On June 10, 1957, New York Times special correspondent Herbert L Mathews reported that “virtually every man, woman, and child in Santiago de Cuba, except police and army authorities, are struggling at all costs to themselves to overthrow the military dictatorship in Havana.” “If Havana had anything like the civic resistance movement of Santiago de Cuba, ” Mathews stated, “the Batista regime might have ended a long time ago.” Mathews went on to describe a reign of terror by recently arrived Lieut. Col. Jose Maria Salas Canizares, selected by Batista to serve as chief of police. Beatings, torture, stabbings, shootings, murder – intimidation and repression, reprisals for talking to outside reporters – Mathews heard accounts of violence and counter-terrorism from all fronts. Those coming forward to talk with him at great personal risk included business and professional groups, workers, union leaders, clergy, peasants, students, Rotarians, mothers, and people on the street. Many Santiagueros were grateful to the Times for reporting the plight of the citizens of Cuba and their determination to resist the Batista regime.
On November 11, 1957 – Veterans Day – the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center opened and was dedicated to the men and women who had served in the United States Armed Forces. Designed as a floating cruciform structure by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the magnificent building features cantilevered portions and has since been named a Milwaukee Landmark. On the west-facing facade, a 1,440,000-piece mosaic mural by Air Force veteran and Milwaukee resident Edmund Lewandowski displays Roman numerals honoring those who gave their lives in World War II, the War on Japan, and the Korean conflict (1941-1945, 1950-1953).
On this Veterans Day, on behalf of grateful Americans everywhere, 1957 Time Capsule wants to express a most heart-felt thank you to all veterans and service members of United States Military forces past and present, at home and around the world. I am grateful for your service and your sacrifice for us and for your country.
May we never forget.
On November 3, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched their second Sputnik earth satellite from an ICBM R-7 platform. The 13 foot high, 2 foot diameter capsule contained compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, regeneration and temperature control systems, scientific instruments (including photometers to measure ultraviolet and x-ray solar radiation), and in her own separate padded and pressurized cabin, a part-terrier, part-Samoyed female dog named Laika. Other than hitchhiker microbes, no living animal had ever blasted off into space before little 13-pound Laika (which meant “Barker” in Russian) went up, fitted with a harness, electrodes to monitor her condition, and supplies of oxygen, food, and water.
With Sputnik 1 still orbiting Earth, transmitting radio signals and ICBM nightmares across the globe, Sputnik 2’s successful launch introduced an even greater level of perceived alarm and threat by Cold War antagonists to the USSR’s new space supremacy. Sputnik 2 did not carry out its mission entirely as planned, however. While the satellite-bearing rocket achieved earth orbit, where it successfully jettisoned its nose cone, a portion of the rocket called “Blok A” did not separate, inhibiting the thermal control system. Vital thermal insulation was torn loose during the nose cone separation as well, and Sputnik’s internal temperatures soon reached 104°F.
Sputnik 2’s fate to burn up in earth atmosphere reentry occurred on April 14, 1958, after 162 days of circling the globe. The original plan for Laika – painful for all animal-lovers everywhere to contemplate – was for her to provide information for a limited period of time on the effects of space flight on living beings, through monitoring her vital signs. After ten days, she was to be euthanized by lethal medication-supplemented food. Once sent into orbit, she could never return. But after the early loss of her capsule’s thermal insulation, Laika was only able to survive for a few hours before succumbing to the heat and stress. Her death was a small, but significant tragedy on the road to man’s Race to Space.
On November 2, 1957, the ABC television show Johns Hopkins File 7 aired a documentary on the deadly influenza pandemic striking millions around the globe. In the episode titled “Asian Flu”, host Lynn Poole and expert epidemiologist Dr. Charlotte Silverman traced the origins and spread of the H2N2 virus, first discovered in 1933. Dr Silverman, chief of the Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases for the Maryland Department of Health, advised viewers how to avoid contracting the virus. Actors demonstrated the debilitating symptoms of the grippe, as it was called then, and animation sequences depicted the effect of vaccines and antibodies (the “good guys”) against viruses (the “bad guys”). Dr. Silverman made reference to antibiotics, “the new miracle or wonder drugs”, but explained that they were ineffective against influenza (and all other viruses).
Johns Hopkins University created more than 700 educational television films from 1948 to 1960, which aired on the ABC, CBS, and the former Dumont television networks. They are currently collected in the university’s Sheridan Libraries. The Johns Hopkins Science Review, one of the programs to air the films, was the first university-based series to appear on a national network and also be broadcast overseas.
The Asian flu pandemic of 1957 was a serious public health menace. By the time it had circled the globe, roughly 70,000 Americans had died, among over 2 million victims world-wide.
On October 25, 1957, the Friday night edition of the Rocky Mount Evening Telegram reported the news from far and near to the residents of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Published from 1894 until 1966, the Evening Telegram served a community first founded in 1816 and the home, in 1957, of about 28,000 people.
And what would those Rocky Mount residents have seen on the front page when they snapped open the evening news at the start of their weekend? Here are two of the headlines:
Reds Launching Could Be Fake
REDLANDS, Calif. (AP)-Russia’s launching of Sputnik may have been a “fake stunt,” says a physicist participating in the U.S. Far Side Project.
Sputnik may have been launched from a balloon–as the Far Side rocket was–instead of using an intercontinental ballistic missile, said Charles E. Bartley.
“As propaganda, the Russian launching is undeniably superb,” Bartley told a group of University of Redlands scientists. “By innuendo, it supports Soviet claims to an intercontinental ballistic missile.
“But objective analysis raises several questions. Sputnik could easily have been launched from a balloon. This would have been possible without employing a large rocket of ICBM magnitude.
