Mar-5: Massacres, Churchill, Carter and Belushi

Today marks the anniversary of both the Boston Massacre (1770) and the Soviet Katyn Massacre (1940) that killed approximately 22,000 Poles, along with the beginning of the Cold War, the first White House dial-in radio program and the death of comedic actor John Belushi.

1770

The Boston Massacre

Tension over the presence of British troops to assist collection of unpopular tax measures came to a boil on a cold day in Boston.  Colonists threw snowballs at the British troops and the soldiers opened fired killing five – Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell—and injuring three.  The events led directly to the Royal Governor evacuating the occupying army from the town of Boston.  The five deaths are sometimes called the first casualties of the revolution.

 

1940

Stalin Approves Katyn Massacre

 Joseph Stalin and five other members of the Soviet Politburo signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries” kept at camps and prisons in the occupied western Ukraine and White Russia.  Most of the victims were reservists who had been mobilized when Germany invaded. In all, the Soviets eliminated almost half the Polish officer corps–part of Stalin’s long-range effort to prevent the resurgence of an independent Poland.

Ironically, Stalin would die on this day in 1953.

 

1946

Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech

Winston Churchill traveled with President Truman by train to Westminister College in Fulton, Missouri where Churchill received an honorary degree.  Churchill invocation of the phrase “Iron Curtain”.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.

Russian historians date the beginning of the Cold War from this speech

1977

Walter Cronkite Hosts “Ask President Carter” 

Walter Cronkite and CBS Radio host Ask President Carter from the Oval Office. Approximately 9 million calls flooded the CBS radio studio during the first two-hour broadcast.

 

1982

John Belushi Dies

The beloved comedian overdosed on a mixture of cocaine and heroin in his room at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.  He was only 33.

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