Quest for Mt. Everest III

Lead: After repeated pre-war attempts, in the early 1950s Mt. Everest finally bent to repeated assaults. The mountain was scaled by New Zealand beekeeper, Edmund Hillary, and Sherpa guide, Tensing Norgay.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: After World War II, Communist China invaded Tibet and blocked exploration of Everest from the North. The southern approaches were taken through Nepal and a reconnaissance expedition was mounted by that route in 1951 by the Brits. The following year two strong Swiss teams attempted to scale the mountain in the Spring and Fall but were stopped by severe weather both times just short of the summit.

Quest for Mt. Everest II

Lead: The challenge of Mt. Everest was clear from the time its height was determined in the 1800s, but attempts to reach the summit are not known to have begun until the 1920s.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The peak of Mt. Everest is one of earth’s most hostile places. The air is thin. No crops can be grown there. No domestic animals can live there. Any attempt on the summit would require taking along those things necessary to sustain life. Long months of adaptation to the high altitude, supplementary oxygen in tanks, food and water would have to be dragged up nearly impassible terrain which, in the early days, no one had ever crossed. The key to the eventual success of the assault on Everest was a nomadic people, Tibetan-speaking clans who struggled for survival on the lower slopes of the mountain by trading and herding livestock. These are the Sherpa. They were capable of carrying the large loads of supplies that made the climb possible.

Quest for Mt. Everest I

Lead: The highest point on earth is the peak of Mt. Everest, part of a geologic eruption along the crest of the Himalayas on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Until 1953 no one had been able to go up there.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is known as Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World, and it towers 29,035 feet above sea level, dwarfing the glaciers that wrap themselves around its base. Until 1852 when its true height was determined at a distance by an India surveyor, the mountain was known simply as Peak 15. In 1865, it was named for Sir George Everest, previously Surveyor General of India.

Soviet Coup, 1991 IV

Lead: With the world holding its breath, hard-line Communists led by the KGB, in late summer 1991 arrested Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and tried to take over the government. A man of courage climbed onto an armored vehicle and stopped them dead.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As Muscovites headed to work on Monday August 19th, they had to deal with troops and tanks lining the streets. The coup leaders who called themselves the Extraordinary Commission had banned all demonstrations, political parties, and newspapers not associated with their movement, but did not have in custody all their opponents. The President of the Russian Republic, Boris Yeltsin, a former ally of Gorbachev who broke with him because his reforms did not go far enough, after initial hesitation, went to the Russian Parliament Building to oppose the coup. Finally, assured that at least some of the military units in the Moscow region would back him, just after noon he climbed onto an armored vehicle, pronounced the coup illegal and unconstitutional, and called for a general strike and for the return of Gorbachev. By the next morning 150,000 Russians stood outside the Parliament Building and several army units had joined the countercoup. By Tuesday evening it was clear that to succeed the Extraordinary Commission would need to use deadly force and this the leaders hesitated to do. That night, a small scuffle between protesters and a tank produced the only three deaths in their attempt to seize power. On Wednesday the coup collapsed. That night Gorbachev was back in Moscow.

Soviet Coup, 1991 III

Lead: In the late summer of 1991, the KGB attempted to take over the Soviet government. For a time, it appeared it would succeed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Frustrated with the reforms of President Mikhail Gorbachev which were undermining Communist control of Soviet national life and sensing his weakness in the face of deteriorating economic, social and political conditions, hard-line members of the KGB and the military began to plot to get rid of him. The catalyst for the attempted coup was a series of treaties between the various constituent republics of the Soviet Union. The republics were to have more independence which meant even less power and cohesion for the Soviet Union.

Soviet Coup, 1991 II

Lead: Frustrated as reality and the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev dismantled their system of control, hard-line Communists led by the KGB attempted to hold back the march of events with a coup d'etat in the summer of 1991.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since 1985 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had pressed the nation away from totalitarianism toward openness and democracy. He had been less successful in reforming the economy. Gorbachev had come to power through the ranks of the Communist Party and was reluctant to jettison the main outlines of the old regime. He was a temporizer who rejected the command economy and the Stalinism that was required to keep it operating but as it crumbled, he was unable or unwilling to create a free market to take its place.

Soviet Coup, 1991 I

Lead: In late summer 1991, conservative elements of the KGB and Communist Party tried to revive the collapsing Soviet system. For a breathless moment it looked as if they would succeed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For a dozen years prior to 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev was the golden boy of Soviet politics. After law school at Moscow State University, in 1955 he returned to his native region of Stavropol near the Caspian Sea in southwestern Russia. He held a number of posts in the Communist Party organization and was named a member of the Central Committee of the national Party in 1971. Under the guidance of his patron, the party's chief ideologue, Mikhail Suslov, Gorbachev moved quickly up the ranks and by 1980 was a full member of the Politburo. When Konstantin Chernenko died in 1985, Gorbachev was his logical successor as General Secretary of the Soviet Party.

Japan Opens to the West III

Lead: In the summer of 1853, a reluctant Japan opened its doors to trade with the rest of the world.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Matthew Calbraith Perry was 59 years of age in the year he led the expedition to Japan. He suffered from arthritis and spent much of the voyage in his cabin. He was the brother of Oliver Hazard Perry whose defeat of the British fleet secured Lake Erie for the United States in the War of 1812. Matthew's career included transportation of freed slaves to Africa after the founding of Liberia and combat command during the Mexican War. He had a regal bearing and was a very serious person. This formality stood him well in dealing with the traditionalist Japanese who were reluctant to give up their policy of non-involvement with the outside world.