Posts Tagged ‘Russia

06
Mar
14

Munich 1938 vs. Paris 2014 “Peace in our Time

1938 Munich: It was Mussolini’s idea that they should meet and so Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier, and Mussolini met in Munich and determined the fate of the Czechoslovakian region Sudetenland.  No one from Czechoslovakia was present at the meeting.  The claim by Hitler was that ethnic Germans in the region were under threat from the Czech people and that Germany needed to annex the region in order to protect them.  No one seemed to notice that the most important part of Czechoslovakia’s defense network against Germany was in the Sudetenland.  The Munich conference ended with Germany being allowed to annex the Sudetenland and Hitler concluding that the West was weak.  Poland was next and millions of people died in the war (WWII) that followed.

Today: Paris, France: Russia and the United States met to determine the fate of Crimea.  A region Putin claims is filled with ethnic Russians who are under threat from the new government in Kiev, Ukraine.  While these two nations grapple with what needs to be done, it seems strange to me that no one from Ukraine was present at this meeting.

Before another shameful chapter in world history is written, the conference in Paris, France needs to immediately cease until the Ukrainians are included in discussions about the future of their country.

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04
Mar
14

Facebook Post

A friend asked me my “thoughts about present day Eastern Europe?”

Below is my answer in regards to recent events in Ukraine. 

 

It’s an extension of Putin’s policy of retaking lost Soviet territory as he did with Georgia 2008 when he helped break a pair of small states away from Georgia. The West’s reaction was the same as Chamberlain’s reaction to Hitler and it was "Peace in our Time." Now here we are a few years later and Putin has marched his army into "the Rhineland" I mean Crimea. We are living in a new era of appeasement and the EU refuses to accept that their lack of aggressive action against the Russians is growing more and more dangerous, and Putin is growing more and more aggressive. We need to return to Cold War policies and accept that the Russians just refuse to accept any other nation’s right to exist. Unfortunately for the US it means we will, as during Cold War I, assume leadership in the counter-force required to make the Russians understand that the economic impact on Russia is far worse than the gain of conquered territory. I know America is tired of war, but it’s time to accept that our old adversary (the Soviet Union) has been resting and recuperating and now feels it is in a powerful enough position to retake the former Soviet Republics and to do so they are playing the oldest game in international politics–a game taught to the world by the Roman Empire–divide and conquer.

10
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-10-2008: Japan Accepts Potsdam Declaration

Japan accepts Potsdam terms, agrees to unconditional surrender

On this day in 1945, just a day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan submits its acquiescence to the Potsdam Conference terms of unconditional surrender, as President Harry S. Truman orders a halt to atomic bombing.

Emperor Hirohito, having remained aloof from the daily decisions of prosecuting the war, rubber-stamping the decisions of his War Council, including the decision to bomb Pearl Harbor, finally felt compelled to do more. At the behest of two Cabinet members, the emperor summoned and presided over a special meeting of the Council and implored them to consider accepting the terms of the Potsdam Conference, which meant unconditional surrender. “It seems obvious that the nation is no longer able to wage war, and its ability to defend its own shores is doubtful.” The Council had been split over the surrender terms; half the members wanted assurances that the emperor would maintain his hereditary and traditional role in a postwar Japan before surrender could be considered. But in light of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, as well as the emperor’s own request that the Council “bear the unbearable,” it was agreed: Japan would surrender.

Tokyo released a message to its ambassadors in Switzerland and Sweden, which was then passed on to the Allies. The message formally accepted the Potsdam Declaration but included the proviso that “said Declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as sovereign ruler.” When the message reached Washington, President Truman, unwilling to inflict any more suffering on the Japanese people, especially on “all those kids,” ordered a halt to atomic bombing, He also wanted to know whether the stipulation regarding “His Majesty” was a deal breaker. Negotiations between Washington and Tokyo ensued. Meanwhile, savage fighting continued between Japan and the Soviet Union in Manchuria.

“Japan accepts Potsdam terms, agrees to unconditional surrender.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6546.

 

On This Day

1792 – King Louis XVI was taken into custody by mobs during the French Revolution. He was executed the following January after being put on trial for treason.

1846 – The Smithsonian Institution was chartered by the U.S. Congress. The “Nation’s Attic” was made possible by $500,000 given by scientist Joseph Smithson.

1856 – In Louisiana, a hurricane came ashore and killed about 400 people.

1869 – The motion picture projector was patented by O.B. Brown.

