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This Day in History: 07/29/1958 - NASA Created

This Day in History: 07/29/1958 - NASA Created


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In a This Day in History video, learn that on July 29, 1958, the United States committed men, money, and technology to winning the "space race." NASA was created after the Russians launched the satellite Sputnik. After eleven years, America pulled out ahead with Apollo 11. Now the "space race" is done; both the U.S. and Russia are manning the International Space Station together.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), independent U.S. governmental agency established in 1958 for the research and development of vehicles and activities for the exploration of space within and outside Earth’s atmosphere.

The organization is composed of four mission directorates: Aeronautics Research, for the development of advanced aviation technologies Science, dealing with programs for understanding the origin, structure, and evolution of the universe, the solar system, and Earth Space Technology, for the development of space science and exploration technologies and Human Exploration and Operations, concerning the management of crewed space missions, including those to the International Space Station, as well as operations related to launch services, space transportation, and space communications for both crewed and robotic exploration programs. A number of additional research centres are affiliated, including the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Headquarters of NASA are in Washington, D.C.

NASA was created largely in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957. It was organized around the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which had been created by Congress in 1915. NASA’s organization was well under way by the early years of Pres. John F. Kennedy’s administration when he proposed that the United States put a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. To that end, the Apollo program was designed, and in 1969 the U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person on the Moon. Later, uncrewed programs—such as Viking, Mariner, Voyager, and Galileo—explored other bodies of the solar system.

NASA was also responsible for the development and launching of a number of satellites with Earth applications, such as Landsat, a series of satellites designed to collect information on natural resources and other Earth features communications satellites and weather satellites. It also planned and developed the space shuttle, a reusable vehicle capable of carrying out missions that could not be conducted with conventional spacecraft.


This Day In History NASA Established: July 29, 1958

Yesterday, July 28, 2008, NASA awarded 12 contracts relating to the Constellation Program:

"These studies provide new ideas to help the Constellation Program develop innovative, reliable requirements for the systems that will be used when outposts are established on the moon," said Jeff Hanley, the Constellation Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston." [link]

Notice the word "when" in the above quote. Not "if" . but, "when" we have outposts established on the moon.

"NASA plans to establish a human outpost on the moon through a successive series of lunar missions beginning in 2020.

In addition to the Constellation Program, NASA is also working on developing lower-cost access vehicles to space, in particular the Ares and Orion programmes, and thus make access to the International Space Station (ISS) independent of Russia.

New Frontiers for Both Russia and USA

Many recall NASA being established as a response to the 1957 successful launch of the Soviet Union's artificial satellite Sputnik. While NASA continues exploring new frontiers in space, Russia continues with their own desire to break new records in science.

"Russian explorers plunged to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake, on Tuesday in a show of Moscow's resurgent ambitions to set new records in science." [link]

Last April U.S.A. and Russian scientists revealed that Lake Baikal, which contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined, had warmed faster than global air temperatures over the past 60 years. Many scientists are concerned that this could put animals unique to the lake in jeopardy.

Reported by WAHM Diary - http://wahmdiary.blogspot.com/

In the accompaniying image it shows how NASA was established.

President Eisenhower commissioned Dr. T. Keith Glennan, right, as the first administrator for NASA and Dr. Hugh L. Dryden as deputy administrator. The National Aeronautics and Space Act (Pub.L. 85-568), the United States federal statute that created NASA, was signed into law 50 years ago today on July 29, 1958.

NASA officially began operations on Oct. 1, 1958, to perform civilian research related to space flight and aeronautics.


The Sadly Familiar Reason NASA Was Created

NASA may be devoted to exploring the universe, but the agency owes its existence to a far more earthly concern: office politics.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act, which was signed into law on July 29, 1958, was intended to “provide for research into problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere, and for other purposes.” One of those other purposes, as TIME noted shortly after the act was signed, was “to overcome the interservice rivalries that had confused the U.S. missile and space programs.”

Before NASA, various branches of the military were conducting research into aspects of space exploration like jet propulsion and satellites, and each wanted a key role in the exciting new field. Giving a single branch agency over all space exploration would alienate the others. Moreover, it could signal that the universe was a battleground as much as a place of inquiry. As the NASA act noted, activities in space “should be devoted to peaceful purposes.”

With the establishment of an agency specifically dedicated to space&mdashand its counterpoint, the military research agency now known as DARPA, which was created at the same time&mdashthat bureaucratic nightmare was thought solved.

