5.31.2012

Thursday, May 31, 1962: Adolf Eichmann hanged

June 1 story from The Associated Press:

TEL AVIV, Israel -- The state of Israel hanged Adolf Eichmann last night for his role in the Nazi extermination of six million Jews. The Gestapo officer went to his death hailing Germany, Austria and Argentina and declaring: "I had to obey the rules of war and my flag. I am ready."
Eichmann, 56, who insisted to the end he was not to blame for the horrors of Hitler's death camps and torture chambers, died two minutes before midnight on the gallows of Ramleh Prison outside Tel Aviv.
He was the first person executed by this dominantly Jewish nation in its 14-year history.
The Israeli government announced later that Eichmann's body was cremated on board a police boat at 3:45 a.m. and the ashes were scattered on the Mediterranean.
Israel charged him with crimes against humanity in his merciless roundup of Jews for shipment to the gas chambers of the Nazi Reich.
Eichmann's last words, addressed to a small group which witnessed his hanging in a third-floor room, were:
"After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. So is the fate of all men. I have lived believing in God and I die believing in God.
"Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the countries with which I have been most closely associated and shall not forget them. I greet my wife, my family and my friends. I had to obey the rules of war and my flag. I am ready."
Eichmann was born in Austria, served Germany and hid out after World War II in Argentina.
Eichmann was taken to his death two years and 21 days after Israeli commandos captured him in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel by air, ending a worldwide search by Jewish agents that began in the smoldering ruins of the Nazi empire at the close of the war.
He died at the end of the rope within hours after Pres. Izhak Ben-Zvi, acting with unexpected speed, rejected his final possible plea for mercy and sealed his doom.
Eichmann was hanged on an improvised scaffold in an area ordinarily used as a warden's storeroom. He walked steadily to the scene of his execution handcuffed to two guards.
Eichmann had been informed that his appeal was rejected but he was not told he was to be hanged forthwith until the guards came for him and led him the last 50 yards from his cell to the execution chamber.
When Eichmann was told his appeal had been rejected he asked for and got a bottle of red wine. It was a dry carmel, one of Israel's best wines. He drank half a bottle. He mounted the scaffold by a single step and stood directly under the noose which was suspended over his head on a chain. His hands were bound with a white cloth. Prison aides also tied his knees and ankles with the same white material.
At one point Eichmann complained that he could not stand straight unless the bonds around his legs were loosened.
The guards quickly eased the pressure. When the bonds were in place Eichmann stepped forward onto a black painted square, the trap door.
A guard shouted the Hebrew word for ready -- "muchan" -- and Eichmann disappeared from view.

1960 photos from Israel's police files.

* "The Executioner" (from www.aish.com, 2005): @
* Website of "The Hangman" (2010 documentary): @
* "The Eichmann Trial and the Role of Law" (American Bar Association Journal, September 1962): @

Earlier posts:
* Israel abducts Adolf Eichmann (May 11, 1960): @
* The trial of Adolf Eichmann (April 11, 1961): @
* Adolf Eichmann verdict (December 11 and December 15, 1961): @

5.28.2012

Monday, May 28, 1962: 'Black Monday'

The term "Black Monday" is again used to describe a substantial drop in share prices on the U.S. stock exchange. (The first being October 28, 1929.)

From The Associated Press: "The mightiest avalanche of selling in 32 years slugged the stock market into another severe loss today. It was a 'Black Monday' for investors who saw billions of dollars in stock value go down the drain."

* Stories, photos from Life magazine (June 8, 1962): @
* "Back to the Future: Lessons From the Forgotten 'Flash Crash' of 1962" (Wall Street Journal, 2010): @
* "The Present Decline in Perspective" (Report from the Council of Economic Advisers, May 29, 1962): @

5.27.2012

Sunday, May 27, 1962: Centralia mine fire

From the website of David DeKok, author of "Fire Underground: The Continuing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire":

Centralia was a pleasant community of about 1,435 souls in 1962. On May 27 of that year, with the best of intentions, a fire was set in Centralia's garbage dump by firemen hired by the borough council. They had always done this, because the dump had always been next to one cemetery or another, and with Memorial Day and many grave visits approaching, they wanted to get rid of the offending odors as best they could.
The firemen piled the trash in one corner of the pit, set it afire and later washed down the smoldering ashes with fire hoses. ... The fire found its way through a hole in the pit into the vast, black labyrinth of abandoned coal mines that lay beneath Centralia. The borough council tried desperately to put out the underground fire, but after a few days it was beyond their reach.

