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7 december 1944

7 december 1944


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7 december 1944

December 1944

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Sovjetiska trupper når Balatonsjöns södra strand

Filippinerna

Amerikanska styrkor landar nära Ormoc



Idag i andra världskrigets historia - 7 december 1939 & 1944

80 år sedan - 7 december 1939: I det sovjet-finska kriget förklarar Norge, Sverige, Danmark och Italien neutralitet.

Lou Gehrig väljs till National Baseball Hall of Fame vid 36, han är den yngsta spelaren hedrad till det datumet.

Pistolen nummer tre på förstöraren USS Ward och hennes besättning, krediteras med att skjuta det första skottet mot Pearl Harbor (US Navy -foto)

75 år sedan — dec. 7, 1944: Vid Ormoc Bay på Leyte, förstöraren USS Avdelning skadas av en kamikaze exakt tre år tidigare, USS Avdelning avlossade de första skotten under attacken mot Pearl Harbor - hon skakas av förstöraren USS O'Brien under kommando av William Outerbridge, som hade befäl över Avdelning den 7 december 1941. (Läs mer: "Kom ihåg Pearl Harbor - US Navy's Role på Pearl Harbor").

Nazistkvinnans ledare Gertrud Scholtz-Klink ber alla tyska kvinnor över 18 att frivilligt tjäna i de väpnade tjänsterna för att släppa män till fronten.

USS Ward brann efter att ha drabbats av en japansk kamikaze i Ormoc Bay, Filippinerna, 7 december 1944, tre år dagen efter att hon avlossade det första amerikanska skottet av Stillahavskriget (US Navy foto 80-G-270773)

2 svar på “Idag i andra världskrigets historia - 7 december 1939 & 1944 ”

Denna berättelse om Destroyer USS Ward utlöste mitt intresse för var jag befann mig detta datum den 7 december 1944, när jag granskade Ships Deck Log, av LST 45, jag minns det tydligt, som om det vore “ igår ” vi var vid Leyte -bukten, strandade vid Tarraguna, nästan tvärs över ön från Ormoc -bukten fanns det en lund av träd utanför vårt nu och vi lossade armélast, det var 1220, “flash röd ” ljöds för allmänna nödsituationer . Vid 1231 började våra luftvärnskanoner skjuta på ett oidentifierat plan som närmar sig ovanför planet blev identifierat som en vänlig F40 Corsair, vapen slutade skjuta omedelbart – 57 rundor 20 mm och 5 omgångar 40 mm förbrukade. Lyckligtvis lyckades vi inte. Tre dagar senare, den 10: e hade vi flyttat till närliggande Taytay Point -bukten med flera andra fartyg när 1905 ett japanskt Kamikaze -plan kom bredvid vår babordssida, sköt vi mot det och satte eld på det när det korsade vår akter och duvade in i ett frihetsfartyg, två minuter senare 1907 kom ett andra Kamikaze -plan över och vi, tillsammans med andra fartyg, började skjuta på det när det dök in i det andra frihetsfartyget som lossade bensin, satte det i brand, det fartyget, några veckor tidigare, hade träffats i fören och lämnat ett hål i storleken som en tåg kunde gå igenom ”. Nästa dag övergav alla händer (som var kvar) skeppet och hon sjönk. Jag hade inte insett att den första incidenten var den 7 december förrän jag läste vår fartygs logg, föranledd av din historia. Tack för dessa fantastiska dagliga inlägg. När du lägger upp dem undrar jag alltid “var var jag på det datumet? ”.

Herregud, Donald. Vad du levde igenom! Tack igen för din service – Jag kan aldrig tacka dig nog.


North Kingstown, R. I. – 7 december 1944

Natten till den 7 december 1944 startade en flygning med sex F6F-5 Hellcat-flygplan från Quonset Point Naval Air Station för att öva nattbärarlandningar på Quonsets landningsbanor. Efter start instruerade Quonset tower flygplanet att kretsa runt fältet två mil utanför den angivna landningscirkeln för att tillåta en inkommande flygning av flygplan att landa. Efter att den inkommande flygningen var på marken gav Quonset -tornet utrymme för de sex Hellcats att börja sina landningar, men när flygplanet cirkulerade runt fältet märktes det att det nu bara fanns fem flygplan istället för sex. Efter att ha beordrat alla fem att landa, gjordes en redovisning, och det upptäcktes att en Hellcat, (Bu. Nr 71036), lotsad av fänrik Patrick Aloysius Hackett, 22 år, saknades.

Kort därefter rapporterade en annan pilot att han såg en brand i ett skogsområde i North Kingstown. Statspolisen hittade vraket av Fänrik Hackett ’: s plan på Stooke Hill norr om Route 138.

Det hade inte funnits några vittnen till kraschen, och utredare spekulerade i att orsaken kan ha berott på motorstopp.

Fänrik Hackett ligger begravd på Philadelphia National Cemetery i Philadelphia, PA.


Idag i historien: Född den 8 december

Quintus & quotHorance & quot; Horatius Flaccus, romersk poet och satiriker mest känd för sina tre böcker Odes.

Mary, drottning av Skottland (1542-67).

Christina, drottning av Sverige (1644-54).

Eli Whitney, uppfinnare av bomulls gin.

James Thurber, amerikansk författare, tecknare och redaktör (Walter Mittys hemliga liv).

Richard Llewellyn, författare (Hur grönt var min dal).

Delmore Schwartz, poet och författare.

Richard Fleischer, filmregissör, ​​(20 000 ligor under havet, Soylent Green).

Jean Ritchie, sångare, låtskrivare av folkmusik (& quotBlue Diamond Mines & quot).

Sammy Davis Jr., sångare (& "The Candy Man"), dansare, skådespelare (Ocean's 11) medlem av & quotRat Pack & quot.

Maximilian Schell, skådespelare, författare, regissör, ​​producent vann Oscar för bästa skådespelare för dom i Nürnberg (1961).

Flip Wilson (Clerow Wilson Jr.), komiker och skådespelare vann en Golden Globe och två Emmy Awards för sin tv -serie på 1970 -talet, The Flip Wilson Show.

Sir James Galway, virtuos flöjtspelare som kallas "The Man With the Golden Flute."

Bobby Elliott, trummis, medlem i bandet The Hollies.

Larry Martin, paleontologens ledande motståndare till & quotbirds är levande dinosaurier & quot teori.

Jim Morrison, sångare, låtskrivare, poet sångare för The Doors och Rick & amp the Ravens.

Gregg Allman, sångare, låtskrivare, musiker grundare av The Allman Brothers Band.

Kim Basinger, skådespelerska, sångerska, producent vann Oscar för bästa kvinnliga biroll för L.A. konfidentiell (1997).

Teri Hatcher, skådespelerskan Lois Lane på Lois & amp; Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV -serien vann Golden Globe för bästa skådespelerska som Susan Mayer på Desperata hemmafruar TV-serier.

Sinead O'Connor, irländsk sångerska, låtskrivare har ofta skapat kontroverser med sina synpunkter på sociala frågor som organiserad religion och kvinnors rättigheter.


Var attacken från Pearl Harbor den 7 december 1941 verkligen en överraskning?

”Hur hemligt är hemligt i ett land där år av censur har tränat en nyfiken, pigg befolkning i den diskreta viskningen och den fina konsten att sätta ihop två och två? Och hur hemligt är hemligt när ens idéer inte längre uteslutande är ens egna? ”(At Dawn We Slept, Prange 30) Den tragiska attacken från Pearl Harbor den 7 december 1941 har många händelser kopplade till det som får människor att tro att det inte var någon överraskning för USA: s regering.

”Attacken markerade Japans inträde i andra världskriget på sidan av Tyskland och Italien, och USAs inträde på den allierade sidan. Microsoft Encyclopedia) President Roosevelt inrättade undersökningar för att ta reda på om det fanns någon varning om attacken mot Pearl Harbor innan det hände. En rapport visade att marin- och armébefälhavarna i Hawaiiområdet, kontreadmiral make E. Kimmel och generalmajor Walter C. Short, gjorde sig skyldiga till ”tjänstefelaktighet och bedömningsfel. ”(Microsoft Encyclopedia) Rapporterna visade att befälhavarna hade fått varningar veckor före attacken och bara förbisett dem.

