Posts Tagged ‘Richard M Nixon

13
May
09

On This Day, May 13: US Declares War on Mexico

May 13, 1846

President Polk declares war on Mexico

On May 13, 1846, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly votes in favor of President James K. Polk’s request to declare war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas.

Under the threat of war, the United States had refrained from annexing Texas after the latter won independence from Mexico in 1836. But in 1844, President John Tyler restarted negotiations with the Republic of Texas, culminating with a Treaty of Annexation.
The treaty was defeated by a wide margin in the Senate because it would upset the slave state/free state balance between North and South and risked war with Mexico, which had broken off relations with the United States. But shortly before leaving office and with the support of President-elect Polk, Tyler managed to get the joint resolution passed on March 1, 1845. Texas was admitted to the union on December 29.
While Mexico didn’t follow through with its threat to declare war, relations between the two nations remained tense over border disputes, and in July 1845, President Polk ordered troops into disputed lands that lay between the Neuces and Rio Grande rivers. In November, Polk sent the diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to seek boundary adjustments in return for the U.S. government’s settlement of the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico and also to make an offer to purchase California and New Mexico. After the mission failed, the U.S. army under Gen. Zachary Taylor advanced to the mouth of the Rio Grande, the river that the state of Texas claimed as its southern boundary.

Mexico, claiming that the boundary was the Nueces River to the northeast of the Rio Grande, considered the advance of Taylor’s army an act of aggression and in April 1846 sent troops across the Rio Grande. Polk, in turn, declared the Mexican advance to be an invasion of U.S. soil, and on May 11, 1846, asked Congress to declare war on Mexico, which it did two days later.

After nearly two years of fighting, peace was established by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848. The Rio Grande was made the southern boundary of Texas, and California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States. In return, the United States paid Mexico the sum of $15 million and agreed to settle all claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico.

“President Polk declares war on Mexico,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=58864 [accessed May 13, 2009]

On This Day

1607 – Jamestown, Virginia, was settled as a colony of England.

1648 – Margaret Jones of Plymouth was found guilty of witchcraft and was sentenced to be hanged by the neck.

1865 – The last land engagement of the American Civil War was fought at the Battle of Palmito Ranch in far south Texas, more than a month after Gen. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, VA.

1867 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis became a free man after spending two years in prison for his role in the American Civil War.

1888 – Slavery was abolished in Brazil.

1912 – Royal Flying Corps was established in England.

1954 – U.S. President Eisenhower signed into law the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act.

1968 – Peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam began in Paris.

1981 – Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

1985 – A confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped an explosive onto the group’s headquarters. 11 people died in the fire that resulted.

May 13, 1958

Vice President Nixon is attacked

During a goodwill trip through Latin America, Vice President Richard Nixon’s car is attacked by an angry crowd and nearly overturned while traveling through Caracas, Venezuela. The incident was the dramatic highlight of trip characterized by Latin American anger over some of America’s Cold War policies.

By 1958, relations between the United States and Latin America had reached their lowest point in years. Latin Americans complained that the U.S. focus on the Cold War and anticommunism failed to address the pressing economic and political needs of many Latin American nations. In particular, they argued that their countries needed more basic economic assistance, not more arms to repel communism. They also questioned the American support of dictatorial regimes in Latin America simply because those regimes claimed to be anticommunist-for example, the U.S. awarded the Legion of Merit medal to Venezuelan dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez in 1954; Jimenez was overthrown by a military coup early in 1958.

This was the atmosphere into which Vice President Richard Nixon arrived during his goodwill trip through Latin America in April and May 1958. The trip began with some controversy, as Nixon engaged in loud and bitter debates with student groups during his travels through Peru and Uruguay. In Caracas, Venezuela, however, things took a dangerous turn. A large crowd of angry Venezuelans who shouted anti-American slogans stopped Nixon’s motorcade through the capital city. They attacked the car, damaged its body and smashed the windows. Inside the vehicle, Secret Service agents covered the vice president and at least one reportedly pulled out his weapon. Miraculously, they escaped from the crowd and sped away. In Washington, President Eisenhower dispatched U.S. troops to the Caribbean area to rescue Nixon from further threats if necessary. None occurred, and the vice president left Venezuela ahead of schedule.

