It's just after midnight so it's time for me to start posting. I'll try breaking it down into Presidencies. This one's Dewey. 1948 It was the most widely predicted result for years. As long ago as a year before, newspapers were calling Thomas Dewey the next President of the USA. In the event, the result was frighteningly close. Pollsters had Dewey way ahead the night before but when the next day dawned, Truman was only a whisker behind. He was so close that, had he won one of the smaller states, such as Rhode Island, he would have won. Afterward, Pollsters argued about how they could have got the result so wrong but vice-President, Earl Warren had the last word. “Folks, we ran the dullest campaign, even I was tempted to vote for Truman. I'm glad I did not though. Dewey will be a great President.” Warren's successor as Governor of California, Goodwin Knight, introduced reforms to the way gubernatorial elections were conducted in California. Firstly, Governors could only be elected twice (although partial terms in which Lieutenant Governors became Governors did not count toward this total) and it was no longer permissible for a candidate to stand for election in the primaries of a party with which he was not registered. (This meant that nobody would be able to repeat Warren's achievement in 1946 of winning the Republican, Democratic and Progressive primaries and standing for governor un-opposed). 1949 Little changed at first, Dewey was in favour of so many of the things Truman had put in place. The Berlin Airlift continued as did the Marshall Plan. However, he also suspended Truman's plan to withdraw troops from Korea. In Asia, the nations of India and Pakistan came into being. The Soviet Blockade of Berlin was lifted on 28 January after a note from Earl Warren to Joseph Stalin stating, “We've just had an election, there's a new President and he's not about to back down. Do you really want to keep this up for four more years”? Stalin's answer was twofold. First, he immediately ended the blockade of Berlin, agreeing that goods could be brought to West Berlin from what he also recognised formally as West Germany via a single road and rail route. The second part of the answer was more sinister. On 16 July 1949, exactly four years since the United States exploded its own first nuclear weapon, the Soviet Union tested a nuclear device at Semipalatinsk. It has been reported that both the date and the design (an exact copy of the American “Fat Man” bomb exploded over Nagasaki), were both chosen at the insistence of Lavrenty Beria, later to succeed Stalin as leader of the Soviet Union. 1950 Two major events were to change the world in 1950. The first was the arrest and trial of Nuclear Scientist, Klaus Fuchs by the British and the second, the unexpected death of Josef Stalin on 25 March. We all know the conspiracy theory around Stalin's death. Even today, many people do not want to believe that the great dictator died from something as simple as a stroke. While some point out Beria's gain from the death of Stalin, and his rehabilitation of Polina Zhemchuzina, who was both the wife of Vyacheslav Molotov and a close friend of Israeli Ambassador Golda Meier, the story of plot and counter plot including the injection of an air bubble into Stalin's bloodstream, is more the stuff of fiction than any serious history of the time. In the case of Fuchs, the conspiracy was more obvious. Fuchs's trial showed the involvement of several Americans in the spy ring that gave the Soviets the atom bomb. Later events showed that, coincidentally, Fuchs gave the hydrogen bomb to both the Soviets and the Americans although the Americans had followed a different path before returning to that suggested earlier by Fuchs and leading to the Teller-Ulam design in the West and Sakharov's “Third Idea” in the Soviet Union. Fuchs was sentenced to fourteen years in prison and served nine years in Wakefield before being allowed to return home to Dresden. The Americans on the other hand were not so lucky. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, David and Ruth Greenglass, Harry Gold, and William Perl were executed and Morton Sobel who was sentenced to death in his absence but had already fled to Mexico. Sobel remained effectively stateless for several years until he was granted Israeli citizenship in 1965. However, despite his statelessness, Mexico refused to extradite him, citing an attempt by an armed gang to repatriate him forcibly rather than through official channels. Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon of HUAC tried to build the scandal into a purge of anyone who might be a communist from public life. The purge was stillborn, however, when Dewey made his famous, “American Democracy” speech at the Boot Monument in Saratoga Historical Park. “America is a democracy”, said Dewey, “This monument is a monument to a hero although we never use his now blackened name. There are those who would end that democracy and not all are on the outside. There are those who would deny the Americanness and patriotism of their fellow Americans simply because of political beliefs. That is un-American. It is with a heavy heart that I have today signed federal death warrants on seven Americans. They will die because of their actions as spies, not for any other reason. Anyone who then tries to blacken the names of other Communists, other Jews or even other New Yorkers because of this has no place in American public life.” North Korean troops build up on the border with South Korea and on June 25th they invade. American troops move to positions behind the RoK lines but more interesting is the joint statement by Dewey and Beria demanding that North Korea return to the negotiated border. It is not clear what happened but after a visit to Peiping by a delegation consisting of Nikita Kruschev and Vyacheslav Molotov from the Soviet Union and William Knowland and Richard Nixon from the USA ended, North Korean forces pulled back to their own border. A de-Militarized zone was set up between the two Koreas to be policed jointly by East and West German troops. 