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Milestones: Tuesday, August 22, 2023

August 22, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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RED CROSS AND GENEVA CONVENTION ESTABLISHED — The International Red Cross was founded on Aug. 22, 1864, when 12 nations adopted The Geneva Convention of 1864 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field.  The agreement bore the name of the city where the gathering took place, Geneva, Switzerland, and its advocate was Swiss humanitarian Jean-Henri Dunant, who urged the creation of a policy that provided for and protected nonpartisan care to the sick and wounded during wartime and protected  the neutrality of medical personnel. An international emblem, which was also designed to mark medical personnel and supplies, honored Dumant’s nationality: a red cross on a white background — the Swiss flag in reverse. The organization became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross. Dunant was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.

In 1881, American humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons established the American National Red Cross, an organization designed to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters, working in coordination with the International Red Cross.


TURNING POINT OF WAR — THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD began on Aug. 22, 1942 when German forces during World War II launched an offensive to capture that city, having successfully captured Sevastopol in Crimea. Stalingrad was strategically vital to both the Germans and Allies: Located on the Volga River, this city was a key industrial and transport hub and gave access to the oilfields. The battle lasted five months, during which time Stalingrad’s population dwindled a hundred-thousand fold, from over 500,000 to under 35,000. Troop casualties totaled almost a million and a half soldiers, with Russia losing the most soldiers. However bloody, the Battle of Stalingrad also became a turning point in World War II, with Germany starting to incur losses. It took almost six months but the Russian army finally prevailed and the remaining German strongholds at Stalingrad surrendered to Russia on Feb. 2, 1943.

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Russia’s harsh winters are credited with playing a role in Germany’s loss: the Russians were already acclimated on their terra cognita.


A PROTRACTED MILITARY CONFLICT — THE UNITED STATES MAY HAVE WAITED TO ENTER THE WAR UNTIL 1965, BUT THE VIETNAM CONFLICT BEGAN on the heels of World War II, on Aug. 22, 1945, less than a week after Japan surrendered. In fact, some scholars believe that the conflict began in the  World War II Pacific Theatre when Japan invaded what was then called French Indochina, as the region was a colony of France. A Communist guerilla named Ho Chi Minh staged a successful coup of the Western-leaning emperor Dai, who had been educated in France and had French backing. The French responded to the coup by parachuting into southern Indochina. Armed conflict between northern and southern armies continued until May 1954, when Viet Minh was handed a decisive victory in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, thus ending a long period of French rule. A Geneva conference treaty signed in July 1954 split Vietnam along the 17th Parallel (latitude of 17 degrees north).

The conflict would have a part 2, when U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose military leadership during World War II was mostly in the European Theater, pledged American support to South Vietnam, and opposed any ally of the Soviet Union.


FOREMOST SCI-FI AUTHOR — SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY AUTHOR RAY BRADBURY, born Aug. 22, 1920 in Illinois, became one of the 20th centuries foremost writers. His books critiqued social mores and unfolded the consequences of un-constrained technology. Among Bradbury’s most noteworthy works were “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” his famous dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, the latter  about  book burnings, with a “fireman” who undergoes a change of heart, deciding to preserve literary works. Bradbury, who was awarded a Special Citation by the Pulitzer Board in 2007, said that Fahrenheit 451 drew its stimulus from the Nazi book burnings, and was penned amid the backdrop of the Second Red Scare/the McCarthy era, which devolved into a drumhead investigation of any progressive Americans — hearings and trials where the right to due process is ignored.

The title of Bradbury’s 1969 anthology of short stories, “I Sing the Body Electric,” was taken from a Walt Whitman poem of the same name.


‘MUSIC AND THE SPOKEN WORD’ — The MORMON CHOIR GAVE ITS FIRST PERFORMANCE on Aug. 22, 1847 in Salt Lake City, Utah, during an outdoor meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The choral ensemble, which grew into the world-acclaimed Mormon Tabernacle Choir, gives concert tours, does recordings and weekly broadcasts from Temple Square.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s radio program “Music and the Spoken Word,” which was launched in 1929 on Salt Lake City-based KSL radio, has become the United States’ longest-running national radio program carried continuously on a network, has won two Peabody Awards, and was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2004.


THE AMERICA’S CUP — The U.S.-built schooner on Aug. 22, 1851, bested a fleet of Britain’s finest ships in a race around England’s Isle of Wight. In the mid-19th-century, five members of the New York Yacht Club, decided to build a state-of-the-art schooner to compete against British ships in conjunction with England’s Great Exposition of 1851. The New York Yacht Club-sponsored U.S. yachts successfully defended the America’s Cup 24 times in races generally spaced a few years apart, with a 132-year record until losing in 1983.

The ornate silver trophy that America won was donated to the New York Yacht Club on the condition that it be forever placed in international competition. Today, the “America’s Cup” is the world’s oldest continually contested sporting trophy and represents the pinnacle of international sailing yacht competition.

See previous milestones, here.

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