“On Friday morning, October 23, more than 150 troop commanders, ship captains, and senior staff officers filed into a tightly guarded Army warehouse in Norfolk. Hewitt spoke briefly, revealing to most for the first time that they were bound for Africa. For more than four hours, the TORCH planners reviewed the operation in intricate detail. They finished with the proper procedures for burying the dead and registering their graves.
Then Patton took the stage in breeches and riding boots, ivory-handled pistols on either hip. He roused the men from their torpor by announcing that he would shoot any American soldier molesting a Moroccan woman.
“If you have any doubts as to what you’re to do, I can put it very simply,” he said in his jarring falsetto. “The idea is to move ahead, and you usually know where the front is by the sound of gunfire. To make it perfectly clear to you: suppose you lose a hand or an ear is shot off, or perhaps a piece of your nose, and you think you should go back to get first aid. If I see you, it will be the last goddamn walk you’ll ever take. As an officer, you’re expected to move ahead.” Then he challenged the Navy to emulate Admiral David Farragut, who had damned the torpedoes at Mobile Bay in 1864. But, Patton continued, “I’m under no illusion that the goddamn Navy will get us within a hundred miles of the beach or within a week of the date set for landing. It doesn’t matter. Put us on Africa. We’ll walk.” He finished with a flourish: “We shall attack for sixty days and then, if we have to, for sixty more. If we go forward with desperation, if we go forward with utmost speed and fight, these people cannot stand against us.”
The men came to attention as Patton strode from the room. Most of the Navy officers, and even some of their Army counterparts, had never heard of George S. Patton before. Now they knew who he was.”
This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.
Upon receiving the first preliminary hard information of this nature last Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., I directed that our surveillance be stepped up. And having now confirmed and completed our evaluation of the evidence and our decision on a course of action, this Government feels obliged to report this new crisis to you in fullest detail.
The characteristics of these new missile sites indicate two distinct types of installations. Several of them include medium range ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead for a distance of more than 1,000 nautical miles. Each of these missiles, in short, is capable of striking Washington, D.C., the Panama Canal, Cape Canaveral, Mexico City, or any other city in the southeastern part of the United States, in Central America, or in the Caribbean area.
Additional sites not yet completed appear to be designed for intermediate range bailistic missiles–capable of traveling more than twice as far–and thus capable of striking most of the major cities in the Western Hemisphere, ranging as far north as Hudson Bay, Canada, and as far south as Lima, Peru. In addition, jet bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are now being uncrated and assembled in Cuba, while the necessary air bases are being prepared.
This urgent transformation of Cuba into an important strategic base–by the presence of these large, long-range, and clearly offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction-constitutes an explicit threat to the peace and security of all the Americas, in flagrant and deliberate defiance of the Rio Pact of 1947, the traditions of this Nation and hemisphere, the joint resolution of the 87th Congress, the Charter of the United Nations, and my own public warnings to the Soviets on September 4 and 13. This action also contradicts the repeated assurances of Soviet spokesmen, both publicly and privately delivered, that the arms buildup in Cuba would retain its original defensive character, and that the Soviet Union had no need or desire to station strategic missiles on the territory of any other nation.
The size of this undertaking makes clear that it has been planned for some months. • Yet only last month, after I had made clear the distinction between any introduction of ground-to-ground missiles and the existence of defensive antiaircraft missiles, the Soviet Government publicly stated on September 11 that, and I quote, “the armaments and military equipment sent to Cuba are designed exclusively for defensive purposes,” that, and I quote the Soviet Government, “there is no need for the Soviet Government to shift its weapons . . . For a retaliatory blow to any other country, for instance Cuba,” and that, and I quote their government, “the Soviet Union has so powerful rockets to carry these nuclear warheads that there is no need to search for sites for them beyond the boundaries of the Soviet Union.” That statement was false.
Only last Thursday, as evidence of this rapid offensive buildup was already in my hand, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko told me in my office that he was instructed to make it clear once again, as he said his government had already done, that Soviet assistance to Cuba, and I quote, “pursued solely the purpose of contributing to the defense capabilities of Cuba,” that, and I quote him, “training by Soviet specialists of Cuban nationals in handling defensive armaments was by no means offensive, and if it were otherwise,” Mr. Gromyko went on, “the Soviet Government would never become involved in rendering such assistance.” That statement also was false.
Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation’s security to constitute maximum peril. Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift, that any substantially increased possibility of their use or any sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace.
For many years, both the Soviet Union and the United States, recognizing this fact, have deployed strategic nuclear weapons with great care, never upsetting the precarious status quo which insured that these weapons would not be used in the absence of some vital challenge. Our own strategic missiles have never been transferred to the territory of any other nation under a cloak of secrecy and deception; and our history–unlike that of the Soviets since the end of World War II–demonstrates that we have no desire to dominate or conquer any other nation or impose our system upon its people. Nevertheless, American citizens have become adjusted to living daily on the bull’s-eye of Soviet missiles located inside the U.S.S.R. or in submarines.
In that sense, missiles in Cuba add to an already clear and present danger–although it should be noted the nations of Latin America have never previously been subjected to a potential nuclear threat.
But this secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles–in an area well known to have a special and historical relationship to the United States and the nations of the Western Hemisphere, in violation of Soviet assurances, and in defiance of American and hemispheric policy–this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons for the first time outside of Soviet soil–is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country, if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted again by either friend or foe.
The 1930’s taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. This nation is opposed to war. We are also true to our word. Our unswerving objective, therefore, must be to prevent the use of these missiles against this or any other country, and to secure their withdrawal or elimination from the Western Hemisphere.
Our policy has been one of patience and restraint, as befits a peaceful and powerful nation, which leads a worldwide alliance. We have been determined not to be diverted from our central concerns by mere irritants and fanatics. But now further action is required-and it is under way; and these actions may only be the beginning. We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth–but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced.
Acting, therefore, in the defense of our own security and of the entire Western Hemisphere, and under the authority entrusted to me by the Constitution as endorsed by the resolution of the Congress, I have directed that the following initial steps be taken immediately:
First: To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.
Second: I have directed the continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup. The foreign ministers of the OAS, in their communique of October 6, rejected secrecy on such matters in this hemisphere. Should these offensive military preparations continue, thus increasing the threat to the hemisphere, further action will be justified. I have directed the Armed Forces to prepare for any eventualities; and I trust that in the interest of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at the sites, the hazards to all concerned of continuing this threat will be recognized.
Third: It shall be the policy of this Nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
Fourth: As a necessary military precaution, I have reinforced our base at Guantanamo, evacuated today the dependents of our personnel there, and ordered additional military units to be on a standby alert basis.
Fifth: We are calling tonight for an immediate meeting of the Organ of Consultation under the Organization of American States, to consider this threat to hemispheric security and to invoke articles 6 and 8 of the Rio Treaty in support of all necessary action. The United Nations Charter allows for regional security arrangements–and the nations of this hemisphere decided long ago against the military presence of outside powers. Our other allies around the world have also been alerted.
Sixth: Under the Charter of the United Nations, we are asking tonight that an emergency meeting of the Security Council be convoked without delay to take action against this latest Soviet threat to world peace. Our resolution will call for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba, under the supervision of U.N. observers, before the quarantine can be lifted.
Seventh and finally: I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. I call upon him further to abandon this course of world domination, and to join in an historic effort to end the perilous arms race and to transform the history of man. He has an opportunity now to move the world back from the abyss of destruction–by returning to his government’s own words that it had no need to station missiles outside its own territory, and withdrawing these weapons from Cuba by refraining from any action which will widen or deepen the present crisis–and then by participating in a search for peaceful and permanent solutions.
This Nation is prepared to present its case against the Soviet threat to peace, and our own proposals for a peaceful world, at any time and in any forum–in the OAS, in the United Nations, or in any other meeting that could be useful–without limiting our freedom of action. We have in the past made strenuous efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. We have proposed the elimination of all arms and military bases in a fair and effective disarmament treaty. We are prepared to discuss new proposals for the removal of tensions on both sides–including the possibilities of a genuinely independent Cuba, free to determine its own destiny. We have no wish to war with the Soviet Union-for we are a peaceful people who desire to live in peace with all other peoples.
