NRO Slideshows


Concerns about preparations for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, seemed to have been well founded, as journalists and athletes arriving this week discovered unfinished accommodations, bizarre construction techniques, and shoddy arrangements in some venues. Here’s a look.
Uploaded: Feb. 07, 2014


Operation Market Garden
Sep. 18, 2014
September marks the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden in WWII, the daring Allied airborne strike into occupied Holland. Had it worked it could have hastened the end of the war in Europe, but key failures in execution turned it instead into a costly disaster. Here’s a look.
Just a few months after the D-Day landings the Allied breakout from Normandy had slowed as advancing forces neared Germany. British General Montgomery (pictured at center) saw a chance to bypass the fortifications along the Siegried and strike at the heart of Germany. (Photo: Imperial War Museum)
Market Garden would be the largest airborne operation in history, utilizing three divisions of more than 30,000 British and American paratroopers, newly organized into the First Allied Airborne Army and under British command. (National Archives)
Montgomery’s plan was divided into two parts: MARKET was the airborne assault to capture eight key bridges along a 64-mile corridor in occupied Holland near the towns of Eindhoven, Nijmegen, and Arnhem. Pictured, American airborne troopers prep for the assault. (IWM)
GARDEN would see armor and infantry of the British XXX Corps race to the captured bridges and seize control of Arnhem, then push across the Rhine into the industrial heartland of Germany. Pictured, Irish Guards Group tanks on the move. (IWM)
On September 17, 1944, 1,500 aircraft ferried more than 34,000 paratroopers with the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the British First Airborne Divisions into Holland, where Allied bombing had decimated German anti-aircraft batteries. (National Archives)
Allied aircraft would ferry 5,300 tons of equipment and 1,900 vehicles into the fight. Pictured, paratroopers descend outside Arnhem. (IWM)
The success of Montgomery’s hastily-planned campaign relied on extremely swift execution by the airborne elements to capture and hold the bridges until the main armored element could move in. (IWM)
British armored units had to get to Arnhem within two to three days to relieve the airborne units and consolidate their position or the operation would falter. Pictured, British airborne take cover at Arnhem. (IWM)
German forces pressed several advantages, including blocking the narrow ground corridors to slow the Allied advance. And in a vital intelligence failure, the entire operational plan had also been seized from an officer killed in the initial assault. Pictured, German soldiers advance on Oosterbeek. (IWM)
The airborne assault saw initial success, and even where German defenses were unexpectedly strong the units managed to capture most of their objectives, and British armor began to press forward. Pictured, British tanks cross the bridge at Nijmegen. (IWM)
But mounting logistical problems would prove disastrous, keeping the operation’s airborne and armored elements separated at key points and trapping airborne units behind enemy lines. (IWM)
Delays were compounded by fierce German counterattacks. Nine days into the operation — with XXX Corps’s tanks just a few miles from the ultimate objective at Arnhem — British commanders ordered a retreat. In some cases, forced to abandon their positions under fire, Allied troops had to fight their way out. (IWM)
Market Garden came close to succeeding, but ultimately faltered under too many separate objectives and delaying factors, compounded by unexpectedly strong German defenses. Pictured, 101st Airborne troopers inspect a crashed glider aircraft. (National Archives)
British airborne casualties numbered nearly 1,500, with another 6,500 taken prisoner. Of the 10,000 troops that had landed at Arnhem, just over 2,000 escaped to safety. XXX Corps suffered 1,400 casualties. Pictured, British paratroopers at Oosterbek, the scene of particularly intense fighting. (IWM)
On the American side, elite airborne units founds themselves slogging it out in defensive positions, sometimes cut off from relief and resupply. The 82nd Airborne suffered 1,400 casualties, while the 101st lost 2,100 killed in action or injured. (National Archives)
Holland would remain in German hands for nearly the entire war, and the Allied advance into Germany would not occur until March. Pictured, an American GI cameraman with two young children in Nijmegen. (National Archives)
FIRST ALLIED AIRBORNE ARMY : British paratrooper with the 21st Independent Parachute Company assemble at an airfield in Gloucestershire. (IWM)
British First Airborne Division troopers climb aboard a C-47 transport plane. (IWM)
U.S. 82nd Airborne Division troopers prepare to board their C-47 aircraft. (National Archives)
A glider tug hauling British First Airborne Division troopers takes from an airfield at Oxfordshire. (IWM)
American airborne troops wait for the green light to jump. (National Archives)
C-47s towing gliders head out for Holland. (National Archives)
A line of C-47 aircraft flies over the Belgian city of Gheel on the way to Holland. (IWM)
The scale of the airborne operation is visible in this overhead view of aircraft on the ground and dropping paratroopers west of Arnhem. (IWM)
A C-47 explodes on landing in Holland. (National Archives)
Headquarters troops of the FIrst Airlanding Light Regiment unload on the ground. (IWM)
Medics with the 101st Airborne unload a jeep from the nose of a glider. (National Archives)
British First Airborne Division troopers on the ground west of Arnhem. (IWM)
IN THE FIGHT: A German artillery round explodes as American 82nd Airborne paratroopers advance on Nijmegen. (National Archives)
British troopers take cover in roadside ditches during fighting in Oosterbeek. (IWM)
British troops dug in near Arnhem. (IWM)
American paratroopers on the move. (National Archives)
Members of the Dutch underground share information with 101st Airborne Division troopers. (National Archives)
Tanks with the Second Welsh Guards cross the bridge at Nijmegen. (IWM)
American tow planes carry gliders over a windmill in Eindhoven a week into the operation. (AP)
British paratroopers search for snipers in Oosterbeek. (IWM)
British First Airborne Division troopers take cover near Oosterbeek. (IWM)
American paratroopers top off their ammunition at a XXX Corps distribution point. (National Archive)
British 50th Division infantry march past a disabled German 88mm gun near the Meuse-Escaut Canal. (IWM)
British troopers on the march towards Arnhem.
