Monday, June 05, 2017

History on Legacy and WWII

Barack Obama’s 2nd term started on his 2nd inauguration on January 20, 2013. He was sworn into office again by the Supreme Court Justice Chief Justice John Roberts. During this time, he was promoting gun control, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. During January 2, 2013, he pushed through a compromise bill that prevented the U.S. from falling off the fiscal cliff. The problem is that the bill has many sharp spending cuts. By the end of January of 2013, he talked across the country to promote reducing gun violence and promote comprehensive immigration reform at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. During the start of February, President Barack Obama signed the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 into law. He continued to promote gun control, but nothing massively changes in Congress legislatively (because of the gun lobby and misunderstandings about what gun control is).  The President and First Lady attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. on February 7, 2013. During his February 12 State of the Union address, the President announced a drawdown of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan. Afghanistan continues to be a nation at war to this very day.  President Barack Obama did the right thing to sign the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 back in March 7, 2013.  President Obama visited Ramallah in the West Bank. That is the location where he held  a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and, later in the day, speaks at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. This occurred in March 21, 2013. ON March 26, President Barack Obama visited the Stanley Cup winners the LA Kings and the MLS Cup winners the LA Galaxy in the White House. Terrorism continues to be a problem in the world. On March 21, 2013, the President said that Syria’s Assad regime will cross a red line if it uses chemical weapons. The Boston bombing of April 15, 2013 changed the nation. It happened during the Boston Marathon (where 2 people used cooker devices to murder and injure innocent people). An authoritarian crackdown in Boston happened and the murderers are caught. One bomber is killed. The other one was cornered by the police, captured, placed on trial, and sentenced to death in 2015. In April, the President visited many world leaders from Jordan’s King Abdullah to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The Guardian published Edward Snowden’s documents about massive NSA monitoring of American citizens (beyond just accused criminals). This causes a renewed debate on civil liberties. To this day, Edward Snowden can’t come into America for fear of arrest. Snowden (and other whistleblowers) made aware about the vast, slick acts of the NSA. Obama talked about climate change too. In 2014, more developments happened. He or Obama accuses Moscow of invading and occupying Crimea in southern Ukraine, which is inaccurate (as Crimea utilized a referendum to decide their own sovereignty). ISIS grows and Obama sent about 275 armed personnel to Iraq to “advise” Iraqi forces fighting ISIS. Later, he authorized airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria. 2014 started the Black Lives Matter movement into the next level. Barack Obama’s response has been a combination of powerful speeches and moderate, middle of the road speeches on police brutality and race. He tries to balance his words in trying to curry favor among both sides (i.e. BLM and the police), but that doesn’t work to convince either side all of the time. Michael Brown was killed by the officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson or a suburb of St. Louis (during 2014). Protesters exist in Ferguson and nationwide. Obama comes to help with the Ebola crisis. The Republicans take Congress in the 2014 midterm elections. Obama has more difficultly to pass his laws. Obama helps the Dreamers and uses executive orders to deal with immigration (he meet with young immigrants who support DACA, which is a legitimate policy), but he deported more immigrants than any other President in history (yes, more than Trump).  By the end of December 2014, President Barack Obama said that the end of combat mission in Afghanistan. In 2015, another terrorist attack happened in January in Paris. It happened by people who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices (who spewed racist, Islamophobic, sexist, and xenophobic articles and pictures. Yet, the people of that magazine should never have been murdered).  In November of 2016, he or President Barack Obama agreed to the Paris climate change agreement in dealing with climate change. 2016 would be the start of the end of the Obama Presidency. President Barack Obama spoke in Hiroshima, Japan in May 27, 2016 to desire a “world without nuclear weapons.” Barack Obama supported the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign for President. Obama criticized Trump on many issues. He called Trump a “home grown demagogue” during the Democratic convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016. Obama has his veto overridden. The overridden veto by Congress was about a law that allowed 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for its accused role in the 9/11 attacks. Trump won the election of 2016 which is a very horrific result. Republican continued to control most of Congress by 2016. Obama called Trump and issue his words of congratulations to him. By the end of 2016, the Obama administration helped Trump and his team to transition into the White House. On December 28, 2016, Obama designated two new national monuments, protecting over 150m acres of land, including sacred Native American sites, in Nevada and Utah. During Obama’s presidency, he has federally protected over 550m acres with his executive powers. Barack Obama placed sanctions on Russia and he expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. The reason is that the administration accused Russia of using a cyber-attack against the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. Many in the intelligence community believe that these actions contributed to Trump winning the election. To this day, investigations are happening to find the truth.

