“Steady, men….steady! ChaaaaAAAaaRRGE!!”

Today in History, July 1:

A day for important battles.

1863 – The Union and the Confederates first clash at The Battle of Gettysburg, and both send reinforcements. The first day went badly for the Union, but the largest battle in North America had three more days to go, and would become a major turning point in the Civil War.

1898 – The Battle of San Juan Hill becomes a major victory for the US in the Spanish-American War as the US Army’s Fifth Corps takes the heights over Santiago de Cuba. It also set the stage for Colonel Theodore Roosevelt to become President as he became famous for leading his Rough Riders up Kettle Hill (not San Juan).

1916 – The Battle of the Somme in France; after a week’s bombardment with over 250,000 shells, the British launch an attack into no-man’s land. The Germans had retained many machine guns despite the bombardment, and the British soldiers were slaughtered. With 20,000 dead and 40,000 wounded in one day, it was one of the worst defeats for the British military’s history.

1942 – The Battle of El Alamein; In North Africa Erwin Rommel’s army had routed the British and their allies, driving them back so quickly that they had to leave much of their equipment behind. But on today’s date the British Army, resupplied by Americans and reorganized, turned the tide back on Rommel at El Alamein.

On the Brink of Armageddon

Today in History, October 22, 1962:  President Kennedy announces in a speech from the Oval Office that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, only 90 miles from Florida.  Any city within the United States could be destroyed within moments.

President Kennedy announced the US Navy was conducting a “Quarantine” of Cuba, another name for a Blockade, which “could” be considered an act of war.  He also made clear that any missile launched from Cuba upon any nation in the Western Hemisphere would result in an attack on the Soviet Union.  Could this be interpreted as enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine?

Today we are experiencing stressful times, a showdown with North Korea.  We’ve been here before, even worse.  We are made nervous by the rhetoric voiced by our government.  President Kennedy kept us safe by letting the Soviets and Cuba know the consequences would be dire if they acted in bad faith.  At that time Castro and the Soviet government were viewed as “madmen” much as Kim is today.