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13 November 1944
Japanese troops capture the US airbase at Luichow
Churchill pays a visit to the Vosges front
Meeting de Gaulle/Churchill, France, 13 November 1944
Post by Susie » 27 Nov 2004, 20:16
I'm a writer, living in France. I write travel books, and this year completed a tour all around the coastline and territorial borders of France, learning about the people, customs and history of the places we visited. One of them was in the Doubs department of France, in a small town called Maiche. There is a chateau there called Montalembert, which is where de Gaulle and Churchill held a meeting on the eve of the grand offensive on Belfort and the Rhine.
I haven't been able to find any information as to why this particular location was chosen, nor any details of the meeting. If anybody knows anything that might be interesting, I'd be very grateful to hear about it, and will of course include credit in the book.
21:20 (20:20 GMT) First explosion at the Stade de France
The first of three explosions occurred outside the Stade de France stadium on the northern fringe of Paris where France were playing Germany in an international football friendly.
A man wearing a suicide belt was reportedly prevented from entering the stadium after a routine security check detected the explosives. According to the Wall Street Journal, the man backed away from security guards and detonated the explosives.
The bomber and a passer-by were killed.
The game, attended by President Francois Hollande, was being broadcast on TV. After a second man detonated his suicide vest outside a different stadium entrance at 21:30, the president was rushed to safety.
A third suicide bomber blew himself at a fast-food outlet near the stadium at 21:53. The attackers all wore identical explosive vests.
13 November 1944 - History
U.S.S. Intrepid had the unhappy distinction of being one of the most frequently damaged ships in the U.S. Pacific Fleet. She was commisioned 16th August 1943, and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet immediately thereafter. She suffered torpedo damage during her first assignment, dealt to her by Betty torpedo bombers. Her sailors, after several accidents and the unusually severe damage dealt by the one torpedo, dubbed her the U.S.S Decrepid, the Unlucky I, and the Evil I.
In October 1944, following the landings on Leyte Fleet Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet covered U.S. ground operations on Leyte as heavy rains made the use of the captured airfields on Leyte difficult. Carrier commanders detested being tied to the beaches, even if such a large area was open to maneuver as the Philippine Sea. They had due reason to be worried. Since 25th October , 1944, the Japanese had employed a new tactic that was to be called the "Divine Wind" - Kamikaze. U.S. sailors, in an ironic twist, called it the "Devil Diver". These attack groups would dive their bomb-laden planes into their targets, preferably carriers. On 29th October, Intrepid had been given a first taste of these attacks, but suffered little damage.
In the next several weeks, the Carrier Task Force remained further off shore, supporting directly and indirectly the ground forces, and in the last week of November, operations were again begun against the main Philippine island of Luzon. Intrepid was part of Rear-Admiral Gerry Bogan's TG 38.2, as were Bunker Hill , Cabot , and Independence. Air attacks began on November 25th with what was left of the Carrier Force - Sherman's and Davison's forces having retired to Ulithi. It was left to Bogan's and Montgomery's forces to strike Luzon again and then, the Visayas.
It didn't come so far. Planes from the carriers sank the cruiser Nachi in Manila Bay, but this time, the Japanese struck back with great force. As the strike planes were well on their way, air raid alarm was sounded and the carriers prepared to receive the attackers.
At 1248, a Zero force was detected and five minutes later, one of their number crashed into Intrepid , starting a serious fire, while another one hit the carrier Cabot . Fires were under control again, however, when at 1300 a third strike (the first strike didn't hit anything, Intrepid was hit by the second) was encountered. It dove from low height into the twisting Intrepid 's deck, blowing a hole into her flight-deck and setting afire the hangar from stern to stem. Though these fires were under control quickly, their heat helped other fires throughout the ship, and the badly damaged flight deck, including her arrestor gear, made flight operations impossible. Her strike planes and CAP were taken aboard by other carriers, and Intrepid made it back to Ulithi and hence, to Pearl Harbor. The attack cost her 69 men dead and 35 seriously wounded.
13 November 1944 - History
At the Kit Shop
While the American Civil War and the creation of a large American Federal Army were creating a necessity of establishing a united Canada, Canadian citizens were demanding the creation of local militia units to guarantee the fundamental rights of British North America. Montrealers were no exception, and early in 1862 the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada, the forebear of The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, came into existence. See lineage chart . From the beginning in 1862, Canada's senior Highland Regiment, has been privileged to serve Canada in its obligations not only to the Empire and the Commonwealth, but also to international organizations such as NATO and the United Nations.
The Black Watch of Canada's birth and growth is thus analogous to that of the Parent Regiment, which was formed in 1739 to guarantee peace in the highlands of Scotland and eventually to fight for Monarch and Country in conflicts throughout the world. It is therefore not surprising that both Regiments share a common heritage, spirit, and a distinctive highland dress. The tartan of the Black Watch and the Royal Stewart tartan of its pipers, are known the world over as hallmarks of outstanding service in peace and war.
Although members of the Regiment served side by side with the Black Watch of Scotland in the Boer War, the formal alliance between Regiments did not occur until 1905. The great battles of World War I and World War II served to strengthen the alliance, and constant liaison and exchanges of officers and other ranks are fitting expressions of our wish to maintain this valuable affiliation.
During World War I, 11,954 officers and enlisted men fought in the three battalions of the Canadian Regiment, winning twenty-six battle honours. Of those who served, 2,163 were killed, 6,014 were wounded and 821 were decorated. Six of the decorated members were awarded the Victoria Cross.
