Posts Tagged ‘Nikita Khrushchev

15
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-15-2008: Articles of Confederation

November 15, 1777

Articles of Confederation adopted

After 16 months of debate, the Continental Congress, sitting in its temporary capital of York, Pennsylvania, agrees to adopt the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union on this day in 1777. Not until March 1, 1781, would the last of the 13 states, Maryland, ratify the agreement.

In 1777, Patriot leaders, stinging from British oppression, were reluctant to establish any form of government that might infringe on the right of individual states to govern their own affairs. The Articles of Confederation, then, provided for only a loose federation of American states. Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Less than five years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, enough leading Americans decided that the system was inadequate to the task of governance that they peacefully overthrew their second government in just over 20 years. The difference between a collection of sovereign states forming a confederation and a federal government created by a sovereign people lay at the heart of debate as the new American people decided what form their new government would take.

In 1787, an extra-legal body met in seclusion during Philadelphia’s summer heat to create this new government. On March 4, 1789, the modern United States was established when the U.S. Constitution formally replaced the Articles of Confederation.

Between 1776 and 1789, Americans went from living under a sovereign king, to living in sovereign states, to becoming a sovereign people. That transformation defined the American Revolution.

“Articles of Confederation adopted.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Nov 2008, 10:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5524.

On This Day

1806 – Explorer Zebulon Pike spotted the mountaintop that became known as Pikes Peak.

1920 – The League of Nations met for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland.

1940 – The first 75,000 men were called to Armed Forces duty under peacetime conscription.

1965 – The Soviet probe, Venera 3, was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. On March 1, 1966, it became the first unmanned spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet when it crashed on Venus.

1966 – The flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.

1986 – A government tribunal in Nicaragua convicted American Eugene Hasenfus of charges related to his role in delivering arms to Contra rebels. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and was pardoned a month later.

November 15, 1957

Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”

In a long and rambling interview with an American reporter, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile “shooting match” to prove his assertion. The interview further fueled fears in the United States that the nation was falling perilously behind the Soviets in the arms race.

The interview elicited the usual mixture of boastful belligerence and calls for “peaceful coexistence” with the West that was characteristic of Khrushchev’s public statements during the late 1950s. He bragged about Soviet missile superiority, claiming that the United States did not have intercontinental ballistic rockets; “If she had,” the Russian leader sneered, “she would have launched her own sputnik.” He then issued a challenge: “Let’s have a peaceful rocket contest just like a rifle-shooting match, and they’ll see for themselves.” Speaking about the future of East-West relations, Khrushchev stated that the American and Soviet people both wanted peace. He cautioned, however, that although the Soviet Union would never start a war, “some lunatics” might bring about a conflict. In particular, he noted that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had created “an artificial war psychosis.” In the case of war, it “would be fought on the American continent, which can be reached by our rockets.” NATO forces in Europe would also be devastated, and Europe “might become a veritable cemetery.” While the Soviet Union would “suffer immensely,” the forces of communism would ultimately destroy capitalism.

Khrushchev’s remarks came just a few days after the Gaither Report had been leaked to the press in the United States. The report supported many of the Russian leader’s contentions, charging that the United States was falling far behind the Soviets in the arms race. Critics of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s foreign policy, particularly from the Democratic Party, went on the attack. The public debate concerning the alleged “missile gap” between U.S. and Soviet rocket arsenals continued through the early 1960s and was a major issue in the 1960 presidential campaign between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

“Nikita Khrushchev challenges United States to a missile “shooting match”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Nov 2008, 10:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2485.

November 15, 1969

Second moratorium against the war held

Following a symbolic three-day “March Against Death,” the second national “moratorium” opens with mass demonstrations in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Organized by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (“New Mobe”), an estimated 500,000 demonstrators rallied in Washington as part of the largest such rally to date. It began with a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Washington Monument, where a mass rally and speeches were held. Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and four different touring casts of the musical “Hair” entertained the demonstrators.

Later, violence erupted when police used tear gas on radicals who had split off from the main rally to march on the Justice Department. The crowd of about 6,000, led by members of the Youth International Party (“Yippies”), threw rocks and bottles and burned U.S. flags. Almost 100 demonstrators were arrested.

The largest protest outside Washington was held in San Francisco, where an estimated 250,000 people demonstrated. Antiwar demonstrations were also held in a number of major European cities, including Frankfurt, Stuttgart, West Berlin, and London. The largest overseas demonstration occurred in Paris, where 2,651 people were arrested.

