Posts Tagged ‘Korea

08
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-8-2008: Korea

American troops arrive in Korea to partition the country

U.S. troops land in Korea to begin their postwar occupation of the southern part of that nation, almost exactly one month after Soviet troops had entered northern Korea to begin their own occupation. Although the U.S. and Soviet occupations were supposed to be temporary, the division of Korea quickly became permanent

Having secured the establishment of a communist government in North Korea, Soviet troops withdrew in 1948; and U.S. troops in South Korea followed suit in 1949. In 1950, the North Koreans attempted to reunite the nation by force and launched a massive military assault on South Korea. The United States quickly came to the aid of South Korea, beginning a three-year involvement in the bloody and frustrating Korean War. Korea remains a divided nation today, and the North Korean regime is one of the few remaining communist governments left in the world.

“American troops arrive in Korea to partition the country.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Sep 2008, 11:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2784.

On This Day

1565 – A Spanish expedition established the first permanent European settlement in North America at present-day St. Augustine, FL.

1664 – The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who then renamed it New York.

1892 – An early version of “The Pledge of Allegiance” appeared in “The Youth’s Companion.”

1900 – Galveston, TX, was hit by a hurricane that killed about 6,000 people.

1935 – U.S. Senator Huey P. Long, “The Kingfish” of Louisiana politics, was shot and mortally wounded. He died two days later.

1951 – A peace treaty with Japan was signed by 48 other nations in San Francisco, CA.

1974 – U.S. President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former U.S. President Nixon.

1997 – America Online acquired CompuServe.

Siege of Leningrad begins

During World War II, German forces begin their siege of Leningrad, a major industrial center and the USSR’s second-largest city. The German armies were later joined by Finnish forces that advanced against Leningrad down the Karelian Isthmus. The siege of Leningrad, also known as the 900-Day Siege though it lasted a grueling 872 days, resulted in the deaths of some one million of the city’s civilians and Red Army defenders.

Leningrad, formerly St. Petersburg, capital of the Russian Empire, was one of the initial targets of the German invasion of June 1941. As German armies raced across the western Soviet Union, three-quarters of Leningrad’s industrial plants and hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants were evacuated to the east. More than two million residents remained, however, and the evacuated were replaced by refugees who fled to Leningrad ahead of the German advance. All able-bodied persons in the city–men, women, and children–were enlisted to build antitank fortifications along Leningrad’s edge. By the end of July, German forces had cut the Moscow-Leningrad railway and were penetrating the outer belt of the fortifications around Leningrad. On September 8, German forces besieged the city, but they were held at bay by Leningrad’s fortifications and its 200,000 Red Army defenders. That day, a German air bombardment set fire to warehouses containing a large part of Leningrad’s scant food supply.

Aiming to tighten the noose around Leningrad, the Germans launched an offensive to the east in October and cut off the last highways and rail lines south of the city. Meanwhile, Finnish forces advanced down the Karelian Isthmus (which had been seized from Finland by the Soviets during the Russo-Finnish War of 1939 to 1940) and besieged Leningrad from the north. By early November, the city was almost completely encircled, and only across Lake Ladoga was a supply lifeline possible.

German artillery and air bombardments came several times a day during the first months of the siege. The daily ration for civilians was reduced to 125 grams of bread, no more than a thick slice. Starvation set in by December, followed by the coldest winter in decades, with temperatures falling to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. People worked through the winter in makeshift armament factories without roofs, building the weapons that kept the Germans just short of victory.

Residents burned books and furniture to stay warm and searched for food to supplement their scarce rations. Animals from the city zoo were consumed early in the siege, followed before long by household pets. Wallpaper paste made from potatoes was scraped off the wall, and leather was boiled to produce an edible jelly. Grass and weeds were cooked, and scientists worked to extract vitamins from pine needles and tobacco dust. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, resorted to cannibalizing the dead, and in a few cases people were murdered for their flesh. The Leningrad police struggled to keep order and formed a special division to combat cannibalism.

Across frozen Lake Ladoga, trucks made it to Leningrad with supplies, but not enough. Thousands of residents, mostly children and the elderly, were evacuated across the lake, but many more remained in the city and succumbed to starvation, the bitter cold, and the relentless German air attacks. In 1942 alone, the siege claimed some 600,000 lives. In the summer, barges and other ships braved German air attack to cross Lake Ladoga to Leningrad with supplies.

