The London Blitz I

Lead: Frustrated because his bombers and fighters could not destroy the Royal Air Force and its support structure, Adolf Hitler, in Fall 1940, turned all of his fury on the City of London.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Like Napoleon before him, hubris and ambition drew Hitler into consideration of a cross-channel invasion of Britain. To do this he had to eliminate the Royal Air Force and challenge the British Navy. All during the summer of 1940 Luftwaffe squadrons hammered away at the airfields of southern England and the aircraft factories that supplied the RAF with its deadly Spitfire fighters. Yet it seemed that the more the Germans tried, the more heroic and desperate became the efforts of those Churchill praised with the words, “never in the field of conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

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PT Boats – Mighty Mites of WW II – II

Lead: During World War II, pound for pound the PT Boat was the most heavily armed ship in the U.S. Navy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: Patrol Torpedo boats, or as they were known, PT boats were often the first line of offense for the Allies in the dark early days of World War II in the southwest Pacific. They were powerful, swift and sleek, packing a punch out of all proportion to their size. A PT squadron extracted General Douglas MacArthur from beleaguered Corregidor Island in the spring of 1942, and before larger ships were present in sufficient numbers they harried Japanese shipping and naval units. Like search and destroy missions in Vietnam, each night, squadrons of PT boats would head out to sea and audaciously attack anything that moved.

 

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Spruce Goose II

Lead: With Allied shipping in serious jeopardy due to German submarine attacks during the early years of World War II, military planners turned to aircraft manufacturers. Howard Hughes responded with the Spruce Goose.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Metal for the construction of experimental aircraft was scarce in 1942. Therefore, when the designers at Hughes Aircraft began their mock-up of the gigantic new cargo plane, they built their model using Duramold, lightweight plywood saturated with synthetic glue to make it waterproof and very strong. The basic airframe had no nails, screws or rivets, no metal at all. Skilled woodworkers crafted special joints that were bonded with glue for strength.

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Spruce Goose I

Lead: Of all the problems the Allies faced in the summer of 1942, none was more threatening than unrestrained submarine warfare. German U-boats were sinking transport ships faster than they could be built.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Fresh challenges seemed to inspire Howard Robard Hughes, Jr.. At the age of 17 he took control of the Hughes Tool Company upon the death of his father. This provided the financial base for Howard's other interests. In 1926 he migrated to Hollywood where over the years he produced numerous motion pictures and premiered actors such as Jean Harlow and Jane Russell. Hughes eventually owned and later sold RKO Pictures.

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Alan Turing III

Lead: After describing the modern programmable computer and helping break the German Enigma codes, British mathematician Alan Turing turned his attention to artificial intelligence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the wartime emergency, Turing joined Britain’s National Physical Laboratory. There he helped finalize plans for an Automatic Computing Machine (ACE), which followed his 1937 theory advocating a device that could do many tasks depending on the information fed into it. Unfortunately, the National Lab was bogged down in bureaucratic inertia and, discouraged by the slow pace, Turing, in 1948, accepted a position at the University of Manchester.

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Alan Turing II

Lead: A brilliant, well-respected, but at times controversial academic mathematician, Alan Turing helped crack the German Enigma codes in World War II.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After study at King’s College, Cambridge and a Princeton Ph.D., Turning had laid the theoretical foundation for the modern programmable computer. In a dazzling insight, almost a casual aside, in a footnote, he described in theory that one might construct an automatic machine that given the correct input or instructions, could do just about anything requiring computation. The device, later dubbed the Turing Machine, would read a series of ones and zeroes recorded on tape. These numbers would tell the machine what to do to solve a problem or perform a task. In the rather rigid world of computer theory at the time this was revolutionary. Up to that point most computers were dedicated, they were designed for a particular, usually narrow purpose. Turing was suggesting another approach. Later his idea would come to fruit as engineers would create a universal piece of computer hardware that could be told to do many different tasks by its software.

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Alan Turing I

Lead: Brilliant and eccentric, English mathematician Alan Turing helped crack the Enigma Code during World War II, conceived of the modern programmable computer, and dreamed of artificial intelligence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Alan Mathison Turing was born in London in 1912. His father was a functionary of the British
Civil Service in India. Turing’s parents considered life on the sub-continent unsuitable for their boys and left their raising to the care of relatives in England. Eventually, Alan was sent to boarding school, Shelbourne in Dorset, where a speech impediment and lack of proper training in Latin grammar made him the target of much cruel humor by the other boys. He was a loner and at Shelbourne first came to recognize and accept his homosexuality. He also showed an extraordinary capacity for mathematical reasoning and, perhaps because of his long periods of loneliness, began a lifelong fascination with the human mind and with what he considered its limitless capacity to create imagination, wonder, and beauty in the middle of an emotionally barren landscape.

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Hiroshima

Lead: It was eight seconds past 8:16 AM, the teachers’ room of the Hongkowa Elementary School, exploded into a blinding bluish light.

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

Content: At first Katsuko Horibe heard nothing. Glass peppered her scalp and forehead but she felt nothing. She flung herself under a desk and plugged her ears against the horrible noise. Suddenly it was over. Silent and as dark as night. Just 600 feet southeast of Miss Horibe's hiding place, the world's second atomic bomb had just exploded. The City was Hiroshima, Japan, 1945.

 

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