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26 May 1942

26 May 1942



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26 May 1942

Diplomacy

Anglo-Soviet treaty with a duration of twenty years signed

North Africa

Rommel attacks the Gazala Line triggering a month of fighting

Japan

Tojo reviews the war for the Japanese Diet. During the speech he attempts to incite anti-British rebellion in India



26 May 1942 - History

1933 The Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established.

1962 NASA's Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the Moon.

1989 Lucille Ball, of I Love Lucy fame, dies.

1994 South Africa holds its first multiracial elections.

Famous Birthdays:

121 Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor)

570 Muhammed (Founder of Islam)

1933 Carol Burnett (Comedienne)

1960 Roger Taylor (Drummer)

1962 Michael Damian (Singer)

1963 Jet Li (Actor and martial arts expert)

Today in History Archive:

Want to know what famous people were born on your birthday? Did cool happening or historical event occur on your birthday? Select the month and the day of your birthday to see more fun and historical events and famous birthdays for that month. Look up your friend's birthdays as well. Find out something interesting on their birthday or a cool celebrity and email your friend with a fun birthday card:


This day in history, May 5: Wartime sugar rationing begins in the United States

Today is Wednesday, May 5, the 125th day of 2021. There are 240 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 5, 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.

In 1494, during his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

In 1818, political philosopher Karl Marx, co-author of “The Communist Manifesto” and author of “Das Kapital,” was born in Prussia.

In 1891, New York’s Carnegie Hall (then named “Music Hall”) had its official opening night, featuring Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky as a guest conductor.

In 1925, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)

In 1945, in the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.

In 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Mercury capsule Freedom 7.

In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first of his Triple Crown victories.

In 1978, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream had its beginnings as Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened an ice cream parlor at a converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont.

In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th day without food.

In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened with former Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord (SEE’-kohrd) the lead-off witness.

In 1994, Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.

In 2009, Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.

Ten years ago: Solemnly honoring victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, President Barack Obama hugged survivors at ground zero in New York and declared that the killing of Osama bin Laden was an American message to the world: “When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say.” Pakistan’s army broke its silence over the U.S. commando raid that killed bin Laden, acknowledging its “shortcomings” in finding him but threatening to review cooperation with Washington if there was another violation of Pakistani sovereignty. Director, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents (“West Side Story”) died in New York at age 93.

Five years ago: Former Los Angeles trash collector Lonnie Franklin Jr. was convicted of 10 counts of murder in the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings that targeted poor, young Black women over two decades. President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 58 federal convicts, part of a broader push to ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders. Londoners cast votes in an election that gave the city its first Muslim mayor, Labour lawmaker Sadiq Khan, who succeeded outgoing Conservative Boris Johnson.

One year ago: President Donald Trump visited a Honeywell mask factory in Arizona, but ignored guidelines to wear a mask. Tyson Foods said it would resume limited operation of its huge pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, with enhanced safety measures, more than two weeks after closing the facility because of a coronavirus outbreak among workers. Even though Joe Biden had no remaining opponents, a judge ruled that New York’s Democratic presidential primary would have to take place on June 23 because canceling it would be unconstitutional. Michigan communities saw record turnout for local elections, with votes cast largely by mail. Facebook said it had removed several accounts and pages linked to QAnon, taking action for the first time against the far-right conspiracy theory circulated among Trump supporters.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Pat Carroll is 94. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 83. Actor Michael Murphy is 83. Actor Lance Henriksen is 81. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 78. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 77. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 76. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 73. Actor Melinda Culea is 66. Actor Lisa Eilbacher is 64. Actor Richard E. Grant is 64. Former broadcast journalist John Miller is 63. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 62. NBC newsman Brian Williams is 62. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 55. TV personality Kyan (KY’-ihn) Douglas is 51. Actor Tina Yothers is 48. R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn is 46. Actor Santiago Cabrera is 43. Actor Vincent Kartheiser is 42. Singer Craig David is 40. Actor Danielle Fishel is 40. Actor Henry Cavill is 38. Actor Clark Duke is 36. Soul singer Adele is 33. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 33. R&B singer Chris Brown is 32. Figure skater Nathan Chen is 22.

Journalism, it’s often said, is the first-draft of history. Check back each day for what’s new … and old.


National Security Act of 1947

The National Security Act of 1947 mandated a major reorganization of the foreign policy and military establishments of the U.S. Government. The act created many of the institutions that Presidents found useful when formulating and implementing foreign policy, including the National Security Council (NSC).

The Council itself included the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and other members (such as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency), who met at the White House to discuss both long-term problems and more immediate national security crises. A small NSC staff was hired to coordinate foreign policy materials from other agencies for the President. Beginning in 1953 the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs directed this staff. Each President has accorded the NSC with different degrees of importance and has given the NSC staff varying levels of autonomy and influence over other agencies such as the Departments of State and Defense. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for example, used the NSC meetings to make key foreign policy decisions, while John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson preferred to work more informally through trusted associates. Under President Richard M. Nixon, the NSC staff, then headed by Henry A. Kissinger , was transformed from a coordinating body into an organization that actively engaged in negotiations with foreign leaders and implementing the President’s decisions. The NSC meetings themselves, however, were infrequent and merely confirmed decisions already agreed upon by Nixon and Kissinger.

The act also established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which grew out of World War II era Office of Strategic Services and small post-war intelligence organizations. The CIA served as the primary civilian intelligence-gathering organization in the government. Later, the Defense Intelligence Agency became the main military intelligence body. The 1947 law also caused far-reaching changes in the military establishment. The War Department and Navy Department merged into a single Department of Defense under the Secretary of Defense, who also directed the newly created Department of the Air Force. However, each of the three branches maintained their own service secretaries. In 1949 the act was amended to give the Secretary of Defense more power over the individual services and their secretaries.


8 remarkable historical events that happened in May

Dominic Sandbrook highlights noteworthy events that took place in May in history.

This article was first published in the May 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine

This competition is now closed

Published: May 1, 2017 at 5:00 am

4 May 1926: The General Strike fails to paralyse Britain

To many people, the first full day of the General Strike on 4 May 1926 represented a turning point in history. After years of mounting tension between employers and unions, particularly in the coal industry, the Trades Union Congress finally ordered its members out. On that first morning, docks, factories and rail yards across the country stood empty and silent. Conservative newspapers warned that this would mark the beginning of a Bolshevik revolution. In Blackburn, one man later remembered, his family “sat in silence in the kitchen, holding their breath, waiting for the revolution to begin”.

Across the country, a strange sense of unreality took hold. With public transport having ground to a halt, the roads were packed. “The mill chimneys ceased to smoke and the wheels ceased to turn,” one woman in Manchester wrote afterwards. “The pavement and even the roads were crowded with pedestrians and the drivers of private cars offered lifts with surprising generosity.”

Reports of fighting came from the docks, while the government deployed troops to escort food convoys. Yet the widely predicted class warfare failed to materialise, and the General Strike never evolved into a revolutionary uprising. Indeed, compared with turbulence overseas, it turned into a bit of a non-event.

By the time it fizzled out nine days later, King George V – who had upbraided his Conservative ministers for their attitude to the strikers (“Try living on their wages before you judge them”) – considered it a tribute to British unity. “Our dear old country can be well proud of itself,” he wrote in his diary. “It shows what a wonderful people we are.”

