It’s Tuesday! Did you know…
* 1918 – General Arthur Currie mounts an assault with 600 tanks against 20 German divisions along 14 km front at Amiens – the start of Canada’s Hundred Days.
General Sir Arthur William Currie, GCMG, KCB (5 December 1875 – 30 November 1933) was a senior officer of the Canadian Army who fought during World War I. He had the unique distinction of starting his military career on the very bottom rung as a pre-war militia gunner before rising through the ranks to become the first Canadian commander of the Canadian Corps. Currie’s success was based on his ability to rapidly adapt brigade tactics to the exigencies of trench warfare, using set piece operations and bite-and-hold tactics. He is generally considered to be among the most capable commanders of the Western Front, and one of the finest commanders in Canadian military history.
In August 1918, when Currie was ordered to move the Corps 70 miles (110 km) south to Amiens, the Canadians took pains to camouflage their move. This included sending a radio unit and two battalions to Ypres as a diversion. With no preliminary artillery bombardment at Amiens to warn the Germans, the attack on 8 August was a success. The Canadians were withdrawn from the line and moved to the Somme, where they participated in the attack on the Hindenburg Line at the Drocourt-Quéant Line on 2 September. The assault resulted in the Germans being overrun along a 7,000-yard (6,400 m). Historian Denis Winter called the seizure of the Drocourt-Quéant switch by the Canadian Corps the “greatest single achievement” of the British Expeditionary Force during the entire war and praised Currie for his ability to bring “unprecedented” concentrations of artillery and machine gun together with flexible infantry sections that were adjusted for the situation. The German Seventeenth Army then retreated behind the flooded Canal du Nord. Currie took three weeks to prepare perhaps his most audacious plan: he proposed to have the entire Corps cross the largely dry canal on a front of only 2,700 yards (2,500 m). On 27 September, the entire Corps moved across the canal as planned, and then through the German lines in a series of planned zig-zag maneuvers designed to confuse the Germans as to the Canadians’ objectives. Flushed from their prepared defenses, the German army now staged a controlled retreat over the next five weeks. On 10 November, in what was to be his most controversial decision, Currie, under orders to continue to advance, ordered elements of the Corps to liberate Mons. On the morning of 11 November, as Currie received orders confirming there would be a general armistice at 11:0:00 a.m., the capture of Mons was completed. At 10:58 a.m., George Lawrence Price was killed by sniper fire, the last Commonwealth soldier to die in the Great War.
* 1925 1st national march of Ku Klux Klan in Washington D.C.
Historically, the Ku Klux Klan has shown its presence in three distinct entities in the past and present movements, but always with one common thread through its fabric: nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-immigration often propounded and expressed through violent terrorism against individuals or groups who opposed the Klan.
The aim, according to the Klan leaders, has always been a sort of ‘purification’ that they deemed inevitable for the American white working class; a purification from anything and everything non-white, deploying violent measures and destruction.
The origin of the Ku Klux Klan could be traced back to 1860s in the South of the United States; however, this nascent Ku Klux Klan didn’t stick around for too long and fizzled out in the early 1870s.
Not many people know that Imperial Wizard Hiram Evans even proposed a march on Washington and succeeded. A staggering sixty thousand men dressed in terrifying white robes marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in unison much like a military parade.
Hiram Evans wanted to make a point to the ‘nation’ that they were the true defenders of the values and protectors of the borders of the United States that were threatened and breached by the ‘intruders.’
On 8 August 1925, the Ku Klux Klan marched on Washington, what was then considered the largest show of power by the Klan ever when tens of thousands of Klansmen came to Washington on trains and buses. The eerie aspect of the whole affair was that almost all of them brought their families and children along with them as if they were on a day out or a picnic.
While the onlookers and those who saw the event in pictures felt a shiver down their spine seeing what they deemed an ugly side of America, Klansmen celebrated their strength with dances and chants.
* 1974 President Nixon resigns.
On this day in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon resigns in the wake of the Watergate burglary scandal. He was the first president in American history to resign.
In a televised address, Nixon, flanked by his family, announced to the American public that he would step down rather than endure a Senate impeachment trial for obstruction of justice. Since 1972, Nixon had battled increasing vociferous allegations that he knew of and may have authorized, a botched burglary in which several men were arrested for attempting to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Between 1972 and 1974, the press, and later a Senate investigation committee, revealed disturbing details that revealed that Nixon had indeed attempted to cover up the crime committed by key members of his administration and re-election committee. The most damning evidence came from subpoenaed tape recordings of Nixon’s White House conversations. Nixon fought the release of the tapes, which led the House of Representatives in 1973 to initiate impeachment charges against the president for obstruction of justice.
