Tag Archives: history

When the U.S. Saw Italian Americans as a Threat to Homeland Security

Many people may be aware of the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, but fewer know that the same executive order also resulted in for the mandatory relocation of more than 10,000 Italian-Americans and limited the movements of another 600,000 Italian-Americans across the country.

One morning in spring 1942, federal officers knocked on the door of a New Haven home. The man who opened the door, Pasquale DeCicco, was a pillar of his community and had been a U.S. citizen for more than 30 years. He was taken to a federal detention center in Boston, where he was fingerprinted, photographed and held for three months. Then he was sent to another detention facility on Ellis Island.

Still with no hearing scheduled, he was moved again to an immigration facility at Fort Meade, Maryland. On July 31, he was formally declared an enemy alien of the United States. He remained at Fort Meade until December 1943, months after Italy’s surrender. He was never shown any evidence against him, nor charged with any crime.

During World War II, the U.S. Saw Italian-Americans as a Threat to Homeland Security [via Smithsonian]

A Little Bit of History: What was the First Police Car Ever?

Source: Wikipedia

In 1899, Akron, Ohio, paid the Collins Buggy Company $2,400 ($65,000 in 2016 dollars) for a battery-powered “paddy wagon,” fully equipped with a stretcher, a cell for prisoners, and electric headlights.

Тhe vehicle was powered by two 4hp electric motors. Weighing 5,000 pounds, it had a top speed of 18 mph and a range of 30 miles before the batteries had to be recharged. The wagon weighed around 2½ tons with a seating for 12. The car was built by city mechanical engineer Frank Loomis and the first operator of the police patrol wagon was Akron Police officer Louis Mueller, Sr. The car’s first assignment was to pick up a drunken man at the junction of Main and Exchange streets. The first police vehicles were often called “squad cars,” since they transported a “squad,” or group, of officers to crime scenes.

In 1900, a riot resulted in the police car being stolen and pushed into the Ohio Canal.  It was recovered and put back into service until 1905, when it was sold for $25.

First police car ever used was in Akron, OH, in 1899 – The car’s first assignment was to pick up a drunk man [via The Vintage News]

A Litte Bit of History: The U.S. Once Tried Using Pigeons as Smart Bombs

Source: Project Pigeon

During World War II, bombing runs were made by the armed air forces of both sides.  However, accuracy was a major problem, as at the time bombs would often miss the intended target by a distance measured in miles, not feet.  As a result, a massive number of bombs and planes needed to be used to ensure at least some of the bombs hit their targets.  To combat this, the U.S. at one point considered using pigeons as smart bombs, as crazy an idea as that may seem.  The pigeon guided bomb project was eventually dropped, however, not necessarily because it wouldn’t have worked but because of more general funding issues.  Project Pigeon was revived by the Navy in 1948, but it was canceled five years later when the reliability of electronic guidance systems was proven.

That Time the U.S. Tried to Steer Bombs with Pigeons [via Popular Mechanics]

A Little Bit of History: The Story Behind The Runaway

Norman Rockefeller’s The Runaway can be seen hanging in police departments around the country.  The painting captures the heart of small-town America and is perhaps the most iconic depiction of a police officer in art.  In the center is a boy who is on the verge of going down the wrong path, apparently intent on running away from home, but surrounded by guardians who are there to protect him (the police officer on the left, the diner owner in front, and based on the empty cup of coffee sitting on the counter to the boy’s right, likely another good neighbor who recently departed.  The painting is based on an actual photograph carefully arranged by Rockwell, with subjects Massachusetts State Trooper Richard J. Clemens and 8-year-old Eddie Locke.

To underscore the lad’s meager possessions, Rockwell placed a handkerchief on a stick beneath the stool. For about an hour, Clemens and Locke sat as still as they could while the maestro adjusted their postures (“Keep one arm extended”) and expressions (“Look this way and that”). “I was a little kid, but he made it easy on me,” says Locke, 59, a landscaper and maintenance worker in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Norman Rockwell’s Neighborhood [via Smithsonian]

A Little Bit of History: The First Person to Ever be Arrested as a Result of Telecommunications Technology

It was 1845. A Brit named John Tawell murdered his mistress Sarah Hart before escaping via train to London.  Using the newly installed telegraph at Slough train station, police sent a message to Paddington Station in London:

“A murder has just been committed at Salt Hill and the suspected murderer was seen to take a first class ticket to London by the train that left Slough at 7.42pm. He is in the garb of a Kwaker [sic] with a brown great coat on which reaches his feet. He is in the last compartment of the second first-class carriage.”

As a result, a plainclothes police officer was able to meet the train in time and followed Tawell home, where he was arrested the following day. Tawell initially attempted to lie his way out of it, saying he hadn’t  been in Slough the day before.  However, the same officer had been on Tawell’s bus from Paddington to his home, and Tawell had mistaken the officer for a conductor, even giving him money for the bus ride.  Tawell was ultimately convicted and executed later that year.

How telecoms helped police catch a murderer for the very first time – in 1845 [via BT]

[ARTICLE] What was the Reason for Napoleon’s Defeat in Russia?

In 1812, Napoleon controlled most of the land from Spain to Russia. At the time, he also had a peace treaty with Russia, albeit an uneasy one, as Russia continued to trade with Napoleon’s enemy, Great Britain. Meanwhile, Napoleon seeked to conquer India, which was a British colony. However, the only way he could do so was by land, which meant controlling Russia. As a result, in June 1812, Napoleon led an army of 600,000 men into Russia – of those, ultimately only 30,000 men survived, and perhaps only 1,000 of those actually returned to service. Most history books will say that the reason Napoleon’s army was defeated was because the cold and harsh conditions of the Russian landscape and winter took their toll on his army in combination with the Russian tactic of burning their buildings and supplies as they retreated.

However, evidence now suggests that disease in the form of typhus carried by lice may have been the main factor responsible for the decimation of Napoleon’s army. Had it not been for an organism too small to be seen by the naked eye, most of Europe may now be speaking French.

Napoleon Wasn’t Defeated by the Russians [via Slate]