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|Author:||remrogers [ 18 Nov 2017, 11:38 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-18|
Railroads create the first time zones
At exactly noon on this day, American and Canadian railroads begin using four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. The bold move was emblematic of the power shared by the railroad companies.
The need for continental time zones stemmed directly from the problems of moving passengers and freight over the thousands of miles of rail line that covered North America by the 1880s. Since human beings had first begun keeping track of time, they set their clocks to the local movement of the sun. Even as late as the 1880s, most towns in the U.S. had their own local time, generally based on “high noon,” or the time when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. As railroads began to shrink the travel time between cities from days or months to mere hours, however, these local times became a scheduling nightmare. Railroad timetables in major cities listed dozens of different arrival and departure times for the same train, each linked to a different local time zone.
Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.
Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
|Author:||remrogers [ 19 Nov 2017, 10:50 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-19|
Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address
On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.
The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing. The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee’s defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army’s ultimate decline.
Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln—just two weeks before the ceremony—requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the grounds.
At the dedication, the crowd listened for two hours to Everett before Lincoln spoke. Lincoln’s address lasted just two or three minutes. The speech reflected his redefined belief that the Civil War was not just a fight to save the Union, but a struggle for freedom and equality for all, an idea Lincoln had not championed in the years leading up to the war. This was his stirring conclusion: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Reception of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was initially mixed, divided strictly along partisan lines. Nevertheless, the “little speech,” as he later called it, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written.
|Author:||remrogers [ 20 Nov 2017, 10:46 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-20|
Nuremberg war-crimes trials begin
On this day in 1945, a series of trials of accused Nazi war criminals, conducted by a U.S., French, and Soviet military tribunal based in Nuremberg, Germany, begins. Twenty-four former Nazi officials were tried, and when it was all over, one year later, half would be sentenced to death by hanging.
These trials of accused war criminals were authorized by the London Agreement, signed in August 1945 by the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the provisional government of France. It was agreed at that time that those Axis officials whose war crimes extended beyond a particular geographic area would be tried by an international war tribunal (a trial for accused Japanese war criminals would be held in Tokyo). Nineteen other nations would eventually sign on to the provisions of the agreement.
The charges against the 24 accused at Nuremberg were as follows: (1) crimes against peace, that is, the planning and waging of wars that violated international treaties; (2) crimes against humanity, that is, the deportation, extermination, and genocide of various populations; (3) war crimes, that is, those activities that violated the “rules” of war that had been laid down in light of the First World War and later international agreements; and (4) conspiracy to commit any and all of the crimes listed in the first three counts.
The tribunal had the authority to find both individuals and organizations criminal; in the event of the latter, individual members of that organization could then be tried. Each of the four original signatories of the London Agreement picked one member and an alternate to sit on the tribunal. The chief prosecutor was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, who was asked by President Harry S. Truman to create a structure for the proceedings. The defendants were arrayed in two rows of seats; each of the indicted listened to a simultaneous translation of the arguments through a headset.
There were 216 court sessions. On October 1, 1946, verdicts on 22 of the 24 defendants were handed down (two were not present; one had committed suicide in his prison cell, another was ultimately deemed mentally unfit): 12 of the defendants were sentenced to be hanged, including Julius Streicher (propagandist), Alfred Rosenberg (anti-Semitic ideologue and minister of the occupied eastern territories), Joachim von Ribbentrop (foreign affairs minister), Martin Bormann (Nazi Party secretary), and Herman Goering (Luftwaffe commander and Gestapo head). Ten of the 12 were hanged on October 16. Bormann was tried and sentenced in absentia (he was thought to have died trying to escape Hitler’s bunker at the close of the war, but was only declared officially dead in 1973). Goering committed suicide before he could be hanged. The rest of the defendants received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life. All of the defenses offered by the accused were rejected, including the notion that only a state, not an individual, could commit a war crime proper.
|Author:||remrogers [ 21 Nov 2017, 09:50 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-21|
Millions tune in to find out who shot J.R.
On this day in 1980, 350 million people around the world tune in to television’s popular primetime drama “Dallas” to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character fans loved to hate. J.R. had been shot on the season-ending episode the previous March 21, which now stands as one of television’s most famous cliffhangers. The plot twist inspired widespread media coverage and left America wondering “Who shot J.R.?” for the next eight months. The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s wife’s sister and his former mistress, as the culprit.