En medlem av operationssektionen rapporterade också att idéerna om ett angrepp på Pearl Harbor kom upp väldigt ofta. Dessa berättelser kan alla vara mycket möjliga, men det finns också en möjlighet att presidenten bara använde dem för att dölja det faktum att han själv visste om attacken. (Schlesinger 247) ”FDR förblindade befälhavarna vid Pearl Harbor och ställde upp dem. ”(Willey 10) Amerikanerna avkodade stora mängder japanska militära telegram.

”Vi vet nu att de innehöll viktiga detaljer om existensen, organisationen, målet och till och med var Pearl Harbor Strike Force befinner sig. (Willey 37) USA kunde läsa Japans diplomatiska trafik på både konsulära och ambassadörsnivåer, med liten dröjsmål och nästan som om det var en öppen bok. Det amerikanska kodordet för den resulterande intelligensen var "Magic. ”Amerikanerna hade också gjort stora framsteg när det gällde att tränga in i Japans militära koder och chiffror 1941 (kodord” Ultra ”, som också användes av britterna för militära signaler, som de utbytte med amerikanerna.) Ibland fyllde information från en källa, förtydligade eller bekräftade avlyssningar från en annan.

Det är knappast förvånande att frågan för vissa människor har blivit, inte ”Visste vi? men ”Hur kunde vi inte ha vetat det? ”Men är det rättvist? ”(Van der Vat 94)” Sedan början av 1920 -talet hade Amerika avlyssnat japanska regeringskommunikationer. Roosevelts militära ledare kallade det ett "spledid -arrangemang" "(Stinnett 60) Om det nu är sant och USA visste allt om vad japanerna gjorde, varför skulle de då inte ha känt till attacken mot Pearl Harbor? Och inte bara det, utan varför skulle USA: s president inte vilja varna sitt eget land för en attack som skulle skada hans nation och döda tusentals?

Även om Roosevelt försökte förneka det, var radiokranarna Amerika hade på Japan felfria. ”Sammantaget var det en exceptionell insats av utomordentligt omfattande prestationer, och i åratal hade det hållit amerikanska tjänstemän medvetna om varje avsikt och aktivitet hos den japanska regeringen. ”(Stinnett 60) Roosevelt är inte den enda att skylla på, trots att han var presidenten, och visste om attacken, och inte fullgjorde sina uppgifter vid presidenten för att skydda landet.

”Armén var ansvarig för flygpatrullen på land och installationen av ett radarnät, och marinen för patrulleringar vid kustfartyg och avlägsen spaning. Wohlstetter 5) ”Den 7 december bestod Army Aircraft Warning Service (AWS) av ett informationscenter vid Fort Shafter på Oahu, som just hade byggts, och flera mobila radar monterade på lastbilar och som ligger vid Kawailoa, Kahuku Point, Kaaawa, Koko Head, baksidan av Fort Shafter, och kanske Waianae. Dessa radar manövrerades av motorgeneratoruppsättningar som gick sönder vid frekvent användning, och de var endast effektiva för höga höjder i intervall mellan 30 och 130 miles. De kunde nu upptäcka lågflygningar eller flygningar inom 30 mil från radarn.

Det fanns också en helt tom sektor på 20 grader norr om Molokai som upptäcktes efter den 7 december, då uppsättningarna slutligen kalibrerades. ”(Wohlstetter 8)” På Oahu var kommunikationen mellan radarverksamheten och informationscentret via kommersiell telefon från den yttre ön kommunikation via radio och var otillfredsställande. ”(Wohlstetter 9) Så när attacken inträffade, även om den upptäcktes snart nog, vilket inte var för att de inte patrullerade vid den tiden, hade det inte funnits ett tillräckligt snabbt sätt att varna alla på ön sedan det var uppbyggt så dåligt.

Som det visade sig fungerade radarstationen på morgonen den 7 december, om än bara av radaroperatörer som utbildades och som tog upp signaler från de japanska planen som närmade sig ungefär hundra mil bort från sitt angivna mål. Ungefär samtidigt antogs dock att en flygning av armé B-17 bombplan skulle komma från västkusten. ”(Clausen och Lee 72) När radaroperatörerna fick de signaler de ansåg att de var vänliga, förväntade de sig därför aldrig att de skulle attackera japanska stridsflygplan.

De hade inte proffs på stationerna, och de som de hade hade försökt men visste inte vad de skulle göra. Dessutom var stationerna inte öppna tjugofyra timmar om dagen, de var bara öppna under angivna tider. Om befälhavarna gjorde sitt jobb efter bästa förmåga hade de vetat att japanerna kom. Och de skulle inte ha behövt regeringen att berätta för dem. Nu när allt detta sägs säger det inte alls att det som regeringen gjorde var rätt.

Regeringen visste definitivt att japanerna skulle komma och det faktum att de inte berättade för sitt eget folk vad som hände är som att sticka landet i ryggen. ”Den 1 december hölls en kejserlig konferens i Tokyo. Nästa dag fick arbetsgruppen som rör sig över norra Stilla havet detta meddelande: ”X -dagen blir den 8 december. ”8 december, japansk tid, var söndagen den 7 december i Pearl Harbor. ”(Baker 296)“ På lördagsmorgonen den 6 december 1941 började en av översättarna på Op-20-G, Security Intelligence Section of US Naval Communications, i Washington, DC, skumma igenom en hög med avlyssnade japanska meddelanden i den konsulära koden.

Hon stötte på en som skickades tre dagar tidigare från generalkonsul Kita i Honolulu till Tokyo och överförde ett schema med signaler om rörelser och exakt position för krigsfartyg och bärare i Pearl Harbor. ”(Toland 3)” Trots den långa rad varningar från Washington och den allmänna kunskapen om de försämrade förbindelserna mellan Japan och USA togs inga ytterligare defensiva åtgärder vid Pearl Harbor. Baker 297) ”För informationen som kom in från de yttre radarstationerna var värdelös om den inte utvärderades. Det fanns dock inget sätt att göra detta.

Radarutrustningen kunde inte skilja vän från fiende. Och ännu hade varken marinen eller bombplanskommandot eller den lokala civila försvarsorganisationen tilldelat en kontaktofficer till informationscentret. ”(7 december 1941, Prange 80) Människorna som var stationerade vid Pearl Harbor hade inget sätt att veta att någon närmade sig dem för att attackera. Om de hade en signal om att närma sig fartyg eller flygplan kunde de inte avgöra om det närgående fartyget eller planet var vän eller fiende. En hemlig "krigsvarning" hade mottagits från Washington - Japan förväntades slå "Filippinerna, Thailändska eller Krahalvön eller möjligen Borneo" - och transportören Enterprise färdade en skvadron av marinkrigare för att förstärka Wake Island. Slagskepp skulle sänka arbetsgruppens hastighet från 30-17 knop.

Ändå var de för sårbara för att manövrera ensam utan bärarskydd. Den enda andra transportören, Lexington, var på väg att färja flygplan till Midway, så slagfartygen stannade vid Pearl Harbor, där det var säkert. (Herre 3-4) Lite visste de att Pearl Harbor inte var den säkra platsen för slagfartygen att bo på. ”Den 2 december 1941 informerade amiral H. E. Kimmels underrättelseofficer, löjtnantkommandör Edwin T. Layton, att det inte hade förekommit någon japansk radiokommunikation om var Imperial Navy's Carrier Divisions One och Two befann sig. Kimmel log och sa skämtsamt: ”Du vet inte var de är? Menar du att de skulle kunna runda Diamond Head och du skulle inte veta det? ”Layton svarade uppriktigt,” jag hoppas att de skulle synas vid det här laget. ”(Arroyo 19)

