University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, Tuesday, March 8, 1988

Super Tuesday

For the first time in American political history, primaries have been regionally combined. On today’s “Super Tuesday,” delegates for the Republican as well as for the Democratic national convention were elected in 20 Southern states. The idea was to give the South as a region noticeable significance in the upcoming presidential election. In fact, this primary, which has frequently been regarded as a “national primary,” has set the course for candidates of both parties. On the Republican side, Vice President George Bush, who won 690 delegates vs. Robert Dole with only 163, has emerged as clear winner. On the side of the Democrats, Governor Michael Dukakis won 401 delegates, followed by Albert Gore with 364 and the Reverend Jesse Jackson with 344. The nomination of George Bush as presidential candidate of the Republican Party cannot be stopped anymore, while on the Democratic side the race is still open.

South Bend, March 9, 1988

How an American Legend Originated

On a nostalgic return to the Notre Dame Campus, President Reagan participated personally today in a Stamp Dedication Ceremony for the legendary football coach Knute Rockne (1888 - 1931). Knute Rockne led the Notre Dame football team two times to a national championship in the 1920s. On the pinnacle of his career, he died in an airplane crash in 1931. By his tragic death, Knute Rockne, who had achieved national recognition as college football coach, became a legend. Connected with Rockne was the story of George Gipp, one of his best players, who had died of a streptococcal infection in December 1920. According to tradition, Gipp, on his deathbed, supposedly expressed a wish to his coach that he should call upon the team to win for him when a game looked hopelessly lost. That moment came in 1928 when the Fighting Irish played against the superior team of the Army in the Yankee Stadium. Legend has it that during halftime Knute Rockne cheered on his team, “to win just one for the Gipper.” “Win one for the Gipper” has become a familiar dictum when it matters to save a hopeless situation. This story was portrayed in the film “Knute Rockne: All American” by the end of the 1930s. As a young actor, Ronald Reagan played the role of George Gipp. The premiere of the film in South Bend in 1940 was a national event. When at today’s ceremony, President Reagan cautiously repeated: “Win one for the Gipper,” the audience erupted in enthusiastic applause. What happened today in the sport arena and convocation center of Notre Dame was more than a stamp dedication ceremony. One could experience how an American legend had originated and how it was brought to life again.

South Bend, March 18, 1988

U.S. Troops to Honduras

With strength of resolution, President Reagan reacted immediately to the advance of the Sandinistas on Honduran territory, where the positions of the Contras should have been taken. Within a few hours, he sent 3,200 U.S. troops to Honduras. This increases the threat of war in Central America, recently also fomented by the crisis in Panama. Apprehensions are being expressed that Central America could become a second Vietnam. Protest demonstrations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and in Chicago have again evoked the atmosphere of the 1960s. Who will give in first? A test of wills lies ahead.

March 24, 1988

Surprisingly, Sandinistas and Contras have reached an agreement today at the negotiating table, which seems to bring an end to the civil war that has lasted for seven years and claimed nearly 40,000 lives. A 60-day truce has been agreed and the Contras were conceded the right to a say in the government of Nicaragua. New elections and democratic reforms have been considered for the future.

March 27, 1988

According to the agreed upon amnesty as part of the truce, the first 100 political prisoners were released today in Managua. As the peace negotiations in Nicaragua promise a positive result, the American troops can be withdrawn from Honduras. This intervention ended without bloodshed. No doubt, the decisiveness of the Reagan Administration contributed to bringing about the peace negotiations. Thereby, the crisis situation in Central America has been visibly eased.

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