During World War II, the Canadian Regiment joined with battalions of the Black Watch from all parts of the Commonwealth in the struggle to defeat the Axis Powers. The Regiment first saw action at Dieppe, where its "C" Company and Mortar Platoon were key components of the assault force. Landing in Normandy shortly after D-Day, the Black Watch participated in some thirty battle actions throughout France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Members of the Regiment won 211 honours and awards for the campaign.
While the immediate post-war years saw the Black Watch (RHR) of Canada revert back to its role as a one-battalion militia regiment, in 1953, the 1st and 2nd Canadian Highland Battalions (Active Force) were re-designated 1st and 2nd Battalion Black Watch (RHR) of Canada while the Montreal Militia Unit became 3rd battalion. See Regular Force
The designation "3rd Battalion" has now been removed from the Militia Unit and The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada has reverted to its traditional role as being a Militia Regiment in Canada's Armed Forces. In August 1992, the Regiment was granted the Freedom of the City of Montreal. The towns of Ormstown and Huntingdon, Quebec granted the Regiment the Freedom of their cities in 1997 and 1998, respectively.
And in the fall of 1999, the City of Verdun, Quebec, bestowed the Freedom of the City upon the Regiment. Verdun has provided many Black Watch soldiers from the First War onwards.
Today the Black Watch is a modern infantry battalion providing trained soldiers to augment regular force units and to aid civil authorities in times of crises. Currently, the Regiment has soldiers serving in Afghanistan. To fulfill these tasks, the soldiers undergo extensive infantry and more specialized training.
THE STORY OF THE RED HACKLE
While many have believed that the Red Hackle began as a campaign distinction of the parent Regiment for its services during a British retreat through the Flemish village of Geldermaisen in January 1795, recent evidence has more or less debunked this myth. In fact, many now believe that this Regimental icon traces back to the 42nd Regiment's service during the American War of Independence (1775-1781). In any case, what is certain is that in 1822, the exclusive right of the 42nd Regiment to wear the Red Hackle was cemented by a Horse Guards General Order: "The red vulture feather prescribed by the recent regulations for Highland regiments is intended to be used exclusively by the Forty-Second Regiment."
CANADIAN BLACK WATCH
In 1895, the Canadian Black Watch (then known as the 5th Battalion, Royal Scots of Canada) was officially permitted by General Order to wear the Red Hackle: "5th Battalion, Royal Scots of Canada: The Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of this Battalion are permitted to wear the Red Hackle in the feather bonnets." It appears, however, that the 1895 General Order simply recognized a long standing internal regimental dress regulation. Indeed, as far back as 1863, one of the Regiment's flank companies wore a red feather in its full dress headgear.
Although there is strong evidence of the Canadian Regiment wearing the red hackle prior to deploying for the First World War, the Black Watch battalions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force-the 13th, 42nd, and 73rd Battalions CEF-did not immediately wear the hackle overseas. According to Col. P.P. Hutchison, author of Canada's Black Watch: The First Hundred Years (1962), "The Royal Highlanders of Canada had not thought they were entitled to do so overseas, at least until they had won their spurs in actual battle" (p.91). After the 13th Battalion's magnificent stand at 2nd Ypres, and the exploits of all three battalions at the Somme, there was little doubt that the Royal Highlanders had proven themselves. Accordingly, the war diary of the 13th Battalion dated 16 November 1916 states that "as many men as possible were fitted out with Balmorals and Red Hackles an honour which they greatly appreciated." A year later, on 30 November 1917, the war diarist of the 42nd Battalion recorded that "the Battalion, pursuant to a request received some time prior from the 1st Bn of Imperial Black Watch, adopted the Red Hackle as part of its head-dress."
Today's Black Watch (RHR) of Canada are easily recognized owing to their unique red hackle, and continue to wear it with pride.
13 November 1944 - History
1512 - Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were first exhibited to the public.
1604 - "Othello," the tragedy by William Shakespeare, was first presented at Whitehall Palace in London.
1611 - "The Tempest," Shakespeare's romantic comedy, was first presented at Whitehall Palace in London.
1755 - At least 60,000 people were killed in Lisbon, Portugal by an earthquake, its aftershocks and the ensuing tsunami.
1765 - The British Parliament enacted The Stamp Act in the American colonies. The act was repealed in March of 1766 on the same day that the Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts which asserted that the British government had free and total legislative power of the colonies.
1800 - U.S. President John Adams became the first president to live in the White House when he moved in.
1848 - The first medical school for women, founded by Samuel Gregory, opened in Boston, MA. The Boston Female Medical School later merged with Boston University School of Medicine.
1861 - Gen. George B. McClellan was made the general-in-chief of the American Union armies.
1864 - The U.S. Post Office started selling money orders. The money orders provided a safe way to payments by mail.
1870 - The U.S. Weather Bureau made its first meteorological observations using 24 locations that provided reports via telegraph.
1879 - Thomas Edison executed his first patent application for a high-resistance carbon filament (U.S. Pat. 223,898).
1894 - "Billboard Advertising" was published for the first time. It later became known as "Billboard."
1894 - Russian Emperor Alexander III died.
1904 - The Army War College in Washington, DC, enrolled the first class.
1911 - Italy used planes to drop bombs on the Tanguira oasis in Libya. It was the first aerial bombing.
1936 - Benito Mussolini made a speech in Milan, Italy, in which he described the alliance between Italy and Nazi Germany as an "axis" running between Berlin and Rome.
1937 - "Hilltop House" was aired for the first time on CBS Radio.
