This Day in History

May 20, 1969:

The battle for “Hamburger Hill” ends after 10 grueling days.

After 10 days and 10 bloody assaults, Hill 937 in South Vietnam is finally captured by U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. The Americans who fought there cynically dubbed Hill 937 “Hamburger Hill” because the battle and its high casualty rate reminded them of a meat grinder.

Located one mile east of the Laotian border, Hill 937 was ordered taken as part of Operation Apache Snow, a mission intended to limit enemy infiltration from Laos that threatened Hue to the northeast and Danang to the southeast. On May 10, following air and artillery strikes, a U.S.-led infantry force launched its first assault on the North Vietnamese stronghold but suffered a high proportion of casualties and fell back. Ten more infantry assaults came during the next 10 days, but Hill 937’s North Vietnamese defenders did not give up their fortified position until May 20. Almost 100 Americans were killed and more than 400 wounded in taking the hill, amounting to a shocking 70 percent casualty rate.

The same day that Hamburger Hill was finally captured, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts called the operation “senseless and irresponsible” and attacked the military tactics of President Richard Nixon’s administration. His speech before the Senate was seen as part of a growing public outcry over the U.S. military policy in Vietnam. U.S. military command had ordered Hill 937 taken primarily as a diversionary tactic, and on May 28 it was abandoned. This led to further outrage in America over what seemed a senseless loss of American lives. North Vietnamese forces eventually returned and re-fortified their original position.

May 19, 1943:

FDR and Winston Churchill plot D-Day.

https://www.army.mil/d-day/history.html

On May 19, 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt set a date for the cross-Channel landing that would become D-Day—May 1, 1944. That date will prove a bit premature, as bad weather becomes a factor.

Addressing a joint session of Congress, Churchill warned that the real danger at present was the “dragging-out of the war at enormous expense” because of the risk that the Allies would become “tired or bored or split”—and play into the hands of Germany and Japan. He pushed for an early and massive attack on the “underbelly of the Axis.” 

And so, to “speed” things up, the British prime minister and President Roosevelt set a date for a cross-Channel invasion of Normandy, in northern France, for May 1, 1944, regardless of the problems presented by the invasion of Italy, which was underway. It would be carried out by 29 divisions, including a Free French division, if possible.

The D-Day invasion ended up taking place on June 6, 1944. 

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/churchill-and-fdr-plot-d-day

May 18, 1863:

The siege at Vicksburg commences.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/vicksburg-campaign

On May 18, Union General Ulysses S. Grant surrounds Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, in one of the most brilliant campaigns of the war.

Beginning in the winter of 1862-63, Grant made several attempts to capture Vicksburg. In March, he marched his army down the west bank of the Mississippi, while Union Admiral David Porter’s flotilla ran past the substantial batteries that protected the city. 

They met south of the city, and Grant crossed the river and entered Mississippi. He then moved north to approach Vicksburg from its more lightly defended eastern side. In May, he had to split his army to deal with a threat from Joseph Johnston’s Rebels in Jackson, the state capital that lay 40 miles east of Vicksburg. After defeating Johnston’s forces, Grant moved toward Vicksburg.

On May 16, Grant fought the Confederates under John C. Pemberton at Champion Hill and defeated them decisively. He then attacked again at the Big Black River the next day, and Pemberton fled into Vicksburg with Grant following close behind. The trap was now complete and Pemberton was stuck in Vicksburg, although his forces would hold out until July 4.

In the three weeks since Grant crossed the Mississippi in the campaign to capture Vicksburg, his men marched 180 miles and won five battles. They took nearly 100 Confederate artillery pieces and nearly 6,000 prisoners, all with relatively light losses.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

May 17, 1954:

Brown vs. Board of Education is decided.

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/ed/14/06/brown-60-milliken-40

May 17, 1954: In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. That ruling was used to justify segregating all public facilities, including elementary schools. However, in the case of Linda Brown, the white school she attempted to attend was far superior to her Black alternative and miles closer to her home. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took up Linda’s cause, and in 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka reached the Supreme Court. African American lawyer (and future Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall led Brown’s legal team, and on May 17, 1954, the high court handed down its decision.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the nation’s highest court ruled that not only was the “separate but equal” doctrine unconstitutional in Linda’s case, it was unconstitutional in all cases because educational segregation stamped an inherent badge of inferiority on African American students. A year later, after hearing arguments on the implementation of their ruling, the Supreme Court published guidelines requiring public school systems to integrate “with all deliberate speed.”

Brown v. Board of Ed served to greatly motivate the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of racial segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

May 16, 1929:

The first Academy Awards show is held.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards

On May 16, 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hands out its first awards, at a dinner party for around 250 people held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, head of the powerful MGM film studio, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Its first president and the host of the May 1929 ceremony was the actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Unlike today, the winners of the first Oscars—as the coveted gold-plated statuettes later became known—were announced before the awards ceremony itself.

At the time of the first Oscar ceremony, sound had just been introduced into film. The Warner Bros. movie The Jazz Singer—one of the first “talkies”—was not allowed to compete for Best Picture because the Academy decided it was unfair to let movies with sound compete with silent films. The first official Best Picture winner was Wings, directed by William Wellman. The most expensive movie of its time, with a budget of $2 million, the movie told the story of two World War I pilots who fall for the same woman. Another film, F.W. Murnau’s epic Sunrise, was considered a dual winner for the best film of the year. German actor Emil Jannings won the Best Actor honor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh, while 22-year-old Janet Gaynor was the only female winner. After receiving three out of the five Best Actress nods, she won for all three roles, in Seventh HeavenStreet Angel and Sunrise.

A special honorary award was presented to Charlie Chaplin. Originally a nominee for Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Comedy Director for The Circus, Chaplin was removed from these categories so he could receive the special award, a change that some attributed to his unpopularity in Hollywood. It was the last Oscar the Hollywood maverick would receive until another honorary award in 1971.

The Academy officially began using the nickname Oscar for its awards in 1939; a popular but unconfirmed story about the source of the name holds that Academy executive director Margaret Herrick remarked that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar. Since 1942, the results of the secret ballot voting have been announced during the live-broadcast Academy Awards ceremony using the sealed-envelope system. The suspense—not to mention the red-carpet arrival of nominees and other stars wearing their most beautiful or outrageous evening wear—continues to draw international attention to the film industry’s biggest night of the year.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

May 13, 1846:

US Congress declares war on Mexico

https://www.britannica.com/event/Mexican-American-War

On May 13, 1846, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly votes in favor of President James K. Polk’s request to declare war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas.

Under the threat of war, the United States had refrained from annexing Texas after the latter won independence from Mexico in 1836. But in 1844, President John Tyler restarted negotiations with the Republic of Texas, culminating with a Treaty of Annexation. The treaty was defeated by a wide margin in the Senate because it would upset the slave state/free state balance between North and South and risked war with Mexico, which had broken off relations with the United States. But shortly before leaving office and with the support of President-elect Polk, Tyler managed to get the joint resolution passed on March 1, 1845. Texas was admitted to the Union on December 29. 

While Mexico didn’t follow through with its threat to declare war, relations between the two nations remained tense over border disputes, and in July 1845, President Polk ordered troops into disputed lands that lay between the Neuces and Rio Grande rivers. In November, Polk sent the diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to seek boundary adjustments in return for the U.S. government’s settlement of the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico and also to make an offer to purchase California and New Mexico. After the mission failed, the U.S. army under Gen. Zachary Taylor advanced to the mouth of the Rio Grande, the river that the state of Texas claimed as its southern boundary.

Mexico, claiming that the boundary was the Nueces River to the northeast of the Rio Grande, considered the advance of Taylor’s army an act of aggression and in April 1846 sent troops across the Rio Grande. Polk, in turn, declared the Mexican advance to be an invasion of U.S. soil, and on May 11, 1846, asked Congress to declare war on Mexico, which it did two days later.

After nearly two years of fighting, peace was established by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848. The Rio Grande was made the southern boundary of Texas, and California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States. In return, the United States paid Mexico the sum of $15 million and agreed to settle all claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

May 11, 1969

Bloody 10-day battle at “Hamburger Hill” begins.

https://www.history.com/news/hamburger-hill-controversy

Hamburger Hill was the scene of an intense and controversial battle during the Vietnam War. Known to military planners as Hill 937 (a reference to its height in meters), the solitary peak is located in the dense jungles of the A Shau Valley of Vietnam, about a mile from the border with Laos.

The Vietnamese referred to the hill as Dong Ap Bia (or Ap Bia Mountain, “the mountain of the crouching beast”). Though the hill had no real tactical significance, taking the hill was part of Operation Apache Snow, a U.S. military sweep of the A Shau Valley. The purpose of the operation was to cut off North Vietnamese infiltration from Laos and enemy threats to the cities of Hue and Da Nang.

101st Airborne Division Attacks

Under the leadership of General Melvin Zais, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, paratroopers engaged a North Vietnamese regiment on the slopes of Ap Bia Mountain on May 10, 1969. Entrenched in well-prepared fighting positions, the North Vietnamese 29th Regiment repulsed the initial American assault, and after suffering a high number of casualties, U.S. forces fell back.

The soldiers of the North Vietnamese 29th Regiment—battle-hardened veterans of the Tet Offensive—beat back another attempt by the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry on May 14. An intense battle raged for the next 10 days as the mountain came under heavy air strikes, artillery barrages and 10 infantry assaults, some conducted in heavy tropical rainstorms that reduced visibility to near zero.

Due to the bitter fighting and the high casualty rate, Ap Bia Mountain was dubbed “Hamburger Hill” by journalists covering the Vietnam War. Speaking to a reporter, 19-year-old Sergeant James Spears said, “Have you ever been inside a hamburger machine? We just got cut to pieces by extremely accurate machine gun fire.”

Hamburger Hill Captured

On May 20, General Zais sent in two additional U.S. airborne battalions (the 1st Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment), plus a South Vietnamese battalion as reinforcements for his increasingly disgruntled soldiers.

One U.S. soldier—who had fought in nine of the 10 assaults on Hamburger Hill—was quoted as saying, “I’ve lost a lot of buddies up there. Not many guys can take it much longer.”

Finally, in the 11th attack, the North Vietnamese stronghold was captured on May 20, when thousands of U.S. troops and South Vietnamese soldiers fought their way to the summit. In the face of the four-battalion attack, the North Vietnamese retreated to sanctuary areas in Laos.

Hamburger Hill Abandoned

On June 5—just days after the hard-won victory—Ap Bia Mountain was abandoned by U.S. forces because it had no real strategic value. The North Vietnamese re-occupied Hamburger Hill a month later.

Reports of casualties vary, but during the 10 days of intense fighting, an estimated 630 North Vietnamese were killed. U.S. casualties were listed as 72 killed and 372 wounded.

Legacy of Hamburger Hill

The bloody battle over Hamburger Hill and the fleeting victory resulted in a firestorm of criticism from anti-war activists. Outrage over what appeared to be a senseless loss of American lives was exacerbated by photographs published in Life magazine of U.S. soldiers killed during the battle.

On the floor of the U.S. SenateEdward Kennedy scorned the military tactics of the Nixon administration. Kennedy condemned the battle for Ap Bia Mountain as “senseless and irresponsible.” General Creighton Abrams, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, was subsequently ordered to avoid such intensive ground battles.

But not all the soldiers and military leaders agreed that Hamburger Hill was a wasted effort. Of the criticisms leveled at U.S. commanders, General Zais said, “Those people are acting like this was a catastrophe for the U.S. troops. This was a tremendous, gallant victory.”

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/paratroopers-battle-for-hamburger-hill

May 10, 1869:

Transcontinental railroad completed, unifying the United States.

https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/transcontinental-railroad

On May 10, 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train.

Since at least 1832, both Eastern and frontier statesmen realized a need to connect the two coasts. It was not until 1853, though, that Congress appropriated funds to survey several routes for the transcontinental railroad. The actual building of the railroad would have to wait even longer, as North-South tensions prevented Congress from reaching an agreement on where the line would begin.

One year into the Civil War, a Republican-controlled Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act (1862), guaranteeing public land grants and loans to the two railroads it chose to build the transcontinental line, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. With these in hand, the railroads began work in 1866 from Omaha and Sacramento, forging a northern route across the country. In their eagerness for land, the two lines built right past each other, and the final meeting place had to be renegotiated.

Harsh winters, staggering summer heat and the lawless, rough-and-tumble conditions of newly settled western towns made conditions for the Union Pacific laborers—mainly Civil War veterans of Irish descent—miserable. The overwhelmingly immigrant Chinese work force of the Central Pacific also had its fair share of problems, including brutal 12-hour work days laying tracks over the Sierra Nevada Mountains (they also received lower wages than their white counterparts). On more than one occasion, whole crews would be lost to avalanches, or mishaps with explosives would leave several dead.

For all the adversity they suffered, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific workers were able to finish the railroad–laying nearly 2,000 miles of track–by 1869, ahead of schedule and under budget. Journeys that had taken months by wagon train or weeks by boat now took only days. Their work had an immediate impact: The years following the construction of the railway were years of rapid growth and expansion for the United States, due in large part to the speed and ease of travel that the railroad provided.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

May 5, 1961:

Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.

On May 5, 1961, Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. is launched into space aboard the Freedom 7 space capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to travel into space. The suborbital flight, which lasted 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere, was a major triumph for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA was established in 1958 to keep U.S. space efforts abreast of recent Soviet achievements, such as the launching of the world’s first artificial satellite—Sputnik 1—in 1957. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the two superpowers raced to become the first country to put a man in space and return him to Earth. On April 12, 1961, the Soviet space program won the race when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into space, put in orbit around the planet, and safely returned to Earth. One month later, Shepard’s suborbital flight restored faith in the U.S. space program.

NASA continued to trail the Soviets closely until the late 1960s and the successes of the Apollo lunar program. In July 1969, the Americans took a giant leap forward with Apollo 11, a three-stage spacecraft that took U.S. astronauts to the surface of the moon and returned them to Earth. On February 5, 1971, Alan Shepard, the first American in space, became the fifth astronaut to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

May 4, 1970:

National Guard kills four students in Kent State shooting.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/kent-state-massacre-shootings-college-campus-50-years-ago-changed-n1197676

On May 4, 1970, in Kent, Ohio, 28 National Guardsmen fire their weapons at a group of anti-war demonstrators on the Kent State University campus, killing four students, wounding eight, and permanently paralyzing another. The tragedy was a watershed moment for a nation divided by the conflict in Vietnam, and further galvanized the anti-war movement

Two days earlier, on May 2, National Guard troops were called to Kent to suppress students rioting in protest of the Vietnam War and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The next day, scattered protests were dispersed by tear gas, and on May 4 class resumed at Kent State University. By noon that day, despite a ban on rallies, some 2,000 people had assembled on the campus. National Guard troops arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse, fired tear gas, and advanced against the students with bayonets fixed on their rifles. Some of the protesters, refusing to yield, responded by throwing rocks and verbally taunting the troops.

Minutes later, without firing a warning shot, the Guardsmen discharged more than 60 rounds toward a group of demonstrators in a nearby parking lot, killing four and wounding nine. The closest casualty was 20 yards away, and the farthest was almost 250 yards away. After a period of disbelief, shock, and attempts at first aid, angry students gathered on a nearby slope and were again ordered to move by the Guardsmen. Faculty members were able to convince the group to disperse, and further bloodshed was prevented.

The shootings led to protests on college campuses across the country. Photographs of the massacre became enduring images of the anti-war movement. In 1974, at the end of a criminal investigation, a federal court dropped all charges levied against eight Ohio National Guardsmen for their role in the Kent State students’ deaths.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 29, 1945:

US Army liberates Dachau concentration camp.

https://www.history.com/news/dachau-concentration-camp-liberation

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, Roma peoples, 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.

Thousands of inmates died or were executed at Dachau, and thousands more were transferred to a Nazi extermination center near Linz, Austria, when they became too sick or weak to work. In 1944, to increase war production, the main camp was supplemented by dozens of satellite camps established near armaments factories in southern Germany and Austria. These camps were administered by the main camp and collectively called Dachau.

With the advance of Allied forces against Germany in April 1945, the Germans transferred prisoners from concentration camps near the front to Dachau, leading to a general deterioration of conditions and typhus epidemics. On April 27, 1945, approximately 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to begin a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee, far to the south. The next day, many of the SS guards abandoned the camp. On April 29, the Dachau main camp was liberated by units of the 45th Infantry after a brief battle with the camp’s remaining guards.

As they neared the camp, the Americans found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies in various states of decomposition. Inside the camp there were more bodies and 30,000 survivors, most severely emaciated. Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. It is officially reported that 30 SS guards were killed in this fashion, but conspiracy theorists have alleged that more than 10 times that number were executed by the American liberators. The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.

In the course of Dachau’s history, at least 160,000 prisoners passed through the main camp, and 90,000 through the subcamps. Incomplete records indicate that at least 32,000 of the inmates perished at Dachau and its subcamps, but countless more were shipped to extermination camps elsewhere.

April 28, 1970:

President Nixon approves Cambodian incursion.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29106034

President Richard Nixon gives his formal authorization to commit U.S. combat troops, in cooperation with South Vietnamese units, against communist troop sanctuaries in Cambodia.

Secretary of State William Rogers and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, who had continually argued for a downsizing of the U.S. effort in Vietnam, were excluded from the decision to use U.S. troops in Cambodia. Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cabled Gen. Creighton Abrams, senior U.S. commander in Saigon, informing him of the decision that a “higher authority has authorized certain military actions to protect U.S. forces operating in South Vietnam.” Nixon believed that the operation was necessary as a pre-emptive strike to forestall North Vietnamese attacks from Cambodia into South Vietnam as the U.S. forces withdrew and the South Vietnamese assumed more responsibility for the fighting. Nevertheless, three National Security Council staff members and key aides to presidential assistant Henry Kissinger resigned in protest over what amounted to an invasion of Cambodia.

When Nixon publicly announced the Cambodian incursion on April 30, it set off a wave of antiwar demonstrations. A May 4, protest at Kent State University resulted in the killing of four students by Army National Guard troops. Another student rally at Jackson State College in Mississippi resulted in the death of two students and 12 wounded when police opened fire on a women’s dormitory. The incursion angered many in Congress, who felt that Nixon was illegally widening the war; this resulted in a series of congressional resolutions and legislative initiatives that would severely limit the executive power of the president.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nixon-approves-cambodian-incursion

April 27, 1773:

British parliament passes unpopular Tea Act.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/boston-tea-party

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament passes the Tea Act, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company from bankruptcy by greatly lowering the tea tax it paid to the British government and, thus, granting it a de facto monopoly on the American tea trade. Because all legal tea entered the colonies through England, allowing the East India Company to pay lower taxes in Britain also allowed it to sell tea more cheaply in the colonies. Even untaxed Dutch tea, which entered the colonies illegally through smuggling, was more expensive the East India tea, after the act took effect.

British Prime Minister, Frederick, Lord North, who initiated the legislation, thought it impossible that the colonists would protest cheap tea; he was wrong. Many colonists viewed the act as yet another example of taxation tyranny, precisely because it left an earlier duty on tea entering the colonies in place, while removing the duty on tea entering England.

When three tea ships carrying East India Company tea, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to send back the cargo, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the so-called Boston Tea Party with about 60 members of the radically anti-British Sons of Liberty. On December 16, 1773, the Patriots boarded the British ships disguised as Mohawk Indians and dumped the tea chests, valued then at £18,000 (nearly $1 million in today’s money), into the water.

Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, known to colonists as the Intolerable Acts, the following year. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to what they saw as British oppression.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/parliament-passes-the-tea-act

April 26, 1977:

Studio 54 opens in New York City.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_54

The crowd outside 254 West 54th Street in New York City on this day in 1927 would have been waiting for the curtain of a Puccini opera. On this day in 1957 or ’67, they would have been waiting for a filming of an episode of Password or maybe Captain Kangaroo. On April 26 in 1977, however, the crowd gathered outside that Midtown address was waiting and hoping for a chance to enter what would soon become the global epicenter of the disco craze and the most famous nightclub in the world: Studio 54, which opened its doors for the very first time.

The impresarios behind Studio 54 were Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, college roommates at Syracuse University who got into the nightclub business after their first venture, a chain of steak restaurants, failed to flourish. But before taking Manhattan by storm and becoming famous for openly and shamelessly excluding all but the most chic, famous or beautiful patrons from their establishment, Rubell and Schrager were running a far less pretentious operation called the Enchanted Garden in the far reaches of Queens. 

The woman who deserves the lion’s share of the credit for making 54 into the celebrity playground that it became was Carmen D’Alessio, a public-relations entrepreneur in the fashion industry, whose Rolodex included names like Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote. Her buzz-building turned the grand opening into a major item in the New York gossip columns, and her later efforts—like having Bianca Jagger pose atop a white horse at her 30th birthday party—stoked the public’s fascination with Studio 54 even further. Not just the usual celebrity suspects—actors, models, musicians and athletes—but also political figures like Margaret Trudeau, Jackie Onassis and, infamously, White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan came out to be seen during the club’s brief heyday.

From a musical standpoint, Studio 54 did not seek to break new ground, but rather to feed its patrons a familiar diet of dance hits. Artists like Grace Jones, Donna Summer and Gloria Gaynor all made live appearances there, but Studio 54 belonged to the DJs and to the free entertainment provided by the club’s flamboyant staff and clientele. While disco reigned supreme on the pop charts, Studio 54 reigned supreme among discotheques, enjoying a golden era that lasted from its opening on this day in 1977 to its closing-night party on February 4, 1980—a party called, appropriately enough, “The End of Modern-day Gomorrah.”

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/studio-54-opens

April 22, 1970:

The first Earth Day.

https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history

Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time on April 22, 1970. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches and educational programs across the country. 

Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” 

The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Springabout the effects of pesticides—is often cited as the beginning of the modern environmental movement in the U.S. Sustainability, organic eating and the “back-to-the-land” movement continued to gain steam throughout the 1960s. 

The first Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Earth Day also led to the the passage of the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. 

On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations. Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. (He died in 2005.) 

Earth Day has been celebrated on different days by different groups internationally. The United Nations officially celebrates it on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs about March 21. Earth Day 2021—the 51st anniversary—is celebrated on April 22. 

April 22, 1945:

Hitler admits defeat.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Hitler

On April 22, 1945, Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse. 

Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s assessment, a Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin, liberates a POW camp and releases, among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.

April 22, 1957:

John Irving Kennedy plays for Phillies, fully integrating the National League.

https://www.mlb.com/phillies

On April 22, 1957, John Irvin Kennedy becomes the first African-American player on the Philadelphia Phillies, fully integrating the National League 10 years after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. In the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, N.J., Kennedy enters the game as a pinch-runner.

In 1959, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green was the first Black player on the Boston Red Sox, the last Major League Baseball team to integrate.

After playing in the declining Negro Leagues, Kennedy signed with the Phillies in October 1956 and was invited to spring training in 1957. He received an endorsement from Phillies scout Bill Yancey, who compared Kennedy’s swing to future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks’s and predicted he would become one of baseball’s better hitters.

In spring training, Kennedy sparkled, hitting .333 (second on the team) and making only one error at shortstop. But 10 days before the opener, the Phillies spent $75,000 to acquire Cuban shortstop Chico Fernandez from the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1957, Fernandez played in 149 games for the Phillies. Kennedy, 30, played in only five, getting two at-bats and no hits. 

“I would not say they made a huge commitment to the development of John Kennedy,” Chris Threston, author of The Integration of Baseball in Philadelphiatold BillyPenn.Com in 2017. “They just wanted to get it over with.”

Kennedy never made it back to the majors after 1957. “I was up for a few weeks. Some… Negro League players never even got that,” he told the Philadelphia Daily News in 1997. 

Kennedy died on April 27, 1998. 

April 22, 2004:

Pat Tillman killed by friendly fir in Afghanistan.

https://www.biography.com/athlete/pat-tillman

Pat Tillman, who gave up his pro football career to enlist in the U.S. Army after the terrorist attacks of September 11, is killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. The news that Tillman, age 27, was mistakenly gunned down by his fellow Rangers, rather than enemy forces, was initially covered up by the U.S. military.

