This month has been busy in history…..like a pact between opponents to a bomb that ended a war and started a new conflict…..like the eruption that destroyed Pompeii and August was when Rome was sacked by the Germans….
Some of the posts that I wrote about history during the month of August…
Like I stated…August is a bust month for history…..
But wait there is more!
August 1866 was the official end of the American Civil War….
In April 1865, the highest-ranking Confederate general, Robert E Lee, surrendered to his opposing number, Ulysses S Grant. The Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia, had been taken, and the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, was on the run. The American Civil War was won – but it was far from over.
The war came at a terrible human cost. The marvels of the industrial revolution – the railroads, the telegraph and the assembly lines – all contributed to making it the bloodiest war in terms of American lives lost to date.
Speaking of the American Civil War…..this month was bloody in so many ways……think 1863…..and Kansas.
On that fateful August morning, a group of roughly 400 Confederate guerrillas entered the sleeping town. They immediately began to ransack homes, shoot civilians, loot stores, and set fire to buildings (including the prominent Eldridge Hotel, although Quantrill allowed its inhabitants to evacuate safely). One of the first casualties was Reverend Snyder, shot as he was milking his cow outside his home along present-day East 19th Street. Mayor George Collamore, upon hearing the commotion, hid in his family’s well, where he died of smoke inhalation. The rest of his family survived, although they had lost their home and the raiders severely wounded his 18-year-old son.
1940 in August a renegade Communist was assassinated…..Leon Trotsky….
Born in the Ukraine in 1879 and later hailed by one admirer as the greatest Jew since Jesus Christ, Lev Bronstein became famous under another name. From 1902 he called himself Trotsky, adapted from the German word trotz, essentially meaning ‘defiance’, which would prove prophetic. He was a leading figure in the Bolshevik movement under Lenin, after whose death in 1924 he was the most important victim of Joseph Stalin’s insatiable lust for power.
Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1927 and exiled to Turkey in 1929. He and his wife, Natalia Sedova, later moved to France and then to Norway. In December 1936 Trotsky, now 56, and Natalia were put on a freighter to cross the Atlantic to Mexico. There they were warmly welcomed by the Mexican president, the former revolutionary leader Lazaro Cardenas, and taken to live in the Coyoacan area of Mexico City at the home of two other admirers, the painters Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo, with whom Trotsky had an affair. In exile he had continued to work resolutely against Stalinism and his book The Revolution Betrayed was published in Paris in 1937. In it he said that under Stalin the Soviet Union had betrayed socialism and become a totalitarian state.
America’s wars in the Middle East began in 1958 in Lebanon when the US landed Marines ……
Sixty years ago this month, the United States first sent combat troops into the Middle East. The July 1958 Marine landing in Beirut, Lebanon thus began the era of America’s now seemingly endless wars in the region. The 1958 episode has lessons for today.
Backed up by three carrier battle groups, a Marine Corps battalion in full combat gear stormed a beach near Beirut on July 15, 1958. At its peak there were almost 15,000 Marines and Army troops ashore in Lebanon. At the same time, British paratroopers deployed to Amman, Jordan in a coordinated Western intervention intended to prop up friendly governments in the region.
President Dwight David Eisenhower, who avoided sending troops to fight for his eight years in office, sent them to Beirut because of a coup on July 14 in Baghdad. In the 1950s, Iraq was the West’s strongest ally in the Arab world. Ruled by the Hashemite royal family and united in a loose federation with Jordan, Iraq was the only Arab country to join the so called Baghdad Pact that Eisenhower envisioned as the Middle East version of NATO containing the Soviet Union.
Then there is the event that has had far reaching results even to this day…..the 1953 coup led by the CIA to overthrow a popularly elected leader in Iran….
On Aug. 19, 2013, the CIA publicly admitted for the first time its involvement in the 1953 coup against Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
The documents provided details of the CIA’s plan at the time, which was led by senior officer Kermit Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Over the course of four days in August 1953, Roosevelt would orchestrate not one, but two attempts to destabilize the government of Iran, forever changing the relationship between the country and the U.S. In this episode, we go back to retrace what happened in the inaugural episode of NPR’s new history podcast, Throughline.
Just a few of the major historic events happening in the month of August……but let us not forget the biggest event….the patent of the waffle iron in New York without which there would be no Waffle Houses.
Now you know why I say August is a busy month for history.
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