Wednesday, January 25, 2017

History: The Year is 1938

I've uploaded year 1938 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Radio Terror Panics the Nation... The Martians Have Landed! -- Orson Wells makes his name with this famous radio broadcast.

Peace for Our Time -- Neville Chamberlain never said "Peace in our time."

The Night of Broken Glass -- Over 1,000 synagogues are burned, holy scrolls are defiled, shop windows are smashed and 91 Jews are murdered.

Notable Births -- see below

In Other News -- see below

Radio Terror Panics the Nation... The Martians Have Landed!

On the Sunday night prior to Halloween, Mercury Theater presents War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. It begins with an introductory narration by Orson Wells followed by dance music as if it is a normal broadcast. The music fades in and out as a series of news flashes report on strange lights from the planet Mars as if a giant gun has been shot toward Earth. Then a reporter on the scene describes the crash of a huge cylinder at a farm near Grover's Mill, New Jersey. There is a humming sound, and the cylinder opens. A strange beast emerges. "It is indescribable!" shouts the reporter. He then proceeds to describe it. "Something is happening.... a beam of light!" You can hear shouts in the background and then a long silence. "Ladies and gentlemen, we seem to be having technical difficulties." Yes, they are. The switchboards at AT&T light up. People are crying and screaming as the telephone operators try to calm the callers. If anyone had a lick of sense they would have realized that everything was happening too quickly to be real. Yet 1 in 12 listeners believed it was real. The next day newspaper headlines read "RADIO PLAY TERRIFIES NATION" Actually, the NEWSPAPER was pointing out the unreliability of their competitor, RADIO news! Luckily the newspapers spelled Orson Wells' name correctly. The young man is now famous. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A year prior, the FCC Commissioner had pointed to the potential of radio to terrorize the public and give children nightmares. When I was a kid living in the Los Angeles area, I was fascinated when the movie, "War of the Worlds" starring Gene Barry came on TV. The movie centered the story on Los Angeles... not New Jersey. They named places that I knew, so when the TV said that the Martians were topping the hills, I could see those hills from my front yard! I ran outside to look! OK. OK. I was just a kid, and I already knew that it wasn't really happening, but I still felt compelled to look. [7] [8] [9]

Peace for Our Time

"I have returned from Germany with peace for our time."
-- Neville Chamberlain, 1938.
Neville Chamberlain never said "Peace in our time." That is a quote from the Book of Common Prayer, but the Prime Minister returns home in late September after a conference with Hitler and waves the Munich Agreement. This peaceful interlude will be brief, though. The Munich Crisis, as it was called, started years before with the breakup of Austria-Hungry after World War 1 and the creation of the nation of Czechoslovakia. Many ethnic Germans who had been living in Austria suddenly found themselves living in Czechoslovakia and they complained. Hitler is itching to annex those parts along the Czechoslovakian border. They call the area "Sudetenland" meaning "the mountainous country", but it really describes areas all over the map. The agreement itself calls for an evacuation of the Czechs... right the heck now. They aren't too happy about it, but they agree nevertheless. Poland had already annexed the Polish-speaking portions of Czechoslovakia. They have few friends now except the Soviets. The UK was supposed to be an ally, but no more.. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The German Chief of the General Staff, Ludwig Beck, resigned in protest of the annexation warning that it would start a world war! Imagine that. He planned to have Hitler arrested if only the UK had threatened to defend Czechoslovakia and oppose annexation. That would have given Beck the justification to arrest Hitler, but it was not to be. Chamberlain caved. It is easy to look back and say, "We could have avoided war, if only. If only." I'm not sure that Beck's plan would have worked. In the end Neville Chamberlain's agreement looked like appeasement, and he was replaced by Winston Churchill... the man who had warned that war was coming if they didn't do something, and once the war had begun he was charged with fighting the war he didn't want to fight in the first place. [13]

The Night of Broken Glass

Jews are leaving Germany by the thousands, but the USA has determined through eugenics that the majority of Jews are potential criminals, or imbeciles. Jews who cannot get out of Germany are moving to the larger cities such as Berlin where there is some anonymity, but the Nuremberg Laws require Jews to identify themselves when asked. The Yellow Stars sewn to a Jew's clothing won't be required for another 3 years. Marriage between Jews and non-Jews is forbidden. Even Jewish families who had sincerely converted to Christianity a generation prior are considered "tainted," so to speak. The Brownshirts stand outside Jewish businesses with signs encouraging a boycott. Then a Nazi diplomat is assassinated in France by a Polish-Jewish teenager. In retaliation, the Brownshirts gather for an evening of terror while the German authorities look the other way. Over 1,000 synagogues are burned, holy scrolls are defiled, shop windows are smashed and 91 Jews are murdered. 30,000 Jewish men are sent to concentration camps. And so it begins. [14] [15] [16] [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was standing in the Jewish section of a local bookstore when a woman asked for my help. I was wearing a skullcap so she figured I was Jewish. (Uh... Yeah!) She was Christian, but she felt drawn to the Jewish texts. I asked her a few questions, and determined that her family had converted to Christianity long ago but they were originally Jewish on her mother's side. Her eyes widened when I explained that Nazi Germany would have identified her as a Jew and sent her to a concentration camp. It was unpleasant news, I know, but after the Holocaust many Jews tried to forget their Judaism, and often failed to tell their children. That leaves future generations vulnerable to a round up. But Alex! That can't happen in the good old USA! Can it? Yes it can. Japanese-Americans were rounded up during World War 2. I had to warn her. I gave her some advice on learning Hebrew and recommended two reasonable translations. Unquestionably, she was Jewish.

Notable Births

  • Donald Knuth (Living): One of the big hitters of computer science. [18]
  • Ted Turner (Living): Founder of CNN and husband of Jane Fonda until 2001. [19]
  • Jerry Brown (Living): Governor of California. His girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt, called him "Governor Moonbeam." [20]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Johnny Paycheck: Best known for singing, "Take This Job and Shove It" [21]
  • -- Natalie Wood: She was the cute girl in the old, "Miracle on 34th Street" and Maria in Westside Story. [22]
  • -- Jon Voight (Living): "National Treasure II", the TV show "24" and the father of Angelina Jolie [23]
  • -- Dawn Wells (Living): Mary Ann of Gilligan's Island. [24]
  • -- Christopher Lloyd (Living): 'Doc' Brown in "Back to the Future" and Uncle Fester in "The Addams Family". [25]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

In Other News

  • Hitler seizes the Holy Lance that pierced Jesus. Supposedly. Different churches claim to have this holy object. [26] [27]
  • The Toll House chocolate chip cookie is invented. Toll House is a popular restaurant featuring home-style cooking. [28]
  • Howard Hughes breaks the around the world speed record. He completes his flight in 3 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes. [29]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1938, Wikipedia.

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