6 May 1527: The army of the Holy Roman Emperor sacks Rome

In the early 16th century, Italy was a dangerous place to live. Torn apart by endless wars between the French king, Francis I, and his bitter rival, Charles V, king of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, the peninsula had become a byword for massacres, plunder and rapine. But nothing made a greater impression on the European imagination than what happened on 6 May 1527, the day the imperial army hurled itself on Rome.

The sack of Rome was never part of Charles V’s plan. His troops had already beaten the French the problem was that funds had run short – so the imperial army’s commander, the Duke of Bourbon, had effectively lost control over his own men. Only by promising them loot from the capture of Rome did the duke manage to prevent a full-scale mutiny. And so it was that on 6 May, at least 20,000 imperial soldiers began their assault. Disastrously, the duke, wearing his trademark white cloak, was shot and killed almost immediately – and any semblance of discipline disappeared.

What followed was an orgy of plunder and vandalism as the imperial army swept aside the feeble resistance and rampaged through the city. Inside the Vatican, the Swiss Guard made a desperate last stand as Pope Clement VII escaped to the Castel Sant’Angelo. They were slaughtered where they stood, their captain cut down in full view of his watching wife. Meanwhile, imperial troops were ransacking churches, tombs and cemeteries. In all, at least 12,000 people were estimated to have been murdered. “The Germans were bad,” said one churchman. “The Italians were worse the Spanish were the worst.”

6 May 1840: The Penny Black revolutionises communications in Britain

14 May 1264: Montfort crushes Henry III’s hapless army at Lewes

16 May 1900: Mafeking is relieved

16 May 1703: Peter the Great founds his namesake city

24 May 1487: Lambert Simnel is crowned king in Dublin

25 May 1895: Oscar Wilde is convicted

Oscar Wilde’s decision to launch a libel action against the Marquess of Queensberry, who had accused him of “posing somdomite [sic]”, was the most unfortunate he ever made.

The trial opened on 3 April 1895 and almost immediately it was obvious that Wilde was in deep trouble. When the defence announced that they had found several male prostitutes who would testify that they had had sex with Wilde, the playwright dropped the case – but, even as he left the courtroom, the authorities were drawing up a warrant for his arrest on charges of gross indecency.

At Wilde’s first trial, which opened on 26 April, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Three weeks later, a second trial began at the Old Bailey, prosecuted by the Liberal government’s solicitor general, Sir Frank Lockwood. Wilde wrote later that Lockwood had issued an “appalling denunciation – like something out of Tacitus, like a passage in Dante, like one of Savonarola’s indictments of the popes of Rome”. This was an exaggeration: by the standards of the day, Lockwood’s closing statement was remarkably restrained. But it is easy to understand why Wilde was so distraught.

On 25 May, the foreman announced the jury’s verdict: guilty. There were cries of “Shame!” from the gallery, and Wilde turned grey with horror. “It is no use for me to address you. People who can do these things must be dead to all sense of shame, and one cannot hope to produce any effect upon them. It is the worst case I have ever tried,” said Mr Justice Wills, who sentenced Wilde to two years of hard labour. It was, he added, “the severest sentence that the law allows. In my judgment it is totally inadequate for a case such as this.”

Other notable May anniversaries

3 May 1849: In Dresden, Saxony, pro-democracy protesters launch the ill-fated May Uprising, often considered the last of the 1848 revolutions. After six days of pitched street battles, the revolt is put down.

12 May 1364: After winning approval from the pope, the Polish king Casimir III issues a charter for his country’s first higher education institution, the Jagiellonian University (shown below) – the second-oldest university in central Europe.

15 May 1982: Attacked by Argentine Skyhawk aircraft off the coast of the Falkland Islands, the British destroyer HMS Coventry is sunk. The attack takes the lives of 20 crew.

19 May 1536: Charged with adultery, incest and treason, Henry VIII’s second wife, the enigmatic Anne Boleyn, is executed at the Tower of London.

26 May 1805: Napoleon claims the title of king of Italy and is crowned with the medieval Iron Crown of Lombardy in Milan’s magnificent cathedral.

30 May 1966: NASA launches the rocket carrying lunar lander Surveyor 1 three days later, it lands on the moon (pictured below). It is the first American spacecraft to land on an extra-terrestrial body, paving the way for the moon landing three years later.


Theodore Roethke

Theodore Roethke hardly fits anyone&rsquos image of the stereotypical high-minded poet-intellectual of the 1940s through 1960s. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, his father was a German immigrant who owned and ran a 25-acre greenhouse. Though as a child he read a great deal and as a high school freshman he had a Red Cross campaign speech translated into 26 languages, he suffered from issues of abandonment and loss, and his lack of self-esteem led him to strive to be accepted by peers. When he was 14, his father died of cancer and his uncle committed suicide. He attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he adopted a tough, bear-like image (weighing over 225 pounds) and even developed a fascination with gangsters. Eccentric and nonconformist&mdashhe later called himself &ldquoodious&rdquo and &ldquounhappy&rdquo&mdashRoethke yearned for a friend with whom he could talk and relate his ambitions. Poet and writer James Dickey once named Roethke the greatest of all American poets: &ldquoI don't see anyone else that has the kind of deep, gut vitality that Roethke's got. Whitman was a great poet, but he's no competition for Roethke.&rdquo His difficult childhood, his bouts with bipolar disorder, and his ceaseless search for truth through his poetry writing led to a difficult life, but also helped to produce a remarkable body of work that would influence future generations of American poets to pursue the mysteries of one&rsquos inner self.

Roethke&rsquos awareness evolved at Michigan into a decision to pursue teaching&mdashand poetry&mdashas a career. He earned his BA and MA from the University of Michigan. The fascination with nature he explored so deeply in his later poetry compelled him to write in an undergraduate paper: &ldquoWhen I get alone under an open sky where man isn&rsquot too evident&mdashthen I&rsquom tremendously exalted and a thousand vivid ideas and sweet visions flood my consciousness.&rdquo In addition to the stories, essays, and criticism commonly expected of English students, Roethke began writing poetry at this time. &ldquoIf I can&rsquot write, what can I do,&rdquo he said, and though Richard Allen Blessing claimed he &ldquowrote a reasonably good prose,&rdquo it still would &ldquohave taken a keen eye to detect the mature poet beneath the layers of undergraduate baby fat.&rdquo The direction towards his eventual career cleared somewhat when Roethke dropped out &ldquoin disgust&rdquo after a brief stint as a University of Michigan law student: &ldquoI didn&rsquot wish to become a defender of property or a corporation lawyer as all my cousins on one side of the family had done.&rdquo The attitude evident in this decision supported biographer Allan Seager&rsquos conclusion that it was more than an unsuppressible awareness of life that led him to choose poetry as a career: &ldquoIt would be flattering to call it courage more accurately it seems to have been an angry, defiant, Prussian pigheadedness that was leading him to his decision.&rdquo

The first 15 years of Roethke&rsquos writing career, from his beginnings as an undergraduate to the publication of Open House, formed a &ldquolengthy and painful apprenticeship&rdquo for the young writer. During this time, he briefly attended Harvard Law School, where he studied with poet Robert Hillyer, but he abandoned law school due to the Great Depression. In cultivating his poetic expression in the 1930s, Roethke relied heavily upon T.S. Eliot&rsquos belief that &ldquothe only way to manipulate any kind of English verse, [is] by assimilation and imitation.&rdquo With this model in mind, Roethke himself once wrote &ldquoimitation, conscious imitation, is one of the great methods, perhaps the method of learning to write. . The final triumph is what the language does, not what the poet can do, or display.&rdquo In her book The Echoing Wood of Theodore Roethke, Jenijoy La Belle summarized Roethke&rsquos major challenge as a &ldquoconscious imitator&rdquo: &ldquoThe modern poet should move away from the Romantic concept of personal expression. . He must, in effect, march through the history of poetry&mdashrewrite the poems of the past&mdashthat he may come out at the end of his journey a poet who has absorbed the tradition and who thus may take one step forward and add to that tradition.&rdquo

Roethke&rsquos task was no easy one. In addition to debts to such contemporaries as W.H. Auden, Louise Bogan, Babette Deutsch, and William Carlos Williams, his extensive and varied poetic tradition included Wordsworth, Blake, Christopher Smart, Donne, Sir John Davies, Whitman, Yeats, Eliot, and Dante.

