Information

The Week


Claud Cockburn got the idea for his newsletter, The Week, while working in New York City where he saw for the first time a mimeograph machine. He later recalled: "A mimeograph machine is one of the few remaining weapons which still gives small and comparatively poor organizations a sporting chance in a scrap with large and wealthy ones."

This impression was reinforced in Germany where he had seen supporters of Kurt von Schleicher using mimeograph machines to produce political propaganda. Cockburn had also been inspired by the French satirical paper Le Canard Enchainé. He considered it "the best-informed publication in France" and although some of it was "in execrable taste" it carried no advertisements, received no subsidies, and still broke "a little better than even". Cockburn was also attracted to the way it exposed government corruption. Something that Cockburn was keen on doing in Britain.

As Richard Ingrams has explained: "Started on a capital of £50 provided by his Oxford friend Benvenuto Sheard, the paper, which was all his own work, was produced in a one-room office at 34 Victoria Street, and was obtainable only by subscription. Although he relied on information supplied by a number of foreign correspondents including Negley Farson (Chicago Daily News) and Paul Scheffer (Berliner Tageblatt), it was his own journalistic flair which gave the paper its unique influence. Cockburn was not an orthodox journalist. He pooh-poohed the notion of facts as if they were nuggets of gold waiting to be unearthed. It was, he believed, the inspiration of the journalist which supplied the story. Speculation, rumour, even guesswork, were all part of the process and an inspired phrase was worth reams of cautious analysis."

The first issue of the newsletter appeared on Wednesday, 29th March 1933. As Norman Rose has pointed out: "It was preceded by scenes of great editorial confusion. The actual production of the paper was left until Wednesday morning in order, Claud argued, to pre-empt the existing weeklies with as much hot ness as possible. Claud wrote the entire issue - a modest three pages of foolscap - and cut the stencils, touching up the material as he progressed, a routine that excluded any prospect of efficiency... The Week finally emerged in what would become its distinctive format, smudgy in appearance, lively in content." The first edition had as its lead story "Black-Brown-Fascist Plan". It told of how Benito Mussolini had sponsored a four-power arrangement to regulate the affairs of Europe. It revealed that a definite proposal had been forwarded to London and Warsaw that envisaged granting concessions to Germany in the Polish Corridor while compensating Poland with a slice of Russian Ukraine."

Claud Cockburn relied on other journalists to supply most of his information. These were those stories that their own newspaper would not print. Important contacts included Frederick Kuh, Negley Farson, Paul Scheffer and Stefan Litauer. Another source was the secretary of Von Papen. According to Jessica Mitford: "In the early thirties Claud Cockburn founded and wrote a mimeographed political muckraking journal called The Week which, in the period immediately preceding the war, had become extraordinarily influential. The Week was packed with riveting inside stories garnered from undercover sources throughout Europe - at one time, Claud's principal informant in Berlin (his Deep Throat, so to speak) was secretary to Herr von Papen, a member of Hitler's cabinet."

A close friend, Kingsley Martin, editor of the New Statesman, claimed that many of the stories that appeared in The Week had already reached him in the "form of rumour" but unable to confirm their veracity, he would not risk publishing them. Cockburn did publish them. He once pointed out: "How can one tell truth from rumour in less than perhaps fifty years?" Cockburn was warned that this approach could get him into a lot of trouble. John Wheeler-Bennett warned him that very soon he would be "either quite famous or in gaol." Richard Ingrams has admitted: "In other hands it might have been a fatal approach, but Cockburn had great flair, and although many stories in The Week were fanciful, there was enough important information to win it an influence out of all proportion to its circulation."

James Pettifer has argued: "The Week... was almost exclusively concerned with the life of the ruling classes in the different European countries, and exposing inner machinations to a wider public, but they remained conspiracies that took place in drawing-rooms, in banks, in clubs and in the officers' messes... The Week... soon became famous for its exposure of the machinations of the Conservative government in the later years of the decade. More than anything else published at the time, The Week brought home to its subscribers the nature of Appeasement, and how a dominant section of the Conservative Party was assisting the foreign policy of the fascist dictators"

Cockburn was soon being monitored by MI5. In a report written on 2nd November 1933, an agent went to see Cockburn and claimed he wanted to write for The Week. He later reported: "He swallowed my story and asked for an article, which I shall prepare today. He is either very crafty or very gullible, for he invited me to have a boozing evening with him, which I cannot unfortunately afford to do, and therefore invented an appointment." A report written the following year states: "I am informed that so much is thought of the ability of F. Claud Cockburn that he could return to the staff of The Times any day he wished, if he would keep his work to the desired policy of this newspaper."

Cockburn's main target was those members of the ruling elite who were proponents of appeasement. He relied on people within the corridors of power for his information. One source was probably Robert Vansittart, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office. When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor on 30th January 1933, Vansittart became his leading opponent in the Foreign Office. He wrote on 6th May: "The present regime in Germany will, on past and present form, loose off another European war just so soon as it feels strong enough … we are considering very crude people, who have very few ideas in their noddles but brute force and militarism."

Vansittart worked very closely with Admiral Hugh Sinclair, the head of MI6, and Vernon Kell, the head of MI5. According to Christopher Andrew, the author of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (2009): "Robert Vansittart, permanent under secretary at the Foreign Office, was much more interested in intelligence than his political masters were... He dined regularly with Sinclair, was also in (less frequent) touch with Kell, and built up what became known as his own private detective agency collecting German intelligence. More than any other Whitehall mandarin, Vansittart stood for rearmament and opposition to appeasement."

Robert Vansittart also recruited his own spies. This included Jona von Ustinov, a German journalist working in London. However, his most important spy was Wolfgang zu Putlitz, First Secretary at the German Embassy, and a friend of Cockburn from the time he worked in Berlin in the 1920s. Putlitz later recalled: "I would unburden myself of all the dirty schemes and secrets which I encountered as part of my daily routine at the Embassy. By this means I was able to lighten my conscience by the feeling that I was really helping to damage the Nazi cause for I knew Ustinov was in touch with Vansittart, who could use these facts to influence British policy." Putlitz insisted that the only way to deal with Adolf Hitler was to stand firm.

