Day By Day

Monday, March 08, 2010

This Day In History

Today is "International [Working] Women's Day". Yes, I know, it has dubious origins. In 1909 it was proclaimed by the Socialist Party of America and in the following year was picked up by the Socialist International and spread from there. It has even been endorsed by [shudder] the United Nations. Still, there's absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating the enormous positive contributions to our lives made by working women, or just women in general. Just forget all that lefty cant and give thanks for the women in your lives -- and that goes for you gals too.

On this day in 1917 the "February Revolution" [old calendar] broke out in Russia. There were many reasons for dissatisfaction in that unfortunate country. 1916-17 had been a particularly harsh winter, there was a severe food shortage and essential commodities were scarce, the First World War had been dragging on into its third year and the Russians had been losing. Troops were deserting, workers were protesting, there were battles between strikers and police. It was a mess. A series of demonstrations for International Women's Day in Petrograd turned into political rallies demanding the resignation of government leaders and an end to the war. Over succeeding days Police were unable to control the growing crowds of protesters and so the army was called in. Many demonstrators were killed, but the protests continued unabated. Eventually some of the troops put down their arms and joined the dissidents. These troops completely overwhelmed the police who, themselves, decided to join the demonstrators.

As the situation deteriorated Czar Nicholas met with his ministers and generals who, to a man, urged him to abdicate the throne. He did so, naming his brother Michael to succeed him. Michael, no fool he, declined the offer and so the Romanoff dynasty, which had ruled Russia since 1613, came to an end.

And on this day in 1965 3,500 U. S. Marines went ashore at the Da Nang Airfield in Vietnam. This is considered to be the first deployment of American combat troops in that country, but we should note that there were already 25,000 U. S. troops already in country serving as "advisors".

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