History: April 4

April 4

0188 Birth: Caracalla, Roman emperor 211-17. "He himself in his boyhood was winsome and clever, respectful to his parents and courteous to his parents' friends, beloved by the people, popular with the senate, and well able to further his own interests in winning affection. Never did he seem backward in letters or slow in deeds of kindness, never niggardly in largess or tardy in forgiving -- at least while under his parents. For example, if ever he saw condemned criminals pitted against wild beasts, he wept or turned away his eyes, and this was more than pleasing to the people. Once, when a child of seven, hearing that a certain playmate of his had been severely scourged for adopting the religion of the Jews, he long refused to look at either the boy's father or his own, because he regarded them as responsible for the scourging. It was at his plea, moreover, that their ancient rights were restored to the citizens of Antioch and Byzantium, with whom Severus had become angry because they had given aid to Niger. He conceived a hatred for Plautianus because of his cruelty. And all the gifts he received from his father on the occasion of the Sigillaria he presented of his own accord to his dependents or to his teachers. All this, however, was in his boyhood. For when he passed beyond the age of a boy, either by his father's advice or through a natural cunning, or because he thought that he must imitate Alexander of Macedonia, he became more reserved and stern and even somewhat savage in expression, and indeed so much so that many were unable to believe that he was the same person whom they had known as a boy. Alexander the Great and his achievements were ever on his lips..."

0527 In Constantinople, Justin, seriously ill, crowns his nephew Justinian as his co-emperor.

1507 Future German reformer Martin Luther, at the age of 21, is ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church.

1541 Spanish ecclesiastic reformer and mystic Ignatius Loyola, 50, is elected the first General of the Jesuit Order, which he had helped establish the previous year.

1581 English navigator, Francis Drake, returns home after sailing around the world, and is knighted by Queen Elizabeth I, in a ceremony at Deptford.

1617 Death: John Napier, inventor of logarithms.

1648 Birth: Grinling Gibbons, sculptor, woodcarver.

1687 King James II issues a Declaration of Indulgence allowing full liberty of worship in England. The document allows peaceable meetings of nonconformists and forgives all penalties for ecclesiastical offenses.

1758 Birth: John Hoppner, portrait painter.

1780 Birth: Edward Hicks, Quaker preacher, painter.

1785 Birth: Bettina von Arnim, German writer; This Book Belongs to the King.

1788 The publication of the Federalist Papers, one of the greatest works on US political theory, is completed. Written mostly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, the essays defend federalism as a means of creating a strong state while protecting the individual against governmental tyranny.

1792 Birth: Thaddeus Stevens, US Radical Republican congressional leader. "...In the traditional view of Reconstruction, Thaddeus Stevens was the evil genius who wrecked President Andrew Johnson's lenient policy and turned the South over to the depredations of "black rule." Today, he is seen more sympathetically, as an outspoken foe of slavery who sought to accord blacks the rights of American citizenship and to provide an economic underpinning for their freedom. Born and educated in New England, Stevens moved as a young man to the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, where he practiced law and entered the business of iron manufacturing. Born with a clubfoot—then considered a mark of evil—he felt at home among the dissenters and outsiders (most notably the Amish) who peopled the region. He never married, but lived for years with a black housekeeper and showed no interest in either confirming or denying rumors about their relationship. Successively an Anti-Mason, Whig, and Republican, Stevens served several terms in..."

1802 Birth: Dorothea Dix, American social reformer who will arouse interest in the humane treatment of mental inmates.

1807 Death: Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande, astronomer.

1812 The territory of Orleans becomes the 18th state of the US known as Louisiana.

1818 The US Congress settles on a formula for the national flag; 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.

1821 Birth: Linus Yale, US portrait painter, inventor of the Yale lock.

1823 Birth: Karl Wilhelm Siemens, inventor; will lay undersea cables. "...He was born in the village of Lenthe, near Hanover, Germany, where his father, Christian Ferdinand Siemens, farmed an estate belonging to the Crown. His mother was Eleonore Deichmann, and William, or Carl Wilhelm, was the fourth son of a family of fourteen children. Of his siblings, Ernst Werner Siemens, the fourth child, became a famous electrician and was associated with William in many of his inventions.On July 23, 1859, Siemens was married at St. James's, Paddington, to Anne, the youngest daughter of Mr. Joseph Gordon, Writer to the Signet,Edinburgh, and brother to Mr. Lewis Gordon, Professor of Engineering in the University of Glasgow, He used to say that on March 19 of that year he took oath and allegiance to two ladies in one day--to the Queen and his betrothed.He died on the evening of Monday, November 19, 1883, at nine o'clock and was buried on Monday, November 26, in Kensal Green Cemetery. Siemens had been trained as a mechanical engineer, and his most important work at this early stage was non-electrical; the greatest achievement of his life, the regenerative furnace, was non-electrical. Though in 1847 he published a paper in Liebig's Annalen der Chemie on the 'Mercaptan of Selenium,' his mind was busy with the new ideas upon the nature of heat which were promulgated by Carnot, Émile Clapeyron, Joule, Clausius, Mayer, Thomson, and Rankine. He discarded the older notions of heat as a substance, and accepted it as a form of energy. Working on this new line of thought, which gave him an advantage over other inventors of his time, he made his first attempt to..."

