Cold War’s Tiny Voice: Story about Samantha Smith

Could just one little girl stop a war? I say, yes.

During the Cold War, there was a lot of finger pointing and threats about a nuclear war between the Americans and the Soviet Union, later known as Russia.

It goes back to World War II, when the Soviet Union and America were part of the Axis powers, but it was a love-hate relationship. According to History.com, American’s feared Joseph Stalin’s way of running a country, which ended pretty bloody, and the Soviets didn’t like that the United States never wanted to see Russia as the ultimate country.

Now, the Americans feared that Soviet Union will try and rule over the world after the fall out during the World War II.

Where does a little girl work in all of this?

Samantha Smith was just an 11-year-old girl from Manchester, Maine. She loved playing with her dog and roller skating.

In 1982, Smith asked a question to her mom.

A quote from samanthasmith.info:

“Actually, the whole thing started when I asked my mother if there was going to be a war.”
Smith wrote in her book, “Journey to the Soviet Union.” “There was always something on television about missiles and nuclear bombs. I remembered that I woke up one morning and wondered if this was going to be the last day of the Earth.”

Samantha was not an alone in wondering this, but she did something that made her to be the most famous little girl at the time.

She wrote a letter to the newly appointed CPSU General Secretary, Yuri Andropov. (Basically, a Russian leader.)

In the letter, according to this, Smith congratulated Andropov for the new job and asked if there was going to be a war between America and the Soviet Union. In April 1982, Smith got a phone call from a United Press International reporter talking about actually sending her letter to Russia.

Not long after the letter was sent, Smith received a letter back from Yuri Andropov himself inviting Smith and her family to visit Moscow.

The Americans ate up the situation. People were scared about a possible war and here comes a normal little girl being a pen pal with a powerful leader.

On July 7, 1983, the Smith family flies to Moscow and becomes Andropov’s personal guest for two weeks. Samantha Smith came back to America as “American’s Youngest Ambassador.”

She continued to be an activist as she also traveled to Japan and became a media celebrity in 1984.

I have some sad news though…

On August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith died in a place crash. She was 13-years-old.

She died very young, but she did what most Americans wanted to do during the Cold War, which is to not be scared and find an answer to why there was a cold war.

The Day the Rabbits Attacked

Napoleon Bonaparte, a military general who became France’s first emperor, was attacked by a horde of rabbits in July 1807.

No, I’m not making this up. I thought, when my friend brought this historic fact up, that was she was just messing with me.

With further search, there is many websites on the internet explaining this most mockery event.

Napoleon is known for his defeat at Waterloo. In 1815, Napoleon’s French Revolutionary Army was defeated by Prussians that worked for Duke of Wellington, causing a huge casualty.

It also caused the end of the Napoleonic era.

However, eight years before the attack on Waterloo, Napoleon had just signed the Treaties of Tilsit. The treaty was what ended the war between the French Empire and Imperial Russia.

To celebrate, The Imperial Russia’s emperor invited Napoleon to go on a rabbit hunt. The emperor asked his Chief of Staff, Alexandre Berthier, to set up the hunt.

According to metal_Floss.com, a luncheon, a military brass band, and a colony of rabbits were planned for the powerful men’s outing.

The caged rabbits would be released and the men’s guns were cocked. Everything was going as planned until the release of the rabbits.

According to Aerchie’s Archive, Berthier bought thousands of tame rabbits from local farmers and not wild ones as anticipated. The rabbits did not scurry around with fright, but started to surround the men, looking for food.

First, the rabbits attacked the emperor, which they started to climb up his legs and his upper body. Napoleon took it upon himself to try and shoot as many rabbits as he could, but there was too many of them.

The other men that were there were trying to beat the rabbits off the two men, but that didn’t work either. There was complete chaos when it came to the starving rabbits.

Both the emperor and Napoleon had to run to the carriage, but the horde was so fierce that some of the rabbits actually jumped into the imperial coach.

Talk about a Napoleon complex.

A poem by Scott Bates inspired by this event in weird history: http://betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com/the-day-rabbits-attacked-napoleon/

History on this day: Teddy Roosevelt talks about Race

Since this is Black History Month, I decided to dedicate this post to remember a piece of history that was lost in translation. I’m not going to be quoting Civil Rights activists like Malcolm X or Martian Luther King Jr.

I’m going to be talking about a speech that President Theodore Roosevelt delivered on this day in 1905. It seems spontaneous, but the speech that Roosevelt gave at the New York City Republican Club is timeless.

In the 1905, most white American’s point of view about other races—especially Asian and African immigrants—was jittery. Roosevelt had good time when talking about the race problem in America.

Remember, this was in the early 1900’s.

During the speech, Roosevelt’s answer to the race problem for the time, according to History.com, “was to proceed slowly toward social and economic equality.” Roosevelt also cautioned that the government changes nothing and recommended that white American’s casually change their attitude toward different races.

Roosevelt stated in this speech that white Americans were a forward race that has responsibilities in training other races with industrial capability, political quantity and domestic morals. Back then, that’s how people thought.

Roosevelt believed what the Declaration of Independence says: All men are created equal. The speech that he gave that day didn’t seem to catch up with everyone.

According to History.com, Roosevelt’s administration “took only a passive, long-term approach to improving civil rights.” Lyndon Johnson was the next generation’s president that did more than make a speech; he passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Peaky Blinders

England has a long history and it would take me a while to even scratch the surface. I have been talking about this week’s blog post to many of my friends and family, but I got the same confused looks.

What I’m going to unveil is the Peaky Blinders.

The History

Before I can explain, a little background is needed. According to Fashion Era.com, England by the 1920s through the 1940s was a confusing time. World War I ended two years before, but there was still the fear of war in the air.

Young men came back after the horror of trench warfare and women that were nurses saw terrible injuries and mental break downs. The idea that most people lived by was that life is too short and it was time to enjoy it.

In the small Heath/Bordesley Green area of Birmingham, England, there was an extreme level of poverty and overcrowded slums, which brought a lot of crime into the streets.

That attracted gangs, like the Peaky Blinders.

Peaky Blinders

For 30 years, a ruthless group of youths armed with knives, razor blades and hammers ruled the Birmingham streets. According to BBC’s article, John Adrian and his lieutenant James Grinrod started the regime in 1870.

Though, by the 1920s, the leader of the notorious gang was Billy Kimber.

The Peaky Blinders might have got its name because they wore peaked caps. Also, as legend processes, the caps had razor blades sewn into them.

Aviary Photo_130991229509377285

Well, according to most of the articles that I did my research from, the legend was never true. The real meaning of why the gang was called Peaky Blinders is lost in translation.

 To Identify a Peaky Blinder (from The Telegraph):

  • Donkey haircuts
  • Donkey Jackets
  • Silk Scarves
  • Bell-bottom trousers
  • Steel-capped boots
  • Flat caps

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The way the Peaky Blinders made money was from illegal betting, protection rackets and the black market for Birmingham. Their attacks on the street consist of robbing people, rivals being attacked and assault on the police.

The Peaky Blinders was one of the biggest gangs in Birmingham’s history. For 30 years, the town was being ruled by their violent ways, but that is what makes them neat.

For a time, they were unstoppable.