Posts Tagged ‘Adolf Hitler

23
Jun
09

On This Day, June 23: Hitler Tours Paris

June 23, 1940

Hitler takes a tour of Paris

On this day in 1940, Adolf Hitler surveys notable sites in the French capital, now German-occupied territory.

In his first and only visit to Paris, Hitler made Napoleon’s tomb among the sites to see. “That was the greatest and finest moment of my life,” he said upon leaving. Comparisons between the Fuhrer and Napoleon have been made many times: They were both foreigners to the countries they ruled (Napoleon was Italian, Hitler was Austrian); both planned invasions of Russia while preparing invasions of England; both captured the Russian city of Vilna on June 24; both had photographic memories; both were under 5 feet 9 inches tall, among other coincidences.

As a tribute to the French emperor, Hitler ordered that the remains of Napoleon’s son be moved from Vienna to lie beside his father.

But Hitler being Hitler, he came to do more than gawk at the tourist attractions. He ordered the destruction of two World War I monuments: one to General Charles Mangin, a French war hero, and one to Edith Cavell, a British nurse who was executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape German-occupied Brussels. The last thing Hitler wanted were such visible reminders of past German defeat.

Hitler would gush about Paris for months afterward. He was so impressed, he ordered architect and friend Albert Speer to revive plans for a massive construction program of new public buildings in Berlin, an attempt to destroy Paris, not with bombs, but with superior architecture. “Wasn’t Paris beautiful?” Hitler asked Speer. “But Berlin must be far more beautiful. [W]hen we are finished in Berlin, Paris will only be a shadow.”

“Hitler takes a tour of Paris,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6465 [accessed Jun 23, 2009]

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30
Apr
09

On This Day, April 30: Adolf Hitler

April 30, 1945

Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his underground bunker

Der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, burrowed away in a refurbished air-raid shelter, consumes a cyanide capsule, then shoots himself with a pistol, on this day in 1945, as his “1,000-year” Reich collapses above him.

Hitler had repaired to his bunker on January 16, after deciding to remain in Berlin for the last great siege of the war. Fifty-five feet under the chancellery (Hitler’s headquarters as chancellor), the shelter contained 18 small rooms and was fully self-sufficient, with its own water and electrical supply. He left only rarely (once to decorate a squadron of Hitler Youth) and spent most of his time micromanaging what was left of German defenses and entertaining such guests as Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. At his side were Eva Braun, whom he married only two days before their double suicide, and his dog, an Alsatian named Blondi.

Warned by officers that the Russians were only a day or so from overtaking the chancellery and urged to escape to Berchtesgarden, a small town in the Bavarian Alps where Hitler owned a home, the dictator instead chose suicide. It is believed that both he and his wife swallowed cyanide capsules (which had been tested for their efficacy on his “beloved” dog and her pups). For good measure, he shot himself with his service pistol.

The bodies of Hitler and Eva were cremated in the chancellery garden by the bunker survivors (as per Der Fuhrer’s orders) and reportedly later recovered in part by Russian troops. A German court finally officially declared Hitler dead, but not until 1956.

“Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his underground bunker,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6439 [accessed Apr 30, 2009]

On This Day

0030 – Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

0313 – Licinius unified the whole of the eastern empire under his own rule.

1563 – All Jews were expelled from France by order of Charles VI.

1803 – The U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million.

1812 – Louisiana admitted as the 18th U.S. state.

1930 – The Soviet Union proposed a military alliance with France and Great Britain.

1947 – The name of Boulder Dam, in Nevada, was changed back to Hoover Dam.

1948 – The Organization of American States held its first meeting in Bogota, Colombia.

1970 – U.S. troops invaded Cambodia to disrupt North Vietnamese Army base areas. The announcement by U.S. President Nixon led to widespread protests.

1984 – U.S. President Reagan signed cultural and scientific agreements with China. He also signed a tax accord that would make it easier for American companies to operate in China.

1998 – NATO was expanded to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The three nations were formally admitted the following April at NATO’s 50th anniversary summit.

