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Old 01-01-2009, 09:36 PM  
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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This Day in History

Today...
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:09 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
Back in my freshman year of college, I had a commie-pacifist history professor who refused to teach about anything involving the military or wars. Overall, it was kind of a stupid teaching strategy (try going from the Great Depression to the Fifties without mentioning a war), but it nonetheless made me realize how often wars are the focus of history at the expense of other factors.

So here's a challenge. How about highlighting the biggest military and non-military events of the day?
Teaching history without wars is idiotic. Wars is typically the pivotal turning points of history. Nothing changes history as fast and as dramatically as a war. That said, many (inept) teachers just teach the war without teaching enough about the causes of the war, and their results. Studying specific battles and their results is generally fun, but not really critical. It is enough to know who won the Civil War, and a few key battles that led to the result. To go through each step of the war, battle by battle, is not very useful for the casual student.

Actually, thsi thread is somewhat counter to my own personal prediliction that teachers of history are too focused on the memorization of dates. In reality, in my view, specific dates constitute worthless knowledge. Dates are only important to the degree that they let you put matters in context -- THIS thing happened before or after that thing over there. Simply knowing the exact (or almost exact) date on which something occurred is usually a waste of mental space.

This thread merely lets me delve into various historical events within a specific context.

I'll see what I can do about covering a military and a non-military topic. On some dates, I have lots of choices. On other dates, I have very few. The main limitation here is the time that I have to write about whatever my topic du jour is.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:13 PM   #122
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January 26. Wow, dull day.

1340, Edward III, King of England, proclaims himself King of France, as the only surviving male grandchild of his maternal grandfather, French King Philip IV. The French reject the claim on the basis of the Salic Law (basically, a law that disinherits women). This sets the stage for the Hundred Years' War.
Notable birthdays on this day, besides my own... Douglas MacArthur, Paul Newman, Wayne Gretzky, and Eddie VanHalen.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:40 AM   #123
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January 27.

Non-military. on this date in 1888, the National Geographic Society was founded in Washington DC.

Military. On this date, 1944, the 872 day siege of Leningrad was lifted by virtue of the Russians having attained a land corridor to the city.

Leningrad was one of the key targets of the German Operation BArbarossa three years earlier, in the initial invasion of Russia. Unable to capture the city on the move, as planned, in part due to the lack of armor assigned to Army Group North (which was responsible for captuirng hte city), the Germans blockaded it, along with Finnish troops who attacked from the west/north.

For three years the city remained under siege, with supplies coming in through the Baltic sea, as well as over the frozen Lake Lagoda during the winter months.

The siege was the second deadliest in modern history (trailing only Berlin), with over 1.1 million dead. Massive civilian casualties were also involved. One cemetary alone in current St. Petersberg (the re-renamed Leningrad), has over half a million bodies interred from the siege. The battle for Leningrad involved more casualities than the battle for Stalingrad, Moscow or the atomic bombings of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

After all birds,, pets and rats (that could be caught) were captured, cannibalism began to be reported in the besieged city. Leningrad's police established a special division to deal with cannibalism.

The siege was a constant drain on Nazi men and materiels, and their inability to eliminate the city had significant strategic ramifications for the entire Eastern Front for the duration of the war.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #124
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January 28

Fair bit of stuff today.

1077. On this date in 1077, Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV completed the Walk to Canossa, resulting in the lifting of his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII. The Walk to Canossa was the first true victory of a Pope over the German domination of the Papal seat that had held sway since the fall of the Roman Empire.

1521. The Diet of Worms begins, most famously dealing with Martin Luther.

1871. The Siege of Paris ends as the French sue for peace from the Prussians. As a result of the victory, King William I of Prussia becomes Kaiser of all Germany, at a ceremony held rather ironically in the Palace of Versailles. This is cited as the beginning of the Second Reich. It also resulted in the downfall of Napoleon III and the Second French Empire. Further results of the Franco-Prussian War were also extremely significant:

1. countries without conscription or a military general staff soon adopted both, as they were clearly instrumental in the German victory.

