History: July 5

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July 5

1439 At the Council of Florence, the Decree of Union ('Laententur Coeli') is signed, creating an official theological union between the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) churches. However, the Eastern Church at large never accepted the document, or a full working unity between these two major religions.

1687 Isaac Newton's Principia is published by the Royal Society in England.   

1776 US Revolutionary War: The Declaration of Independence is first printed by John Dunlop in Philadelphia. Fighting between the American colonists and the British forces had been going on for nearly a year and the Continental Congress had been meeting since June, wrestling with the question of independence. Finally, late in the afternoon on July 4th, 1776, twelve of the thirteen colonies reached agreement to declare the new states as a free and independent nation. New York was the lone holdout. John Hancock ordered Philadelphia printer John Dunlap to print broadside copies of that declaration that was signed by him as President and Charles Thompson as Secretary. Benjamin Franklin himself approved the layout set up by Dunlap. The Caslon type was elegant, the headlines bold and arresting. The Colonies’ point-by-point list of outrages committed by King George III and his mercenary army spread across the page in a single column with almost biblical thunder. With only the rough draft written by Jefferson and approved by the Congress as a source, Dunlap configured the broadside to assure the greatest impact, and then added his own name to the bottom: “Philadelphia- Printed by John Dunlap”. If the Revolution failed, he would hang with Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Hancock and the rest! Two to five hundred copies were printed that July evening. The next morning the first copies were distributed to members of the Congress and riders were sent throughout the colonies with John’s documents in hand. Question: Can anyone tell me why Hancock wrote his name so large on the final document?


1794 Birth: Sylvester Graham, the man who developed the graham cracker. Note: Graham, a believer in complete abstinence from sex, invented the cracker as a replacement for the same. One notes that only a man who'd never had sex could reasonably assume that a cracker, no matter how scrumptious, could be a proper replacement. A quote: "All kinds of stimulating and heating substances; high-seasoned food; rich dishes; the free use of flesh; and even the excess of aliment; all, more or less -- and some to a very great degree -- increase the concupiscent excitability and sensibility of the genital organs..." -- Sylvester Graham (Kinda puts a fellow in the mood for some prime rib!)

1801 Birth: David G. Farragut, in Knoxville, Tennessee, American Civil War Union Navy Admiral. Died in 1870.

1806 A Spanish army repells the British during their attempt to retake Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1811 Venezuela becomes the first South American country to declare independence from Spain.

1814 War Of 1812: U.S. troops under Jacob Brown defeat a superior British force at Chippewa, Canada.

1830 The French occupy the North African city of Algiers.

1832 The German government begins curtailing freedom of the press after German Democrats advocate a revolt against Austrian rule.

1839 British naval forces bombarded Dingai on Zhoushan Island in China and then occupy it.

1859 Capt N. C. Brooks discovers the Midway Islands.

1861 On this day in 1861, the first large-scale engagement of the Civil War is fought in southwestern Missouri, signaling an escalation in the hostilities between the North and South. "Missouri was the scene of some of the most bitter partisan fighting during the war. After the clash at Fort Sumter in April, the state was deeply divided. The Missouri State Guardsmen, a force of 6,000 men commanded by Confederate Governor Claiborne Jackson and Colonel Sterling Price, were poorly equipped and outfitted mostly in civilian clothing. Their Union counterpart was a force of 1,100, mostly German-Americans from St. Louis, commanded by General Franz Sigel. Sigel's force occupied Springfield in late June, and then collided with the Confederates at nearby Carthage on July 5. Outnumbered, Sigel eventually withdrew, but was able to hold off several small attacks. By nightfall, the Union troops had retreated through Carthage and escaped a dangerous trap. Both sides declared victory, and losses were light: 13 Union men were killed and 31 were wounded, while 40 Confederates were killed and 120 were wounded. The forces remained in the area of Springfield, gathering strength over the next month. They would fight again in August at Wilson's Creek, Missouri."

