Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Monroe

05
Aug
08

On This Day 8-5-08: Damn the Torpedoes…

Battle of Mobile Bay

Union Admiral David Farragut leads his flotilla through the Confederate defenses at Mobile, Alabama, to seal one of the last major Southern ports. The fall of Mobile Bay was a huge blow to the Confederacy, and the victory was the first in a series of successes that secured the reelection of Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Mobile became the major Confederate port on the Gulf of Mexico after the fall of New Orleans, Louisiana, in April 1862. With blockade runners carrying critical supplies from Havana, Cuba, into Mobile, Union General Ulysses S. Grant made the capture of the port a top priority after assuming command of all Federal forces in early 1864.

Opposing Farragut’s force of 17 warships was a Rebel squadron of only four ships; but it included the C.S.S. Tennessee, said to be the most powerful ironclad afloat. Farragut also had to contend with two powerful Confederate batteries inside of Forts Morgan and Gaines. On the morning of August 5, Farragut’s force steamed into the mouth of Mobile Bay in two columns led by four ironclads and met a devastating fire that immediately sank one of Farragut’s iron-hulled single-turret monitors, the U.S.S. Tecumseh. The rest of the fleet fell into confusion but Farragut rallied them with the words, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!” Although the authenticity of the quote is questionable, it nevertheless became one of the most famous in history.

The Yankee fleet quickly knocked out the smaller Confederate ships, but the Tennessee fought a valiant battle against overwhelming odds before it sustained heavy damage and surrendered. The Union laid siege to Forts Morgan and Gaines, and both were captured within two weeks. Confederate forces remained in control of the city of Mobile, but the port was no longer available to blockade runners.

The Battle of Mobile Bay lifted the morale of the North. With Grant stalled at Petersburg, Virginia, and General William T. Sherman unable to capture Atlanta, the capture of the bay became the first in a series of Union victories that stretched to the fall election.

“Battle of Mobile Bay.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2273.

 

On This Day

1833 – The village of Chicago was incorporated. The population was approximately 250.

1884 – On Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid.

1944 – Polish insurgents liberated a German labor camp in Warsaw. 348 Jewish prisoners were freed.

1953 – During the Korean conflict prisoners were exchanged at Panmunjom. The exchange was labeled Operation Big Switch.

1962 – Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home. The “probable suicide” was caused by an overdose of sleeping pills. Monroe was 36 at the time of her death.

1963 – The Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The treaty banned nuclear tests in space, underwater, and in the atmosphere.

1964 – U.S. aircraft bombed North Vietnam after North Vietnamese boats attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1969 – The Mariner 7, a U.S. space probe, passed by Mars. Photographs and scientific data were sent back to Earth.

1974 – U.S. President Nixon said that he expected to be impeached. Nixon had ordered the investigation into the Watergate break-in to halt.

1991 – An investigation was formally launched by Democratic congressional leaders to find out if the release of American hostages was delayed until after the Reagan-Bush presidential election.

2002 – The U.S. closed its consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. The consulate was closed after local authorities removed large concrete blocks and reopened the road in front of the building to normal traffic.

 

Lincoln imposes first federal income tax

On this day in 1861, Lincoln imposes the first federal income tax by signing the Revenue Act. Strapped for cash with which to pursue the Civil War, Lincoln and Congress agreed to impose a 3 percent tax on annual incomes over $800.

“Lincoln imposes first federal income tax .” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50716.

German assault on Liege begins first battle of World War I

On August 5, 1914, the German army launches its assault on the city of Liege in Belgium, violating the latter country’s neutrality and beginning the first battle of World War I.

“German assault on Liege begins first battle of World War I.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50618

Reagan fires 11,359 air-traffic controllers

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan begins firing 11,359 air-traffic controllers striking in violation of his order for them to return to work. The executive action, regarded as extreme by many, significantly slowed air travel for months.

“Reagan fires 11,359 air-traffic controllers.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5236.

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26
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-26-08: The National Security Act

Truman signs the National Security Act

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act, which becomes one of the most important pieces of Cold War legislation. The act established much of the bureaucratic framework for foreign policymaking for the next 40-plus years of the Cold War.

By July 1947, the Cold War was in full swing. The United States and the Soviet Union, once allies during World War II, now faced off as ideological enemies. In the preceding months, the administration of President Truman had argued for, and secured, military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to assist in their struggles against communist insurgents. In addition, the Marshall Plan, which called for billions of dollars in U.S. aid to help rebuild war-torn Western Europe and strengthen it against possible communist aggression, had also taken shape. As the magnitude of the Cold War increased, however, so too did the need for a more efficient and manageable foreign policymaking bureaucracy in the United States. The National Security Act was the solution.