During the televised address, Nixon stated that he had never been a “quitter” and that choosing to resign went against his instincts. He refused to confess to committing the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors of which he was accused. He claimed his decision was encouraged by his political base and was in the best interests of the country and said that he hoped it would heal the political and social division caused by the Watergate scandal.
A report by the Washington Post on August 9 revealed the drama that had unfolded in the White House cabinet room an hour before Nixon’s resignation speech. After saying goodbye to 46 members of Congress, including his staunchest supporters, the president told them that the “country could not operate with a half-time President,” broke into tears and left the room.
* 1945 Truman signs United Nations Charter.
President Harry S. Truman signs the United Nations Charter and the United States becomes the first nation to complete the ratification process and join the new international organization. Although hopes were high at the time that the United Nations would serve as an arbiter of international disputes, the organization also served as the scene for some memorable Cold War clashes.
August 8, 1945, was a busy day in the history of World War II. The United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan, devastating the city of Nagasaki. The Soviet Union, following through with an agreement made earlier in the war, declared war on Japan. All observers agreed that the combination of these two actions would bring a speedy end to Japanese resistance. At the same time, in Washington, D.C., President Truman took a step that many Americans hoped would mean continued peace in the post-World War II world. The president signed the United Nations Charter, thus completing American ratification of the document. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes also signed. In so doing, the United States became the first nation to complete the ratification process. The charter would come into full force when China, Russia, Great Britain, France, and a majority of the other nations that had constructed the document also completed ratification.
The signing was accomplished with little pomp and ceremony. Indeed, President Truman did not even use one of the ceremonial pens to sign, instead opting for a cheap 10-cent desk pen. Nonetheless, the event was marked by hope and optimism. Having gone through the horrors of two world wars in three decades, most Americans–and people around the world–were hopeful that the new international organization would serve as a forum for settling international disagreements and a means for maintaining global peace. Over the next decades, the United Nations did serve as the scene for some of the more notable events in the Cold War: the decision by the Security Council to send troops to Korea in 1950; Khrushchev pounding the table with his shoe during a U.N. debate; and continuous and divisive discussion over admission of communist China to membership in the UN. As for its role as a peacekeeping institution, the record of the U.N. was not one of great success during the Cold War. The Soviet veto in the Security Council stymied some efforts, while the U.S. desire to steer an independent course in terms of military involvement after the unpopular Korean War meant less and less recourse to the U.N. to solve world conflicts. In the years since the end of the Cold War, however, the United States and Russia have sometimes cooperated to send United Nations forces on peacekeeping missions, such as the effort in Bosnia.
* 1818 Keats returns from walking tour.
On this day, 22-year-old John Keats returns from a strenuous walking tour of the Lake Districts and Scotland with friends. On the tour, he begins to show symptoms of tuberculosis that will kill him within three years.
Keats, the eldest of five children born to a lower-middle-class family in London, was a highly spirited boy known for fistfights and roughhousing at his private school. Keats’ schoolmasters encouraged the boy’s interest in reading and later introduced him to poetry and theater.
When John was eight, his father fell off a horse and died, launching a long economic struggle that would keep Keats in poverty throughout his life, despite a large inheritance owed to him. His mother quickly remarried, and the five Keats children were sent to live with their maternal grandparents. The marriage failed, and their mother soon joined them. However, she died in 1810, and John’s grandparents died by 1814. The Keats children were kept from their money by an unscrupulous guardian, and John was apprenticed to a surgeon in 1811. Keats worked with the surgeon until 1814, then went to work for a hospital in London as a junior apothecary and surgeon in charge of dressing wounds.
In London, Keats pursued his interest in literature while working at the hospital. He became friends with the editor of the Examiner, Leigh Hunt, a successful poet and author who introduced him to other literary figures, including Percy Bysshe Shelley. Although Keats did not write his first poem until age 18, he quickly showed tremendous promise, encouraged by Hunt and his circle. Keats’ first book, Poems, appeared in 1817. After that, Keats devoted himself entirely to poetry, becoming a master of the Romantic sonnet and trying his hand at epic poems like Hyperion.
In 1818, the same year Keats’ health began to fail, his financial difficulties deepened as his brother Tom also battled tuberculosis and another brother’s poor investment left him penniless in Kentucky. The one bright spot in his life was his fiancee, Fanny Brawne.
From January to September 1819, Keats produced an outpouring of brilliant work, including poems like “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” But in early 1820, Keats’ tuberculosis worsened. Hoping a warm climate would ease his condition, he traveled to Italy, where he died in February 1821, only 25 years old.
* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php
* Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Currie
* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport http://www.onthisday.com/
* The Vintage News https://m.thevintagenews.com/2016/01/13/when-the-la/
* This Day In History – What Happened Today http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/