This Day in History: 06/17/1885 - Statue of Liberty arrives

This Day in History: 06/17/1885 - Statue of Liberty arrives



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This Day In History takes us back to June 17th 1885, when the world's largest immigrant came to the United States shore's. Learn how we came to have the Statue of Liberty. France gave the U.S. this as a gift and it is a symbol of freedom. Find out some interesting facts about lady liberty and see it all here in this educational clip.


History of Liberty

In the early 1800s, American settlers began to arrive in the Liberty area.

By 1822 the settlement had grown to become the County seat for Clay County. Incorporated in 1829, Liberty is the second oldest incorporated town west of the Mississippi River.

The Liberty Landing was located along the Missouri River. During the 1830s, the Liberty Landing was one of several steamboat docks located along the Missouri River. As Liberty was the &ldquojumping off&rdquo point for the frontier and westward expansionists, the Liberty Landing was a disembarking location for merchandise and early settlers for those coming from St. Louis and other points from the east. The steamboats would fire a cannon when they were several miles away from Liberty in order to give merchants and the town&rsquos people time to reach the dock before the boat arrived. During this decade, as many as 5 &ldquosteamers&rdquo would move up the river daily and at least one would dock at the Liberty Landing.

The Liberty Jail, built in 1833, is known for its most famous prisoner, Joseph Smith, first president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. In October 1838, Governor Lilburn Boggs ordered the arrest of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith Jr. at the far west settlement in Caldwell County. Immediately after the conclusion of the Mormon War, Smith and other Mormon leaders were incarcerated at the Liberty jail for the winter of 1839. Although Alexander Doniphan led a force of Missouri volunteers ordered to capture the leaders, he defended Joseph Smith in trial and won him a change in venue. While en route to their new venue, Smith and his followers escaped and left Missouri for the new Mormon settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois. From the late 1840s through the 1860s, an exodus of more than 70,000 Mormons passed through on their way to their &ldquoNew Zion&rdquo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

William Jewell College, one of the oldest private colleges in Missouri, was founded in 1849 with a $10,000 donation from Dr. William Jewell of Columbia, Missouri. There was also the Liberty Female Institute (also known as the Liberty Ladies College) on the opposite side of town that provided a comparable education for women.

The Clay County Savings Bank was the site of the first successful daylight bank robbery on February 13, 1866 - allegedly committed by the James-Younger Gang.

The Interurban Railroad ran through Liberty, from Excelsior Springs to Kansas City, beginning in 1913 to 1933. Several trains stopped each day at the depot located on Mill Street.

From 1943 to 1945 during World War II, a German prisoner of war camp was set up at a turkey farm. The prisoners stayed in turkey laying houses that were adapted for living quarters. Approximately 600 prisoners were housed in this location. The prisoners were transported to areas farms to work and produce crops for the local economy and war effort.

Since 2005, the National Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Liberty&rsquos commitment to the management of its cpommunity forest with the TreeCity designation.

To become a Tree City USA, a community must meet certain standards such as having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program with a budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance.

In 2007, Liberty was designated a Preserve America community.The Preserve America program is a White House effort to encourage and support communities that preserve and promote America&rsquos cultural and natural heritage.

Residents have long known that the City of Liberty, Mo., is a great place to live. In 2011, two nationally respected publications let the secret out. Family Circle Magazine ranked Liberty as one of the top three places for families. According to a Family Circle press release, &ldquothe communities featured in the magazine&rsquos annual roundup of perfect places to call home combine affordable housing, good neighbors, green spaces, strong public school systems and giving spirits.

In that same year, CNN / Money Magazine named Liberty the 7th Best Place to Live. Through a long list of statistics used in the ranking, Liberty fared rather well in a number of areas when compared to the &ldquoBest Places&rdquo average. Among other statistics, Liberty:

  • enjoys a higher job growth in the past 10 years
  • has a lower median home price
  • recorded better reading and math scores
  • has better air quality index and
  • has shorter commute times

Today, Liberty continues to enjoy both residential, commercial development while also maintaining it&rsquos strong sense of history. Liberty is home to 5 local historic districts, 7 districts and 7 individual properties on the National Register of Historic Places, a thriving downtown historic Square and surrounding area, 3 museums and many notable sites of interest.


