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SMS Dresden at New York, pre First World War
Here we see the German cruiser SMS Dresden, probably at New York in the period before the First World War.
The Red Summer of 1919
On July 27, 1919, an African American teenager drowned in Lake Michigan after violating the unofficial segregation of Chicago’s beaches and being stoned by a group of white youths. His death, and the police’s refusal to arrest the white man whom eyewitnesses identified as causing it, sparked a week of rioting between gangs of Black and white Chicagoans, concentrated on the South Side neighborhood surrounding the stockyards. When the riots ended on August 3, 15 white and 23 Black people had been killed and more than 500 people injured an additional 1,000 Black families had lost their homes when they were torched by rioters.
The passage of the Second Naval Law in 1900 under the direction of Vizeadmiral (VAdm – Vice Admiral) Alfred von Tirpitz secured funding for the construction of twenty new battleships over the next seventeen years. The first group, the five Braunschweig-class battleships, were laid down in the early 1900s, and shortly thereafter design work began on a follow-on design, which became the Deutschland class. The Deutschland-class ships were broadly similar to the Braunschweigs and featured incremental improvements in armor protection. They also abandoned the gun turrets for the secondary battery guns, moving them back to traditional casemates to save weight.   The British battleship HMS Dreadnought – armed with ten 12-inch (30.5 cm) guns – was commissioned in December 1906.  Dreadnought ' s revolutionary design rendered obsolete every capital ship of the German navy, including Schleswig-Holstein. 
Schleswig-Holstein had a length of 127.60 m (418 ft 8 in), a beam of 22.20 m (72 ft 10 in), and a draft of 8.21 m (26 ft 11 in). She displaced 13,200 metric tons (13,000 long tons) normally and up to 14,218 metric tons (13,993 long tons) at combat loading. She was equipped with three triple expansion engines and twelve coal-fired water-tube boilers that produced a rated 16,767 indicated horsepower (12,503 kW) and a top speed of 19.1 knots (35.4 km/h 22.0 mph). In addition to being the fastest ship of her class, Schleswig-Holstein was the second-most fuel efficient. At a cruising speed of 10 knots (19 km/h 12 mph), she could steam for 5,720 nautical miles (10,590 km 6,580 mi).  She had a standard crew of 35 officers and 708 enlisted men. 
The ship's primary armament consisted of four 28 cm SK L/40 guns in two twin turrets [b] one turret was placed forward and the other aft. She was also equipped with fourteen 17 cm (6.7 in) SK L/40 guns mounted in casemates and twenty 8.8 cm (3.5 in) SK L/35 guns in pivot mounts. The ship was also armed with six 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes, all below the waterline. One was in the bow, one in the stern, and four on the broadside. Her armored belt was 240 mm (9.4 in) thick amidships in the citadel, and she had a 40 mm (1.6 in) thick armored deck. The main battery turrets had 280 mm (11 in) thick sides. 
Schleswig-Holstein was laid down on 18 August 1905 at the Germaniawerft dockyard in Kiel.  She was launched on 17 December 1906, the last pre-dreadnought battleship of the German navy.  At Schleswig-Holstein ' s launching ceremony, she was christened by Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, the German Empress Wilhelm II was also in attendance. Ernst Gunther, the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, gave the commissioning speech. 
Upon completion, Schleswig-Holstein was commissioned for sea trials on 6 July 1908. Her crew largely came from her sister ship Schlesien. On 21 September the ship was assigned to II Battle Squadron of the High Seas Fleet, alongside her sister ships.  In November, fleet and unit exercises were conducted in the Baltic Sea.  The training regimen in which Schleswig-Holstein participated followed a similar pattern over the next five years. Fleet maneuvers were conducted in the spring, followed by a summer cruise to Norway, and additional fleet training in the fall. This included another cruise into the Atlantic, from 7 July to 1 August 1909. 
Starting in September 1910, Friedrich Boedicker took command of the ship, a position he held for the next three years.  On 3 October 1911, the ship was transferred back to II Squadron. Due to the Agadir Crisis in July, the summer cruise only went into the Baltic.  In 1913, she won the Kaiser's Schiesspreis (Gunnery Award).  On 14 July 1914, the annual summer cruise to Norway began, but the threat of war in Europe cut the excursion short within two weeks Schleswig-Holstein and the rest of II Squadron had returned to Wilhelmshaven. 
World War I Edit
At the outbreak of war in July 1914, Schleswig-Holstein was assigned to guard duty in the mouth of the Elbe River while the rest of the fleet mobilized.  In late October, she and her sisters were sent to Kiel to have improvements made to their underwater protection system to make them more resistant to torpedoes and mines,  after which II Battle Squadron rejoined the fleet. The squadron covered Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper's battlecruisers of the I Scouting Group while they bombarded Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby on 15–16 December 1914.  During the operation, the German battle fleet of some 12 dreadnoughts and 8 pre-dreadnoughts came to within 10 nmi (19 km 12 mi) of an isolated squadron of six British battleships. However, skirmishes between the rival destroyer screens convinced the German commander, Admiral Friedrich von Ingenohl, that he was confronted with the entire Grand Fleet, and so he broke off the engagement and turned the fleet for home.  In April 1916, the ship had two of her 8.8 cm guns removed and replaced with 8.8 cm Flak guns. 
Schleswig-Holstein then participated in a fleet advance to the Dogger Bank on 21–22 April 1915. On 11–12 September II Reconnaissance Group conducted a minelaying operation off the Swarte Bank with II Squadron in support. This was followed by another sweep by the fleet on 23–24 October that ended without result. II and III Battle Squadron dreadnoughts conducted an advance into the North Sea on 5–7 March 1916 Schleswig-Holstein and the rest of II Squadron remained in the German Bight, ready to sail in support. They then rejoined the fleet during the operation to bombard Yarmouth and Lowestoft on 24–25 April.  During this operation, the battlecruiser Seydlitz was damaged by a British mine and had to return to port prematurely. Visibility was poor, so the operation was quickly called off before the British fleet could intervene. 
Battle of Jutland Edit
The commander of the High Seas Fleet, Admiral Reinhard Scheer, immediately planned another advance into the North Sea, but the damage to Seydlitz delayed the operation until the end of May.  As the last ship assigned to IV Division of II Battle Squadron, the rearmost German formation, Schleswig-Holstein was the last battleship in the line. II Battle Squadron was commanded by Rear Admiral Franz Mauve [de] .  During the "Run to the North", Scheer ordered the fleet to pursue the retreating battleships of the British 5th Battle Squadron at top speed. Schleswig-Holstein and her sisters were significantly slower than the dreadnoughts and quickly fell behind.  During this period, Admiral Scheer directed Hannover to place herself behind Schleswig-Holstein so he would have a flagship on either end of the formation.  By 19:30, the Grand Fleet had arrived on the scene and confronted Admiral Scheer with significant numerical superiority.  The German fleet was severely hampered by the presence of the slower Deutschland-class ships if Scheer had ordered an immediate turn towards Germany, he would have had to sacrifice the slower ships to make his escape. 