Along with these influences, the source of much of Roethke&rsquos poetry was the notebooks he dutifully kept throughout his life. A measure of the devotion given to his craft can be found in his statement &ldquoI&rsquom always working,&rdquo and indeed his pockets were seemingly always filled with jottings of striking thoughts and conversations. His less spontaneous reflections found a place in the workbench of his poetry&mdashhis notebooks. Though Roethke is not generally considered a prolific writer, a more accurate account of the time and effort spent developing his verse is apparent in this extensive accumulation of criticism (of himself and others), abstract thoughts, reflections on childhood, and, of course, poetry. In his biography of Roethke, The Glass House, Allan Seager estimated that only three percent of the lines of poetry in the more than two hundred notebooks was ever published.

The introspective Roethke announced his bold &ldquointention to use himself as the material for his art&rdquo through the title of his first published volume, Open House. Not surprisingly, however, the book reflected the imitative and traditional elements of his &ldquoconscious imitation&rdquo apprenticeship.

Regardless of the limitations evident in Open House, Seager pointed out that &ldquomost of the reviews were good and those that contained adverse criticisms tacitly acknowledged that this was the work of a genuine poet and not a beginner.&rdquo Marveling at Roethke&rsquos &ldquorare&rdquo ability to &ldquoremember and to transform the humiliation [&lsquoof feeling physically soiled and humiliated by life&rsquo] into something beautiful,&rdquo Auden called Open House &ldquocompletely successful.&rdquo In another review of the book, Elizabeth Drew felt &ldquohis poems have a controlled grace of movement and his images the utmost precision while in the expression of a kind of gnomic wisdom which is peculiar to him as he attains an austerity of contemplation and a pared, spare strictness of language very unusual in poets of today.&rdquo

Roethke kept both Auden&rsquos and Drew&rsquos reviews, along with other favorable reactions to his work. As he remained sensitive to how peers and others he respected should view his poetry, so too did he remain sensitive to his introspective drives as the source of his creativity. Understandably, critics picked up on the self as the predominant preoccupation in Roethke&rsquos poems. Others, however, interpreted Roethke&rsquos introspection more positively, claiming it is the essence of his work. Ralph J. Mills called this self-interest &ldquothe primary matter of artistic exploration and knowledge, an interest which endows the poems with a sense of personal urgency, even necessity.&rdquo Stanley Poss also heralded Roethke as &ldquoa test case of the writer whose interest in himself is so continuous, so relentless, that it transforms itself and becomes in the end centrifugal. With hardly a social or political bone in his body he yet touches all our Ur-selves, our fear and love of our fathers, . our relish of the lives of plants and animals, our pleasures in women who have more sides than seals, our night fears, our apprehensions of Immanence.&rdquo

Whether this introspection is a weakness or a strength of his poetry, the intensity he devoted to teaching demonstrates an obvious concern outside the self. An immensely popular professor, Roethke succeeded in driving his students to share his enthusiasm for poetry. Not only was he well liked, often extending classroom sessions into the local bar, he was unique, as demonstrated by a popular anecdote from one of his classes at Michigan State University: To stimulate his class in an assignment of the description of physical action, Roethke told his students to describe the act he was about to perform. He then crawled outside through a classroom window and inched himself along the ledge, making faces into each of the surrounding windows.

Such actions corresponded with what Roethke, a very demanding teacher, expected from his students&rsquo poetry. Oliver Everette recalled him exclaiming, &ldquoYou&rsquove got to have rhythm. If you want to dance naked in an open barndoor with a chalk in your navel, I don&rsquot care! You&rsquove got to have rhythm.&rdquo Another student remembered him saying, &ldquoPlease let me see evidences of an active mind. Don&rsquot be so guarded&mdashlet your mind buzz around.&rdquo And, Roethke impressed poet David Wagoner with the line &ldquomotion is equal to emotion.&rdquo In addition to Wagoner, Roethke&rsquos best-known students include the poets Richard Hugo, James Wright, Carolyn Kizer, and Jack Gilbert.

This energetic pursuit of both a teaching and a writing career at times understandably affected his outlook. Part of his frustration stemmed from the amount of time teaching entailed. &ldquoI&rsquom teaching well,&rdquo he wrote in 1947, &ldquo&mdashif I can judge by the response&mdashbut haven&rsquot done one damned thing on my own. It&rsquos no way to live&mdashto go from exhaustion to exhaustion.&rdquo Later, the fatigue seemed even more crucial to him. &ldquoI think I can say there&rsquos a real need for me to get out of teaching for a time,&rdquo he wrote William Carlos Williams in 1949. &ldquoI&rsquom getting caught up in it: too obsessed with making dents in these little bitches. The best ones keep urging me to quit: not worth it, etc. etc.&rdquo

There were times when Roethke was unable to maintain any semblance of balance. His well-publicized mental breakdowns were, at least in part, the result from his going &ldquofrom exhaustion to exhaustion.&rdquo Allan Seager explained the apparent inevitability of first attack (1935): &ldquoThere was no great mystery about his going to the hospital&mdashhe had nearly ruined himself in a mad attempt to go without sleep, work hard on everything, eat only one or two meals a day because he was so intent on &lsquothis experiment&rsquo he was making in his classes.&rdquo Roethke himself told Rolfe Humphries (with what Seager noted is a &ldquoperfectly rational&rdquo explanation) that the reason for his illness, which eventually brought him to the Mercywood Sanitarium in Ann Arbor, &ldquowas his own stupidity in trying to live &lsquoa pure and industrious life all of a sudden.&rsquo&rdquo

He suffered a second breakdown ten years later, in 1945, and they became increasingly more frequent in the ensuing decade by 1958, he was attending therapy sessions six times a week.
Despite his difficulties with mental illness, Roethke remained an invaluable and highly esteemed member of university faculty. Although Seager admitted the cause of Roethke&rsquos problems &ldquomay have lain in the chemistries of his blood and nerves,&rdquo some have claimed that they were attributable to his intense self-exploration and that he was able to see into himself more clearly because of his illnesses. Kenneth Burke has shown that by willingly immersing himself in the conflicts of his childhood Roethke precipitated his second breakdown one psychiatrist has said, &ldquoI think his troubles were merely the running expenses he paid for being his kind of poet.&rdquo Not denying the personal tragedy of Roethke&rsquos illness, Rosemary Sullivan maintained, &ldquohe was able to see in his experience a potential insight into other thresholds of consciousness.&rdquo These views correspond with Roethke&rsquos premise on the search for truth: &ldquoTo go forward (as a spiritual man) it is necessary first to go back.&rdquo In The Lost Son (1948) he explored this pattern in the title poem and in its three companion pieces, as Sullivan explained: &ldquoThey are desperate poems, each beginning in negative, life-denying solipsism which is gradually and painfully transcended until the poet achieves an exultant experience of wholeness and relation.&rdquo In the same vein, Roethke probed the darkness of his childhood in &ldquoThe Greenhouse Poems&rdquo of The Lost Son.

