A number of very significant things happened in the first half of November. Here are some of the more interesting events: We detonated the world’s first hydrogen bomb. Our embassy in Iran was attacked and taken by radical Iranian students. Bolshevik “October Revolution”, led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, seized power in Russia. WWI ended and Veterans Day established. And the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated.
On 1 Nov 1952, the US detonated the world’s first thermonuclear weapon, the hydrogen bomb, on Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific. The test gave us a short-lived advantage in the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. Following the successful Soviet detonation of an atomic device in September 1949, we accelerated its program to develop the next stage in atomic weaponry, a thermonuclear bomb. Popularly known as the hydrogen bomb, this new weapon was about 1,000 times more powerful than conventional nuclear devices. The Soviet Union exploded a thermonuclear device the following year and by the late 1970s, seven nations had constructed hydrogen bombs.
On 2 Nov 1777, the USS Ranger, with a crew of 140 men under the command of John Paul Jones, left Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the naval port at Brest, France, where it will stop before heading toward the Irish Sea to begin raids on British warships. This was the first mission of its kind during the Revolutionary War.
On 3 Nov 1941, the Combine Japanese Fleet received Top-Secret Order No. 1: In 34 days time, Pearl Harbor is to be bombed.
On 4 Nov 1979, student followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini send shock waves across America when they stormed the US embassy in Tehran. The radical Islamists took 90 hostages. They were enraged that the deposed Shah had been allowed to enter the US for medical treatment, and they threatened to murder hostages if any rescue was attempted. Days later, Iran’s provincial leader resigned, and the Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s fundamentalist revolutionaries, took full control of the country. The Ayatollah began to release all non-US captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by our government. The remaining 52 captives were held for the next 14 months. President Jimmy Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and on April 24, 1980, he ordered a disastrous rescue mission in which eight US military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued. In November 1980, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan. Soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations finally began between the US and Iran. On January 20, 1981–the day of Reagan’s inauguration–the US freed almost $3 billion in frozen Iranian assets and promised $5 billion more in financial aid. Minutes after Reagan was sworn in, the hostages were flown out of Iran on an Algerian airliner, ending their 444-day ordeal.
On 5 Nov 1915, Marines under Major Smedley Butler captured the stronghold at Fort Capois, Haiti. Butler led a reconnaissance force of 26 volunteers in pursuit of a Caco force that had killed 10 Marines. Like the Cacos in the mountains, he and his men lived for days off the orange groves. They followed a trail of peels, estimating how long before the Cacos had passed by the dryness of the peels. A native guide helped them locate the Cacos’ headquarters, a secret fort called Capois. Studying the mountaintop fort through field glasses, Butler made out enough activity to suggest they were defended by at least a regiment. He decided to return for reinforcements. On the way back they were ambushed by a force of Cacos that outnumbered them twenty to one. Fortunately, it was a pitch-black night, and Butler saved his men by splitting them up to crawl past the Cacos’ lines through high grass. Just before dawn he reorganized them into 3 squads of 9 men each. Charging from 3 directions as they yelled wildly and fired from the hip; the Cacos fled, leaving 75 killed. The only Marine casualty was one man wounded. When he was able to return with reinforcements, spies had alerted the Cacos, and Butler took a deserted Fort Capois without firing a shot.
On 5 Nov 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini declared US “The Great Satan.”
On 6 Nov 1917, the “October Revolution” (October 25 on the old Russian calendar), led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, seized power in Petrograd. Led by Bolshevik Party leader Lenin, leftist revolutionaries launched a nearly bloodless coup against Russia’s ineffectual Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks occupied government buildings and other strategic locations in the Russian capital of Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) and within two days had formed a new government with Lenin as its head. Lenin became the virtual dictator of the first Marxist state in the world. He made peace with Germany, nationalized industry, and distributed land, and in 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established. Upon Lenin’s death, in early 1924,Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honor. After a struggle for succession, fellow revolutionary Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union.
On 9 Nov 1938, in an event that would foreshadow the Holocaust, German Nazis launched a campaign of terror against Jewish people in Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left about 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. About 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany.
On 9 Nov 1989, East German officials opened the Berlin Wall, allowing travel from East to West Berlin. The following day, celebrating Germans began to tear the wall down. One of the ugliest and most infamous symbols of the Cold War was soon reduced to rubble that was quickly snatched up by souvenir hunters. A piece of it stands at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI.
On 10 Nov 1775, during the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future US president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the US Marine Corps.
On 11 Nov 1918, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War (WWI) ended. At 5 am that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. WWI left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.
On 11 Nov 1921, exactly three years after the end of WWI, the Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia during an Armistice Day ceremony presided over by President Warren Harding. Two days before, an unknown American soldier, who had fallen somewhere on a WWI battlefield, arrived at the nation’s capital from a military cemetery in France. On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.
On 13 Nov 1982, near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.
On 15 Nov 1864, during the Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman began his expedition across Georgia by torching the industrial section of Atlanta and pulling away from his supply lines. For the next six weeks, Sherman’s army destroyed most of Georgia before capturing the Confederate seaport of Savannah, Georgia.
~ Humor/Puns ~
If you ever get locked out of your house, talk calmly to the door lock, because communication is key.
He turned down a prison guard job to become a prize fighter. Later he moaned, ‘I could have been a con tender’.
The skeleton could not unlock the door, but then he realized he was the key.
“What do you get when you take a shortcut through a strawberry patch? You get a strawberry shortcut!”
Pasteurize: too far to see anything
I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
Cow 1:Who’s the new heifer? Cow 2: Never seen herbivore.
The other day I held the door opened for a clown. It was a nice jester.
The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly; the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.