History: February 8

February 8

1587 Death: Mary, Queen of Scots (1560-1587), beheaded for treason against Queen Elizabeth I, at Fotheringay Castle, Northamptonshire, after 19 years of imprisonment.

1725 Death: Peter the Great of Russia; his reign saw Russia drawn increasingly into the European sphere of influence. Succeeded by Catherine I. (Bradley)

1802 Simon Willard patents the banjo clock.

1862 US Civil War: Union forces take Roanoke Island, North Carolina. "In February 1862, Union forces, led by Brigadier General Ambrose Burnside, attacked Confederate positions on Roanoke Islands. Union troops landed on the Island and quickly subdued the Confederate forces. The Union victory opened the whole North Carolina coast to the Federals. Roanoke Island lies off the Nouth Carolina coast. It controls the inland seas of Nouth Carolina. Commanding Confederate forces on the island was Brigadier General Henry Wise. He immediately requested additional troops to help defend the island. Wise failed to get additional help. When he returned to the island in early February he came down with pneumonia and was forced to turn over command to Colonel H. M Shaw. The Union gave the capture of Roanoke Islands a high priority. Brigadier General Ambrose Burnside commanded 11,500 men who embarked in a fleet of 65 ships commanded by flag officer L. M. Goldsborough.

On February 7th the fleet came up to Pamilco Sound. The warships steamed up first steaming close to the western shore of the channel. The Union fleet made short order of the small Confederate fleet, quickly sinking the CSS Curlew. The fleet also made short order of the nearest Confederate Fort- Fort Bartow. As the bombardment was taking place, Burnside put his forces ashore on the southern end of the island. The Confederates had 1,500 men dug in along a defensive line in the middle of the island. Burnside sent his men on a flanking maneuver through swamps. They were able to overwhelm the Confederate line. The Confederates withdrew to the north end of the island where they surrendered, thus giving the Union control of the island and soon the complete Carolina coastal waters."

1863 Prussia allies with Russia to suppress the revolution in Poland.

1877 Birth: Albert Voegler, leading German industrial tycoon and chairman of the board of the United Steel Works. Along with Thyssen will be one of the first industry bosses to funnel money to Hitler. Will commit suicide on April 13, 1945.

1878 A peace agreement is proposed by Spanish General Arsenio Martinez Campos which is accepted by the majority of the House of Representatives, the official body of the Spanish ruled Republic of Cuba in Arms.

1883 Louis Waterman begins the series of experiments that will lead to his invention of the fountain pen.

1904 The Russo-Japanese war breaks out as the Japanese launch a surprise attack on the Russian fleet at Port Arthur in northeast China. Note: The conflict is provoked by Russian and Japanese rivalry in Manchuria and Korea.

1910 The Boy Scouts of America is founded in Washington, DC, by William Boyce.

1913 Adolphe Pegoud earns his pilot's license. (Bradley)

1915 WW1: The new German Tenth Army hits the Russian right. The Russians are driven back into the Augustow Forest, barely escaping encirclement. 90,000 Russian prisoners are taken by the end of the month.

1918 WW1: The Stars and Stripes, the weekly newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces, is published for the first time. "American war correspondents in France had greater freedom to observe the military actions of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) than was permitted the journalists of the other Allied armies. In the area under General Pershing's command, correspondents could go to the front lines without military escorts, they could follow fighting troops as they advanced, and they could roam the rear areas, sheltering where they chose. This was not the case for correspondents with the British, French, and German forces in the early years of the war. Despite this comparative freedom, reporters for The Stars and Stripes were required to submit their material to military authorities for review. Each Tuesday, the Army's Board of Control and its General Headquarters examined the content proposed for the forthcoming issue. Approved articles had to support the mission of the newspaper, maintain high morale, and promote the idea that the war was for a "just cause," while publishing as much news as possible. In addition, news reports were vetted by the censorship-of-the-press section of the Military Intelligence Service, headed by Major Frederick Palmer, formerly of the Associated Press. Facts regarding general engagements, casualties suffered, and troop identifications were released only if the information had been reported in official communiqués. Reporters were not the only ones required to follow censorship guidelines. The Stars and Stripes kept soldiers apprised of the extent to which they could expect censorship of their personal correspondence. Relaxation of the censorship of soldiers' letters to family and friends in the United States became first page news on November 22, 1918, with the headline "Letters Home Now May Mention Town and Give All News[;] Censorship Relaxed Also to Permit Sender's Full Address." Despite this headline, the text of the article cautioned that some restrictions would still be imposed: information from casualty reports, immoral pictures, or immoral text would be excised from personal correspondence. Such articles helped the soldiers determine what was permissible by explaining in simple terms the censorship regulations and their rationale."

