Monthly Archives: December 2017

Christmas in Wartime Part II

This episode of the History with Mark Bielski podcast reviews some of the happenings that American and Allied soldiers experienced during WWII. There are a few items from the  home front and some from where the fighting occurred, as well as a few snippets from behind enemy lines. First, a mention that I forgot to include in the last episode. On Christmas Day 1868, US president Andrew Johnson extended amnesty and a full pardon “to all and to every person who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late insurrection or rebellion.” The Civil War had ended more than three years before and most of the South was in ruins. In many ways, the country had come out of the war, just as divided as it had been at the start. Reconstruction and occupation were the rules of life in the South. The Radical Republicans who had opposed President Lincoln’s conciliatory tendencies wanted nothing more than further punishment for those who had supported Secession. Andrew Johnson, a staunch Unionist from East Tennessee was both feared and loathed by many Southerners. However, his Attorney General James Speed reminded Johnson of Abraham Lincoln’s planned policy of reunification. 1941 — Japan seized Hong Kong from…

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Christmas in Wartime Part I

This episode of the History with Mark Bielski podcast covers Christmas during wartime, including the Revolutionary War. A Christmas Victory in the Revolutionary War In the winter of 1776 the American Revolution was still young and things did not look so good for the Continental Army and its commanding General George Washington.  Lord Cornwallis and his experienced and well-trained British army had pushed the Americans out of New York and across New Jersey. Washington steadily withdrew, and, had he turned and fought, his rag-tag force of freezing and starved men surely would have been annihilated.  Once he reached the Delaware River his men procured every boat available to cross over into the relative safety of Pennsylvania. The Americans were desperate, but Washington decided to go back across the Delaware and launch a surprise attack on the Hessian mercenaries occupying Trenton. On Christmas night, he led 2,400 men in freezing temperatures, sleet and snow, through the ice river’s floes for an attack on the Hessians. The surprise worked, and in two hours, with few losses of their own, they captured nearly 900 of the enemy. A week later it was a precarious situation for the Americans.  Washington’s men were exhausted and…

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