The roots of the greenhouse sequence lay in the extensive greenhouses owned by Roethke&rsquos father and uncle. For Roethke, whom Seager described as &ldquothin, undersized and sickly as a boy, obviously intelligent but shy and diffident as well,&rdquo the greenhouses became a source of ambivalence: &ldquoThey were to me, I realize now, both heaven and hell, a kind of tropics created in the savage climate of Michigan, where austere German Americans turned their love of order and their terrifying efficiency into something beautiful.&rdquo Associated with the greenhouse in measuring the effects of childhood was his father, a German American, who died when Roethke was 14. Sullivan explained the paradoxical father-son relationship: &ldquoOtto Roethke presented an exterior of authoritarian order and discipline [but] in the greenhouse he gave expression to a deep sensitivity to the beauty of nature.&rdquo The apparent tendency of Otto to hide this &ldquovulnerable core,&rdquo Sullivan added, prevented Roethke from understanding his father. Feeling &ldquoangered and abandoned,&rdquo Roethke implicated himself in his father&rsquos death, a death that prevented any gradual reconciliation between them. Sullivan further theorized that &ldquofrom the consequent sense of his own inadequacy Roethke seems to have acquired the burdens of fears and guilts which haunted him all his life.&rdquo Certainly his writings&mdashfrom essays written at the University of Michigan to the poem &ldquoOtto&rdquo in The Far Field&mdashuphold Seager&rsquos comment that &ldquoall his life the memory loomed over him.&rdquo

By scrutinizing the plants, flowers, and creatures, Roethke attempted to tie the world of the greenhouse to the &ldquoinner world&rdquo of man. &ldquoThe sensual world of the greenhouse is the first garden from which we have all emerged,&rdquo explained Richard Blessing, &ldquoand the attempt to make meaning of it, to recall the energies of that place occupies us all in the lonely chill of our adult beds.&rdquo James G. Southworth agreed that the search through the past is a painful one, as demonstrated in the opening lines of &ldquoCuttings (later)&rdquo: &ldquoThis urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks, / Cut stems struggling to put down feet, / What saint strained so much, / Rose on such lopped limbs to new life?&rdquo Ultimately the message spelled from the greenhouse sequence, as interpreted by Blessing, &ldquoreads that life is dynamic, not static that the energy of the moment from the past preserves it, in part, in the present that experience is a continuum, not a collection of dead instant preserved and pinned on walls we have left behind.&rdquo

While The Lost Son focused on a child&rsquos struggle for identity, Roethke made great advances in establishing his own identity as a poet during this time. Michael Harrington felt &ldquoRoethke found his own voice and central themes in The Lost Son&rdquo and Stanley Kunitz saw a &ldquoconfirmation that he was in full possession of his art and of his vision.&rdquo Blessing echoed this praise when he wrote: &ldquoTo my mind, the transformation of Theodore Roethke from a poet of &lsquolyric resourcefulness, technical proficiency and ordered sensibility&rsquo to a poet of &lsquoindomitable creativeness and audacity . difficult, heroic, moving and profoundly disquieting&rsquo is one of the most remarkable in American literary history.&rdquo

Roethke&rsquos next book of poetry, Praise to the End! (1951), followed much the same pattern set in The Lost Son by continuing &ldquohis most heroic enterprise,&rdquo the sequence of interior monologues initiated in the title poem of The Lost Son. Roethke himself offered these suggestions on how to read the new book: &ldquoYou will have no trouble if you approach these poems as a child would, naively, with your whole being awake, your faculties loose and alert. (A large order, I daresay!) Listen to them, for they are written to be heard, with the themes often coming alternately, as in music, and usually a partial resolution at the end. Each poem . is complete in itself yet each in a sense is a stage in a kind of struggle out of the slime part of a slow spiritual progress an effort to be born, and later, to become something more.&rdquo

After the intense explorations of The Lost Son and Praise to the End! &ldquoit is not surprising,&rdquo as W.D. Snodgrass pointed out, &ldquothat Roethke might at this point need to step back and regather his forces. He did just that in the group of &lsquoNew Poems&rsquo in The Waking (1954).&rdquo This next book of Roethke&rsquos won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and has long since been considered one of the most important books of contemporary American poetry. The title poem, &ldquoThe Waking,&rdquo has been one of the most anthologized American poems of the 20th-century.

Roethke&rsquos marriage, his readings in philosophy and religion, and his feelings of anxiety and illness are, according to Malkoff, the most important events projected in the &ldquoNew Poems&rdquo of Words for the Wind. His love poems, which first appeared in The Waking, earned their own section in the new book, &ldquowere a distinct departure from the painful excavations of the monologues and in some respects a return to the strict stanzaic forms of the earliest work,&rdquo said Stanley Kunitz. Ralph Mills described &ldquothe amatory verse&rdquo as a blend of &ldquoconsideration of self with qualities of eroticism and sensuality but more important, the poems introduce and maintain a fascination with something beyond the self, that is, with the figure of the other, or the beloved woman.&rdquo Roethke&rsquos &ldquosurrender to sensualism,&rdquo claimed Robert Boyers, is not permanent: &ldquoHe eventually discovers that the love of woman is not the ultimate mode for him.&rdquo

As Malkoff noted, Roethke is not a thoroughly consistent poet. &ldquoHe moves from utter despair, to resignation, to mystic faith beyond mysticism and back to despair. We shall not find in his poems the development of a systematic philosophy there emerges rather the complex figure of a man directly confronting the limitations of his existence with none of life&rsquos possibilities . excluded.&rdquo Words for the Wind wavers in this way when, in Kunitz&rsquos words, &ldquothe love poems gradually dissolve into the death poems.&rdquo The book does conclude with &ldquoThe Dying Man&rdquo and &ldquoMeditations of an Old Woman,&rdquo but these poems are more than gloomy contemplations of death: Blessing believed &ldquoThe Dying Man&rdquo (dedicated to Roethke&rsquos spiritual father, Yeats) &ldquoremains a poem about the creative possibilities inherent in the very shapelessness of death&rdquo Malkoff thought &ldquoMeditations of an Old Woman&rdquo &ldquoprovides a kind of frame of reference for the consideration of life, and which often reappearing, is never far from the poem&rsquos surface. . [Ultimately,] Words for the Wind, read from cover to cover, is the spiritual autobiography of a man whose excessive sensitivity to his experience magnifies rather than distorts man&rsquos universal condition.&rdquo