The National Security Act had three main parts. First, it streamlined and unified the nation’s military establishment by bringing together the Navy Department and War Department under a new Department of Defense. This department would facilitate control and utilization of the nation’s growing military. Second, the act established the National Security Council (NSC). Based in the White House, the NSC was supposed to serve as a coordinating agency, sifting through the increasing flow of diplomatic and intelligence information in order to provide the president with brief but detailed reports. Finally, the act set up the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA replaced the Central Intelligence Group, which had been established in 1946 to coordinate the intelligence-gathering activities of the various military branches and the Department of State. The CIA, however, was to be much more–it was a separate agency, designed not only to gather intelligence but also to carry out covert operations in foreign nations.

The National Security Act formally took effect in September 1947. Since that time, the Department of Defense, NSC, and CIA have grown steadily in terms of size, budgets, and power. The Department of Defense, housed in the Pentagon, controls a budget that many Third World nations would envy. The NSC rapidly became not simply an information organizing agency, but one that was active in the formation of foreign policy. The CIA also grew in power over the course of the Cold War, becoming involved in numerous covert operations. Most notable of these was the failed Bay of Pigs operation of 1961, in which Cuban refugees, trained and armed by the CIA, were unleashed against the communist regime of Fidel Castro. The mission was a disaster, with most of the attackers either killed or captured in a short time. Though it had both successes and failures, the National Security Act indicated just how seriously the U.S. government took the Cold War threat.

“Truman signs the National Security Act.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2740.

 

On This Day

1775 – A postal system was established by the 2nd Continental Congress of the United States. The first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin.

1788 – New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1881 – Thomas Edison and Patrick Kenny execute a patent application for a facsimile telegraph (U.S. Pat. 479,184).

1945 – Winston Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister.

1948 – U.S. President Truman signed executive orders that prohibited discrimination in the U.S. armed forces and federal employment.

1953 – Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. Castro eventually ousted Batista six years later.

1956 – Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

1971 – Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL.

1999 – 1,500 pieces of Marilyn Monroe’s personal items went on display at Christie’s in New York, NY. The items went on sale later in 1999.

 

Liberian independence proclaimed

The Republic of Liberia, formerly a colony of the American Colonization Society, declares its independence. Under pressure from Britain, the United States hesitantly accepted Liberian sovereignty, making the West African nation the first democratic republic in African history. A constitution modeled after the U.S. Constitution was approved, and in 1848 Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected Liberia’s first president.

“Liberian independence proclaimed.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5208.

FBI founded

On July 26, 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is born when U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte orders a group of newly hired federal investigators to report to Chief Examiner Stanley W. Finch of the Department of Justice. One year later, the Office of the Chief Examiner was renamed the Bureau of Investigation, and in 1935 it became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“FBI founded.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6970.

Real-life Psycho Ed Gein dies

On July 26, 1984, Ed Gein, a serial killer infamous for skinning human corpses, dies of complications from cancer in a Wisconsin prison at age 77. Gein served as the inspiration for writer Robert Bloch’s character Norman Bates in the 1959 novel Psycho, which in 1960 was turned into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Edward Theodore Gein was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on July 27, 1906, to an alcoholic father and domineering mother, who taught her son that women and sex were evil. Gein was raised, along with an older brother, on an isolated farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin. After Gein’s father died in 1940, the future killer’s brother died under mysterious circumstances during a fire in 1944 and his beloved mother passed away from health problems in 1945. Gein remained on the farm by himself.

In November 1957, police found the headless, gutted body of a missing store clerk, Bernice Worden, at Gein’s farmhouse. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered a collection of human skulls along with furniture and clothing, including a suit, made from human body parts and skin. Gein told police he had dug up the graves of recently buried women who reminded him of his mother. Investigators found the remains of 10 women in Gein’s home, but he was ultimately linked to just two murders: Bernice Worden and another local woman, Mary Hogan.

Gein was declared mentally unfit to stand trial and was sent to a state hospital in Wisconsin. His farm attracted crowds of curiosity seekers before it burned down in 1958, most likely in a blaze set by an arsonist. In 1968, Gein was deemed sane enough to stand trial, but a judge ultimately found him guilty by reason of insanity and he spent the rest of his days in a state facility.

In addition to Psycho, films including Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs were said to be loosely based on Gein’s crimes.

“Real-life Psycho Ed Gein dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 26 Jul 2008, 12:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=57191.

 

The very concept of history implies the scholar and the reader. Without a generation of civilized people to study history, to preserve its records, to absorb its lessons and relate them to its own problems, history, too, would lose its meaning.
George F. Kennan

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
John Maynard Keynes




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