A smokin’ week in US history

events in US history, 1944 smokey bear campaign, smoking gun, 1974 nixon resignation, politics, Watergate scandal, campaign slogans, forest fires

Smokey Bear

Who knew that the Smokey Bear story started as a result of World World II. I certainly didn’t. Smokey Bear is the mascot of the United States Forest Service. He was created as a forest guardian to educate the public on the dangers of forest fires.

But according to Smokey history, the actual prevention campaign began back in December 1941 when Japanese pilots bombed Pearl Harbor, sparking the US entry into WWII. Fearing that the war would reach the US mainland, and with most of the able-bodied male population enlisting, the US Forest Service grew increasingly concerned about forest fires. It began a campaign to make the general population aware and personally responsible for protecting the woodlands.

The “Smokey Bear” image developed by the Wartime Ad Council first debuted on the poster on 9 august 1944, thus Smokey’s birthday. The infamous slogan “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” was added in 1947, and the iconic bear and slogan became forever entwined.

Check out this great collection of Smokey memorial US postage stamps. Happy 70th Smokey!

events in US history, 1944 smokey bear campaign, smoking gun, 1974 nixon resignation, politics, Watergate scandal, campaign slogans, forest fires

Smoking Gun

On other not-so-positive-fronts, 40 years ago on 8 august 1974, President Richard M. Nixon resigned as the 37th president of the United States. On 9 august 1974, he took to the airwaves to give his resignation speech.

It was that infamous tape released on 5 august 1974, the “smoking gun” as it became known, that ultimately tipped the scales. Recorded only a few days after the 1972 Watergate break-in, the tape disclosed that Nixon and Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman attempted to block investigations by having the CIA falsely claim national security was involved in the Watergate wiretap scandal. Their goal: Get the FBI off their backs and end its investigation.

President Nixon consistently denied his participation in any cover-up. But the tape conclusively proved otherwise. Jarring even his most committed staff and prompting insistence to avoid impeachment, Nixon was persuaded to voluntarily leave office for the good of the country, and to salvage any political legacy he might have.

Photos: 1944 Smokey Says poster from Smokey site; Smokey stamps images at Viewliner LTD.

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