The CBS television network debuted the first five-episode pilot season of “Dallas” in 1978; it went on to run for another 12 full-length seasons. The first show of its kind, “Dallas” was dubbed a “primetime soap opera” for its serial plots and dramatic tales of moral excess. The show revolved around the relations of two Texas oil families: the wealthy, successful Ewing family and the perpetually down-on-their-luck Barnes family. The families’ patriarchs, Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes, were former partners locked in a years-long feud over oil fields Barnes claimed had been stolen by Ewing. Ewing’s youngest son Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Barnes’ daughter Pam (Victoria Principal) had married, linking the battling clans even more closely. The character of J.R. Ewing, Bobby’s oldest brother and a greedy, conniving, womanizing scoundrel, was played by Larry Hagman.
As J.R. had many enemies, audiences were hard-pressed to guess who was responsible for his attempted murder. That summer, the question “Who Shot J.R.?” entered the national lexicon, becoming a popular t-shirt slogan, and heightening anticipation of the soap’s third season, which was to air in the fall. After a much-talked-about contract dispute with Hagman was finally settled, the season was delayed because of a Screen Actors Guild strike, much to the dismay of “Dallas” fans. When it finally aired, the episode revealing J.R.’s shooter became one of television’s most watched shows, with an audience of 83 million people in the U.S. alone—a full 76 percent of all U.S. televisions on that night were tuned in—and helped put “Dallas” into greater worldwide circulation. It also popularized the use of the cliffhanger by television writers.
The shooting of J.R. wasn’t “Dallas'”only notorious plot twist. In September 1986, fans learned that the entire previous season, in which main character Bobby Ewing had died, was merely a dream of Pam’s. The show’s writers had killed the Bobby character off because Duffy had decided to leave the show. When he agreed to return, they featured him stepping out of the shower on the season-ending cliffhanger, and then were forced the next season to explain his sudden reappearance.
The last premiere episode of “Dallas” aired on May 3, 1991. A spin-off, “Knots Landing,” aired from December 27, 1979 until May 13, 1993. “Dallas” remains in syndication around the world.
|Author:||trapperrick [ 21 Nov 2017, 17:42 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
I remember I was a freshman in high school when everyone was talking about who shot JR. I remember even a few kids wearing shirts saying, I Shot JR, on them. The sad thing is those kids would get arrested with those shirts these days...
|Author:||remrogers [ 22 Nov 2017, 11:46 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-22|
John F. Kennedy assassinated
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.
First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was 46.
Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was three cars behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States at 2:39 p.m. He took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field airport. The swearing in was witnessed by some 30 people, including Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing clothes stained with her husband’s blood. Seven minutes later, the presidential jet took off for Washington.
The next day, November 23, President Johnson issued his first proclamation, declaring November 25 to be a day of national mourning for the slain president. On that Monday, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy’s body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral for a requiem Mass. The solemn procession then continued on to Arlington National Cemetery, where leaders of 99 nations gathered for the state funeral. Kennedy was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his widow to forever mark the grave.
Lee Harvey Oswald, born in New Orleans in 1939, joined the U.S. Marines in 1956. He was discharged in 1959 and nine days later left for the Soviet Union, where he tried unsuccessfully to become a citizen. He worked in Minsk and married a Soviet woman and in 1962 was allowed to return to the United States with his wife and infant daughter. In early 1963, he bought a .38 revolver and rifle with a telescopic sight by mail order, and on April 10 in Dallas he allegedly shot at and missed former U.S. Army general Edwin Walker, a figure known for his extreme right-wing views. Later that month, Oswald went to New Orleans and founded a branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro organization. In September 1963, he went to Mexico City, where investigators allege that he attempted to secure a visa to travel to Cuba or return to the USSR. In October, he returned to Dallas and took a job at the Texas School Book Depository Building.
Less than an hour after Kennedy was shot, Oswald killed a policeman who questioned him on the street near his rooming house in Dallas. Thirty minutes later, Oswald was arrested in a movie theater by police responding to reports of a suspect. He was formally arraigned on November 23 for the murders of President Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit.
On November 24, Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby, who was immediately detained, claimed that rage at Kennedy’s murder was the motive for his action. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.
Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He features prominently in Kennedy-assassination theories, and many believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. In his trial, Ruby denied the allegation and pleaded innocent on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy’s murder had caused him to suffer “psychomotor epilepsy” and shoot Oswald unconsciously. The jury found Ruby guilty of “murder with malice” and sentenced him to die.