1826 Birth: Zenobe Theophile Gramme, inventor of the electric motor.

1828 Birth: Margaret Oliphant, in Scotland, novelist, biographer.

1832 Birth: Jose Echegaray y Elizaguirre, playwright, writer, scientist.

1841 Death: William Henry Harrison, 9th US president, succumbes at 68 to pneumonia one month after his inauguration, the first US chief executive to die while in office and the shortest presidential term at just 32 days. He dies at the White House, Washington DC, and is buried in Harrison Tomb, North Bend, Ohio.

1844 Death: Charles Bulfinch, first US professional architect.

1850 The city of Los Angeles is incorporated.

1859 Daniel Emmett introduces the song I Wish I was in Dixie’s Land, later named Dixie, in New York City. Just two years later, the song will become the Civil War song of the Confederacy.

1862 US Civil War: Union General George B. McClellan closes in on Richmond, Virginia.

1865 US Civil War: General Lee's army arrives at Amelia Courthouse.

1876 Birth: Maurice de Vlaminck, in Paris, Fauvist painter.

1881 Birth: Charles Funk, in Ohio; Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopeadia.

1884 Birth: Isoroku Yamamoto. "His original family name, Takano, was changed through adoption. Graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1904, he was wounded in action during the Russo-Japanese War. Yamamoto attended the Naval War College during the "teens" and later studied at Harvard University. As a Captain, he served as Naval Attache to the United States in 1925-28. In the late 1920s and during the 1930s, he held a number of important positions, many of them involved with Japanese naval aviation. Admiral Yamamoto commanded the Combined Fleet before the outbreak of the Pacific War and during its first sixteen months. He was responsible for planning the Attack on Pearl Harbor and most other major operations during this time. His scheme for eliminating the U.S. fleet as a major opponent led to the June 1942 Battle of Midway, in which the Japan lost naval superiority in the Pacific. Despite Midway's adverse outcome, Yamamoto continued as Combined Fleet commander through the following Guadalcanal Campaign, which further depleted Japan's naval resources. While on an inspection tour in the Northern Solomon Islands, he was killed in an aerial ambush by U.S. Army Air Force planes on 18 April 1943. Isoroku Yamamoto was posthumously promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet."

1887 Susanna M. Salter becomes the first woman mayor in the US, as she is elected by the people of Argonia, Kansas. Ms. Salter wins by a two-thirds majority but didn’t even know she was in the running ’til she went into the voting booth. It seems that her name was submitted by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Susanna M. Salter will receive $1 for her year as mayor.

1896 The discovery of gold in the Yukon is announced, leading to the Klondyke Gold Rush.

1902 Death: British financier Cecil Rhodes. He leaves $10 million dollars in his will for scholarships to Americans at Oxford University.

1914 The first known serialised moving picture opens in New York City: The Perils of Pauline starring Pearl White.

1917 WW1: The US Senate votes 90-6 to enter WW1 on the Allied side.

1919 Death: William Crookes, physicist, chemist.

1919 Weimar: Max Hofweber, a comrade of Rudolf Hess at the training airfield at Lechfeld, introduces him to Dr. Karl Haushofer, beginning a long and intimate friendship. (Missing Years)

1919 The Jewish Chronicle in London states, " The conceptions of Bolshevism are in harmony in most points with the ideas of Judaism." Soon afterward, Victor Marsden the London Morning Post's reporter in Russia will write that 477 of the leading 545 Bolshevik officials are Jews. Once again, conservatives and anti-Semites used these words to stir up anti-Jewish sentiments.

1928 Birth: Maya Angelou, in St. Louis, Missouri, US poet, author.

1932 Vitamin C is discovered and isolated by scientists C. G. King and W. A. Waugh at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1933 Church and Reich: The Central Association of Catholic fraternities withdraws its ban on membership in the Nazi party.

