This Day in History (8-Feb-1943) – Subhashchandra Bose started his journey to Japan from Germany in a submarine

Netaji Subhash Chadra Bose, once a colleague of Gandhi, was fighting against British in non Violent way. But when World War II broke out, Bose thought that it was the best opportunity for India to get freedom by armed revolution. His plan was to co-operate with Germany and attack British India. He was sure that Indian soldiers in British army will rebel against the British Government as soon as his army will attack India. British Government house arrested him, but he escaped and went to Afghanistan, and then to Germany in April 1941. In his 2 years stay in Germany, Bose realised that  Germany is not interested in India’s independence but only to rule the world. His meeting with Hitler was one sided affair where Hitler proudly reiterated his well known ugly racist chauvinism. Bose wanted Germany to withdraw from Russia while  Hitler boasted that for Germany, it is only possible to reach India over ‘the dead body of Russia’.

Meanwhile Japan had entered the world war and had advanced towards India against British. Bose realised that collaborating with Japan at this stage will yield the desired result than with Germany. He also wanted to be nearer home when Japan decided to invade India so that he could be physically available to offer leadership to the people and the prisoners of war of Indian origin in South East Asia. Bose planed to go to Japan. Hitler arranged a submarine for Bose. It was a U-180 German submarine.

On 8th February 1943, the submarine sailed from Keil, to travel towards Indian ocean. Abid Hassan, a personal assistant and a doctor of Subhash Chandra Bose was his fellow traveler in this journey. When it detoured south Africa and turned to east, a British tanker Corbis confronted. U-180 sank the British Tanker. Three days later, a Japanese submarine I-29 met with U-180 near Madagascar. Subhash Chandra boarded on Japanese submarine which successfully and safely reached to Japan. After reaching Japan, he met Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and discussed about future strategy and plans. Later Subhash Chandra Bose attacked British India from Eastern front with Indian National Army.

 

Reference:

http://jainismus.hubpages.com/hub/The-Submarine-Adventure-of-Subhash-Chandra-Bose

http://www.indianage.com/show.php

http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv7n1/Bose.htm

This Day in History (24-Jan-1972) – Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese soldier unaware World War II is over, is found on the island of Guam after hiding for 28 years

During WWII, Shoichi Yokoi had been transferred from Manchuria to Guam, and he served as a sergeant in the supply corps. When the Americans came, he and nine other men hid in the jungle. Their numbers gradually dwindled to three. He knew from a leaflet he found in 1952 that the war was over but never gave himself up because “we Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive.” Eight years before he was found, the other two men died, leaving him alone.  Yokoi proved to be a real “survival skills” expert living for almost 28 years in adverse conditions. On January 24, 1972, two residents of the village of Talofofo in the southern part of Guam were out hunting along the Talofofo River when they spotted a very old and wild appearing Japanese man carrying a shrimp trap. After a few confused words, they subdued 56-year-old Shoichi Yokoi and took him back to their home. Eventually, the police were summoned, and the story of Shoichi Yokoi’s saga became known.

During this period, Yokoi built little traps and caught shrimp and eel from the river. Yokoi had fashioned a rat trap from wire for rat meat. He wove cloth from the beaten fibre, and sewed the pieces together to make a total of three “suits” during his 28 years on the island. In the beginning, Yokoi used a lens for fire-starting. At some point he lost this lens and he is said to have made his fire by “rubbing two sticks together.” One of his shelters was a small house made from rushes he collected. He also lived in a hole that he dug under a bamboo grove. The entire cave was dug with a trowel that Yokoi fashioned from an old cannon shell. Inside, he had a toilet hole so well designed that it would flow off naturally to the river below. On another end of the cave — the “kitchen” — Yokoi had some shelves, and a hearth with a cooking pot. He carefully cut a Japanese canteen in two, and made a frying pan from one half and a plate from the other half. He took cylinders of bamboo and used them to collect rainwater and as dippers to collect water from the river.

Two weeks after his discovery in the jungle, Yokoi returned home to Japan to a hero’s welcome. He was besieged by the media, and was regularly invited to speak at universities and in schools across the country.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/january-24-1943-general-friedrich-von-paulus-is-denied-permission-to-surrender-in-the-battle-of-stalingrad

http://www.primitiveways.com/jungle_30_years.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16681636

This Day in History (7-Dec-1941) – Attack on Pearl Harbor

By July 1941, in order to build empire in Asia, Japan had completed their occupation of French Indochina and turned their sights to Thailand, Burma and the Philippines, in order to cut off supply lines of China. Concerned over Japan’s ambitions, the US, Netherlands and Great Britain froze Japanese assets in their countries and imposed stringent economic restrictions. Japan moved forward with war plans. They believed the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor was their only threat and set out to neutralize the fleet by means of a surprise air attack.