Patrick Daniel Tillman was born the oldest of three brothers on November 6, 1976, in San Jose, California. He played linebacker for Arizona State University, where during his senior year he was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. In 1998, Tillman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. He became the team’s starting safety as well as one of its most popular players. In 2000, he broke the team record for tackles with 224. In May 2002, Tillman turned down a three-year, multi-million-dollar deal with the Cardinals and instead, prompted by the events of 9/11, joined the Army along with his brother Kevin, a minor-league baseball player. The Tillman brothers were assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington, and did tours in Iraq in 2003, followed by Afghanistan the next year.

On April 22, 2004, Pat Tillman was killed by gunfire while on patrol in a rugged area of eastern Afghanistan. The Army initially maintained that Tillman and his unit were ambushed by enemy forces. Tillman was praised as a national hero, awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals and posthumously promoted to corporal. Weeks later, Tillman’s family learned his death had been accidental. His parents publicly criticized the Army, saying they had been intentionally deceived by military officials who wanted to use their son as a patriotic poster boy. They believed their son’s death was initially covered up by military officials because it could’ve undermined support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A criminal investigation was eventually launched into the case and in 2007 the Army censured retired three-star general Philip Kensinger, who was in charge of special operations at the time of Tillman’s death, for lying to investigators and making other mistakes. “Memorandums of concern” were also sent to several brigadier generals and lower-ranking officers who the Army believed acted improperly in the case.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 21, 1918:

German flying ace, “Red Baron,” killed in action.

https://www.history.com/news/ace-of-aces-how-the-red-baron-became-wwis-most-legendary-fighter-pilot

In the well-trafficked skies above the Somme River in France, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the notorious German flying ace known as the Red Baron,” is killed by Allied fire on April 21, 1918.

Richthofen, the son of a Prussian nobleman, switched from the German army to the Imperial Air Service in 1915. By 1916, he was terrorizing the skies over the Western Front in an Albatross biplane, downing 15 enemy planes by the end of the year, including one piloted by British flying ace Major Lanoe Hawker. In 1917, Richthofen surpassed all flying-ace records on both sides of the Western Front and began using a Fokker triplane, painted entirely red in tribute to his old cavalry regiment. Although only used during the last eight months of his career, it was this aircraft with which Richthofen was most commonly associated and that led to an enduring English nickname for the German pilot—the Red Baron.

On April 21, 1918, with 80 victories under his belt, Richthofen led his squadron of triplanes deep into Allied territory in France on a search for British observation aircraft. The flight drew the attention of an Allied squadron led by Canadian Royal Air Force pilot Captain Arthur Roy Brown. As Richthofen pursued a plane piloted by Brown’s compatriot, Wilfred R. May, the Red Baron ventured too far into enemy territory and too low to the ground. Two miles behind the Allied lines, just as Brown caught up with Richthofen and fired on him, the chase passed over an Australian machine-gun battery, whose riflemen opened fire. Richthofen was hit in the torso; though he managed to land his plane alongside the road from Corbie to Bray, near Sailley-le-Sac, he was dead by the time Australian troops reached him. Brown is often given credit for downing Richthofen from the air, though some claimed it was actually an Australian gunner on the ground who fired the fatal shot; debate continues to this day.

Manfred von Richthofen was buried by the Allies in a small military cemetery in Bertangles, France, with full military honors. He was 25 years old at the time of his death. His body was later moved to a larger cemetery at Fricourt. In 1925, it was moved again, at the behest of his brother, Karl Bolko, this time to Berlin, where he was buried at Invaliden Cemetery in a large state funeral. In a time of wooden and fabric aircraft, when 20 air victories ensured a pilot legendary status, the Red Baron downed 80 enemy aircraft and went down in history as one of the greatest heroes to emerge from World War I on either side of the conflict.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/red-baron-killed-in-action-2

April 15, 1947:

Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier.

https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/robinson-jackie

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson’s groundbreaking career was honored and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig in a ceremony attended by over 50,000 fans at New York City’s Shea Stadium. Robinson’s was the first-ever number retired by all teams in the league.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers. Growing up, he excelled at sports and attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the first athlete to letter in four varsity sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. After financial difficulties forced Robinson to drop out of UCLA, he joined the army in 1942 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After protesting instances of racial discrimination during his military service, Robinson was court-martialed in 1944. Ultimately, though, he was honorably discharged.

After the army, Robinson played for a season in the Negro American League. In 1946, he spent one season with the Canadian minor league team the Montreal Royals. In 1947, Robinson was called up to the Majors and soon became a star infielder and outfielder for the Dodgers, as well as the National League’s Rookie of the Year. In 1949, the right-hander was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player and league batting champ. Robinson played on the National League All-Star team from 1949 through 1954 and led the Dodgers to six National League pennants and one World Series, in 1955. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

Despite his talent and success as a player, Robinson faced tremendous racial discrimination throughout his career, from baseball fans and some fellow players. Additionally, Jim Crow laws prevented Robinson from using the same hotels and restaurants as his teammates while playing in the South.

After retiring from baseball in 1957, Robinson became a businessman and civil rights activist. He died October 24, 1972, at age 53, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 14, 1865:

President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/abraham-lincoln-assassination

President Abraham Lincoln is shot in the head at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865. The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged,” as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Lincoln died the next morning.

Booth, who remained in the North during the war despite his Confederate sympathies, initially plotted to capture President Lincoln and take him to Richmond, the Confederate capital. However, on March 20, 1865, the day of the planned kidnapping, the president failed to appear at the spot where Booth and his six fellow conspirators lay in wait. Two weeks later, Richmond fell to Union forces. In April, with Confederate armies near collapse across the South, Booth hatched a desperate plan to save the Confederacy.

Learning that Lincoln was to attend Laura Keene’s acclaimed performance in Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater on April 14, Booth plotted the simultaneous assassination of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William H. Seward. By murdering the president and two of his possible successors, Booth and his conspirators hoped to throw the U.S. government into a paralyzing disarray.

On the evening of April 14, conspirator Lewis T. Powell burst into Secretary of State Seward’s home, seriously wounding him and three others, while George A. Atzerodt, assigned to Vice President Johnson, lost his nerve and fled. 

Meanwhile, just after 10 p.m., Booth entered Lincoln’s private theater box unnoticed, and shot the president with a single bullet in the back of his head. Although Booth had broken his left leg jumping from Lincoln’s box, he succeeded in escaping Washington.

The president, mortally wounded, was carried to a cheap lodging house opposite Ford’s Theater. About 7:22 a.m. the next morning, he died—the first U.S. president to be assassinated. 

Booth was a well-regarded actor who was particularly loved in the South before the Civil War. During the war, he stayed in the North and became increasingly bitter when audiences weren’t as enamored of him as they were in Dixie. Along with friends Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlin and John Surratt, Booth conspired to kidnap Lincoln and deliver him to the South.

On March 17, along with George Atzerodt, David Herold and Lewis Powell, the group met in a Washington bar to plot the abduction of the president three days later. However, when the president changed his plans, the scheme was scuttled. Shortly afterward, the South surrendered to the Union and the conspirators altered their plan. They decided to kill Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward on the same evening.

When April 14 came around, Atzerodt backed out of his part to kill Johnson. Upset, Booth went to drink at a saloon near Ford’s Theatre. At about 10 p.m. he walked into the theater and up to the president’s box. Lincoln’s guard, John Parker, was not there because he had gotten bored with the play and left his post to get a beer. Booth easily slipped in and shot the president in the back of the head. The president’s friend, Major Rathbone, attempted to grab Booth but was slashed by Booth’s knife. Booth injured his leg badly when he jumped to the stage to escape, but he managed to hobble outside to his horse.

Meanwhile, Lewis Powell forced his way into William Seward’s house and stabbed the secretary of state several times before fleeing. Booth rode to Virginia with David Herold and stopped at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who placed splints on Booth’s legs. They hid in a barn on Richard Garrett’s farm as thousands of Union troops combed the area looking for them. The other conspirators were captured, except for John Surratt, who fled to Canada.

When the troops finally caught up with Booth and Herold on April 26, they gave them the option of surrendering before the barn was burned down. Herold decided to surrender, but Booth remained in the barn as it went up in flames. Booth was then shot and killed in the burning barn by Corporal Boston Corbett. On July 7, George Atzerodt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and John Surratt’s mother, Mary, were hanged in Washington. The execution of Mary Surratt is believed by some to have been a miscarriage of justice. Although there was proof of Surratt’s involvement in the original abduction conspiracy, it is clear that her deeds were minor compared to those of the others who were executed.

Her son John was eventually tracked down in Egypt and brought back to trial, but he managed, with the help of clever lawyers, to win an acquittal.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 13, 1928:

First non-stop flight from Europe to North America.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_K%C3%B6hl

German pilot Hermann Köhl, Irish aviator James Fitzmaurice and Baron Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld, the expedition’s financier, complete the first Europe to North America transatlantic flight, taking off from Ireland and landing safely on a small Canadian island.

The prevailing winds in the North Atlantic blow from North America towards Europe, hastening Eastbound airplanes on their way but making headwinds a major problem for those flying West. Köhl, who had flown in the German Army Air Service in World War I, and von Hünefeld, who had been turned away from the Air Service due to his health, attempted the crossing in 1927 but turned back due to poor weather. With the addition of Fitzmaurice, who had served in the British Royal Air Force before resigning to join the Irish Air Corps, they staged a second attempt the following April, using one of von Hünefeld’s two Junkers W33 aircraft, the Bremen.

The trio gathered in Dublin in late March, but foul weather delayed takeoff for 17 days. Finally, on April 12, they took off from Baldonnel Aerodrome, intending to fly to New York. Things went smoothly at first, but a combination of storm clouds and a faulty compass put them roughly 40 degrees off course as they approached Canada. Their problems didn’t end there; the aviators soon realized they had an oil leak, at which point they abandoned the plan to land in New York and looked for the nearest place to set the plane down, which turned out to be Greenly Island.

Köhl and Fitzmaurice put the Bremen down in a frozen pond, damaging it in the process, but they walked away unharmed and having made the first-ever East-West crossing of the Atlantic.

When they later arrived in New York (having left the Bremen behind for repairs) the “Three Musketeers of the Air” received a parade and a hero’s welcome. They spent the next several months traveling the United States and Europe, meeting with dignitaries and enjoying similar celebrity status to what Charles Lindbergh (who completed the first solo North America-Europe transatlantic flight) had experienced the previous year. Though today their accomplishment is overshadowed by his in the popular imagination, their semi-planned landing in Canada on April 13, 1928 represents an equally important moment in aviation history, the first successful nonstop flight from Europe to North America.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-nonstop-transatlantic-flight-europe-to-north-america

April 12, 1861:

American Civil War begins as Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter.

https://www.nps.gov/fosu/learn/historyculture/fort_sumter.htm

he bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between North and South over the issue of slavery had led Southern leadership to discuss a unified separation from the United States. By 1860, the majority of the slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans, the anti-slavery party, won the presidency. Following Republican Abraham Lincoln’s victory over the divided Democratic Party in November 1860, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings. On December 20, the South Carolina legislature passed the “Ordinance of Secession,” which declared that “the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.” After the declaration, South Carolina set about seizing forts, arsenals, and other strategic locations within the state. Within six weeks, five more Southern states–MississippiFloridaAlabamaGeorgia and Louisiana–had followed South Carolina’s lead.

In February 1861, delegates from those states convened to establish a unified government. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was subsequently elected the first president of the Confederate States of America. When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, a total of seven states (Texas had joined the pack) had seceded from the Union, and federal troops held only Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and a handful of minor outposts in the South. Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.

Take from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 11, 1970:

Apollo 13 launches to the moon.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112384/

On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13, the third lunar landing mission, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert and Fred W. Haise. The spacecraft’s destination was the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon, where the astronauts were to explore the Imbrium Basin and conduct geological experiments. After an oxygen tank exploded on the evening of April 13, however, the new mission objective became to get the Apollo 13 crew home alive.

