Reagan Centennial: Ronald Reagan to be honored across Europe

Reagan to be honored across Europe

Source: USA TODAY, 5-23-11

President Ronald Reagan gives a thumbs up to a crowd Jan. 20, 1981, while first lady Nancy Reagan waves from a limousine during the Inaugural Parade in Washington.


Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom are joining in the year-long centennial celebration of the late president Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday with tributes that will include the unveiling of Reagan statues in London and Budapest.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced events from June 27-July 4. In addition to the statues, highlights include a gala in Parliament’s Hunter Hall in Budapest, Hungary; a Mass of Thanksgiving in Krakow, Poland; a dinner and conference in Prague; and a black-tie gala in London.

“Ronnie would have been so touched that his centennial birthday is being celebrated in London and Central Europe,” said former first lady Nancy Reagan. “He felt a special bond with the people who struggled to be free and was so very thankful that Great Britain shared our commitment to bringing down the Iron Curtain. I know he would want these events to remind us all of the power of freedom.”

Former George W. Bush administration secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will represent Nancy Reagan at the events.

“President Reagan’s legacy of inspiring freedom changed the world,” Rice said. “It remains as relevant today as it was when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended “particularly in Central Europe where change as a result of Ronald Reagan’s leadership is still felt in a very personal way.”

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Ivan Krastev: Searching for a Way to Share History in Russia


History Buzz

Source: NYT, 5-23-11

On a balmy Saturday afternoon, there was a real sense of anticipation among the hundreds of students sitting in a lecture theater at Immanuel Kant State University, awaiting a rare chance to quiz the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and Russia — Guido Westerwelle, Radek Sikorski and Sergey V. Lavrov.

Kaliningrad was once called Königsberg, the first capital of Prussia and birthplace of Kant. In 1945, it was conquered and annexed by the Soviets. Since the end of the Cold War and the independence of Lithuania from the Soviet Union, Kaliningrad has been an exclave of Russia. It is 320 kilometers, or 200 miles, from Russia proper and sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, both E.U. and NATO members.

Here, the students witnessed the establishment of a German-Polish-Russian forum designed to encourage a rapprochement among three countries with fundamentally different historical narratives of World War II.

Any such process would ultimately mean Russia confronting its past, particularly Stalinist crimes and the gulags, and reassessing its role as victim and victor during and after World War II. It would also mean Russia embracing the European idea of dealing with memory and the past, now so much a part of the European identity.

“Being European is about being aware of what we did,” said Ivan Krastev, historian and chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia.

Germany and Russia have worked hard to deepen their reconciliation. So have Germany and Poland. A Polish-Russian rapprochement, said Tomas Janeliunas, political science professor at Vilnius University in Lithuania, “would end Poland’s deep-seated suspicions about Germany and Russia doing deals behind its back.”

Reconciliation between Poland and Russia became a real possibility after a plane carrying President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, including dozens of top Polish officials, crashed en route to marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre by the Red Army of 4,000 Polish Army officers at Katyn.

Russian and Polish reactions were extraordinary. The Russian prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, who rushed to the scene, embraced his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk. Russians left flowers at the Polish Embassy in Moscow. Poles lighted candles at graves in Red Army cemeteries in Poland.

But somehow, the rapprochement lost momentum. Russian-led investigations of the plane crash, begun in a spirit of transparency and cooperation, degenerated into recriminations and conspiracy theories on the Polish side.

“We still hope for a rapprochement between Poland and Russia,” said Karolina Wigura, a historian of ideas at the Institute of Sociology in Warsaw. “But I am not optimistic that this will happen. It has to be backed up politically,” added Ms. Wigura, author of a fascinating new book, “The Guilt of Nations,” that deals with memory and reconciliation in Europe.

The loss of momentum has not deterred Mr. Westerwelle and Mr. Sikorski. They seem determined to work together to bring Russia closer to Europe. As Mr. Westerwelle said in Kaliningrad, Germany and Poland need Russia’s help in resolving outstanding security issues in the region, including Belarus and the “frozen conflict” in Transnistria, Moldova.

“We are talking about cooperation, about practical ways for Poland, Russia and Germany to work together,” Mr. Sikorski told the students here….READ MORE

Political Buzz May 23, 2011: Republican Tim Pawlenty Announces He is Running for President


