Today is the 244th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, but I thought, considering recent events in the Ukraine, this post was more apropos. March 5, 1953 – Joseph Stalin Dies.
Like his right-wing counterpart, Hitler, who was born in Austria, Joseph Stalin was not a native of the country he ruled with an iron fist. Isoeb Dzhugashvili was born in 1889 in Georgia, then part of the old Russian empire. The son of a drunk who beat him mercilessly and a pious washerwoman mother, Stalin learned Russian, which he spoke with a heavy accent all his life, in an Orthodox Church-run school. While studying to be a priest at Tiflis Theological Seminary, he began secretly reading Karl Marx and other left-wing revolutionary thinkers.
…Stalin did not mellow with age; he prosecuted a reign of terror, purges, executions, exiles to the Gulag Archipelago, and persecution in the postwar USSR, suppressing all dissent and anything that smacked of foreign, especially Western European, influence. To the great relief of many, he died of a massive heart attack on March 5, 1953. He is remembered to this day as the man who helped save his nation from Nazi domination—and as the mass murderer of the century, having overseen the deaths of between 8 million and 10 million of his own people.
People choose not to believe it, but Hitler was a piker compared to Stalin. Iron Joe was arguably the worst mass murderer in human history.
Funny thing about Russia, though; one dictator dies, and another one springs up immediately afterward… like a weed.
February 26, 1935 – Hitler organizes Luftwaffe
On February 26, 1935, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler signs a secret decree authorizing the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe as a third German military service to join the Reich army and navy. In the same decree, Hitler appointed Hermann Goering, a German air hero from World War I and high-ranking Nazi, as commander in chief of the new German air force.
The Luftwaffe was to be uncamouflaged step-by-step so as not to alarm foreign governments, and the size and composition of Luftwaffe units were to remain secret as before. However, in March 1935, Britain announced it was strengthening its Royal Air Force (RAF), and Hitler, not to be outdone, revealed his Luftwaffe, which was rapidly growing into a formidable air force.
The German air fleet grew dramatically, and the new German fighter–the Me-109–was far more sophisticated than its counterparts in Britain, France, or Russia. The Me-109 was bloodied during the Spanish Civil War; Luftwaffe pilots received combat training as they tried out new aerial attack formations on Spanish towns such as Guernica, which suffered more than 1,000 killed during a brutal bombing by the Luftwaffe in April 1937.
German planes were as good as their tanks. Thank God the German war machine was run by an incompetent, or a lot of countries would be sprechen Deutsch now.
Every time I hear some liberal extol the virtues of FDR, I harken back to the kinder, gentler concentration camps.
February 19. 1942 – FDR Signs Executive Order 9066.
On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066. The document ordered the removal of resident enemy aliens from parts of the West vaguely identified as military areas.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941, Roosevelt came under increasing pressure by military and political advisors to address the nation’s fears of further Japanese attack or sabotage, particularly on the West Coast, where naval ports, commercial shipping and agriculture were most vulnerable.
Roosevelt delegated enforcement of 9066 to the War Department, telling Secretary of War Henry Stimson to be as reasonable as possible in executing the order. Attorney General Francis Biddle recalled Roosevelt’s grim determination to do whatever he thought was necessary to win the war. Biddle observed that Roosevelt was [not] much concerned with the gravity or implications of issuing an order that essentially contradicted the Bill of Rights.
A Democrat president contradicting the Bill of Rights. Who woulda thunk it? The link mentions the order affected Italian and German-Americans, but the Japanese-Americans were most affected. Ya think? That’s because Asian-Americans are easier to pick out of a crowd, and this order was inherently racist in nature.
February 12, 1999 – President Clinton Acquitted
On February 12, 1999, the five-week impeachment trial of Bill Clinton comes to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice. …Contrary to his testimony in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment case, President Clinton acknowledged to prosecutors from the office of the independent counsel that he had an extramarital affair with Ms. Lewinsky.
Less than a month later, on September 9, Kenneth Starr submitted his report and 18 boxes of supporting documents to the House of Representatives. Released to the public two days later, the Starr Report outlined a case for impeaching Clinton on 11 grounds, including perjury, obstruction of justice, witness-tampering, and abuse of power, and also provided explicit details of the sexual relationship between the president and Ms. Lewinsky.
The prosecution needed a two-thirds majority to convict but failed to achieve even a bare majority. Rejecting the first charge of perjury, 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted “not guilty” and on the charge of obstruction of justice the Senate was split 50-50.
The moral of the story? No matter how much evidence is piled against you, you can get off if you’re slick enough. So, who’s ready for another President Clinton?
February 5, 1989 – The Last Soviet Troops Leave Kabul
In an important move signaling the close of the nearly decade-long Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, the last Russian troops withdraw from the capital city of Kabul.