1937 - "Terry and the Pirates" debuted on NBC Radio.
1940 - "A Night in the Tropics" was released. It was the first movie for Abbott and Costello.
1944 - "Harvey," by Mary Chase, opened on Broadway.
1947 - The famous racehorse Man o' War died.
1949 - In Washington, 55 people were killed when a fighter plane hit an airliner.
1950 - Two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to assassinate U.S. President Harry Truman. One of the men was killed when they tried to force their way into Blair House in Washington, DC.
1952 - The United States exploded the first hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
1954 - Algeria began to rebel against French rule.
1959 - Jacques Plante, of the Montreal Canadiens, became the first goalie in the NHL to wear a mask.
1963 - The USSR launched Polyot I . It was the first satellite capable of maneuvering in all directions and able to change its orbit.
1968 - The movie rating system of G, M, R, X, followed by PG-13 and NC-17 went into effect.
1973 - Leon Jaworski was appointed the new Watergate special prosecutor in the Watergate case.
1979 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged all Iranians to demonstrate on November 4 and to expand their attacks against the U.S. and Israel. On November 4, Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 63 Americans hostage.
1981 - The U.S. Postal Service raised the first-class letter rate to 20 cents.
1985 - In the village of Ignacio Aldama, 22 members of a Mexican anti-narcotics squad were killed by alleged drug traffickers.
1987 - Deng Xiaoping retired from China's Communist Party's Central Committee.
1989 - Tens of thousands of refugees to fled to the West when East Germany reopened its border with Czechoslovakia.
1989 - Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega announced the end of a cease-fire with the Contra rebels.
1993 - The European Community's treaty on European unity took effect.
1994 - The Amazon.com domain name was registered.
1995 - In Dayton, OH, the Bosnian peace talks opened with the leaders of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia present.
1998 - Nicaraguan Vice President Enrique Bolanos announced that between 1,000 and 1,500 people were buried in a 32-square mile area below the slopes of the Casita volcano in northern Nicaragua by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Mitch.
1998 - Iridium inaugurated the first handheld, global satellite phone and paging system. Today's:
- Displacement: 27,100 tons
- Length: 872 ft.
- Beam: 93 ft.
- Draft: 34 ft., 2 in.
- Propulsion: 8 × boilers, 4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 4 × shafts
- Speed: 33 knots
- Complement: 2,600 men
- 4 × twin 5 inch 38 caliber guns
- 4 × single 5 inch 38 caliber guns
- 8 × quadruple 40 mm 56 caliber guns
- 46 × single 20 mm 78 caliber guns
- 90-100 aircraft
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On the very day that the bill was signed, Great Britain and Greece (then at war with Italy) were declared eligible for lend-lease aid. Goods started to move almost immediately. China, engaged in a desperate struggle with Japan, was declared eligible on May 6, and Norway on June 4, 1941.
Congress appropriated 13 billion dollars for the lend-lease program by October 28, 1941, but the movement of goods overseas got under way slowly. Our munitions industry was still largely in the tooling up state. And the flow of finished weapons was at first only a trickle. The stimulus of lend-lease and our own defense orders, however, rapidly expanded American war industry. In the meantime, food made up the largest part of lend-lease shipments:
Machinery was set up to handle the requests of foreign governments for lend-lease aid and to arrange for the production of the needed articles and services. To avoid duplication, purchasing for lend-lease was tied in closely with purchasing for our own armed forces. For example, the job of procuring lend-lease munitions was entrusted to the War Department warships and naval aircraft and supplies to the Navy Department merchant ships and shipping to the Maritime Commission (and later to the War Shipping Administration) food to the Department of Agriculture and industrial materials (such as metals, chemicals, lumber, coal, textiles, clothing, etc.) to the Procurement Division of the Treasury. A special agency, the Office of Lend-Lease Administration, was created to decide matters of lend-lease policy, keep operations going smoothly and in gear, and handle the records.
What were the first results?
The first lend-lease shipments, consisting largely of food and industrial commodities, arrived in England at a time when the German submarine blockade was close to starving out the British Isles. The first American tanks and planes reached Egypt in time to be used in the second British drive into Libya which started on November 2, 1941.
The U.S.S.R. attacked by Germany on June 22, 1941&mdashwas declared eligible for lend-lease aid on November 7, 1941. Even before that date urgent supplies were sent to the Soviets with the help of 50 million dollars credit advanced by the United States government. The first convoy of American and British cargo ships steamed into the harbor of Murmansk while the German armies were hammering at the gates of Moscow. Our aid to the U.S.S.R. was relatively insignificant in 1941, but it bore the promise of much more to come. This promise was a source of strength to the Russian people in their darkest hours.
Lend-lease in 1941 also made it possible to send engineers, trucks, gasoline, and road-building equipment to hard-pressed China. The monthly volume of supplies carried over the Burma Road&mdashChina&rsquos last link with the outside world&mdashwas thereby tripled.
Lend-lease after Pearl Harbor
With our entry into the war on December 7, 1941, the idea of lend-lease broadened. From a means of helping friendly nations, it became a mighty weapon of war. New problems had to be solved through lend-lease and new forms of joint action devised. Assistance became cooperation. The United Nations could now base their military planning on pooled resources. We would help our allies to the utmost, and expect to receive their help in return.
The lend-lease program, to be understood, has to be seen in relation to the war as a whole. The act passed by Congress was flexible enough to meet chanting circumstances. This fact turned out to be important to allied strategy. In many instances, lend-lease provided quicker and easier solutions to the problems raised by the war than would otherwise have been possible. Yet the general policy of the act&mdashmutual aid against aggressors&mdashremained unchanged.
