Transatlantic Cable

Lead: The first transatlantic telegraph linked Europe with North America in 1858. It quickly failed, but the prospect of near instant intercontinental communication was an idea that would not be allowed to die.

 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: The problem was primitive technology: cable construction, transmission equipment and laying apparatus. After the brief exchange between Queen Victoria and U.S. President James Buchanan in 1858, massive celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic heralded a new day in communications. The new day lasted 271 messages before the 1858 submarine cable sputtered out. Suddenly the temporarily cowed skeptics were in full cry and potential investment began to dry up. This did not discourage cable advocates, Charles Bright, William Thompson Fleeming Jenkins and New York businessman Cyrus Field. For them the expeditions of the 1850s served as laboratories from which they learned things about the infant science of electricity, submarine cable design and cable laying. They went back to work and by 1861, the Atlantic Telegraph Company and the British Board of Trade had produced an analysis of previous failures and a plan that led to success. More importantly, experience had convinced the government in London that submarine telegraphy would smooth governance of a vast Empire.

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Sun Yat Sen in London

Lead: A failure at revolution, Sun Yat-sen, was given the exposure he desperately required by a Chinese government who ordered him kidnapped in London, a half a world away.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the wake of the crushing defeat Japan handed China in the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. A young revolutionary, born in south eastern China made his first attempt at bring revolution to China.

Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Chinese Revolution, was actually educated in Hawaii. His brother, a prosperous rancher and planter was an ex-patriot. He sent for Sun and paid for his education at missionary schools in Hawaii. It was there he began to be attracted to Christianity and after further schooling in Hong Kong, he was baptized in 1884. Though he studied medicine his real attraction was to politics and in January 1895, when the Japanese were making short thrift of the Chinese government forces, Sun saw his chance for a coup. It was a miserable failure and Sun found himself on the run (good pun). Pursued by Chinese agents across the Pacific and through the United States, the aspiring revolutionary leader was coming to know the deep frustration that failure provides for those who taste its bitterness.


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British General Strike IV

Lead: In the spring of 1926 Britain endured the only General Strike in its history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Labor leaders were frustrated. Led by Walter Citrine of the Trades Union Congress, they wanted to work out a settlement of the looming strike of the mine workers and the possibility of a national sympathy strike, but radical rank and file workers pushed for a confrontation. The conservative government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was clearly on the mine owners’ side and had used a nine-month cooling off period to prepare. Labor was not prepared, but when the mine owners locked out their workers and a million of them went on strike, on May 3, 1926, a million and a half transportation, electric, steel and dock workers followed right behind. It was the only time in British history when the vast majority of organized industrial workers gave support to another group of workers for more than one day.


British General Strike III

Lead: Wracked by internal divisions, in spring 1926 the labor movement in Britain called the only General Strike in England's history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early part of the century, unions representing thousands of British industrial workers were locked in a running debate on the way labor should deal with management. Should unions work within the system or assault it from the outside -- confrontation or cooperation? The leaders of the Trades Union Congress, an umbrella group representing many unions and the members of the British Labor Party were in favor of cooperation. Most were socialist in their outlook, but they advocated gradual reform of society. Among rank and file workers however, there were Communists and radicals who considered their leaders wimpish and wished to remake society along Marxist lines. They looked for confrontation. In May 1926 coal miners gave them their chance.

British General Strike II

Lead: In 1926, the British labor movement called the only general work stoppage in that nation's history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the 1900s drew to a close, industrial workers in Britain had begun to band themselves together into mass trade unions. Shipbuilding laborers, transportation workers, printers, and a host of other trades organized themselves to protect their interests, improve working conditions, and increase wages. Military needs during World War I had gradually increased the wages of factory workers and when peace broke out these workers resisted attempts by government and business leaders to roll back to prewar levels their hard won gains.

British General Strike I

Lead: British Labor could not make up its mind. As during most of the modern era, conservative and radical impulses struggled in the General Strike of 1926.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The industrial revolution first began in Britain of the 1700s. Driven by the marvelous power of steam, textile and iron production, mining, and transportation were transformed and then helped drag a sometimes reluctant society into the modern age. The growing wealth of the lower and middle classes fueled the first mass economy. Well-made and inexpensive consumer goods were available for the first time in history to wide segments of society and to a world hungry for all sorts of high-quality manufactured items. By 1825, the phrase "Britain supplies the world" was no exaggeration.

The Last Days of Citizen Romanov II

Lead: In just minutes it was over, the Romanovs were dead.

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

Content: On July 16, 1918, Nicholas Romanov the last of the Russian Emperors and his family were murdered by members of the Bolshevik secret police. Here's what happened. At four in the afternoon, the family went for their usual stroll in the garden. At 10:30 they went to bed. About midnight Yurovsky, the chief of the secret police detail awakened them and told them to dress quickly and come downstairs. He explained that an army opposed to the Bolsheviks was getting close to their prison in Ekaterinburg and the local Soviet had decided that they should be moved. The former tsar came down the steps carrying his son, the boy’s arms tightly wrapped around his father's neck. The rest followed. Young Anastasia held Jimmy, their small spaniel. Down they went to a small basement room, 16 x 18 feet. They were asked to wait, chairs were brought in and the tsar and his wife sat down.  

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Emery “Mule Shoe” Upton

Lead: Infantry tactics in the American Civil War were very slow to change in the face of improved killing technology. At Spotsylvania in May, 1864, Colonel Emory Upton tried something new.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Despite the advent of rifled muskets which could accurately kill at 900 yards, artillery that was devastating to mass assaults and the liberal use of pic, spade and ax to quickly create breastworks to repel attacks, infantry tactics in the American Civil War still mostly emulated those used by Napoleon Bonaparte earlier in the century. Both sides still used the tried and true horrific mass attack despite the enormous causalities and the effusion of blood that resulted from such tactics.