Roethke earned much of this magnified vision with an understanding of the mysticism that pervades Words for the Wind (1958) and The Far Field (1964), which both won the National Book Award for Poetry. Heavily influenced by Evelyn Underhill&rsquos Mysticism, many of his later poems follow her psychological progression, as outlined by Sullivan: &ldquoThey begin with the painful apprehension of personal insufficiency, aggravated by the awareness of the possibility of a deeper reality. This is followed by a desire for purification through self-castigation and mortification, which Underhill calls the painful descent into the &lsquocell of knowledge.&rsquo This leads to illumination, a sudden breakthrough to a heightened visionary joy in the awakening of transcendental consciousness. These are only the first three, as it were, secular stages of mystical insight he never laid claim to the last stages which lead to union with Absolute Being.&rdquo

William Heyen emphasized that Roethke was not one who dedicated &ldquohis life to educating himself to achieve union with God. Rather, Roethke was an artist who experienced moments of deep religious feeling and almost inexpressible illumination. His choice was not traditional Christianity or atheism, but a reliance upon the mystic perceptions of his own imagination.&rdquo In Sequence, Sometimes Metaphysical, for example, Roethke defined his focus as &ldquoa hunt, a drive toward God an effort to break through the barrier of rational experience.&rdquo McMichael, however, found a paradox involved in such an effort: &ldquoThe more he thinks about that thing [something other than himself] the less likely he is to know it as it really is for as soon as he begins to acquire for him any of the qualities that his conceptual faculty is ready to impose upon it, his intuition and love of it are lost.&rdquo Roethke does reach points of ecstasy in his poems, though, and Heyen defended him against critics who have charged that his joy is superficial and too easily attained: &ldquoIt is important to realize that the happiness achieved in any Roethke poem . is not one based on reason. . Armed with his study of Underhill and the mystics she discusses Roethke has found his rationale . he can rock irrationally between light and dark, can go by feeling where he has to go.&rdquo

Admittedly in retrospect, Seager reflected on the years preceding The Far Field and Roethke&rsquos death in 1963: &ldquoThe last years of Ted&rsquos life, as we look back on them knowing they were the last, seem to have a strange air of unconscious preparation. As the fabric of his body begins to give way, the best part of his mind, his poetry, . strives toward a mystical union with his Father. But this was unconscious. I don&rsquot think he was at all aware that he was getting ready to go. He had too much work in hand, too much projected, yet the last poems seem prophetic: they read like last poems.&rdquo Perceiving a similar pattern in The Far Field, W.D. Snodgrass wrote that &ldquothese poems, recording that withdrawal [as in &lsquoThe Longing&rsquo], also, I think suffer from it. The language grows imprecise with pain. . Metrically, too, one has a sense of discouragement and withdrawal. . More and more, Roethke&rsquos late poems seem to have lost their appetite, their tolerance for that anguish of concreteness.&rdquo

The Far Field, which won the National Book Award in 1965, contained two sequences representing earlier themes and images, as well as &ldquoNorth American Sequence&rdquo and Sequence, Sometimes Metaphysical. According to Sullivan, Roethke wished to be remembered by the last poems in the latter sequence. Roethke himself wrote that &ldquoin spite of all the muck and welter, the dreck of these poems [in Sequence, Sometimes Metaphysical], I count myself among the happy poets: I proclaim once more a condition of joy.&rdquo Indeed for those distressed by the tragic self-implications of his statement&mdash&rdquoThere is nothing more disconcerting than when a rich nature thins into despair&rdquo&mdashthese last poems, in celebrating the richness of nature and the poet&rsquos &ldquocapacity to face up to genuine mystery,&rdquo erase the despair. His last lines read: &ldquoAnd everything comes to One, / As we dance on, dance on, dance on.&rdquo

Roethke&rsquos death in 1963, of a heart attack while swimming in a friend&rsquos pool, was &ldquoan incalculable loss to American Literature,&rdquo wrote Ralph Mills. While the poet was drinking much and suffering in his later years from a combination of ailments, including arthritis, bursitis, and periods of manic excitement, his poetry was reaching its peak and earned this praise from James Dickey: &ldquoRoethke seems to me the finest poet now writing in English. I[say] this with a certain fierceness, knowing that I have to put him up against Eliot, Pound, Graves, and a good many others of high rank. I do it cheerfully, however. . I think Roethke is the finest poet not so much because of his beautifully personal sense of form . but because of the way he sees and feels the aspects of life which are compelling to him.&rdquo

The publication of Collected Poems in 1966 brought renewed interest in Roethke and prompted illuminating overviews of his work. David Ferry felt &ldquohis seriousness is frequently too solemnly serious, his lyrical qualities too lyrically lyrical. His mystical vein often seems willed, forced. . And yet Roethke is a very interesting and important poet. For one thing there is . the brilliance there [in Praise to the End!] with which he uses imitations of children&rsquos voices, nursery rhymes, his beautiful sense of the lives of small creatures, the shifting rhythms and stanza forms. . [And, in The Far Field] there are signs . of a new and promising expansiveness and tentativeness. . For the reader, the pity is not to be able to see where this would have taken him.&rdquo Karl Malkoff wrote, &ldquoThough not definite, Roethke: Collected Poems is a major book of poetry. It reveals the full extent of Roethke&rsquos achievement: his ability to perceive reality in terms of the tensions between inner and outer worlds, and to find a meaningful system of metaphor with which to communicate this perception. &hellip He is one of our finest poets, a human poet in a world that threatens to turn man into an object.&rdquo

Roethke was altogether human, both in creating &ldquothe most exhaustive, vital, and vivid reports&rdquo we have of a soul in the several agonies normally recorded in one human life,&rdquo and in impressing &ldquohis friends and readers profoundly as a human being.&rdquo His appreciation for all life is evident in his statement, &ldquoIf I have a complex, it&rsquos a full-life complex.&rdquo Roethke lived energetically, most notably through a devotion to his teaching and through the introspection necessary to his poetry. At the same time, it is generally acknowledged that he paid for his tremendous mental and physical energy with his breakdowns. Thus, as Snodgrass said, one can view Roethke&rsquos career &ldquowith an astonished awe, yet with sadness.&rdquo


The State of the Ostheer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 24 Dec 2019, 15:16

From Moscow to Stalingrad: Decision in the East, Chapter 14:

Even though the Eastern Front had received 1.1 million replacements since 22 June 1941, it was short 625,000 men as of 1 May 1942. Army Group South had 50 percent of its original infantry strength Army Groups Center and North each 35 percent. Army Group South could be fully replenished by the time the summer offensive began, but it would take until August to bring Center and North up to 55 percent of their original infantry strengths. Reserves in the form of new units could not be created. All of the men, weapons, and equipment becoming available in the summer, including the 1923 class of recruits, would have to be used to replace losses. The forces on the Eastern Front would have a solid core of veterans, but they would have to absorb large numbers of what formerly would have been regarded as underage and overage recruits, and owing to the losses during the winter, they would be short on experienced officers and noncommissioned officers.

The Germans' own count was 3.9 million men in the ground forces, distributed as follows: 2.6 million (allies not counted) on the Eastern Front proper, 212,000 in the occupied Soviet territory, 150,000 in Finland, and 1.3 million in the occupied territories outside the Soviet Union, in the Replacement Army in Germany, and in North Africa.

