Today in History with a Twist: November 18,2013
Into the Quagmire!
1961 - President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam. Filling the void after the French withdrawal in 1954 the United States started to become more deeply involved in Vietnam. The U.S. sided with the South Vietnamese government in their refusal to hold a popular election on whether or not the two Vietnams should be unified as had been mandated by the treaty that the French-Indochina War. The Vietminh uprising began in 1958 and the United States sent a handful of advisors and some military aid. President Eisenhower's policy was that Laos would be the front line against the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia. When President Kennedy took office he shifted away from Laos to Vietnam as where the stand should be made. As the war escalated Kennedy realized that the South Vietnamese Army could not win the war on its own and in 1962 would formally deploy combat troops. - Here we go!
Well the French may have given us Vietnam they also indirectly gave us Vichyssoise. It’s National Vichyssoise Day! This holiday celebrates vichyssoise - a delicious thick, French-style soup made from potatoes, cream, chicken stock, leeks, and onions. Traditionally served chilled, vichyssoise (pronounced “vee shee swahzz”) has a French name but was invented in America. It was created in 1917 by a French chef named Louis Diat when he was working at the Ritz-Carlton in New York. He named the dish after “Vichy,” a town near to where he grew up. (Punchbowl.com)
1803 - The French lost another colony when Haitian Revolutionaries won the Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution. The Haitian victory led to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere. The victory would have repercussions throughout the world. In the United States it would lead to increased opposition to the freeing of slaves due to the fear of a similar uprising. The loss would also play a major role in Napoleon's decision to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States. - Democracy has had a rough time in Haiti with two thirds of their Presidents not completing there terms, most thrown out in coups. Of that number a third died in office, most by unnatural causes.
1978 - Horror in Jonestown, Guyana, where Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple cult to a mass murder-suicide that claimed 909 in Jonestown, including over 270 children, and an additional 9 with the murder of Congressman Leo J. Ryan and his investigative party. - I known someone who had to go down and 'clean' up the bodies, not something he brags about.
1421 - A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike in the Netherlands breaks, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people. This event will be known as Sint-Elisabethsvloed. Most of the flooded areas remain flooded today! One of the silver linings in the disaster was that the flood separated the cities of Geertruidenberg and Dordrecht which had previously fought against each other during the Hook and Cod (civil) wars. - Wonder if the seawall had passed the government safety inspection?
1307 - Is he real? According to legend William Tell shoots an apple off his son's head and started a revolution against tyranny on this date. Many Swiss believe the legend to be true despite there being no records of anyone involved in the incident. I'm sure this argument has started many a bar fight.
1883 - American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times. - Now we can tell when they are not running on Schedule.
1774 - Wilhelmine of Prussia - First wife of King William I of the Netherlands and so the first Queen of the Netherlands. (d. 1837) - Arranged marriage, between cousins, that actually worked!
1861 - Dorothy Dix - American journalist (d. 1951) - Dorothy Dix was the pseudonym of U.S. journalist Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. As the forerunner of today's popular advice columnists, She was America's highest paid and most widely read female journalist at the time of her death. Her advice on marriage was syndicated in newspapers around the world. With an estimated audience of 60 million readers, she became a popular and recognized figure on her travels abroad. Her reputed practice of framing questions herself to allow her to publish prepared answers gave rise to the Australian-English term "Dorothy Dixer", an expression widely used in Australia to refer to a question from a member of Parliament to a minister that enables the minister to make an announcement in the form of a reply (while in Australian rhyming slang, a "Dorothy", or "Dorothy Dix", refers to a hit for six in cricket). - Do you think that style is effective? I do.
1901 - George Gallup - Statistician and pollster (d. 1984) - Must have had a large left brian.
To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection: