Posts Tagged ‘Louis XVI

11
Dec
08

On This Day, 12-11-2008: Western Decadence

December 11, 1969

Soviets declare nudity a sign of “western decadence”

On this day, the secretary of the Moscow writer’s union declares that nudity as displayed in the popular play “Oh! Calcutta!” is a sign of decadence in Western culture. More disturbing, he claimed, was the fact that this “bourgeois” thinking was infecting Russian youth.

Sergei Mikhailkov, best known for writing books for children in Russia, lashed out at the Broadway show (where performers were seen in their “birthday suits”), and pornography in general. Such exhibitions were “a general striptease-that is one of the slogans of modern bourgeois art.” It was unfortunate, he lamented, that even Russian youth were becoming enamored of such decadence. Mikhailkov bemoaned the fact that young people in the Soviet Union were more familiar with “the theater of the absurd and the novel without a hero and all kinds of modern bourgeois reactionary tendencies in the literature and art of the West” than with “the past and present of the literature of their fatherland.” Speaking at the end of a conference of Russian intellectuals, he also heaped scorn on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose scathing writings about the Soviet police state earned him the enmity of the Russian government. Although admitting that Solzhenitsyn was a “talented writer,” he found it sad that the novelist “did not want to understand his role of ‘special correspondent’ of so many foreign institutions and organizations.”

Beyond the unintentional humor of many of Mikhailkov’s statements, his comments revealed the impact that U.S. culture-theater, literature, music, and film-was having on the Soviet Union. In the war for hearts and minds, Western “decadence” seemed to be winning the battle.

“Soviets declare nudity a sign of “western decadence”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Dec 2008, 11:33 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2511.

On This Day

1719 – The first recorded sighting of the Aurora Borealis was in New England.

1792 – France’s King Louis XVI went before the Convention, which had replaced the National Assembly, to face charges of treason. He was convicted and condemned and was sent to the guillotine the following January.

1816 – Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th American state.

1872 – Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became America’s first black governor when he took office as acting governor of Louisiana.

1928 – In Buenos Aires, police thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

1936 – Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry American Wallis Warfield Simpson. He became the Duke of Windsor.

1941 – Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. The U.S in turn declared war on the two countries.

1946 – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established by the U.N. General Assembly. The fund provides relief to children in countries devastated by war.

1961 – The first direct American military support for South Vietnam occurred when a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon. (This is a bit confusing, because American military aid to Vietnam had been going on since 1951).

1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed into law legislation creating $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” that would be used to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

1985 – The U.S. House of Representatives joined the U.S. Senate by giving final congressional approval to the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction law.

1987 – Charlie Chaplin’s trademark cane and bowler hat were sold at Christie’s for £82,500.

1991 – Salman Rushdie, under an Islamic death sentence for blasphemy, made his first public appearance since 1989 in New York, at a dinner marking the 200th anniversary of the First Amendment (which guarantees freedom of speech in the U.S.).

1994 – Thousands of Russian troops, armored columns and jets entered Chechnya. The move by Moscow was an effort to restore control the breakaway republic.

1994 – The world’s largest free trade zone was created when leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations signed a free-trade declaration known as “The Miami Process.”

1997 – More than 270 Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed by Juto guerillas in Mudende, Rwanda.

2001 – Federal agents seized computers in 27 U.S. cities as part of “Operation Buccaneer.” The raids were used to gain evidence against an international software piracy ring.

December 11, 1956

Hays Code eases

The movie industry’s tight restriction of language and subject matter, known as the Hays Code or the Production Code, is eased slightly for the first time since its adoption in 1930. The easing of the code meant that actors could now mention abortion, drugs, kidnapping, and prostitution.

The Production Code was introduced in 1930 by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), an industry association created to avoid government censorship and to satisfy public demand for morally acceptable movies. After creating the association, the heads of the major Hollywood studios hired William H. Hays, the former U.S. postmaster general under President Harding and past chairman of the Republican National Committee, to head the new group. Hays wielded such power that the MPPDA came to be called the “Hays Office,” and the Production Code adopted in 1930 was commonly referred to as the “Hays Code.”