In 1942 the lend-lease program rapidly widened in scope and the volume of shipments rose sharply. During December 1942 lend-lease exports totaled 607 million dollars&mdashas much as was sent in the nine months of operation in 1941. As American troops took up battle stations abroad, our allies began to provide reverse lend-lease aid to them&mdashthat is, without payment by us.
In the various theaters of war in 1942, our allies fought with renewed confidence and better success because of the equipment furnished under lend-lease. General Montgomery&rsquos Eighth Army, which defeated Rommel&rsquos Afrika Korps at El Alamein, used American planes, tanks, guns, and other equipment. So, to some extent, did the Soviet forces which stood firm at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942&ndash43. And in the Southwest Pacific, our allies were partially equipped with lend-lease arms in the engagements which began to push back the Japanese invaders of New Guinea.
What&rsquos our rate of aid now?
In 1943 as American armament industries hit high gear, lend-lease became a tremendously powerful instrument of war.
Goods and services were provided to our allies at the rate of about 1 billion dollars a month. The British armies, which, along with American and other forces, pushed the Axis out of North Africa, Sicily, southern Italy, and France, used large quantities of lend-lease weapons. So did the rearmed French forces. The Russian offensive which drove the Germans out of White Russia and a large part of the Ukraine was aided by thousands of guns, planes, tanks, trucks, and other items provided by us. And in the air over Europe, the R.A.F. was using many American-made bombers and fighters, powered by gasoline also furnished under lend-lease.
In 1944, when Hitler&rsquos Fortress Europe was decisively breached, the flow of aid to our allies became a torrent.
In the first six months of 1944, lend-lease transfers exceeded 1.5 billion dollars a month. With this aid, the United Nations gained overwhelming superiority over the Nazis. The assistance (along with the fighting efforts of our own armed forces) contributed to allied victories in Italy, France, the Low Countries, Russia, and eventually the Reich itself.
This does not mean that our major allies&mdashexcept for the revived French army which was almost completely equipped under lend-lease&mdashwere mainly dependent on American supplies. It has been estimated that lend-lease provided only 10 percent of British war equipment, and certainly a lesser proportion of Soviet materiel.
But the goods we sent and services we provided were important factors in the success of their armies. Premier Joseph Stalin, in a toast at a dinner party at the Teheran Conference in ate October 1943, declared, &ldquoWithout American machines the United Nations never could have won the war.&rdquo
A few facts and figures
How much of our war production has been turned over to our allies under lend-lease?
In dollar value the sum is large&mdashon June 30, 1944 it amounted to about $28,270,000,000 plus $680,000,000 transferred to allied forces by American commanding generals in the field.* But in the proportion of our total defense and war expenses it is relatively small&mdashabout 15 percent.
* Shortly before this pamphlet went to press, figures were released on lend-lease operations up to the end of 1944. As of December 31, 1944, total direct lend-lease had risen from $28,270,000,000 to $35,382,646,000. No attempt has been made to revise the pamphlet accordingly. Lend-lease is a continuing and expanding operation. Trying to keep the pamphlet abreast of the very latest figures would mean it could never appear in print at all.
What does the dollar volume of lend-lease represent? About 54 percent of all our aid has consisted of fighting equipment, including naval and merchant ships. Some 21 percent has comprised industrial materials and products, such as aviation gasoline, metals and machine tools for the manufacture of munitions, cloth and leather to make uniforms and shoes in the factories of Great Britain and Soviet Russia, surgical and medical supplies for hospitals and military bases, rolling stock for railroads, lumber for docks, and so forth.
Approximately 13 percent of lend-lease aid has consisted of foods and other agricultural products destined for the workers of allied countries and their soldiers in the front lines.
&ldquoThe balance of lend-lease aid&mdashabout 12 percent&mdashrepresents vital war services, such as the construction of factories in the United States to produce lend-lease goods, repair and rental of ships, the ferrying of aircraft, and building of air and naval bases.
Developing and maintaining the lines of supply has been one of the central factors in the military strategy of the war. Lend-lease has helped to make it possible quickly to transport equipment where and when it has been most needed. Thus:
Ferry routes for flying American planes to Brazil and across the South Atlantic to Africa and the Middle Fast have been developed.
Port facilities in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf have been expanded.
A motor highway has been built across Iran and the trans-Iranian railway has been made over into a major artery for moving lend-lease supplies from the Persian Gulf to Russia.
The port of Massawa, badly wrecked by the retreating Italians in 1941, has been put back in operating condition. A pipeline has been laid from the Iranian oil fields across Iraq to the refinery at Haifa in Palestine.
The British-built refinery at Abadan, Iran, has been enlarged to make more aviation gas for allied planes in the Middle Eastern, the China, and the Burma-India theaters of operation.
What&rsquos been lend-leased and where?
In terms of commodities, what does lend-lease represent? From the beginning of the program to June 30, 1944, we exported to our allies under lend-lease about 30,900 planes, 26,900 tanks, and 637,000 other military vehicles (ordnance carriers, jeeps, trucks, etc.). Added thousands in each category were paid for in cash.
We have also lend-leased over 1,800 merchant and auxiliary craft and 1,400 naval vessels, including escort aircraft carriers, corvettes, landing vessels, PT boats, and other small craft.