LISTEN TO HISTORY THIS WEEK PODCAST: ‘Houston, We’ve Had a Problem’

At 9:00 p.m. EST on April 13, Apollo 13 was just over 200,000 miles from Earth. The crew had just completed a television broadcast and was inspecting Aquarius, the Landing Module (LM). The next day, Apollo 13 was to enter the moon’s orbit, and soon after, Lovell and Haise would become the fifth and sixth men to walk on the moon. At 9:08 p.m., these plans were shattered when an explosion rocked the spacecraft. Oxygen tank No. 2 had blown up, disabling the normal supply of oxygen, electricity, light, and water. Lovell reported to mission control: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” and the crew scrambled to find out what had happened. Several minutes later, Lovell looked out of the left-hand window and saw that the spacecraft was venting a gas, which turned out to be the Command Module’s (CM) oxygen. The landing mission was aborted.

As the CM lost pressure, its fuel cells also died, and one hour after the explosion mission control instructed the crew to move to the LM, which had sufficient oxygen, and use it as a lifeboat. The CM was shut down but would have to be brought back on-line for Earth reentry. The LM was designed to ferry astronauts from the orbiting CM to the moon’s surface and back again; its power supply was meant to support two people for 45 hours. If the crew of Apollo 13 were to make it back to Earth alive, the LM would have to support three men for at least 90 hours and successfully navigate more than 200,000 miles of space. The crew and mission control faced a formidable task.

To complete its long journey, the LM needed energy and cooling water. Both were to be conserved at the cost of the crew, who went on one-fifth water rations and would later endure cabin temperatures that hovered a few degrees above freezing. Removal of carbon dioxide was also a problem, because the square lithium hydroxide canisters from the CM were not compatible with the round openings in the LM environmental system. Mission control built an impromptu adapter out of materials known to be onboard, and the crew successfully copied their model.

Navigation was also a major problem. The LM lacked a sophisticated navigational system, and the astronauts and mission control had to work out by hand the changes in propulsion and direction needed to take the spacecraft home. On April 14, Apollo 13 swung around the moon. Swigert and Haise took pictures, and Lovell talked with mission control about the most difficult maneuver, a five-minute engine burn that would give the LM enough speed to return home before its energy ran out. Two hours after rounding the far side of the moon, the crew, using the sun as an alignment point, fired the LM’s small descent engine. The procedure was a success; Apollo 13 was on its way home.

For the next three days, Lovell, Haise and Swigert huddled in the freezing lunar module. Haise developed a case of the flu. Mission control spent this time frantically trying to develop a procedure that would allow the astronauts to restart the CM for reentry. On April 17, a last-minute navigational correction was made, this time using Earth as an alignment guide. Then the re-pressurized CM was successfully powered up after its long, cold sleep. The heavily damaged service module was shed, and one hour before re-entry the LM was disengaged from the CM. Just before 1 p.m., the spacecraft reentered Earth’s atmosphere. Mission control feared that the CM’s heat shields were damaged in the accident, but after four minutes of radio silence Apollo 13‘s parachutes were spotted, and the astronauts splashed down safely into the Pacific Ocean.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/apollo-13-launched-to-moon

April 7, 1945:

Japanese battleship Yamato is sunk by Allied forces.

https://thediplomat.com/2014/06/japans-most-famous-battleship-the-yamato/

On April 7, 1945, the Japanese battleship Yamato, one of the greatest battleships of its time, is sunk in Japan’s first major counteroffensive in the struggle for Okinawa.

Weighing 72,800 tons and outfitted with nine 18.1-inch guns, the battleship Yamato was Japan’s only hope of destroying the Allied fleet off the coast of Okinawa. But insufficient air cover and fuel cursed the endeavor as a suicide mission. Struck by 19 American aerial torpedoes, it was sunk, drowning 2,498 of its crew.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japanese-battleship-yamato-is-sunk-by-allied-forces

April 6, 1917:

The United States officially enters World War One.

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/u-s-entry-into-world-war-i-1

April 6, 1917: Two days after the U.S. Senate voted 82 to 6 to declare war against Germany, the U.S. House of Representatives endorses the declaration by a vote of 373 to 50, and America formally enters World War I.

When World War I erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality for the United States, a position that the vast majority of Americans favored. Britain, however, was one of America’s closest trading partners, and tension soon arose between the United States and Germany over the latter’s attempted quarantine of the British Isles. 

Several U.S. ships traveling to Britain were damaged or sunk by German mines, and in February 1915 Germany announced unrestricted warfare against all ships, neutral or otherwise, that entered the war zone around Britain. One month later, Germany announced that a German cruiser had sunk the William P. Frye, a private American vessel. President Wilson was outraged, but the German government apologized and called the attack an unfortunate mistake.

On May 7, the British-owned Lusitania ocean liner was torpedoed without warning just off the coast of Ireland. Of the 1,959 passengers, 1,198 were killed, including 128 Americans. The German government maintained that the Lusitania was carrying munitions, but the U.S. demanded reparations and an end to German attacks on unarmed passenger and merchant ships. In August, Germany pledged to see to the safety of passengers before sinking unarmed vessels, but in November sunk an Italian liner without warning, killing 272 people, including 27 Americans. With these attacks, public opinion in the United States began to turn irrevocably against Germany.

In 1917, Germany, determined to win its war of attrition against the Allies, announced the resumption of unrestricted warfare in war-zone waters. Three days later, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Germany, and just hours after that the American liner Housatonic was sunk by a German U-boat. On February 22, Congress passed a $250 million arms appropriations bill intended to make the United States ready for war. In late March, Germany sunk four more U.S. merchant ships, and on April 2 President Wilson appeared before Congress and called for a declaration of war against Germany. Four days later, his request was granted.

On June 26, the first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops landed in France to begin training for combat. After four years of bloody stalemate along the western front, the entrance of America’s well-supplied forces into the conflict marked a major turning point in the war and helped the Allies to victory. When the war finally ended, on November 11, 1918, more than two million American soldiers had served on the battlefields of Western Europe, and some 50,000 of them had lost their lives.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 5, 1994:

Rock icon Kurt Cobain dies by suicide.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1994/04/25/generation-exit

Modern rock icon Kurt Cobain dies by suicide on April 5, 1994. His body was discovered inside his home in Seattle, Washington, three days later by Gary Smith, an electrician, who was installing a security system in the house. Despite indications that Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, killed himself, some skeptics questioned the circumstances of his death and pinned responsibility on his wife, Courtney Love.

Cobain’s downward spiral began taking shape in Italy the previous month. He went into a coma and nearly died after mixing champagne and the drug Rohypnol. The public was led to believe that the coma was induced by an accidental heroin overdose, since Cobain had a well-known problem with the drug.

Back at home in Seattle’s Denny-Blaine neighborhood, the police were called to Cobain and Love’s home when he again threatened to kill himself. Although Cobain stated in a 1991 interview that he didn’t believe in guns, the officers confiscated four from his possession. As his wife and friends watched him spin out of control, they attempted to intervene. Cobain mostly ignored their concerns but reluctantly checked into a rehabilitation clinic in Los Angeles at the end of March.

On March 30, Cobain walked away from the clinic without informing his family or friends. For the next few days, Love could not locate him and decided to hire a private detective on April 3. The detective made contact with Cobain the following day in Seattle, but Cobain refused to return to Los Angeles.

In the meantime, Cobain had convinced a friend to buy him a gun, claiming he needed it for protection. On April 5, Cobain returned home. He had ingested enough Valium and heroin to reach near-fatal levels. In the apartment above the garage was Cobain’s suicide note, quoting Neil Young’s lyric that it is “better to burn out than to fade away.”

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 4, 1965:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated.

https://www.npr.org/2010/01/18/122701268/i-have-a-dream-speech-in-its-entirety

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.

In the months before his assassination, Martin Luther King became increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America. He organized a Poor People’s Campaign to focus on the issue, including a march on Washington, and in March 1968 traveled to Memphis in support of poorly treated African-American sanitation workers. On March 28, a workers’ protest march led by King ended in violence and the death of an African American teenager. King left the city but vowed to return in early April to lead another demonstration.

On April 3, back in Memphis, King gave his last sermon, saying, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

One day after speaking those words, Dr. King was shot and killed by a sniper. As word of the assassination spread, riots broke out in cities all across the United States and National Guard troops were deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. On April 9, King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to King’s casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.

The evening of King’s murder, a Remington .30-06 hunting rifle was found on the sidewalk beside a rooming house one block from the Lorraine Motel. During the next several weeks, the rifle, eyewitness reports, and fingerprints on the weapon all implicated a single suspect: escaped convict James Earl Ray. A two-bit criminal, Ray escaped a Missouri prison in April 1967 while serving a sentence for a holdup. In May 1968, a massive manhunt for Ray began. The FBI eventually determined that he had obtained a Canadian passport under a false identity, which at the time was relatively easy.

On June 8, Scotland Yard investigators arrested Ray at a London airport. He was trying to fly to Belgium, with the eventual goal, he later admitted, of reaching Rhodesia. Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, was at the time ruled by an oppressive and internationally condemned white minority government. Extradited to the United States, Ray stood before a Memphis judge in March 1969 and pleaded guilty to King’s murder in order to avoid the electric chair. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

hree days later, he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming he was innocent of King’s assassination and had been set up as a patsy in a larger conspiracy. He claimed that in 1967, a mysterious man named “Raoul” had approached him and recruited him into a gunrunning enterprise. On April 4, 1968, he said, he realized that he was to be the fall guy for the King assassination and fled to Canada. Ray’s motion was denied, as were his dozens of other requests for a trial during the next 29 years.

During the 1990s, the widow and children of Martin Luther King Jr. spoke publicly in support of Ray and his claims, calling him innocent and speculating about an assassination conspiracy involving the U.S. government and military. U.S. authorities were, in conspiracists’ minds, implicated circumstantially. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover obsessed over King, who he thought was under communist influence. For the last six years of his life, King underwent constant wiretapping and harassment by the FBI. Before his death, Dr. King was also monitored by U.S. military intelligence, which may have been asked to watch King after he publicly denounced the Vietnam War in 1967. Furthermore, by calling for radical economic reforms in 1968, including guaranteed annual incomes for all, King was making few new friends in the Cold War-era U.S. government.

Over the years, the assassination has been reexamined by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the Shelby County, Tennessee, district attorney’s office, and three times by the U.S. Justice Department. The investigations all ended with the same conclusion: James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King. The House committee acknowledged that a low-level conspiracy might have existed, involving one or more accomplices to Ray, but uncovered no evidence to definitively prove this theory. In addition to the mountain of evidence against him—such as his fingerprints on the murder weapon and his admitted presence at the rooming house on April 4—Ray had a definite motive in assassinating King: hatred. According to his family and friends, he was an outspoken racist who informed them of his intent to kill Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He died in 1998.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

April 1, 1945:

US troops land on Okinawa

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Battle-of-Okinawa

On April 1, 1945, after suffering the loss of 116 planes and damage to three aircraft carriers, 50,000 U.S. combat troops, under the command of Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner Jr., land on the southwest coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, 350 miles south of Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan.

Determined to seize Okinawa as a base of operations for the army ground and air forces for a later assault on mainland Japan, more than 1,300 ships converged on the island, finally putting ashore 50,000 combat troops on April 1. The Americans quickly seized two airfields and advanced inland to cut the island’s waist. They battled nearly 120,000 Japanese army, militia and labor troops under the command of Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima.

The Japanese surprised the American forces with a change in strategy, drawing them into the mainland rather than confronting them at the water’s edge. While Americans landed without loss of men, they would suffer more than 50,000 casualties, including more than 12,000 deaths, as the Japanese staged a desperate defense of the island, a defense that included waves of kamikaze (“divine wind”) air attacks. Eventually, these suicide raids proved counterproductive, as the Japanese finally ran out of planes and resolve, with some 4,000 finally surrendering. Japanese casualties numbered some 117,000.

Lieutenant General Buckner, son of a Civil War general, was among the casualties, killed by enemy artillery fire just three days before the Japanese surrender. Japanese General Ushijima committed ritual suicide upon defeat of his forces.

The 1952 film Okinawa starring Pat O’Brien, is one of several movies to depict this decisive episode in the history of the war.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-troops-land-on-okinawa

March 31, 1889:

The Eiffel Tower Opens

https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/landmarks-monuments/eiffel-tower-facts

On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 30, 1981:

President Reagan is shot.

https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/ronald-reagan

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by a drifter named John Hinckley Jr.