On this day in 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The copper and iron statue, which was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland, became known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Intended to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the U.S. and France, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (who modeled it after his own mother), with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later developed the iconic tower in Paris bearing his name. The statue was initially scheduled to be finished by 1876, the 100th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence however, fundraising efforts, which included auctions, a lottery and boxing matches, took longer than anticipated, both in Europe and the U.S., where the statue’s pedestal was to be financed and constructed. The statue alone cost the French an estimated $250,000 (more than $5.5 million in today’s money).

Finally completed in Paris in the summer of 1884, the statue, a robed female figure with an uplifted arm holding a torch, reached its new home on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor (between New York City and Hudson County, New Jersey) on June 17, 1885. After being reassembled, the 450,000-pound statue was officially dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Cleveland, who said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” Standing more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, the statue, dubbed “Liberty Enlightening the World” by Bartholdi, was taller than any structure in New York City at the time. The statue was originally copper-colored, but over the years it underwent a natural color-change process called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue.

In 1892, Ellis Island, located near Bedloe’s Island (which in 1956 was renamed Liberty Island), opened as America’s chief immigration station, and for the next 62 years Lady Liberty, as the statue is nicknamed, stood watch over the more than 12 million immigrants who sailed into New York Harbor. In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, written 20 years earlier for a pedestal fundraiser, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus’ now-famous words, which include “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

Some 60 years after President Calvin Coolidge designated the statue a national monument in 1924, it underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration (which included a new torch and gold leaf-covered flame) and was rededicated by President Ronald Reagan on July 4, 1986, in a lavish celebration. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the statue was closed its base, pedestal and observation deck re-opened in 2004, while its crown re-opened to the public on July 4, 2009. (For safety reasons, the torch has been closed to visitors since 1916, after an incident called the Black Tom explosions in which munitions-laden barges and railroad cars on the Jersey City, New Jersey, waterfront were blown up by German agents, causing damage to the nearby statue.)

Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks. Over the years, it has been the site of political rallies and protests (from suffragettes to anti-war activists), has been featured in numerous movies and countless photographs, and has received millions of visitors from around the globe.


Creating the Statue of Liberty

A sketch by Auguste Bartholdi of the Statue of Liberty as a Lighthouse circa 1880

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

The Early Stages

In 1865, a French political intellectual and anti-slavery activist named Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that a statue representing liberty be built for the United States. This monument would honor the United States' centennial of independence and the friendship with France. French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi supported de Laboulaye's idea and in 1870 began designing the statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World."

While Bartholdi was designing the Statue, he also took a trip to the United States in 1871. During the trip, Bartholdi selected Bedloe's Island as the site for the Statue. Although the island was small, it was visible to every ship entering New York Harbor, which Bartholdi viewed as the "gateway to America."

An unsigned 19th century map of New York Harbor thought to be done by Auguste Bartholdi.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

In 1876, French artisans and craftsmen began constructing the Statue in France under Bartholdi's direction. The arm holding the torch was completed in 1876 and shown at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The head and shoulders were completed in 1878 and displayed at the Paris Universal Exposition. The entire Statue was completed and assembled in Paris between 1881 and 1884. Also in 1884, construction on the pedestal began in the United States.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

Craftsmen working on the construction of the Statue of Liberty in Paris.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

The assembly of the Statue in Paris which occurred between 1881 and 1884.

An illustration of crates containing the Statue of Liberty moving from the French Navy ship Isère to lighters. The lighters were then transported to Bedloe’s Island.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

To the United States

After the Statue was presented to Levi P Morton, the U.S. minister to France, on July 4, 1884 in Paris, it was disassembled and shipped to the United States aboard the French Navy ship, Isère. The Statue arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885, and was met with great fanfare. Unfortunately, the pedestal for the Statue was not yet complete and the entire structure was not reassembled on Bedloe's Island until 1886.

Construction on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe’s Island.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

An illustration of the “rise” of the Statue of Liberty from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, October 17, 1885.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

Once the pedestal was completed in 1886, the Statue was reassembled with surprising speed by a fearless construction crew - many of whom were new immigrants. The first piece of the Statue to be reconstructed was Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel's iron framework. The rest of the Statue's elements followed without the use of scaffolding - all construction materials were hoisted up by steam driven cranes and derricks. In order to sculpt the Statue's skin Eiffel used the repoussé technique developed by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. This technique was the process of molding light-weight copper sheets by hammering them onto the Statue's hallowed wooden framework. The last section to be completed was the Statue of Liberty's face which remained veiled until the Statue's dedication. Although Fort Wood remained on Bedloe's Island, it was not an obstacle in the design, construction, or reassembly of the Statue of Liberty. Instead, the star-shaped structure became a part of the Statue's base - the pedestal sits within its walls.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

Construction workers who assembled the Statue on Bedloe's Island. Many of these workers were new immigrants.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

An illustration of the Statue being reconstructed on its pedestal on Bedloe's Island.

