Monday, 1 February 2021

February 1, 2021

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Snejka!

610 years ago

The First Peace of Thorn, ending the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War, was signed in Thorn (Toruń), Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights (Prussia).

330 years ago

Died on this date
Alexander VIII, 80
. Roman Catholic Pope, 1689-1691. Alexander VIII, born Pietro Vito Ottoboni, succeeded Pope Innocent XI. He served for just 16 months, and was succeeded by Innocent XII.

320 years ago

Born on this date
Johan Agrell
. Swedish-born German composer. Mr. Agrell was a violinist and baroque composer who wrote at least 22 symphonies, vocal works, and harpsichord concertos and sonatas. He died on January 19, 1765, 13 days before his 64th birthday.

225 years ago

Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe transferred the capital of Upper Canada from Niagara (Newark) to York for greater security in the event of an American invasion.

170 years ago

Died on this date
Mary Shelley, 53
. U.K. authoress. Mrs. Shelley, the second wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, was best known for her novel Frankenstein (1818). She died after a long battle with a brain tumour.

160 years ago

Texas voted to secede from the Union, becoming the seventh state to do so.

150 years ago

Died on this date
Alexander Serov, 51
. Russian composer and critic. Mr. Serov, a lawyer by trade, was one of Russia's most important music critics of the 1850s and '60s. He was known for composing operas, particularly Judith (1863). Mr. Serov died of a heart attack, nine days after his 51st birthday.

Economics and finance
The Dominion Bank opened its first branch in temporary premises above a paint store at 40 King Street East in Toronto.

125 years ago

La bohème by Giacomo Puccini received its premiere performance, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, at the Teatro Regio in Turin.

120 years ago

Born on this date
Clark Gable
. U.S. actor. The "King of Hollywood," most famous for his starring roles in Gone With the Wind (1939), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and It Happened One Night (1934)--for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor--died of a heart attack on November 16, 1960 at the age of 59, shortly after finishing work on The Misfits, which was released to theatres three months later.

Frank Buckles. U.S. soldier. Corporal Buckles served with the U.S. Army in World War I, driving ambulances and motorcycles near the front lines. He was working in the shipping business in the Philippines when Japanese forces invaded in 1942, and spent three years as a civilian prisoner. Mr. Buckles was the last surviving American combat veteran of World War I, and died on February 27, 2011, 26 days after his 110th birthday.

110 years ago

Post offices across Canada displayed the first recruiting posters for the Royal Canadian Navy.

80 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in the U.S.A. (Billboard): Frenesi--Artie Shaw and his Orchestra (7th week at #1)

At the movies
Freedom Radio, directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Clive Brook, Diana Wynyard, and Raymond Huntley, opened in theatres in the United Kingdom. It opened in the United States three days later under the title A Voice in the Night.

Died on this date
William Gibbs McAdoo, 77
. U.S. politician. Mr. McAdoo, a Democrat, was Secretary of the Treasury in the administration of President Woodrow Wilson from 1913-1918, after serving as his campaign manager in 1912. Mr. Gibbs was largely responsible for the creation of the Federal Reserve and financing the American war effort in World War I. He represented California in the United States Senate from 1933-1938.

Mohammed Mahmoud Pasha, 58. Egyptian politician. Mr. Mahmoud was Egypt's defense minister and leader of the nationalist movement.

French General Maxime Weygand rejected Free French General Charles de Gaulle's appeal to liberate Libya from Italian control. U.S. Navy Secretary Frank Knox told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he was worried that the United Kingdom may be defeated by the Axis powers, and he was positive that the Axis would then invade the Western Hemisphere.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors urged development of a civil defense program for cities that may be exposed to attack. Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza invited the United States to establish air and naval bases in Nicaragua.

Politics and government
The German government reported the creation of the National Popular Assembly in Paris for the reconstruction of France in collaboration with Germany.

Economics and finance
The Japanese government announced that rice would be rationed.

75 years ago

At the movies
Terror by Night, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, opened in theatres.

At the trial in Manila of accused Japanese war criminals, General Hikotaro Tajima was sentenced to hang for the execution of American fliers on Bataan. At the hearings of the United States Senate committee on the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Admiral P.N.L. Bellinger, naval air wing commander at Pearl Harbor in 1941, Captain L.F. Stafford, assistant director of naval communications for cryptography in 1941, testified that a Japanese "winds code" message had been deciphered in Washington on December 4, 1941.

At the United Nations Security Council, Soviet delegate Andrey Vyshinsky demanded the withdrawal of British troops from Greece.

Arab League spokesman Faiz al-Khoury told the Palestine Inquiry in London that Arabs would not accept partition of Palestine or continued Jewish immigration.

On instructions from Secretary of State James Byrnes, U.S. Charge d'Affaires John Moors Cabot asked Argentine Foreign Minister Juan Cooke to repudiate presidential candidate Juan Peron's charges of U.S. arms smuggling.

