Thursday, 25 April 2019

April 20, 2019

1,330 years ago

Died on this date
Cædwalla, 29 or 30
. King of Wessex, 685-688. Cædwalla succeeded Centwine as King of Wessex, expanding his territory to include Sussex and the Isle of Wight. He was wounded while fighting on the Isle of Wight and abdicated the throne to go on a pilgrimage to Rome to be baptized. Cædwalla died shortly after his baptism; he was succeeded as King by Ine.

330 years ago

James II, deposed as King of England in 1688 but still recognized in Ireland, laid siege to Londonderry.

250 years ago

Died on this date
Pontiac, 49-55 (?)
. American Indian chief. Chief Pontiac became a war leader of the Odawa (Ottawa) Indians by the late 1740s; he was known for leading Pontiac's War (1763-1766) against British occupation of the Great Lakes region. Chief Pontiac's influence with other Indians declined after he made peace with the British in 1766, and he was assassinated in Illinois by a Peoria warrior. The Pontiac car was named in his honour, as was the city of Pontiac, Michigan.

210 years ago

Two Austrian army corps in Bavaria were defeated by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Abensberg on the second day of a four-day campaign that ended in a French victory.

180 years ago

Born on this date
Carol I
. Domnitor of Romania, 1866-1881; King of Romania, 1881-1914. Carol was elected Domnitor (Ruling Prince) of Romania in 1866, and was proclaimed King in 1881, the first monarch of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty. He died on October 10, 1914 at the age of 75 with no male heir, and was succeeded on the throne by his nephew Ferdinand I.

130 years ago

Born on this date
Adolf Hitler
. Chancellor of Germany, 1933-1934; Fuehrer of Germany, 1934-1945. One of the most evil people in history, Mr. Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary. He joined the German Workers Party--later the National Socialist German Workers Party--in 1919, becoming party chairman in 1921. Mr. Hitler led an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government of the Weimar Republic on November 9, 1923, in what became known as the "Beer Hall Putsch." He was sentenced to Landsberg Prison, where he wrote his book Mein Kampf. Released after serving less than nine months of his sentence, Mr. Hitler built the Nazi Party into a political force, as the party increased the number of seats it held in the Reichstag, with the number increasing quickly after the onset of the Depression in 1930. Mr. Hitler was appointed Chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg, taking office on January 30, 1933. By the end of the year, Mr. Hitler had effectively eliminated his opposition. Many of his opponents in the Nazi Party were murdered on June 30, 1934 in "The Night of the Long Knives," and a nationwide referendum on August 19 resulted in him being given dictatorial powers as Fuehrer. The German economy improved over the next few years, while the country became more bellicose internationally, culminating in the September 1, 1939 invasion of Poland to begin World War II. Mr. Hitler's crimes and atrocities are too numerous to be mentioned here. He mismanaged the German war effort and retreated to his underground bunker in Berlin during the final weeks of the war. With his longtime lover Eva Braun, whom he had married the previous day, Mr. Hitler committed suicide in his bunker on April 30, 1945, 10 days after his 56th birthday.

120 years ago

Died on this date
Joseph Wolf, 79
. German-born U.K. artist. Mr. Wolf moved to London in 1848 and began working with the British Museu. He specialized in natural history illustration, and became the preferred illustrator for explorers and naturalists such as David Livingstone, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Henry Walter Bates.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Richard Hillary
. Australian-born U.K. military aviator. Flight Lieutenant Hillary served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He was severely burned during the Battle of Britain in 1940, and survived months of plastic surgery and rehabilitation, which he wrote about in his book The Last Enemy (1942). Flight Lieutenant Hillary returned to duty, but he and radio operator observer Sergeant Wilfred Fison were killed in a crash during a night training flight in Scotland. Fl. Lt. Hillary was 23 at the time of his death.

90 years ago

Died on this date
Heinrich of Prussia, 66
. German royal family member. Prince Heinrich was a younger brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II and son of Kaiser Friedrich III. He served as a career officer with the Imperial German Navy, rising to the rank of Grand Admiral and Generalinspekteur der Marine. Like his father, Prince Heinrich died of throat cancer.

