On this day in 1959, the Antarctica Treaty, which is the first arms control, was signed after the cold war period. The United States, Soviet Union and twelve countries, sign the Antarctica Treaty, which bans military activity and weapons testing on the continent. Back as the 1800s, Great Britain, Australia, Chile, and Norway, including several countries had claimed to own parts made of Antarctica. As a result, there were diplomatic disputes as well as armed conflicts between countries that had interest in the region. In fact, Argentina military forces opened fire on British troops concerning an area claimed by both countries in 1948. All these armed clashes coupled with proof linking the Soviet Union to having interest in the continent made the United States recommend that Antarctica should be made a trustee of the United Nations. Immediately, countries that were interested in the continent reject the idea claiming they cannot surrender their claims of sovereignty to the U.N.Additionally, in the early 1950s, some of United States government officials started agitating for a more active U.S. role in Antarctica hoping that the continent might be useful for military activities and nuclear weapon testing. However, President Dwight D. Eisenhower devised an alternative strategy to settle territorial claims by concerned nations. United States diplomats alongside their Soviet partners drafted a treaty that made Antarctica a military-free zone and adjourned settling regional cases for future discussion. The Antarctica Treaty emphasize that there would be no military presence on the continent, and no testing of weapons of any kind, including nuclear weapons.In addition, scientific research was permitted, and researchers would not be barred from going through any of the regions claimed by different countries. Twelve countries signed the treaty, and since the document did not specifically alter issues of territorial claims in Antarctica, countries with territorial claims on the continent append their signatures to the document. In view of this, the treaty indicated little but major move towards U.S. - Soviet arms control and political cooperation. On June 1961, the treaty became effective, setting the standard for the fundamental policies that keep on governing Antarctica.The main purpose of the Antarctica Treaty is to safeguard the interest of every human, and make Antarctica a peaceful continent and not a ground to creating international disharmony.
Today in 1950, the 33rd president of United States of America President Harry S. Truman declares during a press conference that he is ready to make use of nuclear weapons to achieve peace in Korea. During the time that the president made the announcement, the republic of China had joined forces with North Korea in attacking United Nations troops most especially U.S. soldiers who were planning to stop communist expansion into South Korea. The President accused the Soviet Union for making use of communist Chinese rebels as part of a tricky plan of promoting communism and spreading it all across Asia. Truman hereby promised to increase the defense in order to safeguard the interest of the masses and stand for the right thing until they settle the issue. The press then pushed further by asking for Truman's plan in case the Chinese Nationalist agitating against the spread of communism in their own country failed to join the Korea movement, which the president replied that the U.S. would take "necessary steps that needs to be taken" to curb communist spread in Korea. Afterwards, a reporter asked "does the necessary step include the use of nuclear weapons?" and the president respond, "We are going to make use of the entire weapon that we have."In 1945, Truman approved the use of two nuclear bombs to end the war with Japan. The bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, even though the Japanese surrendered, and until this day, the memories of the horrible incident is still new in everyone's heart. The reason why the U.S. was able to achieve its aim is that America was the only country to possess of such a weapon of mass destruction. In addition, the Soviet Union also develops their nuclear weapon because of the Korea conflict.Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki President Truman expressed his fear over the weapon and said he never wish that the nuclear bomb will be used again. In one of his remark concerning the bombing, he said, the nuclear weapon is terrible and should not be used on innocent men, women and children.At last, the Korean clash did not end as planned, it became a stalemate and both sides agreed not to make use of any nuclear weapon again. Finally, Korea was divided into democratic south and communist north respectively along with a neutral ground dividing the two countries, which the America Army keeps watch over until this very day.