In October 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision on the grounds of improper admission of testimony and the fact that Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time. In January 1967, while awaiting a new trial, to be held in Wichita Falls, Ruby died of lung cancer in a Dallas hospital.
The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee’s findings, as with those of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.
|Author:||remrogers [ 23 Nov 2017, 11:27 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-23|
Colorado governor sends militia to Cripple Creek
Determined to crush the union of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), Colorado Governor James Peabody sends the state militia into the mining town of Cripple Creek.
The strike in the gold mines of Cripple Creek began that summer. William “Big Bill” Haywood’s Western Federation of Miners called for a sympathy strike among the underground miners to support a smelter workers’ strike for an eight-hour day. The WFM, which was founded in 1893 in Montana, had already been involved in several violent strikes in Colorado and Idaho. By the end of October, the call for action at Cripple Creek had worked, and a majority of mine and smelter workers were idle; Cripple Creek operations ground to a halt. Eager to resume mining and break the union, the mine owners turned to Governor Peabody, who agreed to provide state militia protection for replacement workers.
Outraged, the miners barricaded roads and railways, but by the end of September more than a thousand armed men were in Cripple Creek to undermine the strike. Soldiers began to round up union members and their sympathizers-including the entire staff of a pro-union newspaper-and imprison them without any charges or evidence of wrongdoing. When miners complained that the imprisonment was a violation of their constitutional rights, one anti-union judge replied, “To hell with the Constitution; we’re not following the Constitution!”
Such tyrannical tactics swung control of the strike to the more radical elements in the WFM, and in June 1904, Harry Orchard, a professional terrorist employed by the union, blew up a railroad station, which killed 13 strikebreakers. This recourse to terrorism proved a serious tactical mistake. The bombing turned public opinion against the union, and the mine owners were able to freely arrest and deport the majority of the WFM leaders. By midsummer, the strike was over and the WFM never again regained the power it had previously enjoyed in the Colorado mining districts.
|Author:||remrogers [ 24 Nov 2017, 08:25 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-24|
Origin of Species is published
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate more descendants than organisms of the same species that lack the variation, thus influencing the overall genetic makeup of the species.
Darwin, who was influenced by the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and the English economist Thomas Mathus, acquired most of the evidence for his theory during a five-year surveying expedition aboard the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. Visiting such diverse places as the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand, Darwin acquired an intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna, and geology of many lands. This information, along with his studies in variation and interbreeding after returning to England, proved invaluable in the development of his theory of organic evolution.
The idea of organic evolution was not new. It had been suggested earlier by, among others, Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a distinguished English scientist, and Lamarck, who in the early 19th century drew the first evolutionary diagram—a ladder leading from one-celled organisms to man. However, it was not until Darwin that science presented a practical explanation for the phenomenon of evolution.
Darwin had formulated his theory of natural selection by 1844, but he was wary to reveal his thesis to the public because it so obviously contradicted the biblical account of creation. In 1858, with Darwin still remaining silent about his findings, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace independently published a paper that essentially summarized his theory. Darwin and Wallace gave a joint lecture on evolution before the Linnean Society of London in July 1858, and Darwin prepared On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection for publication.
Published on November 24, 1859, Origin of Species sold out immediately. Most scientists quickly embraced the theory that solved so many puzzles of biological science, but orthodox Christians condemned the work as heresy. Controversy over Darwin’s ideas deepened with the publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he presented evidence of man’s evolution from apes.
By the time of Darwin’s death in 1882, his theory of evolution was generally accepted. In honor of his scientific work, he was buried in Westminster Abbey beside kings, queens, and other illustrious figures from British history. Subsequent developments in genetics and molecular biology led to modifications in accepted evolutionary theory, but Darwin’s ideas remain central to the field.
|Author:||remrogers [ 25 Nov 2017, 12:11 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-25|
A “war warning” is sent to commanders in the Pacific
On this day in 1941, Adm. Harold R. Stark, U.S. chief of naval operations, tells Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, that both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull think a Japanese surprise attack is a distinct possibility.
