Archive for the 'Right Click ~ New Tab' Category

American Heroes of World War II ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

Although many went unrecognized, there were many American heroes of World War II, one of the bloodiest and most devestating oversea wars in history.

1) Audie Murphy was raised an orphaned son of Texas sharecroppers, and enlisted in the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday in 1942. He landed at Casablanca in February of 1943 and spent the next two years fighting his way across North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany during World War II. During Murphy’s service as a combat solder, he became one of, if not the best fighting combat soldier on the battlefield. It was during military action in a French forest on January 26, 1945, when Murphy climed aboard a burning German tank destroyer and used its 50-caliber machine gun to kill dozens of attacking Germans that he rose to fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. In his 3 years of active service, Audie recieved 33 awards, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given, for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above the beyond the call of duty.” Among these awards he also recieved 5 decorations by France and Belgium. Murphy was promoted from private to 2nd lieutenant and fought in 9 major campaigns across Europe during the war. By the end of the war, Murphy was not even 21 years old and was a surviving legend of the war within the 3rd infantry division. After the war, he was invited to visit Hollywood in 1945 where he pursued am up-and-down career as a movie actor, songwriter, and businessman. He published a war memoir called To Hell and Back about his war experiences in 1949, and played himself in the 1955 movie version of his book. Audie Murphy was killed in a private plane crash in Virginia in 1971. The U.S. Army has always declared that there will never be another soldier like Audie Murphy.
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2) George S. Patton Jr., also known as “Old Blood and Guts”, was one of the greatest generals of World War II. George attended the Virginia Military Institute and West Point, where he was recognized as a remarkable athlete. After serving as a cavalryman and swordsman in the U.S. Army during World War I, he became an expert on newly developed battle machinery, especially tanks. After the first World War, he continued to study tanks and eventually held administrative posts in the Army as a pilot and a sailor. During World War II he served in North Africa and Sicily before becoming the commander of the Third Army. Patton was a highly skilled commander and used his tanks to their full effectiveness throughout the war. He led his Third Army and successfully drove the Nazis across France and back into Germany. Although a great contribution to the Allies success during World War II, his outspokenness caused him to be relieved of command of the Third Army after the war due to an infamous incident where he slapped a hospitalized soldier for what he believed was cowardice.

3) George C. Marshall served as chief of staff of the U.S. army from 1939 to 1945, where he built and directed the largest army in history. After attending the Virginia Military Institute, Marshall served in posts in the Philippines and the United States, where he was graduated with honors from the Infantry-Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth in 1907 and from the Army Staff College in 1908.  Marshall quicky rose through the administrative ranks and accepted a post with the General Staff in Washington, D.C. in July of 1938. In September, 1939, he was named chief of Staff, with the rank of general, by President Roosevelt. As chief of staff, Marshall urged military readiness before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and was greatly responsible for the building, supplying, and deploying of over 8 million American soldiers. He also supervised the atomic studies until he resigned at the end of the war in November, 1945. After the war, Marshall was the U.S. ambassador to China before returning to the U.S. and serving as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in President Truman’s cabinet. One of his greatest achievements was the Marshall plan, an economic policy to help Western Europe recover from the effects of the war. For his efforts toward world peace, Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
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Reading Reflection: If it weren’t for the many Americans that gave their lives for their country during World War II, the United States wouldn’t hold the leading role in military forces that it does today. Every single American that fought, wether their actions are still remembered and recognized to this day or not, they all contributed to the powerful nation that we’ve become. They are forever heroes.


Effects of the New Deal on Society

What I already know…

New Deal policies and actions affected various social and ethnic groups. Although the New Deal respresented many important opporunities for minority groups, what these groups gained was limited. Prejudice and discrimination continued to torment them and to prevent their full and equal participation in national society.

1. American Women: Although many American women were marked by setbacks during the years of the New Deal, they also experienced some victories.

Frances Perkins, America's first femal cabinet member as Secretary of Labor.

Women achieved success in the sense that they began to fill highly important positions in the federal government for the first time ever. For example, President Roosevelt appointed a woman named Francis Perkins Secretary of Labor, making her the first women to serve in the cabinet. Along with Perkins, many women also gained important upper-level administrative positions in New Deal agencies and programs. However, most of these welfare programs were intended primarily for men and offered few benefits to women. They even targeted women by prohibiting the federal government from hiring members of the same family, causing many women to lose their jobs.