“Second moratorium against the war held,” The History Channel website, 2008, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1486 [accessed Nov 15, 2008]

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12
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-12-2008: Edith Cavell

October 12, 1915

British nurse Edith Cavell executed

On the morning of October 12, 1915, the 49-year-old British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by a German firing squad in Brussels, Belgium.

Before World War I began in 1914, Cavell served for a number of years as the matron of a nurse’s training school in Brussels. After the city was captured and occupied by the Germans in the first month of war, Cavell chose to remain at her post, tending to German soldiers and Belgians alike. In August 1915, German authorities arrested her and accused her of helping British and French prisoners-of-war, as well as Belgians hoping to serve with the Allied armies, to escape Belgium for neutral Holland.

During her trial, Cavell admitted that she was guilty of the offenses with which she had been charged. She was sentenced to death. Though diplomats from the neutral governments of the United States and Spain fought to commute her sentence, their efforts were ultimately in vain. The night before her execution on October 12, 1915, Cavell confided in Reverend Horace Graham, a chaplain from the American Legation, that “They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity: I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

Cavell’s execution led to a rise in anti-German feeling in the United States as well as in Britain, where she was idealized as a heroic martyr to the cause and was honored with a statue in St. Martin’s Place, just off London’s Trafalagar Square. “What Jeanne d’Arc has been for centuries to France,” wrote one Allied journalist, “that will Edith Cavell become to the future generations of Britons.”

“British nurse Edith Cavell executed .” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Oct 2008, 01:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=51430.

On This Day

1492 – Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.

1792 – The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, MD.

1810 – Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The royalty invited the public to attend the event which became an annual celebration that later became known as Oktoberfest.

1892 – In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in public schools.

‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’  [ * ‘to’ added in October, 1892. ]  For a brief history of the pledge see the following: http://history.vineyard.net/pledge.htm

1915 – Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt criticized U.S. citizens who identified themselves by dual nationalities.

1933 – John Dillinger, bank robber, escaped from a jail in Allen County, OH. The sheriff was killed by his gang as they helped Dillinger escape.

1933 – The U.S. Department of Justice acquired Alcatraz Island from the U.S. Army.

1945 – Private First Class Desmond T. Doss was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for outstanding bravery as a medical corpsman. He was the first conscientious objector in American history to win the award.

1964 – The Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around the Earth. It was the first space flight to have a multi-person crew and the first flight to be performed without space suits.

1972 – During the Vietnam War, a racial brawl broke out aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Nearly 50 sailors were injured.

2000 – In Aden, Yemen, the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy destroyer, experienced a large explosion while refueling. The explosion was the result of a terrorist attack using a small boat. 17 crewmembers were killed and at least 39 were injured.

October 12, 1960

Nikita Khrushchev throws a tantrum at the United Nations

In one of the most surreal moments in the history of the Cold War, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev removes his shoe and pounds a table with it in protest against a speech critical of Soviet policy in Eastern Europe.

During a debate over a Russian resolution decrying colonialism, a representative of the government of the Philippines charged the Soviets with employing a double standard, pointing to their domination of Eastern Europe as an example of the colonialism they were criticizing in their resolution. In response, Khrushchev took off one of his shoes and began to furiously pound the table. The chaotic scene finally ended when General Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) broke his gavel calling the meeting to order, but not before the image of Khrushchev as a hotheaded buffoon was indelibly etched into America’s collective memory.

“Nikita Khrushchev throws a tantrum at the United Nations.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Oct 2008, 01:18 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2450.

