Aug-2 Turning Points and Legends

Aug-2 Turning Points and Legends

Today is marked by events that would have long term significance from the Death of President Harding, Hitler’s assumption of absolute power, outlawing marijuana, the birth of the Manhattan Project, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Invasion of Kuwait and the Great African War or which gave rise to American legends from the San Francisco Cable Car to PT-109.

216 BC

Hannibal defeats Roman Army at Battle of Cannae

See earlier post  “Hannibal Decimates Larger Roman Force.”

1873

San Francisco’s First Cable Car

The Clay Street Hill Railroad was the first successful cable hauled street railway. It was located on Clay Street, a notably steep street in San Francisco.

1923

President Warren Harding Dies

President Warren Harding (R) died of a brain hemorrhage in San Francisco.  From Wikipedia:

Although Harding died one of the most popular presidents in history, the subsequent exposure of scandals that took place under him, such as Teapot Dome, eroded his popular regard. In historical rankings of the U.S. presidents, Harding has been rated among the worst.

1934

Hitler Becomes Führer of Germany

With the death of President Hindenburg, under a law adopted hours before, his office was merged with the office of the chancellor, and transferred to the “Führer und Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler”  – making Hitler head of state as well as head of government. The law was violated the German constitution and abolished the last remedy by which Hitler could be legally dismissed—and with it the last check on his power. From this point onward, Hitler can be described as the absolute dictator of Germany until his suicide in 1945.

1937

New Tax Effectively Outlaws Marijuana

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, the effect of which is to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.

1939

Einstein–Szilárd Letter Urges FDR to Develop Atomic Weapon

The letter written by physicist Leó Szilárd and signed by Albert Einstein that was sent to the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 2, 1939. Written by Szilárd in consultation with fellow Hungarian physicists Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, the letter warned that Germany might develop atomic bomb sand suggested that the United States should start its own nuclear program. It prompted action by Roosevelt, which eventually resulted in the Manhattan Project developing the first atomic bombs.

1943

JFK Becomes a War Hero

A reporter once asked President Kennedy how he became a war hero and he replied, “involuntarily, they sunk my boat.”  On this day, Kennedy’s Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 is rammed by a Japanese destroyer and sinks.  Lt. Kennedy saved all but two of his crew.

1964

Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, also known as the USS Maddox Incident, is the name given to what were originally claimed to be two separate confrontations involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.  It lead to the passage of a Congressional resolution authorizing President Johnson to escalate military action in Vietnam.

1979

Yankee Thurmon Munson Killed in Plane Crash

Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson was killed in plane crash on a day off.  Munson, the only Yankee to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards, was named the first team captain since Lou Gehrig.  He led the Yankees to three consecutive World Series appearances in 1976 to 1978.  The Yankees would not win another World Series until 1996.

1980

Iraq Invades Kuwait

Iraq invaded Kuwait and overtook the country in a matter of hours before announcing it was annexed as its 19th province.  The move would put Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in conflict with the United States for the next over twenty years, as a U.S. led coalition pushed him out of Kuwait the following year and then toppled him in 2003.

1998

Great African War Begins

From Wikipedia:  The Second Congo War (also known as the Great War of Africa or the Great African War, and sometimes referred to as the African World War) began in August 1998, little more than a year after the First Congo War and involving some of the same issues, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power.

The deadliest war in modern African history, it has directly involved nine African countries, as well as approximately 20 separate armed groups. By 2008, the war and its aftermath had caused 5.4 million deaths, principally through disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighboring countries.

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