But it is difficult to settle or even discuss these problems in an atmosphere of intimidation. That is why this latest Soviet threat–or any other threat which is made either independently or in response to our actions this week–must and will be met with determination. Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedom of peoples to whom we are committed-including in particular the brave people of West Berlin–will be met by whatever action is needed.
Finally, I want to say a few words to the captive people of Cuba, to whom this speech is being directly carried by special radio facilities. I speak to you as a friend, as one who knows of your deep attachment to your fatherland, as one who shares your aspirations for liberty and justice for all. And I have watched and the American people have watched with deep sorrow how your nationalist revolution was betrayed–and how your fatherland fell under foreign domination. Now your leaders are no longer Cuban leaders inspired by Cuban ideals. They are puppets and agents of an international conspiracy which has turned Cuba against your friends and neighbors in the Americas–and turned it into the first Latin American country to become a target for nuclear war–the first Latin American country to have these weapons on its soil.
These new weapons are not in your interest. They contribute nothing to your peace and well-being. They can only undermine it. But this country has no wish to cause you to suffer or to impose any system upon you. We know that your lives and land are being used as pawns by those who deny your freedom.
Many times in the past, the Cuban people have risen to throw out tyrants who destroyed their liberty. And I have no doubt that most Cubans today look forward to the time when they will be truly free–free from foreign domination, free to choose their own leaders, free to select their own system, free to own their own land, free to speak and write and worship without fear or degradation. And then shall Cuba be welcomed back to the society of free nations and to the associations of this hemisphere.
My fellow citizens: let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead–months in which both our patience and our will be tested–months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.
The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are–but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high–but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.
Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right–not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.
The USS Constitution :: Launched: October 21, 1797, Boston Harbor;
First Sail Date: July 22, 1798; Production Cost: $302,718 (1797 dollars)
The USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is a
wooden-hulled, 2,200 ton displacement, three-masted, 44-gun heavy frigate of
the United States Navy which was launched on October 21, 1797. She is one of
the first (heavy) frigates of the United States Navy, one of original six frigates
authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed
in the series. The Constitution was named by President George Washington at her
launch and is the world’s oldest commissioned naval warship still afloat.
Although the Constitution is now a museum, she is still an active commissioned warship
in the United States Navy.
The Naval Act of 1794 provided for the construction six
frigates to operate in the Mediterranean Sea in response to a string of attacks
on American merchant vessels by the Barbary Pirates, operating primarily out of
Algiers. In 1793 11 American ships were captured by the pirates and their crews
and cargos held for ransom. A peace agreement was finalized between the United
States and the Barbary States in March 1796 and construction of the last three
ships was halted in accordance with the Naval Act. At the urging of President
Washington, Congress agreed to fund the final construction of the three ships
nearest to completion: they would become the USS United States, USS Constellation,
and USS Constitution.
Under the terms of the peace treaty with the pirates, the
United States committed to paying tribute for protection to the pirates. By 1800
the tribute payments to the Barbary states amounted to over 20% of United
States federal government’s annual budget. The United States conducted the
First Barbary War in 1801 to gain more favorable peace terms; the Second
Barbary War in 1815 ended the payment of tribute. In 1816, the British Royal
Navy finally put a substantial end to the activity of the pirates.
In a coincidence commented on by President Franklin Roosevelt
in 1942, the October 21st anniversary was the day the Royal Navy submarine
H.M.S. Seraph with American Major General Mark W. Clark landed the first
American reconnaissance team on the Algerian coast in preparation for the Operation
“Even before the fleet weighed anchor in Virginia, a small invasion vanguard had arrived off the African coast. This party comprised fewer than a dozen men; their mission—both courageous and daft—would become one of the most celebrated clandestine operations of the war. It began with a single light. Major General Mark W. Clark stood on the bridge of the submarine H.M.S. Seraph at ten P.M. on October 21, peering through his binoculars at a bright beacon on the Algerian coast. Braced to absorb the submarine’s roll, he raked the lenses across the white line of surf two miles away.
