This Week in History
HISTORY, 31 Jul 2023
31 Jul –> 6 Aug 2023
Quote of the Week:
“True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
– 1917 Third Battle of Ypres begins in Flanders | July 31, 1917 | HISTORY →World War I
– 1941 Preparations for the Final Solution begin | July 31, 1941 | HISTORY → World War II
– 1980 USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR → See List of nuclear weapons tests of the Soviet Union – Wikipedia
– 1759 Seven Years’ War: The Battle of Minden, an allied Anglo-German army victory over the French. In Britain this was one of a number of events that constituted the Annus Mirabilis of 1759 and is celebrated as Minden Day by certain British Army regiments.
– 1834 Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force, although it remains legal in the possessions of the East India Company until the passage of the Indian Slavery Act, 1843.
– 1914 The German occupation of Luxembourg during World War I begins.→ World War I
– 1945 World War II: End of the Potsdam Conference.
– 1960 Niger gains independence from France.
– 1969 Vietnam War: At the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, American representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuân Thuỷ begin secret peace negotiations. The negotiations will eventually fail.
– 1979 In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake the Bala Hissar uprising against the Leninist government.
→ Most Serb population in the Krajina [pronounced “cry-nah”] area, whose main city was Knin, left this area and move to Serbia during the Operation Storm. It was literally the Exodus at the end of the 21st Century. Many of them were poor local farmers.
However, some elderly people in the mountain area remained to stay.
The Serbs in Krajina had been brought to that area a few centuries ago by the Hapsburg Empire in order to protect the Empire. The Krajina area was the border of the Empire. “Kraj” means “end” or “edge” in the Serbian language.
When my colleagues and I interviewed the elderly villagers by visiting their villages later years, they told us overall as follows:
Approximately two weeks after the end of the Operation Storm, hooligans and thugs, not the regular Croatian soldiers, came to these remote villages and destroyed the villages and stole many items from these houses. They even set fire to these village houses. They were the ones who actually destroyed the villages in the areas.
In fact, what I saw in these remote villages and hamlets were completely destroyed empty houses and ruins of the burnt houses.
The Krajina area was huge. So, it took more than a few months for us to complete our human rights/fact-finding investigative interviews with these farmers even only in some major spots of the area, because most of the areas were mountainous. Sometimes it was impossible for us to access to these hamlets by four-wheel-drive vehicle. We, then, had to walk through the narrow and winding mountain path to visit them.
They welcomed us. Even in a peace time, it was very rare for them to see the visitors from outside the mountain area.
When we visited these farmers, it was very often that they prepared coffee for us. Coffee was very precious for them because it was very rare for them to visit the town to buy coffee beans all the way from the mountain area. There was no shop in these hamlets. They visited the town down there only a few times a year. In addition, there were no tap water system in these areas. The farmers were drinking rain-water after boiling it.
Nonetheless, they prepared their precious coffee for us! I never forget their extraordinary hospitality for us.
– 1914 World War I: U-boat campaign: Two days after the United Kingdom had declared war on Germany over the German invasion of Belgium, ten German U-boats leave their base in Heligoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea.
– 1914 World War I: Serbia declares war on Germany; Austria declares war on Russia.
– 1945 World War II: Hiroshima, Japan is devastated when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” is dropped by the United States B-29 Enola Gay. Around 70,000 people are killed instantly, and some tens of thousands die in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning.
– 2011 War in Afghanistan: A United States military helicopter is shot down, killing 30 American special forces members and a working dog, seven Afghan soldiers, and one Afghan civilian. It was the deadliest single event for the United States in the War in Afghanistan.
Satoshi Ashikaga is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. Having worked as researcher, development program/project officer, legal protection/humanitarian assistance officer, human rights monitor-negotiator, managing-editor, and more, he prefers a peaceful and prudent life, especially that in communion with nature. His previous work experiences, including those in war zones and war-torn zones, remind him of the invaluableness of peace. His interest and/or expertise includes international affairs, international law, jurisprudence, economic and business affairs, project/operations or organizational management, geography, history, the environmental/ecological issues, audio/visual documentation of nature and culture, and more.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 Jul 2023.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: This Week in History, is included. Thank you.
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