Posts Tagged ‘Tiananmen Square

11
Jun
09

On This Day, June 11: Allies Consolidate Position

June 11, 1944

D-Day landing forces converge

Five days after the D-Day landing, the five Allied landing groups, made up of some 330,000 troops, link up in Normandy to form a single solid front across northwestern France.

On June 6, 1944, after a year of meticulous planning conducted in secrecy by a joint Anglo-American staff, the largest combined sea, air, and land military operation in history began on the French coast at Normandy. The Allied invasion force included 3 million men, 13,000 aircraft, 1,200 warships, 2,700 merchant ships, and 2,500 landing craft.

Fifteen minutes after midnight on June 6, the first of 23,000 U.S., British, and Canadian paratroopers and glider troops plunged into the darkness over Normandy. Just before dawn, Allied aircraft and ships bombed the French coast along the Baie de la Seine, and at daybreak the bombardment ended as 135,000 Allied troops stormed ashore at five landing sites. Despite the formidable German coastal defenses, beachheads were achieved at all five landing locations. At one site–Omaha Beach–German resistance was especially strong, and the Allied position was only secured after hours of bloody fighting by the Americans assigned to it. By the evening, some 150,000 American, British, and Canadian troops were ashore, and the Allies held about 80 square miles. During the next five days, Allied forces in Normandy moved steadily forward in all sectors against fierce German resistance. On June 11, the five landing groups met up, and Operation Overlord–the code name for the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe–proceeded as planned.

“D-Day landing forces converge,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5086 [accessed Jun 11, 2009]

On This Day

1509 – King Henry VIII married his first of six wives, Catherine of Aragon.

1798 – Napoleon Bonaparte took the island of Malta.

1880 – Jeanette Rankin was born. She became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

1910 – Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born. He was the French underwater explorer that invented the Aqua-Lung diving apparatus.

1927 – Charles A. Lindberg was presented the first Distinguished Flying Cross.

1940 – The Italian Air Force bombed the British fortress at Malta in the Mediterranean.

1947 – The U.S. government announced an end to sugar rationing.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Florida for trying to integrate restaurants.

1963 – Buddhist monk Quang Duc immolated himself on a Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

1963 – Alabama Gov. George Wallace allowed two black students to enroll at the University of Alabama.

1993 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who commit “hate crimes” could be sentenced to extra punishment. The court also ruled in favor of religious groups saying that they indeed had a constitutional right to sacrifice animals during worship services.

1998 – Mitsubishi of America agreed to pay $34 million to end the largest sexual harassment case filed by the U.S. government. The federal lawsuit claimed that hundreds of women at a plant in Normal, IL, had endured groping and crude jokes from male workers.

June 11, 1989

China issues warrant for Tiananmen dissident

In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, China issues a warrant for a leading Chinese dissident who had taken refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The diplomatic standoff lasted for a year, and the refusal of the United States to hand the dissident over to Chinese officials was further evidence of American disapproval of China’s crackdown on political protesters.

In April and May 1989, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Beijing to call for greater political democracy in communist China. On June 4, Chinese soldiers and police swarmed into the center of protest activity, Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands. The Chinese government used this brutal crackdown as a pretext for issuing an arrest warrant for Fang Lizhi, an internationally respected astrophysicist and leading Chinese dissident. Although Fang had not participated in the Tiananmen Square protests, he had been a consistent advocate of greater political democracy and a persistent critic of government policies. In February 1989, more than one hundred Chinese security personnel forcibly prevented Fang from meeting with visiting President George Bush.

In the June arrest warrant, Fang and his wife, Li Shuxian, were charged with “committing crimes of counter-revolutionary propaganda and instigation.” Fang and Li immediately took refuge in the U.S. embassy. Chinese officials demanded that the American government hand over the pair, but the U.S. refused. Almost exactly one year later, Fang and Li were given free passage out of the country and they left the U.S. embassy for the first time since June 1989. The action was part of a wider effort by the Chinese government to repair some of the international damage done to its reputation in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident. In addition to Fang and Li, hundreds of other political prisoners were also released. Fang and Li traveled to the United States and took up residence. Fang continued his dissident activities against the Chinese government and taught in both America and Great Britain.