April 30, 1939

New York World’s Fair opens

On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opens in New York City. The opening ceremony, which featured speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and New York Governor Herbert Lehman, ushered in the first day of television broadcasting in New York.

Spanning 1,200 acres at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, the fairground was marked by two imposing structures–the “Perisphere” and the “Trylon”–and exhibited such new technology as FM radio, robotics, fluorescent lighting, and a crude fax machine. Norman Bel Geddes designed a Futurama ride for General Motors, and users were transported through an idealized city of the future. Sixty-three nations participated in the fair, which enjoyed large crowds before the outbreak of World War II interrupted many of its scheduled events.

“New York World’s Fair opens,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4962 [accessed Apr 30, 2009]

01
Apr
09

On This Day, April 1: Battle of Five Forks

April 1, 1865

Battle of Five Forks

Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s supply line into Petersburg, Virginia, is closed when Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant collapse the end of Lee’s lines around Petersburg. The Confederates suffer heavy casualties, and the battle triggered Lee’s retreat from Petersburg as the two armies began a race that would end a week later at Appomattox Court House.

For nearly a year, Grant had laid siege to Lee’s army in an elaborate network of trenches that ran from Petersburg to the Confederate capital at Richmond, 25 miles north. Lee’s hungry army slowly dwindled through the winter of 1864-65 as Grant’s army swelled with well-fed reinforcements. On March 25, Lee attacked part of the Union trenches at Fort Stedman in a desperate attempt to break the siege and split Grant’s force. When that attack failed, Grant began mobilizing his forces along the entire 40-mile front. Southwest of Petersburg, Grant sent General Philip Sheridan against Lee’s right flank.

Sheridan moved forward on March 31, but the tough Confederates halted his advance. Sheridan moved troops to cut the railroad that ran from the southwest into Petersburg, but the focus of the battle became Five Forks, a road intersection that provided the key to Lee’s supply line. Lee instructed his commander there, General George Pickett, to “Hold Five Forks at all hazards.” On April 1, Sheridan’s men slammed into Pickett’s troops. Pickett had his force poorly positioned, and he was taking a long lunch with his staff when the attack occurred. General Gouverneur K. Warren’s V Corps supported Sheridan, and the 27,000 Yankee troops soon crushed Pickett’s command of 10,000. The Union lost 1,000 casualties, but nearly 5,000 of Pickett’s men were killed, wounded, or captured. During the battle, Sheridan, with the approval of Grant, removed Warren from command despite Warren’s effective deployment of his troops. It appears that a long-simmering feud between the two was the cause, but Warren was not officially cleared of any wrongdoing by a court of inquiry until 1882.

The vital intersection was in Union hands, and Lee’s supply line was cut. Grant now attacked all along the Petersburg-Richmond front and Lee evacuated the cities. The two armies began a race west, but Lee could not outrun Grant. The Confederate leader surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9.

“Battle of Five Forks.” 2009. The History Channel website. 1 Apr 2009, 08:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2153.

On This Day

0527 – Justinianus became the emperor of Byzantium.

1621 – The Plymouth, MA, colonists created the first treaty with Native Americans.

1863 – The first wartime conscription law goes into effect in the U.S.

1873 – The British White Star steamship Atlantic sank off Nova Scotia killing 547.

1918 – England’s Royal Flying Corps was replaced by the Royal Air Force.

1928 – China’s Chiang Kai-shek began attacking communists.

1945 – U.S. forces invaded Okinawa during World War II. It was the last campaign of World War II.

1954 – The U.S. Air Force Academy was formed in Colorado.

1970 – U.S. President Nixon signed the bill, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, that banned cigarette advertisements to be effective on January 1, 1971.

1982 – The U.S. transferred the Canal Zone to Panama.

2001 – China began holding 24 crewmembers of a U.S. surveillance plane. The EP-3E U.S. Navy crew had made an emergency landing after an in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese pilot was missing and presumed dead. The U.S. crew was released on April 11, 2001.

April 1, 1924

Hitler sent to Landsberg jail

In Germany, Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years in prison for leading the Nazis’ unsuccessful “Beer Hall Putsch” in the German state of Bavaria.

