Posts Tagged ‘United States

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.

20
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-20-08: One Small Step

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

The American effort to send astronauts to the moon has its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” At the time, the United States was still trailing the Soviet Union in space developments, and Cold War-era America welcomed Kennedy’s bold proposal.

“Buzz” Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface at 11:11 p.m., and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests, and spoke with President Richard M. Nixon via Houston. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21, both astronauts were back in the lunar module and the hatch was closed. The two men slept that night on the surface of the moon, and at 1:54 p.m. the Eagle began its ascent back to the command module. Among the items left on the surface of the moon was a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon–July 1969 A.D–We came in peace for all mankind.”

There would be five more successful lunar landing missions, and one unplanned lunar swing-by, Apollo 13. The last men to walk on the moon, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission, left the lunar surface on December 14, 1972. The Apollo program was a costly and labor intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians, and scientists, and costing $24 billion (close to $100 billion in today’s dollars). The expense was justified by Kennedy’s 1961 mandate to beat the Soviets to the moon, and after the feat was accomplished ongoing missions lost their viability.

“Armstrong walks on moon.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Jul 2008, 11:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6964.

 

On This Day

1810 – Colombia declared independence from Spain.

1861 – The Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, VA.

1868 – Legislation that ordered U.S. tax stamps to be placed on all cigarette packs was passed.

1917 – The draft lottery in World War I went into operation.

1942 – The first detachment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, (WACS) began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

1944 – An attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler failed. The bomb exploded at Hitler’s Rastenburg headquarters. Hitler was only wounded.

1944 – U.S. President Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

1951 – Jordan’s King Abdullah Ibn Hussein was assassinated in Jerusalem.

1974 – Turkish forces invaded Cyprus.

1976 – America’s Viking I robot spacecraft made a successful landing on Mars.

1977 – A flash flood hit Johnstown, PA, killing 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage.

 

Battle of Peachtree Creek

On this day, General John Bell Hood’s Confederate force attack William T. Sherman’s troops outside of Atlanta, Georgia, but are repulsed with heavy losses.

“Battle of Peachtree Creek.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Jul 2008, 11:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2253.

Sitting Bull surrenders

Five years after General George A. Custer’s infamous defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Hunkpapa Teton Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. Army, which promises amnesty for him and his followers. Sitting Bull had been a major leader in the 1876 Sioux uprising that resulted in the death of Custer and 264 of his men at Little Bighorn. Pursued by the U.S. Army after the Indian victory, he escaped to Canada with his followers.

“Sitting Bull surrenders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Jul 2008, 11:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5192.

Truman issues peacetime draft

President Harry S. Truman institutes a military draft with a proclamation calling for nearly 10 million men to register for military service within the next two months. Truman’s action came during increasing Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union.

Truman’s decision underlined the urgency of his administration’s concern about a possible military confrontation with the Soviet Union. It also brought home to the American people in concrete terms the possibility that the Cold War could, at any moment, become an actual war. In 1950, possibility turned to reality when the United States entered the Korean War, and the size of America’s armed forces once again increased dramatically.

17
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-17-08: Potsdam

Potsdam Conference begins

The final “Big Three” meeting between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain takes place towards the end of World War II. The decisions reached at the conference ostensibly settled many of the pressing issues between the three wartime allies, but the meeting was also marked by growing suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

On July 17, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam to discuss issues relating to postwar Europe and plans to deal with the ongoing conflict with Japan. By the time the meeting began, U.S. and British suspicions concerning Soviet intentions in Europe were intensifying. Russian armies occupied most of Eastern Europe, including nearly half of Germany, and Stalin showed no inclination to remove his control of the region. Truman, who had only been president since Franklin D. Roosevelt died three months earlier, arrived at the meeting determined to be “tough” with Stalin. He was encouraged in this course of action by news that American scientists had just successfully tested the atomic bomb. The conference soon bogged down on the issue of postwar Germany. The Soviets wanted a united but disarmed Germany, with each of the Allied powers determining the destiny of the defeated power. Truman and his advisors, fearing the spread of Soviet influence over all Germany–and, by extension, all of western Europe–fought for and achieved an agreement whereby each Allied power (including France) would administer a zone of occupation in Germany. Russian influence, therefore, would be limited to its own eastern zone. The United States also limited the amount of reparations Russia could take from Germany. Discussion of the continuing Soviet occupation of Poland floundered.

When the conference ended on August 2, 1945, matters stood much where they had before the meeting. There would be no further wartime conferences. Four days after the conference concluded, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan; on August 9, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. World War II officially came to an end on August 14, 1945.

“Potsdam Conference begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2731.

 

On This Day

1212 – The Moslems were crushed in the Spanish crusade.

1453 – France defeated England at Castillon, France, which ended the 100 Years’ War.

1762 – Peter III of Russia was murdered. Catherine II the Great took the throne.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to the British at Rochefort, France.

1821 – Spain ceded Florida to the U.S.

1898 – U.S. troops under General William R. Shafter took Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

1941 – Brigadier General Soervell directed Architect G. Edwin Bergstrom to have basic plans and architectural perspectives for an office building that could house 40,000 War Department employees on his desk by the following Monday morning. The building became known as the Pentagon.

1944 – 232 people were killed when 2 ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, CA.

1946 – Chinese communists opened a drive against the Nationalist army on the Yangtze River.

1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA.

1960 – Francis Gary Powers pled guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court after his U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.

1966 – Ho Chi Minh ordered a partial mobilization of North Vietnam forces to defend against American air strikes.

1975 – An Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit. It was the first link up between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

1987 – Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and rear Admiral John Poindexter begin testifying to Congress at the “Iran-Contra” hearings.

1997 – After 117 years, the Woolworth Corp. closed its last 400 stores.

 

Congress learns of war of words

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress learns of General George Washington’s refusal to accept a dispatch from British General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Viscount Howe, opening peace negotiations, because it failed to use the title “general.” In response, Congress proclaimed that the commander in chief acted “with a dignity becoming his station,” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them “in the characters they respectively sustain.”

“Congress learns of war of words.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=55035.

Confiscation Act approved

In a big step toward emancipation, President Lincoln approves the Confiscation Act, which declares that any slaves whose owners were in rebellion against the government, would be freed when they came into contact with the Union army.

“Confiscation Act approved.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=2250.

Fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia

On this day in 1917, a three-day stretch of fighting in the streets peaks in Petrograd after the provisional government falls temporarily amid anger and frustration within and outside the army due to the continuing hardships caused by Russia’s participation in World War I.

“Fighting in the streets of Petrograd, Russia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Jul 2008, 01:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=817.




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