Note: The fire continues to burn, the town all but abandoned.

Photo from www.albany.edu.

* "Fire Underground": @
* Daviddekok.com: @
* "The Day the Earth Caved In" (book by Joan Quigley, 2007): @
* "Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania" (book by Renee Jacobs, 2010): @
* Watch "The Town That Was" (2007 documentary, via www.hulu.com): @
* "There Goes the Neighborhood, Up in Flames" (Esquire magazine, August 1999): @
* "Fire in the Hole" (Smithsonian magazine, May 2005): @
* "Few Remain as 1962 Fire Still Burns" (Associated Press, 2010): @
* www.centraliaminefire.weebly.com: @
* www.centraliapa.com: @
* Entry on www.pahighways.com: @
* Entry on www.offroaders.com: @

5.23.2012

Wednesday, May 23, 1962: 'Sex and the Single Girl'

The book by Helen Gurley Brown is published by Bernard Geis Associates and quickly becomes a best-seller. From the hardcover book flap:

SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL torpedoes one of the most absurd (if universal) myths of our time: that every girl must be married. (How ... when there are four million too few single adult men to go around? Why ... when it can be so exciting to be single?)
In perhaps the first truly honest treatment of the subject, SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL tells the unmarried girl how to be irresistibly, irrepressibly, confidently, enviably single. There is not a coy, sanctimonious or condescending word in this entire book ... only hundreds of practical, workable, specific suggestions written with sometimes shocking candor by a woman who was herself single for thirty-seven years.
The reader is taken on a guided tour of the haunts of men and told how to flush them out "without doing anything brassy or show-offy." (Not for the purpose of getting married but of being contentedly single until she meets a man she wants to marry -- and who wants to marry her.)
One chapter draws a detailed, easy-to-follow blueprint of how to be sexy to every man in eyesight and earshot "except those who respond only to girls who wear hobnail boots and paperclip necklaces or union suits plastered with chicken feathers."
The single woman will discover to sneak up on a fabulous career ("even if you are a slow starter") that can afford her prestige, trips to glamorous places and enough money to drive a Ferrari.
A chapter with a simple title -- MONEY MONEY MONEY -- tells the unfortunate lass who manages her funds abysmally how to hang on to enough of them to buy gold lamé dresses and blue chip stocks at the end of every month.
THE APARTMENT gives specific instructions in locating and decorating the necessary "jewel-like setting in which you will lead your sapphire single-girl life."
THE SHAPE YOU'RE IN itemizes ways to be healthy, sexy and alluring inside as well as out. THE WARDROBE punctures holes in many tired notions about fashion, such as the silly one that smart girls don't follow it. ("They follow fashion like mad.")
In other chapters, a single woman will discover how to have hair that shimmers, how to keep one dousing of French perfume wafting from her bosom all day long, how to serve (without fidgets) breakfast to an overnight male guest, how to give a perfect cocktail party, how to bake a flawless chocolate soufflé. And for the first time anywhere the protocol of THE AFFAIR is discussed -- from Beginning to End.
Long before the reader reaches THE RICH, FULL LIFE, she will be convinced that today's smart single woman, far from being a pitiable creature, can be the most alluring of all females.