American paratroopers on the march in Nijmegen. (National Archives)
Citizens of Nijmegen round up Nazi collaborators after Allied forces liberated the city. (National Archives)
Aerial view of the heavy damage to the city of Nijmegen. (National Archives)
Cartoon of the Day
Sep. 18, 2014
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Scottish Independence Referendum
Sep. 17, 2014
This week’s historic referendum on Scottish independence from Great Britain has generated a passionate debate on both sides of the debate and the border. Here’s a look at the sights as top politicians and everyday citizen engage in some very colorful campaigning.
Recent polls suggesting the pro-independence “Yes” campaign may prevail has caused a whirlwind of activity as politicians and citizens seek to influence Thursday’s referendum. A vote for Scottish independence would mean a historic break in the more than 300-year-old union, creating a range of new opportunities and problems with ramifications far beyond the British Isles.
MAKING THE CASE: Scottish first minister Alex Salmond — pictured lower right with the “One Opportunity” sign — has been omnipresent during the independence referendum campaign, beating the drum for the pro-independence cause across Scotland.
Salmond sports a pair of “Aye” cupcakes during a campaign stop in Kilmarnock.
Salmond makes the case for independence to the next generation of Scots at the Time Twisters indoor park in Edinburgh.
Salmond poses for a selfie at a pro-independence rally in Stirling.
Scottish and English politicians have hit the campaign trail with gusto in recent weeks, making the case for independence and for preserving the union. Pictured, British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband speaks to “vote no” supporters during an appearance in Edinburgh.
British prime minister David Cameron looks serious at a speed in Aberdeen. Cameron has been criticized for acceding to conditions in the referendum campaign that have favored the pro-independence cause.
Pro-independence Scottish deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon eats a “Yes” cupcake with constituents in Renfrew.
British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg meets pro-unioners at a rally in Selkirk.
British shadow secretary of state for international development Jim Murphy holds a carton of eggs at an event on The Mound in Edinburg. Murphy had been pelted with eggs by independence supporters at a previous event.
London mayor Boris Johnson gives a lesson in Latin a the East London Science School in Newham. Johnson’s message reads: “London loves Scotland, don’t leave us.”
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown makes the pro-union cast at Scottish Labour campaign headquarters in Glasgow.
Former British deputy prime minister John Prescott urges Scots to vote “No” at a rally in Glasgow.
Scottish Labour Party member Kezia Dugdale stands with pro-union supporters who have questions about what independence will mean for Scotland.
COLORFUL CHARACTERS: The referendum debate touches not only practical political and economic issues but deep-seated notions of culture and national identity. As a result, passions have been high on both sides. Pictured, members of the King of Scots Robert the Bruce Society flay Scottish flags — the blue-and-white saltire and the Royal Standard — at Loch Lomond.
A member of the King of Scots Robert the Bruce Society holds a traditional Scottish claymore sword as his fellow society members wave flags at a press event in Loch Lomond.
A bagpiper provides the proper musical ambience for a rally in George Square in Glasgow.
A man wears traditional Scots dress at an event in Glasgow.
The long-running Judge Dredd comic book marks the referendum with a Scots-themed edition, where a futuristic state named Calhab is policed by Dredd’s Braveheart-themed colleague Judge Ed MacBrayne.
Run for the border: Pranksters set up a “Scottish Border Agency” checkpoint near Jedburgh.
Comedian Eddie Izzard rallies pro-Union crowds in Trafalgar Square.
A pro-independence Scot campaigns in Aberdeen.
A pro-independence voter lets it (almost) all hang out courtesy of a micro-mini kilt.
Dundee tattoo artist Andy Burns makes the two-fisted case for independence.
Fashion designer Vivian Westwood displays a “Yes” button supporting Scottish independence at a London Fashion Week event.