What proportion o£ our finished munitions has been allocated to lend-lease countries? Out of every 100 tanks that have come off our assembly lines between March 11, 1941 and June 1944, 41 were lend-leased, 3 were sold to our allies for cash, and 56 were delivered to our armed forces. Of every 100 planes, 15 were lend-leased, 3 sold to our allies, and 82 delivered to our Air Forces.
Supplies have been sent where and when they were most needed. In 1941, when the Battle of Britain was raging, lend-lease exports went mainly to the United Kingdom. As the war spread to Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and India, aid was sent to those areas. With the signing of the Russian lend-lease protocol in October 1941, lend-lease goods began to move to the U.S.S.R. in increasing volume.
Altogether, the amount of lend-lease goods actually exported up to June 30, 1944 has been divided as shown in the diagram on the next page. The figures do not include services provided in the United States or goods bought but not exported.
What&rsquos the breakdown?
What these figures mean when broken down into specific items may be seen from the following statistics on the Soviet Union.
By the end of June 1944 the United States had sent to the Soviets under lend-lease more than 11,000 planes over 6,000 tanks and tank destroyers and 300,000 trucks and other military vehicles.
Many of the planes have been flown directly from the United States to the Soviet Union over the northern route via Alaska and Siberia, others were crated and shipped to the Persian Gulf, where they were assembled and flown into Russia.
We have also sent to the Soviets about 350 locomotives, 1,640 flat cars, and close to half a million tons of rails and accessories, axles, and wheels, all for the improvement of the railways feeding the Red armies on the Eastern Front. For the armies themselves we have sent miles of field telephone wire, thousands of telephones, and many thousands of tons of explosives. And we have also provided machine tools and other equipment to help the Russians manufacture their own planes, guns, shells, and bombs.
We have supplied our allies with large quantities of food. The Soviet Union alone has received some 3,000,000 tons. Lend-lease has contributed about 10 percent of Britain&rsquos over-all food supply. This, together with a great increase in agricultural production in the British Isles, has helped to feed the British civilians and armed forces. Bread, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and other common vegetables have been available to the British from their home gardens and farms. The United States has provided a high proportion of such foods as bacon, eggs, cheese, and fruit juices.
Goodnight to Our Beautiful, Wet Blue Moon
It was the first full blue moon visible in every time zone since 1944 on Halloween. Let’s learn more about the moon!
The moon remains, perpetually and since antiquity, a source of cultural wonder. Last week, when NASA announced that it would reveal “an exciting new discovery” about the moon in a matter of days, the internet, thirsty for distraction, went wild speculating about it. (It happened to be exciting news for space scientists — water and ice on the moon are more accessible than previously thought — but not the supernatural or extraterrestrial news many yearned for.)
Moon updates have been plentiful this year. In August, scientists reported they had flashed a laser onto a NASA spacecraft that was gliding over the moon’s surface at thousands of miles per hour in order to measure distance between our moon and planet. (It worked.) In February, two astronomers discovered a mini-moon orbiting Earth.
Then there was the confusing time, in July, when some self-identified witches on TikTok claimed to have hexed the moon — leading to frustration on the part of more established self-identified witches, who chastised the “fresh baby witches” for disrespect and hurting the “gods that rule the moon,” according to one very popular Twitter thread. (Let’s not even bring up the way witches and astrology lovers responded online to the news that President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus during a full moon on Oct. 2.)
Now, the moon has another significant moment in store for witches and non-witches alike: On Oct. 31 — that’s Halloween to you — humans in all time zones will be treated to a blue hunter’s moon. A blue moon occurs on the rare occasion when there is more than one full moon during a month. (It doesn’t actually look blue.)
A hunter’s moon follows a harvest moon (that was Oct. 2), and it theoretically signals a time to stockpile for winter.
The last time there was a full pizza-pie moon (a nontechnical term) in all time zones on All Saint’s Eve was in 1944. There was a full moon on Halloween in 2001, but it was only visible in the Central and Pacific time zones. The next full moon on Halloween that will be visible worldwide is expected in 2077, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
The idea that something rare can happen during a full moon has been drilled into the human psyche in countless ways including through popular movies, books and cartoons. The root of the word lunatic is luna (moon in Latin), implying a sort of craze associated with the moon at its fullest. And in a fictional sense, of course, a full moon is a good time for werewolves, and is fully to blame for causing Cher to fall in love with Nicolas Cage in the 1987 film “Moonstruck.”
That said, “there is no significance to the blue moon — none at all,” according to Sarah Noble, a lunar scientist at NASA. “It is a folklore thing,” she added.
On this count, even astrologers, belonging to the practice of ancient folklore themselves, may agree.
“Blue moons do not have an astrological significance,” said Chani Nicholas, an astrologer who in Los Angeles. “However, the fact that the full moon is happening on Halloween is significant.”
“Full moons are a time when we get a little assistance seeing in the dark,” Ms. Nicholas said, speaking metaphorically. “It is a very significant full moon, and it is happening four days before the election and is sitting next to a planet with upheaval, change, surprise, excitement: Uranus.” She said it was a good time to get rid of things we don’t need.
Ms. Nicholas made clear that she was not predicting an outcome for the U.S. election, but merely explaining the full moon in conjunction with the planetary astrological charts.
Jessica Dore, a social worker and tarot reader, said the coming full moon, in its rarity, was a kind of emblem of change. (While astrology and the Tarot are both popular practices rooted in history, they are not scientific or logical methods for predicting future events.)
“I think that symbols — and a blue moon is a symbol — do have the potential to activate things in an individual and in the collective,” Ms. Dore said. “It is a time when something rare can happen.”