09
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-9-08: Homestead

Showdown at Homestead steel plant

By the late nineteenth century, the workers at Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead, PA plant had eked out a modicum of power. They won a key strike in 1889, and in the process became a potent unit of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Still, these victories hardly erased the harsh working conditions at the Homestead mills. Nor did they mean that the Carnegie Company was pleased with or readily recognized the union. Ever mindful of Amalgamated’s potentially deleterious impact on his profit margins, Andrew Carnegie looked to erode the power of the union. In 1892, the company made its move against Amalgamated, though not with Carnegie at the helm: the steel baron had departed for a vacation in Scotland, leaving the task of smashing the union in the hands of his partner, Henry Clay Frick. Frick took his mission all too seriously: after refusing to renew the company’s contract with Amalgamated, he dug in for war, erecting a three-mile long steel wire fence around the plant. Frick also enlisted the aid of the Pinkerton Detective agency, which sent three hundred men to Homestead to ensure the plant’s transition to non-union workers. Amalgamated’s leaders responded in kind, lining up scores of workers, as well as a good chunk of the town, to wage battle against the plant. The showdown began in earnest on July 2, as Frick halted work at Homestead until the plant was staffed entirely by non-union workers. Three days later, the Homestead affair turned bloody, as the Pinkerton agents made their first appearance on the scene. Attempting to reach the plant via the Monongahela River, the agents were met by Amalgamated’s forces; the two sides engaged in a long and vicious battle that left nine strikers and seven agents dead. Despite the losses, Amalgamated’s motley army was able to turn back the detectives. Sensing that they were on the verge of disaster, officials for Carnegie enlisted the aid of the Pennsylvania Government. And, on this day in 1892, the state sent a band of 7000 troops to Homestead to “restore law and order.” The militia effectively squelched Amalgamated’s strike: the troops helped the Carnegie restaff its plant with non-union workers and by September, the Carnegie company had resumed production. Later that November, the union conceded defeat and called off its strike; Carnegie responded by summarily firing and even blacklisting the strikers.

“Showdown at Homestead steel plant.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 02:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5921.

0118 – Hadrian, Rome’s new emperor, made his entry into the city.

0455 – Avitus, the Roman military commander in Gaul, became Emperor of the West.

1540 – England’s King Henry VIII had his 6-month-old marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled.

1609 – In a letter to the crown, the emperor Rudolf II granted Bohemia freedom of worship.

1755 – General Edward Braddock was killed when French and Indian troops ambushed his force of British regulars and colonial militia.

1776 – The American Declaration of Independence was read aloud to Gen. George Washington’s troops in New York.

1789 – In Versailles, the French National Assembly declared itself the Constituent Assembly and began to prepare a French constitution.

1847 – A 10-hour work day was established for workers in the state of New Hampshire.

1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor died in office at the age of 55. He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore. Taylor had only served 16 months.

1868 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment was designed to grant citizenship to and protect the civil liberties of recently freed slaves. It did this by prohibiting states from denying or abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, depriving any person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or denying to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

1910 – W.R. Brookins became the first to fly an airplane a mile in the air.

1943 – American and British forces made an amphibious landing on Sicily.

1951 – U.S. President Truman asked Congress to formally end the state of war between the United States and Germany.

1971 – The United States turned over complete responsibility of the Demilitarized Zone to South Vietnamese units.

Khrushchev and Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev trade verbal threats over the future of Cuba. In the following years, Cuba became a dangerous focus in the Cold War competition between the United States and Russia.

“Khrushchev and Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 02:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2723.

06
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-6-08: Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson is first African American to win Wimbledon

On this day in 1957, Althea Gibson claims the women’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon and becomes the first African American to win a championship at London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Gibson was born on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina, and raised in the Harlem section of New York City. She began playing tennis as a teenager and went on to win the national black women’s championship twice. At a time when tennis was largely segregated, four-time U.S. Nationals winner Alice Marble advocated on Gibson’s behalf and the 5’11” player was invited to make her U.S. Open debut in 1950. In 1956, Gibson’s tennis career took off and she won the singles title at the French Open–the first African American to do so–as well as the doubles’ title there. In July 1957, Gibson won Wimbledon, defeating Darlene Hard, 6-3, 6-2. (In 1975, Arthur Ashe became the first African-American man to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, when he defeated Jimmy Connors.) In September 1957, she won the U.S. Open, and the Associated Press named her Female Athlete of the Year in 1957 and 1958. During the 1950s, Gibson won 56 singles and doubles titles, including 11 major titles.

After winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open again in 1958, Gibson retired from amateur tennis. In 1960, she toured with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, playing exhibition tennis matches before their games. In 1964, Gibson joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the first black woman to do so. The trailblazing athlete played pro golf until 1971, the same year in which she was voted into the National Lawn Tennis Association Hall of Fame.

After serving as New Jersey’s commissioner of athletics from 1975 to 1985, Althea Gibson died at age 76 from respiratory failure on September 28, 2003 at a hospital in East Orange, New Jersey.

“Althea Gibson is first African American to win Wimbledon.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 02:08 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=59462.

1483 – King Richard III of England was crowned.

1777 – British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolution.

1854 – In Jackson, MI, the Republican Party held its first convention.

1885 – Louis Pasteur successfully tested his anti-rabies vaccine. The child used in the test later became the director of the Pasteur Institute.

1893 – In northwest Iowa 71 people were killed by a tornado.