In January 1943, Red Army soldiers broke through the German line, rupturing the blockade and creating a more efficient supply route along the shores of Lake Ladoga. For the rest of the winter and then during the next, the “road of life” across the frozen Lake Ladoga kept Leningrad alive. Eventually, an oil pipeline and electric cables were laid on the lake bed. In the summer of 1943, vegetables planted on any open ground in the city supplemented rations.

In early 1944, Soviet forces approached Leningrad, forcing German forces to retreat southward from the city on January 27. The siege was over. A giant Soviet offensive to sweep the USSR clean of its invaders began in May. The 872-day siege of Leningrad cost an estimated one million Soviet lives, perhaps hundreds of thousands more. The Soviet government awarded the Order of Lenin to the people of Leningrad in 1945, paying tribute to their endurance during the grueling siege. The city did not regain its prewar population of three million until the 1960s.

“Siege of Leningrad begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Sep 2008, 11:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7014.

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22
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-22-2008: Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson becomes first African-American on U.S. tennis tour

On this day in 1950, officials of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) accept Althea Gibson into their annual championship at Forest Hills, New York, making her the first African-American player to compete in a U.S. national tennis competition.

“Althea Gibson becomes first African-American on U.S. tennis tour.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Aug 2008, 08:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52841.

 

On This Day

1485 – The War of the Roses ended with the death of England’s King Richard III. He was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. His successor was Henry V II.

1567 – The “Council of Blood” was established by the Duke of Alba. This was the beginning of his reign of terror in the Netherlands.

1762 – Ann Franklin became the editor of the Mercury of Newport in Rhode Island. She was the first female editor of an American newspaper.

1775 – The American colonies were proclaimed to be in a state of open rebellion by England’s King George III.

1851 – The schooner America outraced the Aurora off the English coast to win a trophy that became known as the America’s Cup.

1910 – Japan formally annexed Korea.

1951 – 75,052 people watched the Harlem Globetrotters perform. It was the largest crowd to see a basketball game.

1989 – Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panthers, was shot to death in Oakland, CA. Tyrone Robinson was later convicted and sentenced to 32 years to life in prison for the killing.

1990 – Angry smokers blocked a street in Moscow to protest the summer-long cigarette shortage.

1998 – Mark David Chapman said that he did not want any of the money that would be made from the sale of the signed “Double Fantasy” album that John Lennon signed for him the same day he was killed. Chapman was currently serving sentence for the December 8, 1980 murder.

 

 

Michael Collins assassinated

Irish revolutionary and Sinn FÉin politician Michael Collins is killed in an ambush in west County Cork, Ireland.

In the early part of the century, Collins joined Sinn FÉin, an Irish political party dedicated to achieving independence for all Ireland. From its inception, the party became the unofficial political wing of militant Irish groups in their struggle to throw off British rule. In 1911, the British Liberal government approved negotiations for Irish Home Rule, but the Conservative Party opposition in Parliament, combined with Ireland’s anti-Home Rule factions, defeated the plans. With the outbreak of World War I, the British government delayed further discussion of Irish self-determination, and Collins and other Irish nationalists responded by staging the Easter Rising of 1916.

“Michael Collins assassinated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Aug 2008, 08:19 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5283.

Romania captured by the Soviet Union

On this day in 1944, Soviet forces break through to Jassy, in northeastern Romania, convincing Romania’s king to sign an armistice with the Allies and concede control of his country to the USSR.

As early as 1937, Romania had come under control of a fascist government that bore great resemblance to that of Germany’s, including similar anti-Jewish laws. Romania’s king, Carol II, dissolved the government a year later, but was unable to suppress the fascist Iron Guard paramilitary organization. In June 1940, the Soviet Union co-opted two Romanian provinces, and the king searched for an ally to help protect it and appease the far right within its own borders. So on July 5, 1940, Romania allied itself with Nazi Germany. Later that year, it would be invaded by its “ally” as part of Hitler’s strategy to create one huge eastern front against the Soviet Union.

