January 31, 1917: Germany Announces the Resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

 

In a letter dated January 31, 1917 the German ambassador to the United States,  Count Johann von Bernstorff, informed Robert Lansing, the US Secretary of State, that Germany was resuming unrestricted submarine warfare: (more…)

Published in: on January 31, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 31, 1917: Germany Announces the Resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare  
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Resquiescat in Pace: Mary Tyler Moore

 

 

Mary Tyler Moore dead at 80?  Impossible! One of the favorite actresses of my youth, she was a master of comedy, perhaps not greatly appreciated for it because she made it look so easy.  To me she will always be associated with the years of my childhood in the sixties and seventies.  A reluctant icon of feminism, she was clear that she did not agree with radical feminists and that the most important role for any woman was that of mother.  A moderate liberal in her youth, she became politically conservative as she grew older.  Unlike many in her industry she did not seek to inflict her political opinions on her fans.  One of the treasured memories of her life was when she and her mother had a private audience with Pope John Paul II.  Like many comediennes and comedians, she had much sorrow in her life.  May she know the Joy Eternal in the world to come.

Published in: on January 30, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Resquiescat in Pace: Mary Tyler Moore  
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Winter War

Something for the weekend.  Finlandia Hymn.  My Bride and I are off to Winter War 44, a war gaming and rpg convention that I have been attending since 1976.  Go here to read about it.  We usually pick up some new games from the vendors and more at the game auction.  Twenty-five years ago we brought our four month old twin baby boys through a blizzard to their first war game convention.  Ah, time is a river and the current runs fast.

For the more venturesome, or crazed, among you, here is a link to Open General, a free computer game that has dozens of campaigns and hundreds of scenarios set in various time periods in which you command various military units to achieve the victory conditions of the scenario you are playing.  If you choose to download it, follow the installation instructions carefully.  Happy gaming!

Published in: on January 28, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Winter War  
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January 27, 1967: Apollo I Tragedy

 

 

Hard to believe it has been fifty years.  I was ten years old and watching the television show Time Tunnel when a news flash interrupted the show to convey the grim news that Apollo 1 astronauts Pilot Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II, and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee had died in a fire in the space capsule during a simulated practice launch.  Subsequent investigation indicated that the fire probably started due to faulty electric wiring in the capsule, but the exact cause of the fire ignition has never been pinpointed, which has created a fertile ground for conspiracy theorists usually centering around an alleged plot to kill Grissom.  A sad day for the American Space Program fifty years ago.

Published in: on January 27, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 27, 1967: Apollo I Tragedy  
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January 25, 1890: Nellie Bly Completes 72 Day Trip Around the Globe

Born in 1864, Elizabeth Jane Cochran, better known by her journalism pen name of Nellie Bly, began her career when she wrote an angry rebuttal to an anti-woman piece in the Pittsburg Dispatch entitled What Girls are Good For.  The editor offered her a job and Bly never looked  back, becoming an internationally known reporter.  Perhaps her most famous exploit started in November 1889 when she embarked on an around the world trip to beat the fictional journey of Phineas Fogg’s  depicted in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.  Her paper, the New York World, offered a contest for their readers to guess how long the trip would take her.  During the trip she met Jules Vernes and developed a global following as she filed stories throughout her journey.  She set a world record when she arrived back in New York on January 15, 1890, seventy-two days after she set out.

Published in: on January 25, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 25, 1890: Nellie Bly Completes 72 Day Trip Around the Globe  
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Theodore Roosevelt and The Curse of Meroz

 

 

Theodore Roosevelt had long been a harsh critic of the neutrality policy of the Wilson administration.  On January 29, 1917 he gave a memorable response to the January 22, 1917 speech to the Senate of President Wilson in which Wilson called for Peace Without Victory:

“President Wilson has announced himself in favor of peace without victory, and now he has declared himself against universal service-that is against all efficient preparedness by the United States.

Peace without victory is the natural ideal of the man too proud to fight.

When fear of the German submarine next moves President Wilson to declare for “peace without victory” between the tortured Belgians and their cruel oppressors and task masters;  when such fear next moves him to utter the shameful untruth that each side is fighting for the same things, and to declare for neutrality between wrong and right;  let him think of the prophetess Deborah who, when Sisera mightily oppressed the children of Israel with his chariots of iron, and when the people of Meroz stood neutral between the oppressed and their oppressors, sang of them:

 

 

“Curse ye Meroz, sang the angel of the  Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord against the wrongdoings of the mighty.”” 

