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Author Topic: July 20 in recent history
Timothy-
Lane
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Post July 20 in recent history
on: July 20, 2018, 20:24
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July 20 is probably best known as the anniversary of the first Moon landing. Neil Armstrong was a Purdue graduate, so there was a lot of mention of him my first semester there. It even came up in my French class.

But before that, the date was best known for what happened 25 years earlier, when one Claus von Stauffenberg planted a British limpet time bomb (captured by the Abwehr) in Hitler's bunker during a staff conference as the first step in a coup. Unfortunately, he didn't activate the second bomb he had with him, and the meeting was in a wooden rather than concrete bunker. It also didn't help that the conspirators in Berlin failed to do anything until he showed up. By then it was really too late.

One might note that there had been many previous attempts. On November 8, 1939, Georg Elser (a Communist carpenter) placed a time bomb in a pillar to get Hitler as he spoke at the celebration of the Beer Hall Putsch. Unfortunately, due to wartime train schedules, Hitler started early and ended even earlier to get back to Berlin -- and left 20 minutes before the bomb went off.

And in March 1943, Army Group Center staff officers Henning von Tresckow and Fabian von Schlabrendorff put another of these limpet bombs on Hitler's plane, set to detonate on the way back to Berlin. But (perhaps due to the cold), the bomb failed to detonate. There were several attempts to use other bombs in a suicide bombing while he was touring various military exhibits, including two efforts by Axel von dem Bussche. But Hitler always left before he could be killed.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 20, 2018, 21:15
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The coup attempted by von Stauffenberg and his cohorts was very poorly planned and coordinated.

In my opinion, had the man been truly serious, he would have been willing to stay in the room and sacrifice himself. I realize I am not standing in his shoes, but he must have known the risk of failure was great and that if he did not succeed not only he, but many others, would be murdered horribly. Of course, this is exactly what happened to lots of those who didn't get off as easily as von Stauffenberg.

There were many more assassination attempts on Hitler than most people know. In his own lifetime, he helped create and spread the myth that he was somehow protected by fate, but in fact he had a very efficient corps of bodyguards.

Timothy-
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Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 20, 2018, 21:48
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There were all sorts of attempts, but most never came close. A year before Elser's attempt, a Swiss theology student managed to get a gun and attend the parade the morning after the beer hall speeches -- but he never got close enough to make a serious effort. There was a serious attempt before Munich, and though it was supposed to lead to trying Hitler, the officer detailed to make the arrest apparently planned to execute him instead of capturing him. Plenty of others had notions -- Hitler made a lot of enemies on both the left (Communists such as Elser, Social Democrats such as Julius Leber and Wilhelm Leuschner) and the right (Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin, Pastor Martin Niemoeller, Ambassador Ulrich von Hassell). The provisional list of officials if the revolt succeeded included many from the Center, the Social Democrats, and the Nationalists as well as military types.

But they were mediocre plotters and always hesitant to act. One might note that the various overcoat bombers between the airplane bomb and the July 20 (the first of which was a week after the airplane effort) were suicide bombers.

But the conspirators did have their virtues. The French Resistance assumed that anyone captured by the Gestapo would be broken in a day or two. Erich Fellgiebl never revealed the names of the communications personnel who helped him isolate the Wolfsschanze complex.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 20, 2018, 22:26
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I was just talking to an old friend of my older brother’s who was with us on vacation way back when. We tried watching the moon landing out in a country cabin on a cheap black-and-white TV with very poor reception. We really didn’t see much live. It was all faked anyway, or so they say.

Timothy-
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Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 23, 2018, 07:45
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This week is also of significance in the history of the War of the Rebellion. The First Battle of Bull Run took place on July 21 and confirmed that the war wouldn't end quickly (and without ending slavery). In the 1864 Atlanta campaign, Hood launched bloody attacks on July 20 (Peachtree Creek), July 22 (Atlanta), and July 28 (Ezra Church). After the third one, legend says, a Union soldier asked a Confederate how many men they had left, and the latter answered, "Oh, about enough for another killing." Overall, Hood lost about twice as many men (some estimates are even worse) in the attacks.

Peachtree Creek might have worked if it hadn't been delayed a few hours, giving the Army of the Cumberland time to entrench. The Battle of Atlanta came close at one point even though malign luck (the critical delay caused by Terry's Millpond) cost them heavily. Ezra Church was just a disaster.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 25, 2018, 12:07
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July 24 is a special date as well. It was my birthday. No...no...please hold your applause.

Famous events for July 25 (perhaps not unrelated):

+ 2000 - France Concorde Crash

+ 1943 - Mussolini forced from office

+ 1956 - Andrea Doria and Stockholm collide

+ 1960 - Teddy Kennedy and Poucha Pond collide.

On a happier note, on July 25, 1969, various samples from the Apollo 11 mission arrive in Houston, Texas and Johnston Island.

Timothy-
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Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 25, 2018, 12:35
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I had a former girlfriend (several decades ago) born on July 25. I haven't decided if that's a good or bad reason to remember the date.

Mussolini was voted out by his own Fascist Grand Council. Even his son-in-law, Count Galeazzo Ciano voted against him. (I had a copy of his famous diary in our now-sold house. There are some nice tid-bits in it, my favorite being his suggestion for what might have happened when Hungary informed a State Department official that they were declaring war on the US.) Ciano made the mistake of staying in non-liberated Italy, which resulted in his execution in early 1944. Some people aren't very forgiving of betrayal.

I recall reading somewhere that the Titanic would have survived the collision that sank the Andrea Doria, whereas the latter would have survived the iceberg that sank the Titanic. Different ships, different vulnerabilities. For that matter, a Lake Michigan tour ship once left Chicago with so many people -- and lifeboats to carry them if necessary -- that it capsized and sank, taking almost everyone on board with it. The lifeboats only helped leave it top-heavy. I think this was about 1915.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 25, 2018, 12:54
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Famous events for July 25 (perhaps not unrelated):

+ 2000 - France Concorde Crash

+ 1943 - Mussolini forced from office

+ 1956 - Andrea Doria and Stockholm collide

+ 1960 - Teddy Kennedy and Poucha Pond collide.

More importantly, I was born.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 25, 2018, 13:14
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Happy Birthday, Mr. Kung. I'm ashamed that I forgot when you had remembered mine. 39 again I understand. Perfect. Me too.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: July 20 in recent history
on: July 25, 2018, 13:18
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Thanks Brad. It seems I have been 39 and perfect for the longest time.

By the way, don't forget Louis Bleriot was the first man to fly across the English Channel. He did this on July 25, 1909.

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