Posts Tagged ‘Napoleon

12
Jun
09

On This Day, June 12: Tear Down This Wall

June 12, 1987

Reagan challenges Gorbachev

On this day in 1987, in one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the repressive Communist era in a divided Germany.

In 1945, following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the nation’s capital, Berlin, was divided into four sections, with the Americans, British and French controlling the western region and the Soviets gaining power in the eastern region. In May 1949, the three western sections came together as the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), with the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) being established in October of that same year. In 1952, the border between the two countries was closed and by the following year East Germans were prosecuted if they left their country without permission. In August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected by the East German government to prevent its citizens from escaping to the West. Between 1949 and the wall’s inception, it’s estimated that over 2.5 million East Germans fled to the West in search of a less repressive life.

With the wall as a backdrop, President Reagan declared to a West Berlin crowd in 1987, “There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.” He then called upon his Soviet counterpart: “Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace–if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe–if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Reagan then went on to ask Gorbachev to undertake serious arms reduction talks with the United States.

Most listeners at the time viewed Reagan’s speech as a dramatic appeal to Gorbachev to renew negotiations on nuclear arms reductions. It was also a reminder that despite the Soviet leader’s public statements about a new relationship with the West, the U.S. wanted to see action taken to lessen Cold War tensions. Happily for Berliners, though, the speech also foreshadowed events to come: Two years later, on November 9, 1989, joyful East and West Germans did break down the infamous barrier between East and West Berlin. Germany was officially reunited on October 3, 1990.

Gorbachev, who had been in office since 1985, stepped down from his post as Soviet leader in 1991. Reagan, who served two terms as president, from 1981 to 1989, died on June 5, 2004, at age 93.

“Reagan challenges Gorbachev,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52611 [accessed Jun 12, 2009]

On This Day

1099 – Crusade leaders visited the Mount of Olives where they met a hermit who urged them to assault Jerusalem.

1812 – Napoleon’s invasion of Russia began.

1838 – The Iowa Territory was organized.

1918 – The first airplane bombing raid by an American unit occurred on World War I’s Western Front in France.

1926 – Brazil quit the League of Nations in protest over plans to admit Germany.

1929 – Anne Frank was born in Germany. She wrote in her diary about growing up in occupied Amsterdam during World War II. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.

1937 – The Soviet Union executed eight army leaders under Joseph Stalin.

1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was fatally shot in front of his home in Jackson, MS.

1967 – State laws which prohibited interracial marriages were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1979 – Bryan Allen flew the Gossamer Albatross, man powered, across the English Channel.

1985 – The U.S. House of Representatives approved $27 million in aid to the Nicaraguan contras.

1992 – In a letter to the U.S. Senate, Russian Boris Yeltsin stated that in the early 1950’s the Soviet Union had shot down nine U.S. planes and held 12 American survivors.

June 12, 1942

Anne Frank receives a diary

On this day, Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, receives a diary for her 13th birthday. A month later, she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in rooms behind her father’s office. For two years, the Franks and four other families hid, fed and cared for by Gentile friends. The families were discovered by the Gestapo, which had been tipped off, in 1944. The Franks were taken to Auschwitz, where Anne’s mother died. Friends in Amsterdam searched the rooms and found Anne’s diary hidden away.

Anne and her sister were transferred to another camp, Bergen-Belsen, where Anne died of typhus a month before the war ended.

Anne’s father survived Auschwitz and published Anne’s diary in 1947 as The Diary of a Young Girl. The book has been translated into some 30 languages.

“Anne Frank receives a diary,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4000 [accessed Jun 12, 2009]

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17
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-17-2008: Woodstock Concludes

Woodstock Music Festival concludes

On this day in 1969, the grooviest event in music history–the Woodstock Music Festival–draws to a close after three days of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll in upstate New York.

Conceived as “Three Days of Peace and Music,” Woodstock was a product of a partnership between John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfield and Michael Lang. Their idea was to make enough money from the event to build a recording studio near the arty New York town of Woodstock. When they couldn’t find an appropriate venue in the town itself, the promoters decided to hold the festival on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York–some 50 miles from Woodstock–owned by Max Yasgur.