80 years ago

Died on this date
William Mitchell Ramsay, 88
. U.K. archaeologist. Sir William, a native of Glasgow, was educated in the Tübingen school of thought which doubted the accuracy of the New Testament. However, Sir William's work led him to write numerous works defending the accuracy of the New Testament. He He became the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and Christianity in the erly Roman Empire. Sir William was elected as a founding fellow of the British Academy in 1902, and was knighted in 1906 for his contribution to scholarship.

Billie Holiday recorded the civil rights song Strange Fruit for Commodore Records.

Ted Williams made his major league debut, playing right field for the Boston Red Sox as they lost 2-0 to the defending World Series champion New York Yankees before 30,278 fans at Yankee Stadium. Mr. Williams batted 1 for 4, doubling off winning pitcher Red Ruffing with 2 out in the 4th inning for his first major league hit. Mr. Ruffing allowed 7 hits in pitching the shutout, winning the pitchers' duel over Lefty Grove, who allowed 7 hits and 1 earned run in pitching a complete game. New York first baseman Lou Gehrig batted 0 for 4, grounded into 2 double plays, and made an error when Boston second baseman Bobby Doerr knocked the ball out of his hand on an attempted tag with 1 out in the top of the 9th inning. It was the only time that Mr. Williams and Mr. Gehrig played against each other.

75 years ago

Died on this date
Elmer Gedeon, 27
. U.S. baseball player. Mr. Gedeon, an outfielder, played 5 games with the Washington Nationals in 1939, batting .200. He was still active in the minor leagues when he was drafted into the United States Army in 1941. Mr. Gedeon became a bomber pilot, and was shot down on a mission from Boreham, England to attack a Nazi V-1 site in France, five days after his 27th birthday. The co-pilot parachuted to safety, but Mr. Gedeon and five other crewmen were killed. Mr. Gedeon was the first of two former major league baseball players to be killed while serving in World War II; the other was Harry O'Neill, who played 1 game as a catcher with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1939 and was killed on Iwo Jima in 1945.

W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge was published in New York.

Soviet air and sea forces sank 18 Nazi ships off Sevastopol, disrupting enemy evacuation efforts. Chinese troops encircled a Japanese division in the Mansum area of northern Burma.

Politics and government
The Haitian General Assembly extended the term of President Elie Lescot to May 15, 1951, and suspended elections of senators, deputies, and mayors until one year after the war.

Economics and finance
U.S. War Secretary Henry Stimson, Navy Secretary Frank Knox, and Maritime Commission Chairman Emory Land sent a joint message to the House of Representatives Military Affairs Committee urging some form of labour draft to man war plants depleted by inductions into the armed services.

A general strike closed all Bolivian tin mines in protest against a writ of habeas corpus granted to government officials charged with shooting workers.

Dr. James L. Gamble reported that experiments showed that glucose prevented excretions of body water and energy and should be useful in sustaining castaways at sea.

The International Labor Organization opened its conference in Philadelphia and elected Walter Nash president.

70 years ago

Died on this date
Robert Coffey, 30
. U.S. military officer and politician. Lieutenant Colonel Coffey served with the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, recording six combat victories and evading capture after being shot down. He was the military air attaché for the United States embassy in Chile from October 1945-April 1948 before resigning his commission to run for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. He was elected, and represented Pennsylvania's 26th District from January 3, 1949 until his death in the crash of a Lockheed Shooting Star shortly after takeoff from Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico to begin a cross-country proficiency flight.

American Freedom and Catholic Power by Paul Blanshard was published in Boston by Beacon Press, a Unitarian publisher.

Chinese Communist forces exchanged fire with British ships on the Yangtze River near Chinkiang, disabling the sloop Amethyst.

U.S. President Harry Truman nominated Navy Admiral Alan Kirk to succeed Army General Walter Bedell Smith as U.S. Ambassador to the U.S.S.R.

U.S. Defense Secretary Louis Johnson ordered the armed services to end racial discrimination, but permitted continued segregation of Negro units.

Politics and government
Antonio Fragoso Carmona was inaugurated into his fourth term as President of Portugal.

German Socialist leaders, meeting in Hanover, demanded a strong central government for the proposed West German state, with no Allied veto over the decisions of Parliament.

The World Congress of Fighters for Peace, a conference of pro-Soviet intellectuals and artists, opened in Paris. Among the first speakers were U.S. singer Paul Robeson and French physicist Frederic Joliot-Curie, a Communist and head of the French Atomic Energy Commission.

