Little Bits of History

August 31

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2017

1939: The Gleiwitz incident begins. What we know about these events were revealed at the Nuremberg Trials by Alfred Naujocks of the SS. False flag attacks were historically a naval plan where one used the flag of another nation instead of one’s own battle flag, This ruse during an attack is considered to be outside the bounds of reasonable warfare and against international law. Operation Himmler was a plan put forth by Nazi Germany in order to create the illusion of Poland’s “aggression” against Germany. It included staging false attacks on themselves using either innocent people or concentration camp prisoners. It was hoped this “documented” propaganda campaign would confuse the Allies when Germany “defended” herself.

Late in the evening, on this date, a group of German operatives were led by Naujocks into the Gleiwitz radio station. They were dressed in Polish uniforms and they sent out a short anti-German message in Polish. The hope was that the attack would look like anti-German Poles. They left behind a “victim” of the attack, a German farmer sympathetic to the Poles. He had been arrested by the Gestapo the day before and killed by lethal injection. He was then shot a couple times and brought to the “attack” so as to leave behind a someone who looked like he had been killed during this raid.

He was not the only “victim” who was “shot” during the attack. Several prisoners from Dachau concentration camp were drugged, brought to the scene, and then shot dead at the station. Their faces were disfigured to make identification impossible. The Polish uniforms and identification had been secured by the Abwehr and this was only one of several skirmishes along the German-Poland border at the same time as this radio attack. Also included were some house burnings. All this was supported by the “evidence” of the previous few months when German newspapers and politicians had been accusing the Poles of aggressive behavior against the Nazis. There were accusations of Poland carrying on an ethnic cleansing by killing Germans living in Poland.

As a response to these horrific “attacks” against Germany, the Nazis launched Fall Weiss, the invasion of Poland, initiating World War II in Europe. On September 1, 1939, as the Panzers rolled into Poland, Hitler gave a speech in the Reichstag citing these attacks as justification for Germany invading their neighbor. Although American correspondents were summoned to the radio station on September 1, they were not permitted to investigate the incident in detail and the world audience remained skeptical regarding the German charges. Naujocks’s testimony at the Nuremberg Trials blamed his superior officer, Heinrich Muller, head of the Gestapo, as the man who issued the orders.

I will provide a propagandistic casus belli. Its credibility doesn’t matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth. – Adolf Hitler, August 22, 1939 speaking to his generals

We learned in World War II that no single nation holds a monopoly on wisdom, morality or right to power, but that we must fight for the weak and promote democracy. – Joe Baca

Today we know that World War II began not in 1939 or 1941 but in the 1920’s and 1930’s when those who should have known better persuaded themselves that they were not their brother’s keeper. – Hubert H. Humphrey

We tend to think of World War II and all the atrocities that happened, and people say, ‘Never again.’ But these things are still happening. The Amnesty International files are big. – Jimmy Smits

Charleston, South Carolina

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2015
Charleston earthquake

Charleston earthquake

August 31, 1886: Charleston, South Carolina is devastated by an earthquake. It was believed to have been a 7.0 Mw or moment magnitude earthquake. This scale replaced the Richter scale in the 1970s. The number is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of the area which slipped. The numbers used are similar to the Richter scale and when reports use the older designation, there is little confusion as to the intensity of the quake. On the Mercalli Intensity scale, it was rated an X or Extreme. This scale is based on the effects of the earthquake rather than the magnitude of the fault slip. It quantifies the damage to humans, objects of nature, and manmade objects and begins at I and ends at XII or total destruction.

The earthquake struck at 9.50 PM with the epicenter at 32.9°N 80.0°W (Charleston’s coordinates are listed as 32°47′00″N 79°56′00″W). It was one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit the East Coast of the US. The 1811 and 1812 New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes were more powerful. The activity was caused by intraplate earthquake, an extremely rare phenomenon where the quake takes place at the interior of a single tectonic plate. A far more common occurrence is the interplate earthquake which takes place at the boundary between two or more plates. All three of the mentioned quakes caused great damage and were intraplate quakes.