The Parliament of Hungary abolished the monarchy after nine centuries, and proclaims the Hungarian Republic, with Premier Zoltan Tildy as the first President.

Dr. Nicholas Wagman announced that he had used a new photographic filter to locate a star similar to the sun, previously hidden by the brilliant Ophiucus constellation.

A Trans World Airlines Lockheed Constellation set a New York-Los Angeles commercial record of 10 hours 49 minutes.

Politics and government
Testifying before the United States Senate Naval Affairs Committee on President Harry Truman's nomination of Edwin Pauley as undersecretary of the Navy, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes claimed that Mr. Pauley had urged him in 1945 to cancel a government suit for title to tidelands oil fields in order to help raise Democratic Party campaign funds from oilmen.

American Legion National Commander John Stelle claimed that the U.S. Veterans Administration had suffered a "tragic breakdown" and must be headed by "a seasoned businessman, not a soldier." VA Administrator General Omar Bradley defended the agency and claimed that Mr. Stelle's criticism did not represent general opinion in veterans' organizations.

The creation of Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first electronic digital computer, was announced at the University of Pennsylvania.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Karl Compton urged the United States Senate Atomic Energy Commission to set up separate policy-making and administrative bodies for atom control.

70 years ago

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jack McFall, in a letter to Representative Horace Seely-Brown (Republican--Connecticut), said that the United States had not backed Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces in an invasion of the Chinese mainland because they would be greatly outnumbered and were needed to defend Taiwan.

The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, in Operation Ranger, set off the third in a series of atomic explosions at an Air Force testing range in Nevada. It was the first atomic blast to be televised.

Supreme Commander of NATO--Europe General Dwight D. Eisenhower, reporting on his European tour, urged the U.S. Congress not to limit the number of troops or the amount of equipment the U.S. could send to Europe.

Politics and government
The Yugoslavian government abolished the State Control Commission, a supervisory organ with powers to regulate political and economic affairs.

Dr. Russell Morgan of Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore demonstrated an X-ray motion picture process by which pictures of body organs could be taken over an extended period of time without danger of overexposure to radiation.

Economics and finance
A United Nations General Assembly committee reported that it had obtained pledges totalling $882,000 from 12 countries (excluding the U.S.A. and U.K.) toward a $55-million fund sought for relief of Palestinian Arab refugees.

The strike of railroad switchmen in the United States spread to 30 cities and 42 lines, causing a serious nationwide rail tie-up.

60 years ago

At the movies
The Misfits, starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift, opened in theatres. Mr. Gable had died three months earlier, shortly after the completion of filming; the film was released on what would have been his 60th birthday.

The solid-fuelled three-stage Minuteman missile, intended to become the number one weapon of the United States Air Force, was fired in a successful test at Cape Canaveral, Florida. This was the first time that a major missile had been tested as a complete unit on its first launching, with all stages firing and a full guidance system in operation. The first stage was the largest solid fuel rocket ever fired in the Western world. The 60-foot missile, weighing 70,000 pounds before launching, reached a top speed of more than 15,000 miles per hour and travelled 4,600 miles to its target area in the South Atlantic Ocean. Eventually, the missile’s range was to be 6,300 miles.

Politics and government
U.S. President John F. Kennedy held his second weekly news conference.

Representatives of the governments of the U.S.A. and the states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania signed in Philadelphia a pact "to create a regional administrative agency which shall act for and be responsible to the signatory parties in the planning, development and control of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin." The pact, subject to ratification by the U.S. Congress and the four state legislatures, would end a lengthy dispute among the states as to rights of the Delaware River water.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Australia (Kent Music Report): My Sweet Lord--George Harrison (3rd week at #1)

#1 single in Japan (Oricon Singles Chart): Bōkyō--Shinichi Mori (2nd week at #1)

#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): Te Quiero, Te Quiero--Nino Bravo (7th week at #1)

Died on this date
Bob Hilliard, 53
. U.S. songwriter. Mr. Hilliard, born Hilliard Goldsmith, wrote lyrics for songs such as In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; Any Day Now; and Our Day Will Come. The composers he worked with included Burt Bacharach, Jule Styne, and Mort Garson. Mr. Hilliard died of a heart attack, four days after his 53rd birthday.

Canada and the People's Republic of China opened diplomatic relations. Hsu Chung-fu and a 10-man delegation arrived in Ottawa to set up the Communist Chinese embassy in Canada.

More than 600 people gathered in front of a Montreal courthouse to protest the "preventive arrest" and one-year prison sentence of Michel Chartrand, president of the Conseil central de la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (Central Council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions) (CSN).

The Canadian Post Office started the "assured mail program" of next-day delivery in most major Canadian cities of letters posted before 11 A.M.

