Posts Tagged ‘USS Indianapolis

06
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-6-08: Atom Bomb

On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world’s first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender, made the decision to use the atom bomb to end the war in order to prevent what he predicted would be a much greater loss of life were the United States to invade the Japanese mainland. And so on August 5, while a “conventional” bombing of Japan was underway, “Little Boy,” (the nickname for one of two atom bombs available for use against Japan), was loaded onto Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets’ plane on Tinian Island in the Marianas. Tibbets’ B-29, named the Enola Gay after his mother, left the island at 2:45 a.m. on August 6. Five and a half hours later, “Little Boy” was dropped, exploding 1,900 feet over a hospital and unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT. The bomb had several inscriptions scribbled on its shell, one of which read “Greetings to the Emperor from the men of the Indianapolis” (the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas).

There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city’s 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before-only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.

According to John Hersey’s classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.

There were so many spontaneous fires set as a result of the bomb that a crewman of the Enola Gay stopped trying to count them. Another crewman remarked, “It’s pretty terrific. What a relief it worked.”

“Atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Aug 2008, 11:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6542.

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Here is a picture of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on august 6, 1945.  This recreated version of the atomic bomb can be found at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

30
Jul
08

On this Day, 7-30-08: Jamestown

First legislative assembly in America

In Jamestown, Virginia, the first elected legislative assembly in the New World–the House of Burgesses–convenes in the choir of the town’s church.

Earlier that year, the London Company, which had established the Jamestown settlement 12 years before, directed Virginia Governor Sir George Yeardley to summon a “General Assembly” elected by the settlers, with every free adult male voting. Twenty-two representatives from the 11 Jamestown boroughs were chosen, and Master John Pory was appointed the assembly’s speaker. On July 30, the House of Burgesses (an English word for “citizens”) convened for the first time. Its first law, which, like all of its laws, would have to be approved by the London Company, required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made Sabbath observance mandatory.

The creation of the House of Burgesses, along with other progressive measures, made Sir George Yeardley exceptionally popular among the colonists, and he served two terms as Virginia governor.

“First legislative assembly in America.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Jul 2008, 12:40 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5219.

 

On This Day

1502 – Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

1733 – The first Freemasons lodge opened in what would later become the United States.

1889 – Vladimir Zworykin, called the “Father of Television” was born in Russia. He invented the iconoscope.

1942 – The WAVES were created by legislation signed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The members of the Women’s Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service were a part of the U.S. Navy.

1945 – The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian. Only 316 out of 1,196 men aboard survived the attack.

1956 – The phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto.

1965 – U.S. President Johnson signed into law Social Security Act that established Medicare and Medicaid. It went into effect the following year.

1974 – The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Nixon for blocking the Watergate investigation and for abuse of power.

1975 – Jimmy Hoffa, former Teamsters union president, disappeared in Michigan. His remains were never found.

1990 – The first Saturn automobile rolled off the assembly line.

1996 – A federal law enforcement source said that security guard Richard Jewell had become the focus of the investigation into the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park. Jewell was later cleared as a suspect.

 

 

Battle of Hooge

In Flanders, Belgium, on July 30, 1915, the Germans put their new weapon, the flammenwerfer, or flamethrower, to devastating use against the Allies at the Battle of Hooge.

The Battle of Hooge represented one of the first major employments of the flamethrower, one of the most feared weapons introduced during World War I. Eleven days before the battle, British infantry had captured the German-occupied village of Hooge, located near Ypres in Belgium, by detonating a large mine. Using the flamethrowers to great effect, along with machine guns, trench mortars and hand grenades, the Germans reclaimed their positions on July 30, 1915, penetrating enemy front lines with ease and pushing the British forces back to their second trench. Though few men were lost to actual burns, a British officer reported later, the weapons had a great demoralizing effect, and when added to the assault of the other powerful weapons, they proved mercilessly efficient at Hooge.

“Battle of Hooge.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Jul 2008, 12:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=830.

South Vietnamese boats raid islands in the Tonkin Gulf

At about midnight, six “Swifts,” special torpedo boats used by the South Vietnamese for covert raids, attack the islands of Hon Me and Hon Ngu in the Tonkin Gulf. Although unable to land any commandos, the boats fired on island installations. Radar and radio transmissions were monitored by an American destroyer, the USS Maddox, which was stationed about 120 miles away.

