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Arms Race

December 2, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

An arms race occurs when two or more countries increase the size and quality of military resources to gain military and political superiority over one another. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union is arguably the best-known and largest arms race in history; however, others have occurred, often with dire consequences. Whether an arms race increases or decreases the risk of war remains debatable.

Dreadnought Arms Race

With the Industrial Revolution came new weaponry and vastly improved warships. In the late nineteenth century, France and Russia built powerful armies and challenged the spread of British colonialism. In response, Britain shored up its Royal Navy and strove to control the seas.

Britain managed to work out its arms race with France and Russia with two separate treaties. But Germany had also drastically increased its military budget and might and built a large navy to contest Britain’s naval dominance in hopes of becoming a world power. In turn, Britain further expanded the Royal Navy and built more advanced and powerful battlecruisers, including the 1906 HMS Dreadnought, a technically advanced type of warship that set the standard for naval architecture.

Not to be outdone, Germany produced its own fleet of dreadnoughts, and the standoff continued with both sides fearing a naval attack from the other and building bigger and better ships. Germany couldn’t keep up, however, and Britain won the so-called Anglo-German Arms Race. The conflict didn’t cause World War I but increased distrust and tensions between Germany, Britain and other European countries.

Arms Control Efforts Fail

After World War I, many countries showed an interest in arms control. President Woodrow Wilson led the way by making it a key point in his famous 1918 Fourteen Points speech, wherein he laid out his vision for postwar peace.

At the Washington Naval Conference (1921-1922), the United States, Britain and Japan signed a treaty to restrict arms but in the mid-1930s Japan chose not to renew the agreement. Moreover, Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles and began to rearm.

This started a new arms race in Europe between Germany, France and Britain — and in the Pacific between Japan and the United States — which continued into World War II.

Nuclear Arms Race

Though the United States and the Soviet Union were tentative allies during World War II, their alliance soured after Nazi Germany surrendered in May 1945. The United States cast a wary eye …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Is Election Day a Tuesday in November?

December 2, 2019 in History

By Evan Andrews

The answer lies with America’s 19th-century farmers.

Americans first began the custom of weekday voting in 1845, when Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day.

Before then, states were allowed to hold elections any time they pleased within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December, but this system had a few crucial flaws. Knowing the early voting results could affect turnout and sway opinion in states that held late elections, and those same last-minute voters could potentially decide the outcome of the entire election. Faced with these issues, Congress created the current Election Day in the hope of streamlining the voting process.

READ MORE: …read more

Source: HISTORY

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2019 Events

December 2, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Take a look back at the most important events in politics, culture, science and the environment.

Protesters in Hong Kong clashed with police, fire consumed an 850-year-old cathedral in Paris, the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup and President Donald Trump became the fourth president in history to formally face impeachment. These are only a few of the most prominent events of 2019.

Politics

The redacted version of the Mueller Report released by the Justice Department shown on April 24, 2019.

Robert Mueller submitted his report: In March, U.S. Attorney General William Barr published a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year-long investigation, which found that President (1987) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her body of work; she was the first black woman to win that prestigious honor. Among the other notable people who died in 2019 were Karl Lagerfeld, Gloria Vanderbilt and Ross Perot.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a mosque-goer at the Kilbirnie Mosque on March 17, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand following the shooting attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.

Gun violence at home and abroad: A gunman opened fire at a mosque and Islamic center in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, killing 51 people and wounding 49. Six days after the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced a nationwide ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. In the United States, another horrific chapter in the continuing struggle with gun violence unfolded in August, when two mass shootings—in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio—within less than 13 hours claimed the lives of at least 29 people and wounded more than 50. By mid-November, according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), 2019 had seen 369 mass shootings in the United States, including 28 mass murders.

Science & Technology


This picture taken on January 3, 2019 and received on January 4 from the China National Space Administration shows a robotic lunar rover on the “dark side” of the moon, a global first that boosts Beijing’s ambitions to become a space superpower.

