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Today in History with a Twist: August 1, 2013

Shield in Place!

     You can sleep a little bit sounder from now on (1957) knowing that NORAD is on guard.  The United States and Canada have formed the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) to provide early warning from an attack from the Soviet Union.  Unfortunately you will not be able to sleep in on Tuesdays when those sirens kick on.

      If you do have to go to the shelter go with your girlfriend.  It’s National Girlfriends Day! Where would you be without your girlfriends and gal pals?  Today, take a moment to step back and appreciate these lifelong friends.  Girlfriends are the women who you can always depend on.  Whether you call on them to share exciting news, to have a shoulder to cry on, or to just hang out, your girlfriends are always there for you.  That's why there is an entire day dedicated to these friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters.  They are all essential parts of our lives! (Punchbowl.com)

      In Europe they are not sleeping well tonight (1914) as the war that began on the 28th continues to spread.  Today Germany declared war on Russia and even the Swiss Army has mobilized.  You know it's serious when the Swiss mobilize.

     In Poland, as the Soviet Army is driving toward Berlin (1944) the Polish 'Home Army' has shown itself and is staging an uprising in Warsaw.  They want to drive the Germans out before the Russians get there so they can have an established government in place and not let the Russians set up one of their own. They do need the Russian advance to continue so that the German Army will be pulled away from the city and the Poles can succeed despite their limited resources....News Flash: It appears that the Russians are running out of gas and are going to have to take a break in their offensive to resupply.  Bad break for the Poles.  You don't think the Russian halt is intentional do you?

     They are not sleeping well in China either (1927). For the first time forces of the Communist Party of China have formally come together as an organized force to fight the ruling Kuomintang.  The newly formed People's Liberation Army engaged government forces in Nanchang.  The uprising signals that this is a full blown civil war not just local unrest.  Now they have to get ready for a long march.

      In science news (1774) British scientist Joseph Priestley has announced the discovery of oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.  What did we breath before they discovered oxygen?

     From the world of entertainment we have learned that millions of people will probably be losing sleep, but not because of war.  A 24 hour music video station, named MTV began broadcasting (1981) in the United States.  The first video aired was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles.  Guess I can throw away that transistor radio.

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     10 BC - Claudius - Roman emperor (d. 54) - Crippled and left slightly deaf due to a childhood illness made him appear not to be a threat allowing him to be the only male member of his family to survive the political purges of the era. Eventual the Praetorian guard decided it was time for the meek to inherit the world.

     1779 - Francis Scott Key - Lawyer, author, and songwriter of the U.S. National anthem (d. 1843) - Ultimate one hit wonder.

     1819 - Herman Melville - Writer (d. 1891) - What's the big deal, everybody has a story about the one that got away.

     1843 - Robert Todd Lincoln - Lawyer politician and 35th United States Secretary of War (d. 1926) - Oh yes, former President's son.

 

Below are recommend books related to the above topics:

 


Amazon Says: Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerm more...
Amazon Says: Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages.   Praise for The Guns of August   “A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”—Newsweek   “More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”—Chicago Tribune   “A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”—The New York Times   “[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal From the Trade Paperback edition. less...
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Amazon Says: The battlefields of the USSR witnessed the most devastating confrontations of World War II. In every one of those battles, Communist dictator Josef Stalin exercised his influe more...
Amazon Says: The battlefields of the USSR witnessed the most devastating confrontations of World War II. In every one of those battles, Communist dictator Josef Stalin exercised his influence, meddling with (and executing) his generals, hurling unprepared armies into pure chaos, and meeting with his Western allies to divide the world up into zones of influence that would soon be embroiled in a new war. World War II scholar Hoyt describes the war from Stalin's vantage point and shows how his decisions, especially his early refusal to go to war with Germany even after they attacked, led to the historic battles for Leningrad, Stalingrad, and Moscow. Hoyt also explains how Stalin's bloody purges before the war left a military bereft of leadership, yet opened the doors for Zhukov, Chuikov, Rokossovsky, and other crucial commanders to spearhead a Soviet victory. Stalin's War also examines Stalin's use of propaganda to vilify the German army and blame Soviet war crimes and human rights violations on the Nazis. less...
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The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson
Amazon Says: Bestselling author Steven Johnson recounts—in dazzling, multidisciplinary fashion—the story of the brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religi more...
Amazon Says: Bestselling author Steven Johnson recounts—in dazzling, multidisciplinary fashion—the story of the brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America’s Founding Fathers. The Invention of Air is a book of world-changing ideas wrapped around a compelling narrative, a story of genius and violence and friendship in the midst of sweeping historical change that provokes us to recast our understanding of the Founding Fathers. It is the story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. And it is a story that only Steven Johnson, acclaimed juggler of disciplines and provocative ideas, can do justice to. In the 1780s, Priestley had established himself in his native England as a brilliant scientist, a prominent minister, and an outspoken advocate of the American Revolution, who had sustained long correspondences with Franklin, Jefferson, and John Adams. Ultimately, his radicalism made his life politically uncomfortable, and he fled to the nascent United States. Here, he was able to build conceptual bridges linking the scientific, political, and religious impulses that governed his life. And through his close relationships with the Founding Fathers—Jefferson credited Priestley as the man who prevented him from abandoning Christianity—he exerted profound if little-known influence on the shape and course of our history. As in his last bestselling work, The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson here uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovation and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs. And as he did in Everything Bad Is Good for You, Johnson upsets some fundamental assumptions about the world we live in—namely, what it means when we invoke the Founding Fathers—and replaces them with a clear-eyed, eloquent assessment of where we stand today. less...
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Amazon Says: You will receive one of the two covers. We cannot guarantee which one. Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in "Thriller"? Diamond Da more...
Amazon Says: You will receive one of the two covers. We cannot guarantee which one. Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in "Thriller"? Diamond Dave karate kick with Van Halen in "Jump"? Tawny Kitaen turning cartwheels on a Jaguar to Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again"? The Beastie Boys spray beer in "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)"? Axl Rose step off the bus in "Welcome to the Jungle"? Remember When All You Wanted Was Your MTV? It was a pretty radical idea-a channel for teenagers, showing nothing but music videos. It was such a radical idea that almost no one thought it would actually succeed, much less become a force in the worlds of music, television, film, fashion, sports, and even politics. But it did work. MTV became more than anyone had ever imagined. I Want My MTV tells the story of the first decade of MTV, the golden era when MTV's programming was all videos, all the time, and kids watched religiously to see their favorite bands, learn about new music, and have something to talk about at parties. From its start in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British new wave acts to the launch of the reality-television craze with The Real World in 1992, MTV grew into a tastemaker, a career maker, and a mammoth business. Featuring interviews with nearly four hundred artists, directors, VJs, and television and music executives, I Want My MTV is a testament to the channel that changed popular culture forever. less...
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Francis Scott Key by Melissa Whitcraft
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