Or not. As TIME reported that autumn, NASA’s authority to take over peaceful space-centric mission didn’t exactly go down easy:

Energetic Dr. T. Keith Glennan, chief of the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration, made his way into the Pentagon office of Army Secretary Wilber Brucker last fortnight with a message: civilian-run NASA, operating under Congressional authority, intended to take over the Army’s missile-making Redstone Arsenal, 2,100 scientists from its missile team, the Army-backed Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles and various other installations.

Brucker lost no time hustling down to the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Donald Quarles to protest. In Chicago Major General John Medaris, Redstone commander, dramatically got aboard a plane for Washington to fight off NASA capture&mdashwhile a news leak rallied press reinforcements.

President Eisenhower tried to stop the kerfuffle by saying that he hadn’t yet decided who would run the Arsenal and Laboratory in the long run. The Army implied that they’d be fine splitting the difference and giving everything except Redstone to NASA.

A version of that plan is what ended up happening, and before the end of the year NASA’s preeminence in American space exploration was settled. And, TIME reported, there was no sign of future in-fighting&mdashat least not that NASA’s Glennan would be involved with. “I doubt,” he said, “that I can go through this again.”

Read more from 1958, here in the TIME Vault:Fight for Space


"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!

Also, very significant on this day, was how so many things fell into place in the early days of World War I:

July 29, 1914: Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams

In the early hours of July 29, 1914, Czar Nicholas II of Russia and his first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, begin a frantic exchange of telegrams regarding the newly erupted war in the Balkan region and the possibility of its escalation into a general European war.

One day prior, Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia, one month after the assassination in Sarajevo of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Serbian nationalist. In the wake of the killings, Germany had promised Austria-Hungary its unconditional support in whatever punitive action it chose to take towards Serbia, regardless of whether or not Serbia's powerful ally, Russia, stepped into the conflict. By the time an ultimatum from Vienna to Serbia was rejected on July 25, Russia, defying Austro-German expectations, had already ordered preliminary mobilization to begin, believing that Berlin was using the assassination crisis as a pretext to launch a war to shore up its power in the Balkans.

The relationship between Nicholas and Wilhelm, two grandsons of Britain's Queen Victoria, had long been a rocky one. Though Wilhelm described himself as Victoria's favorite grandson, the great queen in turn warned Nicholas to be careful of Wilhelm's "mischievous and unstraight-forward proceedings." Victoria did not invite the kaiser, who she described to her prime minister as "a hot-headed, conceited, and wrong-headed young man," to her Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897, nor her 80th birthday two years later. Czar Nicholas himself commented in 1902 after a meeting with Wilhelm: "He's raving mad!" Now, however, the two cousins stood at the center of the crisis that would soon escalate into the First World War.

"In this serious moment, I appeal to you to help me," Czar Nicholas wrote to the kaiser in a telegram sent at one o'clock on the morning of July 29. "An ignoble war has been declared to a weak country. The indignation in Russia shared fully by me is enormous. I foresee that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure forced upon me and be forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war." This message crossed with one from Wilhelm to Nicholas expressing concern about the effect of Austria's declaration in Russia and urging calm and consideration as a response.

After receiving the czar's telegram, Wilhelm cabled back: "I. share your wish that peace should be maintained. But. I cannot consider Austria's action against Serbia an 'ignoble' war. Austria knows by experience that Serbian promises on paper are wholly unreliable. I understand its action must be judged as trending to get full guarantee that the Serbian promises shall become real facts. I therefore suggest that it would be quite possible for Russia to remain a spectator of the Austro-Serbian conflict without involving Europe in the most horrible war she ever witnessed." Though Wilhelm assured the czar that the German government was working to broker an agreement between Russia and Austria-Hungary, he warned that if Russia were to take military measures against Austria, war would be the result.

The telegram exchange continued over the next few days, as the two men spoke of their desire to preserve peace, even as their respective countries continued mobilizing for war. On July 30, the kaiser wrote to Nicholas: "I have gone to the utmost limits of the possible in my efforts to save peace. Even now, you can still save the peace of Europe by stopping your military measures." The following day, Nicholas replied: "It is technically impossible to stop our military preparations which were obligatory owing to Austria's mobilization. We are far from wishing for war. As long as the negotiations with Austria on Serbia's account are taking place my troops shall not make any provocative action. I give you my solemn word for this." But by that time things had gone too far: Emperor Franz Josef had rejected the kaiser's mediation offer, saying it came too late, as Russia had already mobilized and Austrian troops were already marching on Serbia.