1920 Winston Churchill writes in the Illustrated Sunday Herald: "From the days of Spartacus -- Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, to those of Trotsky... this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization... has been steadily growing."

1924 The gas chamber is used for the first time as a form of execution as Gee Jon is put to death in Nevada for murder.

1924 General John Joseph Carty, of the Bell Telephone System, speaks in Chicago, Illinois. His speech is carried across the nation on the first coast-to-coast radio hookup, with an audiance estimated at 50-million people.

1933 Zionism: Egypt's King Fuad meets with World Zionist Organization (WZO) president Nahum Sokolow.

1934 The Gestapo orders German Bible Circles to be disbanded.

1934 Customs agents in America impound 300 pounds of Nazi propaganda materials.

1937 Spanish Civil War: General Franco captures Malaga with the help of 15,000 Italians.

1939 Six members of the Romanian Legion of St. Michael (Iron Guard) are arrested in Romania and later murdered by Armand Calinescu's police.

1941 WW2: Bulgaria joins the Axis Powers.

1942 Death: Dr. Fritz Todt. "At the time of his death in 1942, Dr. Fritz Todt was among the most powerful men of the Third Reich. By training a civil engineer, Todt first caught Hitler's attention in 1932 by emphasizing the importance of road building for national economic recovery. Upon taking power, Hitler made Todt responsible for what would become Germany's great Autobahn project.

Every aspect of Autobahn construction--its design, aesthetic (to harmonize with the German landscape), and model role in National Socialist labor relations--was stamped with Todt's personality. As was his other great achievement, the building of the massive network of bunkers and fortifications known as the West Wall--described here as the first battle in the war against France. With the outbreak of war, Todt's organization provided German troops an exemplary corps of engineers, filling out Germany's expanding imperium with new roads, bridges, aircraft fields, and fortifications."

1942 WW2: Dr. Albert Speer succeeds Dr. Fritz Todt as German minister for armaments and war production after Todt is killed in a plane crash; Speer was supposed to have been with him on this fateful flight, but backed out at the last minute. In his new role, Speer will increase German armament production many times over, allowing Hitler to continue the bloodletting for an estimated one to two years longer.

1943 WW2: Advancing Russian troops recapture Kursk, which they had lost to the Germans in November 1941.

1949 Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, Primate of Hungary, is sentenced to life imprisonment for anti-state activities.

1951 Death: Fritz Thyssen, Germany's leading industrial tycoon and a partner of Averell Harriman who supported Hitler financially for 13 years, beginning in October 1923. Thyssen had a falling-out with Hitler in 1936 and fled to France in 1939. Thyssen told the American OSS in 1940 that he had seen Austrian documents proving that Adolf Hitler was the illegitimate grandson of Baron Rothschild of Vienna, and that these documents were responsible for the assassination of Dollfuss in Austria, who had originally compiled them.

Thyssen's story was later confirmed by Hansjurgen Koehler, but is now dismissed by most historians. Thyssen was extradited to Germany by the Vichy government in 1941, and survived several concentration camps. After the war, he emigrated to Argentina and died in Buenos Aires.

1955 Russians learn they have a new premier today when the USSR's Defense Minister, Marshal Nikolai Bulganin, replaces the Prime Minister of almost two years, Georgi Malenkov. While Bulganin may be the Soviet Union's leader by title, no-one doubts that the real power in the land is now Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the all-powerful Communist Party. (Bradley)

1963 Death: Iraqi President Abdel-Karim Kassem is overthrown and killed in a military coup.

1966 The United States and South Vietnam issue the Declaration of Honolulu, outlining their aims.

1969 The last issue of the Saturday Evening Post is published on this day, ending a magazine tradition that began in 1821.

1974 America's final Skylab mission, with Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue, returns to earth.

1979 The United States suspends all civilian aid to Nicaragua.

1983 The Kahan Report on the Beirut Sabra and Shatila massacres in September 1982, condemn the Israeli government and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.

1984 The Winter Olympics open in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (now Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina). Some 1,579 athletes from 50 nations participate. The Olympic facilities have since been all but destroyed by the war in Bosnia.

1993 The newly divided Czech and Slovak republics begin using separate currencies for the first time.











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