2. African Americans: African Americans were particularly hard hit by the Great Depression. Many lost their jobs to unemployed whites who took over, and many blacks struggled to survive. With the New Deal also came more setbacks African Americans.

Mary McLeod Bethune was a strong supporter of the New Deal, and was appoined by Roosevelt to a key position in the federal government.

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration offered white landowners cash for leaving their fields unharvested, however, many whites did not pass on their government checks to the black sharecroppers and tenant farmers who actually worked the land. Even in the North, African Americans found that the New Deal did not treat them as well as the whites. Aside the few setbacks, African Americans did find respect in other areas of the New Deal, such as the Public Works Administration and the Farm Security Administraion, both of which grew more sensitive to the needs of African-Americans. Like women, many African Americans were also appointed to government roles, earning them leadership positions and respect in their national communities.

3. Mexican Americans: Between 1900 and 1930, the number of Mexican people living in America soared from 375,000 to over 1.1 million. Many Mexicans found employment and low paying work on large farms, however, the Great Depression greatly reduced the need for farm labor, causing Mexican American unemployment to skyrocket. In an effort to solve the nation’s unemployment issue, the federal government sent nearly 400,00-0 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to Mexico. Those who remained in America faced horrible poverty and unfair discrimination with little help from the New Deal.

Research Reflection:

I’ve learned that while the New Deal was created in an effort to combat the effects of the Great Depression for all Americans, different social and ethnic groups weren’t always treated equally. While some groups flourished, others remained inferior and helpless. However, I think that the New Deal definitely made a lasting impact on increasing the government’s role in the struggle for equal rights.


Women of the First World War ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

What I already know…

World War I spurred many social changes in the United States, especially for women. For the first time, women moved into new jobs that had been held exclusively by men. Many became railroad workers, cooks, dockworkers, bricklayers, coal miners, and some even took part in shipbuilding. Meanwhile, women also continued to fill their traditional jobs as nurses, clerks, and teachers. Many women worked as volunteers, serving at Red Cross facilities and working to encourage the sale of bonds and the planting of victory gardens in support of the war. Although women were not allowed to enlist in the army and were denied army rank, pay and benefits, they helped their country by joining the Army Corps of Nurses. Even better, some 13,000 women were accepted to noncombat positions in the navy and marines, where they served as secretaries and telephone operators with full military rank. There were many women who made their mark during World War I.

1. Nursing– Many young women and girls became nurses during World War I. When the United States joined the war in April of 1917, the U.S. navy had a total of only 160 nurses on duty. As the war progressed, the number of women nurses increased more than 8 times that number as the Nurse Corps worked to meet the war’s increasing demands. Many young women from a wide range of employment backgrounds, including cooks, domestic servants, and laundry workers, found volunteer job opporunities by joining the Voluntary Aid Detatchment (VAD) and First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY). Although their medical training was basic, they worked actively in war zones, helping wounded soldiers and giving them necessary medical treatment. The duties of the women in the FANY were much more difficult than those of VAD women. During the First World War, the FANY ran field hospitals, drove ambulances, and set up soup kitches for soldiers. Organizations such as the Red Cross, Patriotic League, YWCA, and many others, also made efforts in supporting wartime hardships by organizing women to aid in relief work. These women worked in dangerous conditions, but that didn’t stop them from helping their country.

2. Factory Workers–Some of the most important work done by women during World War I was in ammunition factories, since the majority of men were away fighting for their country. Working in these factories was very dangerous, especially because it involved working with explosive chemicals, and many women working in these areas lacked the proper training and skill that the previous men workers had aquired over many years. Women also worked as powerful machine operators and in naval station machine shops as well. There were many gaps that were filled by women in the workforce, however the majority of them worked in the machinery, supply, and public works departments. In an effort to supply more skilled women workers into factories and other demanding businesses, schools for training in upholstering, trimming, and a variety of other operative skills were set up by the government.

3. The Women’s Land Army–With so many men away fighting, many people feared that there would be no one to bring in the harvests and keep the farms running. When the government decided that more women would have to become more involved in producing food and goods to support the war effort overseas, the Women’s Land Army acquired an important role. Many men who normally worked on the farms never returned from the war, and those that did return, came home disabled and physically unable to restore their duties on the farm. One woman in the Women’s Land Army said that, “Their feet were never dry even in dry weather – simply because they had to work early in the morning and the dew on the grass would enter the boots through the lace holes.” Women played a huge role in food production and agricultural labor during the First World War.