The German ambassador to Russia delivered an ultimatum that night—halt the mobilization within 12 hours, or Germany would begin its own mobilization, a step that would logically proceed to war. By four o'clock in the afternoon of August 1, in Berlin, no reply had come from Russia. At a meeting with Germany's civilian and military leaders—Chancellor Theobald Bethmann von Hollweg and General Erich von Falkenhayn—Kaiser Wilhelm agreed to sign the mobilization orders.

That same day, in his last contribution to what were dubbed the "Willy-Nicky" telegrams, Czar Nicholas pressed the kaiser for assurance that his mobilization did not definitely mean war. Wilhelm's response was dismissive. "I yesterday pointed out to your government the way by which alone war may be avoided. I have. been obliged to mobilize my army. Immediate affirmative clear and unmistakable answer from your government is the only way to avoid endless misery. Until I have received this answer alas, I am unable to discuss the subject of your telegram. As a matter of fact I must request you to immediatly [sic] order your troops on no account to commit the slightest act of trespassing over our frontiers." Germany declared war on Russia that same day.

Here is other news that took place shortly after the end of World War I, but which would have a huge impact on World War II, ultimately:

July 29, 1921 - Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party)

On this day in 1921, Adolf Hitler (1934-1945) becomes the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party. Under Hitler, the Nazi Party grew into a mass movement and ruled Germany as a totalitarian state from 1933 to 1945.

Hitler's early years did not seem to predict his rise as a political leader. Born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, Austria, he was a poor student and never graduated from high school. During World War I (1914-1918), he joined a Bavarian regiment of the German army and was considered a brave soldier however, his commanders felt he lacked leadership potential and never promoted him beyond corporal. Frustrated by Germany's defeat in World War I, which left the nation economically depressed and politically unstable, Hitler joined a fledgling organization called the German Workers' Party in 1919. Founded earlier that same year by a small group of men including locksmith Anton Drexler (1884-1942) and journalist Karl Harrer (1890-1926), the party promoted German pride and anti-Semitism, and expressed dissatisfaction with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the peace settlement that ended the war and required Germany to make numerous concessions and reparations. Hitler soon emerged as the party's most charismatic public speaker and attracted new members with speeches blaming Jews and Marxists for Germany's problems and espousing extreme nationalism and the concept of an Aryan "master race." On July 29, 1921, Hitler assumed leadership of the organization, which by then had been renamed the Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party.

In 1923, Hitler and his followers staged the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, a failed takeover of the government in Bavaria, a state in southern Germany. In the aftermath of this event, Hitler was convicted of treason and sentenced to five years in prison, but spent less than a year behind bars (during which time he dictated the first volume of "Mein Kampf," or "My Struggle," his political autobiography.) The publicity surrounding the Beer Hall Putsch and Hitler's subsequent trial turned him into a national figure. After his release from jail, he set about rebuilding the Nazi Party and attempting to gain power through the democratic election process. In 1929, Germany entered a severe economic depression that left millions of people unemployed. The Nazis capitalized on this situation by criticizing the ruling government and began to win elections. In the July 1932 elections, they captured 230 out of 608 seats in the Reichstag, or German parliament. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed German chancellor and in March of that year his Nazi government assumed dictatorial powers. The Nazis soon came to control every aspect of German life and all other political parties were banned.

Following Germany's defeat in World War II (1939-1945), during which some 6 million European Jews were murdered under Hitler's state-sponsored extermination programs, the Nazi Party was outlawed and many of its top officials were convicted of war crimes. Hitler had committed suicide on April 30, 1945, shortly before Germany`s surrender.


Skaptar Volcano in Iceland erupted. John Graves Simcoe built his home in what would be Toronto, having sailed there previously. Van Gogh died on this day, by suicide. Thei first ever helicopter ascent took place on this day in France. In the early days of the first World War, Austria-Hungary bombed Belgrade, while Russian troops by the border that Russia shared with Austria-Hungary were mobilized. Pancho Villa surrendered. Adolf Hitler became the head of the Nazi party. The Berlin Airlift ended on this day. NASA was created on this day. The Beatles "Help" was premiered in London.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:


On This Day: NASA Created – HISTORY

The U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space, on July 29, 1958. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union’s October 4, 1957 launch of its first satellite, Sputnik I. The 183-pound, basketball-sized satellite orbited the earth in 98 minutes. The Sputnik launch caught Americans by surprise and sparked fears that the Soviets might also be capable of sending missiles with nuclear weapons from Europe to America. The United States prided itself on being at the forefront of technology, and, embarrassed, immediately began developing a response, signaling the start of the U.S.-Soviet space race.

