August 12—a Bloody Day in History: in 30 BC Cleopatra Committed Suicide; in 1480 AD the Ottoman Army Beheaded 800 Christians at Otranto for Failure to Convert to Islam; in 1914 Great Britain Declared War on Austria-Hungary—and it’s a Bloody Hot Day in Fresno, California, too….


How One Day In History Outlines the Creation of the Present World Order and World Mythology under which we live

  • 1898 – An Armistice ends the Spanish–American War—the U.S. acquires Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands, Guam and simultaneously—-by no coincidence:
  • 1898 – The Hawaiian flag is lowered from ʻIolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States.
  • 1914 – World War I: the United Kingdom declares war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire follow suit.
  • 1914 – World War I: the Belgium Battle of Haelen a.k.a. (Battle of the Silver Helmets) last cavalry style attack from the German army on the city of Halen Belgium—in the battle of horses against tanks and machine guns, the horse fared very poorly….
  • 1944 – Waffen-SS troops massacre 560 people in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.
  • 1944 – Nazi German troops end the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people were killed indiscriminately or in mass executions—one historian wrote, that in the aftermath of the Warsaw uprising of 1944: “the massacres in Wola had nothing in common with combat” as “the ratio of civilian to military dead was more than a thousand to one, even if military casualties on both sides are counted”
  • 1944 – Alençon is liberated by General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces (most French cities were liberated by U.S. and British Forces)
  • 1950 – Bloody Gulch massacre : American POWs were massacred by North Korean Army.
  • 1952 – The Night of the Murdered Poets: 13 prominent Jewish intellectuals are murdered in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union.
  • 1953 – Nuclear weapons testing: the Soviet atomic bomb project continues with the detonation of Joe 4, the first Soviet thermonuclear weapon.
  • 1953 – The islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia in Greece are severely damaged by an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale.
  • 1960 – Echo 1A, NASA’s first successful communications satellite, is launched.
  • 1964 – South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies—-the politicization of the Olympics had already begun….
  • 1964 – Charlie Wilson, one of the Great Train Robbers, escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom.
  • 1969 – Violence erupts after the Apprentice Boys of Derry march in Derry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom resulting in a three-day communal riot known as the Battle of the Bogside; this is the first of these historical events of which I have some vague personal memory of contemporary awareness—I was with my grandparents in London that August—we were staying at the Savoy Hotel—I was nine and misbehaving and my grandfather offered me a hundred pounds if I would shut up at the dinner table and my grandmother made him pay when I did….they wanted to talk about the Protestant-Catholic conflict in Ireland and I have no idea what I was talking about.
  • 1976 – Between 1,000 and 3,500 Palestinians are killed in the Tel al-Zaatar massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the Lebanese Civil War
  • 1977 – The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
  • 1977 – The 1977 riots in Sri Lanka, targeting the minority Sri Lankan Tamil people, begin, less than a month after the United National Party came to power. Over 300 Tamils are killed.
  • 1978 – The Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China is signed.
  • 1980 – The Montevideo Treaty, establishing the Latin American Integration Association, is signed.
  • 1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.
  • 1982 – Mexico announces it is unable to pay its enormous external debt, marking the beginning of a debt crisis that spreads to all of Latin America and the Third World.  This is the event on this list I remember most clearly—I was in Merida, Yucatan, after my first summer at Chichen Itza, and when President Jose Lopez-Portillo nationalized the banks a few weeks later, I was there for the incredible panic and crisis, and the eerie scene of all the bank facades being draped in immense Mexican flags….

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