The Presidency of Barack Obama have witness a massive amount of historical changes for America. Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden including Valerie Jarett have promoted the fight against sexual assault against women in college campuses. During this second term, economic inequality still grew. This is represented on how there were nationwide strikes of fast food workers in desiring a higher minimum wage. Barack Obama tried to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact (for 12 nations). People from across the political spectrum opposed the pact because of diversity of reasons. Obama is a believer in climate change. He said that he rejected the Keystone pipeline if it increases carbon pollution. He ended oil exploration in the Arctic in January of 2013. He protected federal lands in conservation. He created 25 new national monuments in his President. He protected a total of 553,000,000 acres (224,000,000 ha) of federal lands and waters, more than any other U.S. president.  In June 2015, the Court ruled 6–3 in King v. Burwell that subsidies to help individuals and families purchase health insurance were authorized for those doing so on both the federal exchange and state exchanges, not only those purchasing plans "established by the State", as the statute reads. The President is the most pro-LGBT President in American history. During his second inaugural address on January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama was the first President to call for full equality for gay Americans. He supported the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which ruled that same sex marriage is legal nationwide. During his 2nd term, he visited Africa with Michelle Obama on July of 2015. He spoke in front of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 29, 2015. He was the first President to do so. He gave his speech to promote infrastructure, economic growth, education, etc. in Africa. He wanted to promote democracy in Africa, but democracy works well when imperialism is gone. He wanted African nations to grow. President Barack Obama in 2015 also spoke in Kenya on a diversity of issues. Also, he wanted to normalize relations with Cuba by December of 2014. Secret meetings between Cuban and American officials started in the spring of 2013. Both sides discussed about a calming down of tensions in Canada and the Vatican. Raul Castro shook hands with Obama during the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Johannesburg in December 10, 2013. So, there was a restorations of relations with Cuba. President Barack Obama announced the formal diplomatic relations among Cuba and America on July 1, 2015. Embassies opened in Washington and Havana. Barack Obama visited Havana, Cuba for two days in March 2016. He was the first sitting President to do so since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. He shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro on April of 2015 in Panama. He signed the Iranian nuclear deal, which is one of his greatest foreign policy decisions. The deal happened in July 14, 2015 and it allowed Iran to not acquire nuclear weapons with investigations and follow through. By 2014, Obama worked with Russia to form a deal where Assad gave up chemical weapons. Chemical attacks in Syria continued still.

Courage and sacrifice define the Tuskegee Airmen. They were a group of military pilots who fought during World War II. They were active in the military throughout the 1940's. The Tuskegee program officially started on June 1941 with the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee University. It had a unit of 47 officials and 429 enlisted men. One leader of the Tuskegee Airmen was Captain Benjamin O. Davis Jr. (who was the commander of the Tuskegee Airmen 332nd Fighter Group. He flew his P-47 Thunderbolt in Sicily). These men experienced racism and oppression, but they performed magnificently during the war. Mary McLeod Bethune and so many unsung heroes advanced the program to cause the Tuskegee Airmen to exist. Walter White of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, and Judge William H. Hastie wanted black men to be military aviators. So, in 1939, the federal government sent money to fund civilian flight schools to train African Americans. The Civilian Pilot Training Program allowed African Americans from colleges and universities to join the Tuskegee Airmen movement. Tuskegee Institute allowed many members to fly as well. The first class of black pilot prepared to do so in July 19, 1941. They were trained rigorously. They studied flying, navigation and meteorology. The first African Americans to get their silver wings and graduate was on the date of March 7, 1942. The Tuskegee Army Base was segregated and had many black pilots. The Tuskegee Airmen were in 9 different squadrons like the 332nd Fighter Group, the 99th, 100th, 301th, 302nd Fighter Squadrons, and the 616th, 617th, 618th, and 619th Bombardment Squadrons (they flew medium two engine bombers).  When the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group painted the tails of their P-47s and later, P-51s, red, the nickname "Red Tails" was coined. The red markings that distinguished the Tuskegee Airmen included red bands on the noses of P-51s as well as a red rudder; the P-51B and D Mustangs flew with similar color schemes, with red propeller spinners, yellow wing bands and all-red tail surfaces. Many of them were navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks, and other supporters of pilots. All black military pilots trained near Tuskegee Alabama at Moton Field in the Tuskegee Army Air Field. Jim Crow existed, so they were segregated. The Tuskegee program was a successful endeavor and even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt flew with the African American chief civilian instructor C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson on March of 1941. Anderson flew since 1929. Eleanor Roosevelt gave a loan to help build Moton Field. The loan was of $175,000. The 99th Squadron was involved in combat in April of 1943. They attacked an island on the Mediterranean Sea to clear lanes for the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. By June 2, the combat mission was flown by the 99th. They moved into Sicily. They received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions in combat. Many of the Tuskegee Airmen were used as convoys to protect aircraft. Many of them shot down many Nazi aircraft including jets throughout Europe from France to Italy. The 332nd flew missions in Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, the Rhineland, the Po Valley and Rome-Arno and other places. Pilots of the 99th once set a record for destroying five enemy aircraft in less than four minutes. The Tuskegee Airmen shot down three German jets in a single day. In all, 992 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941-46. 355 were deployed overseas, and 84 lost their lives in accidents or combat. On March 24, 1945, the 332nd were involved in the longest bomber escort mission of the war. They shot down three of the new German ME-262 jet fighters and damaged 5 others without losing any of their own bombers or planes. The Tuskegee Airmen included some of the best pilots of the war. After the war in 1949, the 332nd Fighter Wing took first place in a shooting competition. It took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pilots were Capt. Alva Temple, Lts. Harry Stewart, James Harvey III and Herbert Alexander. Lt. Harvey said, "We had a perfect score. Three missions, two bombs per plane. We didn't guess at anything, we were good." They received congratulations from the Governor of Ohio, and Air Force commanders across the nation. Many famous Tuskegee Airmen included Edward C. Gleed of Lawrence, Kansas, Robert W. Williams, William H. Holloman, Ronald W. Reeves, Christopher W. Newman, Edward A. Gibbs, General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., Marion Rodgers, and Walter M. Downs. Many of them would later work in NORAD, NASA, etc. The Tuskegee Airmen’s actions definitely contributed to the ending of the segregation of the military by 1948 (via the Executive Order of President Harry S. Truman called E.O. 9981). The excellence of the Tuskegee Airmen will always be remembered.

