April 30 0311 Galerius Valerius Maximianus issues an edict under which Christians are legally recognized in the Roman Empire.
1006 Supernova 1006, originating in the constellation Lupus, is believed to have been observed in Europe, China, Japan, and Egypt. Note: Supernovae are exploding stars that may give off a luminosity 100 million times that of the sun, and be visible for several months or even years after its explosion.
1777 Birth: Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician. "...when he was 3 years old he corrected his father's arithmetic, and in school, when he was in the third grade, he developed a formula for finding the sum of any arithmetic progression...born in Brunswick, Germany as the only son of poor peasants living in miserable conditions. He exhibited such early genius that his family and neighbors called him the "wonder child". When he was two years old, he gradually got his parents to tell him how to pronounce all the letters of the alphabet. Then, by sounding out combinations of letters, he learned (on his own) to read aloud. He also picked up the meanings of the number symbols and learned to do arithmetical calculations...Gauss was probably the greatest mathematician of all time..."
1789 In New York City, George Washington, is inaugurated as the first president of the United States. In February 1789, all 69 presidential electors had unanimously chose Washington to be the first US president. In March, the new US constitution officially took effect, and in April Congress formally sent word to Washington that he had won the presidency. Borrowing money to pay off his debts in Virginia and travel to New York, he crosses the Hudson River this day in a specially built and decorated barge. The inaugural ceremony is performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street, and a large crowd cheer after he takes the oath of office. He pronounces the words, "So help me God" after taking the oath and other presidents have followed this example since. He also sets the precedent of kissing the Bible after the oath. The president then retires indoors to read Congress his inaugural address, a quiet speech in which he speaks of 'the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.' Fireworks conclude the day's celebration, all of which is paid for by private citizens. Because of pressing public business, the inaugural ball will be held on 7 May. The president's wife, Martha, does not make the trip to New York. As president, Washington will seek to unite the nation and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. Washington says of his presidency: 'I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent.' He will successfully implement executive authority, make good use of the brilliant intellects of such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet, and he will effectively quiet fears of presidential tyranny. In 1792, he will be unanimously reelected but four years will later refuse a third term, setting a precedent that should have never been broken.
1789 George Washington's First Inaugural Address: "...By the article establishing the executive department it is made the duty of the President "to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." The circumstances under which I now meet you will a acquit me from entering into that subject further than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications I behold the surest pledges that as on one side no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world..."
1803 The United States more than doubles its land area with the Louisiana Purchase, obtaining all French territory west of the Mississippi River for $15 million. "...After the American Revolution, Louisiana began to prosper. The location of New Orleans along the Mississippi made it the gateway to the interior of the North American continent. However, Spain gave Louisiana back to France in yet another secret treaty in 1800. Spain still kept control of West Florida. Three years later, France sold Louisiana, along with quite a bit of other territory, to the United States in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. After acquiring the new territory, the United States split the Louisiana Purchase in two. The first division, which included the land north of the 33rd parallel, became known as the Territory of Louisiana. The southern section, which included all of the land in modern Louisiana minus the West Florida Territory, was called the Territory of Orleans. The first territorial governor of the Territory of Orleans was William C. C. Claiborne. Claiborne had the difficult task of bringing the concept of democracy, which was foreign to the Louisianans, to the territory..." (Continued 1812, below.)
1804 Shrapnel, named after the British soldier Henry Shrapnel, is used for the first time in warfare by the British against the Dutch in Suriname.
1808 The first practical typewriter is made in Italy by Pellegrini Turri, who constructs the contraption for a blind friend.
1812 Louisiana becomes the 18th state of the Union. "...Claiborne (above) also presided over a second wave of refugees from Saint-Domingue in 1809. In six months, new immigrants doubled the population of New Orleans. Most historians believe that it was this wave of immigrants that helped preserve the French character of the city. Americans had been settling in West Florida, and in 1810, they declared independence from Spain. Claiborne was given control of West Florida, and soon all the land east of the Pearl River was annexed to the Territory of Orleans. The Territory of Orleans entered the Union on April 30, 1812, as the 18th state. The capital remained at New Orleans, and Claiborne continued as governor..."
