Saturday, May 20, 2017

MAY 20 = Strauss & Davis Acquire Patent for Blue Jeans



On today's date, May 20 in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss, and a Nevada tailor Jacob Davis were granted a patent on a special kind of work pants.  Made from a tough cloth called "Denim", these pants were  reinforced with metal rivets. This was the birth of  the most famous and often worn garments in the
world: blue jeans.

Levi Strauss Started Out As An Immigrant

Born in Buttenheim, Bavaria, in 1829, Loeb Strauss immigrated to New York  in 1847 with his family after his father died. He was working at in his family dry goods store  J. Strauss Brother & Co.by 1850 and changed his from Loeb to Levi.  But these were exciting times in America with gold having been discovered in California so young Levi decided to head west and seek his fortune with the rest of the
 gold-hungry diggers.  He set up shop in San Francisco putting together a wholesale dry goods business bearing his own name. But he worked as a representative of the family firm. In this company he fed the need for everything having to do with gold mining: shovels, pick-axes and all manner of dry goods. He also imported fabric and clothing all of which he distributed to the hundreds of small stores in the quickly proliferating communities of settlers and gold miners.

A New Kind of Workpants Were Needed

A man who frequently used bolts of cloth made from denim, was at Latvian Jewish immigrant, one Jacob Davis. This fabric had it's origins in cities of France. "Gênes" was the french word for Genoa, which may account or the origin for "jeans" in Nimes they attempted to produce a product like the jeans but wound up with a similar twill product which was called "denim" from it's origins in "de Nimes" ("from Nimes").
Well it seems that Mr. Davis (left) had a customer who was forever buying cloth to reinforce torn pants. Davis had come up with the idea of using copper rivets to reinforce the points of greatest strain -- pocket corners as well as the base of the cotton fly. Davis lacked the necessary funds to afford the cost of a government patent for such an idea. So in 1872, Davis wrote to Strauss, telling  him of the idea of copper rivets and asked his financial backing for his rivet reinforced denim work pants. Levi Strauss liked the idea so on today's date in 1873 they were granted U.S. Patent # 131,121 for the "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings"

Of Course There are Always Conflicting Reports...

One paragraph in a Wikipedia source states:

 "Popular legend incorrectly states that it was imported from Nimes, France. A popular myth is that Strauss initially sold brown canvas pants to miners, later dyed them blue, turned to using denim, and only after Davis wrote to him, added rivets.Initially, Strauss' jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by factory workers, miners, farmers, and cattlemen throughout the North American West."
That last sentence has it right, though.  Strauss' jeans became a huge selling favorite among workers of all types throughout the United States. The original name for the jeans: “XX”– was changed to 501 by 1890 and it had become a huge seller. They were the 1920's
best selling work pants in the United States. And eventually it caught on with young people all over the world. So jeans have become an industry and style unto themselves Quite a growth story, isn't it?









Sources =

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Strauss_%26_Co.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeans

http://thejeansblog.com/denim-brand-history/the-history-of-levis-jeans/

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/bluejeans.htm

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/levi-strauss-and-jacob-davis-receive-patent-for-blue-jeans


Monday, May 15, 2017

MAY 15 = The Women's Army Corps is Established



"Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over."

- From the physical training manual published by the War Department in July 1943, entitled "You Must Be Fit" which was intended to bring the women recruits to top physical condition.  On today's date, May 15 in 1942, a bill establishing a women’s corps as a part of the U.S. Army became law, creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and granting women official military status. It is difficult to imagine the men who supported this measure could have had any idea of today's military with women in every facet of duty, including combat roles.  But that's what they were going for: right there in black and white.

The Legislation for the WAACs

Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts (below), one of the first women ever elected to congress, introduced this legislation which would make it possible for women to serve in non-combat positions in the army. Rogers had been active in volunteer work for the Red Cross and had served in overseas military hospitals. As a member of congress from 1925 onward she was appointed to the Committee on
Veterans Affairs. Rep. Rogers  introduced the legislation in May of 1941, but was held up for months until the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 put the matter on a faster track... still it wasn't until today's date in 1942 that it finally passed, although a section backing the enlistment of 150,000 volunteers was at first limited by executive order to 25,000. At first the benefits that went to men were greater than women, but by July 1942 a bill dropped the word "Auxiliary" from the name making them WACs and they were granted full Army benefits in keeping with the men.

"My best soldiers...."

The work that the WACs were assigned covered a great many different sorts of occupations.  Air Traffic Control, Radio Operations, Electrician work on down to basic Office Clerking jobs and occasional mechanic's work were all areas that women covered.  But the Army always made it clear that these jobs would free men up for combat work, in order to soothe public sensitivities about having women in the military. The
work they did must have been done well as Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur referred to the WACs as "my best soldiers" adding that they were better disciplined, complained less, and in general worked harder than the men. All told once they were allowed to serve in greater numbers, the (Above: WAC Signal Corps Operators)150,000 who did serve freed up the equivalent of 7 full divisions of men for combat. No less an authority than Gen. Dwight Eisenhower said: "their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable" 

The WACs Give Way to the Modern Military

As a separate branch of the military the WAC was in 1978 disbanded, and all of the women's units were integrated with their male counterparts.  WACs then were moved into whatever Military Specialty they had been working in before.  And ever since that time, women have worked with men in the same units.  This has included work in or nearby combat areas. In 1994 Les Aspin directed that "substantial risk of capture" could no longer used as grounds for keeping women out of some military units. So there you have it! That basic purpose stated so boldly way back in the original WAC manual : "Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over." has been more than fulfilled.




