Monday, May 16, 2011

The Great Game

Students in 11th grade history are learning about the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. When Russia invaded, they had hopes of propping up the pro-Soviet forces that had allied themselves with the Soviet Union.

Both Russia and Britain vied for control of this region in the 1800's. This interference was called "The Great Game," and Britain avidly fought to exert influence in the region to protect their interests in India.

George MacDonald Fraser set one of his Flashman novels during the Great Game. Flashman was a fictional character who ends up in all sorts of scrapes throughout the colonial British empire.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

President Hoover--Oregon's president

President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) was raised in Oregon after his parents died. He is well-known as the president who presided over the first 3 years of the Great Depression. Hoover flags and Hoovervilles and Hoover blankets were all part of the popular criticisms of President Hoover.

However, Hoover had another reputation--and that was "Master of Emergencies." During the years after World War I, Hoover saved the lives of millions by overseeing the Belgium and Russian food relief program. When asked if he was not thus helping Bolshevism, Hoover retorted, "Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!" His engineering background helped him oversee an unprecedented movement of food supplies to help people whose lives hung in the balance.

As part of a thank-you, Belgium women took the flour sacks and returned them to the United States, filled with beautiful embroidery, and yes, Belgium lace at the edges.

Years later, after World War II, President Hover was again called out of retirement. Even though President Truman was told to not have anything to do with Hoover, Truman invited Hoover to the White House and asked him to lead the relief effort. Again, President Hoover traveled the world tirelessly helping with food distribution to starving millions.