Gutenberg Press II

Lead: In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg began the first book printed in the western world using moveable metal type. Those copies of the Gutenberg Bible that have survived are among the most valued artifacts in the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After spending almost two decades in Strasbourg, working secretly on a new type of printing press, Johannes Gutenberg returned to his hometown of Mainz and formed a partnership so as to exploit his revolutionary invention - movable metal type. There is evidence that movable type had been used in China for thousands of years and even in Europe before Gutenberg’s invention, but the process used fashioned letters from clay or porcelain or wood. They would break, splinter or wear down after a few uses. Gutenberg spent years solving the problem of deterioration. Blocks, each one bearing a precise metallic raised letter on its face were held together tightly in a wooden form, ink was rolled over the raised letters, then the form was pressed against paper. Because the letters were metallic they were extremely durable, could be used over and over again and reformatted to make different words and sentences.


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Gutenberg Press I

Lead: During the late 1430s in the Rhine valley city of Strasbourg, France, an obscure gem cutter began secretly working on an invention that would change the face of the modern world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden was born into a patrician family in Mainz, Germany, around 1395. There is little documentation on his personal life, an ironic fate for one whose influence over modern history is almost universal. As an adult he changed his name, assuming that of one of the family’s estates. Johannes Gutenberg worked as a gem cutter and goldsmith; he possibly learned the skills of engraving from an uncle, who was master of a mint.

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Arrest of the Five Members

Lead: In early 1641, Parliament and King Charles I of England had reached a dangerous impasse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Taxation, the war with Scotland, the rights of Parliament, and royal manipulation of the courts were among the subjects of a contentious and sometimes bitter struggle between a majority of the House of Commons and the government of Charles I, but it was religion that generated much of the passion of those years. For nearly a century, the Puritans, a minority in the Church of England, had been agitating for an end to corruption in the clergy, a simpler form of church worship, and greater control of congregations by the local churches.

Cook-Peary North Pole Competition

Lead: In 1909 Robert Peary and Frederick Cook claimed to have discovered the North Pole. Their competing assertions form one of history’s mysteries.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: They began this saga as friendly associates. Peary hired Cook as a physician on a Greenland expedition in 1891, and the Doctor unflappably set the bones of his leader’s legs after an accident on the shipboard part of the journey. They soon became competitors, however, in the race to the North Pole, which was made extremely complex because unlike the land-bound South Pole, the position of 90 North sits on drifting sea ice.

Battle of Midway III

Lead: In the late spring of 1942, two great armadas met off the Midway Islands.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Isoroku Yamamoto opposed the war with America. He had served as Naval Attaché at the Japanese Embassy in Washington and knew first-hand how lethal was the power of the giant American democracy once awakened. However, when the decision to go to war was made he insisted that Japan’s only hope for victory was a surprise attack which would cripple U.S. forces in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor proved him right but he had missed the American aircraft carriers on December 7th, because they were at sea on maneuvers. Yamamoto was back in the Central Pacific in late May 1942 to take out those carriers and to establish an early warning picket line anchored by the two tiny Midway Islands at the tip of the Hawaiian archipelago 1300 miles northeast of Honolulu.

Battle of Midway II

Lead: Samuel Johnson, the author of the first great English Dictionary once said, “the prospect of hanging clears the mind, wonderfully.” In the early summer of 1942 with two great armadas converging on Midway Island, the mind of the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was very clear.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since civilian Eugene Ely first flew an airplane off a specially constructed platform on the USS Birmingham in November 1910, aircraft carriers played an increasingly important role in strategic planning. If there were any lingering doubts as to the value of the aircraft carrier, these doubts departed with the Japanese dive bombers leaving Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The Japanese attack was very destructive but it failed to take out the greatest prize of all. The three aircraft carriers assigned to the U.S. Pacific fleet were out at sea when Pearl Harbor was pulverized. In the early summer of 1942, a fleet under Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto returned to the Central Pacific to provoke a battle which he was confident he could win, take out those carriers, and establish an early warning line using the Midway Islands as an anchor.

Battle of Midway I

Lead: In the early summer of 1942 United States forces in the Pacific could have been defeated at the distant tip of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the last Japanese dive bombers departed through the smoke that billowed from the ruined U.S. Naval Station at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, they left a job undone. While the line of battleships was hard hit and some of vessels such as the USS Arizona were lost for good, battleships were headed for a diminished role in strategic military planning. Hickam and Wheeler Air Fields were filled with many burning wrecks, but the aircraft could be easily replaced. Japanese had missed the greatest prize. Three aircraft carriers assigned to the Pacific fleet were absent on that fateful Sunday morning and to the Japanese command these ships remained a deadly threat.

Voltaire II

Lead: In 1729 François Marie Arouet, Voltaire, returned from self-imposed exile in London. He brought a reinforced determination to challenge the ancient regime in France.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: His English experience had changed Voltaire. He became enamored of the intellectual ferment that the relatively free atmosphere in Britain afforded. The work of Shakespeare, the scientific theories of Isaac Newton and others, impressed him and he envied the English their freedom of thought and commercial prosperity. Born of middle class circumstances, because of his talent, early he was thrown into aristocratic circles. He savored the comforts and pleasures of life he saw there, but also realized that financial independence would allow him to speak more freely. Almost immediately upon his return from abroad, in a very English manner, he began to improve his economic situation. Over the years prudent and clever investments reaped him a fortune and by the end of his life he was wealthy as a prince.

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