CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History

Khalid Elhassan - February 26, 2021

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
Mongols dining atop the live bodies of defeated enemy commanders after the Battle of the Kalka River, by Richard Hook. Quora

5. The Tradition of Dining Over Defeated Foes

The Mongols enjoyed making examples out of vanquished foes. After their victory at the Battle of Kalka River, captured enemy commanders were laid on the ground, then a huge board was laid over their bodies. The victors then sat over the board to eat, drink, and celebrate their triumph, while slowly crushing and suffocating the defeated men beneath to death. However, the Mongols’ feasting over the bodies of defeated commanders was not the first time that vanquished leaders had faced such a fate.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
Al Saffah getting acknowledged as the first Abbasid Caliph. Wikimedia

Such ghoulish celebrations seem to have been pioneered by the first Abbasid Caliph Abul Abbas (722 – 754), nicknamed Al Saffah (“Spiller of Blood” – a well earned nickname). He initiated a revolt against the Ummayad Dynasty of Caliphs, and crushed them in a climactic battle in 750. He then tracked down and killed as many members of the defeated dynasty as he could. In 751, Al Saffah declared an amnesty, and 80 surviving Ummayad princes emerged from hiding to receive their pardons at a banquet. He had them seized, stabbed, covered their quivering bodies with leather rugs, and bade the other guests to sit down and dine atop them.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
The US and USSR accumulated a massive pile of nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Wikimedia

4. The Extreme Saber Rattling of the Cold War

The Cold War might have been the most dangerous stretch in the history of humanity, as two superpowers with enough nukes between them to exterminate mankind many times neared the brink more than once. When not fighting each other through proxies, the US and USSR often engaged in macho threat displays, like angry dogs growling at each other, or tomcats engaged in a hissing match. Some of the threat displays were subtle, while others were as subtle as a punch to the face.

The machismo got weird at times. As in extreme levels of weird. As in nuking the Moon weird – something that the United States considered doing in the 1950s. In the early Cold War years, despite the Red Scare and anticommunist hysteria, most Americans felt safe at home from foreign attack. Even after the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb in 1949, few doubted America’s nuclear superiority. Nor did we doubt the superiority of the US Air Force and its bombers’ ability to nuke Russia, while its fighters kept Russian bombers from nuking us back. That changed in the blink of an eye.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
Sputnik 1. International Association of Astronomical Artists

3. The Small Satellite That Shattered America’s Sense of Invulnerability, and Stirred Up a Hornets’ Nest of Crazy

In 1957, Americans’ sense of security at home was shattered when the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite. That terrified America. Sputnik itself was harmless, but Soviet rockets powerful enough to launch it into space were powerful enough to launch atomic weapons at the US. America’s sense of invulnerability evaporated. To restore national confidence, many ideas were bounced back and forth, quite a few of them extreme and weird. However, few of them were as extreme or as weird as the idea of nuking the Moon.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
A Soviet R-7 rocket of the type that launched Sputnik into space – and that could have launched a nuclear warhead at the US. Universe Today

At the time, America’s space program was on the ropes, while the Soviets scooped us by successfully launching satellites – and demonstrating the power of their rockets. So the Eisenhower administration came up with a secret project, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”. The project’s innocuous title masked its true purpose: detonating a nuke on the Moon. The former Armour Research Foundation, now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology, was tasked with the research. Among the researchers was a then-young graduate student, Carl Sagan, who would go on to become a global celebrity for popularizing science and astronomy on TV.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
Mr. Moon would not have liked getting nuked. Sputnik News

2. The Mild Mannered Carl Sagan Once Researched Nuking the Moon

A young Carl Sagan contributed to the Moon-nuking project with research and calculations. He focused mostly on the expected behavior of the dust and gas caused by a nuclear detonation on the lunar surface. As the project envisioned, an American missile carrying a nuclear bomb would launch from Earth, travel 238,000 miles to the Moon, and detonate upon impact. As an official involved in the project recounted decades later: “Now it seems ridiculous and unthinkable. But things were remarkably tense then“.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
Carl Sagan. Comunidade Cultura e Arte

