The Election of 1980: The Start of the Reagan Revolution

By: Mitchell Snyder

In June of 1976, the future of the Republican Party remained uncertain as delegates and candidates alike entered a convention without a candidate. In the months leading up to the gathering, neither President Gerald Ford or Governor Ronald Reagan had secured enough primary wins to claim the coveted nomination outright.[1] Throughout the crowds of delegates, politicians and campaign staff, whispers of uncertainty spread. Among this crowd was a young Charlie Gerow, a college student and an outspoken Reagan loyalist. He was there to support the man he believed would one day sit in the oval office, a belief that would become reality four years later.[2]

Charlie had first met the former California governor in Washington D.C. at private meeting arranged by a colleague he had met while volunteering for the Republican Party in Pennsylvania. Gerow recalls the meeting fondly: “I was still a sophomore or junior in college… I had the chance to meet the future President of the United States for four or five minutes, one on one. Which was really, at that point in my life, the greatest thing that ever happened.”[3] Since that day, he dedicated countless hours workings towards one goal – making Ronald Reagan the President of the United States.

The National Interest, Lee Edwards
President Ford invites then Governor Reagan to address the 1976 Convention.

At the 1976 Republican Convention, Charlie remembers a profound sense of confidence among the Reagan delegation. Despite being behind in both polls and primary wins, the Reagan camp believe they had both the momentum and enough ‘tricks up their sleeves’ to secure the nomination.[4] Unfortunately, this confidence would soon be replaced by a deep sense of disappointment. Despite the Reagan team’s best efforts, the convention had a nominee and it was President Gerald Ford. However, this wasn’t the end of Ronald Reagan’s political life. In an unprecedented moment, President Ford invited his defeated opponent, Ronald Reagan, to address the convention. According to H.W. Brands’s Book, American Dreams, this prompted “…many delegates – ‘eyes glistening with tears,’… to conclude that the convention had chosen the wrong candidate.”[5] Gerow had the same impression as he stood in the convention hall. “…[I] was there in the hall of the house when President Reagan spoke, and heard that tremendous, uplifting, emotional speech which left many of the delegates, kind of, scratching their heads saying, ‘did we just nominate the wrong guy?’”[6]

This belief would be solidified the following day when Ronald Reagan addressed his own mini-convention of supporters and staff following the loss to Ford. Charlie was among crowd who had gathered at the request of their defeated candidate, eager to hear what he had to say. Reagan took this time to thank those who had worked so hard to get him nominated. He told them the fight wasn’t over and the future was bright. In this moment, Charlie knew this wasn’t the end of the Reagan story. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, but everyone left that room knowing that Ronald Reagan would be back.”[7]

In November 1979, Charlie joined county chairmen, elected officials, and volunteers on a journey from Central Pennsylvania to the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan to hear Ronald Reagan announce his candidacy for President of the United States. It had been four long years, and much had changed. Charlie was now enrolled at Villanova Law School working towards achieving his J.D. However, his dedication to Ronald Reagan remained firmly in place. He had been invited on this trip by his friend and the Reagan campaign manager for Pennsylvania, Drew Lewis. Drew had played host on the ride down. He had brought them coffee and snacks to help make the long pilgrimage seam more enjoyable. Charlie remembers that night like it was yesterday. “He [Ronald Reagan] introduced that night and played on National television a video announcing his campaign, which, was kind of an edgy piece of campaign technology, at that point… It really went over exceptionally well and paved the way for his 1980 successful campaign for President.”[8] He remembers the pure excitement in the air that night. “The energy level was really incredibly high. Ronald Reagan’s ability to connect with people as the great communicator was really on full display that night in New York… People left highly motivated and highly energized and ready for the tough campaign that was to come…”[9]

CBS News
Reagan stares down Mr. Green after exclaiming “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!”

Throughout the primary Reagan was quick to emerge as the front runner in the crowded field of candidates. One such moment that showcased Reagan’s leadership occurred during a primary debate. This debate was a controversial to say the least. The Federal Elections Committee decided that the debate, which was sponsored by a local newspaper, that excluded all other candidates except the front runners (Reagan and Bush), constituted an improper campaign contribution. In response to this, the Reagan’s campaign paid for all the candidates to join the debate to circumvent this ruling.[10] During this debate, the moderator John Green instructed for Reagan’s microphone to be but off prompting the response “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!” Gerow remembers this moment as a pivotal part of the primary campaign. He explained “The reason that was so important was voters saw in that moment the definitive notion of who Ronald Reagan was… It didn’t matter what was said at that debate because no one remember one word. They remember that little tinny vignette, that moment in time when Ronald Reagan’s leadership and strength showed through.”[11]

Charlie says it is important to understand that Reagan’s strong responses to attacks on him didn’t end up manifested in grudges. In fact, throughout the campaign he observed Reagan rarely held grudges against his primary opponents. He remembers one incident where “ There had been a dust up with [Senate Majority Leader and Primary Opponent] Howard Baker… there was some hard feelings… [but] Ronald Reagan was getting ready to call Howard Baker about something, and one of his aids said “You can’t do that, you can’t do that” Reagan just gently leaned back and said ‘Oh yeah, I am suppose to be mad at him aren’t I?’”[12]

The Washington Times
President Carter and then candidate Ronald Reagan debate.

Following the primary Charlie Gerow became involved in the campaign in a more official capacity. “After the primaries were concluded in the 1980, I actually got a pay check – which was really important to a young man right out of law school! I went to work as a Political Director, Regional Coordinator for the Reagan Campaign.”[13]  In this position, he worked to build coalitions throughout Pennsylvania to help bring in the needed support to defeat Jimmy Carter. He remembers one of the defining moments that “made a real difference” was the final debate. Gerow explains “The debates were Ronald Reagan’s shinning moments… the race was still neck and neck, many polls showed Jimmy Carter ahead… Ronald Reagan was able to define himself and at the same time contrast himself with Jimmy Carter, particularly in the final debate where he looked in the camera in the eye and said to the American people ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’”[14]

In describing the results of the 1980 election H.W. Brand’s writes “It wasn’t surprising that Reagan won handily.”[15] However, Gerow remembers quite a different feeling among the Reagan team that night. He explains the staff had worked for weeks to prepare for Election Night 1980. Gerow remembers “.. we were all hunkered down with you know computer which, in those days, were almost unheard of… We had all sorts of sophisticated models to check out votes as they came in and make projections etc.” The Reagan staff expected to be up late into the night, believing the election would be extremely close. In fact, in preparation of their anticipated all-nighter they took some time to eat dinner and relax before the stressful night that was coming. However, Gerow explains “By the time we had finished dinner the news was announcing Ronald Reagan had been elected because it was such a landslide. Nobody, I don’t think, really thought it would be as wide a margin as it turned out to be.”[16]

Communities Digital News
President-Elect Reagan and his wife Nancy celebrate their victory!

The following that historic night the Guardian reported “Ronald Reagan will be the next President of the United States. He was heading for the White House early today in what appeared to be a landslide victory in the presidential election.”[17] This marked the end of Reagan’s 1980 campaign but the beginning of what is often referred to as the Reagan Revolution. A time where conservative ideas of lessened regulation, traditional values and smaller government became the staples of the American system.[18] A revolution that was lead by its charismatic spokesman Ronald Reagan. Gerow believes that Reagan’s gracious nature is what made this revolution possible. He was able to connect with voters of different backgrounds and make them feel important. “Folks use to say when you walked into the room with Ronald Reagan you knew he was the most important man in the world and when you left you felt like you were.”[19]

Citations:

[1]Randy Roberts & David Welky, Ronald Reagan Treasures: The Life of the Great Communicator in Photos & Memorabilia (San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 2015.) 93-94.

[2] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 25th, 2018.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5]  H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 216.

[6] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 25th, 2018.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 18th, 2018.

[10]  Dufresne, Louise. “Ronald Reagan’s Testy Moment in the 1980 GOP Debate.” CBS News. February 11, 2016. Accessed April 26, 2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/reagans-testy-moment-in-the-1980-gop-debate/.

[11] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 25th, 2018.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 25th, 2018.

[15] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 217.

[16] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 25th, 2018.

[17] Harold Jackson & Alex Brummer, The Guardian Historical Archieve, A Landslide makes it President Reagan: Aides tell tearful Jimmy Carter that ‘It’s all over.’

[18] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 232-236.

[19] In person interview with Charlie Gerow, Harrisburg, PA, April 18th, 2018.

Image Citations:

[1] Edwards, Lee. “President Ford Invites Then Governor Reagan to Address the 1976 Convention.” The National Interest.

[2] “Reagan Stares down Mr. Green after Exclaiming ‘I Am Paying for This Microphone, Mr. Green!”.” CBS News.

[3] “President Carter and Then Candidate Ronald Reagan Debate.” The Washington Times.

[4] “President-Elect Reagan and His Wife Nancy Celebrate Their Victory!” Communities Digital News.

Selective Interview Transcript: 

[NOTE: This is a transcript of excerpts from a much longer interview recorded & conducted in person.]

Q: How did you become involved with Ronald Reagan campaign?

A: “I always found President Reagan to be a fascinating person. He was unlike any politician I had ever encountered. He was charismatic, a talented speaker, and more than anything he wasn’t boring to listen to. He didn’t get bogged down in small details, not that he didn’t know them, he just understood that the people wanted to hear something more, something more real.”

Q: What do you mean by real?

A:  “Well, it is something that real Americans can related to. They certainly couldn’t relate to President Carter and his focus on data points and statistics. People wanted someone who they could picture as one of them – President Reagan was certainly able to related to them in that way.”

Q: After the 2016 election, we heard a lot of talk about polling and the role of the media in politics. What was the attitude towards these things on the Reagan Campaign and by Reagan himself?

A: “As expected, our campaign staff certainly kept track of what the polls and pundits where saying. As someone who works with the State Party yourself, you know the importance of staying up to date – or at least I hope you do! [Laughter] However, unlike the average politico or politician now-a-days, President Reagan didn’t guide himself using polls or talking heads. He would spend much of his time speaking with voters about the values and principles that he believed were right and let the chips fall where they may.”

Q: What was the climate in the U.S. prior to the 1980 election?

A: “It wasn’t great. People were significantly unhappy – facing unemployment, inflation and a lack of confident leadership. There were Americans being held hostage abroad, you know the hostages, and many voters believed that their best days were behind them.”

Q: You worked very closely with President Reagan throughout your time as one of his Campaign Aides. What was the most surprising thing you observed about him?

A: “Well, lets see. That’s a tough one – as aides we saw a lot. I would have to say it was how he treated our campaign rivals. You see, he wasn’t like any politician I had met prior. Many of them kept these lists of people who they believed had wronged them. A list of enemies that that could finally get some sort of retribution back from once the election was over. He simply didn’t do this. In fact, I recall one incident during the 1980 campaign when a rival said especially nasty things about the President. Shortly after, he [President Reagan] actually went to call the man about another topic. All of us were shocked – we thought this could clearly only encourage more negative behavior. So, we advised him against it. He responded, ‘Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be mad at him, aren’t I?’ He wasn’t your average politician – he was definitely something special.”

Q: You mentioned, that he spoke with voters about his beliefs. Do you think he did this effectively?

A: “He certainly did. No doubt in my mind – he was a master at it.”

Q: Why do you call him a Master at it?

A: “Well, it was his ability to focus on what others were saying and feeling rather than himself. You could walk into a meeting knowing he was one of the most important men in the world and leave thinking that you were. He would speak to the average voter the same way he spoke to Senators and Congressman – it was extremely admirable. It allowed him to connect with the average American – and I believe helped him earn that nickname ‘The Great Communicator.'”