Cockburn wrote a great deal in The Week about what became known as the Cliveden Set. The leaders of this group, Nancy Astor and her husband, Waldorf Astor, held regular weekend parties at their home Cliveden, a large estate in Buckinghamshire on the River Thames. Those who attended included Philip Henry Kerr (11th Marquess of Lothian), Edward Wood (1st Earl of Halifax), Geoffrey Dawson, Samuel Hoare, Lionel Curtis, Nevile Henderson, Robert Brand and Edward Algernon Fitzroy. Most members of the group were supporters of a close relationship with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The group included several influential people. Astor owned The Observer, Dawson was editor of The Times, Hoare was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Halifax was a minister of the government who would later become foreign secretary and Fitzroy was Speaker of the Commons.

In 1935 a Colonel Valentine Vivian, the head of counter-espionage at MI6, wrote to Captain Guy Liddell at MI5 saying he had sent MI6's man in Berlin to talk to Norman Ebbutt, who had worked with him at The Times in the 1920s. The agent reported the conversation: "Ebbutt has the highest opinion of Claud Cockburn's honesty and admires him for feeding on the crust of an idealist when he could obtain a fat appointment by being untrue to himself... Ebbutt says The Week has a large circulation among businessmen in the City. He gets his copy regularly. He very much regrets that Claud Cockburn has now completely fallen to the mad idea that all Imperialists dream of nothing but the destruction of Russia."

Norman Rose, the author of The Cliveden Set (2000) has pointed out: "Lothian, Dawson, Brand, Curtis and the Astors - formed a close-knit band, on intimate terms with each other for most of their adult life. Here indeed was a consortium of like-minded people, actively engaged in public life, close to the inner circles of power, intimate with Cabinet ministers, and who met periodically at Cliveden or at 4 St James Square (or occasionally at other venues). Nor can there be any doubt that, broadly speaking, they supported - with one notable exception - the government's attempts to reach an agreement with Hitler's Germany, or that their opinions, propagated with vigour, were condemned by many as embarrassingly pro-German."

On 17th June, 1936, Claud Cockburn, produced an article called "The Best People's Front" in his anti-fascist newsletter, The Week. He argued that a group that he called the Astor network, were having a strong influence over the foreign policies of the British government. He pointed out that members of this group controlled The Times and The Observer and had attained an "extraordinary position of concentrated power" and had become "one of the most important supports of German influence". Over the next year he continually reported on what was said at weekends at Cliveden. It is not known who was providing him with this detailed information.

On a visit to the United States Anthony Eden was amazed when he discovered the impact on public opinion of articles on the Cliveden Set in The Week was having in the country. A horrified Eden reported to Stanly Baldwin that "Nancy Astor and her Cliveden Set has done much damage, and 90 per cent of the US is firmly persuaded that you (Baldwin) and I are the only Tories who are not fascists in disguise."

In the spring of 1937, Sir Vernon Kell, the head of MI6 wrote a note to a diplomat at the American Embassy saying: "Cockburn is a man whose intelligence and wide variety of contacts make him a formidable factor on the side of Communism." Kell complained that The Week was full of gross inaccuracies and was written from a left-wing point of view, but admitted that on occasions "he is quite well informed and by intelligent anticipation gets quite close to the truth". Kell was also concerned about some accurate reports that appeared in The Week about King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

In November, 1937, Neville Chamberlain sent Lord Halifax in secret to meet Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering in Germany. In his diary, Lord Halifax records how he told Hitler: "Although there was much in the Nazi system that profoundly offended British opinion, I was not blind to what he (Hitler) had done for Germany, and to the achievement from his point of view of keeping Communism out of his country." This was a reference to the fact that Hitler had banned the Communist Party (KPD) in Germany and placed its leaders in Concentration Camps. Halifax had told Hitler: "On all these matters (Danzig, Austria, Czechoslovakia)..." the British government "were not necessarily concerned to stand for the status quo as today... If reasonable settlements could be reached with... those primarily concerned we certainly had no desire to block."

The story was leaked to the journalist Vladimir Poliakoff. On 13th November 1937 the Evening Standard reported the likely deal between the two countries: "Hitler is ready, if he receives the slightest encouragement, to offer to Great Britain a ten-year truce in the colonial issue... In return... Hitler would expect the British Government to leave him a free hand in Central Europe". On 17th November, Claude Cockburn reported in The Week, that the deal had been first moulded "into usable diplomatic shape" at Cliveden that for years has "exercised so powerful an influence on the course of British policy."

It was claimed that the circulation of The Week reached 40,000 at the height of its fame. Cockburn pointed out it was read by important people: "Foreign Ministers of eleven nations, all the embassies and legations in London, all diplomatic correspondents of the principal newspapers stationed in London, the leading banking and brokerage houses in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and New York, a dozen members of the United States Senate, twenty or thirty members of the House of Representatives, about fifty members of the House of Commons and a hundred or so in the House of Lords, King Edward VIII, the secretaries of most of the leading Trade Unions, Charlie Chaplin and the Nizam of Hyderabad." Other readers included Léon Blum, William Borah, Joseph Goebbels and Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler's ambassador in London, who called for its suppression because of its anti-Nazi stance.

January 1938 Robert Vansittart was "kicked upstairs, assuming the high-sounding, but politically meaningless, title of chief diplomatic adviser to the government". His replacement was Alexander Cadogan, a member of the Cliveden Set. When Anthony Eden resigned as Foreign Secretary on 25th February, 1938, he was replaced by another Cliveden regular, Lord Halifax. Cockburn argued that the "appeasement coup" had been organised by the Cliveden Set. He later added that Halifax was "the representative of Cliveden and Printing House Square rather than of more official quarters."

On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the government suppressed the Daily Worker and The Week, although they were both later allowed to resume publication once the Soviet Union became one of the allies. According to his biographer, Richard Ingrams: "The new situation, which conferred respectability on the communists, was not to Cockburn's liking, and his Marxist fervour began to wane. He was further influenced by an interview with Charles de Gaulle in Algeria in 1943, in which the general suggested that his loyalty to the communist movement might perhaps be ‘somewhat romantic’. Following the Labour victory in 1945 he became convinced that the communists were ineffective as a political force."

