Posts Tagged ‘Woodrow Wilson

08
Jan
09

On This Day, 1-8-2009: Enfranchisement

From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.  Carl Schurz

 

January 8, 1867

Congress expands suffrage in nation’s capital

Congress overrides President Andrew Johnson’s veto of a bill granting all adult male citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote, and the bill becomes law. It was the first law in American history that granted African-American men the right to vote. According to terms of the legislation, every male citizen of the city 21 years of age or older has the right to vote, except welfare or charity recipients, those under guardianship, men convicted of major crimes, or men who voluntarily sheltered Confederate troops or spies during the Civil War. The bill, vetoed by President Johnson on January 5, was overridden by a vote of 29 to 10 in the Senate and by a vote of 112 to 38 in the House of Representatives.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Republican-dominated Congress sought to enfranchise African-American men, who thus would be empowered to protect themselves against exploitation and strengthen the Republican control over the South. In 1870, in a major victory in this crusade, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, prohibiting all states from discriminating against potential male voters because of race or previous condition of servitude.

“Congress expands suffrage in nation’s capital.” 2009. The History Channel website. 8 Jan 2009, 12:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4659.

On This Day

1642 – Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy.

1675 – The first corporation was charted in the United States. The company was the New York Fishing Company.

1790 – In the United States, George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address.

1889 – The tabulating machine was patented by Dr. Herman Hollerith. His firm, Tabulating Machine Company, later became International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

1900 – U.S. President McKinley placed Alaska under military rule.

1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points as the basis for peace upon the end of World War I.

1935 – The spectrophotometer was patented by A.C. Hardy.

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.”

1973 – Secret peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed near Paris, France.

1973 – The trial opened in Washington, of seven men accused of bugging Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, DC.

January 8, 1815

The Battle of New Orleans

Two weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, U.S. General Andrew Jackson achieves the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans.

In September 1814, an impressive American naval victory on Lake Champlain forced invading British forces back into Canada and led to the conclusion of peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on December 24, word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.

On January 8, 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the United States. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, and the arriving British found militiamen under General Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal. In two separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the U.S. defenses, and Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, General Pakenham was dead, and nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. U.S. forces suffered only eight killed and 13 wounded.

Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the United States and Britain.

“The Battle of New Orleans.” 2009. The History Channel website. 8 Jan 2009, 12:21 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4658.

On This Day in Wisconsin: January 8

1910 – Vagrant Snow Shovelers Strike for Pay


On this date 228 vagrants were brought in to shovel snow at the Chicago & Northwestern rail yard in Janesville. Shortly thereafter, they went on strike for 25 cents an hour and better food. Two days later, they went on strike again, asking for 30 cents an hour. [Source: Janesville Gazette]

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08
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-8-08: PBSUCCESS

Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala

Col. Carlos Castillo Armas is elected president of the junta that overthrew the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in late June 1954. The election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of U.S. efforts to remove Arbenz and save Guatemala from what American officials believed to be an attempt by international communism to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1944, Guatemala went through a revolution that saw the removal of a long-time dictator and the establishment of the first democratically elected government in the nation’s history. In 1950, Guatemala witnessed another first with the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president, Arbenz. Officials in the United States had watched the developments in Guatemala with growing concern and fear. The Guatemalan government, particularly after Arbenz came to power in 1950, had launched a serious effort at land reform and redistribution to Guatemala’s landless masses. When this effort resulted in the powerful American-owned United Fruit Company losing many acres of land, U.S. officials began to believe that communism was at work in Guatemala.

By 1953 and into 1954, the U.S. government was intent on removing Arbenz from power and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was given this task by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The CIA established a multifaceted covert operation (code named PBSUCCESS). Beginning in June 1954, the CIA saturated Guatemala with propaganda over the radio and through leaflets dropped over the country, and also began small bombing raids using unmarked airplanes. It also organized and armed a small force of “freedom fighters”–mostly Guatemalan refugees and mercenaries–headed by Castillo Armas. This force, which never numbered more than a few hundred men, had little impact on subsequent events.

By late June, the Arbenz government, diplomatically and economically isolated by the United States, came to the conclusion that resistance against the “giant of the north” was futile, and Arbenz resigned on June 27. A short time later, Castillo Armas and his “army” marched into Guatemala City and established a ruling junta. On July 8, 1954, Castillo Armas was elected president of the junta.