The first warning Hawaii received that Japan might attack the US was sent by the Navy to its fleet commanders on October 16, 1941, which was ignored. There was also an assumption in Washington that Japan had no seaborne aircraft capable of catching the Army’s B-24 bombers. They further believed that Japan had overextended their military in other regions and could not concentrate their military forces for a large scale strategic offensive in the Pacific.

On 7th December 1941, the Japanese began their air attack. The first wave arrived over Pearl Harbor at approximately 7:45 a.m. The Japanese initially hit the airfields, destroying many aircrafts located on the southern tip of Ford Island. Moments thereafter, torpedo planes attacked hitting the USS Helena, USS Utah, USS Raleigh, USS California, USS Nevada, USS Oklahoma and West Virginia. Additional bombs were dropped on “Battleship Row”, hitting several ships. The USS Arizona received a death blow followed by a huge explosion. The second wave of planes further attacked some of the ships already hit, further destroying the Navy Yard. The battleship Pennsylvania and three destroyers were bombed in dry dock. Other bombers went after the Nevada, which had left her berth and was trying to get to sea. Anti-aircraft gunfire met these ships, causing losses which were far greater than those of the first attack wave.

All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. The day after the assault, America finally joined World War II.

Reference:

https://www.pearlharboroahu.com/attack.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor

This Day in History (1-Dec-1990) – Chunnel makes breakthrough

The idea of tunneling beneath the English Channel began circulating in the early 19th century. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. Construction on the Chunnel (channel-tunnel) began in 1988. On December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English Channel, workers drill an opening the size of a car through a wall of rock. This was no ordinary hole–it connected the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8,000 years. After workers drilled that final hole, they exchanged French and British flags and toasted each other with champagne.

Over the next four years, nearly 13,000 workers dug 95 miles of tunnels at an average depth of 150 feet below sea level. Eight million cubic meters of soil were removed, at a rate of some 2,400 tons per hour. The completed Chunnel would have three interconnected tubes, including one rail track in each direction and one service tunnel. At a cost of over $21 billion, the 31.4 mile-long Channel Tunnel was completed in 1994, and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and President Mitterrand. With regular maintenance and upkeep, the Chunnel allows for millions of passengers travel between London and Paris each year – both for business and pleasure!

A company called Eurotunnel won the 55-year concession to operate the Chunnel, which is the crucial stretch of the Eurostar high-speed rail link between London and Paris. The regular shuttle train through the tunnel runs 31 miles in total–23 of those underwater–and takes 20 minutes, with an additional 15-minute loop to turn the train around. The Chunnel is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world, after the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.

The Channel tunnel was one of the largest construction projects of the 20th century and remains a marvel of engineering even today. It was selected by American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 1996.

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/chunnel–makes-breakthrough

http://www.chunnel.com/

http://www.unmuseum.org/7wonders/chunnel.htm

This Day in History (14-Aug-1980) – Centre nationalizes Maruti company

Maruti’s history begins in 1970, when a private limited company named ‘Maruti technical services private limited’ (MTSPL) is launched on November 16, 1970. The stated purpose of this company was to provide technical know-how for the design, manufacture and assembly of “a wholly indigenous motor car”. In June 1971, a company called ‘Maruti limited’ was incorporated under the Companies Act and Sanjay Gandhi became its first managing director. After a series of scandals, “Maruti Limited” goes into liquidation in 1977. This is followed by a commission of inquiry headed by Justice A. C. Gupta, which submits its report in 1978. On 23 June 1980, Sanjay Gandhi dies when a private test plane he was flying crashes. After his death, and at the behest of Indira Gandhi, the Indian Central government salvages Maruti Limited and starts looking for an active collaborator for a new company: Maruti Udyog Ltd being incorporated in the same year.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd was incorporated on February 24, 1981 with the name Maruti Udyog Ltd. The company was formed as a government company, with Suzuki as a minor partner, to make a people’s car for middle class India. Over the years, the company’s product range has widened, ownership has changed hands and the customer has evolved. In October 2, 1982, the company signed the license and joint venture agreement with Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan. In the year 1983, the company started their productions and launched Maruti 800. In the year 1984, they introduced Maruti Omni and during the next year, they launched Maruti Gypsy in the market. In the year 1987, the company forayed into the foreign market by exporting first lot of 500 cars to Hungary.