Admiral Scheer decided to reverse the course of the fleet with the Gefechtskehrtwendung, a maneuver that required every unit in the German line to turn 180° simultaneously.  [c] Having fallen behind, the ships of II Battle Squadron could not conform to the new course following the turn,  and fell to the disengaged side of the German line. Admiral Mauve considered moving his ships to the rear of the line, astern of III Battle Squadron dreadnoughts, but decided against it when he realized the movement would interfere with the maneuvering of Hipper's battlecruisers. Instead, he attempted to place his ships at the head of the line.  But by the time II Squadron reached its position at the head of the line, Scheer had ordered another Gefechtskehrtwendung, which placed them at the rear of the German fleet.  By 21:00, Scheer had turned the fleet around a third time, but the slow speed of Schleswig-Holstein and her squadron mates caused them to fall out of position, to the disengaged side of the fleet. 
Later on the first day of the battle, Hipper's badly damaged battlecruisers were being engaged by their British rivals. Schleswig-Holstein and the other so-called "five-minute ships" came to their aid by steaming in between the opposing battlecruiser squadrons.  [d] These ships were very briefly engaged, owing in large part to the poor visibility. The visibility was so bad, the gunners aboard Schleswig-Holstein could not make out a target, and she did not fire her main guns. At 21:35 a heavy caliber shell struck the ship on the port-side,  [e] punching a hole approximately 40 cm (16 in) wide before exploding against the inner casemate armor. It tore apart 4.50 m (14.8 ft) of the superstructure deck and disabled one of the port side casemate guns.  Three men were killed and nine were wounded.  Admiral Mauve halted the fight against the much more powerful battlecruisers and ordered an 8-point turn to starboard. 
Late on the 31st, the fleet re-formed for the night voyage back to Germany, with Schleswig-Holstein towards the rear of the line, ahead of Hessen, Hannover, and the battlecruisers Von der Tann and Derfflinger.  Around 03:00, British destroyers conducted a series of attacks against the fleet, some of which were directed towards Schleswig-Holstein.  Shortly thereafter, Pommern was struck by at least one torpedo from the destroyer Onslaught the hit detonated an ammunition magazine, destroying the ship in a tremendous explosion. During the attack, Schleswig-Holstein was forced to turn away to avoid the destroyers' torpedoes.  Shortly after 05:00, Hannover and several other ships fired repeatedly at what they falsely believed to be British submarines. 
Despite the ferocity of the night fighting, the High Seas Fleet punched through the British destroyer forces and reached Horns Reef by 4:00 on 1 June.  The German fleet reached Wilhelmshaven a few hours later, where the undamaged dreadnoughts of the Nassau and Helgoland classes took up defensive positions.  Over the course of the battle, Schleswig-Holstein had fired only twenty 17 cm rounds. 
Later actions Edit
Schleswig-Holstein was put into dock for repairs 10–25 June 1916.  The Navy then decided to withdraw the four remaining Deutschland-class ships, owing to their obsolescence and vulnerability to underwater attacks, as demonstrated by the loss of Pommern.  Thereafter, the ship was used as a target for U-boats, except during 12–23 February 1917 when she was used as a guard ship. In April Schleswig-Holstein was sent to Altenbruch at the mouth of the Elbe here she was decommissioned on 2 May. Schleswig-Holstein was then disarmed and assigned to the 5th U-boat Flotilla to be used as a barracks ship in Bremerhaven. In 1918 the ship was moved to Kiel, where she remained for the rest of the war. 
Inter-war years Edit
Following the German defeat in World War I, the German navy was reorganized as the Reichsmarine according to the Treaty of Versailles. The new navy was permitted to retain eight pre-dreadnought battleships under Article 181—two of which would be in reserve—for coastal defense.  Schleswig-Holstein was among the ships that were retained, along with her sisters Hannover and Schlesien and several of the Braunschweig-class battleships.  Schleswig-Holstein was recommissioned as the new fleet flagship on 31 January 1926 following an extensive refit, with new fire controls and an enlarged aft superstructure for the admiral's staff. The secondary 17 cm guns were replaced with 15-centimeter (5.9 in) pieces and four 50 cm torpedo tubes were fitted in main deck casemates fore and aft, replacing the submerged tubes. 
Schleswig-Holstein and her sister Hannover went on a training cruise into the Atlantic that lasted from 14 May to 17 June 1926 while on the cruise, she visited Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean from 22 to 30 May. She stopped in Barcelona with Elsass from 1 to 7 June, and then proceeded to Vigo from 12 to 14 June, where she joined Hessen, Elsass, and Hannover. There, the chief of the fleet, Vice Admiral Konrad Mommsen, met with King Alfonso XIII.  Schleswig-Holstein went on another training cruise between 30 March and 14 June 1927 into the Atlantic. She visited a series of Iberian ports, including Lisbon, Portugal, where Mommsen was greeted by Óscar Carmona, the president of Portugal.  In December 1927 Schleswig-Holstein went back into dock, re-emerging in January 1928 with her forefunnel trunked back into the second and both remaining funnels heightened, as had previously been done with her sister Schlesien. 
With the delivery of the new Deutschland-class Panzerschiffe (armored ships) beginning in 1933, the older battleships were gradually withdrawn from front-line service. In May 1935, the Reichsmarine was reorganized as the Kriegsmarine by the reforms instituted by Adolf Hitler that created the Wehrmacht.  Schleswig-Holstein ceased to be fleet flagship on 22 September 1935, and was refitted as a cadet training ship during January–March and May–July 1936. The changes included removing her remaining upper deck 15 cm guns and her torpedo tubes, and her two aft boiler rooms were converted to oil-firing models, although the forward boilers remained coal-fired. The ship's standard complement was also reduced from 35 officers and 708 enlisted men to 31 officers and 565 sailors. The crew was supplemented by 175 cadets,  who were taken on long cruises in Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein, the latter sailing in October 1936 on a six-month voyage to South America and the Caribbean. The following year, her cruise took her around Africa, and the 1938–1939 cruise went back to South American and Caribbean waters.  Gustav Kieseritzky served as the ship's commander from June 1938 until April 1939. 
In the mid-1930s, Hitler began pursuing an increasingly aggressive foreign policy in 1936 he re-militarized the Rhineland, and in 1938 completed the Anschluss of Austria and the annexation of Czechoslovakia.  He then demanded German control over the city of Danzig, which had become a free city after World War I. 
World War II Edit
Early on 1 September 1939, Germany launched an invasion of Poland. Schleswig-Holstein had been positioned in the port of Danzig, moored close to the Polish ammunition depot at Westerplatte under the guise of a ceremonial visit in August. Around 04:47 on 1 September, Schleswig-Holstein opened fire with her main battery at the Polish positions on the Westerplatte, and in doing so fired the first shots of World War II.  These shots were the signal for ground troops to begin their assault on the installation,  though the first German ground attack in the Battle of Westerplatte was repelled shortly thereafter.  A second assault began later that morning, again supported by Schleswig-Holstein, though it too had failed to break into the installation by around noon. 