The incident indicated that feelings about what had occurred in Tiananmen Square ran high, both in the United States and China. For America, the brutal attack on the protesters repulsed most people and led Congress to pass economic sanctions against the Chinese government. In China, the refusal to hand over Fang and the U.S. criticisms of what the Chinese government considered to be a purely internal matter generated a tremendous amount of resentment. The issue of human rights in China continued to be a major issue in relations between the U.S. and China throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century.

“China issues warrant for Tiananmen dissident,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2695 [accessed Jun 11, 2009]

Advertisements
04
Jun
09

On This Day, June 4: The 19th Amendment

June 4, 1919

Congress passes the 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

The women’s suffrage movement was founded in the mid-19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 240 woman suffragists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to assert the right of women to vote. Female enfranchisement was still largely opposed by most Americans, and the distraction of the North-South conflict and subsequent Civil War precluded further discussion. During the Reconstruction Era, the 15th Amendment was adopted, granting African American men the right to vote, but the Republican-dominated Congress failed to expand its progressive radicalism into the sphere of gender.

In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association, led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was formed to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone, was organized in the same year to work through the state legislatures. In 1890, these two societies were united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. That year, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the role of women in American society was changing drastically; women were working more, receiving a better education, bearing fewer children, and several states had authorized female suffrage. In 1913, the National Woman’s party organized the voting power of these enfranchised women to elect congressional representatives who supported woman suffrage, and by 1916 both the Democratic and Republican parties openly endorsed female enfranchisement. In 1919, the 19th Amendment, which stated that “the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. Eight days later, the 19th Amendment took effect.

“Congress passes the 19th Amendment,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5064 [accessed Jun 4, 2009]

On This Day

1717 – The Freemasons were founded in London.

1784 – Marie Thible became the first woman to fly in a hot-air balloon. The flight was 45 minutes long and reached a height of 8,500 feet.

1892 – The Sierra Club was incorporated in San Francisco.

1918 – French and American troops halted Germany’s offensive at Chateau-Thierry, France.

1939 – The first shopping cart was introduced by Sylvan Goldman in Oklahoma City, OK. It was actually a folding chair that had been mounted on wheels.

1940 – The British completed the evacuation of 300,000 troops at Dunkirk, France.

1942 – The Battle of Midway began. It was the first major victory for America over Japan during World War II. The battle ended on June 6 and ended Japanese expansion in the Pacific.

1943 – In Argentina, Juan Peron took part in the military coup that overthrew Ramon S. Castillo.

1947 – The House of Representatives approved the Taft-Hartley Act. The legislation allowed the President of the United States to intervene in labor disputes.

1960 – The Taiwan island of Quemoy was hit by 500 artillery shells fired from the coast of Communist China.

1985 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling striking down an Alabama law that provided for a daily minute of silence in public schools.

June 4, 1989

Tiananmen Square massacre takes place

Chinese troops storm through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The brutal Chinese government assault on the protesters shocked the West and brought denunciations and sanctions from the United States.

In May 1989, nearly a million Chinese, mostly young students, crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and call for the resignations of Chinese Communist Party leaders deemed too repressive. For nearly three weeks, the protesters kept up daily vigils, and marched and chanted. Western reporters captured much of the drama for television and newspaper audiences in the United States and Europe. On June 4, 1989, however, Chinese troops and security police stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters. Turmoil ensued, as tens of thousands of the young students tried to escape the rampaging Chinese forces. Other protesters fought back, stoning the attacking troops and overturning and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, of the protesters had been killed and as many as 10,000 were arrested.

The savagery of the Chinese government’s attack shocked both its allies and Cold War enemies. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratize the Chinese political system. In the United States, editorialists and members of Congress denounced the Tiananmen Square massacre and pressed for President George Bush to punish the Chinese government. A little more than three weeks later, the U.S. Congress voted to impose economic sanctions against the People’s Republic of China in response to the brutal violation of human rights.

