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Monday, March 10, 2014

What is 'History' & Informative Quiz on the "Banana Wars"

~ US Marines in Haiti, June 1915

We at A&G love history, particularly American History which is why we refer to it so often in our postings and use it to give context..

 But to present that knowledge is not always an easy task..

Its really a shame that the subject is taught by so many dullards and/or assistant football coaches fulfilling school district requirements and/or those with political agendas and axes to grind..

So many people end up so turned off by the thought of history by the time they graduate high school that its not treated with the respect it deserves.

History isn't this foreign detached concept.. it is Us.  You.. We.. Our lives.. Our family.. Both the significant and the trivial..
~ US soldier in Vera Cruz, Mexico- 1914

All the events of yesterday 3/9/2014..  The NCAA basketball games and NASCAR race on TV; the walk in the park or the visit to the movie theater..  All the events big and small which made up your Sunday are history..

Life was lived on 3/9/1914 just as it was yesterday..  It was a Monday then.

People went to work.. or out for a bite to eat.. or for a drive..   Some gave birth.. others buried their loved ones.. etc..etc..

They just dressed different, shopped different places for different things..

And our yesterday, 2014.. Our near-past will become distant memory; forgotten unless you or yours shares with another at some point in the future.
~ US Marines in Nicaragua - 1932

That..    That is 'History'

Ever wonder why a person or another nation likes or hate us?  The answers are often found in the pages of history books.. the unbiased ones..

So in that context, today we're going to have a "fun" quiz on a period in US history few to none know much of anything about because few to no history Professors/teachers every took the time to teach it...

Don't worry if you get many Q's wrong.. The only 'prize' here is learning..
~ Marines flying the US flag over Vera Cruz, Mexico - 1914

1)  What were the "Banana Wars"?

A)  A series of occupations, police actions, and interventions involving the United States and Canada along the vast border

B)  A series of occupations, police actions, and interventions involving the United States in Central America and the Caribbean

C)  Ongoing wars between Brazil and the rest of South America that the US was forced to mediate

D) Ongoing legal wars between rival companies Dole and Chiquita for control of the Banana trade
~ US forces in Nicaragua ready to fight - 1912

Answer:  B


2)  How long did these Banana Wars go on officially?

A)  Between 1877 - 1910

B)  Between 1880 - 1915

C)  Between 1898 - 1934

D)  Between 1902 - present
~ Samuel Zemurray - Russian immigrant who in 1910 manipulated the US Government to send forces to overthrow Honduras' elected President and put in a puppet who was more friendly to his banana business, United Fruit.

By 1942, United Fruit would own over 24,700 acres of Honduran land and  70% of all private land in Guatemala controlling 75% of the fruit trade. 

Answer: C

Between the Spanish–American War (1898) and the inception of the FDR's "Good Neighbor Policy" of non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Latin America
~ US Marines marching in Dominican Republic - 1916

3)  During this period, the US intervened militarily in:

A)  Panama and Honduras

B)  Nicaragua and Haiti

C)  Mexico and the Dominican Republic

D) All of the above as well as Cuba & Puerto Rico
Answer:  D

We also took over the Philippines but that's in Asia

4)  What year did our involvement in Panama begin?

A)  1881

B)  1866

C)  1854

D)  1846
~ US Marines in Panama - 1910

Answer:  D

The US brokered the treaty between Colombia and Panama (formerly called New Grenada) allowing them to be annexed.

It also granted the U.S. significant transit rights over the Panamanian isthmus, as well as military powers to suppress social conflicts and independence struggles targeted against Colombia
~ cartoon of Uncle Sam going after Poncho Villa in Mexico

5)  How many times between 1898 and 1934 were US military forces deployed to Honduras to protect the banana corporations' interests and put down the uprisings so the corps could continue their control of the banana trade?

A)  3 occasions

B)  4 occasions

C)  7 occasions

D)  8 occasions
~ World War I poster

Answer:  C  

The US military was sent into Honduras in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925
6)  In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt put forth what was known as the 'Roosevelt Corollary' in connection to the Monroe Doctrine..   What exactly was that?

A)   It asserted US right to intervene to stabilize the economic affairs of states in the Caribbean and Central America if they were unable to pay their international debts.

B)  Gave the US the right to colonize any Central or South American locality with the purposes of ultimately converting that place into a US state.

C)  Forced Central and South American nations to pay 'protection' taxes to the US in exchange for us putting in US bases

D)  All of the Above
~ Teddy Roosevelt with his 'Rough Riders' in Cuba - 1898

Answer:  A   Teddy worked for the banks just like all the other Presidents past and present..

Final Question...

7)  Which former professional military man wrote the following about this period in US History and his personal direct involvement in it:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

 I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. 

I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903.   In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. 

Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."
A)  U.S. Army General and future US President Dwight D Eisenhower

B)  U.S. Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler

C)  U.S. Army General Omar Bradley

D)   None of the above..


Answer:  B   
Butler was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, the highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death in 1940, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.

During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I.

Butler wrote the book "War Is A Racket"
No wonder they don't teach this in the US classroom..  We don't look too good and freedom loving do we?

Perhaps someone should ask our dear incompetent Secretary of State John Kerry what the difference is between all we did then (and currently do now) and what Putin is supposedly doing in Crimea?