Liveblogging History Feed

Liveblogging World War II: February 2, 1945: Eleanor Roosevelt

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Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

At 12:30 today I attend a luncheon of the Washington Junior Board of Commerce, and at 2:30 I go to the celebration held by the Forestry Service to commemorate their fortieth anniversary. When we think what the Forestry Service has accomplished in the last 40 years, we should all be celebrating, because their work is helping to preserve one of our great national assets. We do not begin to reforest sufficiently anywhere in our country, but year by year we are learning more about trees, their care and their value, and eventually we may discover that each one of us owning any land has a responsibility to the nation to keep some of it in trees. Perhaps I am particularly conscious of this because so much of my husband's land at Hyde Park is tree land. One has to look far ahead when one cultivates trees, but it certainly provides one with a great deal of interest and the few trees about my own small cottage are cared for yearly very meticulously.

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Liveblogging World War II: February 1, 1945: Henry Metelman

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Henry Metelman: World War II Today: Wounded--A Lucky Escape from the Eastern Front:

We were driven before the advancing Russians across the old Polish border, from which three years ago we had set out full of hope to conquer the USSR. During the campaign I had been wounded several times but, luckily, only slightly. And then, it happened again. Not far from the River San and the large town of Przemysl I was hit by a shell fragment, which finally secured me a place on a Red Cross transport back home to Germany.

What a homecoming it was! We had heard, of course, about the Allied air attacks on the German cities. But what we saw from our windows was far beyond what we had expected. It shocked us to the core of our very being. Was this what we had been fighting for in the East for several years? And yet, there was still a hard core amongst us, when we were discussing the horrible spectacle, who could not see the connection between these ashes and what we had done in Russia. Breslau was very bad when we saw it, but no worse than Stalingrad had been.

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Liveblogging World War II: January 31, 2015: The Execution of Pvt. Slovik

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Wikpedia: The execution of Pvt. Slovik:

On this day, Pvt. Eddie Slovik becomes the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion-and the only one who suffered such a fate during World War II.

Pvt. Eddie Slovik was a draftee. Originally classified 4-F because of a prison record (grand theft auto), he was reclassified 1-A when draft standards were lowered to meet growing personnel needs. In January 1944, he was trained to be a rifleman, which was not to his liking, as he hated guns.

In August of the same year, Slovik was shipped to France to fight with the 28th Infantry Division, which had already suffered massive casualties in France and Germany. Slovik was a replacement, a class of soldier not particular respected by officers. As he and a companion were on the way to the front lines, they became lost in the chaos of battle and stumbled upon a Canadian unit that took them in.

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Liveblogging 300 BC: Fall: "Stag Hunt" Mosaic Created by Gnosis

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**Gnosis creates the "Stag Hunt" mosaic in the "House of the Rape of Helen" in Pella, Kingdom of Macedonia:

Wikipedia: Stag Hunt Mosaic:

The Stag Hunt mosaic (c. 300 BCE) by Gnosis is a mosaic from a wealthy home of the late 4th century BC, the so-called 'House of the Abduction of Helen' (or 'House of the Rape of Helen'), in Pella, the capital of the Macedonian Kingdom. It is now in the Pella Archaeological Museum. The emblema is bordered by an intricate floral pattern, which itself is bordered by stylized depictions of waves. The mosaic is a pebble mosaic with stones collected from beaches and riverbanks which were set into cement. As was perhaps often the case, the mosaic does much to reflect styles of painting. The light figures against a darker background may allude to red figure painting. The mosaic also uses shading, known to the Greeks as skiagraphia, in its depictions of the musculature and cloaks of the figures. This along with its use of overlapping figures to create depth renders the image three dimensional.

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Liveblogging World War II: January 29, 1945: Red Army Encircles Breslau

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World War II Today: 29 January 1944: Bitter struggle as Red Army encircles Breslau:

The tide of war had turned decisively against the Germans and they faced defeat after defeat, retreat after retreat. For the captured German soldier, especially if they belonged to the SS, the fate was in many cases even worse. Some accounts refer to them being ‘given a beating’ but others are more explicit. One female Red Army soldier recalled that any captured German soldiers:

were not shot dead – that would have been too easy for them, we stabbed them like pigs with spears, chopped them to pieces. I saw it with my own eyes. I waited for the moment when their eyes bulged with pain.

