Archivos de la categoría ‘November’

Romania joins the Axis

On this day in 1940, Romania signs the Tripartite Pact, officially allying itself with Germany, Italy, and Japan.
As early as 1937, Romania had come under control of a fascist government that bore great resemblance to that of Germany’s, including similar anti-Jewish laws. Romania’s king, Carol II, dissolved the government a year later because of a failing economy and installed Romania’s Orthodox Patriarch as prime minister. But the Patriarch’s death and peasant uprising provoked renewed agitation by the fascist Iron Guard paramilitary organization, which sought to impose order. In June 1940, the Soviet Union co-opted two Romanian provinces, and the king searched for an ally to help protect it and appease the far right within its own borders. So on July 5, 1940, Romania allied itself with Nazi Germany—only to be invaded by its “ally” as part of Hitler’s strategy to create one huge eastern front against the Soviet Union.

Marschall Antonescu, Dictator of Rumania. Taken in Wolfsschanze (August 6, 1941).

King Carol abdicated on September 6, 1940, leaving the country in the control of fascist Prime Minister Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Signing the Tripartite Pact was now inevitable. Originally formulated in Berlin on September 27, the pact formally recognized an alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan, termed the “Axis.” As more European nations became subject to fascist domination and invasion, they too were drawn into the pact, albeit as unequal partners (Hungary was made an Axis “power” on November 20). Now it was Romania’s turn.
While Romania would recapture the territory lost to the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded Russia, it would also have to endure the Germans’ raping its resources as part of the Nazi war effort. Besides taking control of Romania’s oil wells and installations, Hitler would help himself to Romania’s food crops, causing a food shortage for native Romanians.
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/romania-becomes-an-axis-power

Reagan and Gorbachev hold their first summit meeting

 

Reagan-Gorbachov

For the first time in eight years, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United Stateshold a summit conference. Meeting in Geneva, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev produced no earth-shattering agreements. However, the meeting boded well for the future, as the two men engaged in long, personal talks and seemed to develop a sincere and close relationship.
The meeting came as somewhat of a surprise to some in the United States, considering Reagan’s often incendiary rhetoric concerning communism and the Soviet Union, but it was in keeping with the president’s often stated desire to bring the nucleararms race under control. For Gorbachev, the meeting was another clear signal of his desire to obtain better relations with the United States so that he could better pursue his domestic reforms.
Little of substance was accomplished. Six agreements were reached, ranging from cultural and scientific exchanges to environmental issues. Both Reagan and Gorbachev, however, expressed satisfaction with the summit, which ended on November 21. The next summit was held in October 1986 in Reykjavik and ended somewhat disastrously, with Reagan’s commitment to the Strategic Defense Initiative (the so-called “Star Wars” missile defense system) providing a major obstacle to progress on arms control talks. However, by the time of their third summit in Washington, D.C. in 1987, both sides made concessions in order to achieve agreement on a wide range of arms control issues.
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/reagan-and-gorbachev-hold-their-first-summit-meeting

Battle of the Somme ends

On this day in 1916, British Commander in Chief Sir Douglas Haig calls a halt to his army’s offensive near the Somme River in northwestern France, ending the epic Battle of the Somme after more than four months of bloody conflict.

With the French under heavy siege at Verdun since February, the Somme offensive was Haig’s long-planned attempt to make an Allied breakthrough on the Western Front. After a full week of artillery bombardment, the offensive began in earnest on the morning of July 1, 1916, when soldiers from 11 British divisions emerged from their trenches near the Somme River in northwestern France and advanced toward the German front lines.

Battle of the Somme

The initial advance was a disaster, as the six German divisions facing the advancing British mowed them down with their machine guns, killing or wounding some 60,000 men on the first day alone: the single heaviest day of casualties in British military history to that point. The failure of the advance was credited variously to the complete lack of surprise in the timing of the attack, incompetence on the part of Haig and the British command–namely, their failure to conceive that the Germans could build their trenches deep enough to protect their heavy weapons or bring them up so quickly once the artillery barrage had ended–and the inferior preparation of the British artillery, for which the infantry paid a heavy price.