Förvånansvärt nog blev skämtet som admiral Kimmel gjorde verklighet när de talade att japanerna rundade Diamond Head för att förbereda sig för att attackera, och de hade ingen aning om vad som skulle hända bara fem dagar senare. ”Men ingen på Hawaii ansåg allvarligt att en attack mot Pearl Harbor i Japparna inte var så dum. Marshall och Stark höll med. Så gjorde deras staber. ”(Toland 8)” När ”vredens dag” närmade sig, tycktes isolationisterna i kongressen allt mer motsätta sig Roosevelt själv snarare än bara sin utrikespolitik. Ingen oroar sig för att Japan kommer hit och attackerar oss ”, hävdade representanten William P. Lambertson i Kansas den 4 december 1941.” Ingen människa blir roligare av diktatur än Franklin Roosevelt. Han visar från långt tillbaka att han gillar krig. ”” (Pearl Harbor, historiens dom, Prange 19)

På morgonen den 7 december öppnades näten för att ett marint lastfartyg, USS Antares, skulle kunna komma in i hamnen när attacken började, en japansk midget -sub lyckades smyga igenom. (Arroyo 21) "När den första vågen av (japanska) flygplan närmade sig Barbers Point på Oahu valde löjtnantkommandant Mitsuo Fuchida, som valde att leda den första vågen av attacken, tillbaka till bärarna:" Tora! Tora! Tora! ”(“ Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! ”) De nu berömda kodorden innebar att japanerna hade fångat den amerikanska flottan helt överraskat. Otroligt nog hördes signalen på admiral Yamamotos flaggskepp, Nagato, för ankar i Japans inre hav. ”

För att exportera en referens till denna uppsats, välj en referensstil nedan:


7 december 1944 - Historia

För krigshistorier om USS REID 369 klicka på fartyget:

Det tredje skeppet på linjen uppkallad efter Samuel Chester Reid, alla förstörare, byggdes av Federated Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Kearney, New Jersey och togs i drift den 2 november 1936. Hennes första befälhavare var Cdr. Robert Carney, senare för att bli chef för marinoperationer, den amerikanska marinens högst rankade officer.

REID var ett snyggt och snabbt krigsfartyg, som under mitten av den stora depressionen fick tillstånd att ersätta de slitna förstörarna under första världskriget.

Den nya REID tilldelades Pacific Fleet, hemporten först i San Diego, sedan 1939 flyttad till Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Efter att kriget bröt ut i Europa blev Japan ett ökande hot i Fjärran Östern. REID följde med en arbetsgrupp av amerikanska krigsfartyg till Australien, tidigt 1941, som en demonstration av kraft och stöd.

När japanerna attackerade den 7 december 1941 var REID i Pearl Harbor vid sidan av förstöraren, USS Whitney. Mycket av hennes brandkontroll, navigering och kraftverksinstrument demonterades för service. Pannorna var kalla. Inget fartyg sattes ihop så snabbt igen.

REID var ute ur hamnen i mitten av morgonen. Rykten på ön Oahu florerade. Honolulu -radio rapporterade vid olika tidpunkter under dagen, kvällen och in på morgonen att en japansk invasionsstyrka skulle landa, fiendens fallskärmshoppare hade landat, att sabotörer arbetade på Oahu, att en sjöstrid pågick strax över horisont. REID gick med i flera andra fartyg med order att cirkulera ön Oahu på jakt efter fienden. Ingen hittades. Se loggen för fartyget USS Antares den 7 december.

Under krigets första månader gjorde REID konvojtjänst mellan Hawaii och USA. Våren 1942 skickades hon med en liten insatsstyrka till Aleutian Islands för att försvara sig mot en japansk attack som var en del av slaget vid Midway. Under denna period bombarderade REID japanska positioner på Kiska och sjönk en japansk ubåt och tog fångar som blev de första fängslade i USA Senare 1942 anslöt sig REID till amerikanska styrkor som höll kvar vid Guadalcanal.

USS REID lämnar Mare Island 1943

Efter ombyggnad på Mare Island -varvet i juli 1943 anslöt sig REID till den sjunde flottan för att stödja MacArthurs amfibielandningar längs Nya Guineas kust och närliggande öar, hårt försvarade av japanerna. Från och med september samma år in på sommaren 1944 var REID engagerat i vad som tycktes vara konstant strid med torpedoflygplan, bombplan på hög nivå, stridsflygplan, dykbombare och ubåtar. Det var en halvtidsavledning för några frihetsdagar i Sydney, Australien, sedan tillbaka till striden.

Sommaren 1944 återvände REID kort till Pearl Harbor, innan han åter gick med i den sjunde flottan och MacArthurs återkomst till Filippinerna vid Leyte. Det japanska försvaret av Leyte var intensivt med flyg och till sjöss. Det sista stora marina engagemanget i Stilla havet utkämpades i Leyte -viken när japanerna marscherade sina återstående krigsfartyg i en uppgörelsekamp. Det avgörande nederlaget i denna strid gjorde den japanska flottan ineffektiv under resten av kriget.

Men japanerna hade fortfarande ett fantastiskt och allt effektivare vapen kvar: Kamikaze eller självmordsplanet. Den amerikanska marinen erkände att [självmord] -planet inte är skjutet ner eller så allvarligt skadat att dess kontroll försämras, att det nästan säkert kommer att nå sitt mål. & Quot

Under REID: s sista två veckor i vattnet runt Leyte kunde besättningen bara sova en eller två timmar åt gången. De kallades till stridsstationer (skick rött) i genomsnitt 10 gånger om dagen. Det var en period med nästan konstant strid.

Under de sista timmarna den 11 december skyddade REID en återförsörjningskraft av amfibiefartyg på väg mot Ormoc Bay utanför Leyte västkust. Omkring 1700 närmade sig tolv fiendens plan konvojen. REID var det närmaste fartyget till de mötande planen. Plan 1 och 2 sköts ner av 5 & quot -batteriet. Plan 3 exploderade cirka 500 meter från styrbordets balk. Plan 4 krokade en vinge på styrbordsriggen och kraschade vid vattenlinjen. Hans bomb exploderade och gjorde stor skada framåt. Plan 5 straffade styrbordssidan och kraschade på babords båge. Plan 6 slog ner bron från babordssidan och kraschade från styrbordsbågen. Plan 5 och 6 hade uppenbarligen inga bomber eller de var jävlar. Plane 7 kom in från astra strawing och kraschade in i hamnkvarteret. Hans bomb exploderade i eftermagasinet och sprängde fartyget isär. Allt detta skedde på mindre än en minut.

Fartyget skadades dödligt men gjorde fortfarande 20 knop. När akterna öppnade sig rullade hon våldsamt och la sig sedan över på styrbordssidan och duvade till botten med 600 favner. Det var över på mindre än två minuter. 103 skeppskamrater gick ner med henne. De överlevande blev straffade i vattnet av japanska flygplan innan räddning. Visa bilder av Reid Sinking

REID var i kriget från den allra första dagen i Pearl Harbor. Hon deltog i 13 amfibiska landningar, 18 strandbombardemang, sköt ner 12 fiendens plan, sjönk en ubåt, fångade åtta japanska fångar, ångade över 220 000 mil och spenderade över 10 000 omgångar med 5 & quot -projektiler.

USS REID DD-369 var en 1500 ton förstörare av MAHAN-klassen, 341 'lång och nästan 35' i balken. Hon var ursprungligen utrustad med fem 5 & quot dubbla ändamålspistoler, 50 kal. maskingevär och 12 torpedorör. Senare byttes en 5 & quot -pistol mot dubbelmonterade 40 mm kanoner och maskingevärna gav vika för 20 mm kanoner. En besättning på 168 tog REID i drift, 268 var ombord när hon gick ner, varav 165 överlevde.

Vem var Samuel Chester Reid?

Reid föddes i Connecticut 1783 och vid 11 års ålder undertecknade han ombord på ett handelsfartyg under det odeklarerade kriget med Frankrike och fångades. Han gick in i den amerikanska flottan som en midshipman men återvände till handelstjänsten. När kriget 1812 utbröt var Reid 29 år gammal och kapten för en privatbrig, general Armstrong.

