History: April 11

April 11

1644 English Civil War: Sir Thomas Fairfax is victorious at the Battle of Selby.

1689 William III and Mary II are crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

1713 The Treaties of Utrecht are signed in Utrecht, a city of the United Provinces. Along with the Treaties of Rastatt and Baden, this concludes the War of the Spanish Succession. The Treaties of Utrecht confirm Philip V as the king of Spain and provides that Spain and France remain separate. The Spanish Netherlands, Milan, and Naples are granted to Austria. England is granted possession of the Hudson Bay Territory, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia. The main provisions of the treaties confirm that Louis XIV's grandson Philip V will remain on the throne of Spain, and retain Spain's new world colonies. Many of Spain's other territories are divided among the allied powers. The British receive Gibraltar and Minorca, which they had captured during the war. There are also some colonial provisions pertaining to North America: France recognises British control of the Hudson Bay Territory and Newfoundland and cedes Acadia to the British. France retains Cape Breton Island, the St. Lawrence Islands, and fishing rights off of Newfoundland.

1803 A twin-screw propeller steamboat, 25-feet long and four-feet wide, is patented by John Stevens.

1814 Napoleon Bonaparte is forced to abdicate, for the first time, but is allowed to keep his title of Emperor. He is banished to the Isle of Elba.

1862 Birth: Charles Evans Hughes, US Supreme Court Chief Justice, Governor of New York, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1910-16; Republican candidate for President, 1916; Secretary of States, 1921-25; member of Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague; sworn in as the 11th Chief Justice of the United States, February 24, 1930.

1862 US Civil War: Rebels surrender Fort Pulaski. "Fort Pulaski, built by the US Army before the war, is located near the mouth of the Savannah River, blocking upriver access to Savannah. Fortifications such as Pulaski, called third system forts, were considered invincible, but the new technology of rifled artillery changed that. On February 19, 1862, Brig. General Thomas W. Sherman ordered Captain Quincy A. Gillmore, an engineer officer, to take charge of the investment force and begin the bombardment and capture of the fort. Gillmore emplaced artillery on the mainland southeast of the fort and began the bombardment on April 10 after Colonel Charles H. Olmstead refused to surrender the fort. Within hours, Gillmore's rifled artillery had breached the southeast scarp of the fort, and he continued to exploit it. Some of his shells began to damage the traverse shielding the magazine in the northwest bastion. Realizing that if the magazine exploded the fort would be seriously damaged and the garrison would suffer severe casualties, Olmstead surrendered after 2:00 pm on April 11."

1864 Archduke Maximilian of Austria accepts the throne of Mexico.

1875 Death: Heinrich Schwabe, discoverer of the 11-year sunspot cycle.

1895 Jose Marti and Maximo Gomez land in eastern Cuba from Costa Rica.

1898 President McKinley sends a message to the US Congress asking for authority to intervene militarily in Cuba. The message states that, "The only hope of relief and repose from a condition that can no longer be endured is the enforced pacification of Cuba." "...US citizens became very sympathetic to the rebels not only because of their suffering but also because they identified with a subject people revolting against a European mother country. Some of the US press, the "Yellow Press," wrote sensationalistic stories, some with an element of truth and some completely false, which stirred emotions and encouraged bellicose sentiments. The US also saw itself as having economic and strategic interests in Cuba. That was the view of Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, and Alfred Thayer Mahan (author of The Influence of Seapower Upon History, 1600-1783). Mahan argued that the US should take Cuba, other Caribbean islands, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands and that great powers needed colonies. The US Navy had grown to the point where it could beat the Spanish navy and some naval advocates wanted to prove that the large naval appropriations bills in the 1870s and 1880s had paid off. Moreover, many US citizens wanted to "Christianize" the world according to their version of Christianity. Protestants often did not concede that Roman Catholics (which Cubans were) were Christians and wanted to wrest the island from Spain's grasp so they could convert. McKinley in his war message gave this as one reason to declare war. The immediate cause of US entry into the war was emotionalism. The "Yellow Press" kept people stirred up. Suppression of anti-Spanish riots in Havana in 1898 gave some a reason to want to punish Spain..."