1914 – Austria-Hungary invaded Russia.

1921 – Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio.

1927 – Mount Rushmore was formally dedicated. The individual faces of the presidents were dedicated later.

1944 – U.S. forces defeated the remaining Japanese resistance on Guam.

1954 – Construction began on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1969 – Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were murdered. Members of the Charles Manson cult committed the crimes one day after the killing of Sharon Tate and four other people.

1977 – The “Son of Sam,” David Berkowitz, was arrested in Yonkers, NY. Berkowitz, a postal employee, had shot and killed six people and wounded seven others.

1988 – U.S. President Reagan signed a measure that provided $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans who were interned by the U.S. government during World War II.

1994 – In Germany, three men were arrested after being caught smuggling plutonium into the country.

2003 – Ekaterina Dmitriev and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko were married. Malenchenko was about 240 miles above the earth in the international space station. It was the first-ever marriage from space.

 

New state west of the Mississippi

Missouri enters the Union as the 24th state–and the first located entirely west of the Mississippi River.

Named for one of the Native American groups that once lived in the territory, Missouri became a U.S. possession as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In 1817, Missouri Territory applied for statehood, but the question of whether it would be slave or free delayed approval by Congress. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was reached, admitting Missouri as a slave state but excluding slavery from the other Louisiana Purchase lands north of Missouri’s southern border. Missouri’s August 1821 entrance into the Union as a slave state was met with disapproval by many of its citizens.

In 1861, when other slave states seceded from the Union, Missouri chose to remain; although a provincial government was established in the next year by Confederate sympathizers. During the war, Missourians were split in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops. Lawlessness persisted during this period, and Missouri-born Confederate guerrillas such as Jesse James continued this lawlessness after the South’s defeat. With the ratification of Missouri’s new constitution by the citizens of the state in 1875, the old divisions were finally put to rest.

“New state west of the Mississippi.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5247.

Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri

The struggle for Missouri erupts with the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, where a motley band of raw Confederates defeat a Union force in the southwestern section of the state.

“Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2279.

Truman signs National Security Bill

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Bill, which establishes the Department of Defense. As the Cold War heated up, the Department of Defense became the cornerstone of America’s military effort to contain the expansion of communism.

In 1947, the National Security Act established the Cabinet-level position of secretary of defense, which oversaw a rather unwieldy umbrella military-defense agency known as the National Military Establishment. The secretary of defense, however, was just one of a number of military-related cabinet positions, including the pre-existing secretaries for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The growing complexity of the Cold War, a war in which the mishandled application of military force could lead to a world war of cataclysmic proportions, convinced U.S. officials that the 1947 act needed to be revised.

In 1949, the National Security Bill streamlined the defense agencies of the U.S. government. The 1949 bill replaced the National Military Establishment with the Department of Defense. The bill also removed the cabinet-level status of the secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, who would henceforth be subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. The first person to hold this position was Louis Johnson. Finally, the bill provided for the office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an effort to bring an end to the inter-service bickering that had characterized the Joint Chiefs in recent years. World War II hero General Omar Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The National Security Bill of 1949 was the result of the realization that more coordination and efficiency were needed for America’s military-defense bureaucracy, which had experienced tremendous growth during and after World War II. The Cold War was a new and dangerous kind of war for America, and the 1949 reorganization was recognition of the need for a different approach to U.S. defense.

“Truman signs National Security Bill.” 2008. The History Channel website. 10 Aug 2008, 02:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2755.

28
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-28-08: World War I

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

On July 28, 1914, one month to the day after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War.

Threatened by Serbian ambition in the tumultuous Balkans region of Europe, Austria-Hungary determined that the proper response to the assassinations was to prepare for a possible military invasion of Serbia. After securing the unconditional support of its powerful ally, Germany, Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with a rigid ultimatum on July 23, 1914, demanding, among other things, that all anti-Austrian propaganda within Serbia be suppressed, and that Austria-Hungary be allowed to conduct its own investigation into the archduke’s killing. Though Serbia effectively accepted all of Austria’s demands except for one, the Austrian government broke diplomatic relations with the other country on July 25 and went ahead with military preparedness measures. Meanwhile, alerted to the impending crisis, Russia—Serbia’s own mighty supporter in the Balkans—began its own initial steps towards military mobilization against Austria.