Sources =

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Nourse_Rogers

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/legislation-creating-the-womens-army-corps-becomes-law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Army_Corps

http://www.thehistoryreader.com/modern-history/may-15-1942-formation-womens-auxiliary-army-corps/

















Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MAY 3 = Tokyo War Crimes Trial Begins



On today's date, May 3 in 1946 in Tokyo, the Interna- tional Military Tribunals for the Far East began hearing the cases against 28 Japanese military and government officials who had been of committing or ordering war crimes and crimes against against both military and civilian personnel during World War Two.

These Trials Differed from Nuremberg,

The way in which these trials were conducted was different from those which were being held in Nuremberg, Germany against the Nazi war criminals in 1946. At the Nuremberg proceedings there were four countries running the trial, with chief prosecutors from the four main powers, the United States, Britain, France, and the U.S.S.R. .  In these Tokyo Trials there was only one chief prosecutor - Joseph B. Keenan an American, in fact the former U.S. Attorney General. But Australian William Flood Webb was the presiding judge. And other Allied nations on the prosecution team included China, the Philippines, New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Canada, and India.

But the Rouge's Gallery of Criminals Was Almost the Same

  At the Nuremberg Trials William Shirer remarked how the men who had once wielded such enormous power, "they no longer resembled the arrogant leaders of old. They seemed to be a drab assortment of mediocrities." Well the Japanese war criminals certainly had been
lowered by several pegs by the time they entered the courtroom of  the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo. According to Arnold C. Brackman, a U.P. correspondent who covered the trial:

"Former Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoke entered the dock at 
a painfully slow gait, his face pallid, his cheeks sunken.  Ex- Premier 
Kiichiro Kiranuma's equine face looked longer and more melancholy than ever.  Admiral Osami Nagano, another aged militarist, wore his naval dress blues stripped of all emblems and badges.  The figure 
most familiar to both Japanese and everyone in the courtroom, Hideki Tojo (right), strode in wearing a dapper khaki bush jacket.  Tojo appeared bemused and dispirited, but looked remarkably healthy for a man who had shot himself inn a failed suicide attempt just months before.... General Suzuki maintained his scowl.Thought by many to be the number one power broker in Tokyo, he was accustomed to arriving at Ichigaya in circumstances very different from those of the trial."

Shorn of all of their military regalia, and their titles of state, Joseph Keenan left them no quarter: "war and treaty-breakers should be stripped of the glamour of national heroes and exposed as what they really are --- plain, ordinary murderers."

The Trial and the Evidence

The trial, which lasted from today's date in 1946 until November, 1948 included official state documents, depositions and affidavits from over 700 people as well as harrowing eyewitness testimony from more than 400 victims. According to Brackman, the defendants showed varying degrees of interest. While hearing the charges against them read: "All of the defendants, including those who were fluent in English, listened to the Japanese translation over their headphones. Hideki 
Tojo sat with his hands behind his back; (Shigenori) Tōgō, and Shigemitsu, the two foreign ministers stared blankly ahead...."
Throughout the trial, the defendants displayed various degrees of odd and nervous behavior. While evidence of mass atrocities were read "Shigemitsu leaned forward and cupped his head in his hands. Toshio Shiratori's long face grew longer; he often bit his lip.  Admiral Shimada, who sat behind Okinori Kaya frequently leaned over the dock and ran his fingers nervously along the back of Kaya's seat.... Hideki Tojo continued his habit of taking copious notes and occasionally picking his nose; one suspected after watching him for months, that the note taking was a theatrical device designed to impress the silent gallery while keeping himself occupied."

The Verdict on the Main Defendants

But the evidence of guilt was overwhelming. The six main defendants were sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace. These included General Kenji Doihara, chief of the intelligence services, General Seishirō Itagaki, war minister, Kōki Hirota, prime minister (later foreign minister), Lieutenant General Akira Mutō, chief of staff, and General Heitarō Kimura, commander, Burma Area Army.  And most important of all General Hideki Tōjō, who as Army leader, and later as Prime Minister became the very face of Japanese military and political aggression ascended to the gallows along with the others at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro on December 23, 1948. In addition to the central Tokyo trial, various tribunals sitting outside Japan judged some 5,000 Japanese guilty of war crimes, of whom more than 900 were executed.



Sources =

"The Other Nuremburg - the Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials" by Arnold C, Brackman,
William Morrow & Company, Inc., New York, 1987.

 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japanese-war-crimes-trial-begins

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/tokyo/tokyolinks.html