Tag Archives: news

December 7th 1951

This is a previous blog post I originally published on September 11, 2011. In light of the Pearl Harbor anniversary, I thought I would republish it today.

While I am sitting here typing and reflecting on the events on September 11th 2001 from a decade’s hindsight, my thoughts wandered to the 10 year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1951.  So I asked…

Almost immediately, I received a response. Someone suggested using Google News Archive to look for information from newspapers on that date. I had no idea Google had been scanning newspapers, but it made sense to me, considering all of the other scanning they are doing. I went to the site and found a whole paper from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from December 7th 1951. You can view the paper by clicking below. [Note: Use the toolbar at the top to zoom out or request a full page view.] This is an image of page 38 of 42. The story was not a focus of the media. If you go to the link and read the left and right columns, you will find some odd human interest stories, but not central news. From a cultural perspective, notice also the number of advertisements and their focus (heavily influencing women to buy).

Within this page, there are three small columns concerning the Pearl Harbor attack that brought the US to declare war on Japan and formally enter World War 2. Notice the titles.(You can click on the images for a larger viewing, in order to read the text.)

The article that makes me think the most as a historian is this one. “Gone is the sublime and wonderful confidence that American boys plus American arms plus American production, can make short work of any and all enemies.” “Today they know that a killer-nation is not likely to observe the amenities and conform to etiquette.” Is the journalist referring to the nuclear age that cast a shadow over the world, especially in the midst of the Korean War (as December 7th 1951 was), or do they recall the surprise attack on the “day that will live in infamy”?

The article below also reflects a new reality concerning war: dissent and public opinion. I found it fascinating that a rally was held in which President Roosevelt was denounced as “Chief American warmonger” at an America First rally. What would have been the reaction to rallies against the invasion of Iraq that occurred in January and February of 2003 if the 9/11 attacks had happened in their midst? As the editors stated, “Nothing could have united the American people so immediately and completely.”

While my TV shows every network focusing on the memorial events of the World Trade Center, as well as at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, I wonder if some consider the “penalties of leadership” written above to reflect our future, not just that of 1951. Did we ever have that “sublime and wonderful confidence”? Will we? Should we? These are questions I hope to introduce in my US History classes this week.

Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Good evening.  Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

These were the words spoken by President Obama on May 2nd 2011.  It was enormously important news, and something noted by historians everywhere as a major event.  Let’s learn more about this story from many different perspectives.

First, let’s learn as much on this event as possible:

You can also see how many newspapers around the world created their headlines for that important day:

Next, let’s examine some ideas on how this event can be taught in the classroom:

You can also explore how this is a teachable moment by looking at dozens of other events and issues brought to the classroom from current events.  There’s a huge list here:

Let’s also take a look at a classroom exercise concerning US policy in Afghanistan and the options for the US on the War on Terror following Bin Laden’s death:

Who are the people who fight for Osama Bin Laden?  Take a look at this PBS Frontline documentary that goes behind the scenes of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

What was it like to be in the war room in the White House watching the operation take place live?  Take a look here.

Think of what it is like for soldiers to kill.  There is a lot more here than action and adventure.  This documentary explores those in the military who choose non-violence.  It’s an interesting counterpoint to the excitement of the raid on Bin Laden.

What about the cost?  Since 9/11 there has been a huge amount of money spent on the war on terror.  How much?  Take a look here:

And also take a look at the cost of both wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) here.  It’s constantly going up according to how much money Congress appropriates.  Here’s a snapshot on Monday morning, May 9.

Finally, how did Twitter get this story out?  Take a look here at a graph:

As well as a story on NPR concerning Twitter breaking the news here.

If there are other ideas, suggestions, comments or questions, please let me know.  The last link I’d like to leave you with is from a former student who wrote about this on his blog, The Daily Voice of Reason.  Check it out.