The Statue amidst smoke from a gun salute during the Statue’s unveiling on October 28, 1886.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

On October 28, 1886, the statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World" was officially unveiled. The day's wet and foggy weather did not stop some one million New Yorkers from turning out to cheer for The Statue of Liberty. Parades on land and sea honored the Statue while flags and music filled the air and the official dedication took place beneath the colossus "glistening with rain." When it was time for Bartholdi to release the tricolor French flag that veiled Liberty's face, a roar of guns, whistles, and applause sounded.


On this day in history, The Statue of Liberty, disassembled in Paris for shipment to the United States, arrived in New York Harbor aboard the French navy ship Isère. The Statue was met with tremendous fanfare and a naval parade, but was placed in storage for a year while the pedestal was completed. It was finally unveiled at a dedication ceremony on October 28, 1886.

The words of the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus were not inscribed on the statue until 1903.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

You can read more details about the history of the Statue of Liberty here.


June 17 1885, Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor

On June 17, 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The copper and iron statue, which was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland, became known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Intended to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the U.S. and France, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (who modeled it after his own mother), with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later developed the iconic tower in Paris bearing his name. The statue was initially scheduled to be finished by 1876, the 100th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence however, fundraising efforts, which included auctions, a lottery and boxing matches, took longer than anticipated, both in Europe and the U.S., where the statue’s pedestal was to be financed and constructed. The statue alone cost the French an estimated $250,000 (more than $5.5 million in today’s money).

Finally completed in Paris in the summer of 1884, the statue, a robed female figure with an uplifted arm holding a torch, reached its new home on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor (between New York City and Hudson County, New Jersey) on June 17, 1885. After being reassembled, the 450,000-pound statue was officially dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Cleveland, who said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” Standing more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, the statue, dubbed “Liberty Enlightening the World” by Bartholdi, was taller than any structure in New York City at the time. The statue was originally copper-colored, but over the years it underwent a natural color-change process called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue.

In 1892, Ellis Island, located near Bedloe’s Island (which in 1956 was renamed Liberty Island), opened as America’s chief immigration station, and for the next 62 years Lady Liberty, as the statue is nicknamed, stood watch over the more than 12 million immigrants who sailed into New York Harbor. In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, written 20 years earlier for a pedestal fundraiser, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus’ now-famous words, which include “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

Some 60 years after President Calvin Coolidge designated the statue a national monument in 1924, it underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration (which included a new torch and gold leaf-covered flame) and was rededicated by President Ronald Reagan on July 4, 1986, in a lavish celebration. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the statue was closed its base, pedestal and observation deck re-opened in 2004, while its crown re-opened to the public on July 4, 2009. (For safety reasons, the torch has been closed to visitors since 1916, after an incident called the Black Tom explosions in which munitions-laden barges and railroad cars on the Jersey City, New Jersey, waterfront were blown up by German agents, causing damage to the nearby statue.)

Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks. Over the years, it has been the site of political rallies and protests (from suffragettes to anti-war activists), has been featured in numerous movies and countless photographs, and has received millions of visitors from around the globe.


On This Day in History, 17 июнь

The men were caught attempting to wiretap the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex. The scandal ultimately led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation.

1944 Iceland becomes a republic

The Nordic island country had previously been included in the Norwegian and Danish monarchies. The republic's first President was Sveinn Björnsson.

1940 The three Baltic states fall under Soviet occupation

While the world's attention was focused on the recent German invasion of Paris, the Soviet Union annexed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

1928 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic

Wilmer Stultz piloted the Fokker F.VII aircraft, Earhart kept the flight log. They arrived at Burry Port in Wales, the United Kingdom, 20 hours and 40 minutes later.

1885 The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York

Hundreds of thousands of spectators welcomed the emblematic statue, which was a gift to the United States from the people of France and has become one of the country's most recognized symbols.


The Statue of Liberty arrived from Paris to New York (1885)

On June 17, 1885, a ship from France loaded with parts of the famous Statue of Liberty arrived in New York. Of course, this statue was a gift from the French to the United States, and it is interesting that in France it was not only cast, but once even assembled in full size. Namely, the statue was first assembled in Paris, in Rue de Chazelles. Only then was it disassembled, packed in crates, and shipped to New York.

