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History's Happenings for August 14

Japan Surrenders!

(Stay tuned for a write-up on this event.
On the other hand, if you'd like to try writing
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Oregon Territory Established

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one  ... send it in! )

Boxer Rebellion Crushed

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, imperial China had endured British oppression during the unfortunate Opium Wars, and had had clashes with a variety of other foreign powers, most hoping to gain economic hegemony as the old empire unwound. From this wellspring of xenophobia sprang a secret society of ordinary Chinese called, in English, the Boxers.

By 1899 the Boxers had carried their detestation of foreign influence to the point of rebellion, killing both foreign nationals and Chinese Christians in an effort to wash their country clean of western influence wherever it had made inroads.

The Chinese government, nominally ruled by its emperor Kuang-Hsü, but really under the thumb of aging Empress Dowager T'zu-Hsi ("Susie" to western elites of the time), played both sides, secretly supporting the Boxer cause. As the insurgency reached Peking, the Empress openly threw her support to the Boxers, ordering the killing of all foreigners. When the German Consul, seeking out the Empress in pursuit of peace, was hacked down by Chinese guards, the foreign legations quickly sealed themselves off in the embassy quarter of the ancient walled city and undertook a brave but crude defense.

On August 14, 1900, troops representing most of the besieged legations, including British, French, American, German, Russian and Japanese forces, entered Peking and proceeded to invest the city and end the 55-day siege.

A peace treaty was subsequently signed on September 7, 1901. In 1908, both T'zu-Hsi and emperor Kuang-Hsü died on the same day, leaving a toddler -- P'u-Yi -- as heir. The ancient empire met its final end in a republican revolution only a few years later.

Social Security Act Becomes Law

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FDR, Churchill Issue Atlantic Charter

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