March 9, 1945: Operation Meetinghouse begins.
The first bombings conducted by the United States over Japan came in the form of the Doolittle Raid, a 1942 air raid that succeeded in boosting American morale but caused very little long-lasting damage to targeted Japanese cities. Systematic strategic firebombing campaigns by Allied forces began in the last months of the war. The bombing campaign dubbed Operation Meetinghouse, which struck Tokyo on March 9-10 with incendiary bombs and firestorms, was of an entirely different nature and more closely resembled the 1945 bombing of Dresden.
On March 9, 1945, around 330 B-29s (the plane that carried out the majority of bombings in Japan, including the final atomic strikes over Hiroshima and Nagasaki) launched an attack on the Japanese Home Islands from U.S. outposts in the Mariana archipelago. The bombers carried out low-altitude raids over Tokyo using incendiary bombs, which were gruesomely effective against the tightly-packed and highly-flammable buildings that were common in Japan. The manner in which the bombings were carried out also made it impossible to avoid devastating civilian populations. There was no way to accurately target, with these napalm bombs, factories and industrial buildings, and avoid civilian areas. Fiery infernos burned on the ground, reaching 1,000 ° C, and wind swept burning debris and “clots of flame” into the air, setting everything surrounding alight. Civilians threw themselves into canals and any nearby water in attempts to escape the burning, but still stacks of incinerated bodies piled up in the streets. Curtis LeMay, who executed the strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific Theater, described the victims as having been “scorched and boiled and baked to death”. An estimated 80,000 - 100,000 (according to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police) died in that overnight air raid, during which some 4,500,000 pounds of incendiaries were dropped in three hours.
The stench of burning human flesh was reportedly so strong that the Americans bomber pilots flying thousands of feet overhead could smell it.
The firebombing of Tokyo, which was followed by similar bombings in Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe, was the deadliest air raid of World War II. It was only the beginning of a firebombing campaign that targeted and destroyed Japanese cities both large and small throughout the spring and summer until the capitulation of the Japanese Empire in August of 1945. In a memorandum dated June 17, 1945, Bonner Fellers - a U.S. Army strategist on psychological warfare - described the American firebombing campaign of Japan as “one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history.”
Title: Act I, No. 4 Pas de Trois
Artist: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Swan Lake, Op. 20 (1877), Act I, No. 4 Pas de Trois
International Women’s Day was first celebrated in the early 20th century in several nations, organized by various different groups and coinciding with a period of rapid growth for many different women’s rights organizations and movements. In 1908, the women’s committee of the American Socialist Party designated February 28 as a National Woman’s Day. In 1911, at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, European socialist leaders proposed that an International Women’s Day be recognized March 8 of the following year. Early on, the holiday was explicitly concerned with class and women workers; although the Conference of Socialist Women declared that its "foremost purpose [must] be to aid the attainment of women’s suffrage", delegate Alexandra Kollontai, justifying the need for such a day, wrote in a 1913 Pravda article:
What is the aim of the feminists? Their aim is to achieve the same advantages, the same power, the same rights within capitalist society as those possessed now by their husbands, fathers and brothers. What is the aim of the women workers? Their aim is to abolish all privileges deriving from birth or wealth…
Let a joyous sense of serving the common class cause and of fighting simultaneously for their own female emancipation inspire women workers to join in the celebration of Women’s Day.
The widespread commemoration of International Women’s Day waned in some countries after the 1920s and 30s, although the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China each declared that it be celebrated as a national holiday. The upsurge in feminist activity in the 1960s and 70s also marked, in the Western world, the mainstream rediscovery of the event, which the United Nations adopted as an official commemorative day in 1977.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2014 commemorations, as set by the United Nations, is “Equality for women is progress for all.”
Anonymous asked: what are some of your favorite classic movies? I would like to start watching some but the idea of leaping right in is daunting.
Hm I’m not sure what classic movie means, so I’m just going to go with the general time period (silent-1950s/60s) rather than the style (also I understand - I haven’t watched that many older or non-Hollywood movies):
- I love the original Scarface (1932). It’s pretty ugly and violent, but that in itself is interesting because it was released during the early years of the Hays Code, before it was stringently enforced, so it’s fascinating to see what kind of stuff managed to make it through before the code really took effect. Like the Hays Code prohibited depictions of “sex perversion” but there is straight-up incest in Scarface. But anyway, it also feels pretty modern and not dated at all.
- Citizen Kane (1941), I guess, I think I’m hesitant to put it down here because of the whole ~greatest movie of all time~ thing that of course is always going to color your watching it. But in addition to being important and great in the overall scheme of the development of film narrative and cinematic techniques and all that it’s actually also just a great and enjoyable movie.
- I watched Charlie Chaplin movies a lot as a kid, but my favorites of those are The Gold Rush (1925), Modern Times (1936), and The Great Dictator (1940).
- The Birds (1963) is a personal favorite of mine, of course not as iconic as other Hitchcock films, but I enjoy rewatching it, also probably partially because of a childhood nostalgia factor.
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964) which are two of my favorite movies of all time. They’re very different, but I watched them together, and they’re both kind of trippy (in different ways) Cold War films so I associate them with each other. Also, they’re not dated at all either, especially The Manchurian Candidate, which is really great, like they’re both very Cold War-ish, you couldn’t remove them from the historical context, but at the same time they feel modern.
- Broken Blossoms (1919) is this old D.W. Griffith film that is extremely dated, especially in its depictions of its nonwhite characters, but I think it’s a fascinating film, maybe both as a movie and also as a product of the innovations/limitations of film in that stage. I read that a lot of German Expressionists were influenced by this film like Soviet montage filmmakers were influenced by Intolerance, so that’s also something interesting to note.
- Two films that I’ve been like “OK I’m going to sit down and watch these” about for the past months: Black Narcissus (1947) and The Seventh Seal (1957).
If you’re just looking for a place to start though, I think you could just pick and choose off AFI’s great movies lists or something, just what looks interesting to you. But also remember that non-Hollywood/American films and filmmakers exist. Or look at Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list and change the filter to 1914 to ~1965 haha.. this sounds like terrible advice but you can’t really do anything to watch movies but just go and find and watch them.
Title: Act I, No. 3 Scène
Artist: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Swan Lake, Op. 20 (1877), Act I, No. 3 Scène
March 6, 1869: Dmitri Mendeleev presents his periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.
Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist and, from 1865 to 1890, a professor at the Saint Petersburg State University. Along with German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer, he formulated the system to classify and organize the approximately 56 known chemical elements on which the modern standard periodic table is based. Mendeleev’s system differed from previous attempts to organize the elements in that his principal organizing factor was atomic mass, which led him to logically group elements based on “an apparent periodicity of properties”. In the presentation entitled “The Dependence Between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements” (March 6, 1869) in which he introduced the basic principles of his system, he noted:
Elements which are similar as regards their chemical properties have atomic weights which are either of nearly the same value (e.g., Pt, Ir, Os) or which increase regularly (e.g., K, Rb, Cs).
In addition, by noting gaps in his periodic table, he was able to predict the existence of (and leave spaces for) then unknown elements, among them gallium and germanium - which he respectively referred to as ekaaluminium and ekasilicon. Mendeleev’s accurate predictions of the existence and specific qualities of undiscovered elements based on gaps in his groups was one significant difference between his and Meyer’s table, which was otherwise similar and actually introduced earlier.
The element mendelevium (atomic number 101), discovered in 1955, was named for Mendeleev.