The riot in Caracas served as a wake-up call to U.S. officials in Washington, alerting them to America’s deteriorating relations with Latin America. In the next few months, the United States increased both its military and economic assistance to the region. However, it was not until communist Fidel Castro’s rise to power in Cuba beginning in 1959 that the United States truly realized the extent of discontent and rebelliousness in Latin America.

“Vice President Nixon is attacked,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2666 [accessed May 13, 2009]

01
Feb
09

On This Day, February 1: Guadalcanal

February 1, 1943

Japanese begin evacuation of Guadalcanal

On this day, Japanese forces on Guadalcanal Island, defeated by Marines, start to withdraw after the Japanese emperor finally gives them permission.

On July 6, 1942, the Japanese landed on Guadalcanal Island, part of the Solomon Islands chain, and began constructing an airfield. In response, the U.S. launched Operation Watchtower, in which American troops landed on five islands within the Solomon chain, including Guadalcanal. The landings on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tananbogo met with much initial opposition from the Japanese defenders, despite the fact that the landings took the Japanese by surprise because bad weather had grounded their scouting aircraft. “I have never heard or read of this kind of fighting,” wrote one American major general on the scene. “These people refuse to surrender.”

The Americans who landed on Guadalcanal had an easier time of it, at least initially. More than 11,000 Marines landed, but 24 hours passed before the Japanese manning the garrison knew what had happened. The U.S. forces quickly met their main objective of taking the airfield, and the outnumbered Japanese troops temporarily retreated. Japanese reinforcements were landed, though, and fierce hand-to-hand jungle fighting ensued. The Americans were at a particular disadvantage because they were assaulted from both sea and air, but when the U.S. Navy supplied reinforcement troops, the Americans gained the advantage. By February 1943, the Japanese retreated on secret orders of their emperor. In fact, the Japanese retreat was so stealthy that the Americans did not even know it had taken place until they stumbled upon abandoned positions, empty boats, and discarded supplies.

In total, the Japanese lost more than 25,000 men compared with a loss of 1,600 by the Americans. Each side lost 24 warships.

“Japanese begin evacuation of Guadalcanal.” 2009. The History Channel website. 1 Feb 2009, 07:59 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6682.

On This Day

1790 – The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York City.

1793 – France declared war on Britain and Holland.

1861 – Texas voted to secede from the Union.

1900 – Eastman Kodak Co. introduced the $1 Brownie box camera.

1946 – Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.

1951 – The first telecast of an atomic explosion took place.

1957 – P.H. Young became the first black pilot on a scheduled passenger airline.

1960 – Four black college students began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. They had been refused service.

1968 – During the Vietnam War, South Vietnamese National Police Chief Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head. The scene was captured in a news photograph.

2003 – NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts on board were killed.

February 1, 1968

Nixon announces his candidacy for president

Richard M. Nixon announces his candidacy for the presidency. Most observers had written off Nixon’s political career eight years earlier, when he had lost to John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election.

Two years after losing to Kennedy, Nixon ran for governor of California and lost in a bitter campaign against Edmund G. (“Pat”) Brown, but by 1968 he had sufficiently recovered his political standing in the Republican Party to announce his candidacy for president. Taking a stance between the more conservative elements of his party, led by Ronald Reagan, and the liberal northeastern wing, led by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Nixon won the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.

Nixon chose Spiro T. Agnew, the governor of Maryland, as his running mate. Nixon’s Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was weakened by internal divisions within his own party and the growing dissatisfaction with the Johnson administration’s handling of the war in Vietnam. Alabama governor George C. Wallace, running on a third party ticket, further complicated the election. Although Nixon and Humphrey each garnered about 43 percent of the popular vote, the distribution of Nixon’s nearly 32 million votes gave him a clear majority in the Electoral College, and he won the election.