1815 The central provinces are designated as the Kingdom of Poland, under Alexander of Russia.
1893 Birth: Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister 1938-45; will obtain his title of nobility through adoption and became prosperous as a result of his marriage to Anneliese Henkell, daughter of Germany's richest champagne maker. Will join the NSDAP in 1932 and become Ambassador in London in 1936. Sentenced to death at Nuernberg in 1946 and executed.
1900 Hawaii is organized as a US territory.
1900 Death: Train engineer John Luther 'Casey' Jones, of the Illinois Central Railroad, in a wreck near Vaughan, Missouri, after staying at the controls in an effort to save the passengers. The famous song about Jones is loosely relatable to the train accident which costs the railroad engineer his life this day.
1919 Weimar: Seven hostages from the Thule Society are taken to the cellar of the Luitpold Gymnasium, a Red Army post since mid-April, and executed, supposedly in reprisal for the killing of Red prisoners by Whites at Starnberg.
1920 Weimar: Rudolf Hess resigns his commission in the German army at Munich. (Missing Years)
1927 The Upper Austrian Land government accedes to Hitler's April 27 request and dissolves his Austrian citizenship. He is now stateless. (See Feb 25) (Maser)
1935 Holocaust: A Nazi decree prohibits Jews from displaying the German flag.
1937 Church and Reich: Pacelli replies to Germany's note of protest. "The Holy See," the Papal Secretary declares, "which has friendly, correct, or at least tolerable relations with states of one or another constitutional form and orientation, will never interfere in the question of what concrete form of government a certain people chooses to regard as best suited to its nature and requirements. With respect to Germany also, it has remained true to this principle and intends so to continue." (Lewy)
1939 Holocaust: A new German decree causes Jews lose their right to rent protection. Landlords are sanctioned by law to evict Jewish tenants. (Persecution)
1939 The New York World's Fair opens in New York City. The opening ceremony, which features speeches by FDR and New York Governor Herbert Lehman, usher in the first day of television broadcasting in New York on WNBT. Spanning 1,200 acres at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, the fairground is marked by two imposing structures, the Perisphere and the Trylon, and exhibit new such technology as FM radio, robotics, fluorescent lighting, and a crude fax machine. Norman Bel Geddes has designed a Futurama ride for General Motors, and users are transported through an idealized city of the future. Sixty-three nations participate in the fair, which enjoys large crowds before the outbreak of WW2 will interrupt many of its scheduled events.
1939 The General Pershing Zephyr railroad car becomes the first to be equipped with fluorescent lights.
1941 Holocaust: The new state of Croatia introduces its first racial laws, removing all Jews from public office and ordering all Jews to wear a yellow badge. (Atlas)
1942 WW2: The first submarine built on the Great Lakes, the Petois, is launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
1945 WW2: Allied troops capture Munich and French forces cross the border into Austria.
1945 WW2: By late morning, the Soviets have overrun the Tiergarten in Berlin, and one advance unit is reported on one of the streets next to Hitler's bunker under the Reich Chancellery. "...By the early morning of the 30th, the Soviets had seized the Moltke Bridge over the River Spree (despite German attempts to blow it), the western half of the Diplomatic Quarter and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, all of which were taken with heavy casualties. By this time, the Garrison had been squeezed into a long thin pocket running almost directly east to west from Charlottenburg in the west to the Prenzlauer Alee in the east. With the area to the northwest secured, the three divisions of the 79th Rifle Corps began their attack towards the Reichstag on the morning of 30 April. The 171st Rifle Division (380th, 525th and 783rd Rifle Regiments) headed east then south following the River Spree in order to flank the Reichstag, 150th Rifle Division (469th, 674th and 756th Rifle Regiments) headed south then east across Königsplatz to assault the Reichstag from the front and 207th Rifle Division (594th, 597th and 598th Rifle Regiments) headed southwest past the Kroll Opera towards the Charlottenburger Chausee. Three assaults at 04.30, 11.30 and 13.00 were beaten back with heavy losses although the 171st Rifle Division managed to clear the eastern half of the Diplomatic Quarter and secure the southern end of the Kronprinzen Bridge against possible German counterattacks from across the river. It also enabled the Soviets to introduce tanks and self-propelled artillery forward of the antitank ditch to help the exposed infantry. At 14.25, Maj Gen V. M. Shatilov (Commander, 150th Rifle Division) reported that he thought he had seen a Red Flag over the steps of the Reichstag near the right-hand column. As the leading battalions contained a number of groups eager to have a go at planting a flag on the Reichstag, including a group of volunteers from Corps Headquarters under his aide, Major M. M. Bondar with the 380th Rifle Regiment and some gunners under Captain V. N. Makov with the 756th, this report did not seem too unlikely. The wild enthusiasm with which the report was sent resulted in Zhukov issuing Operation Order No. 6 of that that read "Units of the 3rd Shock Army . . . having broken the resistance of the enemy, have captured the Reichstag and hoisted our Soviet Flag on it today, April 30th, 1945, at 14.25 hours." (Le Tissier, p. 168) This false report was sent to Moscow and abroad but when war correspondents converged on the Reichstag, they found Soviet infantry had only advanced halfway across Königsplatz. Aware of his error, Shatilov ordered his division to raise a flag or pennant on the building, whatever the cost..."
