Berlin Airlift – Cold War II

Lead: In the summer of 1948 Soviet occupation forces established a full blockade on the City of West Berlin. The allies responded with a giant airlift.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, Berlin had been a growing source of bitter contention between the Soviets and their former wartime allies. By 1948, the United States, Britain and France were moving to merge those zones of Germany and Berlin they occupied into a single nation. This posed a threat to Russia and on July 24, 1948 it retaliated with an bold attempt to cut off West Berlin from outside contact and vital supplies of electricity, coal, and food. In a city of 2.5 million there was only food sufficient for 35 days.

 

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Berlin Airlift – Cold War I

Lead: By July 1948 the Soviet Union no longer was willing to tolerate West Berlin.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

As the end of World War II drew near, the alliance that had hammered Germany into submission began to fall apart. After the war, the Soviet Union forced communist governments on most of those Eastern European nations its army had occupied and erected barriers to impede communications, trade and travel between East and West. Yet, it was Germany that would prove to be the most serious irritant between the two emerging Cold War coalitions. The Soviets occupied the eastern zone while the western zones of Germany were administered by the United States, France and Britain.

 

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The XYZ Affair V

Lead: In 1797 the fledgling United States was about to go to war with France.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: President John Adams sent John Marshall, Charles Coatsworth Pinckney, and Elbridge Gerry to calm the French but from the time they reached Paris they were treated with stone-walling, insults and official corruption. French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand sent secret emissaries who presented several demands. They desired a U.S. apology for resent Adams' recent allegedly disparaging remarks about France to Congress, a $250,000 bribe for Talleyrand, and an enormous loan from the US to France which everyone agreed would never be repaid. Marshall, Pinckney and Gerry did not even consider the apology. That would impune U.S. national sovereignty. They were hardly shocked by the bribe. It was a little excessive but Marshall knew that bribery of high officials was a customary feature of diplomacy in Europe at the time. It was the loan that caused the negotiations come to a halt. When Pinckney heard the French terms he said in irritation, "No, no! Not a sixpence."

 

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The XYZ Affair IV

Lead: In 1797 three envoys sent by President John Adams tried to improve United States relations with the French. There followed the XYZ Affair.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From 1793, Revolutionary France was at war with Britain and wanted help from the United States with which it had a treaty dating back to the dark days of the American Revolution. Even though France had helped the United States gain its independence, America wanted to stay out of this war. In 1794 America signed Jay's Treaty with Britain which partially soothed relations but this angered the French. President Adams sent three men to help smooth over the tension between the United States and its oldest ally. His representatives were John Marshall a noted lawyer and member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Charles Coatsworth Pinckney, a wealthy landowner from Charleston recently appointed ambassador to France who had been rejected by the French because of his alleged pro-British sympathies, and Elbridge Gerry, an old ally of President Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Gerry would later gain immortality when as governor of Massachusetts, his administration would gain the reputation for artificially designed electoral districts, a practice known as Gerrymandering.

 

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The XYZ Affair III

Lead: To calm the angry French President John Adams sent three envoys to Paris in 1797.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Revolution came to France in 1789 and in four years the new government had executed King Louis XVI and declared war on Britain and most of the rest of Europe. The United States tried to stay out of the war but France insisted the United States must honor its obligations in the Treaty of 1778 by which France can be said to have rescued the new American republic. Both France and Britain were seizing American ships which trying to trade with the other and the United States was slowly being drawn into the hostilities.

 

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The XYZ Affair II

Lead: The French Revolution divided America.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: France is the United States oldest ally. Its intervention probably saved the American Revolution. Therefore it was with horror that many Americans watched the forces unleashed during the French Revolution of 1789. Many in the United States considered their own Revolution to be a conservative one, asserting rights previously tolerated by the mother country, but France was turning itself inside out with a bloody Reign of Terror. Americans became divided into pro- and anti-French camps. The administration of President George Washington tried to steer a course of neutrality lest the nation be drawn into the war the Revolutionary government of France had declared against Britain in 1793, but there was a problem. To save itself the United States had signed an alliance with France in 1778 that required the US to fight alongside the French should that nation go to war.

 

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The XZY Affair I

Lead: In the 1790s, the United States almost went to war with its greatest ally.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When America declared its independence in 1776, it had few international allies. All expectations were that Britain would quickly stamp out this rebellion. However, though its first victories were meager, the United States held on. Independence would not go away easily.

Early on Congress sent Benjamin Franklin to Paris to try to get French help in the war, but France was reluctant. Everyone likes a winner. In late fall 1777, word reached Paris of the British defeat at the Battle of Saratoga, New York and the French realized the former colonists might win after all, therefore in 1778 France signed an alliance with the United States.

 

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