“Tiananmen Square massacre takes place,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2688 [accessed Jun 4, 2009]

03
Jun
09

Tiananmen Square, 1989: Tank Man

To watch a full length documentary on the Tiananmen Square protests see:  http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/educational/watch/v6255629BDXddRBn

03
Jun
09

On This Day, June 3: Tiananmen Square

June 3, 1989

Crackdown at Tiananmen begins

With protests for democratic reforms entering their seventh week, the Chinese government authorizes its soldiers and tanks to reclaim Beijing’s Tiananmen Square at all costs. By nightfall on June 4, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared the square, killing hundreds and arresting thousands of demonstrators and suspected dissidents.

On April 15, the death of Hu Yaobang, a former Communist Party head who supported democratic reforms, roused some 100,000 students to gather at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate the leader and voice their discontent with China’s authoritative government. On April 22, an official memorial service for Hu Yaobang was held in Tiananmen’s Great Hall of the People, and student representatives carried a petition to the steps of the Great Hall, demanding to meet with Premier Li Peng. The Chinese government refused the meeting, leading to a general boycott of Chinese universities across the country and widespread calls for democratic reforms.

Ignoring government warnings of suppression of any mass demonstration, students from more than 40 universities began a march to Tiananmen on April 27. The students were joined by workers, intellectuals, and civil servants, and by mid-May more than a million people filled the square, the site of Mao Zedong’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

On May 20, the government formally declared martial law in Beijing, and troops and tanks were called in to disperse the dissidents. However, large numbers of students and citizens blocked the army’s advance, and by May 23 government forces had pulled back to the outskirts of Beijing. On June 3, with negotiations to end the protests stalled and calls for democratic reforms escalating, the troops received orders from the Chinese government to seize control of Tiananmen Square and the streets of Beijing. Hundreds were killed and thousands arrested.

In the weeks after the government crackdown, an unknown number of dissidents were executed, and hard-liners in the government took firm control of the country. The international community was outraged by the incident, and economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries sent China’s economy into decline. By late 1990, however, international trade had resumed, thanks in part to China’s release of several hundred imprisoned dissidents.

Crackdown at Tiananmen begins [Internet]. 2009. The History Channel website. Available from : http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5063 [Accessed 3 Jun 2009].

 

On This Day

1098 – Christian Crusaders of the First Crusade seized Antioch, Turkey.

1539 – Hernando De Soto claimed Florida for Spain.

1805 – A peace treaty between the U.S. and Tripoli was completed in the captain’s cabin on board the USS Constitution.

1871 – Jesse James, then 24, and his gang robbed the Obocock bank in Corydon, Iowa. They stole $15,000.

1923 – In Italy, Benito Mussolini granted women the right to vote.

1938 – The German Reich voted to confiscate so-called “degenerate art.”

1965 – Edward White became the first American astronaut to do a “space walk” when he left the Gemini 4 capsule.

1968 – Andy Warhol was shot and critically wounded in his New York film studio by Valerie Solanas.

1989 – Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini died.

2003 – Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) broke a bat when he grounded out against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The bat he was using was a corked bat.

June 3, 1864

Union disaster at Cold Harbor

On this day, Union General Ulysses S. Grant makes what he later recognizes to be his greatest mistake by ordering a frontal assault on entrenched Confederates at Cold Harbor. The result was some 7,000 Union casualties in less than an hour of fighting.

Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had already inflicted frightful losses upon each other as they wheeled along an arc around Richmond—from the Wilderness to Spotsylvania and numerous smaller battle sites—the previous month.

On May 30, Lee and Grant collided at Bethesda Church. The next day, the advance units of the armies arrived at the strategic crossroads of Cold Harbor, just 10 miles from Richmond, where a Yankee attack seized the intersection. Sensing that there was a chance to destroy Lee at the gates of Richmond, Grant prepared for a major assault along the entire Confederate front on June 2.