The Code required that no film should “lower the standards of those who see it. Hence, the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil, or sin.” The Code specifically prohibited the portrayal of illegal drug trafficking, “sex perversion,” and profanity. It also prohibited the portrayal of clergy members as comic characters or villains, and the portrayal of interracial relationships.

The Code deeply influenced the kinds of films that were made. However, as social changes made society more liberal, the Code began to thaw, starting with the changes in 1956. A decade later, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf became the first movie to use profanity on screen. At the same time, the production code placed heavier restrictions on violence. In 1968, the Code was replaced by the movie ratings system, which greatly expanded the range of permissible subjects for film. The first ratings system included categories G (for general audience), MGP (all ages admitted but parental guidance suggested), and R (no one under 16 admitted). In 1970, MGP was replaced by PG (parental guidance suggested) and R movies (no one under 17 admitted without a parent or guardian). In 1984, the PG-13 rating was added, and the X rating was phased out in 1990 in favor of NC-17.

“Hays Code eases.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Dec 2008, 11:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=3843.

On This Day in Wisconsin: December 11

1833 – First Newspaper in Wisconsin Published

On this date the Green Bay Intelligencer, Wisconsin’s first newspaper, began publication. John Vorhees Suydam and A.G. Ellis head up the publication effort. [Source: History of Wisconsin, Vol. 1]

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.

16
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-16-08: The Manhattan Project — Alamogordo

Atom bomb successfully tested

On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939, when Italian emigre physicist Enrico Fermi met with U.S. Navy department officials at Columbia University to discuss the use of fissionable materials for military purposes. That same year, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt supporting the theory that an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction had great potential as a basis for a weapon of mass destruction. In February 1940, the federal government granted a total of $6,000 for research. But in early 1942, with the United States now at war with the Axis powers, and fear mounting that Germany was working on its own uranium bomb, the War Department took a more active interest, and limits on resources for the project were removed.

Brigadier-General Leslie R. Groves, himself an engineer, was now in complete charge of a project to assemble the greatest minds in science and discover how to harness the power of the atom as a means of bringing the war to a decisive end. The Manhattan Project (so-called because of where the research began) would wind its way through many locations during the early period of theoretical exploration, most importantly, the University of Chicago, where Enrico Fermi successfully set off the first fission chain reaction. But the Project took final form in the desert of New Mexico, where, in 1943, Robert J. Oppenheimer began directing Project Y at a laboratory at Los Alamos, along with such minds as Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, and Fermi. Here theory and practice came together, as the problems of achieving critical mass-a nuclear explosion-and the construction of a deliverable bomb were worked out.

Finally, on the morning of July 16, in the New Mexico desert 120 miles south of Santa Fe, the first atomic bomb was detonated. The scientists and a few dignitaries had removed themselves 10,000 yards away to observe as the first mushroom cloud of searing light stretched 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb sat when detonated was vaporized.

The question now became-on whom was the bomb to be dropped? Germany was the original target, but the Germans had already surrendered. The only belligerent remaining was Japan.

A footnote: The original $6,000 budget for the Manhattan Project finally ballooned to a total cost of $2 billion.

“Atom bomb successfully tested.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6521.

 

On This Day

1779 – American troops under General Anthony Wayne capture Stony Point, NY.

1791 – Louis XVI was suspended from office until he agreed to ratify the constitution.

1862 – Two Union soldiers and their servant ransacked a house and raped a slave in Sperryville, VA.

1862 – David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

1912 – Bradley A. Fiske patented the airplane torpedo.

1918 – Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg, Russia.

1926 – The first underwater color photographs appeared in “National Geographic” magazine. The pictures had been taken near the Florida Keys.