The Eisenhower administration hoped that seeing the nuclear flash on the Moon from Earth would restore American confidence after the launch of Sputnik. Simultaneously, it would intimidate the Soviets by demonstrating that the US had an effective nuclear deterrent. The plan could have been carried out by 1959 when the US Air Force began deploying ICBMs. However, the weird project was abandoned because of the risk to people on Earth in case of failure, and because scientists raised concerns about contaminating the Moon with radiation.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anthony Eden, when they were still on speaking terms. Imgur

1. The Extreme British Plan to Punish a Troublesome Egyptian Ruler by Blocking the Nile

Egypt was a British client state and protectorate from 1882 to 1952, and Britain-based troops there to protect her interests. Most important of those interests was safeguarding the Suez Canal, of which the British government was a majority shareholder. Then in 1952, nationalist Egyptian officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew Egypt’s pro-British king. The new government demanded that British troops leave Egypt, and in 1956, nationalized the Suez Canal. Nasser infuriated British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, who was determined to put the Egyptian upstart in his place. So secret plans were drawn for an extreme solution: cut off the Nile’s flow of water.

CBS Funded Invasions to Televise and Other Extreme Lengths in History
The Owen Falls Dam in Uganda. Pintrest

Britain controlled Uganda, where the Owen Falls Dam lay astride the White Nile, a main source of the river flowing into Egypt. The idea was cut off the flow in Uganda, thus reducing the Nile’s water volume by seven eighths by the time it reached Egypt. The plan was ultimately rejected because it would deprive other countries between Uganda and Egypt of water, would take too long, and would produce a PR nightmare. Instead, Eden opted for a direct military intervention. The result was the 1956 Suez Crisis, which ended with Britain forced into a humiliating climb down, and the wrecking of Anthony Eden’s political career.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Ceilan, Cynthia – Thinning the Herd: Tales of the Weirdly Departed (2007)

Cracked – 6 Times the News Went Totally Overboard Chasing a Story

Daily Sabah, August 6th, 2015 – The History of Fratricide in the Ottoman Empire

Encyclopedia Britannica – Al Hakim, Fatimid Caliph

Gabriel, Richard – Subotai the Valiant: Genghis Khan’s Greatest General (2004)

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (2002)

Guardian, The, May 14th, 2000 – US Planned One Big Nuclear Blast for Mankind

Guardian, The, December 1st, 2006 – Lawyers Warned Eden That Suez Invasion Was Illegal

How Stuff Works – Japanese Holdouts

Los Angeles Times, May 18th, 2000 – US Weighed A-Blast on Moon in 1950s

Mason, Phil – Hitler’s Secret Jewish Psychic and Other Strange and Obscure History (2014)

Mike Dash History – Final Straggler: The Japanese Soldier Who Outlasted Hiroo Onoda

Motherboard, April 25th, 2013 – The Soviet Scientist Who Dreamed of Melting the Arctic With a 55 Mile Dam

National Archives, UK – Operation Unthinkable

Raphael, Chad – Investigated Reporting: Muckrakers, Regulators, and the Struggle Over Television Documentary (2005)

Smithsonian Magazine, September 4th, 2018 – When the US Government Tried to Make it Rain by Exploding Dynamite in the Sky

Snopes – Did a Man Die Demonstrating a Window’s Strength?

Stewart, Desmond – Great Cairo: Mother of the World (1981)

Wikipedia – Inland Customs Line

Williams, John Alden, ed. – The History of Al-Tabari, Volume XXVII: The Abbasid Revolution, AD 743-750 (1985)

Yorkshire Post, November 30th, 2006 – Britain Hatched Plot to Cut Off River Nile Amid Crisis Over Suez

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