In the days following the Austrian break in relations with Serbia, the rest of Europe, including Russia’s allies, Britain and France, looked on with trepidation, fearing the imminent outbreak of a Balkans conflict that, if entered into by Russia, threatened to explode into a general European war. The British Foreign Office lobbied its counterparts in Berlin, Paris and Rome with the idea of an international convention aimed at moderating the conflict; the German government, however, was set against this notion, and advised Vienna to go ahead with its plans.

On July 28, 1914, after a decision reached conclusively the day before in response to pressure from Germany for quick action—apart from Kaiser Wilhelm II, who by some accounts still saw the possibility of a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the conflict, but was outmaneuvered by the more hawkish military and governmental leadership of Germany—Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. In response, Russia formally ordered mobilization in the four military districts facing Galicia, its common front with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That night, Austrian artillery divisions initiated a brief, ineffectual bombardment of Belgrade across the Danube River.

“My darling one and beautiful, everything tends towards catastrophe and collapse,” British naval official Winston Churchill wrote to his wife at midnight on July 29. He was proven right over the next several days. On August 1, after its demands for Russia to halt mobilization met with defiance, Germany declared war on Russia. Russia’s ally, France, ordered its own general mobilization that same day, and on August 3, France and Germany declared war on each other. The German army’s planned invasion of neutral Belgium, announced on August 4, prompted Britain to declare war on Germany. Thus, in the summer of 1914, the major powers in the Western world—with the exception of the United States and Italy, both of which declared their neutrality, at least for the time being—flung themselves headlong into the First World War.

“Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=828.

The Russians mobilized faster than the Germans had counted on, causing Germany to withdraw important elements of its army from attacking France thus dooming the attack on France to failure and forced the Germans into a two-front war.  World War I as it is now known destroyed the great monarchies of Europe, cost millions of lives, bankrupted empires and elevated Serbia to an almost mythical status of being the little nation that will eventually bring about Armageddon.

 

On This Day

1540 – King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed. The same day, Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

1794 – Maximilien Robespierre was sent to the guillotine. He was a leading figure in the French Revolution.

1821 – Peru declared its independence from Spain.

1866 – The metric system was legalized by the U.S. Congress for the standardization of weights and measures throughout the United States.

1868 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment guaranteed due process of law.

1945 – A U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City’s Empire State Building. 14 people were killed and 26 were injured.

1965 – U.S. President Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.

1998 – Serbian military forces seized the Kosovo town of Malisevo.

1998 – Monica Lewinsky received blanket immunity from prosecution to testify before a grand jury about her relationship with U.S. President Clinton.

 

 

Bonus Marchers evicted by U.S. Army

During the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover orders the U.S. Army under General Douglas MacArthur to evict by force the Bonus Marchers from the nation’s capital.

Two months before, the so-called “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of some 1,000 World War I veterans seeking cash payments for their veterans’ bonus certificates, had arrived in Washington, D.C. Most of the marchers were unemployed veterans in desperate financial straits. In June, other veteran groups spontaneously made their way to the nation’s capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong. Camping in vacant government buildings and in open fields made available by District of Columbia Police Chief Pelham D. Glassford, they demanded passage of the veterans’ payment bill introduced by Representative Wright Patman.

While awaiting a vote on the issue, the veterans conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful fashion, and on June 15 the Patman bill passed in the House of Representatives. However, two days later, its defeat in the Senate infuriated the marchers, who refused to return home. In an increasingly tense situation, the federal government provided money for the protesters’ trip home, but 2,000 refused the offer and continued to protest. On July 28, President Herbert Hoover ordered the army to evict them forcibly. General MacArthur’s men set their camps on fire, and the veterans were driven from the city. Hoover, increasingly regarded as insensitive to the needs of the nation’s many poor, was much criticized by the public and press for the severity of his response.

“Bonus Marchers evicted by U.S. Army.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5215.

Worst modern earthquake

At 3:42 a.m., an earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale flattens Tangshan, a Chinese industrial city with a population of about one million people. As almost everyone was asleep in their beds, instead of outside in the relative safety of the streets, the quake was especially costly in terms of human life. An estimated 242,000 people in Tangshan and surrounding areas were killed, making the earthquake one of the deadliest in recorded history, surpassed only by the 300,000 who died in the Calcutta earthquake in 1737, and the 830,000 thought to have perished in China’s Shaanxi province in 1556.