On November 3, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik II, which carried a dog named Laika. In December, America attempted to launch a satellite of its own, called Vanguard, but it exploded shortly after takeoff. On January 31, 1958, things went better with Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite to successfully orbit the earth. In July of that year, Congress passed legislation officially establishing NASA from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and other government agencies, and confirming the country’s commitment to winning the space race. In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared that America should put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission achieved that goal and made history when astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon, famously declaring “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

NASA has continued to make great advances in space exploration since the first moonwalk, including playing a major part in the construction of the International Space Station. The agency has also suffered tragic setbacks, however, such as the disasters that killed the crews of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 and the Columbia space shuttle in 2003.


Today in History – July 29

Today is Wednesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2009. There are 155 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History

On July 29, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.

In 1030, the patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II, was killed in battle.

In 1588, the English soundly defeated the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines.

In 1848, during the Potato Famine in Ireland, a nationalist rebellion led by William Smith O’Brien is crushed, and O’Brien arrested.

In 1858, the United States and Japan signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (the Harris Treaty). Townsend Harris, the first U.S. diplomatic representative to Japan, negotiated the arrangement, which became effective July 4, 1859. A New York merchant with experience in Asia, Townsend was appointed consul general to Japan in August 1856 and began his assignment shortly thereafter. Harris was not welcomed and was ignored by the Japanese authorities for more than a year. He operated in diplomatic isolation out of the Gyokusenji Buddhist temple in Shimoda.

In 1857 the Japanese government approved Harris’ move to Edo (Tokyo) he used the Zenfukuji Temple in Azabu as the U.S. legation. His negotiations with the Tokugawa regime were aided by concessions that the British had already wrought in China. Harris convinced the Japanese that a voluntary treaty with the United States was more advantageous than a forced treaty with the Europeans.

Harris is credited with opening the Japanese Empire to foreign trade and culture. In addition to Shimoda and Hokadote, which already traded with the U.S., the Harris Treaty opened new ports to U.S. trade granted U.S. citizens extraterritorial rights (exempting them from the jurisdiction of Japanese law) and permitted Americans their religious freedom. The tariff rates attached to the treaty favored the United States over Japan, but the treaty provided an opportunity to renegotiate in 1872. The Japanese Government also was allowed to “…purchase or construct in the United States ship-of-war, steamers, merchant ships, whale ships, cannot, munitions of war, and arms of all kinds … [as well as] to engage in the United States scientific, naval, and military men, artisans of all kind, and mariners to enter into its service…”

The Harris Treaty made reciprocal diplomatic representation possible. In 1860, a delegation of more than seventy Japanese traveled to the United States. Congress appropriated $50,000 for the visitors, who spent seven weeks touring the United States. Another trip was made twelve years later when, in accordance with the Harris Treaty, the Japanese attempted to gain concessions from the U.S. These visits are credited with helping to dispel cultural stereotypes and furthering diplomatic ties between the two countries.

In 1890, artist Vincent van Gogh, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

In 1900, Italian King Humbert I was assassinated by an anarchist he was succeeded by his son, Victor Emmanuel III.

In 1905, Dag Hammarskjold, the Nobel Prize-winning Swedish statesman and secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, was born.

In 1913, Albania was formally recognized by the major European powers as an independent principality following the issuance of the Vlorë proclamation.

In 1914, transcontinental telephone service began with the first test phone conversation between New York and San Francisco.

In 1925, German physicist, Werner Heisenberg, published a theory stating that variables that could only be observed in principal could be used to measure physical states. These quantum mechanics processes only take place in microcosms, where macrocosmic laws do not apply. Yet, relativity is the basis of Heisenberg’s quantum mechanics theory.

In 1948, Britain’s King George VI opened the Olympic Games in London.

In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

In 1957, Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

In 1958, criticized for allowing the Soviet Union to launch the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth (Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957), U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation this day in 1958 that created NASA.

In 1966, rock musician Bob Dylan was injured in a motorcycle accident near Woodstock, N.Y.

In 1967, an accidental rocket launch aboard the supercarrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a fire and explosions that killed 134 servicemen.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against artificial methods of birth control.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford became the first U.S. president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland as he paid tribute to the victims.

In 1981, Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. (The couple divorced in 1996.)