Schleswig-Holstein was joined on 4 September by the torpedo boats T196 and Von der Gröben.  A force of German infantry and army engineers went ashore to take the depot, with heavy fire support from Schleswig-Holstein.  The Poles managed to hold off the Germans until they were forced to surrender on 7 September at 10:30.  Following the Polish surrender, Schleswig-Holstein began shelling Polish positions at Hel and Redłowo these operations lasted until 13 September.  Between 25 and 27 September, the old battleship returned to Hel with her sister Schlesien both vessels conducted further bombardments of still-manned Polish positions there.  On 25 September the Schleswig-Holstein was lightly damaged by Polish coastal batteries at Hel. 
The German military then turned its attention westward, and in April 1940 invaded Denmark. Schleswig-Holstein was assigned to the naval component of the invasion force.  During the invasion, the ship was briefly grounded off the Danish coast.  Following the operation, she was transferred back to training duties, as the flagship of the Chief of Training Units.  At the end of 1943, the reactivation of Schleswig-Holstein was once again contemplated. In her favor was the fact that she retained some coal-fired boilers, given the ever-worsening oil-supply situation. Thus, on 1 February 1944 she was once again recommissioned, at first taking up her old role as a cadet training ship, then later in the year docking at Gotenhafen (Gdynia) for a refit. She was to be converted into a convoy escort ship with a greatly enhanced anti-aircraft armament, but after being hit three times by Royal Air Force bombers on 18 December 1944, she eventually foundered in shallow water.  As the ship was permanently disabled, her crew was sent ashore to assist in the defense of Marienburg. 
Following the Soviet capture of that city, the remaining crew detonated scuttling charges in the wreck on 21 March to further destroy the ship.   After the war, the ship was raised during 1945–1946 by the Soviet Navy and transferred to Tallinn. Although reference books long stated that she was scrapped there or in Marienburg,   in actuality she was towed out in 1948 and beached for long-term use as a target in shallow water off the island of Osmussaar in the Gulf of Finland.   Last used for target practice around 1966, the remains are now submerged.  Her bell was held in the collection of the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden as of 1990. 
Jack The Chicken
Like this gallery?
In 1917, three years after the beginning of World War I, the United States entered the fight. That spring, American troops set sail from the Eastern seaboard to join the Allied front line in France. Along with them was a small Boston Terrier named Stubby, the mascot of the 102nd Infantry who had been smuggled onto the boat by a member of the unit named John Robert Conroy.
Conroy had befriended the pup months back during his military training on the Yale grounds and named the dog Stubby for his small tail.
When Stubby arrived in Europe, he quickly became an invaluable member of the 102nd. Stubby would warn soldiers of approaching artillery shells and poison gas, using his keen sense of smell to detect the attacks early. He would also seek out and find wounded American soldiers in no man's land and would bark until someone came to rescue them.
Stubby even managed to capture a German spy, attacking him and holding him down until soldiers could arrive. For his bravery, Stubby was promoted to the rank of sergeant, making him the first dog to be given a rank in the United States Armed Forces.
After the war, Stubby didn't give up on his heroism. He continued to entertain and delight patients at veterans hospitals. Later, he would become the team mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas.
As was the case with Stubby, humans have been bringing animals along into their wars for as long as there have been wars. The first animals used in war were likely active participants: war horses, war dogs, and other animals literally used to wage war. However, as the centuries wore on, military animals have come not to be used as fighters, but as companions and pets.
These animals became mascots of the units that they traveled with, raising the spirits of the soldiers as well as comforting them in hardship. These animals often came to represent the unit, and became an emotional rallying point for its members.
From dogs and cats to goats and pigs to elephants, tigers, and kangaroos, see some of the most incredible army mascots of all time in the gallery above.
After this look at army mascots, check out these astounding historical photos of military animals in action. Then, check out some of the most bizarre historical photos you'll ever see.
Long before online quizzes and Myers-Briggs, Robert Woodworth’s “Psychoneurotic Inventory” tried to assess recruits’ susceptibility to shell shock
In January 1915, less than a year into the First World War, Charles Myers, a doctor with the Royal Army Medical Corps, documented the history of a soldier known as Case 3. Case 3 was a 23-year-old private who had survived a shell explosion and woken up, memory cloudy, in a cellar and then in a hospital. “A healthy-looking man, well-nourished, but obviously in an extremely nervous condition. He complains that the slightest noise makes him start,” wrote Myers in a dispatch to the medical journal The Lancet. The physician termed the affliction exhibited by this private and two other soldiers “shell shock.”
Shell shock ultimately sent 15 percent of British soldiers home. Their symptoms included uncontrollable weeping, amnesia, tics, paralysis, nightmares, insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, muteness—the list ticked on. Across the Atlantic, the National Committee for Mental Hygiene took note. Its medical director, psychiatrist Thomas Salmon, traveled overseas to study the psychological toll of the war and report back on what preparations the U.S., if it entered the ever-swelling conflict, should make to care for soldiers suffering from shell shock, or what he termed “war neuroses.” Today, we recognize their then-mysterious condition as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an ongoing psychological response to trauma that the Department of Veterans Affairs says affects between 10 and 20 percent of veterans of the United States’ War of Terror.
“The most important recommendation to be made,” Salmon wrote, “is that of rigidly excluding insane, feebleminded, psychopathic and neuropathic individuals from the forces which are to be sent to France and exposed to the terrific stress of modern war.” While his suggestion to identify and exclude soldiers who might be more vulnerable to “war neuroses” seems today like an archaic approach to mental health, it resulted in a lasting contribution to popular psychology: the first personality test.
Patients in the "neuro-psychological ward" of the base hospital at Camp Sherman in Ohio in 1918. (National Archives)
When Myers named shell shock, it had a fairly short paper trail. During the German unification wars a half-century earlier, a psychiatrist had noted similar symptoms in combat veterans. But World War I introduced a different kind of warfare—deadlier and more mechanized, with machine guns and poison gas. “Never in the history of mankind have the stresses and strains laid upon the body and mind been so great or so numerous as in the present war,” lamented British-Australian anthropologist Elliott Smith.
Initially, the name “shell shock” was meant literally—psychologists thought the concussive impact of bombshells left a mental aftereffect. But when even non-combat troops started exhibiting the same behavioral symptoms, that explanation lost sway. One school of thought, says Greg Eghigian, a history professor at Pennsylvania State University who’s studied the development of psychiatry, suspected shell shock sufferers of “maligning,” or faking their symptoms to get a quick exit from the military. Others believed the prevalence of shell shock could be attributed to soldiers being of “inferior neurological stock,” Eghigian says. The opinion of psychologists in this camp, he says, was: “When such people [with a ‘weak constitution’] get faced with the challenges of military service and warfare, their bodies shut down, they shut down.”