2. Europe came to understand, painfully, what America had already learned in the Civil War -- the indispensable value of railroads in military movements and logistics.

3. The Dreyfus Affair, previously referred to in this thread, was an indirect result of the French defeat.

4. Alsace-Lorraine would continue to serve as a thorn in teh side of the French psyche for decades.

5. Germany was made the preeminent land power in Europe, sealing the reputation of Otto von Bismarck.


1934 -- the first ski tow begins operation in Vermont.

1958 -- Lego patents the design of its bricks (ask my kids how important this one is!!)

1986 -- Space Shuttle Challenger breaks apart while taking off, killing all 7 astronauts on board.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:32 PM   #125
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January 29

1845. Edgar Allen Poe publishes "the Raven"

1850. Henry Clay introduces the Compromise of 1850 to the US Congress. A compromise designed to lessen growing hostilities between Northern and Southern states, particular with regard to the expansion of slavery, the contained among its provisions the Fugitive Slave Act, which was reviled in the North.

1886. Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline powered automobile.

1936. The first inductees to the baseball Hall of Fame are inducted. Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner are the sole inductees. None earns 100% of the vote (Ty Cobb was the highest at slightly over 98%), establishing a tradition that holds to this day of not giving anyone 100% of the vote. Such notables as Cy Young, Tris Speaker, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Rogers Hornsby weren't voted in in the first year.

1944. I include this out of special consideration for you guys -- the last battleship commissioned by the United States -- the USS Missouri -- is launched.

2002. President George W. Bush gives his "Axis of Evil" speech.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:55 AM   #126
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January 30.

Soon I'll have to ask the mods to rename this thread "This (or a very recent) day in history".

Anyway, January 30th is a very, very busy day in history indeed.

1649. Charles I, King of England, is beheaded. Charles I, an advent believer in the Divine Right of Kings, precipitated his downfall by, among other things, marrying a Catholic, seemingly trying to bring England closer to Roman Catholicism, engaging in religious disputes with the Scots, and most importantly seeking to augment his own power at the expense of Parliament. As a result, civil war erupted, Charles lost, and was executed for treason. Oliver Cromwell was appointed Lord Protector of England. By 1660, however, after the death of Cromwell (more on this below), and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles' son, Charles II, Charles I was canonized by the Church of England.

1661. On this date, Oliver Cromwell, the former Lord Protector of England, is ritually beheaded on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I. I say "ritually", because his body was exhumed due to his already having been dead for nearly two years in order for the rather gruesome at that point head to be separated from the rest of the body. What was left of his body was then hanged in chains at Tyburn, London, where many English executions took place. His body was eventually thrown into a pit. His head, however, was mounted on a pole outside Westminster Hall for nearly 25 years, until 1685, after which, it went through many hands over the next several hundred years (including being bought and sold) until eventually interred in 1960. It must have been a heck of a conversation piece...

1835. In the first assassination attempt against a US President, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot President Andrew Jackson. He was clearly mentally ill, believing that he was Richard III, King of England, and once he was paid a substantial sum owed to him by the US government (which Jackson was improperly withholding from him), he would be able to go and claim the throne.

1862. First US ironclad, the Monitor, is launched. It and its enemy sister-ship, the Merrimack, would revolutionize naval warfare.

1933. Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. In retrospect many believe this was not a particularly good idea.

1968. The Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam. See prior post regarding the Battle of Khe Sanh. The Tet Offensive was the largest attack by the Vietcong during the war, with over 80,000 troops attacking in over 100 South Vietnamese cities and towns. While it had an unquestionably disastrous military result on Vietnamese forces -- indeed the Vietcong were largely wiped out as a result -- the attack had a massive propaganda value, convincing the American public that they had been misled about American success to date during the war, and the chances of winning the war.
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:06 AM   #127
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January 31.

On this day, 1950, US President Harry S. Truman announces the US's intention to build a hydrogen bomb.