It may be that an intrinsic, archaic gravitational force to revere the moon is built into humans after ages of using it for survival, according to Maggie Aderin Pocock, a lunar expert and space scientist and the author of “The Book of the Moon: A Guide to Our Closest Neighbor.”
In the past, an important mechanism for measuring time was the standard 29.5-day moon cycle the phases of the moon helped farmers time the planting and harvesting of their crops.
In 2013, archaeologists found what they believed to be an 8,000-year-old lunar calendar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland — 12 moon-shaped pits in the ground that still completely align with the moon during the midwinter solstice.
“It is fascinating how many cultures have latched on to the moon,” said Dr. Pocock, a self-proclaimed lunatic herself. “The fact that they took the time to dig these holes and celebrate the moon is significant. The moon taps into all belief systems that maybe have gone out of use but are still in parlance.”
It’s clear that the pull humans feel to learn about the moon, harness its power or flat out hex it stems from a time when we relied on it heavily in a day-to-day sense. But it also just feels nice to know that there is something out there in the mysterious dark expanse of space that is connected to humanity.
And maybe there’s something even deeper. The atoms of the universe are endlessly recycled, said Dr. Noble, the lunar scientist. (The sun is a second generation star, for example.) Perhaps, with the discovery that human bodies are made of stardust, we all have a little more moon inside of us than we think.
Whatever interpretation one may make of the results of the test discussed in the first chapter, one fact is clear. Americans do not know their own history as well as they might. The next questions are obvious. Is this a serious deficiency in the education of Americans? Does knowledge of the history of our nation contribute something to the making of a citizen which can be acquired in no other way? If the answers to these questions are affirmative, then a new emphasis on and a new approach to the study of United States history are necessary.
Laymen and educators are generally agreed that knowledge of our own history is essential in the making of Americans. The reasons for this belief may be summed up under four main heads. History makes loyal citizens because memories of common experiences and common aspirations are essential ingredients in patriotism. History makes intelligent voters because sound decisions about present problems must be based on knowledge of the past. History makes good neighbors because it teaches tolerance of individual differences and appreciation of varied abilities and interests. History makes stable, well-rounded individuals because it gives them a start toward understanding the pattern of society and toward enjoying the artistic and intellectual productions of the past. It gives long views, a perspective, a measure of what is permanent in a nation&rsquos life. To a people it is what memory is to the individual and memory, express or unconscious, guides the acts of every sentient being.
All this is true, but not in an exclusive sense. History leads to all these goals so do other subjects studied in the schools. Civics, geography, and sociology also aid in developing loyal and intelligent citizens art and literature help to create tolerant, sympathetic, well-rounded individuals. Each one has a definite place in the curriculum.
The unique importance of history is based not on its objectives, which are common to other school subjects, but on its methods and materials. History relates the social experience of our people in concrete and detailed form. It deals with specific and unique events instead of with averages and abstractions. It is interested in the experiences of groups of ordinary individuals as well as in the achievements of extraordinary persons. History arranges its materials in chronological order and thus is naturally led to stress the concepts of change and continuity, of development and decay. This time dimension cannot be given so much emphasis in any other school subject. In short, history attempts to present the facts of social experience in the same form and order in which the facts of individual experience occur.
Formal history is an attempt to widen and deepen the stream of historical thinking which flows through every man&rsquos mind. We are all historians, as Carl Becker once said we are all forced to use our knowledge of the past in every act of daily life. We do something because we have always done it we refrain from doing something because we have found that unpleasant consequences develop from that particular action. Faced with a new situation, we try to find in it elements which are familiar from past experience. If we could not learn from the past we would find the present unendurable. We would be perpetual strangers in the city of mankind, unable to move easily or with confidence, forever wandering from the main streets into the blind alleys. Men who cannot remember their own personal history are feeble-minded or afflicted men who cannot learn from their own experience are failures.
What is true of individuals is also true of communities. Every organized social group is guided by its recollection of the past. If it does not think about its past it will be ruled by custom, but only the most primitive peoples remain at this level. Everywhere else there is a conscious effort to learn from the past, because knowledge of the past is the guide to acting in the present and planning for the future. It is hard to see how a community could exist without a sense of its past. It could not know that it was now a community if it did not know that it had been a community. It could not have a common policy if it did not remember the common experiences from which policy must be derived. We have all laughed at the story of the college which opened its doors in September and called a mass-meeting of the student body in October to determine its traditions, but there was a good deal of sense behind this somewhat premature action. Until the college had traditions it would not be a community of students and teachers but merely an unstable mixture of individuals.
We all use history we all appeal to past experience in making both individual and group decisions. Much of the history we use comes to us naturally and without effort we remember our own experiences and those of the people with whom we are most closely associated. In a small community or a primitive society this informal history meets most needs. In a large community or a complex society it is inadequate. There are many experiences, important in the life of the whole community, which the individual will never encounter in his own life because they are too remote in space or in time. It is essential for the individual to know something about these experiences because they influence the life of his community, because they form the necessary basis for any intelligent decision.
The more complex the society, the wider and deeper its roots go into the past. It was not very important for our ancestors of the eighteenth century to know the history of the Far East it is of greatest importance for us to know something of that history today. It was not very important for our ancestors to know the history of the republics of the ancient world when they were hewing new settlements out of the wilderness, but when the Founding Fathers met at Philadelphia in 1787 almost every delegate made constant reference to the Greek and Roman experience. Formal history is needed to bridge the gap between the limited experience of the individual and the tremendously complicated experience on which our civilization is built.