In the early 1920s, the ranks of Hitler’s Nazi Party swelled with resentful Germans who sympathized with the party’s bitter hatred of Germany’s democratic government, leftist politics, and Jews. In November 1923, after the German government resumed the payment of war reparations to Britain and France, the Nazis launched the “Beer Hall Putsch”–their first attempt at seizing the German government by force. Hitler hoped that his nationalist revolution in Bavaria would spread to the dissatisfied German army, which in turn would bring down the government in Berlin. However, the uprising was immediately suppressed, and Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for high treason.

Sent to Landsberg jail, he spent his time dictating his autobiography, Mein Kampf, and working on his oratorical skills. After nine months in prison, political pressure from supporters of the Nazi Party forced his release. During the next few years, Hitler and the other leading Nazis reorganized their party as a fanatical mass movement that was able to gain a majority in the German parliament–the Reichstag–by legal means in 1932. In the same year, President Paul von Hindenburg defeated a presidential bid by Hitler, but in January 1933 he appointed Hitler chancellor, hoping that the powerful Nazi leader could be brought to heel as a member of the president’s cabinet.

However, Hindenburg underestimated Hitler’s political audacity, and one of the new chancellor’s first acts was to use the burning of the Reichstag building as a pretext for calling general elections. The police under Nazi Hermann Goering suppressed much of the party’s opposition before the election, and the Nazis won a bare majority. Shortly after, Hitler took on absolute power through the Enabling Acts. In 1934, Hindenburg died and the last remnants of Germany’s democratic government were dismantled, leaving Hitler the sole master of a nation intent on war and genocide.

“Hitler sent to Landsberg jail.” 2009. The History Channel website. 1 Apr 2009, 08:37 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4881.

On This Day in Wisconsin:  1970 – Milwaukee Brewers Founded
On this date the Milwaukee Brewers, Inc., an organization formed by Allan H. “Bud” Selig and Edmund Fitzgerald, acquired the Seattle Pilots franchise. The team was renamed the Milwaukee Brewers, a tribute to the city’s long association with brewing industry. {Source: Brewers’ History Page.]

07
Mar
09

On This Day, March 7: The Rhineland

March 7, 1936

Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the Rhine River in western Germany.

The Treaty of Versailles, signed in July 1919–eight months after the guns fell silent in World War I–called for stiff war reparation payments and other punishing peace terms for defeated Germany. Having been forced to sign the treaty, the German delegation to the peace conference indicated its attitude by breaking the ceremonial pen. As dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, Germany’s military forces were reduced to insignificance and the Rhineland was to be demilitarized.

In 1925, at the conclusion of a European peace conference held in Switzerland, the Locarno Pact was signed, reaffirming the national boundaries decided by the Treaty of Versailles and approving the German entry into the League of Nations. The so-called “spirit of Locarno” symbolized hopes for an era of European peace and goodwill, and by 1930 German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann had negotiated the removal of the last Allied troops in the demilitarized Rhineland.

However, just four years later, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party seized full power in Germany, promising vengeance against the Allied nations that had forced the Treaty of Versailles on the German people. In 1935, Hitler unilaterally canceled the military clauses of the treaty and in March 1936 denounced the Locarno Pact and began remilitarizing of the Rhineland. Two years later, Nazi Germany burst out of its territories, absorbing Austria and portions of Czechoslovakia. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe.

“Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland.” 2009. The History Channel website. 7 Mar 2009, 05:20 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4815.

On This Day

0322 BC – Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, died.

1774 – The British closed the port of Boston to all commerce.

1848 – In Hawaii, the Great Mahele was signed.

1850 – U.S. Senator Daniel Webster endorsed the Compromise of 1850 as a method of preserving the Union.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell received a patent (U.S. Patent No. 174,465) for his telephone.

1906 – Finland granted women the right to vote.

1918 – Finland signed an alliance treaty with Germany.

1925 – The Soviet Red Army occupied Outer Mongolia.

1945 – During World War II, U.S. forces crossed the Rhine River at Remagen, Germany.