But when Winfield Hancock’s Union corps did not arrive on schedule, the operation was postponed until the following day. The delay was tragic for the Union, because it gave Lee’s troops time to entrench. Perhaps frustrated with the protracted pursuit of Lee’s army, Grant gave the order to attack on June 3—a decision that resulted in an unmitigated disaster. The Yankees met murderous fire, and were only able to reach the Confederate trenches in a few places. The 7,000 Union casualties, compared to only 1,500 for the Confederates, were all lost in under an hour.

Grant pulled out of Cold Harbor nine days later and continued to try to flank Lee’s army. The next stop was Petersburg, south of Richmond, where a nine-month siege ensued. There would be no more attacks on the scale of Cold Harbor.

Union disaster at Cold Harbor [Internet]. 2009. The History Channel website. Available from : http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2196 [Accessed 3 Jun 2009].

30
May
09

On This Day, May 30: Decoration Day

May 30, 1868

Civil War dead honored on Decoration Day

By proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the first major Memorial Day observance is held to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Known to some as “Decoration Day,” mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

The 1868 celebration was inspired by local observances that had taken place in various locations in the three years since the end of the Civil War. In fact, several cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Columbus, Mississippi; Macon, Georgia; Richmond, Virginia; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; and Carbondale, Illinois. In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President Lyndon B. Johnson, declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. They chose Waterloo–which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866–because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

By the late 19th century, many communities across the country had begun to celebrate Memorial Day, and after World War I, observers began to honor the dead of all of America’s wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is customary for the president or vice president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. More than 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually. Several Southern states continue to set aside a special day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day.

“Civil War dead honored on Decoration Day,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5048 [accessed May 30, 2009]

On This Day

1416 – Jerome of Prague was burned as a heretic by the Church.

1431 – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France, at the age of 19.

1539 – Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, landed in Florida with 600 soldiers to search for gold.

1854 – The U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas were established.

1883 – Twelve people were trampled to death in New York City in a stampede when a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge was in danger of collapsing occurred.

1911 – Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis Sweepstakes. The 500-mile auto race later became known as the Indianapolis 500. Harroun’s average speed was 74.59 miles per hour.

1913 – The First Balkan War ended.

1922 – The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC.

1958 – Unidentified soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean conflicts were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

1967 – The state of Biafra seceded from Nigeria and Civil war erupted.

1989 – The “Goddess of Democracy” statue (33 feet height) was erected in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

 

May 30, 1971

Mariner 9 departs for Mars

The U.S. unmanned space probe Mariner 9 is launched on a mission to gather scientific information on Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. The 1,116-pound spacecraft entered the planet’s orbit on November 13, 1971, and circled Mars twice each day for almost a year, photographing the surface and analyzing the atmosphere with infrared and ultraviolet instruments. It gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature of Mars, and also information about the surface composition, temperature, and topography of the planet.

When Mariner 9 first arrived, Mars was almost totally obscured by dust storms, which persisted for a month. However, after the dust cleared, Mariner 9 proceeded to reveal a very different planet–one that boasted enormous volcanoes and a gigantic canyon stretching 3,000 miles across its surface. The spacecraft’s cameras also recorded what appeared to be dried riverbeds, suggesting the ancient presence of water and perhaps life on the planet. The first spacecraft to orbit a planet other than earth, Mariner 9 sent back more than 7,000 pictures of the “Red Planet” and succeeded in photographing the entire planet. Mariner 9 also sent back the first close-up images of the Martian moon. Its transmission ended on October 27, 1972.

Mariner 9 departs for Mars,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5050 [accessed May 30, 2009]

10
May
09

On This Day, May 10: J Edgar Hoover

May 10, 1924

J. Edgar Hoover begins his legacy with the FBI

J. Edgar Hoover is named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (now the FBI) on this day in 1924. By the end of the year he was officially promoted to director. This began his 48-year tenure in power, during which time he personally shaped American criminal justice in the 20th century.

Hoover first became involved in law enforcement as a special assistant to the attorney general, overseeing the mass roundups and deportations of suspected communists during the Red Scare abuses of the late 1910s. After taking over the FBI in 1924, Hoover began secretly monitoring any activities that did not conform to his American ideal.