* Entry from "St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture" (Gale Group, 2000): @
* Art Buchwald column (November 1962): @
* "Singular Girl's Success" (Life magazine, March 1, 1963): @
* "A Helen Gurley Brown Quiz" (The New York Times, May 2009) @
* "Bad Girls Go Everywhere" (2010 biography of Brown, by Jennifer Scanlon): @
* New Yorker review of "Bad Girls Go Everywhere": @

Wednesday, May 23, 1962: Limb reattachment

In the first successful procedure of its kind, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital reattach the right arm of 12-year-old Everett "Red" Knowles. The boy's arm had been ripped off at the shoulder while he was trying to jump onto a railroad car.

* Summary from wired.com: @
* United Press International story, published June 14, 1962: @
* Associated Press story, published June 28, 1962: @
* Associated Press story, published May 23, 1982: @
* "The West Service and the Reunion of 1962" (Massachusetts General Hospital Surgical Society Newsletter, Spring 2006): @
* "He Takes a Grip on Life" (Life magazine, August 2, 1963): @
* Obituary of Dr. Ronald Malt, lead surgeon (The Lancet, November 2002): @

5.19.2012

Saturday, May 19, 1962: 'Happy birthday, Mr. President'




A combination political fundraiser and birthday celebration is held in New York for President Kennedy. The highlight comes at evening's end when Marilyn Monroe, wearing a sequined, skin-tight dress, sings "Happy Birthday."

From The Associated Press:

President Kennedy packed Madison Square Garden Saturday night to knock $1 million off the Democrats' national debt and urge strong campaigning for the party in Congress this year.
The Garden was a sell-out for the huge "birthday salute" to Kennedy, and a great array of theatrical talent provided a two-and-a-half-hour long show for the celebration.
It came on the hottest May day in New York City history, when the temperature had risen to 99. Heat waves still rose in the Garden when, after a sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday' by Marilyn Monroe, the president remarked:
"I can now retire from politics."

Note: The full quote was "I can now retire from politics after having had 'Happy Birthday' sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way."

The bottom photo shows, from left, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Monroe, the president, and historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., White House special assistant. Schlesinger, who would later write the books "A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House" and "Robert Kennedy and His Times," wrote after Monroe's death on August 5:

I will never forget meeting her at the Arthur Krim party following the JFK birthday rally at Madison Square Garden in May. I cannot recall whether I wrote anything down at the time, but the image of this exquisite, beguiling and desperate girl will always stay with me. I do not think I have seen anyone so beautiful; I was enchanted by her manner and her wit, at once so masked, so ingenuous, and so penetrating. But one felt a terrible unreality about her -- as if talking to someone under water. ... The only moment I felt I touched her when I mentioned that I was a friend of Joe Rauh. This produced a warm and spontaneous burst of affection -- but then she receded into her own glittering mist.

The passage is from the book "Journals: 1952-2000."

* Watch Monroe's performance: @
* Monroe interview in Life magazine (August 3, 1962): @
* Excerpt from "President Kennedy: Profile of Power" (Richard Reeves, 1994): @
* Excerpt from "John F. Kennedy: A Biography" (Michael O'Brien, 2006): @
* "JFK and Marilyn Monroe: The Story Behind the Image" (ABC News, 2010): @

5.14.2012

Monday, May 14, 1962: 'A Clockwork Orange'

Anthony Burgess' novel is published in England. Narrated by the main character, Alex, the futuristic tale of violence and debauchery by young toughs is told with an invented language (based largely on Russian words).

The book would later be published in the United States without its final chapter, in which Alex decides to leave behind his life of evil. (The U.S. publisher, W.W. Norton, thought little of the more hopeful ending.)

* Text (PDF includes 21st chapter and 1986 introduction by Burgess): @
* Audio of Burgess reading from book: @ and @ and @ and @
* Summary from www.sparknotes.com: @
* Entry from www.todayinliterature.com: @
* New York Times book review (March 19, 1963): @
* Excerpts from "You've Had Your Time," Burgess' 1990 autobiography: @
* "Conversations with Anthony Burgess" (2008 collection of interviews from 1971 to 1989): @
* International Anthony Burgess Foundation: @

5.12.2012

Saturday, May 12, 1962: 'Duty, Honor, Country'


Retired Gen. Douglas MacArthur gives a speech at the U.S. Military Academy as he accepts the Sylvanus Thayer Award for service to his country. The speech to the Corps of Cadets, both sweeping and personal, is a stirring explanation of "why we fight."

