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First nonstop flight from Europe to North America

November 6, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

German pilot Hermann Köhl, Irish aviator James Fitzmaurice and Baron Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld, the expedition’s financier, complete the first Europe to North America transatlantic flight, taking off from Ireland and landing safely on a small Canadian island.

The prevailing winds in the North Atlantic blow from North America towards Europe, hastening Eastbound airplanes on their way but making headwinds a major problem for those flying West. Köhl, who had flown in the German Army Air Service in World War I, and von Hünefeld, who had been turned away from the Air Service due to his health, attempted the crossing in 1927 but turned back due to poor weather. With the addition of Fitzmaurice, who had served in the British Royal Air Force before resigning to join the Irish Air Corps, they staged a second attempt the following April, using one of von Hünefeld’s two Junkers W33 aircraft, the Bremen.

The trio gathered in Dublin in late March, but foul weather delayed takeoff for 17 days. Finally, on April 12, they took off from Baldonnel Aerodrome, intending to fly to New York. Things went smoothly at first, but a combination of storm clouds and a faulty compass put them roughly 40 degrees off course as they approached Canada. Their problems didn’t end there; the aviators soon realized they had an oil leak, at which point they abandoned the plan to land in New York and looked for the nearest place to set the plane down, which turned out to be Greenly Island.

Köhl and Fitzmaurice put the Bremen down in a frozen pond, damaging it in the process, but they walked away unharmed and having made the first-ever East-West crossing of the Atlantic.

When they later arrived in New York (having left the Bremen behind for repairs) the “Three Musketeers of the Air” received a parade and a hero’s welcome. They spent the next several months traveling the United States and Europe, meeting with dignitaries and enjoying similar celebrity status to what Charles Lindbergh (who completed the first North America-Europe transatlantic flight) had experienced the previous year. Though today their accomplishment is overshadowed by his in the popular imagination, their semi-planned landing in Canada on April 13, 1928 represents an equally important moment in aviation history, the first successful nonstop flight from Europe to North America.

READ MORE: 10 Fascinating Facts About Charles Lindbergh

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Source: HISTORY

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Coca-Cola sold in glass bottles for the first time

November 6, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Though today there is almost nothing as ubiquitous as a bottle of Coca-Cola, this was not always the case. For the first several years of its existence, Coke was only available as a fountain drink, and its producer saw no reason for that to change. It was not until 1894 that Coke was first sold in bottles.

Originally developed as a non-addictive substitute for morphine, then marketed as a non-alcoholic “temperance drink,” Coca-Cola was invented by John Pemberton, a druggist in Columbus, Georgia, in 1886. It was soon popular throughout the region, and the rights to the brand passed to Asa Griggs Candler. Candler’s nephew had advised him that selling the drink in bottles could greatly increase sales, but Griggs apparently wasn’t interested. The first person to bottle Coke was Joseph A. Biedenharn, owner of a candy store in Vicksburg, Tennessee. Correctly determining that bottles could boost sales, Biedenharn put the drink into Hutchinson bottles, a common and reusable glass bottle that bore no resemblance to the modern Coke bottle. He sent Candler a case, but Candler continued to stick with fountain sales.

Five years later, Candler finally sold the national bottling rights to Coke—excluding the right to bottle it in Vicksburg—to two brothers from Chattanooga. Still convinced that bottling would not be a major source of revenue, Candler sold the bottling rights for a dollar and reportedly never collected even that. The contract stipulated that a bottle of Coke would cost 5 cents and had no end date, a legal oversight that resulted in the price remaining the same until 1959. In 1915, the bottlers put out a call for a new design, one so distinctive that one could recognize it if it were in pieces on the ground or by feeling it in the dark. The winning design, produced by the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, gave the world the iconic contoured bottle we know today.

READ MORE: How the ‘Blood Feud’ Between Coke and Pepsi Escalated During the 1980s Cola Wars

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Source: HISTORY

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Russian Bolshevik Party becomes the Communist Party

November 6, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On March 9, 1918, the ascendant Bolshevik Party formally changes its name to the All-Russian Communist Party. It was neither the first nor the last time the party would alter its name to reflect a slight change in allegiance or direction; however, it was the birth of the Communist Party as it is remembered to history. With this change, the cadre that had brought down both Tsar Nicolas II and the Provisional Government that followed his abdication announced itself to the world as a communist government, and it would unilaterally rule the emerging Union of Soviet Socialists Republics until 1991.

The Bolsheviks—Russian for “members of the majority”—had been the more aggressive faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, pushing for a more militant membership and explicitly endorsing the nationalization of land. Despite the exile of their leader, Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks supplied much of the manpower and intellectual fervor behind the February Revolution of 1917, which forced the abdication of the tsar. As workers across the country organized themselves into political units known as soviets, the Bolsheviks’ support was more fervent and more widespread than that of the Provisional Government, which they eyed with distrust. Acting through the Petrograd Soviet, the Bolsheviks rose against this government in the October Revolution, quickly seizing the Winter Palace and arresting most of the cabinet.

As revolution spread throughout Russia, the Bolsheviks acted quickly. They withdrew Russia from World War I, the stresses of which are often cited as a major cause of the revolution. They also began seizing and redistributing imperial lands. By early 1918, factories had been turned over the soviets, private property had officially been abolished, and Russia had become the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, soon to be the largest constituent republic of the USSR. It was a stunning victory for Lenin, the forces of Russian socialism, and Marxists around the world. In keeping with the Marxist axiom that communism would inevitably replace capitalism by means of socialism, the Bolshevik Party rebranded as the Communist Party.

READ MORE: How Are Socialism and Communism Different?