1942 – French police officers rounded up 13,000 Jews and held them in the Winter Velodrome. The round-up was part of an agreement between Pierre Laval and the Nazis. Germany had agreed to not deport French Jews if France arrested foreign Jews.

1944 – Soviet troops occupied Vilna, Lithuania, in their drive toward Germany.

1951 – J.D. Salinger’s novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” was first published.

1969 – Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, FL, and began the first manned mission to land on the moon.

1979 – Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq after forcing Hasan al-Bakr to resign.

1999 – The plane of John F. Kennedy Jr. crashed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. His wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, were also on board the plane. The body of John Kennedy was found on July 21, 1999.

 

Congress declares Washington, D.C. new capital

On this day in 1790, the young American Congress declares that a swampy, humid, muddy and mosquito-infested site on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia will be the nation’s permanent capital. “Washington,” in the newly designated federal “District of Columbia,” was named after the leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president: George Washington. It was Washington who saw the area’s potential economic and accessibility benefits due to the proximity of navigable rivers.

George Washington, who had been in office just over a year when the capital site was determined, asked a French architect and city planner named Pierre L’Enfant to design the capital. In 1793, the first cornerstones of the president’s mansion, which was eventually renamed the “White House,” were laid. George Washington, however, never lived in the mansion as it was not inhabitable until 1800. Instead, President John Adams and his wife Abigail were the White House’s first residents. They lived there less than a year; Thomas Jefferson moved in in 1801.

“Congress declares Washington, D.C. new capital.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=784.

Senate begins investigations into secret bombing of Cambodia

The Senate Armed Services Committee begins a probe into allegations that the U.S. Air Force made thousands of secret B-52 raids into Cambodia in 1969 and 1970 at a time when the United States recognized the neutrality of the Prince Norodom Sihanouk regime in Cambodia. The Pentagon acknowledged that President Richard Nixon and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird had authorized the raids against Cambodia, but Sihanouk denied the State Department claim that he had requested or authorized the bombing. Though it was established that the bombing records had been falsified, Laird and Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, denied any knowledge of the falsification. The Senate hearings eventually exposed the extent of the secrecy involved in the bombing campaign and seriously damaged the credibility of the Nixon administration.

“Senate begins investigations into secret bombing of Cambodia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1971.

15
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-15-08: Nixon to Visit China

Nixon announces visit to communist China

During a live television and radio broadcast, President Richard Nixon stuns the nation by announcing that he will visit communist China the following year. The statement marked a dramatic turning point in U.S.-China relations, as well as a major shift in American foreign policy.

Nixon was not always so eager to reach out to China. Since the Communists came to power in China in 1949, Nixon had been one of the most vociferous critics of American efforts to establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese. His political reputation was built on being strongly anti-communist, and he was a major figure in the post-World War II Red Scare, during which the U.S. government launched massive investigations into possible communist subversion in America.

“Nixon announces visit to communist China.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 11:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52647.

 

On This Day

1099 – Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders.

1410 – Poles and Lithuanians defeated the Teutonic knights at Tannenburg, Prussia.

1788 – Louis XVI jailed 12 deputies who protested new judicial reforms.

1789 – The electors of Paris set up a “Commune” to live without the authority of the government.

1813 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s representatives met with the Allies in Prague to discuss peace terms.

1870 – Georgia became the last of the Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.

1901 – Over 74,000 Pittsburgh steel workers went on strike.

1916 – In Seattle, WA, Pacific Aero Products was incorporated by William Boeing. The company was later renamed Boeing Co.

1942 – The first supply flight from India to China over the ‘Hump’ was carried to help China’s war effort.

1965 – The spacecraft Mariner IV sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Mars.

1968 – Commercial air travel began between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., when the first plane, a Soviet Aeroflot jet, landed at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

2002 – John Walker Lindh plead guilty to two felonies. The crimes were supplying services to Afghanistan’s former Taliban government and for carrying explosives during the commission of a felony. Lindh agreed to spend 10 years in prison for each of the charges.

