History Book

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, March 4th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.

Today, Ronald Reagan gives a memorable speech before the National Association of Evangelicals. Plus, remembering one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time, five years ago.

EICHER: But first, 500 years ago today, a Spanish Conquistador arrives in Mexico. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today on March 4th, 15-19. Hernán Cortés sets foot in Mexico and claims it for the Spanish crown. A scene reenacted here from the 1947 film: Captain From Castile.

FILM AUDIO: Men, this land holds out to us a glorious prize, but it must be won. Great things were never achieved without exertion. We are few in numbers, but strong in resolution. Put your faith in me and in the Almighty, and we will go forward and carry to a glorious conclusion the work so auspiciously begun here this day. [cheers]

Cortés is in search of the Aztec civilization and its legendary wealth. After an eight-month march, he arrives in Tenochtitlan. There he meets Moctezuma, emperor of the Aztecs. The ruler attempts to placate the Spaniard with gifts of gold, but the ploy has the opposite effect and Cortés takes the ruler hostage in his own palace.

After many bloody battles, Cortés and his allies eventually conquer the Aztec Empire in 15-21. He renames the capital Mexico City. And King Charles appoints Cortés as governor, captain general, and chief justice of the new Spanish territory, dubbed “New Spain of the Ocean Sea.”

Next, March 8th, 1983:

REAGAN: Let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness. Pray they will discover the joy of knowing God.  

U.S. President Ronald Reagan addresses the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida.

REAGAN: But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world…

During the speech Reagan speaks of domestic concerns, including: prayer in schools, pro-life legislation, racism, and spiritual renewal. However, the speech becomes best-known for how he describes the Soviet Union.

REAGAN: So in your discussion of the nuclear freeze proposals I urge you to beware the temptation of pride…to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

The speech set off a diplomatic war of words. The Soviet Union responded that the U.S. was an “imperialist superpower” seeking to “dominate the world.” Many American politicians decried Reagan’s speech as inflammatory and making relations worse between the two countries:

But today, many regard the speech as instrumental in changing the terms of the debate—leading to the eventual fall of communism in the former USSR.

And finally, 5 years ago, March 8th, 2014.

NEWSCAST HEADLINE: Breaking news tonight, a Malaysia airline flight with 239 people on board, including four Americans, has gone missing…

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, disappears en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A coalition of nations immediately begins searching for the aircraft.

The active search mission lasts for 52 days, though it continues off-and-on for nearly three years—making it the most costly in aviation history.

NEWS COVERAGE OF SEARCH: The search is over this morning for the missing Malaysian airliner that vanished nearly three years ago. Investigators overnight have officially suspended the effort to find the Boeing triple seven…

Twenty pieces of debris believed to be from the plane have washed ashore on western Indian Ocean beaches, but the wreckage itself has never surfaced. The cause of the disappearance remains “undetermined.” But the incident resulted in new safety protocols, including increased battery life for locator beacons, longer flight data and cockpit recorder times, plus new standards for open ocean position reporting.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.

(Photo/AFP, Getty Images)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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