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.

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.