Suez Canal III

Lead: Facing almost universal skepticism, the Suez Canal Company under Ferdinand de Lesseps raised the money and dug the Canal.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Prime Minister Palmerston of Britain called him a swindler and a fool. Bankers such as Baron de Rothschild rejected his pleas for capital. Yet, de Lesseps succeeded against all odds. Raising money from small investors and operating with a design approved by the International Commission for the Piercing of the Isthmus of Suez, he broke ground in 1859 near the future Port Said. It took ten years to construct the canal. At any given point 30,000 workers were employed often under harsh, forced conditions. More than a million were so engaged and thousands of laborers died on the project. Progress was often delayed by labor disputes and the outbreak of diseases such as cholera, but in the end the canal was completed primarily due to the importation of giant French-designed steam shovels and dredges.

Suez Canal II

Lead: In 1869, finally, the land bridge between Egypt and Suez was pierced with a canal, thanks in large measure to Ferdinand de Lesseps.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He was no engineer, had no great fortune, had no access to capital, and was in no way an effective administrator, unanimated by tedium. Yet, if anyone might be called the Father of the Suez, it was de Lesseps. Other than his indefatigable energy and dedication to the project, he largely succeeded in building the canal because of his personal connection to two people.

Suez Canal I

Lead: In 1869 French engineers and Egyptian laborers completed work eliminating one of the world’s two great blocks to navigation. They opened the canal at Suez.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the 19th and 20th centuries there were two significant places in the world where the passage of oceangoing commerce and transportation were impeded by relatively short land bridges. The Isthmus of Panama fell before the assaults of U.S. doctors and engineers in 1914. Creating a passage between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea was much longer in coming. It had attracted the attention of rulers such as Ramesses II of the 12th Egyptian dynasty in the 2nd Millennium BCE and Persian conqueror Darius I. They built narrow canals from the Nile to the Red Sea but these soon fell into disuse.

The US and the Holocaust II

Lead: The enormity of the Holocaust only became clear after the war. Yet, Allied leaders knew that to stop it, they had to destroy the Nazis.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the beginning of World War II, the Jews remaining in Europe were unable to escape. They were caught, and many millions would soon become victims of the grim German death nightmare. It was an instrument so indomitable that even as Hitler was taking the coward’s way out in his suicide bunker, his disciples were still hard at work operating the killing machine.

The US and the Holocaust I

Lead: During the horrific 12 years of the Third Reich, millions of Jews were murdered. Could the United States have done more to stop it?

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is hard to reject the judgment of Winston Churchill that the Holocaust “was probably the greatest and most terrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world.” Faced with such gratuitous, monumental evil, one is tempted to wonder if the forces of moral decency could not have done more to prevent this genocidal slaughter.

Jamestown Journey: Dred Scott, Roger Taney and Strict Constructionism

Lead: In 1857 the Supreme Court denied Dred Scott his freedom and even the right to sue. It was an early example of judicial strict construction.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: The names of Roger Taney and Dred Scott are forever linked in one of history’s great ironies. Taney was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court which, in 1857, denied freedom to Dred Scott, a slave born in Virginia residing in Missouri. Scott had been the slave of an Army surgeon, John Emerson, and with his master had been posted to various forts before Emerson’s death in 1843. In the course of their various postings, Scott had resided on free soil, states that prohibited slavery. There was a legal tradition in several states that enforced the notion that if a slave resided for any length of time on free soil, he or she was liberated. Scott sued first in state courts and then at the federal level.

 

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Stephen Decatur, U.S. Naval Hero

Lead: Among the most distinguished early U.S. Naval officers, Stephen Decatur displayed courage under fire and political astuteness that, save for his death by duel, marked him for high office, perhaps even the highest.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Decatur was born in Maryland during the Revolution and educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He first came to national attention during the War with Tripoli. President Jefferson had ordered the U.S. warships into the Mediterranean to get at the pirates who were raiding U.S. ships from bases in the so-called Barbary states, Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania.

 

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Beria III (Russia)

Lead: After clawing his way to the top of the ailing Joseph Stalin's pyramid of bureaucratic terror, Lavrentiy Beria seemed set to succeed the maximum leader.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1938 Stalin brought him to Moscow after Beria had distinguished himself as the bloody enforcer of the Great Purges in Georgia and other southern Soviet provinces near the Caucasus Mountains. He became assistant to Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD, in the waning days of the purge, and after Yezhov's fall from power and execution, Beria took his place. He became a candidate member of the Politburo and during World War II he sat on the five-member State Defense Committee, which, with Stalin, directed the war effort. Beria was responsible for internal security as well as foreign intelligence operations and the network of forced labor camps he ruled, the Gulag Archipelago, turned out much of the raw material for the Soviet war industry.