Skip to content

Today in History: September 17, 2013

Freedom!

     1849 - Abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery.  She would return at least 19 times to rescue more than 300 slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.  She helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women's suffrage Likes to stay active. - Being from Chicago when I was a kid I thought they were talking about the El when they talked about the underground railroad..

     Today is Citizenship Day (also known as Constitution Day) marks the anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.  It also recognizes all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.  The origin of this holiday dates back to 1940 when "I am an American Day" was celebrated on the third Sunday in May. In 1952, Congress moved the date to September 17 and renamed it “Citizenship Day.”  In 2004, the official name changed to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.”  To celebrate this holiday, schools around the country receive federal funding to provide lessons about the Constitution.  Take a moment today to reflect on the Constitution and what it means to be a U.S. citizen! (Punchbowl.com)

     1862 - George B. McClellan halts the northward drive of Robert E. Lee's Confederate army in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history.  The combunedlossees for the two armies were 22,717 dead, wounded, and missing. - McClellan could get it right once in a while.

     1631 - Sweden wins a major victory at the Battle of Breitenfeld against the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War.  It was the Protestants’ first major victory in the war ,ensuring that the German states would not be forcibly reconverted to Roman Catholicism.  It confirmed Sweden’s Gustavus Adolphus of the House of Vasa as a great tactical leader and induced many Protestant German states to ally with Sweden against the German Catholic League, led by Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, and the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II of Austria.  Guarrnateed the the Protestants could not lose the war, but guarrantee that they could win the the war. - Figure that one out.

     1809 - The Finnish War, fought between the Sweden and the Russian Empire from February 1808 to September 1809, ended with the signing of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn.  As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire.  Other notable effects were the Swedish parliament's adoption of a new constitution and the establishment of the House of Bernadotte, the new Swedish royal house, in 1818..- Should be a change at the top if you lose a third of your country.

Busy day in World War II:

     1939 -:The Soviet Union joined Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland during the Polish Defensive War of 1939 (Also known as the first campaign of the Second World War).  Wonder why the Western Allies didn't declare war on them also? (Note the sarcasm) - As many times as Poland has been partitioned they should have been used to it by then.

     1940 - Not being able to defeat the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Battle of Britain, Hitler postpones Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England, indefinitely. - Well Goering talked a good game.

     1941 - To replace their losses and enlarge their army in the Great Patriotic War (Another name for World War II) the Soviet State Committee of Defense issued a decree, restoring Vsevobuch, manditory military training.  Almost 10 million soldiers would go through the training. - And they would use every one of them.

     1944 - Allied Airborne troops parachute into the Netherlands as the "Market" half of Operation Market Garden. - If Monty would have talked to the Dutch he would have learned the route on the other side of the river was better.

     1978 - The Camp David Accords are signed by Israel and Egypt. - This one is actually working as long as we keep the Brotherhood out of it.

     1980 - After weeks of strikes at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland, the nationwide independent trade union Solidarity is established. - Rumor has it that the reason the Russian and Warsaw Pact didn't move in was that they were afraid that if they got the East Germans moving esatward they wouldn't stop in Poland.

     2011 - Occupy Wall Street movement begins in Zuccotti Park, New York City. - Interesting counter to the Tea Party.

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1730 - Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Prussian army officer (d. 1794) - Even average Prussians could teach us something about war.

     1907 – Warren E. Burger - 15th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1995) - I always get hungry when I hear his name.

     1918 - Chaim Herzog - 6th President of Israel (d. 1997) - Little known fact: He was the British Army Intelligence Officer who identified Heintich Himmler who was trying to desquise himself as a common soldier. - Small world.

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection:


Harriet Tubman by Sarah Bradford
Amazon Says: One of Americaís most important women, Harriet Tubman was a former slave who led a heroic struggle more bravely and more successfully than any other to liberate African-Ameri more...
Amazon Says: One of Americaís most important women, Harriet Tubman was a former slave who led a heroic struggle more bravely and more successfully than any other to liberate African-Americans from slavery. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Provides definitions of key concepts about American history and government used in the citizenship examination and interview. Title: Citizenship Author: Weintrau more...
Amazon Says: Provides definitions of key concepts about American history and government used in the citizenship examination and interview. Title: Citizenship Author: Weintraub, Lynne Publisher: New Readers Pr Publication Date: 2001/09/01 Number of Pages: 192 Binding Type: PAPERBACK Library of Congress: 2002513067 less...
Amazon

