Posts Tagged ‘Solidarity

13
Dec
08

On This Day, 12-13-2008: Nanking

December 13, 1937

The Rape of Nanking

During the Sino-Japanese War, Nanking, the capital of China, falls to Japanese forces, and the Chinese government flees to Hankow, further inland along the Yangtze River.

To break the spirit of Chinese resistance, Japanese General Matsui Iwane ordered that the city of Nanking be destroyed. Much of the city was burned, and Japanese troops launched a campaign of atrocities against civilians. In what became known as the “Rape of Nanking,” the Japanese butchered an estimated 150,000 male “war prisoners,” massacred an additional 50,000 male civilians, and raped at least 20,000 women and girls of all ages, many of whom were mutilated or killed in the process.

Shortly after the end of World War II, Matsui was found guilty of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and executed.

“The Rape of Nanking.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Dec 2008, 05:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5599.

1577 – Five ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe. The journey took almost three years.

1636 – The United States National Guard was created when militia regiments were organized by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1862 – In America, an estimated 11,000 Northern soldiers were killed or wounded when Union forces were defeated by Confederates under General Robert E. Lee, at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

1944 – During World War II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze suicide attack. 138 people were killed in the attack.

1981 – Authorities in Poland imposed martial law in an attempt to crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. Martial law ended formally in 1983.

1998 – Puerto Rican voters rejected U.S. statehood in a non-binding referendum.

2000 – U.S. Vice President Al Gore conceded the 2000 Presidential election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush. The Florida electoral votes were won by only 537 votes, which decided the election. The election had been contested up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said that the Florida recount (supported by the Florida Supreme Court) was unconstitutional.

December 13, 1942

Goebbels complains of Italians’ treatment of Jews

On this day, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels records in his journal his contempt for the Italians’ treatment of Jews in Italian-occupied territories. “The Italians are extremely lax in their treatment of Jews. They protect Italian Jews both in Tunis and in occupied France and won’t permit their being drafted for work or compelled to wear the Star of David.”

Joseph Goebbels had made the persecution, and ultimately the extermination, of Jews a personal priority from the earliest days of the war, often recording in his diary such statements as: “They are no longer people but beasts.” “Their destruction will go hand in hand with the destruction of our enemies.” “[T]he Jews … are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is pretty barbaric and is not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews.” It was on his recommendation that all Jews in occupied Paris be forced to wear a yellow star on the left side of their coats or jackets in order to identify and humiliate them.

His vituperative anti-Semitism, which included blaming the war itself on the Jews in a screed published in the German magazine Das Reich, could not be contained within the boundaries of Germany. He expected the same of his allies. But, truth be told, in the earliest days of fascism, Mussolini had denied any truth to the idea of a “pure” race and had counted Jews among his close colleagues-and was even a Zionist!

But with Italy’s failing fortunes militarily, Mussolini needed to stress the Italians’ “superiority” in some sense, and so began to mimic many of the racial and anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazis. Nevertheless, Mussolini never had the stomach-or the conviction-for the extremes of Goebbels, Goering, and Hitler. And certainly the majority of the Italian people never subscribed to the growing anti-Semitic rhetoric of the regime. In fact, the Italians refused to deport Jews from Italy-or from Italian-occupied Croatia or France-to Auschwitz.

The majority of Italians’ courage to reject the worst of fascist ideology–its anti-Semitism–remains one bright spot in Italy’s otherwise appalling World War II record.

“Goebbels complains of Italians’ treatment of Jews.” 2008. The History Channel website. 13 Dec 2008, 05:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6642.

On This Day in Wisconsin: December 13

1864 – Emil Seidel Born
On this date Emil Seidel was born in Ashland, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Wisconsin when he was a child. As a young man he lived in Germany where he trained as a woodcarver. While in Germany, Seidel became a socialist and when he returned to the United States he joined the Socialist Party of America. He settled in Milwaukee and in 1904 Seidel and eight other socialists were elected as city aldermen. In 1910, the Socialist Party in Milwaukee selected Seidel as their candidate for mayor. With the support of Victor Berger’s newspaper, the Milwaukee Leader, and the city’s large German-born population, Seidel became the first socialist mayor of a major city in the United States. One of Seidel’s achievements was to introduce the country’s first worker’s compensation program in 1911. Other initiatives included adult and worker education classes and free medical and dental examinations for school children. Emil Seidel also served as a city alderman from 1916 to 1920 and again from 1932 to 1936. He died on 24th June, 1947. [Source: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Archives]

09
Dec
08

On this Day, 12-9-2008: Lech Walesa

December 9, 1990

Walesa elected president of Poland

In Poland, Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity trade union, wins a landslide election victory, becoming the first directly elected Polish leader.

