Saturday, August 06, 2005

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima - An eyewitness report written by a Jesuit priest living near Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing. Describes the aftermath of the bombing, and the effects on the people of Hiroshima.

Today is the 6oth Anniversity of the atom bombing of Hiroshima. Over 60,000 Japanese died (most of who were civilians) when the Enola Gay dropped the bomb.

It is hard to predict what may have happened had Truman decided not to atom bomb Japan. Maybe the war would have gone on with a full-scale allied invasion of Japan and the death toll would have been much higher. Further, the Soviet Union may have occupied portions of Japan which would have further complicated the Cold War. But maybe not. It probably was the right decision but we can still mourn those innocents who died on August 6th, 1945.

From the site:

In September of 1945, Bishop Franklin Corley was sent to the Japanese city of Hiroshima as part of the American occupation forces then entering that country. As one of the first American soldiers to enter the stricken city, he encountered many of the people who were helping to re-establish order from the chaos. One of these people was Father P. Siemes, a German priest with the Novitists of the Society of Jesus in Nagatsuki. Father Siemes was directly involved in the post-bombing rescue, and had also witnessed the explosion itself while barely avoiding the bomb's lethal heat and shock waves.

Shortly after they met, Father Siemes gave a typed account of his observations to Mr.Corley, who then brought the manuscript back to the United States where it lay mostly hidden for fifty years. Thanks to the kind cooperation of Mr. Corley's son, Father Siemes' account is now given below without any editing or modification. His eyewitness account is a priceless insight into this event, as are his thoughts on the implications of total war and its application. Shown along with the account are Mr. Corley's photographs of Hiroshima, some of which were taken while the city still smoldered.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Battle of Beaumont Hamel

Battle of Beaumont Hamel. The recent losses of the Ohio National Guard in the Iraq War have hit Northeast Ohio hard. However, by comparison to many past wars, the losses are light. In the American Civil War and World War One, entire regiments of men from the same towns and counties were wiped out.

A good example of this is the 1st Newfoundland Regiment in the Great War. On the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the unit was almost entirely destroyed. 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded.

From the site:

The opening day of the Battle of the Somme was a slaughter for the Allies, and the 1st Newfoundland Regiment was virtually annihilated at Beaumont-Hamel. In Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is Memorial Day to commemorate Newfoundland's heavy losses.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Ottoman Sultans and Caliphs 1290-1924 AD

The Ottoman Sultans and Caliphs 1290-1924 AD - Well done site by Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. listing rulers of the Ottoman Turks. Includes maps of the Ottoman Empire throughout the ages.

From the site:

The Sultânate of Rûm had been dormant for some years, failing even to capitalize on the victory of Myriocephalum (1176). After vassalage to the Mongols (1243), the domain finally disintegrated (1307). Meanwhile, however, the Turkish presence in Anatolia was actually invigorated with refugees from the Mongol advance. The new domains that resulted were the oghullar or "sons." These included many ghuzâh (sing. ghâzin), or fighters for Islâm (otherwise mujâhidûn), particularly frontier fighters. 'Osman Ghâzî (now just Osman Gazi) found himself on the frontier of Roman Bithynia, across from his Christian military counterparts, the akritai (sing. akritês). He defeated the Roman army at Bapheus in 1302 but is best remembered for breaking through into Bithynia and captured Prusa (1326), which became Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Emirate.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Alternative History

Alternative History. I have from time to time posted links to sites which deal with alternate history. I must admit that I enjoy this topic a great deal. What if...

Mind you, alternate history is at best just a good guess at what might have happened if one or two events had been a bit different. Or, in many cases, it is an excuse in good (or bad) science fiction. (When the aliens show up in the story, I would not class a site as being alternate history.)

The blogged site of the day is a collection of 26 sites which have alternate history on them. Some are better than others but all explore interesting themes.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

History of Tunisia

History of Tunisia. This is a brief and sketchy history of the African nation of Tunisia. Despite this, it does the job of educating the newbie to the subject on the basics of the topic.