Do the omens portend Scottish independence? Pictures from social media show a Britain-shaped cloud and fried chicken breast that both appear to be missing the Scotland part.
An Edinburgh bakery covers all its bases with cupcakes decorated with Scottish saltire flags (left), Union jacks, and a question mark for undecideds.
A pro-union Edinburgher displays a “No” sticker on her iPhone.
A pro-independence “Scotsmannequin” looms over a rally in Glasgow.
Chris Law poses with his independence-themed fire engine at the Faslane Peace Camp.
Gone to the Dogs: A pair of canines sport Union Jack and Scottish saltire flags at the Birnham Highland Games.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Pro-independence Scots picnic near the border crossing at Berwick-upon-Tweed under fictional signs that advertise an “Independent Scotland” featuring “Free Tea & Cakes.”
A llama considers a “Yes” sign outside Selkirk.
A bride-to-be in Edinburgh gets caught up in the pro-independence fervor.
A protestor holds a sign challenging British prime minister David Cameron in Glasgow.
Socialist Labour Party member Nicola Sturgeon preps some children at a pro-indepdence rally in Bathgate.
Glasgow residents carry competing signs.
Pro-independence campaigners march in Glasdow.
“Yes” supporters protest perceived bias at the BBC.
A young socialist makes the case for independence outside the BBC offices in Glasgow.
Scottish Labour supporters display pro-union signs in Glasgow.
“Yes” supporters make their case outside a speech by British prime minister David Cameron in Glasgow.
“Yes” and “No” supporters jockey for position at a Better Together rally in Edinburgh.
Pro-Union youngsters display “Vote Naw” signs in Edingburgh.
Pro-independence voters carry a banner critical of BBC correspondent Nick Robinson outside the broadcaster’s offices in Glasgow.
A pro-independence sign in Selkirk defaced with pro-union graffiti.
A sign in a field outside Strathblane has been repeatedly defaced by opposing sides on the independence referendum.
A pro-union sign gets right to the point in a field near Drymen.
A cafe in England near the Scottish border warns of the imminent cultural divide.
Today in History: The Battle of Antietam
Sep. 17, 2014
SEPTEMBER 17, 1862: General Robert E. Lee’s bold invasion of the north grinds to a halt at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland as Union and Confederate forces maul each other in the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. Union General George McClellan bends but does not break Lee’s lines, and the stalemate ends with nearly 4,000 dead and almost 20,000 more injured.
1978: Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords, the first peace treaty between the Jewish state and an Arab neighbor. Both men would receive the Nobel Peace prize, but Egypt was expelled from the Arab league the following year, and in 1981 Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists in retaliation for the treaty.
1976: NASA unveils the first space shuttle, Enterprise, an important milestone in the agency’s decade-long, $10-billion program to create a reusable low-Earth orbit vehicle. Though Enterprise would never fly in space, it was the first to test the design’s ability to glide back to Earth, proving the viability of aerodynamics that had been compared to a “flying brick.”
1972: The long-running series M*A*S*H debuts on CBS. An adaptation of Robert Altman’s acclaimed 1970 counterculture film, the show follows the lives of an Army medical facility operating near the front lines in Korea. Through eleven seasons mixing drama and comedy the show amasses numerous critical accolades, and its final episode in February 1983 draws a then-record 125 million viewers.
1916: German aviator Manfred baron von Richthofen — soon to be known as the “Red Baron” — shoots down his first enemy plane over the Western front during WWI. As commander of Fighter Wing 1 — dubbed “Richthofen’s Flying Circus” for its fancifully painted aircraft — Richtofen became the first fighter ace, eventually tallying 80 victories before being killed near Amiens in 1918.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1620: The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, England, bearing 102 religious pilgrims and entrepreneurs to the New World where they would found the first permanent English colony in America. The ship intended to land in what was then called Virginia, but was blown north and after 66 days came ashore in Massachusetts. The Plymouth colony was established the day after Christmas.
1893: The Cherokee Strip Land Run opens some 8.1 million acres in the Oklahoma territory to settlers. One of seven separate land runs held in the region, the Cherokee run is the largest on history, attracting more than 100,000 settlers. The final run takes place in 1895, and in 1907 Oklahoma becomes the 46th state.
1810: Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issues the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) calling for an end to three centuries of Spanish colonial rule over Mexico. Hidalgo attracts thousands to a populist peasant army that tries and fails to overthrow the government; Hidalgo is later executed. In the end, it is royalists of Spanish descent who engineer Mexico’s independence in 1821.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1950: General Douglas MacArthur stages a daring amphibious landing at Inchon and turns the tide of the Korean War. MacArthur’s plan was controversial given Inchon’s uniquely difficult geography, but the landing force — spearheaded by the First Marine Division — smashes ashore and drives through stubborn enemy resistance; two weeks later they would retake Seoul.