Timeline:

Best Kept Secrets of the Vietnam War: the Untold Story of the Significance of Social Intelligence


By Catie Nolan

Bracken in Nhu Trang in 1966. Courtesy of Jimmy Bracken

Upon returning home from Vietnam in 1969, if you had asked Jimmy Bracken what he did in the Vietnam War, he would have told you that he was “assigned to the Army Signal Corps” [1].  But this was a lie, and Bracken swore to keep it a secret for 25 years following his deployment. In an oral history interview, Bracken reveals his role as a social intelligence gatherer for the Army Security Agency (ASA) in South Vietnam between 1966 and 1969.  Bracken reflects on his experience in Vietnam and claims that he “didn’t really have that much of an impact” [2]. Bracken’s disposition is one not represented in H. W. Brands’ American Dreams.  By primarily focusing on military combat in Vietnam, Brands fails to recognize the role of the ASA in detecting Vietcong communications.  Undercover designations intended to mask soldiers’ identities and NSA policy laws hinder public knowledge on these veterans’ impact on the Vietnam War.  Due to the secrecy and high classification of an operation, its role, and its agents, ASA missions and units were unknown and until recently, have been kept secrets from the public.  The absence of historical documentation to support Jimmy Bracken’s reflection of his role within the social intelligence force of the ASA highlights the NSA’s obstruction of the ASA’s history in Vietnam.  The NSA’s ability to legally obstruct documents by deeming them as classified prevented historians from producing accurate representations of the history of social intelligence in the Vietnam War.

Bracken’s undercover role within the ASA was to gather Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) via radio and provide tactical information to military forces to best execute attacks using the location of VC units.  In Vietnam, the ASA utilized Airborne Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) equipment, “to identify, triangulate and analyze enemy radio communications” [3]. According to William LeGro, the author of Vietnam from Cease-Fire to Capitulation, these ARDF units were the “single most valuable intelligence resource available to American and Allied forces during the war in Vietnam” [4].  ASA units served under a military unit and were codenamed to protect the unit’s true mission; many ASA units had codenames as Radio Research Units [5].  Upon receiving his draft notice in 1965, Bracken registered within the Army Security Agency (ASA), a subordinate group of the National Security Agency (NSA).  Bracken spent a year learning Vietnamese at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. This time in Monterey intended to prepare him to translate encrypted Vietnamese messages intercepted via radio that following year.  After landing in Saigon with the 237th Radio Research Group in 1966, Bracken traveled to Nhu Trang with a Morse-code translator and radio repair guide. Bracken recalls that “Not many other people were doing what I was doing” as he reflects on his duty in Vietnam [6].

The difficulty in his job was not only translating a language he had learned in the span of one year, but also finding Vietcong and North Vietnamese radio broadcasts.  Bracken typically remained in the same location, either “in a tent or the back of his pick-up truck, and listen[ed] to the radios,” spending hours a day searching for signals [7].  Bracken recalls his experience in intercepting radio transmissions: “I heard a lot of static… and every now and then, you’d pick up a voice transmission. Most of the time it was just reaching numbers, which was the way they coded their messages” [8].  Bracken usually heard a series of four-digit groupings. Each group would translate into one letter or number (i.e. “1235 = a”) [9]. Most of these messages translated into numbers and were coordinates that the Vietcong was sending to artillery. Bracken would make a tape of the transmissions, then send the tape to one of the larger military bases in Nha Trang or Phu Bai, or to NSA at Fort Meade.  There, cryptologists would “listen to the tapes, transcribe the encrypted messages, and then go back over them” [10]. When Bracken would intercept coordinate communications, he recalls that “sometimes I’d look at those coordinates to make sure it wasn’t where I was sitting, so I didn’t have to worry about ducking” [11]. While James L. Gilbert’s The Most Secret War provides historical analysis on the impact of Radio Research Units, the contents of these transcripts are not available for public view.

Soldier using Ground-based Radio Direction-Finding. Courtesy of US Army (https://www.army.mil/article/125717/3rd_rru_arrives_in_vietnam_may_13_1961)

Enacted in 1959, Public Law 86-36 authorized the protection of names employed by the NSA, as well as classification of the functions of the NSA.  This law also established the National Security Agency “as the principal agency of the Government responsible for signals intelligence activities” and enabled the Agency “to function without the disclosure of information which would endanger the accomplishment of its functions” [12].  The NSA was permitted to withhold any information that could inhibit the Agency’s goal of obtaining social intelligence or achieving a goal involving national security. The Agency prohibited employees from discussing any matter pertaining to their role, mission, or any classified detail involving the NSA. Throughout the Vietnam Conflict, “ASA would designate all of its units as ‘Radio Research’ to shield its presence” [13].  Bracken recalls that his undercover designation was to “the Army Signal Corps,” a military signal gathering effort [14]. Bracken did not actually work for the military, but this cover allowed the NSA to protect its presence in Vietnam. Knowledge of the NSA’s involvement in Vietnam was not available to the public until the 2000s when the National Security Agency released documentation describing social intelligence involvement in Vietnam.  In a declassified report by the NSA released in December of 2007, senior historian Robert Hanyok researched highlights how a “cryptologic communitywide history” began in 1967 but abruptly stopped in 1971, the same year the NSA deployed ASA units in Vietnam [15].  An attempt to record “the Army Security Agency’s official history never got beyond a draft stage” [16]. According to Hanyok, “it seemed the SIGINT [signals intelligence] community simply was uninterested in any thoughtful reflection on its effort during the conflict” [17].  While halting this effort to record history raised suspicions, the NSA was legally entitled to discontinue historical recordings.  Enacted in 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) “provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information,” with the exceptions for “law enforcement and national security records” [18].

In 1964, the amendment of Title III to Public law 88-290 allowed the Secretary of NSA to employ any person and grant them temporary and limited access to classified cryptologic information.  “During any period of war declared by the Congress, or during any period when the Secretary determines that a national disaster exists, or in exceptional cases” the Secretary “may authorize the employment of any person in … the Agency, and may grant to any such person access to classified information, on a temporary basis, pending the completion of the full field investigation and the clearance for access to classified information required by this subsection” [19].  This law allowed NSA to hire “any” civilian and authorized the deployment of NSA employees to Vietnam and control their ability to discuss their role and the information involved [20]. In addition to its ability to recruit employees and grant them access to national classified information, this law marks a significant increase in the power of the NSA and creates a loophole in which troops can be deployed without a congressional declaration of war. The implementation of laws similar to these allowed the NSA to obstruct public access to the NSA’s plans of national security and intelligence, in addition to the recognition of those involved.  The NSA’s motive to inhibit public knowledge of and access to a number of historical documents concerning ASA forces is unclear, their obstruction inhibits historians’ understanding of the significance of social intelligence in Vietnam.

 Historian H. W. Brands omits the involvement of American social intelligence in the Vietnam War.  In response to President Ngo Dinh Diem and US officials in Saigon request for US assistance, John B. Willems of the Department of the Army proposed the establishment of programs “to provide training to the South Vietnamese and at the same time establish US intercept operations in the country in February of 1961 [21].  President Johnson approved the deployment of “secret operations against the Viet Cong” [22]. On May 13th, 1961, the 3d Radio Research Unit’s “entry marked the first time an entire Army unit had deployed to South Vietnam” [23].  This unit was the 400th United States Army Security Agency Operations Unit, “with a cover designation as the 3d Radio Research Unit” [24].  These Army Security Agency personnel were among the earliest U.S. military personnel in Vietnam.  Brands claims that “American troops in Vietnam had functioned chiefly as advisers” until March of 1965 (Brands 140).  Realistically, it only was until May of 1961 that “only individual advisors had been assigned” [26]. Prior to the escalation of the Vietnam conflict and buildup of US forces in 1965, “ASA direct support units began entering Vietnam as part of the Army’s approved force structure” in 1961 [27].  The ASA command was intended to function as a “strictly tactical support role” [28]. Their arrival in Vietnam demonstrated that they would need to quickly reinvent “what they thought they knew about SIGINT” to fit the environment. It was this “extremely hot and humid climate” that Bracken described that would require the implementation of trucks to transport Direction Finding radio equipment and their teams [29].  US SIGINT found itself constantly challenged to “improve its methods and systems” in order to combat the VC [30]. Brands recognizes the US’ difficulty in “the land, the jungle, [and] the sun” of Vietnam environment, but does not address how SIGINT played a significant role within US combat forces “to demonstrate America’s steadfastness” [31].

In addition to misrepresenting US presence in Vietnam before 1965, Brands fails to address the significance of social intelligence in his recounting of the war.  Brands discusses how the Vietnam War was largely fought via combat on the ground and in the air. The absence of recognition for social intelligence forces causes veterans of the ASA to feel their duty was insignificant. Dave Sandelin, an ASA veteran in the Vietnam War, “whose job was to find the enemy through their radio transmissions,” would likely agree with Bracken’s feeling that he did not feel like he did much for the war effort [32, 33].  Bracken’s stated that ASA veterans “could not declare his role or discuss the details of our involvement in Vietnam for 25 years” [34]. Sandelin declared that “There were a lot of people that made great contributions to the U.S. military that never got any recognition” [35].  A cause of these sentiments are the laws like Public law 88-290 and 86-36 that impeded the discussion or release of any information pertinent to these veterans or their involvement in Vietnam (until recently). This lack of public knowledge likely contributes to why the ASA and its veterans received little recognition for its role in Vietnam.  The ASA’s deployment of its first Radio Research Unit in 1961 demonstrates larger US involvement that described in American Dreams, likely because this operation could not be discussed until 25 years after the conclusion of the war.  By this time, much of history of the Vietnam War has already been deciphered by what was already know.

The ASA’s absence from Vietnam War history demonstrates how the supporting factors that contribute to an event can be left out of historical narratives.  The classification of secrets during and following the Vietnam War obstructed historians’ inclusion of social intelligence and its significance within events of the Vietnam War.  Jimmy Bracken’s reflection on his role within the social intelligence force provides insight on the lack of historical documentation of the ASA and its narratives. While social intelligence does not demonstrate as direct an impact as combat forces, combat forces depend on this essential information to efficiently execute military attacks and defense.  Social intelligence forces like the ASA tend to receive less recognition than combat forces in historical recountings due to US policy on the intelligence operations’ classifications, which impeded public knowledge on the existence of these programs and their effects until almost 30 years after the conflict resided.

 

[1] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 25, 2018.

[2] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 2, 2018.

[3] Captain Kevin Sandell, “‘Spooks and Spies’ — Local ASA vets tell stories of combat, intel collection,” U.S. Army, last modified November 13, 2017. https://www.army.mil/article/196814/spooks_and_spies_local_asa_vets_tell_stories_of_combat_intel_collection.

[4] Sandell, “‘Spooks and Spies,'” U.S. Army.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 25, 2018.

[7] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 2, 2018.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 25, 2018.

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Legal Basis for NSA and Cryptologic Activities,” in Part 1 of U.S. Intelligence Agencies and Activities: Hearings Before the Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, First Session, vol. 4, U.S. Intelligence Agencies and Activities: Intelligence Costs and Fiscal Procedures (D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975), 374, https://books.google.com/books?id=9hh3VshHZ4oC&pg=PA371&lpg=PA371&dq=%E2%80%9Cto+function+without+the+disclosure+of+information+which+would+endanger+the+accomplishment+of+its+functions%E2%80%9D+%5BU.S.+Intelligence+Agencies+and+Activities:+Intelligence+costs+and+fiscal%5D&source=bl&ots=XJH709uNdb&sig=NrnssjAxrWqkixU8q_R5wGRWYXU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjtsunDh-PaAhVuT98KHawnDcYQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=to%20function%20without&f=false.

[13] James L. Gilbert, The Most Secret War: Army Signals Intelligence in Vietnam (Fort Belvoir, VA: Military History Office, US Army Intelligence and Security Command, 2003), 6, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112064013359;view=1up;seq=1.

[14] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 25, 2018.

[15] Robert J. Hanyok, Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, The NSA Period: 1952 – Present (2002), 7:455, https://fas.org/irp/nsa/spartans/aftermath.pdf.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., 456.

[18] U. S. Department of State, “The Freedom of Information Act,” U.S. Department of State Freedom of Information Act, https://foia.state.gov/Learn/FOIA.aspx.

[19] “Public Law 88-290: Title III – Personnel Security Procedures in National Security Agency,” in Public Law (United States Government Publishing Office, 1964), 169, http://uscode.house.gov/statutes/pl/88/290.pdf.

[20] Ibid., 169.

[21] Gilbert, The Most Secret War, 4.

[22] History.com Staff. “Vietnam War Timeline.” History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war-timeline.

[23] Gilbert, The Most Secret War, 7.

[24] Ibid.

[25] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 140.

[26] Gilbert, The Most, 7.

[27] Ibid., 32.