The president had just finished addressing a labor meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking with his entourage to his limousine when Hinckley, standing among a group of reporters, fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and critically wounded, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side, and District of Columbia policeman Thomas Delahanty was shot in the neck. After firing the shots, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he’d been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital.

The president was shot in the left lung, and the .22 caliber bullet just missed his heart. In an impressive feat for a 70-year-old man with a collapsed lung, he walked into George Washington University Hospital under his own power. As he was treated and prepared for surgery, he was in good spirits and quipped to his wife, Nancy, ”Honey, I forgot to duck,” and to his surgeons, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.” Reagan’s surgery lasted two hours, and he was listed in stable and good condition afterward.

The next day, the president resumed some of his executive duties and signed a piece of legislation from his hospital bed. On April 11, he returned to the White House. Reagan’s popularity soared after the assassination attempt, and at the end of April he was given a hero’s welcome by Congress. In August, this same Congress passed his controversial economic program, with several Democrats breaking ranks to back Reagan’s plan. By this time, Reagan claimed to be fully recovered from the assassination attempt. In private, however, he would continue to feel the effects of the nearly fatal gunshot wound for years.

Of the victims of the assassination attempt, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. policeman Thomas Delahanty eventually recovered. James Brady, who nearly died after being shot in the eye, suffered permanent brain damage. He later became an advocate of gun control, and in 1993 Congress passed the “Brady Bill,” which established a five-day waiting period and background checks for prospective gun buyers. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.

After being arrested on March 30, 1981, 25-year-old John Hinckley was booked on federal charges of attempting to assassinate the president. He had previously been arrested in Tennessee on weapons charges. In June 1982, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued that their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, and had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, in which the main character attempts to assassinate a fictional senator. 

His lawyers claimed that Hinckley saw the movie more than a dozen times, was obsessed with the lead actress, Jodie Foster, and had attempted to reenact the events of the film in his own life. Thus the movie, not Hinckley, they argued, was the actual planning force behind the events that occurred on March 30, 1981.

The verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” aroused widespread public criticism, and many were shocked that a would-be presidential assassin could avoid been held accountable for his crime. However, because of his obvious threat to society, he was placed in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental institution. In the late 1990s, Hinckley’s attorney began arguing that his mental illness was in remission and thus had a right to return to a normal life. 

Beginning in August 1999, he was allowed supervised day trips off the hospital grounds and later was allowed to visit his parents once a week unsupervised. The Secret Service voluntarily monitored him during these outings. In 2016, he was given a conditional release to move in with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 2018, a judge ruled he can now live within 75 miles of Williamsburg, provided he meets regularly with his psychiatrist and social worker, among other conditions.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 29, 1973:

US withdraws from Vietnam.

Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America’s direct eight-year intervention in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.

In 1961, after two decades of indirect military aid, U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent the first large force of U.S. military personnel to Vietnam to bolster the ineffectual autocratic regime of South Vietnam against the communist North. Three years later, with the South Vietnamese government crumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Congress authorized the use of U.S. troops. By 1965, North Vietnamese offensives left President Johnson with two choices: escalate U.S. involvement or withdraw. Johnson ordered the former, and troop levels soon jumped to more than 300,000 as U.S. air forces commenced the largest bombing campaign in history.

During the next few years, the extended length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes, such as the massacre at My Lai, helped turn many in the United States against the Vietnam War. The communists’ Tet Offensive of 1968 crushed U.S. hopes of an imminent end to the conflict and galvanized U.S. opposition to the war. In response, Johnson announced in March 1968 that he would not seek reelection, citing what he perceived to be his responsibility in creating a perilous national division over Vietnam. He also authorized the beginning of peace talks.

In the spring of 1969, as protests against the war escalated in the United States, U.S. troop strength in the war-torn country reached its peak at nearly 550,000 men. Richard Nixon, the new U.S. president, began U.S. troop withdrawal and “Vietnamization” of the war effort that year, but he intensified bombing. Large U.S. troop withdrawals continued in the early 1970s as President Nixon expanded air and ground operations into Cambodia and Laos in attempts to block enemy supply routes along Vietnam’s borders. This expansion of the war, which accomplished few positive results, led to new waves of protests in the United States and elsewhere.

Finally, in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held, and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.

In reality, however, the agreement was little more than a face-saving gesture by the U.S. government. Even before the last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the cease-fire, and by early 1974 full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and civilians had been killed in fighting during the year, making it the most costly of the Vietnam War.

On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, accepting the surrender of South Vietnam later in the day, remarked, “You have nothing to fear; between Vietnamese there are no victors and no vanquished. Only the Americans have been defeated.” The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in U.S. history and cost 58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 28, 1915:

First American citizen killed in WWI:

https://www.britannica.com/list/timeline-of-world-war-i

On March 28, 1915, the first American citizen is killed in the eight-month-old European conflict that would become known as the First World War.

Leon Thrasher, a 31-year-old mining engineer and native of Massachusetts, drowned when a German submarine, the U-28, torpedoed the cargo-passenger ship Falaba, on its way from Liverpool to West Africa, off the coast of England. Of the 242 passengers and crew on board the Falaba, 104 drowned. Thrasher, who was employed on the Gold Coast in British West Africa, was returning to his post there from England as a passenger on the ship.

The Germans claimed that the submarine’s crew had followed all protocol when approaching the Falaba, giving the passengers ample time to abandon ship and firing only when British torpedo destroyers began to approach to give aid to the Falaba. The British official press report of the incident claimed that the Germans had acted improperly: It is not true that sufficient time was given the passengers and the crew of this vessel to escape. The German submarine closed in on the Falaba, ascertained her name, signaled her to stop, and gave those on board five minutes to take to the boats. It would have been nothing short of a miracle if all the passengers and crew of a big liner had been able to take to their boats within the time allotted.

The sinking of the Falaba, and Thrasher’s death specifically, was mentioned in a memorandum sent by the U.S. government—drafted by President Woodrow Wilson himself—to the German government after the German submarine attack on the British passenger ship Lusitania on May 7, 1915, in which 1,201 people were drowned, including 128 Americans. The note struck a clear warning tone, calling for the U.S. and Germany to come to a clear and full understanding as to the grave situation which has resulted from the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. Germany abandoned the policy shortly thereafter; its renewal, in early 1917, provided the final impetus for U.S. entry into World War I that April.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-american-citizen-killed-during-wwi

March 25, 1911:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire kills 146 workers.

https://www.history.com/news/triangle-shirtwaist-factory-fire-labor-safety-laws

At the time, it was the worst industrial disaster in the United States. The garment factory was on the upper floors of a building in Manhattan, and the stairwell doors were locked by management. When the fire broke out, the workers could not escape, and either died in the fire or by jumping from windows. The fire led to the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and improved safety standards in factories.

Taken from: Taken from: Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

March 24, 1958:

Elvis Presley is drafted into the US Army.

https://medium.com/@elynnfish_67015/elvis-presleys-u-s-army-stint-two-years-that-rocked-his-world-2ff7d1fd6bd0

He had been granted a deferment to finish the movie “King Creole,” and was drafted after it was complete. Presley joined the Army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, in a media circus. He served in the Army until 1960, stationed mostly in West Germany. While there he met his future wife Priscilla Beaulieu. He also became dependent on amphetamines during this time, which contributed to his early death in 1977.

Taken from: Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

March 23, 1965:

Gus Grissom and John Young lift off in Gemini 3.

https://in.pinterest.com/pin/520728775646895115/

It was the first manned mission of the Gemini program, the first mission to carry more than one American astronaut, and the final space flight directed from the Cape Kennedy Air Force Base. Gemini 3 made three orbits of the Earth in just under five hours.

Taken from: Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

March 22, 1933:

Low alcohol beer is made legal during Prohibition.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act that made wine and beer with less than 4% alcohol by volume legal. He famously said after signing it, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” The 18th Amendment outlawing the sale of alcohol was repealed later that year.

Taken from: Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

March 21, 1952:

The first rock and roll concert is held in Cleveland.

https://www.google.com/search?q=moondog+coronation+ball&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS874US874&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjI2Jzil9f2AhX1kYkEHWbDBQYQ_AUoA3oECAIQBQ&biw=1280&bih=881&dpr=1#imgrc=NPJ1kLXXNiTDkM

The Moondog Coronation Ball was organized by Alan Freed, a disc jockey who popularized the tern “rock and roll.” Musicians Tiny Grimes, Paul Williams, the Dominoes, and Varetta Dillard all played.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

March 18, 1766:

Parliament repeals the Stamp Act.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/stamp-act

After four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act, a taxation measure enacted to raise revenues for a standing British army in America.

The Stamp Act was passed on March 22, 1765, leading to an uproar in the colonies over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation. Enacted in November 1765, the controversial act forced colonists to buy a British stamp for every official document they obtained. The stamp itself displayed an image of a Tudor rose framed by the word “America” and the French phrase Honi soit qui mal y pense–“Shame to him who thinks evil of it.”

The colonists, who had convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the impending enactment, greeted the arrival of the stamps with outrage and violence. Most Americans called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest, and an appeal by Benjamin Franklin before the British House of Commons, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766. However, the same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts, asserting that the British government had free and total legislative power over the colonies.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/parliament-repeals-the-stamp-act

March 17, 461

St. Patrick dies.

https://www.google.com/search?q=st+patrick&rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS874US874&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjMg7rjpc32AhVmkYkEHXVbDFIQ_AUoAXoECAIQAw&biw=1280&bih=881&dpr=1

On March 17, 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. Today he is honored with the annual holiday of St. Patrick’s Day

Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.

According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.

Since that time, countless legends have grown up around Patrick. Made the patron saint of Ireland, he is said to have baptized hundreds of people on a single day, and to have used a three-leaf clover–the famous shamrock–to describe the Holy Trinity. In art, he is often portrayed trampling on snakes, in accordance with the belief that he drove those reptiles out of Ireland. For centuries, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick’s death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon. 

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade, though, took place not in Ireland, but the United States. Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony under the direction of the colony’s Irish vicar, Ricardo Artur. More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in Boston in 1737 and in New York City on March 1762. As the years went on, the parades became a show of unity and strength for persecuted Irish-American immigrants, and then a popular celebration of Irish-American heritage. The party went global in 1995, when the Irish government began a large-scale campaign to market St. Patrick’s Day as a way of driving tourism and showcasing Ireland’s many charms to the rest of the world. These days, March 17 is a day of international celebration, as millions of people around the globe put on their best green clothing to drink beer, watch parades and toast the luck of the Irish.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 16, 1802:

The US Military Academy is established.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-military-academy-established

The United States Military Academy—the first military school in the United States—is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Located at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.

Located on the high west bank of New York’s Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General Benedict Arnold, the commander of the fort, agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for 6,000 pounds. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into British hands, and Arnold fled to the British for protection.

Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in congressional action to expand the academy’s facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer—later known as the “father of West Point”—and the school became one of the nation’s finest sources of civil engineers. During the Mexican-American War, West Point graduates filled the leading ranks of the victorious U.S. forces, and with the outbreak of the Civil War former West Point classmates regretfully lined up against one another in the defense of their native states.

In 1877, the first African American cadet graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, and in 1976, the first female cadets were admitted. The academy is now under the general direction and supervision of the department of the U.S. Army and has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 15, 1965:

LBJ calls for equal voting rights.

https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/lyndon-b-johnson

On March 15, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declares that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminds the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,” Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

The speech was delivered eight days after violence erupted in SelmaAlabama. Civil rights leader John Lewis and over 500 peaceful marchers were attacked while planning a march from Selma to Montgomery to register African Americans to vote. The police violence that erupted resulted in the death of a King supporter, a white Unitarian Minister from Boston named James J. Reeb. Television news coverage of the event galvanized voting rights supporters in Congress.

A second attempt to march to Montgomery was also blocked by police. It took Federal intervention with the “federalizing” of the Alabama national guard and the addition of over 2,000 other guards to allow the march to begin.

The march to Montgomery finally began March 21 with over 3,000 participants under the glare of worldwide news publicity.

The violence, however, continued. Just after the march was successfully completed on March 25, four Klansman shot and killed Detroit homemaker Viola Liuzzo as she drove marchers back to Selma.

