History: January 16

January 16

1547 Birth: Ivan IV, better known as Ivan the Terrible. "...From a boy eager for knowledge, and a youthful reformer, he developed into a Renaissance tyrant. More than that he became a man who, though he could not control his own nature, nonetheless succeeded in developing his intellect himself and if he had only been able to make a fresh start might have become a pupil of Western Europe. He was more than despotic and innovative--he was an independent, self-reliant personality, something new in Moscovy. Thus Ivan was the incarnation of the Russian idea as it developed historically, transforming the limp and formless body of Muscovite nationality into a concrete political structure. But, like so many other tsars, he could not really move his people with him. So Russia of the sixteenth century made little contribution to sixteenth century Europe. Ivan IV is a sinister and arresting figure in the history of the Russian Middle Ages. The surname of "Groznyi" (Dread or Terrible) by which he is known is fully deserved. Boundless suspicion, insatiable cruelty, and extreme depravity were perhaps his outstanding characteristics and became apparent while he was still an adolescent. Intellectually Ivan was markedly above the level of his contemporaries, and he ranks indeed as one of the most literate of the Russian rulers. A devout churchman, Ivan scrupulously observed the complex ritual of orthodox services and was active in Church affairs. The family affairs of Ivan were highly irregular. The exact number of his marriages is uncertain but is usually given as from five to seven. His unfortunate spouses either died--Ivan claimed that they were poisoned--or were forced to take the veil. In 1581, in a fit of rage, Ivan murdered his son and heir..."

1556 Charles I of Spain, the worlds lone superpower, is succeeded by his son, Philip II (above).

1756 The Treaty of Westminster is signed between George II of England and his nephew Frederick of Prussia, guaranteeing the neutrality of Hanover in the Anglo-French wars.

1780 Admiral Sir George Rodney defeats a Spanish squadron at Cape St Vincent, thus relieving Gibraltar.

1809 Battle of Corunna: The British army under Sir John Moore defeats a superior French force. "...Other regiments of foot disintegrated and the troops ravaged the countryside and villages through which they passed. A notorious incident took place at Bembibre where 200 British soldiers became so drunk in a cellar that they had to be left for the French (the figure is officially recorded in a return). The army marched into the port of Corunna on the night of 11th January 1809, many of the troops in a state of exhaustion. The French were some distance behind but the fleet was not in harbour. The transports did not reach Corunna from Vigo until 15th January 1809.Moore formed his army south of Corunna between the village of Elvina and the sea. Soult’s corps carried out a frontal attack on the British line with the emphasis on the British right flank at Elvina. The French took Elvina but were driven out by the 42nd Highlanders and the 50th Foot. They counter-attacked and recaptured the village. Short of ammunition, the two regiments returned to the assault led by Moore and the French were driven out again at the point of the bayonet. At the moment of victory Sir John Moore was struck by a round shot and fatally injured. Lying stricken, Sir John enquired as to the state of the battle and was reassured that the French had been beaten back. The French attack along the British line faded away, Paget’s reserve division driving back a late incursion around the open right flank. The next day the army was embarked on the transports. One of the last duties of the 9th Foot was to bury Sir John Moore on the city ramparts."

1883 The United States Civil Service Commission is established as the Pendleton Act goes into effect.

1893 US troops overthrow Queen Liluokalani of Hawaii.

1909 The elusive magnetic South Pole is found by Ernest Shackleton, who will be knighted later the same year.

1919 The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, prohibiting the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes", officialy becomes the law of the land. The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Prohibition took effect this day. Nine months later, Congress will pass the Volstead Act, or National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The Volstead Act will provide for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department.

Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act will fail to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime will flourish in America. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution will be passed and ratified, repealing prohibition.

1920 The first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations takes place in Paris but without the participation of the United States.

1934 Holocaust: The League of Nations protests the treatment of Jews in the Saar and Upper Silesia.

1937 Holocaust: The Gestapo orders all Jewish youth organization in Germany dissolved.

1939 The Superman comic strip appears for the first time.

1940 WW2: Hitler cancels the German attack in the west until spring, ordering new attack plans to be drawn up.

Thyssen (standing) with Hitler, Goring, and Ribbentrop in the late 20's.