The Chinese government was ill-prepared for a disaster of this scale. The day following the quake, helicopters and planes began dropping food and medicine into the city. Some 100,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army were ordered to Tangshan, and many had to march on foot from Jinzhou, a distance of more than 180 miles. About 30,000 medical personnel were called in, along with 30,000 construction workers. The Chinese government, boasting self-sufficiency, refused all offers of foreign relief aid. In the crucial first week after the crisis, many died from lack of medical care. Troops and relief workers lacked the kind of heavy rescue training necessary to efficiently pull survivors from the rubble. Looting was also epidemic. More than 160,000 families were left homeless, and more than 4,000 children were orphaned.

Tangshan was eventually rebuilt with adequate earthquake precautions. Today, nearly two million people live there. There is speculation that the death toll from the 1976 quake was much higher than the official Chinese government figure of 242,000. Some Chinese sources have spoken privately of more than 500,000 deaths.

“Worst modern earthquake.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Jul 2008, 02:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6972.

25
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-25-08: Louise Joy Brown

World’s first “test tube baby” born

On this day in 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by caesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.

“World’s first “test tube baby” born .” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:35 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=59456.

 

On This Day

0326 – Constantine refused to carry out the traditional pagan sacrifices.

1394 – Charles VI of France issued a decree for the general expulsion of Jews from France.

1587 – Japanese strong-man Hideyoshi banned Christianity in Japan and ordered all Christians to leave.

1593 – France’s King Henry IV converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.

1805 – Aaron Burr visited New Orleans with plans to establish a new country, with New Orleans as the capital city.

1845 – China granted Belgium equal trading rights with Britain, France and the United States.

1850 – In Worcester, MA, Harvard and Yale University freshmen met in the first intercollegiate billiards match.

1850 – Gold was discovered in the Rogue River in Oregon.

1866 – Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army. He was the first American officer to hold the rank.

1909 – French aviator Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel in a monoplane. He traveled from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes. He was the first man to fly across the channel.

1914 – Russia declared that it would act to protect Serbian sovereignty.

1934 – Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss was shot and killed by Nazis.

1941 – The U.S. government froze all Japanese and Chinese assets.

1946 – The U.S. detonated an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. It was the first underwater test of the device.

1946 – Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a team at Club 500 in Atlantic City, NJ.

1952 – Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S.

1956 – The Italian liner Andrea Doria sank after colliding with the Swedish ship Stockholm off the New England coast. 51 people were killed.

1984 – Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. She was aboard the orbiting space station Salyut 7.

1994 – Israel and Jordan formally ended the state of war that had existed between them since 1948.

 

Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution

The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution passes, declaring that the war is being waged for the reunion of the states and not to interfere with the institutions of the South, namely slavery. The measure was important in keeping the pivotal states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland in the Union.

This resolution should not be confused with the Crittenden Compromise—a plan circulated after the Southern states began seceding from the Union that proposed to protect slavery as an enticement to keep the Southern states from leaving—which was defeated in Congress. At the beginning of the war, many Northerners supported a war for to keep the Union together, but had no interest in advancing the cause of abolition. The Crittenden-Johnson plan was passed in 1861 to distinguish the issue of emancipation from the war’s purpose.

The common denominator of the two plans was Senator John Crittenden from Kentucky. Crittenden carried the torch of compromise borne so ably by another Kentucky senator, Henry Clay, who brokered such important deals as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 to keep the nation together. Clay died in 1852, but Crittenden carried on the spirit befitting the representative of a state deeply divided over the issue of slavery.

Although the measure was passed in Congress, it meant little when, just two weeks later, President Lincoln signed a confiscation act, allowing for the seizure of property—including slaves—from rebellious citizens. Still, for the first year and a half of the Civil War, reunification of the United States was the official goal of the North. It was not until Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862 that slavery became a goal.

“Congress passes Crittenden-Johnson Resolution.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:33 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2258.

Mussolini falls from power

On this day in 1943, Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost. Mussolini responded to it all with an uncharacteristic meekness.

“Mussolini falls from power.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Jul 2008, 02:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6530.

25
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-25-08: Howl

Soviets announce withdrawal from Iran

In conclusion to an extremely tense situation of the early Cold War, the Soviet Union announces that its troops in Iran will be withdrawn within six weeks. The Iranian crisis was one of the first tests of power between the United States and the Soviet Union in the postwar world.

The Iranian crisis began during World War II. In 1942, Iran signed an agreement by which British and Soviet troops were allowed into the country in order to defend the oil-rich nation from possible German attack. American troops were also soon in Iran. The 1942 treaty stated that all foreign troops would withdraw within six months after the end of the war. In 1944, however, both Great Britain and the United States began to press the Iranian government for oil concessions and the Soviets thereupon demanded concessions of their own. By 1945, the oil situation was still unsettled, but the war was coming to an end and the American attitude toward the Soviet Union had changed dramatically.

