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Thread: This day in history

  1. #461
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    May 06 1942
    All American forces in the Philippines surrender unconditionally

    And the Japanese brutalized them. They deserved our two nuclear bombs- even more of them.

    On this day in 1942, U.S. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright surrenders all U.S. troops in the Philippines to the Japanese.

    The island of Corregidor remained the last Allied stronghold in the Philippines after the Japanese victory at Bataan (from which General Wainwright had managed to flee, to Corregidor). Constant artillery shelling and aerial bombardment attacks ate away at the American and Filipino defenders. Although still managing to sink many Japanese barges as they approached the northern shores of the island, the Allied troops could hold the invader off no longer. General Wainwright, only recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and commander of the U.S. armed forces in the Philippines, offered to surrender Corregidor to Japanese General Homma, but Homma wanted the complete, unconditional capitulation of all American forces throughout the Philippines. Wainwright had little choice given the odds against him and the poor physical condition of his troops (he had already lost 800 men). He surrendered at midnight. All 11,500 surviving Allied troops were evacuated to a prison stockade in Manila.


    General Wainwright remained a POW until 1945. As a sort of consolation for the massive defeat he suffered, he was present on the USS Missouri for the formal Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945. He would also be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman. Wainwright died in 1953-exactly eight years to the day of the Japanese surrender ceremony.
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  3. #462

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    Chinese Exclusion Act barred Chinese laborers from US

    On May 6, 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, barring Chinese laborers from entering the United States and prohibiting courts from bestowing US citizenship on Chinese.

    Connecticut Senator Joseph Hawley spoke out against the Act in these words:

    Let the proposed statue be read 100 years hence, dug out of the dust of ages and forgotten as it will be except for a line of sneer by some historian, and ask the young man not well read in the history of this country what was the reason for excluding these men and he would not be able to find it in the law.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and its successors were abolished in 1943 at the insistence of President Franklin Roosevelt.
    Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. -- Woody Hayes​

  4. #463
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGUtley View Post
    Chinese Exclusion Act barred Chinese laborers from US

    On May 6, 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, barring Chinese laborers from entering the United States and prohibiting courts from bestowing US citizenship on Chinese.

    Connecticut Senator Joseph Hawley spoke out against the Act in these words:

    Let the proposed statue be read 100 years hence, dug out of the dust of ages and forgotten as it will be except for a line of sneer by some historian, and ask the young man not well read in the history of this country what was the reason for excluding these men and he would not be able to find it in the law.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and its successors were abolished in 1943 at the insistence of President Franklin Roosevelt.
    We used them to build the railroads west. Then discarded them.
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  5. #464
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    May 9, 1887
    Buffalo Billís Wild West show opens

    Buffalo Billís Wild West show opens in London, giving Queen Victoria and her subjects their first look at real cowboys and Indians.

    A well-known scout for the army and a buffalo hunter for the railroads (which earned him his nickname), Cody had gained national prominence 15 years earlier thanks to a fanciful novel written by Edward Zane Carroll Judson. Writing under the pen name Ned Buntline, Judson made Cody the hero of his highly sensationalized dime novel The Scouts of the Plains; or, Red Deviltry As It Is.Ē In 1872, Judson also convinced Cody to travel to Chicago to star in a stage version of the book. Cody broke with Judson after a year, but he enjoyed the life of a performer and stayed on the stage for 11 seasons.
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  6. #465
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    May 11, 1934:

    Dust storm sweeps from Great Plains across Eastern states

    The dust bowl was caused by poor farming
    techniques.

    On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.

    At the time the Great Plains were settled in the mid-1800s, the land was covered by prairie grass, which held moisture in the earth and kept most of the soil from blowing away even during dry spells. By the early 20th century, however, farmers had plowed under much of the grass to create fields. The U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 caused a great need for wheat, and farms began to push their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland with the newly invented tractor. The plowing continued after the war, when the introduction of even more powerful gasoline tractors sped up the process. During the 1920s, wheat production increased by 300 percent, causing a glut in the market by 1931.


    That year, a severe drought spread across the region. As crops died, wind began to carry dust from the over-plowed and over-grazed lands. The number of dust storms reported jumped from 14 in 1932 to 28 in 1933. The following year, the storms decreased in frequency but increased in intensity, culminating in the most severe storm yet in May 1934. Over a period of two days, high-level winds caught and carried some 350 million tons of silt all the way from the northern Great Plains to the eastern seaboard. According to The New York Times, dust “lodged itself in the eyes and throats of weeping and coughing New Yorkers,” and even ships some 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks.



    The dust storms forced thousands of families from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico to uproot and migrate to California, where they were derisively known as “Okies”–no matter which state they were from. These transplants found life out West not much easier than what they had left, as work was scarce and pay meager during the worst years of the Great Depression.
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    Allied Headquarters in North Africa, May 12, 1943 --

    The war in Africa is over, it was officially announced tonight.

