THIS DAY IN HISTORY FEBRUARY 23 1945 : Six U.S. servicemen raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Japanese  Iō-jima,  island that is part of the Volcano Islands archipelago, Japan. It lies in the western Pacific at a point about 760 miles (1,220 km) south-southeast of Tokyo. Iwo Jima is irregular in shape; it is about 5 miles (8 km) long, ranges from 800 yards to 2.5 miles (730 m to 4 km) wide, and has an area of 8 square miles (20 square km).

Iwo Jima was under Japanese control until early in 1945, when it became the scene of a fierce battle between Japanese and invading U.S. troops during the last phases of World War II. The island was strategically important because, if captured, it could serve as a base for U.S. fighter planes to accompany U.S. heavy bombers flying to Japan from bases on Saipan, an island 700 miles (1,100 km) farther south that U.S. troops had taken in 1944. Two U.S. Marine divisions landed on Iwo Jima Feb. 19–21, 1945, and were followed by a third later in the month. The island’s Japanese defenders had entrenched themselves so effectively in caves that weeks of preliminary naval and air bombardment failed to appreciably weaken their ability to offer tenacious resistance to the Marines’ amphibious landing. The struggle for possession of the island continued for almost a month before it was officially pronounced captured by the United States. The hardest struggles were for the occupation of a height that U.S. forces labeled Meatgrinder Hill, in the north, and Mount Suribachi, an extinct volcano in the south.
The raising of the American flag over Mount Suribachi (February 23), which was photographed by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, resulted in one of the best-known photographic images of the Pacific war. This picture was widely reprinted, and statues, paintings, and a U.S. postage stamp were based on it. (The photograph actually depicts the second flag raising over Mount Suribachi, after a first flag raised an hour or two earlier had proved too small to be visible to other U.S. troops on the island.)
About 21,000 Japanese troops were killed and some 1,000 captured in the main battle and subsequent operations. U.S. casualties totaled about 28,000, including about 6,800 killed. Iwo Jima and the other Volcano Islands were administered by the United States from 1945 until they were returned to Japan in 1968.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY FEBRUARY 16 1903 : American ventriloquist and radio comedian Edgar Bergen was born in Chicago.

byname of  Edgar John Bergren  noted American ventriloquist and radio comedian whose career in vaudeville, radio, and motion pictures spanned almost 60 years. Bergen was best known as the foil of his ventriloquist’s dummy Charlie McCarthy. The “Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy Show” was a permanent fixture on American network radio from 1937 until 1957. Other characters created by Bergen, such as Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker, were woven into the perennially popular program, which was rated as radio’s most popular in 1937–40 and 1942–43, and among the top seven from 1937 to 1952.
Bergen’s parents took him on a visit to their native Sweden when he was four years old; there he learned the language that various of his later characters would occasionally articulate. He attended public schools in Chicago where, when he was 11, he discovered a facility for vocal tricks that gave him an interest in ventriloquism. He had the head of the dummy Charlie McCarthy carved (although he made the body himself) while he was still in high school. By the time he attended Northwestern University he was proficient enough to earn his expenses with ventriloquism and magic tricks.
He went into vaudeville and performed in nightclubs in the United States and Europe. During World War II Bergen took Charlie with him to entertain American service personnel, touring the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and Greenland and appearing on many special radio shows. After their radio show terminated, Bergen and McCarthy appeared often as guests on variety television shows.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY FEBRUARY 14 1876: Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone.

