Surplus Wars II

Lead: Faced with mountains of surplus war matériel after World War II, the U.S. government had to figure a way to get rid of the stuff.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Everything from toothpaste to fully-equipped Sherman tanks lay in storage depots from Germany to remote islands in the South Pacific. Of first concern to the American public was to get the boys home. Politicians and leaders were under constant pressure to demobilize the troops, and at first little thought was given to the millions of tons of supplies with which the war had been won. In the rush to feed, house, clothe, and arm 15 million active duty personnel, few plans had been laid dispose of the matériel they had used in the fight.

Surplus Wars I

Lead: To get a victory in World War II, the United States sacrificed the lives of nearly a quarter of a million of its sons and daughters, but at the Japanese surrender the war against a huge collection of surplus stuff had just gotten started.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer of 1940 the German war machine was nearly everywhere triumphant when Prime Minister Churchill of Britain began to warn that his country could no longer comply with the U.S. law requiring cash payment for arms purchases. To rectify this problem, President Franklin Roosevelt suggested the idea of Lend-Lease and began sending ancient naval destroyers to the beleaguered and isolated British. This was just a small component of the preparations the administration was making for war. Long before Pearl Harbor, the United States was gearing up for the greatest conflict in its history. In purely economic terms, it was a war that was to consume three times the gross national product of 1940 or in excess of three trillion 1997 dollars as adjusted for inflation.

The Knights Templar II

Lead: Beginning in 1307, jealousy, envy, desire to appropriate its vast assets and the waning purpose for its existence, brought arrest, torture, trial and eventual dissolution to the Knights Templar.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: Born of crisis in the years following the First Crusade, the Knights Templar was also known as the Temple. It was an order of warrior monks assigned to defend the Holy Land from Muslim forces. To finance its military and charitable mission, the Temple took donations of cash and real estate from all over Catholic Europe and the Mediterranean. The Templars even developed a rudimentary form of banking which permitted east-bound pilgrims to deposit funds in, say, Spain and to carry a letter of credit which they could cash when they reached the Holy Land. All this was making the Templars very very rich.

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The Knights Templar I

Lead: In October 1307, King Philip IV rounded up members of the Knights Templar in France. Of those captured, many were examined under torture, tried, convicted and executed. The Order was then disbanded.     

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.            

Content: The French King was in heavy debt to the Templars so his actions and similar strikes elsewhere in Europe were an attempt to crush and appropriate the assets of one of the most successful medieval Catholic holy military orders. Philip wanted the order’s financial stake, but he was also attacking an institution that was at once secret, rich, powerful, and perceived as a threat to powers of church and state.

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History’s Turning Points: Japan Discovers the Gun II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider history’s turning points: Japan rediscovers the gun.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In 1543, visiting Portuguese explorers jumped from the deck of a Chinese commercial ship into Japanese shallow waters and with their muskets shot a duck. The unfavorable results on the duck were duly noted by Lord Tokitaka, who purchased from the Portuguese two guns and commissioned his swordsmiths to copy these new weapons. Within a century firearms were playing a widespread, destructive role in the dynastic and feudal warfare consuming the Japanese upper class. These weapons were very good, indeed the Japanese significantly improved on comparable European designs. One such innovation was waterproof rain protection for the ignition platform, but soon the Japanese abandoned firearms and mostly returned to hand-held weapons such as the sword and the bow and arrow.

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History’s Turning Points: Japan Discovers the Gun I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider history’s turning points: Japan rediscovers the gun.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Japan has taken a well-earned place in the modern era as a seat of much industrial innovation. Within 60 years of the visit of Commodore Perry in 1855, Japan had wrenched itself so significantly into the contemporary world that its navy had inflicted havoc on Russian naval forces at the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War, sending the pride of the Czar’s fleet to the bottom of the Sea of Japan. In another thirty-six years, Japan would temporarily humble the world’s preeminent industrial power at Pearl Harbor.

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The Saga of Leo Frank III

Lead: In 1915, Georgia Governor John M. Slaton commuted the sentence of Leo Frank, a man wrongfully convicted in the brutal murder of one of his employees, young Mary Phagan. That summer a mob broke into the prison farm where Frank was being held, took him out and lynched him.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Slaton said later he would have pardoned Frank had he been asked to, but the failure to request complete exoneration was the latest in a long series of blunders by Frank's defense teams and the ultimate triumph of a prosecution which conspired in what was little more than an official frame-up. Frank was convicted by the testimony of a black janitor who was almost certainly guilty of the murder himself. An ironic twist of American justice: anti-Semitic prejudice prevailed over anti-black bias. In 1942 Rev. L.O. Bricker, the Baptist pastor of Mary Phagan's parents, revealed the popular sentiment at the time, "My own feelings, upon the arrest of the old Negro night-watchman, were .... [that he] would be poor atonement for the life of this little girl. But, when .... the police arrested a Jew, and a Yankee Jew at that, all of the inborn prejudice against Jews rose up in a feeling of satisfaction, that here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime."

The Saga of Leo Frank II

Lead: In 1913 Leo Frank, a leader in Atlanta's Jewish business community, was accused of brutally murdering one of his female employees, Mary Phagan. It has been called "one of the most shocking frame-ups ever perpetrated by American law and order officials."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In order to obtain an indictment against Frank, Solicitor Hugh Dorsey withheld from the grand jury the key fact that he had another suspect, Jim Conley, a janitor from the factory. Conley had been seen washing blood from a shirt after the murder, he admitted writing two notes found near the body which, in nearly unintelligible language, attempted to shift the blame away from himself, and under strong pressure from police investigators, changed his story over and over. In retrospect, it is clear that the police were determined to get Frank's conviction and used Conley to do it.