October 9, 2018




St. Paul's Cathedral Bombed:  On October 9, 1940 the German Luftwaffe targeted St. Paul's Cathedral in London in a bombing raid.  The first bombing attack targeted the high altar of the Cathedral, while the second bomb was dropped on the north transept, leaving a large gaping hole in the floor above the crypt.   The Luftwaffe attempted several attacks on St. Paul's Cathedral - September 12, 1940,  December 29, 1940, April 17, 1941.  Though the bombs caused great damage, the Cathedral survived intact, and the morale of the British people did not waver.  According to the writing of Lisa Jardine, "...Wreathed in billowing smoke, amidst the chaos and destruction of war, the pale dome stands proud and glorious—indomitable. At the height of that air-raid, Sir Winston Churchill telephoned the Guildhall to insist that all fire-fighting resources be directed at St Paul's. The cathedral must be saved, he said, damage to the fabric would sap the morale of the country."


Sakharov won Nobel Peace Prize:    On October 9, 1975 Andrei Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  The Nobel Committee cited him as "a spokesman for the conscience of mankind.." and recognized Sakharov's dedication to advancing the cause of human rights as the basis for "genuine and enduring international cooperation."  The Soviet government refused to allow him to travel to Oslo to accept his award and in his stead, his wife Yelena Bonner attended the ceremony and read a speech on his behalf.  Sakharov wrote in his Nobel lecture, entitled "Peace, Progress, Human Rights", in which he called for an end to the arms race,  respect for human rights, protection of the environment, and in particular the establishment of real, formative international cooperation.  The Soviet Union considered Sakharov as a traitor and referred to him as   "Domestic Enemy Number One". Andrei Sakharov was a Russian nuclear physicist and became renowned for having designed the RDS-37, a code name for Soviet thermonuclear weapons. Since the 1950s, he became very worried about the moral and environmental implications of nuclear warfare and became an activist against nuclear proliferation.  A key turning point in his political activism came in 1967, when the topic of anti-ballistic missile defense became a focal point in US–Soviet relations.  He dispatched a secret letter to the Soviet leadership  detailing the global consequences of a nuclear war, pleading that they need to "take the Americans at their word" and accept their proposal for a "bilateral rejection .... of the development of anti-ballistic missile defense".  Moreover he requested permission to publish his manuscript supporting his views. The Soviet leadership ignored his letter, denied his proposal from being published in the Soviet press,and prevented him from initiating a public discussion of ABMs.


Presidential Election in Poland:  The elections were held on October 9 and October 23, 2005 when Lech Kaczynski defeated his rival Donald Tusk.  Aleksander Kwaśniewski, had served two five-year presidential terms but was not able to run for a third term.  The two candidates, both center-right on the political spectrum, led the poll in the first round, as was expected.  But since neither received 50 percent of the vote, a second round of voting was held on October 23 at which Kaczyński received 54.04 percent of the vote.  One of the biggest controversies of the election was the legacy of Józef Tusk, the grandfather of  Donald Tusk.  The record shows that Jozef Tusk was embroiled in the "Wehrmacht affair" before being drafted into the German army in the latter stages of World War II.   Even in modern Poland, having had a family member serving in the German army is severely criticized.

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