Back in the Days: July & August
Hong Sammy, Reporter & Lee Jiwoo, Cub-Reporter
What were you doing on this day last year? Do you know what happened a hundred years ago on this date? People today think of the past. What they did last year or the years before seems to be a precious memory to them. Looking at the photos or sharing stories with someone else will make them reminisce. Throughout the years, there have been so many incidents and accidents that happened worldwide. But we tend to forget them and do not even know the issues, either. This section is designed to introduce what happened in history on each month, starting with July and August. Let’s take a look at the history of Korea, the world, culture, and science.
First World Cup Is Held
The first World Cup was held in Uruguay on July 13, 1930. The host city was Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. The competition was won by Uruguay, the host country. They met Argentina in the final and beat them to raise the trophy with a dramatic come-back victory. The first World Cup was a relatively small event compared to the current World Cup. Only a few countries from some of the continents participated, with no qualifying matches because there were few FIFA members who organized the events. Moreover, since the time and cost of the trip to Uruguay was a burden for the European countries, none of them had expressed their intention to participate in the competition until two months before the first tournament when the FIFA president persuaded them to join.
Potsdam Declaration Is Issued
The Potsdam Declaration is a joint declaration issued as a result of a meeting held in Germany's Potsdam on July 26, 1945. The U.S. President Truman, British Prime Minister Churchill, and Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China Chiang Kai-shek participated in the meeting. The Potsdam Declaration was intended to advise Japan to surrender and express its post-World War II treatment policy toward Japan. The 13-point declaration warned that Japan would face immediate and complete ruin if it did not surrender. The Potsdam Declaration has historical significance because at the end of World War II, the Allied Powers finally demanded Japan surrender unconditionally and presented a comprehensive plan to deal with Japan after the war.
Berlin Wall Is Built
Germany experienced the grief of division. On August 13, 1961, like the Demilitarized Zone (that divides the South and North) in Korea, the Berlin Wall (that divided East and West) was constructed during the night. After 1949, East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union, and the West by the U.S, England, and France. Those two regions’ economical gap became serious, causing people on the east side to sneak away to the West. The ruler then forcefully raised the Berlin Wall between the normal houses and roads. As the Wall became bigger, their pain became harsher. However, on October, 1980, Germany was reunited, and the Berlin Wall finally collapsed.
Apollo 11 Lands on the Moon
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, the captain of Apollo 11 became the first man to walk on the moon. Apollo 11 was carrying captain Neil Armstrong, commander Michael Collins and lunar lander pilot Buzz Aldrin. They spent three hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds on the moon. The reason why mankind sent men to the moon was the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, which began in the 1950s. The U.S. and the Soviet Union were rivals at the time and tried to prove their superiority over one another by displaying their own space science technology.
Gyeongbu-Expressway Is Constructed
On July 7, 1970, the Gyeongbu-Expressway between Seoul and Busan was completed. The construction of the Gyeongbu-Expressway began on February 1, 1968 and was completed in two years and five months. It was the second highway built in South Korea, following the Gyeongin Expressway. The Gyeongbu Expressway project is believed to have been started due to economic necessity, but the inside story is largely political. Since April 29, 1967, when President Park Chung-hee announced the construction of a highway as a presidential campaign pledge, the construction was carried out in a rush, reflecting the president's strong will. As a result, the project that needed 16 years to be completed was finished in a shorter period of time, but it killed 77 people and caused problems with poor road conditions.
Elvis Presley Dies
“The King of Rock and Roll”, Elvis Presley, died on August 16, 1977. Elvis was found lying unconscious on the bathroom floor in his house. He was found an hour after his death but could not be saved. Before he died, his health was very poor. At the beginning of the year in 1977, he weighed more than 100 kilograms. His death was first thought to be caused by a heart attack. However, when the results of an autopsy were concealed, other reasons for his death were raised. Was it just an accidental death? Was it due to drugs? Or was it because he was suffering from constipation? What happened on that day has never been revealed.
First CSAT Is Held
These days, most high school students in Korea take a standardized test the called College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) to enter university. This exam system was first conducted on August 20, 1993. Today when people hear about CSAT, they recall the breeze of early winter, since CSAT is held every second Thursday in November. Then, why was the first CSAT held in August? At first, it was decided by the 5th educational course that CSAT would be held twice a year: August and November. Students could submit whichever test they scored higher on. However, it was discontinued after that year because the level of difficulty was so different among the first and second. Those who took the CSAT in 1993 were the first and only one to take it twice a year.
Pluto Becomes a Dwarf Planet
Pluto was known as the 9th planet of the solar system until August 24, 2006. On that day, in Prague, Czech Republic, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) determined that Pluto was a “dwarf planet”. After the discovery in 1930, Pluto was welcomed to the ranks of the other planets. At the time it was thought to be almost as big as Earth. However, when the Hubble telescope was invented, new facts started to be revealed. There were lots of space objects that were orbiting that were similar in size to Pluto. Thus, there was a controversy about whether to classify those objects as planets too or to remove Pluto from the list. Finally, at 2006, Pluto was eliminated from the classical planets, and 8 planets were left.
You might have been interested to know new things or surprised to read some stories about these historical events. All these things are quite forgetful because they have nothing related to our lives. Humans are forgetful. We lose memories of the history very easily, without trying to remember it. Thus, the way to make historical facts closer is to recall the past, by keeping history in a stereoscopic vision. In that way, humans will be able to reflect on themselves, and make a desirable future.