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Nixon’s Bold Trip — Christmastime 1956


On the 53rd anniversary of the famous “first flight” by the Wright brothers, Vice President Richard Nixon was presenting awards at the Washington D.C Aero Club’s Wright Memorial Dinner. The Vice President spoke of a trip he would be taking just a few hours later as an example of the “peaceful use of airpower.” The trip was a daring mission that would take Mr. Nixon right to the border of a country recently crushed under a Communist crackdown. His goal was to study the Hungarian refugee crisis. The result would be a week that changed the world.

On December 18th 1956 VP Nixon boarded the Columbine II and headed to Austria. A few days earlier Nixon was warned against going to the Hungarian border in Austria since Soviet troops had been spotted following refugees across the border. It was not safe.

President Eisenhower used Richard Nixon more and more effectively than any Vice President before or since. Writing in the Chicago Tribune on December 19th 1956- Walter Trohan noted that Nixon had become the “personal ambassador and personal troubleshooter” for President Eisenhower.

The US had taken in some Hungarian refugees but congressional limits were stifling. Nixon said that we needed an overhaul of the immigration system. Eisenhower was determined not to intervene militarily. Nixon brought insulin and financial aid for the refugees while the Soviets brought them starvation and death.

Nixon arrived in Austria on December 19th noting that the United States was going to take over 20,000 refugees and hopefully more. Austria was under heavy strain as they accepted massive numbers of people fleeing death.

The Vice President met scores of officials and ordinary people. He even played “Jingle Bells” on the piano at a Christmas play presented by refugees.

Near the end of his journey — and against previous advice — Nixon asked to go to the border and see the refugee crossings.  Nixon arrived in Andau on the freezing morning of December 21st.  This town was a few miles from the Hungarian border and a main refugee crossing location.

Sitting in a hay truck along with Bill Rogers and one secret service agent, Richard Nixon was pulled by a farm tractor to the border. The secret trip was slow and the air was frigid.

Nixon arrived at the famous Eisner Canal and “Freedom Bridge” in time to see refugees making a most dangerous escape. Nixon was back home a few days later- arriving in Washington on Christmas Eve. Nixon addressed the nation by radio the next day as part of a fundraiser for Hungarians.

Austrian Chancellor Julius Raab said that Vice President Nixon was “one of the finest men I have evet met in my entire career.” Once home, Nixon continued to be Eisenhower’s tip of the spear on this issue. He went to New York and met with former President Herbert Hoover about the crisis. He then went to a refugee camp in New Jersey. Operation “Safe Haven” was a success.

The Vice President met with congressional leaders with the message that our entire immigration system was inadequate during the harsh realities of the Cold War. Democrats in congress continued to block immigration reform but the Eisenhower administration was still able to save thousands of Hungarians.

A year later Richard Nixon remarked that what happened in Hungary would eventually help end the Communist empire. He was correct.

In 1971 an émigré from Hungary named Ferenc Daday memorialized Nixon’s bold move in a massive painting called “Nixon at Andau.”  It is a reminder of America at its best. It is a painting of American spirit, love and leadership.

When Richard Nixon visited Hungary in 1963 he was surrounded by people who remembered his mission almost a decade earlier. One young girl rushed up to the former Vice President and asked, “Are you Mr. Eisenhower’s Nixon?”  Nixon got flowers from some of the citizens in Budapest and remarked that he felt they were not given to him as an individual but to the country he represented. It was as if Nixon was back near the border on that Cold War morning in December of 1956.

In the next year, Eisenhower would use his personal ambassador and troubleshooter to help get the first Civil Rights bill since Reconstruction passed despite massive opposition from Lyndon Johnson. Nixon made a bold ruling from as President of the Senate to save the bill. But that is another story, another mission.

What happened at Christmastime 1956 was the start of the end of the Soviet empire. Everything that happened later was made possible because of this oft-forgotten mission. We saw humanitarian America at her best. We saw an America using its bully pulpit and not bombs to make change. We need men like Nixon and Eisenhower now more than ever.

Before Nixon changed the world by going to China, he changed the world by going to Austria. We should thank him for his tireless efforts.

Remember when VP Nixon helped end the steel strike? Neither does history.

In 1959 and 1960 Vice President Richard Nixon played a key role in ending a major steel strike. President Eisenhower used his vice president more (effectively) than any president before or since. This is just one example. This is lost to history. Nixon was one of the most successful presidents ever and the most powerful/successful vice president in history.

Below are two excerpts from the Chicago Tribune- January 5th, 1960. Enjoy reading some real history!




Thanksgiving 1973

Thanksgiving 1973 was the first Thanksgiving in twelve years that saw the nation NOT at war in Vietnam. Our troops were home and our prisoners of war were home. What an incredible moment in history. At Thanksgiving time in 1968- President Johnson had over 500,000 troops in Vietnam.

Thank you President Nixon.

Remember when…

Remember when the Nixon Administration sent a national health insurance bill to the congress? No? Neither do the media or most in academia. It was killed by that great liberal defender of the poor, Ted Kennedy.

Less Teaching and More Testing in Palm Beach Under Avossa

Since Robert Avossa took over in Palm Beach and neutered the School Board, testing has gone up and teachers have less teaching time. Avossa does not appear to be concerned. When told that PLC meetings were pulling teachers out of the classroom to discuss data- Avossa quipped that it only amounted to a few minutes a week and was not a big deal.

