Thank You, Grigory Shelikhov!

Today in History, August 14, 1784:

Russian Grigory Shelikhov founds Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island, establishing Alaska for Russia. Over the next several decades Russian fur trappers moved into the interior, and down into California, where they were turned back by American frontiersmen.

By the 1850’s Russia was ready to sell Alaska and offered it to the United States. The negotiations were delayed during the American Civil War, but in 1867 Secretary of State William H. Seward negotiated it’s purchase for .02 cents per acre.

He was excoriated for the purchase; it was called “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox”. The treaty passed the Senate by just one vote. Since then Seward has been vindicated, with gold and oil and nature.

Ignore History at Your Peril

Today in History, June 22, 1941:

Operation Barbarossa.

The largest invasion in history, ordered by Adolph Hitler, kicks off as 3 million German soldiers, supported by 19 Panzer (tank) divisions, 2,500 aircraft and 7,000 artillery pieces use their now standard Blitzkrieg tactics against Russia.

Initially the offensive was incredibly successful, pushing 300 miles into enormous Russia within weeks.

Hitler’s fellow meglomaniac Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, and had recently asked to join Hitler in his designs on world domination, so he thought his country was safe; and Russia’s air forces were obsolete.

However, Hitler was ignoring history (never, ever, EVER, do that!!). Napoleon (almost 129 years to the day) had invaded Russia and been turned back by the Russian winter, in WWI Hitler’s predecessors had been ruined by opening a second front against Russia. Hitler’s fate would be the same.

Russia benefited from an almost limitless source of manpower, and the industrial might of America, which sent arms and modern aircraft. Added to the Russian winter which Hitler did not prepare for, and defeat was unavoidable for Germany. 

Being sent to the “Eastern Front” was the kiss of death for German troops who had gained disfavor with their superiors.

H. Norman Schwarzkopf Stared Down into Baby Charles Lindbergh’s Shallow Grave…

Today in History, May 12, 1932:

H. Norman Schwarzkopf looks down into the recently found shallow grave of infant Charles Lindbergh, Jr. in a field not far from the Lindbergh home.

The Lindbergh baby had been kidnapped from his home on March 1st, the ransom paid, but the child was not returned to his parents.

Schwarzkopf, a West Point graduate and WWI veteran, had been appointed in 1921 by the Governor of New Jersey to create, organize and train the New Jersey State Police.

It was in this capacity that he led the investigation of the Lindbergh Kidnapping, the “Crime of the Century”. He would prove that the baby had been killed accidentally as he was being carried down a ladder from his second floor bedroom.

When a new governor took office, Schwarzkopf would be sacked. Politics.

He would return to the US Army when WWII broke out, where he would be tasked to use his logistics and organizational talents to train the Iranian police, a country where the US was setting up railroads to supply the Soviet Union for the fight against Germany.

After the war, Schwarzkopf would also help set up the security forces of the Shah of Iran…back before the Iranian revolution made that country enemy #1.

Two years after he investigated the Lindbergh kidnapping, his son, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. would be born.

And as most know, “Stormin’ Norman” would follow his father to the middle east in the service of his country nearly six decades later.

The elder H. Norman Schwarzkopf would take part in the intrigue and skullduggery of the Middle East during the forties and fifties after solving the Lindbergh Kidnapping; his namesake would go back to the volatile region with him father’s background and wisdom, but to kick ass and take names.

A Devil’s Bargain

Today in History, April 13, 1941:

The Russian and Japanese governments sign a non-aggression treaty. The treaty gave both nations much needed cover.

The Russians didn’t have to fight the Japanese in Manchuria, freeing up hundreds of thousands of troops to fight the Germans.

The Japanese, likewise, freed up hundreds of thousands of troops to fight the Americans. FDR encouraged Stalin at Malta to declare war on Japan after the defeat of Germany.

They did so, conveniently, between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ostensibly after the war was over, invading Manchuria and demanding the northern islands of Japan for their “effort”.

This is Russia

Today in History, July 16, 1918:

The Russian Imperial family, The Romanov’s, are executed by communist Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Czar Nicholas II was not cut out to be an Imperial ruler, as his ancestors had been.

After the disaster of the Russo-Japanese War and entry into WWI, the communists had their opening to start a revolution and take over. When the anti-Bolsheviks began to close in to rescue the royal family, the local communists were ordered to prevent their rescue….which in commie speak meant to murder the royal family.

The mother, father and children were told to dress and assemble in the basement of the home they were being held in for a photograph…then they were shot to death by a dozen gunmen.

They Found What on The Land We Sold??

Today in History, February 2: 1812 –

The Russian government establishes Fort Ross…just north of San Francisco on the California coast. The Russians had been in western America since 1741 (Alaska) and needed Ft. Ross as a base and farming area to supply their sea otter operations farther north.

The farming in the area proved poor, the competition with Mexican nationals and Americans moving west proved too much. In 1841 Russia sold the fort to American John Sutter for $30,000 which he reportedly never paid. He used the supplies at the fort for his Sacremento Valley settlement where gold would be discovered 7 years later.

Retreat and Die….

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Today in History, July 27: 1943 – Cowardice outlawed. As the German Wehrmacht overtook Stalingrad, Josef Stalin issued Order 227, “Panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot. Not one step backward without orders from higher headquarters! Commanders…who abandon a position without an order from higher headquarters are traitors to the Fatherland.” or, “Not one step backward”. The order created “barrier detachments”, units that would position themselves behind the units at the front…and if any of the troops retreated, if they ran, the barrier detachments would shoot them down on the spot. In addition to this, soldiers with no weapons were expected to join the charge and simply pick up the weapons of the dead. The History channel tells us that the order was not necessary because of the inherent patriotism of the Russians. How silly. It was however, short lived, because the Russian commanders realized the waste of having entire units positioned to kill their own men.