There were black people in Germany back then. The Nazi Empire murdered many Afro-Germans. Even before WWI, Afro-Germans faced racism and discrimination in Germany. Many German racists didn’t want black people and biracial people in Germany to have equal rights. After WWI, many African colonial troops in the Rhineland had fathered children with German women. Newspapers in Germany called these children “Rhineland ba___.” That was wrong and evil. A very small number of biracial children were born (only about 400-600). There was a total black population of 20,000 to 25,000 human beings in Germany at the time. Hitler was a racist and he believed in the lie that black people were genetically inferior to whites (when Hitler wasn’t even a blue eyed, blonde Aryan). In Mein Kampf, he accused Jewish people of sending black people into the Rhine to make children in order for the white race to be harmed (while Jewish people would dominate Germany). He blamed France for this too. Of course, Hitler was wrong and a racist plus an anti-Semite. The Nazis used a eugenics program to sterilize biracial children born during occupation. Hitler and the Gestapo executed the sterilization of 500 children under this program including girls as young as 11. That was heinous. One biracial person named Hilarius Gilges (he grew up in Dusseldorf, Germany) was captured by SS officers in June of 1933. The SS stands for Schutzstaffel or the paramilitary and the surveillance organization formed by Hitler in 1925. Hilarius Gilges was tortured and murdered by them. Afro-Germans experienced discrimination in employment, welfare, and housing in Nazi Germany. Many of them were banned from having a higher education. There were Afro-German prisoners of war and African American soldiers who were prisoners of war too. Many of them were executed and many were not. Violence against black prisoners of war existed, which was against the Geneva Convention. In prisoner of war camps, black soldiers were kept segregated from white, and generally experienced worse conditions than their white comrades, conditions that deteriorated further in the last days of the war. Roughly half of the French colonial prisoners of war did not survive captivity. Groups such as North Africans were sometimes treated as black, sometimes as white. Sister Valaida Snow was an African American woman who was a great musician. She was victim of Nazi imprisonment in 1941 while in Denmark. She was released in May 1942 after a prisoner exchange. She continued to make music afterwards. The story of the Liberian-German, Hans Massaquoi, who died at age 87 in 2013 is important to know about. He was a former managing editor of the American Ebony magazine and he wrote a memoir about his childhood in Nazi Germany. Black soldiers of the American, French, and British armies were worked to death on construction projects or died as a result of mistreatment in concentration or prisoner-of-war camps. Others were never even incarcerated, but were instead immediately killed by the SS or Gestapo. Other victims of Nazis included Jean Marcel Nicolas, Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed, the African American pilot from Portland, Oregon Lieutenant Darwin Nichols, Gert Schramm, and others. Some African American members of the U.S. armed forces liberated people. They saw the evil Nazi atrocities first hand. The all African American tank unit called the 761st Tank Battalion was under the command of General George Patton. The Battalion participated in the liberation of Gunskirchen or a subcamp of the Mauthausen concentration camp in May of 1945.

World War II was a long, deadly war. It involved the death of more people than any war in history. War is filled with bloodshed and destruction. African Americans were heavily involved in WWII as pilots, nurses, soldiers, tank operators, naval leaders, etc. They wanted the Axis Powers to be defeated. Also, they wanted racism to be defeated domestically in America. That is the precise meaning of the Double V movement. It wanted fascists defeated overseas and in America. The fascists in America promoted not only Jim Crow, but discrimination, racism, lynching, and other forms of oppression. Yet, black people never quit. We fought against injustices, stood up to the status quo, and defeated fascists in Europe at the same time. There were riots in Detroit and Chicago along with a rebellion in Harlem during the 1940’s. The activism of black people caused FDR to issue the first pro-civil rights executive order from a President since Reconstruction. World War II veterans weren’t just men. Many World War II veterans were black women too. Their service should be acknowledged, respected, and honored. After the War, black people still faced oppression and injustice. Many WWII veterans were murdered by racists. Many veterans continued to form an important part of the civil rights movement too in their activism. The Allied victory ended one chapter and started a new one in world history. America became the most powerful military nation on Earth. It became an international force overnight. It used capitalism to rebuilt markets in Europe and Japan. Also, the evil of Jim Crow would continue after WWII for the next 2 decades. The Civil Rights Movement in the modern sense would rise after the war.

By Timothy

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