There were 60 deaths attributed to the earthquake and damage was listed between $5 and 6 million ($130 to 156 million today). Much of the destruction of both life and property was caused by the liquefaction of the soil. Aftershocks continued for weeks after the event. There is some supposition that the small quakes still felt in the region to this day are still aftershocks from this one event. On this night, the shock was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee to the northwest, New Orleans to the west and Cuba to the south. At the time, there was speculation that such damage could only have been caused by the state of Florida having broken away from North America.

There were at least 2,000 buildings damaged by the quake. Within the city itself, most of the buildings sustained damage and many of them were beyond repair. They were simply torn down and rebuilt. Historical Charleston today shows the after effects of the quake in that many of the building which did survive are now sporting “earthquake bolts” where the building were repaired. Wires were downed and the railroad tracks were torn apart, cutting Charleston off from the outside world. Major damage occurred as far away as Tybee Island, 60 miles away. Buildings far away in central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia were damaged by the quake.

It was about 9:50 o’clock on the evening of August 31, 1886, that the people of Charleston felt the quiverings of the first earthquake shock ever known in that part of the country. They had just returned from worship and not many had yet retired.

There were no electric lights in those days, and the streets were illuminated with gas. The people gathered in the public parks and squares and there in the dim light brave men and women gave help to the injured and dying.

St. Michael’s Church, the pride of the city since 1761, was a wreck, its tall steeple lying in the street.

To add to their dismay the people were cut off from the outer world, all wires being down, and it was not until next day that a courier rode to Summerville, nearly thirty miles away, and gave the world its first news of the disaster. – all from Paul Pinckney

Also on this day: Who Was He? – In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered.
Try This – In 1900, Coke was first sold in England.
Fairy Tale’s End – In 1997, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.
Go West – In 1803, Meriwether Lewis began his great Expedition when he left Pittsburgh.
Air Disaster – In 1940, a plane crashed near Lovettsville, Virginia.

Air Disaster

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2014
Lovettsville air disaster

Lovettsville air disaster

August 31, 1940: The Lovettsville air disaster takes place shortly after 2.30 PM. Pennsylvania Central Airlines Trip 19 was piloted by Captain Lowell Scroggins with copilot First Officer J Paul Moore beside him. They were flying a new (delivered on May 25, 1940) Douglas DC-3A from Washington, D.C. to Detroit with a stopover in Pittsburgh. They were over Lovettsville, Virginia and flying through a severe thunderstorm. They were flying at 6,000 feet. Aboard the plane was Senator Ernest Lundeen from Minnesota. Several witnesses noted a large flash of lightning immediately prior to the plane nosing over and plunging into an alfalfa field. The four crew members and 21 passengers were all killed.

There were limited investigation tools available in 1940. It was assumed the cause of the accident was wind shear. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) investigated the crash and noted the probable cause was a lightning strike. This was the first time CAB was called into action. Although the US had taken an early lead in aviation, they lost the competitive edge to Europe early on. After entering World War I, the government helped to expand and very limited aviation manufacturing industry. The government supported air mail usage and hoped it would be a model for commercial industries. Early flight was rife with accidents, some due to daredevil behavior and some due to the vagaries of flight itself. By the 1920s, US government officials began to think about some regulation of the industry in order to increase public confidence. The Air Commerce Act became law on May 20, 1926.

This Act created the Aeronautic Branch of the US Department of Commerce and its name was change to the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1934. They began to take over issues with air traffic control. A new law in 1938 brought the CAB into existence under the Civil Aeronautics Authority. They were now responsible for studying the causes of a crash which would hopefully decrease the incidences as new information could help mitigate further misadventures. As flight technology progressed and jets became the norm, another law was passed and the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 produced the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). Also created that year was NASA.

With the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, more changes came along in three phases. The CAB was eliminated in 1984. As the new millennium began, the FAA was facing many challenges. While airline accidents are rare in statistical form, there was a need for greater safety. The volume of flights stressed the system but showed a popularity of the travel method. The September 11, 2001 attacks brought about another safety issue and a new Aviation and Transportation Security Act was passed in response. Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is tasked with making air travel as well as other transportation modes safe against criminal activity.