“We are likely to be attacked next Monday, for the Japs are notorious for attacking without warning,” Roosevelt had informed his Cabinet. “We must all prepare for trouble, possibly soon,” he telegraphed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Kimmel’s command was specifically at the mid-Pacific base at Oahu, which comprised, in part, Pearl Harbor. At the time he received the “warning” from Stark, he was negotiating with Army Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, commander of all U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, about sending U.S. warships out from Pearl Harbor in order to reinforce Wake and Midway Islands, which, along with the Philippines, were possible Japanese targets. But the Army had no antiaircraft artillery to spare.
War worries had struck because of an intercepted Japanese diplomatic message, which gave November 25 as a deadline of sorts. If Japanese diplomacy had failed to convince the Americans to revoke the economic sanctions against Japan, “things will automatically begin to happen,” the message related. Those “things” were becoming obvious, in the form of Japanese troop movements off Formosa (Taiwan) apparently toward Malaya. In fact, they were headed for Pearl Harbor, as was the Japanese First Air Fleet.
Despite the fact that so many in positions of command anticipated a Japanese attack, especially given the failure of diplomacy (Japan refused U.S. demands to withdraw from both the Axis pact and occupied territories in China and Indochina), no one expected Hawaii as the target.
|Author:||remrogers [ 26 Nov 2017, 10:54 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
The Great Diamond Hoax is exposed
The Great Diamond Hoax, one of the most notorious mining swindles of the time, is exposed with an article in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin.
Fraudulent gold and silver mines were common in the years following the California Gold Rush of 1849. Swindlers fooled many eager greenhorns by “salting” worthless mines with particles of gold dust to make them appear mineral-rich. However, few con men were as daring as Kentucky cousins Philip Arnold and John Slack, who convinced San Francisco capitalists to invest in a worthless mine in the northwestern corner of Colorado.
Arnold and Slack played their con perfectly. They arrived in San Francisco in 1872 and tried to deposit a bag of uncut diamonds at a bank. When questioned, the two men quickly disappeared, acting as if they were reluctant to talk about their discovery. Intrigued, a bank director named William Ralston tracked down the men. Assuming he was dealing with unsophisticated country bumpkins, he set out to take control of the diamond mine. The two cousins agreed to take a blindfolded mining expert to the site; the expert returned to report that the mine was indeed rich with diamonds and rubies.
Joining forces with a number of other prominent San Francisco financiers, Ralston formed the New York Mining and Commercial Company, capitalized at $10 million, and began selling stock to eager investors. As a show of good faith, Arnold and Slack received about $600,000-small change in comparison to the supposed value of the diamond mine. Convinced that the American West must have many other major deposits of diamonds, at least 25 other diamond exploration companies formed in the subsequent months.
Clarence King, the then-little-known young leader of a geographical survey of the 40th parallel, finally exposed the cousins’ diamond mine as a hoax. A brilliant geologist and mining engineer, King was suspicious of the mine from the start. He correctly deduced the location of the supposed mine, raced off to investigate, and soon realized that the swindlers had salted the mine–some of the gems he found even showed jewelers-cut marks.
Back in San Francisco, King exposed the fraud in the newspapers and the Great Diamond Hoax collapsed. Ralston returned $80,000 to each of his investors, but he was never able to recover the $600,000 given to the two cousins. Arnold lived out the few remaining years of his life in luxury in Kentucky before dying of pneumonia in 1878. Slack apparently squandered his share of the money, for he was last reported working as a coffin maker in New Mexico. King’s role in exposing the fraud brought him national recognition–he became the first director of the United States Geological Survey.
|Author:||remrogers [ 27 Nov 2017, 11:18 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 11-27|
Freak storm dissipates over England
On this day in 1703, an unusual storm system finally dissipates over England after wreaking havoc on the country for nearly two weeks. Featuring hurricane strength winds, the storm killed somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people. Hundreds of Royal Navy ships were lost to the storm, the worst in Britain’s history.
The unusual weather began on November 14 as strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean battered the south of Britain and Wales. Many homes and other buildings were damaged by the pounding winds, but the hurricane-like storm only began doing serious damage on November 26. With winds estimated at over 80 miles per hour, bricks were blown from some buildings and embedded in others. Wood beams, separated from buildings, flew through the air and killed hundreds across the south of the country. Towns such as Plymouth, Hull, Cowes, Portsmouth and Bristol were devastated.
However, the death toll really mounted when 300 Royal Navy ships anchored off the country’s southern coast—with 8,000 sailors on board—were lost. The Eddystone Lighthouse, built on a rock outcropping 14 miles from Plymouth, was felled by the storm. All of its residents, including its designer, Henry Winstanley, were killed. Huge waves on the Thames River sent water six feet higher than ever before recorded near London. More than 5,000 homes along the river were destroyed.
