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Breaking News Archive June 2004

Week of 6-7-04

History of Science: Theories combine history, folklore, science.

Texas History: A copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a promissory note that secured the nourishment of Alamo warriors are among several pieces of Texas history that will be on auction blocks next week.

Reagan Eulogies: The president, Margaret Thatcher and others paint 'first brushstrokes of history,' but the debate over Reagan's record will go on.

School Busing: One of New York's top political leaders, Herman D. Farrell Jr., has questioned having a party in South Boston during the Democratic National Convention this summer, saying that the neighborhood had a"history of racial turmoil and tension." A Boston official called him a"racial agitator" and insisted that the busing fight of the 1970's had little to do with racism.

Holocaust: Some object to the form a new Holocaust monument is taking at Belzec, a Nazi death camp in Poland. A trench, about 30 feet deep and open at both ends, has been dug into the ground between the mass graves of over 500,000 people. Stretching through the heart of the camp, it's the central element of a memorial that was unveiled last week.

Genocide: Nearly nine years after the event, Bosnia's Serbian leadership has admitted responsibility for the massacre of at least 7,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica. A 42-page report, commissioned by Bosnia's Serb Republic and made public Friday, admits for the first time that police and army units under the government's control"participated" in the massacre, which took place in July 1995.

Michael Moore: Moore has hired Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani, former political advisors to Bill Clinton and Al Gore to defend his new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11."Employing the Clinton strategy of '92, we will allow no attack on this film to go without a response immediately," Moore said Thursday."And we will go after anyone who slanders me or my work, and we will do it without mercy. And when you think 'without mercy,' you think Chris Lehane."

Reagan: Conservatives used to be sceptics. There are no grand laws governing history, they once believed. Every attempt to imagine an ideal society leads inevitably to tyranny. The idea that politics consists of the pursuit of rational goals abrogates to an elite the right to define those goals and impose them on others.

Reagan: He slashed taxes. He championed the end of big government. He stared down the air controllers and deregulated American industry. He launched a conservative revolution and revitalized the Republican Party.

Iraq: Ninety years after World War I started, the world is still fighting its aftereffects. U.S. and British troops are in Iraq, which Britain created out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. The Balkans, where the war started, remain in turmoil. Turkey, the Ottoman core, continues to straddle East and West and to have designs on at least part of what is now Iraq.

Iraq: The 60th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy gave President Bush an opportunity to draw parallels between World War II, on the one hand, and the war in Iraq and the broader global conflict, on the other. This proved controversial.

Bohemians, All: Whoever wins the race to the White House this year, the president of the United States is sure to be a direct descendant of the ancient rulers of Bohemia, according to one researcher.

Obituary: Marilyn Warenski, a pioneer in women's studies whose book Patriarch and Politics forced historians to re-examine the previously accepted role of women during the early years of Utah, died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. She was 73.

Reagan: His policies were controversial and polarizing, but Ronald Reagan will be remembered as a president whose confidence, conviction and good cheer transformed the office, realigned American politics, and left the nation feeling more optimistic and secure than had any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, historians say.

Refugees: A sense of history would enable a more informed debate on the treatment of asylum seekers, writes Klaus Neumann.

Civil War: The last known widow of a veteran from the American Civil War has died in Alabama at the age of 97.

Reagan: If Republican lawmakers succeed in their efforts, former President Ronald Reagan will soon be honored by having his likeness appear on the $10 bill, the $20 bill, the dime or the 50-cent piece.

McCarthyism: Fifty years ago this week, TV transmitted a sound bite heard down through the ages:"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Rating Presidents: A new survey of presidents by the Federalist Society has Ronald Reagan as a near-great. Liberal presidents like Woodrow Wilson rank far lower than on Schlesinger's old lists.

Washington’s Headquarters Museum: The two trustees of the 12-member board of the Washington Association of New Jersey, Julia Somers and Leslie Bensley, said on Friday that they were quitting because disagreements by the leadership of the association may have led to the expected transfer of Michael Henderson, superintendent of Morristown National Historical Park, to another park.

Reagan’s Tenure: As the nation mourns its 40th president, much is being made of Ronald Reagan's role in reordering U.S.-Soviet relations and dramatically redefining the terms of the political debate over tax policy, defense, domestic priorities and social justice. The outpouring of flattering eulogies and tributes since the conservative icon died Saturday is what presidential historian Robert Dallek described yesterday as"hagiography" of a highly popular political leader.