Regardless of shell shock’s provenance, its prevalence alarmed military and medical leaders as the condition sidelined soldiers in a war demanding scores of men on the front lines. To add insult to injury, the turn of the century had brought with it “an increasingly uniform sense that no emotional tug should pull too hard,” writes historian Peter Stearns in his book American Cool: Constructing a Twentieth-Century Emotional Style, and accordingly, seeing soldiers rattled by shell shock concerned authorities. From the perspective of military and medical personnel, Eghigian explains, “The best and brightest of your young men, whom you staked so much on, they seem to be falling ill [and the explanation is] either they’re cowards, if they’re malingers, or they have constitutions like girls, who are historically associated with these kinds of ailments.”
American soldiers at a hospital camp in France recovering from what was then known as war neurosis or war neuroses. The caption from 1919 specifies that the treatment center was "located away from the noise of the hospitals and crowds." (National Archives)
Salmon’s call to screen out enlistees with weak constitutions evidently reached attentive ears. “Prevalence of mental disorders in replacement troops recently received suggests urgent importance of intensive efforts in eliminating mentally unfit from organizations new draft prior to departure from United States,” read a July 1918 telegram to the War Department, continuing, “It is doubtful whether the War Department can in any other way more importantly assist to lessen the difficulty felt by Gen. Pershing than by properly providing for initial psychological examination of every drafted man as soon as he enters camp.”
By this point, the United States military had created neuro-psychiatry and psychology divisions and even established a school of military psychology within the Medical Officers Training Camp in Georgia. The syllabus for the two-month training reflects the emphasis placed on preliminary screening (as opposed to addressing the wartime trauma that today’s psychologists would point to as the root cause of many veterans’ PTSD). Of the 365 class hours in the course, 8 were devoted to shell shock, 6 on malingering, and 115 on psychological examination.
The suggested schedule for the second month of the newly established school of military psychology in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. (From Psychological Examining in the United States Army, public domain)
Less than two years after the United States entered World War I, around 1,727,000 would-be soldiers had received a psychological evaluation, including the first group of intelligence tests, and roughly two percent of entrants were rejected for psychological concerns. Some of the soldiers being screened, like draftees at Camp Upton in Long Island, would have filled out a questionnaire of yes-no questions that Columbia professor Robert Sessions Woodworth created at the behest of the American Psychological Association.
Cornell psychologists who were employed to assess soldiers at Camp Greenleaf. (National Archives)
“The experience of other armies had shown,” Woodworth wrote, “that liability to ‘shell shock’ or war neurosis was a handicap almost as serious as low intelligence…I concluded that the best immediate lead lay in the early symptoms of neurotic tendency.” So Woodworth amassed symptoms from the case histories of soldiers with war neuroses and created a questionnaire, trying out the form on recruits, patients deemed “abnormal,” and groups of college students.
The questions on what would become the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, or Psychoneurotic Inventory, started out asking if the subject felt “well and strong,” and then tried to pry into their psyche, asking about their personal life—“Did you ever think you had lost your manhood?”—and mental habits. If over one-fourth of the control (psychologically “normal”) group responded with a ‘yes’ to a question, it was eliminated.
Robert Sessions Woodworth, the psychologist who was tasked with developing a test that would screen recruits for shell shock susceptibility. (WikiCommons, public domain)
Some of the roughly 100 questions that made the final cut: Can you sit still without fidgeting? Do you often have the feeling of suffocating? Do you like outdoor life? Have you ever been afraid of going insane? The test would be scored, and if the score passed a certain threshold, a potential soldier would undergo an in-person psychological evaluation. The average college student, Woodworth found, would respond affirmatively to around ten of his survey’s questions. He also tested patients (not recruits) who’d been diagnosed as hysteric or shell shocked and found that this “abnormal” group scored higher, in the 30s or 40s.
Woodworth had tested out his questionnaire on more than 1000 recruits, but the war ended before he could move on to a broader trial or incorporate the Psychoneurotic Inventory into the army’s initial psychological exam. Nevertheless, his test made an impact—it’s the great-grandparent of today’s personality tests.
SMS Dresden at New York, pre First World War - History
A lost heritage: Nazi pictures reveal full devastation wreaked by allied bombers
Box of negatives found in attic show splendour of pre-war German cities
A newly discovered collection of more than 3,000 aerial photographs of Germany before and during the allied bombing campaign of the second world war presents the most comprehensive record yet of how devastating the campaign was on the country's cultural heritage, historians claim.
Experts have called "spectacular" and "unique" a wooden box full of negatives found in an attic in the northern city of Kiel, describing them as an inventory of 1940s Germany which throw a new focus on the systematic nature of the allied bombing policy.
The black and white pictures, which have now been digitalised, were commissioned by the Nazis to assist in plans to rebuild German cities once Hitler's Third Reich had conquered Europe.
The photographs, taken diagonally with special cameras from low-flying aircraft, offer detailed views of buildings. They concentrate on Germany's inner cities, which are shown in their full baroque and gothic splendour.
They are a painful contrast to the post-war state of many of Germany's cities, most of which were filled with functional postwar architecture, car-friendly infrastructures and soulless inner cities.
"They show a land which no longer exists," author Katya Iken wrote in Spiegel Online, pointing out the irony that Hitler's plan was to reconstruct "a beauty which he had been responsible for destroying in the first place".
Gothic Frankfurt is depicted in the pictures prior to its widespread destruction in allied bombing raids in October 1943 and March 1944.
The late gothic splendour of Stuttgart has been captured in aerial shots taken before its Flemish late gothic town hall was destroyed in a fire following bombing raids of 1944.
In pictures of the baroque city of Dresden, the bombing of which is one of the most controversial allied actions of the war, in which up to 40,000 died, historians say the pictures offer the most detailed pictorial study yet of the extent of the destruction.
"This is a spectacular and unique set of photographs which shows us for the first time the scale of the destruction. They are not photographs of industrial sites or transport infrastructure so we know their purpose was not military, rather they were meant for propaganda and reconstruction purposes," said Christian Bracht, head of the photographic archives, Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, which acquired the images.
Photographers were dispatched across the country between 1943 and 1945 by Hitler's chief architect and armaments minister, Albert Speer, with orders to capture the country from the air as it was then.
Speer's "work committee for the planned reconstruction of cities destroyed by bombing" was to decide the extent to which cities were to be reconstructed in detail.
Hitler personally intervened in the reconstruction project at the same time as he was waging war on Europe. In one memorandum he requested that the rebuilding should include "as far as possible - the widening of streets" to make way for the motor car.
Hitler's wish to preserve a selective array of Germany's cultural treasures is well documented. Shortly before he killed himself he chose to view part of a collection of 40,000 colour images he had commissioned of frescoes in churches, cloisters and castles across Germany.
It is not known whether Hitler saw the aerial shots himself. But, one commentator wrote, as it was Hitler who started the bombing raids on Britain in the blitz, "had he seen them it would perhaps have brought home to him how full of rich architectural jewels Germany was until the war. which transformed town centres to piles of rubble."
