History: February 19

February 19

0356 Roman Emperor Constantius II closes all heathen temples.

0842 The Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ends, when a Council in Constantinople formally reinstates the veneration of images in the churches. Note: This debate over icons is often considered the last event which led to the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches.

1408 The revolt of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, against King Henry IV, ends with his defeat and death at Bramham Moor.

1473 Birth: Mikolaj Kopernick, better known as Nicolaus Copernicus, in Torún, Poland; Polish astronomer who will introduce the idea that the earth revolves around the sun; Heliocentrism.

1539 The Jews of Trnava, Czechoslovakia (now Tyrnau, Hungary), are expelled.

1553 Death: Erasmus Reinhold, German mathematician, at 41.

1568 Death: Miles Coverdale, at 80, translator and publisher of the first complete Bible to be printed in English, 1535. Coverdale was also editor of the Great Bible of 1539.

1634 At the battle at Smolensk, Polish king Wladyslaw IV defeats the Russians.

1700 This is the last day of the Julian calendar in Denmark.

1751 Birth: Cornelis de Gijselaar, Dutch politician, patriot.

1780 Birth: Friedrich H von der Hagen, German writer; Nibelungenlied.

1797 Pope Pius VI signs the Treaty of Tolentino with Napoleon under which Bologna, Romagna and Ferrara are ceded to France.

1803 President Thomas Jefferson approves Ohio's constitution, but statehood will not be granted until March 1, 1803.

1807 A British squadron under Admiral Duckworth forces the passage of the Dardanelles.

1807 Former Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested in Alabama and charged with treason. "...Soon after Hamilton's death, Burr left Washington on a journey to New Orleans, at that time a center of Spanish conspiring for possession of the lower Mississippi valley. Burr, unaware that Gen. James Wilkinson was in the pay of the Spanish, laid plans with him; what exactly Burr's aims were has never been made clear. Speculation ranges from the establishment of an independent republic in the American Southwest to seizure of territory in Spanish America..."

1833 Birth: Élie Ducommun, in Switzerland, writer, pacifist; Nobel 1902.

1846 The Texas state government is formally installed in Austin.

1847 Donnor Party: Rescuers finally reach the last survivors in the Sierras. "The story of the Donner Party is one of the most researched and documented incidents in western history but the story has always been told from the point of view of whites who traveled in that ill fated wagon train. Historians have blamed the tragedy of the Donner party upon such things as the time that was wasted on Lansford Hastings's (above) "short-cut" to California, poor leadership and conflict among the members of the wagon train, or the simple effect of bad luck in choosing a year when there was an early snow fall. Members of the wagon train were never accused of bringing trouble upon themselves by starting a war with a small band of Paiute Indians. When the Donner party started out from Springfield, Illinois, in the spring of 1846..."

1856 A tintype camera is patented by Hamilton Smith, of Gambier, Ohio.

1859 Birth: Svante Arrhenius, Swedish physicist, chemist, founder of physical chemistry; Nobel 1903.

1859 The first successful temporary insanity defense occurs as Dan Sickles is acquitted of murder

1861 Russian Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom, but nothing much changes for the serfs.

1864 The Knights of Pythias form their first lodge in Washington DC.

1865 Birth: Sven Hedin, in Sweden, scientist; will explore Tibet.

1877 Birth: Else Berg, German/Dutch painter.

1878 Thomas A. Edison receives a patent for his talking machine, soon to be known as a phonograph.

1881 Kansas becomes the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.

1897 Death: Karl T. Weierstrass, German mathematician, at 81.

1900 Boer War: British troops occupy Hlangwane in the Natal.

1901 Birth: Cor Kieboom, Dutch resistance fighter, chairman; Feyenoord.

1902 The smallpox vaccination becomes obligatory in France.

1903 The Austria-Hungary government decrees a mandatory two year military service.

1906 William K. Kellogg and Charles D. Bolin form the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in Battle Creek, Michigan, to make the breakfast cereal they created as a 'health food' for US mental patients. Note: I don't make this stuff up.

1910 At a New York dinner party, 'Diamond Jim' Brady amazes his guests by eating five helpings of roast beef, gallons of stewed fruit, 84 oysters and three gallons of orange juice to wash it all down. And we've never had a famine in the US?

1913 Mexican General, V. Huerta, takes power with US support.

1913 Birth: Arter Axmann, Reich Youth Leader from 1941 to 1945. Previous to replacing Baldur von Schirach, he will serve on the Western Front and leave an arm behind for his trouble. One of the die-hards during the last days in the Fuehrerbunker, he will later claim to have heard the shot that killed Hitler (unlikely) and will be a witness to Martin Bormann's body lying on a bridge during the breakout; arrested for organizing a Nazi underground in December of 1945, labeled a 'Major Offender' in May 1949, and sentenced to three years and three months incarceration and loss of 50% of his financial assets. He will eventually be found not guilty of any actual crimes; the court will conclude that he had been a Nazi from "inner conviction rather than base motives."