 

Pike expedition sets out

Zebulon Pike, the U.S. Army officer who in 1805 led an exploring party in search of the source of the Mississippi River, sets off with a new expedition to explore the American Southwest. Pike was instructed to seek out headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers and to investigate Spanish settlements in New Mexico.

Pike and his men left Missouri and traveled through the present-day states of Kansas and Nebraska before reaching Colorado, where he spotted the famous mountain later named in his honor. From there, they traveled down to New Mexico, where they were stopped by Spanish officials and charged with illegal entry into Spanish-held territory. His party was escorted to Santa Fe, then down to Chihuahua, back up through Texas, and finally to the border of the Louisiana Territory, where they were released. Soon after returning to the east, Pike was implicated in a plot with former Vice President Aaron Burr to seize territory in the Southwest for mysterious ends. However, after an investigation, Secretary of State James Madison fully exonerated him.

The information he provided about the U.S. territory in Kansas and Colorado was a great impetus for future U.S. settlement, and his reports about the weakness of Spanish authority in the Southwest stirred talk of future U.S. annexation. Pike later served as a brigadier general during the War of 1812, and in April 1813 he was killed by a British gunpowder bomb after leading a successful attack on York, Canada.

“Pike expedition sets out.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 11:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5178.

Goldwater nominated for president

Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) is nominated by the Republican Party to run for president. During the subsequent campaign, Goldwater said that he thought the United States should do whatever was necessary to win in Vietnam. At one point, he talked about the possibility of using low-yield atomic weapons to defoliate enemy infiltration routes, but he never actually advocated the use of nuclear weapons in Southeast Asia. Although Goldwater later clarified his position, the Democrats very effectively portrayed him as a trigger-happy warmonger. This reputation, whether deserved or not, was a key factor in his crushing defeat at the hands of Lyndon B. Johnson, who won 61 percent of the vote to Goldwater’s 39 percent.

“Goldwater nominated for president.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 11:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1969.

Garbo makes an appearance

On this day in 1941, master spy Juan Pujol Garcia, nicknamed “Garbo,” sends his first communiqué to Germany from Britain. The question was: Who was he spying for?

Juan Garcia, a Spaniard, ran an elaborate multiethnic spy network that included a Dutch airline steward, a British censor for the Ministry of Information, a Cabinet office clerk, a U.S. soldier in England, and a Welshman sympathetic to fascism. All were engaged in gathering secret information on the British-Allied war effort, which was then transmitted back to Berlin. Garcia was in the pay of the Nazis. The Germans knew him as “Arabel,” whereas the English knew him as Garbo. The English knew a lot more about him, in fact, than the Germans, as Garcia was a British double agent.

“Garbo makes an appearance.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 11:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=55032.

A public man must never forget that he loses his usefulness when he as an individual, rather than his policy, becomes the issue.
Richard M. Nixon

Any change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.
Richard M. Nixon

14
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-14-08: Bastille Day

French revolutionaries storm Bastille

Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.

The Bastille was originally constructed in 1370 as a bastide, or “fortification,” to protect the walled city of Paris from English attack. It was later made into an independent stronghold, and its name–bastide–was corrupted to Bastille. The Bastille was first used as a state prison in the 17th century, and its cells were reserved for upper-class felons, political troublemakers, and spies. Most prisoners there were imprisoned without a trial under direct orders of the king. Standing 100 feet tall and surrounded by a moat more than 80 feet wide, the Bastille was an imposing structure in the Parisian landscape.

The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum. Joined by four-fifths of the French army, the revolutionaries seized control of Paris and then the French countryside, forcing King Louis XVI to accept a constitutional government. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.

By order of the new revolutionary government, the Bastille was torn down. On February 6, 1790, the last stone of the hated prison-fortress was presented to the National Assembly. Today, July 14–Bastille Day–is celebrated as a national holiday in France.

“French revolutionaries storm Bastille.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6958.

 

On This Day

1430 – Joan of Arc, taken prisoner by the Burgundians in May, was handed over to Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais.