Wikipedia notes that, "The Tunisian Republic (الجمهرية التونسية), or Tunisia, is a Muslim Arab country situated on the North African Mediterranean coast. It is the easternmost and smallest of the three nations along the Atlas mountain range, bordering one of the others, Algeria to the west, as well as Libya to the south and east. Forty per cent of the country is comprised by the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile land and easily accessible coasts. Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the founding of the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, and later, as the Africa Province, it became known as the bread basket of the Roman Empire. It is thought that the name Tunis originated from Berber, meaning either a geographical promontory, or, 'to spend the night.' "

From the site:

Modern Tunisians are the descendents of indigenous Berbers and of people from numerous civilizations that have invaded, migrated to, and been assimilated into the population over the millenia. Recorded history in Tunisia begins with the arrival of Phoenicians, who founded Carthage and other North African settlements in the 8th century BC. Carthage became a major sea power, clashing with Rome for control of the Mediterranean until it was defeated and captured by the Romans in 146 B.C. The Romans ruled and settled in North Africa until the 5th century when the Roman Empire fell and Tunisia was invaded by European tribes, including the Vandals. The Muslim conquest in the 7th century transformed Tunisia's and the make-up of its population, with subsequent waves of migration from around the Arab and Ottoman world, including significant numbers of Spanish Moors and Jews at the end of the 15th century. Tunisia became a center of Arab culture and learning and was assimilated into the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. It was a French protectorate from 1881 until independence in 1956, and retains close political, economic, and cultural ties with France.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Knights Hospitaller, Ancient and Modern

The Knights Hospitaller, Ancient and Modern - An unofficial guide to the chivalric Hospitaller Orders, especially the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, from the First Crusade to the present era.

Not as well known as the Knights Templar (or as controversial), they originated during the Crusades, helped to defend the Crusader states, and survived as an order-in-exile until the time of Napoleon.

From the site:

The Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem originated in the Eleventh Century as a monastic brotherhood caring for the needs of Latin pilgrims in the Holy Land. The Order's founder, Blessed Gérard, was not an aristocrat, but after the first Crusade, which took place in his lifetime, the Hospital staff began to include demobilised knights. Inevitably, as the Crusader States found themselves in a condition of perpetual war, the brethren of the Order were soon found serving as medics and then as combatants, becoming (with their rivals the Knights Templar) the most discilplined Christian military force in Outremer and the mediæval equivalent of a multinational corporation.

But their history did not end with the failure of the Crusades, as the Templars' did. Their military, commercial, and humanitarian activities were relocated first to the Ægean and then to Malta; the "last Crusaders" survived anachronistically into the era of the French Revolution. Even after Napoleon captured their island stronghold, representatives of the Sovereign Order continued to negotiate with the Pope, the Russian Czar, and the monarchs of Europe for a return to power. It never came, and none of the various organizations claiming with various degrees of plausibility to be the Order's heir can be said to much resemble the Order in its days of greatness. However, at least some of these organizations, including the two largest, have rededicated themselves to the charitable work originally intended for the Hospitallers by their founder.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mexico: From Empire to Revolution

Mexico: From Empire to Revolution - Photographs from the Getty Research Institute's collections exploring Mexican history and culture through images produced between 1857 and 1923.

This is a well done site. As an American, I must admit that my knowledge of Mexican history is limited. I know the basics but I just do not know a lot. I know much more about European history than I do of our neighbors in North America. I am sure I am not alone in this. This site has certainly helped me get a better picture of Mexican history.

From the site:

Mexico: From Empire to Revolution is a Web resource that draws upon the collection of the Getty Research Institute and extends the two-part exhibition held at the Institute between October 2000 and May 2001. Reproduced in the digital resource are cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, albums, postcards and other forms of photography. The Photographers represented are either Mexican or European or North American. The work of some thirty known photographers is shown, alongside that of many others who remain anonymous. Together they provide a chronicle of Mexico from approximately 1857 to 1923, a chronicle explored in the History and Chronology sections of the resource. The terrain across which this history played out may be explored in the Maps section. The animated introduction gives a sampling of the events and lives documented by the photographs included in this Web site, including images of the railways, bridges, roads, buildings and monuments that became the fabric of the country, and portraits of Mexico’s leaders and ordinary people, all of whom played a part in the unfolding story.