This Day in History – July 5th – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight

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NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY… JULY 5

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1775 – Olive Branch Petition.

This was a last ditch effort by the 2nd Continental Congress to avoid war with England. It was addressed to King George, and not Parliament, in the hopes he would intervene. John Adams wrote the first draft but it was considered too inflammatory so John Dickinson, a delegate from Pennsylvania, rewrote it. There was little chance of its success because although the Colonies did pledge their loyalty to the king, they did not agree to follow the laws dictated by England. The document was a compromise within the Congress itself because some delegates were more moderate and did not support open rebellion. John Adams wrote to a friend that the petition was necessary to keep the delegates united. Predictably it had no effect as the king refused to even receive the document. It did however keep the 2nd Continental Congress intact.

Given that the petition was sent out after Lexington and Concord, and after the Battle of Bunker Hill, it seems a bit preposterous that anyone thought it would even be considered. It was successful, however, as a compromise and that’s how governing should work. If only we had more of that now.

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1871 – Trial of Satanta and Big Tree.

They were cousins and Kiowa chiefs. Despite a peace treaty the Kiowas were unhappy because whites continued to encroach on their land and their reservation became smaller. Big Tree and Satanta struck back by leading war parties. In March they attacked a wagon train and killed seven teamsters. On orders from Gen. Wm. Sherman they were arrested and brought to trial on July 5th & 6th. Convicted they were sentenced to hang but fearing an Indian uprising, the sentence was commuted to prison. After two years, promising to remain peaceful, they were released. However more broken government promises caused them to react again. They teamed up with Comanche warriors and began more raiding. Tired of being fugitives and constantly hunted by the army, they surrendered in 1874. Satanta committed suicide while in captivity while Big Tree finally accepted the ways of the white man and counseled peace.

Some people are just slow learners, I mean, the law is the law. What’s so hard about that? What about the whites breaking the treaties you might ask? Well, that’s different. They had God and Manifest Destiny on their side.

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1943 – Battle of Kursk.

Taking place about 280 miles southwest of Moscow, this was Germany’s last major offensive against Russia in WWII. Both armies had amassed huge amounts of aircraft, tanks, and soldiers. Germany had lost the element of surprise, however, because their secret code had been broken, and the Russians were waiting for them. The battle began on the 5th and continued until August 23rd. On July 12th a tank battle began that may have been the largest in history. Germany attacked with 2,700 tanks and Russia countered with 3,600. By the time fighting ground to a halt Germany had lost 500 tanks, Russia 1,500. Germany suffered 200,000 casualties, Russia 800,000, possibly more. So while tactically Germany won, it is considered a Russian victory because they did not allow a breakthrough. 

6,300 tanks facing off! I’d describe two tanks battling it out as terrifying. At Kursk, with roaring of thousands of engines, cannons firing, dust swirling, explosions, fires, confusion, death in all manner of horrifying ways, I don’t know if the words exist to describe the horror.

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Birthdays:

1321 – Joan of the Tower.

Joan was an English princess born in the Tower of London. In order to ensure peace between England and Scotland, she was married off to Prince David, future king of Scotland. Joan was seven years old at the time, and her new hubby checked in at four years, four months. The usual palace intrigue, dissension, betrayal, and deceit took place. Nor was peace ensured. By age 22 David was defeated in battle and was a prisoner in England. Joan died at age 41. There is no evidence the union produced any offspring.

I imagine a lot of women end up feeling like they married a four-year-old.

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1874 – Eugen Fischer.

Professor of medicine, member of Nazi Party. Fischer used pseudo-science to try prove some races were superior to others. Hitler utilized Fischer’s work in justifying his belief in the superiority of the German people and the inferior status of Jews. After the war Fischer distanced himself from the Nazis and minimized his role in their activities. Successfully, for he lived happily in West Germany until he died at age 93.

His philosophy, sadly, may never die.  

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1853 – Cecil Rhodes.

Diamond mine magnate, politician, British imperialist. Rhodes was born in England and sent to South Africa at age 17 for his health. He entered the diamond trade at age 18 and in twenty years amassed a fortune, gaining control over the world’s diamond trading market. Entering politics he became Prime Minister by age 37 and used that position to appropriate large portions of land from black Africans and disenfranchise them with restrictive voting laws. (I wonder if he cited possible voter fraud as a reason.) Rhodes believed the English were the master race; he also wanted Britain to recover the U.S. as a colony and thought the whole world should be under England’s control. The African country of Rhodesia, now two countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia, was named after him. The Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University is funded from a trust from his diamond empire. Rhodes’ power waned after he planned the Jameson Raid. The goal of the raid was to overthrow the government of President Kruger of South Africa, and ultimately led to the 2nd Boer War. There are still many buildings in Africa named after him and monuments dedicated to him, creating much controversy. Students are trying to have his statue removed from the University of Cape Town.

The world is currently being challenged by a new viewing of history. Some see it as trying to re-write history, others see it as trying to right history.

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ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.

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CREDITS

The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.

Sources:

OnThisDay.com

HistoryIsFun.org

TSHAonline.org

History.com

BBC.com

TheFreelanceHistoryWriter.com

Wikipedia.org

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We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (Rose Fist)  – Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

* Battle of Kursk (video)  – Nero Color / YouTube.com

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 2

December 3

December 5

December 8

* December 9

December 11

December 12

* December 13

* December 15

December 16

December 18

* December 19

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 28

January 1

January 3

* January 4

January 6

January 7

January 8

January 11

* January 12

* January 14

January 15

January 17

January 19

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 28

January 29

February 1

February 2

February 3

February 5

* February 9

February 10

* February 12

February 14

February 15

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 25

February 28

February 29

March 2

March 4

March 6

* March 9

March 11

March 12

March 14

March 15

March 17

March 19

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 27

March 28

March 29

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 6

April 9

* April 11

April 13

April 16

April 18

April 21

* April 22

April 23

April 26

April 28

April 29

May 1

May 2

* May 3

May 5

May 6

May 9

May 10

May 11

* May 13

May 16

May 17

* May 22

May 24

May 26

May 27

* May 28

May 29

May 31

June 1

June 3

June 4

June 8

June 10

June 11

June 13

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 20

June 21

June 25

June 27

June 28

June 29

* July 1

July 2

July 3

* July 9

July 13

July 15

July 19

July 23

July 25

July 30

July 31

* August 3

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 16

August 17

August 21

August 24

August 25

* August 28

August 31

September 2

September 5

September 6

September 8

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16 

September 17

September 21

September 23

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 7

October 10

October 11

* October 12

October 14

October 15

October 16

October 18

October 20

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 30

October 31

November 1

November 3

* November 4

November 5

November 6

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

* November 17

November 18

* November 19

November 20

November 23

November 24

November 26

November 28

November 29

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

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