University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Chicago, Illinois, September 3, 1961


In 1681 La Salle traveled from here along the Chicago River and then down the Mississippi, thus laying the foundations of a new empire for France.

[Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-87) undertook an expedition in 1681-82 in order to find the waterway from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. He thereby turned at the southwest shore of Lake Michigan into the mouth of the Chicago River and took advantage of the short portage to reach the Illinois River which flows into the Mississippi. La Salle traveled down the Mississippi and reached as first explorateur its mouth in the Gulf. He took possession of the entire Mississippi region for France and named it in honor of his King Louis XIV “Louisiana.”]

From 1803-1812 Fort Dearborn stood at the mouth of the Chicago River as a control point for the waterways between the Great Lakes and the inland rivers.

[The name Chicago derives from the Indian word “checagou” what could mean as much as “wild onion” or “onion field.” In 1803 Fort Dearborn was erected at the mouth of the Chicago River. The Fort was named after Henry Dearborn who served as Secretary of War in the cabinet of Thomas Jefferson. In the War of 1812 Fort Dearborn was raided and completely destroyed. Only years later the settlement Chicago developed, which finally in 1833 was incorporated as a village with about 200 inhabitants. With the opening of the Midwest as new area for settlements as well as the progressing industrialization and the arrival of the railroad, Chicago advanced quickly. At its silver jubilee in 1858, the city already had a population of 90,000.]

Philadelphia, September 12, 1961

The opening of school this fall witnessed a noticeable step forward in the struggle for integration. Schools have been integrated which even a year ago were strongly opposed to it.

[In the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 17, 1954, the principle of “separate but equal,” which had allowed segregation in equal school facilities, was declared unconstitutional. It demanded the admission of colored children to public schools. From that time on schools had to adjust to integration, which finally led to “school busing.” Accordingly, children from different residential districts were brought on buses across town to integrated schools.]

Philadelphia, September 12, 1961

Heard the evangelist Rev. Billy Graham speak today in the Irvin Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania. His Philadelphia Crusade clearly illustrates the fundamentalist religious attitude in American life. Billy Graham is a great orator who is capable of convincing his audience.

[In September of 1961 Billy Graham (1918- ) from Charlotte, North Carolina, was on his Philadelphia Crusade. Already at that time his great charisma was recognizable. During the following decades, he attracted in his public ministry millions of people around the world.]

New York, September 17, 1961

Saw the Leningrad Kirov Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera tonight. I have rarely heard such an enthusiastic ovation from an audience.

New York, September 17, 1961

Something very hopeful is happening in our generation which has never been experienced before to such an extent: The contact of all people, cultures and races from every continent. These newly established international ties have to be strengthened at whatever cost, whatever the circumstances. This is not just a fashion or ephemeral phase of our time, but is more akin to a tidal wave that will mold and shape mankind into a new form and way of existence.

New York, September 21, 1961

I attended the steering committee of the United Nations for the General Assembly agenda. In the discussion - with Dean Rusk, Zorin, and India’s Krishna Menon speaking - on the ban of nuclear tests, it became clearly visible how the Cold War is being fought on the East River and how the United Nations are misused as a forum for Cold War propaganda.

[Dean Rusk (1909-1994), U.S. Secretary of State, 1961-69; Valerian Zorin (1904-1986), permanent representative of the USSR in the Security Council, 1960-62; Krishna Menon (1897-1974), chairman of the Indian Delegation to the United Nations, 1953-62.]

Mid-Atlantic, September 25, 1961

Back to the cauldron and yet so much loved Europe.

[The passenger ship United States landed three days later in Le Havre where my wife had waited for my arrival.]

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