“Nixon announces his candidacy for president.” 2009. The History Channel website. 1 Feb 2009, 08:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1647.

09
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-9-08: Jesse Owens

Owens wins 4th gold medal

At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, African American track star Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal of the Games in the 4×100-meter relay. His relay team set a new world record of 39.8 seconds, which held for 20 years. In their strong showing in track-and-field events at the XIth Olympiad, Jesse Owens and other African American athletes struck a propaganda blow against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who planned to use the Berlin Games as a showcase of supposed Aryan superiority.

Despite the embarrassment of seeing his best Aryan runners bested by African Americans, Adolf Hitler hailed the Berlin Olympics as a great success. He commissioned a German architect to design a colossal, 400,000-seat stadium at Nuremberg that would host Olympics for “all time to come.” The outbreak of World War II in 1939 prevented the building of the stadium, and by 1945 Hitler’s plans for Nazi world domination had ended in absolute defeat. In the decades of Cold War that followed, the United States and the Soviet Union exploited the propaganda potential of the Olympic Games as freely as the Nazis did at Berlin in 1936.

Although only 23, Jesse Owens retired from amateur competition shortly after the Berlin Olympics in order to capitalize on his fame. This effectively brought his athletic career to an end. He later engaged in boys’-guidance activities, made goodwill visits to Asia for the U.S. Department of State, and served as secretary of the Illinois State Athletic Commission. He died in 1980.

“Owens wins 4th gold medal.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Aug 2008, 04:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6984.

 

On This Day

1678 – American Indians sold the Bronx to Jonas Bronck for 400 beads.

1854 – “Walden” was published by Henry David Thoreau.

1859 – The escalator was patented by Nathan Ames.

1910 – A.J. Fisher received a patent for the electric washing machine.

1942 – Mohandas K. Gandhi was arrested Britain. He was not released until 1944.

1944 – The Forest Service and Wartime Advertising Council created “Smokey the Bear.”

1945 – The U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The bombing came three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. About 74,000 people were killed. Japan surrendered August 14.

1945 – The first network television broadcast occurred in Washington, DC. The program announced the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

1956 – The first statewide, state-supported educational television network went on the air in Alabama.

1969 – Sharon Tate and four other people were found murdered at Tate’s residence in Los Angeles, CA. Charles Manson and several members of his cult were later convicted of the crime.

1985 – Arthur J. Walker, a retired Navy officer, was found guilty of seven counts of spying for the Soviet Union.

2001 – U.S. President Bush announced he would support federal funding for limited medical research on embryonic stem cells.

 

Arthur Walker found guilty of spying for Soviet Union

Arthur Walker, a retired U.S. Navy officer, is found guilty of espionage for passing top-secret documents to his brother, who then passed them to Soviet agents. Walker was part of one of the most significant Cold War spy rings in the United States.

“Arthur Walker found guilty of spying for Soviet Union.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Aug 2008, 04:06 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2754.

Unusual succession makes Ford president

In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office.

Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration’s wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

“Unusual succession makes Ford president.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Aug 2008, 04:08 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5246.

08
Aug
08

On This Day 8-08-08: Nixon Resigns

Nixon resigns

In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

“Nixon resigns.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6983.

Vice President Agnew under attack

Vice President Agnew branded reports that he took kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland as “damned lies.” Agnew had taken a lot of heat in the media when he assumed a lead position as Nixon’s point man on Vietnam. He frequently attacked the student protest movement, blaming the intellectual community, which he referred to as “impudent snobs,” for campus unrest. Despite the charges of bribery and income tax evasion, Agnew vowed that he would never resign and blamed his troubles on the press, who, he said, were out to get him for his controversial stand on the war. Ultimately, however, he resigned from office on October 10, 1973.

