History: January 20

January 20

1265 The first parliament in England, attended by elected knights of the shires and burgesses, meets under Simon de Montfort at Westminster Hall.

1320 Wladislaw I, also known as Wladislaw the Short, is crowned king of Poland. In defeating the Knights of the Teutonic Order, he will create strong foundations for a Polish nation.

1327 King Edward II of England is forced to abdicate by powerful barons in favor of his son Edward III.

1612 Death: Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1576. He was unable to reconcile Roman Catholic and Protestant factions which will eventually lead to the Thirty Years War.

1649 British king Charles I is brought before a high court of justice at Westminster Hall on charges of treason following the civil war against parliamentarian forces.

1692 Salem Witch Trials: Nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams begin to exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trancelike states and mysterious spells, much as the Goodwin children acted four years earlier. Soon Ann Putnam Jr. and other Salem girls begin acting similarly.


1732 Birth: Richard Henry Lee, American Revolutionary patriot and signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

1783 Britain signs a peace agreement with France and Spain, who had allied against it in the American War of Independence.

1839 Battle of Yungan: The confederation of Peru and Bolivia invade Chile and are mercilessly defeated by the Chileans, leading to the breakup of the confederation.

1841 The First Opium War: China cedes the island of Hong Kong to the British with the signing of the Chuenpi Convention, an agreement seeking an end to the Anglo-Chinese conflict.

1878 Cleopatra's Needle, a 3,500 year-old Egyptian obelisk, arrives in London.

1885 The roller coaster is patented by L. A. Thompson of Coney Island, New York. His coaster is 450 feet long with the highest drop being 30 feet.

1887 Oahu

1887 The US Senate approves the leasing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.

1918 WW1: The German light cruiser Breslau is sunk by mines outside the Dardanelles. Only 162 of 370 crew members survive.

1929 The Soviet OGPU (General Political Administration) orders that Trotsky be deported to the Turkish island of Prinkipo, once used by the Byzantine emperors to exile their opponents. He will live in Turkey (1929-33), France (1933-35), Norway (1935-36), and Mexico (1936-40).

1935 Zionism: The National Conference on Palestine is held in Washington, DC.

1936 Edward VIII is crowned king of Great Britain.

1937 FDR, the 32nd president, becomes the first US President to be inaugurated on January 20th. This is his second term on office. The 20th Amendment of the US Constitution set the date, officially, for the swearing in of the President and Vice President. The amendment was ratified by Congress in 1933. It is the first time the vice president-elect is inaugurated out-of-doors on the same platform with the president-elect. No vice presidential address is given. "...I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children. I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions. I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope--because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out..."

1940 Holocaust: The killing of mental patients by means of carbon monoxide gas is tried out in the jail at Brandenburg. By September 1941, more than 70,000 German mental patients will have been "euthanized" in hospitals at Grafeneck, Brandenburg, Bernburg, Hartheim, Sonnenstein, and Hadamar, using carbon monoxide provided by the I.G. Farben corporation.

1940 Holocaust: Dr. Ritter writes in a progress report to the DFG: "Through our work we have been able to establish that more than ninety per cent of so-called native Gypsies are of mixed blood... The Gypsy question can only be considered solved when the main body of asocial and good-for-nothing Gypsy individuals of mixed blood is collected together in large labor camps and kept working there, and when the further breeding of this population of mixed blood is stopped once and for all."

1941 WW2: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president, is inaugurated to his record third term in office as president of the United States. "...In Washington's day the task of the people was to create and weld together a nation. In Lincoln's day the task of the people was to preserve that Nation from disruption from within. In this day the task of the people is to save that Nation and its institutions from disruption from without. To us there has come a time, in the midst of swift happenings, to pause for a moment and take stock--to recall what our place in history has been, and to rediscover what we are and what we may be. If we do not, we risk the real peril of inaction. Lives of nations are determined not by the count of years, but by the lifetime of the human spirit. The life of a man is threescore years and ten: a little more, a little less. The life of a nation is the fullness of the measure of its will to live. There are men who doubt this. There are men who believe that democracy, as a form of Government and a frame of life, is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate that, for some unexplained reason, tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future--and that freedom is an ebbing tide. But we Americans know that this is not true..."

1941 WW2: Hitler meets with Mussolini and offers aid in Albania and Greece.

1942 Holocaust: The Wansee Conference on the "Final Solution" of the Jewish question is held at Interpol headquarters in Wansee, a quiet Berlin suburb. Reinhard Heydrich presents a plan for the "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Problem."


