Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On this On This Day in History - November 13 US Congress Changes Neutrality Act

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Nov 13, 1941: Congress revises the Neutrality Act

On this day in 1941, the United States Congress amends the Neutrality Act of 1935 to allow American merchant ships access to war zones, thereby putting U.S. vessels in the line of fire.  

In anticipation of another European war, and in pursuit of an isolationist foreign policy, Congress passed the Neutrality Act in August 1935, forbidding the sale of munitions by U.S. firms to any and all belligerents in any future war. This was a not-so-subtle signal to all governments and private industries, domestic and foreign, that the United States would play no part in foreign wars. Less than two years later, a second Neutrality Act was passed, forbidding the export of arms to either side in the Spanish Civil War.  

The original 1935 act was made even more restrictive in May 1937, forbidding not only arms and loans to warring nations, but giving the president of the United States the authority to forbid Americans from traveling on ships of any warring nation, to forbid any U.S. ship from carrying U.S. goods, even nonmilitary, to a belligerent, and to demand that a belligerent nation pay for U.S. nonmilitary goods before shipment--a "cash and carry" plan.  

But such notions of strict neutrality changed quickly once World War II began. The first amendment to the act came as early as September 1939; President Roosevelt, never happy with the extreme nature of the act, fought with Congress to revise it, allowing for the sale of munitions to those nations under siege by Nazi Germany. After heated debate in a special session, Congress finally passed legislation permitting such sales. Addressing the prospect of direct U.S. intervention in the war, President Roosevelt proclaimed, also in September 1939, that U.S. territorial waters were a neutral zone, and any hostile power that used those waters for the prosecution of the war would be considered "unfriendly" and "offensive." 

Finally, when the U.S. destroyer Reuben James was sunk by a German sub in October 1941, the Neutrality Act was destined for the dustbin of history. By November, not only would merchant ships be allowed to arm themselves for self-defense, but they would also be allowed to enter European territorial waters. America would no longer stand aloof from the hostilities.      

Nov 13, 1775: Patriots take Montreal

On this day in 1775, Continental Army Brigadier General Richard Montgomery takes Montreal, Canada, without opposition.  

Montgomery's victory owed its success in part to Ethan Allen's disorganized defeat at the hand of British General and Canadian Royal Governor Guy Carleton at Montreal on September 24, 1775. Allen's misguided and undermanned attack on Montreal led to his capture by the British and imprisonment in Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, England. Although a failure in the short term, Allen's attack had long-term benefits for the Patriots. Carleton had focused his attention on suppressing Allen's attack, while refusing reinforcements to Fort St. Jean, to which Montgomery's expedition laid siege from August 21 to November 3, 1775. Fort St. Jean's commander, Major Charles Preston, surrendered on November 3, fearful of the hardship the town's civilians would face during a winter under siege. With the final fortification between Montgomery and Montreal in Patriot hands and Carleton's defenses depleted by the conflict with Allen, Montgomery's forces entered Montreal with ease on November 13.  

After Montgomery's success at winning Montreal for the Patriots, Carleton escaped and fled to Quebec City, where he and Montgomery would, in December, again face one another in a climatic battle that would determine the fate of the Patriot invasion of Canada.  

Facing the year-end expiration of their troops' enlistment, Patriot forces advanced on Quebec under the cover of a blizzard at approximately 4 a.m. on December 31, 1775. The British defenders under Carleton were ready, however, and when Montgomery's forces came within 50 yards of the city's fortifications, the British opened fire with a barrage of artillery and musket fire. Montgomery was killed in the first assault, and after several more attempts at penetrating Quebec's defenses, his men were forced to retreat.  

Meanwhile, Colonel Benedict Arnold's division suffered a similar fate during their attack on the northern wall of the city. A two-gun battery opened fire on the advancing Americans, killing a number of troops and wounding Benedict Arnold in the leg. Patriot Daniel Morgan assumed command and made progress against the defenders, but halted at the second wall of fortifications to wait for reinforcements. By the time the rest of Arnold's army finally arrived, the British had reorganized, forcing the Patriots to call off their attack. Of the 900 Americans who participated in the siege, 60 were killed or wounded and more than 400 were captured.  

The remaining Patriot forces then retreated from Canada. Benedict Arnold remained in Canadian territory until the last of his soldiers had crossed the St. Lawrence River to safety. With the pursuing British forces almost in firing range, Arnold checked one last time to make sure all his men had escaped, then shot his horse and fled down the St. Lawrence in a canoe.  

Carleton had successfully snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and secured Canada for the British empire.  

Nov 13, 1953: Indiana Textbook Commission member charges that Robin Hood is communistic

In an example of the absurd lengths to which the "Red Scare" in America is going, Mrs. Thomas J. White of the Indiana Textbook Commission, calls for the removal of references to the book Robin Hood from textbooks used by the state's schools. Mrs. Young claimed that there was "a Communist directive in education now to stress the story of Robin Hood because he robbed the rich and gave it to the poor. That's the Communist line. It's just a smearing of law and order and anything that disrupts law and order is their meat." She went on to attack Quakers because they "don't believe in fighting wars." This philosophy, she argued, played into communist hands. Though she later stated that she never argued for the removal of texts mentioning the story from school textbooks, she continued to claim that the "take from the rich and give to the poor" theme was the "Communist's favorite policy." Reacting to criticisms of her stance, she countered that, "Because I'm trying to get Communist writers out of textbooks, my name is mud. Evidently I'm drawing blood or they wouldn't make such an issue out of it." The response to Mrs. White's charges was mixed.  

Indiana Governor George Craig came to the defense of Quakers, but backed away from getting involved in the textbook issue. The state superintendent of education went so far as to reread the book before deciding that it should not be banned. However, he did feel that "Communists have gone to work twisting the meaning of the Robin Hood legend." The Indianapolis superintendent of schools also did not want the book banned, claiming that he could not find anything particularly subversive about the story. In the Soviet Union, commentators had a field day with the story. One joked that the "enrollment of Robin Hood in the Communist Party can only make sensible people laugh." The current sheriff of Nottingham was appalled, crying, "Robin Hood was no communist."  

As silly as the episode seems in retrospect, the attacks on freedom of expression during the Red Scare in the United States resulted in a number of books being banned from public libraries and schools during the 1950s and 1960s because of their supposedly subversive content. Such well known books as John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo, were just some of the books often pulled from shelves. Hollywood films also felt the pressure to conform to more suitably "all-American" themes and stories, and rock and roll music was decried by some as communist-inspired.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:

866 - Pope Nicholas I answers the envoys of Boris (Ad consulta vestra)
1002 - English king Ethelred II launches massacre of Danish settlers
1511 - England signs on to the Saint League
1553 - English Lady Jane Grey/Bishop Cranmer accused of high treason
1565 - King Philip II's "Letters out Segovia" reaches Brussels
1565 - Pope Pius IV publishes degree Professi fidei
1642 - Battle at Turnham Green, London: King Charles I vs English parliament
1673 - Prince Willem III/Raimundo earl Montecuccoli conquer Bonn
1715 - Significicant battle at Sheriffmuir during Jacobite rebellion. Battle inconclusive but Government forces able halt advance of Jacobite army lead by Scottish Earl of Mar
1775 - American Revolutionary forces capture Montreal
1781 - English troops occupy Negapatam Ceylon
1789 - Ben Franklin writes "Nothing . . . certain but death & taxes"
1839 - 1st US anti-slavery party, Liberty Party, convenes in NY
1841 - James Braid first sees a demonstration of animal magnetism, which leads to his study of the subject he eventually calls hypnosis.
1843 - Mt Rainier in Washington State erupts
1849 - Peter Burnett elected 1st governor of California
1851 - 1st meeting of anti-revolutionary "Netherlands & Orange"
1851 - Telegraph connection between London-Paris linked
1851 - The Denny Party lands at Alki Point, the first settlers of what would become Seattle, Washington.
King of England King Charles IKing of England King Charles I 1854 - "New Era" sinks off NJ coast with loss of 300
1862 - Battle of Holly Spring, MS
1864 - The new Constitution of Greece is adopted.
1865 - PT Barnum's New American museum opens in Bridgeport
1865 - US issues 1st gold certificates
1868 - American Philological Association organized in NY
1875 - Harvard-Yale game is 1st college football contest with uniforms
1875 - National Bowling Association organized in NYC
1885 - Serbian army occupies Bulgaria
1887 - Bloody Sunday clashes in central London.
1895 - 1st shipment of canned pineapple from Hawaii
1900 - Baltimore Orioles (now NY Yankees) enter baseball's American League
1901 - The 1901 Caister Lifeboat Disaster.
1906 - C W Gregory out for 383 as NSW make 763 v Queensland
1907 - French cyclist Paul Cornu flies 1st helicopter (twin rotor)
1909 - 259 miners die in a fire at St Paul Mine at Cherry Ill
1909 - Ben Simpson of Hamilton Tigers kicks 9 singles in a game
1909 - Collier's magazine accuses U.S. Secretary of the Interior Richard Ballinger of questionable dealings in Alaskan coal fields.
1913 - 1st modern elastic brassiere patented by Mary Phelps Jacob
1916 - British offensive at Ancre Belgium
1916 - Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes is expelled from the Labor Party over his support for conscription.
1918 - Monarch Friedrich of Waldeck & Pyrmont abdicates throne
1918 - Russia cancels Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
1918 - Stahlhelm forms (anti communist/Polish/French) in Magdenburg
1920 - Hudson River frozen at Albany
Silent Film Star Rudolph ValentinoSilent Film Star Rudolph Valentino 1921 - "Sheik," silent film starring Rudolph Valentino, is released
1921 - US, France, Japan & British Empire sign a Pacific Treaty
1922 - Black Renaissance begins Harlem NY
1922 - George Cohan's musical "Little Nellie Kelly," premieres in NYC
1922 - Marc Connelly/George Kaufman's "'49ers," premieres in NYC
1926 - Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) uprising in Bantam West Java
1927 - NY-NJ Holland Tunnel, 1st twin-tube underwater auto tunnel, opens
1928 - Bradman scores 132* for NSW against MCC
1930 - WA Drake's "Grand Hotel," premieres in NYC
1931 - Hattie Caraway (D-AK) appointed 1st US woman senator
1933 - 1st modern sit-down strike, Hormel meat packers, Austin, Minn
1935 - Anti-British riots in Egypt
1937 - NBC forms 1st full-sized symphony orchestra exclusively for radio
1938 - America's 1st saint, Mother Frances Cabrini, beatified
1940 - Walt Disney's "Fantasia" released
Animator Walt DisneyAnimator Walt Disney 1941 - German Abweht consults with Chetnikleider Draza Mihailovic
1942 - Chaotic "sea battle of Friday the 13th" at Guadalcanal
1942 - Minimum draft age lowered from 21 to 18
1945 - Australian Services draw 1st Victory Test against India
1946 - 1st artificial snow produced from a natural cloud, Mt Greylock, MA
1946 - Bradman scores 106 for an Australian XI v the MCC
1948 - "As the Girls Go" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 420 perfs
1950 - US win 1st world championship bridge contest
1950 - General Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, President of Venezuela, is assassinated in Caracas.
1951 - Lefty O'Doul's all-stars, including Joe DiMaggio & Billy Martin, lose 3-1 to Pacific League all-star team (Japan)
1952 - False fingernails 1st sold
1952 - KLBK TV channel 13 in Lubbock, TX (CBS) begins broadcasting
1953 - Dmitri Shostakovitch' 4th String Quartet, premieres
1955 - 1st live telecast from non-contiguous foreign country-Havana Cuba
1955 - Argentine gen Pedro Aramburu succeeds E Lonardi as president
1956 - Supreme Court strikes down segregation of races on public buses in Alabama
1958 - NYC Mayor Robert Wagner announces plans to begin a new baseball called the Continental League