Air travel is the safest form of travel aside from walking; even then, the chances of being hit by a public bus at 30,000 feet are remarkably slim. I also have no problem with confined spaces. Or heights. What I am afraid of is speed. – Sloane Crosley

The whole infrastructure of air travel was, and is, part of government policy. It is not a natural development of a free economic system – at least not in the way that is claimed. The same is true of the roads, of course.  – Noam Chomsky

Each and every one of the security measures we implement serves an important goal: providing safe and efficient air travel for the millions of people who rely on our aviation system every day. – Janet Napolitano

Lovers of air travel find it exhilarating to hang poised between the illusion of immortality and the fact of death. – Alexander Chase

Also on this day: Who Was He? – In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered.
Try This – In 1900, Coke was first sold in England.
Fairy Tale’s End – In 1997, Princess Diana is killed in a car crash.
Go West – In 1803, Meriwether Lewis began his great Expedition when he left Pittsburgh.

Try This

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2013
 John Pemberton

John Pemberton

August 31, 1900: Charles Candler mixes his syrup with carbonated water for English customers. In 1885 John Pemberton mixed together a concoction he called Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, hoping to mirror the success of a similar cocawine made in France. Cocawine is a mixture of wine and cocaine and Vin Mariana was highly successful on the Continent. Pemberton sold his patent medicine by the glass at a soda fountain in Georgia. Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta found a solid customer base for the curative drink which sold for a nickel.

When Georgia enforced Prohibition in the state, the formula was changed. But the beverage still cured many ailments – allegedly. By 1888 there were three versions of the drink. Asa Griggs Candler bought into Pemberton’s company in 1887 and incorporated it as Coca Cola Company in 1888. Pemberton, suffering from addictions, sold the rights to a consortium of four businessmen and his own son began selling the drink with a third slightly altered recipe. A lot of legal and illegal wrangling ended with Candler incorporating a new company, The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. By 1910, all old records were destroyed leaving an even less clear trail.

Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time on March 12, 1894. An outdoor painted advertisement appeared the same year. The sales in England began in the basement restaurant at a Spence’s department store (a silk merchant and general goods store) in London and spread to include Selfridges and the London Coliseum soda fountains. On August 31, 2000 a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the site of the first sales in Great Britain. Audley Harrison revealed the plaque at 76-79 St. Paul’s Churchyard.

The Coca-Cola Company does worldwide business today. They are based out of Atlanta, Georgia and Muhtar Kent is chairman of the company. In 2007 they brought in $28.857 billion in revenue with a net income of $5.981 billion. There were 90,800 employees as of September 2008. They offer over 2,800 beverage products ranging from regular and diet sparkling drinks to 100% fruit juices, fruit juice drinks, and waters. They also market sport and energy drinks, teas and coffees as well as milk and soy-based beverages.

“The truth is that our way of celebrating the Christmas season does spring from myriad cultures and sources, from St. Nicholas to Coca-Cola advertising campaigns.” – Richard Roeper

“Bob Dole admitted he used cocaine when he was in college, but then Coca-Cola changed its formula.” – Bill Maher

“I tried sniffing Coke once, but the ice cubes got stuck in my nose.” – seen on a tee shirt

“The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life’s most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it.” – Lewis Grizzard

This article first appeared at examiner.com in 2009. Editor’s update: John Pemberton was born in 1831 in Georgia. He fought in the US Civil War and attained the rank of Colonel. In April 1865, he was wounded in the Battle of Columbus, Georgia. He received a slashing wound across his chest. He survived the injury but like many who were wounded, he became addicted to the morphine used to control the pain. Pemberton was also a pharmacist. He began a search for something that would ease the constant pain but also remove the addiction to morphine. There was a public concern for the number of veterans addicted to either morphine or alcohol as well as many suffering from depression or possibly post-traumatic stress disorder. Many women were also diagnosed with “neurasthenia” which was a nice way to say “high-strung”. Pemberton wanted a medicine to combat all these problems and coca wines seemed a possible answer. The rest, as they say, is history.

Also on this day: Who Was He? – In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered.
Fairy Tale’s End – In 1997, Princess Diana is killed in a car crash.
Go West – In 1803, Meriwether Lewis began his great Expedition when he left Pittsburgh.

Go West

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2012

Lewis and Clark Expedition map

August 31, 1803:  Meriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lewis and Clark’s expedition officially ran from 1804-1806 and they were tasked with reaching the Pacific Ocean and finding out exactly what the young nation had purchased from France. Lewis, a US Army Captain, and William Clark were both from Virginia and veterans of the Ohio wars with the natives. They were in search of a path from the East Coast to the West and hopefully would be able to find the always dreamed of Northwest Passage – a water route across North America.