1945 Holocaust: Soviet forces enter Ravensbrueck concentration camp north of Berlin. In this one camp 92,000 Jews and non-Jews, mostly women and children, have died in just under two years. (Atlas)
1945 WW2: At 3:00 PM, American forces in Nuremberg discover the tunnel and underground bunker where the spear of Longinus (the Holy Lance) has been hidden to prevent its capture by the Allies.
1945 Death: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery. Their bodies are taken above ground by Hitler's aides, quickly burned with gasoline, and buried in a shallow grave formed from a bomb crater. "...Rochus Misch still remembers the sight as if it were yesterday: 60 years ago on Saturday he looked through a doorway and saw Adolf Hitler had committed suicide. Misch (88) is the only person still alive today to have seen the Nazi leader and his wife Eva Braun dead in their bunker deep under the shattered city of Berlin. "Hitler was sitting at the table, slumped forward, and Eva Braun was lying next to him. I saw that with my own eyes," Misch told French news agency AFP on Thursday from his home in the German capital. "But we had been expecting it. It didn't come out of the blue. We had been waiting for the end." On April 30, 1945, with Soviet forces just 300m from the bunker and his armies beaten, Hitler bade farewell to his staff and went into his private rooms. There the man who had plunged the world into conflict and sent millions of Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust poisoned a willing Braun and shot himself in the head. "My work room was opposite the entrance to Hitler's rooms," recalled Misch, who was a 28-year-old telephone engineer in the bunker at the time. "I remember that he said goodbye in the corridor and went into the rooms. I don't know how long it took, maybe one hour, maybe two. I didn't hear the shots myself because I was working on the telephones. "But then I heard someone shout 'Linge, Linge, I think it has happened.' (Heinz Linge was Hitler's servant). "We waited maybe 20 minutes. Then we opened the door to his office and the one to the living room. "Hitler was sitting at the table, slumped forward, and Eva Braun was lying next to him. "It wasn't a surprise. The commanders had all wanted to evacuate Hitler, but he said no, he was staying in Berlin." Nine days later Germany surrendered and the guns of World War II fell quiet in Europe..."
1948 At an international conference in Bogota, Colombia, representatives from twenty-one North, South, and Central American nations agree to establish the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote peace and economic development in the Americas. Designed to work in congruence with the UN, the OAS absorbs the Pan-American Union, a less centralized international American organization established in 1890. In 1962, in response to Fidel Castro's Communist revolution in Cuba, the OAS will adopt a resolution to expel the country from its ranks, citing the Cuban government's attempted subversion of other OAS countries. Although the OAS has traditionally been dominated by the United States, it has condemned US policy in the Americas on several occasions, especially in regard to US policy in Nicaragua. Today, the OAS has thirty-five member states, and is the oldest regional agency of its type in the world.
1955 A treaty between the former Allies and Austria treats Austria as a liberated nation and not a defeated one. Austria receives independence, and the four-power occupation is terminated.