Walesa, born in 1943, was an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk when he was fired for union agitation in 1976. When protests broke out in the Gdansk shipyard over an increase in food prices in August 1980, Walesa climbed the shipyard fence and joined the thousands of workers inside. He was elected leader of the strike committee, and three days later the strikers’ demands were met. Walesa then helped coordinate other strikes in Gdansk and demanded that the Polish government allow the free formation of trade unions and the right to strike. On August 30, the government conceded to the strikers’ demands, legalizing trade unionism and granting greater freedom of religious and political expression.

Millions of Polish workers and farmers came together to form unions, and Solidarity was formed as a national federation of unions, with Walesa as its chairman. Under Walesa’s charismatic leadership, the organization grew in size and political influence, soon becoming a major threat to the authority of the Polish government. On December 13, 1981, martial law was declared in Poland, Solidarity was outlawed, and Walesa and other labor leaders were arrested.

In November 1982, overwhelming public outcry forced Walesa’s release, but Solidarity remained illegal. In 1983, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Fearing involuntary exile, he declined to travel to Norway to accept the award. Walesa continued as leader of the now-underground Solidarity movement, and he was subjected to continual monitoring and harassment by the Communist authorities.

In 1988, deteriorating economic conditions led to a new wave of labor strikes across Poland, and the government was forced to negotiate with Walesa. In April 1989, Solidarity was again legalized, and its members were allowed to enter a limited number of candidates in upcoming elections. By September, a Solidarity-led government coalition was in place, with Walesa’s colleague Tadeusz Mazowiecki as premier. In 1990, Poland’s first direct presidential election was held, and Walesa won by a landslide.

President Walesa successfully implemented free-market reforms, but unfortunately he was a far more effective labor leader than president. In 1995, he was narrowly defeated in his reelection by former communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, head of the Democratic Left Alliance.

“Walesa elected president of Poland.” 2008. The History Channel website. 9 Dec 2008, 11:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5586.

1608 – English poet John Milton was born in London.

1803 – The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. With the amendment Electors were directed to vote for a President and for a Vice-President rather than for two choices for President.

1854 – Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” was published in England.

1917 – Turkish troops surrendered Jerusalem to British troops led by Viscount Allenby.

1940 – During World War II, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa.

1941 – China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy.

1958 – In Indianapolis, IN, Robert H.W. Welch Jr. and 11 other men met to form the anti-Communist John Birch Society.

1965 – Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.

1985 – In Argentina, five former military junta members received sentences in prison for their roles in the “dirty war” in which nearly 9,000 people had “disappeared.”

1987 – West Bank Palestinians launched an intifada (uprising) against Israeli occupation.

1990 – Slobodan Milosovic was elected president in Serbia’s first free elections in 50 years.

1992 – Clair George, former CIA spy chief, was convicted of lying to the U.S. Congress about the Iran-Contra affair. U.S. President George Bush later pardoned George.

1992 – U.S. troops arrived in Mogadishu, Somalia, to oversee delivery of international food aid, in operation ‘Restore Hope’.

1993 – The U.S. Air Force destroyed the first of 500 Minuteman II missile silos that were marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.

1994 – U.S. President Clinton fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after learning that she had told a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality.

1999 – The U.S. announced that it was expelling a Russian diplomat that had been caught gathering information with an eavesdropping device at the U.S. State Department.

December 9, 1950

Harry Gold sent to prison for his role in atomic espionage

Harry Gold–who had confessed to serving as a courier between Klaus Fuchs, a British scientist who stole top-secret information on the atomic bomb, and Soviet agents–is sentenced to 30 years in jail for his crime. Gold’s arrest and confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass, who then implicated his brother-in-law and sister, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Gold’s arrest was part of a massive FBI investigation into Soviet espionage, particularly the theft of atomic secrets. Gold, a 39-year-old research chemist, made the acquaintance of British atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs during the latter’s trips to the United States during World War II. Fuchs worked at the Los Alamos laboratory on the Manhattan Project, the top secret U.S. program to develop an atomic weapon. David Greenglass was also employed at Los Alamos. In February 1950, Fuchs was arrested in Great Britain and charged with passing atomic secrets on to the Soviets. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in a British prison. Fuchs then accused Gold of having been the go-between with Soviet agents. Gold was picked up a short time later and eventually confessed to his part. He explained that, at the time, he did not believe that he was helping an enemy, but was instead assisting a wartime ally of the United States. Further questioning of Gold led him to implicate David Greenglass. Greenglass then informed on Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, claiming that both of them actively spied for the Soviet Union during World War II and after. The Rosenbergs were later convicted and executed for espionage.

