Muslim Conquest of Spain II

Lead: Following the expansionist inclination of the Umayyad caliphate of Damascus, evangelical Islam by 714 had conquered almost all of the Iberian peninsula. In Spain they created a brand new society.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Disunity among Christians, powerful armies, and a sense of spiritual inevitability compelled the armies of God north through Spain and into central France. Everywhere Islam swept all before it. Not until the Christian Franks outflanked and defeated the Muslims at the first Battle of Poitiers in 732, did the Islamic tide recede and retreat.

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Muslim Conquest of Spain I

Lead: The expansion of Islam in the centuries after the Prophet Muhammad’s death flowed east to India and west to the Visigothic kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain had powerful Moorish rule for more than seven centuries.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From 712 to 1492 some part of Spain was under Muslim control. At high tide, Arabs ruled almost all of Iberia. In the end, only Granada, dominated by the massive Alhambra fortress, could resist the Reconquista, the re-conquest of the peninsula, led finally by Christian forces united under Ferdinand and Isabella. The city surrendered in the year Spain turned its attention outward and sent Christopher Columbus on his journey to a new world..

Eugenics II

Lead: From its start as an optimistic approach to improving the human condition, eugenics degenerated into a racist tool in the hands of bigotry and ultimately led to the gas ovens of the Third Reich.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fundamental problem with eugenics, even as Sir Francis Galton articulated it in the 19th century, was that it focused primarily on inborn characteristics and almost completely disregarded social, environmental, educational, and physical factors when examining the human race. Basically, eugenicists advocated a form of genetic determinism. A person is born with a genetic imprint that determines the course of their lives. Not surprisingly these theories became a powerful tool in the hands of racists. It all depends on who is setting the standard. If society is to improve itself, it is said, it must eliminate genetic threats to racial purity. In the sad history of eugenics, a wide variety of groups have been singled out for social restriction, sterilization, or elimination. Feeble-minded or mentally ill people, habitual criminals, sexual libertines, Negroes, Native Americans or any non-whites, Jews, gypsies, and evangelical Christians have all fallen under the wary and sometimes fatal scrutiny of the eugenic mandate. They bore undesirable human traits.

Medical Miracle in Panama I

Lead: Before breaching the Panamanian land bridge, the builders of the Isthmus Canal knew they first had to deal with disease.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After his brilliant construction of the Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps set out in the 1870s to duplicate his achievement by crafting a shipping canal across the Isthmus of Panama. He failed. De Lesseps underestimated the enormity of the task, his technology was much too primitive, and the French design for a sea-level canal was fatally flawed, but much of the failure can be attributed to a deadly pair of diseases. Malaria and yellow fever took thousands of lives and put many more in bed for weeks of convalescence and depression. Engineers freshly graduated from the École Polytechnique in Paris would arrive in Colon filled with enthusiastic anticipation and die within a week. Thousands of manual laborers recruited from Caribbean islands fell victim in this grim harvest of death.

Miracle of Anesthesia II

Lead: Until 1846 the work of the medical surgeon was a gruesome, often brutal exercise in torture, but for seventy years the solution had been just a giggle away.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the invention of the ligature - the stitch - by a French military surgeon in the sixteenth century, the practice of surgery began to take on a certain scientific respectability. No longer was the stump of an amputee dipped in boiling tar to seal the blood vessels nor were wounds cauterized with hot irons. They were sewn up. With the ability to close a wound as well as open it, a surgical operation might actually save someone's life on occasion. However, the strongest block to successful surgery was the pain it inflicted on the patient, or better said, the victim. Yet, after 1772, the solution, even though unrecognized for years, had at last become available.

Miracle of Anesthesia I

Lead: The practice of surgery was a brutal affair and lagged behind other sciences because people could not stand the pain.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The scientific revolution kicked into high gear during the years between 1500 and 1800. Galileo popularized the work of Copernicus the Polish scholar who insisted that the sun rather than the earth lay at the center of the solar system. William Harvey described the circulation of blood and Sir Isaac Newton, one of history’s greatest thinkers, gave the universe a philosophical order and contributed to the development of calculus and higher mathematics. Botany, biology, and chemistry also enjoyed a time of advancement and new fields related to medicine, including bacteriology and nutritional science, emerged from this period of intellectual ferment. However, the practice of surgery lagged far behind its companion sciences. There could be little regular exploration or cure of diseased living human flesh until there was invented an effective pain killer. Most people would rather bear the illness or die than endure the torment associated with a surgical cure.

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.