Posts Tagged ‘President Abraham Lincoln

15
Jun
09

On This Day, June 15: Henry Ossian Flipper

June 15, 1877

First African American graduate of West Point

Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1856, is the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Flipper, who was never spoken to by a white cadet during his four years at West Point, was appointed a second lieutenant in the all-African American 10th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Sill in Indian Territory.

The United States Military Academy–the first military school in America–was founded by Congress in 1802 for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Established at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.

Located on the high west bank of New York’s Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General Benedict Arnold, the commander of the fort, agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for 6,000 pounds. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into British hands, and Arnold fled to the British for protection.

Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in congressional action to expand the academy’s facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer–later known as the “father of West Point”–and the school became one of the nation’s finest sources of civil engineers. During the Mexican-American War, West Point graduates filled the leading ranks of the victorious U.S. forces, and with the outbreak of the Civil War former West Point classmates regretfully lined up against one another in the defense of their native states.

In 1870, the first African American cadet, James Webster Smith, was admitted into the academy but never reached the graduation ceremonies. It was not until 1877 that Henry Ossian Flipper became the first to graduate, after enduring four years of prejudice and silence. In 1976, the first female cadets were admitted into West Point. The academy is now under the general direction and supervision of the department of the U.S. Army and has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students.

“First African American graduate of West Point,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5095 (accessed Jun 15, 2009).

On This Day

1215 – King John of England put his seal on the Magna Carta.

1752 – Benjamin Franklin experimented by flying a kite during a thunderstorm. The result was a little spark that showed the relationship between lightning and electricity.

1775 – George Washington was appointed head of the Continental Army by the Second Continental Congress.

1836 – Arkansas became the 25th U.S. state.

1844 – Charles Goodyear was granted a patent for the process that strengthens rubber.

1846 – The United States and Britain settled a boundary dispute concerning the boundary between the U.S. and Canada, by signing a treaty.

1864 – An order to establish a military burial ground was signed by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The location later became known as Arlington National Cemetery.

1911 – The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. was incorporated in the state of New York. The company was later renamed International Business Machines (IBM) Corp.

1978 – King Hussein of Jordan married 26-year-old American Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor.

1989 – In Shanghai three Chinese workers were sentenced to death for setting fire to a train during a pro-democracy protest.

1992 – It was ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court that the government could kidnap criminal suspects from foreign countries for prosecution.

June 15, 1863

Lincoln calls for help

On this day, President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting the capital.

Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg and set it on the road to Pennsylvania. Lee and the Confederate leadership decided to try a second invasion of the North to take pressure off Virginia and to seize the initiative against the Army of the Potomac. The first invasion, in September 1862, failed when the Federals fought Lee’s army to a standstill at Antietam.

Lee later divided his army and sent the regiments toward the Shenandoah Valley, using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen. After the Confederates took Winchester, Virginia, on June 14, they were situated on the Potomac River, seemingly in a position to move on Washington, D.C. Lincoln did not know it, but Lee had no intention of attacking Washington. All Lincoln knew was that the Rebel army was moving en masse and that Union troops could not be certain as to the Confederates’ location.

On June 15, Lincoln put out an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it was an indication of how little the Union authorities knew of Lee’s movements and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.

“Lincoln calls for help,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2213 [accessed Jun 15, 2009]

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12
Feb
09

On This Day, February 12: Lincoln’s Birthday

February 12, 1865

Garnet preaches to House on slavery and Civil War

The Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Garnet, the first African American to address the U.S. House of Representatives, delivers a sermon to a crowded House chamber. His sermon commemorated the victories of the Union army and the deliverance of the country from slavery.

Garnet, a former slave himself, was a pastor of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln, with the unanimous consent of his Cabinet and the two congressional chaplains, had arranged for the special Sunday service to be held on February 12, the president’s 56th birthday.

Garnet escaped to the North in 1824, where he became a prominent abolitionist, famous for his radical appeal to slaves to rise up against their masters. In 1881, he was appointed U.S. minister to Liberia but died only two months after his arrival in the African nation.

“Garnet preaches to House on slavery and Civil War.” 2009. The History Channel website. 12 Feb 2009, 10:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4760.

 

On This Day

1554 – Lady Jane Grey was beheaded after being charged with treason. She had claimed the throne of England for only nine days.

1870 – In the Utah Territory, women gained the right to vote.

1892 – In the U.S., President Lincoln’s birthday was declared to be a national holiday.

