Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty (1939)

Lead: On the 23rd of August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression treaty defining their mutual spheres of operation in Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, within 10 days the world was at war.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The pact, which obviously had been in preparation for months, was signed within days of being proposed by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. To say that it shocked the diplomatic world would be an understatement, but, in retrospect, it made perfect sense. From Hitler’s point of view, not having to worry about an eastern front war with his bitter ideological antagonist in the east meant that his armies would face only England and France should they finally call his hand in the game of bluster and bluff he had been playing. Germany had absorbed Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia in previous months and the Treaty meant easy pickings should the two giant signatories turn their attention to Poland.

 

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Battle of Flodden Field II

Lead:  When King James IV of Scotland invaded England in 1513, the campaign became one of the great military disasters in Scottish history. James lost more than his Kingdom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1512 English King Henry VIII, took up an alliance with Spain and launched a military campaign against France’s Louis XII. Scotland had an ancient alliance with France and Louis called it in. Scotland’s James IV, although married to Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret Tudor, agreed to invade northern England, thereby hopefully drawing English forces away from the main arena of conflict in the south near France.

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Battle of Flodden Field I

Lead:  In 1513, locked in an alliance with France, Scotland invaded England. The decisive battle, that at Flodden Field, was disastrous for the Scots but was one of the few military triumphs of King Henry VIII.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When good King Hal came to the throne of England in 1509 there was peace between traditional enemies, England and Scotland. After many years of struggle, the northern Kingdom was still fiercely determined to retain its independence, and in 1502, the two had signed the ill-named Treaty of Perpetual Peace, which, for a short time, ended over two centuries of intermittent warfare. As part of the treaty, young Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII and sister of Henry VIII, became Queen to James IV, King of Scotland.

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The Last Full Measure – John Barry, the Father of the American Navy

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose sacrifice gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Content: Among his contemporaries John Barry was known as the "Father of the American Navy," but even today his name is not well known. Barry was Catholic and an Irishman and in 19th century America those things tended to diminish the value of a leader’s accomplishments. Nevertheless, Barry must be ranked among those who established the skills, reputation and fierceness of the tiny American Navy that faced almost insurmountable odds in its fight with the greatest Navy in the world during the Revolution.

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LFM- Navajo Codetalkers

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the daunting challenges of modern warfare is insuring that communications remain secure. As code-breaking technology has progressed and skills have grown internationally, intelligence experts who are successful in penetrating command and control networks of their enemies could never be certain that the same thing had not been done to them. 

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The Fall of Constantinople III

Lead: When the Ottoman forces of Sultan Mehmet II assaulted and then overcame the defenses of the city of Constantinople in 1453 it bought not only a bloodbath but also the end of an empire.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The magnificent and strategically important city of Constantinople, overlooking the vital Bosporus waterway, was the sole remaining important territorial vestige of the Roman Empire. Despite temporary setbacks the city's legacy went back 1000 years to the reign of the first Christian emperor, Constantine I. Yet, by the middle of the 1400s there was hardly anything left of the vaunted Byzantine Empire. The ruler of the city was another Constantine, Emperor Constantine XI. He would be the last. The city was beset by economic trouble, religious and political dispute between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy, and soon faced the overwhelming forces of the increasingly irresistible Ottoman Empire. When Western governments finally responded to Constantine's plea for help it was too little, too late. His forces numbered only about 6000. In spring 1453 19-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II brought numerous modern cannon, elaborate siege engines and 80,000 troops to the party.

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The Fall of Constantinople II

Lead: When Sultan Mehmet II attacked the city of Constantinople in 1453 he was facing formidable odds. For over 1000 years that City behind those walls advisedly defended itself from all comers.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The defenses of Constantinople were legendary. Assaults on the city were frequent. Any temporary successes an enemy might have were quickly reversed and tended to strengthen the post-invasion metropolis. The main walls had three layers of defense. The inner wall, some 30 feet above the exterior approaches, was the strongest, the outer wall was the weakest. Each layer of defense was separated by a walkway which could be used to transport men and matériel but also to trap enemy soldiers and slow down any assault. The building materials were squared stone, brick and lime mortar supplemented by marble and other tough natural stones quarried nearby. The walls were punctuated with almost 100 defense towers guarding the approaches and public access roads. In the final assault in 1453 the fiercest fighting was on the outer walls and along the internal defenses of the so-called Golden Horn, a narrow waterway that protected the City's northern side.

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The Fall of Constantinople I

Lead: On Tuesday, May 29, 1453 the venerable City of Constantinople, after more than 1000 years as the Imperial capital of Byzantium, collapsed under the assault of the Ottoman forces of Sultan Mehmet II.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For 700 years the leaders of Islam had looked with longing at what seemed to be the impregnable Imperial capital of the Byzantine Empire. Their hopes were not idle. The City of Constantinople, the modern Istanbul, resides on the Western side of one of the most strategically significant waterways in the world. The Bosporus commands the passage between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Commerce and travel both to and from Russia and the Asian heartland must negotiate this narrow passage.

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