[28] Robert J. Hanyok, Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, The Burden’s First Fanfare: American SIGINT Arrives in Republic of Vietnam, 1961 – 64 (2002), 7:125, https://fas.org/irp/nsa/spartans/chapter4.pdf.

[29] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 2, 2018.

[30] Robert J. Hanyok, Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, Xerve’s Arrows: SIGINT Support to the Air War, 1964-1972 (2002), 7:234, https://fas.org/irp/nsa/spartans/chapter6.pdf.

[31] Brands, 145, 139.

[32] Joe Habina. “Intelligence group played key role in military effort.” The Charlotte Observer, November 8, 2014. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/community/city-news/ article9228452.html.

[33] Phone Interview with Jimmy Bracken, April 2, 2018.

[34] Inid.

[35] Habina

 

Timeline

Baseball, TV, and Race in Postwar New York

Liam Donahue

30 April 2018

“Not until the 1950s, when a critical mass of households first owned televisions, did TV [baseball] games become a regular thing. Once they did, advertisers began paying for commercials to be shown on broadcasts, and the ad money launched baseball on a meteoric rise.”–H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States since 1945, Pp. 75.

In 1946, Phil Shevlin, a native of Long Island, went to Brooklyn to visit his aunt and uncle. He was 10 years old. Phil remembers seeing a curious sight: a whole bunch of people were crowded around a storefront, “and there was this little tiny TV set, and they were showing a [baseball] game. And everybody was standing there, looking, with their face pressed against the window. That was my first experience ever seeing a television.”[1] The incident Phil is describing, while it may seem mundane, was actually representative of an important crossroads in American cultural history in the 1950s. Television was just beginning to proliferate in the late 1940s in America, and Baseball would also soon be carried live on TV. Phil had caught these two cultural features at the very beginning of their intersection. Of similar importance to this memory of Phil’s is the time and place it took place in. Jackie Robinson, the second baseman who broke baseball’s color barrier, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and 1946 was the year before his debut season. H.W. Brands discusses these things, but condenses them all to a single page (75) of his book American Dreams: the United States since 1945. Phil Shevlin’s experiences supplement Brands’ quick skim over these topics, giving them an immediacy and a sense of life and detail that can only be obtained through a firsthand account.

Phil Shevlin was born in 1936. He grew up in the town of St. James, on Long Island, where he played a lot of sandlot baseball. He moved to Carlisle in 1954. In 1955, after high school, he joined the Army as a Military Policeman, specializing in transportation. He spent time driving officers back and forth between Washington and the Army War College. Later that same year, Phil went overseas to Paris, where he worked as chauffeur to a two-star General, the Chief of Intelligence at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. He still lives in Carlisle today, working at the information desk in Dickinson College’s Kline Athletic Center.

Baseball had been growing steadily in popularity since the beginning of the 20th century, however its popularity was transformed significantly through broadcast media. The first game was broadcast in 1939, as a test.[2] By the late forties and early fifties, “radio and TV stations could afford to pay large sums for the privilege of broadcasting games.”[3] Phil remembers listening to radio broadcasts of games, albeit on a slight delay due to the way the radio station received updates about the game. “You got the radio games from a far city, but it was on ticker tape to the station, and then you heard the ticker tape in the background and the guy was announcing what happened.” Phil watched baseball as much as he could, and he also played countless sandlot games with his friends.[4] Baseball was as popular as ever, yet there was another side to the coin. TV broadcasts of games, some thought, were actually taking fans away from the stadiums. “Television,” it was feared, would “consume baseball.”[5] Phil, despite the many sandlot games he played with friends, also vicariously watched baseball on TV “whenever [he] could, as much as possible,” even though at first he “only got the NYC area games on TV, and Philadelphia.”[6] Ticket sales were hurt, however ad revenue from TV more than made up for it. “For instance, the Dodgers’ income from radio and television in 1955 exceeded their player payroll by more than $250,000…interest, as opposed to attendance, never flagged.”[7]

Image result for baseball 1950s

A well-attended baseball game in the 1950s. TV would impact that. Courtesy of Gopgle Images.

Phil’s family got a TV in 1947, well before most American households did. They were the first family in their town to get one.[8] The TV was “[t]he number one consumer item of the 1950s…in 1947, fourteen thousand families had one, by 1957, ten million families had one.”[9] Phil’s family was one of those fourteen thousand. Luckily, his father had connections. “My dad worked in a hardware store that sold TVs,” he explained, “and I dunno how he afforded it but he got a TV.”[10] Television in Phil’s hometown of St. James, Long island, had “sort of just blossomed in the fifties… you knew who had TV because they had to have an antenna, and by the fifties everybody had an antenna, unless they didn’t have any money.”[11] An item such as this was not a small purchase for a middle class family in the 1950s. Phil remembers that, “they were an expensive item to a family that didn’t have a whole lot of money, but [retailers] made things achievable, different stores…they had to get their merchandise out, so they made credit plans, things of that nature.”[12] Just as TV sucked people away from attending baseball games, it also took people indoors away from other outdoor pursuits. TV “provided a way to spend more leisure time than middle-class families were used to having in the much more Spartan existence of the 1930s and 1940s.”[13] Phil observed this very phenomenon play out, although he noticed a split in who was most affected by it. Some, it was apparent, were spending more of their leisure time indoors. “The kid’s didn’t, the older people [did],” he said. “On the weekends, you didn’t see them travelling around like they did before. A lot of them, especially in New York City, you’d see them walking all over. Once TV came along, it cut that down. But the kids were still outside playing sandlot ball.”[14]  

A family in the 1950s, gathered around their TV set. Courtesy of Google Images.

Race was a hot button issue for baseball around the time that Phil saw his first TV in Brooklyn in 1946. Baseball had been segregated since its beginning, yet the prominence of black men fighting and dying for the United States in the Second World War brought the issue to a head. “Many critics complained of the hypocrisy of requiring black men to fight and die in a war against European racism but denying them the opportunity to play ‘the national pastime.’”[15] Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey took note of this growing sentiment, and was “convinced of the ability of black ballplayers, their potential gate attraction, and the injustice of their exclusion from major league baseball.”[16] Rickey decided, in secret, to sign Robinson to play for the 1947 Dodgers. Phil, close as he was to Brooklyn, got the Dodgers on TV. He saw Robinson’s first game, saw baseball’s color barrier come down in real time. “I was off sick [from school] that day,” he grinned. “Fortunately we had the T.V. to watch baseball. It was opening day of the ’47 season.”[17] But Phil also got the chance to go to a Dodger’s game and see Robinson play firsthand. Sometimes, things could get rough. Opposing players “gave him a hard time…he was playing second base, and whenever they slid into second base, the spikes [cleats] were always flying, they’d have their feet up in the air. He got hit with a lot of pitches.”[18] On singing with the Dodgers, Branch Rickey had “extracted from Robinson a promise not to respond to the abuse for his first three years.”[19] After this period was over, Robinson started responding to hecklers, “angrily confront[ing] opposing players who taunted him.”[20] Off the field, he advocated for the NAACP, and fought hard against the continued presence of racism in American society.

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Jackie Robinson, in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. Courtesy of gettyimages.com

Brands flies through all of this on one page of American Dreams, during his chapter on “the golden age of the middle class.”[22] He mentions that “not until the 1950s, when a critical mass of houses first owned televisions, did TV games first become a regular thing.”[23] Phil, watching Jackie play in 1947 from the comfort of his home, was on the cutting edge of the phenomenon Brands describes. TV, Brands writes, “launched baseball on a meteoric rise.”[24] This rise was helped by people like Phil who watched the games on TV, providing the Brooklyn Dodgers with their surplus discussed earlier, despite declining ticket sales. The integration of baseball is described by Brands, who sums up the Dodgers as facing “considerable hostility before eventually being accepted.”[25] Phil’s firsthand witnessing of this hostility adds flavor to Brands’ abbreviation.

On that day in Brooklyn in 1946 when Phil Shevlin saw his first TV, though he may not have been aware of it, he was witnessing the beginning of a larger shift in postwar American culture. Baseball’s collision with TV would shape the direction the game took, a transition that started even earlier than H.W. Brands mentions. Phil had the good fortune to be one of the first in his area to get a television, and his memories of watching the neighborhood fill up with them at the same time as more people were drawn indoors, as well as of watching baseball on TV right as games started to be televised give his remarks a depth and insight that expand nicely on what Brands covers quickly in his book. Similarly, his experience of watching Jackie Robinson break the color barrier helps bring a milestone in American social and cultural history to life.

 

[1] Interview in person at Kline center, 2 April 2018

[2] H. W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States since 1945 (New York, Penguin Books, 2010). 75.

[3] White, G. Edward. “The Decline of the National Pastime.” In Creating the National Pastime: Baseball Transforms Itself, 1903-1953, 316-30. Princeton University Press, 1996. [JSTOR]. Accessed 4/28/18. 324.

[4] Interview 2 April 2018

[5] William Marshall, “Chapter 21: Baseball then and Now” In Baseball’s Pivotal Era, 1945-1951 (Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1999): pp 426-440. 428. [JSTOR] Accessed 4/29/18.

[6] Interview 2 April 2018.

[7] William 429.

[8] Interview 2 April 2018.

[9]  John Robert Greene. “Comfort and Crisis: The 1950s.” In America in the Sixties, 1-19. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2010. [JSTOR]. Accessed 3/29/18. 2.

[10] Interview 2 April 2018.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Greene 2.

[14] Interview 2 April 2018.

[15] “Robinson, Jackie” American National Biography (http://www.anb.org). Accessed 4/29/18.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Interview 2 April 2018.

[18] Ibid.

[19] American National Biography

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Brands 68.

[23] Ibid 75.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

Selected Transcript:

April 2, 2018 at the Kline Center

Question: You said you watched Jackie Robinson’s First game on TV?

Answer: His first game, it was in April 1947

Q: Where on TV?

A: I watched it at home, Long island, St. James N. Y.

Q: So you guys had a TV at that point?

A: we did.

Q: Did the neighbors have a TV as well?

A; No, we were one of the first in our town to have one, my dad worked in a hardware store that sold TVs, and I dunno how he afforded it but he got a TV. I was off sick that day (JR gameday), I would miss a lot of school, but fortunately we had the TV to watch Baseball. It was opening day of the ’47 season.

Q: you said earlier [a day before, in conversation] that you only got the local games, right?

A: Oh, yeah, they wouldn’t bring any…even on the radio, you got the radio games from a far city, but it was on ticker tape to the station, and then you heard the ticker tape in the background and the guy was announcing what happened…but we only got the NYC area games on TV, and Philadelphia. We got the Philadelphia games.

Q: as time went on in the 50’s, did you experience other families in your area getting TVs as it became more and more prevalent?

A: Oh yeah, it sort of just blossomed in the fifties, like I said we got ours in ’47…In the fiftes, you knew who had TV because they had to have an antenna, and by the 50s everybody had an antenna, unless they didn’t have any money…TVs weren’t expensive…they were an expensive item to a family that didn’t have a whole lot of money, but they made things achievable, different stores…they had to get their merchandise out, so they made credit plans, things of that nature.

I remember the first time I saw a baseball game on television was when I was visiting my uncle and aunt who lived in Brooklyn, and we were going to Madison square garden to see a hockey game, and they had a sporting goods chain in NY called Davega Sporting Goods, and…there was a whole crowd of people standing around the storefront, at night, and there was this little tiny TV set, and they were showing a game. And everybody was standing there, looking, with their face pressed against the window. That was my first experience ever seeing a television. That was probably 1946. I’ll bet it wasn’t more than a ten inch screen, if that. Our first [TV] was a seven inch. Then we had a round set, it had a round screen. That was the one I saw Jackie play on.

Q: You mentioned [a day previously] that you played baseball outside with your friends. As TV grew in popularity, did you notice people spending more time indoors?

A: Yes. The kids didn’t, the older people [did]. On the weekends, you didn’t see them travelling around like they did before. A lot of them, especially in New York City, you’d see them walking all over. Once TV came along, it cut that down. But the kids were still outside playing sandlot ball.

Q: Let’s transition to the culture of the fifties. Do you remember things such as Mcdonald’s, Disneyland, in their early stages?