1933 Legislation of anti-Jewish laws begins in Germany.

1933 Robert Weltsch publishes an article in the Juedische Rundschau (Jewish Review) under the banner headline, "Wear the Yellow Star with Pride," in reaction to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany. (Edelheit)

1934 The German state of Baden bans Jewish ritual slaughter (shechita).

1933 The US Dirigible Akron crashes off the coast of New Jersey, killing 73.

1934 The three Legionaries (Iron Guardsmen) who assassinated Romanian Prime Minister Ion Duca are given life sentences.

1939 King Faisal II ascends to the throne of Iraq.

1941 WW2: Field Marshal Erwin Rommel captures the British held town of Benghazi in North Africa.


1943 WW2: Eisenhower's US First Army joins Montgomery's Eighth Army near Gafsa.

1944 Holocaust: An American reconnaissance plane flies over Auschwitz, photographing the I.G. Farben synthetic rubber (Buna) plant at Monowitz. Both the plant and the nearby main camp are clearly visible, but the gas chambers at Birkenau are not recognized for what they really are. (Apparatus)

1944 WW2: British troops capture Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

1945 WW2: Hungary is liberated from Nazi occupation. Now a Hungarian National Day.

1945 WW2: US troops on Okinawa encounter the first significant resistance from Japanese forces.

1945 WW2: Kassel Germany is taken by troops from Patton's Third Army.

1945 Holocaust: American troops discover mass graves in Ohrdruf. "...The Ohrdruf camp was a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, and the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops. Created in November 1944 near the town of Gotha, Germany, Ohrdruf supplied forced labor in the form of concentration camp prisoners for railway construction leading to a proposed communications center, which was never completed due to the rapid American advance. In late March 1945, the camp had a prisoner population of some 11,700, but in early April the SS evacuated almost all the prisoners on death marches to Buchenwald. The SS guards killed many of the remaining prisoners who were too ill to walk to the railcars. When the soldiers of the 4th Armored Division entered the camp, they discovered piles of bodies, some covered with lime, and others partially incinerated on pyres. The ghastly nature of their discovery led General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, to visit the camp on April 12, with Generals George S. Patton and Omar Bradley. After his visit, Eisenhower cabled General George C. Marshall, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, describing his trip to Ohrdruf: ". . .the most interesting--although horrible--sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to "propaganda..."

1946 Dr Marcelle Petiot is sentenced to death in Paris, for murdering by injection 27 people whom he had told he was a Resistance member helping them flee Nazi-occupied France.

1947 The largest group of sunspots ever seen are recorded.

1947 The UN International Civil Aviation Organisation is established.

1949 NATO: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is established by 12 Western nations: the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and Portugal. The military alliance, which provides for a collective self-defense against Soviet aggression, greatly increases American influence in Europe. Greece, Turkey, and West Germany will later join NATO, but in 1966 France will withdraw, citing American violations of the 1949 treaty. In 1955, the Warsaw Pact, a Soviet-led Eastern European alliance, will be established to counter NATO. In 1994, three years after the end of the Cold War, NATO will engage in its first military action as part of an international effort to end two years of fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, which will all leave the Warsaw Pact upon its dissolution in 1991, will join NATO in 1999.

1957 The British Government announces it will be ending National Service.

1958 Birth: Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, painter.

1960 Project Ozma begins at Green Bank radio astronomy center.

1960 Death: Alfred Naujocks, SS Sturmbannfuehrer, secret-service veteran and member of the SD since its founding in 1934 who is believed to have organized the "faked attack" on the German radio station at Gleiwitz on the German-Polish border on the night of August 31, 1939. After surrendering to the Americans in late 1944, he signed a sworn affidavit at Nuremberg on November 20, 1945, saying he had been given his orders personally by Heydrich and was accompanied during his mission by Heinrich Mueller. Shortly after signing his affidavit, he mysteriously disappeared. He died on this day, a successful Hamburg businessman.

1967 The US Federal Drugs Administration (FDA) announces that it is to study the health effects of smoking dried banana peels.

1968 Death: US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray. At 6.01pm, Martin Luther King, Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He is 39 years old.

1968 The unmanned Apollo 6 is launched atop a Saturn V rocket.

1970 April 4-5 Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev orders the bodies of Hitler and his entourage exhumed from their hiding place at Magdeburg, and incinerated.

1979 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the deposed prime minister of Pakistan, is hanged after he is convicted of conspiring to murder a political opponent.

1983 The sixth space shuttle mission, Challenger I, roars into orbit on its maiden voyage.

1984 The fictional Winston Smith begins his secret diary.

1990 US Secretary of State James Baker meets in Washington with his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, for three days of talks on the Lithuanian crisis and arms control.

1992 The jury begins its deliberations in the Noriega case.

1995 Francisco Martin Duran, who had raked the White House with semiautomatic rifle fire in October 1994, is convicted in Washington of trying to assassinate President Clinton. Duran will later be sentenced to 40 years in prison.

1999 NATO warplanes and missiles attack an army headquarters, oil refineries and other targets in and around Belgrade.




2003 Saddam Hussein is shown on Iraqi TV walking through cheering crowds in an apparent attempt to rally support.




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