Brit-Am Historical Reports (21 July, 2014, 23 Tammuz, 5774)
1. Four Weather Events in History Mistaken for the Apocalypse by Michael Kuhne
2. Amnon Goldberg:Â Divine Providence and D-Day
3. Ireland owes Oliver Cromwell an apology, says this Irish authorÂ Â by Cahir O'DohertyÂ
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1. Four Weather Events in History Mistaken for the Apocalypse
By Michael Kuhne, AccuWeather.Com Staff Writer
In the vast expanse of geologic time, the Earth has endured massive extinction events powerful enough to extinguish the lives of nearly every plant and creature on the planet.
Take a look at four of the strangest weather-related events to occur in the 19th and 20th centuries, which have the potential to spark fear among doomsday theorists that humanity's final days may be upon us.
A Plague of Locusts That Blocked the Sun
Holding the record for the largest animal swarm ever recorded, the dreaded Rocky Mountain locust was hated by farmers because of the insect's ravenous appetite for devouring crops. In 1874, a plague of biblical proportions would sweep across Nebraska.
The swarm was so large that it devastated millions of crops and blotted out the sun.
(Photo/Minnesota Historical Society)
"This swarm covered an approximate 198,000 square miles," according to a report from University of Michigan's website. "This is twice the size of the state of Colorado. There were at least 12.5 trillion insects with a total weight of 27.5 million tons."
Some accounts indicate that entire farms saw crops destroyed in minutes. The crop damage inflicted because of the pest between 1873 and 1877 totaled about $200 million.
"The only green plants that seemed to be spared from the specie's mandibles were tomatoes, castor beans and raspberries," according to the article, adding that the insects even consumed bark.
Hot and dry conditions, due to drought, during the summer of 1874 likely contributed the sun-blocking plague of locusts that descended upon the Plains.
An increased food supply for the insects was available because prairie plants concentrate sugars in their stalks during droughts.
The mysterious Rocky Mountain locust is now extinct. Once found from the southern tip of the forests in British Columbia through Montana and the High Plains, the species disappeared in 20 years, likely due to agriculture destroying their breeding habitat, the website reported.
The Lavender Sun and Early Midnight Sky
It was a warm summer and early autumn in 1950, and Sunday, Sept. 24, began like any other day for hard-working people across the country, but as the clock ticked onward past the noon hour, a creeping shadow began to engulf the sky. By midday, areas from Chicago to Philadelphia were cast into darkness.
A brush fire in the valley caused smoke to permeate the air and turned the sun a pinkish hue.
The sun glowed in bursts of Technicolor, shimmering in shades of pink, purple and blue as terrified onlookers gazed at an early midnight sky.
"Some people thought it was the end of the world - and one man called The Bradford Era to confirm it," according to an account in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
Many were skeptical that wildfires were the cause, and to this day, people still question the cause of the event.
Frogs and Fish Rain Down from the Heavens
In the late winter of 2010, people living in the town Lajamanu, in the Northern Territory of Australia, were bombarded by tiny, white fish that fell from the sky.
Tales of fish, frogs and other creatures raining down from the heavens have been reported as far back to even the time of some of the earliest civilizations, according to the U.S. Library of Congress's Everyday Mysteries website.
Animals can be picked up by vortexes and in updrafts from thunderstorms, before they plummet back down to the surface.
According to the Library of Congress's article, some objects including fish, frogs and other animals could be carried great distances.
"Similarly, when it hailed frogs in Dubuque, Iowa, on June 16, 1882, scientists speculated that small frogs were picked up by a powerful updraft and frozen into hail in the cold air above earth's surface," the Library of Congress reports. "Although no one has actually witnessed an updraft lifting frogs off the ground, the theory is scientifically plausible since updrafts regularly pick up lightweight debris and carry it considerable distances."
The Year Without a Summer
For people living in the northern parts of the world in 1816, no respite from the cold would come, even after the spring had set in. A great, global famine would ensue as a result of altered weather patterns that plunged the Northern Hemisphere into a winterlike chill during prime growing seasons.
Unseasonably cold weather would kill trees, rice and water buffalo in China and Tibet, according to a Smithsonian Magazine article. Floods would follow and destroy what was left of the remaining crops.
"On July 4, water froze in cisterns and snow fell again, with Independence Day celebrants moving inside churches where hearth fires warmed things a mite," Virginia resident Pharaoh Chesney is quoted by the Smithsonian Magazine.
"Thomas Jefferson, having retired to Monticello after completing his second term as President, had such a poor corn crop that year that he applied for a $1,000 loan," the article reported.
Europe was not spared the misery of 1816. In the summer, a period of heavy rain would hover for eight weeks across Ireland, causing the potato crop to fail. This great famine the heavy rain caused would be followed by disease.
"The widespread failure of corn and wheat crops in Europe and Great Britain led to what historian John D. Post has called ï¿½the last great subsistence crisis in the western world,' the article reports. "After hunger came disease. Typhus broke out in Ireland late in 1816, killing thousands, and over the next couple of years spread through the British Isles."
The misery caused by the harsh growing season would become known as 'The Poverty Year,' according to an account recorded on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website.
According to NOAA's account, climate data indicates that 1816 was part of a mini-ice age that persisted from 1400 to 1860. Another contributing factor in the unseasonable weather could be the violent eruption of an Indonesian volcano on the island of Soembawa that occurred in April 1815.