Oddly - or perhaps not so oddly, because I have always liked Americans, and the sort of man that likes Americans is liable to like Russians - a prominent light in my part of the gloom was my old friend Mr Vladimir Poliakoff, formerly diplomatic correspondent of The Times. (It was he who had first, perhaps inadvertently, provided the information which ultimately led to the discovery - or invention, as some said - by The Week, of the famous - or notorious, as some said - 'Cliveden Set')...

He had a house in a square in South Kensington and there I used to drink Russian tea or vodka with him, or walk round and round the gardens while he exercised his two small Afghan hounds and talked to me derisively, in his harsh Slavonic accents, of the international situation. Even when he later brought a libel action against me our walks and talks continued amicably.

Being a supporter of what was called "the Vansittart line" the notion that by a friendly policy towards Mussolini it might be possible to split the Axis and isolate Hitler - he was fervent in denunciation of those powerful personalities in England who, on the contrary, saw in Hitler a bulwark and potential crusader against Bolshevism and thought friendship with the Nazis both possible and desirable. The vigour of his campaigns and intrigues against such elements was naturally heightened by his knowledge that some of them lost no opportunity to convince everyone that he himself was a hired agent of Mussolini.

His sources of information from anti-Nazi factions in the British and French Foreign Offices were thus first-rate, and the stories that came from them had that particular zip and zing which you get from official sources only when a savage intra-mural departmental fight is going on.

I rushed about between London, Paris and Brussels, supplementing and checking such stories from other sources. Vigorous anti-Nazis in the City, too, and on the so-called Churchillian wing of the Conservative Party were also very ready with "inside information".

At length I thought I had enough and more than enough to write in The Week a longish "think piece" about the nature and aims of those in high places who were working, sincerely perhaps, but as it seemed to me disastrously, for the 'appeasement' of Adolf Hitler. There were, of course, several references to gatherings at the Astors' Thames-side house at Cliveden. When I published the story, absolutely nothing happened. It made about as loud a bang as a crumpet falling on a carpet. A few weeks later, I ran the whole thing again, in slightly different words, and with similar result.

And then about a month later I did it a third time. There were only trivial additions to the facts already published but the tone was a little sharper. But it happened that this time it occurred to me to head the whole story "The Cliveden Set" and to use this phrase several times in the text. The thing went off like a rocket.

I think it was Reynolds News, three days later, which first picked up the phrase from The Week, but within a couple of weeks it had been printed in dozens of newspapers, and within six had been used in almost every leading newspaper of the Western world. Up and down the British Isles, across and across the United States, anti-Nazi orators shouted it from hundreds of platforms. No anti-Fascist rally in Madison Square Garden or Trafalgar Square was complete without a denunciation of the Cliveden Set.

In those days, if you saw cameramen patrolling St James's Square at lunchtime or dusk, you could be nearly sure they were there to get a picture of the Cliveden Set going in or out of the Astors' London house. Geoffrey Dawson, then editor of The Times, and a prominent member of the "Set", comments petulantly on this nuisance in his diary. If you talked to American special correspondents, what they wanted to know all about was the Cliveden Set. Senators made speeches about it, and in those London cabarets where libel didn't matter, songsters made songs about it. People who wanted to explain everything by something, and were ashamed to say "sunspots", said "Cliveden Set".

And throughout it all the members of the Cliveden Set, furiously, wearily or derisively, maintained that they were not members because there simply was not any Cliveden Set to be a member of. It was a myth.

And the fact was that, however it started, it presently became a myth. Within a year or so, the Cliveden Set had ceased to represent, in anybody's mind, a particular group of individuals. It had become the symbol of a tendency, of a set of ideas, of a certain condition in, as it were, the State of Denmark. It had acquired a powerful and alarming significance for people who could hardly have named three of those who frequented Cliveden. The phrase went marching on because it first had dramatized, and now summarized, a whole vague body of suspicions and fears.

Occasionally, moderate-minded intermediaries who felt the story was stirring up dangerous thoughts urged me to tone it down in some way curb the monster I had set loose. I had to reply that in the first place I thought the picture essentially a true one, doing more good than harm. In the second place, even supposing that, contrary to my own convictions, I were to get the B.B.C. to permit me to announce personally to the listening millions that the story had no foundation, that I had invented it, no one would pay the slightest attention. People would come to the conclusion that I had been nobbled by the Cliveden Set.

I was certainly taken aback by the wild improbabilities which some correspondents were writing about the Cliveden Set. It looked as though quite a lot of people were getting involved, were being branded as subtly scheming political intriguers, who would not have known a plot if you handed it to them on a skewer, and quite possibly had gone to Cliveden simply for a good dinner. But then, I reflected, if one is as ignorant of political goings-on as some of them claim to be, is it very wise, even for a very good dinner, to go at all?

It was at about this time (September 1934) that Mr Pollitt, Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain, whom I had never met, was suddenly announced on the telephone - would I, he asked, take the next train, in twenty minutes or half an hour, and report a mine disaster at Gresford, North Wales. Why? Because he had a feeling that there was a lot more in it than met the eye. But why I in particular? Well, because, it seemed, Mr Pollitt - who was worrying at the time about what he believed to be a lack of'reader appeal' in the Daily Worker - had been reading The Week and thought I might do a good job.

In the early thirties Claud Cockburn founded and wrote a mimeographed political muckraking journal called The Week which, in the period immediately preceding the war, had become extraordinarily influential. The Week was packed with riveting inside stories garnered from undercover sources throughout Europe - at one time, Claud's principal informant in Berlin (his Deep Throat, so to speak) was secretary to Herr von Papen, a member of Hitler's cabinet. Claud had coined the phrase 'Cliveden Set' to describe the powerful clique of Nazi appeasers whose frequent meeting place was Cliveden, Lady Astor's house, a sobriquet that first appeared in The Week and subsequently became a catchword used in the English and American press from the Daily Express to Time magazine.

It was preceded by scenes of great editorial confusion. The Week finally emerged in what would become its distinctive format, smudgy in appearance, lively in content.

