Court Martial of Billy Mitchell II

Lead: In the 1920s, the U.S. military was hampered by severe budget cutbacks and a debate on the future of the airplane. One persistent, prophetic, but on more than one occasion obnoxious voice in the debate was General William “Billy” Mitchell.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Billy Mitchell’s father and grandfather were congressmen. He thus grew up in the circles of power and expected people to listen when he spoke, but his habit of going public with his ideas and tendency to browbeat his opponents diminished his influence with the Army. Mitchell’s experience as head of Army air combat forces in Europe during World War I led him to conclude that the warplane was the key to victory in future conflicts and he went on a crusade to prove it. He was particularly adept at using the press to further his ideas. He arranged a series of highly-publicized tests in which his bombers spectacularly sank several surplus battleships thus proving their vulnerability and increasing obsolescence.

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Court Martial of Billy Mitchell I

Lead: Billy Mitchell’s experience as Army air combat commander during World War I showed him that future success in warfare depended on air power. His problem was that he just couldn’t keep quiet about it.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Before the war Mitchell had a limited view of the airplane’s potential. He was in the Signal Corps and believed flying machines were primarily useful only for reconnaissance, flying behind and over the battlefield, spotting artillery, tracking enemy maneuvers, and aiding in fast communication and travel. As the months in Europe passed, his perspective began to change. He started to fly battle missions beside his pilots and eventually rose to be leader of the Army’s air arm. Under actual combat conditions, additional powerful possibilities for the airplane began to emerge. Tactically, warplanes could support troops fighting on the ground and strategically, planes could help destroy enemy installations behind the lines.

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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.

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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.

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George Rogers Clark Captures Fort Vincennes

Lead: In the dead of winter, leading a small band of volunteers George Rogers Clark crossed hundreds of miles and secured the territory of Indiana for the United States.

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

Content: During the American Revolution the Ohio Valley was the scene of intense struggle between the British and their native American allies and Virginians attempting to secure the strategic territory for the fledgling United States. In the summer of 1778 an expedition of about 200 men led by George Rogers Clark moved down the Ohio taking old French forts and claiming them for the United States. In July he arrived in Kaskaskia in Illinois just south of St. Louis and established his headquarters.  

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John Paul Jones in Russia

Lead: After the Revolution the United States greatest war hero, John Paul Jones was out of a job.

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

Content: In the euphoria following the defeat of British forces in the Revolution, Congress declined to maintain a navy and the officers who served in the wartime navy were out of work. Among them was John Paul Jones the most prominent naval commander in the War for Independence, who distinquished himself even as he lost his ship, the "Bonhomme Richard" in the fight with the British cruiser, "Serapis" in September, 1779. Jones carried the fight and captured the enemy vessel off the coast of northeast England.

 

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Waddell’s Revenge II (Civil War)

Lead: Denied his back pay by the U.S. Navy, Lieutenant James Waddell believed his promise not to fight against the Federal government had been voided. They should have paid him.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In March 1862, after twenty years of faithful service in the US Navy, Waddell received his commission for Confederate service. Two years of shore duty followed before he got his chance to go to sea. In the twilight of the Confederacy with his new nation on the ropes, he assumed command of the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah off the coast of West Africa. It was a graceful three-masted steamer which under steam and sail could outrun most Union Navy ships. On October 30, 1864 Shenandoah captured its first prize, the Alina out of Searsport, Maine, ship and cargo worth $95,000. Waddell's revenge had begun.

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Waddell’s Revenge I (Civil War)

Lead: Denied his back pay by the U.S. Navy, Lieutenant James Waddell believed his promise not to fight against the Federal government had been voided. They should have paid him.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In March 1862, after twenty years of faithful service in the US Navy, Waddell received his commission for Confederate service. Two years of shore duty followed before he got his chance to go to sea. In the twilight of the Confederacy with his new nation on the ropes, he assumed command of the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah off the coast of West Africa. It was a graceful three-masted steamer which under steam and sail could outrun most Union Navy ships. On October 30, 1864 Shenandoah captured its first prize, the Alina out of Searsport, Maine, ship and cargo worth $95,000. Waddell's revenge had begun.

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