During the winter, the forces on the Eastern Front had lost nearly 7,000 artillery pieces ranging from 37-mm. antitank guns to 210-mm. howitzers. The new production, restarted in January, could not replace more than part of them. Of close to 75,000 motor transport vehicles lost, only 7,500 had been replaced another 25,000 could be secured in Germany, but the absolute deficit would still be 42,500. More than 179,000 horses had died, and only 20,000 new animals had been secured. The 176 million gallons of motor fuel and 390,000 tons of ammunition consumed had cut deep into the stockpiles, which would therefore be proportionately smaller in 1942. The conclusion was, "The shortages cannot, for the time being, be covered by new production or by rebuilding. This will compel cutbacks and sharp emphasis on priorities in all areas."

As an "accomplishment" in sustaining firepower in spite of curtailed production, the army had sent to the Eastern Front 725,000 rifles, 27,000 machine guns, 2,700 antitank guns, and 559 pieces of light and 350 pieces of heavy field artillery. The weapons requirements for Army Group South would be "substantially" met by the time operations resumed. Army Groups Center and North would have enough infantry weapons to arm the troops they had, but their artillery batteries would have to be reduced from 4 to 3 guns and some of those would have to be old or captured pieces. All told, 3,300 tanks would be on hand in the East, 360 less than in June 1941, but heavier armament would make up the difference.

The air force reported some decline in numbers of aircraft, compensated for by newer models, better armament, and more experienced crews.51 In fact, the air strength in the East, 2,750 planes, would not be substantially less than it had been in June 1941 (2,770 planes), and a larger proportion (1,500) would be assigned to support Army Group South

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 24 Dec 2019, 15:17

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 24 Dec 2019, 15:34

What stands out the most is the appalling state of the German infantry: Army Group South had 50 percent of its original infantry strength Army Groups Center and North each 35 percent. And this was despite having received 1.1 million replacements since June 22 1941.

I couldn't find specific casualty information in this book, but Glantz in When Titans Clashed lists German casualties as 522,833 by September 28, 1941. Stahel puts total German 1941 casualties at 830,903, of which 302,595 were killed. Stahel also lists 262,524 casualties for November 26, 1941, to February 28, 1942. Retreat from Moscow (p. 138).

Looking at the dreadful state of the German army in May 1942, with the United States entering the war, and the Soviets continuing to field a massive army, and the Eastern Front more or less stabilized, it seems the war was already lost for Germany. The OstHeer was too weak to do anything offensively in more than one sector, and that would never be enough to knock out the Soviet Union. Germany's severe manpower shortage meant that it couldn't replace casualties or ever hope to get back to its June 1941 strength, and German industrial output could never match that of the Allies.

With the benefit of hindsight, it also shows the folly of Operation Barbarossa. Throwing away over half of your entire country's infantry strength in the bottomless pit of Russia was never a good idea.

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Art » 25 Dec 2019, 21:05

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Hiryu- » 26 Dec 2019, 01:06

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 26 Dec 2019, 10:22

With the benefit of hindsight, it also shows the folly of Operation Barbarossa. Throwing away over half of your entire country's infantry strength in the bottomless pit of Russia was never a good idea.

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 26 Dec 2019, 14:04

With the benefit of hindsight, it also shows the folly of Operation Barbarossa. Throwing away over half of your entire country's infantry strength in the bottomless pit of Russia was never a good idea.

There were about a million alternatives.

1. Sue for peace with the British Empire
2. All out attack on the British Empire
3. Coordinate the Barbarossa with Japan
4. Coordinate the Barbarossa with minor Axis allies properly
5. Launch the Barbarossa later
6. Reshape the mainland Europe, restoring neutrality here and there, thus increasing the pressure on the British
7. Attack the British Empire's colonies
8. Attack neutral countries such as Spain, Sweden or Turkey
9. Prepare for a prolonged war against the British Empire, allocate more resources for the aerial and naval war
10. Speed up R&D, thus gaining a technological edge (rockets, small arms, armoured vehicles, jet planes)
11. Training and equipment of small, specialized forces like Fallschirmjägers and such.

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 26 Dec 2019, 14:28

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 26 Dec 2019, 17:35

These are all better choices than attacking your ally. And choices.

1. Hardly. The German offer was too much to swallow for the British, and the Germans paid no attention to the long term coexistence of European nations. Britain fought on because they understood that they stand the best chance to win there and then. If they give Germany some room to breathe, they'd get too strong.
2. It was never tried. See Sealion.
3. Japan never refused, and they considered to break the NAP with the SU (April 13, 1941) many times. They decided to attack the relatively lightly guarded European colonies in the south.
4. There's plenty of proof for that. All except the Romanian army was properly mobilized, the technology was not shared with the minor axis nations, etc. Thus, a lot of production capacity in Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, etc. was producing obsolate and useless equipment.
5. There's no proof for that. As you always like to claim, the Barbarossa had to be won with the opening moves, preferably west of the D-D line. If the Soviets could build up more troops and put them on the frontiers, it wouldn't matter as much as the Axis buildup.
6. Not at all
7. It could be done and it was done (Malta, Egypt, Iraq/Syria/Lebanon), but not with proper forces, as they were tied down in the SU
8. Germany didn't hesitate to attack its allies either.
9. Against Britain alone? Hardly.
10. But soon it did.
11. Probably the best type of unit to attack the British Isles.

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 26 Dec 2019, 18:29

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 26 Dec 2019, 19:34

3. YES. Please read any source about Kantokuen. How would it not help Germany.
7. You can't be serious here. The eastern front tied down most of the Wehrmacht, the Mediterran theatre was always of secondary importance. Yes, Malta itself can't solve the German problems in the Med, but capturing it would certainly solve some.
9. It's a pure speculation how long a diplomatic Germany could prolong the American entry into the war. Even with a DOW they didn't really show up in numbers up until 1943.
11. We are talking about alternatives to the Barbarossa, and not about alternatives to July 1940.

By the way your, your whole argumentation is somewhat rigged. My initial statement was that Barbarossa had a lot of alternatives. I presented you a few, and those alternatives are independent of the operational FJ units in mid-1940 or the possible American entry to the war. The Germans decision makers had a lot of choices, and they choose poorly.

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 26 Dec 2019, 22:58

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 27 Dec 2019, 09:46

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 27 Dec 2019, 12:36

Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2020, 03:55

Ziemke's book was published in the later '80's - after prevailing narratives had been set but before interesting archival data emerged post-SU. Were I writing a click-bait review I'd say its commission was a cushy government job (official Army history) with little incentive to dig deeply or fashion interesting takes (the latter being something of a blessing, considering the range of quality for "interesting" takes).

The first thing to notice about Ziemke's portrayal of the May 42 Ostheer: Against the supposedly-better-situated RKKA it advanced nearly

800km, destroying numerous armies in the process, panicking Stalin and Soviet leadership (not one step back!, blocking detachments), and convincing many in the West that the SU was done (Eisenhower and Joint Chiefs expected Soviet collapse by the end of '42).

How does he spin that narrative so well? First, he was just following that well-set narrative that Germany was hopelessly outmatched by the SU. If you start from that position, it's easy to find facts to match it. Digging in a bit:

-Ziemke states (accurately) that Germany could replace only

1/3 of its Mot.V losses. He doesn't place those losses in relevant context, however: Barbarossa began with 600k trucks,

50k halftracks, >100k "Light transports", and thousands of AFV's. Even taking just the trucks as a baseline, a 45,000 decline in stock is only 7.5%. Given the lower manpower, Ostheer actually was more motorized in 42 than in 41. Soviet truck losses must have far exceeded Ostheer's, while RKKA started with only

450k trucks to supply a larger army, had lower domestic truck production, and LL wasn't a big factor in trucks yet. So Ostheer's Mot.V situation was certainly far better in 42 than RKKA's in absolute vehicles, in vehicles/soldier, and in maintaining motorization relative to 41.