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded.

1915 – The cornerstone of the Lincoln Memorial was laid in Washington, DC.

1940 – Mutual Radio presented the first broadcast of the radio play “The Adventures of Superman.”

1998 – A U.S. federal judge declared that the presidential line-item veto was unconstitutional.

2001 – The space probe NEAR landed on the asteroid Eros. It was the first time that any craft had landed on a small space rock.

2002 – Kenneth Lay, former Enron CEO, exercised his constitutional rights and refused to testify to the U.S. Congress about the collapse of Enron.

 

February 12, 1809

Abraham Lincoln is born

On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Lincoln, one of America’s most admired presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a continual effort to improve his mind. As an adult, he lived in Illinois and performed a variety of jobs including stints as a postmaster, surveyor and shopkeeper, before entering politics. He served in the Illinois legislature from 1834 to 1836, and then became an attorney. In 1842, Lincoln married Mary Todd; together, the pair raised four sons.

Lincoln’s sense of humor may have helped him to hide recurring bouts of depression. He admitted to friends and colleagues that he suffered from “intense melancholia” and hypochondria most of his adult life. Perhaps in order to cope with it, Lincoln engaged in self-effacing humor, even chiding himself about his famously homely looks. When an opponent in an 1858 Senate race debate called him “two-faced,” he replied, “If I had another face do you think I would wear this one?”

Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator.” Although he waffled on the subject of slavery in the early years of his presidency, his greatest legacy was his work to preserve the Union and his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. To Confederate sympathizers, however, Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation reinforced his image as a hated despot and ultimately led John Wilkes Booth to assassinate him on April 14, 1865. His favorite horse, Old Bob, pulled his funeral hearse.

“Abraham Lincoln is born.” 2009. The History Channel website. 12 Feb 2009, 11:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=183.

Credence Clearwater Revival:

Fortunate Son

11
Feb
09

On This Day, February 11: Lincoln

February 11, 1861

Lincoln leaves Springfield

President-elect Abraham Lincoln leaves home in Springfield, Illinois, as he embarks on his journey to Washington.

On a cold, rainy morning, Lincoln boarded a two-car private train loaded with his family’s belongings, which he himself had packed and bound. Mary Lincoln was in St. Louis on a shopping trip, and she joined him later in Indiana. It was a somber occasion. Lincoln was leaving his home and heading into the maw of national crisis. Since he had been elected, seven states of the lower South had seceded from the Union. Lincoln knew that his actions upon entering office would likely lead to civil war. He spoke to the crowd before departing: “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young man to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being…I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail…To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

A bystander reported that the president-elect’s “breast heaved with emotion and he could scarcely command his feelings.” Indeed, Lincoln’s words were prophetic–a funeral train carried him back to Springfield just over four years later.

“Lincoln leaves Springfield.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Feb 2009, 10:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2103.

On This Day

1752 – The Pennsylvania Hospital opened as the very first hospital in America.

1812 – The term “gerrymandering” had its beginning when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, signed a redistricting law that favored his party.

1937 – General Motors agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union, thereby ending the current sit-down strike against them.

1943 – General Dwight David Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.

1945 – During World War II, the Yalta Agreement was signed by U.S. President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

1960 – Jack Paar walked off while live on the air on the “Tonight Show” with four minutes left. He did this in response to censors cutting out a joke from the show the night before.

1990 – Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

1993 – Janet Reno was appointed to the position of attorney general by U.S. President Clinton. She was the first female to hold the position.

2000 – Great Britain suspended self-rule in Northern Ireland after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) failed to begin decommissioning (disarming) by a February deadline.

 

February 11, 1951

Hornet stings Big Three

Marshall Teague drove a Hudson Hornet to victory on the beach oval of the 160-mile Daytona Grand National at Daytona Beach, Florida, beginning Hudson’s extraordinary run on the NASCAR circuit. In 1948, Hudson introduced the revolutionary “step-down” chassis design that is still used in most cars today. Until Hudson’s innovation all car drivers had stepped up into the driver’s seats. The “step-down” design gave the Hornet a lower center of gravity and, consequently, better handling. Fitted with a bigger engine in 1951, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force on the NASCAR circuit. For the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big. Excited by the publicity generated by their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to make their cars faster. The Big Three, fearing that losses on the track would translate into losses on the salesroom floor, hurried to back their own cars. Thus was born the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would contend for nearly every NASCAR race between 1951 and 1955, when rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.