In 1992, former East German leader Erich Honecker returns to Berlin to face charges in the deaths of people attempting to cross the Berlin Wall during his time in office. The charges are later dropped.

In 1993, the Israeli Supreme Court acquitted retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible” and threw out his death sentence. (Demjanjuk was deported in May 2009 to Germany to face similar charges.)

In 1999, ten years ago, a day trader, apparently upset over stock losses, opened fire in two Atlanta brokerage offices, killing nine people and wounding 13 before shooting himself to death authorities say Mark O. Barton also killed his wife and two children.

In 1999, California Gov. Gray Davis abandoned the state’s effort to preserve Proposition 187, a divisive voter-approved ban on schooling and other public benefits for illegal immigrants.

In 2003, Boston Red Sox batter Bill Mueller became the first player in major league history to hit grand slams from both sides of the plate in a single game in a 14-7 win at Texas.

In 2004, five years ago, Sen. John Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Boston with a military salute and the declaration: “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.”

In 2008, one year ago, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted on seven felony counts of concealing more than a quarter of a million dollars in house renovations and gifts from a powerful oil contractor. (A jury later found the longtime Republican lawmaker guilty of lying on financial disclosure forms, but a judge subsequently dismissed the case, saying prosecutors had withheld evidence.)

In 2008, disgraced ex-NBA official Tim Donaghy admitted that he had brought shame on his profession as a federal judge sentenced him to 15 months behind bars for a gambling scandal.

In 2008, Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins, 62, named as a top suspect in anthrax mailing attacks in 2001, died at a hospital in Frederick, Md., after deliberately overdosing on Tylenol.

Today’s Birthdays

Comedian “Professor” Irwin Corey is 95. Actor Robert Horton is 85. Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, R-Kan., is 77. Actor Robert Fuller is 75. Former Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole, R-N.C., is 73. Actor David Warner is 68. Rock musician Neal Doughty (REO Speedwagon) is 63. Marilyn Tucker Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, is 60. Actor Mike Starr is 59. Documentary maker Ken Burns is 56. Style guru Tim Gunn (TV: “Project Runway”) is 56. Rock singer-musician Geddy Lee (Rush) is 56. Rock singer Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 56. Actress Alexandra Paul is 46. Country singer Martina McBride is 43. Rock musician Chris Gorman is 42. Actor Rodney Allen Rippy is 41. Actor Tim Omundson is 40. Actor Wil Wheaton is 37. R&B singer Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) is 36. Country singer-songwriter James Otto is 36. Actor Stephen Dorff is 36. Actor Josh Radnor is 35. Hip-hop DJ/music producer Danger Mouse is 32. Actress Rachel Miner is 29. Actress Allison Mack is 27. Actor Matt Prokop is 19.

Today’s Historic Birthdays

Alexis Tocqueville
7/29/1805 – 4/16/1859
French political scientist, historian, and politician

George Pendleton
7/29/1825 – 11/24/1889
American legislator and sponsor of the Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883

Max Nordau
7/29/1849 – 1/23/1923
Hungarian -French physician, writer, and Jewish nationalist

Booth Tarkington
7/29/1869 – 5/19/1946
American novelist and dramatist

Don Marquis
7/29/1878 – 12/29/1937
American newspaperman, poet, and playwright

Benito Mussolini
7/29/1883 – 4/28/1945
Italian prime minister and Hitler’s ally during W.W. II

Theda Bara
7/29/1885 – 4/7/1955
American silent-film actress

Sigmund Romberg
7/29/1887 – 11/9/1951
Hungarian-born American composer, conductor, and violinist

Owen Lattimore
7/29/1900 – 5/31/1989
American writer, lecturer, sinologist and victim of McCarthyism

Clara Bow
7/29/1905 – 9/27/1965
American film actress known as the “it girl”

Dag Hammarskjold
7/29/1905 – 9/18/1961
Swedish Nobel Prize-winning 2nd secretary-general of the U. N.

Thought for Today

“An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.” — Don Marquis, American journalist-author (born this date in 1878, died 1937).


"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!

Also, very significant on this day, was how so many things fell into place in the early days of World War I:

July 29, 1914: Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams

In the early hours of July 29, 1914, Czar Nicholas II of Russia and his first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, begin a frantic exchange of telegrams regarding the newly erupted war in the Balkan region and the possibility of its escalation into a general European war.