She felt no mercy ‘They burned my mother and my young sister at the stake in the middle of the village’.

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Liveblogging the American Revolution: January 28, 1777: John Burgoyne

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Wikipedia: John Burgoyne:

On the outbreak of the American war, he was appointed to a command, and arrived in Boston in May 1775.... In 1776, he was at the head of the British reinforcements that sailed up the Saint Lawrence River and relieved Quebec City, which was under siege by the Continental Army. He led forces under General Guy Carleton in the drive that chased the Continental Army from the province of Quebec. Carleton then led the British forces onto Lake Champlain, but was, in Burgoyne's opinion, insufficiently bold when he failed to attempt the capture of Fort Ticonderoga after winning the naval Battle of Valcour Island in October.

Burgoyne, seeking to command a major force, proposed to isolate New England by an invasion from Quebec into New York. This had already been attempted by General Carleton in 1776, although he had stopped short of a full-scale invasion due to the lateness of the season. Carleton was heavily criticized in London for not taking advantage of the American retreat from Quebec, and he was also intensely disliked by Germain. This, combined with rival Henry Clinton's failed attempt to capture Charleston, South Carolina, placed Burgoyne in a good position to get command of the 1777 northern campaign.

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Liveblogging 300 BC: Summer: Rights of Roman Citizens

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Titus Livius: The History of Rome:

During this consulate of Marcus Valerius and Quintus Appulcius, affairs abroad wore a very peaceable aspect. Their losses sustained in war, together with the truce, kept the Etrurians quiet. The Samnites, depressed by the misfortunes of many years, had not yet become dissatisfied with their new alliance. At Rome, also, the carrying away of such multitudes to colonies, rendered the commons tranquil, and lightened their burthens.

But, that things might not be tranquil on all sides, a contention was excited between the principal persons in the commonwealth, patricians on one hand, and plebeians on the other, by the two Ogulnii, Quintus and Cneius, plebeian tribunes, who, seeking every where occasions of criminating the patricians in the hearing of the people, and having found other attempts fruitless, set on foot a proceeding by which they might inflame, not the lowest class of the commons, but their chief men, the plebeians of consular and triumphal rank, to the completion of whose honours nothing was now wanting but the offices of the priesthood, which were not yet laid open to them. They therefore published a proposal for a law, that, whereas there were then four augurs and four pontiffs, and it had been determined that the number of priests should be augmented, the four additional pontiffs and five augurs should all be chosen out of the commons.

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Liveblogging World War I: January 26, 1915: Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace

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Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace, January 26, 1915:

Grandview Jan. 26, 1915

Dear Bess:

I am going to try and send you a Wednesday letter.

I have been chasing to town every day on account of Uncle Harry. He has been almost on the point of cashing in. I can't get him to come home. I took Mamma in yesterday and she couldn't even get him to come. I took her to the Orpheum in the afternoon. She sure enjoyed it. It is a fairly good bill, but if Martin Beck pays Lina Abarbanell two thousand dollars a week he'd better save his money and buy booze. She claims to be the Bernhardt of song. She has the movement all right but not the voice.

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Liveblogging World War II: January 24, 1945: The Red Army races across Poland to the German border

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World War II Today: The Red Army races across Poland to the German border: "

On the 24th January they reached the river Oder, the modern day border between Poland and Germany, they were now only 60 miles from Berlin. There was post war controversy between Soviet Generals as to whether they should have pushed on to Berlin at this point and smashed the Germans while they were in disarray. There were still very substantial German formations on their flanks, however, which led to the order to halt and consolidate.