Scottish-born American audiologist best known as the inventor of the telephone (1876). For two generations his family had been recognized as leading authorities in elocution and speech correction, with Alexander Melville Bell’s Standard Elocutionist passing through nearly 200 editions in English. Young Bell and his two brothers were trained to continue the family profession. His early achievements on behalf of the deaf and his invention of the telephone before his 30th birthday bear testimony to the thoroughness of his training.
Alexander (“Graham” was not added until he was 11) was the second of the three sons of Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds Bell. Apart from one year at a private school, two years at Edinburgh’s Royal High School (from which he was graduated at 14), and attendance at a few lectures at Edinburgh University and at University College in London, Bell was largely family trained and self-taught. His first professional post was at Mr. Skinner’s school in Elgin, County Moray, where he instructed the children in both music and elocution. In 1864 he became a resident master in Elgin’s Weston House Academy, where he conducted his first studies in sound. Appropriately, Bell had begun professionally as he would continue through life—as a teacher-scientist.
In 1868 he became his father’s assistant in London and assumed full charge while the senior Bell lectured in America. The shock of the sudden death of his older brother from tuberculosis, which had also struck down his younger brother, and the strain of his professional duties soon took their toll on young Bell. Concern for their only surviving son prompted the family’s move to Canada in August 1870, where, after settling near Brantford, Ont., Bell’s health rapidly improved.
In 1871 Bell spent several weeks in Boston, lecturing and demonstrating the system of his father’s Visible Speech, published in 1866, as a means of teaching speech to the deaf. Each phonetic symbol indicated a definite position of the organs of speech such as lips, tongue, and soft palate and could be used by the deaf to imitate the sounds of speech in the usual way. Young A. Graham Bell, as he now preferred to be known, showed, using his father’s system, that speech could be taught to the deaf. His astounding results soon led to further invitations to lecture.
Even while vacationing at his parents’ home Bell continued his experiments with sound. In 1872 he opened his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf, edited his pamphlet Visible Speech Pioneer, and continued to study and tutor; in 1873 he became professor of vocal physiology at Boston University.
Never adept with his hands, Bell had the good fortune to discover and inspire Thomas Watson, a young repair mechanic and model maker, who assisted him enthusiastically in devising an apparatus for transmitting sound by electricity. Their long nightly sessions began to produce tangible results. The fathers of George Sanders and Mabel Hubbard, two deaf students whom he helped, were sufficiently impressed with the young teacher to assist him financially in his scientific pursuits. Nevertheless, during normal working hours Bell and Watson were still obliged to fulfill a busy schedule of professional demands. It is scarcely surprising that Bell’s health again suffered. On April 6, 1875, he was granted the patent for his multiple telegraph; but after another exhausting six months of long nightly sessions in the workshop, while maintaining his daily professional schedule, Bell had to return to his parents’ home in Canada to recuperate. In September 1875 he began to write the specifications for the telephone. On March 7, 1876, the United States Patent Office granted to Bell Patent Number 174,465 covering “The method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically . . . by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sounds.”
Within a year followed the commercial application and, a few months later, the first of hundreds of legal suits. Ironically, the telephone—until then all too often regarded as a joke and its creator-prophet as, at best, an eccentric—was the subject of the most involved patent litigation in history. The two most celebrated of the early actions were the Dowd and Drawbaugh cases wherein the fledgling Bell Telephone Company successfully challenged two subsidiaries of the giant Western Union Telegraph Company for patent infringement. The charges and accusations were especially painful to Bell’s Scottish integrity, but the outcome of all the litigation, which persisted throughout the life of his patents, was that Bell’s claims were upheld as the first to conceive and apply the undulatory current. In 1877 Bell married Mabel Hubbard, 10 years his junior.
The Bell story does not end with the invention of the telephone; indeed, in many ways it was a beginning. A resident of Washington, D.C., Bell continued his experiments in communication, which culminated in the invention of the photophone—transmission of sound on a beam of light; in medical research; and in techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.
In 1880 France honoured Bell with the Volta Prize; and the 50,000 francs (roughly equivalent to U.S. $10,000) financed the Volta Laboratory, where, in association with Charles Sumner Tainter and his cousin, Chichester A. Bell, Bell invented the Graphophone. Employing an engraving stylus, controllable speeds, and wax cylinders and disks, the Graphophone presented a practical approach to sound recording. Bell’s share of the royalties financed the Volta Bureau and the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (since 1956 the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf ). May 8, 1893, was one of Bell’s happiest days; his 13-year-old prodigy, Helen Keller, participated in the ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Volta Bureau building—today an international information centre relating to the oral education of the deaf.
In 1885 Bell acquired land on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. There, in surroundings reminiscent of his early years in Scotland, he established a summer home, Beinn Bhreagh, complete with research laboratories.
In 1898 Bell succeeded his father-in-law as president of the National Geographic Society. Convinced that geography could be taught through pictures, he sought to promote an understanding of life in distant lands in an age when travel was limited to a privileged few. Again he found the proper hands, Gilbert Grosvenor, his future son-in-law, who transformed a modest pamphlet into a unique educational journal reaching millions throughout the world.
As interest in the possibility of flight increased after the turn of the century, he experimented with giant man-carrying kites. Characteristically, Bell again found a group of four willing young enthusiasts to execute his theories. Always an inspiration, Mabel Hubbard Bell, wishing to maintain the stimulating influence of the group, soon founded the Aerial Experiment Association, the first research organization established and endowed by a woman. Deafness was no handicap to the wife of Professor Bell. At Beinn Bhreagh, Bell entered new subjects of investigation, such as sonar detection, solar distillation, the tetrahedron as a structural unit, and hydrofoil craft, one of which weighed more than 10,000 pounds and attained a speed record of 70 miles per hour in 1919.
Apart from his lifelong association with the cause of the deaf, Bell never lingered on one project. His research interests centred on basic principles rather than on refinements. The most cursory examination of his many notebooks shows marginal memos and jottings, often totally unrelated to the subject at hand—reminders of questions and ideas he wanted to investigate. It was impossible for him to carry each of his creative ideas through to a practical end. Many of his conceptions are only today seeing fruition; indeed, some undoubtedly have yet to be developed. The range of his inventive genius is represented only in part by the 18 patents granted in his name alone and the 12 he shared with his collaborators. These included 14 for the telephone and telegraph, 4 for the photophone, 1 for the phonograph, 5 for aerial vehicles, 4 for hydroairplanes, and 2 for a selenium cell.
Until a few days before his death Bell continued to make entries in his journal. During his last dictation he was reassured with “Don’t hurry,” to which he replied, “I have to.”

