Today in History, December 8, 1941:
As the Japanese continued their invasion of the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong and other Allied interests in the Pacific, President Franklin Roosevelt gives his famous “Day of Infamy” speech asking Congress to declare that a state of war had existed since the bombs began to fall on Pearl Harbor the day before.
Today in History, December 6, 1904:
The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine had been established to tell European powers to stay out…no Emperialism in the Western Hemisphere. When it was declared, the US didn’t really have the forces to back it up. But, conveniently the Royal Navy agreed and enforced it for their former adversaries.
In 1904 President Roosevelt made an addition to the Doctrine. There had been recent incidents in which European powers threatened actions against South American nations that they felt owed them money. In his annual message to the Congress, TR stated that, should any developing nations in the Western Hemisphere require intervention due to unrest or an inability to handle their financial affairs, it would be the US that would intervene, not foreign nations. This time TR had the Navy to back it up.
Many criticize Roosevelt’s assumption of police powers in the Americas as expansionist, and with the events surrounding the building of the Panama Canal, there is likely some validity to that view. However the primary objective was to ensure that foreign powers knew the US would not tolerate their use of military force in our backyard. And it kept the big kids from taking advantage of the still developing countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Today in History, December 3, 1586:
Sir Thomas Harriott introduces the potato, previously only found in Columbia in South America, to England and Ireland. Sir Walter Raleigh pursued farming of the new staple in Ireland and before you knew it, they were every where.
This would become very important to American development as well. The potato became a staple food for the impoverished Irish populace. In the 1840’s a potato blight ruined the crops of potatoes in Ireland, resulting in a devastating famine. The famine caused approximately a million deaths and also approximately one million emigrants to America. The burgeoning Irish population in America would have a long lasting effect on our country, in labor, the military services and police forces.
Potatoes! Baked, French Fried, Potato soup, Potato Chips, Sweet Potato Pie, Potato Cakes, Mashed Potatoes, Scalloped Potatoes, Potatoes au Gratin….
Today in History, November 28: 1941 –
Ten days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a Task Force built around the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) sailed from Pearl Harbor bound for Wake Island.
In response to a “war warning” the Enterprise had taken aboard a squadron of US Marine F4F Wildcat fighter planes and their pilots, with orders to deliver them to Wake to bolster the island’s defenses.
Once they were at sea, the TF commander, Admiral William F. (Bull) Halsey signed off on Battle Order #1, which put the Enterprise and her supporting Cruisers and Destroyers on a war footing.
The crew began adding armor behind the pilot’s position’s in the ship’s fighters, painting them in combat colors, and arming them for combat.
More than a week before the Japanese attacked, the Enterprise TF had orders to shoot first and ask questions later should they encounter any foreign ships or planes. The CAP (Combat Air Patrol) kept watch overhead.
The Big E would deliver the Marines and return to Pearl on Sunday, December 7. Her scout plane pilots would fly ahead, ending up right in the middle of the air raid. But that’s another story.
But on this date, Admiral Halsey and Captain Murray closed by telling their sailors “Steady nerves and stout hearts are needed now.”
Today in History, November 13, 2001:
U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order that would allow for military tribunals to try any foreigners captured with connections to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
It was the first time since World War II that a president had taken such action. The home territory of the United States had been attacked with a tremendous loss of innocent lives. For a time, the nation came together in common cause.
Today in History, November 2, 1948:
“Dewey Defeats Truman”.
The Chicago Tribune is so confident that New York Governor Thomas Dewey will win the Presidential election that the paper publishes it’s desired results in an early edition…but Truman won by 2M votes.
Most sources will describe this as a solitary example of media bias, however in 2000 the media almost in it’s entirety called the election for Al Gore as Florida polls closed…several hours before the polls closed in the majority of the nation. Many voters, hearing the news as they drove home, decided there was no point in going to the polls. As it turned out, not even Florida could be declared for Gore at that point.
The media’s actions would send the nation into a legal limbo for weeks as the victor was determined in the courts. In the attached photo a victorious President Truman holds up the erroneous headline.
In 2016, the polls….and the media…reported it was nearly a forgone conclusion that Secretary Clinton would win.
Today in History, October 30: 1938 – “The War of the Worlds”. For Halloween, Orson Welles had produced a radio show based on a nineteenth century novel by H.G. Wells. After a disclaimer preceding the show, it was designed as if the events were actually occurring, as if newsmen were reporting an actual invasion of the Earth by Martians….
Unfortunately, most Americans were listening to another popular radio show as The War of the Worlds began, and tuned in AFTER the disclaimer. As many as a million people thought they had actually tuned into coverage of aliens landing and assaulting the planet. The show described people all over the country fleeing in terror; which actually did occur since so many thought it was real. Part way through the show, Welles was informed of the mass panic and interrupted the show with another disclaimer….”This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that The War of The Worlds has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be: the Mercury Theatre’s own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying “Boo!” Starting now, we couldn’t soap all your windows and steal all your garden gates by tomorrow night, so we did the best next thing. We annihilated the world before your very ears, and utterly destroyed the C. B. S. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn’t mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business. So goodbye everybody, and remember, please, for the next day or so the terrible lesson you learned tonight: that grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody’s there, that was no Martian — it’s Halloween.”
It was 1938. Unfortunately, within a year, the world would find the horrors they imagined were all too real; but they didn’t need aliens in WWII.