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Liveblogging 300 BC: Spring: Founding of Antioch on the Orontes

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Wikipedia: Antioch:

Antioch on the Orontes.... Two routes from the Mediterranean, lying through the Orontes gorge and the Beilan Pass, converge in the plain of the Antioch Lake (Balük Geut or El Bahr) and are met there by the road from the Amanian Gate (Baghche Pass) and western Commagene, which descends the valley of the Karasu River to the Afrin River, the roads from eastern Commagene and the Euphratean crossings at Samosata (Samsat) and Apamea Zeugma (Birejik), which descend the valleys of the Afrin and the Quweiq rivers, and the road from the Euphratean ford at Thapsacus, which skirts the fringe of the Syrian steppe. A single route proceeds south in the Orontes valley.

After Alexander's death in 323 BC, his generals divided up the territory he had conquered. Seleukos I Nikator won the territory of Syria, and he proceeded to found four 'sister cities' in northwestern Syria, one of which was Antioch, a city named, according to Suda, after his son Antiochus.... An eagle... had been given a piece of sacrificial meat and the city was founded on the site to which the eagle carried the offering.... Antioch soon rose above Seleukia Pieria to become the Syrian capital...


Liveblogging World War II: January 22, 1945: Auschwitz

Primo Levi: Survivial in Auschwitz:

If it is courageous to face a grave danger with a light heart, Charles and I were courageous that morning. We extended our explorations to the SS camp, immediately outside the electric wire-fence. The camp guards must have left in a great hurry.

On the tables we found plates half-full of a by-now frozen soup which we devoured with an intense pleasure, mugs full of beer, transformed into a yellowish ice, a chess board with an unfinished game. In the dormitories, piles of valuable things.

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Liveblogging World War I: January 19, 1915: First Air Raid on Britain

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History.com: First air raid on Britain:

During World War I, Britain suffers its first casualties from an air attack when two German zeppelins drop bombs on Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn on the eastern coast of England.

The zeppelin, a motor-driven rigid airship, was developed by German inventor Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin in 1900. Although a French inventor had built a power-driven airship several decades before, the zeppelin's rigid dirigible, with its steel framework, was by far the largest airship ever constructed. However, in the case of the zeppelin, size was exchanged for safety, as the heavy steel-framed airships were vulnerable to explosion because they had to be lifted by highly flammable hydrogen gas instead of non-flammable helium gas.

In January 1915, Germany employed three zeppelins, the L.3, the L.4, and the L.6, in a two-day bombing mission against Britain. The L.6 turned back after encountering mechanical problems, but the other two zeppelins succeeded in dropping their bombs on English coastal towns.


Liveblogging World War II: January 18, 1945: The Death Marches from the Camps Begin

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United States Holocaust Museum: Death Marches:

Near the end of the war, when Germany's military force was collapsing, the Allied armies closed in on the Nazi concentration camps. The Soviets approached from the east, and the British, French, and Americans from the west. The Germans began frantically to move the prisoners out of the camps near the front and take them to be used as forced laborers in camps inside Germany. Prisoners were first taken by train and then by foot on 'death marches,' as they became known.

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Liveblogging 300 BC: Winter: Pyrrhus in Alexandria

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Plutarch: Life of Pyrrhus:

In the great battle which all the kings fought at Ipsus Pyrrhus was present, and took part with Demetrius, though still a stripling. He routed the enemy opposed to him, and made a brilliant display of valour among the combatants. Moreover, though Demetrius lost the day, Pyrrhus did not abandon him, but kept guard over his cities in Greece which were entrusted to him, and when Demetrius made peace with Ptolemy, sailed to Egypt as hostage for him.

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Liveblogging World War II: January 16, 1945: Hitler Descends into His Bunker

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This Day in History: Hitler descends into his bunker:

On this day, Adolf Hitler takes to his underground bunker, where he remains for 105 days until he commits suicide.

Hitler retired to his bunker after deciding to remain in Berlin for the last great siege of the war. Fifty-five feet under the chancellery (Hitler's headquarters as chancellor), the shelter contained 18 small rooms and was fully self-sufficient, with its own water and electrical supply. He left only rarely (once to decorate a squadron of Hitler Youth) and spent most of his time micromanaging what was left of German defenses and entertaining Nazi colleagues like Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Constantly at his side during this time were his companion, Eva Braun, and his Alsatian, Blondi.

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