Med få krigsfartyg i tjänst var USA illa berett att försvara sig mot den brittiska blockaden. Amerikas främsta marinvapen blev privaten, som slog till på de sjöfartsvägar som var viktiga för den brittiska ekonomin och deras krig i Europa. Reid opererade i Atlanten. Sent 1814 svävade han till Azorerna, en neutral hamn, för färskt vatten. Innan han kunde lämna kom tre brittiska krigsfartyg in i hamnen. Det fanns ingen flykt till havet. Britterna attackerade general Armstrong hela natten med skottlossning och ombordstigning. Reid åsamkade britterna stora förluster, både i liv och i skador på deras fartyg. Men i gryningen hade det blivit hopplöst. Reid skakade sitt skepp för att förhindra att det fångades och sökte asyl med sin besättning i staden.

De brittiska fartygen var avsedda att delta i beslagtagandet av New Orleans. Den nästan två veckors avledning på Azorerna för att reparera skadorna som Reid orsakade på sina fartyg, anses av vissa historiker fördröja hela den brittiska stridsplanen. Detta gav general Andrew Jackson ytterligare tid att montera ett framgångsrikt försvar av staden.

Även om man kan säga att kriget var över före slaget vid New Orleans, undertecknades fördragsdokumenten först någon tid senare och kanske inte alls hade undertecknats om britterna hade tagit New Orleans.

När Reid återvände till staterna firades fred. Det var en tid då media tillät hjältar. Samuel Chester Reid förklarades som en hjälte.

Samuel Chester Reid bör också komma ihåg som den som föreslog en design för nationens flagga --- tretton permanenta ränder, med en stjärna som representerar varje stat. Kongressen antog sin rekommenderade design 1818 och den används fortfarande idag.

Reid dog 1861, 77 år gammal.

Nedan finns länkar till webbplatser om USS Reid 369.

Klicka bara på fartygsikonen.

REID: s historia på en.wikipedia.org

Historien om REID: s handling vid Pearl Harbor

REID: s historia vid Pearl Harbor på www.ibiblio.org

REID: s historia på www.ibiblio.org

REID: s historia på www.historycentral.org

Historien om REID: s handling vid Pearl Harbor

Historien om slaget vid Leyte


Nyheter om pojkarna i den amerikanska armén och marinen 7 december 1944

Ted Isom var hemma förra lördagen, den 2 december, för 48 ledighet för att besöka sin fru, det tidigare märket Miss Betty, och hans föräldrar, herr och fru Otto Isom. Ted var inne på invasionen av Filippinerna.

Lyman Isom, son till herr och fru Otto Isom, förväntar sig att gå till gudstjänsten fredagen den 8 december, och om han har sitt val blir det marinen.

Boatswain's Mate 2c Charles Wilkenson, son till herr och fru F. Wilkenson, tillbringade en kort tid med sina föräldrar här och släktingar i Port Orchard, nyligen. Han åkte tillbaka till sin bas med flyg från Portland. Han har varit utomlands i cirka 10 månader innan han kom hem. Han är examen från Yelm High School och är medlem i Yelm M. E. kyrkan.

Kapten och fru George Justman anlände till Yelm torsdag för att besöka hans förälder, herr och fru A. J. Justman. Kapten Justman anlände till Olympia på onsdagen och de besökte hans frus föräldrar innan de kom till Yelm. Under en tid var kapten Justman instruktör för armén i luftfart, och fick senare en uppgift och anslöt sig till flygtransportkommandot och han har varit stationerad i Kairo under en tid.

En annan i Justman -familjen är chefsmaskinisten Robert Justman som är i kustbevakningen och har sett mycket service i södra Stilla havet, men nu är på östkusten.

Tidigare Yelm Boy förlorade i striden om Filippinerna.

Herr och fru Joseph Hammerscmith från Tacoma, men bosatt i Yelm i många år, fick besked på måndagen att deras yngsta son, Raymond, skadades allvarligt den 4 november i Filippinerna, och på onsdagen kom ett telegram om att han dog av sår den 6 november. Han var med 96: e divisionen på Filippinerna, Raymond var en brorson till Adolph Hammerscmith Sr. och fru Ben Kittleman från Yelm, och föddes här.

Den unge mannen var en enastående student och idrottsman på Bellarmine, som tog examen 1942. Han spelade tre år i varsitytackling och var kapten för fotbollslaget under sitt sista år. Han var också en fyraårig brevbärare på baseballklubben och vann ett brev i basket.

Han var salutator för sin klass och röstades till lojalitetspriset som en enastående senior. Han var också medlem i Knight's club. Ray gick in i armén i mars 1943 och studerade vid Illinois Institute of Technology innan han tilldelades amfibiekrafterna.


Recy Taylor, som kämpade för rättvisa efter en våldtäkt 1944, dör vid 97

Recy Taylor, en 24-årig afroamerikansk aktör, gick hem från kyrkan i Abbeville, Ala., Natten till den 3 september 1944, när hon blev bortförd och våldtagen av sex vita män.

Brottet täcktes i stor utsträckning i den svarta pressen och var en tidig katalysator för medborgarrättsrörelsen. N.A.A.C.P. skickade en ung aktivist från Montgomery, Ala., Kapitel vid namn Rosa Parks för att undersöka. Afroamerikaner runt om i landet krävde att männen skulle åtalas.

Men attacken, som många som involverade svarta offer under Jim Crow -eran i söder, gick aldrig för rättegång. Två helvita, alla manliga juryer vägrade åtala männen, även om en av dem hade erkänt.

Årtionden gick innan ärendet fick ny uppmärksamhet, med publiceringen 2010 av "At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance - a New History of the Civil Rights Movement From Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, ”Av historikern Danielle L. McGuire. Boken föranledde en officiell ursäkt 2011 till fru Taylor av Alabama -lagstiftningen, som kallade misslyckandet med att åtala sina angripare "moraliskt avskyvärda och motbjudande."

Fru Taylor dog i Abbeville på torsdagen, tre veckor efter att "The Rape of Recy Taylor" släpptes, en dokumentär om brottet. Hon var 97. Döden bekräftades av hennes bror, Robert Lee Corbitt.

"Många damer blev våldtagna", sa fru Taylor i filmen, intervjuad av dess regissör, ​​Nancy Buirski. ”Folken där - de verkade som att de inte var oroliga för vad som hände med mig, och de försökte inte göra något åt ​​det. Jag kan inte låta bli att berätta sanningen om vad de gjorde mot mig. ”

Född den 31 december 1919 i en familj av aktörer i Abbeville, i sydöstra Alabama, fann Recy (uttalas "REE-see") sig själv att ta hand om sex yngre syskon efter att deras mor dog när hon var 17.

Natten till attacken hade hon åkt till Rock Hill Holiness Church för en pingstgudstjänst med sång och bön och vandrade hem längs en landsväg som avgränsades av jordnötsodlingar. En vän, Fannie Daniel, 61, och Daniels 18-åriga son, West, var med henne. De märkte en grön Chevrolet som passerade flera gånger.

Så småningom stannade bilen och sju unga vita män, beväpnade med vapen och knivar, klev ut. En av dem, Herbert Lovett, den äldsta i gruppen, beordrade de tre att stanna och riktade sedan ett hagelgevär mot dem när de ignorerade honom.

Männen tvingade in Taylor i bilen med pistol och körde henne till en lund av tallar vid sidan av vägen, där de tvingade henne att klä av sig. Hon bad om att få gå och citerade sin man och deras 3-åriga dotter. Men herr Lovett var orörd. Han och fem andra män våldtog henne genom att beordra henne att "agera precis som du gör med din man eller så skär jag din jävla hals." (En sjunde ung man, Billy Howerton, sa senare att han inte deltog för att han kände fru Taylor.)

Dumpade ut ur bilen tog fru Taylor bort ögonbindeln och snubblade mot säkerhet. Hennes far, Benny Corbitt, hade lärt sig om bortförandet och letat efter henne. Snart anlände länsfogden, George H. Gamble.

Mrs Taylor sa till Sheriff Gamble att hon inte kunde identifiera sina överfallare, men hennes beskrivning av bilen matchade endast ett fordon i länet, Hugo Wilsons. När sheriffen återvände med mr Wilson och hans far, identifierade fru Taylor mr Wilson som en av hennes angripare, liksom tonårsvännen.

Questioned at the county jail, Mr. Wilson acknowledged that he and five others — Mr. Lovett, Dillard York, Luther Lee, Willie Joe Culpepper and Robert Gamble — “all had intercourse with her,” but insisted that they had paid her and that it was not rape. The sheriff sent Mr. Wilson home.