1941 WW2: Industrialist Fritz Thyssen claims that Hitler is the illegitimate grandson of Baron Rothschild of Vienna. Hans-Jurgen Koehler will collaborate this story in a top secret Office of Strategic Services Adolf Hitler Source Book & Psychological Profile written in 1943. Even though extremely unlikely, possible choices are: Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774-1885, 62 in 1836) and Amschel Salomon Rothschild (1803-1874, 33 in 1836. Amschel Salomon lived in Frankfurt until 1850)

1942 WW2: Carole Lombard, actress, her mother and about 20 others are killed in a plane crash near Las Vegas, during a tour to promote War Bonds.

1942 WW2: Donald Nelson is appointed head of the new US War Production Board.

1943 Stalingrad: Pitomnik airfield is overrun. This is the only airfield with a night flying capability. A day later only Gumrak is still in German hands. From now on, air supply has to rely increasingly on parachuted containers because of the problems of landing at Gumrak. Milch does, however, manage to increase the tonnage supplied to 60 per day. One additional airstrip is hastily constructed. (Messenger)

1943 WW2: The Soviets reverse the citizenship rights of Poles still held in USSR, claiming that Poles betrayed them when Anders led his army out of USSR.

1944 WW2: General Dwight D. Eisenhower takes command of the Allied Invasion Force in London.

1945 WW2: Patton's Third Army joins up with General Courtney Hodges' First US Army and the Ardennes Counteroffensive (The Battle of the Bulge) comes to an end, along with the last of Germanys offense capability.

1945 WW2: Hitler departs Bad Nauheim for Berlin. After a few days above ground in his embattled capital, Hitler will move into his last home; the Fuehrerbunker.

1945 Holocaust: Shortly after the last slave laborers are evacuated from Czestochowa, Soviet troops enter the city.

1945 Holocaust:  Himmler pardons 2nd Lieutenant Max Täubner for his unauthorized execution of Jews in Russia and grants him fouteen days of leave before returning to the front.

1950 Death: Gusatv Krupp von Bohlen und Halbah, German arms tycoon who took his wife's family name in 1906 at the Kaiser's request. Initially cool towards Hitler, he later evolved into a super-Nazi. Krupp was tried at Nuremberg for exploiting forced laborers, and even though he was obviously guilty, he was declared unable to stand trial because of senility and died on his estate in Bluehnbach, Austria, on this day.

1969 The Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 link up to become the first manned spacecraft to dock in Earth's orbit.

1970 John Lennon's London Art Gallery exhibit of erotic lithographs, 'Bag One' is closed by Scotland Yard.

1972 Death: Ross Bagdasarian.

1979 The Shah of Iran flees to Egypt after being forced into exile by Ayatollah Khomeini.

1979 An earthquake measuring seven on the Richter scale strikes the Khorasan province in the Qaen area of Iran, killing hundreds.

1980 The British government announces re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Chile, broken in 1976.

1987 Hu Yaobang steps down as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary, replaced by Zhao Ziyang.

1991 Operation Desert Storm: A US-led international force launches Operation Desert Storm on Iraq and Iraq occupied Kuwait less than 17 hours after the expiration of the UN deadline for Iraq withdrawal.

1996 In India, federal police charge seven political leaders, including six former cabinet ministers, in connection with an $18 million scandal.

1996 Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, longest-surviving reformer in the government and architect of the world's biggest privatization program, resigns from his post.

1998 After reading two pages of Toni Morrison's acclaimed American novel Song of Solomon, St. Mary's County, Maryland commissioners unanimously agree with the school superintendent's decision to remove it from the curriculum, calling the book filth and trash. The book is ordered to be removed from the schools' approved-text list, so teachers can not use it in their lessons. A spokeswoman declares that it will remain available in school libraries. None of the five county commissionershad had actually read the book beyond the two pages the superintendent gave them for review. The novel is considered to be Nobel winner Morrison's best work.














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