70 years ago today, the Soviet Union instituted the cruel ‘Berlin Blockade’ attempting to cut off all inroads to West Berlin, yet they refrained from stopping a massive humanitarian airlift led by American, British and French flyers. For nearly a year, more than a quarter million daily flights delivered thousands of tons of food and fuel to the otherwise strangled German city, which was surrounded by 1.5 million Soviet military troops. In all, 1,500 tons of food were required each day to sustain the two million people, with 3,400 tons of coal and fuel needed for power and heat. Despite the Germans having been the sworn enemy of the West just three years earlier, the merciful airlift gained popular support and was called “America’s greatest humanitarian mission”. (1948)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Margaret Brent, a niece of Lord Baltimore, was ejected from the Maryland Assembly after demanding a place and vote in the legislative body (1647)
- Canadians heard the first performance of “O Canada”, the song that would become the national anthem of their country, at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français (1880)
- President Vladimir Putin arrived in London on the first state visit to Britain by a Russian leader since the 19th century (2003)
- “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest“, starring Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, premiered—and became the fastest film to gross over $1 billion (2006)
- Australia swore in its first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, after she became the Leader of the Australian Labor Party at the group’s leadership election – and the first female in that position (2010)
- New York became the sixth and largest state in the country to legalize gay marriage (2011)
Coincidentally, this is also the day when the US Air Force released its report, in 1997, “closing” the investigation of the so-called Roswell Incident, which concluded that the alien bodies witnesses reported seeing in 1947 were actually life-sized test crash dummies.
He became such a fan that he approached the company for a job, and traveled across America selling the shoes as he organized basketball clinics. Because he was so successful in promoting the shoe—winning an 80% share of the entire sneaker industry—as well as fine-tuning its design to improve performance on the court, such as adding a reinforcing ankle patch, Converse added his signature, “Chuck Taylor,” to that patch and their star logo in 1932. The All-Stars sneakers, simply known as ‘Chucks,’ became the most successful basketball shoe in history, with 800 million pairs sold.In 1936, Taylor designed the white Chuck Taylor All Star high-top, with its patriotic red and blue trim, for Team USA as they headed to the first ever Olympic basketball tournament, held in Berlin (where they took home gold). The iconic show was also adopted as the official training shoes of the United States military during World War II. Once technological advancements caused the shoes to become obsolete for sports, people began buying the canvas unisex sneakers because they were fashionable. Converse heeded the call and began making them in a rainbow of colors.