China landed on the dark side of the moon: China’s fast-growing space program, founded in 2003, achieved its first historic milestone in January, when the robotic space probe Chang’e 4 became the first spacecraft in history …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Don't Fuel China's Paranoia in Hong Kong

December 2, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The denizens of Zhongnanhai have never understood democracy. In the People’s Republic of China, people are expected to do and believe what they are told. Few disobey, especially under Xi Jinping, who has moved Chinese society back toward Maoist totalitarianism.

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Dictating to others does not work overseas, however. In 1996 Beijing’s leaders attempted to use missile tests to intimidate Taiwanese voters, who instead increased their support for Lee Teng-hui’s reelection.

In recent days the Xi government insisted that the Hong Kong authorities crackdown on democracy demonstrators and expected support from the special administrative region’s “silent majority.” Instead, the recent local election resulted in a popular tsunami against the PRC’s tightening noose. Even areas considered to be pro-China chose young freedom activists to dominate local councils.

Beijing was uncharacteristically stunned into silence. Eventually, the regime fell back on blaming America for manipulating public sentiment. As if pontificating diplomats convinced thousands of young Hong Kongers to create chaos on the streets and fortify universities against the unpopular, unrepresentative SAR government.

Such dedication comes from inside the person. In fact, despite having radically different perspectives, Mao Zedong and other early revolutionary leaders probably would have understood Hong Kong’s protestors. Why did the former sacrifice everything to make a revolution? Not because a Soviet diplomat urged them to do so.

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In contrast, the current Chinese Communist Party is dominated by ambitious, self-serving careerists. Membership long has been viewed as an important if not the most important means to rise and prosper. Xi took on the pervasive corruption which had dragged down the CCP’s reputation, but conveniently targeted political opponents. He may truly believe that the Chinese people are best served by reviving the party’s brutal authority, but much of his support undoubtedly comes from those who just want to be on the winning side. If he stumbled, many now serving him would effortlessly shift their allegiance elsewhere.

Which helps account for Beijing’s apparent surprise at the electoral wipe-out. PRC officials can’t imagine such outrageous …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Elizabeth Warren's School Choice Blunder

December 2, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Elizabeth Warren came out swinging against school choice when she released her education plan on October 21. The Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate called for ending federal funding for public charter schools, banning for-profit charter schools, increasing regulations for all charter schools, and making it more difficult to start new charter schools. She also said she wanted to stop private school choice programs.

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Warren then started tweeting that she was “#PublicSchoolProud” and that “we must stop the privatization of public schools.” She also bragged about how she attended and taught at public schools.

But the senator remained silent about where she sent her children to school. She’d been silent on the subject for a while, in fact, having failed to respond when Education Week asked where her children went to school. If Warren was so loud and proud about public schools, wouldn’t she be more than happy to tell everyone that she sent her two kids, Alex and Amelia, to public schools? Of course she would.

Unless, that is, she had the privilege to send her own kids to private schools while fighting against extending similar options to the less fortunate.

On October 28, using ancestry.com, I discovered a 1987 fifth grade yearbook photo of “Alex Warren” at Kirby Hall School, an expensive private institution. The school’s current tuition is $17,875, and it is located about half a mile from the University of Texas at Austin, where Warren was teaching at the time. The student’s year of birth—1976—matched Elizabeth Warren’s son’s. 

A few weeks after my discovery, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech in Atlanta about the rights of black women. The November 21 rally was interrupted by a group of black protesters from the Powerful Parent Network, a pro-school choice group that opposes Warren’s anti-choice education plan. 

After the rally, Warren tried to do the right thing by talking with the protesters. One of the parents, Sunny Thomas, recorded the 17-minute conversation and posted it on Facebook for the world to see. Warren probably regrets two things she said in that recording.

First, she accidentally made a good case against the idea that you can fix education by throwing more money at it, saying: “I told all of my folks back in Massachusetts, ‘You’re going to get an 85 percent raise’ …read more

Source: OP-EDS