 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY FEBRUARY 13 2002: The Scottish Parliament passed the Protection of Wild Mammals Bill, which made it illegal to hunt wild mammals with dogs, effectively outlawing foxhunting in Scotland. .

Chase of the fox by horsemen with a pack of hounds. In England, the home of the sport, foxhunting dates from at least the 15th century. In its inception, it was probably an adjunct to stag and hare hunting, with the same hounds used to chase each quarry.
Modern foxhunting took shape in the 19th century shortly after Hugo Meynell, the father of the modern English chase, started hunting, and it soon developed into a national upper-class pastime; Oscar Wilde famously called it “the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.” The sport often followed wherever the British Empire took root. Traditional procedure is still observed and the proper kit worn. A fox hunt is conducted by the master, and, in theory, all who take part in it do so at his invitation, even when they pay for the privilege. The hounds, generally 15 to 20 couples (matched pairs), are controlled by the huntsman, who may be the master himself but is generally the senior paid servant of the hunt. Two or three whippers-in assist in reconnaissance and in keeping the hounds together as a pack. Master, huntsman, and whippers-in take precedence over all other riders to hounds. The huntsman controls hounds by voice, his calls being known as cheers, and by his horn—a copper tube about 8 inches (20 cm) long that produces two notes of great carrying and penetrating quality.
A day’s hunting begins with a meet, at which the followers join the hounds, acknowledge the master, and are frequently offered hospitality by one of their number who acts as host for the occasion. On the command of the master, hounds move off to draw (search) the covert, which may be a woodland, a patch of gorse, or a field in which it is suspected that a fox may be hiding. When the fox is found—the fact being signaled by the cry of hounds, notes of the horn, and the shout “Tally-ho”—the hunt begins and ordinarily proceeds to the stage at which the fox is viewed, a moment signaled by a high-pitched “Holloa.” If a kill follows, the brush (tail), mask (head), and pads (feet) of the fox may be given as trophies by the master to any followers whom he considers to deserve the honour. The body of the fox is then thrown to the hounds.
The foxhunting uniform is usually a scarlet (“pink”) coat with a white stock (cravat) and black velvet cap for the master, huntsman, and whippers-in. Followers of sufficient prestige are invited to wear scarlet, with the individual buttons of the hunt, and a top hat (the velvet cap being strictly the prerogative of those actively engaged in the control of hounds, though by modern usage women may also wear it). Other followers wear black coats, with top hats or bowlers. In the case of some ancestral hunts run by noble families, the uniform may be green, yellow, or gray instead of scarlet. The entourage of a hunt also includes grooms; second horsemen, who ride relief horses for the master, his staff, and leading followers; and earth stoppers, who are supposed to close up all earths, or fox dens.

Before World War I, foxhunting reached a zenith of popularity as an English field sport. Horse and hound breeding had arrived at a highly developed state, and hunting itself was well organized and regulated by the Master of Foxhounds Association. The sport of foxhunting survived a number of difficulties in the 20th century, notably changes in patterns of rural landownership and land use as great landowners were replaced by numerous smallholders, proliferation of barbed-wire fences, hardships caused by World Wars I and II, and some popular opposition to the sport on anticruelty and other grounds. Hunting continued, however, in the second half of the 20th century in England, Wales, Ireland, and parts of Scotland from November, when the harvest was gathered, until April, when new crops began to grow. The sport was also practiced in similar season in some parts of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. In the early 21st century, however, efforts to end the sport intensified, and in 2002 Scotland banned foxhunting. Two years later the British House of Commons outlawed hound-led hunts in England and Wales, and, despite a number of legal challenges, the ban went into effect in early 2005.

