9th June 1815 (206 years ago): The Congress of Vienna ends, redrawing the political map of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon.
The Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I. It was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815.
The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. More fundamentally, the conservative leaders of the Congress sought to restrain or eliminate the republicanism and revolution which had upended the constitutional order of the European old regime, and which continued to threaten it. In the settlement, France lost all its recent conquests, while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania, 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony, and the western part of the former Duchy of Warsaw; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained the central and eastern part of the Duchy of Warsaw. It ratified the new Kingdom of the Netherlands which had been created just months before from the formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.
The immediate background was Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender in May 1814, which brought an end to 23 years of nearly continuous war. Negotiations continued despite the outbreak of fighting triggered by Napoleon's dramatic return from exile and resumption of power in France during the Hundred Days of March to July 1815. The Congress's "final act" was signed nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
Historians have criticized the Congress for causing the subsequent suppression of the emerging national and liberal movements, and it has been seen as a reactionary movement for the benefit of traditional monarchs.
In a technical sense, the "Congress of Vienna" was not properly a congress: it never met in plenary session. Instead, most of the discussions occurred in informal, face-to-face sessions among the Great Powers of Austria, Britain, France, Russia, and sometimes Prussia, with limited or no participation by other delegates. On the other hand, the Congress was the first occasion in history where, on a continental scale, national representatives came together to formulate treaties instead of relying mostly on messages among the several capitals. The Congress of Vienna settlement formed the framework for European international politics until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
The national boundaries within Europe set by the Congress of Vienna
Frontispiece of the Acts of the Congress of Vienna.
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10th June 1967 (54 years ago): Six-Day War comes to an end
The Six-Day War, also known as the June War, 1967 Arab–Israeli War, or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between 5 and 10 June 1967 between Israel and Jordan, Syria, and Egypt.
Relations between Israel and its neighbours were not normalised after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. In 1956 Israel invaded the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, with one of its objectives being the reopening of the Straits of Tiran that Egypt had blocked to Israeli shipping since 1950. Israel was eventually forced to withdraw, but was guaranteed that the Straits of Tiran would remain open. A United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was deployed along the border, but there was no demilitarisation agreement.
In the months prior to June 1967, tensions became dangerously heightened. Israel reiterated its post-1956 position that the closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping would be a cause for war (a casus belli). Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced in May that the Straits would be closed to Israeli vessels, and then mobilised Egyptian forces along the border with Israel, ejecting UNEF. On 5 June, Israel launched a series of airstrikes against Egyptian airfields, initially claiming that it had been attacked by Egypt, but later stating that the airstrikes were preemptive. The question of which side caused the war is one of a number of controversies relating to the conflict.
The Egyptians were caught by surprise, and nearly the entire Egyptian Air Force was destroyed with few Israeli losses, giving the Israelis air supremacy. Simultaneously, the Israelis launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, which again caught the Egyptians by surprise. After some initial resistance, Nasser ordered the evacuation of the Sinai. Israeli forces rushed westward in pursuit of the Egyptians, inflicted heavy losses, and conquered the Sinai Peninsula.
Jordan had entered into a defence pact with Egypt a week before the war began; the agreement envisaged that in the event of war Jordan would not take an offensive role but would attempt to tie down Israeli forces to prevent them making territorial gains. About an hour after the Israeli air attack, the Egyptian commander of the Jordanian army was ordered by Cairo to begin attacks on Israel; in the initially confused situation, the Jordanians were told that Egypt had repelled the Israeli air strikes.
Egypt and Jordan agreed to a ceasefire on 8 June, and Syria agreed on 9 June; a ceasefire was signed with Israel on 11 June. In the aftermath of the war, Israel had crippled the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian militaries, having killed over 20,000 troops while losing fewer than 1,000 of its own. The Israeli success was the result of a well-prepared and enacted strategy, the poor leadership of the Arab states, and their poor military leadership and strategy. Israel seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria. Israel's international standing greatly improved in the following years. Its victory humiliated Egypt, Jordan and Syria, leading Nasser to resign in shame; he was later reinstated after protests in Egypt against his resignation. The speed and ease of Israel's victory would later lead to a dangerous overconfidence within the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), contributing to initial Arab successes in the subsequent 1973 Yom Kippur War, although ultimately Israeli forces were successful and defeated the Arab militaries. The displacement of civilian populations resulting from the war would have long-term consequences, as 280,000 to 325,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from the West Bank and over 100,000 fled from the Golan Heights. Across the Arab world, Jewish minority communities fled or were expelled, with refugees going mainly to Israel.
Map of the military movements and territorial changes during the Six-Day War. The territory of Israel before the war is colored royal blue on this map, while the territories captured by Israel during the war are depicted in various shades of green.
Israeli troops examine destroyed Egyptian aircraft.
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Song of the day: https://youtu.be/R83hecEr8bY
To everyone who needs to hear it: You will be found. <3
You make my job so much easier and help the region a lot. Thank you!
11th June 1955 (66 years ago): Race car at Le Mans crashes into spectators, killing 83
On 11June, 1955, a racing car in Le Mans, France, goes out of control and crashes into stands filled with spectators, killing 83 people and injuring nearly 180 more. The tragedy in the famous 24-hour race led to a ban on racing in several nations.
The Le Mans race, organized by France’s Automobile Club de L’Ouest, was first held in May 1923 and has since been held nearly every June. The race always begins at 16:00 on Saturday afternoon and lasts for the next 24 hours over a 14-kilometer course running through the country roads near Le Mans. The winner is the racer who covers the greatest distance in that time. Before 1970, each car could only have two drivers. Only a single driver was allowed in the early years of the race. Three are required today.
In 1952, Pierre Levegh, a Frenchman driving alone, might have won the race if not for a single mistake in the last hour. Three years later, Levegh was invited to join the Mercedes-Benz team; their 300SLR was to be outfitted with a new innovation, an air brake that would enhance cornering.
Prior to the race, Levegh complained that the course was too narrow near the pit-stop area and the grandstand. This observation proved prescient. As Levegh was racing for the lead near the pit-stop area, he swerved to avoid fellow racer Mike Hawthorn’s Jaguar as it moved toward the pits. Levegh’s car, going about 240 kilometers per hour, came up too fast on Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healey and was catapulted upward. The car crashed into the grandstand and its exploding parts went straight into the crowd. Levegh and more than 80 spectators, packed into the grandstand, lost their lives in the fiery crash.
The race continued despite the horrific accident (Hawthorn won), purportedly because if the remaining spectators had left the area, they would have blocked the ambulances called to pick up the dead and injured. The rest of the Mercedes team was recalled.
Grand Prix races in Germany and Switzerland scheduled for later that year were cancelled. Both Spain and Mexico temporarily banned motor racing following the 1955 Le Mans tragedy. It was the most catastrophic crash in motorsport history, and it prompted Mercedes-Benz to retire from motor racing until 1987.
There was much debate over blame. The official inquiry held none of the drivers specifically responsible and criticised the layout of the 30-year-old track, which had not been designed for cars of this speed.
The initial collision between Macklin and Levegh.
(I know I have not been able to do IC Posts. I've been on a trip with family to visit other family in the Northeast. We're in New Jersey and I probably won't be able to be consistently active untill Monday when I get home to Georgia.)