“Harry Gold sent to prison for his role in atomic espionage.” 2008. The History Channel website. 9 Dec 2008, 11:43 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2509.

On This Day in Wisconsin: December 9

1844 – Milwaukee’s First Daily Newspaper Published
On this date Milwaukee’s first daily newspaper, The Daily Sentinel, was published. David M. Keeler served and manager and C.L. MacArthur was the editor. [Source: History of Milwaukee, Vol. II, p.49]

14
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-14-2008: Solidarność

November 14, 1982

Walesa released from jail

Lech Walesa, leader of communist Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, returns to his apartment in Gdansk after 11 months of internment in a remote hunting lodge near the Soviet border. Two days before, hundreds of supporters had begun a vigil outside his home upon learning that the founder of Poland’s trade union movement was being released. When Walesa finally did return home, on November 14, he was lifted above the jubilant crowd and carried to the door of his apartment, where he greeted his wife and then addressed his supporters from a second-story window.

Walesa, born in 1943, was an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk when he was fired for union agitation in 1976. When protests broke out in the Gdansk shipyard over an increase in food prices in August 1980, Walesa climbed the shipyard fence and joined the thousands of workers inside. He was elected leader of the strike committee, and three days later the strikers’ demands were met. Walesa then helped coordinate other strikes in Gdansk and demanded that the Polish government allow the free formation of trade unions and the right to strike. On August 30, the government conceded to the strikers’ demands, legalizing trade unionism and granting greater freedom of religious and political expression.

Millions of Polish workers and farmers came together to form unions, and Solidarity was formed as a national federation of unions, with Walesa as its chairman. Under Walesa’s charismatic leadership, the organization grew in size and political influence, soon becoming a major threat to the authority of the Polish government. On December 13, 1981, martial law was declared in Poland, Solidarity was outlawed, and Walesa and other labor leaders were arrested.

In November 1982, overwhelming public outcry forced Walesa’s release, but Solidarity remained illegal. In 1983, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Fearing involuntary exile, he declined to travel to Norway to accept the award. Walesa continued as leader of the now-underground Solidarity movement, and he was subjected to continual monitoring and harassment by the communist authorities.

In 1988, deteriorating economic conditions led to a new wave of labor strikes across Poland, and the government was forced to negotiate with Walesa. In April 1989, Solidarity was again legalized, and its members were allowed to enter a limited number of candidates in upcoming elections. By September, a Solidarity-led government coalition was in place, with Walesa’s colleague Tadeusz Mazowiecki as premier. In 1990, Poland’s first direct presidential election was held, and Walesa won by a landslide.

President Walesa successfully implemented free-market reforms, but unfortunately he was a more effective labor leader than president. In 1995, he was narrowly defeated in his reelection by former communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, head of the Democratic Left Alliance.

“Walesa released from jail.” 2008. The History Channel website. 14 Nov 2008, 10:39 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7081.

On This Day

1851 – Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick” was first published in the U.S.

1881 – Charles J. Guiteau’s trial began for the assassination of U.S. President Garfield. Guiteau was convicted and hanged the following year.

1935 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the Philippine Islands a free commonwealth after its new constitution was approved. The Tydings-McDuffie Act planned for the Phillipines to be completely independent by July 4, 1946.

1940 – During World War II, German war planes destroyed most of the English town of Coventry when about 500 Luftwaffe bombers attacked.

1956 – The USSR crushed the Hungarian uprising.

1968 – Yale University announced it was going co-educational.

1969 – Apollo 12 blasted off for the moon from Cape Kennedy, FL.

1969 – During the Vietnam War, Major General Bruno Arthur Hochmuth, commander of the Third Marine Division, became the first general to be killed in Vietnam by enemy fire.

1979 – U.S. President Carter froze all Iranian assets in the United States and U.S. banks abroad in response to the taking of 63 American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran.

1989 – The U.S. Navy ordered an unprecedented 48-hour stand-down in the wake of a recent string of serious accidents.

1991 – After 13 years in exile Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk returned to his homeland.

November 14, 1959

Kennedy publishes article on television and American politics

On this day in 1959, an article written by Massachusetts senator and presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy appears in an issue of TV Guide. In it, Kennedy examined the influence of television, still a relatively new technology, on American political campaigns.

In the article, Kennedy mused that television had the power to bring political campaigns—and scandals—immediately and directly to the public and illuminated the contrast between political personalities. Kennedy shrewdly noted that a “slick or bombastic orator pounding the table and ringing the rafters” fared poorly against a more congenial candidate and “is not as welcome in the family living room” as a candidate with “honesty, vigor, compassion [and] intelligence.” Kennedy strove to convey the latter image. He also compared Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 month-long cross-country railroad trek to promote his League of Nations proposal (an exhausting trip that ended when Wilson suffered a stroke) to then-President Eisenhower’s ability to reach millions of voters in a 15-minute television appearance.