The author Daniel Defoe, who would later enjoy worldwide acclaim for the novel Robinson Crusoe, witnessed the storm, which he described as an “Army of Terror in its furious March.” His first book, The Storm, was published the following year.
|Author:||trapperrick [ 05 Dec 2017, 18:11 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
On this day, the Lexington, one of the two largest aircraft carriers employed by the United States during World War II, makes its way across the Pacific in order to carry a squadron of dive bombers to defend Midway Island from an anticipated Japanese attack.
Negotiations between the United States and Japan had been ongoing for months. Japan wanted an end to U.S. economic sanctions. The Americans wanted Japan out of China and Southeast Asia and Japan to repudiate the Tripartite “Axis” Pact with Germany and Italy before those sanctions could be lifted. Neither side was budging. President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull were anticipating a Japanese strike as retaliation-they just didn’t know where. The Philippines, Wake Island, Midway Island-all were possibilities. American intelligence reports had sighted the Japanese fleet movement out from Formosa (Taiwan), apparently headed for Indochina.
The U.S. State Department demanded from Japanese envoys explanations for the fleet movement across the South China Sea. The envoys claimed ignorance. Army intelligence reassured the president that, despite fears, Japan was most likely headed for Thailand-not the United States.
The Lexington never made it to Midway Island; when it learned that the Japanese fleet had, in fact, attacked Pearl Harbor, it turned back-never encountering a Japanese warship en route or employing a single aircraft in its defense. By the time it reached Hawaii, it was December 13.
|Author:||trapperrick [ 07 Dec 2017, 04:10 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.
With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.
Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.
The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.
The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.
|Author:||remrogers [ 07 Dec 2017, 10:39 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
I find it incredibly sad that there are so many Americans, under the age of 30, who have no idea what the significance of this day is. They have been fortunate to have been shielded from war of this magnitude.
|Author:||trapperrick [ 07 Dec 2017, 17:59 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
I find it incredibly sad that there are so many Americans, under the age of 30, who have no idea what the significance of this day is. They have been fortunate to have been shielded from war of this magnitude.
You're exactly right Rem. But, there is at least one out there that knows the significance of this day, my son who is a freshman in college and doing the history/pre-law thing actually texted me this morning and said; Do you know what today is? I responded; A date that will live in infamy. Then I sent him the video below.
|Author:||remrogers [ 08 Dec 2017, 11:23 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 12-8|
Jeanette Rankin casts sole vote against WWII
On this day, Montanan Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a dedicated lifelong pacifist, casts the sole Congressional vote against the U.S. declaration of war on Japan. She was the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. involvement in both World Wars, having been among those who voted against American entry into World War I nearly a quarter of a century earlier.
Rankin was a committed pacifist, and she cared little about the damage her beliefs caused her political career. Although some male representatives joined her in voting against World War I in 1917, many citizens saw her vote as evidence that a woman could not handle the difficult burdens of national leadership. Perhaps as a result, Montanans voted her out of office two years later. Ironically, Rankin won re-election to the House in 1940, just in time to face another vote on war.
While her commitment to pacifism was politically harmful during World War I, Rankin knew that in the case of World War II, it would be downright suicidal. The surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor was devastating, and zeal for revenge was at a fever pitch. The vast majority of Americans supported President Roosevelt’s call for a declaration of war.
Rankin, however, believed that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the Japanese to attack because he wanted to bring the U.S. into the European war against Germany; she was determined not to cooperate with the president’s plan. After a 40-minute debate on the floor of the House, a roll call vote began. When her turn came, Rankin stood and said, “As a woman, I can’t go to war and I refuse to send anyone else.”
When news of Rankin’s vote reached the crowd gathered outside the capitol, some patriots threatened to attack the Montana congresswoman, and police escorted her out of the building. Rankin was vilified in the press, accused of disloyalty, and called “Japanette Rankin,” among other impolite names. She stood her ground, however, and never apologized for her vote.
When her term neared completion two years later, Rankin was certain she would not win re-election and chose not to run again. She continued to be an active advocate for pacifism, and led a campaign against the Vietnam War in 1968 when she was 87 years old.
|Author:||remrogers [ 09 Dec 2017, 13:37 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 12-9|
“The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson is published
On this day, The Examiner prints Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” which commemorates the courage of 600 British soldiers charging a heavily defended position during the Battle of Balaklava, in the Crimea, just six weeks earlier. Tennyson had been named poet laureate in 1850 by Queen Victoria.
