President Lyndon B. Johnson holds his dog “Her” by the ears as his other dog “Him” looks on, the White House lawns; April 27, 1964
Him and Her, the most well known of the President Johnson’s dogs, were registered beagles born on June 27, 1963. The President frequently played with the dogs and was often photographed with them. In 1964, President Johnson raised the ire of many when he lifted Him by his ears while greeting a group on the White House lawn.
Her died at the White House in November 1964, after she swallowed a stone. Him died in June 1966, when he was hit by a car while chasing a squirrel on the White House. (Source)
Funeral ceremony of Jefferson Davis, New Orleans, outside City Hall on St. Charles Avenue; ca. 1889.
US Marine raising the Confederate battle flag after the Battle of Okinawa; June 22nd, 1945.
Once the castle had been taken, Dusenberg took off his helmet and removed a flag he had been carrying for just such a special occasion. He raised the flag at the highest point of the castle and let loose with a rebel yell. The flag waving overhead was not the Stars and Stripes, but the Confederate Stars and Bars. Most of the Marines joined in the yell, but a disapproving New Englander supposedly remarked, “What does he want now? Should we sing ‘Dixie?'”
MG Andrew Bruce, the commanding general of the 77th Division, protested to the 10th Army that the Marines had stolen his prize. But LTG Buckner only mildly chided MajGen del Valle saying, “How can I be sore at him? My father fought under that flag!”
LTG Buckner’s father was the Confederate BG Buckner who had surrendered Fort Donelson to then-BG Ulysses S. Grant in 1862.
*Well, if I ever go to war I’ll bring the flag of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I’ll die waving that flag!
A Japanese cherry tree hacked down with the words “To hell with those Japanese” carved into it three days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.; December 10th, 1941.
“In 1912 Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees to the United States as a gift of friendship. First Lady Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin.”
I guess whoever felled the tree knew the symbolism.
The rarely seen back of the Hoover Dam before it filled with water; ca. 1936.
And here’s the view from the other side:
There were 112 deaths associated with the construction of the dam. Included in that total was J. G. Tierney, a surveyor who drowned on December 20, 1922, while looking for an ideal spot for the dam. He is generally counted as the first man to die in the construction of Hoover Dam. His son, Patrick W. Tierney, was the last man to die working on the dam’s construction, 13 years to the day later.
*Here’s an actual aerial photo from 1950:
Who won the War of 1812?
Officially, the US went to war due to the British not respecting US citizenship when pressing sailors into service in the Royal Navy. The British claimed that any British subject was eligible for impressment (ie forced conscription) and that any man born a British subject continued to be a British subject. This included a sizable portion of the US population of the time, as many had been born before the peace treaty of 1782 and thus theoretically had been born as British subjects. Emigres were also subject to this treatment, and there were occasions where Royal Navy officers did not give a damn and just impressed American citizens who had never been British subjects.
Unofficially, the war hawks wanted to see an annexation of British North America (Canada). [The subject was openly debated in the US before the war. Jefferson claimed the conquest of Quebec was “a mere matter of marching” while Clay openly said that militiamen from Kentucky on their own could capture Upper Canada. Major General Brock certainly knew the war was coming, prepared accordingly and knew the US would invade Canada. In fact, his intelligence was so good that he got news of the war before the US troops across the border, something which he used for a surprise attack.]
The US invasions of Canada failed, the British hunted down or blockaded the US navy (a few frigates managed to slip out and the USS Constitution had some spectacular victories) and blockaded the US East Coast, preventing trade and causing widespread discontent, especially in the maritime-dependent New England states, who seriously started to discuss secession from the US.
The peace treaty at Ghent 1814 did not include any gains for the US – at least not officially. The treaty included no provision that the Royal Navy was to respect US citizenship, however, the end of the Napoleonic War had led the British to stop impressment from foreign vessels anyway, so the goal was achieved, king of.
British North America remained in British hands, and eventually became Canada, independent from the US.