Note: These plans provide for the transportation of all of Europe's Jews to extermination camps. Adolf Eichmann will be in charge of the department of the SS responsible for the execution of the plan.

1944 WW2: The RAF drops 2,300 ton of bombs on Berlin.

1945 WW2: FDR, 32nd president, is inaugurated to his record fourth term in office as president of the United States. Harry S Truman is sworn is as Vice President. Note: The 22d Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1951, will restrict the presidency to two terms. "...We Americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage-of our resolve-of our wisdom-our essential democracy. If we meet that test-successfully and honorably-we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time. As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in the presence of my fellow countrymen-in the presence of our God-I know that it is America's purpose that we shall not fail. In the days and in the years that are to come we shall work for a just and honorable peace, a durable peace, as today we work and fight for total victory in war. We can and we will achieve such a peace..."

1945 WW2: The Soviet offensive in East Prussia breaks through and Tilsit is taken. In the West, Patton's Third Army takes Brandenburg.

1945 Holocaust: 4,200 Jews are shot to death at Birkenau. A total of more than 98,000 Jews have been evacuated from Auschwitz.

1945 Holocaust: Jan 20-27 29,000 Jews, most of them women are evacuated from Stutthof by boat and train to Germany. 26,000 of them perish during the journey.

1945 WW2: The Allies sign a truce with the Hungarians.

1945 WW2: Curtis E. LeMay takes command of the Twentieth Air Force in Marianas. Fleet contains 345 aircraft, but in three months of bombing none of the nine top priority targets have been destroyed.

1949 Harry S. Truman is inaugurated as the 33rd president of the United States. It is the first inauguration to be televised. "...The American people desire, and are determined to work for, a world in which all nations and all peoples are free to govern themselves as they see fit, and to achieve a decent and satisfying life. Above all else, our people desire, and are determined to work for, peace on earth--a just and lasting peace--based on genuine agreement freely arrived at by equals. In the pursuit of these aims, the United States and other like-minded nations find themselves directly opposed by a regime with contrary aims and a totally different concept of life. That regime adheres to a false philosophy which purports to offer freedom, security, and greater opportunity to mankind. Misled by this philosophy, many peoples have sacrificed their liberties only to learn to their sorrow that deceit and mockery, poverty and tyranny, are their reward. That false philosophy is communism. Communism is based on the belief that man is so weak and inadequate that he is unable to govern himself, and therefore requires the rule of strong masters. Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself with reason and justice..."

1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th president of the United States. He breaks with custom by reciting his own improvised prayer instead of kissing the Bible. A presidential preference makes homburgs an inaugural must, displacing traditional black toppers. "...The world and we have passed the midway point of a century of continuing challenge. We sense with all our faculties that forces of good and evil are massed and armed and opposed as rarely before in history. This fact defines the meaning of this day. We are summoned by this honored and historic ceremony to witness more than the act of one citizen swearing his oath of service, in the presence of God. We are called as a people to give testimony in the sight of the world to our faith that the future shall belong to the free. Since this century's beginning, a time of tempest has seemed to come upon the continents of the earth. Masses of Asia have awakened to strike off shackles of the past. Great nations of Europe have fought their bloodiest wars. Thrones have toppled and their vast empires have disappeared. New nations have been born. For our own country, it has been a time of recurring trial. We have grown in power and in responsibility. We have passed through the anxieties of depression and of war to a summit unmatched in man's history. Seeking to secure peace in the world, we have had to fight through the forests of the Argonne, to the shores of Iwo Jima, and to the cold mountains of Korea. In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of these times in which we live..."

1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th president of the United States for his second term of office. It is the first time that a president is inaugurated for a term limited by the Constitution (22d Amendment) and the first presidential luncheon, held in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol. "...We honor the aspirations of those nations which, now captive, long for freedom. We seek neither their military alliance nor any artificial imitation of our society. And they can know the warmth of the welcome that awaits them when, as must be, they join again the ranks of freedom. We honor, no less in this divided world than in a less tormented time, the people of Russia. We do not dread, rather do we welcome, their progress in education and industry. We wish them success in their demands for more intellectual freedom, greater security before their own laws, fuller enjoyment of the rewards of their own toil. For as such things come to pass, the more certain will be the coming of that day when our peoples may freely meet in friendship. So we voice our hope and our belief that we can help to heal this divided world. Thus may the nations cease to live in trembling before the menace of force. Thus may the weight of fear and the weight of arms be taken from the burdened shoulders of mankind. This, nothing less, is the labor to which we are called and our strength dedicated..."