1960 - Fire in movie theater kills 152 children (Amude Spain)
1961 - WCBB TV channel 10 in Augusta, ME (PBS) begins broadcasting
1961 - Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny succeeds Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shelepin as head of the KGB.
1964 - Bob Petit (St Louis Hawks) becomes 1st NBAer to score 20,000 points
1964 - Pope Paul VI gives tiara to poor
1965 - "Skyscraper" opens at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC for 248 performances
1965 - "Yarmouth Castle" burns & sinks off Bahamas, killing 89
1965 - Director Kenneth Tynan says the word "Fuck" on BBC
1966 - Sandra Haynie wins LPGA Alamo Ladies' Golf Open
1967 - Carl B Stokes sworn-in as 1st major city black mayor (Cleveland Oh)
1967 - NL owners OK AL expansion to Seattle & Kansas City
1968 - Bob Gibson edges Pete Rose to win NL MVP
1969 - VP Spiro T Agnew accused network TV news depts of bias & distortion
1970 - Cyclone kills estimated 300,000 in Chittagong Bangladesh
1970 - Flooding ravages Ganges delta, 200,000-1 million killed
1970 - Lt Gen Hafez al-Assad becomes PM of Syria following military coup
1970 - VP Spiro Agnew calls TV executives "impudent snobs"
1971 - Mariner 9, 1st to orbit another planet (Mars)
1973 - "Gigi" opens at Uris Theater NYC for 103 performances
1973 - Oakland A's Reggie Jackson wins AL MVP unanimously
1974 - Dodgers Steve Garvey wins NL MVP
1975 - "Musical Jubilee" opens at St James Theater NYC for 92 performances
1977 - 25th Islander shut-out Resch 6-0 Gilles scores on 5th penalty shot
1977 - Final Al Capp comic strip of "Li'l Abner" (1934-77)
1977 - Silvia Bertolaccini wins LPGA Colgate Far East Golf Open
1978 - NASA launches HEAO
1979 - British newspaper "Times" resumes publishing after 1 year
1979 - Ronald Reagan in NY announces his candidacy for US President
1979 - Willie Stargell & Keith Hernandez share NL MVP Award NL
1980 - US spacecraft Voyager I sent back 1st close-up pictures of Saturn
1980 - Gabriella Brum, 18, of West Germany crowned 30th Miss World, she resigns the next day, because she wants to marry her 52 year old boyfriend
1981 - Ringo releases "Wrack My Brains"
1982 - Vietnam War Memorial dedicated in Washington DC
1982 - A boxing match held in Las Vegas, Nevada ends when Ray Mancini defeats Duk Koo Kim. Kim's death on November 17 led to significant changes in the sport.
1983 - Pat Bradley wins LPGA Mazda Japan Golf Classic
1984 - David Levy finds his 1st comet
1984 - Ryne Sandberg wins the NL MVP Award
1985 - Dwight Gooden, youngest 20 game winner, wins Cy Young award
1985 - Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupts in Colombia, kills 25,000
1986 - Giselle Jeanne-Marie LaRonde of Trinidad, 23, crowned 36th Miss World
1986 - NASA launches space vehicle S-199
1986 - US President Reagan confesses weapon sales to Iran
1987 - 1st condom commercial on BBC TV
Musician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartneyMusician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartney 1989 - Paul McCartney releases "Figure of 8" & "Ou Est Le Soleil"
1990 - Oakland's Bob Welch wins AL Cy Young Award
1990 - The World Wide Web first began.
1990 - In Aramoana, New Zealand, Resident David Gray shot dead 13 people, in what became known as the Aramoana Massacre.
1991 - Bomb attack on Aad Kosto, Dutch social dem party-asst sec of state
1991 - Boston Red Sox Roger Clemens wins AL Cy Young Award
1992 - Riddick Bowe beats Evander Holyfield in 12 for heavyweight boxing title
1993 - 7.1 seaquake east of Kamchatka
1993 - Chinese MD82 makes crash landing at Urumqi, 12 killed
1993 - Pakistan minister of Foreign affairs Faruk Leghari elected president
1994 - Sweden agrees to join European Union
1996 - "Three Sisters," closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC
1996 - Joel Armengaud discovers 2^1398269 - 1 (35th known Mersenne prime)
1996 - Padres third baseman Ken Caminiti is 4th unanimous winner of NL MVP
1997 - "Lion King," opens at New Amersterdam Theater NYC
Champion Boxer Evander HolyfieldChampion Boxer Evander Holyfield 1997 - Ken Griffey Jr unanimously wins AL MVP
1997 - UN pulls out arms inspection teams from Iraq
2000 - Philippine House Speaker Manuel B. Villar, Jr. passes the articles of impeachment against Philippine President Joseph Estrada.
2001 - Doha Round: The World Trade Organization ends a four-day ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar.
2001 - War on Terrorism: In the first such act since World War II, US President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to terrorist acts or planned acts on the United States.
2002 - The oil tanker Prestige sinks off the Galician coast and causes a huge oil spill.
2002 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq agrees to the terms of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441.
2002 - Eminem releases single 'Lose Yourself' from soundtrack of 8 Mile, 1st rap song to win Academy Award Best Original Song
2007 - An explosion hits the south wing of the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Quezon City, killing four people, including Congressman Wahab Akbar, and wounding six.
2010 - Australian rock band Powderfinger, perform their last concert at the Brisbane River Stage

