History: April 15

April 15

1450 The French defeat the English at the Battle of Formigny in the last phase of the 100 Years War.

1452 Birth: Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter and inventor. Note: Great link. Above: Self-portrait. See Also: 1450, 1817

1755 Dr. Samuel Johnson, English poet, journalist and lexicographer, has his famous dictionary published.

1793 £5 notes are first issued by the Bank of England.

1794 Courrier Francais becomes the first French daily newspaper to be published in the US.

1795 Maria Anna Schicklgruber, grandmother of Adolf Hitler, is born in Strones, Austria.

1797 British naval personnel mutiny at Spithead, in the English Channel.

1800 Birth: Sir James Clark Ross, British polar explorer.

1817 The first US public school for the deaf, Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now the American School for the Deaf), is founded at Hartford, Connecticut.

1834 In the United States, President Andrew Jackson sign the first presidential protest, protesting against a Senate resolution drawn up against him.

1843 Birth: Henry James, author. "...Henry James was born in New York City into a wealthy family. His father, Henry James Sr., was one of the best-known intellectuals in mid-nineteenth-century America, whose friends included Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne. James made little money from his novels. Once his friend, the writer Edith Wharton, secretly arranged him a royal advance of $8,000 for THE IVORY TOWER (1917), but the money actually came from Wharton's royalty account with the publisher. When Wharton sent him a letter bemoaning her unhappy marriage, James replied: "Keep making the movements of life..."

1861 US Civil War: Three days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, President Lincoln declares a state of insurrection and calls out Union troops. Lincoln, recognizing a state of war with the Southern states, calls for 75,000 volunteer soldiers.

1865 Death: President Abraham Lincoln, several hours after he is shot at Ford's Theater, the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth.

1865 Andrew Johnson becomes Americas 17th president; the first instance of the Chief Justice administering the oath of office to the vice president upon the death of the president. "...When the Civil War began, Johnson was the only Senator from a Confederate state who did not leave Congress to return to the South. During the war, he joined Republicans and pro-war Democrats in the National Union party. In 1862, Union military forces captured enough of Tennessee for Lincoln to name him as the remnant state’s military governor. In 1864, Lincoln selected him as his Vice Presidential running-mate on the National Union ticket. Johnson delivered his inaugural address while inebriated, lending credence to the rumors that he was an alcoholic. Within six weeks of taking office as Vice President, Johnson succeeded to the Presidency after Lincoln’s assassination. The new President faced the difficult situation of developing a policy for the postwar reconstruction of the Union. Committed to limited government and a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution, Johnson’s Reconstruction plan allowed the former Confederate states to return quickly to the Union. This would have left the civil rights of the former slave completely under the auspices of the former slave-owners. Incensed at these policies, Radical Republicans in Congress wrestled control of Reconstruction from the president and began passing their own program..."

1889 Birth: Thomas Hart Benton, painter.

1891 The Katanga Company is formed in Brussels to exploit copper deposits in the Katanga area of Central Africa.

1900 The greatest exhibition Europe had ever seen opens its gates in Paris. The Paris International Exhibition occupies almost 220 hectares (545 acres) of space in seven separate sites across the city. Forty-million people flock to the exhibition to see some of the world's latest wonders. The greatest impressions of the show are the magnificent effects produced by electric lighting in the halls, while the industrial exhibits include some of the first motor cars and the world's first escalator, invented by Charles Seeberger.

1911 Volkishness: A Grand Lodge is formed with Theodor Fritsch as Grand Master, but the work of formulating rules and rituals is undertaken by the Wotan Lodge. (Roots)