Antietam : The Soldiers' Battle by John Michael Priest
Amazon Says: A historian tells of this bloody Civil War battle from an entirely new point of view: that of the common enlisted man. Seventy-two detailed maps describe the battle in both ho more...
Amazon Says: A historian tells of this bloody Civil War battle from an entirely new point of view: that of the common enlisted man. Seventy-two detailed maps describe the battle in both hourly and quarter-hourly formats. 37 rare photos. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Two modern masters of military history make their case for the twenty most pivotal battles of all time, in a riveting trip through the ages to those moments when the fate of t more...
Amazon Says: Two modern masters of military history make their case for the twenty most pivotal battles of all time, in a riveting trip through the ages to those moments when the fate of the world hung in the balance.   In the grand tradition of Edward Creasy’s classic Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, James Lacey and Williamson Murray spotlight only those engagements that changed the course of civilization. In gripping narrative accounts they bring these conflicts and eras to vivid life, detailing the cultural imperatives that led inexorably to the battlefield, the experiences of the common soldiers who fought and died, and the legendary commanders and statesmen who matched wits, will, and nerve for the highest possible stakes.   From the great clashes of antiquity to the high-tech wars of the twenty-first century, here are the stories of the twenty most consequential battles ever fought, including   • Marathon, where Greece’s “greatest generation” repelled Persian forces three times their numbers—and saved Western civilization in its infancy • Adrianople, the death blow to a disintegrating Roman Empire • Trafalgar, the epic naval victory that cemented a century of British supremacy over the globe • Saratoga, the first truly American victory, won by united colonial militias, which ensured the ultimate triumph of the Revolution • Midway, the ferocious World War II sea battle that broke the back of the Japanese navy • Dien Bien Phu, the climactic confrontation between French imperial troops and Viet Minh rebels that led to American intervention in Vietnam and marked the rise of a new era of insurgent warfare • Operation Peach, the perilous 2003 mission to secure a vital bridge over the Euphrates River that would open the way to Baghdad   Historians and armchair generals will argue forever about which battles have had the most direct impact on history. But there can be no doubt that these twenty are among those that set mankind on new trajectories. Each of these epochal campaigns is examined in its full historical, strategic, and tactical context—complete with edge-of-your-seat you-are-there battle re-creations. With an eye for the small detail as well as the bigger picture, Lacey and Murray identify the elements that bind these battles together: the key decisions, critical mistakes, and moments of crisis on which the fates of entire civilizations depended.   Some battles merely leave a field littered with the bodies of the fallen. Others transform the map of the entire world. Moment of Battle is history written with the immediacy of today’s news, a magisterial tour d’horizon that refreshes our understanding of those essential turning points where the future was decided. A MAIN SELECTION OF THE HISTORY BOOK CLUB AND THE MILITARY BOOK CLUB   “Two world-class historians present, eloquently and persuasively, twenty battles that fundamentally changed the course of history. Moment of Battle is a must acquisition for anyone seeking to understand the nature of human development—and its turning points.”—Dennis E. Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College, author of Armor and Blood   “In a single volume, James Lacey and Williamson Murray have distilled a lifetime of learning and insight into the most influential battles in world history. This is a readable and compelling primer and a feast for the student of military history.”—James D. Hornfischer, author of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Few countries in Europe have undergone such rapid social, political and economic changes as Finland has during the last fifty years. David Kirby here sets out the fascinating more...
Amazon Says: Few countries in Europe have undergone such rapid social, political and economic changes as Finland has during the last fifty years. David Kirby here sets out the fascinating history of this northern country, for centuries on the east-west divide of Europe, a country not blessed by nature, most of whose inhabitants still earned a living from farming fifty years ago, but which today is one of the most prosperous members of the European Union. He shows how this small country was able not only to survive in peace and war but also to preserve and develop its own highly distinctive identity, neither Scandinavian nor Eastern European. He traces the evolution of the idea of a Finnish national state, from the long centuries as part of the Swedish realm, through self-government within the Russian Empire, and into the stormy and tragic birth of the independent state in the twentieth century. less...
Amazon