    Col. Gen. Dietloff von Arnim, the Prussian Commander in Chief of the Axis forces in North Africa, has been captured by the British, apparently on Cap Bon. In all, 150,000 prisoners are believed to have been taken since May 5, when the final assaults on Tunis and Bizerte began. Twelve generals have been captured.

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  9. #467
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    May 18, 1980

    Mount St. Helens erupts

    Mount St. Helens in Washington erupts, causing a massive avalanche and killing 57 people on this day in 1980. Ash from the volcanic eruption fell as far away as Minnesota.

    Seismic activity at Mount St. Helens, which is 96 miles south of Seattle, began on March 16. A 4.2-magnitude tremor was recorded four days later and then, on March 23-24, there were 174 different recorded tremors. The first eruption occurred on March 27, when a 250-foot wide vent opened up on top of the mountain. Ash was blasted 10,000 feet in the air, some of which came down nearly 300 miles away in Spokane. The ash caused static electricity and lightning bolts.


    Authorities issued a hazard watch for a 50-mile radius around the mountain. The National Guard set up road blocks to prevent access to the area, but these were easily avoided by using the region’s unguarded logging roads. Many residents of the area evacuated, but a substantial number refused. Harry Truman, 84—no relation to the former president—was one resident who refused to move and, after receiving a great deal of positive media coverage for his decision, became a national icon as well as, later, the subject of a local memorial.
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  10. #468
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    May 23, 1934

    Police kill Bonnie and Clyde

    The police ambushed them.

    On this day in 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana.

    Bonnie Parker met the charismatic Clyde Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old and her husband (she married when she was 16) was serving time in jail for murder. Shortly after they met, Barrow was imprisoned for robbery. Parker visited him every day, and smuggled a gun into prison to help him escape, but he was soon caught in Ohio and sent back to jail. When Barrow was paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and the couple began a life of crime together.
    Texan prison officials hired a retired Texas police officer, Captain Frank Hamer, as a special investigator to track down Parker and Barrow. After a three-month search, Hamer traced the couple to Louisiana, where Henry Methvin’s family lived. Before dawn on May 23, Hamer and a group of Louisiana and Texas lawmen hid in the bushes along a country road outside Sailes. When Parker and Barrow appeared, the officers opened fire, killing the couple instantly in a hail of bullets.
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    May 25, 1961: President John F. Kennedy's May 25, 1961 Speech
    before a Joint Session of Congress


    On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. A number of political factors affected Kennedy's decision and the timing of it. In general, Kennedy felt great pressure to have the United States "catch up to and overtake" the Soviet Union in the "space race." Four years after the Sputnik shock of 1957, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first human in space on April 12, 1961, greatly embarrassing the U.S. While Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, he only flew on a short suborbital flight instead of orbiting the Earth, as Gagarin had done. In addition, the Bay of Pigs fiasco in mid-April put unquantifiable pressure on Kennedy. He wanted to announce a program that the U.S. had a strong chance at achieving before the Soviet Union. After consulting with Vice President Johnson, NASA Administrator James Webb, and other officials, he concluded that landing an American on the Moon would be a very challenging technological feat, but an area of space exploration in which the U.S. actually had a potential lead. Thus the cold war is the primary contextual lens through which many historians now view Kennedy's speech.

    The decision involved much consideration before making it public, as well as enormous human efforts and expenditures to make what became Project Apollo a reality by 1969. Only the construction of the Panama Canal in modern peacetime and the Manhattan Project in war were comparable in scope. NASA's overall human spaceflight efforts were guided by Kennedy's speech; Projects Mercury (at least in its latter stages), Gemini, and Apollo were designed to execute Kennedy's goal. His goal was achieved on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the Lunar Module's ladder and onto the Moon's surface.


    In honor of Kennedy's historic speech, below are some documents and other information relating to the decision to go to the Moon and Project Apollo that we hope you find useful.
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    May 27

    1941 Bismarck sunk by Royal Navy

    Three days after the HMS was sunk, the Royal Navy hunted the Bismarck down.

    On May 27, 1941, the British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France. The German death toll was more than 2,000.

    On February 14, 1939, the 823-foot Bismarck was launched at Hamburg. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler hoped that the state-of-the-art battleship would herald the rebirth of the German surface battle fleet. However, after the outbreak of war, Britain closely guarded ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, and only U-boats moved freely through the war zone.


    In May 1941, the order was given for the Bismarck to break out into the Atlantic. Once in the safety of the open ocean, the battleship would be almost impossible to track down, all the while wreaking havoc on Allied convoys to Britain. Learning of its movement, Britain sent almost the entire British Home Fleet in pursuit. On May 24, the British battle cruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales intercepted it near Iceland. In a ferocious battle, the Hood exploded and sank, and all but three of the 1,421 crewmen were killed. The Bismarck escaped, but because it was leaking fuel it fled for occupied France. On May 26, it was sighted and crippled by British aircraft, and on May 27 three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off.
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