For the United States, the election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of a successful covert operation against international communism. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that Guatemala had been saved from “communist imperialism.” The overthrow of Arbenz had added “a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition of the American states.” Many Guatemalans came to have a different perspective. The new regime rounded up thousands of suspected communists, and executed hundreds of prisoners. Labor unions, which had flourished since 1944, were crushed, and United Fruit’s lands were restored. Castillo Armas, however, did not long enjoy his success. He was assassinated in 1957. Guatemalan politics then degenerated into a series of coups and countercoups, coupled with brutal repression of the country’s people.

“Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2722.

1099 – Christian soldiers on the First Crusade march around Jerusalem.

1608 – The first French settlement at Quebec was established by Samuel de Champlain.

1709 – Peter the Great defeated Charles XII at Poltava, in the Ukraine, The Swedish empire was effectively ended.

1776 – Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence to a crowd at Independence Square in Philadelphia.

1815 – Louis XVIII returned to Paris after the defeat of Napoleon.

1865 – C.E. Barnes patented the machine gun.

1879 – The first ship to use electric lights departed from San Francisco, CA.

1881 – Edward Berner, druggist in Two Rivers, WI, poured chocolate syrup on ice cream in a dish. To this time chocolate syrup had only been used for making ice-cream sodas.

1919 – U.S. President Wilson returned from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.

1950 – General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

1960 – The Soviet Union charged Gary Powers with espionage. He was shot down in a U-2 spy plane.

1986 – Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.

Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, sails into Tokyo Bay, Japan, with a squadron of four vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but under threat of attack by the superior American ships they accepted letters from President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it had been declared closed to foreigners two centuries before. Only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to continue trade with Japan after 1639, but this trade was restricted and confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki.

After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Commodore Perry returned to Tokyo with nine ships in March 1854. On March 31, he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in over 200 years reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks, discussing expansion of trade with the United States. Treaties with other Western powers followed soon after, contributing to the collapse of the shogunate and ultimately the modernization of Japan.

“Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:30 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5161.

First Americans killed in South Vietnam

Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas strike a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group had arrived in South Vietnam on November 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers, and province and district headquarters.

“First Americans killed in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1954.

28
Jun
08

On This Day, 6-28-08: John Maynard Keynes

Keynes predicts economic chaos

At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. The English economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the peace conference but then left in protest of the treaty, was one of the most outspoken critics of the punitive agreement. In his The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in December 1919, Keynes predicted that the stiff war reparations and other harsh terms imposed on Germany by the treaty would lead to the financial collapse of the country, which in turn would have serious economic and political repercussions on Europe and the world.

By the fall of 1918, it was apparent to the leaders of Germany that defeat was inevitable in World War I. After four years of terrible attrition, Germany no longer had the men or resources to resist the Allies, who had been given a tremendous boost by the infusion of American manpower and supplies. In order to avert an Allied invasion of Germany, the German government contacted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in October 1918 and asked him to arrange a general armistice. Earlier that year, Wilson had proclaimed his “Fourteen Points,” which proposed terms for a “just and stable peace” between Germany and its enemies. The Germans asked that the armistice be established along these terms, and the Allies more or less complied, assuring Germany of a fair and unselfish final peace treaty. On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and went into effect, and fighting in World War I came to an end.

In January 1919, John Maynard Keynes traveled to the Paris Peace Conference as the chief representative of the British Treasury. The brilliant 35-year-old economist had previously won acclaim for his work with the Indian currency and his management of British finances during the war. In Paris, he sat on an economic council and advised British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, but the important peacemaking decisions were out of his hands, and President Wilson, Prime Minister Lloyd George, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau wielded the real authority. Germany had no role in the negotiations deciding its fate, and lesser Allied powers had little responsibility in the drafting of the final treaty.

It soon became apparent that the treaty would bear only a faint resemblance to the Fourteen Points that had been proposed by Wilson and embraced by the Germans. Wilson, a great idealist, had few negotiating skills, and he soon buckled under the pressure of Clemenceau, who hoped to punish Germany as severely as it had punished France in the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Lloyd George took the middle ground between the two men, but he backed the French plan to force Germany to pay reparations for damages inflicted on Allied civilians and their property. Since the treaty officially held Germany responsible for the outbreak of World War I (in reality it was only partially responsible), the Allies would not have to pay reparations for damages they inflicted on German civilians.

