July 31, 1975
Jimmy Hoffa disappears
On July 31, 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, disappears in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard from again. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, conclusive evidence was never found, and Hoffa’s death remains shrouded in mystery to this day.
“Jimmy Hoffa disappears.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Jul 2008, 01:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52741.
1498 – Christopher Columbus, on his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, arrived at the island of Trinidad.
1919 – Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted.
1945 – Pierre Laval of France surrendered to Americans in Austria.
1964 – The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon’s surface.
1971 – Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV).
1991 – U.S. President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
1998 – More than 50 people died in Kashmir due to crossfire between India and Pakistan.
1999 – The spacecraft Lunar Prospect crashed into the moon. It was a mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface. The craft had been launched on January 6, 1998.
July 31, 1941
Goering orders Heydrich to prepare for the Final Solution
On this day in 1941, Herman Goering, writing under instructions from Hitler, ordered Reinhard Heydrich, SS general and Heinrich Himmler’s number-two man, “to submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”
Goering recounted briefly the outline for that “final solution” that had been drawn up on January 24, 1939: “emigration and evacuation in the best possible way.” This program of what would become mass, systematic extermination was to encompass “all the territories of Europe under German occupation.”
Heydrich already had some experience with organizing such a plan, having reintroduced the cruel medieval concept of the ghetto in Warsaw after the German occupation of Poland. Jews were crammed into cramped walled areas of major cities and held as prisoners, as their property was confiscated and given to either local Germans or non-Jewish Polish peasants.
Behind this horrendous scheme, carried out month by month, country by country, was Hitler, whose “greatest weakness was found in the vast numbers of oppressed peoples who hated [him] and the immoral ways of his government.” This assessment was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s, given at a Kremlin meeting that same day, July 31, with American adviser to the president Harry Hopkins.
“Goering orders Heydrich to prepare for the Final Solution.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Jul 2008, 01:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6536.