Mayo Clinic researchers reported that isolation of a hormone from the adrenal gland effective in relieving rheumatoid arthritis.

60 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Mariquilla--José Luís y su Guitarra (10th week at #1)

U.S.A. Top 10 (Billboard)
1 Come Softly to Me--The Fleetwoods (2nd week at #1)
2 Venus--Frankie Avalon
3 Pink Shoe Laces--Dodie Stevens
4 I Need Your Love Tonight--Elvis Presley
5 (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I--Elvis Presley
6 Never Be Anyone Else But You--Ricky Nelson
7 Guitar Boogie Shuffle--The Virtues
8 It's Just a Matter of Time--Brook Benton
9 Tragedy--Thomas Wayne with the DeLons
10 It's Late--Ricky Nelson

Singles entering the chart were The Wang Dang Taffy-Apple Tango (Mambo Cha Cha Cha) by Pat Boone (#62); Endlessly by Brook Benton (#66); A Teenager in Love by Dion and the Belmonts (#69); Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb) by Edward Byrnes & Connie Stevens (#72); Goodnight Irene by Billy Williams (#75); I Need Your Lovin' by Roy Hamilton (#78); You're So Fine by the Falcons (#88); Dream Lover by Bobby Darin (#90); A Touch of Pink by Jerry Wallace (#93); I Kneel at Your Throne by Joe Medlin (#94); I Waited Too Long by LaVern Baker (#95); Walkin' to Mother's by Ray Anthony and his Orchestra (#96); I Told Myself a Lie by Clyde McPhatter (#97); That's All I Want by Bobby Day (#98); Two Brothers by David Hill (#99); and Pipe Dreams by Jimmy Beck and his Orchestra (#100).

Vancouver's Top 10 (CKWX)
1 (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I/I Need Your Love Tonight--Elvis Presley (3rd week at #1)
2 Guitar Boogie Shuffle--The Virtues
3 The Tijuana Jail--The Kingston Trio
4 It's Late/Never Be Anyone Else But You--Ricky Nelson
5 Three Stars--Tommy Dee with Carol Kay and the Teen-Aires
6 Venus--Frankie Avalon
7 Come Softly to Me--The Fleetwoods
8 The Happy Organ--Dave "Baby" Cortez
9 Pink Shoe Laces--Dodie Stevens
10 Tell Him No--Travis and Bob

Singles entering the chart were Kansas City by Wilbert Harrison (#28); Six Nights a Week by the Crests (#34); A Teenager in Love by Dion and the Belmonts (#41); Dream Lover by Bobby Darin (#42); Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb) by Edward Byrnes & Connie Stevens (#43); Endlessly by Brook Benton (#46); Frankie's Man Johnny by Johnny Cash (#51); Rockin' Cricket by the Hot Toddys (#55); Young Ideas by Chico Holiday (#58); You Can't Be True, Dear by the Mary Kaye Trio (#59); and I Told Myself a Lie by Clyde McPhatter (#97).

Died on this date
Edward Johnson, 80
. Canadian singer. Mr. Johnson, a native of Guelph, Ontario, was a tenor who performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1922-1935, and then managed the Metropolitan Opera from 1935-1950. He died of a heart attack while attending a National Ballet of Canada recital at Guelph Memorial Gardens.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the establishment of a joint American-Canadian research program to send exploratory rockets and Earth satellites into the ionosphere.

World events
Panamanian authorities arrested British ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn in connection with an alleged revolutionary plot by her husband Roberto Arias. She was released the next day.

General Humberto Delgado, defeated opposition candidate for the Portuguese presidency, relinquished asylum at the Brazilian embassy in Lisbon and was flown to exile in Brazil.

In a high-command shake-up, the Israeli government announced the appointment of Yitzhak Rabin as Army chief of operations and Colonel Chaim Herzog as Army intelligence chief.

The Ford Foundation issued a report warning that food production in India needed to increase by 57% by 1965 to feed an estimated population of 480 million Indians.

50 years ago

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Tanya Dueck!