The treaty that began to emerge was a thinly veiled Carthaginian Peace, an agreement that accomplished Clemenceau’s hope to crush France’s old rival. According to its terms, Germany was to relinquish 10 percent of its territory. It was to be disarmed, and its overseas empire taken over by the Allies. Most detrimental to Germany’s immediate future, however, was the confiscation of its foreign financial holdings and its merchant carrier fleet. The German economy, already devastated by the war, was thus further crippled, and the stiff war reparations demanded ensured that it would not soon return to its feet. A final reparations figure was not agreed upon in the treaty, but estimates placed the amount in excess of $30 billion, far beyond Germany’s capacity to pay. Germany would be subject to invasion if it fell behind on payments.

Keynes, horrified by the terms of the emerging treaty, presented a plan to the Allied leaders in which the German government be given a substantial loan, thus allowing it to buy food and materials while beginning reparations payments immediately. Lloyd George approved the “Keynes Plan,” but President Wilson turned it down because he feared it would not receive congressional approval. In a private letter to a friend, Keynes called the idealistic American president “the greatest fraud on earth.” On June 5, 1919, Keynes wrote a note to Lloyd George informing the prime minister that he was resigning his post in protest of the impending “devastation of Europe.”

The Germans initially refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, and it took an ultimatum from the Allies to bring the German delegation to Paris on June 28. It was five years to the day since the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, which began the chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. Clemenceau chose the location for the signing of the treaty: the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles Palace, site of the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War. At the ceremony, General Jan Christiaan Smuts, soon to be president of South Africa, was the only Allied leader to protest formally the Treaty of Versailles, saying it would do grave injury to the industrial revival of Europe.

At Smuts’ urging, Keynes began work on The Economic Consequences of the Peace. It was published in December 1919 and was widely read. In the book, Keynes made a grim prophecy that would have particular relevance to the next generation of Europeans: “If we aim at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare say, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for very long the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the later German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilization and the progress of our generation.”

Germany soon fell hopelessly behind in its reparations payments, and in 1923 France and Belgium occupied the industrial Ruhr region as a means of forcing payment. In protest, workers and employers closed down the factories in the region. Catastrophic inflation ensued, and Germany’s fragile economy began quickly to collapse. By the time the crash came in November 1923, a lifetime of savings could not buy a loaf of bread. That month, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler launched an abortive coup against Germany’s government. The Nazis were crushed and Hitler was imprisoned, but many resentful Germans sympathized with the Nazis and their hatred of the Treaty of Versailles.

A decade later, Hitler would exploit this continuing bitterness among Germans to seize control of the German state. In the 1930s, the Treaty of Versailles was significantly revised and altered in Germany’s favor, but this belated amendment could not stop the rise of German militarism and the subsequent outbreak of World War II.

In the late 1930s, John Maynard Keynes gained a reputation as the world’s foremost economist by advocating large-scale government economic planning to keep unemployment low and markets healthy. Today, all major capitalist nations adhere to the key principles of Keynesian economics. He died in 1946.

“Keynes predicts economic chaos.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jun 2008, 03:40 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6942.

02
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-2-08: Falklands Islands

Argentina invades Falklands

On April 2, 1982, Argentina invades the Falklands Islands, a British colony since 1892 and British possession since 1833. Argentine amphibious forces rapidly overcame the small garrison of British marines at the town of Stanley on East Falkland and the next day seized the dependent territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich group. The 1,800 Falkland Islanders, mostly English-speaking sheep farmers, awaited a British response.

The Falkland Islands, located about 300 miles off the southern tip of Argentina, had long been claimed by the British. British navigator John Davis may have sighted the islands in 1592, and in 1690 British Navy Captain John Strong made the first recorded landing on the islands. He named them after Viscount Falkland, who was the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time. In 1764, French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville founded the islands’ first human settlement, on East Falkland, which was taken over by the Spanish in 1767. In 1765, the British settled West Falkland but left in 1774 for economic reasons. Spain abandoned its settlement in 1811.