1915 WW1: A Franco-British fleet under British Admiral Sackville Carden begin a systematic reduction of the Turkish fortifications lining the Dardanelles

1915 WW1: British and French warships begin their attacks on the Turkish forts at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to force the straits of Gallipoli.

1915 Death: Gopal Krishna Gokhale, India's social reformer, politician.

1916 Death: Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist, philosopher, psychologist, at 78.

1917 WW1: American troops are recalled from the Mexican border.

1917 Birth: Carson McCuller, US writer, novelist; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Died in 1967.

1918 In Russia, a decree abolishing all private ownership of land, water and natural resources is issued by the Soviet Central Executive Committee.

1919 The First Pan African Congress meets in Paris, France.

1920 Netherlands joins the League of Nations.

1925 President Calvin Coolidge proposes the phasing out of inheritance tax.

1926 Dr. Lane of Princeton estimates the earth's age at one billion years. Note: I believe that the current consensus places the age at a bit over 5 billion.

1927 A general strike occurs against the British occupiers in Shanghai.

1929 A medical diathermy machine is first used, in Schenectady, New York. Note: Diathermy is the local heating of body tissues with an electric current for medical purposes.

1934 US contract air mail service is canceled, and replaced by the US army for 6 months.

1934 Zionism: The Youth Aliya (immigration to Palestine) program begins operation in Germany.

1934 Polish Jewish organizations agree to levy a tax on their members to be used for German Jewish relief.

1936 Birth: Ione Mylonas Shear, archeologist.

1938 WW2: The Soviet arctic ice research station North Pole 1, in Denmark, is evacuated.

1940 WW2: Hitler receives a telegram informing him that the British have indeed captured Germany's invasion plans from the downed plane and learned of his offensive in the west. This information is said to have originated with the Duke of Windsor. (See January 10)

1941 Birth: Stephen Dobyns, US author, poet; Cold Dog Soup.

1941 Holocaust: The Nazis raid Koco, Amsterdam and round up 429 young Jews for deportation.

1942 WW2: Dutch actors protest against obligatory membership of the Culture Chamber.

1942 WW2: Japanese troops land on Timor.

1942 WW2: In its biggest attack since Pearl harbor, a force of 130 Japanese aircraft bomb the northern Australian city of Darwin.

1942 Holocaust: Josef Perau, a German military chaplain in Russia, writes of witnessing several hundred corpses being brought to a mass grave near his station everyday, "the total number being already 19,000." (Lewy)

1942 Those Vichy French: General Gamelin, Leon Blum and Paul Reynaud are put on trial at Riom by the Vichy government, charged with being responsible for the French defeat of 1940. The trial is never concluded. Blum defends himself so brilliantly that the trial is suspended. He will remain a prisoner until 1945.

1942 WW2: Ten weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR issues Presidential Executive Order 9066, providing for the removal of any or all people from military areas 'as deemed necessary or desirable.' The military in turn defines the entire West Coast, home to the majority of Americans of Japanese ancestry or citizenship, as a military area. By June, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (of which over 2/3 are American-born citizens) will be relocated to remote internment camps built by the US military in scattered locations around the country. For the next two and a half years, many of these Japanese Americans will endure extremely difficult living conditions and poor treatment by their military guards. On 17 December 1944, US Major General Henry C. Pratt will issue Public Proclamation No. 21, declaring that, effective 2 January 1945, Japanese-American 'evacuees' from the West Coast can return to their homes. During the course of WW2, 10 Americans will be convicted of spying for Japan; not one of them of Japanese ancestry. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan will sign a bill to recompense each surviving internee with a tax-free check for $20,000 and an apology from the US government.

1943 WW2: German tanks under Brigadier General Buelowius attack the Kasserine Pass, Tunisia.

1943 Resistance: Leaders of the "White Rose" resistance group are arrested and tortured in Berlin. "...On three nights in February 1943 -- the 3rd, 8th and 15th -- Hans, Alex and Willi conducted the most dangerous of all the White Rose activities. The three men used tar and paint to write slogans on the sides of houses on Ludwigstrasse, a main thoroughfare in Munich near the University. They wrote "Down With Hitler", "Hitler Mass Murderer", "freedom", and drew crossed-out swastikas... this while policemen and other officials patroled the streets of Munich. It was, by far, the most public, blatant and dangerous of their activities. It isn't certain why Hans and Sophie Scholl brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the University during the day on Thursday, February 18, 1943. Upon reaching the University, they passed Willi Graf and friend, Traute Lafrenz, who were leaving. They made plans to meet later in the evening, never mentioning the leaflets in the case. Together, Hans and Sophie entered the deserted atrium which, in minutes, would be flooded with students exiting lectures and classes. They worked quickly, dropping stacks of Kurt Huber's leaflets throughout the corridors. With time running out, the brother and sister hurried outside to safety. Then they noticed there were still leaflets left in the staircase. Deciding it would be silly not to leave the few extra documents, they returned to the atrium, climbed a grand marble staircase to the upper level of the hall and Sophie flung the last of the leaflets high into the air. Sophie herself explained it this way: "It was either high spirits or stupidity that made me throw 80 to 100 leaflets from the third floor of the university into the inner courtyard." The dozens of pieces of paper glided freely, landing in a shower at the feet of students who suddenly poured out of lecture halls into the atrium. And standing somewhere in the crowd was Jakob Schmidt, University handyman and Nazi party member, who saw Hans and Sophie with the leaflets. The police were called, the doors were locked, and Hans and Sophie apprehended and taken into Gestapo custody. By some accounts, Hans and Sophie had plenty of time and could easily have escaped before the Gestapo arrived.  Jakob Schmidt became a momentary Nazi hero and was cheered at rallies after the capture..."