A year after the publication of the article, Kennedy and his Republican opponent, Vice President Richard Nixon, faced off in the nation’s first-ever televised presidential campaign debates. A master at projecting the quintessential presidential image, Kennedy exhibited a calm demeanor and responded to questions with intelligence and decorum. While Kennedy appeared rested, well-groomed and in control, Nixon appeared flustered and his light beard, or “five-o’clock shadow,” created more of a stir than his responses to the moderator’s questions. As president, Kennedy continued to showcase his skill at handling the press on-camera and carefully cultivated a relationship with journalists by enlisting their direct involvement in balancing candor with secrecy.

Kennedy’s article also addressed the potential perils of marrying mass media to politics. He warned that political campaigns “could be taken over by public relations experts, who tell the candidate not only how to use TV but what to say, what to stand for and what kind of person to be.” He cautioned Americans to be vigilant about what they watched, and to be aware that, like game shows, political campaigns “can be fixed…It is in your power to perceive deception, to shut off gimmickry, to reward honesty, to demand legislation where needed.” Without the public’s acquiescence, he said, “no TV show is worthwhile and no politician can exist.”

“Kennedy publishes article on television and American politics.” 2008. The History Channel website. 14 Nov 2008, 10:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52007.

On This Day in Wisconsin: November 14

1861 – Frederick Jackson Turner Born
On this date Frederick Jackson Turner was born in Portage. Turner spent most of his academic career at the University of Wisconsin. He published his first article in 1883, received his B.A. in 1884, then his M.A. in History in 1888. After a year of study at Johns Hopkins (Ph.D., 1890), he returned to join the History faculty at Wisconsin, where he taught for the next 21 years. He later taught at Harvard from 1910 to 1924 before retiring. In 1893, Turner presented his famous address, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” at the Chicago World’s Fair. Turner died in 1932. [Source: Bowling Green State University]

13
Dec
07

On This Day 12-13: John Rabe

John Rabe is a name worthy of remembering.

1577 – Five ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe. The journey took almost three years.

1636 – The United States National Guard was created when militia regiments were organized by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1809 – The first abdominal surgical procedure was performed in Danville, KY, on Jane Todd Crawford. The operation was performed without an anesthetic.

1913 – It was announced by authorities in Florence, Italy, that the “Mona Lisa” had been recovered. The work was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911.

1921 – Britain, France, Japan and the United States signed the Pacific Treaty.

1937 – Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing). An estimated 200,000 Chinese were killed over the next six weeks. The event became known as the “Rape of Nanking.”

1964 – In El Paso, TX, President Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz set off an explosion that diverted the Rio Grande River, reshaping the U.S.-Mexican border. This ended a century-old border dispute.

1981 – Authorities in Poland imposed martial law in an attempt to crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. Martial law ended formally in 1983.

1995 – China’s most influential democracy activist, Wei Jingsheng, who already had spent 16 years in prison, was sentenced to 14 more years.

2001 – Michael Frank Goodwin was arrested and booked on two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy and three special circumstances (lying in wait, murder for financial gain and multiple murder) in connection to the death of Mickey Thompson. Thompson and his wife Trudy were shot to death in their driveway on March 16, 1988. Thompson, known as the “Speed King,” set nearly 500 auto speed endurance records including being the first person to travel more than 400 mph on land.

During the “Rape of Nanking” an International Safety Zone had been created where Chinese refugees could go and be spared the indignation being wrought on the Chinese people by the Japanese Imperial Army.  The safety zone was patrolled by a German civilian named John Rabe.  John Rabe is responsible for saving tens of thousands of Chinese lives because he was able to prevent the Japanese from entering the safety zone in Nanking.  Japan was allied with Nazi Germany and John Rabe was a member of the Nazi Party.  Wearing his swastika armband he patrolled the perimeter of the safety zone and the Japanese soldiers respected the wishes of their ally by leaving the citizens inside the safety zone alone, which suggests that common Japanese soldiers were in control of their actions during this horrific event.  For more on this read this article:  http://arts.cuhk.edu.hk/NanjingMassacre/NMZCRBR.html.

I’ve also read an account of the exploits of two Japanese Imperial Army officers who held a beheading contest.  Using their Samurai swords they beheaded Chinese civilians.  The beheading only counted if the head was chopped off with a single swing.  The exploits of the two officers were reported in Japanese newspapers much the way sporting events are reported in the United States.




April 2020
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers