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the work of history

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    August 17, 1908: Fantasmagorie is released.

    This French animated film is widely considered the first animated cartoon, and it is one of the oldest examples of traditional animation. It was created by Émile Cohl, a Parisian cartoonist who made 700 drawings in total for his (relatively short) animation, and it screened for the first time in Paris’s Théâtre du Gymnase. Fantasmagorie lacked any sort of coherent narrative structure, consisting mostly of surreal images (meant to resemble chalkboard drawings) melting and morphing into each other - but it was a milestone in animation history. 

    The name Fantasmagorie refers to the form of theatre popular in the 19th century known as phantasmagoria


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    August 18, 1590: The colony of Roanoke is discovered mysteriously abandoned.

    The English colony on Roanoke Island (located off the coast of North Carolina) was an early attempt at a permanent settlement in the New World, established by around a hundred colonists and organized by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585. Like most early English settlements, Roanoke was not very successful, having constantly low food supplies dwindled and poor relations with local Native American tribes. In 1587, the governor of the colony, John White, returned to England for more supplies at the urging of the Roanoke colonists. 

    When he returned in 1590, the colony was deserted, the colonists missing and the buildings collapsed. Among the missing was White’s own granddaughter, Virginia Dare - the first English child born in the Americas. One of the few clues to what happened to the colonists was the word “CROATOAN” carved on a post and the word “CRO” carved on a tree. With no corpses and no signs of struggle, it seemed as though the colonists had simply disappeared. One popular theory is that the disappeared were assimilated into the local Croatoan tribe. Others theorize that they were wiped out by the Powhatans or the Spanish, that they starved, or that they drowned in an attempt to sail to England. Still today, the fate of “the Lost Colony” remains uncertain.


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    Auxiliaries at Fort Huachuca, Arizona


    268th Station Hospital, Australia


    Lt.(jg.) Harriet Ida Pickens and Ens. Frances Wills, first African-American WAVES to be commissioned.


    6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, England - inspection


    U.S. Army nurses in Greenock, Scotland


    WAC members in New York - the first contingent of Black American WACs to go overseas for the war effort


    U.S. Army nurses at a training center in England


    WAAC Capt. Charity Adams drills her company in Fort Des Moines

    During World War II, African-American women enlisted in the WAAC (and later the WAC) and other women’s reserves organizations (along with the nurse corps) by the thousands. Like the rest of the U.S. military, the WAC, WAVES, and SPARS were segregated; of the 80,000 women serving in the WAVES, only a few dozen were African-Americans serving under integrated conditions. Still, thousands of women served in the WAVES and SPARS, and even more served in the WAC. Black women also served as nurses, but they usually only attended black troops or prisoners of war.

    A famous WAC battalion, the first to be composed entirely of African-American women serving overseas, was the 6888th Central Post Direction, which operated in Birmingham (later in Rouen, France) and was responsible for handling the tremendous amounts of mail that passed through the station. It was headed by Charity Adams Earley, the WAC’s first African-American officer, who best described the barriers that African-American women faced when she said: “we didn’t mix it up. We were segregated two ways, because we were black and because we were women”. 


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    Source: Wikipedia.

    There’s no proving anything for sure - the fact that White believed the colonists had relocated doesn’t necessarily make it so. It’s more likely a mixture of things (starvation, assimilation, annihilation) caused the disappearance of the Roanoke colonists, in my opinion.  


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    Members of the resistance


    A French man and woman, civilians and members of the FFI, fight with captured German weapons. AP

    August 19, 1944: The Battle for Paris begins.

    After Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944, the recapture of the French capital was actually not considered a task of high importance. A siege like that of Leningrad or a destructive city battle like Stalingrad would be too costly and too risky, especially to the civilians living in Paris; getting bogged down in Paris would keep the U.S. and British forces from reaching Berlin before the Soviet Union; and it was not of much real strategic importance - although as the cultural center of France and as Europe’s most romantic city, its liberation would be a great symbolic event. 

    On August 19, resistance fighters, encouraged by reports of the approaching Allied forces, rose up against their German (and Vichy) rulers, forcing the Allies to reassess the Paris situation. At the urging of Charles de Gaulle, the French 2nd Armored Division and the American 4th Infantry Division entered the city and the battle a few days later, and together, they swept through the western and eastern halves of the city (apparently, the Americans demanded that the liberation force be all-white - so black French soldiers were excluded). Meanwhile, as the Allied forces approached, Hitler gave orders to Paris’s German military governor, Dietrich von Choltitz, to crush the city into “a field of ruins” should Germany’s enemies take it; Choltitz never carried out the task. Although his reason for directly defying the orders of Adolf Hitler was probably not his sense of honor, he saved Paris from destruction, nevertheless. 

    On August 25, the city was officially liberated after four years of occupation. 


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    I was going to back on the 1st of August, but I never made a post for that day. I’ll probably do one on the end date; thanks for reminding me.


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    Maybe! But it’s also H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday tomorrow, not to mention the first day of school as well, so I’m very torn.


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    Oh, apparently it ended on the night between August 20th and 21st, so I could do it then. I’m sure fyeaheasterneurope will do/write/reblog something to commemorate the event too.


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    LOVECRAFTIAN - adj. frighteningly monstrous and otherworldly.

    August 20, 1890: H.P. Lovecraft is born.

    The celebrated American author of The Call of Cthulhu, ”The Dunwich Horror”, At the Mountains of MadnessThe Shadow Out of Time, and other short stories and novellas, was born in Providence, Rhode Island. As a boy, Lovecraft suffered from various illnesses, including psychological ones, which may have influenced some of his later work. He was also a voracious reader who was introduced to Gothic horror at a young age. He published his first work in a professional publication in 1919, and most of his stories, apart from his novellas, were distributed through pulp magazines. While his stories were not unknown, his name was, and it was not until after his death that Lovecraft cemented his place as one of the great horror authors, beside his “God of Fiction” Edgar Allan Poe, mostly thanks to a dedicated group of associates and followers who ensured his literary legacy did not die. 

    His strange, macabre oeuvre is often categorized into a subgenre known as “weird fiction”, which, really, is a fairly succinct description of many of Lovecraft’s writings. Weird, unearthly, and visceral, Lovecraft’s tales made him the pioneer of “cosmic horror”, eventually giving rise to an eponymous genre - Lovecraftian horror. Lovecraft continues to influence literature (Stephen King called him “the 20th century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale”), obviously, but other forms of media as well, and apparently, South Park

    A complete list of H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional works.

    He also loved cats. He was also probably a racist.


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    August 21, 1968: Warsaw Pact troops crush the Prague Spring.

    The short-lived “Prague Spring” (a period in Czechoslovakia during which the country underwent liberal reforms and democratization) began on January 5, 1968, when Alexander Dubček became leader of the country’s Communist Party. His reforms, which were carried out over the following months, sought to create “socialism with a human face”. These included an expansion of individual rights (like freedom of speech and press) and a reduction of the totalitarian aspects of the Party. Despite these reforms, Czechoslovak officials attempted to reassure a concerned Moscow of their loyalty to the Warsaw Pact. Following Hungary’s lead in its bloody 1956 revolution would have been unwise. The United States, still bogged down in Vietnam and unwilling to damage relations with the Soviet Union further by supporting the Prague Spring, remained neutral in the affair.  

    Unsure of Dubček and his reformers’ true intentions, the Soviet Union led hundreds of thousands of troops from Warsaw Pact countries, plus thousands of tanks, into Czechoslovakia on the night of August 20, 1968. Over a hundred were killed resisting the invasion (despite Dubček’s urges to civilians not to resist). Others resisted Soviet occupation more peacefully - denying food and water to the troops, graffitiing denunciations of the invaders and declaring support for the reformers, etc. However, protests and resistance lasted for only a week before fizzling out, although the invasion was criticized around the world, even by the people of the Soviet Union.

    Dubček, meanwhile, was arrested between August 20 and 21, but he was temporarily allowed to keep his position - until April 1969, when he was replaced (and his policies reversed). He was elected Chairman of the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia twenty years later. 


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    August 22, 1862: Claude Debussy is born.

    I love music passionately. And because l love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it. It is a free art gushing forth — an open-air art, boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea. It must never be shut in and become an academic art.


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    the White House after the burning.


    1846, after its reconstruction.

    August 24, 1814: British troops raze Washington, D.C.

    After the decisive defeat of American militiamen by the British at the Battle of Bladensburg, called “the most humiliating episode in American history”, the American troops fled, leaving Washington D.C. undefended and completely vulnerable to attack.  Conquering British forces entered the city and met little resistance there; they destroyed the buildings that housed the Senate and House of Representatives and the Library of Congress in the process, partially as retribution for the Americans’ destruction of property in Canada.

    The White House was burnt down as well, but not before British officers dined at its tables. According to a popular story, the First Lady, Dolley Madison, was seen carrying out of the burning building Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, but this was refuted by one of the Madisons’ slaves. She did, however, direct remaining slaves and servants to try and salvage valuable items from destruction. The 1814 destruction of Washington D.C. was the first (and still only) time since the country’s birth that its capital was occupied by a foreign power. The reconstruction of most important buildings began almost immediately, and the primary structure of the new White House was completed in 1817. 


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    Frank Scherschel, Getty Images




    John Downey, National Archives.



    August 25, 1944: Paris is liberated.

    On August 19, as Allied forces approached, resistance fighters in Paris incited a rebellion against their Nazi and Vichy rulers, and street skirmishes between the French and the occupiers broke out. Realizing that the rebellion could be crushed if military reinforcements were not sent, Charles de Gaulle sent a division of the Free French Forces, the 2nd Armored Division, to Paris, which General Eisenhower had already decided to bypass. But on the morning of August 24th, both American and French tanks rolled into Paris down the Champs-Élysées, finally ready to free France from four years of occupation. According to this article, however, the liberation force was purposely made all-white. Wanting the liberation to be seen and remembered purely as a white, French victory, De Gaulle insisted that black troops (who made up a large percentage of the Free French armies) be excluded. 

    Paris’s Nazi military governor was ordered to bomb Paris into debris before letting it fall into enemy hands, but he never carried these orders out. Instead, he surrendered at a Paris hotel on August 25. That same day, Charles de Gaulle delivered a fiery speech to the newly-liberated people of Paris:

    Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the help of the French armies, with the support and the help of all France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the real France, of the eternal France!

    Over the following days, large groups of American and French troops and vehicles paraded through the streets of Paris. 


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    1960.


    Armstrong's first photograph on the surface of the moon.


    Sierra Blanca, February 1969.


    March 1966.


    After the historic moonwalk.


    April 1969.


    1970.


    with Pres. Obama.


    receiving the Congressional Space Medal of Honor from Pres. Carter

    RIP, Neil Armstrong.

    Neil was among the greatest of American heroes–not just of his time, but of all time.  When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation.  They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable–that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.

    Statement released by the White House

    Photos (mostly) from the Project Apollo Archives.


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    It’s a little sad that so many photos/photosets of Buzz Aldrin have popped up today in commemoration of Neil Armstrong’s death. I look at those and go “couldn’t be bothered to find an actual photograph of him, huh?” Plus, it’s misleading. 


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    August 26, 1920: The 19th Amendment goes into effect.

    The 19th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified early that month, finally granting women the right to vote. In some states, mainly in the West, many women were already enfranchised (Wyoming in 1869 and later Washington, California, Oregon, and Montana); before 1920, a woman had served in Congress (Jeannette Rankin) and two women had already attempted to run for the presidency. But, for the time-being, none of these women had the Constitutional right to vote. For four decades following 1878, the issue of a Constitutional amendment providing for women’s suffrage was introduced at each session of Congress, only to be defeated each time. The exact version first introduced in 1878 was the same one that passed in 1919, forty-one years later. 

    In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose” Progressive Party became the first national political party to adopt women’s suffrage as part of its platform. In 1918, Democrat Woodrow Wilson also appealed heavily to the House in favor of a Constitutional amendment. Finally, in May 1919, the President called a special session of Congress to consider the proposal again; this time, the House approved the amendment, as did the Senate (after much deliberation).

    Thirty-six states were needed to complete the ratification of the amendment. Thirty-five ratified relatively quickly between June 1919 and March 1920, but after the thirty-fifth (Washington), five long months passed before Tennessee, the last state needed, approved the amendment on August 18, 1920 by a narrow margin. The last state to ratify was Mississippi, which did not do so until 1984, sixty-four years after it went into effect.

    The document itself was actually very brief, reading only:

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    The adoption of these two simple sentences was the culmination of over seventy years of activism and campaigning.


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    Somewhat confused about the “two”, but thank you for following!


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    Do I like any? Of course. But yeah, I don’t read a lot of fiction outside of Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire, all that basic Tumblr stuff. I really need to read more.


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    lithograph.



    August 27, 1883: Krakatoa erupts.

    The volcanic island of Krakatoa, located between the islands of Java and Sumatra, lay dormant for at least two centuries, before a passing European ship reported seeing enormous clouds of ash and dust rising from the area in May of 1883. Over the following months, volcanic activity in the region intensified, before reaching an apex on August 26th and 27th of that same year.

    Four enormous explosions took place on August 27th, resulting in the destruction of at least two-thirds of the island. The sound produced by the eruption was so loud that it could be heard 3,000 miles away (on the island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean, the sound was initially thought to be the “roar of heavy guns”). The black clouds of ash spewed into the air by the volcano rose fifty miles high. Each of these colossal explosions was accompanied by tsunamis, which single-handedly killed off a large fraction of the (official) death toll, which was estimated at 36,000. Pyroclastic flow reached neighboring islands (including Sumatra) and wiped out vegetation, villages, and people. For months around the world, sunsets glowed unusually brilliant colors as a result of the gases emitted by the volcano; one British poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, described this phenomenon:

    …more like inflamed flesh than the lucid reds of ordinary sunsets… it bathes the whole sky, it is mistaken for the reflection of a great fire.

    It is also sometimes theorized that Edvard Munch’s The Scream also depicts the after-effects of Krakatoa, similar as to what was described by Hopkins.

    In modern terms, the eruption of Krakatoa is estimated to have had a yield of around 200 megatons; to put things into perspective, the “Fat Man” device detonated over Nagasaki had a yield of 21 kilotons, while Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, had a yield of 50 megatons. 


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    kurchina:

    unhistorical:

    August 27, 1883: Krakatoa erupts.

    The volcanic island of Krakatoa, located between the islands of Java and Sumatra, lay dormant for at least two centuries, before a passing European ship reported seeing enormous clouds of ash and dust rising from the area in May of 1883. Over the following months, volcanic activity in the region intensified before reaching an apex on August 26th and 27th of that same year.

    Four enormous explosions took place on August 27th, resulting in the destruction of at least two-thirds of the island. The sound produced by the eruption was so ridiculously loud that it could be heard 3,000 miles away (on the island of Rodrigues, the sound was initially thought to be the “roar of heavy guns”). The black clouds of ash spewed into the air by the volcano rose fifty miles high. Each of these colossal explosions was accompanied by tsunamis, which single-handedly killed off a large fraction of the (official) death toll, which was estimated at 36,000. Pyroclastic flow reached neighboring islands (including Sumatra) and wiped out vegetation, villages, and people. For months around the world, sunsets glowed unusually brilliant colors as a result of the gases emitted by the volcano; one British poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, described this phenomenon:

    more like inflamed flesh than the lucid reds of ordinary sunsets… it bathes the whole sky, it is mistaken for the reflection of a great fire.

    It isalso popularly suggested that Edvard Munch’s The Scream also depicts the after-effects of Krakatoa, similar as to what was described by Hopkins.

    In modern terms, the eruption of Krakatoa is estimated to have had a yield of around 200 megatons; to put things into perspective, the “Fat Man” device detonated over Nagasaki had a yield of 21 megatons, while Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, had a yield of 50. 

    Just a small correction “fat man” had a yield of 21 kilotons not megatons.

    Oops, thank you for catching that.

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