Foxhunting continues in many countries but often with slightly different traditions. In the United States, for example, the goal of hound-led hunts is typically not to kill the quarry; the emphasis is on the chase. Moreover, because of the shortage of foxes in some areas and an increasing number of coyotes—which are bigger, faster, and stronger than foxes—coyotes are often hunted instead.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY FEBRUARY 12 1994 : Thieves broke into the National Gallery in Oslo and stole The Scream (later recovered), one of several versions Norwegian artist Edvard Munch made of his most famous painting.

Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century. His painting The Scream, or The Cry (1893), can be seen as a symbol of modern spiritual anguish.

Early years:
Munch was born into a middle-class family that was plagued with ill health. His mother died when he was five, his eldest sister when he was 14, both of tuberculosis; Munch eventually captured the latter event in his first masterpiece, The Sick Child (1885–86). Munch’s father and brother also died when he was still young, and another sister developed mental illness. “Illness, insanity, and death,” as he said, “were the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life.”
Munch showed a flair for drawing at an early age but received little formal training. An important factor in his artistic development was the Kristiania Bohème, a circle of writers and artists in Kristiania, as Oslo was then called. Its members believed in free love and generally opposed bourgeois narrow-mindedness. One of the older painters in the circle, Christian Krohg, gave Munch both instruction and encouragement.
Munch soon outgrew the prevailing naturalist aesthetic in Kristiania, partly as a result of his assimilation of French Impressionism after a trip to Paris in 1889 and his contact from about 1890 with the work of the Post-Impressionist painters Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. In some of his paintings from this period he adopted the Impressionists’ open brushstrokes, but Gauguin’s use of the bounding line was to prove more congenial to him, as was the Synthetist artists’ ambition to go beyond the depiction of external nature and give form to an inner vision. His friend the Danish poet Emanuel Goldstein introduced him to French Decadent Symbolist poetry during this period, which helped him formulate a new philosophy of art, imbued with a pantheistic conception of sexuality.

 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY FEBRUARY 11 1945 : The Yalta Conference between the Allied leaders of World War II came to a close.

(Feb. 4–11, 1945), major World War II conference of the three chief Allied leaders, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union (see ), which met at Yalta in the Crimea to plan the final defeat and occupation of Nazi Germany.

It had already been decided that Germany would be divided into occupied zones administered by U.S., British, French, and Soviet forces. The conferees accepted the principle that the Allies had no duty toward the Germans except to provide minimum subsistence, declared that the German military industry would be abolished or confiscated, and agreed that major war criminals would be tried before an international court, which subsequently presided at Nürnberg. The determination of reparations was assigned to a commission.
How to deal with the defeated or liberated countries of eastern Europe was the main problem discussed at the conference. The agreements reached, which were accepted by Stalin, called for “interim governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population . . . and the earliest possible establishment through free elections of governments responsive to the will of the people.” Britain and the United States supported a Polish government-in-exile in London, while the Soviets supported a communist-dominated Polish committee of national liberation in Lublin. Neither the Western Allies nor the Soviet Union would change its allegience, so they could only agree that the Lublin committee would be broadened to include representatives of other Polish political groups, upon which the Allies would recognize it as a provisional government of national unity that would hold free elections to choose a successor government. Poland’s future frontiers were also discussed but not decided.
Regarding the Far East, a secret protocol stipulated that, in return for the Soviet Union’s entering the war against Japan within “two or three months” after Germany’s surrender, the U.S.S.R. would regain the territory lost to Japan in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, and the status quo in pro-Soviet Outer Mongolia would be maintained. Stalin agreed to sign a pact of alliance and friendship with China.
The United Nations organization charter had already been drafted, and the conferees worked out a compromise formula for voting in the Security Council. The Soviets withdrew their claim that all 16 Soviet republics should have membership in the General Assembly.
After the agreements reached at Yalta were made public in 1946, they were harshly criticized in the United States. This was because, as events turned out, Stalin failed to keep his promise that free elections would be held in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Instead, communist governments were established in all those countries, noncommunist political parties were suppressed, and genuinely democratic elections were never held. At the time of the Yalta Conference, both Roosevelt and Churchill had trusted Stalin and believed that he would keep his word. Neither leader had suspected that Stalin intended that all the Popular Front governments in Europe would be taken over by communists. Roosevelt and Churchill were further inclined to assent to the Yalta agreements because they assumed, mistakenly as it turned out, that Soviet assistance would be sorely needed to defeat the Japanese in the Pacific and Manchuria. In any case, the Soviet Union was the military occupier of eastern Europe at the war’s end, and so there was little the Western democracies could do to enforce the promises made by Stalin at Yalta.