The Statue of Liberty was made by the French as the largest metal sculpture in the world until then. The height of the sculpture is 46 meters, and it is made of copper plates that form the formwork, and inside they are supported by an iron skeleton, composed similarly to the Eiffel Tower. Indeed, the iron supporting structure was designed by Gustave Eiffel a few years before the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The copper shell of the statue is only about 2.4 millimeters thick, but the entire sculpture along with the iron skeleton weighs about 225 tons. These parts were stored by the French in 214 crates and sent to the United States. In total, the crates reportedly contained 350 individual pieces, which were then reassembled at their final location on the Isle of Bedloe in front of New York City. Allegedly, the nails on the fingers of the sculpture are as long as 33 centimeters.

The islet on which the sculpture is placed has been renamed from Bedloe Island to Liberty Island and has an area of ​​nearly 60 acres. The construction of the pedestal on the island was financed by the Americans, mostly with private donations. In total, with the pedestal, the Statue of Liberty is 93 meters high today.


Lady Liberty Arrived in New York Harbor Today in 1885

The Statue of Liberty in present day. ERIC THAYER/ GETTY

On June 17, 1885, as a gift from the French, the now iconic Statue of Liberty arrived dismantled by boat in New York Harbor, according to The History Channel.

Lady Liberty was shipped across the Atlantic in 350 pieces packed in more than 200 cases and was “reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by US President Grover Cleveland,’’ The History Channel said.

As a gift of friendship, Edouard de Laboulaye, known as the “Father of the Statue of Liberty,’’ proposed the idea for a statue in 1865 to represent the freedom and democracy Americans held sacred. According to the National Park Service, Laboulaye believed the US statue would increase the desire to gain the same democracy in France. He formed the Franco-American Union to fundraise.


"The Charbor Chronicles"

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Jun 17, 1885: Statue of Liberty arrives

On this day in 1885, the dismantled State of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The copper and iron statue, which was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland, became known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Intended to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the U.S. and France, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (who modeled it after his own mother), with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later developed the iconic tower in Paris bearing his name. The statue was initially scheduled to be finished by 1876, the 100th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence however, fundraising efforts, which included auctions, a lottery and boxing matches, took longer than anticipated, both in Europe and the U.S., where the statue’s pedestal was to be financed and constructed. The statue alone cost the French an estimated $250,000 (more than $5.5 million in today’s money).

Finally completed in Paris in the summer of 1884, the statue, a robed female figure with an uplifted arm holding a torch, reached its new home on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor (between New York City and Hudson County, New Jersey) on June 17, 1885. After being reassembled, the 450,000-pound statue was officially dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Cleveland, who said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” Standing more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, the statue, dubbed “Liberty Enlightening the World” by Bartholdi, was taller than any structure in New York City at the time. The statue was originally copper-colored, but over the years it underwent a natural color-change process called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue.

In 1892, Ellis Island, located near Bedloe's Island (which in 1956 was renamed Liberty Island), opened as America’s chief immigration station, and for the next 62 years Lady Liberty, as the statue is nicknamed, stood watch over the more than 12 million immigrants who sailed into New York Harbor. In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, written 20 years earlier for a pedestal fundraiser, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus’ now-famous words, which include “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

Some 60 years after President Calvin Coolidge designated the statue a national monument in 1924, it underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration (which included a new torch and gold leaf-covered flame) and was rededicated by President Ronald Reagan on July 4, 1986, in a lavish celebration. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the statue was closed its base, pedestal and observation deck re-opened in 2004, while its crown re-opened to the public on July 4, 2009. (For safety reasons, the torch has been closed to visitors since 1916, after an incident called the Black Tom explosions in which munitions-laden barges and railroad cars on the Jersey City, New Jersey, waterfront were blown up by German agents, causing damage to the nearby statue.).

Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks. Over the years, it has been the site of political rallies and protests (from suffragettes to anti-war activists), has been featured in numerous movies and countless photographs, and has received millions of visitors from around the globe.











Jun 17, 1775: Battle of Bunker Hill begins

British General William Howe lands his troops on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking Boston, Massachusetts, and leads them against Breed's Hill, a fortified American position just below Bunker Hill, on this day in 1775.