The new administration of Harry S. Truman, which came to power when Franklin D. Roosevelt died in April 1945, decided that the Soviets were not to be trusted and were bent on expansion. Therefore, a policy of “toughness” was adopted toward the former wartime ally. Iran came to be a test case for this new policy. The Soviets had decided to take action in Iran. Fearing that the British and Americans were conspiring to deny Russia its proper sphere of influence in Iran, the Soviets came to the assistance of an Iranian rebel group in the northern regions of the country. In early 1946, the United States complained to the United Nations about the situation in Iran and accused the Soviets of interfering with a sovereign nation. When the March 2, 1946 deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iran passed and the Soviets were still in place, a crisis began to develop.

A major diplomatic confrontation was avoided when the Soviets announced on March 25, 1946, that they would be withdrawing their forces within six weeks. President Truman bragged that his threats of a possible military confrontation had been the deciding factor, but that seems unlikely. The Soviet Union and Iran had reached an agreement that gave the Soviets an oil concession in Iran. With this promise in hand, the Soviets kept their part of the bargain and moved their troops out of Iran in April 1946. Almost immediately, the Iranian government reneged on the oil deal and, with U.S. aid and advice, crushed the revolt in northern Iran. The Soviets were furious, but refrained from reintroducing their armed forces into Iran for fear of creating an escalating conflict with the United States and Great Britain. The Iranian crisis, and the suspicion and anger it created between the United States and the Soviet Union, helped set the tone for the developing Cold War.

“Soviets announce withdrawal from Iran.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Mar 2008, 02:18 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2617.

1306 – Robert the Bruce was crowned king of Scotland.

1634 – Lord Baltimore founded the Catholic colony of Maryland.

1655 – Puritans jailed Governor Stone after a military victory over Catholic forces in the colony of Maryland.

1700 – England, France and Netherlands ratify the 2nd Extermination Treaty.

1802 – France, Netherlands, Spain and England signed the Peace of Amiens.

1813 – The frigate USS Essex flew the first U.S. flag in battle in the Pacific.

1865 – During the American Civil War, Confederate forces captured Fort Stedman in Virginia.

1900 – The U.S. Socialist Party was formed in Indianapolis.

1905 – Russia received Japan’s terms for peace.

1911 – In New York City, 146 women were killed in fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City. The owners of the company were indicted on manslaughter charges because some of the employees had been behind locked doors in the factory. The owners were later acquitted and in 1914 they were ordered to pay damages to each of the twenty-three families that had sued.

1931 – The Scottsboro Boys were arrested in Alabama. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/scottsboro/SB_acct.html

1960 – A guided missile was launched from a nuclear powered submarine for the first time.

1989 – In Paris, the Louvre reopened with I.M. Pei’s new courtyard pyramid.

1993 – President de Klerk admitted that South Africa had built six nuclear bombs, but said that they had since been dismantled.

Blackboard Jungle film released

Blackboard Jungle is released on this day in 1955. The film associated youth violence and anarchy with rock and roll, a linkage that would become a persistent underlying theme in the genre. The movie’s theme song, “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley and the Comets, became a top seller.

Blackboard Jungle film released.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Mar 2008, 02:20 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=3107.

U.S. Customs seizes Howl http://members.tripod.com/~Sprayberry/poems/howl.txt

The U.S. Customs Department confiscates 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl, which had been printed in England. Officials alleged that the book was obscene.

City Lights, a publishing company and bookstore in San Francisco owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, proceeded to publish the book in the fall of 1956. The publication led to Ferlinghetti’s arrest on obscenity charges. Ferlinghetti was bailed out by the American Civil Liberties Union, which led the legal defense. Nine literary experts testified at the trial that the poem was not obscene, and Ferlinghetti was found not guilty.

Howl, which created a literary earthquake among the literary community when Ginsberg first read the poem in 1955, still stands as an important monument to the countercultural fervor of the late 1950s and ’60s. Ginsberg stayed at the forefront of numerous liberal movements throughout his life and became a well-loved lecturer at universities around the country. He continued to write and read poetry until his death from liver cancer in 1997.

“U.S. Customs seizes Howl.” 2008. The History Channel website. 23 Mar 2008, 02:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=3918.




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