1899 Volkishness: Father Georg (Adolf Josef Lanz) writes a letter to the authorities of Heiligenkreuz Abbey, complaining of his desire for physical and intellectual freedom. Note: Adolf Josef Lanz is a Defrocked Cistercian monk, conman (doctor, baron) and race-fanatic whose writings will have a great influence on both Hitler and Eckart. In 1900, Lanz will found an antisemitic lodge known as the 'Order of the New Temple' (ONT) and set himself up as grandmaster. Its symbol, chosen by Lanz himself, will be the Swastika. Lanz's magazine 'Ostara' will become extremely popular for a time in Vienna and throughout the German speaking world. Lanz and Hitler will meet in Vienna sometime in 1908-1909 (possibly earlier when Lanz visits Lambach in late 1890's). Several books by Lanz will be found in Hitler's library when it is seized by the Allies at the end of the war.

1905 Construction of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the railway line are completed. Spanning the gorge of the Zambezi River, the bridge connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bridge is close to the Victoria Falls, Africa's greatest waterfall.

1906 Birth: Dale Messick, cartoonist; Brenda Starr.

1921 Iowa becomes the first state to impose a cigarette tax.

1921 Turkestan ASSR is established in the Russian SFSR.

1933 Holocaust: Administration of Dachau concentration camp is taken over by the SS.

1933 Resistance: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's essay "The Church and the Jewish Question," is the first to address the new problems the church faces under the Nazi dictatorship. His defense of the Jews is marked by Christian supersessionism, the Christian belief that Christianity had superseded Judaism, in history and in the eyes of God. The real question, he argues, is how the church will judge and respond to the Nazi state's actions against the Jews. The essay is completed in the days following the April 1, 1933, boycott of Jewish businesses. Note: Some scholars believe Bonhoeffer is influenced on this issue by his close friendship at Union Seminary with his African American colleague, Frank Fisher, and his direct observation of Fisher's experiences under racism.

1933 Church and Reich: Dr. Edith Stein, a Jewish convert to Catholicism and later known as Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce of the Order of the Carmelites, communicates with Pope Pius XI from Germany, expressing grave concerns about the Nazis' antisemitic aims and requesting that the Pontif to issue an encyclical on the Jewish question. Dr. Stein's request will not be granted. (Lewy)

1935 April 11-14 The prime ministers of Britain, France and Italy meet at Stresa, Italy, to discuss Austrian independence and discuss establishing a common front against its unification with Germany.

1935 Severe dust storms cause problems in Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, and New Mexico, destroying crops and making many homeless.

1937 Holocaust: A new order from the German Ministry of the Interior deprives all Jews of municipal citizenship.

1938 Bulgaria outlaws the Bulgarian Nazi Party (Ratnizi)

1939 Hitler issues a directive for Operation White, a proposed plan to attack Poland. "...Earlier that spring, having played his winning Czechoslovakian card, Hitler turned his attention toward Poland. Undeterred by Britain's promise to defend Polish borders, which was affirmed on March 31, Hitler issued important orders on April 11: The Wehrmacht should prepare Operation White (Fall Weiss), the code name for Nazi Germany's forthcoming attack on Poland. Before that attack could be launched, the Germans needed to check potential opposition from the Soviet Union..."

1939 Hungary withdraws from the League of Nations.

1941 Holocaust: Subotica and Novi Sad, west of the Banat region in Yugoslavia, are occupied by Hungarian forces. Soon afterward, in Subotica, the Germans execute 250 members of a Jewish youth movement who had carried out the first acts of sabotage against German occupation forces. In Novi Sad, Hungarian troops and local Germans murder 250 Jews and 250 Serbs at random. (Atlas)

1941 WW2: Rommel's siege of Tobruk begins. "...Rommel's offensive forced British and its allies to retreat to the safety of static defenses around Tobruk. Rommel's first attempt to break the Tobruk's defenses made on April 11th lasted until April 13th but failed. It was followed by a second unsuccessful attempt on April 30 that lasted until May 2nd of 1941. At that time, Erwin Rommel was nicknamed the Desert Fox by both his friends and enemies, because he constantly improvised and used tricks in order to outsmart his enemies..."