The next evening, Mrs. Taylor faced new threats: White vigilantes set her porch on fire. The following day, she and her husband, Willie Guy Taylor, and their daughter, Joyce Lee, moved in with her father and siblings. Mr. Corbitt, her father, would sleep in a chinaberry tree in the backyard, watching over the family while cradling a double-barreled shotgun, going inside to sleep only after the sun rose.

As word of the crime spread through Alabama’s black community the N.A.A.C.P.’s Montgomery chapter sent Mrs. Parks, who had spent much of her childhood in Abbeville, to interview Mrs. Taylor.

The deputy sheriff, Lewey Corbitt (not a close relation), was not happy about Mrs. Parks’s presence. He drove past the house repeatedly and then forcibly ejected her. “I don’t want any troublemakers here in Abbeville,” he warned her. “If you don’t go, I’ll lock you up.”

Mindful of the outrage surrounding the case of the Scottsboro Boys — nine black teenagers who had been wrongly accused of raping two white women in 1931 — the county prosecutor took care to provide a semblance of equal justice. But it was an empty gesture.

When the grand jury met on Oct. 3 and 4, 1944, Mrs. Taylor’s loved ones were the only witnesses. None of the men had been arrested, and there had not been a police lineup, so Mrs. Taylor could not identify her attackers.

The grand jury declined to indict the men. Word spread through union halls, churches, barbershops, pool halls and, significantly, through the black press. “Alabama Whites Attack Woman Not Punished,” declared a headline in The Pittsburgh Courier, an African-American newspaper.

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It was the final year of World War II, and some blacks likened their struggle for equal rights to the fight against fascism. Eugene Gordon, a black writer for The Daily Worker, a Communist newspaper in New York, interviewed Mrs. Taylor and told his readers, “The raping of Mrs. Recy Taylor was a fascist-like brutal violation of her personal rights as a woman and as a citizen of democracy.”

At an emergency meeting in the Hotel Theresa in Harlem on Nov. 25, 1944, the Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor, which Mrs. Parks had helped organize, became a national organization. It spearheaded a campaign of letters, petitions and postcards urging Gov. Chauncey Sparks to investigate.

The governor, who was a mentor of the segregationist future governor George C. Wallace, came under considerable pressure as African-American activists like W. E. B. DuBois and Mary Church Terrell and writers like Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes took up Mrs. Taylor’s cause.

The governor sent investigators, who found that Sheriff Gamble had lied about having arrested the men. By then, four of the seven men had admitted to having had sex with Mrs. Taylor, but they insisted that she had participated willingly.

One of the men, Willie Joe Culpepper, however, backed up Mrs. Taylor’s account, saying she had been coerced.

“She was crying and asking us to let her go home to her husband and baby,” he said.

Despite the confession, a second grand jury, on Feb. 14, 1945, refused to hand up an indictment.

The civil rights activists eventually moved on, and Mrs. Taylor faded into obscurity. Fearing reprisals, she moved to Montgomery for a few months with help from Mrs. Parks. Eventually the family moved to Central Florida, where Mrs. Taylor picked oranges.

She and Mr. Taylor separated, and he died in the early 1960s. Their only child died in a car crash in 1967. Mrs. Taylor had two subsequent partners, both of whom died. She lived for many years in Winter Haven, Fla., before failing health prompted her relatives to bring her back to Abbeville.

In addition to her brother, she is survived by two sisters, Lillie Kinsey and Mary Murry a granddaughter and several great-grandchildren.

The publication of Ms. McGuire’s book led to apologies from the mayor of Abbeville and from the county and state governments in 2011. The Alabama Legislature’s apology was formally presented to Mrs. Taylor on Mother’s Day that year at the Pentecostal church, now known as Abbeville Memorial Church of God in Christ, where she had worshiped the night of the crime.

In Ms. Buirski’s film, Mrs. Taylor recalled how she could have easily been killed. “The Lord was just with me that night,” she said.


16 things that happened in December through history

From the 16 December 1773, when Boston rebels dumped tea into the sea, to 20 December AD 69, when the Roman emperor Aulus Vitellius was dragged to his death – Dominic Sandbrook highlights events that took place in December in history.

Denna tävling är nu stängd

Published: November 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm

What historical events happened in December? The Mary Celeste was found drifting in December 1872 John Lennon was murdered in December 1980 the powerful Roman lawyer Cicero was beheaded in December 43 BC James II fled London in December 1688 and the Wright brothers make the first powered flight in December 1903. Here, Dominic Sandbrook highlights events that took place in December in history…

4 December 1872: The Mary Celeste is found drifting in the Atlantic

It was about one in the afternoon of 4 December 1872 that John Johnson, helmsman of the brigantine Dei Gratia, saw a ship on the Atlantic horizon. Almost at once, he knew there was something wrong. The ship was rotating in the water, and even from a distance its sails looked torn and dirty. Johnson called his second officer, and then the captain. They all agreed there was something odd. For two hours, they simply watched.

Eventually, the Dei Gratia’s first mate, Oliver Deveau, agreed to board the mystery ship, which bore the name Mary (not, contrary to legend, Marie) Celeste. There he found “a thoroughly wet mess” – but no sign of life. The ship’s clock had stopped, and the captain’s logbook was gone so were the sextant and chronometer. The lifeboat was missing, and a frayed rope trailed miserably in the water. But where was the crew?

The mystery of the Mary Celeste, with its supposedly untouched breakfasts and cups of tea (a complete fabrication), has always fascinated writers. In 1884 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made it the centrepiece of a creepy story, and the ghostly ship has appeared in everything from novels by Hammond Innes and Terry Pratchett to an early episode of Doctor Who, which revealed that the crew had jumped overboard after being terrorised by Daleks.

But the truth may be more prosaic. The ship was carrying 1,700 barrels of commercial alcohol from New York to Genoa, yet investigators found that nine barrels were empty. Many scholars believe that these barrels had given off alcoholic vapour, which the crew feared was likely to cause an explosion. In their panic, they probably rushed into the lifeboat and cast off into the ocean, only to be swallowed up by the waves – or, if you prefer, exterminated by the Daleks.

6 December 1648: Colonel Thomas Pride purges parliament

The only genuine military coup in British history began on 6 December 1648. The Civil War was over and Charles I was a prisoner, but the winners had fallen out among themselves. While parliament’s moderate majority wanted to reopen negotiations with the beaten king, the New Model Army believed he had broken his word once too often. Something had to give, and at the beginning of December, the army’s commanders decided to act.

It was only as the first MPs climbed the stairs leading to the Commons chamber that they realised what was happening. At the top, surrounded by the men of his regiment, stood Colonel Thomas Pride, a former West Country brewer who had risen under Oliver Cromwell’s command. Pride held a list of members, divided into those deemed unreliable and those approved by the army. As word spread of his presence, many MPs fled or stayed away. But by the time Pride had finished, at least 200 members had been excluded and 45 arrested. The captives were held in a pub near the Palace of Westminster (nicknamed Hell) and later released. Parliamentary resistance had been broken the army was the master of Britain.

In the next few days, what was left of the Commons – the so-called Rump Parliament – fell meekly into line, and by the end of January, Charles had been executed on charges of high treason.

The rule of the Rump did not last long: in 1653 it was forcibly dissolved by Oliver Cromwell, who became lord protector. But Cromwell did not forget his debts. By the time Thomas Pride died in 1658, he had become Lord Pride, with a seat in the new upper house and estates in the grounds of Henry VIII’s former Nonsuch Palace. Not too shabby for a yeoman’s son from Somerset.

7 December 43 BC: Cicero loses his head – and hands – to Rome

When Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BC, the lawyer Marcus Tullius Cicero was one of the most powerful men in Rome. But as the champion of the senate’s opposition to Caesar’s heir, Octavian, and his own old friend Mark Antony, Cicero played his hand very badly. By December 43 BC, his arrest seemed only a matter of time.

On 7 December, Cicero left his country house outside Rome for the coast, where he hoped to catch a ship to Macedonia. Only moments later, two officers, named Herennius and Popilius, arrived in pursuit. Although Cicero’s slaves refused to tell them his destination, the officers wormed the information out of one of his brother’s freedmen.

