Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11th or Thereabouts

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Today, I'd like to honor a particular cohort of Veterans-- one with whom our civil servants have recently broken faith. Toward that end, I've compiled a list of news worthy events that happened on or about November 11 in the years leading up to, including, and after World War II. All are from Lowell Thomas' (1957) book, History As You Heard It. (More of the poem here; about the book, here.)

Normandy. (from The Great Republic: A History of the American People (1977), p.1174)

1930: A sensational report comes from Russia. The Soviet Government has let our a roar about a gigantic international plot to overthrow the Bolsheviks. ... the mysterious Lawrence of Arabia is dragged in. The Bolsheviks say that Lawrence has a prominent role in the plot. (11/11)

1931: Heavy fighting is reported in Manchuria. Another battle is on at Tokyo, -- the struggle for control between the peace party and the war party... (11/16)

1932: Hindenburg and Hitler met today. And the aged President gave the Nazi chief the opportunity to become Chancellor... . Some observers insist that Hitler will not become Chancellor and that he is headed for his final downfall. (11/21)

1933: One French newspaper declares that the Reichswehr, Germany's only legitimate military force, has been doubled in strength. ... now eight hundred thousand men under arms. (11/10)

1934:  Little Gloria Vanderbilt, the ten-year-old heiress to two million dollars, is ordered by the court to remain in the custody of her aunt. ... In England, Mrs. Alice Hargreaves has died at the age of eighty-two. As a little girl, she was the original Alice of Alice in Wonderland. Let's believe that today Alice went to Wonderland. (11/16)

1935: This was "Sanctions Day," the day on which fifty-one member countries of the League of Nations officially began their historic boycott of Italy-- all because of the Duce's invasion of Ethiopia. (11/14)

1936: People saw a glimpse of the future today at a press demonstration of R.C.A. experimental television. ... we are approaching the age of television entertainment. It's not around the corner. It's still somewhere in the future. But it's coming.

1937: Today an official of the Chinese Army admitted that all resistance to Japan at Shanhai was at an end. (11/11)

1938: The Nazi treatment of Jews has aroused such a storm of public disgust in England that the Cabinet doesn't dare even talk of negotiations with the Fueher. (11/14)

1939: It was Hitler's pocket battleship, the Deutschland, which sank a British cruiser off the coast of Iceland. (11/27)

1940: An epitaph of Neville Chamberlain, who has died, was spoken today with solemn formality. ... Spoken by his successor, Winston Churchill. "He was," proclaimed Churchill, "deceived and cheated by a wicked man."

1941: Wendell Willkie is making ready with a hot retort to the Republicans in Congress who want to read him out of the G.O.P. His reply... the party should purge itself of isolationists and become a party of aggression against Hitler. (11/5)

1942: All of Morocco and all of Algeria are now in American hands. Our armies under General Eisenhower have won control after a campaign of seventy-six hours, a lightening drive that exceeded all hopes. (11/11)

1943: The Japs are making desparate attempts to hold that island of Bougainville, where the Marines are smashing them with everything the Marines have got. (11/10)

1944: In case it's any consolation to the Republicans, Mr. Roosevelt wins this time with the smallest plurality of any President since 1916. (11/9)

1945: Admiral J.O. Richardson told the Pearl Harbor investigating committee today that President Roosevelt ordered Uncle Sam's Fleet concentrated in Hawaii on May 1940, against his, Admiral Richardson's, advise. (11/19)

1946: Man is now able to see this earth from the farthest point away-- sixty-five miles. (11/20)

1947: There was excitement all over the world today over a speech made by Molotov in Moscow. ... the Soviet Union was in a position to make the atomic bomb. (11/6)

1948: From Shanghai tonight comes the news that Generalissimo Chiang has placed all China under martial law. (11/10)

1949: At the United Nations late this afternoon Vishinsky talked atomic. His version is that the Soviets are using atomic energy... for peacetime purposes. (11/10)

1950: William Faulkner was chopping wood today at Oxford, Mississippi, when he was informed he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. (11/10)

1951: The Soviets came forward with a plan for atomic disarmament-- and it's the same old thing. At the U.N.... Vishinsky called for prohibition... . But he skated around the question of inspection. (11/16)

1952: In Korea, R.O.K. forces have captured Pin Point Hill. The South Koreans had been pushed off the hill during a fierce hand-to-hand battle in the fog. Now, for the fifteenth time, the South Koreans are back on the summit. (11/14)

1953: Former President Truman refuses to obey the subpoena from Congress in the Harry Dexter White affair. (11/12)

1954: In Indochina a second wave of refugees is streaming toward the sea. Victims of Red tyranny are now trying desperately to get out of northern Vietnam. (11/9)

There you have it. 

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