By the time the weekend of the festival arrived, the group had sold a total of 186,000 tickets and expected no more than 200,000 people to show up. By Friday night, however, thousands of eager early arrivals were pushing against the entrance gates. Fearing they could not control the crowds, the promoters made the decision to open the concert to everyone, free of charge. Close to half a million people attended Woodstock, jamming the roads around Bethel with eight miles of traffic.

Soaked by rain and wallowing in the muddy mess of Yasgur’s fields, young fans best described as “hippies” euphorically took in the performances of acts like Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The Who performed in the early morning hours of August 17, with Roger Daltrey belting out “See Me, Feel Me,” from the now-classic album Tommy just as the sun began to rise. The most memorable moment of the concert for many fans was the closing performance by Jimi Hendrix, who gave a rambling, rocking solo guitar performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

With not enough bathroom facilities and first-aid tents to accommodate such a huge crowd, many described the atmosphere at the festival as chaotic. There were surprisingly few episodes of violence, though one teenager was accidentally run over and killed by a tractor and another died from a drug overdose. A number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War, a sentiment that was enthusiastically shared by the vast majority of the audience. Later, the term “Woodstock Nation” would be used as a general term to describe the youth counterculture of the 1960s.

“Woodstock Music Festival concludes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=52837.

 

On This Day

1790 – The capital city of the U.S. moved to Philadelphia from New York City.

1807 – Robert Fulton’s “North River Steam Boat” (known as the “Clermont”) began heading up New York’s Hudson River on its successful round-trip to Albany.

1815 – Napoleon began serving his exile when he arrived at the island of St. Helena.

1877 – F.P. Cahill became the first person to be killed by “Billy the Kid.”

1903 – Joseph Pulitzer donated a million dollars to Columbia University. This started the Pulitzer Prizes in his name.

1943 – The Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

1945 – The nationalists of Indonesia declared their independence from the Netherlands.

1960 – The Beatles began their first engagement away from England.

1962 – 18-year-old Peter Fechter was killed by East German border guards when he attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.

1968 – Deep Purple’s “Hush” was released.

1969 – Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast killing 248 people.

1977 – Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reported that in one day the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland had surpassed the number for any other event in the company’s history.

1986 – 42 people were beaten or stabbed at a Run D.M.C. concert in Long Beach, CA.

1987 – Rudolph Hess died after apparently committing suicide. Hess was the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle.

2002 – In Santa Rosa, CA, the Charles M. Schulz Museum opened to the public.

 

 

Dakota (Sioux) uprising begins

Minnesota erupts in violence as desperate Dakota Indians attack white settlements along the Minnesota River. The Dakota were eventually overwhelmed by the U.S. military six weeks later.

The Dakota Indians were more commonly referred to as the Sioux, a derogatory name derived from part of a French word meaning “little snake.” They were composed of four bands, and lived on temporary reservations in southwestern Minnesota. For two decades, the Dakota were poorly treated by the Federal government, local traders, and settlers. They saw their hunting lands whittled down, and provisions promised by the government rarely arrived. Worse yet, a wave of white settlers surrounded them.

The summer of 1862 was particularly hard on the Dakota. Cutworms destroyed much of their corn crops, and many families faced starvation. Dakota leaders were frustrated by attempts to convince traders to extend credit to tribal members and alleviate the suffering. On August 17, four young Dakota warriors were returning from an unsuccessful hunt when they stopped to steal some eggs from a white settlement. The youths soon picked a quarrel with the hen’s owner, and the encounter turned tragic when the Dakotas killed five members of the family. Sensing that they would be attacked, Dakota leaders determined that war was at hand and seized the initiative. Led by Taoyateduta (also known as Little Crow), the Dakota attacked local agencies and the settlement of New Ulm. Over 500 white settlers lost their lives along with about 150 Sioux warriors.

President Lincoln dispatched General John Pope, fresh from his defeat at the Battle of Second Bull Run, to organize the Military Department of the Northwest. Some Dakota fled to North Dakota, but more than 2,000 were rounded up and over 300 warriors were sentenced to death. President Lincoln commuted most of their sentences, but on December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were executed at Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass execution in American history.

“Dakota (Sioux) uprising begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2286.