He quoted a Russian scientist, Mrs. Anna T. Masevich, vice president of the Soviet Astronautical Council, as saying in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 4:
“Newspapers were wrong when they said the satellite weighed 184.3 pounds. I think it is not so heavy.”
Commented Bartley: “Common sense and logic sum up two reasonable suppositions. The Soviet Sputnik more likely weighs 18 pounds and it does not make sense that the Russians would expend a large ICBM rocket, even if they had it, to put that weight into an orbit when a light cluster of efficient small rockets could do the same job from a balloon.”
Bartley is the president of Grand Central Rocket Co., which makes third and fourth stage motors for Far Side rockets.
ASHEVILLE, NC (AP)-Dr. True B. Eveleth of Chicago, executive secretary of the American Osteopathic Assn., has told the North Carolina Osteopathic Society that socialized medicine will never be imposed in the United States.
“Rapidly expanding prepaid hospitalization programs will ultimately circumvent any future possible need of government-controlled medicine,” he told the 53rd annual convention of the society here yesterday.
Dr. Albert G. Moore of Wilmington was elected president, succeeding Dr. T. M. Rowlett of Concord.
And at the bottom of the page, the following some-things-never-change item:
DETROIT (AP)-Mrs. Edith Hall told police a thief took $5 from her purse which she had left on the porch of her home while she raked leaves. He threw away the purse, overlooking $2,170 hidden in a secret compartment.
On October 23, 1957, the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Vanguard program successfully tested a three-stage rocket designed to send an American Earth satellite into orbit. The recent launch of the Soviet Union’s rocket bearing the first Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, created a sense of urgency for the U.S. to catch up with their Cold War nemesis, and the original timetable for American satellite deployment was put on a fast track.
In 1955, the United States government announced plans to create and successfully place an Earth satellite into orbit during the International Geophysical Year, running from July, 1957 through December of 1958. Consequently, three branches of the armed services – the Army, Air Force, and Navy – all independently pursued their own rocket-development programs. The Army’s Redstone project and the Air Force’s Atlas ballistic missiles were military in nature and of a top priority. The NRL was always viewed more as a scientific organization and Vanguard was emphasized as a non-military project.
Two NRL program launches took place before October 23rd’s blast-off. TV-0, launched December 8, 1956, tested telemetry systems, and TV-1 on May 1, 1957, tested the separation and subsequent second-stage ignition capabilities of the two-stage rocket design. Several abortive attempts occurred over the summer of 1957, before TV-2 was able to test the 75 feet tall, 3.74 foot diameter, 22,156 pound, three-stage version. TV-2 successfully demonstrated Vanguard’s ability for first-second stage separation and “spin-up” of the third stage. Stages 1 and 2 were steered by gimbaled engines. The third stage was “spin-stabilized, the spin being imparted by a turn-table on the second stage before separation”. The engines worked, the turn-table worked, the telemetry and separation systems worked, but American rockets were still incapable of packing a satellite aboard.
Fast-tracking the Vanguard project in response to the threat posed by Sputnik resulted in disappointments and set-backs before achieving its ultimate goal. Next test reservation date for Cape Canaveral’s LC-18A pad would be December 6th. The suspense was mounting.
Haitian President Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in 1965
On October 22, 1957, a second ominous October launch occurred; Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier was sworn in as President of Haiti. Although Sputnik 1 would fall out of orbit in three months, Duvalier became President for Life, “serving” the unfortunate populace of the Caribbean island nation until his death in 1971.
Born the son of a justice of the peace (father) and a baker (mother), and with a university degree in medicine, Duvalier was the rare educated man in a country where rampant illiteracy and repression of the Afro-Haitian majority by a small, mulatto elite were facts of life. Rampant and devastating tropical diseases were also facts of life during Duvalier’s early years, and he earned his “Papa Doc” nickname for his work through a United States-sponsored campaign to control the spread of typhus, malaria, and yaws (a destructive bacterial infection of the skin, bones, and joints). Also, early in his career, Duvalier began pursuing political and spiritual agendas: the negritude movement of Dr. Jean Price-Mars (a literary, Marxist-style movement promoting Afro-Haitian solidarity to fight French colonial racism and domination); and vodou (the island’s syncretic religion combining elements of West African beliefs and practices and Roman Catholicism).
In 1946, Papa Doc began serving as Haiti’s Director of National Public Health under the government of President Dumarsais Estime, but when Estime was ousted in a coup by General Paul Magloire, Duvalier went into hiding until amnesty was declared in 1956. Magloire’s rule ended in December of that year, and a series of provisional governments controlled Haiti until September 22, 1957, when Papa Doc was elected President over Louis Dejoie, a mulatto landowner and industrialist. Duvalier’s populist campaign called on Haiti’s rural Afro-Haitian majority to throw off control by the mulatto elite. After his landslide victory, he exiled Dejoie’s supporters and established a new constitution.
Over the following years, Papa Doc would consolidate his power base in the military, take control of Haiti’s Catholic churches, revise and then ignore the 1957 constitution, commit massive voter fraud to install himself as “President for Life”, use murder and expulsion to repress political opposition, decimate Haiti’s businesses with extortion, bribery, and theft, intimidate educated leaders to abandon the island, misappropriate millions of dollars in international foreign aid, and create a vodou-laced personality cult for himself to further consolidate his power.
Was Papa Doc sane? A massive heart attack in 1959, possibly due to an insulin overdose (Duvalier suffered from heart disease and adult-onset diabetes), left him unconscious for nine hours. Associates speculated that his mental health was affected by neurological damage resulting from this period. Over the following years, Duvalier’s life was increasingly marked by paranoia and delusions. He once ordered the head of an executed rebel to be delivered to him packed in ice (so that he could commune with the dead man’s spirit), and also portrayed himself as personally chosen by Jesus Christ to lead the Haitian people.