War Over Words

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress learned that General George Washington had refused to accept a letter, meant to open peace negotiations, from British General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Viscount Howe, because it failed to use the title “general.” Congress responded by proclaiming that the commander in chief acted “with dignity becoming his station,” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them in the “characters they respectively sustain.”

While congress was voting on the approval of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania early in July of 1776, the Howe brothers were busy assembling the largest European forces to land in the Americas on Staten Island, New York. General Washington had spent much of the spring of 1776 moving his 19,000 men from Boston to New York. There they would confront the 30,000 men under the Howe brothers.

The Howe brothers … Read more »

Lord of War Real World Props

The 2005 crime, war film, Lord of War was written, produced, and directed by Andrew Niccol. The film starred Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto Ethan Hawke and Bridget Moynahan. Inspired by several stories of real-life arms dealers and smugglers, the movie makes reference to their need as a “necessary evil” to distribute weapons so major governments can deny involvement.

The film contains a scene featuring 50 tanks, which were provided by a Czech source. The tanks were only available until December of the year of filming, and speculated that the dealer needed them to sell in Libya. As well, the production team rented 3000 real SA Vz. 58 rifles to stand in for AK 47s because they were cheaper than prop guns.

The film was officially endorsed by the human rights group Amnesty International for highlighting the arms trafficking by the international arms industry.
Read more »

The Berlin Airlift

On this day in 1948, food and supplies began being delivered by airplane to the city of Berlin by U.S. and British pilots after the city was isolated by a Soviet Union blockade.

Upon the end of WWII in 1945, a defeated Germany was divided into zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, located within the Soviet zone of Occupation, was also spilt with the Allies, America, Britain and France, occupying the west and the Soviets occupying the east. In June 1948, Stalin’s Soviet government attempted to take control of the entire city by cutting off all land and sea routes to West Berlin, thus forcing the Allied forces to evacuate. Beginning June 24, 1948 the western portion of Berlin was deprived of food, heating fuel and other critical supplies affecting 2 million people.

Though some thought a direct military response was warranted, U.S. President Truman worried such action would … Read more »

The Colt All-American 2000

Do you know about the Colt All American 2000?

The Model 2000 was designed by Reed Knight and Eugene Stoner and featured a rather unorthodox rotating bolt and lug design similar to that of the AR-15 rifle. The gun was chambered in 9mm and had a fifteen round magazine. Despite having some really innovative features such as an ambidextrous magazine release, being double action only, a grooved anti-glare top strap that was normally found only on shotguns at the time and not having a pretensioned striker that allows the gun to fire on the same cartridge several times without having to rack the slide, the Model 2000 was ultimately fraught with problems like inaccuracy and unreliability. The Model 2000 was only produced from 1994 to 1996 and only twenty thousand were ever made.  Some say, with its demise, it possibly took away Colt’s chances of getting a foothold again in … Read more »

The Speech that Brought Down the Berlin Wall

On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave one of his most famous speeches and challenged Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was one of the most recognized symbols of WWII and a symbol of the Communist era that repressed those on one side of a divided Germany.

Following the defeat of World War II, the capital of Germany, Berlin, was divided into four sections, with the Americans, British and French in control of the west and the Soviets in control of the east. The three western regions came together in May of 1949 to form the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), while the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was established in October of that same year. In 1952, the border between the two countries was closed and by the following year East Germans were prosecuted if they left their country … Read more »