1912 The world's largest ocean liner, the Titanic, owned by White Star Line, sinks in the Atlantic in the early morning hours. Of the 2,224 people aboard, 1,513 die. She had been on her maiden voyage from Southhampton, England to New York, USA, when she collided with an iceberg on the starboard side, 20 minutes before midnight on the 14 April. The gigantic 892-foot vessel, which had been declared unsinkable before her journey, takes just under two and a half hours to slip beneath the surface. The survivors, rescued at about 4.00 a.m. by the liner Carpathia, describe a scene of courage and chaos. Since the Titanic had only lifeboats for half its occupants, the ship's officers ordered women and children to be loaded first, while many passengers and crew members sacrificed themselves. But the evacuation is so disorganized that many boats are sent off before they are full. The poorest passengers packed in the steerage far below, are never informed of the incident, many dying along with aristocrats and tycoons. The disaster, one of the worst in maritime history, prompts important safety measures to be enforced. The first International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, held in 1913, will pass requirements that ships provide enough lifeboats for all passengers; hold safety drills during voyages; and keep a 24-hour radio watch for distress signals. The International Ice Patrol will be established to warn ships of ice in the treacherous North Atlantic.

1917 WW1: The British advance near Arras is halted.

1919 Weimar: Hoffmann and his Social Democrats, who had failed to build a counterrevolutionary army at Bamberg, request the aid of Von Epp and several other Free Corps groups. Their anti-Republican sentiments had already led to their being banned in Bavaria.

1920 Italian-born anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are accused of murdering a paymaster and a guard at a shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachusetts, escaping with the payroll of nearly $16,000.

1922 Weimar: Secret negotiations between the German and Soviet delegations begin at 2AM. (Sturdza)

1923 Insulin, first discovered in 1922, becomes available for diabetics.

1923 Dr. Lee DeForest’s Phonofilm, the first sound-on-sound film, motion picture, is demonstrated for a by-invitation-only audience at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City. The guests view The Gavotte, a man and woman dancing to old-time music and The Serenade, four musicians who play on wind, percussion and string instruments.

1925 J.M. Barrie donates the copyright fee of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick children.

1926 Volkishness: Schmude dissolves the ONT priory at Hollenberg, complaining of the adverse economic circumstances in Germany. (Roots)

1933 Church and Reich: Papen and Kaas meet again with Pacelli. Kaas is subsequently instructed to prepare a draft of the concordat. (Lewy)

1933 Holocaust: Osthofen concentration camp opens in Hessen.

1938 Spanish Civil War: General Francisco Franco's forces capture Vinaroz.

1938 Starting in Dabrowa, hundreds of Jews are injured and much property destroyed during anti-Jewish attacks in Poland. (Atlas)

1939 President Roosevelt appeals to both Hitler and Mussolini for assurances against any further aggression, telling them both there is no need for war and to respect the independence of other nations, specifically naming thirty-one countries in Europe and the Near East. Soon afterward Hitler will ridicule Roosevelt during a speech to the Reichstag by sarcastically reiterating the thirty-one nations listed in Roosevelt's appeal. The Reichstag will burst into laughter at the seemingly endless list.

1939 Holocaust: Alfred Rosenberg opens the Institute of the Nazi Party for Research into the Jewish Question (Institut der NSDAP zur Erforschung der Judenfrage).

1940 WW2: Quisling is forced out by the Germans and replaced temporarily by Ingolf Christensen as the head of a German controlled puppet government of Norway.

1941 WW2: By mid-April, Rommel has reconquered all of Libya except Tobruk. His exploits earn him the nickname "the Desert Fox."

1942 WW2: The George Cross, Britain's highest accolade for civilian gallantry, is conferred on Malta by King George VI for bravery in withstanding Italian and German attacks.

1944 Holocaust: Tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews are forced to leave their homes, and move into specially designated ghetto areas. (Atlas)

1944 Death: Giovanni Gentile, the self-proclaimed philosopher of Italian Fascism and the major figure in the rise of Hegelian thought in Italy.

1944 Holoaust: A group of prisoners, assigned the task of destroying evidence of mass murder at Ponary, try to escape. 25 are killed outright, 15 get away. Five days later, the remaining 40 members of the unit are killed. (Atlas)

1945 Holocaust: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated by British and Canadian forces, who discover the unburied corpses of 10,000 inmates. Most have died of starvation. There had been no food or water for more than five days, and evidence of cannibalism is found. Even after the liberation, an average of 500 die each day of typhus and starvation for more than a week.

