Catherine the Great & Assassination of Peter III I

Lead: From relatively obscure beginnings, Sophie Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, married her powerful appetites to ruthless ambition and became Catherine the Great.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was her fortune to be connected in her mother’s line to one of the premier houses of Germany, the Dutchy of Holstein. This gave her rank and eligibility among upwardly mobile 18th century European aristocrats. Her family played well the game of marriage intrigue and Sophie ended with one of the great prizes. She was betrothed to the grandson and heir of Czar Peter the Great of Russia. The young man, Karl, who later took the name Peter III, was one of history’s truly accomplished nit-wits. He never realized that intellectually he had married above his station.


Charge of the Light Brigade III

Lead: Made famous in verse and legend the Charge and decimation of the Light Brigade was due to a misunderstood order.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Determined to punish the Russians for having their aggressive designs in the Balkans, the French and British in the fall of 1854 attacked the port of Sebastopol, Russia's Black Sea Naval base in the Crimean peninsula. They were not having an easy time of it. The allies were just barely able to hold onto their base in the small port of Balaclava.

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place on a flat plateau above Balaclava. It was split by a range of low hills, the Causeway Heights running if one can imagine the face of a clock from nine southeast to about four on the face of a clock. By October 25, 1854 the Russians had control of the Causeway Heights and their artillery threatened the city.

 

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The Charge of the Light Brigade II

Lead: England and France wanted to teach Russia a lesson. They declared war in 1854.

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

Content: Fearful of Russian expansion into the Balkans, Britain and France decided to take the port of Sebastopol located on the Crimean peninsula which jutted out into the Black Sea from the southern Russian. In the fall of 1854 British and French set up their headquarters in the Port of Balaclava southeast of Sebastopol and from there conducted assaults on the City.

In the meantime the Russians had not been idle, they had an army of about 25,000 at the center of the peninsula and were beginning to pick at the edges of Allied lines.

 

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Charge of the Light Brigade I

Lead: Remembered in verse and song, the futile charge of the Light Brigade was the result of incompetence and misunderstanding but remains one of the most extraordinary examples of personal gallantry and courage in modern warfare.

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

Content: The verdict of history has not been kind to the Crimean War fought in the mid-1850s. Deservedly so. Few Europeans had even heard of the Crimea, the peninsula which juts out into the Black Sea from the south of Russia. The returns of the war were very meager: thousands of deaths, enormous expenditure and little tangible result.

 

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Sputnik III

Lead: The 1957 Soviet launch of Sputnik, while a noteworthy accomplishment, perhaps had an even greater impact on in the United States.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Russian launch of the first man-made earth satellite and another and another and then manned space flights was interpreted by many as a sign of the west’s collapse. It came during the height of the Cold War. The ability of the Soviet’s to throw a 184 pound satellite into orbit was seen as proof that they could also, toss a nuclear warhead over intercontinental distances. Yet, through it all President Dwight Eisenhower seemed unconcerned. For this unwillingness to lead in the chorus of doomsayers after Sputnik, he paid a terrific price in short-term popularity. The President, however, knew something others did not. From various intelligence sources, including top-secret, illegal U-2 flights over Soviet airspace, he knew, while the Russians were slightly ahead in throw weight, the ability to lift gross tonnage, they were far behind in the micro-technology required to make practical use of space exploration.

 

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Sputnik II

Lead: In the fall of 1957, the Soviet Union confounded skeptics by launching Sputnik, the first man-made earth satellite. The U.S., it seemed, had a way to go.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Soviet achievement was all the more remarkable in that it was accomplished without America’s sophisticated technological base. The Soviets were using enhanced World War II technology. Their booster rockets were probably based on the successful German V-2 design, brought to Russia by German scientists captured at the Baltic Sea Peenemunde (pay na meun da) Rocket complex after the war, but most of those scientists had been repatriated.  The Russian accomplishment was theirs alone. By November they had launched a second Sputnik this one carrying the space dog, Laika.

 

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Sputnik I

Lead: Looking back, the achievement was not that significant, but at the time the weak, raspy signal of Sputnik seemed a dire warning to a complacent America.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The International Geophysical Year, from 1957 to 1958, was intended to promote peaceful research and foster scientific projects between scholars of various nations. One such field of inquiry was the upper reaches of earth’s atmosphere and beyond. Both the Soviet Union and the United States had announced their scientists, working independently, would launch an artificial satellite during the IGY.  Americans scoffed at the notion that the Russians could put a satellite into to orbit. On October 4, 1957 the laughing stopped. At 6:00 PM EST the Associated Press announced that the Soviet Union had launched an earth satellite. Almost overnight, essayists Edwin Diamond and Stephen Bates write, the self-assured center of American culture began coming apart.

 

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Anti-Semitism: Kielce Pogrom II

Lead:   On July 4, 1946 in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, the most egregious act of genocide in human history, Polish citizens massacred hundreds of Jews in Kielce, Poland.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At the outbreak of World War II, Poland apparently happily hosted the second largest Jewish community in the world with a population of 3.3 million. During the inter-war years, Jews had thrived in commerce and culture. Yet, as in Germany to the west, there was a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the 1930s. Many Poles did not consider Jews to be part of their national identity.

 

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