Research Reflection–

During my research, I’ve realized that without so many womens’ strength and courage during the war effort, there’s a great chance that World War I probably wouldv’e been much different for the United States. Not only did women finally earn the respect they deserved in their country, but they also proved to a longtime male-dominant society that women are capable of so much more than just housework and raising children. Women were just as, if not more important than an important part in the war effort, and World War I definitely sparked a turning point in the lives of many women.


The Black Hand ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

What I already know…

In June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, visited the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, where he and his wife were unexpectedly shot by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip while driving through the crowded city. Princip was a member of the Black Hand, an organization promoting Serbian nationalism. The assissinations touched off a diplomatic crisis, one of the leading causes of World War I.

1. Who were the Black Hand? In May 1911, ten men in Serbia formed Ujedinjenje ili Smrt (Union or Death), also known as the Black Hand Secret Society, led by a man named Dragutin Dimitrijevic. The main goal of the Black Hand was the creation, by means of violence, of a “Greater Serbia.” It’s ultimate aim was “to realize the national ideal, the unification of all Serbs.” The organization used terrorist action as opposed to cultural activities, therefore, it was strictly meant to remain a secret. By 1914, the group included more than 2,500 members. It was mainly made up of junior army officers, but didn’t exclude lawyers, journalists, and university professors, who also joined the Black Hand.

2. What were major actions taken by the Black Hand in attempt to achieve a “Great Serbia”? The Black Hand held influence over almost all government appointment and policy. The Serbian government was fairly well informed of the group’s activities. The Black Hand was extremely displeased with Prime minister Nikola Pasic, believing that he did not act agressively enough towards the Pan-Serb cause. Political murder soon became the society’s number one tactic when standing up and saying no to the Black Hand was no longer an option. It wasn’t long before the Black Hand decided that Archduke Franz Ferdinand should be assassinated. Dimitrijevic grew concerned about the heir to the Austrian throne, fearing that Ferdinand’s plans to grant concessions to the Southern Slavs would make an independent Serbian state almost impossible to achieve. When Dimitrijevic caught wind that the Duke was planning to visit Sarajevo in June of 1914, he sent three senior members of the Black Hand from Serbia to assassinate him and his wife. The honors were done by a man named Gavrilo Princip.

3. How did the Black Hand play a role in the start of the First World War? The assassinations touched off a diplomatic crisis. After being interrogated by the Austrian authorities, the three men from Serbia were found guilty of organizing the plot. On July 25, 1914 the Austro-Hungarian government demanded that the Serbian government arrest the men and send them to face trial in Vienna. However, prime minister of Serbia, Nikola Pasic informed the government that handing over the three men would be a violation of Serbia’s constitution. Three days later on July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war against what was expected to be a short war against Serbia. The alliance system began to pull one nation after another into the conflict, and soon enough along with Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, France, and Great Britain found themselves in the beginning of a Great War.

Research Reflection:

I enjoyed learning about the Black Hand because it played a large role in sparking the First World War, along with other causes such as nationalism, imperialism, militarism, and the formation of alliance systems.

Analyzing Political Cartoons of the late 19th Century ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

What I already know…

A political cartoon is an illustration which is designed to convey a social or political message, using images which will be familiar to all of the people in a society. A political cartoon often expresses caricatures of events that are happening in the current political field. The cartoons can also be directed at political leaders, such as the president. During the 19th century, political cartoons were commonly used to express the widespread negative opinions of immigrants, as well as other events that took place in the late 1800’s, such as the issue of control over railroads.

1. “The Modern Colossus of Railroads”– This political cartoon was illustrated by Joseph Keppler in 1879, which features the railroad “giants”, William Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, and Cyrus W. Fields.Vanderbilt, a wealthy railroad tycoon, was viewed as a tyrannous man of excessive corporate power, which is clearly shown in this cartoon. The reigns held by the railroad magnates attach not only to the trains, but also to the tracks and the railroad station, which conveys their power and control over railroad operations. The three powerful leaders formed a railroad trust out of their Union Pacific, New York Central, and Lake Shore & Dependence lines. However, with the interstate Commerce Act in 1887, the government began to weaken the magnates’ grip over the nation’s transportation system.