A: Didn’t have any of that. We didn’t have McDonald’s [in St. James] when I was growing up, didn’t have one when I graduated high school. I know when I came to Carlisle [in 1954] there were no fast food restaurants, we had one but it wasn’t a chain or a conglomerate…We had a place in Mount Holly, called Woody’s Barbeque. I worked there [in the late fifties]. The cars drove up, and the [workers] would come out and take their orders…the food would come out and the [worker] would put the tray on the car window.

Q: Let’s talk about baseball. You saw Jackie Robinson play?

A: That was in ’47. His first season.

Q: was that before or after the team accepted him?

A: Oh, they accepted him in the first year, but it took awhile. When [Team captain] Peewee Reese put his arm around him on the field, that had a big impact.

Q: Do you know if that had the same impact on the fans as well,?

A: Probably some. NYC was a hodgepodge of nationalities, so you didn’t know who he might have offended, but it goes back…I can remember here in Carlisle we had a bus station on Pitt street, and it still had black only water fountains, restrooms for blacks and for whites. I went to military police school in Georgia, right outside of Agusta, and they had signs on the grass…colored not allowed. That was really bad down there, it didn’t start changing until the sixties.

Q: The game you saw Jackie play in…

A: I remember it was a night game. What a feeling to walk from the dark streets, through the turnstile, and there was the field, all lit up like daytime…beautiful. It’s a great feeling.

Q: Was there any violence towards Jackie?

A: they gave him a hard time…He was playing second base, and whenever they slid into second base, the spikes were always flying, they’d have their feet up in the air. He got hit with a lot of pitches. On Jackie Robinson Day, every player wears #42.

They tracked him quite awhile before they signed him and picked him to be the first guy to break the color barrier. He took a lot of heat [at college] where he played football. He was a good football player. He handled himself well as an athlete.

 

Esther Popel

PopelEsther Popel (1896-1958 was a teacher, poet, editor, activist and the first female African American graduate of Dickinson College (Class of 1919).  She married a chemist named William Shaw in 1925.  The couple had one daughter.  Popel used her married name, but typically wrote and published under her maiden name.  She identified with the Harlem Renaissance literary movement and is probably best known for her searing poem, “The Flag Salute” (1934), about a lynching that had occurred the previous year in Maryland.  However, Popel also wrote a short, fascinating memoir entitled, “Personal Adventures in Race Relations” (1948) that is available online through the Dickinson College Archives and which probably conveys her smart, witty but subtly combative personality as well as any source.  For a full biographical entry on Esther Popel Shaw with a useful bibliography of her works, see Malinda Triller Doran’s post at the Dickinson Archives.

To learn more about how students at Dickinson are engaging with the legacy of Esther Popel in their own lives, visit the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity.

Popel and Daughter

Esther Popel and daughter Patricia, c. 1930

 

United States Cold War Operations In Turkey

By Roberto Valentini

“Did you feel like an attack by the Russians was imminent?”

23 year-old US Army corporal Tony Bucci gazed intently out the window of the C-130 Hercules transportation plane bound for Libya. His eyes were fixed on one of the four propeller engines, which was engulfed in flames, illuminating the blackness of the night sky over the Atlantic Ocean “I was sitting in a seat on a bench next to the engine,” recalls Bucci, “I saw the fire glowing on the engine.”[1] As the plane roared forward, the blaze brought light on the many faces inside the aircraft, pensive and uncertain. It was mid-May of 1953, these men were being deployed to different theatres of the Cold War. Many of them would be sent to the intense combat zones of Korea. Bucci was not one of them, “I got lucky when they chose my number,” he tells me, “they sent me to Turkey, to a Radar station.” [2] Bucci’s recollections of the Cold War elucidate the significance of the seemingly forgotten Turkish front. This matter is only briefly hinted at by historian H.W. Brands, who describes US-Turkey Cold War relations as “a major [US] advantage over the Soviets in possessing allies not far from Soviet borders.”[3] Although the Turkish front was overshadowed in popularity by the action in Korea, Turkey was noted by US Military analysts as “the most important military factor in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.”[4]

Shortly after the onset of the Cold War in 1947, the Korean War broke out, in 1950, and garnered most of the popular attention until its conclusion in the summer of 1953. In the shadow of the Korean conflict, a far less popular, yet significant Cold War front persisted, the Turkish front. American interest in Turkey was apparent long before the outbreak of Korea. In the spring of 1946, the US battleship Missouri arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, allegedly to return the body of deceased Turkish Ambassador, Mehmet Münir Ertegün, who had passed away in the US in November of the previous year. However, historians believe that “[i]n fact, the US sent the battleship to show that it would not allow the Soviet Union to expand into the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, and that it would support Turkey as a barrier against Soviet expansion.”[5] In addition to the presence of the symbolic WWII battleship, United States foreign policy legislation substantially assisted Turkey. Former Foreign Service officer Joseph Satterthwaite recalls President Truman declaring “that the U.S. must take immediate and resolute action to support Greece and Turkey.”[6] This ‘support’, which was approved by Congress in May of 1947 would later be known as the Truman Doctrine. More economic assistance, $13 billion to a bevy of countries in Europe, in the form of the Marshall Plan would follow one month later in June[7]. The United States was dedicated to aiding and protecting Turkey in the post 1945 era predominantly, if not entirely because of its geostrategic position. Not only did Turkey serve as a barrier to the containment of Soviet expansion to the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, but it prevented the USSR from overtaking regions containing an abundance of oil, a crucial resource [8].

The significance of Turkey in terms of the American Cold War strategy was not widely recognized, especially not while Americans were dying in the defense of South Korea. When Tony Bucci was drafted during the Korean War in September of 1952, he anticipated that he would be traveling to Korea, “we all thought we were going to end up in Korea.”[9] Little did he know, at the time, that he would be stationed just 150 miles from the borders of the Soviet Union. 

Tony Bucci arriving in Ankara, Turkey (1953). (Courtesy of Tony Bucci)

“It was a small town on the Black Sea coast called Samsun,”[10] explains the 87 year-old veteran. The radar station in which he worked with 20 other US Army Signal Corps troops lay atop one of the many peaks of the Pontic Mountains in northern Turkey, with the town of Samsun just beneath. “There was very limited housing and stuff like that… It was primitive, there were mud shacks,”[11] he says of the town. The Samsun radar station at that time, was not even an official US Military Base. “It wasn’t a barracks, we lived in apartments,” Bucci recalls [12]. It wasn’t until the Military Facilities Agreement of 1954, that the US formalized the establishment of US military bases in Turkey, and “with a Status of Forces Agreement, US military personnel, whose numbers were growing rapidly, were removed from the purview of the Turkish judicial system.” [13] Having lived in Turkey before the Status of Forces Agreement, Tony tells me that, “we weren’t allowed to approach Turkish women, it was taboo.”[14] He explained how it went against their muslim religion and also illustrated some other interesting details regarding the natives, “the natives were all living off the land… in the summertime we swam in the Black Sea. The locals didn’t swim, they didn’t even have bathing suits.” [15]

As informal as it may have seemed, the work of US military personnel in Turkey was important in not only protecting Turkey itself, but also gathering reconnaissance on Soviet movement. From his arrival on June 1st in 1953, until his departure exactly one year later in 1954, Bucci and the other men stationed there spent their days monitoring Soviet activity and tracking American U2 spy plane missions. In particular, they monitored the movement of the Soviet Naval fleet in the Black Sea. He tells me, “our radar used to pick them up and we would signal the information to the Pentagon in Washington, ‘pick up the fleet, tell us where they are’, and that was our duty every day and every night so that the generals in Washington would know what the next move was going to be.”[16] He also mentioned that the U2 spy planes could not communicate through radio in order to stay invisible to Russian radar. He explained that “the Pentagon would notify us that a plane was taking off at a certain time, and that it should be over Turkey and Russia at another time, so our station was ready to monitor that plane and make sure that the mission was completed, as far as we were concerned.”[17]

Tony Bucci by the Black Sea, 1953.(Courtesy of Tony Bucci)

United States Cold War relations with Turkey ran relatively quietly under the radar of common American public knowledge during the Korean War years. However, the Turkish front was of vital importance in the Cold War effort. In terms of protecting Turkey from Soviet forces, the United States developed “installations (over 30, with 5,000 US personnel) [that] collectively engaged in defense missions that ranged from basic logistics and supply operations to highly sophisticated communications and intelligence-collecting activities.”[18] Bucci’s radar station in Samsun is just one example of the many intelligence collecting operations. Over time, US relations with Turkey advanced, and Turkey played an even more productive role in the Cold War when their “foreign and defence ministers indicated their willingness to commit significant ground forces to help in the defence of South Korea.”[19] The US alliance with Turkey continued to contribute to the United States’ Cold War strategy even after the conclusion of the Korean War. During the arms race with the USSR, there came a point where the means of delivery of the weapons was the most significant aspect of the race. According to H.W. Brands, “Turkey offered airfields from which American bombers might not be launched against Soviet targets.”[20] This was logistical and psychological advantage. The Soviets did not occupy an airspace anywhere near as close as 150 miles from the US. Bases like Incirlik Air Force Base in Russia’s backyard were much more threatening than anything the USSR had to offer. 

Posing with a C-130, Ankara, Turkey (1954). (Courtesy of Tony Bucci)

The symbiotic relationship between Turkey and the United States during the Cold War was greatly beneficial to both sides. The United States protected Turkey and gave them economic relief, while Turkey served as a barrier against communism and the oil fields of the middle east, an extra combat force in the Korean War, a neighboring air-space, and according to Joseph Satterthwaite, “the U.S. probably received more per dollar advanced [from Turkey] than in any other country,” from 1947 until 1955 [21]. Turkey’s cooperation during these years can be credited to the US’s generosity in the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine, and also to a threat received from the Soviet Union in 1945. In March of 1945, the Soviets decided not to renew the 1925 Treaty of Friendship and Nonaggression, that was written in 1925. This decision “met with outrage within Turkey.”[22] The combination of Soviet aggression and US generosity led to a strong US-Turkey relationship during the Cold War.

Tony Bucci’s service in Samsun was one small piece of an important, yet forgotten alliance of the Cold War. For a Korean War veteran who never fought in Korea, his role was fundamentally significant to the US efforts of the Korean War, and the Cold War overall. Although he described his time in Turkey as “dull and sometimes boring,” he acknowledges that it is “necessary for the military to know what’s going on in the world so that in the event of an attack, we know what to do.”[23] While acknowledging that Brands most likely did not have the time to include many details regarding the US-Turkey Cold War alliance, Brands’ short assertion of the importance of America’s alliance with Turkey is underwhelming. During the early Cold War period, Turkey was one of the United States’ most important allies.   

 

Timeline

Link to Full US-Turkey Timeline

Footnotes

[1] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, December 3, 2017.

[2] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017.

[3]H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 66.

[4] Richard. C. Campany, Turkey and the United States (New York: Praeger, 1986), p.80.

[5] Ao Atmaca, “The Geopolitical Origins of Turkish-American Relations: Revisiting the Cold War Years”, All Azimuth: A Journal of Foreign Policy & Peace 3, No.1 (Jan 2014): 21.

[6] Joseph C. Satterthwaite, “The Truman Doctrine: Turkey.” American Academy of Political and Social Science 401, (May 1972): 74.

[7]H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 39.

[8] AYLI ̇N GÜNEY, “An Anatomy of the Transformation of the US–Turkish Alliance: From “Cold War” to “War on Iraq.” Turkish Studies 6, no.3 (September 2005): 341-342.

[9] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017.

[10] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017.

[11] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017.

[12] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, December 3, 2017.

[13] AYLI ̇N GÜNEY, “An Anatomy of the Transformation of the US–Turkish Alliance: From “Cold War” to “War on Iraq.” Turkish Studies 6, no.3 (September 2005): 342.

[14] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, December 3, 2017.

[15] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017.

[16] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017.

[17] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, December 3, 2017.

[18] Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division, U.S. Military Installations in NATO’s Southern Region (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1986), p.1.

[19] Telegram from US Ambassador to Turkey to Secretary of State, dated 24 June 1950 (11 am) in FRUS, (1950),Vol.5 , p. 1281.

[20] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 67.

[21] Joseph C. Satterthwaite, “The Truman Doctrine: Turkey.” American Academy of Political and Social Science 401, (May 1972): 74.