On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which made it illegal to impose restrictions on federal, state and local elections that were designed to deny the vote to Black Americans.

While state and local enforcement of the act was initially weak, mainly in the South, the Voting Rights Act gave African American voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout. In Mississippi alone, voter turnout among Black voters increased from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and lowered the eligible voting age for all voters to 18.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 14, 1964:

Jack Ruby sentenced to death for murdering Lee Harvey Oswald

https://www.history.com/topics/1960s/jack-ruby

Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald—the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy—is found guilty of the “murder with malice” of Oswald and sentenced to die in the electric chair. It was the first courtroom verdict to be televised in U.S. history.

On November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby, who was immediately detained, claimed he was distraught over the president’s assassination. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.

Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He also had a relationship with a number of Dallas policemen, which amounted to various favors in exchange for leniency in their monitoring of his establishments. He features prominently in Kennedy-assassination theories, and many believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. In his trial, Ruby denied the allegation and pleaded innocent on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy’s murder had caused him to suffer “psychomotor epilepsy” and shoot Oswald unconsciously. The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to die.

In October 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision on the grounds of improper admission of testimony and the fact that Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time. In January 1967, while awaiting a new trial to be held in Wichita Falls, Ruby died of lung cancer in a Dallas hospital.

The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee’s findings, as with those of the Warren Commission, continue to be disputed by some.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jack-ruby-sentenced-to-death

March 10, 1864:

President Lincoln signs Ulysses S. Grant’s commission to command the US Army.

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-ulysses-s-grant

On March 10, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signs a brief document officially promoting then-Major General Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of lieutenant general of the U.S. Army, tasking the future president with the job of leading all Union troops against the Confederate Army.

The rank of lieutenant general had not officially been used since 1798; at that time, President John Adams assigned the post to former President George Washington, in anticipation of a possible French invasion of the United States. One of Grant’s predecessors in the Civil WarWinfield Scott, had briefly earned the rank, but the appointment was only temporary—really, use of the rank had been suspended after George Washington’s death in 1799.

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About Ulysses S. Grant

In 1862, Lincoln asked Congress to revive the rank of lieutenant general in order to distinguish between the general in charge of all Union forces and other generals of equal rank who served under him in the field. Congress also wanted to reinstate the rank of lieutenant general, but only if Lincoln gave the rank to Grant. Lincoln had other ideas.

Lincoln preferred to promote then-Commanding General Henry Halleck to lead the Union Army, which had been plagued by a string of ineffective leaders and terrible losses in battle. He was reluctant to promote Grant and risk boosting the general’s popularity; at the time Washington was abuzz with rumors that many northern senators were considering nominating Grant instead of Lincoln at the 1864 Republican National Convention. After Grant publicly dismissed the idea of running for the presidency, Lincoln submitted to Congress’ choice and agreed to give Grant the revived rank. As lieutenant general of the U.S. Army, Grant was answerable only to Lincoln. Well-respected by troops and civilians, Grant earned Lincoln’s trust and went on to force the South’s surrender in 1865.

Although Grant enjoyed a distinguished career in the military, he later wrote that he never consciously chose the life of a soldier. As a student at West Point, he never expected to graduate, let alone lead the entire U.S. Army in a desperate but ultimately successful struggle to preserve the Union.

In 1869, Grant became the 18th president of the United States.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-signs-ulysses-s-grants-commission-to-command-the-u-s-army

March 9, 1996:

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is killed in Los Angeles.

https://www.biography.com/news/notorious-big-murder-final-days

Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., is shot to death at a stoplight in Los Angeles. The murder was thought to be the culmination of an ongoing feud between rap music artists from the East and West coasts. Just six months earlier, rapper Tupac Shakur was killed when he was shot while in his car in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Ironically, Wallace’s death came only weeks before his new album, titled Life After Death, was scheduled to be released.

Wallace was the most prominent East Coast practictioner of “gangsta rap.” His 1994 record Ready to Die sold millions. That same year, Shakur, the West Coast’s leading rapper, was shot several times in a robbery at a recording studio in New York. Shakur claimed that Wallace was partially responsible and later taunted Wallace on one of his songs. He claimed to have slept with Wallace’s ex-wife, singer Faith Evans, and insulted the overweight rapper for his ample girth.

Wallace’s raps about violent street life were not completely fiction. He grew up in a poor section of Brooklyn and had many run-ins with the law growing up. Even after he reached stardom in the music world, his legal woes continued. In the summer of 1996 he was arrested when police found marijuana and firearms at his New Jersey home. He also assaulted a pair of admirers with a baseball bat. The murder of Wallace has never been solved, though it has been suggested that either Marion “Suge” Knight, the former head of Death Row Records, Shakur’s label, or the Crips gang may be be responsible. Knight was also shot (but not wounded seriously) in the fatal Las Vegas attack on Shakur and is rumored to have engineered a retaliatory strike against Wallace, whom he held responsible for the Las Vegas shooting. Knight has been incarcerated for a fatal hit-and-run since 2018. 

March 8, 1951:

The Lonely Hearts Killers are executed.

https://crimescribe.com/2021/03/08/on-this-day-in-1951-the-lonely-hearts-killers-pay-the-price/

The Lonely Hearts Killers, aka Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The couple had schemed to seduce, rob and murder women who placed personal ads in newspapers. Beck and Fernandez boasted to killing as many as seventeen women in this manner, but evidence suggests that there may have been only four victims.

Martha Beck was an extremely overweight, and by all reports, unattractive woman when she joined a lonely hearts club advertised in a romance magazine. Her first letter came from Ray Fernandez in Brooklyn. After World War II, he suffered a serious head injury in an accident that left him bald and with serious headaches. He became a petty criminal and wore a cheap black toupee to cover up his baldness. He convinced himself that he had a power over women that could turn them into his sexual slaves.

In 1946, Fernandez found his first mark in a lonely hearts club. He dated the older woman until he had gained enough of her trust to loot her bank account. The next year, he took the latest in a line of victims to Spain, where she turned up dead in a hotel room. Fernandez responded to Beck’s note with the intention of conning her, but after a brief affair, Fernandez and Beck apparently fell in love. When he confessed his original idea, Beck liked his scheme so much that she decided to join him.

Over the next two years, Beck posed as Fernandez’s sister as he seduced older women before stealing from them. By 1949, they had murdered one victim and killed another accidentally with an overdose of sleeping pills. The end came when Fernandez hooked up with a younger woman in Michigan. The woman was a bit suspicious of the “brother and sister,” and although she allowed them to move into her home, wouldn’t marry Fernandez immediately and provide him access to her funds. When the jealous Beck got tired of waiting, the pair killed the woman and her two-year-old daughter and buried them in the basement.

Police officers, challenged by Fernandez himself, searched the home and found the makeshift grave. Beck and Fernandez confessed readily in the belief that their lives were safe in the non-capital punishment state of Michigan. But they didn’t count on being extradited to New York, where the electric chair was an option. At the last minute they attempted an insanity defense, but were unable to convince the jury.

Their depraved story was the subject of a particularly sordid 1969 movie The Honeymoon Killers.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-lonely-hearts-killers-are-executed

March 7, 1965:

3,500 Marines are the first American ground combat forces to go to Vietnam.

https://www.history.com/news/vietnam-war-combatants

The US had already been engaged in an extensive bombing campaign and providing advice to the South Vietnamese military. Its commitment of ground troops would eventually swell to more than half a million and result in 58,318 casualties over the next ten years.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

March 4, 1933:

FDR is inaugurated.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-inaugurated

On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, delivered outside the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal”—an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare—and told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Although it was a rainy day in Washington, and gusts of rain blew over Roosevelt as he spoke, he delivered a speech that radiated optimism and competence, and a broad majority of Americans united behind their new president and his radical economic proposals to lead the nation out of the Great Depression.

Born into an upper-class family in Hyde Park, New York, in 1882, Roosevelt was the fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the 26th U.S. president from 1901 to 1909. In 1905, Franklin Roosevelt, who was at the time a student at Columbia University Law School, married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of Theodore Roosevelt. After three years as a lawyer, he decided to follow his cousin Theodore’s lead and sought public office, winning election to the New York State Senate in 1910 as a Democrat. He soon won a reputation as a charismatic politician dedicated to social and economic reform.

Roosevelt supported the progressive New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, and after Wilson’s election in 1912 Roosevelt was appointed assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, a post that Theodore Roosevelt once held. In 1920, Roosevelt, who had proved himself a gifted administrator, won the Democratic nomination for vice president on a ticket with James Cox. The Democrats lost in a landslide to Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and Roosevelt returned to his law practice and undertook several business ventures.

In 1921, he was stricken with poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. He spent several years recovering from what was at first nearly total paralysis, and his wife, Eleanor, kept his name alive in Democratic circles. He never fully recovered and was forced to use braces or a wheelchair to move around for the rest of his life.

In 1924, Roosevelt returned to politics when he nominated New York Governor Alfred E. Smith for the presidency with a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention. In 1928, he again nominated Smith, and the outgoing New York governor urged Roosevelt to run for his gubernatorial seat. Roosevelt campaigned across the state by automobile and was elected even as the state voted for Republican Herbert Hoover in the presidential election.

As governor, Roosevelt worked for tax relief for farmers and in 1930 won a resounding electoral victory just as the economic recession brought on by the October 1929 stock market crash was turning into a major depression. During his second term, Governor Roosevelt mobilized the state government to play an active role in providing relief and spurring economic recovery. His aggressive approach to the economic crisis, coupled with his obvious political abilities, gave him the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932.

READ MORE: Rethinking FDR as Commander in Chief

Roosevelt had no trouble defeating President Herbert Hoover, who many blamed for the Depression, and the governor carried all but six states. During the next four months, the economy continued to decline, and when Roosevelt took office on March 4, 1933, most banks were closed, farms were suffering, 13 million workers were unemployed, and industrial production stood at just over half its 1929 level.

Aided by a Democratic Congress, Roosevelt took prompt, decisive action, and most of his New Deal proposals, such as the Agricultural Adjustment Act, National Industrial Recovery Act, and creation of the Public Works Administration and Tennessee Valley Authority, were approved within his first 100 days in office. Although criticized by many in the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he easily won reelection.

During his second term, he became increasingly concerned with German and Japanese aggression and so began a long campaign to awaken America from its isolationist slumber. In 1940, with World War II raging in Europe and the Pacific, Roosevelt agreed to run for an unprecedented third term. Reelected by Americans who valued his strong leadership, he proved a highly effective commander in chief after the December 1941 U.S. entrance into the war. Under Roosevelt’s guidance, America became, in his own words, the “great arsenal of democracy” and succeeded in shifting the balance of power in World War II firmly in the Allies’ favor. In 1944, with the war not yet won, he was reelected to a fourth term.

Three months after his inauguration, while resting at his retreat at Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. Following a solemn parade of his coffin through the streets of the nation’s capital, his body was buried in a family plot in Hyde Park. Millions of Americans mourned the death of the man who led the United States through two of the greatest crises of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt’s unparalleled 13 years as president led to the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limited future presidents to a maximum of two consecutive elected terms in office.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 3, 1887:

Helen Keller meets Anne Sullivan, her teacher and “miracle worker.”

On March 3, 1887, Anne Sullivan begins teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, Keller flourished, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the older woman’s death in 1936.

Sullivan, born in Massachusetts in 1866, had firsthand experience with being handicapped: As a child, an infection impaired her vision. She then attended the Perkins Institution for the Blind where she learned the manual alphabet in order to communicate with a classmate who was deaf and blind. Eventually, Sullivan had several operations that improved her weakened eyesight.

Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880, to Arthur Keller, a former Confederate army officer and newspaper publisher, and his wife Kate, of Tuscumbia, Alabama. As a baby, a brief illness, possibly scarlet fever or a form of bacterial meningitis, left Helen unable to see, hear or speak. She was considered a bright but spoiled and strong-willed child. Her parents eventually sought the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone and an authority on the deaf. He suggested the Kellers contact the Perkins Institution, which in turn recommended Anne Sullivan as a teacher.