Hoover approved of illegally infiltrating and spying on the American Civil Liberties Union. His spies could be found throughout the government, even in the Supreme Court. He also collected damaging information on the personal lives of civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr.

While Hoover’s success at legitimate crime fighting was modest, his hold over many powerful people and organizations earned him respect and kept him in power. He was extremely successful at attracting attention and favorable press to the FBI. It wasn’t until after his death in 1972, right before the beginning of the Watergate scandal, that Hoover’s corruption became known.

“J. Edgar Hoover begins his legacy with the FBI,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=998 [accessed May 10, 2009]

On This Day

1676 – Bacon’s Rebellion, which pits frontiersmen against the government, began.

1773 – The English Parliament passed the Tea Act, which taxed all tea in the U.S. colonies.

1774 – Louis XVI ascended the throne of France.

1775 – Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold led an attack on the British Fort Ticonderoga and captured it from the British.

1796 – Napoleon Bonaparte won a brilliant victory against the Austrians at Lodi bridge in Italy.

1840 – Mormon leader Joseph Smith moved his band of followers to Illinois to escape the hostilities they had experienced in Missouri.

1865 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irvinville, GA.

1869 – Central Pacific and Union Pacific Rail Roads meet in Promontory, UT. A golden spike was driven in at the celebration of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S.

1908 – The first Mother’s Day observance took place during a church service in Grafton, West Virginia.

1933 – The Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.

1940 – Germany invaded Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

1941 – Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, parachuted into Scotland on what he claimed was a peace mission.

1960 – The U.S.S. Triton completed the first circumnavigation of the globe under water. The trip started on February 16.

1986 – Navy Lt. Commander Donnie Cochran became the first black pilot to fly with the Blue Angels team.

1994 – Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president.

2002 – Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. Hanssen, an FBI agent, had sold U.S. secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.

May 10, 1990

China releases Tiananmen Square prisoners

The government of the People’s Republic of China announces that it is releasing 211 people arrested during the massive protests held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June 1989. Most observers viewed the prisoner release as an attempt by the communist government of China to dispel much of the terrible publicity it received for its brutal suppression of the 1989 protests.

In early 1989, peaceful protests (largely composed of students) were held in a number of Chinese cities, calling for greater democracy and less governmental control of the economy. In April, thousands of students marched through Beijing. By May, the number of protesters had grown to nearly 1 million. On June 3, the government responded with troops sent in to crush the protests. In the ensuing violence, thousands of protesters were killed and an unknown number were arrested. The brutal Chinese government crackdown shocked the world. In the United States, calls went up for economic sanctions against China to punish the dramatic human rights violations. The U.S. government responded by temporarily suspending arms sales to China.

Nearly one year later, on May 10, 1990, the Chinese government announced that it was releasing 211 people arrested during the Tiananmen Square crackdown. A brief government statement simply indicated, “Lawbreakers involved in the turmoil and counterrevolutionary rebellion last year have been given lenient treatment and released upon completion of investigations.” The statement also declared that over 400 other “law-breakers” were still being investigated while being held in custody. Western observers greeted the news with cautious optimism. In the United States, where the administration of President George Bush was considering the extension of most-favored-nation status to China, the release of the prisoners was hailed as a step in the right direction.

“China releases Tiananmen Square prisoners,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2663 [accessed May 10, 2009]

21
Apr
09

On This Day, April 21: Tiananmen Square

April 21, 1989

Chinese students begin protests at Tiananmen Square

Six days after the death of Hu Yaobang, the deposed reform-minded leader of the Chinese Communist Party, some 100,000 students gather at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to commemorate Hu and voice their discontent with China’s authoritative communist government. The next day, an official memorial service for Hu Yaobang was held in Tiananmen’s Great Hall of the People, and student representatives carried a petition to the steps of the Great Hall, demanding to meet with Premier Li Peng. The Chinese government refused such a meeting, leading to a general boycott of Chinese universities across the country and widespread calls for democratic reforms.