2012 - 3 Syrian tanks enter the demilitarized zone of Golan Heights

1775 - During the American Revolution, U.S. forces captured Montreal.   1789 - Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."   1805 - Johann George Lehner, a Viennese butcher, invented a recipe and called it the "frankfurter."   1927 - The Holland Tunnel opened to the public, providing access between New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.   1933 - In Austin, MN, the first sit-down labor strike in America took place.   1940 - The Walt Disney movie "Fantasia" had its world premiere at New York's Broadway Theater.  Disney movies, music and books   1942 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure lowering the minimum draft age from 21 to 18.   1956 - The U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public buses.   1971 - The U.S. spacecraft Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Mars.   1977 - The comic strip "Li'l Abner" by Al Capp appeared in newspapers for the last time.   1982 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC.   1984 - A libel suit against Time, Inc. by former Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon went to trial in New York.   1986 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly acknowledged that the U.S. had sent "defensive weapons and spare parts" to Iran. He denied that the shipments were sent to free hostages, but that they had been sent to improve relations.   1991 - Roger Clemens won his third Cy Young Award for the American League.   1994 - Sweden voted to join the European Union.   1995 - Greg Maddox (Atlanta Braves) became the first major league pitcher to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards.   1997 - Iraq expelled six U.N. arms inspectors that were U.S. citizens.   1998 - "The Wizard of Oz" was released on the big screen by Warner Bros. 59 years after its original release.   1998 - Monica Lewinsky signed a deal with St. Martin's Press for the North American rights to her story about her affair with U.S. President Bill Clinton.   2001 - U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order that would allow for military tribunals to try any foreigners captured with connections to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. It was the first time since World War II that a president had taken such action.   2009 - NASA announced that water had been discoved on the moon. The discovery came from the planned impact on the moon of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).

1775 U.S. forces, under the command of Gen. Richard Montgomery, captured Montreal during the American Revolution. 1927 The world's first long, mechanically ventilated underwater tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, opened between New York and New Jersey. 1940 Walt Disney's Fantasia debuted. 1942 The minimum draft age was lowered from 21 to 18. 1946 Vincent Schaefer produced artificial snow from a natural cloud for the first time at Mount Greylock in Massachusetts. 1956 The Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on buses. 1982 The Vietnam War Memorial, designed by Maya Lin, was dedicated in Washington, DC. 2001 The Taliban abandoned Afghanistan's capital of Kabul when the Northern Alliance entered the city.  

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