1935: A series of edicts known as the Nuremberg Laws deprive Jews of German citizenship and any functional role in German society, and also forbid marriages between Jews and Germans. They become the cornerstone for Nazi Germany’s racial laws that will accelerate the persecution of Jews and lead eventually to the Holocaust.
1916: The tank makes its battlefield debut at Flers-Courcelette. The Franco-British operation, part of the Somme offensive, was intended to break the German lines using massed artillery and infantry, but fails to break through and bogs down in a battle of attrition. The British deploy 49 Mark I tanks, but they are plagued by mechanical problems and difficult terrain, and prove indecisive.
SEPTEMBER 12, 1974: Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is overthrown in a military coup. Selassie had ascended to emperor of the African nation in 1930, and led the resistance to Italy’s invasion shortly before WWII. He later tried to modernize the country’s economy while solidifying his control, and helped found the Organization of African Unity. But famine and politician stagnation would doom his rule.
1959: The classic Western series Bonanza debuts on NBC, chronicling the adventures of the Cartwright family in Nevada. Starring Lorne Greene as the family patriarch caring for three sons, episodes ranged from drama to broad comedy and also touched on environmental issues. Airing for 14 seasons, it is among the longest-running series in TV history.
1954: The family television show Lassie debuts on CBS. The tale of a long-haired collie that looks after a farm family — and in particular the trouble-prone pair of young boys — the show airs for 17 seasons, one of the longest run in television history, with Campbell’s Soup along as sponsor the whole way.
1953: John Kennedy marries Jacqueline Bouvier, whom he had courted while still serving in the House of Representatives and during a whirlwind Senate campaign. Following Kennedy’s election as the 35th president, the young couple became political celebrities of the so-called “Camelot” White House.
SEPTMEBER 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four commercial airliners, flying two into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, killing more than 3,000 Americans. A fourth plane is brought down apparently by passenger action in Pennsylvania. The attacks lead to a new era of security procedures and an overseas campaign against Islamic terrorists.
1985: Cincinnati Reds player-manager Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s Major-League hit record of 4,129 in a game against the San Diego Padres, receiving a seven-minute standing ovation from a hometown crowd. “Charlie Hustle” would retire as a player the following year, but in 1989 was banned from baseball for gambling on Reds games.
1921: Silent-film star Fatty Arbuckle is arrested for the rape and murder of aspiring actress Virginia Rappe. A former star in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops films, the heavy-set Arbuckle protested his innocence in the Rappe case but was quickly condemned and his films boycotted. After two mistrials, a third jury’s final not-guilty verdict and apology comes too late to save his career.
1777: Advancing under a dense fog, British Generals William Howe and Charles Cornwallis lead 18,000 redcoats in a full-scale attack on General George Washington’s troops at Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Outnumbered and facing encirclement, Washington orders a retreat, and Congress is forced to flee British troops as they occupy Philadelphia.
1955: The Western series Gunsmoke premieres on CBS. Adapted from the radio serial, Gunsmoke stars James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, chief lawman of the frontier town of Dodge City, Kan. The show runs for a half-hour for its first four years before switching to a one-hour format, amassing 635 episodes over 20 years, the longest-running primetime show in history.
1813: Captain Oliver Hazard Perry defeats a squadron of six British warships at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Perry had his flagship Lawrence all but sunk beneath him, but after transferring to the Niagra he sailed directly into the British line, firing broadsides at close range. After the victory he cabled President Harrison: “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
1924: The infamous criminal duo Nathan Leopold (at right) and Richard Loeb — better known as Leopold & Loeb — are sentenced to life in prison for the “thrill-kill” kidnapping and murder of Bobbie Franks, avoiding execution thanks to defense attorney Clarence Darrow. The two college-educated men had tried to ransom Franks for $10,000, but were caught after his partially-buried body was discovered.
1919: Nearly a year after the end of WWI, General John J. Pershing leads a victory parade down New York City’s Fifth Avenue, with some 25,000 soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force’s First Division marched in full combat gear. A week later he led the same troops in a march in Washington.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1976: Mao Tse-tung, the Communist leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China, dies in Beijing at 82. Mao and the Communists took control of the massive nation in 1949 after a long civil war and consolidated their control through the Great Leap Forward, a failed economic initiative in 1958, and the tumultuous Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Mao remains a revered figure.
1971: Prisoners at the overcrowded Attica Correctional Facility in Buffalo, N.Y., seize control of much of the maximum-security prison and take 39 guards and prison workers hostage. Negotiators agree to improved living conditions in the prison, but when the rioters demand amnesty and passage to another country, guards storm the facility, killing 29 inmates and 10 hostages.
1919: A large part of the Boston police force goes on strike over opposition to their attempts at unionization, and the city quickly endures a spike in robbery and rioting. As Mayor Andrew Peters works to break the strike, Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge sends in the state militia to restore order, and his actions help catapult him to national office on the 1920 Republican ticket.