Sullivan, age 20, arrived at Ivy Green, the Keller family estate, in 1887 and began working to socialize her wild, stubborn student and teach her by spelling out words in Keller’s hand. Initially, the finger spelling meant nothing to Keller. However, a breakthrough occurred one day when Sullivan held one of Keller’s hands under water from a pump and spelled out “w-a-t-e-r” in Keller’s palm. Keller went on to learn how to read, write and speak. With Sullivan’s assistance, Keller attended Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904.

Helen Keller became a public speaker and author; her first book, “The Story of My Life” was published in 1902. She was also a fundraiser for the American Foundation for the Blind and an advocate for racial and sexual equality, as well as socialism. From 1920 to 1924, Sullivan and Keller even formed a vaudeville act to educate the public and earn money. Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at her home in Easton, Connecticut, at age 87, leaving her mark on the world by helping to alter perceptions about the disabled.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

March 2, 1943:

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

https://www.historynet.com/battle-of-the-bismarck-sea/

U.S. and Australian land-based planes begin an offensive against a convoy of Japanese ships in the Bismarck Sea, in the western Pacific.

On March 1, U.S. reconnaissance planes spotted 16 Japanese ships en route to Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea. The Japanese were attempting to keep from losing the island and their garrisons there by sending 7,000 reinforcements and aircraft fuel and supplies. But a U.S. bombing campaign, beginning March 2 and lasting until the March 4, consisting of 137 American bombers supported by U.S. and Australian fighters, destroyed eight Japanese troop transports and four Japanese destroyers. More than 3,000 Japanese troops and sailors drowned as a consequence, and the supplies sunk with their ships. Of 150 Japanese fighter planes that attempted to engage the American bombers, 102 were shot down. It was an utter disaster for the Japanese–the U.S. 5th Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force dropped a total of 213 tons of bombs on the Japanese convoy.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill chose March 4, the official end of the battle, to congratulate President Franklin D. Roosevelt, since that day was also the 10th anniversary of the president’s first inauguration. “Accept my warmest congratulations on your brilliant victory in the Pacific, which fitly salutes the end of your first 10 years.”

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-battle-of-the-bismarck-sea

March 1, 1936:

Hoover Dam is completed.

https://www.bechtel.com/projects/hoover-dam/

The dam, in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, was the largest hydroelectricity facility in the world when generators were installed. Over 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete was used in the construction of the dam, and another 1.1 million cubic yards in the dam’s power plant.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

February 28, 1844:

Disaster on the Potomac.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/from-peacemaker-to-widowmaker-remembering-the-uss-princeton-disaster/2014/10/25/2587af18-592e-11e4-bd61-346aee66ba29_story.html

A gun on the USS Princeton exploded, killing six people. The Secretary of the Navy Thomas Walker Gilmer and Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur were among the dead. Although President John Tyler was aboard, he was not injured.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International

February 25, 1964:

Muhammad Ali shocks the world.

https://www.biography.com/news/muhammad-ali-sonny-liston-iconic-photo-story

Still known as Cassius Clay at the time, the heavyweight boxer defeated Sonny Liston with a 7th round TKO. Liston, who had beaten former heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson in the first round, was an eight to one favorite to win the fight. Ali had predicted his victory in interviews before the fight, uttering his famous quote that he would, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” After being pummeled for six rounds by Ali, Liston refused to come out for the seventh round. The new heavyweight champion of the world shouted to the press, “I shocked the world!” Ali would go on to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history, amassing a record of 56-5, with 37 wins by knockout. He also became an influential Civil Rights figure and humanitarian activist.

February 24, 1868:

Andrew Johnson is the first American President to be impeached.

https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/andrew-johnson

The US House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson because of his removal of Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, and his attempt to replace him with Lorenzo Thomas. A senate trial later acquitted Johnson with a vote of 35 to 19.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 23, 1836:

The Siege of the Alamo begins.

https://www.livescience.com/battle-of-the-alamo

A Mexican army 1,800 strong commanded by General Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio, Texas, and surrounded the small Alamo Mission. The Alamo was defended by a force of 156 soldiers commanded by William Barret Travis and James Bowie. Santa Anna offered the defenders a chance to surrender, and Travis responded by opening fire on the Mexican soldiers. Almost two weeks later, the Mexican army launched an assault on the Mission that killed nearly all of the defenders.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 22, 1980:

Miracle on Ice.

https://nypost.com/2020/02/22/how-the-1980-miracle-on-ice-taught-america-to-be-great-again/

In the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, the United States Men’s ice hockey team defeated the heavily-favored Soviet Union team 4-3. The upset victory was achieved by a team of amateur, mostly college-age players who took on a dominant team of professional hockey players that had won gold medals at six of the previous seven Winter Olympics. After counting down the final seconds of the game live on air, ABC broadcaster Al Michaels famously quipped, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The US went on to defeat Finland in the gold medal game.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 21, 1965:

Malcolm X is assassinated.

https://www.livescience.com/malcolm-x.html

Malcolm X, who articulated concepts of racial pride and black nationalism in the United States, was assassinated this day in 1965 and became an ideological hero after the posthumous release of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Taken from: https://www.britannica.com/on-this-day

This Day in History

February 18, 2001:

Dale Earnhardt is killed.

https://www.espn.com/racing/driver/_/id/2675/dale-earnhardt

The legendary stock car racer was one of the most famous members of the NASCAR circuit, winning seven Winston Cup championships, including the 1998 Daytona 500. He was one of the dominant competitors throughout the 1980s and 1990s, repeatedly leading NASCAR in wins, receiving numerous awards, and was wildly popular with fans, leading the sport from small, local audiences to national acclaim.

During the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Earnhardt’s car collided with Ken Schrader’s after Earnhardt made contact with Sterling Marlin. His car hit the outside wall head-on, killing him instantly. His son, Dale Jr., took second place in the race just seconds later. GM Goodwrench retired his stock car number (3) and NASCAR placed a moratorium on other drivers using the number.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 17, 1801:

Thomas Jefferson is elected third US President.

https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/thomas-jefferson

On February 17, 1801, Thomas Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. The election constitutes the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in the United States.

By 1800, when he decided to run for president, Thomas Jefferson possessed impressive political credentials and was well-suited to the presidency. In addition to drafting the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson had served in two Continental Congresses, as minister to France, as secretary of state under George Washington and as John Adams’ vice president.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/thomas-jefferson-is-elected

This Day in History

February 16, 1923:

Archaeologist opens tomb of King Tut.

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20191029-king-tutankhamun-the-tragic-cause-of-the-pharaohs-cult

n February 16, 1923, in Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen.

Because the ancient Egyptians saw their pharaohs as gods, they carefully preserved their bodies after death, burying them in elaborate tombs containing rich treasures to accompany the rulers into the afterlife. In the 19th century, archeologists from all over the world flocked to Egypt, where they uncovered a number of these tombs. Many had long ago been broken into by robbers and stripped of their riches.

When Carter arrived in Egypt in 1891, he became convinced there was at least one undiscovered tomb–that of the little known Tutankhamen, or King Tut, who lived around 1400 B.C. and died when he was still a teenager. Backed by a rich Brit, Lord Carnarvon, Carter searched for five years without success. In early 1922, Lord Carnarvon wanted to call off the search, but Carter convinced him to hold on one more year.

In November 1922, the wait paid off, when Carter’s team found steps hidden in the debris near the entrance of another tomb. The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb’s interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. The men began exploring the four rooms of the tomb, and on February 16, 1923, under the watchful eyes of a number of important officials, Carter opened the door to the last chamber.

Inside lay a sarcophagus with three coffins nested inside one another. The last coffin, made of solid gold, contained the mummified body of King Tut. Among the riches found in the tomb–golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons, clothing–the perfectly preserved mummy was the most valuable, as it was the first one ever to be discovered. Despite rumors that a curse would befall anyone who disturbed the tomb, its treasures were carefully catalogued, removed and included in a famous traveling exhibition called the “Treasures of Tutankhamen.” The exhibition’s permanent home is the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

This Day in History

February 15, 1898:

USS Maine destroyed, leading to Spanish-American War.

https://www.cfr.org/blog/twe-remembers-sinking-uss-maine

On this day in 1898, an explosion in Havana harbour sank the battleship USS Maine, killing 260 American seamen and precipitating the Spanish-American War, which originated in the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain.

Taken from: https://www.britannica.com/on-this-day

This Day in History

February 14, 1929:

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre occurs.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/chi-chicagodays-valentinesmassacre-story-story.html

During Prohibition, George “Bugs” Moran’s North Side Gang was fighting for control of bootleg liquor distribution in Chicago with South Side mobster Al Capone. Dressed as policemen, hit men working for Capone marched seven members of the North Side Gang into a garage, made them face the wall, and riddled them with bullets from Thompson sub-machine guns. When police arrived on the scene, they found Frank Gusenberg alive, but bleeding from fourteen bullet wounds. When asked who had shot him, Gusenberg replied, “No one shot me,” and died shortly thereafter. The executions sparked public outrage about mob violence and helped boost Chicago’s reputation during this period as a gangland and bootlegging haven. No one was ever charged with the crime.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

February 11, 1990:

Nelson Mandela is freed.

https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2013/06/11/190671704/the-day-nelson-mandela-walked-out-of-prison

After spending 27 years in prison for fighting the South African Apartheid government, African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster prison, holding his wife Winnie’s hand and cheered by huge crowds. The event was broadcast live around the world.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 10, 1763:

The French and Indian War ends.

https://www.knowitall.org/video/french-and-indian-war-part-2-history-nutshell

Known as the Seven Years’ War in Britain, the global conflict between France, England, and their respective colonies ended with a British victory. In the Treaty of Paris, France gave up all of its claims on Canada.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 9, 1971:

Satchel Paige is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/paige-satchel

Paige was the first player from baseball’s Negro League to be selected to join the Hall of Fame, having played for such notable Negro League teams as the Kansas City Monarchs and Philadelphia Stars. At age 42 he had become the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball, Pitching for Cleveland. His earned run average of 3.29 remains one of the best in history.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 8, 1943:

Americans secure Guadalcanal.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Guadalcanal

On February 8, 1943, Japanese troops evacuate Guadalcanal, leaving the island in Allied possession after a prolonged campaign. The American victory paved the way for other Allied wins in the Solomon Islands.

Guadalcanal is the largest of the Solomons, a group of 992 islands and atolls, 347 of which are inhabited, in the South Pacific Ocean. The Solomons, which are located northeast of Australia and have 87 Indigenous languages, were introduced to Europe in 1568 by the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana de Neyra (1541-95). In 1893, the British annexed Guadalcanal, along with the other central and southern Solomons. The Germans took control of the northern Solomons in 1885, but transferred these islands, except for Bougainville and Buka (which eventually went to the Australians) to the British in 1900.

The Japanese invaded the Solomons in 1942 during World War II and began building a strategic airfield on Guadalcanal. On August 7 of that year, U.S. Marines landed on the island, signaling the Allies’ first major offensive against Japanese-held positions in the Pacific. The Japanese responded quickly with sea and air attacks. A series of bloody battles ensued in the debilitating tropical heat as Marines sparred with Japanese troops on land, while in the waters surrounding Guadalcanal, the U.S. Navy fought six major engagements with the Japanese between August 24 and November 30. In mid-November 1942, the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, died together when the Japanese sank their ship, the USS Juneau.

Both sides suffered heavy losses of men, warships and planes in the battle for Guadalcanal. An estimated 1,600 U.S. troops were killed, over 4,000 were wounded and several thousand more died from disease. The Japanese lost 24,000 soldiers. On December 31, 1942, Emperor Hirohito told Japanese troops they could withdraw from the area; the Americans secured Guadalcanal about five weeks later.

The Solomons gained their independence from Britain in 1978. In the late 1990s, fighting broke out between rival ethnic groups on Guadalcanal and continued until an Australian-led international peacekeeping mission restored order in 2003. Today, with a population of over half a million people, the Solomons are known as a scuba diver and fisherman’s paradise.

Taken from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

This Day in History

February 7, 1942:

Automakers are ordered to join the war effort.