1941 WW2: Germany blitzes Coventry, England.

1942 WW2: The Distinguished Service Medal for Merchant Marines is authorized.

1945 Holocaust: The American Third Army liberates the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany, a camp that will be judged second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposes on its prisoners. As American forces close in on the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Gestapo headquarters at Weimar telephon the camp administration to announce that it is sending explosives to blow up any evidence of the camp - including its inmates. What the Gestapo does not know is that the camp administrators have already fled in fear of the Allies. A prisoner answers the phone and informs headquarters that explosives will not be needed, as the camp has already been blown up, which, of course, is not true. The camp holds thousands of prisoners, mostly slave labourers. There are no gas chambers, but hundreds, sometimes thousands, died monthly from disease, malnutrition, beatings, and executions. Doctors performed medical experiments on inmates, testing the effects of viral infections and vaccines. Among the camp's most gruesome characters is Ilse Koch, wife of the camp commandant, who is infamous for her sadism. Among those saved by the Americans is Elie Wiesel, who will go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: Kaltenbrunner testifies. "...In the first place, I should like to state to the Tribunal that I am fully aware of the serious character of the charges against me. I know the hatred of the world is directed against me, and that I particularly, since Himmler, Muller and Pohl are no longer alive, must here alone give an account to the world and the Tribunal. I realise that I shall have to tell the truth in this court -room in order to enable the Tribunal and the world to recognise fully and understand what has been going on in Germany during this war, and to judge it with fairness. In 1943 - that is to say, two years before the unhappy end of this war, I was appointed to a certain office. I will give details about that later on. First and foremost, I would like to state that I assume responsibility for every wrong that was committed within the scope of this office since I was appointed Chief of the R.S.H.A. and as far as it happened under my actual control, which means that I knew about it or had to know about it..."

1951 President Harry S. Truman relieves the insubordinate General Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East. "...MacArthur conceived of the Korean war as a holy war; he kept talking about "unleashing Chiang Kai-shek" then holed up in his island fortress on Formosa, and launching atomic strikes, all of which made Truman, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the other UN countries involved very nervous. For Harry Truman and the Joint Chiefs, Korea was an exercise in containment, but that made it a very frustrating war for many Americans. It meant that in this war the United States was not aiming for total victory, but for more limited, and more ambiguous, results. There is a tradition in American government that the military is subordinate to the civilian leaders. Generals do not make statements about policy without first clearing them with their superiors. But MacArthur, used to ruling in Japan, ignored the chain of command, and began writing letters about what the United States should do in Korea. He sent a letter to the Veterans of Foreign Wars saying that Formosa would be a fine place to launch an aggressive campaign against China. After the Chinese entered the war -- something MacArthur had assured Truman would never happen -- MacArthur wrote to Speaker of the House Joe Martin saying the United States could only win by an all-out war, and this meant bombing the Manchurian bases. So Harry Truman fired him, and evoked a firestorm of criticism from conservatives who believed Truman to be soft on communism. But there is no question that Truman was absolutely correct..."

1961 The trial of Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem.

1965 On this Palm Sunday, 51 reported tornadoes touch down in the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa resulting in 256 deaths and over 1500 injured.

1968 President Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

1970 Apollo 13 blasts off on its ill-fated mission to the moon.

1979 Idi Amin is deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seize control of Kampala.

1980 The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issues regulations specifically prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors.

1986 Kellogg’s of Battle Creek, Michigan stops its 80-year tradition of tours of the breakfast-food plant on this day, saying that company secrets are at risk due to spies from other cereal manufacturers.

1986 Halley's Comet makes its closest approach to Earth, this time around at 63 million km, or 39.3 million miles.

1991 The UN Security Council issues a formal ceasefire with Iraq.

1995 President Clinton expresses sympathy for Pakistan's anger over the blocked sale of American fighter jets, telling visiting Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto that it isn't right for the US to keep the planes and refuse to give the money back.

1997 Tokelau in the South Pacific becomes the last country to install a telephone system.

1999 The US Justice Department reports that more than one-third of the women in state prisons and jails said they were physically or sexually abused as children.

2000 Historical writer David Irving loses his High Court libel action over claims that he is a holocaust denier, as the judge rules he is both anti-Semitic and a racist.




2003 The commander of US forces insists that the regime of Saddam Hussein "is over", and vows troops will stay until there is a free government.






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