press warned that all Jews who vote in the upcoming elections would be arrested.

1945 – During World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers launched incendiary bomb attacks against Japan.

1961 – Laika becomes the first dog in space when the Russians launch Sputnik 9.

1964 – The first Ford Mustang rolled off of the Ford assembly line.

1967 – Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef Stalin’s daughter defected to the United States.

1975 – Work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline.

1993 – Rodney King testified at the federal trial of four Los Angeles police officers accused of violating his civil rights.

Firebombing of Tokyo

On this day, U.S. warplanes launch a new bombing offensive against Japan, dropping 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo over the course of the next 48 hours. Almost 16 square miles in and around the Japanese capital were incinerated, and between 80,000 and 130,000 Japanese civilians were killed in the worst single firestorm in recorded history.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6736

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.

James Madison (Federalist #10)

05
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-5-08: The Cold War; Iron Curtain and NSC-68

March 5, 1946

Churchill delivers Iron Curtain speech

In one of the most famous orations of the Cold War period, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declares, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” Churchill’s speech is considered one of the opening volleys announcing the beginning of the Cold War.

Churchill, who had been defeated for re-election as prime minister in 1945, was invited to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri where he gave this speech. President Harry S. Truman joined Churchill on the platform and listened intently to his speech. Churchill began by praising the United States, which he declared stood “at the pinnacle of world power.” It soon became clear that a primary purpose of his talk was to argue for an even closer “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain-the great powers of the “English-speaking world”-in organizing and policing the postwar world. In particular, he warned against the expansionistic policies of the Soviet Union. In addition to the “iron curtain” that had descended across Eastern Europe, Churchill spoke of “communist fifth columns” that were operating throughout western and southern Europe. Drawing parallels with the disastrous appeasement of Hitler prior to World War II, Churchill advised that in dealing with the Soviets there was “nothing which they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for military weakness.”

Truman and many other U.S. officials warmly received the speech. Already they had decided that the Soviet Union was bent on expansion and only a tough stance would deter the Russians. Churchill’s “iron curtain” phrase immediately entered the official vocabulary of the Cold War. U.S. officials were less enthusiastic about Churchill’s call for a “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain. While they viewed the English as valuable allies in the Cold War, they were also well aware that Britain’s power was on the wane and had no intention of being used as pawns to help support the crumbling British empire. In the Soviet Union, Russian leader Joseph Stalin denounced the speech as “war mongering,” and referred to Churchill’s comments about the “English-speaking world” as imperialist “racism.” The British, Americans, and Russians-allies against Hitler less than a year before the speech-were drawing the battle lines of the Cold War.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2597

When Churchill made this speech, the Truman administration had already received George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” in reply to a US State Department request for information on Soviet intentions.  The “Long Telegram” and the later leaked to the press “X Letter” would be debated within the National Security Council and turned into National Security Council #68 or NSC-68.  This top secret presidential document became the blueprint for American conduct toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  To view NSC-68 follow this link: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsc-hst/nsc-68.htm

1953: Joseph Stalin dies

Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union since 1924, dies in Moscow. Stalin, the son of a poor cobbler, joined Vladimir Lenin’s revolutionary Bolshevik party in 1903. After 1917, Stalin held important posts in the revolutionary government and in 1924 seized power following Lenin’s death. As Soviet leader, Stalin enacted a brutal economic program that killed millions of peasants. In 1934, he purged Soviet society of suspected political opponents, killing thousands. In 1939, the USSR signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, but it was only honored by Adolf Hitler for two years. In 1941, Germany invaded, and 22 million Soviets died before the Nazis were finally defeated. After the war, Stalin isolated the USSR and Eastern Europe from the rest of the world. Three years after his death, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin at the 20th Party Congress. http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_March_5.php

On This Day:

1624 – In the American colony of Virginia, the upper class was exempted from whipping by legislation.

1770 – “The Boston Massacre” took place when British troops fired on a crowd in Boston killing five people. Two British troops were later convicted of manslaughter.

1836 – Samuel Colt manufactured his first pistol (.34-caliber).

1845 – The U.S. Congress appropriated $30,000 to ship camels to the western U.S.

1867 – An abortive Fenian uprising against English rule took place in Ireland.

1872 – George Westinghouse patented the air brake.

1901 – Germany and Britain began negotiations with hopes of creating an alliance.

1905 – Russian troops began their retreat from Mukden in Manchuria, China. Over 100,000 had been killed in 3 days of fighting.

1910 – In Philadelphia, PA, 60,000 people left their jobs to show support for striking transit workers.

1912 – The Italians became the first to use dirigibles for military purposes. They used them for reconnaissance flights behind Turkish lines west of Tripoli.

1933 – The Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote in German parliamentary elections.

1943 – Germany called fifteen and sixteen year olds for military service due to war losses.

1956 – The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the ban on segregation in public schools.

1960 – Elvis is discharged from the army after a two year stint.

1982 – John Belushi died in Los Angeles of a drug overdose at the age of 33.

1997 – North Korea and South Korea met for first time in 25 years for peace talks.

1998 – It was announced that Air Force Lt. Col. Eileen Collins would lead crew of Columbia on a mission to launch a large X-ray telescope. She was the first woman to command a space shuttle mission.

After a hard day of basic training, you could eat a rattlesnake.
Elvis Presley

04
Feb
08

On This Day 2-4-08: Yalta

1945: Big Three meet at Yalta

On this day in 1945, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta, a Ukrainian resort town on the Black Sea.

During their second and most controversial conference, the three allies compromised on their visions of the post-war world order and discussed military considerations in the war against Japan. With victory over Germany imminent, the leaders agreed to divide Germany into zones of occupation.

A frail President Roosevelt, two months from his death, concentrated most of his energies in petitioning Stalin to join the war against Japan. Stalin agreed, but only after being assured of an occupation zone in Korea and postwar possession of territories historically disputed between Russia and Japan.

Although the Soviets’ eventual entrance into the Pacific War hastened the Japanese surrender, Roosevelt was later criticized for delivering Eastern Europe and North Korea into communist domination by conceding too much to Stalin at Yalta.*

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/

1783 – Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.

1789 – Electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States.

1794 – The French Revolutionary legislature abolishes slavery in the territories of the French Republic.

1861 – Delegates from six southern states met in Montgomery, AL, to form the Confederate States of America.

1904 – The Russo-Japanese War began after Japan laid seige to Port Arthur.

1932 – The first Winter Olympics were held in the United States at Lake Placid, NY.

1974 – Patricia (Patty) Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, CA, by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

1999 – Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant (Gambia), was shot and killed in front of his Bronx home by four plainclothes New York City police officers. The officers had been conducting a nighttime search for a rape suspect.

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
Winston Churchill

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
Winston Churchill

*This seems revisionist, because through my own research I’ve found that until the United States dropped the atom bombs on Japan, the US expressed no interest in Korea.




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