Once these general principles are understood, it is easier to see how the study of history, and especially of American history, contributes to the educational objectives mentioned above. History can help to make loyal citizens because history has helped to make the nation. It was the sense of having had the same experiences, of having suffered the same wrongs, of having attempted the same remedies, which encouraged the thirteen colonies to unite in the War of the Revolution. It was the memory of the common experience in that war, added to a common political and intellectual background, which made the drafting and adoption of the Constitution possible. And the idea of the Union, which in the end proved strong enough to override the terrible divisions of the Civil War, was based on the belief that in working together for three generations we had created a way of life which should not be allowed to perish.
Common experience and common aspirations make a nation, and they can be most easily found and most fully understood through a study of its history. The symbols in which a nation tries to express its spirits are historical symbols. Our national festivals&mdashWashington&rsquos Birthday, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July&mdashcommemorate the great men and events of our history. The aspirations of the American, people are epitomized in the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. The log cabin and the covered wagon remind us of the conquest of a continent, Faneuil Hall and Monticello of the heroic age of the Republic. How can a boy who knows only an Iowa farm or a Pennsylvania factory town understand the full meaning of these symbols&mdashhow can he know the temper and spirit of the nation, what we have been and what we wish to be&mdashif he does not know our history? How can he understand his own community if he does not understand how it has influenced and been influenced by the history of the country? The nation is greater than our own experiences, and its greatness can be comprehended only by knowing something of the deeds and the hopes of our fellow-Americans.
The value of American history in preparing future voters for intelligent participation in politics is so obvious that the point hardly needs elaboration. Parties and candidates always try to identify themselves with admirable episodes and individuals in our past. Every political campaign involves questions of historical interpretation. We have repeatedly argued the great question of federal and local authority, government and business, isolation and cooperation in world affairs. No voter can make an intelligent decision about such problems unless he knows what our policies have been and what results they have produced.
Even more important than knowledge of specific facts is the type of thinking which is encouraged by the study of history. A student who has learned to think in terms of historical development should realize both the certainty and the gradualness of change. He should realize the complexity of even the simplest social problems and the uselessness of superficial solutions. He should be able to avoid the extreme optimism which keeps men from seeing the existence of a problem until it has become acute and the extreme pessimism which leads to hasty and ill-considered action. The democratic process does not work well with citizens who become panicky and seek patent remedies, and knowledge of the crises of the past is one of the best safeguards against these weaknesses.
Americans must be good neighbors as well as good citizens. No country so large and so productive as the United States can exist without diversity of occupations, interests, and beliefs. Any attempt to impose uniformity would keep us from making the most of our human and geographical resources. Any attempt to treat large groups of Americans as second-class citizens would destroy the unity of the nation. The &ldquo100-per-cent American&rdquo who insists on absolute conformity in belief and behavior is unconsciously trying to destroy at least 50 per cent of American life. We need more tolerance we need active appreciation of the contributions of all the kinds of people who make up our country. The study of history can do much to create this state of mind. The student who can see that both Hamilton and Jefferson helped to establish the Republic will be less inclined to treat his political opponents as traitors and outcasts. The student who can see that both the pioneer farmer in the Middle West and the pioneer ironmaster in Pennsylvania helped to make the Republic strong will be less inclined to denounce a particular economic group as the cause of all our troubles. The student who knows what was done by Steuben and Gallatin, Ericsson and Pulitzer, Booker T. Washington and St. Gaudens, will be less inclined to ascribe all virtue and intelligence to a single racial group. The platitude that it takes all kinds of people to make the world is usually uttered in a tone of sour resignation. What history, does is to point out that the world can exist only by having all sorts of people in it.
If history can teach an individual how to live with his neighbors, it has already begun to teach him how to live with himself. Understanding and appreciating what has been done by others is one way of keeping life from becoming monotonous and meaningless. History, when properly taught, shows the importance of religion, art, and literature as much as it does that of economic and political processes. And even if history does not introduce the student to the literature and art of the past it can increase his enjoyment by placing these works in their proper setting. Moreover, history itself gives pleasure to many people. It has an interesting story to tell, and it illustrates aspects of human behavior which the arts singly have never been able to present.
There is also a stabilizing influence in the study of history in binding the individual to the past it keeps him from being blown about by the winds of hope and despair. Young people, when they are not thinking that every one of their ideas is new and every one of their successes unique, are apt to be thinking that every misfortune is unprecedented, every loss irretrievable, every suffering unparalleled. There is something comforting in the realization that others have had the same troubles, just as there is something chastening in the realization that others have accomplished a good deal even if they did live in the dark ages before 1900. Courage and humility, a realization that individuals make history and that it takes many of them to do it&mdashthese are some of the fruits of historical studies, and the individual who has gathered them has gone a long way toward adjusting himself to the world in which he lives.
The study of history can help to develop loyal, intelligent, cooperative, well-rounded, and well-balanced American citizens. But not everything which is labeled history will produce these results, and even the best history will not be effective if its lessons are not reinforced by other experiences, both inside and outside the school. Everything that men have said and done is raw material for history, but history is more than a pile of this raw material, just as a book is more than a heap of type.
