Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Airship President - Part 10

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            In 1948, President Rogers campaigned for reelection with the slogan, “Victory, Peace, and Prosperity.” The people of America loved their war-time president, who had already helped the nation begin the trasnition back to peacetime after the Hawaii Treaty was signed in 1946. When it came time for the election, the republicans didn’t have a chance. Rogers won in a landslide. However, to show that he was truly willing to have a bipartisan government, he appointed Dwight D. Eisenhower, a hero from the Battle of the Philippines, to the post of Secretary of State.
            The main issue facing the Rogers government was the rebuilding of parts of war-torn Asia, namely China. During the war, most of China had been under Japanese control, and with their removal there was a serious power vaccum that the US was temporarily filling until a more permanent solution could be established. The communists had nearly been whiped out by the Japanese, their leader Mao Zedung captured and executed in 1944. The nationalist faction was the largest faction of post-war China, but not the majority. The Americans called all the factions together and on July 1, 1947, established the Chinese Provisional Government, with a mandate of having a constitutional convention held within 1 year.
- Springer, Dr. Joseph. I Never Met a Man I didn’t Like: The Will Rogers Presidency."Chapter 3: Victory, Peace, and Prospertiy.” Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006

LOS ANGELES, April 3- PanAm has announced that they will be fully restoring their Pacific airship service on April 15 with the first reguarl airship flight to Sydeny since the bombing of Manila in 1944. This comes two days after the British Imperial Airways announced that the newly built R116 Australia would begin regular service to Sydney from London on August 10. Service in the Pacific has been disrupted for nearly 3 years since the outbreak of the Great Pacific War in 1944.
-“PanAm Restores Airship Service to Pacific,” The LA Times. April 4, 1947

            The airship industry experienced a real boom after the crash of President Hull’s airplane in 1944. People were leery of flying on airplanes for years after that crash. PanAm and ZGI siezed the opportunity that fate had handed them with both hands. In 1945, ZGI introduced several “domestic” class airship designs to service trans-USA flights. These airships were not the luxury layout designs of previous airships, but more akin to airplanes, with seats for each passenger arranged in rows. There were also lounges and a dinning hall. These new ships could carry nearly twice as many passengers as the more luxurious models, which of course traded carrying capactiy for passenger comfort.             The GZ-29 Spirit of the Heartland was the first of these new ships, launched in the summer of 1945. By 1947, there were 10 Heartland class airship in service in the United States, and 4 in Germany. By the end of 1955, there would be more of these type airships in service than the more luxurious ships, as these were more affordable for the middle class to use and therefore could attract more business.
            In 1945, ZGI was contacted by a group of businessmen interested in using the airship for bulk shipping across the US and from the US to Europe. The ZGI technicians went to work, and in October 1946 they presented workable designs for a cargo airship. On January 1, 1946, work began on the CZ-001 Goliath in Dallas, and the Aero Shipping Company was incorperated two weeks later. On Augsust 1, the Goliath was launched from it’s hangar in Texas and was deemed airworthy by the American authorities. By year’s end, the CZ-002 Herculese would be in the air as well, with 4 more Goliath class airships under construction. In 1947, the army ordered four ships, and later that spring the British airship program announced that they would be developing cargo ships as well. These developments would ultimately save the airship building industry during the decline of airship passenger service during the 1980s.
- Anderson, Dr. Alexander. The Airship: A Century of Sailing the Skies. New York: Colombia University Press: 1989.

PEKING, JULY 21- Fighting has erupted in the Chinese capital between members of the Chinese nationalists and the Chinese communists. This is believed to be a result of the newly assembled Provisional Government, which voted last week to establish a national assembly to deal with the drafting of a constitution for China. The communist say that the PG will rig the elections against the Communists, and are calling for the Chinese to rise up in Revolution.
            There have been isolated risings in some parts of the countryside, but the main fighting is centered in Peking, where several districts of the city are under Red control. The Americans are attempting to put down the fighting, saying that this rising is “going against the duly constituted authority of the Chinese Provisional Government, and must be put down to restore order within China.”
            President Rogers in Washington stated that, “to be able to bring true stability to the region after years of fighting with the Japanese, China must be brought under a single, stable government. These Red rabble rousers must be stopped.” The US War and State Departments have both echoed the President’s sentiments.
            The British War ministry is considering sending troops into northern China to assist the Americans, but as of yet, no action has been taken, other than increasing the number of troops in Hong Kong.
-“Battle in Peking,” The Times (London), July 22, 1947.