“Hornet stings Big Three.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Feb 2009, 10:40 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7232.

February 11, 1958

Tragedy at Daytona

On this day the racer Marshall Teague died at age 37 after attempting to raise the closed-course speed record at Daytona.

“Tragedy at Daytona.” 2009. The History Channel website. 11 Feb 2009, 10:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=7233.

21
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-21-2008: A. Lincoln Writes to Mrs Bixby

November 21, 1864

Lincoln allegedly writes to mother of Civil War casualties

Legend holds that on this day in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln composes a letter to Lydia Bixby, a widow and mother of five men who had been killed in the Civil War. A copy of the letter was then published in the Boston Evening Transcript on November 25 and signed “Abraham Lincoln.” The original letter has never been found.

The letter expressed condolences to Mrs. Bixby on the death of her five sons, who had fought to preserve the Union in the Civil War. The author regrets how “weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.” He continued with a prayer that “our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement [and leave you] the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.”

Scholars continue to debate the authorship of the letter, and the authenticity of copies printed between1864 and 1891. At the time, copies of presidential messages were often published and sold as souvenirs. Many historians and archivists agree that the original letter was probably written by Lincoln’s secretary, John Hay. As to Mrs. Bixby’s loss, scholars have discovered that only two of her sons actually died fighting during the Civil War. A third was honorably discharged and a fourth was dishonorably thrown out of the Army. The fifth son’s fate is unknown, but it is assumed that he deserted or died in a Confederate prison camp. Despite its dubious origins, the letter’s text became even more famous when it was quoted in Steven Spielberg’s World War II film epic Saving Private Ryan (1998).

“Lincoln allegedly writes to mother of Civil War casualties.” 2008. The History Channel website. 21 Nov 2008, 09:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52014.

A. Lincoln’s Letter to Mrs. Bixby

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,–

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

November 21, 1975

Congressional report charges U.S. involvement in assassination plots

A Senate committee issues a report charging that U.S. government officials were behind assassination plots against two foreign leaders and were heavily involved in at least three other plots. The shocking revelations suggested that the United States was willing to go to murderous levels in pursuing its Cold War policies.

The Senate Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Senator Frank Church, alleged that U.S. officials instigated plots to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. In addition, the U.S. officials “encouraged or were privy to” plots that led to the assassinations of Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, General Rene Schneider of Chile, and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. The attempts against Castro failed, but the other four leaders were killed. There was also evidence suggesting U.S. involvement in a number of other assassination plots against foreign leaders.

The committee indicated that it had no specific evidence that an American president ever authorized an assassination. However, it went on to declare that “whether or not the President in fact knows about the assassination plots, and even if their subordinates failed in their duty of full disclosure, it still follows that the President should have known about the plots.” The Central Intelligence Agency came in for special condemnation for its efforts to recruit Mafia hit men to kill Castro and mercenaries to assassinate Lumumba. In the report’s conclusion, the committee declared that, “We condemn the use of assassination as a tool of foreign policy [and] find that assassination violates moral precepts fundamental to our way of life.”

President Gerald Ford criticized the decision to release the report, claiming that it would do “grievous damage to our country” and would be used by “groups hostile to the United States in a manner designed to do maximum damage to the reputation and foreign policy of the United States.”

“Congressional report charges U.S. involvement in assassination plots.” 2008. The History Channel website. 21 Nov 2008, 09:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2491.

19
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-19-2008: The Gettysburg Address

November 19, 1863

Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

At the dedication, the crowd listened for two hours to Everett before Lincoln spoke. Lincoln’s address lasted just two or three minutes. The speech reflected his redefined belief that the Civil War was not just a fight to save the Union, but a struggle for freedom and equality for all, an idea Lincoln had not championed in the years leading up to the war. This was his stirring conclusion: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Reception of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was initially mixed, divided strictly along partisan lines. Nevertheless, the “little speech,” as he later called it, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written.

“Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Nov 2008, 10:07 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52278.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

November 19, 1977

Sadat visits Israel

In an unprecedented move for an Arab leader, Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat travels to Jerusalem to seek a permanent peace settlement with Israel after decades of conflict. Sadat’s visit, in which he met with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and spoke before the Knesset (Parliament), was met with outrage in most of the Arab world.