The Week... More than anything else published at the time, The Week brought home to its subscribers the nature of Appeasement, and how a dominant section of the Conservative Party was assisting the foreign policy of the fascist dictators"


The Week in History June 26-July 2

1950: President Harry S. Truman authorized the Air Force and Navy to enter the Korean conflict.

1963: President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin, where he famously declared, ''Ich bin ein Berliner'' (&ldquoI am a Berliner&rdquo).

1976: Country singer Barbara Mandrell performed in Aberdeen.

1986: Alabama was just one of the country acts scheduled to appear at the Great North American Country Music Festival in Britton in July.

1990: President George H.W. Bush went back on his ''no new taxes'' campaign pledge, conceding that tax increases would have to be included in any deficit-reduction package worked out with congressional negotiators.

June 27

1844: Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Ill.

1846: New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires.

1957: More than 500 people were killed when Hurricane Audrey slammed through coastal Louisiana and Texas.

1972: The video game company Atari Inc. was founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in Santa Clara, Calif.

1976: Mansfield, S.D., was adopted by Mansfield, Mass., as a sister city as part of their bicentennial activities.

1981: Gas prices in Aberdeen were $1.32 for self-service regular and $1.53 for full-service unleaded premium.

June 28

1712: Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the most influential thinkers of the 18th century Enlightenment, was born in Geneva.

1962: A jury in New York awarded $3.5 million to former radio-TV personality John Henry Faulk in his libel suit against the group AWARE Inc. and two individuals who'd accused him of Communist sympathies and gotten him blacklisted. (The judgment was reduced to $550,000 by an appeals court.)

1978: Brown County Fair entertainers were Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, country singing duo Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius, and the Kendalls.

1981: A bomb exploded at the Tehran headquarters of Iran's ruling Islamic Republic Party, killing 74 people, including Iran's chief judge, Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti.

1986: The Osmond Brothers were the headliners for the Presentation Sisters' Centennial Celebration at the Aberdeen Convention Center.

June 29

1613: The original Globe Theatre in London was destroyed by a fire.

1956: Actress Marilyn Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller in a civil ceremony in White Plains, N.Y. (The marriage lasted four years).

1964: The 1964 census showed there were 158 more school-age children in Brown County that year over the previous year.

1970: The United States ended a two-month military offensive into Cambodia.

1972: Aberdeen's first McDonald's was set to open July 5 on Sixth Avenue South.

June 30

1886: Arturo Toscanini, a 19-year-old cellist, made his legendary conducting debut as he stepped in as a last-minute substitute to lead the orchestra of an Italian touring company's performance of the Verdi opera ''Aida'' in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

1912: Canada's deadliest tornado on record occurred as a cyclone struck Regina, the provincial capital of Saskatchewan, killing 28 people.

1921: President Warren G. Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the United States, succeeding the late Edward Douglass White.

1976: The new 3M plant in Aberdeen's industrial park was open for tours.

1993: Statewide gas prices changed little since Memorial Day. AAA said a gallon of self-serve unleaded gas was $1.16 in South Dakota.

1993: Actor George ''Spanky'' McFarland of ''Our Gang'' and ''Little Rascals'' fame died in Grapevine, Texas, at age 64.

July 1

1867: Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain as the British North America Act took effect.

1946: The United States exploded a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1972: The rock musical ''Hair'' closed on Broadway.

1977: South Dakota's newest state park, Lake Louise, northwest of Miller, opened.

1982: Dr. Warren Redmond opened his dermatology practice in Aberdeen.

1989: A new South Dakota law took effect prohibiting the sale of tobacco products of any type to persons younger than 18.

July 2

1776: The Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that ''these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.''

1881: President James A. Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington railroad station Garfield died the following September. (Guiteau was hanged in June 1882.)

1962: The first Walmart store (called ''Wal-Mart Discount City'') was opened in Rogers, Ark., by Sam Walton and his brother, James.

1982: Larry Walters of San Pedro, Calif., used a lawn chair equipped with 45 helium-filled weather balloons to rise to an altitude of 16,000 feet he landed 8 miles away in Long Beach.

1978: Andy Rooney delivered his first commentary on CBS' ''60 Minutes'' in which he criticized people who keep track of traffic fatalities on holiday weekends.

1997: Actor James Stewart died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 89.


The origins behind English weekday names

The English language days of the week are named after celestial bodies and mythological figures from history. A mish-mash of cultures and traditions have had an influence on the naming of the days and for those of us studying the English language they provide a fascinating insight into the way that the language is formed.

English draws upon Ancient Greek, Latin and Germanic languages and these influences can all be seen in the names of the days of the week. We use them everyday without realizing just how much they tell us about our language and history, and they serve to show us the similarities between English and so many other European languages.

So let’s take a look at the seven days of the week and how they came to be named.

The original order of the days, between the 1st and 3rd centuries, was Sun, Moon, Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Cronos. These were named after the heavenly bodies that presided over the first daylight hour of each day, according to Hellenistic astrology. From Greece the planetary week names passed to the Romans, from Latin to other languages of southern and western Europe and to other languages later influenced by them.

Why did the Romans name the days of the week after their gods’ names for the planets? Because they saw a connection between their gods and the changing face of the nighttime sky. The ones they were able to see in the sky each night were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Those five planets plus the moon and sun made seven major astronomical bodies so it was natural to use these seven names when the seven-day week arrived.

The first day of the week was named after the sun – dies Solis – day of the sun in Latin and later Sunnon-dagaz in old Germanic. It’s easy to see where the English word Sunday comes from here.

It’s similarly easy to see where this weekday name originates too. Monday is the moon day – dies Lunae in Latin, becoming Mon(an)dæg in Old English.

Whereas most English days of the week retain their associations with the Roman gods, some were substituted for the names of the equivalent Germanic gods, because English is a Germanic language.

Tuesday was named for the Roman god of war, Mars, so in Latin was known as dies Martis. However, the Germanic god of war was known as Tiu and the English day of the week is derived from this Germanic god’s name instead, first known as Tiwsday and eventually Tuesday.

Similarly, the Germanic equivalent of the Roman god Mercury was the equally as swift Woden. And so this day, which started out in Latin as dies Mercurii became Woden’s day in old Germanic, eventually becoming Wednesday in English.

Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the supreme Roman god and patron of the Roman state. He is the god that created thunder and lightning. Thor is the Norse god of thunder, often shown riding through the sky in a chariot. And it’s from this Norse god that we see the Latin dies Jovis (day of Jupiter) become Thor’s day and eventually Thursday.

Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and in Latin her day was known as dies Veneris. We get the English name for Venus’ day from Frigg, the Norse goddess of love and the heavens, and possibly Fria, the Teutonic goddess of love and beauty. In Germanic we have Frije-dagaz, later becoming Friday in English.

We end with an easy one. Saturn is the Roman god of agriculture, known in Ancient Greece as Cronos. In Latin we have dies Saturni and it’s not hard to see that Saturday today is still very much Saturn’s day.


This Week in History

In 1876, US General George Custer led an attack by the 7th Regiment of the US Cavalry against a gathering of Native Americans on the banks of the Little Big Horn River in Southern Montana. The now-legendary Native American Chief Crazy Horse led his own warriors in a counter-attack in which Custer and all of the 197 troops under his command were killed. This remains the greatest victory by Native Americans against what they saw as the invading forces of the US army.


Chief Crazy Horse defeats General Custer at the legendary battle of the Little Big Horn.

Test your understanding:

The leader of the Native American warriors was

The Native Americans killed the American soldiers because

  1. they wanted to overthrow the government
  2. they wanted to steal guns and horses
  3. the soldiers had attacked them

A military force will mount a counter-attack

  1. after being attacked by an enemy
  2. before being attacked by an enemy
  3. while attacking an enemy

Teacher's Notes - how to use This Week in History in your classes


This Week in History: June 28-July 4, 2021

1778 – Mary Ludwig Hayes, aka “Molly Pitcher,” aids American patriots during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth by carrying water to wounded soldiers. Hayes took over operation of her husband’s cannon after he collapsed during the battle. Hayes died in 1832 at age 87. Watch a short bio of Molly.

1938 – Congress creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans.

1960 – Fidel Castro confiscates American-owned oil refineries in Cuba without compensation.

1978 – The Supreme Court orders University of California Davis Medical School to admit Allan Bakke, a white man and former marine, who claims reverse discrimination after his application is twice rejected. Bakke graduated from U.C. Davis medical school in 1982 and worked as an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic. Bakke is now 80 years old.

1996 – The Citadel votes to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school. The unanimous vote by the school governing board came after the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the all-male admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.

2007 – The American bald eagle is removed from the endangered species list.

2010 – In McDonald v. City of Chicago the Supreme Court rules 5-4 that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live.

1767 – The British pass the Townshend Revenue Act, which levies taxes on the colonists for items such as glass, paint, paper, and tea.

1940 – The U.S. passes the Alien Registration Act, known as the Smith Act. It set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by non-citizens, expanded deportation, and required immigrants to register and be fingerprinted.

1956 – The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act is signed by President Eisenhower, authorizing the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways from coast to coast.

1972 – The Supreme Court rules in Furman v. Georgia in a 5-4 decision that the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” The ruling prompted states to revise their capital punishment laws.

1979 – The San Diego Chicken (Ted Giannoulas) has a “grand hatching” at baseball’s Jack Murphy Stadium after the local radio station fires the mascot and then loses a lawsuit to keep Giannoulas from making appearances as the Chicken. Ted Giannoulas was originally hired by the radio station in 1974 for $2 an hour to wear a chicken costume for a week to hand out Easter eggs at a zoo. He then volunteered to appear in a chicken costume at the Padres games. He’s been doing it ever since! Watch the Grand Hatching.

1994 – President Clinton reopens the Guantanamo Naval Base to process Haitian refugees.

2006 – The Supreme Court rules in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld in a 6-3 decision that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.

1859 – Charles Blondin is the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Blondin walked the 1,100’ across the falls 160’ above the water before a crowd of 25,000 people without a safety net or harness.

1906 – The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act are adopted during the Teddy Roosevelt administration.

1927 – The U.S. Assay Office in Deadwood, South Dakota, closes. It opened in 1898 to test the purity to precious metals like gold and silver.

1933 – The U.S. Assay Offices close in Helena, Montana, Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah. They all opened in 1869.

1938 – Superman first appears in DC Comics’ Action Comics Series issue #1.

1971 – The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified when Ohio becomes the 38th state to approve it. The amendment lowered the minimum voting age to 18.

1998 – Officials confirm that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery have been identified through DNA tests as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie. Watch part of the solemn ceremony to exhume Blassie’s body.

2000 – President Clinton signs the E-Signature bill, giving the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.

1836 – President Andrew Jackson announces to Congress the bequest by James Smithson of 100,000 gold sovereigns to found the institution in Washington, DC that bears his name.

1874 – Four-year-old Charles Ross of Germantown, Pennsylvania, is the first U.S. kidnapping victim using a ransom note. He was held for $20,000 and the kidnappers wrote a total of 23 ransom letters over a five-month period. Two suspects were shot during a robbery attempt and admitted to kidnapping Charlie before they died. Charlie was never found, although his father and mother searched for him until their deaths in 1897 and 1912 respectively.

1874 – The first zoo in the U.S. opens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Zoo is still open.

1898 – Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Vice President Teddy Roosevelt became president in 1901 when President McKinley was assassinated. Roosevelt was elected president in 1904.

1943 – The U.S. Government begins automatically withholding federal income tax from paychecks.

1963 – The U.S. postal service institutes the zip code (Zone Improvement Plan).

1966 – Medicare becomes available as a result of the Medicare Act being signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 31, 1965.

1971 – The cost of building the Golden Gate Bridge, completed in 1933, is paid in full. There is still a toll, however, to cross the bridge ($8.40 for cars and motorcycles). Watch a video of the amazing statistics about the bridge.

1987 – Robert Bork is nominated to the Supreme Court. The Senate rejected Bork’s nomination in October. Ten other nominees have been rejected by the Senate, with Bork being the most recent. Twenty other nominees withdrew, died, or were not voted on.