Carlson’s Raiders land on Makin Island

On this day in 1942, Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson and a force of Marine raiders come ashore Makin Island, in the west Pacific Ocean, occupied by the Japanese. What began as a diversionary tactic almost ended in disaster for the Americans.

Two American submarines, the Argonaut and the Nautilus, approached Makin Island, an atoll in the Gilbert Islands, which had been seized by the Japanese on December 9, 1941. The subs unloaded 122 Marines, one of two new raider battalions. Their leader was Lt. Col. Evans Carlson, a former lecturer on postrevolutionary China. Their mission was to assault the Japanese-occupied Makin Island as a diversionary tactic, keeping the Japanese troops “busy” so they would not be able to reinforce troops currently under assault by Americans on Guadalcanal Island.

Carlson’s “Raiders” landed quietly, unobserved, coming ashore on inflatable rafts powered by outboard motors. Suddenly, one of the Marines’ rifles went off, alerting the Japanese, who unleashed enormous firepower: grenades, flamethrowers, and machine guns. The subs gave some cover by firing their deck guns, but by night the Marines had to begin withdrawing from the island. Some Marines drowned when their rafts overturned; about 100 made it back to the subs. Carlson and a handful of his men stayed behind to sabotage a Japanese gas dump and to seize documents. They then made for the submarines too. When all was said and done, seven Marines drowned, 14 were killed by Japanese gunfire, and nine were captured and beheaded.

Carlson went on to fight with the U.S. forces on Guadalcanal. He was a source of controversy; having been sent as a U.S. observer with Mao’s Army in 1937, he developed a great respect for the “spiritual strength” of the communist forces and even advocated their guerrilla-style tactics. He remained an avid fan of the Chinese communists even after the war.

*My Uncle Ernie may have been one of these guys.

“Carlson’s Raiders land on Makin Island.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6554.

East Germans kill man trying to cross Berlin Wall

East German guards gun down a young man trying to escape across the Berlin Wall into West Berlin and leave him to bleed to death. It was one of the ugliest incidents to take place at one of the ugliest symbols of the Cold War.

The 1962 incident occurred almost a year to the day that construction began on the Berlin Wall. In August 1961, East Berlin authorities began stringing barbed wire across the boundary between East and West Berlin. In just a matter of days, a concrete block wall was under construction, complete with guard towers. In the months that followed, more barbed wire, machine guns, searchlights, guard posts, dogs, mines, and concrete barriers were set up, completely separating the two halves of the city. American officials condemned the communist action, but did nothing to halt construction of the wall.

On August 17, 1962, two young men from East Berlin attempted to scramble to freedom across the wall. One was successful in climbing the last barbed wire fence and, though suffering numerous cuts, made it safely to West Berlin. While horrified West German guards watched, the second young man was shot by machine guns on the East Berlin side. He fell but managed to stand up again, reach the wall, and begin to climb over. More shots rang out. The young man was hit in the back, screamed, and fell backwards off of the wall. For nearly an hour, he lay bleeding to death and crying for help. West German guards threw bandages to the man, and an angry crowd of West Berlin citizens screamed at the East German security men who seemed content to let the young man die. He finally did die, and East German guards scurried to where he lay and removed his body.

During the history of the Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989), nearly 80 people were killed trying to cross from East to West Berlin. East German officials always claimed that the wall was erected to protect the communist regime from the pernicious influences of Western capitalism and culture. In the nearly 30 years that the wall existed, however, no one was ever shot trying to enter East Berlin.

“East Germans kill man trying to cross Berlin Wall.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:07 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2762.

08
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-8-08: PBSUCCESS

Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala

Col. Carlos Castillo Armas is elected president of the junta that overthrew the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in late June 1954. The election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of U.S. efforts to remove Arbenz and save Guatemala from what American officials believed to be an attempt by international communism to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1944, Guatemala went through a revolution that saw the removal of a long-time dictator and the establishment of the first democratically elected government in the nation’s history. In 1950, Guatemala witnessed another first with the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president, Arbenz. Officials in the United States had watched the developments in Guatemala with growing concern and fear. The Guatemalan government, particularly after Arbenz came to power in 1950, had launched a serious effort at land reform and redistribution to Guatemala’s landless masses. When this effort resulted in the powerful American-owned United Fruit Company losing many acres of land, U.S. officials began to believe that communism was at work in Guatemala.

