20 July, 2008

Ossip Zadkine


Ossip Zadkine was a Russian artist and sculptor.

Zadkine's well-known sculpture "The Destroyed City" in Rotterdam during renovation
Orpheus (1956) Born in Vitebsk, Belarus, then Russian Empire, of Jewish and Scottish extraction, Zadkine is primarily known as a sculptor but also produced paintings and lithographs.

After attending art school in London, Zadkine settled in Paris about 1910, where he became part of the new Cubist movement (1914-1925). After this time, he developed an original style, strongly influenced by primitive arts.

He served as a stretcher-bearer in World War I, and was wounded in action. He spent the years of World War II in exile in America. His best-known work is probably the sculpture "The Destroyed City" (1953), a memorial to the destruction of the center of the Dutch city Rotterdam by the Germans in 1940. He taught at his Zadkine School of Sculpture.

Ossip Zadkine died in Paris at the age of 77 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

Carl Sandburg


Carl August Sandburg was an American film critic, poet, historian, novelist, balladeer, and folklorist. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois of Swedish parents. He lived in the Midwest, primarily Chicago, and in 1945 moved to a large estate named Connemara, in Flat Rock, North Carolina. He and his wife and daughters resided at Connemara until his death in 1967.

He is famous for his quote, "I am my own god and therefore every day is MY day." H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat." He was a successful journalist, poet, historian, biographer, and autobiographer. During the course of his career, Sandburg won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln and one for his collection The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg.

Max Frisch


Max Frisch was a Swiss architect, playwright and novelist, regarded as highly representative of German literature after World War II. In his creative works Frisch paid particular attention to issues relating to problems of human identity, individuality, responsibility, morality and political commitment. His use of irony is a significant feature of his post-war publications. Frisch was a member of the Gruppe Olten.

Max Rudolph Frisch was born in 1911 in Zurich. After studying at the Realgymnasium in Zurich, he enrolled at the University of Zurich in 1930 and began studying German literature, but had to abandon due to financial problems after the death of his father in 1932. Instead, he started working as a journalist and columnist for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), one of the major newspapers in Switzerland. With the NZZ he would entertain a lifelong ambivalent love-hate relationship, for his own views were in stark contrast to the conservative views promulgated by this newspaper. In 1933 he traveled through eastern and south-eastern Europe, and in 1935 he visited Germany for the first time.

From 1936 to 1941 he studied architecture at the ETH Zurich. His first and still best-known project was in 1942, when he won the invitation of tenders for the construction of a public swimming bath right in the middle of Zurich (the Letzigraben).

In 1947, he met Bertolt Brecht in Zurich. In 1951, he was awarded a grant by the Rockefeller Trust and spent one year in the United States After 1955 he worked exclusively as a freelance writer. His experience of postwar Europe is vividly described in his Tagebuch (Diary) for 1946-1949; it contains the first drafts of later fictional works.

During the 1950s and 1960s Frisch created some outstanding novels that explored problems of alienation and identity in modern societies. These are I'm Not Stiller (1954), Homo Faber (1957) and Wilderness of Mirrors/Gantenbein (1964). In addition, he wrote some highly intelligent political dramas, such as Andorra and The Fireraisers. He continued to publish extracts from his diaries. These included fragments from contemporary media reports, and paradoxical questionnaires, as well as personal reflections and reportage. He fell in love with a woman called Antonia Quick in 1969.

Together with Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch is considered one of the most influential Swiss writers of the 20th century. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Marburg, Germany, in 1962, Bard College (1980), the City University of New York (1982), the University of Birmingham (1984), and the TU Berlin (1987). He also won many important German literature prizes: the Georg-Büchner-Preis in 1958, the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels in 1976, and the Heinrich-Heine-Preis in 1989. In 1965 he won the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society.

Some of the major themes in his work are the search or loss of one's identity; guilt and innocence; technological omnipotence versus fate; and also Switzerland's idealized self-image as a tolerant democracy based on consensus — criticizing that as illusion and portraying people as being scared by their own liberty and being preoccupied mainly with controlling every part of their life.

Max Frisch was a political man, and many of his works make reference to political issues of the time.

Max Frisch died of cancer on April 4, 1991 in Zurich.

Harold Macmillan


Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963.

Nicknamed 'Supermac', he did not use his first name and was known as Harold Macmillan before elevation to the peerage.

