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WWII Wreck Found of USS Wasp, Where 176 Died After Torpedo Attack

March 14, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

When Japanese planes bombed , USS Helena, and USS Hornet. As for the Wasp, it lives on: Today, it’s the name of an amphibious assault ship, the tenth to bear its name.

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How the Vietnam War Ratcheted Up Under 5 U.S. Presidents

March 14, 2019 in History

By Jesse Greenspan

Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all deepened U.S. involvement in the decades-long conflict.

At the end of World War II, the United States was broadly popular in Vietnam for having repelled the Japanese occupiers. Even Ho Chi Minh, the nationalist and communist revolutionary, started off pro-American. But, through the terms of five U.S. presidents, that relationship deteriorated and the United States and Vietnam found themselves at war.

Initially, many Vietnamese appreciated the anti-colonial views of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who opposed the return of the French colonizers and who asserted in a charter that all people had a right “to choose the form of government under which they will live.” During World War II, Ho Chi Minh received arms from the CIA’s predecessor, helped locate downed American pilots and gathered intelligence on Japanese military positions.

Then, on September 2, 1945, the day of Japan’s official surrender, Ho quoted from the U.S. Declaration of Independence as part of a speech in which he implored the Allies to recognize Vietnam’s independence. He later made multiple additional attempts to get the United States on his side.

The increasing alarm over the spread of communist rule, however, would throw the U.S.-Vietnam relationship off track and eventually into war. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon oversaw the conflict, which ratcheted up in intensity as the years passed by. Though each president expressed doubts in private about American involvement, none wanted to be blamed for losing Vietnam to the communists.

The war would eventually claim the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and some 3 million Vietnamese.

President Harry Truman meets with Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, French military commander in the the first Indochina War, and Henri Bonnet, French ambassador to the United Sates from 1944-1954.

Harry Truman

State Department officials in Asia warned Harry Truman, who became president in 1945 upon Roosevelt’s death, that French rule of Vietnam would lead to “bloodshed and unrest.” But Truman did not share his predecessor’s anti-colonialism and ultimately acquiesced to the reestablishment of France’s prewar empire, which he hoped would shore up France’s economy and national pride.

No sooner did the French arrive back in Vietnam, with the guns of World War II barely gone cold, than fighting broke out against Ho’s Viet Minh forces. At first, the United States remained officially neutral, even as it avoided any contact with Ho. …read more


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When Irish-Americans Attacked Canada—With the White House's Blessing

March 14, 2019 in History

By Christopher Klein

It was one of the most audacious acts of the Irish-American members of the Fenian Brotherhood.

In the spring of 1866, a band of Irish-Americans who fought on both sides of the , that had been built in British ports. In addition, many Americans hoped Canada would become the next territory to be absorbed by the United States as it fulfilled its expansionist Manifest Destiny. The U.S. govern­ment sold surplus weapons to the Irish militants, and Johnson met personally with their leaders, reportedly giving them his implicit backing. The Irishmen were free to establish their own state in exile—complete with their own president, constitution, currency and capital in the heart of New York City.

READ MORE: How Stereotypes of the Irish Evolved from Criminals to Cops

First forays across the border were victorious.

Summoned to the battlefront in late May 1866, O’Neill left behind his wife, two-month old son and business worth $50,000 in Nashville to attack Canada. When the invasion’s commanders failed to show in Buffalo, New York, O’Neill was given the reins to the 800-man attack force, which called itself the Irish Republican Army.

In the early morning hours of June 1, 1866, O’Neill fulfilled a lifelong dream by leading his men across the Niagara River and the international border. “The governing passion of my life apart from my duty to my God is to be at the head of an Irish Army battling against England for Ireland’s rights,” he declared. “For this I live, and for this if necessary I am willing to die.”

O’Neill proved to be a talented commander and tactician when he confronted a combined British and Canadian force the following day outside the village of Ridgeway, 20 miles south of Niagara Falls. Although outnumbered, the grizzled army of Civil War veterans used its experience to rout a makeshift defense force that included farm boys and University of Toronto students who had never once fired a gun. O’Neill followed that up with another triumph in a guerilla fight through the streets of Fort Erie.

It marked the first Irish military victory over forces from the British Empire since 1745.

READ MORE: 7 Times the U.S.-Canada Border Wasn’t So Peaceful

A cartoon illustrating a Canadian kicking a representative of the Irish Fenian movement out of Canada and back to America where President Grant is waiting.

Failures followed.