In 1816 Argentina declared its independence from Spain and in 1820 proclaimed its sovereignty over the Falklands. The Argentines built a fort on East Falkland, but in 1832 it was destroyed by the USS Lexington in retaliation for the seizure of U.S. seal ships in the area. In 1833, a British force expelled the remaining Argentine officials and began a military occupation. In 1841, a British lieutenant governor was appointed, and by the 1880s a British community of some 1,800 people on the islands was self-supporting. In 1892, the wind-blown Falkland Islands were collectively granted colonial status.

For the next 90 years, life on the Falklands remained much unchanged, despite persistent diplomatic efforts by Argentina to regain control of the islands. In 1981, the Falkland Islanders voted in a referendum to remain British, and it seemed unlikely that the Falklands would ever revert to Argentine rule. Meanwhile, in Argentina, the military junta led by Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri was suffering criticism for its oppressive rule and economic management, and planned the Falklands invasion as a means of promoting patriotic feeling and propping up its regime.

In March 1982, Argentine salvage workers occupied South Georgia Island, and a full-scale invasion of the Falklands began on April 2. Under orders from their commanders, the Argentine troops inflicted no British casualties, despite suffering losses to their own units. Nevertheless, Britain was outraged, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher assembled a naval task force of 30 warships to retake the islands. As Britain is 8,000 miles from the Falklands, it took several weeks for the British warships to arrive. On April 25, South Georgia Island was retaken, and after several intensive naval battles fought around the Falklands, British troops landed on East Falkland on May 21. After several weeks of fighting, the large Argentine garrison at Stanley surrendered on June 14, effectively ending the conflict.

Britain lost five ships and 256 lives in the fight to regain the Falklands, and Argentina lost its only cruiser and 750 lives. Humiliated in the Falklands War, the Argentine military was swept from power in 1983, and civilian rule was restored. In Britain, Margaret Thatcher’s popularity soared after the conflict, and her Conservative Party won a landslide victory in 1983 parliamentary elections.

“Argentina invades Falklands.” 2008. The History Channel website. 2 Apr 2008, 05:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4884.

1513 – Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida.

1801 – During the Napoleonic Wars, the Danish fleet was destroyed by the British at the Battle of Copenhagen.

1865 – Confederate President Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA.

1902 – The first motion picture theatre opened in Los Angeles with the name Electric Theatre.

1917 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson presented a declaration of war against Germany to the U.S. Congress.

1958 – The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics was renamed NASA.

1963 – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King began the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, AL.

1966 – South Vietnamese troops joined in demonstrations at Hue and Da Nang for an end to military rule.

1967 – In Peking, hundreds of thousands demonstrated against Mao foe Liu Shao-chi.

1972 – Burt Reynolds appeared nude in “Cosmopolitan” magazine.

1984 – John Thompson became the first black coach to lead his team to the NCAA college basketball championship.

1987 – The speed limit on U.S. interstate highways was increased to 65 miles per hour in limited areas.

1996 – Lech Walesa resumed his old job as an electrician at the Gdansk shipyard. He was the former Solidarity union leader who became Poland’s first post-war democratic president.

Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.
Margaret Thatcher

14
Mar
08

On This Day, 3-15-08: Et tu Brute

The ides of March: Julius Caesar is murdered

Julius Caesar, the “dictator for life” of the Roman Empire, is murdered by his own senators at a meeting in a hall next to Pompey’s Theatre. The conspiracy against Caesar encompassed as many as sixty noblemen, including Caesar’s own protege, Marcus Brutus.

Caesar was scheduled to leave Rome to fight in a war on March 18 and had appointed loyal members of his army to rule the Empire in his absence. The Republican senators, already chafing at having to abide by Caesar’s decrees, were particularly angry about the prospect of taking orders from Caesar’s underlings. Cassius Longinus started the plot against the dictator, quickly getting his brother-in-law Marcus Brutus to join.

Caesar should have been well aware that many of the senators hated him, but he dismissed his security force not long before his assassination. Reportedly, Caesar was handed a warning note as he entered the senate meeting that day but did not read it. After he entered the hall, Caesar was surrounded by senators holding daggers. Servilius Casca struck the first blow, hitting Caesar in the neck and drawing blood. The other senators all joined in, stabbing him repeatedly about the head.

