Thursday, December 24, 2009

History in the News

Celebrating Stalin
He is arguably one of the most evil individuals in history but he is still has his supporters. The Boston Globe has another take on the issue.

How the Left Turned on Israel
The left has a strong anti-semitic history as well as a tendency to support totalitarianism. The fact that it has turned against the a Democracy in the Middle East is therefore not surprising.

Japan and China continue talks on World War II History
Their view of events couldn't be more polarized but at least they are talking.

Looking at the Japanese Meiji Period
During this period Japan transformed herself into a power. The philosophy inherent in the change is therefore worth looking at.

Auschwitz sign recovered

This has been an utterly disgraceful episode but at least the sign has been recovered

The Nazi gang that ordered the theft of the infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign from the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland planned to sell it to fund violent attacks against the Swedish Prime Minister and Parliament, it was claimed today.

A spokesman for the Swedish security police confirmed that the authorities were taking seriously a threat by a militant Nazi group to disrupt national elections next year.

"We are aware of the information about the alleged attack plans," said Patrik Peter, the security police spokesman.

We have taken actions. We view this seriously.”

The wrought-iron sign, whose inscription – translated as 'Work sets you free' – was viewed by hundreds of thousands of Jews as they entered the Nazi death camp where they met their deaths during the Second World War. It was stolen from the camp – now a museum – last Friday, provoking worldwide expressions of dismay and revulsion.

For the rest go to the Source:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

US Civil War Some Facts

1. It was the bloodiest war in American history. 620,000 people died or 2% of the population.
2. Eleven states withdrew from the Union to form the confederacy. They were:
South Carolina (first to secede), Mississipi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas - first round - followed by Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.
3. First Battle of the War - Attack on Fort Sumter (April 1861)
4. Strength of the Union forces: 2.1 million. Strength of the Confederacy troops: 1.1 milion.
5. Number of Union dead: 360,000. Number of Confederacy dead: 260,000. On both sides about a third of these deaths were a direct result of KIA (Killed in Action).
6. Key Union Generals: Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George Meade, Winfield Scott, Joseph Hooker, George McClellan, John Pope, William Rosecrans and Ambrose Burnside.
7. Length of the War - Almost 4 Years - April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865.
8. Last battle - Battle of Palmito Ranch was actually fought after the war ended in May 1865.
9. States loyal to the Union: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachussets, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.
Nevada and West Virginia also joined the Union.
10. Territories on the Union side included: Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mesxico, Utah and Washington.
11. Major Confederate Battle Wins: Chickamauga, Chancellorsville, First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), Fredericksburg, Second Battle of Bull Run (Virginia).
12. Inconclusive Battles: Spotsylvania, Antietam and Wilderness.
13. Major Union Battle Wins: Gettysburg, Stones River, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Fort Donelson.
14. Three Battles with the biggest number of casulaties: Gettysburg (51,112), Chickamauga (34,624) and Chancellorsville(30,099).
15. State where the most number of battles were fought: Virginia
16. Place where the South surrended (under Robert E. Lee) - Appomattox Courthouse (1865)
17. Key Generals of the Confederacy: Robert E.Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Braxton Bragg. James Longstreet, John Hood, John Pemberton and Pierre Beauregard.
18. At the Battle of Shiloh - more Americans fell than in all previous wars combined.
19. Over 3500 Native americans fought in the war for the Union. Just less than a third were killed.
20. Disease killed twice as many men as did actually battle wounds.
21. The US Congress issued the first ever paper currency - Greenbacks.
22. African Americans made up 1% of the northern population but supplied 10% of the Union's troops.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Presidential Facts