The photographs, which are due to be published in German newspapers this week, are expected to reignite an emotional debate, fuelled by recent books and films, about the nature of the bombing campaign and the extent to which it was necessary - despite the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties it caused - in bringing down the Third Reich.
Bracht said he was shocked to see the extent to which cultural centres such as Lübeck, which he said had no military significance, had been destroyed.
He said: "This clearly indicates the extent to which the campaign was aimed at destroying German morale."
The photographs were found in the attic of the late daughter of Hans Stephan, an employee of Speer's building inspection department. He later went on to play a role in the postwar reconstruction of Berlin.
While Speer had been eager to realise megalomaniac cityscapes in place of old centres, particularly in Berlin, Stephan had voiced resistance to the idea. "Every city was until now proud of their centuries-old city centres and they understandably fear barren, stylised projects which are thrown up in two years," he wrote. "We must preserve as much of the old substance as possible."
But after the war such ideas were no longer fashionable. He hid the set of negatives and focused on the reconstruction, which became a struggle between those who wanted careful rebuilding and those in favour of rapid regeneration.
10 of the Most Infamous Art Destructions of World War II
While the recent news of Cornelius Gurlitt’s cache of 1,400 Nazi-connected paintings is an astounding recovery of works long missing, the extent of irreparable cultural damage during World War II remains a gaping void of loss. There are thousands of paintings and other works of art that are still M.I.A. — and unlikely to return. Below are 10 acts of World War II art destruction.
Jean Metzinger, “Le Canot, En Canot (Femme au Canot et a l’Ombrelle), Im Boot” (1913) (detail) (the painting has been lost since its showing in the Degenerate Art Exhibition) (image via Wikimedia)
Many of the recently recovered paintings are believed to have been seized as “degenerate art.” Thousands of paintings were taken from museums by the Nazis, most infamously for display in the Degenerate Art Exhibition which was more a spectacle than art show of the modernism in abstraction they saw as impure or degraded. While, as is evident with the Munich art recovery, it wasn’t all destroyed and much was in fact sold, it’s known that in one bonfire on July 27, 1942 around 4,000 works were incinerated outside the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, including art by Klee, Miro, Picasso, and Dali.
Art of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, “Self-portrait as a Soldier” (1915), oil on canvas (not destroyed, held in the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College) (image via Wikimedia)
While the destruction of “degenerate art” was a massive hit for modernism, perhaps no other artist was as shattered as German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. His carnal, vivid work where nudity and harsh lines were a defining theme drew the Nazi ire and around 600 pieces of his were destroyed. In 1938, Kirchner killed himself.
Art of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum
Vincent van Gogh, “Painter on His Way to Work” (1888), oil on canvas (image via Wikimedia)
One of Vincent van Gogh’s most striking self-portraits of isolation, showing the painter alone with his art supplies on a road in Provence, was destroyed in a fire in May of 1945. It was one several paintings from the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin that was lost to fire along with works like Caravaggio’s “Saint Matthew and the Angel.”
The Stone Breakers
Gustave Courbet, “The Stone Breakers” (1849), oil on canvas (image via The Yorck Project)
Similar to Van Gogh with his emblematic painting, one of Gustave Courbet’s most iconic works was also lost in World War II. Courbet’s 1849 “The Stone Breakers,” celebrated for its detailed social realism where each fray of clothing of the workers is visible, was unfortunately lost in Dresden during the war — along with about 154 other pieces that were moved to a Dresden castle lost to an Allied bomb.
Dresden Gallery Firebombing
Gilles Backereel, “Danae” (1619/20) (image via Wikimedia)
The firebombing of Dresden involved an estimated 3,900 tons of bombs and incendiaries, killed nearly 25,000 and wrecking much of the city and its cultural objects. The Dresden Gallery was one of those hit, and while much of it had been stored away, there are works from the noted museum that were forever lost. Some of it was actually confiscated and relocated to the Soviet Union after the war and sometime along the way between its removal and its return an estimated 206 paintings were destroyed and 450 remain missing.
Art of St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck
Danse Macabre painting that was in St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck, Germany (image via Wikimedia)
Perhaps it’s a little fitting that a famous work showing a Dance of Death, a tradition of paintings that are reminders of the temporary nature of life and all things, was lost to the destruction. A 1942 Allied bombing wrecked St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck including their famed Danse Macabre artwork, as well as art by Adriaen Isenbrandt and Jacob van Utrecht. The bells of the church also plummeted to the ground and shattered, where they remain to this day as a memorial to the war. Interestingly, the fire in the church also caused plaster to fall off the walls and reveal the Middle Ages paintings that had been long-lost. Unfortunately, the man tasked with their restoration ended up hiring a man who basically just made up his own versions, a sort of Beast Jesus precursor.
Klimt Paintings in Schloss Immendorf Fire
Gustav Klimt, “Philosophy” (1899-1907), ceiling panel for the Great Hall of Vienna University (image via Wikimedia)
The Schloss Immendorf castle in Austria contained 13 paintings by Gustav Klimt when the retreating Nazis demolished it with explosives. They included his paintings for Vienna University and numerous works from between 1898 to 1917, all originally placed in the castle for safekeeping.
Kurt Schwitters’ “Merzbau,” photographed in 1933 (image via Galerie op Weg)
Dada artist Kurt Schwitters spent between 1923 and 1937 continuously building and altering his home into an experiential environment called “Merzbau.” It was destroyed in an Allied bombing in 1943, and although the idea of the interactive art that used cast off objects to make something striking, much as he did with his collage work, was incredibly influential to other artists, all that remains of the “Merzbau” are a few 1933 photographs of the space by Wilhelm Redemann from 1933.
The Amber Room
Reconstruction of the Amber Room in St. Petersburg (photograph by Ekaterina Didkovskaya/Flickr user)
Perhaps there’s no more famous work of art — if you can call the Rococo frenzy that — lost in World War II than the Amber Room, partly because it’s just so crazy valuable. Built in amber and gold with precious stone mosaics in 1701, it was later owned by Peter the Great. When the Germans invaded Russia they took it apart and moved it back to Germany, which is where its story gets fuzzy. Some believe it was destroyed, like so many things, in the bombings, while others think it might have been packed up on a ship that sank.
Public Sculptures by Arno Breker
Arno Breker working on his “Dionysos” sculpture in 1936 (image via davisson123/Flickr user)
Unlike much of the other art on this list, the Nazis adored German sculptor Arno Breker. With his idealized masculine forms, he was a highly favored artist for public art commissioned by the Nazis. However, post World War II about 90% of that art was destroyed by the Allies. Yet that didn’t exactly stop his career, although he remained a controversial figure up until his death in 1991, with protests being held at his exhibitions. The public, not unjustifiably, still saw him as a supporter of a dictatorship that destroyed so much.
Timeline - 1917
The First World War spanned four years and involved many nation states.
This section lists the events of the year 1917, the fourth year of the war. This year saw the adoption by the German high command of the disastrous policy of unrestricted submarine warfare - disastrous in that it brought about America's entry into the war within the space of a couple of months, and ultimately led to her downfall the following year.