1914 – Robert H. Goddard patented liquid rocket-fuel.

1933 – All German political parties except the Nazi Party were outlawed.

1940 – A force of German Ju-88 bombers attacked Suez, Egypt, from bases in Crete.

1941 – Vichy French Foreign Legionaries signed an armistice in Damascus, which allowed them to join the Free French Foreign Legion.

1945 – American battleships and cruisers bombarded the Japanese home islands for the first time.

1965 – The American space probe Mariner 4 flew by Mars, and sent back photographs of the planet.

1966 – In a Chicago dormitory, Richard Speck murdered eight student nurses.

2001 – Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics. It was the first time that the China had been awarded the games.

 

Sedition Act becomes federal law

On this day in 1798, one of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history becomes federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known as the Quasi-War, Alexander Hamilton and congressional Federalists took advantage of the public’s wartime fears and drafted and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, without first consulting President John Adams. The first three acts took aim at the rights of immigrants. The period of residency required before immigrants could apply for citizenship was extended from five to 14 years, and the president gained the power to detain and deport those he deemed enemies.

President Adams never took advantage of his newfound ability to deny rights to immigrants. However, the fourth act, the Sedition Act, was put into practice and became a black mark on the nation’s reputation. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act. In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, declaring the acts to be a violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. President Adams, appalled at where Hamilton and the congressional Federalists were leading the country under the guise of wartime crisis, tried to end the undeclared war with France to undercut their efforts. He threatened to resign from the presidency and leave the Federalists with Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson if they did not heed his call for peace. Adams succeeded in quashing Hamilton and the Federalists’ schemes, but ended any hope of his own re-election in the process.

“Sedition Act becomes federal law.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50377.

Rupture between USSR and China grows worse

Relations between the Soviet Union and China reach the breaking point as the two governments engage in an angry ideological debate about the future of communism. The United States, for its part, was delighted to see a wedge being driven between the two communist superpowers.

In mid-1963, officials from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China met in Moscow to try to mend their ideological rift. The Chinese government had become openly critical of what it referred to as the growing “counterrevolutionary trends” in the Soviet Union. In particular, China was unhappy with the Soviet Union’s policy of cooperation with the West. According to a public statement made by the Chinese government on June 14, 1963, a much more militant and aggressive policy was needed in order to spread the communist revolution worldwide. There could be no “peaceful coexistence” with the forces of capitalism, and the statement chided the Russians for trying to reach a diplomatic understanding with the West, and in particular, the United States.

“Rupture between USSR and China grows worse.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Jul 2008, 04:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2728.

Quotes

Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.
Maximilien Robespierre

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.
Maximilien Robespierre

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.

26
May
08

On This Day, May 26, 2008: Dunkirk

Britain’s Operation Dynamo gets underway as President Roosevelt makes a radio appeal for the Red Cross

On this day in 1940, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes known the dire straits of Belgian and French civilians suffering the fallout of the British-German battle to reach the northern coast of France, and appeals for support for the Red Cross

“Tonight, over the once peaceful roads of Belgium and France, millions are now moving, running from their homes to escape bombs and shells and machine gunning, without shelter, and almost wholly without food,” broadcast FDR.

On May 26, the British Expeditionary Force was evacuated from Dunkirk in France. Ships arrived at Calais to remove the Force before German troops occupied the area, and it was hoped that 45,000 British soldiers could be shipped back to Britain within two days. The German air force, though, had other plans. Determined to prevent the evacuation, the Luftwaffe initiated a bombing campaign in Dunkirk and the surrounding area. British, Polish, and Canadian fighter pilots succeeded in fending off the German attack in the air, allowing finally for a delayed, but successful, evacuation nine days later. But the cost to civilians was great, as thousands of refugees fled for their lives to evade the fallout of the battle.

“Britain’s Operation Dynamo gets underway as President Roosevelt makes a radio appeal for the Red Cross.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 May 2008, 10:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6422.