Marcus Brutus wounded Caesar in the groin and Caesar is said to have remarked in Greek, “You, too, my child?” In the aftermath of the assassination, Antony attempted to carry out Caesar’s legacy. However, Caesar’s will left Octavian in charge as his adopted son. Cassius and Brutus tried to rally a Republican army and Brutus even issued coins celebrating the assassination, known as the Ides of March. Octavian vowed revenge against the assassins, two years later Cassius and Brutus committed suicide after learning that Octavian’s forces had defeated theirs at the Battle of Philippa in Greece.

Antony took his armies east, where he hooked up with Caesar’s old paramour, Cleopatra. Octavian and Antony fought for many years until Octavian prevailed. In 30 B.C., Antony committed suicide. Octavian, later known as Augustus, ruled the Roman Empire for many more years. 

“The ides of March: Julius Caesar is murdered.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Mar 2008, 01:07 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=939.

1493 – Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first New World voyage.

1781 – During the American Revolution, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place in North Carolina. British General Cornwallis’ 1,900 soldiers defeated an American force of 4,400. http://www.nps.gov/guco/

1820 – Maine was admitted as the 23rd state of the Union.

1862 – General John Hunt Morgan began four days of raids near the city of Gallatin, TN. http://www.equilt.com/morgan.html

1904 – Three hundred Russians were killed as the Japanese shelled Port Arthur in Korea.

1907 – In Finland, woman won their first seats in the Finnish Parliament. They took their seats on May 23.

1916 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sent 12,000 troops, under General Pershing, over the border of Mexico to pursue bandit Pancho Villa. The mission failed.

1917 – Russian Czar Nicholas II abdicated himself and his son. His brother Grand Duke succeeded as czar.

1937 – In Chicago, IL, the first blood bank to preserve blood for transfusion by refrigeration was established at the Cook County Hospital.

1938 – Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia.

1939 – German forces occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and part of Czechoslovakia.

1944 – Cassino, Italy, was destroyed by Allied bombing.

1955 – The U.S. Air Force unveiled a self-guided missile.

1964 – In Montreal, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were married.

1996 – The aviation firm Fokker NV collapsed.

2002 – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Associated Press that the U.S. would stand by a 24-year pledge not to use nuclear arms against states that don’t have them.

Washington puts an end to the Newburgh Conspiracy

On the morning of March 15, 1783, General George Washington makes a surprise appearance at an assembly of army officers at Newburgh, New York, to calm the growing frustration and distrust they had been openly expressing towards Congress in the previous few weeks. Angry with Congress for failing to honor its promise to pay them and for its failure to settle accounts for repayment of food and clothing, officers began circulating an anonymous letter condemning Congress and calling for a revolt.

“Washington puts an end to the Newburgh Conspiracy.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Mar 2008, 01:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=311.

Nazis take Czechoslovakia

On this day, Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia–a nation sacrificed on the altar of the Munich Pact, which was a vain attempt to prevent Germany’s imperial aims.”

Nazis take Czechoslovakia.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Mar 2008, 01:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6743.

S&Ls closed in Ohio

After watching vast chunks of his state’s savings and loans banks bleed money and shut their doors, Ohio Governor Richard Celeste took action on March 15, 1985. On this day, Celeste temporarily halted business at all of Ohio’s ailing thrifts. After being shut down for a bare three days, the S&Ls were allowed to reopen on March 21, albeit with a $750 cap on withdrawals designed to prevent an all-out assault on deposits. However, Ohio’s actions couldn’t stave off what became one of the largest fiscal crises of the 1980s: plagued by slow-downs in key sectors of the economy, thrifts across the country fell prey to bankruptcy. However, the so-called Savings and Loan Scandal was not simply marked by the mass failure of high-profile financial institutions; it was also steeped in corruption, as scores of S&L chiefs had abused their positions in the name of racking up gaudy fortunes. Following the tidal wave of thrifts closures, a number of the S&L chiefs were sent to jail for fraud and embezzlement.

“S.” 2008. The History Channel website. 15 Mar 2008, 01:12 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5776.

04
Dec
07

On This Day 12-4

Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as a means to your end.
Immanuel Kant

1783 – Gen. George Washington said farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

I know I’m not the first to make the comparison, but George Washington and Cincinnatus must have had the same virtues.