Macmillan was first educated at Summer Fields School and then at Eton but was expelled - according to Woodrow Wyatt - for buggery, though an alternative version is that he left due to illness. He also attended Balliol College, Oxford, although he only completed two years of his classics degree before the outbreak of the First World War.

Macmillan served with distinction as a captain in the Grenadier Guards during the war and was wounded on three occasions. During the Battle of the Somme, he spent an entire day wounded and lying in a slit trench with a bullet in his pelvis, reading the Classical Greek playwright Aeschylus in his original language.

Macmillan lost so many of his fellow students during the war that afterwards he refused to return to Oxford, saying the university would never be the same. He joined Macmillan Publishers as a junior partner in 1920, remaining with the company until his appointment to ministerial office in 1940.

Elected to the House of Commons in 1924 for Stockton-on-Tees, Macmillan lost his seat in 1929, only to return in 1931. He spent the 1930s on the backbenches, with his anti-appeasement ideals and sharp criticism of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain serving to isolate him.

During this time (1938) he published the first edition of his book The Middle Way, which advocated a broadly centrist political philosophy both domestically and internationally.

In the Second World War he at last attained office, serving in the wartime coalition government in the Ministry of Supply and the Colonial Ministry before attaining real power upon being sent to North Africa in 1942 as British government representative to the Allies in the Mediterranean. During this assignment Macmillan worked closely with US General Dwight Eisenhower, a friendship that would prove crucial in his later career.

He was the senior British Operational Officer responsible for Operation Keelhaul, also known as the Betrayal of the Cossacks, the forced and violent repatriation of tens of thousands of refugees from Russia and Yugoslavia to Tito's Yugoslavia in 1945. He is quoted as saying "Since these men will no longer be treated as prisoners, the Geneva Conventions will no longer apply."

Macmillan returned to England after the war and was Secretary of State for Air for two months in 1945. He lost his seat in the landslide Labor victory that year, but soon returned to Parliament in a November 1945 by-election in Bromley.

With the Conservative victory in 1951 he became Minister of Housing under Winston Churchill and fulfilled his conference promise to build 300,000 houses per year. He then served as Minister of Defense from October 1954. By this time he had lost the wire-rimmed glasses, toothy grin and brylcreemed hair of wartime photographs, and instead grew his hair thick and glossy, had his teeth capped and walked with the ramrod bearing of a former Guards officer - acquiring the distinguished appearance of his later career.

He then served as Foreign Secretary in April-December 1955 and Chancellor of the Exchequer 1955-1957 under Anthony Eden. Harold Macmillan became Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party after Eden's resignation in January 1957, surprising observers with his appointment over the favourite, Rab Butler.

The situation with Suez was so desperate that when Macmillan became Prime Minister on 10 January he told Queen Elizabeth II he could not guarantee his government would last "six weeks".

Macmillan populated his government with many who had studied at the same school as him: he filled government posts with 35 former Etonians, 7 of whom sat in Cabinet.

Macmillan led the Conservatives to victory in the October 1959 general election, increasing his party's majority from 67 to 107 seats. The successful campaign was based on the economic improvements achieved, the slogan "Life's Better Under the Conservatives" was matched by Macmillan's own remark, "indeed let us be frank about it - most of our people have never had it so good", usually paraphrased as "You've never had it so good".

A succession of prime ministers since the Second World War had been determined to persuade the Americans to share the secret of their nuclear weapons with Britain.

Macmillan was a force in the successful negotiations leading to the signing of the 1962 Partial Test Ban Treaty by the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. His previous attempt to create an agreement at the May 1960 summit in Paris had collapsed due to the U-2 Crisis of 1960.

Macmillan's One Nation approach to the economy was to seek high or full employment. This contrasted with his mainly monetarist Treasury ministers who argued that the support of sterling required strict controls on money and hence an unavoidable rise in unemployment. Their advice was rejected and in January 1958 the three Treasury ministers Peter Thorneycroft, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Birch, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, and Enoch Powell, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, resigned. Macmillan, away on a tour of the Commonwealth, brushed aside this incident as "a little local difficulty".

Macmillan brought the monetary concerns of the Exchequer into office; the economy was his prime concern. However, Britain's balance of payments problems led to the imposition of a wage freeze in 1961 and, amongst other factors, this caused the government to lose popularity and a series of by-elections in March 1962. Fearing for his own position, he organized a major Cabinet change in July 1962 - also named "the night of long knives" as a symbol of his alleged betrayal of the Conservative party. Eight junior Ministers were sacked at the same time. The Cabinet changes were widely seen as a sign of panic, and the young Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe said of Macmillan's dismissal of so many of his colleagues, "greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life".