Non-military -- on this day, 1961, Ham the Chimp, the first hominid to be launched into outer space. Surprisingly, this was not a one way mission, and Ham lived until 1983, until the ripe old age of 26 (he was only 2 at the time of his mission), having spent years at the National Zoo in Washington DC and then the North Carolina Zoo.


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Old 02-01-2009, 01:12 AM   #128
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February 1.

1865. President Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to teh Constitution, permanently prohibiting slavery in the United States.

1978. Director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees to Europe after being charged with having sex with a 13 year old girl.

2004. Janet Jackson suffers a "wardrobe malfunction", baring teat to half a billion people or whatever.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:05 PM   #129
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February 2.

1536. On this date Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires.

1653. On this date New Amsterdam, later renamed New York City, is incorporated.

1790. The Supreme Court convenes for the first time.

1887. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania observes the first Groundhog Day.

1925. Dogsleds reach Nome, Alaska, with Diptheria serum (antitoxin). The "serum run to Nome", also known as the "Great Race of Mercy", inspires the Iditarod race.

1943. The last German forces in Stalingrad surrender. Those who have kept up with this thread will be unsurprised to hear that I plan to post a longer summary of these events as soon as possible.

1974. The F-16 Fighting Falcon jetfighter plane flies for the first time.

1989. The last Soviet column leaves Kabul, Afghanistan.

2009. Donger eagerly awaits my summary of the Battle of Stalingrad, and plans to read every word, even though he knows just as much about it as I do.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:12 PM   #130
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1661. On this date, Oliver Cromwell, the former Lord Protector of England, is ritually beheaded on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I. I say "ritually", because his body was exhumed due to his already having been dead for nearly two years in order for the rather gruesome at that point head to be separated from the rest of the body. What was left of his body was then hanged in chains at Tyburn, London, where many English executions took place. His body was eventually thrown into a pit. His head, however, was mounted on a pole outside Westminster Hall for nearly 25 years, until 1685, after which, it went through many hands over the next several hundred years (including being bought and sold) until eventually interred in 1960. It must have been a heck of a conversation piece...
That would've been a way cool thing to have. I wonder what it typically sold for.
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:18 PM   #131
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The National Baseball League was started on this day in, I think, 1886.

Looked it up - 1876

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Old 02-02-2009, 06:40 PM   #132
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1835. In the first assassination attempt against a US President, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot President Andrew Jackson. He was clearly mentally ill, believing that he was Richard III, King of England, and once he was paid a substantial sum owed to him by the US government (which Jackson was improperly withholding from him), he would be able to go and claim the throne.
Do you suppose this is the first guy to get one of those emails (probably mails back then) from Nigeria bout the sum of money and his kingship???
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High Tech is Sorcery and the people who are really powerful are literally telling people to commit crimes using the psychic interspace created by the WWW and Wireless. They are controlling peoples actions like drones . The two things are deeply intertwined. The more man's brain interfaces with machines the creepier it gets. They use brains separate from a human body in a supercomputer and you have The Image of the Beast. The military has been doing this since the 50s
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:32 AM   #133
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I have thoughts (delusions, really) of doing a thorough job on Stalingrad, so that will likely be during the weekend
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:46 AM   #134
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February 3.

1690. The first paper money is issued in America, by Massachusetts.

1787. An uprising of central and western Massachusetts farmers, known as Shays' Rebellion for its leader, is crushed. Central and Western Massachusetts are basically never heard from again.

1913. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, authorizing the federal government to collect income taxes.

1917. A day after Germany announces unrestricted warfare, the United States breaks off diplomatic relations with that country, putting it on the path to joining World War I.

1945. The Soviet Union agrees to enter the Pacific War against Japan. They opportunistically wait until after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to invade Manchuria with over one million troops, and then make territorial claims against the Sakhalin and certain Kuril islands, which cause lingering problems that I believe still exist to this day.

Also on this date, 1,000 bombers of the US Eighth Air Force bomb Berlin.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:32 AM   #135
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50 years ago today was "The Day The Music Died":

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On February 3, 1959, a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, United States killed three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. The day was later called The Day the Music Died by Don McLean in his 1971 song "American Pie".
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