As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, American General William Prescott reportedly told his men, "Don't one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" When the Redcoats were within 40 yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat. After reforming his lines, Howe attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott's men were now low on ammunition, though, and when Howe led his men up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots' gunfire had cut down nearly 1,000 enemy troops, including 92 officers. Of the 370 Patriots who fell, most were struck while in retreat.

The British had won the so-called Battle of Bunker Hill, and Breed's Hill and the Charlestown Peninsula fell firmly under British control. Despite losing their strategic positions, the battle was a morale-builder for the Americans, convincing them that patriotic dedication could overcome superior British military might.

The British entered the Battle of Bunker Hill overconfident. Had they merely guarded Charlestown Neck, they could have isolated the Patriots with little loss of life. Instead, Howe had chosen to try to wipe out the Yankees by marching 2,400 men into a frontal assault on the Patriots' well-defended position on top of the hill. The British would never make the same mistake again.
























Jun 17, 1940: British and Allied troops continue the evacuation of France, as Churchill reassures his countrymen

On this day in 1940, British troops evacuate France in Operation Ariel, an exodus almost on the order of Dunkirk. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill offers words of encouragement in a broadcast to the nation: "Whatever has happened in France. [w]e shall defend our island home, and with the British Empire we shall fight on unconquerable until the curse of Hitler is lifted."

With two-thirds of France now occupied by German troops, those British and Allied troops that had not participated in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk, were shipped home. From Cherbourg and St. Malo, from Brest and Nantes, Brits, Poles, and Canadian troops were rescued from occupied territory by boats sent from Britain. While these men were not under the immediate threat of assault, as at Dunkirk, they were by no means safe, as 5,000 soldiers and French civilians learned once on board the ocean liner Lancastria, which had picked them up at St. Nazaire. Germans bombers sunk the liner 3,000 passengers drowned.

Churchill ordered that news of the Lancastria not be broadcast in Britain, fearing the effect it would have on public morale, since everyone was already on heightened alert, fearing an imminent invasion from the Germans now that only a channel separated them. The British public would eventually find out—but not for another six weeks—when the news finally broke in the United States. They would also enjoy a breather of another kind: Hitler had no immediate plans for an invasion of the British isle, "being well aware of the difficulties involved in such an operation," reported the German High Command.


















Jun 17, 1940: France to surrender

With Paris fallen and the German conquest of France reaching its conclusion, Marshal Henri Petain replaces Paul Reynaud as prime minister and announces his intention to sign an armistice with the Nazis. The next day, French General Charles de Gaulle, not very well known even to the French, made a broadcast to France from England, urging his countrymen to continue the fight against Germany.

A military hero during World War I, Petain was appointed vice premier of France in May 1940 to boost morale in a country crumbling under the force of the Nazi invasion. Instead, Petain arranged an armistice with the Nazis. The armistice, signed by the French on June 22, went into effect on June 25, and more than half of France was occupied by the Germans. In July, Petain took office as "chief of state" at Vichy, a city in unoccupied France. The Vichy government under Petain collaborated with the Nazis, and French citizens suffered on both sides of the divided nation. In 1942, Pierre Laval, an opportunistic French fascist and dutiful Nazi collaborator, won the trust of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, and the elderly Petain became merely a figurehead in the Vichy regime.

After the Normandy invasion in 1944, Petain and Laval were forced to flee to German protection in the east. Both were eventually captured, found guilty of high treason, and sentenced to die. Laval was executed in 1945, but provincial French leader Charles de Gaulle commuted Petain's sentence to life imprisonment. Petain died on the Ile d'Yeu off France in 1951.




Jun 16, 1940: Marshal Petain becomes premier of occupied France

On this day in 1940, Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain, World War I hero, becomes prime minister of the Vichy government of France.

As Germany began to overrun more French territory, the French Cabinet became desperate for a solution to this crisis. Premier Paul Reynaud continued to hold out hope, refusing to ask for an armistice, especially now that France had received assurance from Britain that the two would fight as one, and that Britain would continue to fight the Germans even if France were completely overtaken. But others in the government were despondent and wanted to sue for peace. Reynaud resigned in protest. His vice premier, Henri Petain, formed a new government and asked the Germans for an armistice, in effect, surrendering.

This was an ironic position for Petain, to say the least. The man who had become a legendary war hero for successfully repelling a German attack on the French city of Verdun during the First World War was now surrendering to Hitler.

