Posts Tagged ‘Karl Doenitz

07
May
08

On This Day, 5-7-08: Germany Surrenders

Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims

On this day in 1945, the German High Command, in the person of General Alfred Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France.

At first, General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender to only those forces still fighting the Western Allies. But General Dwight Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces, those fighting in the East as well as in the West. If this demand was not met, Eisenhower was prepared to seal off the Western front, preventing Germans from fleeing to the West in order to surrender, thereby leaving them in the hands of the enveloping Soviet forces. Jodl radioed Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Hitler’s successor, with the terms. Donitz ordered him to sign. So with Russian General Ivan Susloparov and French General Francois Sevez signing as witnesses, and General Walter Bedell Smith, Ike’s chief of staff, signing for the Allied Expeditionary Force, Germany was-at least on paper-defeated. Fighting would still go on in the East for almost another day. But the war in the West was over.

Since General Susloparov did not have explicit permission from Soviet Premier Stalin to sign the surrender papers, even as a witness, he was quickly hustled back East-into the hands of the Soviet secret police, never to be heard from again. Alfred Jodl, who was wounded in the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944, would be found guilty of war crimes (which included the shooting of hostages) at Nuremberg and hanged on October 16, 1946-then granted a pardon, posthumously, in 1953, after a German appeals court found Jodl not guilty of breaking international law.

“Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 May 2008, 12:36 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6446.

1274 – The Second Council of Lyons opened in France to regulate the election of the pope.

1429 – The English siege of Orleans was broken by Joan of Arc.

1525 – The German peasants’ revolt was crushed by the ruling class and church.

1912 – The first airplane equipped with a machine gun flew over College Park, MD.

1915 – The Lusitania, a civilian ship, was sunk by a German submarine. 1,198 people were killed.

1937 – The German Condor Legion arrived in Spain to assist Franco’s forces.

1939 – Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.

1942 – In the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese and American navies attacked each other with carrier planes. It was the first time in the history of naval warfare where two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other.

1946 – Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp. was founded. The company was later renamed Sony.

1954 – The United States and the United Kingdom rejected the Soviet Union’s bid to join NATO.

1958 – Howard Johnson set an aircraft altitude record in F-104.

1975 – U.S. President Ford declared an end to the Vietnam War.

1977 – Rookie Janet Guthrie set the fastest time on opening day of practice for the Indianapolis 500. Her time was 185.607.

1984 – A $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who claimed they had suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant while serving in the armed forces.

1992 – A 203-year-old proposed constitutional amendment barring the U.S. Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise was ratified as the 27th Amendment.

1997 – A report released by the U.S. government said that Switzerland provided Nazi Germany with equipment and credit during World War II. Germany exchanged for gold what had been plundered or stolen. Switzerland did not comply with postwar agreements to return the gold.

1999 – In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens were killed and 20 were wounded when a NATO plane mistakenly bombed the Chinese embassy.

 

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu

In northwest Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces decisively defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu, a French stronghold besieged by the Vietnamese communists for 57 days. The Viet Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu signaled the end of French colonial influence in Indochina and cleared the way for the division of Vietnam along the 17th parallel at the conference of Geneva.

“French defeated at Dien Bien Phu.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 May 2008, 12:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4981.

Pontiac’s plot is foiled

On this day in 1763, Major Henry Gladwin, British commander of Fort Detroit, foils Ottawa Chief Pontiac’s attempt at a surprise attack. Romantic lore holds that Gladwin’s Seneca mistress informed him of the western Indians’ plans for an uprising.

When Pontiac arrived at the fort with his men, who were concealing weapons under their trading blankets, they discovered that Gladwin had assembled his men and prepared them for a defense of the fort. Knowing that, without the element of surprise, their efforts would not be successful, Pontiac withdrew and instead laid siege to the fort for the rest of the summer, while his allies successfully seized 10 of 13 British forts in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions by June 20. The western Indians’ efforts to unite all Native Americans in an attempt to free themselves of addictions to European trade goods and alcohol, guided by their spiritual leader, a Delaware named Neolin, seemed to be succeeding. However, the French failed to come to the Indians’ aid in driving the British back to the Atlantic as hoped, dooming the rebellion.

“Pontiac’s plot is foiled.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 May 2008, 12:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=615.

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01
May
08

On This Day, 5-1-08: Law Day

President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day

On this day in 1958, President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day to honor the role of law in the creation of the United States of America. Three years later, Congress followed suit by passing a joint resolution establishing May 1 as Law Day.

The idea of a Law Day had first been proposed by the American Bar Association in 1957. The desire to suppress the celebration of May 1, or May Day, as International Workers Day aided in Law Day’s creation. May Day had communist overtones in the minds of many Americans, because of its celebration of working people as a governing class in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

“President Eisenhower proclaims Law Day.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 May 2008, 12:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=609.

0408 – Theodosius II succeeded to the throne of Constantinople.

1308 – King Albert was murdered by his nephew John, because he refused his share of the Habsburg lands.

1707 – England, Wales and Scotland were united to form Great Britain.

1805 – The state of Virginia passed a law requiring all freed slaves to leave the state, or risk either imprisonment or deportation.