1945 Holocaust: As the Allied armies draw together, 17,000 female inmates and 40,000 men are marched westward by the Germans from Ravenbrück and Sachsenhausen. Many hundreds die of exhaustion and hundreds more are shot by the wayside. (Atlas)

1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, provides graphic testimony of mass executions at his camp. "...In the summer of 1941 I was summoned to Berlin to Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler to receive personal orders. He told me something to the effect--I do not remember the exact words--that the Fuehrer had given the order for a final solution of the Jewish question. We, the SS, must carry out that order. If it is not carried out now then the Jews will later on destroy the German people. He had chosen Auschwitz on account of its easy access by rail and also because the extensive site offered space for measures ensuring isolation....

1955 Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc had begun his career by selling milk shake machines. One of his first customers was the McDonald brothers from San Bernardino, in Southern California. After selling them several machines and watching the efficiency of their drive-in restaurant, Kroc bought the rights to market the brothers’ good fortune and hired them to work for him. On this his first day of business, sales of 15-cent hamburgers and 10-cent French fries total $366.12.

1959 Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrives in Washington to begin a goodwill tour of the US.

1963 70,000 marchers arrive in London from Aldermarston in a huge demonstration against nuclear weapons.

1966 Ugandan Prime Minister Milton Obote is declared president under a new constitution.

1968 Two unmanned Soviet satellites, Cosmos 212 and 213, find each other and dock automatically while in Earth's orbit.

1970 Studs Terkel's oral history of the Great Depression, Hard Times, is published.

1971 British and Chinese governments agree to the reopening of a telephone link between London and Shanghai which had been closed for 22 years.

1974 The 15-year rule of President Hamani Diori in Niger comes to end when he is deposed in a coup.

1980 Death: Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialist philosopher, in Paris at the age of 74.

1985 US officials in Seattle indict 23 members of a neo-Nazi group for robbery and murder. 10 gang members later are convicted and sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.

1986 US warplanes bomb targets in Tripoli and Benghazi. Some 40 people are killed, including a girl adopted by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The United States declares that the raids are in response to an explosion at a Berlin discotheque in which two Americans were killed.

1989 Students in Beijing launch a series of pro-democracy protests upon the death of former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang. The protests will culminate in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

1989 Ninety-four people die and 170 are injured when British football fans display negative IQ's in public.

1991 The European Community lifts its remaining economic sanctions against South Africa, allowing the import of gold coins, iron and steel despite pleas by the African National Congress to continue the sanctions.

1992 Governments across the world apply UN sanctions against Libya because of its alleged involvement in the destruction of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie in 1988 and the bombing of a French plane over Niger in 1989.

1992 This was a day of reckoning for Leona Helmsley, as the domineering hotel impresario begins what is to be a four-year prison term in Danbury, Connecticut. Heading off to jail on this, the last day of the tax year, is a fitting irony for Helmsley, the so-called "Queen of Mean," who had run foul of the law by neglecting to pay her taxes. During her trial (Helmsley's husband was also charged with tax evasion, but did not stand trial due to his failing health), Helmsley had admitted to evading the IRS, though she refused to see anything wrong in her actions. Indeed, Helmsley reasoned that the wealthy and famous were exempt from the annual surrender to the IRS. As she infamously explained, "Only the little people pay taxes." The press and public alike vilified Helmsley, and her defense failed to sway the court.

1994 GATT: Ministers from the world's trading nations sign the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the biggest market-opening treaty in history.

1995 Ministers from 109 countries sign a 26,000-page world trade agreement known as the Uruguay Round accords in Morocco.

1996 South Africa's 'truth commission', looking into abuses during the apartheid era, begins its public hearings.

1996 Japan and the US announce the closure of six more US military facilities on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, reducing the amount of land occupied by American forces there by a fifth.

1999 Astronomers announce they have discovered evidence of a solar system in the constellation Andromeda.

1999 Death: Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader who presided over a reign of terror in Cambodia in the late 1970s, at a jungle outpost near the Cambodian-Thailand border.











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