The South Vietnamese attacks were part of a covert operation called Oplan 34A, which involved raids by South Vietnamese commandos operating under American orders against North Vietnamese coastal and island installations. Although American forces were not directly involved in the actual raids, U.S. Navy ships were on station to conduct electronic surveillance and monitor North Vietnamese defense responses under another program, Operation De Soto. The Oplan 34A attacks played a major role in events that led to what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. On August 2, North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the Maddox, which had been conducting a De Soto mission in the area. Two days after the first attack, there was another incident that still remains unclear. The Maddox, joined by destroyer USS C. Turner Joy, engaged what were thought at the time to be more attacking North Vietnamese patrol boats. Although it was questionable whether the second attack actually happened or not, the incident provided the rationale for retaliatory air attacks against the North Vietnamese and the subsequent Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The resolution became the basis for the initial escalation of the war in Vietnam and ultimately the insertion of U.S. combat troops into the area.

“South Vietnamese boats raid islands in the Tonkin Gulf.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Jul 2008, 12:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1997.

29
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-29-08: NASA

NASA created

On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

“NASA created.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52738.

 

On This Day

1588 – The English defeated the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines.

1773 – The first schoolhouse to be located west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Schoenbrunn, OH.

1890 – Artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers, France.

1914 – The first transcontinental telephone service was inaugurated when two people held a conversation between New York, NY and San Francisco, CA.

1957 – The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1967 – Fire swept the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin. 134 U.S. servicemen were killed.

1968 – Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against artificial methods of birth control.

1975 – OAS (Organization of American States) members voted to lift collective sanctions against Cuba. The U.S. government welcomed the action and announced its intention to open serious discussions with Cuba on normalization.

1981 – England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married.

1985 – General Motors announced that Spring Hill, TN, would be the home of the Saturn automobile assembly plant.

1993 – The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.” His death sentence was thrown out and he was set free.

2005 – Astronomers announced that they had discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun.

 

Spanish Armada defeated

Off the coast of Gravelines, France, Spain’s so-called “Invincible Armada” is defeated by an English naval force under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake. After eight hours of furious fighting, a change in wind direction prompted the Spanish to break off from the battle and retreat toward the North Sea. Its hopes of invasion crushed, the remnants of the Spanish Armada began a long and difficult journey back to Spain.

“Spanish Armada defeated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:31 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6973.

Belle Boyd is captured

Confederate spy Marie Isabella “Belle” Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. It was the first of three arrests for this skilled spy who provided crucial information to the Confederates during the war.

“Belle Boyd is captured.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2266.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams

In the early hours of July 29, 1914, Czar Nicholas II of Russia and his first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, begin a frantic exchange of telegrams regarding the newly erupted war in the Balkan region and the possibility of its escalation into a general European war.

“Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=829.

Washington wages war on the Bonus Army

The Great Depression sent poverty-stricken Americans scrambling for any available source of income. Veterans of World War I certainly felt pinched, and cast about for ways to haul in cash, but, unlike Americans who hadn’t fought in the war, the veterans seemingly had a solution: in the wake of the war, the government had promised to hand out handsome cash bonuses to all servicemen. The catch was the bonuses were to be paid out in 1945. In dire need of money, veterans called on legislators during the spring and summer of 1932 to speed up payment of the bonuses. In May, a group of veterans from Portland, Oregon, staged the “Bonus March” and headed to Washington, D.C., to plead their case. The March fast became a mini-movement, and by June a “Bonus Army” of 20,000 vets had set up shop in Washington. At first all seemed to go well for the veterans, as the House of Representatives passed the Patman Bonus Bill, which called for the early payment of bonuses. The Senate, however, put the kibosh on the movement and killed the Patman legislation. Though chunks of the Bonus Army fled Washington after the bill’s defeat, a hefty handful of veterans stayed on through late July. President Herbert Hoover ordered the ousting of the vets who had decamped in government quarters. When the eviction proceedings turned ugly, and two veterans were killed, Hoover called on the army to disperse the remaining Bonus protesters. General Douglas MacArthur, and his young assistant Dwight Eisenhower, marshaled troops, tanks and tear gas in their war to send the stragglers home. Duly persuaded by this gross show of force, the remaining members of the Bonus Army headed home on July 29, 1932.

“Washington wages war on the Bonus Army.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5941.

Japanese sink the USS Indianapolis

On this day in 1945, Japanese warships sink the American cruiser Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen in the worst loss in the history of the U.S. navy.

“Japanese sink the USS Indianapolis.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6534.

 

I could have gone on flying through space forever.
Yuri Gagarin




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