Meanwhile the British launched a major offensive at Passchendaele in autumn 1917: as at the Somme the previous year it proved a highly costly failure. 1917 also saw Russia's exit from the war amid two revolutions, the first in February and a second in October.
For a day by day account click any given month using the sidebar to the right.
|January 10||Allies state peace objectives in response to US President Woodrow Wilson's December 1916 peace note|
|January 31||Germany announces unrestricted submarine warfare|
|February 1||Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare|
|February 3||US severs diplomatic ties with Germany|
|February 23 - April 5||German forces begin withdrawal to strong positions on the Hindenburg Line|
|February 24||Zimmermann Telegram is passed to the US by Britain, detailing alleged German proposal of an alliance with Mexico against the US|
|February 26||US President Woodrow Wilson requests permission from Congress to arm US merchantmen|
|March 1||Zimmermann Telegram published in US press|
|March 11||British capture Baghdad|
|March 12||US President Woodrow Wilson announces arming of US merchantmen by executive order after failing to win approval from Congress|
|March 15||Tsar Nicholas II abdicates as a consequence of Russian Revolution|
|March 20||US President Woodrow Wilson's war cabinet votes unanimously in favour of declaring war on Germany|
|April 2||US President Woodrow Wilson delivers war address to Congress|
|April 6||US declares war on Germany|
|April 9-20||Nivelle Offensive (Second Battle of Aisne, Third Battle of Champagne) ends in French failure|
|April 9||Canadian success at the Battle of Vimy Ridge|
|April 16||Lenin arrives in Russia|
|April 29 - May 20||Mutiny breaks out among French army|
|May 12 - October 24||10th, 11th and 12th Battles of Isonzo fought, ending in Italian failure|
|May 28||Pershing leaves New York for France|
|June 7||British explode 19 large mines under the Messines Ridge|
|June 15||US Espionage Act passed|
|June 26||First US troops arrive in France, 1st Division|
|June 27||Greece enters the war on the side of the Allies|
|July 2||Pershing makes first request for army of 1,000,000 men|
|July 6||T.E. Lawrence and the Arabs capture Aquaba|
|July 11||Pershing revises army request figures upwards to 3,000,000|
|July 16||Third Battles of Ypres (Passchendaele) begins|
|July 31||Major British offensive launched at Ypres.|
|September 1||Germany takes the northernmost end of the Russian front in the Riga offensive|
|October 24||Austria-Germany breakthrough at Caporetto on Italian front|
|November 7||Bolshevik Revolution in Russia results in Communist government under Lenin taking office|
|November 20||British launch surprise tank attack at Cambrai|
|December 7||US declares war on Austria-Hungary|
|December 9||Jerusalem falls to Britain|
|December 22||Russia opens separate peace negotiations with Germany (Brest-Litovsk)|
Saturday, 22 August, 2009 Michael Duffy
3 British Officers were executed by courts martial during the war, as opposed to 316 Private soldiers and 24 Non-Commissioned Officers. The vast majority were for desertions.
- Did you know?
The term history museum is often used for a wide variety of museums where collections are amassed and, in most cases, are presented to give a chronological perspective. Because of the encompassing nature of history, museums of this type may well hold so many objects of art and science that they would more properly be called general museums (see above General museums).
Museums dealing with specialized aspects of history may be found at the national, provincial, or local level, while museums of general history are rare at the national level. One example of the latter is the National Museum of History in Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City. Other national museums of history can be found particularly among newer states, where they have been used as a means of arousing national consciousness and providing historical perspective. At the local and regional level there are many examples, of which the Museum of London and the city museums of Amsterdam, Dresden, Luxembourg, New York City, Stockholm, and Warsaw are but a few. In many cases, if artifacts are not available or are inappropriate, curators use reconstructions, models, and graphics, sometimes with multimedia techniques, to maintain chronological continuity and to increase the opportunity for interpretation within their essentially didactic approach.
While history museums may include archaeological material, there is nevertheless a distinctive type that specializes in it: the antiquities museum. Collections of material of the ancient world can be found in national museums in a number of cities—for example, Amman, Jordan Athens Cairo Copenhagen Edinburgh Madrid and Mexico City. The antiquities museum is particularly common in Europe and Asia. Specialized archaeology museums also are found in areas of rich antiquity or as on-site museums. The archaeology museum is concerned mainly with historical evidence recovered from the ground and in many cases provides information on a period for which the written record can make little or no contribution.
Another specialized form of the history museum collects and exhibits material from an ethnographic viewpoint. As the term suggests, emphasis is placed on culture rather than chronology in the presentation of the collections. A good example of this is the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. When it opened in 2004, it was hailed as a unique institution, where in a single museum the cultural life of the native peoples from all of the Americas—North, Central, and South—would be researched, analyzed, and celebrated for the public on a scale unmatched by the many other museums devoted to the Native American. Ethnography museums have been especially important to the newer nation-states of Africa and Oceania, where they are seen as a means of contributing to national unity among different cultural groups. Among the industrialized nations, and particularly in countries that have been involved in colonization, the ethnography museum traditionally was a museum of the cultures of other peoples. Many of these institutions were established in the capital cities, which at the height of colonization were windows on a world otherwise distant and unknown. Thus were founded the Musée de l’Homme (Museum of Man) in Paris, the extensive ethnographic collections of the British Museum in London, and the Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Royal Tropical Institute) in Amsterdam. Restructuring of such collections in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, suggested efforts to move away from the self-other dichotomy of colonialism. Specialized ethnography museums are also to be found in provincial cities. Normally, these arose through personal associations, as with the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, or because of trade connections, as with the Overseas Museum in Bremen, Germany, or the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool, England. The last two examples resulted from proximity to a major international port.
Many other forms of the cultural history museum exist. Particularly prolific are museums concerned with preserving urban and rural traditions these have rapidly increased in number with the pace of technological progress. Indeed, some history museums are involved in documenting various material aspects of contemporary life and in the selective collection of artifacts. Work of this type was pioneered in Sweden, where in 1873 Artur Hazelius developed the first museum of traditional life at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm. This was followed 18 years later by the first open-air museum, at Skansen. Museums of both types soon appeared in other countries. The former National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions in Paris exemplified a national approach within a museum building. The museum’s closure in 2005, however, suggested changing trends in an era of increased globalization. The Museum of Civilizations from Europe and the Mediterranean (Mucem) absorbed some of the former museum’s collection and opened in Marseilles, France, in 2013. It endeavoured to offer a regional, as opposed to national, approach to cultural history. Outdoor museums preserving traditional architecture, sometimes in situ, and often demonstrating the activities associated with it, are to be found in many parts of the world—for example, the National Museum of Niamey, Niger the Museum of Traditional Architecture in Jos, Nigeria the National Village Museum in Bucharest, Romania Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, U.S. and the Novgorod State Museum Preserve in Russia.