The British war goals were to get the US to stop fighting them, without giving anything away, as they had bigger problems back home with Napoleon running rampant all over Europe, in which they succeeded.
The US war goals, to force the British to accept US citizenship as immunity to impressment was achieved, although not officially, while Canada remained unconquered.
While the US did not lose territory, I’d say they lost the war as they were unable to achieve the goals they went to war over. The British, while not gaining anything, did achieve their war goal.
So, it is either a draw (neither side lost anything) or a British victory (as they achieved their war goals and the US did not).
What is Fascism? (…from the realm of psychology)
It’s hard to define fascist political opinion or fascist ideology because it was, and is, such an un-ideological, anti-rational movement. That’s because, at heart, fascism is an emotional movement. If you look at the famous fascist manifestos, they’re not full of policy prescriptions: they’re an airing of grievances.
Dr. Robert Altemeyer has surveyed huge numbers of people, and other researchers have followed up on his work by cross-checking his surveys against neuro-psychology, and they’ve concluded that right-wing authoritarianism, or fascism, is a psychological phenomenon, driven by three things:
- Fear of filth and impurity
- Fear of change from “ancient tradition”
- Obsession with unambiguously knowing one’s place in any hierarchy
Neurophysiologists who’ve studied the brains of people who self-identify as far-right or fascist have argued that you can simplify the first two points: a fascist is someone who has an exaggerated emotional reaction of disgust when confronted with the possibility of anything “clean” coming in contact with anything “unclean.” Hence the fascist obsession with the word “purity:” ethnic purity, religious purity, artistic purity, national purity, sexual purity, cultural purity, etc.
There’s an old saying: “If you put one drop of water in 5000 gallons of sewage, you have 5000 gallons of sewage. If you put one drop of sewage in 5000 gallons of water, you have 5000 gallons of sewage.” It’s not actually literally true, not universally, anyway; that reaction to “even one drop” of impurity is one of the two impulses that drives some people into fascism.
The other one is hierarchy. A fascist is someone who believes that no two people anywhere ever are equal, let alone any more people than that, and that anybody who says otherwise is sneakily trying to trick you so they can get power over you. A fascist is someone who wants to know who are the (many) people who have to obey them and who are the (few) people they have to obey, and they want that as unambiguous as possible.
And implicit in that second point is militarist imperialism. First of all, there’s an obsessive love of military life and military rank, because the military teaches people to live in and trust an unambiguous hierarchy. The military is also the instrument that settles, among nations, which nations have to obey which other nations.
“One of the 1.7 million Germans killed during the Great War”; ca.1917
The way they searched for dead bodies following the First World War was seriously revolting. A Company of Soldiers would be deployed in Line abreast, armed with 6 foot long metal spikes. They would then observe the ground to their front, anywhere the vegetation looked particularly green and lively, they would stab the spike into the ground as deep as possible, then rip it out and sniff the end. If it smelled of decomposing flesh, they dug.
And sometimes they didn’t even do THAT. I remember reading an officer’s account of experiencing a heavy barrage. He mentions entering a dugout at the beginning of the barrage and noticing the heavily decomposed body of a French soldier, in the old-style uniform (red pantaloons), sticking out of the side of the trench. After a couple of hours, he emerged to find the decomposed body of a German soldier in the same place. The shells had churned up the ground, re-burying the French soldier and bringing up the German.
US Marines watch F4U Corsairs drop napalm on Chinese positions near the Chosin Reservoir; December 26th, 1950
There is a great documentary called “Chosin”. It’s on Netflix and has a lot of interviews with survivors that are unbelievable.
One that has stuck with me was the man who was wounded, then the truck carrying him to an aid station was captured by the Chinese/North Koreans. They set the truck on fire to kill the wounded, but this guy managed to get out only to be shot in the head. He survived that, crawled down a trench only to be discovered by a chinese patrol who tried to beat him to death with their rifles. Survived that too and almost died of hypothermia before finally being discovered by a American patrol. It really gives you a sense of how horrendous that campaign really was…
Here’s the trailer:
Children playing with stacks of hyper-inflated currency in the Weimar Republic; ca. 1922
More information on that period and its effects here. This is often cited as one of the reasons that Hitler rose to power.