Despite criticism from Egypt’s regional allies, Sadat continued to pursue peace with Begin, and in 1978 the two leaders met again in the United States, where they negotiated a historic agreement with President Jimmy Carter at Camp David, Maryland. The Camp David Accords, signed in September 1978, laid the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities. The final peace agreement–the first between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors–was signed in March 1979. The treaty ended the state of war between the two countries and provided for the establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations.

Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. However, Sadat’s peace efforts were not so highly acclaimed in the Arab world, and he was assassinated on October 6, 1981, by Muslim extremists in Cairo. Despite Sadat’s death, the peace process continued under Egypt’s new president, Hosni Mubarak. In 1982, Israel fulfilled the 1979 peace treaty by returning the last segment of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Egyptian-Israeli peace continues today.

“Sadat visits Israel.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Nov 2008, 10:08 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5534.

18
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-18-2008: Abraham Lincoln

November 18, 1863

Lincoln travels to Gettysburg

President Lincoln boards a train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to deliver a short speech at the dedication for the cemetery of soldiers killed during the battle there on July 1 to 3, 1863. The address he gave became perhaps the most famous speech in American history.

Lincoln had given much thought to what he wanted to say at Gettysburg, but he nearly missed his chance to say it. On November 18, Lincoln’s son, Tad, became ill with a fever. Abraham and Mary Lincoln were, sadly, no strangers to juvenile illness: they had already lost two sons. Prone to fits of hysteria, Mary Lincoln panicked when the president prepared to leave for Pennsylvania. Lincoln felt that the opportunity to speak at Gettysburg and present his defense of the war was too important to miss, though. He boarded a train at noon and headed for Gettysburg.

Despite his son’s illness, Lincoln was in good spirits on the journey. He was accompanied by an entourage that included Secretary of State William Seward, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, Interior Secretary John Usher, Lincoln’s personal secretaries John Hay and John Nicolay, several members of the diplomat corps, some foreign visitors, a Marine band, and a military escort. During one stop, a young girl lifted a bouquet of flowers to his window. Lincoln kissed her and said, “You’re a sweet little rose-bud yourself. I hope your life will open into perpetual beauty and goodness.”

When Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg, he was handed a telegram that lifted his spirits: Tad was feeling much better. Lincoln enjoyed an evening dinner and a serenade by Fifth New York Artillery Band before he retired to finalize his famous Gettysburg Address.

“Lincoln travels to Gettysburg.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Nov 2008, 10:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2391.

 On This Day

1865 – Samuel L. Clemens published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” under the pen name “Mark Twain” in the New York “Saturday Press.”

1883 – The U.S. and Canada adopted a system of standard time zones.

1903 – The U.S. and Panama signed a treaty that granted the U.S. rights to build the Panama Canal.

1916 – Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in World War I, calls off the Battle of the Somme in France. The offensive began on July 1, 1916.

1936 – Germany and Italy recognized the Spanish government of Francisco Franco.

1951 – Chuck Connors (Los Angeles Angels) became the first player to oppose the major league draft. Connors later became the star of the television show “The Rifleman.”

1966 – U.S. Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.

1987 – The U.S. Congress issued the Iran-Contra Affair report. The report said that President Ronald Reagan bore “ultimate responsibility” for wrongdoing by his aides.

1988 – U.S. President Reagan signed major legislation provided the death penalty for drug traffickers who kill.

1993 – The U.S. House of Representatives joined the U.S. Senate in approving legislation aimed at protecting abortion facilities, staff and patients.

 

November 18, 1940

Hitler furious over Italy’s debacle in Greece

On this day in 1940, Adolf Hitler meets with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano over Mussolini’s disastrous invasion of Greece.

Mussolini surprised everyone with a move against Greece; his ally, Hitler, was caught off guard, especially since the Duce had led Hitler to believe he had no such intention. Even Mussolini’s own chief of army staff found out about the invasion only after the fact!

Despite being warned off an invasion of Greece by his own generals, despite the lack of preparedness on the part of his military, despite that it would mean getting bogged down in a mountainous country during the rainy season against an army willing to fight tooth and nail to defend its autonomy, Mussolini moved ahead out of sheer hubris, convinced he could defeat the inferior Greeks in a matter of days. He also knew a secret, that millions of lire had been put aside to bribe Greek politicians and generals not to resist the Italian invasion. Whether the money ever made it past the Italian fascist agents delegated with the responsibility is unclear; if it did, it clearly made no difference whatsoever-the Greeks succeeded in pushing the Italian invaders back into Albania after just one week. The Axis power spent the next three months fighting for its life in a defensive battle. To make matters worse, virtually half the Italian fleet at Taranto had been crippled by a British carrier-based attack.