The Québec Press Council was founded in Montreal out of four news organizations representing more than 700 reporters; it was the first of its kind in Canada or the United States.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand (RIANZ): Shaddap You Face--Joe Dolce Music Theatre (7th week at #1)

#1 single in Switzerland: (Just Like) Starting Over--John Lennon (3rd week at #1)

Austria's Top 10 (Ö3)
1 Angel of Mine--Frank Duval & Orchestra
2 (Just Like) Starting Over--John Lennon
3 Some Broken Hearts Never Mend--Telly Savalas
4 Super Trouper--ABBA
5 Woman in Love--Barbra Streisand
6 What You're Proposing--Status Quo
7 The Tide is High--Blondie
8 More than I Can Say--Leo Sayer
9 Santa Maria--Oliver Onions
10 Another One Bites the Dust--Queen

Singles entering the chart were More than I Can Say; Felicidad (Margherita) by Boney M. (#11); and Pas pleurer (Please No More Crying) by Saragossa Band (#19).

Died on this date
Donald Wills Douglas, Sr., 88
. U.S. engineer and aviation executive. Mr. Douglas founded the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921, which became one of the major firms in the aircraft industry, achieving tremendous success with the Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST) and the DC-3 in the mid-late 1930s. He was president of the company until he retired in favour of his son Douglas, Jr. in 1957, but remained as Chairman of the Board, approving a merger with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1967 to become McDonnell Douglas. Mr. Douglas was honourary chairman of the board with McDonnell Douglas until his death.

Geirr Tveitt, 72. Norwegian composer. Mr. Tveitt was a pianist who wrote at least five piano concertos and other orchestral, instrumental, and choral works. He incorporated Norwegian folk music into his works, and was an apparent believer in Norse paganism. Four-fifths of Mr. Tveitt's scores were destroyed in a house fire in 1970, although a few have been reconstructed in recent years. The disaster contributed to his depression and inability to compose, and Mr. Tveitt eventually drank himself to death.

Pro Bowl @ Aloha Stadium, Honolulu
NFC 21 AFC 7

30 years ago

In an address to Parliament in Cape Town, South African President F.W. de Klerk said he would seek the repeal of the laws on which the country’s apartheid system was based, citing the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936 that reserved 87% of the nation’s land for the white minority, the Group Areas Act of 1966 and the Black Communities Act of 1984 that segregated residential areas, and the Population Registration of 1950 that separated South Africans into four races--whites, blacks, Indians, and mixed race. Mr. de Klerk also proposed a multiparty conference to consider a new constitution, but rejected African National Congress demands for an elected constituent assembly. ANC deputy president Nelson Mandela welcomed the proposals, but pointed out that blacks were still not allowed to vote and that Mr. de Klerk had made no mention of the freeing of political prisoners or the repeal of security laws. Mr. Mandela urged the maintenance of international sanctions against South Africa until "there is fundamental change in the living conditions of the majority."

U.S. soldier Melissa Rathbun-Nealy’s vehicle got stuck in sand during a supply mission, and she became the Gulf War’s first female prisoner of war.

Striking nurses in Manitoba began returning to their jobs after voting to accept a two-year contract calling for a pay hike of up to 14%. Canada’s longest nurses’ strike had begun on January 1.

1,200 were reported killed after an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The collision of two planes on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport killed 34 people and injured 24. A USAir jet that was landing struck a SkyWest plane that was taxiing for takeoff. Two days later, federal investigators reported that the crash may have been caused by an air traffic controller giving both planes clearance to be on the runway at the same time.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Finland (Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland): Spaceman--Babylon Zoo

#1 single in Denmark (Nielsen Music Control & IFPI): Spaceman--Babylon Zoo

The Communications Decency Act--the first notable attempt by the United States Congress to regulate pornographic material on the Internet--was passed by the U.S. Congress.

20 years ago

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo met in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Mr. Kabila said he wanted to reinstitute the Lusaka accords, the cease-fire agreement that would permit foreign troops to leave Congolese soil. Mr. Kabila met the same day with Rwandan President Paul Kagale, who had troops in Congo that had opposed the government of Mr. Kabila’s father and predecessor, Laurent Kabila.

The Timor Leste Defence Force was established from the erstwhile anti-Indonesian independence movement Falintil.

The parliament of Indonesia voted 393-4 to accept a commission report concluding that President Abdurrahman Wahid had probably been involved in embezzling US$3.7 million from a food distribution agency and had testified falsely about his personal misuse of a $2 million gift from the Sultan of Brunei.

Politics and government
The United States Senate voted 58-42 to approve John Ashcroft as Attorney General to complete the cabinet of President George W. Bush. All the opposing votes came from Democratic Senators.

California Governor Gray Davis signed a bill passed in the state legislature that day permitting the state to issue bonds to fuel the purchase of power through long-term contracts. The plan would cost $10 billion. Mr. Davis also proposed to increase funding for energy conservation programs.

10 years ago

Politics and government
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced that he would not run for a new term, but rejected protesters' demands that he step down immediately.

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