1863 – In Virginia, the Battle of Chancellorsville began. General Robert E. Lee’s forces began fighting with Union troops under General Joseph Hooker. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own soldiers in this battle. (May 1-4)

1867 – Reconstruction in the South began with black voter registration.

1877 – U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew all Federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.

1884 – The construction of the firt American 10-story building began in Chicago, IL.

1898 – The U.S. Navy under Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines.

1927 – Adolf Hitler held his first Nazi meeting in Berlin.

1931 – The Empire State Building in New York was dedicated and opened. It was 102 stories tall and was the tallest building in the world at the time.

1934 – The Philippine legislature accepted a U.S. proposal for independence.

1941 – “Citizen Kane,” directed and starring Orson Welles, premiered in New York.

1944 – The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first combat jet, made its first flight.

1945 – Martin Bormann, private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escaped from the Fuehrerbunker as the Red Army advanced on Berlin.

1945 – Admiral Karl Doenitz succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich. This was one day after Hitler committed suicide.

1961 – Fidel Castro announced there would be no more elections in Cuba.

1967 – Anastasio Somoza Debayle became president of Nicaragua.

1970 – Students at Kent State University riot in downtown Kent, OH, in protest of the American invasion of Cambodia.

1986 – The Tass News Agency reported the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.

1992 – On the third day of the Los Angeles riots resulting from the Rodney King beating trial. King appeared in public to appeal for calm, he asked, “Can we all get along?”

2001 – In Washington, DC, Chandra Levy disappeared. She was an intern at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. California Representative Gary Condit was named in the investigation. Her body was found on May 22, 2002 in Rock Creek Park.

 

American U-2 spy plane shot down

An American U-2 spy plane is shot down while conducting espionage over the Soviet Union. The incident derailed an important summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that was scheduled for later that month.

The U-2 spy plane was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Agency, and it was a sophisticated technological marvel. Traveling at altitudes of up to 70,000 feet, the aircraft was equipped with state-of-the-art photography equipment that could, the CIA boasted, take high-resolution pictures of headlines in Russian newspapers as it flew overhead. Flights over the Soviet Union began in mid-1956. The CIA assured President Eisenhower that the Soviets did not possess anti-aircraft weapons sophisticated enough to shoot down the high-altitude planes.

“American U-2 spy plane shot down.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 May 2008, 12:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2654.

29
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-29-08: Eva Braun

Adolf and Eva marry

Eva Braun met Hitler while employed as an assistant to Hitler’s official photographer. Of a middle-class Catholic background, Braun spent her time with Hitler out of public view, entertaining herself by skiing and swimming. She had no discernible influence on Hitler’s political career but provided a certain domesticity to the life of the dictator. Loyal to the end, she refused to leave the Berlin bunker buried beneath the chancellery as the Russians closed in. The couple was married only hours before they both committed suicide.

“Adolf and Eva marry.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Apr 2008, 10:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6437.

1429 – Joan of Arc lead Orleans, France, to victory over Britain.

1861 – The Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from Union.

1862 – New Orleans fell to Union forces during the Civil War.

1913 – Gideon Sundback patented an all-purpose zipper.

1941 – The Boston Bees agreed to change their name to the Braves.

1945 – The German Army in Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.

1945 – In a bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were married. Hitler designated Admiral Karl Doenitz his successor.

1946 – Twenty-eight former Japanese leaders were indicted in Tokyo as war criminals.

1952 – IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Jr., informed his company’s stockholders that IBM was building “the most advanced, most flexible high-speed computer in the world.” The computer was unveiled April 7, 1953, as the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine.

1974 – U.S. President Nixon announced he was releasing edited transcripts of secretly made White House tape recordings related to the Watergate scandal.

1975 – The U.S. embassy in Vietnam was evacuated as North Vietnamese forces fought their way into Saigon.

1984 – In California, the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor went online after a long delay due to protests.

 

Dachau liberated

On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division.

Established five weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as German chancellor in 1933, Dachau was situated on the outskirts of the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich. During its first year, the camp held about 5,000 political prisoners, consisting primarily of German communists, Social Democrats, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During the next few years, the number of prisoners grew dramatically, and other groups were interned at Dachau, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and repeat criminals. Beginning in 1938, Jews began to comprise a major portion of camp internees.

Prisoners at Dachau were used as forced laborers, initially in the construction and expansion of the camp and later for German armaments production. The camp served as the training center for SS concentration camp guards and was a model for other Nazi concentration camps. Dachau was also the first Nazi camp to use prisoners as human guinea pigs in medical experiments. At Dachau, Nazi scientists tested the effects of freezing and changes to atmospheric pressure on inmates, infected them with malaria and tuberculosis and treated them with experimental drugs, and forced them to test methods of making seawater potable and of halting excessive bleeding. Hundreds of prisoners died or were crippled as a result of these experiments.

“Dachau liberated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Apr 2008, 01:55 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6882.

Riots erupt in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, California, four Los Angeles police officers that had been caught beating an unarmed African-American motorist in an amateur video are acquitted of any wrongdoing in the arrest. Hours after the verdicts were announced, outrage and protest turned to violence, as rioters in south-central Los Angeles blocked freeway traffic and beat motorists, wrecked and looted numerous downtown stores and buildings, and set more than 100 fires.

“Riots erupt in Los Angeles.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Apr 2008, 01:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4960.




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