King Carol would abdicate in September 1940, leaving the country in the control of fascist Prime Minister Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. While Romania would recapture the territory lost to the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded Russia, it would also have to endure the Germans’ raping of its resources as part of the Nazi war effort.

As the war turned against Germany, and the Soviet Union began to run roughshod over Eastern Europe, Antonescu started looking west for allies to save it from Soviet occupation. At this stage, King Michael, son of the late King Carol, emerged from the shadows and had the pro-German Antonescu arrested, imploring Romanians, and loyal military men, to fight with, not against, the invading Soviets. The king would finally sign an armistice with the Allies and declare war against an already-dying Germany in 1944.

King Michael would, ironically, be forced to abdicate by the Soviets, who would maintain a puppet communist government in Romania until the end of the Cold War. The king had virtually destroyed his nation in order to save it.

“Romania captured by the Soviet Union.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Aug 2008, 08:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6559.

Czechs protest against Soviet invasion

In the streets of Prague and in the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Czechs protest against the Soviet invasion of their nation. The protests served to highlight the brutality of the Soviet action and to rally worldwide condemnation of the Soviet Union.

“Czechs protest against Soviet invasion.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Aug 2008, 08:01 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2767.

Incident at Ruby Ridge

In the second day of a standoff at Randy Weaver’s remote northern Idaho cabin, FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi wounds Randy Weaver, Kevin Harrison, and kills Weaver’s wife, Vicki.

“Incident at Ruby Ridge.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Aug 2008, 08:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5284.

04
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-4-08 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Inaugurated

Dulles asks for action against communism

Speaking before the 10th Inter-American Conference, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles warns that “international communism” is making inroads in the Western Hemisphere and asks the nations of Latin America to condemn this danger. Dulles’s speech was part of a series of actions designed to put pressure on the leftist government of Guatemala, a nation in which U.S. policymakers feared communism had established a beachhead.

Dulles was stern and direct as he declared that there was not “a single country in this hemisphere which has not been penetrated by the apparatus of international communism acting under orders from Moscow.” Communism, he continued, was an “alien despotism,” and he asked the nations of Latin America to “deny it the right to prey upon our hemisphere.” “There is no place here,” he concluded, “for political institutions which serve alien masters.” Though he did not mention it by name, it was clear to most observers that Dulles was targeting Guatemala.

The United States had been concerned about political developments in Guatemala since 1944, when a leftist revolution overthrew long-time dictator Jorge Ubico. In the years since, U.S. policymakers were increasingly fearful that communist elements were growing in power in Guatemala and deeply troubled by government policies that seemed to threaten U.S. business interests that nation. By 1954, Dulles and President Dwight D. Eisenhower were convinced that international communism had established a power base in the Western Hemisphere that needed to be eliminated. As evidence, they pointed to Guatemala’s expropriation of foreign-owned lands and industries, its “socialistic” labor legislation, and vague allegations about Guatemala’s assistance to revolutionary movements in other Latin American nations.

Dulles’s speech did get some results. The Latin American representatives at the meeting passed a resolution condemning “international communism.” As Dulles was to discover, however, the Latin American governments would go no further. In May, Dulles requested that the Organization of American States (OAS) consider taking direct action against Guatemala. The OAS was established in 1948 by the nations of Latin America and the United States to help in settling hemispheric disputes. Dulles’s request fell on deaf ears, however. Despite their condemnation of “international communism,” the other nations of Latin America were reluctant to sanction direct intervention in another country’s internal affairs. At that point, Eisenhower unleashed the Central Intelligence Agency. Through a combination of propaganda, covert bombings, and the establishment of a mercenary force of “counter-revolutionaries” in neighboring Nicaragua and Honduras, the CIA was able to destabilize the Guatemalan government, which fell from power in June 1954. An anti-communist dictatorship led by Carlos Castillo Armas replaced it.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2596

1933: FDR inaugurated

On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his inaugural address, Roosevelt outlined his New Deal–an expansion of the U.S. federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare–and famously asserted that the only thing that Americans had to fear was fear itself. Although criticized by some in the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he swept to reelection. He won re-election two more times, in 1940 and 1944, making him the longest-serving U.S. president in history.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_March_4.php

I AM certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

For the complete text please see: http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres49.html  

1634 – Samuel Cole opened the first tavern in Boston, MA.