1954 – Russia appeared for the first time in ice-hockey competition. Russia defeated Canada 7-2 to win the world ice-hockey title in Stockholm, Sweden.

1965 – State troopers and a sheriff’s posse broke up a march by civil rights demonstrators in Selma, AL.

1971 – A thousand U.S. planes bombed Cambodia and Laos.

1989 – Poland accused the Soviet Union of a World War II massacre in Katyn.

1994 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies that poke fun at an original work can be considered “fair use” that does not require permission from the copyright holder.

March 7, 1941

British forces arrive in Greece

On this day, a British expeditionary force from North Africa lands in Greece.

In October 1940, Mussolini’s army, already occupying Albania, invaded Greece in what proved to be a disastrous military campaign for the Duce’s forces. Mussolini surprised everyone with this move against Greece, but he was not to be upstaged by recent Nazi conquests. According to Hitler, who was stunned by a move that he knew would be a strategic blunder, Mussolini should have concentrated on North Africa by continuing the advance into Egypt. The Italians paid for Mussolini’s hubris, as the Greeks succeeded in pushing the Italian invaders back into Albania after just one week, and the Axis power spent the next three months fighting for its life in a series of defensive battles.

Mussolini’s precipitate maneuver frustrated Hitler because it opened an opportunity for the British to enter Greece and establish an airbase in Athens, putting the Brits within striking distance of valuable oil reserves in Romania, which Hitler relied upon for his war machine. It also meant that Hitler would have to divert forces from North Africa, a high strategic priority, to bail Mussolini out of Greece-and postpone Hitler’s planned invasion of the Soviet Union.

The Brits indeed saw an opening in Greece, and on March 7, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill diverted troops from Egypt and sent 58,000 British and Aussie troops to occupy the Olympus-Vermion line. But the Brits would be blown out of the Pelopponesus Peninsula when Hitler’s forces invaded on the ground and from the air in April. Thousands of British and Australian forces were captured there and on Crete, where German paratroopers landed in May.

“British forces arrive in Greece.” 2009. The History Channel website. 7 Mar 2009, 05:20 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6734.

18
Dec
08

On This Day, 12-18-2008: Plymouth Harbor

December 18, 1620

Mayflower passengers come ashore at Plymouth Harbor

On December 18, 1620, passengers on the British ship Mayflower come ashore at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.

The famous Mayflower story began in 1606, when a group of reform-minded Puritans in Nottinghamshire, England, founded their own church, separate from the state-sanctioned Church of England. Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America. On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers–dubbed Pilgrims by William Bradford, a passenger who would become the first governor of Plymouth Colony–crowded on the Mayflower to begin the long, hard journey to a new life in the New World.

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod. Before going ashore, 41 male passengers–heads of families, single men and three male servants–signed the famous Mayflower Compact, agreeing to submit to a government chosen by common consent and to obey all laws made for the good of the colony. Over the next month, several small scouting groups were sent ashore to collect firewood and scout out a good place to build a settlement. Around December 10, one of these groups found a harbor they liked on the western side of Cape Cod Bay. They returned to the Mayflower to tell the other passengers, but bad weather prevented them reaching the harbor until December 16. Two days later, the first group of Pilgrims went ashore.   
After exploring the region, the settlers chose a cleared area previously occupied by members of a local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag. The tribe had abandoned the village several years earlier, after an outbreak of European disease. That winter of 1620-21 was brutal, as the Pilgrims struggled to build their settlement, find food and ward off sickness. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead. The remaining settlers made contact with returning members of the Wampanoag tribe and in March they signed a peace treaty with a tribal chief, Massasoit. Aided by the Wampanoag, especially the English-speaking Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to plant crops–especially corn and beans–that were vital to their survival. The Mayflower and its crew left Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.

Over the next several decades, more and more settlers made the trek across the Atlantic to Plymouth, which gradually grew into a prosperous shipbuilding and fishing center. In 1691, Plymouth was incorporated into the new Massachusetts Bay Association, ending its history as an independent colony.

“Mayflower passengers come ashore at Plymouth Harbor.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Dec 2008, 10:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52289.

