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Old August 3rd, 2017, 09:33 AM   #1
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Official On This Day In History Thread

Sports

1949

NBA is born

On this day in 1949, after a damaging three-year battle to win both players and fans, the rival Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) merge to form the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The BAA incorporated in 1946, challenging the hegemony of the nine-year old NBL. The BAA established itself in bigger cities than the NBL, which existed only in small Midwestern cities like Fort Wayne, Sheboygan and Akron. While the NBL held its games in small gymnasiums, the upstart BAA played its games in large major-market arenas such as the Boston Garden and New York City’s Madison Square Garden. By the 1948-49 season, the BAA had begun to attract some of the country’s best players, and four NBL franchises–Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Rochester–moved to the BAA, bringing their star players with them. George Mikan, the biggest attraction in either league who by himself could virtually assure a team’s success, defected to the new league with the Minneapolis Lakers.

On August 3, 1949, representatives from the two leagues met at the BAA offices in New York’s Empire State Building to finalize the merger. Maurice Podoloff, head of the BAA since its inception, was elected head of the new league. The new NBA was made up of 17 teams that represented both small towns and large cities across the country. Through the 1950s, though, the number of teams dwindled, along with fan support, and by the 1954-55 season, only eight teams remained. That year, the league transformed the game with the creation of the 24-second clock, making play faster-paced and more fun to watch. Fans returned, and the league, now financially solvent, expanded throughout the 1960s and 70s. Today, the NBA has 30 franchises and attracts players—and millions of fans—from countries around the world.
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Old August 10th, 2017, 08:26 AM   #2
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Cold War

1949
Truman signs National Security Bill

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Bill, which establishes the Department of Defense. As the Cold War heated up, the Department of Defense became the cornerstone of America’s military effort to contain the expansion of communism.

In 1947, the National Security Act established the Cabinet-level position of secretary of defense, which oversaw a rather unwieldy umbrella military-defense agency known as the National Military Establishment. The secretary of defense, however, was just one of a number of military-related cabinet positions, including the pre-existing secretaries for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The growing complexity of the Cold War, a war in which the mishandled application of military force could lead to a world war of cataclysmic proportions, convinced U.S. officials that the 1947 act needed to be revised.

In 1949, the National Security Bill streamlined the defense agencies of the U.S. government. The 1949 bill replaced the National Military Establishment with the Department of Defense. The bill also removed the cabinet-level status of the secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, who would henceforth be subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. The first person to hold this position was Louis Johnson. Finally, the bill provided for the office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an effort to bring to end to the inter-service bickering that had characterized the Joint Chiefs in recent years. World War II hero General Omar Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The National Security Bill of 1949 was the result of the realization that more coordination and efficiency were needed for America’s military-defense bureaucracy, which had experienced tremendous growth during and after World War II. The Cold War was a new and dangerous kind of war for America, and the 1949 reorganization was recognition of the need for a different approach to U.S. defense.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 05:01 AM   #3
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August 13th, 2017 (today!)

JERUSALEM -- Yisrael Kristal, the world's oldest man who lived through both World Wars and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp has passed away just a month short of his 114th birthday, his family said Saturday.

Oren Kristal, a grandson, said he died Friday. "He managed to accomplish a lot. Every year he lived was like a few years for somebody else," Oren told The Associated Press.

Last year Guinness World Records awarded Kristal a certificate as the world's oldest man at his home in Haifa, Israel.

Kristal was born to an Orthodox Jewish family near the town of Zarnow in Poland in 1903.

"When he was a child during World War I in Poland he was a helper for a booze smuggler, he used to run barefoot in the snow through the night many kilometers with a heavy package on his back at about 12 years old, smuggling alcohol between the lines of the war," Oren, his grandson said.

"He used to walk very fast until he was very old, faster than me, and he used to tell me that when he was my age if you didn't walk fast enough your feet would stick to the frozen ground," Oren recalled his grandfather telling him.

Kristal was orphaned shortly after World War I and moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionary business in 1920.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Kristal was confined to the ghetto there and later sent to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. His first wife and two children were killed in the Holocaust. Six million Jews were systematically murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators during WWII.

"He used to tell us whenever we were mourning someone that we should consider that they are being buried in the land of Israel, most of the people he knew did not get to be buried in a grave when they died," Oren said.

Kristal survived World War II weighing only about 81 pounds - the only survivor of his large family.

He later married another Holocaust survivor and moved with her to Israel in 1950 where he built a new family and a successful confectionary business.

"He was a very hard working man, a lot of energy always running from one place to another doing something," Oren, his grandson said.

He said his grandfather participated in one of his great-grandsons bar mitzvah just a few weeks ago.

An observant Jew, Kristal himself only celebrated his bar mitzvah last year, a hundred years later than usual. He missed his bar mitzvah - the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony celebrated when a boy turns 13 - because of World War I.

Oren said his grandfather gave no explanation to the secret for his incredible longevity.

He is survived by two children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, media reported.
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