1951 This was the year when the Treaty of San Francisco was signed. This was the official treaty in which 48 countries announced that they were now at peace with Japan. The United Nations building officially opened in Rotterdam, Netherlands. New York had been suggested but Dewey and Earl Warren suggested that, since the last war had taken place in Europe, the headquarters of the UN, a symbol of peace should also be in Europe. A competition was held in which the mayors of candidate cities (and two villages) made presentations explaining why they should host the UN. The final cut was between Berlin, Rotterdam and Oswiecim. Rotterdam was chosen after an impassioned speech by mayor of Rotterdam (and former Dutch Finance Minister) Pieter Oud, who promoted not only Rotterdam's candidacy but also the Design for the new centre of Rotterdam (including the United Nations Building) produced by his brother, Jacobus Oud, the architect. In February, radio host Paul Harvey was shot dead by an FBI agent while trying to break into the Argonne National Laboratory. Papers found at Harvey's house suggested that he was attempting to raid the laboratory, which had formed part of the Manhattan Project, in order to show the vulnerability of American Government facilities to Communist infiltration. He proved the opposite. Dewey responded to Harvey's death by stating that he would not seek re-election in 1952. He placed responsibility for Harvey's death firmly in the hands of the Conservative wing of the Republican party and, in particular Senator McCarthy. In effect, Dewey ended McCarthy's career. Dewey himself was as much against Communism as McCarthy but believed the poisonous atmosphere engendered by constant red scares was harmful to America. Beria came close to proving Harvey right, however when he wrote to President Dewey in April suggesting that both countries should test their hydrogen bombs on the same day. This led to the last “Red Scare” in the USA, as a fruitless search began for Soviet agents. None came and when the US tested its first Hydrogen bomb on May 25 at Enewetok Attol, it was alone. It seemed that Beria did not have spies, or at least not enough to locate intelligence about the date of the test. Instead Beria waited precisely one week before testing his own Hydrogen bomb at exactly the same time on 1 June at Severnaya Zemlya. Nuclear Scientist, Julius Oppenheimer disappeared from Long Beach, California in May only to resurface a month later in Tel Aviv saying that he had decided to emigrate to Israel as a “returned Jew”. He said that he had been excluded from working at his chosen profession as a nuclear physicist because of his political views and that he would now concentrate on writing his memoirs, painting and writing poetry. The Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1951 went to Linus Pauling of the USA, who was, of course, later to become President of the United States, still the only Nobel Laureate to become President. Other events in 1951 included the founding of the European Iron and Steel Community (later shortened to European Community) and the prevention, after a joint Soviet-Israeli operation, of the assassination of King Abdullah of Jordan after Friday prayers in Jerusalem. 1952 In February 1952, King George VI of England died. On 26 February 1952, Winston Churchill announced that Great Britain had an atom bomb. This was followed on 5 March by an identical announcement by Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion made a similar announcement. Although the timing seems obvious, both Beria and Ben Gurion always denied that the Soviets gave Israel the Bomb. Although there were accusations at the time, the CIA announced two years later that it did not believe that Oppenheimer was responsible for passing nuclear secrets to Israel since his knowledge had been six years out of date by the time he defected. On March 10, Fulgencio Battista staged a military coup to become President of Cuba. This was the beginning of Cuba's period under Communism, which lasted until the US sponsored uprising by Fidel Castro. Although not a member of the Communist Party, Battista had worked closely with Communist Party officials to stage the coup as well as seeking funding from the Soviet Union for public works projects. On March 27, West German chancellor Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer was assassinated by Eliezir Sudit, a former agent of Irgun and, according to his confession, a member of the Israeli, Herut Party. He was followed by Franz Bluecher. When Herut leader Menachem Begin was implicated directly in the plot to assassinate Adenauer, Prime Minister Ben Gurion ordered his extradition to face trial in West Germany. At the same time, in the Hague, Israel announced that it was seeking 3 billion dollars' reparations from Germany for atrocities during world war two. In June, the majority of American troops were withdrawn from Japan. However, a “token” force of 25,000 remained, as in South Korea, to guarantee an American defence of Japan in the event of invasion. Later in the year, an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale on the little known White Wolf fault caused severe damage to Edwards Airforce Base in California. The government denied that the earthquake was caused by an underground nuclear weapon test. On 6 August, Puerto Rico became the 49th State of the USA. The German re-unification conference was established in Luxembourg in September. Representatives attended from Israel, Poland, the Soviet Union and the USA. The Conference reached agreement in 1954. In October the Mau-Mau uprising began in Kenya. Jomo Kenyatta, later President of Tankanda was arrested by British forces. Eleven Senior Communist officials from Czechoslovakia (all Jewish) sought and obtained Israeli citizenship. In Egypt, after King Faroukh declares himself a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, he is deposed in a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasir. However, within three days, British forces from Cyprus and Italian (in fact Libyan) forces from Libya restore King Faroukh to the throne. That is the last act of the Italians in Libya and as order is restored in Egypt, Italy announces Libyan independence.