Tennyson was born into a chaotic and disrupted home. His father, the eldest son of a wealthy landowner, was disinherited in favor of his younger brother. Forced to enter the church to support himself, the Reverend Dr. George Tennyson became a bitter alcoholic. However, he educated his sons in the classics, and Alfred Tennyson, the fourth of 12 children, went to Trinity College at Cambridge in 1827. The same year, he and his brother Charles published Poems by Two Brothers. At Cambridge, Tennyson befriended a circle of intellectual undergraduates who strongly encouraged his poetry. Chief among them was Arthur Hallam, who became Tennyson’s closest friend and who later proposed to Tennyson’s sister.
In 1830, Tennyson published Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. The following year, his father died, and he was forced to leave Cambridge for financial reasons. Besieged by critical attacks and struggling with poverty, Tennyson nevertheless remained dedicated to his work and published several more volumes.
The sudden death of Tennyson’s dear friend Arthur Hallam in 1833 inspired several important works throughout Tennyson’s later life, including the masterful In Memoriam of 1842. Later that year, he published a volume called Poems, containing some of his best works. The book boosted Tennyson’s reputation, and in 1850 Queen Victoria named him poet laureate. At long last, Tennyson achieved financial stability and finally married his fiancée, Emily Sellwood, whom he had loved since 1836.
Tennyson’s massive frame and booming voice, together with his taste for solitude, made him an imposing character. He craved solitude and bought an isolated home where he could write in peace. In 1859, he published the first four books of his epic Idylls of the King. Eight more volumes would follow. He continued writing and publishing poems until his death in 1892.
|Author:||doc9013 [ 09 Dec 2017, 17:37 ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Today in history.|
Kids today get spanked on the (I'm an idiot, I just tried to cheat the profanity filter) and are scarred for life and live off welfare. Boy have times changed.
|Author:||remrogers [ 10 Dec 2017, 10:51 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 12-10|
Wyoming grants women the vote
Motivated more by interest in free publicity than a commitment to gender equality, Wyoming territorial legislators pass a bill that is signed into law granting women the right to vote.
Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage, but some of them had rather unsavory motives. Though some men recognized the important role women played in frontier settlement, others voted for women’s suffrage only to bolster the strength of conservative voting blocks. In Wyoming, some men were also motivated by sheer loneliness–in 1869, the territory had over 6,000 adult males and only 1,000 females, and area men hoped women would be more likely to settle in the rugged and isolated country if they were granted the right to vote.
Some of the suffrage movement’s leaders did have more respectable reasons for supporting women’s right to vote. William Bright, a territorial legislator who was in his mid-forties, had a persuasive young wife who convinced him that denying women the vote was a gross injustice. The other major backer, Edward M. Lee, the territorial secretary who had championed the cause for years, argued that it was unfair for his mother to be denied a privilege granted to African-American males.
Ultimately, though, appeals to justice and equality did not pass the legislation–most Wyoming legislators supported Bright and Lee’s bill because they thought it would win the territory free national publicity and might attract more single marriageable women to the region. Territorial Governor John A. Campbell appreciated the publicity power of the policy and signed the bill into law, making Wyoming the first territory or state in the history of the nation to grant women this fundamental right of citizenship.
|Author:||remrogers [ 11 Dec 2017, 09:37 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 12-11|
Toronto endures record snowstorm
The city of Toronto, Canada, is battered with its worst-ever snowfall on this day in 1944. Twenty-one people died as a result of the record storm, in which nearly 20 inches of snow fell in a single day.
The storm began hundreds of miles to the south near the Gulf of Mexico; it stalled after moving north over Toronto. In addition to the tremendous amount of snow, the winds from the storm were so high that visibility was reduced to nothing. The blizzard also created huge drifts that trapped people inside their homes. A streetcar on Queen Street was knocked over by the wind and snow, trapping 170 people and killing one person. All traffic and businesses in the city were shut down. Perhaps most importantly, as the storm took place during World War II, the city’s ammunition factory was forced to close.