One day prior, Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia, one month after the assassination in Sarajevo of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Serbian nationalist. In the wake of the killings, Germany had promised Austria-Hungary its unconditional support in whatever punitive action it chose to take towards Serbia, regardless of whether or not Serbia's powerful ally, Russia, stepped into the conflict. By the time an ultimatum from Vienna to Serbia was rejected on July 25, Russia, defying Austro-German expectations, had already ordered preliminary mobilization to begin, believing that Berlin was using the assassination crisis as a pretext to launch a war to shore up its power in the Balkans.

The relationship between Nicholas and Wilhelm, two grandsons of Britain's Queen Victoria, had long been a rocky one. Though Wilhelm described himself as Victoria's favorite grandson, the great queen in turn warned Nicholas to be careful of Wilhelm's "mischievous and unstraight-forward proceedings." Victoria did not invite the kaiser, who she described to her prime minister as "a hot-headed, conceited, and wrong-headed young man," to her Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897, nor her 80th birthday two years later. Czar Nicholas himself commented in 1902 after a meeting with Wilhelm: "He's raving mad!" Now, however, the two cousins stood at the center of the crisis that would soon escalate into the First World War.

"In this serious moment, I appeal to you to help me," Czar Nicholas wrote to the kaiser in a telegram sent at one o'clock on the morning of July 29. "An ignoble war has been declared to a weak country. The indignation in Russia shared fully by me is enormous. I foresee that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure forced upon me and be forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war." This message crossed with one from Wilhelm to Nicholas expressing concern about the effect of Austria's declaration in Russia and urging calm and consideration as a response.

After receiving the czar's telegram, Wilhelm cabled back: "I. share your wish that peace should be maintained. But. I cannot consider Austria's action against Serbia an 'ignoble' war. Austria knows by experience that Serbian promises on paper are wholly unreliable. I understand its action must be judged as trending to get full guarantee that the Serbian promises shall become real facts. I therefore suggest that it would be quite possible for Russia to remain a spectator of the Austro-Serbian conflict without involving Europe in the most horrible war she ever witnessed." Though Wilhelm assured the czar that the German government was working to broker an agreement between Russia and Austria-Hungary, he warned that if Russia were to take military measures against Austria, war would be the result.

The telegram exchange continued over the next few days, as the two men spoke of their desire to preserve peace, even as their respective countries continued mobilizing for war. On July 30, the kaiser wrote to Nicholas: "I have gone to the utmost limits of the possible in my efforts to save peace. Even now, you can still save the peace of Europe by stopping your military measures." The following day, Nicholas replied: "It is technically impossible to stop our military preparations which were obligatory owing to Austria's mobilization. We are far from wishing for war. As long as the negotiations with Austria on Serbia's account are taking place my troops shall not make any provocative action. I give you my solemn word for this." But by that time things had gone too far: Emperor Franz Josef had rejected the kaiser's mediation offer, saying it came too late, as Russia had already mobilized and Austrian troops were already marching on Serbia.

The German ambassador to Russia delivered an ultimatum that night—halt the mobilization within 12 hours, or Germany would begin its own mobilization, a step that would logically proceed to war. By four o'clock in the afternoon of August 1, in Berlin, no reply had come from Russia. At a meeting with Germany's civilian and military leaders—Chancellor Theobald Bethmann von Hollweg and General Erich von Falkenhayn—Kaiser Wilhelm agreed to sign the mobilization orders.

That same day, in his last contribution to what were dubbed the "Willy-Nicky" telegrams, Czar Nicholas pressed the kaiser for assurance that his mobilization did not definitely mean war. Wilhelm's response was dismissive. "I yesterday pointed out to your government the way by which alone war may be avoided. I have. been obliged to mobilize my army. Immediate affirmative clear and unmistakable answer from your government is the only way to avoid endless misery. Until I have received this answer alas, I am unable to discuss the subject of your telegram. As a matter of fact I must request you to immediatly [sic] order your troops on no account to commit the slightest act of trespassing over our frontiers." Germany declared war on Russia that same day.

Here is other news that took place shortly after the end of World War I, but which would have a huge impact on World War II, ultimately:

July 29, 1921 - Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party)

On this day in 1921, Adolf Hitler (1934-1945) becomes the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party. Under Hitler, the Nazi Party grew into a mass movement and ruled Germany as a totalitarian state from 1933 to 1945.