The attack made front-page news across the country, and Irish-Americans …read more


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The Battle of the Alamo comes to an end

March 14, 2019 in History

By Editors

On this day in 1836, after 13 days of intermittent fighting, the Battle of the Alamo comes to a gruesome end, capping off a pivotal moment in the Texas Revolution. Mexican forces were victorious in recapturing the fort, and nearly all of the roughly 200 Texan defenders—including legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett—died.

Thirteen days earlier, on February 23, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered a siege of the Alamo Mission (near present-day San Antonio), which had been occupied by rebel Texas forces since December. An army of over 1,000 Mexican soldiers began descending on the makeshift fort and setting up artillery.

Over the next two weeks, the two armies traded gunfire, but there were few casualties. Despite being clearly outnumbered, Alamo co-commanders James Bowie and William Travis insisted on remaining in place. The volunteer soldiers defending the Alamo included doctors and farmers, as well as Tennessee frontiersman and Congressman Davy Crockett, who fought in the Tennessee militia.

The final attack came before dawn on March 6. Mexican troops breached the north wall and flooded into the compound, awakening many of the Texans inside. The fighting lasted 90 minutes, some of it hand-to-hand combat. Bowie and Travis were killed, as was Crockett, although reports differ as to exactly how and when. Several Texans reportedly surrendered, but Santa Anna ordered all prisoners be executed. Only a handful survived, mostly women and children. Historians estimate several hundred Mexicans died.

After the battle, the Mexican army marched east. Meanwhile, commander of the Texas forces, Sam Houston had been building and developing his army in Harris County. “Remember the Alamo!” became their rallying cry as an urgent reminder to avenge their earlier defeat. On April 21, Texas and Mexico fought again at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas was victorious this time, and won independence from Mexico, bringing the Texas Revolution to an end.

The defense of the Alamo remains a symbol of resistance to oppression and revolutionary spirit. The battle has been immortalized in several TV series and films, including 1960’s The Alamo, starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett.

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The Hanoi Summit – What Happens Next in U.S.-North Korea Relations

March 14, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Trump administration’s relations with North Korea may
continue their roller-coaster course. From warnings of war to
professions of love and, now, perhaps, back to belligerent insults
and threats again.

The Hanoi summit breakdown surprised most everyone. The
North’s Kim Jong-un had dramatically retooled his
country’s image. President Donald Trump needed a political
victory. Rumors of tentative agreements were flying.

Then came the bust.

President Trump still
might play his claimed role as negotiator-in-chief.

A failure to agree does not doom the relationship. Ronald Reagan
and Mikhail Gorbachev did not join in Reykjavik to eliminate
nuclear weapons. But they ultimately agreed to other arms
limitations and ended the Cold War.

What of the Hanoi summit? President Trump and Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo both insisted that the Hanoi summit had been
“productive.” If the president simply played a role to
strengthen his bargaining position, talks could restart

He apparently pushed for the full monty, an all nukes for all
sanctions deal, which was never realistic. And he walked away from
a North Korean offer to dismantle Yongbyon, which invited hard
negotiation for a pact reducing Pyongyang’s nuclear
capabilities and advancing American security.

Hopes that the president was merely posturing were deflated by a
“senior” administration official, apparently U.S.
Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who on
Friday dismissed the possibility of “step-by-step”
disarmament. Instead, the administration expected “complete
denuclearization” within the president’s first term.
Although little is certain dealing with the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea, this is: Pyongyang will not
completely disarm by January 20, 2021.

If the administration holds to this course, the U.S.-North Korea
relationship could collapse, sliding back to isolation, hostility,
bombast, and confrontation. Washington’s cooperation with
South Korea, China, and Russia would suffer as well, since all
would likely blame the administration for being unreasonable at
best and malign at worst. War would even be possible, which would
be catastrophic, for both Koreas, Northeast Asia, and America.

However, President Trump still might play his claimed role as
negotiator-in-chief. As requested by the DPRK, Washington should
improve the bilateral relationship—drop the ban on travel to
and from the North, for instance. Improve communication by opening
a liaison office. And join in a declaration ending hostilities
which de facto if not de jure concluded 66 years ago.

Then pick up the Yongbyon offer and negotiate over which
sanctions to lift or moderate. Success would yield improved
relations and advanced denuclearization. Even if full disarmament
remained out of reach, President Trump still might end the uniquely
virulent cold war which imprisoned the Korean Peninsula for

Doug Bandow is
a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special
assistant to President Ronald …read more

Source: OP-EDS