1850: California is admitted as the 31st state two years after the territory became a magnet in the 1848 gold rush, a rush-to-quick-riches ethos that would come to shape the state’s image. Composed of former Mexican territory, the state later trades its excavation reputation for other influential industries, led by the entertainment business in Los Angeles and the high-tech sector in San Francisco.
1966: Star Trek debuts on NBC. The groundbreaking science-fiction series from creator Gene Roddenberry presents an optimistic vision of humanity’s future, exploring many classic sci-fi themes alongside episodes inspired by the Cold War. The show runs for three seasons, making major stars of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and goes on to become a pop-culture institution.
1998: St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire hits his 62nd home run, breaking Roger Maris’s long-standing single-season record and just edging out Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa. McGwire would end the season with 70 home runs, a record that stood for three years. He later faced allegations of using performance-enhancing supplements.
1974: One month after being sworn in as his replacement, President Gerald Ford grants an unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon, exempting him from indictment and trial for all federal crimes that he “committed or may have committed or taken part in” in connection with the Watergate scandal. Ford signs the order during an Oval Office press conference.
1941: Advancing German and Finnish forces close the last road into Leningrad, beginning a siege that will last 872 days. More than 650,000 residents would die in 1942 alone from starvation, exposure, and German artillery; the final death toll would grow to an estimated 1.5 million. After resupply lines begin to reach the city, the Red Army breaks the siege in January 1944.
1664: Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrenders the city of New Amsterdam, part of the New Netherland colony on the southern tip of modern-day Manhattan, to an English naval squadron under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls. The city is renamed New York in honor of the Duke of York. In 1686 the city became the first to receive a royal charter.
SEPTEMBER 5, 1972: Eight terrorists with the Palestinian group Black September break into the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, killing two Israeli athletes and taking nine others hostage. The next day five of the terrorists and all the hostages are killed during an attempted rescue operation at the Munich airport; the remaining three are later released and hunted down by Israeli Mossad agents.
1877: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is killed at Fort Robinson, Neb., in a scuffle with a soldiers, dying just four months after his surrender to U.S. General Crook and after many years battling the federal government over its treatment of the Lakota peoples. A year earlier, Crazy Horse had led a war party to a stunning victory over General George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
1836: Sam Houston is elected the first president of the Republic of Texas. After American settlers declared their independence from Mexico, Houston led a force of Texans against General Santa Anna in revenge for the sacking of the Alamo and forced him to relinquish the territory. He later supported annexation by the U.S. but was removed from office when he refused to join the Confederacy.
SEPTEMBER 4, 1886: The legendary Chiricahua Apache warrior Goyathlay — better known as Geronimo — surrenders after a lengthy pursuit by the U.S. Army. Geronimo had battled both Mexican and American forces for more than three decades, and his surrender was the last by a notable Indian warrior. He dies on an Oklahoma reservation in 1909.
SEPTEMBER 3, 1783: The Treaty of Paris formally ends the conflict between Great Britain and its former colonies, now recognized as the United States of America. During the negotiations Benjamin Franklin pressed to take possession of the province of Quebec and nearly succeeded, but settled instead for fishing rights off the Grand Banks.
1976: NASA’s Viking 2 probe lands in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars, six weeks after its sister-ship touched down, a double triumph for the space agency in the interim between the Apollo and space shuttle programs. Viking 2 would operate on the surface for more than four years, searching for — but never quite verifying — evidence of life on the Red Planet.
1943: The allied invasion of Italy begins with the main landing force hitting the beaches at Salerno as British General Bernard Montgomery drives north from Messina. Italian resistance quickly collapses as allied troops battle German Army forces in what would become a slow and brutal campaign up the peninsula.
SEPTEMBER 2, 1945: Japan formally surrenders onboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, bringing a final end to the fighting in World War II. Presiding over the ceremony was General Douglas MacArthur, who was set to lead the invasion of Japan — dubbed “Operation Olympic” — before the nation capitulated after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1944: Navy Lieutenant — and future 41st President of the United States — George H.W. Bush completes a bombing mission over the Pacific island of Chichijima after his Grumman Avenger is hit by antiaircraft fire. Bush and another crewman bail out and are later rescued by the submarine USS Finback.
1666: A small fire at the king’s baker in Pudding Lane near the London Bridge grows into the Great Fire of London, a massive conflagration that destroys a large part of the city over the next three days, including more than 13,000 homes and the original St. Paul’s Cathedral.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1985: Oceanographer Robert Ballard locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic under 13,000 feet of water 400 miles east of Newfoundland, the first time the ill-fated vessel had been seen since since it went down in 1912. Dreams of raising the mighty ship were dashed, however, when she was found to be split in two, confirming eyewitness reports from the night of the sinking.
1983: Soviet jet fighters shoot down a Korean Airlines jet that had strayed into Russian airspace, killing all 269 on board. At a session of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick plays audiotapes of the fighter pilot talking with his controllers, forcing the Soviets to admit their guilt in a major Cold War showdown.