Thirteen of the 21 storm-related deaths came as a result of heart attacks caused by overexertion as people shoveled snow to dig themselves out of their homes. The Toronto Daily Star‘s headline the next day was “Whole City Stopped as if by Giant Hand.” Mac’s, a famous restaurant at the University of Toronto, had to close for the first time in its history.
Although it is difficult to measure snowfall to assess records, this blizzard was certainly close to a single-day high. In the 1998-99 winter, Mt. Baker in northeastern Washington reported its own record high—a remarkable 1,140 inches of snow. This is believed to be the all-time high for seasonal snowfall.
|Author:||remrogers [ 12 Dec 2017, 09:46 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 12-12|
“Tears Of A Clown” gives Smokey Robinson & The Miracles their first #1 pop hit, finally
While Motown Records founder Berry Gordy surely deserves credit for establishing the creative philosophy and business strategy that turned his Detroit-based company into a hit-making machine in the 1960s, the inner workings of that machine during the company’s early years depended almost as much on the talents of a young man named William Robinson, Jr., better known to the world as “Smokey.” Even if he’d never sung on a single Motown record, Smokey Robinson would still be regarded as one of the label’s most important figures purely on the basis of his production and songwriting work for acts like Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations. But Smokey Robinson did sing, of course, in his trademark falsetto, on some of Motown’s most beloved records: “Shop Around” (1960); “You Really Got A Hold On Me” (1962); “I Second That Emotion” (1967), to name only a few. After more than a decade of hits like these that never quite made it to the top of the charts, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles finally earned their first #1 hit when “Tears Of A Clown” topped the Billboard Hot 100 on this day in 1970.
Like many of his other songs, “Tears Of A Clown” told a story to which any current or former lovelorn teenager could relate. Mining much the same emotional territory as he did in the song many consider to be his masterpiece, “The Tracks Of My Tears” (1965), Robinson showcased his ability in “Tears Of A Clown” to tell such a story using a catchy melody and clever wordplay—”Don’t let my glad expression/Give you the wrong impression“—without ever lapsing into corniness. It was that ability that led Bob Dylan to refer to Smokey Robinson as America’s “greatest living poet.”
Smokey Robinson’s association with Berry Gordy began even before Motown Records was founded, and it continued long after he stopped scoring hits of his own. Robinson’s “Shop Around” was the company’s first big hit (it was a Billboard #2 hit for The Miracles in 1960), and his “My Guy” (1964) and “My Girl” (1965) were #1 hits for Mary Wells and The Temptations, respectively. In 1967, Smokey Robinson became the vice president of Motown Records Corporation, a position he held for the next two decades until the company was sold to MCA in 1988.
|Author:||remrogers [ 13 Dec 2017, 11:58 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history. 12-13|
First export of American furs
Under the care of Robert Cushman, the first American furs to be exported from the continent leave for England aboard the Fortune.
One month before, Cushman and the Fortune had arrived at Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts with 35 settlers, the first new colonists since the settlement was founded in 1620. During Cushman’s return to England, the Fortune was captured by the French, and its valuable cargo of furs was taken. Cushman was detained on the Ile d’Dieu before being returned to England.
Within a few years of their first fur export, the Plymouth colonists, unable to make their living through cod fishing as they had originally planned, began concentrating almost entirely on the fur trade. The colonists developed an economic system in which their chief crop, Indian corn, was traded with Native Americans to the north for highly valued beaver skins, which were in turn profitably sold in England to pay the Plymouth Colony’s debts and buy necessary supplies.
|Author:||remrogers [ 14 Dec 2017, 11:01 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history....12-14|
George Washington dies at Mount Vernon
A major landholder and promoter of western settlement, George Washington dies on this day in 1799 at his Mount Vernon home along the banks of the Potomac.
From an early age, the future first president of the United States had a passionate interest in the vast unsettled territories of the West. Like many other aristocratic Virginians, Washington coveted land, and most ambitious young men of the eighteenth century had one way to acquire land: they went west.
As a 16-year-old in 1748, Washington made the first of several long journeys into the West, working as a skilled surveyor in the Shenandoah Valley. Unusually tall and strong, Washington loved the wild western lands of Virginia and was an excellent frontiersman. From the start, Washington’s ambitions were unabashedly mercenary, and he could not gaze on any tract of pristine land without considering its potential for development and profit. To that end, Washington had little tolerance for the remaining bands of Indians he encountered during his travels, writing in his journal that he found their war dances “comical.” Washington also had a strong distaste for the illegal pioneers who squatted on western lands they did not own, calling one group of Pennsylvania Germans as “Ignorant a Set of People as the Indians.” Washington believed both the Indians and the illegal squatters would need to be removed if the land was to be properly settled and exploited.