Blitzkrieg by Len Deighton
Amazon Says: A compelling history of Blitzkrieg: the 'lightning war' by which Hitler and his generals overwhelmed the Allied armies in Western Europe. 'Blitzkrieg' begins with a chilling p more...
Amazon Says: A compelling history of Blitzkrieg: the 'lightning war' by which Hitler and his generals overwhelmed the Allied armies in Western Europe. 'Blitzkrieg' begins with a chilling portrait of Hitler's rise to power in pre-war Germany, setting the stage for the outbreak of the Second World War and his conquests of Poland and Norway. This riveting history sets out clearly the tactical thinking behind Blitzkrieg and focuses an expert's eye on the materiel - pre-eminently the Panzer tank - that made it possible. Concluding with a compelling account of the campaigns that drove the German armies through the Low Countries and into France, Deighton reveals the Fuhrer's 'fatal flaw', which made possible the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk. 'Blitzkrieg' is the story of Hitler's triumph and Europe's darkest hour. Few writers have understood it as well as Deighton - an ex-RAF pilot - and perhaps none has been able to describe it so tellingly. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Sixty years ago, Europe lay at the feet of Adolf Hitler. In a series of whirlwind campaigns between September 1939 and June 1940, Germany defeated Poland, Belgium, Denmark, No more...
Amazon Says: Sixty years ago, Europe lay at the feet of Adolf Hitler. In a series of whirlwind campaigns between September 1939 and June 1940, Germany defeated Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France. It had signed a treaty with the Soviet Union, driven the British Expeditionary Force off the continent of Europe at Dunkirk, and stood poised to invade Great Britain, the only remaining belligerent. Standing between Hitler and world domination was the just-elected prime minister, Winston Churchill...and a few thousand pilots in the Royal Air Force's Fighter Command. Defeat seemed inevitable. instead, a legend was born. Taking its readers on a breathtaking journey from open lifeboats in North Atlantic gales to the cockpits of burning fighter planes, "Finest Hour" recreates the tensions and uncertainties of the events of 1940 -- months when the fate of the world truly did hang in the balance. It is a powerful account, told through the voices, diaries, letters, and memoirs of the men and women who lived and loved, fought and died during that terrible yet ultimately triumphant year. The personal stories of these soldiers and airmen, diplomats and politicians, journalists and spies are combined with a fresh and often controversial account of the swirling political intrigues and betrayals of the period. Here are President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ambassador Joseph Kennedy; journalists Edward R. Murrow and Whitelaw Reid; Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King and French Premier Paul Reynaud. Here are the Royal Navy's assault on the French fleet, the hushed-up catastrophe of the SS "Lancastria," America's secret plans to cope with the expected defeat of Britain,and Winston Churchill's indomitable determination to bring the New World to the rescue of the Old. A testament to a year when a nation's darkest hour became its finest, a work that blends original historical research with the experiences of ordinary people living in desperate times, "Finest Hour" is a singular achievement, an indispensable contribution to the literature of World War II. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The Battle of Britain could not stop Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion. The historians got it wrong. This is a big claim to make, yet the reasoning behind it is r more...
Amazon Says: The Battle of Britain could not stop Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion. The historians got it wrong. This is a big claim to make, yet the reasoning behind it is remarkably straightforward. In Invasion 1940, author Derek Robinson asks why historians have dovetailed the Battle of Britain with Operation Sealion. Military experts say the Battle prevented an invasion, but they don't exactly explain how. Why is it taken for granted that an air battle could halt an assault from the sea? The skill and courage of the RAF pilots isn't in question, but did the Luftwaffe's failure to destroy them, plus bad weather, really persuade Hitler to cancel Sealion? That's what Hitler said, and Churchill claimed a great victory for 'The Few'. The Battle of Britain ended; Sealion died. One followed the other, so the first must have caused the second. But Derek Robinson challenges that assumption and reaches a startling conclusion. The real obstacle to invasion was a force that both Churchill and Hitler failed to acknowledge. In this fascinating reexamination, Robinson doesn't seek to downplay the heroism and achievements of the RAF; rather, he wants the true picture of that brilliant moment in history—Invasion, 1940— to emerge. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: A first-hand personal account of American businessman and Slim Fast founder Danny Abraham's more than 15 years of peacemaking efforts in the Middle East and the reasons he more...
Amazon Says: A first-hand personal account of American businessman and Slim Fast founder Danny Abraham's more than 15 years of peacemaking efforts in the Middle East and the reasons he believes peace is possible. For more than fifteen years, entrepreneur Danny Abraham, founder and former chairman of Slim Fast, chose to utilize his considerable resources to facilitate Mideast peace. Together with Utah Congressman Wayne Owens, Abraham made more than sixty trips to the Middle East between 1988 to 2002, meeting with Arab leaders Hosni Mubarak, Hafez Assad, Crown Prince Abdullah, and Yasser Arafat, and Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, and Ariel Sharon. Using his business experience with difficult negotiations, Abraham took an active behind-the-scenes role, setting up critical one-on-one meetings between key figures. He urged these leaders to articulate not what they wanted, but what they needed, to make peace, fostering significant advances in the peace process. Since Owens' untimely death in 2002, Abraham has continued to arrange peacemaking meetings on his own. Drawing from meeting transcripts, diary entries, and extensive handwritten notes, Abraham writes in the first person about these extraordinary, often private meetings, giving us rare "you are there" insight into historically significant events. In his pragmatic and hopeful book, he writes, "I am a great optimist, particularly about a region of the world that usually brings out people's most pessimistic inclinations—Israel and its neighbors." Foreword by President Bill Clinton. 16 page color photo insert, maps, chronology, index. less...
Amazon
Print

Comment about this page...