1939: Germany launches a massive invasion of Poland, the first battle in what would grow into World War II. Hitler had secured a non-aggression pact with Russia just days before the invasion, which divided Poland between the two nations. Outgunned, outnumbered, and facing the terrible new blitzkrieg war machine, Poland would surrender in just one month.
1864: General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union army smashes through the defenses of Atlanta, seizing the city and forcing the surrender of Confederate forces. Before setting off on his pivotal March to the Sea in November, Sherman orders Atlanta’s military assets destroyed, and the resulting fire burns large swaths of the city.
Photoshop of the Day
Sep. 17, 2014
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Hurricane Odile
Sep. 16, 2014
Hurricane Odile struck the western coast of Baja California on Sunday, brining driving winds and widespread damage to the area, cutting off hour to thousands and trapping tourists in Cabo San Lucas and many other of the region’s numerous resorts. Here’s a look. (Image: NOAA)
Odile came ashore as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 125 mph, knocking over trees and power lines, heavily damaging smaller structures, overturning cars, and pushing a storm surge onto coastal roadways. Pictured, driving winds strike Los Cabos.
Dropping from a Category 4 storm shortly before it came ashore, Odile still ranks among the strongest storm to hit Baja since records began. Pictured, streets in Los Cabos emptied as residents sought shelter.
A cell-phone camera image captured the storm’s intense winds on Monday morning.
The storm’s north-by-northwest path took it straight up the long peninsula and across hundreds of towns and villages, including well-known tourist resorts such as Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos (pictured).
A weather satellite radar image shows the eye of Odile in red as it moves over the Baja peninsula on Monday.
Some 30,000 tourists took shelter in hotels or were placed in temporary shelters at the Los Cabos airport. More than 100 injuries from flying debris were reported, but none were considered serious. Pictured, tourists at a Los Cabos hotel.
Mexican authorities announced on Tuesday that tourists in Los Cabos would be airlifted out the area.
THE DAY AFTER: Winds and heavy rains caused widespread damage across the southern Baja region, smashing poorer districts and expensive resorts with equal ferocity. Pictured, some of the storm’s devastation in a residential area of Los Cabos.
Aircraft sit heavily dammed at the San Jose del Cabo airport.
Inside the airport's main terminal.
Damage at Cabo San Lucas resort. (Image: @Aldolr)
An overturned vehicle at another resort. (Image: @SSinArkansas)
Fallen power lines and trees block roads in Los Cabos.
More impassable streets in Los Cabos.
Toppling bricks heavily damaged these cars in Los Cabos.
The entrance a souvenir shop in Los Cabos was ripped open by the storm’s strong winds.
Residents of Los Cabos survey the damage to their homes and property.
Civil Protection authorities reported on Monday that storm damage had left some 239,000 people without electricity, and many without safe drinking water. Pictured, a mother tends to her child in Los Cabos.
Local families wait in a shelter after fleeing the storm in Los Cabos.
The wall of a resort in Los Cabos lies collapsed.
Some looting was reported in Los Cabos and other areas, though civil and military authorities quickly moved in to restore order.
Mexican police confront looters ouside a convenience store in Los Cabos.
A Pemex gas station in Los Cabos was shattered by high winds. By Tuesday weather forecasters had downgraded Odile to tropical-storm status, with winds of around 50 mph as it moved north.
Odile is expected to bring heavy rains to the southwestern United States later this week, which could create flood conditions in the drought-parched region. Pictured, flooded cars line a street inundated with water in San Jose del Cabo.
The Baja region is now also facing the approach of Tropical Storm Polo, which is moving up the coast and could come ashore later this week. Even if it does not strengthen into a hurricane, Polo could hamper rescue and recovery efforts. Pictured, a truck navigates flooded roads in Los Cabos.