Its two most memorable passages, the first from the beginning of the speech:

Duty ... Honor ... Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

MacArthur concludes with:

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.

Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps.

I bid you farewell.

Portions of the speech would later be engraved on a series of walls at West Point as part of a MacArthur memorial.

Life magazine photo from 1947.

* Transcript of speech (from www.americanrhetoric.com): @
* Listen to the speech: @
* Entry from "Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History" (book by William Safire, 2004): @
* "Douglas MacArthur: Warrior as Wordsmith" (book by Bernard K. Duffy and Ronald H. Carpenter, 1997): @
* Remembrances of the event: @

5.09.2012

Wednesday, May 9, 1962: Project Luna See

Louis Smullin and Giorgio Fiocco of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aimed a ruby laser beam toward the moon's surface and Albategnius became the first lunar feature to reflect laser light from Earth. (From the book "Moonwalk with Your Eyes" by Tammy Plotner, 2010.)

From a New York Times article dated May 10:

Last night, for the first time, man illuminated another celestial body.
Had someone been standing in the mountainous region southeast of the crater Albategnius on the moon, the stark and darkened lunar landscape about him would have been lighted by a succession of dim red flashes.
The effect is thought to have been limited to a circular area of the moon's surface only one mile in radius. The light beam was produced by engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, using a device known as a laser or optical maser.
It produces a beam of extreme intensity and narrowness. The reflected light could be detected on earth only by electronic means. However, according to Dr. Charles H. Townes, inventor of the maser of now provost of M.I.T., the illumination on the moon's surface was comparable to that produced on the walls of a large room by a flashlight bulb. ...
He and many others believe such devices will play a key role in communications with and between space vehicles. ... Ultimately, Dr. Townes believes, the laser principle may provide an efficient means for transmitting energy long distances. It could be used to provide power to expeditions on the moon or other planets, using sources on the earth. It is also being tested as surgical knife and may be useful for delicate welding jobs.

* Report from Smullin and Fiocco (MIT publication; scroll down to "Project Luna See"): @
* "The laser in astronomy" (from New Scientist, June 1963): @
* Entry on Albategnius (from the book "The Moon in Close-Up: A Next Generation Astronomer's Guide," John Wilkinson, 2010): @
* Entry on Albategnius (from Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature): @
* Earlier post on lasers (May 16, 1960): @
* Earlier post on laser surgery: @

5.01.2012

May 1962: Ramparts magazine

The magazine, calling itself "The National Catholic Journal," is first published. Its liberal philosophy grew ever more political, even radical, as the decade wore on, particularly in regards to the U.S. government and its domestic and foreign policies.

The magazine's editorial policy, as stated in its first issue:

Ramparts is a journal published and edited by Catholic laymen that serves as a showcase for the creative writer and as a forum for the mature American Catholic. Ramparts publishes fiction, poetry, art, criticism and essays of distinction, reflecting those positive principles of the Hellenic-Christian tradition which have shaped and sustained our civilization for the past two thousand years, and which are needed still to guide us in an age grown increasingly secular, bewildered, and afraid. Ramparts presents creative works which, besides possessing literary excellence, possess the Christian vision of man, his world, his God. Ramparts seeks out the Christian intellectual and offers him an uninhibited opportunity to explore all the areas of the mind. Ramparts demands no special meaning of thought; it demands solely that its authors preserve the intellectual integrity that is their most valued possession, and that they pass this integrity on to their audience.

* First issue (from www.unz.org): @
* Entry from Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management (2004): @
* Entry from "Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture" (2011 book): @
* "The Ramparts I Watched" (article by Sol Stern, City Journal, 2010): @

-- Book reviews of "A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America" (Peter Richardson, 2009)
* The New York Times (Dwight Garner): @
* The New York Times (Jack Shafer): @
* The American Conservative: @
* Radio interview with Richardson (from www.kcrw.org): @

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