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the work of history

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    August 7, 1964: Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

    Passed in response to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which occurred several days prior, this resolution gave President Johnson the power to “take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression” without a formal declaration of war by Congress. The resolution was vital in justifying and maintaining American military involvement in Southeast Asia through the decade, even as support from all sides waned.

    Eventually, in 1971, the resolution was repealed, and the War Powers Resolution was passed two years later. This new resolution was a direct reaction to the Tonkin Resolution - intended to check the President’s power by requiring him to notify and seek authorization from Congress in order to commit U.S. armed forces to any long-term conflict. 

    In the end, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution passed unanimously in the House of Representatives; in the Senate, only two members opposed it. One remarked:

    I believe this resolution to be a historic mistake.


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    August 8, 1974: Richard Nixon announces his resignation from the presidency. 


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    August 9, 1945: An atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.

    Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, a second atomic bomb - “Fat Man” - was detonated over Nagasaki, the third detonation of such a weapon in history. After the bombing of Hiroshima, Harry Truman delivered another message of warning to Japan, saying:

    If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

    Between the August 6 bombing and Japan’s surrender, approximately six million propaganda leaflets were dropped over dozens of Japanese towns. Nagasaki, like Hiroshima, was chosen for its military importance - it was a seaport and an industrial center, and it was also home to around 200,000 people. Of these, an estimated 39,000 were killed in the initial bomb blast, and thousands more died later from injuries and exposure to radiation. The temperature of the blast reached 3,900 °C. 

    Other atomic bombs were prepared for further attacks, but Japan surrendered (via radio broadcast) on August 15, six days later. 


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    Thank you for following!


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    It’s JMW Turner’s Dido Building Carthage.


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    © Philip Jones Griffiths / Magnum Photos

    August 10, 1961: Agent Orange is used for the first time in Vietnam.

    Between 1961 and 1971, this defoliant (a chemical used to strip plants of their leaves) was sprayed in massive amounts over Vietnam in a large-scale attempt to deprive the Viet Cong from cover and food. It is described as “one of the most toxic compounds known to humans” by the UN, and it was the herbicide most commonly used by the US military in Operation Ranch Hand, although a number of other chemicals (known as the “rainbow herbicides”) were also used to an extent. In total, 11 million gallons of Agent Orange was sprayed over Vietnam and neighboring countries in those ten years.

    The use of Agent Orange was devastating to the country’s crops and forests, as anticipated, destroying millions of acres of crops and forests. But the effect it had on those exposed to the chemical was even worse. In the years following its use, millions of cases of cancer, cleft palates, polydactylism, various birth defects, miscarriages, stillbirths, and other problems were attributed to exposure to Agent Orange. Decades later, leftover dioxin lingers in the soil, water, and animal life, especially near former U.S. military bases. A number of American veterans were also exposed to the chemical, which, according to some studies, led to increased rates of cancer and other diseasesRecently, the United States launched its first large-scale effort to clean up areas contaminated by the compound, fifty-one years after it was first used in Vietnam.

    Other links: Photo gallery of victims.


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  • 08/11/12--07:24: Earthrise, Apollo 11.










  • Earthrise, Apollo 11.


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    from the Library of Congress

    August 11, 1934: The first federal prisoners arrive at Alcatraz.

    Between 1934 and 1963, San Francisco’s famous island prison held an number of notorious criminals - from Al Capone to “Machine Gun Kelly” to Alvin “Creepy” Karpis. The uninhabited island was named Isla de los Alcatraces when the Spanish explored it in the 18th century, and in the 1800s, it became an American military prison, which it remained until its acquisition by the Department of Justice and subsequent transformation into a federal penitentiary - designed to hold criminals too troublesome for other prisons. 

    According to this list, the prison’s first inmate was Frank L. Bolt, originally incarcerated for committing the egregious crime of… sodomy; the second, Charles R. Copp, was imprisoned for robbery and attempted assault. Al Capone, prisoner number eighty-five, arrived some days later.


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    August 12, 30: Cleopatra commits suicide.

    Following the decisive Battle of Actium and Mark Antony’s defeat at the hands of Caesar’s great-nephew and heir, Octavian, large numbers of the former’s forces began to desert in large numbers. Even after a minor victory at Alexandria eleven months later, the desertions continued, and Octavian’s forces closed in Antony’s; soon after, Antony committed suicide with his own sword. 

    According to ancient sources, Cleopatra was captured by Octavian (who resisted her famous charm) and chose to commit suicide rather than suffer the humiliation of captivity. Plutarch reports that she killed herself with an asp bite to the arm, although a modern scholar argues that a mixture of poisons would have been less painful and a more likely cause of death. Whatever the method, Cleopatra - last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt - died, and her young son and successor Caesarion followed soon after.


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    August 13, 1899: Alfred Hitchcock is born.

    Give them pleasure - the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.


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    August 14, 1880: Construction on Cologne Cathedral is completed.