1917 – During World War I, Arab forces led by T.E. Lawrence captured the port of Aqaba from the Turks.

1923 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was established.

1944 – A fire broke out in the main tent of the Ringling Brother, Barnum and Bailey Circus. 169 people died.

1983 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that retirement plans could not pay women smaller monthly payments solely because of their gender.

1989 – The U.S. Army destroyed its last Pershing 1-A missiles at an ammunition plant in Karnack, TX. The dismantling was under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

1994 – On Storm King Mountain, in Colorado, 14 firefighters were killed while fighting a several-day-old fire.

1997 – The Mars Pathfinder released Sojourner, a robot rover on the surface of Mars. The spacecraft landed on the red planet on July 4th.

Frank family takes refuge

In Nazi-occupied Holland, 13-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are forced to take refuge in a secret sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse. The day before, Anne’s older sister, Margot, had received a call-up notice to be deported to a Nazi “work camp.”

“Frank family takes refuge.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 02:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5153.

U.S. policymakers express optimism

In the light of a deepening ideological rift between the Soviet Union and China, U.S. officials express their belief that Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev will seek closer relations with the United States. Unfortunately, the optimism was somewhat misplaced. Although China and the Soviet Union announced a serious split in mid-July 1963, Khrushchev’s days in office were numbered.

“U.S. policymakers express optimism.” 2008. The History Channel website. 6 Jul 2008, 02:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2720.

01
May
08

On This Day, 5-1-08: Law Day

President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day

On this day in 1958, President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day to honor the role of law in the creation of the United States of America. Three years later, Congress followed suit by passing a joint resolution establishing May 1 as Law Day.

The idea of a Law Day had first been proposed by the American Bar Association in 1957. The desire to suppress the celebration of May 1, or May Day, as International Workers Day aided in Law Day’s creation. May Day had communist overtones in the minds of many Americans, because of its celebration of working people as a governing class in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

“President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 May 2008, 12:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=609.

0408 – Theodosius II succeeded to the throne of Constantinople.

1308 – King Albert was murdered by his nephew John, because he refused his share of the Habsburg lands.

1707 – England, Wales and Scotland were united to form Great Britain.

1805 – The state of Virginia passed a law requiring all freed slaves to leave the state, or risk either imprisonment or deportation.

1863 – In Virginia, the Battle of Chancellorsville began. General Robert E. Lee’s forces began fighting with Union troops under General Joseph Hooker. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own soldiers in this battle. (May 1-4)

1867 – Reconstruction in the South began with black voter registration.

1877 – U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.

1884 – The construction of the firt American 10-story building began in Chicago, IL.

1898 – The U.S. Navy under Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines.

1927 – Adolf Hitler held his first Nazi meeting in Berlin.

1931 – The Empire State Building in New York was dedicated and opened. It was 102 stories tall and was the tallest building in the world at the time.

1934 – The Philippine legislature accepted a U.S. proposal for independence.

1941 – “Citizen Kane,” directed and starring Orson Welles, premiered in New York.

1944 – The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, made its first flight.

1945 – Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escaped from the Fuehrerbunker as the Red Army advanced on Berlin.

1945 – Admiral Karl Doenitz succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich. This was one day after Hitler committed suicide.

1961 – Fidel Castro announced there would be no more elections in Cuba.

1967 – Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.

1970 – Students at Kent State University riot in downtown Kent, OH, in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia.

1986 – The Tass News Agency reported the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

1992 – On the third day of the Los Angeles riots resulting from the Rodney King beating trial. King appeared in public to appeal for calm, he asked, “Can we all get along?”

2001 – In Washington, DC, Chandra Levy disappeared. She was an intern at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. California Representative Gary Condit was named in the investigation. Her body was found on May 22, 2002 in Rock Creek Park.

 

American U-2 spy plane shot down

An American U-2 spy plane is shot down while conducting espionage over the Soviet Union. The incident derailed an important summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that was scheduled for later that month.

The U-2 spy plane was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency, and it was a sophisticated technological marvel. Traveling at altitudes of up to 70,000 feet, the aircraft was equipped with state-of-the-art photography equipment that could, the CIA boasted, take high-resolution pictures of headlines in Russian newspapers as it flew overhead. Flights over the Soviet Union began in mid-1956. The CIA assured President Eisenhower that the Soviets did not possess anti-aircraft weapons sophisticated enough to shoot down the high-altitude planes.

“American U-2 spy plane shot down.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 May 2008, 12:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2654.




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