Roger Mickelson’s History Today (5/11/13)

In 330, Constantine the Great dedicated Byzantium (Constantinople; now Istanbul) as the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, an act that helped transform it into a leading city of the world. Constantine’s choice of capital had profound effects upon the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It displaced the power center of the Roman Empire, moving it eastward, and achieved the first lasting unification of Greece. Culturally, Constantinople fostered a fusion of Oriental and Occidental custom, art, and architecture. The religion was Christian, the organization Roman, and the language and outlook Greek. The concept of the divine right of kings, rulers who were defenders of the faith—as opposed to the king as divine himself—was evolved there. The gold solidus of Constantine retained its value and served as a monetary standard for more than a thousand years. As the centuries passed—the Christian empire lasted 1130 years—Constantinople, seat of empire, was to become as important as the empire itself; in the end, although the territories had virtually shrunk away, the capital endured.

The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire (Photo credit: oriana.italy)

Mexican War:    In 1846, President James K. Polk asked Congress to declare war on Mexico. The annexation of Texas as a state was concluded and resulted in a two-year war with Mexico—a war that Ulysses S. Grant, who served in it as an army captain, would later call the most unjust war in history.
English: Picture of James K. Polk

English: Picture of James K. Polk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

American Civil War:    In 1862, the crew of the CSS Virginia scuttled the ship to prevent it from falling into the hands of Union forces.


World War II:    In 1943, US troops invaded Attu, one of the Aleutian Islands captured by the Japanese in 1942. They secured the island 19 days later. My brother Curt was an Infantryman who fought throughout the Aleutian campaign; never wanted to say much about the fighting or the weather.

Outer Aleutian Islands [Detail]

Outer Aleutian Islands [Detail] (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

In 1960, Israeli agents captured German war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, Argentina; nine days later they smuggled him out of the country and took him to Israel. After settling the controversy that arose over this Israeli violation of Argentine law, the Israeli government arranged his trial before a special three-judge court in Jerusalem. Eichmann’s trial was controversial from the beginning. The trial—before Jewish judges by a Jewish state that did not exist until three years after the Holocaust—gave rise to accusations of ex post facto justice. Some called for an international tribunal to try Eichmann, and others wanted him tried in Germany, but Israel was insistent. At stake was not only justice but also honor, as well as an opportunity to educate a new generation about the Holocaust.

Adolf Eichmann

Adolf Eichmann (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regards, Roger Mickelson
Source material includes Associated Press International and Encyclopædia Britannica.
“It looks a whole lot like what it really is.”
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