Individual historic houses have been preserved as museums, in some cases because they are typical of the period and in other cases because of their associations. Among the latter are the memorial museums, such as the cottage of Du Fu at Chengdu in the Chinese province of Sichuan the Leo Tolstoy Museum in Moscow Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home in Virginia and Paul Gauguin’s residence in Tahiti, now the Paul Gauguin Museum.
Other museums commemorate events, as do the Australian War Memorial in Canberra or the Imperial War Museum in London both are military museums, members of a category that grew after World War I. Another development in the 20th-century history museum was the maritime museum. Like other types of museums, it may be housed in historic buildings, as at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, England in new premises, as in the case of the German Shipping Museum at Bremerhaven or in a restored waterfront environment, as at South Street, New York City.
Another form of history museum is the portrait gallery, in which pictures are collected and displayed less for aesthetic reasons than for the purpose of communicating the images of actual persons. Although the idea of a portrait gallery is of some antiquity—a large collection of portraits of the kings of France and their statesmen was exhibited in Paul Ardier’s gallery at the Château de Beauregard near Blois in the 1620s, for example—the national portrait gallery as a public institution is a later development. In a similar vein, paintings and prints of people, as well as of places and events, often constitute an important element in other types of history museums.
SMS Dresden at New York, pre First World War - History
A New Nation
1784 to 1790
January 14, 1784 - Th e Treaty of Paris is ratified by Congress. The Revolutionary War officially ends.
March 1, 1784 - A congressional committee led by Thomas Jefferson proposes to divide up sprawling western territories into states, to be considered equal with the original 13. Jefferson also proposes a ban on slavery everywhere in the U.S. after 1800. This proposal is narrowly defeated.
August 30, 1784 - Beginning of the China Trade , as the American Ship Empress of China , sailing from New York, arrives at Canton, China. The ship will return with exotic goods, including silks and tea, spurring large numbers of American merchants to enter the trade.
September 22, 1784 - Russians establish their first settlement in Alaska, on Kodiak Island.
January 11, 1785 - Congress relocates to New York City, temporary capital of the U.S.
February 24, 1785 - Although England refuses to send an ambassador to the U.S., John Adams is sent as the American ambassador to Britain. He will spend the next three years trying without success to settle problems regarding the existence of a string of British forts along the Canadian border, pre-war debts owed to British creditors, post-war American treatment of Loyalists, and the closing of the West Indian colonies to American trade.
May 8, 1785 - Congress passes the Land Ordinance of 1785 which divides the northwest territories into townships, each set at 6 square miles, subdivided into 36 lots of 640 acres each, with each lot selling for no less than $640.
January 16, 1786 - The Virginia legislature passes Jefferson's Ordinance of Religious Freedom guaranteeing that no man may be forced to attend or support any church or be discriminated against because of his religious preference. This will later serve as the model for the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Summer of 1786 - Americans suffer from post-war economic depression including a shortage of currency, high taxes, nagging creditors, farm foreclosures and bankruptcies.
August 8, 1786 - Congress adopts a monetary system based on the Spanish dollar, with a gold piece valued at $10, silver pieces at $1, one-tenth of $1 also in silver, and copper pennies.
August 22-25, 1786 - Angry representatives from 50 towns in Massachusetts meet to discuss money problems including the rising number of foreclosures, the high cost of lawsuits, heavy land and poll taxes, high salaries for state officials, and demands for new paper money as a means of credit.
August 31, 1786 - In Massachusetts, to prevent debtors from being tried and put in prison, ex-Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays , who is now a bankrupt farmer, leads an armed mob and prevents the Northampton Court from holding a session.
September 20, 1786 - In New Hampshire, an armed mob marches on the state assembly and demands enactment of an issue of paper money.
September 26, 1786 - Shays' rebels, f earing they might be charged with treason, confront 600 militiamen protecting the state Massachusetts Supreme Court session in Springfield and force the court to adjourn.
October 16, 1786 - Congress establishes the United States mint.
October 20, 1786 - Congress authorizes Secretary of War Henry Knox to raise a an army of 1340 men over concerns of the safety of the federal arsenal at Springfield, Mass.
December 26, 1786 - Shays assembles 1200 men near Worcester, Mass. and heads toward Springfield. Massachusetts Governor, Bowdoin, then orders mobilization of a 4400 man force.
January 26, 1787 - Shays' rebels attack the federal arsenal at Springfield but are unsuccessful. Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, then arrives with reinforcements from Boston to pursue the rebels.
February 4, 1787 - Gen. Lincoln's troops attack Shays' rebels at Petersham, Massachusetts, and capture 150 rebels. Shays flees north to Vermont.
February 21, 1787 - Amid calls for a stronger central government, due in part to Shays' Rebellion, Congress endorses a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia, beginning in May.
May 25, 1787 - With 29 delegates from nine states present, the constitutional convention begins in the state house (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. A total of 73 delegates have been chosen by the states (excluding Rhode Island) although only 55 will actually attend. There are 21 veterans of the Revolutionary War and 8 signers of the Declaration of Independence. The delegates are farmers, merchants, lawyers and bankers, with an average age of 42, and include the brilliant 36 year old James Madison, the central figure at the convention, and 81 year old Ben Franklin. Thomas Jefferson, serving abroad as ambassador to France, does not attend.
The delegates first vote is to keep the proceedings absolutely secret. George Washington is then nominated as president of the constitutional convention.
June 19, 1787 - Rather than revise the Articles of Confederation, delegates at the constitutional convention vote to create an entirely new form of national government separated into three branches - the legislative, executive and judicial - thus dispersing power with checks and balances, and competing factions, as a measure of protection against tyranny by a controlling majority.
July 13, 1787 - Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance which establishes formal procedures for transforming territories into states. It provides for the eventual establishment of three to five states in the area north of the Ohio River, to be considered equal with the original 13. The Ordinance includes a Bill of Rights that guarantees freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury, public education and a ban on slavery in the Northwest.
July 16, 1787 - At the constitutional convention, Roger Sherman proposes a compromise which allows for representation in the House of Representatives based on each state's population and equal representation for all of the states in the Senate. The numerous black slaves in the South are to counted at only three fifths of their total number. A rough draft of the constitution is then drawn up.
August 6-10, 1787 - Items in the draft constitution are debated including the length of terms for the president and legislators, the power of Congress to regulate commerce, and a proposed 20 year ban on any Congressional action concerning slavery.
September 17, 1787 - Thirty nine delegates vote to approve and then sign the final draft of the new Constitution.
The Legislative Branch will consist of two houses. The upper house (Senate) to be composed of nominees selected by state assemblies for six year terms the lower house (House of Representatives) to be elected every two years by popular vote.
The Executive Branch is to be headed by a chief executive (President) elected every four years by presidential electors from the states. The President is granted sweeping powers including: veto power over Congress which can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in each house commander in chief of the armies power to make treaties with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate power to appoint judges, diplomats and other officers with the consent of the Senate power to recommend legislation and responsibility for execution of the laws.
The President is required to report each year to the legislative branch on the state of the nation. The legislative branch has the power to remove the President from office. The House can impeach the President for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors with actual removal from office occurring by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.