[22] John M. Vander Lippe, “ Forgotten Brigade of the Forgotten War: Turkey’s Participation in the Korean War.” Middle Eastern Studies 36, no.1 (January 2000): 95.

[23] Interview with Tony Bucci, Carlisle, Pa, December 3, 2017.

Selections from Interview Transcripts 

-Telephone Audio Recording, Carlisle, Pa, November 7, 2017

-Telephone Audio Recording, Carlisle, Pa, December 3, 2017

Selected Transcript 

From audio Nov.7:

Q. What influenced you to join the military, and when did you join?

A. “I didn’t join the military, I was drafted in September of 1952. In September I left home to go to basic training in Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and then I was transferred to [a base in] Augusta, Georgia, I was down there for six months. I didn’t know where I was going to end up, we all thought we were going to end up in Korea, but I got lucky when they chose my number, and they sent me to Turkey, to a Radar station. I was fortunate because I didn’t have to dodge the bullets, a lot of guys I trained with went to Korea.”

Q. Can you explain the specific military assignment/s of your unit?

A. “I was in the Army Signal Core, its a communications group. We were in charge of communications all over our territories. They assigned me to a radar station in Turkey, to run a power unit that supplied power to the radar station. We used to listen in on the Russians, they were only 150miles away from us. They used to listen in on us, we used to listen in on them. They used to jam the radio when we would put on “Voice of America” which transmitted all over Europe and the far East and the Middle East. The Russians would jam it, it was just a harassment, and we did the same thing to them. We used to monitor the Russian fleet, the ‘Black Sea Fleet.’ Our radar used to pick them up and we would signal the information to the Pentagon in Washington, ‘pick up the fleet, tell us where they are’, and that was our duty every day and every night so that the generals in Washington would know what the next move was going to be. And we, in Turkey, we were the first station to pick up a U2 [spy] plane and transmit the information to the pentagon and say, ‘they’ve passed our territory.’ I was happy that I got chosen to go there [Turkey], because I would’ve been sent to Korea, dodging bullets, where lots of guys were dying every day. I felt lucky, I felt very very lucky.”

Q. Can you describe where you were stationed and speak on what it was like to live there?

A. “It was a small town on the Black Sea coast called Samsun. There was very limited housing and stuff like that. The people, the natives were all living off the land. Most activity we saw was water buffalo and donkeys pulling carts. They would haul wood from the forrest, haul there stuff to the marketplace. It was primitive, there were mud shacks. My attitude there was based on the guys I served with. We played cards and things like that. There was a beer hall outside, we stood out there in the sun and drank Turkish beer. In the summertime we swam in the Black Sea. The locals didn’t swim, they didn’t even have bathing suits. It was just the Americans that knew what a beach was like, and we had an area on the Black Sea that was open to us.”

Q. What was it like coming home from your service in Turkey?

A. “It was the best feeling in the world. It was a joy. I wasn’t facing any military action [in Turkey], but we lived primitively. There were no movies, no shows, no girls, no nothing. It was very restrictive, we were limited.”

From Audio Dec. 3:

Q.  What was the feeling like at your base? Did you feel like an attack by the Russians was imminent?

A. We didn’t feel that we were going to be attacked. At that time no one was really worried about it. But, its necessary for the military to know whats going on in the world so that in the event of an attack, we know what to do. We were not in fear of an attack, it was just routine maneuvers that they [the Russians] were doing. We had to send to Washington, what the ships were, the size of the ships, we could tell by radar, and where they were sailing; if the ships were going to sail just in the Black Sea or if they were going out into the Mediterranean.

Q. Can you talk about monitoring the U2 spy planes?

A. Along with the Russian fleet, we would monitor the U2 planes. They would fly across from Pakistan. We couldn’t see the plane, it would fly so high. They had cameras that would spy on Russia. One of the jobs we had was to track the U2 plane, make sure that the Pentagon knew where they were, because they couldn’t communicate [with the Pentagon], because if they did, Russia would pick up on the signal. The Pentagon would notify us that a plane was taking off at a certain time, and that it should be over Turkey and Russia at another time, so our station was ready to monitor that plane and make sure that the mission was completed, as far as we were concerned. Then it went out of our limits and it flew over a station in Rota, Spain, and they would pick up the flight. From Rota, Spain the plane would fly into Naples, Italy, and that was the end of the mission.

The Scrutiny and Importance of the Invasion of Grenada

Vincent Warzecha

Professor Pinsker

History 118: US History Since 1877

12/8/17

The Scrutiny and Importance of the Invasion of Grenada

Map of Caribbean Sea

Matthew H. Hinds served in the Grenadian war in 1983, 20 years old at the time, in the 2nd Armored Division out of Fort Hood Texas as an E5 sergeant.  According to H.W. Brand’s Book, American Dreams, “The invasion took the world aback; most Americans had no idea where Grenada was and no conception of why American soldiers should be landing there.” [1] Hinds landed on October 25th, 1983 with three tanks in his platoon and proceeded through the jungle of Grenada. Matt stated “On our first night, I told my men to not go outside of arm’s length of the tank to do their business. Later that night around 3 a.m. I broke my own rules and went about 5 yards from tank when I heard sticks breaking to my right. I sat under a tree in the brush for about an hour listening and waiting for what I was sure were human footsteps. After an hour two men moved towards the tank and were within 2 feet of me. I had the jump on them and in 2 minutes it was over. I think about this event everyday of my life. [2] The United States’ invasion of Grenada was extremely criticized by the world but was necessary to promote immediate and future safety among American citizens.

On the morning of 25 October 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced that 1,900 U.S. Marines and Army Rangers, joined by 300 troops from six Caribbean states, had launched a predawn assault on the island of Grenada. The president explained that he had ordered the invasion for three reasons: to protect the nearly 1,000 American citizens at Saint George’s University School of Medicine, to “forestall further chaos”, and “to help in the restoration of democratic institutions in Grenada’. [3] When asked if the battle of Grenada was a significant memory in her life, Edwina Wiecek replied “No! I simply remember that Reagan ordered an invasion in Grenada to save the students at the university. After this, multiple people on the other side of Reagan questioned his actions on the news and even ridiculed him. The country was still recovering from the loss of life in the bombing of Beirut.” [4] In fact many people did not know where Grenada was or what the situation was at the time. Matt had “No clue at all…none” of where the island was until his briefing on the way to Grenada. [5] On the way to Grenada he was told “some of Fidel Castro’s guys took over Saint George’s University School of Medicine on the island of Grenada and took American Students as hostage.” [6]. From here Matt’s platoon undertook their mission in the invasion of Grenada.

Time Magazine Cover on Beirut and Grenada

On November 2nd the armed hostilities ceased and peacekeeping missions began. Although the battle only lasted 7 days, the United States forces encountered unexpectedly stiff resistance by Cuban and Grenadian forces, the invading contingent was eventually augmented by approximately 4,000 American troops. [7] After the U.S. army saved the kids from the school Matt’s platoon stayed for 3 weeks. “The armored division cleared out what little armor they had and then the marine recon and their helicopters took care of around 75% of it.. And it was done.. You know a lot of people say the battle of Grenada was five minutes to fight and five weeks to surf because it was so beautiful there”. [8] Alex Warzecha remembers the same depiction of the invasion “When the battle scene was shown on CNN, the island almost seemed like a place for a vacation, not a war ground. The news showed the beautiful coastlines and not a lot of destruction on the island”. [9] The invasion of Grenada was the first time CNN covered a war live on television but not for the first 48 hours of battle due to the distaste for press by military officials after Vietnam. A disconnect between the press and the military created a distaste for the entire operation which led to coverage backed by ridicule. The Washington Post stated on October 26th, 1983, “The invasion of Grenada remained largely a matter for the imagination throughout the day yesterday, as Tv networks made the most of maps, shots of helicopters, and many, many talking heads: at the Pentagon, at the White house, on the hill, at the State Department, on Barbados. [10] The barring of reporters from Grenada quickly turned the news coverage of Grenada towards criticizing the actions of the government including a house hearing on the matter on 3 November, 1983. The media brought up the Bombing of Beirut that occurred just 2 days before the invasion as the reason for invading such a small country in the Caribbean. These accusations are still disputed today. The short takeover of Grenada along with the banning of reporters for 48 hours created much contempt about the entire situation

Anti-Communist comic book air-dropped into Grenada by the U.S.

After the invasion of Grenada the Pentagon reported, 18 American soldiers were killed and 116 were wounded. Cuban forces were estimated to have suffered 24 dead and 59 wounded, while Grenadian military casualties were put at 45 killed and 337 wounded. [11] In a follow-up email interview with Matt, he reported that the Cuban forces killed or wounded were under-reported in order to not report the full Cuban involvement on the island of Grenada. “The U.S. military did not want the media to know of the immediate threat that was among the students at the school”. [12] Matt’s report of additional Cubans on Grenada during the invasion was confirmed in the World News digest in 1983, “As the fighting progressed it became clear that there were more Cubans on Grenada than had been thought.” [13] This is the reason the media was barred from entering the island for 48 hours which led to heavy scrutiny of the government. When asked if the invasion was worth it Matt stated, “Of course it was worth it. Going to help Americans… that’s just it. Part of being a soldier is just doing as you’re told and worrying about the rest of it later.” [14] For Edwina Wiecek, the accusations of the media about the connection of the bombing of Beirut and the invasion of Grenada struck a cord. “I remember questioning if we needed to actually risk our soldiers to take over such a small country that is basically harmless to us.” [15] The aftermath for Grenada was that of peace for the country and Matt even stated “the people did not seem unhappy to see us even though we just beat their army… almost a sense of relief.” [16] A new government was installed in Grenada that promoted democracy and got rid of a chance for communist expansion in the Caribbean.

Matt Hinds (Middle Row in the Middle) out of Basic Training

Reagan invaded Grenada for three reasons, to save the American citizens in the school, to forestall future chaos, and make Grenada a democracy. The invasion of Grenada successfully accomplished these three goals although the way in which it was done was not efficient. The invasion itself was extremely sudden after a huge tragedy for the country which made it easy to question Reagan’s decision and promote the idea of revenge for America. Matt Hinds does not believe this is accurate as well stating “No, I don’t… that’s all politics. Everybody has an opinion but as a soldier you’re told what to do and you do it. But I think we needed to save those kids because Fidel had some of his toughest hardest soldiers there.” [17]  The decision to invade Grenada did not originate from revenge but rather Reagan’s effort to stop communism in the Caribbean and forestall a Cuban arms buildup. The invasion also brought back issues between the military and the media that stem from the Vietnam war. This resulted in a cloudy picture to what actually was happening in Grenada and why. “Ladislaus Warzecha (born Jan 23, 1929-died Dec 27, 2014), a Vice president at General Electric for 40 years, once told me the hardest thing he had to do was help President Reagan in the early 80s with Cuban-Soviet crisis and whether to invade or not to invade Grenada. He said this period brought the most stress to his life and is why he was away from home so much.” [18] Ultimately, the invasion of Grenada was a necessary event for the future of the United States and promoted democracy in the world even though it received heavy scrutiny from the world and the media.

 

Citations

[1] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 246.

[2] Facetime interview with Matthew Hinds, November 8th, 2017

[3] Rubner, Michael. “The Reagan Administration, the 1973 War Powers Resolution, and the Invasion of Grenada.” Political Science Quarterly 100, no. 4 (1985): 627. doi:10.2307/2151544.

[4] Email Interview with Edwina Wiecek, December 2nd, 2017

[5] Email Interview with Matthew Hinds, December 1st, 2017

[6] [Hinds] Facetime interview

[7] Rubner. 628

[8] [Hinds] Facetime Interview

[9] Email Interview with Alex Warzecha, December 2nd, 2017

[10] Kernan, Michael. “Grenada: The Reaction to the Action.” Washington Post. 26 October 1983: 1. [Historical Newspapers]. 

[11] Rubner. 628

[12] [Hinds] Email Interview

[13]”U.S., Caribbean States Invade Grenada…World Leaders Condemn Action.” World News Digest. Facts On File News Services, 28 October 1983: 1. [Historical Online Newspapers]. 