2. “What a Funny Little Government”– This cartoon was illustrated by Horace Taylor in 1899, which shows John D. Rockefeller holding the White House and Treasury Department in his palm. It is a commentary on the power of the Standard Oil empire, which controlled 90 percent of the refining business in the late 19th century. Rockefeller reaped huge profits by paying his employees extremely low wages and driving his competitors out of business by selling his oil at a lower price than it cost to produce it. As soon as he controlled the market, he hiked prices far above the original levels. Alarmed by his tactics, Rockefeller, as well as many other industrialists, became known as robber barons. The smoke in the background of the image is coming from the capital of the United States, which is portrayed as becoming an oil refinery, demonstrating the power that many big businesses held over government.

3. “The Tammany Tiger Loose”– Political machines were organized groups that controlled the activities of a political party in a city, and also offered services to voters and businesses in exhange for political or financial support. The Tammany Hall machine controlled New York City’s politics during the 19th century, and was dominated by a man named William M. Tweed, also known as Boss Tweed. However, political machines began to decline in importance after 1900. Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, helped arous public outrage against Tammany Hall’s illegal use of policitcal influence for personal gain, or graft, and the Tweed Ring was finally broken in 1871. Tweed was indicted on 120 counts of fraud and extortion and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Research Reflection:

I enjoyed researching these popular political cartoons  because they played an important part in telling the history of the 19th century. I learned how to analyze cartoons by identifying the symbols, characters and its significance in history, which isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Western Literature ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

What I already know…

After gold was discovered in California, Americans came to veiw the West as a region of unlimited possibility. Those who weren’t fortunate enough to journey there enjoyed reading about the West in tales by writers such as Mark Twain and Bret Harte. Novels became extremely popular in the late 19th century. Since much of the West was Spanish-dominated for years, Western literature included legends and songs of Hispanic heroes and villians. It also included the haunting words of Native Americans whose lands were taken and cultures threatened as white settlers moved West.

1. One of the most popular American humorists of the 19th century, Samuel Clemens, or better known as Mark Twain, wrote many tales of frontier life.In the 1850s, Samuel worked as a riverboat pilot and later briefly served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Shortly after gold was discovered, he traveled West and found work as a miner and a reporter. He first began to publish his work under the name “Mark Twain” and established himself as a sketch-writer and humorist. “Mark Twain” was a reference to his riverboat days, a term that was often used to determine the depth of the water when at sea. One of his most popular writings was a short story called “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County”, which has also been called “The Notorious Frog of Calaveras County” as well. The story takes place in a gold-mining camp in Calaveras County, California, shortly after the Gold Rush of 1849. In Twain’s story, a man named Simon Wheeler tells stories about another man named Jim Smiley, to Twain in a local bar.The short and humorous story focuses on Mark Twain and his meeting with the talkative old storyteller Simon Wheeler. However, in the end, it is revealed that his friend’s story is merely a practical joke designed to waste his time. Although “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” was admired for its humor and as an example of a tall tale, it also became known for its sarcastic portrait of the American East. Twain’s great sense of humor greatly contributed to his sucess, and was among one of the most popular writers of his time.

2. Another notable writer inspired by the mining camps was John Rollin Ridge. His fictional romance novel called The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Mruieta, the Celebrated California Bandit,  published in 1854, expressed the violent relations that took place in the ethnically diverse frontier. The tale was written a year after Joaquin’s death. John Ridge was part Cherokee Indian who fled to California after killing a man in Arkansas. Borrowing from newspaper reports of the gold camps, he created a romantic story of lust and revenge starring the recently dead bandit, Joaquin Murrieta, as the victim of a twisted society. His novel quickly became one of the most popular dramas of the Gold Rush era.

3. Not all Western literature was fictional. In fact, a great amount of the true imaginative wealth of the gold rush was told through diares, letters, journals, memoirs, government documents, and personal narratives. These writings often addressed the hardships faced during the Gold Rush, such as the harsh demands of everyday life in the West and the unfavorable conditions of the mining camps. Some of the best narratives were Louise Clappe’s The Shirley Letters, which were published in 1854. These were a series of letters written by Clappe from two camps in the hills of the Feather River to her sister back at home in Massachusetts. The living conditions mentioned in the letters startled many people back at home in the East.

Research Reflection:

I really enjoyed learning about different aspects of Western Literature during the Gold Rush era. I chose to research this because I am quite the writer myself and I’ve always been interested in how different historic events have paved the way for modern literature. I learned that the people who weren’t given the fortunate opportunity to explore the West in hopes of striking it rich and building a sucessful future depended on literature, both fictional and non-fictional, to stay connected to those that were.