Cincinnatus was plowing his field, when he learned he had been appointed dictator. The Romans had appointed Cincinnatus dictator for six months so he could defend the Romans against the neighboring Aequi who had surrounded the Roman army and the consul Minucius in the Alban Hills. Cincinnatus rose to the occasion, defeated the Aequi, made them pass under the yoke to show their subjugation, gave up the title of dictator sixteen days after it had been granted, and promptly returned to his farm.  ( http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/rulersleaderskings/p/Cincinnatus.htm )

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

1812 – Peter Gaillard patented the power mower.

1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson set sail for France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference. Wilson became the first chief executive to travel to Europe while in office.

1942 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration. The program had been created in order to provide jobs during the Great Depression.

1942 – U.S. bombers attacked the Italian mainland for the first time during World War II.

1945 – The U.S. Senate approved American participation in the United Nations.

1965 – The U.S. launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Comdr. James A. Lovell on board.

1973 – Pioneer 10 reached Jupiter.

1978 – Dianne Feinstein became San Francisco’s first woman mayor when she was named to replace George Moscone, who had been murdered.

1991 – Pan American World Airways ceased operations.

1993 – The Angolan government and its UNITA guerrilla foes formally adopted terms for a truce. The conflict was killing an estimated 1,000 people per day.

Anyone who doesn’t regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants it restored has no brains.
Vladimir Putin

A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

10
Nov
07

On This Day: 11-11 Veterans Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918 The Great War as it was known then, World War I as it is known today, ended.  The great European dynasties fell, millions of people died, and Communism was born.  The war would officially end the next Summer with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.  The treaty was terribly punitive and contributed to causing World War II.  One of the first mistakes made was forcing German Kaiser Wilhelm to abdicate his throne before the Allies would negotiate.  A German provisional government, which was resented by most Germans, negotiated the harsh treaty.  Adolf Hitler would later exploit that resentment during his rise to power.  US leadership learned from this mistake and at the end of World War II allowed the Japanese to keep Emperor Hirohito.

President Woodrow Wilson negotiated the end of The Great War for the United States.  He took with him his now famous Fourteen Points.  He wanted these fourteen points negotiated into the Treaty of Versailles as a condition of US acceptance.  A copy of that document appears below.  Article XIV would lead to the establishment of the League of Nations, which was the predecessor of the United Nations. 

The Europeans absolutely refused to consider Article V:

V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

As an interesting historical sidebar, President Wilson was approached at Versailles by a young waiter of oriental descent who very much wanted to discuss Article V, which is now known as the “Right to Self-determination”.  In other words the indigenous people of a place have a democratic right to determine who rules them.  Wilson rebuffed the young waiter, who then left France for the Soviet Union where he was indoctrinated into Communism.  He then returned home to begin an epic struggle against the imperialist powers that occupied his homeland.  Who was that waiter Wilson rebuffed?  History knows him as Ho Chi Minh.

8 January, 1918:
President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points


(Delivered in Joint Session, January 8, 1918)


Gentlemen of the Congress:Once more, as repeatedly before, the spokesmen of the Central Empires have indicated their desire to discuss the objects of the war and the possible basis of a general peace. Parleys have been in progress at Brest-Litovsk between Russsian representatives and representatives of the Central Powers to which the attention of all the belligerents have been invited for the purpose of ascertaining whether it may be possible to extend these parleys into a general conference with regard to terms of peace and settlement.The Russian representatives presented not only a perfectly definite statement of the principles upon which they would be willing to conclude peace but also an equally definite program of the concrete application of those principles. The representatives of the Central Powers, on their part, presented an outline of settlement which, if much less definite, seemed susceptible of liberal interpretation until their specific program of practical terms was added. That program proposed no concessions at all either to the sovereignty of Russia or to the preferences of the populations with whose fortunes it dealt, but meant, in a word, that the Central Empires were to keep every foot of territory their armed forces had occupied — every province, every city, every point of vantage — as a permanent addition to their territories and their power.It is a reasonable conjecture that the general principles of settlement which they at first suggested originated with the more liberal statesmen of Germany and Austria, the men who have begun to feel the force of their own people’s thought and purpose, while the concrete terms of actual settlement came from the military leaders who have no thought but to keep what they have got. The negotiations have been broken off. The Russian representatives were sincere and in earnest. They cannot entertain such proposals of conquest and domination.The whole incident is full of significances. It is also full of perplexity. With whom are the Russian representatives dealing? For whom are the representatives of the Central Empires speaking? Are they speaking for the majorities of their respective parliaments or for the minority parties, that military and imperialistic minority which has so far dominated their whole policy and controlled the affairs of Turkey and of the Balkan states which have felt obliged to become their associates in this war?