Battle of Peleliu
Sep. 16, 2014
September 15 marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Peleliu, a bloody step in the long campaign in the Pacific during WWII. Here’s a look back at the battle, the heroism of the Marines who fought there, and the unforgettable images war correspondent Tom Lea. (Photo: Naval Institute)
The main strategic goal of Operation Stalemate II was the seizure of an airstrip that threatened General MacArthur’s impending reconquest of the Philippines. But while intelligence reports and heavy naval bombardment prior to the landings promised a quick victory, the island’s dug-in defenders would put up a long and bloody fight. (Naval Institute)
Awaiting the invasion force were some 10,000 Japanese defenders who had no hope of escape or resupply, and who had built formidable defenses in hundreds of caves on the island’s sheer coral cliffs. Pictured, Marine riflemen take aim from behind cover. (USMC History Division)
On September 15, 1944, after days of artillery barrages and aerial bombardment, five infantry battalions of the First Marine Division went ashore. (USMC History Division)
The initial landings met little resistance, but Japanese forces quickly struck the Marines hard, beginning a 73-day battle for the island fought amid dense forest and a maze of Japanese defenses. (USMC History Division)
Though famous for the assault and bloody toll suffered by the First Marine Division, elements of the Army’s 81st Infantry played a crucial role in the capture of Peleliu. Pictured, Marines assault an urban structure. (USMC History Division)
When the island finally was declared secured on November 27, 1,252 Marines and sailors were dead and more than 5,000 injured. The 81st had suffered 404 killed in action and more than 3,000 injured. (Naval Institute)
Of the more than 10,000 Japanese defenders on the island, only 19 were taken prisoner, a stark preview of the empire’s strategy of trading lives for time in the face of the Allied advance, and a foreshadowing of the terrible bloodshed to come at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. (USMC History Division)
The Marine Corps Museum calls Peleliu the “bitterest battle of the war for the Marines.” Pictured, Marines tend to a wounded comrade hit by a Japanese sniper on Suicide Ridge. (Naval Institute)
The First Marine Division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their heroism at Peleliu. Marine Aircraft Group 11 and the Third Marine Infantry’s 155mm Howitzer Battalion were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. Eight Marines were awarded the Medal of Honor, five posthumously, while 69 received the Navy Cross. (National Archives)
D-DAY AT PELELIU: The first wave of landing craft make their way towards the beaches on September 15, 1944. (Naval Institute)
Landing craft launch rocket salvos prior the landings. (Naval Institute)
A massive wall of water rises from the detonation of 8,000 pounds of tetrytol by demolitions crews preparing the wary for the landings. (USMC)
A Kingfisher aircraft in the skies just off Peleliu. (Naval Institute)
Marines climb down nets to to board their landing crafts. (USMC History Division)
Smoke from artillery strikes obscures the view of the beach by approaching landing craft during the final states of the pre-invasion bombardment. (Naval Institute)
Marines take cover on Orange Beach (USMC)
An amphibious tractor burns on the beach as Marines take shelter under another landing craft. (USMC)
Marine infantry take cover behind a wrecked amphibious tractor as others fire on enemy positions. (Naval Institute)
Moving off the beaches. (USMC)
An aerial view of the rugged terrain of Peleliu. (Naval Institute)
A Marine F4U fighter drops napalm on enemy positions on Umurbrogol Mountain, where some of the fiercest fighting raged. (Naval Institute)
Marines battle for every foot of land against dug-in Japanese defenders. (Naval Institute)
Marine riflemen and a bazooka team engage an enemy position. (USMC)
A Marine gives a wounded comrade a drink from a canteen. (USMC)
Marines take shelter in a captured Japanese anti-tank trench. (USMC)
A Marine corporal stands next to a captured Japanese 141mm mortar, which had rained shells down on the beaches during the Marine landings. (USMC)
Marines march inland across the burnt and blasted terrain. (Naval Institute)
Marines march along a road on the northern end of the island. (USMC)
IMAGES OF WAR: Life magazine artist Tom Lea accompanied the Marines at Peleliu, and his haunting images of the horrors of combat in the Pacific have become justly famous. Here are some of his images of Peleliu, published after the war, along with excerpts of the original captions.
“Gripping the steel side of a landing barge, a war-painted Marine veteran stares through the smoke of exploding shells toward beachhead of Peleliu.”
“On the hot coral sands of the beach a Jap shell burst kills four of the attacking Marines, flattens others. At right: a hit U.S. landing craft burns.”
“HOT GUN: In five minutes these sweating artillerymen of the First Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, fired 100 rounds of 75-mm high explosive into a concentration of Japanese entrenched on the other side of the wooded ridge.”
“TWO SNIPERS, Captain Frank Farrell (right) and Private Firsct Class Earl F. Roth Jr., stop in a thicket to shoot Japs trying to escape from a trap by swimming across the lagoon.”
“COMMANDER of a Seventh Regiment battalion 28-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Hunter Hurst, sits on a smashed wet log, marking positions on his field map. His battalion was up ahead attacking a Jap blockhouse.”
“ADVANCE ON BLOCKHOUSE: Marines move cautiously past dead Japs which littered the ground — strange, twisted human bodies, still red, raw meat and blood mixed with gravelly dust, and splinters.”
“REQUIESCAT IN PACE: ‘The dead Marine seemed so quiet and empty and past all the small things man could love and hate.’”
“THE LAST STEP … ‘His eyes searched for a fight. Then something exploded. He scrambled up from the ground as if embarrassed at failing. He looked at his left arm, stumbled back to the beach. He never saw a Jap, never fired a shot.”
“BATTLE FATIGUE is mirrored in the stark, staring eyes of this Marine painted against the background of ‘Bloody Nose Ridge,’ a mile-long jagged cliff which was the strongest Jap redoubt on Peleliu.”
Barry Goldwater's 1964 Campaign
Sep. 15, 2014
This fall marks the 50th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign for president. Here’s a look back at the Arizona maverick’s doomed campaign and the firestorm of conservative activism it began.