The Judicial Branch consists of a Supreme Court headed by a chief justice. The court has the implied power to review laws that conflict with the Constitution.
September 19, 1787 - For the first time the proposed Constitution is made public as printed copies of the text are distributed. A storm of controversy soon arises as most people had only expected a revision of the Articles of Confederation, not a new central government with similarities to the British system they had just overthrown.
September 28, 1787 - Congress votes to send the Constitution to the state legislatures for ratification, needing the approval of nine states.
October 27, 1787 - The Federalists , who advocate a strong central government and approval of the new Constitution, begin publishing essays in favor of ratification. Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, the total number of articles will eventually reach 85 and be compiled and published as the Federalist Papers .
December 7, 1787 - Delaware is the first of the nine states needed to ratify the Constitution. To be followed by: Pennsylvania (Dec. 12) New Jersey (Dec. 18) Georgia (Jan. 2, 1788) Connecticut (Jan. 9) Massachusetts (Feb. 7) Maryland (April 28) South Carolina (May 23) and New Hampshire (June 21).
February 6, 1788 - Anti-Federalists in Massachusetts, led by Sam Adams and John Hancock, favor a more decentralized system of government and give their support to ratification of the Constitution only after a compromise is reached that amendments will be included which guarantee civil liberties.
February 27, 1788 - In Massachusetts, following an incident in which free blacks were kidnapped and transported to the island of Martinique, the Massachusetts legislature declares the slavery trade illegal and provides for monetary damages to victims of kidnappings.
March 24, 1788 - In Rhode Island, the Constitution is rejected by a popular referendum. The state, fearful of consolidated federal power, had refused to send a delegation to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia and had subsequently rejected a state convention to consider ratification.
June 2, 1788 - In Virginia, anti-Federalist forces, led by Patrick Henry and George Mason, oppose ratification of the Constitution. They are joined by Richard Henry Lee who calls for a bill of rights and a lower house set up on a more democratic basis.
June 25, 1788 - In Virginia, the Federalists, led by James Madison, finally prevail as ratification of the Constitution (with a proposed bill of rights and 20 other changes) is endorsed by a close vote of 89 to 75.
July 2, 1788 - A formal announcement is made by the president of Congress that the Constitution of the United States is now in effect, having been ratified by the required nine states.
July 8, 1788 - A committee in the old Congress (still under the Articles of Confederation) is established to prepare for an orderly transfer of power, including procedures for electing representatives to the first Congress under the new Constitution and procedures for choosing the electors of the first president.
July 26, 1788 - The state of New York votes 30 to 27 to endorse ratification while also recommending a bill of rights be included.
September 13, 1788 - New York City is chosen by Congress to be the temporary seat of the new U.S. government.
October-December - Commodity prices stabilize, spurring economic recovery and a gradual return to pre-war levels of prosperity.
November 1, 1788 - The old Congress, operating under the Articles of Confederation, adjourns. The U.S. is temporarily without a central government.
November 21, 1788 - North Carolina endorses the Constitution by a vote of 194 to 77.
December 23, 1788 - Maryland proposes giving a 10 square-mile area along the Potomac River for the establishment of a federal town to be the new seat of the U.S. government.
January 7, 1789 - Presidential electors are chosen in the 11 ratifying states, except New York.
January 23, 1789 - Georgetown University, the first Catholic college in the U.S., is founded by Father John Carroll.
February 4, 1789 - Ballots are cast in the first presidential election, to be counted on April 6.
March 4, 1789 - The first Congress convenes in New York City, but is unable to achieve a quorum, since most members are still traveling there.
April 1, 1789 - A quorum is reached in Congress with 30 of 59 members present and the House of Representatives begins to function. Of the 59 members, 54 had also been delegates to the constitutional convention.
April 6, 1789 - In the Senate, with 9 of 22 senators present, the presidential ballots cast on Feb. 4 are counted. George Washington is the unanimous choice for President with 69 votes. John Adams is elected Vice President with 34 votes. Messengers are then sent to inform Washington and Adams.
April 14, 1789 - Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, arrives at Mount Vernon and informs George Washington of his election as President. Two days later, Washington leaves for New York City.
April 21, 1789 - John Adams arrives in New York and is sworn in as Vice President, then takes his seat as presiding officer of the Senate.
April 23, 1789 - After an eight day triumphal journey, Washington arrives in New York City.
April 30, 1789 - On the balcony of New York's Federal Hall, George Washington, at age 57, is sworn in as the first President of the United States. He then enters the Senate chamber to deliver his inaugural address.
May 7, 1789 - The first inaugural ball occurs in honor of President Washington.
June 1, 1789 - In its first act, Congress establishes the procedure for administering oaths of office.
July 4, 1789 - Congress passes its first tax, an 8.5 percent protective tax on 30 different items, with items arriving on American ships charged at a lower rate than foreign ships.
July 14, 1789 - In France, the French Revolution begins with the fall of the Bastille in Paris, an event witnessed by the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson.
July 20, 1789 - Congress passes the Tonnage Act of 1789 levying a 50 cents per ton tax on foreign ships entering American ports, 30 cents per ton on American built but foreign owned ships, and 6 cents per ton on American ships.
July 27, 1789 - Congress begins organization of the departments of government with the establishment of the Department of Foreign Affairs, later renamed the Department of State. Followed by the War Department (Aug. 7) Treasury Dept. (Sept. 2) and Postmaster General under the Treasury Dept. (Sept. 2).
September 22, 1789 - The Federal Judiciary Act passed by Congress establishes a six-man Supreme Court, attorney general, 13 federal district courts and 3 circuit courts. All federal cases would originate in the district court and, if appealed, would go to the circuit court and from there to the Supreme Court.
September 25, 1789 - Congress submits 12 proposed constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. The first ten will be ratified and added to the Constitution in 1791 as the Bill of Rights.
September 29, 1789 - The U.S. Army is established by Congress. Totaling 1000 men, it consists of one regiment of eight infantry companies and one battalion of four artillery companies.
November 26, 1789 - A Day of Thanksgiving is established by a congressional resolution and a proclamation by George Washington.
March 1, 1790 - A Census Act is passed by Congress. The first census, finished on Aug. 1, indicates a total population of nearly 4 million persons in the U.S. and western territories. African Americans make up 19 percent of the population, with 90 percent living in the South. Native Americans were not counted, although there were likely over 80 tribes with 150,000 persons. For white Americans, the average age is under 16. Most white families are large, with an average of eight children born. The white population will double every 22 years.
The largest American city is Philadelphia, with 42,000 persons, followed by New York (33,000) Boston (18,000) Charleston (16,000) and Baltimore (13,000). The majority of Americans are involved in agricultural pursuits, with little industrial activity occurring at this time.
April 17, 1790 - Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at age 84. His funeral four days later draws over 20,000 mourners.
July 10, 1790 - The House of Representatives votes to locate the national capital on a 10 square-mile site along the Potomac, with President George Washington choosing the exact location.
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