Macmillan supported the creation of the National Incomes Commission as a means to institute controls on income as part of his growth-without-inflation policy. A further series of subtle indicators and controls were also introduced during his premiership.

Macmillan also took close control of foreign policy. He worked to narrow the post-Suez rift with the United States, where his wartime friendship with Dwight D. Eisenhower was key; the two had a productive conference in Bermuda as early as March 1957. The cordial relationship remained after the election of John F. Kennedy.

Macmillan's term saw the first phase of the African independence movement, beginning with the granting of independence to the Gold Coast, as Ghana, in 1957. His celebrated "wind of change" speech (February 1960) is considered a landmark in this process. Ghana and Malaya were granted independence in 1957, Nigeria in 1960 and Kenya in 1963. However in the Middle East Macmillan ensured Britain remained a force, intervening over Iraq in 1958 and 1960 and becoming involved in the affairs of Oman.

In 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev twice interrupted a speech by Macmillan at the United Nations by shouting out "we will bury you" and pounding his desk. Macmillan famously replied, "I should like that to be translated if he wants to say anything".

Macmillan saw the value of rapprochement with Europe and sought belated entry to the European Economic Community (EEC). But Britain's application to join the EEC was vetoed by Charles de Gaulle (29 January 1963); in part due to de Gaulle's fear that "the end would be a colossal Atlantic Community dependent on America" and in part in anger at the Anglo-American nuclear deal.

He also explored the possibility of a European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


He was taken ill on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, diagnosed incorrectly with inoperable prostate cancer. Consequently, he resigned on 18 October 1963. He was succeeded by the Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home in a controversial move; it was alleged that Macmillan had pulled strings and utilized the party's grandees, nicknamed "The Magic Circle", to ensure that Butler was not chosen as his successor.

Macmillan initially refused a peerage and retired from politics in September 1964. He did, however, accept the distinction of the Order of Merit from the Queen. After retiring, he took up the chairmanship of his family's publishing house, Macmillan Publishers.

Macmillan died at Birch Grove, West Sussex, on 29 December 1986, aged 92 years and 322 days.

Jack Lynch



John Mary "Jack" Lynch was the fourth Taoiseach of Ireland, serving two terms in office; 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979.

Lynch was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for Cork in 1948, and was re-elected at each general election until his retirement in 1981. He previously served as Minister for Finance (1965–1966), Minister for Industry & Commerce (1959–1965), Minister for Education (1957–1959), Minister for the Gaeltacht (1957) and as a Parliamentary Secretary. He was the third leader of Fianna Fáil from 1966 until 1979, succeeding the hugely influential Seán Lemass. Lynch was the last Fianna Fáil leader to secure (in 1977) an overall majority in the Dáil.

Prior to his political career Lynch had a successful sporting career as a dual player of Gaelic games. He played hurling with his local club Glen Rovers and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1936 until 1950. Lynch also played Gaelic football with his local club St. Nicholas' and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1936 until 1946. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest dual players of all-time.

Lynch's status as one of the all-time greats is self-evident. In a senior inter-county career that lasted for fourteen years he won five All-Ireland titles, seven Munster titles, three National Hurling League titles and seven Railway Cup titles. In a senior inter-county football career that lasted for ten years Lynch won one All-Ireland title, two Munster titles and one Railway Cup title.

In 1992 he suffered a severe health set back, and in 1993 suffered a stroke in which he nearly lost his sight. Following this he withdrew from public life, preferring to remain at his home where he continued to be dogged by ill-health.

Lynch died in the Royal Hospital, Donnybrook, Dublin on October 20, 1999 at the age of 82.

Patrick Moore


Sir Alfred Patrick Caldwell-Moore known as Patrick Moore, is an English amateur astronomer who has attained legendary status in astronomy as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter of the subject and who is credited as having done more than any other to raise the profile of astronomy among the British general public.

He is a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, author of over 70 books on astronomy, presenter of the longest running television series, The Sky at Night on the BBC and a famous figure on British television. He is well known for his rapid mode of speech, trademark monocle, poorly fitting blazers, extremely high trouser line and a fondness for the xylophone.

Sir Patrick is also an accomplished composer. He is entirely self-taught in music.