1996 – Placido Domingo becomes artistic director of Washington (DC) National Opera, a post he held until 2011. The current director is Francesca Zambello.

2015 – The U.S. and Cuba announce an agreement to re-open embassies and establish full diplomatic ties.

1776 – Richard Henry Lee’s resolution that the American colonies “are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States” is adopted by the Continental Congress.

1864 – Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol is established and Congress invites each state to contribute 2 statues of prominent citizens. The first statue was of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island, placed in the Hall in 1870. There are currently 100 statues in the Capitol.

1881 – President James A. Garfield is shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker. Garfield died on September 19th. Vice President Chester Arthur became president when Garfield died. Guiteau was convicted of murder and hanged on June 30, 1882.

1926 – The U.S. Army Air Corps is created and the Distinguish Flying Cross is authorized. The first recipient of the DFC medal was Charles A. Lindbergh, then a captain in the Army Reserve, on June 11, 1927. The award recognized his 1927 transatlantic crossing in the Spirit of St. Louis.

1937 – Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappear over the Pacific Ocean in their Lockheed 5B Vega in their attempt to fly around the world. They were never found.

1947 – An unidentified flying object (UFO) crashes at William “Mack” Brazel’s ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. The U.S. Army Air Force insisted it was a weather balloon, but eyewitness accounts led to speculation that it might have been an alien spacecraft. Brazel died in 1963 at age 64.

1962 – Wal-Mart Discount City opens in Rogers, Arkansas. The company founded by Sam Walton and his brother James is now headquartered in nearby Bentonville, Arkansas.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law. As Senate Majority Leader in 1957, Johnson (D-TX) successfully blocked the civil rights legislation he was forced to sign when he was president! Watch a newsreel that includes a political who’s who.

1995 – “Forbes” magazine reports that Microsoft’s chairman Bill Gates is worth $12.9 billion, making him the world’s richest man. He is now worth $126.7 billion, making him the second richest man in the world after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($185.8 billion).

2002 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon. Fossett disappeared in September 2007 while flying an airplane. The crash site was found in September 2008 and his remains were identified in November. He was 63 years old.

1775 – George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1839 – The first “normal school” (teacher’s college) in the U.S. opens in Lexington, Massachusetts, with 3 female students enrolled, launching teaching as a profession.

1898 – Joshua Slocum completes the first solo circumnavigation of the globe and lands in Rhode Island after sailing more than 3 years. He launched his sloop the “Spray” from Massachusetts on April 24, 1895. In 1909, Slocum disappeared while sailing to the West Indies, and was presumed lost at sea. He was 65 years old.

1913 – A common tern, banded in Maine on this day, is found dead in 1919 in Africa. It was the first bird known to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

1965 – Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger dies at age 33. Trigger’s first movie role was with Olivia de Havilland starring as Maid Marian. She rode Trigger (then called Golden Cloud) through the forest in the 1938 movie “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” Watch Trigger’s film debut with a description of his rise to fame.

1986 – President Reagan presides over a relighting ceremony in New York Harbor of the renovated Statue of Liberty.

2014 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 17,000 for the first time.

July 4 – Independence Day

1776 – The U.S. Congress proclaims in the Declaration of Independence our independence from Britain.

1785 – The first Independence Day celebration is held in Bristol, Rhode Island, and is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

1802 – The United States Military Academy opens at West Point, New York. The fortifications were originally built on the west point of the Hudson River in 1778 during the Revolutionary War, making it the longest continually occupied post in the U.S.

1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (2nd and 3rd presidents) die within five hours of each other at ages 90 and 82 respectively.

1939 – Baseball player Lou Gehrig makes his “luckiest man alive” speech. The Iron
Horse took himself out of the Yankee lineup for health reasons after playing 2,130 consecutive games. He was later diagnosed with ALS, a disease that now bears his name. Watch his iconic speech.

1966 – President LBJ signs the Freedom of Information Act. It act requires full or partial disclosure of information and documents on request that are controlled by the government, with nine exceptions including to national security, personnel, and trade secrets.

1996 – Hotmail begins as a free Internet E-mail service.

1997 – NASA’s unmanned spacecraft, the Mars Pathfinder, lands on Mars. The rover Sojourner was deployed to gather data about the surface of the planet. Its last communication was on September 27, 1997, after traveling 330 feet.

2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) is laid on the former World Trade Center site in New York City. The building opened in November of 2014.

2005 – NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft, launched earlier in 2005, takes pictures as a space probe smashes into the Tempel 1 comet. The mission was aimed at learning more about comets that formed from the leftover building blocks of the solar system. Watch a short but compelling video of the impact.

2009 – The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopens to visitors. It had been closed to the public since 2001.


April 14-20: Historically, America's most tragedy-filled week

Americans this week are remembering the anniversaries of the plant explosion in West, Texas (top left), and the bombing of the Boston Marathon (bottom right). However, the span of April 14-20 is one that has been filled with tragedies for Americans throughout history. See these other horrific events that happened during this infamous seven-day span in America.

The Reed and Donner families leave Missouri headed to California for a new life. Along the way, they get lost in present-day Utah and Nevada. Winter storms beset them, supplies run low and the trip intended to be over by the fall stretches into the winter in the high western mountains. Out of food, some members of the party resort to cannibalism of the already dead to stay alive. Only 48 members of the 87-person party make it to California.

President Abraham Lincoln is fatally shot while attending a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.. He dies one day later.

The infamous Black Sunday storm rolls through Texas and Oklahoma, causing untold damage and leading hundreds of thousands of Dust Bowl residents to relocate.

Two military Black Hawk helicopters (not pictured) are shot down over the streets of Ebil, Iraq. Twenty-six people on board are killed, including military and civilians.

The RMS Titanic finally sinks after hitting an iceberg the night before. As many as 1,635 passengers and crew members are killed.

Fifteen inches of rain falls in New Orleans, bringing a Mississippi River already swollen from heavy rains upstream beyond its capacity. River levee systems pop in more than 140 places causing flooding in 10 states and killing 246 people.

General Photographic Agency/Getty Images Show More Show Less

Three people are killed when two pressure cooker bombs go off in a terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon.