Over the course of the next four-and-a-half months and no fewer than 90 attacks, the Allies were able to advance a total of only six miles in the Somme region, at the cost of 146,000 soldiers killed and over 200,000 more injured. On November 18, 1916, Haig finally called off the offensive, insisting in his official dispatch from the front that December that the Somme operation had achieved its objectives. “Verdun had been relieved; the main German forces had been held on the Western front; and the enemy’s strength had been very considerably worn down. Any one of these three results is in itself sufficient to justify the Somme battle.” 

Despite its commander’s positive assessment, the Battle of the Somme would remain one of the most controversial operations of  World War I  In the war’s aftermath, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, a nemesis of Haig’s, roundly condemned Haig’s offensive: “Over 400,000 of our men fell in this bullheaded fight and the slaughter amongst our young officers was appalling…Had it not been for the inexplicable stupidity of the Germans in provoking a quarrel with America and bringing that mighty people into the war against them just as they had succeeded in eliminating another powerful foe—Russia–the Somme would not have saved us from the inextricable stalemate.”

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/battle-of-the-somme-ends

Elizabethan Age begins

Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.

María Tudor

The two half-sisters, both daughters of King  Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary’s five-year reign. Mary, who was brought up as a Catholic, enacted pro-Catholic legislation and made efforts to restore the pope to supremacy in England. A Protestant rebellion ensued, and Queen Mary imprisoned Elizabeth, a Protestant, in the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity. After Mary’s death, Elizabeth survived several Catholic plots against her; though her ascension was greeted with approval by most of England’s lords, who were largely Protestant and hoped for greater religious tolerance under a Protestant queen. Under the early guidance of Secretary of State Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth repealed Mary’s pro-Catholic legislation, established a permanent Protestant Church of England, and encouraged the Calvinist reformers in Scotland.

In foreign affairs, Elizabeth practiced a policy of strengthening England’s Protestant allies and dividing her foes. Elizabeth was opposed by the pope, who refused to recognize her legitimacy, and by Spain, a Catholic nation that was at the height of its power. In 1588, English-Spanish rivalry led to an abortive Spanish invasion of England in which the Spanish Armada, the greatest naval force in the world at the time, was destroyed by storms and a determined English navy.

With increasing English domination at sea, Elizabeth encouraged voyages of discovery, such as Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world and Sir Walter Raleigh’s expeditions to the North American coast.

The long reign of Elizabeth, who became known as the “Virgin Queen” for her reluctance to endanger her authority through marriage,

Elizabeth I

coincided with the flowering of the English Renaissance, associated with such renowned authors as William Shakespeare. By her death in 1603, England had become a major world power in every respect, and Queen Elizabeth I passed into history as one of England’s greatest monarchs.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/elizabethan-age-begins

Pizarro traps Incan emperor Atahualpa

Pizarro and Atahualpa

On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, springs a trap on the Incan emperor, Atahualpa. With fewer than 200 men against several thousand, Pizarro lures Atahualpa to a feast in the emperor’s honor and then opens fire on the unarmed Incans. Pizarro’s men massacre the Incans and capture Atahualpa, forcing him to convert to Christianity before eventually killing him.

Pizarro’s timing for conquest was perfect. By 1532, the Inca Empire was embroiled in a civil war that had decimated the population and divided the people’s loyalties. Atahualpa, the younger son of former Incan ruler Huayna Capac, had just deposed his half-brother Huascar and was in the midst of reuniting his kingdom when Pizarro arrived in 1531, with the endorsement of Spain’s King Charles V. On his way to the Incan capital, Pizarro learned of the war and began recruiting soldiers still loyal to Huascar.

Pizarro met Atahualpa just outside Cajamarca, a small Incan town tucked into a valley of the Andes. Sending his brother Hernan as an envoy, Pizarro invited Atahualpa back to Cajamarca for a feast in honor of Atahualpa’s ascendance to the throne. Though he had nearly 80,000 soldiers with him in the mountains, Atahualpa consented to attend the feast with only 5,000 unarmed men. He was met by Vicente de Valverde, a friar traveling with Pizarro. While Pizarro’s men lay in wait, Valverde urged Atahualpa to convert and accept Charles V as sovereign. Atahualpa angrily refused, prompting Valverde to give the signal for Pizarro to open fire. Trapped in tight quarters, the panicking Incan soldiers made easy prey for the Spanish. Pizarro’s men slaughtered the 5,000 Incans in just an hour. Pizarro himself suffered the only Spanish injury: a cut on his hand sustained as he saved Atahualpa from death.