In the city of Vichy, the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies conferred on the 84-year-old general the title of "Chief of State," making him a virtual dictator–although one controlled by Berlin. Petain believed that he could negotiate a better deal for his country–for example, obtaining the release of prisoners of war–by cooperating with, or as some would say, appeasing, the Germans.

But Petain proved to be too clever by half. While he fought against a close Franco-German military collaboration, and fired his vice premier, Pierre Laval, for advocating it, and secretly urged Spain's dictator Francisco Franco to refuse passage of the German army to North Africa, his attempts to undermine the Axis while maintaining an official posture of neutrality did not go unnoticed by Hitler, who ordered that Laval be reinstated as vice premier. Petain acquiesced, but refused to resign in protest because of fear that France would come under direct German rule if he were not there to act as a buffer. But he soon became little more than a figurehead, despite efforts to manipulate events behind the scenes that would advance the Free French cause (then publicly denying, even denouncing, those events when they came to light).

When Paris was finally liberated by General Charles de Gaulle in 1944, Petain fled to Germany. He was brought back after the war to stand trial for his duplicity. He was sentenced to death, which was then commuted to life in solitary confinement. He died at 95 in prison. The man responsible for saving his life was de Gaulle. He and Petain had fought in the same unit in World War I and had not forgotten Petain's bravery during that world war.



















Jun 16, 1970: Communists isolate Phnom Penh

North Vietnamese and Viet Cong attacks almost completely isolate Phnom Penh. The principal fighting raged in and around Kompong Thom, about 90 miles north of the capital. On June 17, Cambodia's last working railway line, which ran to the border of Thailand, was severed when communist troops seized a freight train with 200 tons of rice and other food supplies at a station at Krang Lovea, about 40 miles northwest of Phnom Penh.















Jun 17, 1953: Soviets crush antigovernment riots in East Berlin

The Soviet Union orders an entire armored division of its troops into East Berlin to crush a rebellion by East German workers and antigovernment protesters. The Soviet assault set a precedent for later interventions into Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The riots in East Berlin began among construction workers, who took to the streets on June 16, 1953, to protest an increase in work schedules by the communist government of East Germany. By the next day, the crowd of disgruntled workers and other antigovernment dissidents had grown to between 30,000 and 50,000. Leaders of the protest issued a call for a general strike, the resignation of the communist East German government, and free elections. Soviet forces struck quickly and without warning. Troops, supported by tanks and other armored vehicles, crashed through the crowd of protesters. Some protesters tried to fight back, but most fled before the onslaught. Red Cross officials in West Berlin (where many of the wounded protesters fled) estimated the death toll at between 15 and 20, and the number of wounded at more than 100. The Soviet military commanders declared martial law, and by the evening of June 17, the protests had been shattered and relative calm was restored.

In Washington, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared that the brutal Soviet action contradicted Russian propaganda that the people of East Germany were happy with their communist government. He noted that the smashing of the protests was "a good lesson on the meaning of communism." America's propaganda outlet in Europe, the Voice of America radio station, claimed, "The workers of East Berlin have already written a glorious page in postwar history. They have once and for all times exposed the fraudulent nature of communist regimes." These criticisms had little effect on the Soviet control of East Germany, which remained a communist stronghold until the government fell in 1989.




















Jun 17, 1972: Nixon's re-election employees are arrested for burglary

Five burglars are arrested in the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, D.C. James McCord, Frank Sturgis, Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, and Eugenio Martinez were apprehended in the early morning after a security guard at the Watergate noticed that several doors leading from the stairwell to various hallways had been taped to prevent them from locking. The intruders were wearing surgical gloves and carrying walkie-talkies, cameras, and almost $2,300 in sequential $100 bills. A subsequent search of their rooms at the Watergate turned up an additional $4,200, burglary tools, and electronic bugging equipment.

Although there was no immediate explanation as to the objective of the break-in, an extensive investigation ensued, eventually unveiling a comprehensive scheme of political sabotage and espionage designed to discredit Democratic candidates. McCord, who was one of the burglars, was also Richard Nixon's security chief for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). Nixon campaign funds were ultimately linked back to the Watergate break-in. In addition, equipment used during the burglary had been borrowed from the CIA. In the fall of 1972, Nixon was re-elected into office, but the probe continued.

FBI agents soon established that hundreds of thousands of dollars in Nixon campaign contributions had been set aside to pay for a massive undercover anti-Democratic operation. According to federal investigators, CREEP had forged letters and distributed them under Democratic candidate's letterhead, leaked false and manufactured information to the press, seized confidential Democratic campaign files, and followed Democratic candidates' families in order to gather damaging information.