On This Day

1787 – New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1796 – The “Monitor,” of Baltimore, MD, was published as the first Sunday newspaper.

1865 – Slavery was abolished in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution being ratified.

1903 – The Panama Canal Zone was acquired ‘in perpetuity’ by the U.S. for an annual rent.

1912 – The U.S. Congress prohibited the immigration of illiterate persons.

1915 – U.S. President Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.

1916 – During World War I, after 10 months of fighting the French defeated the Germans in the Battle of Verdun.

1917 – The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Congress. (Prohibition)

1940 – Adolf Hitler signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation “Barbarossa” was launched in June 1941.

1944 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also stated that undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.

1950 – NATO foreign ministers approved plans to defend Western Europe, including the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary.

1957 – The Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania went online. It was the first nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States. It was taken out of service in 1982.

1972 – The United States began the heaviest bombing of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The attack ended 12 days later.

1987 – Ivan F. Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street’s biggest insider-trading scandal. He only served about two years of the sentence.

1998 – Russia recalled its U.S. ambassador in protest of the U.S. attacks on Iraq.

1999 – After living atop an ancient redwood in Humboldt County, CA, for two years, environmental activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill came down, ending her anti-logging protest.

December 18, 1941

Japan invades Hong Kong

On this day, Japanese troops land in Hong Kong and a slaughter ensues.

A week of air raids over Hong Kong, a British crown colony, was followed up on December 17 with a visit paid by Japanese envoys to Sir Mark Young, the British governor of Hong Kong. The envoys’ message was simple: The British garrison there should simply surrender to the Japanese–resistance was futile. The envoys were sent home with the following retort: “The governor and commander in chief of Hong Kong declines absolutely to enter into negotiations for the surrender of Hong Kong. …”

The first wave of Japanese troops landed in Hong Kong with artillery fire for cover and the following order from their commander: “Take no prisoners.” Upon overrunning a volunteer antiaircraft battery, the Japanese invaders roped together the captured soldiers and proceeded to bayonet them to death. Even those who offered no resistance, such as the Royal Medical Corps, were led up a hill and killed.

The Japanese quickly took control of key reservoirs, threatening the British and Chinese inhabitants with a slow death by thirst. The Brits finally surrendered control of Hong Kong on Christmas Day.

On this same day: Censorship is imposed with the passage of the 1st American War Powers Act

The War Powers Act is passed by Congress, authorizing the president to initiate and terminate defense contracts, reconfigure government agencies for wartime priorities, and regulate the freezing of foreign assets. It also permitted him to censor all communications coming in and leaving the country.

FDR appointed the executive news director of the Associated Press, Byron Price, as director of censorship. Although invested with the awesome power to restrict and withhold news, Price took no extreme measures, allowing news outlets and radio stations to self-censor, which they did. Most top secret information, including the construction of the atom bomb, remained just that.

The most extreme use of the censorship law seems to have been the restriction of the free flow of “girlie” magazines to servicemen-including Esquire, which the Post Office considered obscene for its occasional saucy cartoons and pinups. Esquire took the Post Office to court, and after three years the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the magazine.

“Japan invades Hong Kong.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Dec 2008, 10:57 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6647.

18
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-18-2008: Abraham Lincoln

November 18, 1863

Lincoln travels to Gettysburg

President Lincoln boards a train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to deliver a short speech at the dedication for the cemetery of soldiers killed during the battle there on July 1 to 3, 1863. The address he gave became perhaps the most famous speech in American history.

Lincoln had given much thought to what he wanted to say at Gettysburg, but he nearly missed his chance to say it. On November 18, Lincoln’s son, Tad, became ill with a fever. Abraham and Mary Lincoln were, sadly, no strangers to juvenile illness: they had already lost two sons. Prone to fits of hysteria, Mary Lincoln panicked when the president prepared to leave for Pennsylvania. Lincoln felt that the opportunity to speak at Gettysburg and present his defense of the war was too important to miss, though. He boarded a train at noon and headed for Gettysburg.