(It’s also why we used the tactic of the Marshall Plan after WWII.)
WWII Normandy Landings. Omaha Beach; June 6th, 1944.
I’ve always loved this picture. It’s so hard to imagine what was going through these GIs’ minds as they pushed forward against German fire. The distance between the cliffs and the Higgins boat really shows the enormity of what was accomplished that day.
Ham the chimpanzee photographed while in orbit; ca. 1961
Ham was trained to work with operant conditioning, using a system that would send electric shocks to his feet when he made a mistake and reward him with a banana pellet if he did well.
During the flight, this system went haywire and sent electric shocks even though he was doing a great job at fullfilling his tasks. He was also exposed to almost 15 g’s of acceleration rather than the predicted 11g. Finally, the cabin lost pressure during flight, and reentry damaged the bottom of the craft which started taking in water after landing.
After his historical flight, Ham clearly wanted nothing to do with space anymore and started showing symptoms similar to PTSD. He was thus allowed to retire.
A soldier stands alone during the Battle of Passchendaele; ca.1917
When I was in 8th grade, my English teacher asked everyone in the class to come up with parts of a story, a character’s name, a setting, and something else which I can’t remember. Anyway, I picked some generic name, but my setting was “3rd Ypres, Passchendaele 1917.” The teacher then split each of the items up, put them in a hat, and had people pick from this random assortment to put together a story. I still remember the look on the one girl’s face who had to try to figure out what to do with my setting…
Aerial photos of the village of Passchendaele, Belgium, before and after the Third Battle of Ypres, 1917:
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!– An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.– Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,– My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
-Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
Mother hides her face in shame after putting her children up for sale in Chicago; ca.1948.
This picture was taken August 4, 1948, and published in a Chicago newspaper. After the picture appeared in papers throughout the US, offers of jobs, homes and financial assistance poured in. The mother, Lucille Chalifoux, was shielding her eyes from the camera, not sobbing as I first thought, according to the newspaper reports from the time, but then how do we really know. She was 24, married to an unemployed man 16 years older, and pregnant with her fifth child in six years at the time of the photo. Who’s to judge her true feelings?
What Happened Next
No one knows how long the sign stood in the yard. Apparently shortly thereafter the father abandoned the family, and records show he had a criminal record. Lucille went on governmental assistance. A fifth child, David, was born in 1949. The story line is not complete, but David was either removed from the home or relinquished in July 1950. He was covered in bed bug bites and in rough shape. He was adopted by a loving by strict home and ran away at 16, spent 20 years in the military, and has been a truck driver ever since. Rae says that she was “sold for $2 [in Aug. 1950] so her mother could have bingo money and because the man her mother was dating did not want anything to do with the children.” Milton was standing nearby crying, so the family took him too. Sadly, their new father was horribly abusive. Rae ran away at 17. Milton was removed from the home due to abuse (unclear at what age) and eventually ended up in a mental hospital diagnosed with “schizophrenia and having fits of rage”. He was released in 1967 at age 23. He eventually married, moved to Arizona, and is now divorced. No one knows what happened to Lana, other than she died of cancer in 1998. SueEllen was adopted, but I’ve not been able to find out any additional information other than she had two sons. She told her children that she was sold by her mother.
What The Kids Have To Say
Pictures tell a story, and this picture tells a mighty sad story– a story that left a lasting impact. The scars run deep… something always worth remembering when we speak of adoption dissolutions and disruptions. SueEllen: Dying of lung disease said, “[My mother] needs to be in hell burning.” Milton: “My birth mother, she never did love me. She didn’t apologize for selling me. She hated me so much that she didn’t care.” David: “[Our mother] got rid of all us children, married someone else, had four more daughters. She kept them. She didn’t keep us. … We’re all human beings. We all make mistakes. She could’ve been thinking about the children. Didn’t want them to die.”