First President: George Washington
Second President: John Adams
President involved in the Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson
President considered Father of the Constitution: James Madison
Father and Son Presidents: John Adams + John Quincy Adam, George H. W. Bush + George W. Bush
Grandfather and Grandson Presidents: William Harrison and Benjamin Harrison
Only President with two non-consecutive terms: Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President of the US).
First Democratic Party President: Thomas Jefferson (although technically he was a Democratic-Republican). Andrew Jackson was the first to call himself a pure Democrat.
First Republican President: Abraham Lincoln
Presidents who died in office of natural causes: William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren Harding and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Presidents who were assassinated while in office: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy.
Presidents who resigned: Richard Nixon
Shortest term in office: William Harrison (31 days)
Number of Presidents sworn into office: 43
Total number of Presidents: 44
Last Federalist President: John Adams
Last Whig President: Millard Fillmore
Impeached Presidents: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton
Longest Serving President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945 – Four Terms)
Median age of accession: 54 years and 11 months
Youngest President to take office: Theodore Roosevelt (42 years, 322 days)
Youngest Elected President: John F. Kennedy (43 years, 236 days)
Oldest President to take office: Ronald Reagan (69 years, 349 days)
President with the longest lifespan: Gerald Ford (93 years, 165 days)
Oldest Living President: George H. W. Bush (85 years +)
Most Common profession of US Presidents: Lawyer (20 altogether)
Only Bachelor President: James Buchanan
Only Engineering President: Herbert Hoover
Presidents who were Generals (or Brigadier Generals): George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Dwight Eisenhower
Presidents who taught school: James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Lyndon Johnson
Presidents with a Navy background: Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush (navy pilot – youngest during WWII – age 19)
Only Actor President: Ronald Reagan. President of Screen Actors Guild.
Presidents in the clothing industry: Andrew Johnson (tailor) and Harry Truman (owned a hat store)
President who was an architect: Thomas Jefferson
President who became chief Justice of the Supreme Court: William Howard Taft
Post World War II Presidents with no military experience: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama
President with the Most Children: John Tyler (15 children – 8 with his first wife and 7 with his second wife).
President who used the veto the most: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (635 vetoes – the next is Grover Cleveland with 584, followed by Harry Truman with 250). Grover Cleveland holds the record for the most vetoes in a single session – 414.
Presidents who used the veto the least: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore and James Garfield. All of these presidents never used the veto. George W. Bush never used the veto once in his first term
President who had the greatest percentage of vetoes overridden: George W. Bush (33%). The president with the greatest number of overrides by Congress though is Andrew Johnson with 15.
Only Child born in the White House: Esther Cleveland – daughter of Grover Cleveland (born September 9th, 1893).
Three Presidents who married in office: John Tyler, Woodrow Wilson and Grover Cleveland
Only President to serve without being elected to the presidency or vice presidency: Gerald Ford
Only President to Finish Third in a Second Term Election: William Taft. He ran third behind Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) and Theodore Roosevelt (Bull Moose) in 1912.
President during Mexican-American War: James Polk
President during Spanish-American War: William McKinley
President during WWI: Woodrow Wilson
President during WWII: Franklin Roosevelt
Presidents during Korean War: Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower
Presidents during Vietnam War: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon
President during First Gulf War: George H.W. Bush
President during Second Gulf War: George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama
President elected to House of Representatives after term: John Quincy Adams (was also the defence lawyer in Amistad Case).
President elected to Senate after term: Andrew Johnson
President during Stock Market Crash (1929): Herbert Hoover
Four Presidents who won the Electoral College Vote but not the popular vote – (winner of popular vote is shown alongside in brackets):
John Quincy Adams (Andrew Jackson) in 1824
Rutherford Hayes (Samuel Tilden) in 1876
Benjamin Harrison (Grover Cleveland) in 1888
George W. Bush (Al Gore) in 2000.
President at the time of Alaska purchase from Russia: Andrew Johnson
President at the time of Louisiana purchase from France: Thomas Jefferson
Only President not to represent a political party: George Washington
First president to reside in the White House: John Adams
Two presidents who died on the same day: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (1826 – 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)
Shortest President: James Madison 5ft 4 inches
First President born in a log cabin: Andrew Jackson (Old Hickory). The last president was James Garfield.
First President to give a speech on TV: Harry Truman

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Canadian History - Quick Facts

I prepared this for my Reach for the Top Students. Others may find it useful.

First PM: John A. Macdonald (Conservative)
Second PM: Alexander Mackenzie (Liberal)
Prime Minister during Boer War: Wilfred Laurier (Liberal)
First francophone PM: Wilfred Laurier
PM during WWI: Robert Borden (Conservative/Unionist)
Longest serving PM: William Lyon Mackenzie King (22 years in total)
PM during WWII: William Lyon Mackenzie King (Liberal)
PM to win Nobel Peace Prize: Lester Pearson (Liberal – UN peacekeeping)
Youngest Canadian PM: Joe Clark (age 39) (Progressive Conservative)
Total Number of Canadian Prime Ministers: 22
First and only Female PM: Kim Campbell (Progressive Conservative -1993)
PM during Great Depression: Richard Bennett of Bennett Buggy Fame.
Oldest Canadian PM: Charles Tupper (Age 74)

Issues Associated with John A. MacDonald: Creation of North-West Mounted Police, Red River Rebellion, Hanging of Louis Riel, North-West Rebellion, Pacific Scandal, Confederation of British Colombia, National Policy (Economics)

Issues Associated with Alexander Mackenzie: Pacific Scandal, Creation of the Supreme Court, Creator of Post of Auditor-General, Creation of Royal Military College

Main Issue Associated with PM’s Thompson, Bowell, Tupper (all Torys):Manitoba School Question

Issues Associated with Wilfred Laurier: Manitoba School Question, Boer War, Confederation of Alberta and Saskatchwan, Creation of Royal Canadian Navy, Reciprocity with the US. Laurier was PM at the turn of the century. He said that the 20th century belongs to Canada.