Historical Honeymoon: There was nothing astonishing about the procession of lawmakers who came to the Senate floor Tuesday to speak in warm terms about the late President Ronald Reagan's conviction, grace, good nature, optimism, wit, leadership, patriotism and political mastery.

Presidential Marriages: Nancy Reagan has emerged as a widow in mourning, and she does so with the nation's empathy -- the kind of public embrace that at times eluded her during her years in the White House.

Chess: Chessplayers love to argue. Who was the greatest World Champion? The greatest tactical player? What's the best way to face the King's Indian Defense? And, of course, there's the question"What were the greatest chess tournaments of all time?"

Baseball: Two documents came to light this spring that should have a profound effect on the popular history of the national pastime of baseball. One was a lot in the April 17-May 1 Internet and phone sale by Robert Edward Auctions, Watchung, New Jersey. The lot consisted of a handwritten letter, scrapbook pages, and a photo postcard of Abner Doubleday.

Lincoln: A newly discovered 1838 poem of 36 lines,"The Suicide's Soliloquy", may have been written by Abraham Lincoln. It was published without attribution in the Sangamo Journal, but many scholars believe that its references, syntax, and tone are compatible with Lincoln's own.

Louis XVII: The heart of Louis XVII, the boy-king and son of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI who died in prison in 1795, has been laid to rest alongside his parents’ remains in the crypt of Saint-Denis Basilica.

Spanish Armada: A letter from Elizabeth I’s trusted adviser indicates the Turkish fleet may have played an important role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. A previously unstudied letter from Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen’s secretary, to the English ambassador in Istanbul requested the Turkish navy to disrupt the Spanish forces.

Vichy France: A new book claims to have discovered formerly unpublished links between the Vichy regime and luxury fashion company Louis Vuitton. Author Stephanie Bonvicini made the discoveries while researching the book Louis Vuitton, A French Saga, to mark 150 years since the foundation of the company.

England: The English language was invented in a tiny West Wales village, claims an amateur American historian. How Wales Created England and The English Language by Thomas D Brown suggests a theory that Pembrokeshire's mantle as Little England beyond Wales is far older than historians think.

D-Day: In one of several new studies, Samuel Newland, an American historian, concludes that, of all the defining moments of World War II - from Pearl Harbor to the fall of Paris - none provided the same sense of common purpose among the allies as the Normandy landings 60 years ago.

Korean History: Historical distortion remains a gruesome legacy of Japanese colonialism. Nearly six decades after liberation, imperial Japan's record of negatively representing Korean history and racial characteristics, not to speak of whitewashing its brutal oppression and exploitation, keeps annoying Koreans.

Nazis: A California woman can sue to retrieve $150 million worth of family paintings stolen by the Nazis, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in opening American courts to World War II-era disputes the Bush administration had wanted settled diplomatically.

Reagan: Same picture of Reagan shows up on covers of both Time and Newsweek.

Kissinger: The chief Latin American expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, the nation's pre-eminent foreign policy club, has quit as a protest, accusing the council of stifling debate on American intervention in Chile during the 1970's as a result of pressure from former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

Re-enactors: People who dress up and play soldier in re-enactments of past battles, particularly battles from World War II and Vietnam, are drawing fire from historians and others.

Atlantis: A scientist says he may have found remains of the lost city of Atlantis. Satellite photos of southern Spain reveal features on the ground appearing to match descriptions made by Greek scholar Plato of the fabled utopia.

CIA Budget: The Central Intelligence Agency budget for fiscal year 1955 was $335 million, according to newly disclosed classified budget documents from half a century ago.

Colonial History: ST. CROIX ISLAND — Long a footnote to history, this uninhabited island in the St. Croix River that marks the U.S.-Canadian border is poised to become the focal point for a 10-day international celebration. On June 26, when dignitaries from France, Canada and the United States set foot on the 6 1/2-acre grassy outcropping, it will look much as it did when Pierre Dugua, Samuel de Champlain and 77 other men arrived 400 years ago to carve out the first French settlement in the New World.

Lewis and Clark: One of the highlights of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial commemoration in late June at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan., will be the"Tent of Many Voices."

Ranking Reagan: When Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981, the United States faced two major foreign-policy challenges: the generation-long Cold War with the Soviet Union, and an unfamiliar new threat from militant Islamic movements, which had seized power in Iran and sought to end American influence in the Middle East.

Reagan: The nation's capital is preparing to honor the 40th U.S. president with a state funeral, an intricately choreographed 45 hours and 45 minutes filled with tradition — including a horse-drawn caisson in a procession from the Ellipse to the Capitol, where the body of Ronald Wilson Reagan will lie in state in the Rotunda.