• Summary

  • People, events and things that have shaped the way we think.
    O'Brien Communications, 2018
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  • Jun 20 2022
    Historian, author and Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow Lee Edwards joins Tim to talk about the Berlin Wall, the world that created it, the Cold War that fostered it, and the free world that brought it down. This episode was originally released April 1, 2019. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/shapingopinion/Encore_-_Belin_Wall.mp3 The Berlin Wall was as much a symbol for communist oppression as it was a barrier created to contain citizens of communist East Germany. At the end of World War II, the allies held two peace conferences in Yalta and Potsdam to determine the postwar map of the world. The key figures at those conferences were Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union and Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States. Tensions were already rising between the West and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR. In this context, the allies decided to split Germany into four “allied zones” to weaken the threat of that country re-emerging as a threat to world peace. The Eastern part of the country would be controlled by the Soviet Union, and the western part would fall under the control of the United States, Britain and later France would join. While Berlin is located in the eastern part of Germany, at Yalta and Potsdam, it was determined that as the capitol city, it had such significance that it, too, should be divided. Going forward, West Berlin became a thriving westernized city and enjoyed postwar prosperity, even though it was located deep inside communist East Germany.  East Berlin, on the other hand, remained in dire straits under the tight grip of communism. The Soviets decided to drive the West out of West Berlin. In 1948 they initiated a Soviet blockade of West Berlin to starve the Western Allies out of the city. The U.S. and its allies decided to conduct airlifts of humanitarian aid to West Berliners. Eventually the blockade ended, but tensions continued as the Soviets and the U.S. as super powers engaged in a nuclear arms race for global domination. The threat of World War III was ever-present. By 1958, the Soviets lost large numbers of skilled workers to the West as more and more of East Germans sought freedom in the West. By June 1961, roughly 19,000 people left East Germany through Berlin. On August 12, 1961, roughly 2,400 refugees defected to Berlin in a single day. This was the largest number of people to leave East Germany in one day. That night, Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev approved East Germany’s plans to stop to flow of refugees by closing its border. In one night, part of the Berlin Wall was built.  This did not defuse tensions but had the opposite effect. While it slowed the flood of refugees going from communism to freedom, it only exacerbated Cold War tensions. This did not stop captive East Germans from trying to escape communist oppression. 171 people died trying to defect, while another 5,000 East Germans found a way to successfully reach freedom in the West. Ronald Reagan’s Speech On Friday, June 12th 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave a historic speech of his own at the Berlin Wall. In it, he stepped up his pressure on the Soviet Union, reinforcing his strong positions against the oppression of communism, and then he delivered the now famous line when he called for Soviet leader Mikhail Gobachev to “Tear down this wall.” The Fall November 9, 1989 0 East Berlin’s Communist Party announced a change in its travel ban with the West. They said East German citizens were now free to cross the city’s borders. Both East and West Berliners descended on the wall and celebrated. Guards opened the checkpoints and 2 million people from both East and West joined together to celebrate. Then they physically started to tear it down. Links The Heritage Foundation A Brief History of the Cold War, by Lee Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards Spalding (Amazon)
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    38 mins
  • Jun 13 2022
    Historian and author Scott Dawson joins Tim to talk about his team’s discovery of what actually happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks. He has spent the past 11 years working with a team of archaeologists, historians, botanists and geologists to try to uncover the truth behind the story of the Lost Colony. This episode was first released on September 20, 2020. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/shapingopinion/Encore_-_Lost_Colony.mp3 It was August of 1590, and Englishman John White was about to return to the Roanoke Colony in the Americas, where he had been named governor three years earlier. John was among 115 English settlers who landed at Roanoke Island off the coast of what we now know as North Carolina in the Outer Banks region. After the group settled in Roanoke, John had sailed back to England to collect a load of supplies the settlers would need. He would have returned to Roanoke Island sooner, but England’s war with Spain complicated things. So, now, three years later, John is about to return to Roanoke, where he last saw his wife and daughter, along with his granddaughter, and the other settlers. Then something unexpected happens. When John White arrives at the colony, he finds no one. Not a single person is there to greet him. Not a trace. One clue, however, would prove to be the key to unlocking this mystery over 400 years later. On a wooden post, one word was carved.  