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Today in History with a Twist: August 30, 2013

Hot Line Established!

     Having narrowly dodging the nuclear bullet in the Cuban Missile Crisis the United States aand Soviet Union have established a hotline between the countries' leaders (1963).  The direct link is meant to allow the leaders to talk directly during crisis situations in order to help difuse them.  The hotline is not a telephone line, initially communications will be by teletype equipment;  In 1988 it will be replaced by facsimile units. (Since 2008 the Moscow-Washington hotline is a secure computer link over which messages are exchanged by email.) Hopefully it will help prevent the use of the 'Doom's Day Device'.

     Take your mind off potential nuclear war by roasting some marshmallows.  Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day!  With summer coming to a close, today is the perfect opportunity to invite friends and family to gather around a campfire and toast up some marshmallows.  The history of the marshmallow dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt.  The Egyptians harvested the sweet gooey extract of the mallow plant and used it to make candy.  It was a very special treat reserved exclusively for gods and royalty.  The modern-day marshmallows we know and love today emerged during the 19th century.  To celebrate National Toasted Marshmallow Day, grab a stick and a bag of marshmallows, and head outside to toast some marshmallows over the fire. (Punchbowl.com)

     In Washington (1967) Thurgood Marshall has been confirmed as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Hopefully we are getting closer to day envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream that it won't matter what a persons skin color is.

     In Europe (1995) NATO has launched Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces. NATO has become directly involved due to reports of Serb atrocities against Croation and Moslem civilians.  I was also involved in this one.

      In the Creek Civil War (1813) the government has been drawn into the conflict by the Northern Creek attack on Fort Mims, north of Mobile, Alabama.  The Northern Creek "Red Sticks" (refering to the red stick used when declaring war) killed over 500 defenders in the fort at loss of less to a hundred of their own.  Should never have given Andrew Jackson an excuse to get involved.

      On the Eastern Front in the Great War (1914) the Germans have inflicted a major defeat on the Russians in the Battle of Tannenberg.  One of the keys to the battle was that the Germans listened to the Russian radio communications and learned the Russian plans.  They were easily able to counter the Russian moves and defeat them.  Lesson to us; Don't muzzle the NSA, just make sure they have good masters.

     With the decline of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty the rebel factions have taken to fighting amongst themselves. In an attempt to take the Ming held city Nanchang the Hans have laid siege to the city.  To try and break the siege the navy of the Ming, under Zhu Yuanzhang, met the Han navy, commanded by Chen Youliang, in Jiangxi Province on Lake Poyang, China's largest freshwater lake in one of the largest naval battles in history (1363).  Despite being outnumbered the Ming won the battle and established themselves as the faction most likely to take over when the Yuans eventual fall.  They make great vases also.

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1797 - Mary Shelley - English author (d. 1851) - She does look like she follows Goth fashion, could go a long way to explaining 'Frankenstein".

     1893 - Huey Long - Politician (d. 1935) - Did an assassin's bullet save us from a dictatorship? Have a good Labor Day.

 

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from our collection:


Amazon Says: Thurgood Marshall's extraordinary contribution to civil rights and overcoming racism is more topical than ever, as the national debate on race and the overturning of affirmati more...
Amazon Says: Thurgood Marshall's extraordinary contribution to civil rights and overcoming racism is more topical than ever, as the national debate on race and the overturning of affirmative action policies make headlines nationwide. Howard Ball, author of eighteen books on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, has done copious research for this incisive biography to present an authoritative portrait of Marshall the jurist. Born to a middle-class black family in "Jim Crow" Baltimore at the turn of the century, Marshall's race informed his worldview from an early age. He was rejected by the University of Maryland Law School because of the color of his skin. He then attended Howard University's Law School, where his racial consciousness was awakened by the brilliant lawyer and activist Charlie Houston. Marshall suddenly knew what he wanted to be: a civil rights lawyer, one of Houston's "social engineers." As the chief attorney for the NAACP, he developed the strategy for the legal challenge to racial discrimination. His soaring achievements and his lasting impact on the nation's legal system--as the NAACP's advocate, as a federal appeals court judge, as President Lyndon Johnson's solicitor general, and finally as the first African American Supreme Court Justice--are symbolized by Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools. Using race as the defining theme, Ball spotlights Marshall's genius in working within the legal system to further his lifelong commitment to racial equality. With the help of numerous, previously unpublished sources, Ball presents a lucid account of Marshall's illustrious career and his historic impact on American civil rights. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The Silk Road, a series of ancient trade routes stretching across Central Asia to Europe, evokes exotic images of camel trains laden with bales of fine Chinese silk, spices, a more...
Amazon Says: The Silk Road, a series of ancient trade routes stretching across Central Asia to Europe, evokes exotic images of camel trains laden with bales of fine Chinese silk, spices, and perfume, of desert oases surrounded by snow-capped mountains, of bustling markets thronging with travellers buying and selling grapes, coriander, Baltic amber, and Mediterranean coral. Along this route, silks were sent from China to ancient Rome; princesses were dispatched in marriage alliances across the deserts; bandits and thieves launched attacks throughout history. Covering more than 5,000 years, this book, lavishly illustrated with photographs, manuscripts, and paintings from the collections of the British Library and other museums worldwide, presents an overall picture of the history and cultures of the Silk Road. It also contains many previously unpublished photographs by the great explorers Stein, Hedin, and Mannerheim. More than just a trade route, the Silk Road witnessed the movement of cultural influences. Frances Wood traces the story of the civilizations and ideas that flourished and moved along its vast geographical expanse. Indian Buddhism was carried into China on the Silk Road, initiating a long history of pilgrimages along the lonely desert routes; Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, and Islam also made their way eastwards along its route. The nineteenth century saw a new interest in Central Asia and the Silk Road, as Russia and Britain vied for power on the frontiers of Afghanistan. A new breed of explorer, part archaeologist, part cartographer, part spy, was seen on the Silk Road, while some of the ancient cities, long buried in sand-blown dunes, began to give up their secrets. This book brings the history of the Silk Road alive--from its beginnings to the present day, revealing a rich history still in the making. less...
Amazon

Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour
Amazon Says: Gracefully sweeping through the dramatic life of the woman behind history's most legendary monster, Miranda Seymour unbuttons a world of brilliant literary figures in Mary She more...
Amazon Says: Gracefully sweeping through the dramatic life of the woman behind history's most legendary monster, Miranda Seymour unbuttons a world of brilliant literary figures in Mary Shelley and re-creates the imaginative time in which Frankenstein was born. The itinerant life of Mary Shelley began when she escaped the continent at age sixteen with her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, her reputation in ruins. With Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont in tow, they traveled from England to Switzerland to stifling Italy in the summer. In 1816 they rented a villa near Lord Byron's on Lake Geneva where, in a famous night of eerie thunderstorms, they told ghost stories and tales of horror. From that night emerged the idea of Frankenstein, a monster who has haunted imaginations for nearly two hundred years. His creator was an eighteen-year-old girl. But tragedy shadowed her; she came to lose three of her four children in infancy and when she was twenty-four, Shelley drowned off the coast of Italy. After his death she moved back to England with her only remaining child, Percy. Though Frankenstein later became a success, the world she returned to was bleak and impoverished, and she was reduced to hack writing to make ends meet. The Mary we meet here, brilliantly brought to life by Seymour from previously unexplored sources, is flawed, brave, generous, and impetuous. As Jackie Wullschlager of The Financial Times (London) said, "Mary Shelley is the most dazzling biography of a female writer to have come my way for a decade." less...
Amazon
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