Fighting Terrorism ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab


What I already know…

Terrorism is considered an international problem that involves the use of violence against people or property to force changes in society of governments. Terrorist groups carry out increasingly destructive and high-profile attacks to call attention to their goals and to gain major media coverage, and many countries face domestic terrorists who do not agree with their government’s policies. Terrorists often target crowded places where people would normally feel safe, as well as something that symbolizes what they are against, for example, the World Trade Center in New York, where a group of Arab terrorists hijacked four airliners and crashed the jets into the twin towers, taking the lives of over 3,000 Americans and marking one of the most devastating days in American history. Modern terrorism has changed drastically since the late 1960s, motivating terrorists to gain independence, expel foreigners, or change societies, as well as other terrorists who are driven by radical religious and cultural motives, which began to emerge in the late 20th century. There are still many things that I would like to learn about terrorism, as well as what they value in gaining public attention from their attacks.

1) The International Terrorism and Security Research Center explains the history of terrorism, terrorist behavior, goals and motivation, as well as the evolution of terrorism. Terrorism has become increasingly common among those pursuing extreme goals throughout the world. For the past 20 years, terrorists have committed extremely violent acts for alleged political or religious reasons. This includes groups led by revolutionary elites as well as dictatorships that believe in merging state and business leadership. Religious extremists often reject the idea of secular governments and view legal systems that are not based on their religious beliefs as unlawful or wrong. They often view modernization efforts as corrupting influences on traditional culture too. People that fall into these categories strictly believe that violence is suitable to achieve their goals, also known as terrorism. This information was helpful in understanding more detailed reasons why terrorists are motivated to use such destructive violence.

2) In Ph.D. Brent Smith’s article, “A Look at Terrorist Behavior: How They Prepare, Where They Strike”, he explains the behavior of terrorists and wether or not they are much different from conventional criminals. Research has shown that traditional criminals are spontaneous, but terrorists seem to go to great lengths preparing for their attacks. Research also showed that “international terrorists lived relatively near their targets, whereas right-wing terrorists lived in rural areas but selected targets reflecting the “pollutants of urban life” in nearby cities”, as stated by Smith. Terrorists most commonly prepare for their attacks with surveillance and intelligence gathering, as well as robberies and thefts to raise funding for the group, weapons violations, and bomb manufacturing. Understanding how and where most terrorists plan their attacks has been extremely helpful to law enforcement agencies in preventing and preparing for terrorist attacks. This information was useful because it helped me to understand how terrorists plan their attacks and why they choose the places they do, based on statistics and thorough research.

3) Ph.D. James Walsh explains that media attention is an important aspect of terrorism by which terrorists communicate with their audiences and to influence the tone of media attention to their attacks. Terrorist attacks widely vary in the amount of media attention that they receive. For example, the September 11 attacks gained heavy coverage, whereas others receive none at all. James Walsh’s research explains how such coverage influences potential supporters of terrorists. “This coverage can provide terrorists with a vehicle for conveying their political messages to mass audiences, and it can also distract from public understanding of the difficulty of preventing terrorist attacks and the steps that the authorities take to achieve this objective”, explains Walsh. He also makes a point that there is a particular need to better understand how media attention influences the attitudes and behaviors of individuals, other terrorist groups, and government authorities. It has been claimed that terrorists benefit from high levels of media attention because it communicates their goals to a huge audience, which is what they want. It also increases fear and anxiety among their audience. I found James Walsh’s research very interesting, and it gave me better understanding and also the answer to my question of why terrorists value public attention after their attacks.

Research Reflection:

I really enjoyed expanding my knowledge about terrorism because it has given me a better understanding of an international issue that many countries face in today’s world. I learned many factors that motivate terrorists to use destructive violence, the most common being the rejection of the idea of secular governments and viewing legal systems that are not based on their religious beliefs as unlawful or wrong. These people strongly believe that violence is suitable in achieving their goals. I also learned about terrorist behavior, including how they prepare for their attacks and where they’re likely to strike. Knowing this greatly helps law enforcement agencies in preventing terrorism and preparing our country in case of future attacks. Last but not least, I learned why terrorist groups value gaining public attention from their attacks. I think that every high school student should learn about terrorism and how it can effect a country, considering it is one of the biggest threats to the safety of people all over the world. Futher avenues that I’d like to research on this topic might include specifics about the 9/11 attack and why exactly the Arabs chose America as their target.