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Thread: Today in History

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    Default Today in History

    A place to post remembrance of notable people and events.

    It’s Wednesday, June 5, a date of great moment in U.S. history. On June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy was fatally wounded in Los Angeles. Ronald Reagan died, also in Southern California, on this day in 2004. Exactly 60 years earlier, Dwight Eisenhower gave the order of the day (“Full victory – nothing else”) to paratroopers at Normandy.


    Eisenhower and George Patton, along with Douglas MacArthur, are the generals whose names resonate with Americans today. But in 1944 all three of those officers reported to a five-star named George C. Marshall Jr. And on this date in 1947, Marshall outlined a plan to save Europe in a momentous speech at Harvard Yard.
    Americans who know about George Catlett Marshall think of him as a Virginia patrician, but that impression is a function of public relations and a hazy historical memory. Although he attended Virginia Military Institute, Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pa.

    It’s true that the Marshalls were related to several ranking officers in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and that Chief Justice John Marshall was a distant relative, but George C. Marshall’s father was born in Kentucky and saw limited action in the Civil War as a 16-year-old rifleman who volunteered in an Augusta, Ky., militia to fight against troops from either side that sought to occupy the Ohio River town.
    The action George C. Marshall Sr., saw actually pitted him against Confederates. Still, as a Pennsylvania Democrat (the state was Republican-controlled), the elder Marshall couldn’t get his sons into West Point, so off they went to VMI.


    George C. Marshall Jr. distinguished himself at the school, and was named Senior Captain of the Corps of Cadets. After graduation, he sought – and received – an audience with President McKinley to make his case for a commission in America’s small peacetime army.


    His dedication was rewarded – not the last time he would impress a president – and Marshall worked his way through the ranks, teaching at the Army Staff College, serving in the Philippines, and as Gen. John J. Pershing's adjutant during World War I.


    Planning and logistics were his particular talents, but he was universally respected inside the Army and out for his foresight, probity, and non-partisanship. “When General Marshall takes the witness stand to testify, we forget whether we are Republicans or Democrats,” House Speaker Sam Rayburn once said. “We know we are in the presence of a man who is telling the truth about the problem he is discussing.”
    Impressing Congress is one thing. But the respect he commanded inside the Army was, if anything, greater. The reasons were no mystery: Marshall’s style of command inspired confidence. He didn’t do it by glad-handing or fraternizing; he adhered to formality and took pride in not showing emotion. (“I have no feelings,” he once said, “except those I reserve for Mrs. Marshall.”)


    This was not strictly true. He could be fiercely protective of the troops under his authority – and they knew it. Informed that blankets needed at Fort Benning were stalled due to paperwork, Marshall told the officers under his command. “Get those blankets and stoves and every other damn thing that's needed out tonight. Not tomorrow, tonight! We are going to take care of the troops first, last and all the time.”
    He was 55 years old before he made brigadier general, but when Franklin Roosevelt made him chief of staff on Sept. 1, 1939, he leapfrogged Marshall over several senior officers. It proved to be one of FDR’s best hunches.


    Hitler’s Panzer divisions had invaded Poland the same day Marshall took his post, and the Third Reich had more men in the battlefield on the eastern front than the U.S. Army had in uniform all over the world. But under Marshall’s direction, the United States forces would grow from 200,000 to some 8 million. This mammoth Army would truly need “blankets and stoves and every other damn thing” – and it needed George C. Marshall to make it happen.


    In the 21st century, however, this career soldier is known more for his two-year stint as Secretary of State. World War II had left Europe’s cities and economies in ruins. The winter of 1947 had been especially cold, highlighting the need for food, fuel, clothing, and housing in nations that were simply unable to provide it.


    And so, four months into his job as a statesman, Marshall spoke at Harvard in his affectless monotone that outlined an ambitious and humanitarian role for America in the post-war world: the United States would rebuild Europe.


    “I need not tell you that the world situation is very serious,” he began. “People in the cities are short of food and fuel and in some places approaching the starvation level. The truth of the matter is that Europe's requirements are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character.”


    “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos,” Marshall said. But then he added, in a reference to both the Soviet Union and localized communist organizations in Western Europe, that “governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.”


    The Cold War would start soon enough. For now, the U.S. was committed to helping other nations in need. Marshall would be Time magazine’s 1947 “Man of the Year,” and would win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. For him, though, the idea of the Marshall Plan – let alone the fact that it was named after him – was never really the issue. The crux of the matter was that, with his oversight, the program was implemented effectively.


    “I worked on that as hard as though I were running for the Senate or the presidency,” he said later. “It wasn't the idea of the so-called ‘Marshall Plan.’ There's nothing so profound in the logic of the thing. But the execution of it, that's another matter. That's the thing I take pride in--putting the damn thing over.”
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    Default Re: Today in History

    DID KING INFLUENCE JFK ON BACKING CIVIL RIGHTS? Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's Civil-Rights Address, and The Atlantic looks at how Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail" helped shape Kennedy's speech, noting that "in a powerful sense, King and the movement were the authors of the president's oratory." The speech, which took place on June 11, 1963, was a public turnaround from Kennedy's previous hedging on civil rights. Part of Kennedy's change stemmed from the Birmingham protests and a photo taken on May 3 of a German shepherd as it was about to attack an African-American child. Said King in response to Kennedy's speech: "Can you believe that white man not only stepped up to the plate, he hit it over the fence!" Read more



    Kennedy's Finest Moment
    By PENIEL E. JOSEPH

    How the president's June 11, 1963, speech changed American history.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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    Default Re: Today in History

    A Century Ago In Sarajevo: A Plot, A Farce And A Fateful Shot

    The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was fired a hundred years ago this weekend.
    The assassination in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, triggered World War I and changed the course of the 20th century. The consequences of that act were devastating. But the beginning of the story sounds almost like a farce — complete with bad aim, botched poisoning and a wrong turn on the road.

    http://www.npr.org/2014/06/27/325516...a-fateful-shot


    This is part of an
    All Things Considered series that imagines a counterfactual history of World War 1.
    World War I began 100 years ago this summer. It's a centennial that goes beyond mere remembrance; the consequences of that conflict are making headlines to this day.

    http://www.npr.org/2014/03/06/285893...ed-world-war-i

    http://www.npr.org/series/286403203/...never-happened

    Bosnian Serbs have unveiled a statue of Gavrilo Princip, the man who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and set off the chain of events that led to World War I.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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    Default Re: Today in History



    Manolis Glezos - 95 year old who tore the swastika down from the Acropolis under Nazi rule - pays tribute, alone in the rain, to the 1973 uprising against Greece's dictatorship.
    http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2017/11/17/50422/
    Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. ~Oscar Ameringer

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    Default Re: Today in History

    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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    Default Re: Today in History

    On Nov. 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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    Default Re: Today in History

    On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. The suspected gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States.

    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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