On this day in 1950, a heavy storm tagged "storm of the century" hits the Eastern United States causing heavy rains and significant winds that destroyed properties worth millions of dollars and claiming the lives of more than 300 while over 160 people were injured. Called the "Appalachian Storm," it deposited a large amount of snow in the western slopes of the mountain chain. The storm hovered over North Carolina before Thanksgiving Day but later moved upward north hitting western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia, making these regions covered with a few feet of snow for several days and making traveling impossible for almost a week in some part of the states. In New York, a wind gust of 94 miles per hour (151 km/h) was recorded, while additional cyclone covered other parts of the city. The storm caused havoc across New York as part of the city was flooded and there was a power shortage. Towards the north of the city, at Bear Mountain, 140 miles per hour windblast was recorded. Throughout New England, the storm came in a hurricane-like manner. High tides and wind-driven surf hit the coastline, while low temperatures were recorded in Tennessee and North Carolina. In Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, an all-time low record was set at temperature of 26 degrees below zero.Expert believed that the storm was special, because not only did it include hurricane-force winds and heavy snow, but also it recorded high and low temperatures. For example, 30 inches of snow fell in what can be called a striking snowstorm in Pittsburgh, while up in the north, no snow or snowstorm was recorded in Buffalo, except a 50 mile-per-hour winds and 50-degree temperatures that was experienced. Weather Channel Expert, Paul Kocin, said that the storm had the greatest difference of weather elements most likely in any storm, including the 1993 March Superstorm."The hurricane-force wind was responsible for more than 300 lives over several days. In addition, insurance firms in the U.S. paid out more money to their clients for damages resulting from the extreme weather than any other previous storms or hurricane. "The storm of the century" is regarded as one out of the seventeen storms to be ranked as a category 5 or extreme under the Regional Snowfall Index scale.
On November 4, 1956, the Soviets made a drastic move to stop the 12-day old revolution in Hungary. Soviet tanks and troops rushed to the country, leaving thousands of people killed and wounded by their attack while almost a quarter million of the country’s population were forced to flee as refugees.The revolution began in October 1956 when protesters from Hungary went to the streets and cried out for freedom from oppression from the Soviets. They demanded for a more democratic government. As a result, the Communist Party officials chose Imre Nagy as their new premier – Nagy was a former premier but has been terminated because he openly criticized Stalinist policies. The new premier responded to the needs of the protesters by trying to reinstate peace. He also asked the Soviets to pull out their troops. The Soviets agreed to his demand. However, Nagy became a threat when he promised his people of open elections and that he would put an end to the one-party rule for good. He also promised for the country to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact (Soviet’s version of NATO), with the intention of becoming a neutral nation. On November 4, 1956, Soviets came back to Budapest, now with even more tanks than before. They had but one goal – to put an end to the Hungarian revolution once and for all. It was a catastrophic event for the Hungarians who were easily overpowered by the Soviets. By 5:20A.M., Prime Minister Imre Nagy broadcast the event to the whole nation. He told his people how their own troops were doing their best to defend their country and that the government was still in control. However, only a few hours have passed and Nagy already sought refuge at the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. He ended up being captured and got executed two years later. The Soviets were adamant in taking over the country once again and immediately found someone else to take over Nagy’s former position. The person whom they found suitable was none other than Nagy’s former colleague, János Kádár, whom they secretly flew to the country from Moscow.Leaders from the West were shocked by what happened but were caught up in their own dilemmas and were not willing to risk getting entangled in a war in order to save Hungary. Before the incident, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev promised to abolish Stalinist policies along with its domineering ways but the incident in Budapest was a clear indication that he was not yet ready to embrace change. The event in Budapest killed about 2,500 Hungarians while 200,000 of them were forced to escape the country as refugees. The violence did not stop after November 4. There were resistance movements, strikes, and mass arrests months later, which affected the economic standing of the country. The United States, who were busy with their own affairs at that time, failed to help which made the Hungarians frustrated and angry. While the radio broadcasts from voice of America suggest that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles verbally issued a statement that encouraged freedom in communist countries, they did not extend physical support at the time that the Soviet tanks were in Budapest to terrorize the Hungarians.