The SS Grandcamp explodes at 9:12 a.m. in Texas City, Texas, killing more than 575 people.

Story Sloane Jr. / For the Chronicle Show More Show Less

A gunman kills 32 people then himself on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Another 23 are injured.

The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by a CIA-sponsored military group is launched. Three days later, the invaders are defeated. Casualties include 118 deaths, 360 wounded and 1,202 captured.

RAUL CORRALES/ASSOCIATED PRESS Show More Show Less

Fifteen people are killed and more than 160 are injured following an ammonium nitrate explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.

British troops arrive in Massachusetts to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Paul Revere embarks on his famous ride to warn them, 'The British are coming!"

More than 3,000 people are killed by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and resulting fires in San Francisco.

Sixty-three people are killed, including 17 Americans, when a suicide bomber in Lebanon drives a van filled with explosives into the American embassy.

A 16-inch turret on a Navy battleship stationed off Puerto Rico unexpectedly explodes, killing 47 seamen in the ship's gun room and wounding the ship.

William F. Campbell/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image Show More Show Less

– Four federal agents and six members of the Branch Davidian religious group were killed Feb. 28, 1993 when the ATF attempted to raid a sect compound outside of Waco, Texas. After a 51-day standoff, the government led a final assault on the compound resulting in 76 deaths.

BOB STRONG/AFP/Getty Images Show More Show Less

More than 160 people were killed and almost 700 more injured when domestic terrorists set off a bomb in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. More than 320 buildings nearby also suffered some damage.

Approximately 25 striking coal miners and members of their families were killed in a clash with the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company.

Two students enter Columbine High School in a Denver suburb and open fire, killing 12 students, a coach and then themselves.

– A wellhead blowout on a BP-operated oil platform kills 11 and dumps 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

32 of 33 A Week of Victories, As Well

April 15: The preliminary articles of peace ending the American Revolutionary War are ratified 1783) Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier in Major League Baseball (1947) McDonald's opens its first franchised restaurant (1955) the Ford Mustang debuts (1964).

April 16: Boston Garden, America's oldest hockey arena, opens (1910).

April 17: George Lucas begins writing "Star Wars" (1973).

April 18: Paul Revere takes his midnight ride (1775) Yankee Stadium opens in New York (1923).

April 19: Americans earn their first Revolutionary War victory over the British at the Battle of Lexington and Concord (1775) "The Simpsons" premieres on as a cartoon short on "The Tracey Ullman Show" (1987).

April 20: The Civil Rights Act of 1871 becomes law (1871).

Americans this week are remembering the anniversaries of the plant explosion in West, Texas and the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

However, the span of April 14-20 is one that has been filled with tragedies throughout American history. Globally, April 15 will be remembered as the day one of the world's most famous cathedrals burned in Paris.

See these other horrific events that happened during this infamous seven-day span in America.

NEWS WHEN YOU NEED IT: Text CHRON to 77453 to receive breaking news alerts by text message | Sign up for breaking news alerts delivered to your email here.


Holy Week

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Holy Week, in the Christian church, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ. In the Greek and Roman liturgical books, it is called the Great Week because great deeds were done by God during this week. The name Holy Week was used in the 4th century by St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and St. Epiphanius of Constantia. Originally, only Good Friday and Holy Saturday were observed as holy days. Later, Wednesday was added as the day on which Judas plotted to betray Jesus, and by the beginning of the 3rd century the other days of the week had been added. The pre-Nicene church concentrated its attention on the celebration of one great feast, the Christian Passover, on the night between Saturday and Easter Sunday morning. By the later 4th century the practice had begun of separating the various events and commemorating them on the days of the week on which they occurred: Judas’s betrayal and the institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday the Passion and death of Christ on Good Friday his burial on Saturday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The Holy Week observances in the Roman Missal were revised according to the decree Maxima Redemptoris (November 16, 1955) to restore the services to the time of day corresponding to that of the events discussed in Scripture.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Melissa Petruzzello, Assistant Editor.


National Nurses Week History

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale's birthday. These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event. As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week (May 6-12) each year.

The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1896. Each of ANA's state and territorial nurses associations promotes the nursing profession at the state and regional levels. Each conducts celebrations on these dates to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community.

The ANA supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through the state and district nurses associations, other specialty nursing organizations, educational facilities, and independent health care companies and institutions.

A Brief History of National Nurses Week

1953 Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a "Nurse Day" in October of the following year. The proclamation was never made.

1954 National Nurse Week was observed from October 11 - 16. The year of the observance marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. Apparently, a bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in the 1955 Congress, but no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds.

1972 Again a resolution was presented by the House of Representatives for the President to proclaim "National Registered Nurse Day." It did not occur.

1974 In January of that year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed that May 12 would be "International Nurse Day." (May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.) Since 1965, the ICN has celebrated "International Nurse Day."

1974 In February of that year, a week was designated by the White House as National Nurse Week, and President Nixon issued a proclamation.

1978 New Jersey Governor Brendon Byrne declared May 6 as "Nurses Day." Edward Scanlan, of Red Bank, N.J., took up the cause to perpetuate the recognition of nurses in his state. Mr. Scanlan had this date listed in Chase's Calendar of Annual Events. He promoted the celebration on his own.

1981 ANA, along with various nursing organizations, rallied to support a resolution initiated by nurses in New Mexico, through their Congressman, Manuel Lujan, to have May 6, 1982, established as "National Recognition Day for Nurses."

1982 In February, the ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as "National Nurses Day." The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as "National Recognition Day for Nurses."

1982 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25, proclaiming "National Recognition Day for Nurses" to be May 6, 1982.

1990 The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6 - 12, 1991, as National Nurses Week.

1993 The ANA Board of Directors designated May 6 - 12 as permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week in 1994 and in all subsequent years.

1996 The ANA initiated "National RN Recognition Day" on May 6, 1996, to honor the nation's indispensable registered nurses for their tireless commitment 365 days a year. The ANA encourages its state and territorial nurses associations and other organizations to acknowledge May 6, 1996 as "National RN Recognition Day."

1997 The ANA Board of Directors, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, designated May 8 as National Student Nurses Day.