By 1953 and into 1954, the U.S. government was intent on removing Arbenz from power and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was given this task by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The CIA established a multifaceted covert operation (code named PBSUCCESS). Beginning in June 1954, the CIA saturated Guatemala with propaganda over the radio and through leaflets dropped over the country, and also began small bombing raids using unmarked airplanes. It also organized and armed a small force of “freedom fighters”–mostly Guatemalan refugees and mercenaries–headed by Castillo Armas. This force, which never numbered more than a few hundred men, had little impact on subsequent events.

By late June, the Arbenz government, diplomatically and economically isolated by the United States, came to the conclusion that resistance against the “giant of the north” was futile, and Arbenz resigned on June 27. A short time later, Castillo Armas and his “army” marched into Guatemala City and established a ruling junta. On July 8, 1954, Castillo Armas was elected president of the junta.

For the United States, the election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of a successful covert operation against international communism. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that Guatemala had been saved from “communist imperialism.” The overthrow of Arbenz had added “a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition of the American states.” Many Guatemalans came to have a different perspective. The new regime rounded up thousands of suspected communists, and executed hundreds of prisoners. Labor unions, which had flourished since 1944, were crushed, and United Fruit’s lands were restored. Castillo Armas, however, did not long enjoy his success. He was assassinated in 1957. Guatemalan politics then degenerated into a series of coups and countercoups, coupled with brutal repression of the country’s people.

“Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2722.

1099 – Christian soldiers on the First Crusade march around Jerusalem.

1608 – The first French settlement at Quebec was established by Samuel de Champlain.

1709 – Peter the Great defeated Charles XII at Poltava, in the Ukraine, The Swedish empire was effectively ended.

1776 – Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence to a crowd at Independence Square in Philadelphia.

1815 – Louis XVIII returned to Paris after the defeat of Napoleon.

1865 – C.E. Barnes patented the machine gun.

1879 – The first ship to use electric lights departed from San Francisco, CA.

1881 – Edward Berner, druggist in Two Rivers, WI, poured chocolate syrup on ice cream in a dish. To this time chocolate syrup had only been used for making ice-cream sodas.

1919 – U.S. President Wilson returned from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.

1950 – General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

1960 – The Soviet Union charged Gary Powers with espionage. He was shot down in a U-2 spy plane.

1986 – Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.

Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, sails into Tokyo Bay, Japan, with a squadron of four vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but under threat of attack by the superior American ships they accepted letters from President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it had been declared closed to foreigners two centuries before. Only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to continue trade with Japan after 1639, but this trade was restricted and confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki.

After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Commodore Perry returned to Tokyo with nine ships in March 1854. On March 31, he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in over 200 years reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks, discussing expansion of trade with the United States. Treaties with other Western powers followed soon after, contributing to the collapse of the shogunate and ultimately the modernization of Japan.

“Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:30 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5161.

First Americans killed in South Vietnam

Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas strike a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group had arrived in South Vietnam on November 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers, and province and district headquarters.

“First Americans killed in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1954.

24
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-24-08: King Phillip

King Philip’s War begins

In colonial New England, King Philip’s War begins when a band of Wampanoag warriors raid the border settlement of Swansee, Massachusetts, and massacre the English colonists there.

In the early 1670s, 50 years of peace between the Plymouth colony and the local Wampanoag Indians began to deteriorate when the rapidly expanding settlement forced land sales on the tribe. Reacting to increasing Native American hostility, the English met with King Philip, chief of the Wampanoag, and demanded that his forces surrender their arms. The Wampanoag did so, but in 1675 a Christian Native American who had been acting as an informer to the English was murdered, and three Wampanoag were tried and executed for the crime.

King Philip responded by ordering the attack on Swansee on June 24, which set off a series of Wampanoag raids in which several settlements were destroyed and scores of colonists massacred. The colonists retaliated by destroying a number of Indian villages. The destruction of a Narragansett village by the English brought the Narragansett into the conflict on the side of King Philip, and within a few months several other tribes and all the New England colonies were involved. In early 1676, the Narragansett were defeated and their chief killed, while the Wampanoag and their other allies were gradually subdued. King Philip’s wife and son were captured, and on August 12, 1676, after his secret headquarters in Mount Hope, Rhode Island, was discovered, Philip was assassinated by a Native American in the service of the English. The English drew and quartered Philip’s body and publicly displayed his head on a stake in Plymouth.