1958 Dr. Vivian Fuchs, leader of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition arrives at the South Pole, the halfway point of their journey, with his 11-member team.

1961 John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States. He is elected by the closest vote to date and is the youngest presidential nominee elected. It is the first time that both parents of the president-elect have attended their son's inauguration. As the first Catholic elected president, Kennedy is the first to use a Catholic (Douay) version of the Bible for his oath. The Air Force Academy Band appears for the first time in the parade and it is the first time that the parade is televised in colour (NBC). He is the last president to wear a traditional stovepipe hat to the inauguration. "...We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge--and more. To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do--for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny..."

1965 Lyndon B. Johnson is inaugurated as the 36th president of the United States for his second term of office. A bulletproofed, closed limousine is used for the first time. "...For every generation, there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own. Even now, a rocket moves toward Mars. It reminds us that the world will not be the same for our children, or even for ourselves m a short span of years. The next man to stand here will look out on a scene different from our own, because ours is a time of change-- rapid and fantastic change bearing the secrets of nature, multiplying the nations, placing in uncertain hands new weapons for mastery and destruction, shaking old values, and uprooting old ways. Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the unchanged character of our people, and on their faith. They came here--the exile and the stranger, brave but frightened-- to find a place where a man could be his own man. They made a covenant with this land. Conceived in justice, written in liberty, bound in union, it was meant one day to inspire the hopes of all mankind; and it binds us still. If we keep its terms, we shall flourish..."

1969 Richard M. Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th president of the United States. Only persons with special invitations to the ceremony are admitted to the Capitol Grounds. Two Bibles are used in the inauguration; they are family heirlooms, dated 1928 and 1873. "...Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique. But some stand out as moments of beginning, in which courses are set that shape decades or centuries. This can be such a moment. Forces now are converging that make possible, for the first time, the hope that many of man's deepest aspirations can at last be realized. The spiraling pace of change allows us to contemplate, within our own lifetime, advances that once would have taken centuries. In throwing wide the horizons of space, we have discovered new horizons on earth. For the first time, because the people of the world want peace, and the leaders of the world are afraid of war, the times are on the side of peace..."

1973 Richard M. Nixon, after a landslide reelection victory, is sworn in as the 37th president for a second term. "...When we met here four years ago, America was bleak in spirit, depressed by the prospect of seemingly endless war abroad and of destructive conflict at home. As we meet here today, we stand on the threshold of a new era of peace in the world. The central question before us is: How shall we use that peace? Let us resolve that this era we are about to enter will not be what other postwar periods have so often been: a time of retreat and isolation that leads to stagnation at home and invites new danger abroad. Let us resolve that this will be what it can become: a time of great responsibilities greatly borne, in which we renew the spirit and the promise of America as we enter our third century as a nation. This past year saw far-reaching results from our new policies for peace. By continuing to revitalize our traditional friendships, and by our missions to Peking and to Moscow, we were able to establish the base for a new and more durable pattern of relationships among the nations of the world. Because of America's bold initiatives, 1972 will be long remembered as the year of the greatest progress since the end of World War II toward a lasting peace in the world. The peace we seek in the world is not the flimsy peace which is merely an interlude between wars, but a peace which can endure for generations to come. It is important that we understand both the necessity and the limitations of America's role in maintaining that peace. Unless we in America work to preserve the peace, there will be no peace. Unless we in America work to preserve freedom, there will be no freedom. But let us clearly understand the new nature of America's role, as a result of the new policies we have adopted over these past four years. We shall respect our treaty commitments. We shall support vigorously the principle that no country has the right to impose its will or rule on another by force..."

1977 Jimmy Carter is inaugurated as the 39th president of the United States. Folding chairs instead of wooden benches are used on the East Plaza. An old family Bible is used for the oath. A second Bible on the lectern had been previously used at inauguration of George Washington. At Carter's request, the traditional inaugural luncheon is not held. He is the first president to walk all the way from the Capitol to the White House with his family after the ceremony. It is the first time that an outgoing President had left from the Capitol Grounds aboard a helicopter. Provisions are made for the handicapped to watch the parade. "...Two centuries ago our Nation's birth was a milestone in the long quest for freedom, but the bold and brilliant dream which excited the founders of this Nation still awaits its consummation. I have no new dream to set forth today, but rather urge a fresh faith in the old dream. Ours was the first society openly to define itself in terms of both spirituality and of human liberty. It is that unique self-definition which has given us an exceptional appeal, but it also imposes on us a special obligation, to take on those moral duties which, when assumed, seem invariably to be in our own best interests. You have given me a great responsibility--to stay close to you, to be worthy of you, and to exemplify what you are. Let us create together a new national spirit of unity and trust. Your strength can compensate for my weakness, and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes. Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end we will triumph together in the right. The American dream endures. We must once again have full faith in our country--and in one another. I believe America can be better. We can be even stronger than before..."