1956 Death: Alben Barkley, 35th Vice President of the US 1949-1953. "...A good story," said Alben Barkley, "is like fine Kentucky bourbon, it improves with age and, if you don't use it too much, it will never hurt anyone." One of Congress' most proficient storytellers, Barkley used his booming baritone, endless repertoire of anecdotes, and rousing speech-making ability to propel himself from congressman to senator to majority leader and vice president. Well liked, he earned the esteem of his colleagues in 1944, when he dared to criticize Franklin D. Roosevelt on the Senate floor and transformed himself from the president's "errand boy" into a beacon of congressional independence...He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952, but withdrew in the face of charges that he was too old for the job. Still, Barkley refused to retire. He returned to Kentucky and ran again for the Senate, defeating the popular Republican incumbent, John Sherman Cooper. In doing so, he provided the single-vote margin that returned the Democrats to the majority. While his colleagues gave him back his assignments on the Foreign Relations and Finance Committees, he would not accept their offer of a front-row seat in the Senate chamber, and preferred to join the other freshmen in the back. "Now I am back again as a junior Senator and I am willing to be a junior," he said before a "mock" convention of students at Washington and Lee University on April 30, 1956. "I'm glad to sit in the back row. For I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty." With those words, the crowd roared with applause, then fell back in stunned silence as Barkley collapsed and died on the stage, the victim of a massive heart attack."
1968 Soviet journalist Lev Bezymenski publishes "The Death of Adolf Hitler" which discloses previously unavailable information concerning the autopsies of what are said to be the bodies of Adolf Hitler and his entourage.
1970 The Nam: President Nixon announces he is sending US troops into Cambodia to destroy the 'sanctuaries' from which Communist forces from North Vietnam are sending men and material into South Vietnam; an action that will spark widespread protest.
1973 Watergate: President Richard Nixon announces the resignations of top aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, along with Attorney General Richard Kleindienst and White House counsel John Dean. Nixon also accepts responsibility for the bugging that took place in 1972 at the Watergate apartment complex.
1974 Watergate: President Richard Nixon hands over partial transcripts of tape recordings to the impeachment inquiry as the phrase 'expletive deleted' prepares to become popular.
1975 The Nam: The South Vietnamese capital of Saigon falls to Communist forces and is renamed it Ho Chi Minh City. South Vietnam's government unconditionally surrenders to North Vietnam, ending the Vietnam War.
1980 In central London, armed gunmen seize the Iranian embassy demanding the release of political prisoners in Iran, taking 20 people hostage. The siege will last six days.
1981 The Central Committee of the Communist Party in Poland endorses its Chairman Stanislav Kania's program of reforms.
1982 Alvaro Magana is chosen to succeed Jose Napoleon Duarte as president of El Salvador.
1990 American hostage Frank Reed is freed in Lebanon after nearly four years in the hands of pro-Iranian kidnappers.
1991 Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui ends 43 years of emergency rule, authorizes elections and renounces the use of force to reunify China.
1992 NATO appoints US General John Shalikashvili as the new commander of its forces in Europe.
1992 Patti Davis, age 39, daughter of former-president Ronald and Nancy Reagan, releases a statement, a prelude to her new book The Way I See It, hitting the bookstores. She claims that her mother beat her when she was a child, and that when her father was the governor of California, she claimed that she had told him of the almost daily physical and emotional abuse her mother subjected to her to. According to Davis, Reagan refused to believe her. Davis also claims that her mother lived in a drug-induced fog, taking four to six tranquilizers a day. The beatings allegedly began when she was 8 years old, and continued until she went to college. The Reagans deny all of their daughter's allegations, and Davis declares that denial is a common element in her family.
1995 More than 10,000 soldiers, students and children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, celebrate the 20th anniversary of the end of the war.
1995 President Clinton announces the suspension of all US trade with Iran to protest the latter's funding of terrorism.
1997 Seven armed men are arrested en-route to Fort Davis, Texas, where a group of separatists are involved in a standoff with authorities.
1998 A grand jury indicts Webster Hubbell and his wife on tax evasion charges, Hubbell, a close friend and associate of President Clinton, accuses Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr of having him indicted in an attempt to get him to lie about the president.
1998 The US Senate approves the applications of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to join NATO.
2002 The US deploys 1,000 more troops to eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border in an effort to prevent Taliban and al-Qaeda forces from regrouping.
2002 The Israeli cabinet refuses to let a UN fact-finding mission investigate alleged Israeli atrocities at the Jenin refugee camp unless a series of stringent conditions are be met.
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0311 Galerius Valerius Maximianus issues an edict under which Christians are legally recognized in the Roman Empire.