Goldwater, then a U.S. senator from Arizona, represented the conservative wing of the Republican Party. He was a vocal proponent of reduced government spending and a stronger military.
After a bruising primary campaign against Nelson Rockefeller, Goldwater surged and won the nomination on the first ballot at the GOP convention in San Francisco — even while some delegates still thought he was too far outside the Republican mainstream.
Though he was handily defeated by incumbent president Lyndon Johnson in the November general election, Goldwater’s campaign was a turning point for the GOP.
Richard Nixon — an establishment Republican but an extremely quick political study — won wide swaths of formerly Democratic voters just four years later. And only six years after Nixon’s own downfall in 1974, Ronald Reagan won a landslide presidential victory.
Goldwater’s presidential campaign saw numerous historic moments. During his acceptance speech at the convention, he delivered his famous maxim: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice … moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Just a week before the election in November, Ronald Reagan, then a corporate spokesman for GE, gave his “A Time for Choosing” address promoting Goldwater and attacking the excesses of big government. Also known as “The Speech,” Reagan’s address electrified Republican voters and greatly boosted his profile within the party.
The Johnson campaign attacked Goldwater’s strong stand on defense in the infamous “Daisy” ad, which showed a young girl’s counting of flower petals cut to the countdown to a nuclear detonation and Johnson’s exhortation: “These are the stakes.” Though it only aired once, the controversial spot had a great impact on the outcome.
THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Goldwater announces his run for president from his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., in January. Asked by a journalist in 1963 what it might feel like to wake up as President of the United States someday, Goldwater had replied: “Frankly, it scares the hell out of me.”
Hostile signs greet Goldwater at a campaign stop in Ohio. Goldwater’s strong conservative views did not sit well with some old-line GOP voters, and they were even less popular with Democratic voters during the general campaign.
Goldwater under an oversized mural of himself in June. Goldwater’s earnestness made him a ready target for establishment lampooning, as when opponents quickly turned the pro-Barry slogan “In your heart you know he’s right” into the memorable couplet “In your guts you know he’s nuts.”
A friendlier group of supporters during the primary campaign’s early days in January.
Ronald Reagan would be a staunch supporter of Goldwater during the Republican primaries and the general election against Lyndon Johnson. Pictured, Goldwater and Reagan at a Los Angeles campaign event.
Goldwater campaigns in Nogales, Texas, in June.
While passing through Phoenix, Ariz., in June, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters showed their support by spray-painting “A VOTE FOR BARRY IS A VOTE FOR FUN!" on one side of their hippie bus nicknamed “Further.”
The patriotic message, briefly captured in one of the Pranksters' Super-8 movies, failed to move voters in those more strait-laced days.
Campaigning for the nomination in July.
One of the “Goldwater Girls” campaign supporters in Sherman Oaks, Calif., in the lead-up to the state’s primary election in July, which would boost Goldwater past Rockefeller and ensure his nomination at the Republican convention in San Francisco.
Goldwater delivers his convention speech in San Francisco. He would later write in his memoir With No Apologies: “By the time the convention opened, I had been branded as a fascist, a racist, a trigger-happy warmonger, a nuclear madman, and the candidate who couldn't win.”
Goldwater and running mate William Miller kick off the general election campaign in Prescott, Ariz.
Goldwater and Miller raise their hands at the kick-off event.
A campaign billboard makes its way down the street during a homecoming parade at Southeast Missouri State College in Cape Girardeau (hometown of radio host Rush Limbaugh).
Goldwater’s distinctive black glasses became his trademark, one he did not always take seriously, as in this image of the senator sporting a gimmick pair.
The pilots of Goldwater's campaign plane display an oversized pair during a stop in Boise in September.
A group of youngsters and their dogs greet the candidate in their own Goldwater glasses at a campaign stop in Montgomery, Ala.
”HE’S OUR MAN”: Memorabilia from Goldwater’s 1964 campaign are still sought after by collectors. Pictured here are some of the vintage campaign buttons from Goldwater’s nomination and general election campaigns.
This collection includes an anti-Goldwater button, upper right. The top button references the fact that the voting age in 1964 was still 21; it would not move to 18 until 1971, with passage of the 26th Amendment.
A closer look at some of the Goldwater campaign buttons.
A button harkening back to Goldwater's acceptance speech.
This campaign button puts the chemical symbols for Barium (Au) and water (H20) to clever use.
Vintage bobble head dolls of Johnson and Goldwater.
Campaign flyers and literature, as well as coverage of the campaign in news media and other publications, provide a fascinating glimpse into the style of campaigning 50 years ago.
Magazines such as “The Goldwater Story” laid out the candidate’s positions and governing philosophy.
A pair of comic books described the life and times of each of the presidential candidates.
Johnson and Goldwater appear in separate issues of Coronet, a popular magazine of the time.
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