Published in: on January 23, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Theodore Roosevelt and The Curse of Meroz  
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January 22, 1917: Peace Without Victory

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The United States was two months from entering the Great War when President Wilson addressed the Senate a century ago, calling for Peace Without Victory and laying out the beginnings of what would eventually be his Fourteen Points as the basis of peace:

Gentlemen of the Senate:

On the 18th of December last, I addressed an identical note to the governments of the nations now at war requesting them to state, more definitely than they had yet been stated by either group of belligerents, the terms upon which they would deem it possible to make peace.  I spoke on behalf of humanity and of the rights of all neutral nations like our own, many of whose most vital interests the war puts in constant jeopardy.

The Central Powers united in a reply which state merely that they were ready to meet their antagonists in conference to discuss terms of peace.  The Entente powers have replied much more definitely and have stated, in general terms, indeed, but with sufficient definiteness to imply details, the arrangements, guarantees, and acts of reparation which they deem to be the indispensable conditions of a satisfactory settlement.  We are that much nearer a definite discussion of the peace which shall end the present war.  We are that much nearer the definite discussion of the international concert which must thereafter hold the world at peace.

In every discussion of peace that must end this war, it is taken for granted that the peace must be followed by some definite concert of power which will make it virtually impossible that any such catastrophe should ever overwhelm us again.  Every love of mankind, every sane and thoughtful man must take that for granted.

(more…)

Published in: on January 22, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 22, 1917: Peace Without Victory  
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God Bless the USA

It is thought by many, and said by some, that this republic has already seen its best days; that the historian may now write the story of its decline and fall. Two classes of men are just now especially afflicted with such forebodings. The first are those who are croakers by nature. The men who have a taste for funerals, and especially national funerals. They never see the bright side of anything, and probably never will. Like the raven in the lines of Edgar A. Poe, they have learned two words, and those are, ‘never more’. They usually begin by telling us what we never shall see.

Frederick Douglass, December 7, 1869

 

 

 

Something for the weekend.  This rendition of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA seems very appropriate as a new administration begins.  We Americans are a tough and resilient people, something our adversaries frequently forget and something we too also sometimes fail to remember.

Published in: on January 21, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on God Bless the USA  
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March 4, 1841: Longest Inaugural Address

 

 

 

President William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in American history.  He spoke for one hour and forty-five minutes in a howling snow storm, without wearing a hat or a coat.   Catching pneumonia, he died one month later.  Here is the text of his address:

 

 

Called from a retirement which I had supposed was to continue for the residue of my life to fill the chief executive office of this great and free nation, I appear before you, fellow-citizens, to take the oaths which the Constitution prescribes as a necessary qualification for the performance of its duties; and in obedience to a custom coeval with our Government and what I believe to be your expectations I proceed to present to you a summary of the principles which will govern me in the discharge of the duties which I shall be called upon to perform.

It was the remark of a Roman consul in an early period of that celebrated Republic that a most striking contrast was observable in the conduct of candidates for offices of power and trust before and after obtaining them, they seldom carrying out in the latter case the pledges and promises made in the former. However much the world may have improved in many respects in the lapse of upward of two thousand years since the remark was made by the virtuous and indignant Roman, I fear that a strict examination of the annals of some of the modern elective governments would develop similar instances of violated confidence.

Although the fiat of the people has gone forth proclaiming me the Chief Magistrate of this glorious Union, nothing upon their part remaining to be done, it may be thought that a motive may exist to keep up the delusion under which they may be supposed to have acted in relation to my principles and opinions; and perhaps there may be some in this assembly who have come here either prepared to condemn those I shall now deliver, or, approving them, to doubt the sincerity with which they are now uttered. But the lapse of a few months will confirm or dispel their fears. The outline of principles to govern and measures to be adopted by an Administration not yet begun will soon be exchanged for immutable history, and I shall stand either exonerated by my countrymen or classed with the mass of those who promised that they might deceive and flattered with the intention to betray. However strong may be my present purpose to realize the expectations of a magnanimous and confiding people, I too well understand the dangerous temptations to which I shall be exposed from the magnitude of the power which it has been the pleasure of the people to commit to my hands not to place my chief confidence upon the aid of that Almighty Power which has hitherto protected me and enabled me to bring to favorable issues other important but still greatly inferior trusts heretofore confided to me by my country. (more…)

Published in: on January 19, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on March 4, 1841: Longest Inaugural Address  
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March 4, 1793: Shortest Inaugural Address

 

The shortest inaugural address was given on March 4, 1793.  Since it was delivered by George Washington it still managed to be meaningful as well as brief.  I wish every one of his successors had to repeat the final paragraph:

 

 

Fellow Citizens:

I AM again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which has been reposed in me by the people of united America.

 
Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the Government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.

Published in: on January 18, 2017 at 10:51 am  Comments Off on March 4, 1793: Shortest Inaugural Address  
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