When the killers caught up with Cicero, he offered no resistance. As the biographer Plutarch later wrote: “He looked steadfastly upon his murderers, his person covered with dust, his beard and hair untrimmed, and his face worn with his troubles.”

Cicero reportedly said to Herennius: “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly,” and leaned out of his litter to give them a clear stroke. With that, Herennius drew his sword and slashed off Cicero’s head.

Afterwards, Herennius cut off Cicero’s hands – the hands that had written his famous speeches mocking Antony – and carried them, with the head, back to Rome. There, Antony triumphantly hung them in the Forum. But according to Plutarch, the Roman people “believed they saw there not the face of Cicero, but the image of Antony’s own soul”.

8 December 1980: Crazed fan murders John Lennon

For musician John Lennon, the last day of his life began much the same as any other. The former Beatle had a photo shoot with the American photographer Annie Leibovitz in his apartment at the Dakota Building, New York, then an interview with a San Francisco disc jockey. Shortly before 6pm, Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, left for the recording studio. On their way out, Lennon stopped to sign autographs for fans, as was his custom. Among them was a 25-year-old security guard from Hawaii, Mark Chapman, who wordlessly handed over a copy of Lennon’s latest album. “Is this all you want?” Lennon asked, as he scribbled his name.

It was almost 11pm when Lennon’s limousine reappeared outside the Dakota Building. Almost as soon as the musician got out, he glanced towards the shadows, perhaps recognising the man he had seen earlier. And at that moment, Chapman opened fire. The first bullet missed the next four all hit their target.

As Lennon lay bleeding, Chapman dropped his gun. By the time the police arrived, he was clutching a copy of JD Salinger’s book The Catcher in the Rye.
That day was a Monday and, bizarrely, it was the ABC commentators on the evening’s American football game who broke the news of Lennon’s death.

Within moments the news had spread around the globe: thousands of fans gathered outside the Dakota Building while millions mourned across the world. Six days after the murder, some 30,000 people paid tribute in Liverpool, while a further 225,000 gathered in New York.

Chapman, a college dropout who had been a big Beatles fan before being born again, was sentenced to life imprisonment. He has had eight parole hearings since 2000, none of which have been successful.

9 December 1960: Millions of viewers tune in as the first episode of Coronation Street airs

For British audiences, 9 December 1960 was a milestone in television history. At seven that evening, with more than 3 million people staring at their sets, a brass band struck up a mournful tune, the grainy black and white picture showed a long street of terraced back-to-backs, and Coronation Street began its record-breaking run as the nation’s best-loved soap opera.

Coronation Street was the brainchild of a young Granada scriptwriter, Tony Warren. In keeping with the sociological trends of the late 1950s, Warren was keen to explore working-class life in the urban north, a world already being transformed by postwar affluence.

“A fascinating freemasonry, a volume of unwritten rules,” began his note on the new series. “These are the driving forces behind life in a working-class street in the north of England. To the uninitiated outsider, all this would be completely incomprehensible.” The point of his new show, he explained, was “to entertain by examining a community of this kind and initiating the viewer into the ways of the people who live there”.

Yet although viewers clearly loved the new soap, the critics were not kind to Coronation Street. In the Mirror, one writer thought Warren had focused on the “wrong folk. For there is little reality in his new serial, which, apparently, we will have to suffer twice a week.” The paper’s main reviewer, Jack Bell, struck a similar note. Who, he wondered, could possibly want this “continuous slice-of-life domestic drudgery two evenings a week”?

11 December 1688: James II flees London

In the early hours of 10 December, James’s queen, Mary of Modena, left for France with their baby son. The next night, James followed. As he left his palace, he ordered that the writs calling for a new parliament be burned, and as his little skiff bobbed down the Thames in the darkness, he is said to have thrown the Great Seal of the Realm overboard, as if hoping to destroy the very basis of English government.

Alas for James, his escape bid ended in ignominy. A few hours later, on the morning of the 11th, his boat stopped at Faversham to take in more ballast, and his friend Sir Edward Hales was recognised by the local seamen. At first they took James merely for an “ugly, lean-jawed hatchet-faced popish dog” on finding out who he was, however, they treated him worse than ever. Locked in a Faversham pub, he was not even allowed to go to the toilet on his own, but was surrounded by self-appointed guards and gawpers. Three days later, James’s friends managed to extricate him, but for a man who considered himself anointed by God, this had been the supreme humiliation.

14 December AD 557: The earth moves in Constantinople

It was at around midnight on 14 December 557 that Constantinople felt the first tremors. Its people were no strangers to earthquakes – there had been one just a matter of months earlier – but this seemed worse. As the Roman capital’s buildings began to shake, “shrieks and lamentations” rose from the imperial city. After each tremor, recorded the historian Agathias, there came a “deep, growling sound like thunder issuing from the bowels of the earth”, while the sky “grew dim with the vaporous exhalations of a smoky haze rising from an unknown source, and gleamed with a dull radiance”.

Seized by mass panic, the city’s population poured into the streets. They turned their eyes to heaven, wrote Agathias, as though to “propitiate the deity”.

But it was no good. Everywhere was the sound of crashing and screaming, and in the chaos “the ordered structure of society… was thrown into wild confusion and trampled underfoot”. But when the dawn came, and it was over, “people moved forward to meet one another, gazing joyfully into the faces of their nearest and dearest, kissing and embracing and weeping with delight and surprise”.

For the rest of that winter, Agathias wrote, the people of Constantinople were afflicted by “nagging doubts and persistent fears”. Many saw the calamity as a divine judgment on their sins – and on their emperor, Justinian. Afterwards, the emperor set about restoring the vast number of public buildings damaged during the earthquake. But barely six months later, the main dome of Hagia Sophia, the jewel of his capital, collapsed in ruins. The structure that replaced it, however, stands to this day.

16 December 1773: Boston rebels dump tea into the sea

It was dark in Boston when the Tea Party began. After years of rising tension between Britain and its American colonies, attention had become focused on the Tea Act of 1773, which reaffirmed the controversial tax on imported tea. At the end of November, the first tea ship, the Dartmouth, had arrived in Boston, but local activists demanded that it return home without paying the import duty.

The last day before the deadline for the Dartmouth to pay up was 16 December. The mood was edgy at the Old South Meeting House, not far from the harbour, thousands of agitators rallied against the tea tax. Chief among them was local politician Samuel Adams, a long-standing opponent of British authority, and future founding father of the United States.

With passions running high, the crowd was soon surging towards the harbour. That evening, dozens of men, some of them disguised as Native Americans, boarded the Dartmouth and two other tea ships, unloaded hundreds of chests of tea and dumped them into Boston harbour. It was an act of pure vandalism, and back in Britain, the authorities were appalled.

To some observers in Massachusetts, however, the Tea Party seemed a rousing call to arms. “There is a dignity, a majesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots, that I greatly admire. The people should never rise without doing something to be remembered: something notable and striking,” the future president John Adams wrote in his diary. “This destruction of the tea is so bold, so daring, intrepid and inflexible, and it must have so important consequences, and so lasting, that I can’t but consider it as an epocha in history.”

Expert comment – Professor Benjamin L Carp:

John Adams was right to note the boldness of the Bostonians’ action. They had rejected cheaper tea on principle – they didn’t accept parliament’s power to tax them, they hated that the revenue paid the salaries of certain government officials, and they detested parliament’s favouritism toward the East India Company monopoly.

The destruction of the tea looks even bolder because it invited dire consequences: the Coercive Acts of 1774. The Boston Port Act prohibited commerce until the town made restitution for the tea, threatening total economic ruin. The Massachusetts Government Act took power away from town meetings and local juries and vested them in the king and his governor. Meanwhile, the Administration of Justice Act allowed officials to stand trial for capital crimes in more favourable venues. These acts were intended to single out Massachusetts (and its capital) for punishment, but instead the harshness of the laws united 13 of the American colonies in their complaints against the British parliament.