“Vice President Agnew under attack.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1253.

 

1588 – The Spanish Armada was defeated by the English fleet ending an invasion attempt.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for St. Helena, in the South Atlantic. The remainder of his life was spent there in exile.

1844 – After the killing of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young was chosen to lead the Mormons.

1866 – African-American explorer Matthew A. Henson was born. Henson, along with Robert Peary and their Eskimo guide, were the first people to reach the North Pole.

1876 – Thomas Edison received a patent for the mimeograph. The mimeograph was a “method of preparing autographic stencils for printing.”

1899 – The refrigerator was patented by A.T. Marshall.

1911 – The number of representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives was established at 435. There was one member of Congress for every 211,877 residents.

1940 – The German Luftwaffe began a series of daylight air raids on Great Britain.

1942 – Six Nazi saboteurs were executed in Washington after conviction. Two others were cooperative and received life in prison.

1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed by U.S. President Truman.

1953 – The U.S. and South Korea initiated a mutual security pact.

1966 – Michael DeBakey became the first surgeon to install an artificial heart pump in a patient.

1978 – The U.S. launched Pioneer Venus II, which carried scientific probes to study the atmosphere of Venus.

1994 – Representatives from China and Taiwan signed a cooperation agreement.

2000 – The submarine H.L. Hunley was raised from ocean bottom after 136 years. The sub had been lost during an attack on the U.S.S. Housatonic in 1864. The Hunley was the first submarine in history to sink a warship.

 

Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria

On this day in 1945, the Soviet Union officially declares war on Japan, pouring more than 1 million Soviet soldiers into Japanese-occupied Manchuria, northeastern China, to take on the 700,000-strong Japanese army.

The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima by the Americans did not have the effect intended: unconditional surrender by Japan. Half of the Japanese inner Cabinet, called the Supreme War Direction Council, refused to surrender unless guarantees about Japan’s future were given by the Allies, especially regarding the position of the emperor, Hirohito. The only Japanese civilians who even knew what happened at Hiroshima were either dead or suffering terribly.

Japan had not been too worried about the Soviet Union, so busy with the Germans on the Eastern front. The Japanese army went so far as to believe that they would not have to engage a Soviet attack until spring 1946. But the Soviets surprised them with their invasion of Manchuria, an assault so strong (of the 850 Japanese soldiers engaged at Pingyanchen, 650 were killed or wounded within the first two days of fighting) that Emperor Hirohito began to plead with his War Council to reconsider surrender. The recalcitrant members began to waver.

“Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6544.

27
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-27-08: Frederick Banting and Charles Best

Insulin isolated in Toronto

At the University of Toronto, Canadian scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolate insulin–a hormone they believe could prevent diabetes–for the first time. Within a year, the first human sufferers of diabetes were receiving insulin treatments, and countless lives were saved from what was previously regarded as a fatal disease.

Diabetes has been recognized as a distinct medical condition for more than 3,000 years, but its exact cause was a mystery until the 20th century. By the early 1920s, many researchers strongly suspected that diabetes was caused by a malfunction in the digestive system related to the pancreas gland, a small organ that sits on top of the liver. At that time, the only way to treat the fatal disease was through a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar and high in fat and protein. Instead of dying shortly after diagnosis, this diet allowed diabetics to live–for about a year.

A breakthrough came at the University of Toronto in the summer of 1921, when Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolated insulin from canine test subjects, produced diabetic symptoms in the animals, and then began a program of insulin injections that returned the dogs to normalcy. On November 14, the discovery was announced to the world.

Two months later, with the support of J.J.R. MacLeod of the University of Toronto, the two scientists began preparations for an insulin treatment of a human subject. Enlisting the aid of biochemist J.B. Collip, they were able to extract a reasonably pure formula of insulin from the pancreases of cattle from slaughterhouses. On January 23, 1921, they began treating 14-year-old Leonard Thompson with insulin injections. The diabetic teenager improved dramatically, and the University of Toronto immediately gave pharmaceutical companies license to produce insulin, free of royalties. By 1923, insulin had become widely available, and Banting and Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine.