The Russian representatives have insisted, very justly, very wisely, and in the true spirit of modern democracy, that the conferences they have been holding with the Teutonic and Turkish statesmen should be held within open, not closed, doors, and all the world has been audience, as was desired. To whom have we been listening, then? To those who speak the spirit and intention of the resolutions of the German Reichstag of the 9th of July last, the spirit and intention of the Liberal leaders and parties of Germany, or to those who resist and defy that spirit and intention and insist upon conquest and subjugation? Or are we listening, in fact, to both, unreconciled and in open and hopeless contradiction? These are very serious and pregnant questions. Upon the answer to them depends the peace of the world.

But, whatever the results of the parleys at Brest-Litovsk, whatever the confusions of counsel and of purpose in the utterances of the spokesmen of the Central Empires, they have again attempted to acquaint the world with their objects in the war and have again challenged their adversaries to say what their objects are and what sort of settlement they would deem just and satisfactory. There is no good reason why that challenge should not be responded to, and responded to with the utmost candor. We did not wait for it. Not once, but again and again, we have laid our whole thought and purpose before the world, not in general terms only, but each time with sufficient definition to make it clear what sort of definite terms of settlement must necessarily spring out of them. Within the last week Mr. Lloyd George has spoken with admirable candor and in admirable spirit for the people and Government of Great Britain.

There is no confusion of counsel among the adversaries of the Central Powers, no uncertainty of principle, no vagueness of detail. The only secrecy of counsel, the only lack of fearless frankness, the only failure to make definite statement of the objects of the war, lies with Germany and her allies. The issues of life and death hang upon these definitions. No statesman who has the least conception of his responsibility ought for a moment to permit himself to continue this tragical and appalling outpouring of blood and treasure unless he is sure beyond a peradventure that the objects of the vital sacrifice are part and parcel of the very life of Society and that the people for whom he speaks think them right and imperative as he does.

There is, moreover, a voice calling for these definitions of principle and of purpose which is, it seems to me, more thrilling and more compelling than any of the many moving voices with which the troubled air of the world is filled. It is the voice of the Russian people. They are prostrate and all but hopeless, it would seem, before the grim power of Germany, which has hitherto known no relenting and no pity. Their power, apparently, is shattered. And yet their soul is not subservient. They will not yield either in principle or in action. Their conception of what is right, of what is humane and honorable for them to accept, has been stated with a frankness, a largeness of view, a generosity of spirit, and a universal human sympathy which must challenge the admiration of every friend of mankind; and they have refused to compound their ideals or desert others that they themselves may be safe.

They call to us to say what it is that we desire, in what, if in anything, our purpose and our spirit differ from theirs; and I believe that the people of the United States would wish me to respond, with utter simplicity and frankness. Whether their present leaders believe it or not, it is our heartfelt desire and hope that some way may be opened whereby we may be privileged to assist the people of Russia to attain their utmost hope of liberty and ordered peace.

It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind. The day of conquest and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants entered into in the interest of particular governments and likely at some unlooked-for moment to upset the peace of the world. It is this happy fact, now clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which makes it possible for every nation whose purposes are consistent with justice and the peace of the world to avow nor or at any other time the objects it has in view.

We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secure once for all against their recurrence. What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The program of the world’s peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:

I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development.

XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

XII. The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end. For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this program does remove. We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this program that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peace- loving nations of the world in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world, — the new world in which we now live, — instead of a place of mastery.

Neither do we presume to suggest to her any alteration or modification of her institutions. But it is necessary, we must frankly say, and necessary as a preliminary to any intelligent dealings with her on our part, that we should know whom her spokesmen speak for when they speak to us, whether for the Reichstag majority or for the military party and the men whose creed is imperial domination.

We have spoken now, surely, in terms too concrete to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak.

Unless this principle be made its foundation no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The people of the United States could act upon no other principle; and to the vindication of this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything they possess. The moral climax of this the culminating and final war for human liberty has come, and they are ready to put their own strength, their own highest purpose, their own integrity and devotion to the test.





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