The Boston Tea Party was a lawless act in defence of higher principles and in later years advocates of civil disobedience on the right and left have cited its example. These range from practitioners of violence (including the Ku Klux Klan and libertarian bombers) to practitioners of nonviolence (including Gandhi and Martin Luther King).

17 December 1903: The Wright brothers fly into history

On the North Carolina coast, Thursday 17 December 1903 was a cold and very windy day. When Orville and Wilbur Wright awoke that morning, they thought it was almost perfect. Three days earlier, after years of trials, they had tried to get their primitive powered ‘airplane’, with its 40ft wingspan, into the air. But no sooner had Wilbur got it off the ground, than the aircraft stalled and plunged back down into the sand. Now it was Orville’s turn.

By conventional standards the two men made implausible historical icons. Born in 1867 and 1871 respectively – the sons of an evangelical Christian clergyman – the story goes that they were first smitten by the principle of flight when their father bought them a helicopter toy. After working as commercial printers, the pair opened a bicycle shop, capitalising on the craze for cycles but all the time tinkering with schemes to get an aircraft into the sky.

Just after 10.30am, Orville climbed into the Flyer. Disappointingly, his diary fails to capture the excitement he must have felt. “The wind, according to our anemometers at this time, was blowing a little over 20 miles, 27 miles according to the government anemometer at Kitty Hawk,” he wrote. “On slipping the rope the machine started off increasing in speed to probably seven or eight miles. The machine lifted from the truck just as it was entering on the fourth rail. Mr Daniels took a picture just as it left the tracks… A sudden dart when out about 100 feet from the end of the tracks ended the flight. Time about 12 seconds (not known exactly as watch was not promptly stopped).”

It was the first of four flights made that day, each longer than the one before. On the fourth trial, Wilbur guided the world’s first plane through the air for a distance of 852 feet in 59 seconds. For the first time, mankind had the power of flight. It was a genuinely extraordinary moment.

20 December AD 69: Roman emperor Aulus Vitellius is dragged to his death

The emperor Vitellius has not had a good press. The historian Suetonius said he was “stained by every sort of baseness”, while Cassius Dio claimed he was “addicted to luxury and licentiousness”. Yet by the summer of 69, this greedy, profligate man found himself master of Rome. Amid the chaos following the death of Nero, two replacement emperors – Galba and Otho – had already been and gone, leaving Vitellius, for the time being, as the last man standing.

It has to be said that he was not an obviously impressive figure. Suetonius even claimed that he was so greedy that he “could never refrain, even when he was sacrificing or making a journey, from snatching bits of meat and cakes amid the altars, almost from the very fire, and devouring them on the spot”.

By December, however, Vitellius’s luck had run out. The governor of Judaea, Vespasian, had risen in revolt and his allies were marching on Rome. On 20 December, after ruling for less than a year, Vitellius threw off his purple robe, disguised himself in dirty clothes and took refuge in the palace door-keeper’s lodge, reportedly “tying a dog before the door and putting a couch and a mattress against it”.

Not surprisingly, this proved completely ineffective. When, a little later, the soldiers burst in, they quickly recognised him. As Vitellius was dragged half-naked to the Forum, wrote Suetonius, “some pelted him with dung and ordure, others called him incendiary and glutton, and some of the mob even taunted him with his bodily defects”.

At last his dead body was thrown into the river Tiber. His last words, apparently, were: “Yet I was once your emperor!”

25 December 1991: The Soviet Union takes its dying breath

It’s 25 December 1991. In Moscow, where there are two weeks to go until the Orthodox Christmas, it ought to be just another day. But this is a date that will go down in history: the last day of the Soviet Union.

Historians still argue about when the Soviet state began to fall apart. But the death-blow came in August 1991, when communist hardliners, alarmed at the pace of change, staged a coup. Although the coup failed, it ripped the heart out of the communist regime. At the beginning of December, leaders of the Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian republics met in a remote Belarusian hunting lodge and signed an accord to end the Soviet Union forever.

For President Mikhail Gorbachev, the accord was a humiliation, destroying his hopes of remaining as leader of a reformed, decentralised Soviet empire. For the next two weeks he cut a distinctly miserable figure, holed up in the Kremlin, presiding over a country that was doomed.

On 25 December, the end came. In a short address at 7pm, broadcast live on Soviet television, Gorbachev announced he was resigning his position. The presidential office, he said sadly, was now extinct. Tellingly, his speech was filmed by an American rather than Russian crew, while he signed his resignation letter with a Mont Blanc pen borrowed from the president of CNN. A few minutes later, Gorbachev handed over the famous briefcase with the Soviet Union’s nuclear codes to an officer representing Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who had declined to turn up in person.

At 7.32pm came the most symbolic moment of all. Above the Kremlin, the red Soviet flag was lowered for the last time. In its place, Yeltsin’s men raised the red, white and blue tricolour of tsarist Russia.

26 December 1792: A brilliant defence fails to save Louis XVI from the guillotine

It was half past nine in the morning when Louis XVI’s military escort clattered across the cobblestones of Paris, taking him to his trial at the National Assembly. With revolutionary France under attack and passions running high on the capital’s streets, few people doubted the trial’s eventual verdict. But Louis was determined to have the best possible defence, and had engaged Raymond de Sèze, reputedly one of the finest lawyers in the country.

For two weeks de Sèze had worked almost without a break. Now, as he rose to address the National Assembly, he looked exhausted: in fact, he had not slept for four days. Still, even Louis’ fiercest critics admitted that his lawyer gave a command performance.

One by one de Sèze went through the prosecution’s charges, ruthlessly dissecting their distortions and evasions. Then came a memorable peroration, praising the former king as the “constant friend of the people”. “Citizens,” he concluded, “I cannot finish… I stop myself before history. Think how it will judge your judgment, and that the judgment of him will be judged by the centuries.”

Then it was Louis’ turn. Pale and quiet, he was determined to avoid the example of England’s Charles I, whose defiance in 1649 had done him no favours. “You have heard my defence, I would not repeat the details,” he said softly. “In talking to you perhaps for the last time, I declare that my conscience reproaches me with nothing, and that my defenders have told you the truth.”

Afterwards, on the journey back, the king seemed more anxious for the shattered de Sèze than for himself. A month later, Louis went to the guillotine.

29 December 1890: Up to 300 Native Americans are killed at Wounded Knee

By the winter of 1890, the Lakota Sioux had reached a grim nadir. After decades of expansion by white settlers, with their bison herds hunted almost to extinction, most were now confined to reservations in North and South Dakota. Alienated and frightened, many were attracted to the new Ghost Dance movement, which claimed that through an esoteric circle dance, the Native Americans could expel the settlers and recapture their lands.

For the American authorities, the Ghost Dance movement threatened a wider Native American uprising. Mutual suspicion hung in the air when, on 28 December 1890, a party of 7th Cavalry troopers intercepted a group of around 350 Lakota Sioux en route to the Pine Ridge Reservation, and escorted them to Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.

As dawn broke the next day, the troopers ordered the Sioux to surrender any weapons. With tempers rising, a medicine man, Yellow Bird, began to perform the Ghost Dance. When another Sioux, Black Coyote, who was deaf, refused to give up his rifle, troopers tried to take it by force. Nobody quite knows what happened next: there was a scuffle, a gunshot – and then the firing began.

Only when the last shots died away was the extent of the slaughter clear. At least 25 troopers had fallen, many to friendly fire. But up to 300 Sioux had been cut down, including women and children. As one US army veteran recalled: “The white hot fury of this mad melee defies my attempts at description.” His comrades, he admitted, “simply went berserk”. The result was one of the most notorious massacres in American history.

29 December 1170: Henry II’s knights scatter Thomas Becket’s “brains and blood”

Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, was on his way to Vespers when the four knights caught up with him. They had ridden from the court of Becket’s old patron, Henry II, who had become infuriated by his protégé’s defence of the church’s privileges. Once the two men had been friends Henry supposedly remarked that Becket showed him more affection in a day than his father had done in his entire lifetime. But now Henry’s patience had run out. When they asked Becket to come to meet the king at Westminster, he refused outright.