Attempts on the life of the President are as American as apple pie: According to a recent report, there have been twenty attempts and plots to slay the leader of the free world. Four were successful: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. All of them were killed by a gunshot. Attempts have been made on both sitting and former presidents. Former president Theodore Roosevelt was shot in 1912 while campaigning as a third party candidate. The bullet struck him in the chest, its thrust drastically slowed by a steel eyeglasses case and a folded copy of his fifty-page speech. Known for his robust masculinity, Roosevelt decided to continue, reasoning that since he was not coughing up blood, the bullet had not hit his lungs and that the injuries would be minor. In September 1975, President Gerald R. Ford was shot at twice in the span of seventeen days. Interestingly, both of his would be assassins were women (a rarity), and amazingly, one of them was a former member of the Charles Manson Family. The very first attempt on a president’s life came in January 1835, when a mentally ill former house painter took aim at President Andrew Jackson with two pistols. Both malfunctioned. Jackson, a noted roughneck, charged his assailant and beat him with a cane before being dragged off.On November 1, 1950, President Harry S. Truman suffered a failed assassination attempt.Built during the presidencies of George Washington and John Adams, the White House, by 1945, was in a shambles, due largely to neglect during the Great Depression. When Truman took office following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945, he found the White House sorely in need of repairs. It was so bad that in 1948, a piano leg went through a second story floor. The floorboards were found to be rotted. A building commissioner claimed that the second floor was sinking, and that the ceilings were remaining where they were by sheer force of habit.In 1949, Congress created a commission for the reconstruction of the White House. The interior was almost entirely gutted and rebuilt.In the autumn of 1950, Truman was staying in Washington’s Blair House. On the afternoon of November 1, the Trumans were upstairs when a commotion broke out in the street below: Yelling, shouting, and gunfire. When the smoke cleared, two men were dead: Secret Service Agent Leslie Coffelt and Griselio Torresola.Torresola, a Puerto Rican nationalist, had, along with Oscar Collazo, strolled up to the front stairs of the Blair House and opened fire. Coffelt was mortally wounded by Torresola, but managed to kill him with a shot to the head before falling. Collazo and several D.C. police officers were wounded in the attack.Torresola and Collazo launched their poorly-planned attack (they didn’t even know if Truman would be there) on behalf of Puerto Rican independence, despite Truman’s support for the matter.Collazo was sentenced to death, but Truman himself commuted the sentence to life in prison. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter commuted it further to time served. That same year, he was honored by Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro.Photos of Torresola and Collazo hang in Chicago’s Puerto Rican Cultural Center.
On this day in 1950, the 21-year-old Earl Francis Lloyd made his first season debut for the Washington Capitols, and as the first black person to play in the NBA. Born in Alexandria, Virginia on April 3, 1928 to a father who worked in the coal industry and a stay-at-home mom, Earl Lloyd received a scholarship to play basketball at West Virginia State. At West Virginia State, he became the new superstar of the championship basketball team. Unaware the NBA would draft him, until a friend told him that she heard he was moving out of the state to Washington. Later it became obvious that the Capitols had selected him in the ninth round of the draft. In addition, the NBA also drafted three other black players that same year. Celtics, New York Knicks and Tri-Cities Blackhawks selected Chuck Cooper, Nathaniel Clifton and Hank DeZonie respectively. However, the other teams did not start the 1950-51 NBA season until November, which makes Earl Lloyd become the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association.Lloyd later recalled that joining a white dominated team was at first scary but most of his teammates had played in college teams (where it was a mixture of different race) were friendly and made him feel at ease. However, the first match of the season was a little bit frightening when some fans shout in disgust as the announcer read the Capitols lineup for the game. It was reported by a fan, a white man who sat in the front row yelled: "do y'all think this black man can play any basketball?" but got a reply from Lloyd's mother who sat at the next role answered, and assured the man not to worry, that "the nigger can play."Having played only seven games with the Capitols, he was enlisted into the army and sent to Korea for two years. After his return to the United States, his former club had already gone out of the league; therefore, he joined the Syracuse Nationals (now known as Philadelphia 76ers). Lloyd played for a total number of nine seasons and retired his career in Detroit. After his retirement, he worked in the Motor City