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty spoke at a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa Monday, his first campaign appearance since announcing his bid for the Republican nomination.Charlie Neibergall/Associated PressFormer Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke at a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa Monday, his first campaign appearance since announcing his bid for the Republican nomination.
  • Pawlenty Officially Declares Candidacy for President: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota formally opened his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday with a sharp critique of President Obama’s policies, leadership and character, presenting himself as a candidate who could unify his fractious party and win back the White House.
    “It’s time for a new approach,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “It’s time for America’s president – and anyone who wants to be president – to look you in the eye and tell you the truth.”
    One day after Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana said he would not join the Republican race, Mr. Pawlenty used his announcement here as an opportunity to seize the spotlight in a Republican presidential campaign that is among the most wide open in decades. He sought to persuade donors and party leaders, who had been urging Mr. Daniels to run, to join his effort to win the nomination…. – NYT, 5-23-11
  • Pawlenty Announces Candidacy a Day Early: On the eve of his own planned campaign announcement, Tim Pawlenty released an Internet video declaring that he is running for president because he — unlike President Obama — has the courage to face America’s challenges.
    In another slickly produced video that has become a hallmark of his campaign, Mr. Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota, confirmed Sunday night that he would officially begin his bid for his party’s nomination in Iowa on Monday.
    “That’s where I am going to begin a campaign that tells the American people the truth,” Mr. Pawlenty says in the two-minute video, mincing no words about his intentions. “I’m Tim Pawlenty, and I’m running for president of the United States.”… – NYT, 5-22-11
  • Pawlenty to Announce 2012 Run on Monday: Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who has been exploring a presidential candidacy for months, will formally announce his intention to join the Republican field on Monday during a visit to Iowa, an adviser said.
    Mr. Pawlenty will open a weeklong campaign swing that includes stops in Florida, Washington, New York and New Hampshire. He is expected to present new policy ideas, introduce himself to voters and raise money, aides said, as he works to secure commitments from donors before the second fund-raising quarter ends on June 30.
    The decision to start his tour in Iowa underscores the importance of the state that will open the nominating context early next year with the caucuses. His strategy relies on a strong showing in Iowa, which he hopes will catapult him into the other early-voting states…. – NYT, 5-20-11

Ernst Badian, 85, noted scholar on ancient Rome


History Buzz

Source: Boston Globe, 5-23-11


Dr. Badian, who taught history at Harvard for 27 years, died Feb. 1 at Tufts University Medical Center from injuries sustained in a fall the day before at his longtime Quincy home, said his wife, Nathlie. He was 85.

Dr. Badian taught at Harvard from 1971 until retiring in 1998. His wife said he had continued to work professionally, reviewing for the New York Review of Books and working on a book about Alexander the Great.

Accolades, honorary doctorates, and other awards were many and his books and articles were well received. “Ernst was the greatest Roman historian of the second half of the 20th century,’’ Judge said.

“Beyond any doubt, Ernst was the leading ancient historian of our generation,’’ Chambers said. “He cared immensely about his students, and they cared about him.’’…READ MORE

Charles Ogletree: Civil Rights Seminar Provides Basis for Book


History Buzz

Source: The State, 5-23-11

A day and a half seminar last week in Charleston on the late U.S. Judge Waties Waring and his landmark 1951 dissent in the South Carolina case that led to the overturning of America’s racial segregation laws will be the basis for a book.

The book will be put together by University of South Carolina School of Law professor Lewis Burke and will be an extension of remarks and speeches made at the seminar.

The seminar was called “J. Waties Waring and the Dissent that Changed America.”

“The book will be far more complete, with elaborations and footnotes,” said U.S. Judge Richard Gergel, one of the key movers in putting together the seminar, along with S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal and the State Supreme Court Historical Society.

The 1951 dissent by Waring, made while he was a federal judge in Charleston, in the Briggs v. Elliott case eventually became the basis for the famed 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Brown decision eventually led to the dismantling of legally sanctioned segregation in America in schools, voting, housing, accommodations, parks, dining, libraries, buses and other areas.

Waring’s dissent in Briggs v. Elliott grew out of a Clarendon County controversy in which local whites refused to do anything about the grossly inferior public schools they made available to blacks.

The historic Brown decision was made of five cases appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 1950s. But in those five cases, Waring was the only judge who said segregation was wrong. Waring’s “fingerprints were all over” the Brown decision, in the words of Harvard legal professor and civil rights historian Charles Ogletree, who spoke at the Charleston seminar….READ MORE

Robert Dallek: University to examine JFK’s life


History Buzz

Source: The Corkman, 5-23-11
The life of former American president John F Kennedy is to be examined this week at Queen’s University.

The life of John F Kennedy is to be examined this week at Queen’s University to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his inauguration.

Presidential historian Professor Robert Dallek, author of JFK’s biography An Unfinished Life, will focus on the Democrat’s 1,000 days in the Oval Office.

Prof Dallek will address an audience at Queen’s on Thursday before giving a talk at University College Dublin the following week.

Queen’s vice-chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Queen’s is fortunate to be playing host to one of the most authoritative writers on Kennedy. The university is also very proud of its links with the United States.

“American academics and students contribute significantly to the life of Queen’s, which has many connections with prestigious institutions such as Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University and the National Cancer Institute.

“The Kennedy Memorial Lecture Series, which began in 2009, strengthens these links further and we are delighted to welcome a speaker of Professor Dallek’s calibre to Queen’s.”

Chris Johnston founded the Kennedy Memorial Lecture.

“President Kennedy’s legacy can speak to each and every one of us,” he said.

“His memorable words also provide a powerful motivator to encourage everyone to use their talents in making a contribution to society.”

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