After joining the colonial military to defend British interests in the West, Washington moved quickly to increase his own land holdings and develop them for profit. As a reward for his military service, Washington claimed 30,000 acres of prime agricultural land along the Kanawha and Ohio rivers west of the Appalachian Mountains (an area that lies in modern-day West Virginia and Ohio). To solidify his claim and begin generating a profit, Washington advertised for settlers and purchased indentured servants to colonize his holdings.
The outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775 and Washington’s growing political responsibilities often interfered with his personal plans for western expansion during the following years, and he rarely had time to visit his distant landholdings. Not surprisingly, when he became the first president of the United States, Washington strongly endorsed the idea that the young nation must expand westward and settle the Trans-Appalachian regions of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. It remained for Washington’s successors to fully realize his vision, but the first president led his countrymen in speculating on and profiting from the sale and rent of western lands.
|Author:||remrogers [ 15 Dec 2017, 10:34 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history...12-15|
Legendary bandleader Glenn Miller disappears over the English Channel
General James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), hero of the daring “Doolittle Raid” on mainland Japan and later the unified commander of Allied air forces in Europe in World War II, offered the following high praise to one of his staff officers in 1944: “Next to a letter from home, Captain Miller, your organization is the greatest morale builder in the European Theater of Operations.” The Captain Miller in question was the trombonist and bandleader Glenn Miller, the biggest star on the American pop-music scene in the years immediately preceding World War II and a man who set aside his brilliant career right at its peak in 1942 to serve his country as leader of the USAAF dance band. It was in that capacity that Captain Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine aircraft at an airfield outside of London on December 15, 1944—an aircraft that would go missing over the English Channel en route to France for a congratulatory performance for American troops that had recently helped to liberate Paris.
It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of Glenn Miller’s success in the years immediately proceeding America’s entry into World War II. Though he was a relatively unspectacular instrumentalist himself—he’d played the trombone in various prominent orchestras but never distinguished himself as a performer—Miller the bandleader came to dominate the latter portion of the swing era on the strength of his disciplined arrangements and an innovation in orchestration that put the high-pitched clarinet on the melody line doubled by the saxophone section an octave below. This trademark sound helped the Glenn Miller Orchestra earn an unprecedented string of popular hits from 1939 to 1942, including the iconic versions of numbers like “In The Mood” (1939), “Tuxedo Junction” (1939) and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (1941), as well as Miller’s self-penned signature tune, “Moonlight Serenade” (1939).
The Glenn Miller Orchestra played its last-ever concert under Miller’s direction on September 27, 1942, in Passaic, New Jersey, and shortly thereafter, Miller entered the Army. After nearly two years spent stateside broadcasting a weekly radio program called I Sustain The Wings out of New York City, Miller formed a new 50-piece USAAF dance band and departed for England in the summer of 1944, giving hundreds of performances to Allied troops over the next six months before embarking on his fateful trip to France on this day in 1944.
The wreckage of Miller’s plane was never found. His official military status remains Missing in Action.
|Author:||remrogers [ 16 Dec 2017, 11:12 ]|
|Post subject:||Today in history....12-16|
Earthquake rocks the American wilderness
In the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri, the greatest series of earthquakes in U.S. history begins when a quake of an estimated 8.6 magnitude on the Richter scale slams the region. Although the earthquake greatly altered the topography of the region, the area was only sparsely inhabited at the time, and there were no known human fatalities.
The earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as 15 feet and changed the course of the Mississippi River. At one point, the Mississippi momentarily reversed its direction, giving rise to Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. A 30,000-square-mile area was affected, and tremors were felt as far away as the eastern coast of the United States, where the shock was reported to have rung church bells. Additional earthquakes and aftershocks continued throughout the winter and into the spring, and of the approximately 2,000 seismic vibrations felt during the period, five were estimated to be at an 8.0 or greater magnitude.
The New Madrid Fault system extends 120 miles southward from the area of Charleston, Missouri, to Marked Tree, Arkansas, and crosses through five states–Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. An earthquake of about 6.0 magnitude or greater occurs about every 80 years, and the catastrophic upheavals of the type reported in the winter of 1811 to 1812 occur about every 500 or 600 years.
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