Hitler's early years did not seem to predict his rise as a political leader. Born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, Austria, he was a poor student and never graduated from high school. During World War I (1914-1918), he joined a Bavarian regiment of the German army and was considered a brave soldier however, his commanders felt he lacked leadership potential and never promoted him beyond corporal. Frustrated by Germany's defeat in World War I, which left the nation economically depressed and politically unstable, Hitler joined a fledgling organization called the German Workers' Party in 1919. Founded earlier that same year by a small group of men including locksmith Anton Drexler (1884-1942) and journalist Karl Harrer (1890-1926), the party promoted German pride and anti-Semitism, and expressed dissatisfaction with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the peace settlement that ended the war and required Germany to make numerous concessions and reparations. Hitler soon emerged as the party's most charismatic public speaker and attracted new members with speeches blaming Jews and Marxists for Germany's problems and espousing extreme nationalism and the concept of an Aryan "master race." On July 29, 1921, Hitler assumed leadership of the organization, which by then had been renamed the Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party.

In 1923, Hitler and his followers staged the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, a failed takeover of the government in Bavaria, a state in southern Germany. In the aftermath of this event, Hitler was convicted of treason and sentenced to five years in prison, but spent less than a year behind bars (during which time he dictated the first volume of "Mein Kampf," or "My Struggle," his political autobiography.) The publicity surrounding the Beer Hall Putsch and Hitler's subsequent trial turned him into a national figure. After his release from jail, he set about rebuilding the Nazi Party and attempting to gain power through the democratic election process. In 1929, Germany entered a severe economic depression that left millions of people unemployed. The Nazis capitalized on this situation by criticizing the ruling government and began to win elections. In the July 1932 elections, they captured 230 out of 608 seats in the Reichstag, or German parliament. In January 1933, Hitler was appointed German chancellor and in March of that year his Nazi government assumed dictatorial powers. The Nazis soon came to control every aspect of German life and all other political parties were banned.

Following Germany's defeat in World War II (1939-1945), during which some 6 million European Jews were murdered under Hitler's state-sponsored extermination programs, the Nazi Party was outlawed and many of its top officials were convicted of war crimes. Hitler had committed suicide on April 30, 1945, shortly before Germany`s surrender.


Skaptar Volcano in Iceland erupted. John Graves Simcoe built his home in what would be Toronto, having sailed there previously. Van Gogh died on this day, by suicide. Thei first ever helicopter ascent took place on this day in France. In the early days of the first World War, Austria-Hungary bombed Belgrade, while Russian troops by the border that Russia shared with Austria-Hungary were mobilized. Pancho Villa surrendered. Adolf Hitler became the head of the Nazi party. The Berlin Airlift ended on this day. NASA was created on this day. The Beatles "Help" was premiered in London.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:


5. The Indian Calendar

In addition to establishing a civil calendar, the Calendar Reform Committee set guidelines for religious calendars, which require calculations of the motions of the Sun and Moon. Tabulations of the religious holidays are prepared by the India Meteorological Department and published annually in The Indian Astronomical Ephemeris.

Despite the attempt to establish a unified calendar for all of India, many local variations exist. The Gregorian calendar continues in use for administrative purposes, and holidays are still determined according to regional, religious, and ethnic traditions (Chatterjee, 1987).

5.1 Rules for Civil Use

Table 5.1.1
Months of the Indian Civil Calendar
DaysCorrelation of Indian/Gregorian
1. Caitra30*Caitra 1March 22*
2. Vaisakha31Vaisakha 1April 21
3. Jyaistha31Jyaistha 1May 22
4. Asadha31Asadha 1June 22
5. Sravana31Sravana 1July 23
6. Bhadra31Bhadra 1August 23
7. Asvina30Asvina 1September 23
8. Kartika30Kartika 1October 23
9. Agrahayana30Agrahayana 1November 22
10. Pausa30Pausa 1December 22
11. Magha30Magha 1January 21
12. Phalguna30Phalguna 1February 20
* In a leap year, Caitra has 31 days and Caitra 1 coincides with March 21.

5.2 Principles of the Religious Calendar

The Calendar Reform Committee attempted to reconcile traditional calendrical practices with modern astronomical concepts. According to their proposals, precession is accounted for and calculations of solar and lunar position are based on accurate modern methods. All astronomical calculations are performed with respect to a Central Station at longitude 82o30' East, latitude 23o11' North. For religious purposes solar days are reckoned from sunrise to sunrise.

A solar month is defined as the interval required for the Sun's apparent longitude to increase by 30o, corresponding to the passage of the Sun through a zodiacal sign (rasi). The initial month of the year, Vaisakha, begins when the true longitude of the Sun is 23o 15' (see Table 5.2.1). Because the Earth's orbit is elliptical, the lengths of the months vary from 29.2 to 31.2 days. The short months all occur in the second half of the year around the time of the Earth's perihelion passage.