“Insulin isolated in Toronto.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 01:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5211.

 

On This Day

1245 – Frederick II of France was deposed by a council at Lyons, which found him guilty of sacrilege.

1663 – The British Parliament passed a second Navigation Act, which required all goods bound for the colonies be sent in British ships from British ports.

1777 – The marquis of Lafayette arrived in New England to help the rebellious American colonists fight the British.

1789 – The Department of Foreign Affairs was established by the U.S. Congress. The agency was later known as the Department of State.

1804 – The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. With the amendment Electors were directed to vote for a President and for a Vice-President rather than for two choices for President.

1866 – Cyrus Field successfully completed the Atlantic Cable. It was an underwater telegraph from North America to Europe.

1909 – Orville Wright set a record for the longest airplane flight. He was testing the first Army airplane and kept it in the air for 1 hour 12 minutes and 40 seconds.

1914 – British troops invaded the streets of Dublin, Ireland, and began to disarm Irish rebels.

1944 – U.S. troops completed the liberation of Guam.

1955 – The Allied occupation of Austria ended.

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson sent an additional 5,000 advisers to South Vietnam.

1967 – U.S. President Johnson appointed the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of the violence in the wake of urban rioting.

1980 – The deposed shah of Iran, Muhammad Riza Pahlavi, died in a hospital near Cairo, Egypt.

1995 – The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, by U.S. President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young-sam.

1996 – At the Atlanta Olympics a pipe bomb exploded at the public Centennial Olympic Park. One person was killed and more than 100 were injured.

1999 – The U.S. space shuttle Discovery completed a five-day mission commanded by Air Force Col. Eileen Collins. It was the first shuttle mission to be commanded by a woman.

 

Bugs Bunny’s debut

On this day in 1940, Bugs Bunny first appears on the silver screen in “A Wild Hare.” The wisecracking rabbit had evolved through several earlier short films. As in many future installments of Bugs Bunny cartoons, “A Wild Hare” featured Bugs as the would-be dinner for frustrated hunter Elmer Fudd.

“Bugs Bunny’s debut.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=3482.

First jet makes test flight

On this day in 1949, the world’s first jet-propelled airliner, the British De Havilland Comet, makes its maiden test-flight in England. The jet engine would ultimately revolutionize the airline industry, shrinking air travel time in half by enabling planes to climb faster and fly higher.

“First jet makes test flight.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 01:53 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52735.

Armistice ends the Korean War

After three years of a bloody and frustrating war, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea agree to an armistice, bringing the Korean War to an end. The armistice ended America’s first experiment with the Cold War concept of “limited war.”

“Armistice ends the Korean War.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 01:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2741.

House begins impeachment of Nixon

On this day in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommends that America’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, be impeached and removed from office. The impeachment proceedings resulted from a series of political scandals involving the Nixon administration that came to be collectively known as Watergate.

“House begins impeachment of Nixon.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 01:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=59458.

 

Everything in the world exists to end up in a book.
Hosea Ballou

22
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-22-08: INF Treaty

Gorbachev accepts ban on intermediate-range nuclear missiles

In a dramatic turnaround, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev indicates that he is willing to negotiate a ban on intermediate-range nuclear missiles without conditions. Gorbachev’s decision paved the way for the groundbreaking Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States.

Gorbachev’s change of mind was the result of a number of factors. His own nation was suffering from serious economic problems and Gorbachev desperately wanted to cut Russia’s military spending. In addition, the growing “no-nukes” movement in Europe was interfering with his ability to conduct diplomatic relations with France, Great Britain, and other western European nations. Finally, Gorbachev seemed to have a sincere personal trust in and friendship with Ronald Reagan, and this feeling was apparently reciprocal. In December 1987, during a summit in Washington, the two men signed off on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons.