1944 Diary of Leon Gladun: I woke early in the morning--the rolling of the ship had changed from lengthwise to crossways. In the galley everything is flying around in all directions: forks, plates, and the chairs slide in all directions. We've sailed some 650 miles in a northwesterly direction toward Italy. That morning there's shooting at some plane--I was hoping for something interesting but nothing comes of it. The trip is starting to get boring. I pass the time by reading a bit, teaching myself Italian a bit, and of course writing a bit on these pages. Supposedly we're to arrive tomorrow.

1944 WW2: The US Eighth Air Force and Royal Air Force begin 'Big Week', a series of heavy bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities. The US 93rd Bomb Group sees action over Western Europe, North Africa, Italy and Rumania.

1944 WW2: 823 British bombers attack Berlin.

1944 German submarine U-264 sinks off Ireland.

1945 Death: Wim Speelman, Dutch resistance fighter, executed at 26.

1945 WW2: After 74 consecutive days of continuous air bombardment, the US 5th Fleet lands 30,000 US Marines on Iwo Jima, an island fortress defended by 23,000 elite Japanese soldiers. See: March 26.

1949 Mass arrests of communists takes place in India.

1955 The South East Asia Collective Defense Treaty goes into effect.

1959 A USAF rocket-powered rail sled attains Mach 4.1 (4970 kph), in New Mexico.

1959 The prime ministers of Britain, Turkey and Greece sign an in London, agreement granting Cyprus independence.

1960 Bil Keane's Family Circus cartoon strip debuts.

1961 Albania disavows Chinese 'Revisionism.'

1963 The USSR formally notifies President John Kennedy that it is withdrawing several thousand troops from Cuba. Note: It will be twenty some years before the US intelligence community figures out exactly how many are left.

1965 The Nam: Fourteen Vietnam War protesters are arrested for blocking the UN doors in New York.

1966 The Nam: Robert F. Kennedy suggests that the United States offer the Vietcong a role in governing South Vietnam.

1968 Holt, Rinehart, and Winston publish Soviet Marshal Vasili Chuikov's The Fall of Berlin.

1970 The USSR launches Sputnik 52 and Molniya 1-13 communications satellites.

1976 Cod War: Iceland disrupts diplomatic relations with Britain after the two countries fail to agree over fishing rights in disputed waters.

1976 Frente Polisario forms the Democratic Republic of Sahara.

1977 President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D'Aquino; Japanese propagandist Tokyo Rose.

1984 The 14th Winter Olympic Games ends at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The Soviet Union leads all countries with 25 medals, the United States capture nine medals to tie for fifth place. Note: Within the shadow of what is the Olympic Stadium, hundreds, maybe thousands, of Bosnians are now buried; the result of the civil war that began in the early 1990s.

1985 Mickey Mouse is welcomed in China as part of the 30th anniversary of Disneyland.

1986 Thirty-seven years after its propagation, the US Senate ratifies the UN anti-genocide convention.

1986 The USSR launches the Mir space station into Earth orbit.

1986 Jordanian King Hussein severs ties with the PLO.

1987 US President Reagan lifts a trade boycott against Poland.

1987 New York Governor Mario Cuomo declares that he has decided not to seek the presidency

1990 The Liberal Democrat Party in Japan wins the general election under Toshiki Kaifu.

1990 Police kill 8 citizens in Nepal for demonstrating for a multi party system.

1993 Russian officials show what they say are two pieces of Hitler's skull to the world press. Many historians remain skeptical of their authenticity.

1996 Death: Madhaviah Krishnan, naturalist, at 83.

1996 Israel approves the return of 154 members of the Palestine National Council, including hijacker Layla Khaled, to Palestinian-ruled areas.

1997 Death: Deng Xiaoping, head of the Chinese Communist Party, at 92. He ruled China from 1978 until he retired from his last official post in 1990, but his influence remained supreme until his death.

2000 British nationals are warned to leave Yugoslavia as tension heightens over the crisis in Kosovo.














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