This comment shows how out of touch the superintendent is when it comes to teaching. He appears to be unaware of how important it is to be in class as much as possible. When test results comeback- teachers have THEIR names attached to the results- not the name AVOSSA.

Also this year- Avossa bamboozled the Board into agreeing to increase testing more by giving the PSAT test to 9th graders. Students now sit for this test in 8th, 9th, 10th and then take the SAT during the school day in 11th grade.

This test shuts down high schools for about five hours and ties up staff. And here is a shocker. The day the PSAT was given- it was a makeup day for graduation testing. Students LOST a chance to take a graduation test because resources went to testing HALF of each school. This is stunning malpractice by the Board.

The PSAT and SAT were never designed to be FORCED on students during the school day. ESOL students and exchange students who speak little to no English were also forced to test.

Students who spent 7-8 hours taking the FSA graduation test in October- will be forced to take a diagnostic test that takes two hours- in January- if they did not pass.

Nobody cares. This is nuts.


How Dare Someone Attack a War Hero!

I hate to disappoint those who thought this was about Donald Trump making negative comments about John McCain- a prisoner of war during Vietnam. The media wet themselves over this event.

But in 1952 the media did not appear to care as much when a Democratic sitting President made an outrageous attack on a candidate just a month before the presidential election.

On October 4th- President Harry Truman spoke in Oakland California at a Democratic Party rally. Truman actually said Republican nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower was responsible – in part- for the Korean War. Truman went on to say that Ike had abused the trust placed in him. Truman went on to blame Eisenhower for other failures in the Truman administration. The stupid audacity to blame Ike for Korea is stunning. I think he forgot about the Communist aggression and his own order to send in our troops.

A day earlier- Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson attacked Ike in a speech delivered in Ohio. The nominee said Ike was “bought” by isolationists.

Democrats can always get away with things that Republicans can’t.

November 1st, 1950

I doubt the media will take note but tomorrow is the 66th anniversary of the assassination attempt you never learned about. The Secret Service has not forgotten and will hold their annual ceremony for White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt. Coffelt was killed while defending President Truman from an attack by Puerto Rican Nationalists.

An excellent book about the event is called “American Gunfight” by Stephen Hunter and John Bainbridge Jr.

In an troubling footnote,  President Carter actually freed one of the assassins who was serving a life sentence.

Another Myth from 1968

A persistent myth in academia and media is that Richard Nixon did not want to debate in 1968. To be accurate- he wanted to debate Humphrey but not in a three-way debate that included the other Democrat in the race- George Wallace. Humphrey wanted a three-man debate. I do not think anyone would want to debate two wings of the same party. Nixon did not. As it turns out- The Humphrey wing of the party was closer to the Wallace wing than most have the honesty or objectivity to admit.

While Nixon was condemning the race politics of the Democratic Solid South- Humphrey was putting his arms around Lester Maddox- calling him “a good Democrat.”

If you total up all the votes in the states won by Mr. Wallace- the Humphrey ticket got the second highest vote total.

Democratic control of the West crumbled when the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket became the moral conscience of the nation in the 1950s and ended the Korean War while pushing a Civil Rights agenda.

The Democratic South would only crumble in 1972- not due to race- but due to patriotism- Nixon getting us out of Vietnam and taking segregation off the table by peacefully desegregating Southern schools by cabinet level committees.

The South will always return to its conservative roots.




Is The National Archives Biased?

The National Archives helps oversee Presidential Libraries. Is there a clear bias in favor of Democratic Presidents?

Has the FDR Library been asked to be honest by including exhibits about putting a Klansman on the Supreme Court? Opposition to federal anti-lynching laws? Is there a close examination of his Solid South strategy?

Has the JFK Library been asked to be honest by including exhibits about his role in the assassination of President Diem? Or what about the possibly stolen election of 1960?

Has the LBJ Library been asked to be honest by including exhibits about his wiretapping of enemies? Using the CIA and FBI to gather information on enemies? Actually wiretapping the plane of an opponent in a Presidential election?

I could go on but you get the point. I am a member of libraries of Presidents of both parties and I see bias.

New Nixon Library Opens Tomorrow!

I just happened to be online when I got an alert for a live video event from ABC News. It was a preview of the new Nixon Library! There are almost seventy new exhibits and a lot of interactive features.  Chris Cox gave a brief tour that lasted about 30 minutes or so. It really looks good.

Many achievements of the administration (formerly ignored) are now included in the library.  I have to admit I got chills when Chris Cox told the viewers that Richard Nixon got more votes than any candidate in history- looking at all national tickets.  Nixon was on more national tickets than any GOP candidate in history and is tied with FDR overall. Of course FDR was not subject to any term limits.

I really hope that new generations of historians will stop the crime against history that has been perpetuated for fifty years. Nixon has been slandered more than any President in history yet he accomplished more than all but FDR.

I hope for an expanded exhibit on his immense role in passing the Civil Rights Bill of 1957 as well as an exhibit on how he peacefully desegregated a majority of Southern schools. You just do not hear about these things and it is a crime.  We owe future generations a lot better.

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