Realizing Atahualpa was initially more valuable alive than dead, Pizarro kept the emperor in captivity while he made plans to take over his empire. In response, Atahualpa appealed to his captors’ greed, offering them a room full of gold and silver in exchange for his liberation. Pizarro consented, but after receiving the ransom, Pizarro brought Atahualpa up on charges of stirring up rebellion. By that time, Atahualpa had played his part in pacifying the Incans while Pizarro secured his power, and Pizarro considered him disposable. Atahualpa was to be burned at the stake—the Spanish believed this to be a fitting death for a heathen—but at the last moment, Valverde offered the emperor clemency if he would convert. Atahualpa submitted, only to be executed by strangulation. The day was August 29, 1533.

Fighting between the Spanish and the Incas would continue well after Atahualpa’s death as Spain consolidated its conquests. Pizarro’s bold victory at Cajamarca, however, effectively marked the end of the Inca Empire and the beginning of the European colonization of South America.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pizarro-traps-incan-emperor-atahualpa

Georges Clemenceau named French prime minister

On November 15, 1917, with his country embroiled in a bitter international conflict that would eventually take the lives of over 1 million of its young men, 76-year-old Georges Clemenceau is named prime minister of France for the second time.

The young Clemenceau was first elected to parliament in 1876, five years after France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. From that

George Clemenceau

time on, he considered the newly united Germany a menace and another war as inevitable, given that “Germany believes that the logic of her victory means domination.” With a strong rate of industrial growth and a steadily increasing population, Germany pressed its advantage in the ensuing decades, while France’s economy remained static and its birth rate remained in decline. Clemenceau, who served as prime minister from 1906 to 1909, remained vehemently anti-German, arguing for greater military preparedness and tighter alliances with Britain and Russia.

Clemenceau’s predictions were confirmed in the summer of 1914 with the outbreak of World War I.  (…) In November 1918, when he heard the Germans had agreed to an armistice, the old Tiger broke down in tears.

At the peace conference in Paris in 1919, Clemenceau stood alongside U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Britain as the three central negotiators. Clemenceau personally disliked both men, once famously remarking that he sometimes felt himself “between Jesus Christ on the one hand, and Napoleon Bonaparte on the other.” He especially clashed with Wilson, whom he viewed as far too idealistic in his view of the post-war world. Though Clemenceau successfully insisted that the Versailles Treaty require German disarmament and stiff reparations, as well as the return to France of the territories of Alsace-Lorraine, lost in the Franco-Prussian War, he remained dissatisfied with the treaty in its final form, believing it treated Germany too leniently. Many in the French electorate agreed, and in January 1920 they rejected their old hero as prime minister. In his subsequent retirement, Clemenceau published his memoirs, The Grandeur and Misery of Victory, in which he predicted another war with Germany would break out by 1940. He died on November 24, 1929, in Paris.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/georges-clemenceau-named-french-prime-minister

Apollo 12 lifts off

Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the surface of the moon, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr.; Richard F. Gordon, Jr.; and Alan L. Bean aboard. President Richard Nixon viewed the liftoff from Pad A at Cape Canaveral. He was the first president to attend the liftoff of a manned space flight.

Apollo 12 Logo

Thirty-six seconds after takeoff, lightning struck the ascending Saturn 5 launch rocket, which tripped the circuit breakers in the command module and caused a power failure. Fortunately, the launching rocket continued up normally, and within a few minutes power was restored in the spacecraft.

On November 19, the landing module Intrepid made a precision landing on the northwest rim of the moon’s Ocean of Storms. About five hours later, astronauts Conrad and Bean became the third and fourth humans to walk on the surface of the moon. During the next 32 hours, the two astronauts made two lunar walks, where they collected lunar samples and investigated the Surveyor 3 spacecraft, an unmanned U.S. probe that soft-landed on the moon in 1967. On November 24, Apollo 12 successfully returned to Earth, splashing down only three miles from one of its retrieval ships, the USS Hornet.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/iapollo-12i-lifts-off