Moments later, Henry’s knights exacted a terrifying penalty. Whether they really were acting on the king’s orders, we will never know. According to the monk Edward Grim, who was hiding near the altar, the knights launched their attack near the stairs leading to the cathedral choir. The first blow caught Becket’s head, slicing open his scalp. “Then he received a second blow on the head but still stood firm,” Grim wrote. “At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living victim, and saying in a low voice, ‘For the Name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to embrace death.”’

A fourth blow smashed Becket’s skull, so that, in Grim’s words, “the blood white with the brain, and the brain no less red from the blood, dyed the floor of the cathedral”. Then a clerk, who had accompanied the knights, put his foot on Becket’s neck, and “horrible to relate, scattered the brains and blood about the pavements”. “Let us away, knights,” the clerk said, “this fellow will rise no more.”

30 December 1460: Richard of York’s decapitated head is given a crown of paper

By the end of 1460, England was in tumult. After months of uneasy peace between the rival Lancastrian and Yorkist factions, open war had broken out once more.

31 December 1759: Ireland’s most famous drink is born

On the last day of 1759, a young man signed a 9,000-year lease on a dilapidated brewery on James Street, Dublin, for which he agreed to pay the sum of £45 a year.

His name was Arthur Guinness and he now enjoys near-legendary status in the Republic of Ireland. He was a member of the island’s Protestant Anglo-Irish elite. His father was a land steward for the archbishop of Cashel, but Arthur had decided to make his living as a brewer.

Since, at the time, there were already some 70 breweries in Dublin, it might have been thought that Guinness stood little chance of success. The country’s most popular drinks tended to be spirits and the quality of its beer was generally low. But Guinness’s business boomed, and by 1767 he had been elected master of the Dublin Corporation of Brewers.

By the time Guinness died, almost 40 years later, his brewery was turning out some 20,000 barrels of the black stuff every year. By the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, it was the biggest brewery in the British empire.

The key to Guinness’s success was his embrace of porter, a drink that for decades had been associated with London’s street and river porters. It was a dark, heavy beer, made from roasted barley and much more flavoursome than the thin ales then associated with Dublin’s brewers.

Contrary to popular belief, however, it has evolved considerably since then. Who knows whether Arthur would recognise the drink inside the bottles that, even today, still carry his signature?

Other December anniversaries

17 December 920

In Constantinople, the Byzantine admiral Romanos Lekapenos is crowned emperor alongside the existing ruler, the 15-year-old Constantine VII.

31 December 1857

After deliberating over a location for Canada’s new capital, Queen Victoria announces her choice: Ottawa.

Dominic Sandbrook is a historian and presenter.

These anniversaries were first published in past December issues of BBC History Magazine


Mage Soapbox


On Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, I was working as a reporter for the Hono­lulu Star-Bulletin. After a week of war, I wrote a story directed at Hawaii’s women I thought it would be useful for them to know what I had seen. It might help prepare them for what lay ahead. But my editors thought the graphic content would be too upsetting for readers and decided not to run my article. It appears here for the first time.

For seven ghastly, confused days, we have been at war. To the women of Hawaii, it has meant a total disruption of home life, a sudden acclimation to blackout nights, terrifying rumors, fear of the unknown as planes drone overhead and lorries shriek through the streets.

The seven days may stretch to seven years, and the women of Hawaii will have to accept a new routine of living. It is time, now, after the initial confusion and terror have subsided, to sum up the events of the past week, to make plans for the future.

It would be well, perhaps, to review the events of the past seven days and not minimize the horror, to better prepare for what may come again.

I have a story to tell, as a reporter, that I think the women of Hawaii should hear. I tell it because I think it may help other women in the struggle, so they will not take the past events lightly.

I reported for work immediately on Sunday morning when the first news — Oahu is being attacked — crackled over the radio, sandwiched in a church program.

Like the rest of Hawaii, I refused to believe it. All along the sunny road to town were people just coming out of church, dogs lazy in the driveways, mynas in noisy convention.

Then, from the neighborhood called Punchbowl, I saw a formation of black planes diving straight into the ocean off Pearl Harbor. The blue sky was punctured with anti-aircraft smoke puffs. Suddenly, there was a sharp whistling sound, almost over my shoulder, and below, down on School Street. I saw a rooftop fly into the air like a pasteboard movie set.

For the first time, I felt that numb terror that all of London has known for months. It is the terror of not being able to do anything but fall on your stomach and hope the bomb won’t land on you. It’s the helplessness and terror of sudden visions of a ripping sensation in your back, shrapnel coursing through your chest, total blackness, maybe death.

The vision of death became reality when I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital.

The first victims of the Japanese-American war were brought there on that bright Sunday morning.

Bombs were still dropping over the city as ambulances screamed off into the heart of the destruction. The drivers were blood-sodden when they returned, with stories of streets ripped up, houses burned, twisted shrapnel and charred bodies of children.

In the morgue, the bodies were laid on slabs in the grotesque positions in which they had died. Fear contorted their faces. Their clothes were blue-black from incendiary bombs. One little girl in a red sweater, barefoot, still clutched a piece of jump-rope in her hand.

Firefighters from the Hickam Air Force Base carried the victims in. The men had a red T marked on their foreheads, mute testimony of the efficiency of first-aiders in giving tetanus shots to ward off lockjaw. The body of a man with a monogrammed shirt, H.A.D., was marked DOA (dead on arrival), trundled off to make room for victims who were still breathing.

There was blood and the fear of death — and death itself — in the emergency room as doctors calmly continued to treat the victims of this new war. Interns were taping up windows to prevent them from crashing into the emergency area as bombs fell and the dead and wounded continued to arrive. I had never known that blood could be so bright red.

Returning to the city, I felt a mounting sense of fear as Honolulu began to realize that more was in the air than an Army alert.

I went to a bombed store on King Street, where I often, in times past, stopped for a Coke at the cool drug counter.

Seven little stores, including my drugstore, had nearly completely burned down. Charred, ripply walls, as high as the first story, alone remained to give any hint of where the store had been. At the smashed soda fountain was a half-eaten chocolate sundae. Scorched bonbons were scattered on the sidewalk. There were odd pieces lying in the wreckage, half-burned Christmas cards, on one, the words “Hark the Herald” still visible. There were twisted bedsprings, half-burned mattresses, cans of food, a child’s blackened bicycle, a lunch box, a green raveled sweater, a Bang-Up comic book, ripped awnings.

I ran out of notepaper and reached down and picked up a charred batch of writing paper, still wet from a fire hose. There was, too, the irony of Christmas tinsel, cellophane, decorations. A burned doll, with moving eyes, singed curls and straw bonnet, like a miniature corpse, lay in the wreckage.

That Sunday after dusk there was the all-night horror of attack in the dark. Sirens shrieking, sharp, crackling police reports and the tension of a city wrapped in fear.

Then, in the nightmare of Monday and Tuesday, there was the struggle to keep normal when planes zoomed overhead and guns cracked out at an unseen enemy. There was blackout and suspicion riding the back of wild rumors:Parachutists in the hills! Poison in your food! Starvation and death were all that was left in a tourist bureau paradise.

I talked with evacuees. From Hickam, a nurse who had dropped to the floor in the hospital kitchen as machine gun bullets dotted a neat row of holes directly above her from Schofield, a woman who wanted me to send word to her sweetheart “somewhere in Honolulu” that she was still alive from Pearl Harbor, a nurse who wanted scraps of paper and pencil stubs to give to the boys in the hospital who had last messages they wanted sent home a little girl named Theda who had a big doll named Nancy and who told me in a quiet voice that “Daddy was killed at Hickam.”

At the of?ce there were frantic calls from all sorts of women — housewives, stenographers, debutantes — wanting to know what they could do during the day, when husbands and brothers were away and there was nothing left but to listen to the radio and imagine that all hell had broken out on another part of the island.

It was then that I realized how important women can be in a war-torn world.

There is a job for every woman in Hawaii to do.

I discovered that when I visited the Red Cross centers, canteens, evacuee districts, the motor corps headquarters.

There is great organization in Honolulu, mapped out thoughtfully and competently by women who have had experience in World War I, who have looked ahead and foreseen the carnage of the past seven days and planned.


Titta på videon: COURLAND 44-WWII Short Film 1080p (Maj 2022).

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