As of May 2007, the government of India sold its complete share to Indian financial institutions and no longer has any stake in Maruti Udyog. As of November 2012, Maruti had a market share of 37% of the Indian passenger car market. In February 2012, the company sold its ten millionth vehicle in India. Till recently the term “Maruti”, in popular Indian culture, was associated tothe Maruti 800 model.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.indiainfoline.com/Markets/Company/Background/Company-Profile/Maruti-Suzuki-India-Ltd/532500

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maruti_Suzuki

This Day in History (6-Aug-1945) – Hiroshima Day

At 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb erased an entire family. “The baby boy was safely born. Just as the family was celebrating, the atomic bomb exploded. Showing no mercy, it took all that joy and hope along with the new life.”

A little boy managed somehow to survive, but the atomic bomb took his entire family. This A-bomb orphan lived through hardship, isolation, and illness, but was never able to have a family of his own. Today, he is a lonely old hibakusha. “I have never once been glad I survived,” he says, looking back. After all these years of terrible suffering, the deep hurt remains.

The Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law defines hibakusha as people who fall into one of the following categories: within a few kilometers of the hypocenters of the bombs; within 2 km of the hypocenters within two weeks of the bombings; exposed to radiation from fallout; or not yet born but carried by pregnant women in any of these categories. As of March 31, 2013; 201,779 hibakusha were recognized by the Japanese government, most living in Japan. The government of Japan recognizes about 1% of these as having illnesses caused by radiation.

A woman who experienced the bombing at the age of 8 months suffered discrimination and prejudice. She did manage to marry, but a month later, her mother-in-law, who had been so kind at first, learned about her A-bomb survivor’s handbook. “‘You’re a hibakusha,’ she said, ‘We don’t need a bombed bride. Get out now.’ And with that, I was divorced.” At times, the fear of radiation elicited ugliness and cruelty. Groundless rumors caused many survivors to suffer in marriage, employment, childbirth—at every stage of life.

Indiscriminately stealing the lives of innocent people, permanently altering the lives of survivors, and stalking their minds and bodies to the end of their days; the atomic bomb is the ultimate inhumane weapon and an absolute evil. The hibakusha, who know the hell of an atomic bombing, have continuously fought that evil.

Reference:

http://jamesrichardbennett.blogspot.in/2013/08/hiroshima-remembrance-day-august-6.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibakusha

This Day in History (3-Aug-1492) – Christopher Columbus Sails the Ocean Blue

In Columbus era, muslim domination of the trade routes through the Middle East makes travel to India and China difficult for Europeans. Believing a route sailing west across the Atlantic would be quicker and safer, Columbus devised a plan to sail west to get reach the East. He estimated the earth to be a sphere approximately 63% its actual size and the distance between the Canary Islands and Japan to be about 2,300 miles. His plans were rejected by Portuguese king, Genoa and Venice. He then went to the Spanish monarchy of Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon, in 1486. Columbus was rejected initially but he continued to lobby the royal court and in January of 1492, the monarchs agreed to finance his expedition.

In August of 1492, Columbus left Spain in the Santa Maria, with the Pinta and the Niña along side. After 36 days of sailing, Columbus and several crewmen set foot on an island in the present day Bahamas, claiming it for Spain. There he encountered a timid but friendly group of natives who were open to trade with the sailors exchanging glass beads, cotton balls, parrots and spears. Columbus and his men continued their journey, visiting the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and meeting with the leaders of the native population. During this time, the Santa Maria was wrecked on a reef off the coast of Hispaniola. With the help of some islanders, Columbus’ men salvaged what they could and built the settlement Villa de la Navidad (“Christmas Town”) with lumber from the ship. Thirty-nine men stayed behind to occupy the settlement. Convinced his exploration had reached Asia, Columbus set sail for home with the two remaining ships. Columbus has been credited for opening up the Americas to European colonization as well as blamed for the destruction of the native peoples of the islands he explored. He failed to find that what he set out for – a new route to Asia and the riches it promised. However, in what is known as the Columbian Exchange, his multiple expeditions set in motion the wide-spread transfer of people, plants, animals, diseases, and cultures that greatly affected nearly every society on the planet.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/august-3-1492-ce-christopher-columbus-sails-the-ocean-blue

http://www.biography.com/people/christopher-columbus-9254209#mixed-legacy