Hoover Saves the World…Again

Today in History, March 11, 1947:

Democrat President Truman writes a letter to former Republican President Herbert Hoover, thanking him for his efforts in helping to save Europe…for the second time.

It is so interesting looking at history absent the biased perspective we’ve grown accustomed to.

Most of us know Hoover…you know, “Hooverville’s” full of starving people, the man who was asleep at the switch and helped caused the great depression.

The story is never as simple as we are told.

Hoover made it to the Presidency because after WWI, he organized the assistance of a starving war-torn Europe, demonstrating his abilities.

As WWII ended, the same disastrous conditions, magnified, existed.

Truman, who had been a young artillery officer as Hoover was doing is good deeds in 1917, called upon his 71-year-old friend to repeat his actions.

Hoover worked tirelessly to create the conditions to feed a starving Europe and end their dependence upon America.

Truman then assigned the former chief executive to head the “Hoover Commission” to organize an objective Truman (D) and Hoover (R) shared…to limit the power of the Executive Branch and streamline the government.

Thus we find that a decent man, Truman, called upon another decent man, Hoover, to aid in helping the world and America.

And Hoover’s legacy should be different than what he has been given. I wonder what GW’s legacy will be in half a century, once the political expedience of demonizing him has passed.

Mexico Could’ve Declared War on US in Exchange for Western States…

Today in History, February 26, 1917:

President Woodrow Wilson is informed of the “Zimmermann Telegram”.

German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann had sent the telegram to the German Ambassador to Mexico, Count Johann von Bernstorff, authorizing him to offer Mexico a great deal of money if they would become allies with Germany should America enter the war.

To top it off, Germany offered to give Mexico Texas, New Mexico and Arizona should they agree.

Wilson ordered American shipping to be armed and authorized the release of the telegram to the media. News of the treachery enraged the American public, who were already angry over German submarine attacks on American ships. By April 6th Wilson had asked for and received a declaration of war.

Army Air Service Formed

Today in History, July 18, 1914:

“Be it enacted…, that there shall hereafter be, and there is hereby created, an aviation section, which shall be a part of the Signal Corps of the Army, and which shall be, and is hereby, charged with the duty of operating or supervising the operation of all military aircraft, including balloons and aeroplanes, all appliances pertaining to said craft, and signaling apparatus of any kind when installed on said craft; also with the duty of training officers and enlisted men in matters pertaining to military aviation.Public Law 63-143, July 18, 1914”

By an act of Congress, the Aviation Section of the US Army Signal Corps is created…Grandfather to the US Air Force, separated only by the US Army Air Corps? The members of this poorly paid, poorly funded, poorly equipped group fought in Mexico against Pancho Villa and then in WWI.

A Name Change

Today in History, July 17, 1917:

The British Royal family, previously know by their family name of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, linked with their cousins of the German and Russian monarchies, changed their name to Windsor, a specifically English surname.

The change was made because Britain was at war with Germany and were bombing England with a bomber named the Gotha.

Women’s Army Corps

Today in History, May 15, 1942:

President Franklin Roosevelt signs a bill passed the previous day creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.

The bill had been put forward by Massachusetts Representative Edith Nourse Rogers in mid-1941, who had seen women volunteer in the first World War…on their own dime and without compensation or benefits. The bill lingered until after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when it was taken more seriously.

The many women who served as WACS and WAVES (Navy) during WWII were paid and received benefits, although not as much as the men. It would be decades before they received pensions.

Their service was to be in non-combat roles…secretarial, air traffic control, ferrying aircraft, and hundreds of other positions.

While the inclusion of the hundreds of thousands of women in the military was a huge step forward for a nation which had only given women the vote two decades before, it was still repleat with gender bias. Women could not command men.

The move also was born of necessity, rather than revolutionary thinking. It had the full support of the Army’s commanding General, George C. Marshall, who testified before Comgress on behalf of the legislation.

Marshall expected the “Two-Ocean War” to quickly overwhelm the nation’s ability to provide “manpower”. He believed women already trained in administrative jobs would be more efficient and effective than men.

While the women served in “non-combat” roles as operators, etc, you can’t serve in a combat zone without the risks of combat. WACS were killed in action. One source indicated 16.

Hero…Scapegoat…Hero…

Today in History, March 16: 1916 – German Admiral, and commander of the German Navy Alfred von Tirpitz, submits his resignation to kaiser Wilhelm, who accepts it. Tirpitz had been a trusted advisor to the kaiser, overseeing the build up of the Navy begun in 1897.

Despite his best efforts, the German surface fleet never became a match for the Royal Navy. In 1914 Tirpitz began unrestricted submarine warfare in the war zone…sinking neutral ships as well as combatants. When the Lusitania was sunk, with significant loss of neutral American lives, Wilhelm became nervous that America would enter the war, and Tirpitz, formerly a national hero, fell out of favor. Thus his resignation. The ship pictured was commissioned in 1936 and named after Tirpitz. It would be sunk by RAF bombers in 1944.

Costs of Appeasement

Today in History, March 7: 1936:

“If you French had intervened in the Rhineland in 1936 we should have been sunk and Hitler would have fallen” – German General Heinz Guderian, interviewed after WWII.

On this date, Germany “remilitarized” the Rhineland with a token force. It had been de-militarized after WWI to protect Germany’s neighbors.

In some skullduggery, Hitler claimed the people of the Rhineland were German peoples, and wanted the military presence. Now it was just a matter of seeing if anyone would call his hand.

In his memoirs, Hitler agreed with Guderian, saying that he had been very nervous in the 48 hours after the move.

Except for a few unheeded voices (Churchill), the governments of Europe refused to act, mostly for financial reasons. Bet they wished they could have had a “do over” on that decision.