Black Plague II

Lead: Beginning in 1347 Europe was devastated by the Black Death. In some areas, perhaps as much as a third of the population was wiped out.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts

Content: The disease was the bubonic plague which took its name from very painful bubas or boils which grew on the skin of the neck, groin or armpit of its victim. It was caused by a bacillus which often lived in the blood stream of tiny fleas born by migratory black rats. The Black Death came in two versions: the bubonic form by which fleas would jump off the rats and infest, for instance, people's bedding, bite their human hosts and infect them. The other form was the pneumonic plague. It was passed from one human to another through the air or by touch.  

Read more →

Cromwell and the Jews of England

Lead: Ejected by King Edward I in 1290, Jews got back open toleration in England during the Puritan rule of Oliver Cromwell.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In December, 1655, Lord Protector of England Oliver Cromwell convened a most unusual meeting. The so-called Whitehall Conference met to consider the petition of Manasseh Ben Israel, the leading Rabbi of Amsterdam, that England officially readmit Jews after 300 years of exile. The conference was made up of merchants, scholars, clergymen, and the Council of State, military and government officials who were called to advise Cromwell.

The Hundred Years’ War V: Results

Lead: From 1337 to 1459 England and France struggled to determine the future of the French monarchy. France won but only barely.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Both England and France suffered terribly during a century of intermittent warfare and conflict. Thousands of soldiers and civilians on both sides were slaughtered as a result of England's dynastic pursuit of the French Crown. Hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile French farmland were laid waste by armies tramping back and forth in various campaigns. The French economy was in shambles with heavy taxation and defeat adding to social chaos and disruption.

 

Read more →

The Hundred Years’ War II: Popular War

Lead: During the Hundred Years' War England and France mobilized public opinion for the war effort to an extent seldom known before.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The enormous requirements of conducting a war far from home on French soil forced the English to aggressively whip up public support. Prior to this time warfare was conducted on a smaller scale and along feudal lines. Feudal society was highly structured, much like a pyramid with the king at the top and peasants at the bottom. When war came the king would call on the next rank down for men and money. At the next rank, his barons would do the same to their knights and so on down the pyramid of feudal obligation. That is the way it worked in theory at least. Often the barons were far stronger the king which is why France was in trouble. During the Hundred Years' War much of the French aristocracy supported the English invader. Therefore each side had a motive for seeking widespread popular support: the English to maintain armies across the channel, the French to prosecute what was basically a civil war.

 

Read more →

John Kennedy Loses the Vice-Presidency

Lead: In 1956 a little known Senator from Massachusetts suddenly emerged on the national scene by losing.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1956 there was little doubt in party circles about who the Democrats would nominate for President. If he wanted it Adlai Stevenson of Illinois could again run against President Eisenhower. The question was who he would chose as a running mate. Jack Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts considered the race. Some of his advisors, most especially his father, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, were skeptical. Assuming that Stevenson would lose, the defeat might be attributed to Jack's Catholicism. Also, despite his wealth, physical attractiveness, and stunning victory over Henry Cabot Lodge for the Senate, Kennedy's career had been rather lack-luster to that point and was considered by many to be a political light-weight.
All that changed when the freshly re-nominated Stevenson threw the convention into chaos by declining to name a running mate. The Kennedy competitive juices began to flow and his forces at the Chicago convention jumped into action. There were five candidates but the real race was between Kennedy and Tennessee's Estes Kefauver. By the second ballot Kennedy was ahead but just barely. With the voting so close states previously committed to the other candidates were waving their standards to switch votes. Whoever switched first would probably put one or other over the top.

Read more →

Black Plague III

Lead: Faced with the enormous loss of perhaps as much as a third of its population, Europe began to pick up the pieces in the wake of the Black Death.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts

Content: With friends and family dying right and left Europeans in the fourteenth century were faced with grave social problems and a spiritual crisis as a result of the bubonic plague. They did not know what was consuming them. This ignorance provoked great acts of courage and compassion particularly among the clergy, but also near barbaric brutality. Many people fell back on that tired but convenient medieval explanation for the unknown: they blamed the Jews specifically for poisoning the drinking water. In the face of such a profound threat to life, Christian civility went out the window and thousands of Jews were murdered. According to one source, 16,000 killed in Strasbourg alone in 1649.

Read more →

Spanish Inquisition I

Lead: The Political Unity in Spain was forged in part by a religious policy known as the Spanish Inquisition.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts

Content: By the Early Middle Ages, the on rushing tide of evangelical Islam had swept North Africa, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and moved irresistibly north into Spain. Moslem forces were halted only by vigorous military action at the Pyrenees Mountains. Seven centuries of near constant conflict followed. Christian and Moslems struggled over the control of Spain but in many ways the warfare masked social, ethnic, and political upheaval as well as religious dispute.

 

Read more →