1863 US Civil War: U.S. Federal troops occupied Vicksburg, MS, and distribute supplies to the citizens.

1902 Birth: Henry Cabot Lodge. Henry Cabot Lodge, (R) politician, ambassador (VP candidate 1960). Died in 1985.

1909 Birth: Andrei Gromyko, in USSR, diplomat/USSR President (1985-89). Gromyko for many years had the distinction of being in power longer than any other politician in the world. As a stand-up comic once put it, "this is because he has something on everyone. 'Hey comrade! I have picture of you with a duck!"

1918 July 5-14 Dispatch Runner Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare between the Aisne and the Marne with 3 Company, 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. (Maser)

1933 Church and Reich: The Catholic Center Party publishes its decree of dissolution. Only the Nazis remain as an active political party in the Reichstag. Note: The significance of these developments is far-reaching and insidious. By acquiescing in Hitler's dictatorship, the Vatican is not only interfering in the internal affairs of what was at one point a democracy, but they are helping to eliminate the only substantial domestic force capable of real resistance. And all done in the name of Ant-Communism. These sorts of events, and the way some governments (particularly in the Middle East) are in bed with religions to the detriment of their own constituencies, is the most convincing of all arguments for the separation of church and state.

1933 Church and Reich: Cardinal Faulhaber complains to the Bavarian Council of Ministers that almost one hundred priests had been arrested in the last few weeks. The cardinal would later change his tune when he visited Hitler at his mountain retreat at Obersalzburg in November 1936. Faulhaber observed: 'Without doubt the chancellor lives in faith in God. He recognizes Christianity as the foundation of Western culture.'

1933 Holocaust: Kemma (Rheinland) concentration camp goes into operation.

1933 Desperate To Assimilate: The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Neville Laski, publicly opposes anti-Nazi street demonstrations and boycotts.

1938 Trade unions in Vienna are dissolved and their funds and property are seized by the German Labor Front.

1938 He Didn't Bring Any Home With Him: President Roosevelt convenes an international conference on refugees in the French resort town of Evian on Lake Geneva. It soon becomes clear that more and more countries, including the U.S., want to restrict the number of Jewish refugees allowed to immigrate to their nations. The Australian delegation declares, "since we have no racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one." (Atlas)

1940 WW2: Marshal Petain's Vichy government breaks off relations with Britain because of the attacks against the French navy at Oran and the seizure of many of its ships at Plymouth and Portsmouth.

1940 WW2: Romania adheres to the Axis system. It's policies are clearly pro-German and antisemitic.

1942 Sheesh: Edsel Ford of Detroit is disappointed to discover that because of strict wartime auto rationing, he is unable to get a car until his application had been approved by the government. Mr. Ford's family had produced over 30 million automobiles to this date.   

1943 WW2: July 5-15 Operation CITADEL officialy begins. At Kursk, the largest tank battle in history takes place. 2700 German tanks and assault guns are arrayed against nearly 4000 Russian. It is greatest collection of Wehrmarcht power yet, and most German generals felt nothing could stop it. But they had given up their greatest asset, their one true advantage over the Red Army. Their strength was always in their ability to out manoeuver, not out slug, the Russian. This mistake would cost them dearly. (Clark II)

1943 General Sikorski is killed in an air crash off Gibralter. Many suspect Soviet sabotage.

1945 WW2: General MacArthur announces that the Philippines have been completely liberated. Not only has the Japanese army lost more than 400,000 of its best troops in the campaign, but with the fall of the Philippines, Japan's supply lines are cut.

1945 The British election is held, but the results will not be released until July 26, because of the time required to bring home and count the soldier's votes. Note: When the rsults are in, Winston Churchill, who'd led his nation through WW2, is defeated as the Labour Party under Clement Atlee sweeps to power.

1945 Betrayal: Both Britain and the U.S. recognize the new Russian puppet government in Poland. Britain and USA announce they no longer recognize the legitimate Polish Government-in-Exile in London. Polish soldiers and civilians in the British Commonwealth and elsewhere are pressured to return to a Poland under Soviet control. Most refuse.

1950 Korea: Private Kenneth Shadrick of Skin Fork, West Virginia, becomes the first US serviceman to die in the Korean War as American forces engage the North Koreans for the first time at Osan, South Korea.   