Historians must select from the vast record of human activity those events and ideas, institutions and personalities, which seem to have significance they have the further obligation of explaining why the events which were chosen are significant. They have usually found the first task easier than the second. No two historians would produce exactly identical lists of important events, but no two historians would fail to produce lists which had many items in common. School courses in history have usually been formed around this common core of events recognized by most scholars as important. Unfortunately teachers and writers of history sometimes seem too exhausted by the labor of selection to undertake the work of interpretation. They know why the events are important, and they expect their students to accept without question the statement that they are important. There still are courses in history in which students memorize long lists of facts without ever receiving an explanation of the significance of the facts. Students taught in this way can hardly be blamed for finding history dull and useless. They might as well be asked to learn the geography and economic activities of their town by memorizing the telephone directory.
Teachers and writers who avoid the purely factual approach to history may fall into still other errors. One of the most important lessons of history is that all human activities are interrelated. We all know that a religious revival may lead to important political decisions, or that an economic depression may have profound influence on art and literature, but it is difficult to point out these relationships to a class. It is easier to keep the topics separate during most of the course, and to spend only a few minutes building flimsy bridges from one to the other.
An even worse fault in teaching history is the tendency to emphasize one activity at the expense of all the rest. America has had a rich experience, and no single approach will do full justice to what we have achieved. American democracy has been expressed in our economic structure and in our literature as well as in our political institutions. American ideals have been upheld by our religious and intellectual leaders at times when they have been almost forgotten by our political and economic leaders. Excessive concentration on any one aspect of the past may lead students to believe that social problems are simpler than they really are, that all difficulties may be solved by one method, that many activities are useless because they are unrecorded in school textbooks.
A history course which is broad enough to give a true picture of American society may nevertheless be inadequate because it emphasizes social forces instead of individuals, solutions instead of problems. History is the record of human decision as well as the record of human experience. Men have always had to choose, and choose at their peril, between alternative lines of action. History is made by men and not by blind forces beyond human control. There is no reason to be proud of the American achievement if it was inevitable and predestined. There is no reason for a student to prepare himself for the responsibilities of citizenship if he feels that all problems solve themselves automatically. We must discuss great men as well as great events we must think of what might have been as well as what was.
Finally, if the study of history is to prepare Americans for living in the world of today, that study must not be wholly confined to the history of the United States. We must know our own history if we are to understand our country and deal adequately with its problems. But many aspects of our history can be fully understood only in the perspective of world history, and many of our problems cannot be solved without reference to other peoples. The American Revolution was part of a world war in which four European countries were involved the development of American industry has often been affected by events which took place abroad. If we know only our own history we are apt to exaggerate both our achievements and our failures. Such exaggerated ideas of superiority and inferiority (the two can exist simultaneously) easily lead a people astray, and such ideas can best be checked by a study of world history. It is also true that Americans have not yet had all the experience of other peoples, and that certain ideas and forms of social organization which may affect our country in the future can be studied at present only by going beyond the limits of the United States. For these reasons it seems clear that the intensive study of American history should be supplemented by a survey of the history of the more important foreign countries.
Since history is concerned with all significant human achievement, it is dependent on almost every other subject taught in the schools. The historian has neither the time nor the ability to discuss in detail all the activities which he hopes to bring into meaningful relation with one another. If his students do not know something about literature and government, art and economics, he will find himself teaching empty verbalisms. The materials of history cannot be understood if the content of other subjects has not been studied. The lessons of history cannot be applied if they are not given direction and meaning by the other social studies and the other fields of human knowledge.
The historian believes that knowledge of the past will help us to understand the present, but he knows that his primary job is to explain the past. Immediate concern with the present is reserved for the teachers of politics, sociology, and economics, and much historical knowledge is useful and usable only after they have done their work. The historian believes that knowledge of our past will help to develop good citizens and good neighbors, but he knows that history describes what was done instead of what should have been done. Values and ideals, civic and private virtues, are implied in the study of history, but they are made explicit through courses in religion, literature, and civics. The historian believes that knowledge of the past will help to produce well-rounded, well-balanced individuals, but he knows that history alone will not give this result. The well-rounded man must know something of the sciences and the arts as well as something of the social studies the well-balanced man may find stability in studying the works of individuals as well as the work of society.
Finally, it must be remembered that history is only a guide, not a dictator, that it can suggest but cannot command. The closest study of past experience does not guarantee that we will draw the proper inferences from our study the deepest knowledge of the aspirations and ideals of our ancestors does not guarantee that we will live up to their standards. And even the suggestions gained from the study of history can be stifled quickly by an unfavorable environment outside the school. If we are not good citizens we can hardly expect the schools to make good citizens of our children. If there is a conflict between what is taught in the school and what is done in the community, it is not the school which will be victorious. Community inertia and selfishness cannot be overcome by filling our history courses with boastful and exaggerated claims about the strength and virtues of the nation. This kind of teaching not only destroys the values of history by giving students false ideas about our country it is not even effective as propaganda. The experience of France is instructive on this point. The French schools taught their national history carefully, thoroughly, and effectively. They emphasized the value of French civilization and the wisdom of French policy, while saying little about the objectives and achievements of other peoples. Few other countries devoted as much time to national history or presented it in as attractive form. But what the schools taught was the union of all citizens in unselfish support of their country, and what the students saw about them were irreconcilable cleavages between Right and Left, greedy politicians plotting for office, and cynical individuals seeking favors from a corrupt government. When the test came, the ideals taught in the schools were not strong enough to overcome promptly the decay of the nation&rsquos social and political leadership.
The United States has great traditions to remember and great ideals for which to strive. But if the traditions and the ideals exist only in textbooks and classrooms they are museum pieces. We must live our traditions and our ideals before we can teach them. The study of American history can help to produce loyal, intelligent, cooperative, well-rounded citizens only if our society honors citizens who possess these qualities.