    The cathedral was first consecrated in the year 70 A.D. It was destroyed to make way for a new and more magnificent structure in 1248, by which time it was already called “the mother and master of all churches in Germany” - though apparently still not fit to house the recently-acquired “Shrine of the Three Kings”, an a reliquary said to contain the bones of the Biblical Magi. Construction on the new cathedral was inconsistent in the following centuries, but in the 1800s (as German Romanticism and enthusiasm for medieval styles bloomed), work resumed on the building. 

    632 years after the Archbishop of Cologne laid the foundation stone of the Cologne Cathedral, construction finally ended. A celebration was held in honor of this event, attended by Kaiser Wilhelm himself. In 1996, it was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as ”an exceptional work of human creative genius”.


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    celebrations in Delhi.


    refugees uprooted by the hasty partition.

    August 15, 1947: India gains independence from Great Britain.

    On August 14 and 15 of 1947, the Parliament of the United Kingdom partitioned the former British India into the new independent dominions of Pakistan and India. Independence movements had existed in India for as long as colonialism had; in 1858, the Rebellion of 1857 (AKA the First War of Independence) ended the rule of the British East India Company, and the British government thereafter assumed direct control over the Indian subcontinent. A diverse, heterogeneous movement arose in response to British colonialism after company rule ended. At the head of the independence movement were leaders like Mohandas Gandhi, who promoted civil disobedience and non-violence; Bal Gangadhar Tilak, one of the earliest popular leaders of the independence movement; Subhas Chandra Bose, who formed a nationalist military force to drive out foreign powers; Sahajanad Saraswati, a critic of Gandhi’s and adamant social reformer, and many others. 

    In July of 1947 the efforts of the revolutionaries (and their affiliated organizations and movements) culminated in the Indian Independence Act of 1947. On the eve of August 15, India’s independence day, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his “Tryst with Destiny” speech. An excerpt:

    The appointed day has come - the day appointed by destiny - and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

    Unfortunately, the two nations’ newly-acquired independence was marred by the bloody conflict that followed.


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    Probably not. That’d be a little repetitive. On August 15, 2013, maybe! 


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    National Archives


    National Archives

    POWs in Guam react to the news of Japan’s surrender - August 15, 1945.


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    Times Square


    aboard the USS Ticonderoga, National Archives.


    celebrations in Oak Ridge.


    VJ Day in Times Square, Alfred Eisenstaedt.


    via LIFE


    in Paris


    AP

    Americans celebrate Japan’s surrender - August 1945.


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    August 16, 1888: T.E. Lawrence is born.

    He earned the name “Lawrence of Arabia” for his participation in the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks. Lawrence’s exploits have, of course, been exaggerated by later accounts, but he did play an important role in several battles, including the captures of Aqaba and Damascus (later depicted in Lawrence of Arabia). Lawrence is best remembered for his actions during World War I and his image as a “gentleman adventurer”, but he remains a contradictory and controversial figure. Although his own supposedly autobiographical accounts made him into an icon, he also wrote of himself:

    I’ve been and am absurdly over-estimated. There are no supermen and I’m quite ordinary, and will say so whatever the artistic results.

    Prior to the war, Lawrence was an archaeologist who immersed himself n Arab culture; after World War I broke out, he was sent to Cairo because of his knowledge of the regions and languages, but it was not until after the war that he achieved celebrity status, thanks in part to the efforts of Lowell Thomas. Later, he also took part in the Paris Peace Conference and the 1921 Cairo Conference, where his previous acquaintance Faisal was chosen by the British as the first King of Iraq. And, although his efforts came rather too late, he lobbied to restrain European influence in the Middle East, to limited effect.


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    I’ve no idea. I thought they were just reminding everyone.


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    duchessofkatebridge:

    unhistorical:

    August 16, 1888: T.E. Lawrence is born.

    Heearned the name “Lawrence of Arabia” for his participation in the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks. Lawrence’s exploits have, of course, been exaggerated by later accounts, but he did play an important role in several battles, including the captures of Aqaba and Damascus (later depicted in Lawrence of Arabia). Lawrence is best remembered for his actions during World War I and his image as a “gentleman adventurer”, but he remains a contradictory and controversial figure. Although his own supposedly autobiographical accounts made him into an icon, he also wrote of himself:

    I’ve been and am absurdly over-estimated. There are no supermen and I’m quite ordinary, and will say so whatever the artistic results.

    Prior to the war, Lawrence was an archaeologist who immersed himself n Arab culture; after World War I broke out, he was sent to Cairo because of his knowledge of the regions and languages, but it was not until after the war that he achieved celebrity status, thanks in part to the efforts of Lowell Thomas. Later, he also took part in the Paris Peace Conference and the 1921 Cairo Conference, where his previous acquaintance Faisal was singled out by the British as the first King of Iraq. And, although his efforts came rather too late, he lobbied to restrain European influence in the Middle East, to limited effect.

    Yup. He’s a boss. And let’s talk about how Robert Pattinson was just cast as him in a remake of Lawrence of Arabia. Nothing against Rpatz as an actor, but he’s not right for the part.

    Actually, it’s not a remake of LoA, it’s a biopic about Gertrude Bell - who really does deserve her own movie, honestly. Not sure how Pattinson will handle the role, but I’m not even sure if Lawrence is a main character.


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