Died on this date
Vjekoslav Luburić, 55
. Croatian war criminal. General Luburić, a member of the fascist Ustaše movement, headed the system of concentration camps in the Independent State of Croatia during much of World War II; he personally oversaw multiple massacres of Serbs, and spearheaded the contemporaneous genocides of Jews and Roma. He escaped capture after the war, and settled in Spain in 1949. He was murdered at his home in Carcaixent, Spain by an agent or agents of the Yugoslavian secret service UDBA.

The Tony Awards for 1968-1969 were presented at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York. The Great White Hope was named Best Play, with James Earl Jones winning for his starring performance and Jane Alexander for her supporting performance. 1776 was named Best Musical, with Peter Hunt winning for his direction and Ronald Holgate for his supporting performance.

Israeli troops beat back an Egyptian commando raid on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal and fought long duels against Jordanian artillery across the Jordan River as hostilities intensified.

Gasoline-bomb attacks on nine post offices and a bus in Belfast, Northern Ireland ended a weekend of rioting among Protestants, Roman Catholics, and police. At the request of the Ulster cabinet, the British government agreed to the use of British troops to guard Northern Ireland's public utilities.

6,200 International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Montreal began a month-long strike, grounding most commercial aviation.

11 were killed and more than 60 were injured when a roof collapsed in Meerut, India.

Stanley Cup
Montreal 2 @ Boston 3 (Best-of-seven series tied 2-2)
St. Louis 4 @ Los Angeles 1 (St. Louis won best-of-seven series 4-0)

Ed Westfall and Derek Sanderson scored shorthanded goals in the 1st period and Bobby Orr scored the eventual winning goal with 1:47 remaining in regulation time as the Bruins edged the Canadiens at Boston Garden. Serge Savard scored with 54 seconds remaining to draw Montreal to within a goal.

Red Berenson scored with 8:08 remaining in the 2nd period to break a 1-1 tie and Jacques Plante made 21 saves as the Blues eliminated the Kings at the Forum in Inglewood, California to complete their second straight series sweep.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Sweden (Topplistan): Y.M.C.A.--Village People (11th week at #1)

#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Dschinghis Khan--Dschinghis Khan (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in France (IFOP): Born to Be Alive--Patrick Hernandez (8th week at #1)

On television tonight
Family, on ABC
Tonight's episode: Prelude

Stanley Cup
Philadelphia 1 @ New York Rangers 5 (New York led best-of-seven series 2-1)
New York Islanders 4 @ Chicago 0 (New York led best-of-seven series 3-0)

Glenn Resch made 21 saves for the shutout in goal as the Islanders shut out the Black Hawks at Chicago Stadium. Billy Harris scored the winning goal with 1:52 remaining in the 1st period.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Finland (Finnish Singles Chart): Like a Prayer--Madonna (4th week at #1)

#1 single in Ireland (IRMA): Eternal Flame--Bangles (2nd week at #1)

Politics and government
The Liberal Party, led by Clyde Wells, defeated the governing Progressive Conservatives in the Newfoundland provincial election. The Liberals captured 31 of 52 seats in the House of Assembly, but Mr. Wells lost in his riding of Humber East, necessitating the resignation of one of the successful Liberal candidates to enable Mr. Wells to run in a by-election. The Progressive Conservatives, led by Premier Tom Rideout, won the remaining 21 seats. Mr. Rideout had recently succeeded Brian Peckford as Premier.

25 years ago

Stanley Cup
Division Semi-Finals
Chicago 0 @ Toronto 1 (OT) (Toronto led best-of-seven series 2-0)

20 years ago

Died on this date
Señor Wences, 103
. Spanish-born U.S. ventriloquist. Señor Wences, born Wenceslao Moreno, moved to the United States in the mid-1930s. He achieved his greatest popularity in the 1950s and '60s, appearing 48 times on The Ed Sullivan Show. Señor Wences died three days after his 103rd birthday.

Rick Rude, 40. U.S. wrestler. "Ravishing" Rick Rude, whose real name was Richard Rood, wrestled professionally with many promotions from 1982 until his retirement after a back injury in 1994, returning for one match in 1997. Mr. Rood died of heart failure caused by an overdose of mixed medicines, while training for a return to the ring.

Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Kliebold, 17, shot and killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, south of Denver, and then killed themselves (see also here and here). They had planned to blow up the school, but their plan failed only because they were so inept at building bombs. For an interesting recent article on the myths of the Columbine incident, go here.

NATO forces destroyed the headquarters of the political party of Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic.

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