before becoming the assistant coach for the Pistons. He later became the first black head coach of a team in the NBA league, coaching the Detroit team for a year; afterwards, he moved to work in the police department and finally as a school administrator. In 2003, Earl Francis Lloyd was accepted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Although war is never a good thing, sometimes leaders feel it is necessary to defend their country’s interest or retaliation for a severe action. Thus, armed forces from Israel head toward the Suez Canal which begins the Suez Crisis. This would lead to British and French forces joining Israel and start in the Middle East a Severe Cold War problem.The event that led to the joined forces attacking Egypt was due to the nationalization of the Suez Canal. This happened during July of 1956 and was ordered by the Egyptian leader General Gamal Abdel Nasser. Actually, this should not have been a surprise as trouble had been brewing in the area for a couple of years. Going back two years, the British were beginning to be pressured by Egyptian Military to remove their military forces from the Canal Zone since the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty gave permission to do this. During this time, the Egyptian leader also was having his armed forces perform on and off battles with soldiers from Israel along the two nation’s border.Another thing about Nasser was his visible hatred toward the Zionist nation and showed no signs of his feelings changing. So, being that he was receiving money and arms from the Soviet Union and extremely angry with the U.S. for going back on their promise of providing the means to complete the building of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River; the Egyptian leader instructed his forces to take control and nationalize the Suez Canal. This move angered the British in which they decided to enlist the support of France (they believed the General was giving support in Algeria in rebels living in the French colony), and Israel (since they needed little reason to fight an enemy on their boarder), in a joint venture to retake the canal. While Israel started first, it was followed by the sudden realization that French and British forces did not follow through with their support right away. The quick strike from a massive force was replaced with a reduced attack that eventually stalled. The United Nations voted on a resolution calling for an end to the hostilities.Things began to get worse as the Soviet Union was starting to issue ominous warnings regarding giving aid to Egypt. Now, a dire situation was escalating quickly as Eisenhower’s administration had hoped it would quiet down before causing a U.S.-Soviet confrontation. While the United States seriously warned the Soviet’s from entering this conflict, equal amount of pressure was coming from the U.S. to have Israel, French and British remove their forces from the area. Eventually, their forces were removed in late 1956 and early 1957.
The Mutual Security Act was signed by President Harry S. Truman on October 9, 1951. This announced to the world, particularly to the communist countries, the nation’s resolve to provide military aid to democratic countries at the time that their services are needed. On October 9, prior to its signing, the Soviet Union exploded their second nuclear weapon in a test. The Mutual Security Act was similar to the Marshall Plan, America’s economic initiative during the post-World War II to help European countries rebuild war-devastated regions. Unlike the Marshall Plan, however, the Mutual Security Act’s purpose was not solely to provide economic aid. Stipulated on the act was the country’s emphasis to increase military assistance to democratic nations. The congress designated the required monies needed to fund guns, tanks, raw materials, technicians and books, fertilizer and seeds, irrigation pumps, and medical supplies, things that were needed for the movement.Truman and the Congress believed that the joint effort of nations to help one another, U.S. included, was the key to preventing the spread of communism and building a better world. He identified developing areas in Asia that especially needed help in building stronger defense against possible communist attacks. The help given to these countries was in the hopes that they use the funds and technical assistance given to them for their own economic growth following the economic system capitalism, eventually discouraging them from being lured into practicing the communist model.Truman understood that the Mutual Security Act would put a strain on its relationship with the Soviets given that building armaments was part of the process. In his announcement after signing the act, he explained that while the arms race against the communist nation that most people feared could eventually be further aggravated, he stressed that there’s gain in the Mutual Security Act despite the conflict – the U.S. will play a key role in rebuilding the productive power of war-shattered countries. The countries that received constant threat from the Soviets – the nations of Europe, including the divided section of Germany and its capital, Berlin – continued to receive economic help, although to a much lesser degree because of the act.