At their meeting in Obersalzberg, Hitler excoriated Ciano for opening an opportunity for the British to enter Greece and establish an airbase in Athens, putting the Brits within striking distance of valuable oil reserves in Romania, which Hitler relied upon for his war machine. It also meant that Hitler would have to divert forces from North Africa, a high strategic priority, to Greece in order to bail Mussolini out. Hitler considered leaving the Italians to fight their own way out of this debacle-possibly even making peace with the Greeks as a way of forestalling an Allied intervention. But Germany would eventually invade, in April 1941, adding Greece to its list of conquests.

“Hitler furious over Italy’s debacle in Greece.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Nov 2008, 10:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6384.

16
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-16-2008: Jonathan Wainwright

Senior U.S. POW is released

On this day in 1945, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, (captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor, in the Philippines), is freed by Russian forces from a POW camp in Manchuria, China.

When President Franklin Roosevelt transferred Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his command in the Philippines to Australia in March 1942, Maj. Gen. Wainwright, until then under MacArthur’s command, was promoted to temporary lieutenant general and given command of all Philippine forces. His first major strategic decision was to move his troops to the fortified garrison at Corregidor. When Bataan was taken by the Japanese, and the infamous Bataan “Death March” of captured Allies was underway, Corredigor became the next battle ground. Wainwright and his 13,000 troops held out for a month despite heavy artillery fire. Finally, Wainwright and his troops, already exhausted, surrendered on May 6.

The irony of Wainwright’s promotion was that as commander of all Allied forces in the Philippines, his surrender meant the surrender of troops still holding out against the Japanese in other parts of the Philippines. Wainwright was taken prisoner, spending the next three and a half years as a POW in Luzon, Philippines, Formosa (now Taiwan), and Manchuria, China. Upon Japan’s surrender, Russian forces in Manchuria liberated the POW camp in which Wainwright was being held.

The years of captivity took its toll on the general. The man who had been nicknamed “Skinny” was now emaciated. His hair had turned white, and his skin was cracked and fragile. He was also depressed, believing he would be blamed for the loss of the Philippines to the Japanese.

When Wainwright arrived in Yokohama, Japan, to attend the formal surrender ceremony, Gen. MacArthur, his former commander, was stunned at his appearance-literally unable to eat and sleep for a day.

Wainwright was given a hero’s welcome upon returning to America, promoted to full general, and awarded the Medal of Honor.

“Senior U.S. POW is released.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6553.

 

On This Day

1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bennington took place. New England’s minutemen routed the British regulars.

1812 – Detroit fell to Indian and British troops in the War of 1812.

1861 – U.S. President Lincoln prohibited the Union states from trading with the states of the Confederacy.

1923 – Carnegie Steel Corporation put into place the eight-hour workday for its employees.

1937 – Harvard University became the first school to have graduate courses in traffic engineering and administration.

1948 – Babe Ruth, Born February 6, 1895, died at the age of 53.

1960 – Cyprus was granted independence by Britain.

1962 – Ringo Starr was picked to replace Pete Best as the drummer for the Beatles. Best had been with the group for about 2 1/2 years.

1978 – Xerox was fined for excluding Smith-Corona Mfg. from the copier market. The fine was $25.6 million.

1984 – John DeLorean was acquitted on eight counts of a $24 million dollar cocaine conspiracy indictment.

1999 – In Russia, Vladimir V. Putin was confirmed as prime minister by the lower house of parliament.

 

George Carmack discovers Klondike gold

Sometime prospector George Carmack stumbles across gold while salmon fishing along the Klondike River in the Yukon.

“George Carmack discovers Klondike gold.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4614.

 

Poet Charles Bukowski is born

Charles Bukowski, leader of the “Meat School” of tough, masculine poetry, is born on this day in Andernach, Germany. Bukowski’s writing is filled with images of sex, violence, and heavy drinking.

“Poet Charles Bukowski is born.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4065.

 

Paul Robeson loses appeal over his passport

Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America.

“Paul Robeson loses appeal over his passport.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 04:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2761.

 

Elvis Presley dies

Popular music icon Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42. The death of the “King of Rock and Roll” brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

“Elvis Presley dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 16 Aug 2008, 03:54 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6991.




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