[14] [Hinds] Facetime Interview

[15] [Wiecek] Email Interview

[16] [Hinds] Email Interview

[17] [Hinds] Facetime Interview

[18] [Warzecha] Email Interview

Photo Citations

Ater, Malcolm. GRENADA; Rescued from Rape and Slavery. November 1983.

Luongo, Michael. Rescue in Grenada and Sacrifice in Beirut. November 7th, 1983. Black Star. Grenada and Beirut.

Hinds, Matthew. No name. December 4th, 2017. Matt’s Mantle

Unknown. Map of Caribbean Sea. https://roadslesstraveled.us/grenada/

 

Selections From Interview Transcripts

-Audio recording with Matt Hinds, Facetime interview, November 8th, 2017

Selected Transcript

From Audio:

Q. What was the buildup to the invasion?

A. “They came to Fort Hood looking for Tank Commanders all NCOs… E5 and above… but they didn’t tell us anything until we were offshore and told us that some of Fidel Castro’s guys took over George Washington University on the island of Grenada and took American students as hostage.

 

Q. Were you aware of where the island of Grenada was or what the situation was before the briefing?

A. “No, I had no clue at all. None.

 

Q. How did you and your men feel about the mission? Was it worth it or simply ambiguous?

A. “Of course it was worth it. Going to help Americans… that’s just it. Part of being a soldier is just doing as you’re told and worrying about the rest of it later.

 

Q. Once you had rescued the kids from the school, did you leave right away or did you stay to make sure there was stability?

A. We stayed for 3 weeks.. You know… it wasn’t long. We had cleared out what little armor they had and then the marine recon and their helicopters took care of around 75% of it.. And then it was done.. You know alotta people say the battle of Grenada was five minutes to fight and five weeks to surf because it’s beautiful there.

 

 

Q. Clarification, You don’t think Beirut had anything to do with going into Grenada?

A. No, I don’t… that’s all politics. Everybody has an opinion but as a soldier you’re told what to do and you do it. But I think we needed to save those kids because Fidel had some of his toughest hardest soldiers there.

 

-Email Interview, With Matthew Hinds, December 1st, 2017

Selected Transcript

From Email:

Q. Can you tell me what happened on your first night?

A. On our first night, I told my men to not go outside of arm’s length of the tank to do their business. Later that night around 3 a.m. I broke my own rules and went about 5 yards from tank when I heard sticks breaking to my right. I sat under a tree in the brush for about an hour listening and waiting for what I was sure were human footsteps. After an hour two men moved towards the tank and were within 2 feet of me. I had the jump on them and in 2 minutes it was over. I think about this event everyday of my life.

 

Q. What forces did you encounter personally?

A. We encountered Castro’s top forces. Actually son… we were told to not report all of the casualties. The U.S. military did not want the media to know of the immediate threat that was among the students at the school.

 

Q. What did the Grenadian citizens do when the battle was complete?

A. The people did not seem unhappy to see us even though we just beat their army… almost a sense of relief.

 

-Email Interview with Edwina Wiecek, December 2nd, 2017

(Grandmother)

Selected Transcript

From Email:

Q. What do you recall from the invasion of Grenada?

A. No! I simply remember that Reagan ordered an invasion in Grenada to save the students at the university. After this, multiple people on the other side of Reagan questioned his actions on the news and even ridiculed him. The country was still recovering from the loss of life in the bombing of Beirut.

 

Q. Do you remember the news covering linking the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Beirut?

A. I remember questioning if we needed to actually needed to risk our soldiers to take over such a small country that is basically harmless to us.

 

-Email Interview with Alex Warzecha, December 2nd, 2017

(Mother)

Selected Transcript

From Email:

Q. What do you remember from the invasion of Grenada on the news?

A. When the battle scene was shown on CNN, the island almost seemed like a place for vacation, not a war ground. The news showed the beautiful coastlines and not a lot of destruction on the island

 

Q.  Do you remember anything that Gramps told you or dad about the invasion of Grenada?

A. Gramps once told Dad and I the hardest thing he had to do was help President Reagan in the early 80s with Cuban-Soviet crisis and whether to invade or not to invade Grenada. He said this period brought the most stress to his life and is why he was away from home so much.

The Korean War and the Years Following the Armistice

Audio clip from phone interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr.

“Oh, we were just watching the frontier and reinforcing the 38th parallel. They were assaulting once in a while and we would have to shoot at them and go back into our foxholes. They gave us some trouble but not a lot. It was nasty how the weather was. God, it was cold and sometimes hot, just terrible. It got very boring, very boring but it was day after day.”[1] Retired United States Marine,

U.S. Marines walking the Korean terrain (Courtesy of Howling Pixel)

Joseph M. Micci Sr., remembers his daily activity of monitoring the 38th parallel from September 1954 to November 1955. At a time when the armistice had been signed for over a year and thousands of United States troops have been demobilized, many people believed that was the end of conflict and US involvement in Korea. However, it was just the start for Micci, who came to Korea as a replacement infantry man for the demobilized troops. During this period, keeping stability and peace within the region was an important task for reestablishing the two sides and trying to create unification. When remembering what stood out most to him during the war, he recollected, “Just the people were so poor.”[2] As Micci and his fellow marines drudged through the Korean terrain along the 38th parallel in an attempt to keep peace, when the time finally came for him to go back to the US he felt, “happy we were able to go home and not have a big, long war…in that respect I was happy, but down deep I sort of wanted to go on and finish the thing…I think that was a general consensus of many people.”[3]

The Korean War started with Kim Il-sung ordering the invasion of South Korea on Syngman Rhee’s troops. Within days, the North Koreans captured Seoul, the capital of South Korea. President Harry S. Truman viewed the attack as an attack on world order and free government, and wanted to stop the potential spread of communism. In a response to the attack, “Truman’s first step was to order American air and naval forces to the combat zone. These were followed by ground troops dispatched from Japan to South Korea.”[4] As the Soviets boycotted the Security Council, the council voted in favor of allowing member states to help protect South Korea. The war did not go as planned at the beginning. However, on September 15, 1950, the American commander, Douglas MacArthur came up with a brilliant, yet risky plan. The plan was “a daring operation planned and executed under extremely difficult conditions…the landing suddenly reversed the tide of the war, forcing the invading North Korean army to retreat in disorder up the Korean peninsula.”[5] Recalling how he

Newspaper showing U.S. overtaking Seoul (Courtesy of Wyoming State Tribune and Ebay)

felt after the re-capturing of Seoul, Micci stated, “That was great oh my God. That was so great we were so happy. We thought the war was all over.”[6] As MacArthur’s plan boosted the morale of the United States troops, and certainly American citizen’s outlook on the war, he looked to ride the momentum for as long as he could. Despite orders from the UN to not invade the North Koreans because the US involvement was only meant to defend South Korea, MacArthur pushed on and up to the Yalu River. At this point, the Chinese government warned the US of being too close, a warning that was taken likely by the Americans. The US would pay the price in late November when the Chinese attacked American and South Korean troops. After suffering heavily casualties, the US involvement became questioned and the war grew unpopular in America.

After years of stalemate and a growing negative opinion on the war, Americans desperately needed someone who they could place their trust in. Luckily, they found their man in Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a World War II hero. In his campaign promise, he promised to go to Korea in an effort to find a solution to the war. On November 29, 1952, “Making good on his most dramatic presidential campaign promise, newly elected Dwight D. Eisenhower goes to Korea to see whether he can find the key to ending the bitter and frustrating Korean War.”[7] Showing his seriousness and commitment over the conflict, Eisenhower helped to find a solution. “On July 27, 1953, the armistice agreement was finally concluded, providing for a cease-fire [and] a demilitarized zone 4,000 meters wide between the opposing forces.”[8]

The end of the war marked for the demobilization of thousands of troops because the fighting came to an end. However, in 1955, “there were 85,500 American soldiers in the country, against 325,000 in 1953.”[9] Although the number of troops stationed in South Korea after the armistice was smaller than two years earlier and these troops were not fighting, they were essential in keeping stability within the region. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea, signed October 1st, 1953 and effective November 18th, 1954, called for the US to remain in South Korea around the 38th parallel and DMZ zone to keep watch and defend a potential attack from the North Koreans. In order to be prepared for such an attack, “the 1st Marine Division had conducted an active small-unit amphibious

Soldier standing at the 38th Parallel (Courtesy of Sidney Fox)

training program during its postwar Korea duty.”[10] This was a crucial time because as the US helped reconstruct South Korea politically, economically, and militarily, peace had to be kept and the troops had to be prepared to fight. As Micci and his fellow marines patrolled to keep peace, he recalled that they would help reestablish the people of South Korea. He stated, “Yeah we did a lot of work. We helped them with their homes especially. We had carpenters and plasters. A lot of [the homes] were blasted out a little bit and we tried to help with the reconstruction. Also, I was helping some of the children. Mainly guarding the frontier up there that was about it. Nothing was happening…. very rarely any action.”[11]

The descriptions from Mr. Micci shed light on an interesting period of time after the armistice, which is often glanced over in history, and hardly mentioned by Brands. The two years following the armistice were truly a stalemate and bluntly put by Micci as very boring. Despite the lack of action, the actual act of keeping peace and stability in the region was key, as South Korea suffered greatly during the war and was vulnerable to a North Korean attack at any minute. Although he was very young, Micci explained how he felt like he had an impact on the people of South Korea who he and his men helped. The tension filled and anxiety-ridden years immediately following the armistice are evident when Sheila Jager stated, “Although the killing had stopped, the war continued, solidifying cold war arrangements for the next fifty years.”[12]

One could appreciate the work done by the soldiers who are easily forgotten in the shadow that is the post-armistice era. Tedious days and nights patrolling not knowing if there would be an attack, rebuilding broken homes that were easier to repair than the broken hearts of the families they held, and traumatic experiences, such as planes diving down low in an attempt to scare as explained by Micci, all hold truth to Jager’s point that war continued.

[1] Phone Interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr., December 6, 2017

[2] Phone Interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr., November 3, 2017

[3] Phone Interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr., November 3, 2017

[4] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 56.

[5] “Inch’ŏn landing” Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/Inchon-landing

[6] Phone Interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr., November 3, 2017

[7] “Eisenhower goes to Korea” History.com. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/eisenhower-goes-to-korea

[8] Harrison, Selig S. “Ending the Korean War.” In Korean Endgame: A Strategy for Reunification and U.S. Disengagement, 154-73. PRINCETON; OXFORD: Princeton University Press, 2002. JSTOR

[9] Gabriel Jonsson. “The Peace-keeping Role of the American troops in South Korea” http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:482372/FULLTEXT01.pdf

[10] “U.S. Marine Operations in Korea Vol 5 1950-1953” U.S. Marine Corps. http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/U.S.%20Marine%20Operations%20in%20Korea%20Vol%205%201950%20-%201953%20%20PCN%2019000264000_3.pdf?ver=2012-10-11-164146-607

[11] Phone Interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr., December 6, 2017

[12] Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc 2013), 286.

 

Transcript from phone interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr. on November 3, 2017. Recorded on MacBook Pro, Carlisle, PA

Q. How did you feel when war broke out?

A.We had just finished World War 2 a few years before and we thought we were going to have peace. People in the United States were relieved because the war was so long. We really didn’t like it at all. We were not prepared for another war at all and we just disbanded millions of people from the war. No one liked going to war again and they were just a little, dinky country and we had enormous power, even to this day. We were tired of war. World War 2 was so long and so many people died when I was just a kid so we didn’t want another war. It was just terrible!

Q. Did you enjoy any part of the war?

A. I was just a young kid. I wasn’t very political and didn’t know much and all I knew was bullets. They were shooting and I was a little bit scared. The main thing I was scared of was the planes. They would dive down over us. They weren’t shooting at us though. The “migs” would come in close and scare us. I think a lot of the people didn’t want another war. We weren’t afraid of them at all. In those days you know I was going with your grandmother and I was more interested in having fun with her. I loved all the swimming and canoeing…everything.

Q. Once Douglas MacArthur was fired, did you have any belief in Eisenhower?

A. He was sort of a weakling. He didn’t want to go into North Korea and he wanted peace. MacArthur wanted to continue the war because he said you’re always going to have war with these people, and he was right. When they were firing MacArthur we didn’t want that, he was a big hero in World War 2.

Q. Do you feel like your efforts were worth it with thousands of Americans dying and thousands more wounded only for the war to end in a treaty and not even finish the war?