President Jefferson had long held a dream of exploring this vast region between the two shores and with the purchase of the land from France, his dream could come true. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 brought 828,000 square miles of territory under US control. The treaty was signed on April 30 and almost immediately there were plans to explore the region as well as let the Indians living there know the Americans were now in charge. The President chose two men to lead the Corp of Discovery. Lewis left to prepare for their journey making the trip from Pittsburgh (then called the Gateway to the West) to Camp Debois – a distance of about 600 miles – and met up with Clark so they could start planning their trip.

The items brought from Pittsburgh were specially struck silver medals bearing the image of President Jefferson and a message of peace and friendship. These were to be given to natives along the way and were called Indian Peace Medals. They also brought an air rifle along that was powerful enough to kill a deer. This display of military power was also to let those along the route know of American might. Other arms were also brought along as were flags, cartography equipment, gift bundles and medicines. The discovery mission was more than simple discovery.

They left camp to begin their journey on May 14, 1804. The mission suffered one casualty, when Sgt Floyd died of appendicitis three months into the trip. During the arduous mission, Lewis and Clark drew about 140 maps, recorded more than 200 plants and animals that were new to science, and noted at least 72 separate native tribes. They made notes on the regions landscapes as well as astronomy, climate, mineral deposits, weather, and all flora and fauna. They managed to return to St. Louis on September 23, 1806 having covered 7,689 miles.

Left Pittsburgh this day at 11 ock with a party of 11 hands 7 of which are soldiers, a pilot and three young men on trial they having proposed to go with me throughout the voyage.

January 1st 1804 Snow about an inch deep Cloudy to day, a woman Come forward wishing to wash and doe Such things as may be necessary for the Detachmt Several men Come from the Countrey to See us & Shoot with the men.

Monday 14th 1804 a Cloudy morning fixing for a Start Some provisions on examination is found to be wet rain at 9 oClock many of the neighbours Came from the Countrey mail and freemail rained the greater part of the day, I set out at 4 oClock to the head of the first Island in the Missouri 6 Miles and incamped, on the Island rained.

September 23rd 1806 we rose early took the Chief to the publick store & furnished him with Some clothes &c. took an early breckfast with Colo. Hunt and Set out decended to the Mississippi and down that river to St. Louis at which place we arived about 12 oClock. we Suffered the party to fire off their pieces as a Salute to the Town. – all from journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Also on this day:

Who Was He? – In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered.
Try This – In 1900, Coke was first sold in England.
Fairy Tale’s End – In 1997, Princess Diana is killed in a car crash.

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Fairy Tale’s End

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2011

The car in which Diana was riding

August 31, 1997: Diana, Princess of Wales, dies from injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris. Photographers were in pursuit of a photo op as well as Diana and Dodi Fayed. The car was speeding through a tunnel when Henri Paul, the driver, lost control and crashed head on into a pillar. Fayed’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor of the crash.

Diana and Dodi left the Hôtel Ritz (owned by Dodi’s father) and were trying to escape the paparazzi. The drunken driver lost control of the Mercedes-Benz S280 while they were traveling through a tunnel. After striking the pillar, the car spun to a stop. Dodi and Henri were dead at the scene. The bodyguard was conscious but with severe injuries. None of the people in the car were wearing seat belts at the time of impact.

Diana was finally freed of the wreckage when the top of the car was cut away. She was still alive and taken to the nearby Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. She arrived there about 2 AM and was rushed into surgery. The impact of the crash was so implosive that her heart had shifted from a normal left chest position to the right side, tearing major blood vessels. Although an attempt was made to save the princess, she was pronounced dead at 4 AM. Prince Charles and her two sisters came to claim the body and whisked her back to England.

Like many high profile deaths, there are conspiracy theories. Who was Henri Paul? Drunk chauffer? His job was actually as head of security for the Hôtel Ritz. Were his blood samples altered? After repeated testing along with more rigorous tests from other body fluids, it was deemed that Henri was drunk and also taking antidepressants. After claims that the samples did not belong to the Paul, DNA testing proved that the samples were his. Why was he drinking? It was his night off and he was kicking back with a few drinks. Fayed called him back to duty and he responded. Then he was forced to not only drive, but drive like a maniac to keep the ever circling vultures from snapping a few pictures. The case has been called an accident.

“Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?”

“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.”

“When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.” – all from Princess Diana

Also on this day:
Who Was He? – In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered.
Try This – In 1900, Coke was first sold in England.

Fairy Tale’s End

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2010

The car in which Diana was riding

August 31, 1997: Diana, Princess of Wales, dies from injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris. Photographers were in pursuit of a photo op as well as Diana and Dodi Fayed. The car was speeding through a tunnel when Henri Paul, the driver, lost control and crashed head on into a pillar. Fayed’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor of the crash.

Diana and Dodi left the Hôtel Ritz (owned by Dodi’s father) and were trying to escape the paparazzi. The drunken driver lost control of the Mercedes-Benz S280 while they were traveling through a tunnel. After striking the pillar, the car spun to a stop. Dodi and Henri were dead at the scene. The bodyguard was conscious but with severe injuries. None of the people in the car were wearing seat belts at the time of impact.

Diana was finally freed of the wreckage when the top of the car was cut away. She was still alive and taken to the nearby Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. She arrived there about 2 AM and was rushed into surgery. The impact of the crash was so implosive that her heart had shifted from a normal left chest position to the right side, tearing major blood vessels. Although an attempt was made to save the princess, she was pronounced dead at 4 AM. Prince Charles and her two sisters came to claim the body and whisked her back to England.

Like many high profile deaths, there are conspiracy theories. Who was Henri Paul? Drunk chauffer? His job was actually as head of security for the Hôtel Ritz. Were his blood samples altered? After repeated testing along with more rigorous tests from other body fluids, it was deemed that Henri was drunk and also taking antidepressants. After claims that the samples did not belong to the Paul, DNA testing proved that the samples were his. Why was he drinking? It was his night off and he was kicking back with a few drinks. Fayed called him back to duty and he responded. Then he was forced to not only drive, but drive like a maniac to keep the ever circling vultures from snapping a few pictures. The case has been called an accident.

“Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?”

“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.”

“When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.” – all from Princess Diana

Also on this day, in 1900 Coke is first served in England.
Bonus Link: In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols
is brutally murdered.

Who Was He?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 31, 2010

Mary Ann Nichols

August 31, 1888: Mary Ann Nichols is brutally murdered by someone wielding a long sharp knife. Her body was discovered in Bucks Row in the Whitechapel District of London, England. She was the first of five victims of an elusive serial killer. All victims were women who were of “ill repute” and all the bodies were mutilated.

The next victim was Annie Chapman who was killed on September 8 and then Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were murdered on September 30. Finally, Mary Jane Kelly was killed on November 9. The murderer was never found, but his legend remains alive.

Suspected in the slayings were 1) Kosminski – a poor Jew from the area; 2) Montague John Druitt – 31-year-old barrister and teacher who committed suicide in December 1888; 3) Michael Ostrog – 55-year-old Russian-born thief who spent time in many asylums over the years; and 4) Dr. Francis J. Tumblety – 56-year-old American “quack doctor” who left the country in 1888. Other names have been brought forward, including a member of the Royal Family – Prince Edward.

These five murders are part of a larger cluster of attacks. Eleven women were attacked over close to four years in the Whitechapel area. The wounds inflicted on the remaining six victims did not match those of the five listed above and are assumed to have been committed by other person or persons unknown. The brutal murderer of prostitutes was said to have sent a letter to the news and signed it by that most fearful of murderous names – Jack the Ripper.

“Murder is terribly exhausting.” – Albert Camus

“The very emphasis of the commandment: Thou shalt not kill, makes it certain that we are descended from an endlessly long chain of generations of murderers, whose love of murder was in their blood as it is perhaps also in ours.” – Sigmund Freud

“Murder is born of love, and love attains the greatest intensity in murder.” – Octave Mirbeau

“No doubt Jack the Ripper excused himself on the grounds that it was human nature.” – A.A. Milne

“There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” – Camille Paglia

Also on this day, in 1900 Coke is first served in England.
Bonus Link: In  1997, Diana
, Princess of Wales, is killed in a car crash.