"It's widely believed by researchers that when you have a tremendous volcanic blast that lofts ash and gas into the stratosphere, you get a reflection of sunlight before it gets deep enough into the atmosphere," Andrews said. "Effectively you're losing heat energy, and if it's powerful enough and spreads a cloud around the equator, you're losing a tremendous amount of solar energy."
Andrews said to get a noticeable effect on climate, which is typically cooling, the stronger the volcanic blast is, the more intense the result will be.
2. Amnon Goldberg:Â Divine Providence and D-Day
My letter in Hamodia on D-Day:
The article on the anniversay of D-Day (Hamodia June 12) reminded one how close a run thing the invasion of Europe really was. It succeeded, but by a margin so close that to this day historians argue about what might have been.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
The German defences of the Atlantic Wall were no bluff, as the thousands of Canadians who died at Dieppe in August 1942 could testify. On the eve of the invasion, General Eisenhower drafted two speeches: one to be broadcast if it was successful, and another if the assault on Festung Europa had turned out to be a disaster. Thanks to Allied deception, Hitler was convinced that the invasion would be at Calais, and he did not unleash his panzers against Normandy until D+3, by when it was too late.
Hashgocho [Divine Providence] arranged that on the 6th June Hitler, usually a light sleeper, uncharacteristically overslept and could not be woken: "sleep for the wicked is good for them and good for the world" (Sanhedrin 72). The tactical genius Feldmarschall Rommel, "the Desert Fox", whose presence on the battlefield would have swayed it, was fortuitously 600 miles away celebrating his wife's 6th June birthday party. Despite this, it took six week of the bitterest fighting against fanatical SS and Hitler Jugend before the Allies could break out of their Normandy bridgehead.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
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The inclement weather was so touch and go, that the invasion, originally set for 5th June, almost had to be postponed until the 19th June. It would then, by dreadful "coincidence", have run into the worst Channel storm in 40 years: "I have reserved it for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war" (Iyov 38). "We thank the G-d of war that we went when we did"Â (General Eisenhower).
Had D-Day failed or been postponed, Hitler's jets, rockets, V weapons, XXI U-boats and atom bomb could yet have won the war for Germany. What if Hitler would have died in the July bomb plot? What if the Russians had ended up on the Channel coast? What if the Battle of the Bulge had succeeded? Mi yomar lo mah ta'aseh - "Who can tell Him `what do You do?'" (Koheles 8).
Field Marshal Montgomery addressed his troops with the immortal words: "Let us pray that the L-rd, mighty in battle, will go forth with our armies, and that His special providence will aid us in the struggle" - a gentile realised that it is Hashem ba'al milchomos - "The L-rd is the Master of Wars". The invasion was indeed aptly named "Operation Overlord"!
3. Ireland owes Oliver Cromwell an apology, says this Irish authorÂ Â by Cahir O'DohertyÂ Â Â Â Â Â
Â Have centuries of historical scholarship and eyewitness accounts conspired to mislead us about Cromwell?
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Everything we know about Oliver Cromwell is wrong. Generations of scholars deliberately maligned him.Â For centuries propagandistic church officials denounced him erroneously.
Only one man knows the real truth.
Step forward Drogheda, Co. Louthnative Tom Reilly, 54, author of "Cromwell Was Framed, Ireland 1649" (Chronos, $24.95).
Reilly grew up in the shadow of the walls Cromwell's New Model Army once famously attacked, and he has come to a novel conclusion about the despised English leader that is certain to provoke his neighbors...
'We blamed him for killing the ordinary men, women and children of Ireland. But only two individuals from 1649 and for the next 11 years make that allegation, and those two are unreliable. It didn't happen.'
By making this explosive claim Reilly is letting Cromwell off the hook for the massacre in Drogheda in a way that no historian ever has before
....Most historians agree that at the siege of Drogheda in September 1649, Cromwell's troops killed nearly 3,500 people after the town's captureÂ comprising around 2,700 Royalist soldiers and all the men in the town reportedly carrying arms, including some civilians, prisoners and Catholic priests. Cromwell himself, ardently believing he was doing Godï¿½s work, wrote of the carnage afterwards that: 'I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches''
In his first letter back to the Council of State Cromwell also wrote: 'I believe we put to the sword the whole number of the defendants. I do not think 30 of the whole number escaped with their lives.'
There you have it from the horse's mouth. Not 30 people in the entire town escaped the bloodshed.
Case closed, right?
Wrong, says Reilly.
... The entire population retreated to a monastery?
'Yes, most of them. Outside the walls. The policy was when a town was being besieged, they would fill the town with soldiers, ensure there were victuals for a certain amount of time, and get all the superfluous people out so they didn't take up the food.'
There's further evidence, Reilly says. The Duke of Ormond, Cromwell's adversary, is documented as saying he had ordered the population out of the town. The dean of St. Peter's Church also documented that his children and wife were sent out of the town.
Cromwell's orders were very, very clear. He told every man in his army not to do any violence to anyone unless they actually bore arms.
...There were lots of English commanders who came to Ireland and lost the run of themselves. Cromwell was not one of them. He's been labeled the greatest ogre in Irish history. It's not true.'
Reilly has written that in Ireland 'Cromwell unequivocally blames the Catholic clergy for the 1,641 massacres of innocent Protestant settlers and outlines his revulsion of such behavior in no uncertain terms in the above mentioned declaration.'