At 10:49 PM on October 4, 1957, almost 12 years of competition between the US and the then-USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, now Russia) began. No, it wasn’t a boxing match, it wasn’t an eating contest and it wasn’t tag; it was the Space Race. Sputnik marked the first successful launch of a spacecraft into orbit, and it continued to send messages for three months before burning up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. Sometimes the messages were radio signals, and sometimes they were beeps. Both the spoken Russian and mindless beeps terrified Americans caught in the heat of Red Fever – or, at least, those who could tune in with their home radios to hear the communiques. That’s right, Sputnik’s signals were strong enough that even amateur radios could pick them up, despite being hundreds of miles away and in a vacuum! Sputnik followed an egg-shaped path around the Earth, making a complete pass in roughly an hour and a half. The spacecraft clocked in at around 18,000 miles per hour and traveled, through the course of its orbit, between 143 and 584 miles from Earth. People could even have the chance of spotting Sputnik, with the help of telescopes, at dawn and dusk! For all its historical significance, Sputnik only weighed roughly that of a grown man (184 pounds) and was less than two feet across.It wasn’t until after Sputnik had already completed its mission that US launched their own satellite, Explorer, on January 31, 1958. Unfortunately for them, by then Sputnik 2 had already made headlines with the First Dog in Space. The USSR was largely successful in monopolizing the number of space “firsts” in the following years; from first man and woman in space to first moon impact, orbit and soft-land. Even the first spacewalk and first impact on Venus were claimed by the USSR’s outstanding space program! Still, it was the US spacecraft Apollo II that carried two astronauts, not cosmonauts, to the moon in July 1969. From that landing, the US went down in history as having the First Man to walk on the Moon. It was truly a hard-won victory by NASA after over a decade of work trying to catch up with the USSR.
On September 14th of 1959, an unmanned space probe that had been launched by the Soviet government crashed into the moon. In so doing, it became the first man made object from planet earth to hit the moon. This gave the Soviets an edge in the so called “space race” of the era, and encouraged the United States government to further develop its own space program. The space race started back in 1957, when the Soviet government got the world's attention by sending a satellite into orbit around the earth. The name of the satellite was Sputnik. Every radio and TV set was tuned in. The people of the United States were concerned during that cold war era that the Soviet government would develop new, inventive, high tech weapons, capable of firing ammunition from space. The United States Government was also concerned, as this event directly refuted their claim to the American people that they were edging out the Russians in the space race. It was a stunning propaganda victory for the Soviets. Now the Soviets had the attention of the American people, not to mention lesser developed countries of the world who would see the benefits, and be drawn to the more advanced Soviet technology.The United States government responded by paying closer attention to its own space program, recruiting engineers, and making more funding available for the research. The result was that a few months after Sputnik took orbit, The United States government sent its own satellite into orbit. This provoked a reply from the Soviet government.In September of 1959, the Soviet government sent another rocket, this one carrying the Soviet flag, to the moon. This caused the United States government to inform the Soviet government that sending their flag to the moon does not make the moon their property. It was also pointed out by the American government (Vice President Nixon, to be exact) that it had taken the Soviets “four tries” to get it right. In a speech, Vice President Nixon announced that the United States was “way ahead” in the space race.In 1960, Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy made the space race one of his campaign pledges. He guaranteed that the United States government would put an actual man on the actual moon, and would do so by the end of the actual decade.Politicians make a lot of empty promises, but this one (however unbelievable) was not so empty after all.In 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon, bouncing around in his lead space suit, as gravity threatened to lift him from the moon's surface at any moment, and fly him off into space. Every radio and TV set in the world had the moon landing on every radio and TV channel. What's more, almost every radio and TV set in the world were turned on.When Neil Armstrong touched back down on God's green earth, he was hailed as a hero.