1950 The Law of Return is passed, guaranteeing all Jews the right to live in Israel.

1951 Dr. William Shockley announces that he has invented the junction transistor.

1962 After 130 years of French domination, Algeria declares its independence. The struggle for independence, probably the bloodiest of any French colony, is followed by continuous political instability up until the present. Ahmed Ben Bella is elected as the first president of the Republic of Algeria.

1963 In an instruction given by the Holy Office, disposal of the dead by cremation is officially granted sanction by the Catholic Church. A belief in the resurrection of the dead had previously made cremation repugnant to many Christians.

1967 Israel annexes Gaza.   

1971 The 26th amendment is ratified, reducing the voting age to 18. Personal Note: This occurred as I turned 18. I recall being excited that I'd get to vote for the first time. Imagine my disillusionment when my choices turned out to be Nixon or McGovern.

1977 Pakistan's army, led by Gen Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, seizes power.

1984 Conservative Justice: The US Supreme Court weakens a 70-year-old 'exclusionary rule', that is, evidence seized with defective court warrants can now be used in criminal trials.   

1989 Iran-Contra: Former U.S. National Security Council aide Oliver 'I Can't Recall' North receives a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in the Iran-Contra affair. The convictions are later overturned.

1990 NATO leaders open a two-day meeting in London to revise the alliance's strategy in light of easing East-West tensions in Europe and the unraveling of the Warsaw Pact. Can anyone give me one good reason as to why there should even be a NATO anymore?

1991 Regulators shut down the Pakistani-managed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in eight countries. The charge is fraud, drug money laundering and illegal infiltration into the U.S. banking system.

1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger receives a formal apology and an undisclosed, substantial amount in damages and legal costs from English journalist Wendy Leigh. Schwarzenegger sued Leigh after she had written a front-page article with the scorching headline 'Hollywood Star's Nazi Secret', which appeared in the tabloid News of the World in February, 1988. The article claimed that the actor was an admirer of Adolf Hitler.

2002 Former Nazi SS officer Friedrich Engel is convicted of 59 counts of murder stemming from massacre of Italian resistance fighters on May 19, 1944. Friedrich Engel, now 93 years old, showed no emotion as the judge read out the guilty verdict. He was a major in command of the SS intelligence unit in Genoa, in northern Italy, in May 1944, when a partisan attack on a movie theater killed five German soldiers. The Italians were trying to drive out the Germans, who had occupied their former ally after the fall of Benito Mussolini. Engel was convicted of ordering the execution of the Italian prisoners, naval commandos who were chained together and shot one after another at the Turchino mountain pass. They were forced to stand in groups of six on a plank over a rough grave dug by Jewish prisoners and then buried where they fell. Engel blamed Nazi naval officers for the shootings and testified that he did not supervise the executions, although he admitted that he was present and had approved the list of prisoners to be shot. After the verdict, Engel was allowed to return home to await health tests to determine whether he is fit to serve prison time. His lawyer, Udo Kneip, said he would talk to his client about an appeal. During the trial, which began May 7, Engel expressed regret for the killings but said they were justified by the rules of war, citing reprisals against prisoners by Italy and the United States and The Hague convention on war. Walter Emig, 79, a German submariner who witnessed the killings, had testified that Engel had been in charge and had shown a junior officer how to finish off a wounded prisoner by shooting him in the head. Engel, addressed by the judge as Dr. Engel because of his degree in education, was convicted in absentia by an Italian court in 1999 for killing at least 246 Italian prisoners in four separate incidents. German law prevents the extradition of German citizens for crimes committed abroad. Before the verdict Friday, Engel told reporters in Hamburg: "I have two wars behind me and in my youth I learned that toughness is good for you. I have learned my whole life to react with toughness." The presiding judge, Rolf Seedorf, said, "It was a cruel and illegal killing," but he cited the length of time since the crime and the unevenness of witness testimony for handing down a lesser sentence than the life imprisonment the prosecutor demanded. The death penalty is illegal in Germany and the rest of the European Union. Engel had lived in Hamburg for decades until German television reporters making a documentary found him. Italy then pressed Germany to put him on trial. He had been investigated by Hamburg authorities in 1969 for his role in Nazi executions in Italy but the case was dropped the same year; the files explaining why have disappeared.


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