King Philip’s War, which was extremely costly to the colonists of southern New England, ended the Native American presence in the region and inaugurated a period of unimpeded colonial expansion.

“King Philip’s War begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Jun 2008, 12:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5119.

1314 – Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce won over Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn in Scotland.

1509 – Henry VIII was crowned King of England.

1664 – New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey, was founded.

1812 – Napoleon crossed the Nieman River and invaded Russia.

1861 – Federal gunboats attacked Confederate batteries at Mathias Point, Virginia.

1896 – Booker T. Washington became the first African American to receive an honorary MA degree from Howard University.

1910 – The Japanese army invaded Korea.

1940 – France signed an armistice with Italy.

1941 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt pledged all possible support to the Soviet Union.

1964 – The Federal Trade Commission announced that starting in 1965, cigarette manufactures would be required to include warnings on their packaging about the harmful effects of smoking.

1970 – The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

1998 – Walt Disney World Resort admitted its 600-millionth guest.

 

Napoleon’s Grande Armee invades Russia

Following the rejection of his Continental System by Czar Alexander I, French Emperor Napoleon orders his Grande Armee, the largest European military force ever assembled to that date, into Russia. The enormous army, featuring some 500,000 soldiers and staff, included troops from all the European countries under the sway of the French Empire.

“Napoleon’s Grande Armee invades Russia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Jun 2008, 12:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5120.

Russians enjoy a victory parade

On this day in 1945, Soviet troops parade past Red Square in celebration of their victory over Germany. As drums rolled, 200 soldiers performed a familiar ritual: They threw 200 German military banners at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum. A little over 130 years earlier, victorious Russian troops threw Napoleon’s banners at the feet of Czar Alexander I.

Also on this day in 1945, British bombers destroy the “Bridge Over the River Kwai.” Thousands of British and Allied prisoners of war, forced into slave labor by their Japanese captors, had built a bridge, under the most grueling conditions, over the River Kwai, linking parts of the Burma-Siam (now Thailand) railway and enabling the Japanese to transport soldiers and supplies through this area. British aircraft bombed the bridge to prevent this link between Bangkok and Moulein, Burma. This episode of the war was dramatized in extraordinary fashion in the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai, directed by David Lean, and starring Alec Guinness and William Holden.

“Russians enjoy a victory parade.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Jun 2008, 12:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6496.

U.S. Air Force reports on Roswell

On this day in 1997, U.S. Air Force officials release a 231-page report dismissing long-standing claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, almost exactly 50 years earlier.

Public interest in Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, began to flourish in the 1940s, when developments in space travel and the dawn of the atomic age caused many Americans to turn their attention to the skies. The town of Roswell, located near the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico, became a magnet for UFO believers due to the strange events of early July 1947, when ranch foreman W.W. Brazel found a strange, shiny material scattered over some of his land. He turned the material over to the sheriff, who passed it on to authorities at the nearby Air Force base. On July 8, Air Force officials announced they had recovered the wreckage of a “flying disk.” A local newspaper put the story on its front page, launching Roswell into the spotlight of the public’s UFO fascination.

“U.S. Air Force reports on Roswell.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Jun 2008, 12:19 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52632.

Soviets blockade West Berlin

One of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War begins as the Soviet Union blocks all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin. The blockade turned out to be a terrible diplomatic move by the Soviets, while the United States emerged from the confrontation with renewed purpose and confidence.

“Soviets blockade West Berlin.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Jun 2008, 12:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2708.

18
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-18-08: War of 1812

War of 1812 begins

The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration into law–and the War of 1812 begins. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been called in response to the British economic blockade of France, the induction of American seaman into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of Congress known as the “War Hawks” had been advocating war with Britain for several years and had not hidden their hopes that a U.S. invasion of Canada might result in significant territorial land gains for the United States.

“War of 1812 begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5103.

 

1155 – Frederick I Barbarossa was crowned emperor of Rome.

1778 – Britain evacuated Philadelphia during the U.S. Revolutionary War.

1873 – Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote for a U.S. President.