During an interview with the Senate select Watergate committee on July 16, 1973, former White House aide Alexander Butterfield revealed that Nixon had been taping all of his conversations and telephone calls in the White House since 1971. After losing a battle in the Supreme Court to keep these tapes private, Nixon was heard approving the cover-up of the Watergate burglary less than a week after it happened. During a June 20, 1972, discussion of the Watergate scandal between the President and former White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, an 18 1/4-minute gap had been inexplicably erased, causing frustration and speculation from investigators.

On August 9, 1974, President Nixon resigned-the first U.S. president to do so. However, newly elected President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon a month later, saving him from facing criminal charges.
























Jun 17, 1876: Indians hammer U.S. soldiers at the Battle of the Rosebud

Sioux and Cheyenne Indians score a tactical victory over General Crook's forces at the Battle of the Rosebud, foreshadowing the disaster of the Battle of Little Big Horn eight days later.

General George Crook was in command of one of three columns of soldiers converging on the Big Horn country of southern Montana that June. A large band of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians under the direction of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and several other chiefs had congregated in the area in defiance of U.S. demands that the Indians confine themselves to reservations. The army viewed the Indians' refusal as an opportunity to dispatch a massive three-pronged attack and win a decisive victory over the "hostile" Indians.

Crook's column, marching north from Fort Fetterman in Wyoming Territory, was to join with two others: General Gibbon's column coming east from Fort Ellis in Montana Territory, and General Terry's force coming west from Fort Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory. Terry's force included the soon-to-be-famous 7th Cavalry under the command of George Custer. The vast distances and lack of reliable communications made it difficult to coordinate, but the three armies planned to converge on the valley of the Big Horn River and stage an assault on an enemy whose location and size was only vaguely known.

The plan quickly ran into trouble. As Crook approached the Big Horn, his Indian scouts informed him they had found signs of a major Sioux force that must still be nearby. Crook was convinced that the Sioux were encamped in a large village somewhere along the Rosebud Creek just east of the Big Horn. Like most of his fellow officers, Crook believed that Indians were more likely to flee than stand and fight, and he was determined to find the village and attack before the Sioux could escape into the wilderness. Crook's Indian allies� Crow and Shoshone warriors—were less certain. They suspected the Sioux force was under the command of Crazy Horse, thee brilliant war chief. Crazy Horse, they warned, was too shrewd to give Crook an opportunity to attack a stationary village.

Crook soon learned that his allies were right. Around 8 a.m. on this day in 1876, Crook halted his force of about 1,300 men in the bowl of a small valley along the Rosebud Creek in order to allow the rear of the column to catch up. Crook's soldiers unsaddled and let their horses graze while they relaxed in the grass and enjoyed the cool morning air. The American soldiers were out in the open, divided, and unprepared. Suddenly, several Indian scouts rode into the camp at a full gallop. "Sioux! Sioux!" they shouted. "Many Sioux!" Within minutes, a mass of Sioux warriors began to converge on the army.

A force of at least 1,500 mounted Sioux warriors caught Crook's soldiers by surprise. Crazy Horse had kept an additional 2,500 warriors in reserve to finish the attack. Fortunately for Crook, one segment of his army was not caught unprepared. His 262 Crow and Shoshone allies had taken up advanced positions about 500 yards from the main body of soldiers. With astonishing courage, the Indian warriors boldly countercharged the much larger invading force. They managed to blunt the initial attack long enough for Crook to regroup his men and send soldiers forward to support his Indian allies. The fighting continued until noon, when the Sioux-perhaps hoping to draw Crook's army into an ambush—retreated from the field.

The combined force of 4,000 Sioux warriors had outnumbered Crook's divided and unprepared army by more than three to one. Had it not been for the wisdom and courage of Crook's Indian allies, Americans today might well remember the Battle of the Rosebud as they do the subsequent Battle of the Little Big Horn. As it was, Crook's team was badly bloodied󈟬 men were killed and 56 were seriously wounded.

Crook had no choice but to withdraw and regroup. Crazy Horse had lost only 13 men and his warriors were emboldened by their successful attack on the American soldiers. Eight days later, they would join with their tribesmen in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, which would wipe out George Custer and his 7th Cavalry.


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Watch the video: Six-Day War Begins - 1967. Today In History. 5 June 17