After several days of creeping submerged across the Mediterranean from Gibraltar at four knots, Clark was desperate to get ashore. Though Seraph surfaced every night to recharge her batteries, the fetid air inside grew so stale each day that a struck match would not light. Clark and the four other American officers had passed the time playing countless rubbers of bridge or, after lessons from the British commandos aboard, hands of cribbage. Small bruises covered Clark’s head; at six foot three inches tall, he found it impossible to dodge the sub’s innumerable pipes and knobs. “There’s the sugar-loaf hill to the left. I can see its outline against the sky,” Clark told Seraph’s commander, Lieutenant Norman L. A. Jewell. A pale glow to the east marked the fishing port of Cherchel, said to have been founded by Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Algiers lay another sixty miles up the coast. Clark focused again on the light burning in the seaward gable of an isolated farmhouse. “There’s a beach below the house. A black splotch behind the beach—that’s the grove of trees,” Clark said. “Yessir, this is the place we’re looking for.””
For more information about the founding of the United States
The Battle of Trafalgar was a decisive military victory for
the British Royal Navy under the command of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson against
the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the the Napoleonic
Wars (1796–1815). Nelson’s brilliant and unorthodox naval strategies were the
key to the British victory. During the battle, Nelson was shot and mortally
wounded, however he lived long enough to see the British victory.
For more information, please consider:
Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World by RoyAdkins
The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of HoratioNelson by Roger Knight (This is a wonderful book to read )
In a reprisal for Nazi resistance activities against German
troops, approximately 2800 innocent civilians in the Serbian towns of Kraljevo
and Kragujevac are murdered by troops from the German 704th Infantry Division. Four
villages were also burned down by the 717th Infantry Division after hostage
The partisan resistance had resulted in the deaths of 10 and
the wounding of 26 German soldiers. The number of hostages to be murdered was
calculated from a policy previously issued by Hitler as 100 hostages killed for
every German soldier killed and 50 hostages killed for every German soldier
wounded, however the number of hostages killed usually exceeded this formula.
This policy was issued by Hitler and the top leadership of the Nazi Party and Wehrmacht
with the dual intention of suppressing anti-Nazi resistance and involving the German
generals in war crimes to make them less likely to surrender or reveal
information about the Holocaust. Several senior German military officials were
tried and convicted for their involvement in these reprisal murders at the
“The 717th division of Major General Hoffmann was
responsible for this region, and the reprisal order of October 10th was to him
a veritable hunting license. When units of his division suffered casualties in
an attack on Kraljevo on October 15 and 16, they went on a house-to-house
search through the city, and by the evening of the 17th had shot 1,736 men and
19 “communist” women.”’
The Kraljevo massacre was shortly followed by an even larger
one in Kragujevac, When a German punitive expedition returning to the town suffered
casualties and Hoffmann ordered immediate retaliation. The number of communist
suspects, prison inmates, Jews, and even men rounded up from the surrounding
villages considered “communist infested” left the Germans far short
of their quota of 2,300. The German commander, Major Konig, an ardent critic of
“soft” measures, had his troops seize 3,200 inhabitants from the city
itself, including the students of the local high school, and they fired away on
October 21 until the quota had been met.'”
October 19, 1781 :: The British surrender at Yorktown resulting in a decisive American victory in the War for Independence.
In October 1781 the combined forces of the American Continental Army led by General George Washington and a French Army led by Marshall Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau with support from the French West Indies fleet under the command of Vice Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse, laid siege to the British forces under Generals Charles Cornwallis and Henry Clinton which were entrenched around Yorktown, Virginia.
The siege and battle of Yorktown would be the last major battle of the American War for Independence. Cornwallis requested terms of capitulation on October 17, 1781. After two days of negotiations, the surrender ceremony occurred on October 19. Over 7,000 British soldiers were taken prisoner, many of whom eventually chose to stay in America after their release and became American citizens. The American victory would lead to the Treaty of Paris of 1783.
A humiliated and recalcitrant Cornwallis added disgrace to defeat by refusing to attend the surrender ceremony. In his place he sent his deputy Brigadier General Charles O’Hara. O’Hara first refused to surrender to the Americans and attempted to offer the British surrender to Rochambeau, who refused to accept and directed that the British surrender to General Washington. When O’Hara offered his sword in surrender to Washington, Washington refused to receive the surrender from the deputy of Cornwallis and directed the sword be surrendered to his deputy General Benjamin Lincoln. Washington’s deputy accepted the sword finalizing the surrender. Because the British had repeatedly denied military honors to Americans during the war, the British were denied military honors after the surrender at Yorktown. However the surrendering British officers were allowed to leave for Britain after the surrender. Later Cornwallis would sneak his way into Canada and return in disgrace to Britain.