Despite his son’s illness, Lincoln was in good spirits on the journey. He was accompanied by an entourage that included Secretary of State William Seward, Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, Interior Secretary John Usher, Lincoln’s personal secretaries John Hay and John Nicolay, several members of the diplomat corps, some foreign visitors, a Marine band, and a military escort. During one stop, a young girl lifted a bouquet of flowers to his window. Lincoln kissed her and said, “You’re a sweet little rose-bud yourself. I hope your life will open into perpetual beauty and goodness.”

When Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg, he was handed a telegram that lifted his spirits: Tad was feeling much better. Lincoln enjoyed an evening dinner and a serenade by Fifth New York Artillery Band before he retired to finalize his famous Gettysburg Address.

“Lincoln travels to Gettysburg.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Nov 2008, 10:09 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2391.

 On This Day

1865 – Samuel L. Clemens published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” under the pen name “Mark Twain” in the New York “Saturday Press.”

1883 – The U.S. and Canada adopted a system of standard time zones.

1903 – The U.S. and Panama signed a treaty that granted the U.S. rights to build the Panama Canal.

1916 – Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in World War I, calls off the Battle of the Somme in France. The offensive began on July 1, 1916.

1936 – Germany and Italy recognized the Spanish government of Francisco Franco.

1951 – Chuck Connors (Los Angeles Angels) became the first player to oppose the major league draft. Connors later became the star of the television show “The Rifleman.”

1966 – U.S. Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.

1987 – The U.S. Congress issued the Iran-Contra Affair report. The report said that President Ronald Reagan bore “ultimate responsibility” for wrongdoing by his aides.

1988 – U.S. President Reagan signed major legislation provided the death penalty for drug traffickers who kill.

1993 – The U.S. House of Representatives joined the U.S. Senate in approving legislation aimed at protecting abortion facilities, staff and patients.

 

November 18, 1940

Hitler furious over Italy’s debacle in Greece

On this day in 1940, Adolf Hitler meets with Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano over Mussolini’s disastrous invasion of Greece.

Mussolini surprised everyone with a move against Greece; his ally, Hitler, was caught off guard, especially since the Duce had led Hitler to believe he had no such intention. Even Mussolini’s own chief of army staff found out about the invasion only after the fact!

Despite being warned off an invasion of Greece by his own generals, despite the lack of preparedness on the part of his military, despite that it would mean getting bogged down in a mountainous country during the rainy season against an army willing to fight tooth and nail to defend its autonomy, Mussolini moved ahead out of sheer hubris, convinced he could defeat the inferior Greeks in a matter of days. He also knew a secret, that millions of lire had been put aside to bribe Greek politicians and generals not to resist the Italian invasion. Whether the money ever made it past the Italian fascist agents delegated with the responsibility is unclear; if it did, it clearly made no difference whatsoever-the Greeks succeeded in pushing the Italian invaders back into Albania after just one week. The Axis power spent the next three months fighting for its life in a defensive battle. To make matters worse, virtually half the Italian fleet at Taranto had been crippled by a British carrier-based attack.

At their meeting in Obersalzberg, Hitler excoriated Ciano for opening an opportunity for the British to enter Greece and establish an airbase in Athens, putting the Brits within striking distance of valuable oil reserves in Romania, which Hitler relied upon for his war machine. It also meant that Hitler would have to divert forces from North Africa, a high strategic priority, to Greece in order to bail Mussolini out. Hitler considered leaving the Italians to fight their own way out of this debacle-possibly even making peace with the Greeks as a way of forestalling an Allied intervention. But Germany would eventually invade, in April 1941, adding Greece to its list of conquests.

“Hitler furious over Italy’s debacle in Greece.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Nov 2008, 10:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6384.

09
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-9-2008: A Night Without Light

November 9, 1965

The Great Northeast Blackout

At dusk, the biggest power failure in U.S. history occurs as all of New York state, portions of seven neighboring states, and parts of eastern Canada are plunged into darkness. The Great Northeast Blackout began at the height of rush hour, delaying millions of commuters, trapping 800,000 people in New York’s subways, and stranding thousands more in office buildings, elevators, and trains. Ten thousand National Guardsmen and 5,000 off-duty policemen were called into service to prevent looting.