It said “Croatoan,” which is the name of a local native American tribe, and the name of an island south of Roanoke where the Croatoans lived. Those are the facts we’ve known until now. Scott Dawson has studied this mystery more than most and decided to get some answers for himself. Please Thank Our Sponsors Please remember to thank our sponsors, without whom the Shaping Opinion podcast would not exist.  If you have the need, please support these organizations that have the same taste in podcasts that you do: BlueHost Premium Web Hosting Dell Outlet Overstock Computer Center Philips Hue Smart Home Lighting Links The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island, by Scott Dawson, Amazon The mystery is over. Researchers say they know what happened to ‘Lost Colony.’, The Virginian Pilot The ‘Lost Colony’ Wasn’t Really Lost,  Outer Banks Voice The Lost Colony of Roanoke: Did they survive?, DNA Explained Roanoke’s ‘Lost Colony’ was Never Lost, New Book Says, New York Times About this Episode’s Guest Scott Dawson Scott Dawson is a native of Hatteras Island whose family roots on the island trace back to the 1600s. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a BA in psychology and minor in history and is a well-known local historian, local author and amateur archaeologist. He is president and founder of the Croatoan Archaeological Society Inc. and has participated in a decade of archaeological excavations and research on Hatteras Island under the direction of Dr. Mark Horton. He also serves on the board of directors of the Outer Banks History Center.
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    47 mins
  • Jun 6 2022
    In this episode, we tell the story of D-Day on its 78th anniversary through a historical narrative where Tim also talks about his family’s connection to one of the most pivotal events in our history. The June 6, 1944, allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France through Operation Overlord was one of the biggest military undertakings in world history. This event marked the beginning of the end for Hitler and Nazi Germany. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/shapingopinion/D-Day_-_A_Podcast_Essay_auphonic.mp3 It’s June 5th 1944. The night before the most massive military invasion ever mounted in the history of the world. Hundreds of thousands of troops are amassed in Southern England. They are from the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada and other nations. They are about to board boats of all sizes to cross the English Channel and land on the beaches of Normandy in the North of France. It will be the largest armada ever. There are 4,000 ships from America, Britain and Canada.  1,200 planes are fueled and ready to drop paratroopers behind German lines. They are prepared to attack the German anti-aircraft guns and the artillery that will be aimed at landing forces. This massive operation is called Operation Overlord.  The allied commander is U.S. General Dwight David Eisenhower. And all of their focus will be on landing zones in Normandy. They code-named the beaches Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword. PFC Francis O'Brien The American troops will land at Utah and Omaha beaches. The British troops will land on Gold and Sword beaches. The Canadian troops will land on Juno beach. Today, we will tell the story of how events unfolded, but before that, you need to get to know Private First Class Francis O’Brien. He was better known to his brothers, his family and friends, and now to you as Fats O’Brien.  That’s how I knew him. He was my uncle. Fats is a tough kid from a rough neighborhood in Pittsburgh. He’s barely 19 years old. He comes from a big Irish Catholic family that has just struggled through the Great Depression. He and six of his brothers serve in the Army and Navy in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War 2. Fats was assigned to General Omar Bradley’s First Army. Company E 38th Infantry Regiment. He was part of the second wave that landed on Omaha Beach. He saw action practically immediately and was awarded a Bronze Star for his efforts. Links D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, by Stephen Ambrose (Amazon) World War II: D-Day, The Invasion of Normandy, Eisenhower Museum D-Day Timeline, Military History D-Day, June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Band of Brothers, IMDB Normandy American Cemetery, American Battle Monuments Commission Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument, American Battle Monuments Commission So, what was D-Day? It was officially known as the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 6th 1944 through August of that year. It represented the Allied invasion and liberation of Western Europe from German control. Again, it was called Operation Overlord. June 6th would become known as D-Day, the first day of the operation. 156,000 allied forces landed on those five beaches that stretched 50 miles wide. But a lot had to happen for D-Day to happen, and that’s what we cover in this episode.
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    48 mins

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