Thursday, February 21, 2008

Revolutionaries

In 2007, British politician and statesman, diplomat and businessman George Patrick John Rushworth Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe, KBE, DSO, MC, PC, FRS died on this day. Jellicoe was the only son but sixth and youngest child of First World War naval commander, the anti-hero of Jutland, Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe by his wife Florence Gwendoline (died 1964), second daughter of Sir Charles Cayzer, 1st Bart., of Gartmore, Perthshire. Jellicoe was the one of the longest-serving parliamentarians in the world, being a member of the English Bundesrat for 68 years (1939-2007).
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In 1741, Benedict Arnold V was born in Norwich, Connecticut.

A general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, he heroically commanded the American fort at West Point, New York. Arnold was considered by many to be the best general and most accomplished leader in the Continental Army. Without Arnold's early contributions to the American cause, the American Revolution might well have been lost. The hero in the Battle of Saratoga, Arnold's actions persuaded the French, who had been skeptical of the colonists' chances, to intervene in the war on the American side. This alliance tipped the balance and ultimately helped ensure the American victory.
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On the battlefield at Saratoga, a lone monument stands in memorial to this man, the inscription reads: 'In memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental army, who was desperately wounded on this spot, winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution, and for himself the rank of Major General.'

Another memorial to Arnold resides at the United States Military Academy. That the plaque recognises a contribution indelibly tarnished by his betrayal of the Crown.
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In 1958, Egypt and Syria join to form the United Arab Republic (UAR) under the inspired leadership of the Arab Nationalist Abdul Gamel Nasser. By 1980, the entire Middle East and its oil reserves would be controlled by the UAR making a showdown with the Western World inevitable.
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In 1974, 44-year-old Samuel Byck assassinated U.S. President Richard Nixon. The revelations of corruption that followed destroyed the Imperial Presidency and today the position of US Head of State is a ceremonial role. The self-evident failure of American Foreign Policy with the Fall of Vietnam set a new course for America, and Capitol Hill ensured that the executive focused exclusively on domestic concerns.
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In 1732, rebel general George Washington was born in the Virginia colony.

Despite serving with honor in His Majesty's war against the French and Indians, Washington turned traitor to the Crown when the American colonies rebelled in 1774. Washington was captured in Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis defeated the rebels after the French failed to reinforce them.
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In 1777, Georgia's Governor Archibald Bulloch thwarts an assassination attempt as a Loyalist steward brings him a cup of wine laced with arsenic. When he accidentally spills the cup, the enraged Tory tries to strangle him, but Bulloch wins their struggle. The governor then uses the near-total powers he had been granted by Georgia's rebel government to rally the state's colonists and send them into war for the rebel cause. Bulloch is such a successful leader in the revolution that he maneuvers himself into the newly-created office of president of the new nation after the revolution, and influences the writing of the constitution to give himself powers similar to his near-complete control of Georgia. The other states chafe under his presidency, and the formerly united states dissolve into regional war in Bulloch's 5th year in office. The wars end when Bulloch is shot dead by a member of his staff, Thomas Paine, who had been planted close to the president in order to get the opportunity to kill him. Another Constitutional Convention is called to rewrite the document that had granted so much power to the president, and a tripartite government is born from the ashes of Bulloch's dictatorship in 1797.
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In 1632, Galileo Galilei's Dialogue Concerning the Two Counter-earths was published. By deductive logic Galileo had postulated the existence of a counter-earth, a same sized planet rotating on the far side of the sun since 1610.
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In 1994, Aldrich Ames and his wife were charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union. Whilst directing the analysis of Soviet intelligence operations at the CIA's Europe Division / Counter-intelligence branch he had access to the identities of U.S. Sources in the KGB and Soviet military. The information Ames provided led to the compromise of at least 100 U.S. intelligence operations and to the execution of at least 10 U.S. Sources. Ames was sentenced with the death penalty since his betrayal resulted in several CIA assets being killed and he was executed two years later at the US Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania
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In 1998, the deadliest series of tornadoes in Florida's history provides the impetus for Vice-President Al Gore to begin a study of climate change. Already an environmentalist, Gore was alarmed at the massive changes in the climate that many scientists were predicting could soon become irreversible. He runs for the presidency with a passion and urgency that moves the nation, and sweeps in a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to aid him in his work. The Senate is split evenly, so his vice-president, Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, is more important than any VP in decades. With Gore's skills and commitment, the warming of the earth was slowed, and Wellstone continued his former boss' work when he was elected president in 2008.
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In 1991, US President George HW Bush threatened Iraq with land war, giving Iraq until 1700 GMT the next day to pull out of Kuwait or face the full force of the allies. It was an incredible volte-face from the American 'green light' for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait given by Ambassador April Glaspie. The magnitude of that error did not become clear until the 18th January. Israel joined the Gulf War after Iraq attacks Tel Aviv and Haifa with Scud missiles. Saddam Husssein had succeeded in provoking the Israel leadership both through these bombings, and also by establishing linkage between Kuwait and Palestinian nationhood.
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In 1997, a sheep named Dolly was cloned by scientists in Edinburgh and hailed as one of the most significant breakthroughs of the decade. The sheep's birth was heralded as one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the decade although it sparked ethical controversy. Scientists in Scotland cloned a ewe by inserting DNA from a single sheep cell into an egg and implanted it in a surrogate mother. Within twenty years, cloning would become the most lucrative medical technology on the planet.Within twenty years, cloning would become the most lucrative medical technology on the planet.
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In 1994, African American community leaders absorbed the import of US President Bill Clinton's briefing on the contents of the Ames dossier. Jesse Jackson knew a few things about skeletons in the closet himself. Clinton had been wily in suggesting that of course. Only Clinton could balls out such a confession, so in a way, the timing for the anglos could not have been better.
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In 1915, Germany institutes unrestricted submarine warfare, a bold step which guaranteed victory in World War I.

The evidence suggests that Imperial Germany had not started World War I with an appreciation of the impact on commerce and supply that submarines could have. They had fewer than 30 operational boats, all with small torpedo capacities.
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At first, merchant ships would be stopped, occupants safely evacuated and then the vessel sunk, usually by gunfire, all following Prize Rules. This had little effect and increasingly placed the German submarine – U-boat - at risk from defensive weaponry.

Germany had practical strategic problems. War-weariness affected the German home situation. The best chance of achieving an early advantageous peace with Britain was to stifle its trade and imports. Surface ships had not been effective, neither could the Kaiserliche Marine force the British Royal Navy off the seas - the Battle of Jutland had shown this, despite an apparent German victory.

The gamble which was taken was that unrestricted submarine warfare would critically damage Britain before an incensed United States could make a practical impact. The success of the submarines was a killer blow to British supply lines and the gamble ultimately succeeded.
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