-Ziemke highlights the burn of 176mil gallons of motor fuel. This is either wrong or deceptive. At 7lbs/gal, that's only 560,000t of fuel or

8% of Germany's fuel resources. I have to believe he made a mistake there, as Ostheer fuel burn in the winter alone nearly matched the figure he gives. Either way, it's fishy/sloppy.

-Ziemke says the Ostheer was "short" some hundreds of thousands. He doesn't specify what "short" means but presumably it's actual strength vs. authorized strength of the Ostheer's formations. What he doesn't make clear is that it was worse for RKKA: He states that their divisions had 5-7,000 men but the authorized strength of RKKA rifle divisions at that time was around 12,000. So the 293 Red divisions were "short" 1.5 - 2 million men!

-The choice of May 42 is conspicuous as well. German replacements surged during June-August, first to support Blau and then to rebuild AG's N/C in anticipation of Soviet attacks. After all the bleeding of 42, the Ostheer had 3.1mil on its roles in July 43 ahead of Kursk. Liedtke's "Enduring the Whirlwind" - an easy Kindle reference for topline Eastern Front stats - has a good discussion of the Ostheer's recovery during Summer 42 - just after Ziemke's timeframe. Unlike SU, Germany valued training almost irrationally and would have withheld replacements until the final moment to provide more training - a fact that I suspect Ziemke is exploiting in his choice of May 42 strength analysis.

None of that it is to dispute what you say re May 42 broadly: Germany had no chance of "winning" in any Nazi sense of the term by then. But the Ostheer still overmatched RKKA and its qualitative edge had actually increased due to the "peasant-ification" of the Red Army over the war years. Pre-war recruits were proportionately higher-educated urbanites who had at least seen things like radios and maps before, and had adult experience in professional roles requiring at least some independent analysis (non-political of course) and personal initiative. The poor peasants (both senses of that phrase), lacking both these modern experiences, were like time-travelers into the modern world via the war. It's hard for folks to believe that the RKKA got qualitatively worse (tactically) as the war went on but the facts are pretty clear on that issue IMO.

David Stahel has emphasized in interviews (online somewhere, don't remember ATM) that it's still the case that very little is actually known about Eastern Front combat. Most authors have gone off post-war memoirs for the German perspective (out of laziness) and lacked access to Soviet documents (Soviet and now Putin-ite secrecy). Ziemke's work cites mostly the Army- and Army-Group-level diaries and correspondence there's so much more out there to dig into. We probably disagree on Stahel's overall merits. IMO he's more towards the industrious/stupid quadrant than I'd prefer (ok that's excessively mean but like portraying Kiev as the death-knell of the panzer forces when they wrecked a million Soviets a few weeks later during Typhoon. ), but I take his point: most well-regarded English-language authors on the Eastern Front have only an inkling of what really happened there.


26 May 1942 - History

The Congress of Racial Equality

"Making Equality a Reality for All"

Author's Note: The History of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is essentially part of the history of the civil rights movement in America. CORE played such an important role in so many critical milestones in the civil rights movement that to tell the history of CORE without referencing those milestones would be out of context and incomplete. For that reason we have included links within this text to descriptions of some of the major civil rights events that CORE either led or participated in. We have also included links to short biographies of some of the key individuals who had significant influence on the focus and direction of CORE as the organization evolved over the years.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded in 1942 as the Committee of Racial Equality by an interracial group of students in Chicago- Bernice Fisher , James R. Robinson , James L. Farmer, Jr. , Joe Guinn , George Houser , and Homer Jack . . Many of these students were members of the Chicago branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), a pacifist organization seeking to change racist attitudes. The founders of CORE were deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi's teachings of nonviolent resistance.

CORE started as a nonhierarchical, decentralized organization funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of its members. The organization was initially co-led by white University of Chicago student George Houser and black student James Farmer. In 1942, CORE began protests against segregation in public accommodations by organizing sit-ins. It was also in 1942 that CORE expanded nationally. James Farmer traveled the country with Bayard Rustin, a field secretary with FOR, and recruited activists at FOR meetings. CORE's early growth consisted almost entirely of white middle-class college students from the Midwest. CORE pioneered the strategy of nonviolent direct action, especially the tactics of sit-ins, jail-ins, and freedom rides.

From the beginning of its expansion, CORE experienced tension between local control and national leadership. The earliest affiliated chapters retained control of their own activities and funds. With a nonhierarchical system as the model of leadership, a national leadership over local chapters seemed contradictory to CORE's principles. Some early chapters were dominated by pacifists and focused on educational activities. Other chapters emphasized direct action protests, such as sit-ins. This tension persisted throughout CORE's early existence.

Through sit-ins and picket lines, CORE had success in integrating northern public facilities in the 1940s. With these successes it was decided that, to have a national impact, it was necessary to strengthen the national organization. James Farmer became the first National Director of CORE in 1953.

In April of 1947 CORE sent eight white and eight black men into the upper South to test a Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. CORE gained national attention for this Journey of Reconciliation when four of the riders were arrested in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and three, including Bayard Rustin, were forced to work on a chain gang.

In the aftermath of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, CORE was revived from several years of stagnation and decline. CORE provided the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott with its philosophical commitment to nonviolent direct action. As the Civil Rights Movement took hold, CORE focused its energy in the South.

CORE's move into the South forced the leadership to address the question of the organization's place within the black community. Though whites still remained prominent, black leaders were sought out for high profile positions. CORE remained committed to interracialism but no longer required that new chapters have an interracial membership, largely expecting little white support in the South. While middle-class college students predominated in the early years of the organization, increasingly the membership was made up of poorer and less educated African Americans.

CORE provided guidance for action in the aftermath of the 1960 sit-in of four college students at a Greensboro, North Carolina lunch counter, and subsequently became a nationally recognized civil rights organization. As pioneers of the sit-in tactic the organization offered support in Greensboro and organized sit-ins throughout the South. CORE members then developed the strategy of the jail-in, serving out their sentences for sit-ins rather than paying bail.

In May of 1961 CORE organized the Freedom Rides , modeled after their earlier Journey of Reconciliation. Near Birmingham, Alabama a bus was firebombed and riders were beaten by a white mob. Despite this violent event, CORE continued to locate field secretaries in key areas of the South to provide support for the riders.

By the end of 1961, CORE had 53 affiliated chapters, and they remained active in southern civil rights activities for the next several years. CORE participated heavily in President Kennedy's Voter Education Project (VEP) and also co-sponsored the 1963 March on Washington . In 1964 CORE participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer project three activists killed that summer in an infamous case, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were members of CORE.

By 1963 CORE had already shifted attention to segregation in the North and West where two thirds of the organization's chapters were located. In an effort to build CORE's credibility as a black-protest organization, leadership in these northern chapters had become almost entirely black. CORE's ideology and strategies increasingly were challenged by its changing membership. Many new members advocated militancy and believed nonviolent methods of protest were to be used only if they proved successful.

As the tactics were being questioned so was the leadership. In 1966, under mounting pressure and with the organization losing members influence and financial support, James Farmer stepped down as National Director and was replaced by the more militant Floyd McKissick. McKissick endorsed the term Black Power and was a much more acceptable leader to the Black community than Farmer was.