August 3, 1947- We’ve got to do something about China, and fast. The Republicans are gaining a lot of support with the “Bring the Troops Home” campaign they’ve launched. And you know what, I can’t find one reason to blame the American people for liking the idea. Our war in Asia is over. We don’t need to be fighting somebody else’s civil war. Yes I don’t like the Reds. But they are fairly weak, and are starting to splinter into factions. Most military experts in the region, American and British, agree that there are really 3 Red Armies in China. One in the South, and two in the North (one of which is pro-Russia, one of which is not).
            We’ve been kicking around several ideas at Cabinet meetings, and I believe we have come up with a solution. We are going to gradually phase out our presence in China over the next year. What we will be doing is training the army of the Provisional Government (which the Communists have pulled out of), and will continue to supply them with weapons after we are gone. I’ve also spoken with the British, and they are going to station troops in Peking and Shanghi, and help handle security with the Chinese for an additional year. By 1950, China will be on her own, and hopefully on her own two feet and free from the Red threat.
            Speaking of the “Red Threat”, I received a letter forwarded to me from the State Department from our Ambassador to the German Empire. Apparently, the Germans are getting information from Poland pointing to increased support for the local communist party from the USSR, and they fear some sort of Red uprising could occur in Warsaw sometime soon.
-Personal Diary of President Will Rogers, “Personal Documents of President Rogers, from the Hull Presidency,” The Will Rogers Presidential Library, Claremont, OK.

WASHINGTON, AUG 25- President Rogers told Congress yesterday that all American peacekeeping troops would be home from China and Asia by Summer of 1948, and that the first phase of withdrawl would begin in October of this year. This comes as a direct response to Republican critics who have been clamouring for a return of the troops from the Asian theater ever since the war with Japan ended last year.
            The president addressed Congress that “this administration has given Victory to the American People. Now it is time to bring forth a return to Peace and Prospertiy. America, our boys will soon be coming home. We will assist China in rebuilding where we can, but we cannot and will not fight their civil war for them. We can aid them, we can teach them, but we cannot fight for them.” This message was met with a standing ovation from members of the Congress that had gathered at the White House for the President’s announcement.
-“Rogers to Pull Troops from China,” The New York Times, August 25, 1947.

NEW YORK CITY, SEP 30- During a horrendous thunderstorm that struck the New York City last night, 4 airplanes crashed at the New York City Aerodrome, which experts are describing as the worst aerial related disaster in civilian flight history. Two planes were forced down after being struck by lightening and having their equipment shorted out. The other two airplanes crashed when a flight coming in from Washington attempted to land on the same runway that another flight was taking off from, creating a head on collision that killed all but 25 people from both craft. So far, the death toll is nearing 100 people. Due to the tragedy, NYC Aerodrome officials have temporary closed the facility. Officials from PanAm, however, made it known that the nereby New York Air Harbor was still open for business.
- “Tragedy at NY Aerodrom,” The Washington Post, September 30, 1947.

            When President Rogers announced his intentions to pull American troops from China, the Chinese Nationalists moved fast to secure their power. They went out to all the major cities, and to some degree in the coutnry side, to campaign for the National Assembly election. When the votes were cast in November, the Nationalists held a strong majority. By then, the Northern and Southern Communists had split, and it looked as though the Northern Communists would split over whether or not to receive support from Russia (eventually, those against Russian aid won, and the northerners stayed together).
            On May 1, the National Assembly announced that the Constintution of the Federal Republic of China had been approved, and that elections would be held in July. The result of those elections put Chang Kai’sheck into the office of Chinese President, and his nationalists firmly in control of the unicameral Chinese Senate. The new government, who’s army had been training with the Americans and the British since the end of the war with Japan, promised to rid China of the communist threat by the beginning of 1950. And they did, with some British aide. By the end of 1949, the Northern Communists had been soundly defeated, and in 1952, the southerners surrendered to the Federalist Army.
- Sheetz, Dr. Angela. History of China, 1890-1990. New York: Colombia University Press, 1990.

WARSAW, MAR 14- Polish authorities have confirmed that radical marxists have bombed the Parliament Hall in Warsaw. The group, a far left wing of the Polish Communist Party called the Polish Liberation Force, snuck a bomb in to the building with a shipment of office supplies. Thankfully for the Polish government, it detonated prematurely while still in the storage facility, minimizing fatalites. 16 people have been confirmed killed, along with another 34 injured.
            The Communist Party in Poland has been rising in popularity as of late, and gained many seats in the last parliamentary election.
- “Marxists Bomb Warsaw,” Frankfurter Zeitung, March 15, 1949.

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