A. I was sort of happy we were able to go home and not have a big, long war because we just lived through a big war with World War 2. In that respect I was happy, but down deep I sort of wanted to go on and finish the thing because I think I believed more in MacArthur than Eisenhower. I think that was a general consensus of many people. I think maybe we wouldn’t have what we have now, which is imminent threat of nuclear weapons, if we had dealt with North Korea when we should have.

Q. What do you remember most about being in Korea and the war?

A. Just that the people were so poor and the [North Koreans] wanted to fight. You know they were communists and the Cold War was in full swing. It divided the peninsula and we wanted peace and some North Koreans didn’t want that and they wanted the whole peninsula.

Q. Did the capturing of Seoul kind of change the morale or the outlook of the war?

A. That was great oh my God. That was so great we were so happy. We thought the war was all over. Of course then the Chinese got involved.

Transcript from phone interview with Joseph M. Micci Sr. on December 6, 2017. Recorded on MacBook Pro, Carlisle, PA

Q. What was your typical day like?

A. Oh, we were just watching the frontier and reinforcing the 38th They were assaulting once in a while and we would have to shoot at them and go back into our foxholes. They gave us some trouble but not a lot. It was nasty how the weather was. God, it was cold and sometimes hot, just terrible. It got very boring, very boring but it was day after day.

Q. Did you help reestablish the people of South Korea?

A. Yeah we did a lot of work. We helped them with their homes especially. We had carpenters and plasters. A lot of them were blasted out a little bit and we tried to help with the reconstruction. Also, I was helping some of the children. Mainly guarding the frontier up there that was about it. Nothing was happening, for you it was probably very boring. Very rarely any action.

Busing and the Desegregation of Boston’s Public Schools: A View from the Eye of the Storm

 

 

Desegregation, the fight against Jim Crow laws, and the greater American Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1900s routinely bring about thoughts of the battles fought and won in Southern states by martyrs such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. Yet 1970’s Boston, the “cradle of liberty,” would play host to one of the boldest and most controversial desegregation movements of the era. Paul Long does not remember his first day at South Boston High School in the fall of 1974, nor would any of his close friends and classmates; none of them attended school that day. September 12, 1974 would mark the first day in a long fight for, and against, desegregation in the Boston Public School system. Through a busing plan put forth by Judge W. Arthur Garrity, students would be transplanted to schools outside of their home neighborhood in an effort to combat the racial imbalance the city had seen in its schools for well over a century.

 

The fight for desegregation in the Boston school system dates back well before Garrity’s 1974 decision. In fact, it is likely that Boston was the first city in the United States to consider and commence desegregation efforts. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Boston schools were not segregated. Yet in the wake of harassment and mistreatment of black children by teachers and fellow students, separate schools for black students were privately funded and built as early as 1798. However, some 40 years later parents of black students began to petition the prejudice created by separate schools that they had seen form over time.[1] Sarah Roberts, a 5-year-old African American, had to travel far outside of her neighborhood, past five schools, to get to her underfunded, primarily black school. Her father, Benjamin, sued the city of Boston on behalf of a group of parents that argued the enrollment process for Boston’s school was unlawful.[2] Although the court ruled in favor of the city, the case rallied support and in 1855, the State Legislature passed the nation’s first official act of desegregation.[3] The ruling in Roberts v. The City of Boston would be the first instance of “separate but equal,” and would be later cited in the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) that formally established the doctrine on a national level.[4] Years after this ruling, Brown v. Board of Education (1954) established that separate schools for black and white students was unconstitutional, effectively overturning Plessy v. Ferguson and Roberts v. The City of Boston.

 

In the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Massachusetts State Legislature passed the Racial Imbalance Act in 1965, requiring the integration of all schools in the state, including Boston’s. The act ruled that any school with a minority enrollment greater than fifty percent was “racially imbalanced,” and would require desegregation efforts so reconcile it. Boston was home to nearly every racially imbalanced school, and as such, the Boston School Committee strongly resisted the act. In 1972, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Boston School Committee by the NAACP on behalf of 14 black parents and 44 black students. Tallulah Morgan headed the group of plaintiffs against James Hennigan, the Chairman of the school committee. Morgan argued “the city and state had consistently denied black children equal opportunities to a public school education by intentionally creating and maintaining a segregated educational system.”[5] On Just 21, 1974, after more than two years of deliberation, the presiding Judge W. Arthur Garrity handed down his decision in favor of Morgan, ordering the immediate desegregation of Boston’s public schools through busing.

 

Garrity’s decision sent shockwaves throughout the Boston neighborhoods leaving residents with a variety of reactions. Paul Long, just fourteen years old at the time, looked back on the ruling: “At the time, I wasn’t too aware of the local political climate, but did know about the civil rights activism going on in the South. I didn’t think the situation was so similar in Boston. But looking

Students Pelting a Bus. Courtesy of the Boston Globe

back on it all, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise.”[6] Although court rulings in the years leading up to 1974 would clearly lead one to expect such a decision, many white Bostonians felt that Garrity’s ruling was an attack against their communities and livelihoods: “ Morgan v. Hennigan came to be perceived as Garrity v. Hennigan, even Garrity v. Boston. Across the city that fall of 1974, slogans appeared on walls, bridges, and roadways: ‘Bus Garrity,’ ‘Fuck Garrity,’ ‘Kill Garrity.’ He was hung and burned in effigy.”[7] Hundreds of people and families protested outside his home in the weeks following the ruling, and eventually federal marshals had to be stationed on his property after men had been apprehended on separate occasions en route to his house with an M-16 and a homemade bomb.[8] Furthermore, angry Bostonians sent threatening letters to his office: “Thousands of letters poured into his chambers, some reasoned arguments against busing, but most of them fierce attacks on his character and lineage (‘nigger lover,’ ‘Nazi,’ ‘child murderer’).”[9] Such hatred towards Garrity would not settle for years.

The most notable element of Garrity’s plan was the busing of students between the poor, black neighborhood of Roxbury and the white, Irish Catholic neighborhood of South Boston – polarizing communities at the time. According to Dr. William Reid, South Boston High School’s Headmaster, “It was like the hostage system of the Middle Ages, whereby the princes of opposing crowns were kept in rival kings’ courts as a preventive against war.”[10] On the first day, black and white parents alike feared for their children’s safety. In South Boston, Peggy Cosetta was worrisome, for her (white) son “Billy was starting his junior year, and like the whole South Boston High junior

Courtesy of the Boston Globe

class, he was now required to get on a bus and go to Roxbury. She felt like her family was caught in a nightmare. What right did the government have to force her son to leave the safety of his own neighborhood?”[11] On the other side of the city in Roxbury, Phyllis Ellison was excited for her first day of school; she had gotten up extra early and had put on a new outfit she had saved up for. However, her mother Queen felt differently. “Unlike Phyllis, Queen had risen that morning with a tinge of dread. She spent her early life in the deep South, in Mississippi, and was raised in Roxbury, where she learned quickly that black people did not often venture into South Boston… But she also knew that black children, her children, were the ones taking the risk … Phyllis was quiet and vulnerable, and Queen worried.”[12]

Long, like the rest of his classmates, did not go to school on the first day. “I didn’t go to school on the first day, and I’m not sure if anyone I knew did. Most families in Southie were harshly against the busing and didn’t allow their kids to go to school for some time.”[13] Throughout the city, Long and his classmates, along with their parents, siblings, and almost every other white Bostonian, lined the streets in protest of the new busing. Buses carrying black students were led by police, and upon arrival the students were escorted into the school building. All along the way, protestors threw rocks and bricks at the buses, shouted slurs and insults, and spat towards black students. “People would throw anything they could find on the ground at the buses. Others brought bricks and larger stones to throw. Some people spat on the students after they got off the buses. But everyone was yelling.”[14]

The protests and violence continued far past the first day of school. For months, white students refused to attend school, while those that did constantly harassed and attacked black students. “I don’t remember the exact date, but in mid-October I finally went to school. It was weird, but what I expected. Within the first few days I had seen black students get harassed, called names.”[15] ROAR, or Restore Our Alienated Rights, was the largest anti-busing group in Boston, led mostly by women and mothers. The group organized numerous marches and protests and were fearless in their actions: “One day in fall 1975, about 400 Charlestown mothers marched up Bunker Hill Street, clutching rosary beads and reciting the “Hail Mary.” They knelt in prayer for several minutes on the pavement between Charlestown High and the Bunker Hill Monument. And then they stood up and walked toward the police line, still in prayer, handbags held high to shield their faces. Soon a scuffle broke out between the mothers and the police. Some women were tossed to the ground.”[16] In other Boston neighborhoods, however, the conflict was not as extreme as the likes of South Boston and Charlestown. Cassandra and Wayne Twymon were bused to Brighton and saw far less conflict. “On balance, the Twymons enjoyed their year at Brighton, especially when they came home each night to watch television coverage of the violence at South Boston and Hyde Park. The kids who braved the fury of those places were street celebrities, seasoned veterans of the school wars.”[17] The worst part about those school wars, however, was that they wouldn’t end for some time. In fact, they would continue for years as the desegregation initiative continued.

 

In American Dreams, H.W. Brands starts and ends his discussion on the desegregation of schooling with Brown v. Board of Education. However, it is clear that the battle for desegregation ran far deeper, and over a much longer span of time. In Boston’s case, it would require multiple court rulings and over 120 years before the desegregation that was promised would be implemented. At the same time, the reasons for activism against busing were far greater than simple racism. For some, it was perceived as a threat to their way of life and community. “Normally, reasonable citizens in neighborhoods, as Salvucci put it, control ‘the crazies.’ But the reasonable types were offended by the plan and left the stage to the militants. And all sorts of persons, all across the city, viewed desegregation as “a Harvard plan for the working class man.”[18] Others questioned the success of busing in relation to its overall harm: “Although the temperature of local race relations had been rising in recent years, busing pushed it above the boiling point. What was once a generally idle racial animus between blacks and whites swelled into seething bigotry. When the buses pulled up to high schools in white neighborhoods, police had to escort black teenagers through a gauntlet of throw, n rocks and bottles; the students heard shouts of “Die, niggers, die!” and saw signs that read “Bus Them Back to Africa!” If segregation was psychologically harmful to black students, as the Supreme Court had it, how much more harmful was busing?”[19] Similarly, busing was not universally favored by black students and parents, as “whites were not the only Bostonians choking on it. Polls taken during the early days of busing show that only bare majorities of blacks favored the policy.[20] Although busing in Boston will forever leave a blemish on the city’s history, it does provide interesting insight into thoughts on desegregation in a city that was not historically segregated to the extent of the Jim Crow South. Further, Boston’s busing story uncovers concerns that Americans experienced on a micro-level during simultaneous events including the Watergate Scandal, the Cold War, and a major national financial crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] “Prelude to Brown – 1849: Roberts v. The City of Boston.” Brown Foundation. https://brownvboard.org/content/prelude-brown-1849-roberts-v-city-boston.

 

[2] Miletsky, Zebulon Vance. “Before Busing: Boston’s Long Movement for Civil Rights and the Legacy of Jim Crow in the “Cradle of Liberty”.” Journal of Urban History 43, no. 2 (2017): 207.

 

[3] Miletsky, Zebulon Vance. “Before Busing: Boston’s Long Movement for Civil Rights and the Legacy of Jim Crow in the “Cradle of Liberty”.” Journal of Urban History 43, no. 2 (2017): 207.

 

[4] “Plessy v. Ferguson.” LII / Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/163/537.

 

[5] Hornburger, Jane M. “Deep are the Roots: Busing in Boston.” The Journal of Negro Education45, no. 3 (1976): 237.

 

[6] Interview with Paul Long, email, November 8, 2017

 

[7] Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground. Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. 244.

 

[8] Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground. Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. 245.

 

[9] Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground. Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. 244.

 

[10] Formisano, Ronald P. Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. 70.

 

[11] Irons, Meghan E., Shelley Murphy, and Jenna Russell. “History Rolled in on a Yellow School Bus.” The Boston Globe, September 7, 2014.

 

[12] Irons, Meghan E., Shelley Murphy, and Jenna Russell. “History Rolled in on a Yellow School Bus.” The Boston Globe, September 7, 2014.