When McKissick took over, the organization was badly dis-organized and deep in debt. Although McKissick was a charismatic and respected leader, he was unable to turn the organization's finances around. In 1968 he announced his retirement to pursue his dream of building a "Soul City" in North Carolina and Roy Innis, who was Chairman of the Harlem Chapter of CORE, replaced him as the National Director.

Innis inherited the organization with a completely de-centralized structure, with more than a million dollars in debt and no fundraising mechanism. The organization's fundraising arm--CORE Health, Education & Welfare Fund--had deserted the organization when Farmer left. Innis quickly declared the first order of business was restructuring so that Chapters and field operatives were responsible back to the National Headquarters. Innis also developed a new fundraising arm--CORE Special Purpose Fund--and began to chip away at the organization's debt.

Under Innis's leadership, CORE embraced an ideology of pragmatic nationalism and lent its support to black economic development and community self-determination.


The fascinating tale of Marcel Duchamp's Fountain

Photographed by Alfred Stieglitz, urinated on by Brian Eno, sometimes cited as the work of a German baroness, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain was arguably the first ever piece of conceptual art and harbours a fascinating backstory

Photographed, then subsequently thrown away, by Alfred Stieglitz, urinated on by Brian Eno and sometimes cited as the work of a Bauhaus baroness rather than the man it is most commonly associated with, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain is arguably the first piece of conceptual art ever, certainly the most famous ready made in art history, and has inspired countless artists from Grayson Perry to Damien Hirst, Richard Hamilton to Richard Wentworth and inspired many others to 'interact' with it in the most obvious way in gallery and museum settings. . .

In the gently flowing curves of Fountain Duchamp biographer Calvin Tomkins claimed one could discern ‘the veiled head of a classic Renaissance Madonna or a seated Buddha or, perhaps more to the point, one of Brâncuși's polished erotic forms. Others have likened the work to an erect penis and testicles or even “a modest woman with her head covered”.

One thing is clear: for such an important landmark in art history Fountain was incredibly short lived. After photographing the piece in his studio, Alfred Stieglitz disposed of the urinal, meaning that what you will gaze upon in any gallery or museum now will be one of 17 replicas commissioned by Marcel Duchamp in the 1960s.

With Fountain Duchamp pretty much invented conceptual art and thus cut the accepted link between an artist’s labour and the supposed ‘merit’ of the work. It has been mooted that in putting the urinal forward as a work of art Duchamp, who came from a small town near Rouen, close to the battlefields of World War One, was discrediting the power and standing of the virtuoso artist and the critics who sat in admiration and judgment in the same way that the awful atrocities of the war had discredited the powers of authority.

With Fountain Duchamp, who had arrived in New York from Paris in 1915, revolutionised the ‘creation’ of art and effectively posed the questions: Who is an artist? And what is art?

Duchamp had begun deliberating on the idea of a ‘readymade’ a year or two earlier. The first, in 1913, was a bicycle wheel on a stool which he said he simply ‘liked looking at’. Despite its equally lowly beginnings, Fountain was an altogether sexier offering – sexual attraction and sexual difference being two of Duchamp’s obsessions.

Of all Duchamp's readymades, Fountain is the best known perhaps because its symbolic meaning takes the conceptual challenge posed by the readymade to its most visceral extreme. Duchamp, who saw America as the land of the huckster and Fountain as much practical joke as it was a serious attempt to reconfigure the art world, signed the porcelain urinal ‘R.Mutt (a possible reference to the gambler Mutt in Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff cartoon) and it was submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, the first annual exhibition by the Society - of which Duchamp was a board member - to be staged at The Grand Central Palace in New York.

However, Duchamp was not known as its creator (though most suspected him to be). Instead, as Alfred Stieglitz wrote “A young woman sent a large porcelain urinal on a pedestal to the Independent(s).”

Duchamp never identified his ‘collaborator’ – if indeed there was one - but the young woman of Stieglitz's description has variously been identified as either Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an eccentric German poet and artist who loved (but who was jealous of) Duchamp or Louise Norton, who contributed an essay to (the art and Dada journal) The Blind Man discussing Fountain.

Certainly, Freytag-Loringhoven had created broadly similar, scatological works but nothing that held the thinking expressed in Duchamp’s piece. Norton meanwhile, was living at the time in an apartment owned by her parents at 110 West 88th Street in New York City, and this address is partially discernible (along with "Richard Mutt") on the paper entry ticket attached to the object in Stieglitz's photograph.

Duchamp later said that he had not made his own identity known because of his position on the society’s board. As ‘R Mutt’ was an unknown Duchamp thught he could test the board’s openness to art that didn’t conform to conventional standards without compromising his relationship with the other board members.

But Fountain was rejected by the committee, even though the rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee. After some consternation and a brief discussion it was decided that the six dollar submission should be returned to 'Mr. Mutt' with a letter stating that it had no place in an art exhibition. Duchamp immediately resigned from the society stating that “The only works of art America has given (the world) are her “plumbing and her bridges”.

Philosopher Stephen Hicks believed that Duchamp, who was quite familiar with the history of European art, was making a profoundly provocative statement with Fountain:

“The artist is a not great creator—Duchamp went shopping at a plumbing store. The artwork is not a special object - it was mass-produced in a factory. The experience of art is not exciting and ennobling - at best it is puzzling and mostly leaves one with a sense of distaste. But over and above that, Duchamp did not select just any ready-made object to display. In selecting the urinal, his message was clear: Art is something you piss on."

Learn more about Marcel Duchamp, conceptual art, readymades in The Art Book, Art in Time, Art & Today and our two books on Dada.


History of San Francisco, California

The San Francisco area was settled in 1776 by the Spanish officer Juan Bautista de Anza. The original reason for settling there was the construction of a Presidio (fort) designed to guard the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. The fort was a large structure designed to intimidate incoming belligerants. Housing was needed for soldiers stationed at the fort. Father Junipero Serra was assigned to provide a portion of its housing. He was successful in finding a suitable area for a new complex and named it Misión San Francisco de Asís. The area is now called Mission Dolores. Nearly 75 years after the fort was built, the United States seized control of the area in 1846. It was not long after the U.S. takeover that prospectors came to the area. In 1848, gold was discovered in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 100 miles to the east. The ensuing gold rush became a major part of the San Francisco economy over the next few years. People arrived from throughout the country to try their luck at making it rich. Two people of note in San Francisco history are Levi Strauss, inventor of denim blue jeans and the sculptor Beniamino Benvenuto Bufano. San Francisco also is blessed with historic places that define its uniqueness. They include, but are not limited to:

San Francisco boasts numerous historic artistic venues and contributors:

Other venues of historic significance are the San Francisco City Hall, George R. Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco Chinatown, Granite Lady, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, and the Transamerica Pyramid. Higher education has played a significant role in San Francisco history. Institutions of high learning include, but are not limited to, the New College of California, Academy of Art College, Golden Gate University, University of California - San Francisco, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and University of California Hastings College of Law. Two tests of San Francisco’s civic resolve can be seen in the wakes of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and Loma Prieta, the 1989 earthquake. Though some said it could not be done, San Francisco's ingenuity triumphed when the imposing San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge was built.


Watch the video: War in the Pacific: Admirals Edition Grand Campaign May 26, 1942 (August 2022).