“That same afternoon, October 19, at two o’clock, six and one-half years to the day since this war had begun at Lexington and Concord, the British surrender formally began. The British army marched from the tottering ruins of their lockup in Yorktown, accompanied by a band whose “drums [were] covered with black handkerchiefs and their fifes with black ribbons.”
From “Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence” by John Ferling “That same afternoon, October 19, at two o’clock, six and one-half years to the day since this war had begun at Lexington and Concord, the British surrender formally began. The British army marched from the tottering ruins of their lockup in Yorktown, accompanied by a band whose “drums [were] covered with black handkerchiefs and their fifes with black ribbons.”
The defeated British processed between a long row of French soldiers in their dress whites on their left and the American soldiery, few in uniforms and a considerable number without shoes, on their right. The redcoats appeared surly, one rebel thought, but the Germans seemed to him to be indifferent. A French officer was struck by the appearance of the British, who “seemed… much more tired and much less heroic” than the Germans. Slowly, dolefully, the vanquished marched toward the designated field of surrender, a prosaic plain midway between the quarters of the victorious allied commanders and the hitherto obscure village whose name was about to be catapulted into history. It was a gorgeous day, bright and sunny, and the leaves were just beginning to show their autumn colors. Throngs of spectators from the Williamsburg Neck had come to watch, nearly as many, thought one soldier, as the numbers that comprised the rebel army. The principal officers rode at the head of the defeated army, save for Cornwallis, who pleaded illness and did not appear. Brigadier General Charles O’Hara was given responsibility for surrendering. About forty, O’Hara had been a soldier since he was a teenager, fighting in Europe and Africa before being sent to America in October 1780, where he always served with Cornwallis. He chased after Greene, fought him at Guilford Courthouse, where he was wounded in the chest and thigh, then fought on in Virginia.
O’Hara rode forward to a row of allied officers mounted on horseback and asked which officer was Rochambeau. He was curtly told that he was to surrender to General Washington. But when O’Hara drew up in front of the American commander and offered his sword, Washington disdainfully refused to accept a token from a subordinate of Cornwallis. He directed O’Hara to surrender to General Lincoln, the second in command of the Continental army. Once his distasteful duty was done, O’Hara turned and rode away. According to an eyewitness, “tears rolled down his cheeks.” When the little ceremony was concluded, the British soldiers came forward to ground their weapons. It was a lengthy process, and at times the redcoat band played mournful tunes, though contrary to legend it likely never played “The World Turned Upside Down,” a popular song of the day. At other times during the ceremony the French band played more upbeat melodies.”
One of the core pillars of American republicanism is individual liberty. But the founders also understood that individual liberty could not be maintained without a virtuous body politic grounded is a secularized public religion where citizens are willing to place the public good ahead individual interests, in much the same way that individuals in a family will sacrifice their desires for the greater good of the entire family.
Ultimately this philosophy can be traced back to Puritan Communitarianism and their concept of “Free Will” from Romans 1-9 (and specifically chapter 7). In this belief system, before “salvation” a person is a slave to sin, afterwards they receive the “free will” to be able to choose between the good Christ wants a person to chose and the selfish sinfulness Christ’s death freed a person from.
————————————————————– From “The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787” by Gordon S. Wood
“The sacrifice of individual interests to the greater good of the whole formed the essence of republicanism and comprehended for Americans the idealistic goal of their Revolution. From this goal flowed all of the Americans’ exhortatory literature and all that made their ideology truly revolutionary.
This republican ideology both presumed and helped shape the Americans’ conception of the way their society and politics should be structured and operated—a vision so divorced from the realities of American society, so contrary to the previous century of American experience, that it alone was enough to make the Revolution one of the great Utopian movements of American history.
By 1776 the Revolution came to represent a final attempt, perhaps—given the nature of American society—even a desperate attempt, by many Americans to realize the traditional Commonwealth ideal of a corporate society, in which the common good would be the only objective of government.”