Table 5.2.1
Solar Months of the Indian Religious Calendar
Sun's LongitudeApprox. DurationApprox. Greg. Date
deg mind
1. Vaisakha 23 1530.9Apr. 13
2. Jyestha 53 1531.3May 14
3. Asadha 83 1531.5June 14
4. Sravana113 1531.4July 16
5. Bhadrapada143 1531.0Aug. 16
6. Asvina173 1530.5Sept. 16
7. Kartika203 1530.0Oct. 17
8. Margasirsa233 1529.6Nov. 16
9. Pausa263 1529.4Dec. 15
10. Magha293 1529.5Jan. 14
11. Phalgura323 1529.9Feb. 12
12. Caitra353 1530.3Mar. 14

Lunar months are measured from one New Moon to the next (although some groups reckon from the Full Moon). Each lunar month is given the name of the solar month in which the lunar month begins. Because most lunations are shorter than a solar month, there is occasionally a solar month in which two New Moons occur. In this case, both lunar months bear the same name, but the first month is described with the prefix adhika, or intercalary. Such a year has thirteen lunar months. Adhika months occur every two or three years following patterns described by the Metonic cycle or more complex lunar phase cycles.

More rarely, a year will occur in which a short solar month will pass without having a New Moon. In that case, the name of the solar month does not occur in the calendar for that year. Such a decayed (ksaya) month can occur only in the months near the Earth's perihelion passage. In compensation, a month in the first half of the year will have had two New Moons, so the year will still have twelve lunar months. Ksaya months are separated by as few as nineteen years and as many as 141 years.

Lunations are divided into 30 tithis, or lunar days. Each tithi is defined by the time required for the longitude of the Moon to increase by 12o over the longitude of the Sun. Thus the length of a tithi may vary from about 20 hours to nearly 27 hours. During the waxing phases, tithis are counted from 1 to 15 with the designation Sukla. Tithis for the waning phases are designated Krsna and are again counted from 1 to 15. Each day is assigned the number of the tithi in effect at sunrise. Occasionally a short tithi will begin after sunrise and be completed before the next sunrise. Similarly a long tithi may span two sunrises. In the former case, a number is omitted from the day count. In the latter, a day number is carried over to a second day.

5.3 History of the Indian Calendar

Early allusions to a lunisolar calendar with intercalated months are found in the hymns from the Rig Veda, dating from the second millennium B.C. Literature from 1300 B.C. to A.D. 300, provides information of a more specific nature. A five-year lunisolar calendar coordinated solar years with synodic and sidereal lunar months.

Indian astronomy underwent a general reform in the first few centuries A.D., as advances in Babylonian and Greek astronomy became known. New astronomical constants and models for the motion of the Moon and Sun were adapted to traditional calendric practices. This was conveyed in astronomical treatises of this period known as Siddhantas, many of which have not survived. The Surya Siddhanta, which originated in the fourth century but was updated over the following centuries, influenced Indian calendrics up to and even after the calendar reform of A.D. 1957.

Pingree (1978) provides a survey of the development of mathematical astronomy in India. Although he does not deal explicitly with calendrics, this material is necessary for a full understanding of the history of India's calendars.

Return to Index to Calendars


Before the mission ended, Cassini was an already powerful influence on future exploration. In revealing that Enceladus has essentially all the ingredients needed for life, the mission energized a pivot to the exploration of "ocean worlds" that has been sweeping planetary science over the past couple of decades.

Lessons learned during Cassini's mission are being applied in planning NASA's Europa Clipper mission, planned for launch in the 2020s. Europa Clipper will make dozens of flybys of Jupiter's ocean moon to investigate its possible habitability, using an orbital tour design derived from the way Cassini explored Saturn.

Farther out in the solar system, scientists have long had their eyes set on exploring Uranus and Neptune. So far, each of these worlds has been visited by only one brief spacecraft flyby (Voyager 2, in 1986 and 1989, respectively). Collectively, Uranus and Neptune are referred to as ice giant planets. A variety of potential mission concepts are discussed in a recently completed study, delivered to NASA in preparation for the next Decadal Survey&mdashincluding orbiters, flybys, and probes that would dive into Uranus' atmosphere to study its composition. Future missions to the ice giants might explore those worlds using an approach similar to Cassini's mission.