1928 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean as she completed a flight from Newfoundland to Wales.

1942 – The U.S. Navy commissioned its first black officer, Harvard University medical student Bernard Whitfield Robinson.

1959 – A Federal Court annulled the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration.

1983 – Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

1997 – Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole for the 10th time. He had assassinated presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Napoleon defeated at Waterloo

At Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte suffers defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history.

“Napoleon defeated at Waterloo.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6932.

SAC B-52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam

For the first time, 28 B-52s fly-bomb a Viet Cong concentration in a heavily forested area of Binh Duong Province northwest of Saigon. Such flights, under the aegis of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), became known as Operation Arc Light. The B-52s that took part in the Arc Light missions had been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and more bombers were later deployed to bases in Okinawa and U-Tapao, Thailand.

In addition to supporting ground tactical operations, B-52s were used to interdict enemy supply lines in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and later to strike targets in North Vietnam. Releasing their bombs from 30,000 feet, the B-52s could neither be seen nor heard from the ground as they inflicted awesome damage. B-52s were instrumental in breaking up enemy concentrations besieging Khe Sanh in 1968 and An Loc in 1972. Between June 1965 and August 1973, 126,615 B-52 sorties were flown over Southeast Asia. During those operations, the Air Force lost 29 B-52s: 17 from hostile fire over North Vietnam and 12 from operational causes.

“SAC B-52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1915.

Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALT-II treaty

During a summit meeting in Vienna, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement dealing with limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. The treaty, which never formally went into effect, proved to be one of the most controversial U.S.-Soviet agreements of the Cold War

“Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALT-II treaty.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Jun 2008, 02:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2702.

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
Susan B. Anthony

I do not consider divorce an evil by any means. It is just as much a refuge for women married to brutal men as Canada was to the slaves of brutal masters.
Susan B. Anthony

Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.
Susan B. Anthony

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.

10
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-10-08: John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones sets out to raid British ships

On April 10, 1778, Commander John Paul Jones and his crew of 140 men aboard the USS Ranger set sail from the naval port at Brest, France, and head toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.

Commander Jones, remembered as one of the most daring and successful naval commanders of the American Revolution, was born in Scotland, on July 6, 1747. He became an apprentice to a merchant at 13 and soon went to sea, traveling first to the West Indies and then to North America as a young man. In Virginia at the onset of the American Revolution, Jones sided with the Patriots and received a commission as a first lieutenant in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775

In September 1779, Jones fought one of the fiercest battles in naval history when he led the USS Bonhomme Richard frigate, named for Benjamin Franklin, in an engagement with the 50-gun British warship HMS Serapis. After the Bonhomme Richard was struck, it began taking on water and caught fire. When the British captain of the Serapis ordered Jones to surrender, he famously replied, “I have not yet begun to fight!” A few hours later, the captain and crew of the Serapis admitted defeat and Jones took command of the British ship.

“John Paul Jones sets out to raid British ships.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Apr 2008, 05:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=458.

1741 – Frederick II of Prussia defeated Maria Theresa’s forces at Mollwitz and conquered Silesia.

1814 – Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Toulouse by the British and the Spanish. The defeat led to his abdication and exile to Elba.

1849 – Walter Hunt patented the safety pin. He sold the rights for $100.

1862 – Union forces began the bombardment of Fort Pulaski in Georgia along the Tybee River.

1912 – The Titanic set sail from Southampton, England.

1919 – In Mexico, revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata was killed by government troops.

1925 – F. Scott Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby” for the first time.

1932 – Paul von Hindenburg was elected president of Germany with 19 million votes. Adolf Hitler came in second with 13 million votes.

1941 – In World War II, U.S. troops occupied Greenland to prevent Nazi infiltration.

1945 – German Me 262 jet fighters shot down ten U.S. bombers near Berlin.

1960 – The U.S. Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill.

1963 – 129 people died when the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher failed to surface off Cape Cod, MA.

1971 – The American table tennis team arrived in China. They were the first group of Americans officially allowed into China since the founding of the People Republic in 1949. The team had recieved the surprise invitation while in Japan for the 31st World Table Tennis Championship.

1972 – The U.S. and the Soviet Union joined with 70 other nations in signing an agreement banning biological warfare.




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