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Old 05-04-2009, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,561 posts, read 1,141,171 times
Reputation: 1417

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The New London School Explosion, which occurred in 1937 in the small East Texas community of New London.

Natural gas had been leaking into a crawlspace that ran the length of the front of the school building for several weeks, but nobody had noticed because natural gas is odorless and therefore undetectable in its natural state. The crawlspace had an opening that led into the school's woodshop, which was located in the basement. At between 3:10 and 3:20 PM March 18, 1937, just ten or twenty minutes before school let out for the day, shop instructor Lemmie Butler started up an electric sander. The spark from the sander's switch is believed to have ignited the mixture of natural gas and air that had accumulated in the crawlspace. The resulting blast caused the roof of the building to lift off and then crash back down, causing the walls to buckle and collapse instantly killing an estimated 325 students and teachers (the final death toll was never determined with any real accuracy; many of the victims were children of transient oilfield workers who retrieved their bodies and returned them to their respective homes for burial).

To this day, this remains the deadliest incident to occur in an American school, but outside of eastern Texas it remains virtually unknown. This can partially be attributed to the fact that it occurred a mere two months before the crash of the Zeppelin Hindenburg, which was instantly sensationalized due to the dramatic newsreel footage and firsthand account of journalist Herbert Morrison. The more poignant answer to why it is so unknown, however, is that the survivors and other locals who were involved in the disaster simply refused to discuss it with outsiders because it hurt far too much to recount. It had global effect, however: this disaster is the reason thiol mercaptans were added to natural gas to give it its distinct, rotten-egg odor.

The website below is an excellent source of information on the disaster.

http://www.nlse.org
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:04 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
10,238 posts, read 19,552,042 times
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Lother---Even weirder was a wacko who blew up a school in Michigan with a time bomb back around 1920.

Then he showed up at the school just after the explosion, approached the school board superintendant and blew himself and other guy up.

Ahh, here we go

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,561 posts, read 1,141,171 times
Reputation: 1417
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Lother---Even weirder was a wacko who blew up a school in Michigan with a time bomb back around 1920.

Then he showed up at the school just after the explosion, approached the school board superintendant and blew himself and other guy up.

Ahh, here we go

Bath School disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yeah, I read about that one. I hate it when I read about people going nuts and insisting upon taking lives of the innocent with them.
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:17 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 3,480,920 times
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The internment of Japanese-Americans.

You all know about it, but while I was growing up, there was zero discussion of it until I reached college even though it is one of the most egregious crimes of American history.

There were also 12,000 German and Italian-Americans interned, which has been almost totally ignored by academics. As a result, I have little idea of just how that came to be, though I know that the German-American Bund supported Hitler during WWII.

I also think that what does not get discussed in a comprehensive way is how the race riots of the 1960's affected inner city culture and effectively applied the coup de grace to the economic and social viability of those communities (look at Newark and Detroit, for example).

There is also almost no holistic discussion of just how damaging segregation was in terms of its long term consequences for this country other than how unfair it was that minorities suffered de jure segregation.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,734 posts, read 35,408,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lothartheterrible View Post
The website below is an excellent source of information on the disaster.

http://www.nlse.org
Nothing there.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,552 posts, read 20,309,446 times
Reputation: 20845
I believe that most here have an awareness that women played a large role in the Red Army during the second World war. There were the "Night Witches" who flew the bombing raids, the anti aircraft units such as depicted in "The Dawns Here Are Quiet', the partisans operating behind German lines and so forth.

How many here are aware that during WW I, there was an all female unit called "The Battalion of Death" which was organized and led by Maria Botchkarvera, known to her soldiers as "Yashka."

Yashka had been exiled to Siberia with her second husband who had been a thief. There she endured abuse from him until she got the idea to petition the Tsar for permission to join the army and fight. This was granted and she proved her worth, being wounded twice and decorated for bravery three times.

When the imperial government was overthrown, she approached Keresnsky and received permission to form an all female unit. She handpicked the 300 toughest out of 2000 volunteers and her Battalion of Death marched out with the rest of the army for the final confrontation with the Germans in the summer of 1917. Yashka was once more wounded while fighting, but when the entire Russian army collapsed toward the end of the year, the battalion also disbanded by attrition.

After the Bolsheviks overthrew the Kerensky government, Yashka served as a messenger for the White counter revolutionary army and was captured in the line of duty. The Bolsheviks scheduled her execution, but Trotsky was persuaded to stay the sentence and allow her to go into exile. She made her way to the United States in 1918 and could have lived out her life peacefully there, but instead she opted to sneak back into Russia to work for the Whites. This she did with the aid of the British government. She was in the process of trying to form a women's medical corps when she was once more captured by the Bolsheviks. This time she got no second chance and was executed by a firing squad in May of 1920.

Maria Bochkareva - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Women's Battalion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-09-2009, 12:54 PM
 
1,158 posts, read 3,480,920 times
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Interesting point Grandstander.

It's like in Japan. While most of the male population was away on Japan's overextended imperial adventure or working in the kempeitai, women were staffing a lot of the munitions factories and aircraft plants. I wonder how you say, "Rosie the Riveter" in Japanese *lol

I have never read of any Japanese women engaging in direct combat as fighter pilots and such, though. Could have happened, I guess. Just don't know if it did.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 22,863,815 times
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It amazes me that so many people know so little about the Eastern Front in WW2, where Hitler's army was broken and 78% of the casualties occured. (Let alone the Eastern Front in WW1!)
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 77,867,838 times
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The interesting story of the "Lily Corps" turned up in my effort to find something about Japanese women on the front lines.

Himeyuri students - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In spite of the well-known "comfort women" stories, the fact that they committed suicide out of fear of rape by the Americans suggest (but does not prove) that they were not sexually abused by the Japanese that they served.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 77,867,838 times
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This Wiki article also gives a general overview of the role of women in war.

Women in the military - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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