For the rest of the Soviet Union’s existence, the leadership of the party and the leadership of the nation were one and the same. Under this leadership, the USSR became one of the two great economic and military powers of the world, sacrificing more of its people than all other Allied nations …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Walter Cronkite signs off as anchorman of "CBS Evening News"

November 6, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On March 6, 1981, CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite signs off with his trademark valediction, “And that’s the way it is,” for the final time. Over the previous 19 years, Cronkite had established himself not only as the nation’s leading newsman but as “the most trusted man in America,” a steady presence during two decades of social and political upheaval.

Cronkite had reported from the European front in World War II and anchored CBS’ coverage of the 1952 and 1956 elections, as well as the 1960 Olympics. He took over as the network’s premier news anchor in April of 1962, just in time to cover the most dramatic events of the 1960s. The Cuban Missile Crisis came six months into his tenure, and a year later Cronkite would break the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. The footage of Cronkite removing his glasses and composing himself as he read the official AP report of Kennedy’s death, which he did 38 minutes after the president was pronounced dead in Dallas, is one of the most enduring images of one of the most traumatic days in American history. Cronkite would cover the other assassinations that rocked the country over the coming years, including those of Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and John Lennon. He also reported on some of the most uplifting moments of the era, most famously the Moon Landing in 1969.

In 1968, at the invitation of the U.S. military, Cronkite traveled to Vietnam. In a televised special on the war, he said, “it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate.” “Uncle Walter” was already a household name and one of the most respected men in the country, and his pronouncement that the war was un-winnable is said to have contributed to President Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to run for re-election in 1968. Moments like these led to the perception that Cronkite was more straightforward with the American people than their own elected leaders, an attitude reflected in a 1972 poll that named him the most trusted person in the country. The next few years saw the unfolding of the Watergate Scandal, which further degraded public confidence in Washington and which Cronkite followed closely.

Cronkite relinquished the anchor’s chair at the age of 65 because …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorce

November 6, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

After 20 tumultuous years of marriage, actress Lucille Ball divorces her husband and collaborator, Desi Arnaz, on March 4, 1960. The breakup of the couple, stars of the hit sitcom I Love Lucy and owners of the innovative Desilu Studios, was one of the highest-profile divorces in American history at the time.

Ball met Arnaz, five years her junior, while she was acting and he was leading a band in the film Too Many Girls. They married six months later. Though the two were, by all accounts, deeply in love for most of their lives, the relationship was always tumultuous, due to both of them being in showbusiness and to Arnaz’s womanizing and problems with alcohol. Ball first sought a divorce four years into the marriage, but they reconciled and determined to strengthen their relationship by finding opportunities to work together. When CBS asked her to develop a sitcom, Ball insisted on having her real-life husband play her husband on the show. The network was hesitant to cast a Cuban-American as a co-lead, but the couple convinced them by putting on a live show and conducting a successful tour.

I Love Lucy ran from 1951 until 1957. It was popular for the entirety of its run, won five Emmys, and continues to be regarded as one of the most influential programs in American history. Once again challenging the powers that be, Ball and Arnaz wrote her pregnancy with their second child into the show, making it the first television program to depict a pregnancy. Desilu Studios, which they founded to produce the show, was for a time the largest independent production company in the country, and it produced a number of shows besides I Love Lucy, including Mission: Impossible and the original Star Trek. I Love Lucy and its successor, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, lovingly poked fun at married life in modern America; however, the underlying problems of the real-life marriage it was based on never went away. Ball filed for divorce in 1960 and bought out Arnaz’s share in Desilu two years later, becoming the first woman to run a major television studio. Though the divorce was reportedly contentious, the two remained close for the rest of their lives, which they each spent in showbusiness.

READ MORE: How Lucille Ball Went From Comedic Actress to Television Pioneer

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Source: HISTORY

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The American Bar Association Broke Its Own Rules

November 6, 2019 in Economics

By Josh Blackman

Josh Blackman

For decades, the American Bar Association has played a unique role in vetting federal judges. Starting with President Dwight Eisenhower, administrations would give the lawyers’ group a heads-up about whom they intended to nominate to the federal bench. A committee would then assess the candidate’s qualifications. In theory, at least, if the organization rated the nominee as “not qualified,” the administration would reconsider the appointment.

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Conservatives have long alleged that the ABA’s process was biased against conservative nominees. And some data do back this claim up, though the ABA vigorously defends its independence. Unsurprisingly, over the past two decades, the ABA has whipsawed in and out of the White House. In 2001, President George W. Bush opted out of the process, and stopped giving the ABA “such a preferential, quasi-official role.” In 2009, President Barack Obama welcomed the ABA back into the fold. And, like clockwork, in 2017, President Donald Trump fired the ABA. Since then, the group has reviewed Trump’s nominees after they were announced, in its own capacity but not as part of the formal process, and found most of them qualified. Last week, however, there was one notable exception.

President Trump nominated Lawrence VanDyke to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He previously served as the solicitor general of Nevada and Montana. As the top appellate lawyer of two states in the Ninth Circuit, VanDyke argued two dozen cases and briefed scores more. (I worked with VanDyke on several cases over the past few years.) By any objective measure, VanDyke is qualified to serve as a federal judge.

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The American Bar Association, however, rated him “not qualified.” On the eve of VanDyke’s confirmation hearing, the organization released a two-page letter relaying anonymously sourced criticisms. But I find many of the allegations are simply implausible, and border on misleading.

For example, the letter stated, “In some oral arguments [VanDyke] missed issues fundamental to the analysis of the case.” Oral arguments are matters …read more

Source: OP-EDS