The blackout was caused by the tripping of a 230-kilovolt transmission line near Ontario, Canada, at 5:16 p.m., which caused several other heavily loaded lines also to fail. This precipitated a surge of power that overwhelmed the transmission lines in western New York, causing a “cascading” tripping of additional lines, resulting in the eventual breakup of the entire Northeastern transmission network. All together, 30 million people in eight U.S. states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec were affected by the blackout. During the night, power was gradually restored to the blacked-out areas, and by morning power had been restored throughout the Northeast.

On August 14, 2003 another major blackout occurred which affected most of Eastern Canada as well as most of the Eastern United States.

“The Great Northeast Blackout.” 2008. The History Channel website. 9 Nov 2008, 10:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5510.

On This Day

1872 – A fire destroyed about 800 buildings in Boston, MA.

1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt left for Panama to see the progress on the new canal. It was the first foreign trip by a U.S. president.

1918 – Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II announced he would abdicate. He then fled to the Netherlands.

1923 – In Munich, the Beer Hall Putsch was crushed by German troops that were loyal to the democratic government. The event began the evening before when Adolf Hitler took control of a beer hall full of Bavarian government leaders at gunpoint.

1935 – United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis and other labor leaders formed the Committee for Industrial Organization.

1961 – Major Robert White flew an X-15 rocket plane at a world record speed of 4,093 mph.

1967 – A Saturn V rocket carrying an unmanned Apollo spacecraft blasted off from Cape Kennedy on a successful test flight.

1976 – The U.N. General Assembly approved ten resolutions condemning the apartheid government in South Africa.

1989 – Communist East Germany opened its borders, allowing its citizens to travel freely to West Germany.

1990 – Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany.

1998 – A federal judge in New York approved the richest antitrust settlement in U.S. history. A leading brokerage firm was ordered to pay $1.03 billion to investors who had sued over price-rigging of Nasdaq stocks.

November 9, 1938

Nazis launch Kristallnacht

On this day in 1938, in an event that would foreshadow the Holocaust, German Nazis launch a campaign of terror against Jewish people and their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany. Kristallnacht represented a dramatic escalation of the campaign started by Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he became chancellor to purge Germany of its Jewish population.

The Nazis used the murder of a low-level German diplomat in Paris by a 17-year-old Polish Jew as an excuse to carry out the Kristallnacht attacks. On November 7, 1938, Ernst vom Rath was shot outside the German embassy by Herschel Grynszpan, who wanted revenge for his parents’ sudden deportation from Germany to Poland, along with tens of thousands of other Polish Jews. Following vom Rath’s death, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels ordered German storm troopers to carry out violent riots disguised as “spontaneous demonstrations” against Jewish citizens. Local police and fire departments were told not to interfere. In the face of all the devastation, some Jews, including entire families, committed suicide.

In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, the Nazis blamed the Jews and fined them 1 billion marks (or $400 million in 1938 dollars) for vom Rath’s death. As repayment, the government seized Jewish property and kept insurance money owed to Jewish people. In its quest to create a master Aryan race, the Nazi government enacted further discriminatory policies that essentially excluded Jews from all aspects of public life.

Over 100,000 Jews fled Germany for other countries after Kristallnacht. The international community was outraged by the violent events of November 9 and 10. Some countries broke off diplomatic relations in protest, but the Nazis suffered no serious consequences, leading them to believe they could get away with the mass murder that was the Holocaust, in which an estimated 6 million European Jews died.

“Nazis launch Kristallnacht.” 2008. The History Channel website. 9 Nov 2008, 10:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52085.

On This Day in Wisconsin

1968 – Earthquake Shakes Wisconsin
On this date one of the strongest earthquakes in the central United States occurred in south-central Illinois. Measured at a magnitude of 5.3, press reports from LaCrosse, Milwaukee, Port Washington, Portage, Prairie Du Chien, and Sheboygan indicated that the shock was felt in these cities. [Source: Mid-America Earthquake Center]




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