 

[13] Interview with Paul Long, email, November 8, 2017

 

[14] Interview with Paul Long, in person, November 22, 2017

 

[15] Interview with Paul Long, in person, November 22, 2017

 

[16] Richer, Matthew. “Busing’s Boston Massacre.” Policy Review Nov/Dec 98, no. 92 (November 1998): 42-50.

 

[17] Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground. Alfred A. Knopf, 1985. 279.

 

[18] Formisano, Ronald P. Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012. 71.

 

[19] Richer, Matthew. “Busing’s Boston Massacre.” Policy Review Nov/Dec 98, no. 92 (November 1998): 42-50.

 

[20] Richer, Matthew. “Busing’s Boston Massacre.” Policy Review Nov/Dec 98, no. 92 (November 1998): 42-50.

 

Selected Transcript

 

– Email, November 8, 2017

 

 

Were you at all surprised by the decision to implement forced busing in Boston schools?

 

As a fourteen year old going into his freshman year, yes. At the time, I wasn’t too aware of the local political climate, but did know about the civil rights activism going on in the South. I didn’t think the situation was so similar in Boston. But looking back on it all, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. There was policy already in place that should have desegregated the schools, but it wasn’t until my freshman year that it was really put in place.

 

What was the first day of school like for you and your friends? To what extent did the violence/protesting come into the school and classroom?

 

Actually, I didn’t go to school on the first day, and I’m not sure if anyone I knew did. Most families in Southie were harshly against the busing and didn’t allow their kids to go to school for some time. So I cant really speak to what it was like at the beginning, but when I got there the tension was clear. There would be fights and attacks on black students in the halls day-to-day, but the real violence was outside of the school.

 

Who were the most active in the anti-busing campaign? Specifically, were there any groups/demographics that stood out among others? What was their reasoning behind it all?

 

From what I remember, the mothers of students were really the driving force behind most of the protests. But as far as the violent protests went, men and women of all ages were involved. Some were protesting the busing because they wanted to keep the community as it was, but it was clear that others protested for reasons of race. What you may not realize is that there were a significant number of black students and parents that were also against the busing. In their case, my best guess would be them seeing the cost as outweighing the benefit at the time.

 

What impact did the busing have on your school and community? Did things eventually go “back to normal” over time?

 

Certainly not during my time there. Actually, a few of my friends moved out of Boston with their families because of the busing issue. But that was because they could afford it. I never really knew what a normal day of school was like. Nearly every day there was some sort of issue regarding race and busing. It was certainly harshest at first, but over time things slowly started to come together, but never to a place where it wasn’t an clear problem.

Technology on Wall Street Since 1987: for Better or Worse

Technology on Wall Street Since 1987: for Better or Worse

By: Charlie Luparello

Courtesy of Investment U

Courtesy of Investment U

In 1987, Steve Luparello was working as a junior lawyer for the SEC, in its Division of Market Regulation. The group was responsible for overseeing and regulating a number of different participants in the markets, including brokers and exchanges. The months leading up to October 19, 1987 were comparable to the other stock market crashes in United States history. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at a high and the market continued to rise steadily. Traders were experiencing great success, prompting even people with little market experience to test their chances.  

One of the main factors behind the markets success was program trading. Program trading was a method used by traders in which an automated system bought and sold stocks once the value reached a certain level, and was usually used by larger companies.[1] Although at the time, many traders considered program trading a flawless system, eventually issues began to become evident. Originally, program trading worked as intended. The problem with program trading was the program assumed the person controlling it was the only one buying and selling, when in fact many traders were using the same method. Although there were warning signs of the possible shift of the stock market, traders and investors carried on with their routine. Eventually, on Friday October 16, 1987 the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted. The DJIA dropped 108 points on that day, making it the first hundred-point loss in a twenty-four-hour period. People involved with the stock market were frustrated by the drop, but knew 108 points was manageable. The next trading day, Monday the 19th, the market went from bad to worse. On the morning of Monday October 19, 1987, the DJIA had an initial drop of 200 points.[2] When asked about his reaction to the initial drop Luparello responded, “In some ways there was fear, because there really was no telling how far the market would fall and what that might do to the overall economy.”[3] The fear was justified, as by the end of the day the DIJA dropped a total of 508 points, the largest loss on a single day in stock market history. October 19th, which later became known as Black Monday, was worse than any single day during the Great Depression and had many fearing a profound effect on the economy.[4] In addition, the United States was not the only stock market that experienced difficulties. After the October 16th drop other major foreign stock markets crashed including Tokyo, London and Frankfurt.[5]

During 1987 Stock Market crash regulators suffered from a lack of technology. When asked about how an absence of technology affected Luparello’s situation, he responded, “…the lack of sophisticated technology also added to the level of surprise that we experienced during the event. If our monitoring tools were as ‘modern’ as the trading systems, there was a chance we could have put certain protections in place to minimize the size of the crash.”[6] The SEC did not have the advanced technology to easily deal with the events that were unfolding, because advancements that occurred on Wall Street were more complex and sophisticated.  

A common theme in the stock market is that new technology will be developed and regulators will create new rules and advancements to counter the traders. The issue regarding the Crash of 1987 was the newest technology on Wall Street ultimately contributed to the crash. Many traders considered program trading the future of Wall Street. For a period of time, program trading was making people a large sum of money and everybody thought they had solved the puzzle of stock trading.  The regulator’s response to the issue program trading brought was to implement circuit breakers.[7] Circuit breakers prevent panic selling and ensure the DJIA will never move too far too fast. With circuit breakers in place there is little fear of another crash based of program trading.  

Since the crash of 1987, the stock market has constantly evolved and developed new technology. Although the stock market crash was only thirty years ago, the stock market today is completely different than in the past. A major change in the past thirty years is the diminished roles of New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. During 1987 the NYSE and NASDAQ were titans of the stock trading industry. Today, the NYSE and NASDAQ are still the two biggest exchanges in the country, but control significantly less activity due to more competition.[8] Technology has given traders an easier and more efficient way to trade. In the late 1980’s, stock trading involved a significant amount of human interaction. Now everything is online and the entire process is easier. The internet is a major reason why trading has become a faster process. Present day traders can do research, buy, and sell stock from anywhere. Luparello discussed the downfall of the role of people involved with the stock market by stating,Pre-1987, human beings still played a big role, always deciding what to buy, but also pretty much using human instinct on how to buy. Now, human touch is still a big part of what to buy, but computer algorithms control the how, and if humans tried to compete, they would lose.”[9]

Courtesy of CNBC

When traders develop new technology, it is usually in an attempt to make trading stocks easier and quicker, and sometimes that creates problems in the stock market. Regulators will then need to create a solution to the problem the traders have created, and this often calls for the creation of new rules or new technology. In 2010 the S&P 500, the DJIA, and the Nasdaq suddenly dropped and quickly recovered with little know reason. The quick collapse of the exchanges became known as the Flash Crash.[10] As a response to the Flash Crash regulators forced markets to create market access controls. Market access controls limit the total amount of orders sent out on the market at a single time, which makes another flash crash much less likely. In an ideal world, regulators could develop strategies that would stop market disasters before they happened, but that type of forward thinking is very challenging.

Throughout American Dreams, the author, H.W. Brands, references the theme that America will continuously advance and technology will help drive it. New technology creates a quick change in people’s lives. A quick change may be beneficial, but can also be harmful. New technology will be developed and this creation will make everyday life easier, but because technology can create risk, legislators may have to create certain rules regarding these advancements. Wall Street is similar to the real world because whenever traders develop a new system or method, usually regulators will have to construct rules in response. Ideally, regulators would be able to control the stock market and prevent any difficult situations with the technology that they have acquired. For example, regulators create new responses based off what the market has already experienced. Luparello described the situation as, “But the reality is that regulator’s tools always lag behind the tools the market uses.”[11] 

Technology on Wall Street and in the real world have certain parallels. A cell phone ten years ago would be a large piece of plastic with the sole purpose of calling. In the present day, a smartphone is not only a phone, but also a computer, a watch, and a camera, among other things. But progress brings risk. New technology may lead to stress, distraction, or a higher level of deception. Although technology backfires, often new advancements are beneficial.   

Just like on Wall Street, new legislation is necessary in order to control new technology. Certain laws have been placed on new technology, such as the internet, regarding what can and cannot be done. must be progressive. For both Wall Street and the real world, new technology is essential because the world must progress. It is important however because new technology can be either harmful or beneficial, for regulators to monitor and control it.

 

[1] Dean Furbush. “Program Trading.” Library of Economics and Liberty. (2002) 

[2] H.W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Books, 2010), 265 

[3] Email interview with Steve Luparello, November 5, 2017 

[4] Ronald H. Filler, “When All Else Fails.” Financial History, no. 188 (2016): 32 

[5] Ulrike Schaede,  “Black Monday in New York, Blue Tuesday in Tokyo: The October 1987 Crash in Japan.” California Management Review 33, no. 2: 42 

[6] Email interview with Steve Luparello, December 3, 2017 

[7] Schaede, 39 

[8] “U.S. Equities Market Volume Summary.” Cboe Global Markets. Accessed December 07, 2017. http://markets.cboe.com/us/equities/market_share/. 

[9] Email interview with Steve Luparello, December 3, 2017 

[10] Edgar Ortega Barrales,  “Lessons From the Flash Crash for the Regulation of High-Frequency Traders.” Fordham Journal Of Corporate & Financial Law 17, no. 4: 1196 

[11] Email interview with Steve Luparello, December 3, 2017 

SELECTIONS FROM INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS  

-Email, November 5, 2017 

-Email, December 3, 2017 

Selected Transcript  

Q. “What was your initial reaction upon learning of the drop of the Dow Jones Industrial average, and what was the overall mood of the work place?Did you have any fears after realizing the situation, if so, what were they?” 

A. “Some different emotions, as you would expect.  In some ways there was fear, because there really was no telling how far the market would fall and what that might do to the overall economy.  But in other ways, there was excitement. I know this doesn’t sound all that great, but my colleagues and friends were mostly young, relatively recently out of college or law school, and much more likely to have student loan debt than to have big stock portfolios, so there wasn’t really a direct personal concern.  And I think we sensed that the event was going to change our jobs, and so that seemed kind of exciting.” 

Q. “What effect did the lack of technology have on your specific situation?” 

A. “In the immediate aftermath, it meant that we had to try to understand a market that had a large technology component using shockingly manual tools, like eyeballing pages and pages of old fashioned computer printouts and doing calculations by hand. But the lack of sophisticated technology also added to the level of surprise that we experienced during the event.  If our monitoring tools were as “modern” as the trading systems, there was a chance we could have put certain protections in place to minimize the size of the crash. But just a chance.” 

 Q. “What major changes has the Stock Market seen since 1987?” 

A. “It is a completely different place than it was 30 years ago. Back then, NYSE and Nasdaq completely dominated the market, handling 90+% of activity in the stocks listed on their markets. Today that number is closer to 20%, as they face competition unlike anything they have seen before.  Then, people running around on the floor of the NYSE was a major way trading got done.  Now the floor of the NYSE barely matters at all. The amount of trading that occurs on an average day is about 25 times larger than it was at the time.  What would have been a record day in 1987, would now be done in a slow hour. But obviously, the biggest change is technology.  Pre-1987, human beings still played a big role, always deciding what to buy, but also pretty much using human instinct on how to buy. Now, human touch is still a big part of what to buy, but computer algorithms control the how, and if humans tried to compete, they would lose.” 

 Q. “What important technological changes has the market adopted since 1987, and has the addition of newer technology helped prevent possible disasters?” 

A. “It’s a bit of an endless race. The market develops new technologies and strategies, and the regulators respond with new technologies, and with new rules.  That works pretty well in terms of making sure that we don’t have a market crisis that looks like a previous market crisis.  For example, I think we figured out immediately after 1987 how to prevent program trading from sending a market into free fall, mostly through the creation of rules called circuit breakers, so we knew how to prevent a repeat.  Likewise, after the Flash Crash, regulators required the markets to create what are called “market access controls, “which puts a limit on the number of orders that can be sent to the market at one time.  Those rules, and the technologies to implement the rules, makes another Flash Crash highly unlikely.   What’s harder is trying to figure out how to prevent a completely new disaster.”