Ignoring government warnings of violent suppression of any mass demonstration, students from more than 40 universities began a march to Tiananmen on April 27. The students were joined by workers, intellectuals, and civil servants, and by mid-May more than a million people filled the square, the site of communist leader’s Mao Zedong’s proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. On May 20, the government formally declared martial law in Beijing, and troops and tanks were called in to disperse the dissidents. However, large numbers of students and citizens blocked the army’s advance, and by May 23 government forces had pulled back to the outskirts of Beijing.

On June 3, with negotiations to end the protests stalled and calls for democratic reforms escalating, the troops received orders from the Chinese government to reclaim Tiananmen at all costs. By the end of the next day, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared Tiananmen Square and Beijing’s streets, killing hundreds of demonstrators and arresting thousands of protesters and other suspected dissidents. In the weeks after the government crackdown, an unknown number of dissidents were executed, and communist hard-liners took firm control of the country.

The international community was outraged at the incident, and economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries sent China’s economy into decline. However, by late 1990, international trade had resumed, thanks in part to China’s release of several hundred imprisoned dissidents.

“Chinese students begin protests at Tiananmen Square,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4942 [accessed Apr 21, 2009]

On This Day

753 BC – Today is the traditional date of the foundation of Rome.

43 BC – Marcus Antonius was defeated by Octavian near Modena, Italy.

1649 – The Maryland Toleration Act was passed, allowing all freedom of worship.

1789 – John Adams was sworn in as the first U.S. Vice President.

1836 – General Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. This battle decided the independence of Texas.

1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train left Washington.

1914 – U.S. Marines occupied Vera Cruz, Mexico.

1918 – German fighter ace Baron von Richthofen, “The Red Baron,” was shot down and killed during World War I.

1943 – U.S. President Roosevelt announced that several Doolittle pilots had been executed by the Japanese.

1959 – The largest fish ever hooked by a rod and reel was caught by Alf Dean. It was a 16-foot, 10-inch white shark that weighed 2,664 pounds.

1967 – Svetlana Alliluyeva (Svetlana Stalina) defected in New York City. She was the daughter of Joseph Stalin.

1975 – South Vietnam president, Nguyen Van Thieu, resigned, condemning the United States.

1994 – Jackie Parker became the first woman to qualify to fly an F-16 combat plane.

April 21, 1953

Roy Cohn and David Schine return to U.S.

Roy Cohn and David Schine, two of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief aides, return to the United States after a controversial investigation of United States Information Service (USIS) posts in Europe. Upon their recommendation, thousands of books were removed from USIS libraries in several Western European countries.

Cohn and Schine had risen to fame on the coattails of Senator McCarthy as he conducted his well-publicized hunt for subversives and communists in the United States. Cohn became chief counsel to the McCarthy Senate subcommittee devoted to investigating communism in the U.S. government, and Schine, one of Cohn’s close friends, became a “special consultant.” In the spring of 1953, Cohn and Schine departed for a seven-nation tour of Western Europe. Their primary task was to investigate the workings of the USIS posts, foreign offices of the United States Information Agency that had recently been established to serve as propaganda centers. The posts hosted speakers, showed movies, and set up libraries containing what were considered to be representative pieces of American literature. Cohn and Schine were appalled by the authors they found on the USIS bookshelves. The two men reported that over 30,000 books in the libraries were by “pro-communist” writers and demanded their removal. The authors they targeted included crime novelist Dashiell Hammett, African-American intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois, Herman Melville, John Steinbeck, and Henry Thoreau. The State Department, which oversaw the operations of USIS, immediately ordered thousands of books removed from the libraries.

The irony of the situation did not escape commentators of the time. With the Nazi book burnings of World War II still fresh in the collective memory, many felt it was questionable that America had joined the ranks of nations that censored literature. In the fight against communism, even Moby Dick was dispensable.

“Roy Cohn and David Schine return to U.S.,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2644 [accessed Apr 21, 2009]




October 2019
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

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

Join 281 other followers

Advertisements