“Mad” King Ludwig II

Lead: European royalty in the 1800s was noted for its interesting characters but few equaled the eccentricities of allegedly “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm was born in the late summer of 1845. He would lead the southern German Catholic Kingdom of Bavaria through one of the most turbulent periods in its history and, while he left no heir to the throne, he created an architectural legacy that draws millions of admiring visitors. His strict father lavished no excessive luxury on Ludwig and his brother Otto. They were close to their mother Marie, but soon both boys gave evidence of mental peculiarities. Ludwig was moody and shy. He often retreated into a trance-like dream world fueled by his obsession for the racist romanticism of Richard Wagner’s operas. Therefore, he was ill prepared in 1864 at the age of eighteen when his father’s death brought him the crown.

 

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History’s Turning Points: Ambitious Corporal II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider history’s turning points: the ambitious corporal’s legacy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Napoleon Bonaparte was a daring and effective military commander, yet his lasting legacy may have been off the battlefield. He continued the destruction of aristocratic rule that began with the French Revolution in France and wherever his armies conquered. Though he created a modified aristocracy loyal to him and made himself Emperor of the French, this artifice collapsed when he was defeated and exiled. The Congress of Vienna 1815 tried to put the pieces back together again, but if anything the decades after Napoleon demonstrated a steady collapse of autocracy and the steady flowering of democracy.

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History’s Turning Points: Ambitious Corporal I

 

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider history’s turning points: the ambitious corporal.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: French historian and romantic author, Francois-René Vicomte Chateaubriand, wrote of Napoleon Bonaparte, “the mightiest breath of life which ever animated human clay.” He can be forgiven a flight of hyperbole, but for the first decade of the 19th century there is little doubt that Bonaparte straddled the wide continent of Europe virtually unimpeded. He was the Corsican corporal whose ambition made him Emperor of the French and whose military genius and daring shattered all before him. Yet, perhaps it was not his conquests which were fleeting or his empire which faded at his fall which set Napoleon firmly astride one of history’s great turning points. It was the system of aristocratic rule that he wounded, the legal system that he established wherever his armies conquered, and the dark and vicious concept of nationalism that lingered long after its author perished on St. Helena. Those things transformed him from transitory tyrant to a figure whose influence approaches the eternal.

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1968: Prague Spring III

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: In early August 1968 it seemed as though the Czechs had pulled it off. Following a long series of so-called “staff maneuvers,” and in response to pressure from Czechoslovakian leaders, Soviet troops had withdrawn from the country. Czechs began to breathe a little easier. Their attempt to reform Communism, in the words of Czech Party leader Alexander Dubcek, to put a human face on socialism, no longer seemed under threat. Their euphoria did not last for long.

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Spanish Cultural Diversity II

Lead: Attempts to suppress cultural and religious diversity have been one of the hallmarks of modern Spain. From the work of the Spanish Inquisition to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, these efforts have only lightly covered over real differences. In 1978 Spain tried a new way.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: For thirty-six years, the last caudillo, Francisco Franco held his thumb in dike of progress. It was a valiant, but futile attempt at keeping parts of Spanish life, religion, culture, and politics under wraps, while opening the way to economic innovation, outside markets, and prosperity. Franco failed, but it remained to be seen how post-Franco Spain would deal with the changing world outside as well how it would accommodate long-standing and suppressed internal regional conflict.

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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Spanish Cultural Diversity I

Lead: After the death of in 1975 Francisco Franco and the coming of democracy, Spain set out to deal with its rich cultural diversity. It was a complex task, centuries overdue.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: From the outside, a casual observer might be forgiven if they did not recognize that modern Spain is a rich tapestry of cultural variety. Spain’s geographical proximity to Africa, a scant 20 miles across the Straits of Gibraltar, and its long northern border with France and the rest of Europe, have made it an ethnic land bridge, a magnet for different cultures, religions and peoples since long before the Roman Empire. The Greeks came, Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Visigoths and other Germanic tribes swirled into the void left by a collapsing Rome and then in the eighth century, crusading Arabs and Berbers from Africa brought evangelical Islam at the point of a sword. Then, for over seven centuries, Spain became one of the violent frontiers between Christian Europe and the Islamic culture to the south.

Spanish Civil War (Francisco Franco) – III

Lead: Both during and after the Spanish Civil War, Francisco Franco led the nationalists. He and his allies were determined to halt Spain’s drift into the modern world, but they failed.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: In July, 1936 conservative generals led by Francisco Franco attempted a coup d’etat against the elected government of Spain’s Second Republic. Their goal was a quick and bloodless take-over using rebellious army units. To their surprise the government did not roll over, but stood firm. The Spanish Civil War lasted for three years, produced horrendous casualties, and created tension divides Spanish society to this day.

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