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a31994388/us-auto-industry-medical-war-production-history/

The US government issued an order to all automobile manufacturers directing them to stop producing passenger cars and switch to manufacturing military hardware, including tanks, jeeps, and munitions. Factories all over the country change production very quickly, turning the nation’s industry into a wartime footing. The government made it easier to comply with the order by guaranteeing auto manufacturers’ profits regardless of the cost of production throughout the war, and helped fund the investment with nationwide sales of war bonds.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 4, 1974:

Patty Hearst kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/patty-hearst-kidnapped

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old granddaughter of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by three armed strangers. Her fiancee, Stephen Weed, was beaten and tied up along with a neighbor who tried to help. Witnesses reported seeing a struggling Hearst being carried away blindfolded, and she was put in the trunk of a car. Neighbors who came out into the street were forced to take cover after the kidnappers fired their guns to cover their escape.

Three days later, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small U.S. leftist group, announced in a letter to a Berkeley radio station that it was holding Hearst as a “prisoner of war.” Four days later, the SLA demanded that the Hearst family give $70 in foodstuffs to every needy person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. This done, said the SLA, negotiation would begin for the return of Patricia Hearst. Randolph Hearst hesitantly gave away some $2 million worth of food. The SLA then called this inadequate and asked for $6 million more. The Hearst Corporation said it would donate the additional sum if Patty was released unharmed.

In April, however, the situation changed dramatically when a surveillance camera took a photo of Hearst participating in an armed robbery of a San Francisco bank, and she was also spotted during a robbery of a Los Angeles store. She later declared, in a tape sent to the authorities, that she had joined the SLA of her own free will.

On May 17, Los Angeles police raided the SLA’s secret headquarters, killing six of the group’s nine known members. Among the dead was the SLA’s leader, Donald DeFreeze, an African American ex-convict who called himself General Field Marshal Cinque. Patty Hearst and two other SLA members wanted for the April bank robbery were not on the premises.

Finally, on September 18, 1975, after crisscrossing the country with her captors—or conspirators—for more than a year, Hearst, or “Tania” as she called herself, was captured in a San Francisco apartment and arrested for armed robbery. Despite her claim that she had been brainwashed by the SLA, she was convicted on March 20, 1976, and sentenced to seven years in prison. She served 21 months before her sentence was commuted by President Carter. After leaving prison, she returned to a more routine existence and later married her bodyguard. She was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.

Taken from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

This Day in History

February 3, 1959:

The Day the Music Died.

https://news.justcollecting.com/buddy-holly-winter-dance-party-tour-original-poster-heritage-auctions/

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their plane crashed during an ice storm. The three musicians were on the Winter Dance party tour. They typically took a chartered bus from one city to the next, but the freezing weather made the rides cold an uncomfortable, with some performers suffering from frostbite and pneumonia as a result. After playing a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly decided to charter a plane to the next venue, rather than take the bus. The small plane took off late a night in a snowstorm under poor visibility, crashing into a cornfield soon after takeoff. The three musicians, along with pilot Roger Peterson, were killed instantly.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 2, 1876:

Baseball’s National League is founded.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1876_Chicago_White_Stockings_season

The NL replaced the National Association of Professional Baseball Players and is the oldest surviving professional baseball league in the world. Of the eight founding member teams, the Chicago Cubs (formerly the Chicago White Stockings), and Atlanta Braves (formerly the Boston Red Stockings) are the only two still playing baseball today.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

February 1, 1865:

Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment.

https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/a-harvard-historian-reveals-7-ways-you-can-lead-like-abraham-lincoln.html

The Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. It was one of three Reconstruction Amendments; the 14th and 15th Amendments provided for equal protection of all citizens and addressed voting rights, respectively.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

January 31, 1606:

Guy Fawkes executed in London.

https://www.britannica.com/on-this-day

On this day in 1606, British provocateur Guy Fawkes—one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, who sought to blow up Parliament and to assassinate King James I for his repression of Roman Catholics—was executed in London.

This Day in History

January 28, 1986

Explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Challenger_disaster

On this day in 1986, the U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Florida, killing all seven aboard, including a schoolteacher who had been chosen as the first American civilian to travel in space.

Taken from https://www.britannica.com/on-this-day

This Day in History

January 27, 1945

Auschwitz is liberated.

https://www.history.com/news/how-the-nazis-tried-to-cover-up-their-crimes-at-auschwitz

Soviet troops entered Auschwitz Poland, freeing the survivors of the network of concentration camps—and finally revealing to the world the depth of the horrors that perpetuated there.

Auschwitz was really a group of camps, designated I, II, and III. There were also 40 smaller “satellite” camps. It was at Auschwitz II, at Birkenau, established in October 1941, that the SS created a complex, monstrously orchestrated killing ground: 300 prison barracks; four “bathhouses” in which prisoners were gassed; corpse cellars; and cremating ovens. Thousands of prisoners were also used for medical experiments overseen and performed by the camp doctor, Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death.”

The Red Army had been advancing deeper into Poland since mid-January. Having liberated Warsaw and Krakow, Soviet troops headed for Auschwitz. In anticipation of the Soviet arrival, SS officers began a murder spree in the camps, shooting sick prisoners and blowing up crematoria in a desperate attempt to destroy the evidence of their crimes. When the Red Army finally broke through, Soviet soldiers encountered 648 corpses and more than 7,000 starving camp survivors. There were also six storehouses filled with hundreds of thousands of women’s dresses, men’s suits and shoes that the Germans did not have time to burn.

Taken from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

This Day in History

January 26, 1911:

The first seaplane takes off.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Glenn-Hammond-Curtiss

While a number of seaplane prototypes that could land on water had been built, none had managed to take off from the water before then. Glenn Curtiss, an early aviator and one of the founders of the aviation industry, developed a pontoon design that allowed him to take off and land in the water.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

January 25, 1924:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Games

The first Winter Olympic Games are held.

The inaugural games were held at the foot of Mont Blanc in Charmonix, France, and included curling, bobsledding, ice hockey, skiing, and ice skating events. Athletes from 16 countries participated in the Games. The Nordic nations dominated on the scoreboard, winning more than half the medals between them.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, LTD

This Day in History

January 24, 2004:

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/opportunity/in-depth/

Opportunity’s Mars landing launched in mid-2003, the six-wheeled robotic rover Opportunity landed on Mars this day in 2004 and—like its twin rover, Spirit, which had landed on January 3—analyzed rocks and soils and relayed pictures back to Earth.

January 24, 1989:

https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/ted-bundy

American serial killer Ted Bundy—who confessed to murdering 30 women, though many believe the number to be much higher—was executed at age 42.

Taken from: https://www.britannica.com/on-this-day/January-24

This Day in History

January 21, 1793:

Louis XVI is guillotined.

https://www.biography.com/royalty/louis-xvi

The deposed monarch was found guilty of treason by the French National Convention following the French Revolution. The Convention found overwhelming evidence that Louis had conspired with a force of Prussian invaders who had attempted to stop the Revolution.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Day in History

January 20, 1937:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in to his second term as US President.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-dies

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution made the president’s term begin on January 20th. Roosevelt was the first president to begin a term on this day. Before the 20th Amendment, the president’s term began on March 4. The change reduced the duration of the lame-duck session of Congress.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Day in History

January 19, 1920:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/wilson-legacy-racism/417549/

The United States Senate rejects the League of Nations.

Following World War I, President Woodrow Wilson and leaders of other Allied nations drew up plans for an international body that would settle disputes between participating countries. The League was formally proposed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Wilson pushed the idea of the League in the United States, tirelessly touring the nation, but to no avail, as the Senate dismissed the notion. Wilson would suffer a stroke while on his tour and pass away four years later.

Taken From: This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Day in History

January 18, 1815:

https://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812/battle-of-new-orleans

The Battle of New Orleans ends nearly three weeks after the War of 1812.

Although the Treaty of Ghent had been signed on December 24, 1814, news of the armistice had not yet reached the soldiers. During the battle, Major General Andrew Jackson commanded a force of fewer than five thousand troops who held out against an army three times the size, and supported by sixty British ships. The battle made Jackson an American star and was his springboard to a political career that culminated in his being elected President.

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Day in History

January 13, 1968:

Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_Folsom_Prison

The performance included, “Folsom Prison Blues,” The Long Black Veil,” and “25 Minutes to Go.” The show was recorded, and the album, “At Folsom Prison” was released later that year, reaching number 9 on the Pop Albums chart. Cash’s gritty songs about the hardships of prison life and the audience’s enthusiastic response heard in the background earned the album rave reviews, as it was certified gold a few months after its release and revitalized Cash’s singing career.

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publicati

This Day in History

January 12, 1959:

Motown is founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in Detroit, Michigan.

The name, combining “motor” and “town,” has come to be synonymous with Detroit. The record company produced the likes of Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Jackson 5, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. The label developed a unique musical genre that combined soul and pop elements and became known as the, “Motown Sound.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/feature/berry-gordy-motown-hitsville-interview-888729/

January 12, 1962:

The first American combat operation in Vietnam begins.

82 U.S. Army helicopters transported more than 1,000 South Vietnamese paratroopers to attack a Viet Cong stronghold ten miles west of Saigon. The Viet Cong were caught unaware by the swift attack and routed. The operation demonstrated the viability of helicopter troop transport and greatly changed the U.S. approach to the war.

https://www.history.com/news/vietnam-war-combatants

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Day in History

January 11, 1838

Samuel Morse publicly demonstrates his electric telegraph for the first time.

https://septisphere.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/how-samuel-morse-invented-the-telegraph/

With his partner Alfred Vail, Morse demonstrated the electric telegraph at the Speedwell Ironworks in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph’s range was only two miles, and the first transmission was witnessed by a crowd of locals. The first message publicly transmitted said, “A patient waiter is no loser.”

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Date in History

January 10, 1776

Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Paine

The pamphlet called for independence for the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain. The incendiary pamphlet immediately became a phenomenon and was widely distributed and read aloud at meeting halls and taverns. Paine linked the cause of independence to the emerging American political identity, arguing that rule by the British monarchy was tyrannical and that the idea of a King was obsolete. He went on to assert that the American colonies should draft a Continental Charter and defend their independence with arms. Common Sense was well-received by reviewers and hugely impacted public opinion, swaying it in favor of independence.

January 10, 1964

Introducing the Beatles is released in the United States.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1397313/

The LP included the hit singles, “Please Please Me,” “Twist and Shout,” “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” and “Love Me Do.” It reached Number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Top LP list, second only to the Meet the Beatles LP.

January 10, 1999

The Sopranos debut on HBO.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141842/

Starring James Gandolfini as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprana and Lorraine Bracco as his psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi, the show ran for six seasons, winning 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes, and two Peabody Awards.

This Day in History:

January 7, 1942:

The siege of Bataan begins.

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/museums/nmusn/explore/photography/wwii/wwii-pacific/us-entry-into-wwii-japanese-offensive/1941-december-8-1942-may-6-philippines/1942-january-april-battle-for-bataan.html

Facing an attack by 75,000 Japanese troops, General Douglas MacArthur withdrew all American and Filipino forces in Luzon, the Philippines, to the Bataan Peninsula. Once there, the allies held out against constant artillery barrages and desperate hand-to-hand combat for nearly four months. Upon surrendering, they would be forced to endure the Bataan Death March, during which thousands would die.

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Date in History

January 6, 1941

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his “Four Freedoms” speech. The State of the Union address outlined four basic freedoms that he argued should be enjoyed by people, “everywhere in the world.”

  1. Freedom of speech
  2. Freedom of worship
  3. Freedom from want
  4. Freedom from fear

Roosevelt argued that the United States should help its allies in their war against Nazi Germany, breaking with the long-held tradition of nonintervention by the United States. Eleven months later, the country declared war on the Empire of Japan and its allies, formally entering World War II.

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

This Day in History

January 5, 1781

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/benedict-arnold/4005-36038/

Benedict Arnold leads British naval forces in an attack on Richmond, Virginia during the American Revolutionary War. Arnold offered to leave the city unharmed if Thomas Jefferson would agree to surrender its tobacco stores and military arms, but Jefferson refused. In response, Arnold ordered the city to be burned. The capture and subsequent burning of Richmond was one of Arnold’s most notorious actions. His actions angered George Washington so much, a bounty was placed on Arnold’s head.

Taken from:

This Day in History by Jim Daley; Copyright 2019; Publications International, Ltd.

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