Soviet armed forces entered Afghanistan in December 1979 to support that nation’s pro-Soviet communist government in its battles with Muslim rebels. Almost immediately, the Soviet Union found itself mired in a rapidly escalating conflict. Afghan rebels put up unexpectedly stiff resistance to the Russian intervention. Soon, thousands of Soviet troops were fighting a bloody, costly, and ultimately frustrating battle to end the Afghan resistance. By the time the Soviets started to withdraw in early 1989, over 13,000 Russian soldiers were dead and over 22,000 had been wounded.
Pretty soon, there will be an entry highlighting the last American troops to leave Afghanistan, courtesy of a president who doesn’t care about the war, the troops, or their mission.
January 29, 1915 – Rommel Leads Daring Mission In France
On January 29, 1915, in the Argonne region of France, German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads his company in the daring capture of four French block-houses, the structures used on the front to house artillery positions.
Rommel crept through the French wire first and then called for the rest of his company to follow him. When they hung back after he had repeatedly shouted his orders, Rommel crawled back, threatening to shoot the commander of his lead platoon if the other men did not follow him. The company advanced, capturing the block-houses and combating a French counterattack before they were surrounded, subjected to heavy fire and forced to withdraw.
Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, for his bravery in the Argonne; he was the first officer of his regiment to be so honored. Where Rommel is, there is the front, became a popular slogan within his regiment.
Everyone knows Rommel’s exploits during WWII, but his brilliance was on full display during the War to End All Wars.
January 22, 1905 – Bloody Sunday Massacre In Russia
On January 22, 1905, a group of workers led by the radical priest Georgy Apollonovich Gapon marched to the czar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to make their demands. Imperial forces opened fire on the demonstrators, killing and wounding hundreds. Strikes and riots broke out throughout the country in outraged response to the massacre, to which Nicholas responded by promising the formation of a series of representative assemblies, or Dumas, to work toward reform.
Internal tension in Russia continued to build over the next decade, however, as the regime proved unwilling to truly change its repressive ways and radical socialist groups, including Lenin’s Bolsheviks, became stronger, drawing ever closer to their revolutionary goals. The situation would finally come to a head more than 10 years later as Russia’s resources were stretched to the breaking point by the demands of World War I.
When I was in college, I took every elective Russian history class offered. I noticed a repeating theme in all of them: Russia has always been a sh*thole, run by corrupt rulers and/or radical extremists. Even respected rulers like Peter the Great and Catherine the Great had their despicable moments. Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the climate, but I doubt it will ever be a truly free, strong, and prosperous nation.
Jan 15, 1870: First Appearance of the Democratic Donkey
On January 14, 1870, the first recorded use of a donkey to represent the Democratic Party appears in Harper’s Weekly. Drawn by political illustrator Thomas Nast, the cartoon is entitled “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion.” The jackass (donkey) is tagged “Copperhead Papers,” referring to the Democrat-dominated newspapers of the South, and the dead lion represents the late Edwin McMasters Stanton, President Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war during the final three years of the Civil War. In the background is an eagle perched on a rock, representing the postwar federal domination in the South, and in the far background is the U.S. Capitol.
And, with a few exceptions, Democrats have acted like jackasses ever since.
The end of a war would preclude most generals from opening a cask of whoop-ass on an opponent. That said, most generals are not Andrew F**king Jackson.
January 8, 1815 – The Battle Of New Orleans
On January 8, 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the United States. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, and the arriving British found militiamen under General Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal.
In two separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the U.S. defenses, and Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky and Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, General Pakenham was dead, and nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. U.S. forces suffered only eight killed and 13 wounded.
Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812.
It also cemented Jackson’s reputation of the most ass-kickingest president in U.S. history.
Since Christmas is humpday this week, I’m putting out this pretty awesome story today.
This is the wreckage of a German World War One U-boat which has been marooned on mudflats off the Kent coast for nearly a century. Normally the tip of the boat can be seen surrounded by waves; but low tides following storm surges means that the husk can be seen more fully than usual.
Experts say it is the only German submarine, which has lain in the River Medway in Kent since 1921, that is visible in UK waters today. They believe it is a UB-122 – one of more than 100 U-boats surrendered to the British at the end of the war.
Mark Dunkley, of English Heritage, said: “While the remains of the submarine believed to be UB 122 in the Medway is not a new discovery, it still serves as a poignant reminder of those who gave their lives at sea during the First World War.
“For some reason this U-boat was never fully scrapped and has remained in the River Medway since 1921. There are no plans to move it. It’s not under any threat. It will just stay exactly where it is. It is the only complete U-boat that can be seen in British tidal waters, though there are many submerged off shore that were lost during the war.”
Fascinating. So, who wants to go explorin’? I’ll bring the hip waders.