Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On June 30

On this day in ...
1984 (25 years ago today), Lillian Hellman (right) died in Tisbury, Massachusetts. The playwright's best-known works include The Children's Hour (1934), The Little Foxes (1941), and Toys in the Attic (1959). Throughout her career, Hellman openly held left-wing political views and was active in the campaign against the growth of fascism in Europe. As a result, she was subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Pressured to reveal the names of associates in the theater who might have Communist associations, she refused:
'To hurt innocent people whom I knew many years ago in order to save myself is, to me, inhuman and indecent and dishonorable. I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions, even though I long ago came to the conclusion that I was not a political person and could have no comfortable place in any political group.'
(credit for photo of paperback reissue of Hellman's 1969 memoir, An Unfinished Woman)
1992, Margaret Thatcher (below left) joined the House of Lords following the bestowal upon her of a life peerage. In 1959, Thatcher had been elected a Member of Parliament. She proceeded to become Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and a member of the House of Commons from 1990 to 1992. (photo credit) Thatcher used her appointment to the House of Lords to continue to make her views heard, particularly on European issues. In 1992, Thatcher called for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to stop the Serbian assault on Goražde and Sarajevo as a means to end ethnic cleansing and to preserve the Bosnian state. She has also made a series of speeches criticizing the Maastricht Treaty.

(Prior June 30 posts are here and here.)

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