American medic helping German soldier; France, 1944.
Pretty much by the end of World War II, most people fighting for Germany in Berlin were part of the Hitler Youth and therefore under 18. Lots of stories came back from soldiers that saw teenage girls manning artillery cannons and 12 year old boys firing at Russian soldiers.
It’s really shocking when you realize that these people aren’t always grown men; in fact, lots of the time it’s quite the opposite.
“16 years old when I went to the war,
To fight for a land fit for heroes,
God on my side, and a gun in my hand,
Chasing my days down to zero,
And I marched and I fought and I bled and I died,
And I never did get any older,
But I knew at the time that a year in the line,
Is a long enough life for a soldier.”
– Motorhead – 1916 (Which is a surprisingly sad song!)
B-57B observing a nuclear test during Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll; ca. July 12th 1958
Here is a video of the shot. It was the fifth largest nuclear shot by the US ever, at 9.3 megatons. It really does look like a sunrise/set (only at 1000x speed).
(I recently read Command and Control, would recommend it, covers a lot of the insanity regarding nuclear weapons. Apparently, up until the 80’s they were surprisingly easy to to set off, none of the PAL stuff you see in movies these days. Right after World War Twi they were still trying to figure out how to work nuclear war into scenario planning, it leads to a lot of crazy phrases like “limited nuclear war” or “progressive escalation” in terms of how to use the weapons not just against the soviets but also against weaker world powers. I think the USA did get a bit of a God complex for a bit, but once the cold war started it balanced it out to a more muted insanity and paranoia as they realized that just about any major power could drop a nuke and it might just set off the rest of the world, intentional or not…)
Krupp K5, a WWII German rail gun; ca. 1944.
The Krupp K5 was a rail gun, in that it was transported by rail and was mounted on a carriage that rode on several sets of parallel, curved track in order to train the gun. It did not use an electromagnetically-powered carriage riding between two rails to launch its projectile.
Several other proposals were made to modify or create new models of the K5 which never saw production. In particular, there were plans for a model which could leave the railway by use of specially modified Tiger II tank chassis which would support the mounting box in much the same manner as the railway weapon’s two bogies. This project was ended by the defeat of Germany. (Source)
Take a very close look at this picture of the K5. at the end of the barrel you can see groves on the inside of the barrel. These grooves are 8cm deep and go all the way down the length of the barrel in a helical pattern like this. This is called rifling.
When the gun fires, the ‘bullet’ is put under tremendous forces, and as a result is compressed lengthwise. The compression also pushes parts of the bullet into the groves, and as the bullet travels down the barrel, it locks onto the groves, causing it to spin. This spinning is important as it keeps the bullet stable and pointing forward for the entire duration of it’s flight, taking advantage of gyroscopic stability.
Russian tanker M. Smirnov; ca. 1943.
He and other members of the crew died inside their tank when it was burned by German soldiers on January 21, 1943.
According to the recommendation in a fight on 21-01-1943 the crew fearlessly annihilated manpower and machines of the enemy. In total 5 bunkers with officers and up to 120 soldiers, 5 enemy tanks, 24 (armored) vehicles, 19 artillery pieces and mortars and 15 machine gun positions in a 5-hours constant battle until it was hit by a shell and lost it’s maneuvering ability. Even after it was stranded, the tank fired all the ammunition it had. The Germans surrounded the tank and poured gasoline over the tank, demanding the crew to surrender. The crew refused and were burned alive. (Source)
Nagasaki, 20 minutes after the atomic bombing in 1945.
I can’t even imagine what I would feel if I saw this over my city, especially if this was something no one had had seen before. Just thing how unbelievable it must have been to the average person that this was one bomb! Seriously, go look outside right now and imagine half the sky covered by this giant dark mushroom cloud where a city used to lay.