“Gorbachev accepts ban on intermediate-range nuclear missiles.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2736.

 

On This Day

1376 – The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin leading rats out of town is said to have occurred on this date.

1587 – A second English colony was established on Roanoke Island off North Carolina. The colony vanished under mysterious circumstances.

1796 – Cleveland was founded by Gen. Moses Cleaveland.

1798 – The USS Constitution was underway and out to sea for the firs time since being launched on October 21, 1797.

1812 – English troops under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French at the Battle of Salamanca in Spain.

1933 – Wiley Post ended his around-the-world flight. He had traveled 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.

1937 – The U.S. Senate rejected President Roosevelt’s proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court.

1943 – American forces led by Gen. George S. Patton captured Palermo, Sicily.

1946 – 90 people were killed when Jewish extremists blew up a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

1955 – U.S. Vice-President Richard M. Nixon chaired a cabinet meeting in Washington, DC. It was the first time that a Vice-President had carried out the task.

1991 – Police arrested Jeffrey Dahmer after finding the remains of 11 victims in his apartment in Milwaukee. Dahmer confessed to 17 murders and was sentenced to life in prison.

1998 – Iran tested medium-range missile, capable of reaching Israel or Saudi Arabia.

2003 – In northern Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s sons Odai and Qusai died after a gunfight with U.S. forces.

 

Battle of Atlanta continues

Confederate General John Bell Hood continues to try to drive General William T. Sherman from the outskirts of Atlanta when he attacks the Yankees on Bald Hill. The attack failed, and Sherman tightened his hold on Atlanta.

“Battle of Atlanta continues.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2255.

The Preparedness Day bombing

In San Francisco, a bomb at a Preparedness Day parade on Market Street kills 10 people and wounds 40. The bomb was hidden in a suitcase. The parade was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce in support of America’s possible entrance into World War I. San Francisco was suffering through severe labor strife at the time, and many suspected that anti-war labor radicals were responsible for the terrorist attack.

Labor leader Tom Mooney, his wife Rena, his assistant Warren K. Billings, and two others were soon charged by District Attorney Charles Fickert with the bombing. The case attracted international interest because all evidence, with the exception of a handful of questionable witness accounts, seemed to point unquestionably to their innocence. Even after confessions of perjured testimony were made in the courtroom, the trial continued, and in 1917 Mooney and Billings were convicted of first-degree murder, with Billings sentenced to life imprisonment and Mooney sentenced to hang. The other three defendants were acquitted. Responding to international outrage at the conviction, President Woodrow Wilson set up a “mediation commission” to investigate the case, and no clear evidence of their guilt was found. In 1918, Mooney’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

During the next two decades, many groups and individuals petitioned California to grant the two men a new trial. By 1939, when evidence of perjury and false testimony at the trial had become overwhelming, newly elected Governor Culbert Olson pardoned Mooney and commuted Billing’s sentence to time served. Billings was not officially pardoned until 1961.

“The Preparedness Day bombing.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:18 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5198.

Dillinger gunned down

Outside Chicago’s Biograph Theatre, notorious criminal John Dillinger–America’s “Public Enemy No. 1”–is killed in a hail of bullets fired by federal agents. In a fiery bank-robbing career that lasted just over a year, Dillinger and his associates robbed 11 banks for more than $300,000, broke jail and narrowly escaped capture multiple times, and killed seven police officers and three federal agents.

“Dillinger gunned down.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:19 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5200.

Deportations from Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka begin

On this day in 1942, the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins, as thousands are rounded up daily and transported to a newly constructed concentration/extermination camp at Treblinka, in Poland.

“Deportations from Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka begin.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6527.

15
Jul
08

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

Nixon announces visit to communist China

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

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

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

 

On This Day

1099 – Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pike expedition sets out

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

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

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

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

Goldwater nominated for president

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

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

Garbo makes an appearance

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

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

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

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

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




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