0017 – Germanicus of Rome celebrated his victory over the Germans.

1521 – Martin Luther was banned by the Edict of Worms because of his religious beliefs and writings.

1647 – A new law banned Catholic priests from the colony of Massachusetts. The penalty was banishment or death for a second offense.

1736 – The British and Chickasaw Indians defeated the French at the Battle of Ackia.

1791 – The French Assembly forced King Louis XVI to hand over the crown and state assets.

1805 – Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy in Milan Cathedral.

1831 – Russians defeated the Poles at battle of Ostrolenska.

1864 – The Territory of Montana was organized.

1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson was acquitted, by one vote, of all charges in his impeachment trial.

1896 – The last czar of Russia, Nicholas II, was crowned.

1938 – The House Committee on Un-American Activities began its work of searching for subversives in the United States.

1946 – A patent was filed in the United States for an H-bomb.

1959 – The word “Frisbee” became a registered trademark of Wham-O.

1972 – The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) was signed by the U.S. and USSR. The short-term agreement put a freeze on the testing and deployment of intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles for a 5-year period.

1977 – George H. Willig was arrested after he scaled the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center. It took him 3 1/2 hours.

1994 – U.S. President Clinton renewed trade privileges for China, and announced that his administration would no longer link China’s trade status with its human rights record.

Pequot massacres begin

During the Pequot War, an allied Puritan and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, burning or massacring some 500 Indian women, men, and children.

As the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay spread further into Connecticut, they came into increasing conflict with the Pequots, a war-like tribe centered on the Thames River in southeastern Connecticut. By the spring of 1637, 13 English colonists and traders had been killed by the Pequot, and Massachusetts Bay Governor John Endecott organized a large military force to punish the Indians. On April 23, 200 Pequot warriors responded defiantly to the colonial mobilization by attacking a Connecticut settlement, killing six men and three women and taking two girls away.

On May 26, 1637, two hours before dawn, the Puritans and their Indian allies marched on the Pequot village at Mystic, slaughtering all but a handful of its inhabitants. On June 5, Captain Mason attacked another Pequot village, this one near present-day Stonington, and again the Indian inhabitants were defeated and massacred. On July 28, a third attack and massacre occurred near present-day Fairfield, and the Pequot War came to an end. Most of the surviving Pequot were sold into slavery, though a handful escaped to join other southern New England tribes.

“Pequot massacres begin.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 May 2008, 10:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5035.

Colonel William Crawford proceeds toward the Ohio

On this day in 1782, American Colonel William Crawford marches his army towards the Ohio River, where General George Washington has charged him with attacking local Indians who had sided with the British in the American Revolution.

Colonel Crawford, a close friend of General Washington and a veteran of British military encounters with Native Americans in the French and Indian War, Pontiac’s Rebellion and Lord Dunmore’s War, had agreed to come out of retirement in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to assist his fellow Virginian in the fight for American independence.

The expedition ended in a slow, harrowing death for Crawford. On June 6, his supply chain disintegrated and Wyandot Indians surrounded Crawford and his men. The Indians of the Ohio region were enraged by the recent slaughter of pacifist Christian Indians at the Moravian mission in Gnadenhutten, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for Crawford, some of the perpetrators of the Gnadenhutten Massacre were among his men.

Patriots had shot the women and children of the Gnadenhutten mission from behind as they knelt in prayer on March 8, 1782. The Wyandots, under Chief Konieschguanokee (Captain Pipe), took their revenge by torturing the members of Crawford’s party. Crawford and his son-in-law William Harrison were scalped and burned at the stake; Crawford finally died after two hours of torment. At least 250 members of Crawford’s party were killed in the disastrous encounter.

Crawford’s horrendous death ensured that he would be remembered as a martyr. The site of his execution is included on the National Register of Historic Places and a monument has been erected there in his memory. Counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania also bear his name.

“Colonel William Crawford proceeds toward the Ohio.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 May 2008, 10:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=634.




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