1681 – England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn for an area that later became the state of Pennsylvania.

1766 – The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, which had caused bitter and violent opposition in the U.S. colonies.

1778 – The Continental Congress voted to ratify the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance. The two treaties were the first entered into by the U.S. government.

1789 – The first Congress of the United States met in New York and declared that the U.S. Constitution was in effect.

1791 – Vermont was admitted as the 14th U.S. state. It was the first addition to the original 13 American colonies.

1794 – The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. The Amendment limited the jurisdiction of the federal courts to automatically hear cases brought against a state by the citizens of another state. Later interpretations expanded this to include citizens of the state being sued, as well.

1813 – The Russians fighting against Napoleon reached Berlin. The French garrison evacuated the city without a fight.

1861 – The Confederate States of America adopted the “Stars and Bars” flag.

1904 – In Korea, Russian troops retreated toward the Manchurian border as 100,000 Japanese troops advanced.

1908 – The New York board of education banned the act of whipping students in school.

1917 – Jeanette Rankin of Montana took her seat as the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.

1933 – Labor Secretary Frances Perkins became the first woman to serve in a Presidential administrative cabinet.

1952 – Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married.

17
Jan
08

Fat Man

100_0771

On August 9th, 1945 a lone American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb like this one on Nagasaki, Japan.  The instantaneous destruction of that city and roughly eighty thousand of its inhabitants brought about an immediate decision by the Japanese government to bring an end to World War II.  It also caused US planners to change their minds about the post-war world.  Europe under the Allies; United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union and France had been carved into zones of influence with the Soviet Union dominating huge parts of eastern Europe.  Six months later US leadership realized the Soviet Union would do the same thing in post-war Asia.  The race was on to see who would control what.  The United States decided, after having previously stated that it had no intentions toward Korea, that Korea would be divided at the 38th parallel.  The Soviet Army, then invading North Korea, halted at the the 38th parallel and waited while the United States tried to find a military unit to establish American control over the zone now known as South Korea.  The first American ground troops didn’t enter South Korea until over a month after the war had ended.

Since then, millions of Koreans have died because their country was divided between a Communist North Korea and a Capitalist South Korea.  There was precedence for such a division elsewhere in the world.  After all Germany had been divided into East Germany and West Germany.  And why not?  Germany had caused the untold suffering of millions of people, started a war that had destroyed dozens of countries, enslaved whole peoples and murdered millions of so-called undesirables (untermenschen).  With the end of the war in Asia it was fair to divide Korea because the Koreans had attacked dozens of countries, the Koreans had started a war that led to the deaths of millions of people and the Koreans had bombed Pearl Harbor.

Oh wait, that was the Japanese.

What did the Koreans do to deserve being divided?  They had been enslaved by the Japanese to work in Japanese labor camps, forced to fight in the Japanese Army, and tens of thousands of Korean women were forced into the “joy brigades.”  “Joy brigades” served the comforts of Japanese soldiers.  So these Koreans deserved to be punished? Their country deserved to be split.  Families divided.  Their nation occupied by foreign armies.  Why?  Because the Korean peninsula is strategically located as a staging area to invade mainland Asia.  Surrounded by water on three sides, the United States, with control of the seas, is able to control Korea with a minimal amount of troops.  So millions of Koreans have suffered because of the aggressively expansionistic policies of the Soviet Union, American strategic greed to maintain a staging area on the Asian mainland, and Chinese desire to rid itself of a threatening foreign army pointed like a dagger at its back.

World War II, for the United States, started when hundreds of bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor, and ended when two bombs dropped on two different days compelled the Japanese to surrender, which created a situation that continues to cause Korean suffering and provide for further world political tension.  Apologist historians have tried to assuage Japanese anger because of the total destruction of the Japanese cities, saying it was excessive force.  Well, if you don’t want the United States to drop bombs on your country, don’t drop bombs on the United States.  America has justified the occupation of South Korea because the United States was trying to stop the spread of Communism.  In case you folks have forgotten, Gorbachev took a walk on Broadway and Communism disappeared from most of the world.  It has stopped spreading.  So why is Korea still divided?




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