Issues Associated with Robert BordenL: WWI , Conscription Crisis (1917), Introduction of Income Tax Act, Military Wserfvice Act, Winnipeg General Strike, Creation of National Research Council, Nickle Resolution.

Issues associated with Mackenzie King: Creation of CBC, Nationalization of Bank of Canada, Trans-Canada Airlines, WWII

Issues associated with Louis St. Laurent (Liberal) (1948-1957): NATO and the UN, Suez Crisis, London Declaration, Newfoundland Act, Equalization, Trans-Canada Highway, Trans-Canada-Pipeline.

Issues Associated with John Diefenbaker (Progressive Conservative) (1957-1963): Avro Arrow cancellation, Cuban missile crisis, Canadian Bill of Rights

Issues Associated with Lester Pearson (1963-1968): Introduction of Universal Healthcare, Creation of a New Canadian Flag, Canada student loans, Canada Pension Plan, Creation of Canadian Forces, Auto Pact, Bormarc missile program. No to troops in Vietnam.

Issues associated with Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Liberal) (1968-1979), (1980-1984): Just Society, October Crisis (FLQ) , War Measures Act, Official Languages Act, Repatriation of the Constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Access to Information Act, 1980 Referendum, Western alienation, National Energy Program (NEP)

Issues Associated with John Turner (Liberal) (1984): Trudeau patronage appointments

Issues Associated with Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative) (1984-1993): Cancellation of NEP, Meech Lake Accord, Charlettown Accord, Canada-US Free Trade, NAFTA, GST, First Gulf War, Environmental Protection Act, Oka Crisis, Petro-Canada Privatization, Airbus Affair (Karl-Heinz Schreiber)

Issues Associated with Kim Campbell (Progressive Conservative)(1993): Somalia debacle.

Issues Associated with Jean Chretien (Liberal) (1993-2003):
Red Book (Economics), HST, Clarity Act, Kosovo War, Red River Flood, Creation of Nunavut Territory, Youth Criminal Justice Act, Helicopter Crisis, Opposition to invasion of Iraq, Invasion of Afghanistan, Shawinigan handshake, APEC Summit Crisis, 1995 Referendum.

Issues Associated with Paul Martin (Liberal) (2003-2006): Sponsorship Inquiry, Gomery Inquiry, Civil Marriage Act, Kelowna Accord, Rejection of US Anti-Missile Treaty, Formation of G20, Atlantic Accord.

Issues Associated with Stephen Harper (Conservative) (2006-)
GST reduction, Apology for Chinese Head Tax, Afghan Mission Extension, Quebecois nation motion, Veteran’s Bill of Rights, Residential Schools Apology, Federal Accountability Act.

A Few Important Figures in Canadian Politics (who were not PMs)

Ed Broadbent – Influential former NDP Federal Leader. Human Rights Champion.
George Etienne Cartier – Leading 19th century francophone politician at the time of Confederation. (Minister of Defence in Macdonald government).
Tommy Douglas – Saskatchewan Premier. Father of Universal Healthcare. Voted Greatest Canadian ion a recent poll.
Maurice Duplessis – Anti-Communist Premier of Quebec. Led the Union Nationale Party. Opposed military conscription and Canada’s role in WWII. Padlock Laws.
Frank McKenna – Highly acclaimed former New Brunswick Premier. Former Canadian Ambassador to the US.
Preston Manning – Former Head of the Reform Party. Son of Ernest Manning. Opponent of Brian Mulroney.
Joseph Papineau – Influential francophone politician in Lower Canada. Championed Jewish citizen rights.
Louis-Joseph Papineau – Son of Joseph Papineau. Leader of Patriotes. Fled to the US. Involved in 1837 Rebellion against the British.
Robert Stanfield – Former Progressive Conservative Party leader and opponent of Pierre Trudea. Served as premier of Nova Scotia as well.
Joey Smallwood – Premier of Newfoundland. Brought Province into Confederation in 1949.