You are now leaving the American Nurses Foundation

The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

The Foundation expressly disclaims any political views or communications published on or accessible from this website.


Day 7: Saturday in the Tomb

Jesus' body lay in its tomb, where it was guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day on Saturday, which was the Sabbath. When the Sabbath ended at 6 p.m., Christ's body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices purchased by Nicodemus:

Nicodemus, like Joseph of Arimathea, was a member of the Sanhedrin, the court that had condemned Jesus Christ to death. For a time, both men had lived as secret followers of Jesus, afraid to make a public profession of faith because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community.

Similarly, both were deeply affected by Christ's death. They boldly came out of hiding, risking their reputations and their lives because they had come to realize that Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Messiah. Together they cared for Jesus' body and prepared it for burial.

While his physical body lay in the tomb, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by offering the perfect, spotless sacrifice. He conquered death, both spiritually and physically, securing our eternal salvation:

Saturday's events are recorded in Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56, and John 19:40.


The Week Brazil Went Off the Rails

I n the midst of a global pandemic, it&rsquos difficult to determine which country is faring the absolute worst. But any short list at this point must include Brazil.

On Monday, embattled Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made the decision to upend his cabinet, replacing six ministers. Some of the departures weren&rsquot surprising, like far-right Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Arujo, a close ally of Bolsonaro&rsquos whose combative approach to international affairs has drawn fire given Brazil&rsquos struggles to source vaccines from abroad. But other dismissals caught many off-guard, particularly that of Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva. Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who has spoken fondly about the country&rsquos past military dictatorship (as well as authoritarian leaders more broadly), has recruited many active and retired generals to join his administration. Azevedo was one of them.

But since Bolsonaro took office in 2019, concern has been growing among military brass that Bolsonaro&rsquos overtures could erode the military&rsquos independence from politics beyond acceptable limits, a sentiment shared by the ousted Azevedo. On Tuesday, the heads of the Navy, Army and Air Force were dismissed by the President after they threatened to resign in protest over Bolsonaro&rsquos push to have the armed forces defend his administration politically. For Bolsonaro&rsquos military detractors, Bolsonaro&rsquos increasing coziness with the military isn&rsquot just a threat to the country&rsquos ability to function as a proper democracy, but to the standing of the military itself. As Bolsonaro&rsquos political fortunes continue to suffer, the worry is that he will take the military&rsquos reputation down with him, a reputation they have spent decades rebuilding since the military junta ended in 1985.

The doomsday scenario for military leadership? Bolsonaro either loses the upcoming presidential election in 2022 or faces impeachment in the interim, decries either as illegitimate and tries to force the military to back him in his claims. The good news from this week is that top military leaders sent him a strong message: they will choose democracy over defending his administration at all costs.

Unfortunately for Brazil, there&rsquos plenty more. Amidst Brazil&rsquos worst financial crisis in decades, Bolsonaro has also been playing economic games. The latest revolves around the 2021 budget Brazil&rsquos Congress managed to pass last week. To get it over the finished line and still remain under the spending cap, legislators earmarked billions more for discretionary spending by artificially deflating &ldquomandatory&rdquo expenses like social welfare and unemployment so they could direct more funds to their preferred projects. For months now, Bolsonaro has been entertaining unorthodox proposals to fund different types of infrastructure projects from his advisors, as well as Regional Development Minister Rogerio Marinho. This was their latest attempt at doing so, and likely came with Bolsonaro&rsquos unofficial blessing.

Less entertained by these proposals have been the technocratic members of Bolsonaro&rsquos economic team, led by Economy Minister Paulo Guedes. While the legislation passed formally adheres to the spending cap, the reality is that the growth of mandatory expenses in the midst of a pandemic will cause total spending to skyrocket past the limits set under the constitution. And under Brazilian law, these economic advisors would be legally liable should that come to pass and they sign off on it. That led to rumblings that members of his economic team were preparing to use the threat of a government shutdown, and even their eventual resignation, to ensure Bolsonaro wouldn&rsquot green-light the measures without significant changes.

A government shutdown or the enactment of a fake budget is unlikely at this point&mdashleaving aside the recent political drama, Bolsonaro is politically liable should this legislation be approved as it stands. His predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached for not adhering to fiscal responsibility laws, and Bolsonaro opens himself up to the same fate by signing off on the legislation. It is unlikely Bolsonaro or his internal team understood that before the economic team began pushing back, and a supplementary bill is likely forthcoming to undo the worst of the damage. But Monday&rsquos decision by Bolsonaro to appoint a centrist lawmaker with close ties to the House Speaker as his Government Minister (the person who manages the federal government&rsquos relationship with legislators) shows he recognizes his need for more allies in Congress to stave off the worst.

And the worst is coming. Brazil&rsquos daily death rate from Covid-19 is now tops in the world at over 3,100 (based on a seven-day average) and the country has just passed 325,000 Covid casualties overall. According to Reuters, ICU capacity has reached 90% or more in 15 of Brazil&rsquos states (out of 26 overall). All that would be tragic enough, but the tragedy is compounded by Bolsonaro&rsquos consistent minimizing of Covid-19 and past exhortations that the Brazilian people &ldquostop whining.&rdquo Rather than fighting to protect the health of the Brazilian public, he has shown more interest fighting governors who have announced new lockdown measures as their public health systems collapse. Only recently has Bolsonaro embraced a mass vaccination program.

All of which means that Bolsonaro&rsquos fortunes are at the mercy of the country&rsquos Covid-19 trajectory. The situation for both Brazil and Bolsonaro will get worse over the next few weeks, but if the fever then breaks and the health situation starts to improve, Bolsonaro&rsquos chances at reelection improve dramatically, which means less political drama like the kind we&rsquove seen over the last few days. But if the situation doesn&rsquot improve meaningfully come early summer, Brazil will find itself in both a health crisis and a political crisis as Bolsonaro takes increasingly desperate measures to prop up his reelection bid and fend off a potential motion to impeach him.

2021 is shaping up to be worse than 2020 for Brazil. That&rsquos really something.


Watch the video: Dua Lipa, Coldplay, Martin Garrix u0026 Kygo, The Chainsmokers Style - Feeling Me (January 2022).