History’s Turning Points: Ambitious Corporal II (Bonaparte)

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider history’s turning points: the ambitious corpora1’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.

Read more →

History’s Turning Points: Ambitious Corporal I (Bonaparte)

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider history’s turning points: the ambitious corpora1.

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.

Read more →

Shanghai (Sailors)

Lead: During the nineteenth century, if a ship captain found himself short of sailors, he might have to make up his crew by shanghaiing.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the important irritants that led to the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States was impressment. A British Captain, short of sailors, would stop an American merchant ship, sometimes at gunpoint, land a party of toughs and drag off a few unwilling Yankee sailors to fill up his own crew. Despite the part this practice played in bringing on the war, at the time of the peace negotiations, very little was said about it. Britain, an island nation, had to maintain a superior Navy. Long tradition and ancient laws permitted the Royal Navy to force sailors into service by any means possible. After the war, impressment faded as an issue, but the practice continued, by mid-century acquiring a more colorful name, shanghai.

Sinking of the USS Thresher II

Lead: In April 1963, USS Thresher, a nuclear attack submarine engaged in trials after an extensive overhaul, sank in the Atlantic off Cape Cod with the loss of 129 lives.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Thresher was a new class of sub designed to hunt and destroy Soviet nuclear submarines. Therefore, it was able to go deeper and faster than any of its predecessors and carry 23 torpedoes at 28 knots per hour down to a test or maximum depth of 1300 feet below the surface. It was a deadly package but this vessel had catastrophic defects.

Sinking of the USS Thresher I

Lead: Just after 9:00 AM on the morning of April 10, 1963, a pipe burst in the engine room of the nuclear submarine USS Thresher floating 1000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic off Cape Cod. Within minutes the vessel had been transformed into a twisted metallic tomb for 129 men.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Thresher was a new type of submarine, one designed specifically to hunt, attack, and destroy Soviet atomic-powered submarines. The need for such a vessel was demonstrated by USS Nautilus, launched in 1954, it was the world’s first nuclear submarine. Nautilus was so quiet and powerful and so good at making kills and getting away without detection that the Navy was forced to change its strategy. Convinced that the Soviets would soon have the same deadly capability, designers came up with a killer submarine specifically to hunt other subs.

Robert the Bruce II

Lead: Some wag has said that treason is often a matter of timing. He could not have found a better example of that truism than the conflicted career of Scotland’s liberator, Robert the Bruce.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1290s English King Edward I was meddling in Scottish affairs. He forced the Scottish nobles to heel and to accept his candidate for the empty throne, John de Balliol. This was a bit too much for the Scots who rebelled and took up with the French. Edward invaded in 1296 and beat them badly, confiscating the sacred Stone of Scone on which Scottish kings had been crowned. Edward also crushed William Wallace’s popular rebellion at Falkirk in 1298, but the English king, despite prodigious campaigning, could not completely subdue the Scots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert the Bruce I

Lead: During the late medieval period, English imperial ambitions in Scotland provoked a long and bitter time of warfare and savage cross-border conflict. This gave rise to the successful revolt and triumph of Scottish liberator, Robert the Bruce.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since ancient times, Scotland has often been the suffering unfortunate in a long and troubled relationship with its southern neighbor, England. The Scots are a hearty race, independent and at times fierce in defense of home and hearth, but they also inhabit a wild and rugged country, not particularly rich in natural resources. The population was always smaller than England’s and suffered a climate that is severe during much of the year. The Clan structure of the Highlands and internal disputes generally prevented Scotland from mounting a united front when facing challenges from the south, a circumstance the English were all too happy to exploit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Assumes Command II

Lead: Though he had a certain magisterial demeanor, George Washington knew he was the servant of civilian rule.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From the beginning, the American Republic vested ultimate power in the hands of people in the person of their elected representatives. Though the nation admired military leaders and has often elected them to power, republican sentiment has always distrusted the man on horseback and insisted that in peace and in war power rests with civilians. In many ways this attitude, if not originating with George Washington, was certainly re-enforced by his respectful approach to his civilian masters and his willingness to give up power, twice in fact.