1981 Ronald Wilson Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States and becomes the oldest president to take office, at the age of 69 and 349 days. It is the first inaugural held on the West Terrace of the Capitol and the first time closed-captioning of a television broadcast is used for the hearing impaired. "...We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter--and they are on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They are individuals and families whose taxes support the Government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values sustain our national life. I have used the words "they" and "their" in speaking of these heroes. I could say "you" and "your" because I am addressing the heroes of whom I speak--you, the citizens of this blessed land. Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the goals of this administration..."

1981 52 American hostages seized in their embassy in Tehran are released after 444 days in captivity. Outgoing President Carter, whose presidency had floundered over the hostage crises, flies to meet them. (Bradley)

1985 Ronald Wilson Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States for his second term of office. It is the first time that the oath is taken in the Rotunda and, appropriately enough, the first inaugural to fall on a Super Bowl Sunday. The Bible for the oath is placed on a marble-topped table that was built for the second inaugural of Abraham Lincoln. The table was constructed with an iron baluster cast for the Capitol dome in the 1860's. A television camera is placed inside the president's limousine from the Capitol to the White House for the first time. "...This is, as Senator Mathias told us, the 50th time that we the people have celebrated this historic occasion. When the first President, George Washington, placed his hand upon the Bible, he stood less than a single day's journey by horseback from raw, untamed wilderness. There were 4 million Americans in a union of 13 States. Today we are 60 times as many in a union of 50 States. We have lighted the world with our inventions, gone to the aid of mankind wherever in the world there was a cry for help, journeyed to the Moon and safely returned. So much has changed. And yet we stand together as we did two centuries ago. When I took this oath four years ago, I did so in a time of economic stress. Voices were raised saying we had to look to our past for the greatness and glory. But we, the present-day Americans, are not given to looking backward. In this blessed land, there is always a better tomorrow. Four years ago, I spoke to you of a new beginning and we have accomplished that. But in another sense, our new beginning is a continuation of that beginning created two centuries ago when, for the first time in history, government, the people said, was not our master, it is our servant; its only power that which we the people allow it to have..."

1989 George Herbert Walker Bush is inaugurated as the 41st US President. "...America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the Nation and gentler the face of the world. My friends, we have work to do. There are the homeless, lost and roaming. There are the children who have nothing, no love, no normalcy. There are those who cannot free themselves of enslavement to whatever addiction--drugs, welfare, the demoralization that rules the slums. There is crime to be conquered, the rough crime of the streets. There are young women to be helped who are about to become mothers of children they can't care for and might not love. They need our care, our guidance, and our education, though we bless them for choosing life. The old solution, the old way, was to think that public money alone could end these problems. But we have learned that is not so. And in any case, our funds are low. We have a deficit to bring down. We have more will than wallet; but will is what we need. We will make the hard choices, looking at what we have and perhaps allocating it differently, making our decisions based on honest need and prudent safety. And then we will do the wisest thing of all: We will turn to the only resource we have that in times of need always grows--the goodness and the courage of the American people. I am speaking of a new engagement in the lives of others, a new activism, hands-on and involved, that gets the job done. We must bring in the generations, harnessing the unused talent of the elderly and the unfocused energy of the young. For not only leadership is passed from generation to generation, but so is stewardship. And the generation born after the Second World War has come of age. I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led..."

1993 William J. Clinton is inaugurated as the 42nd president of the United States. "...When our founders boldly declared America's independence to the world and our purposes to the Almighty, they knew that America, to endure, would have to change. Not change for change's sake, but change to preserve America's ideals; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Though we march to the music of our time, our mission is timeless. Each generation of Americans must define what it means to be an American. On behalf of our nation, I salute my predecessor, President Bush, for his half-century of service to America. And I thank the millions of men and women whose steadfastness and sacrifice triumphed over Depression, fascism and Communism. Today, a generation raised in the shadows of the Cold War assumes new responsibilities in a world warmed by the sunshine of freedom but threatened still by ancient hatreds and new plagues. Raised in unrivaled prosperity, we inherit an economy that is still the world's strongest, but is weakened by business failures, stagnant wages, increasing inequality, and deep divisions among our people. When George Washington first took the oath I have just sworn to uphold, news traveled slowly across the land by horseback and across the ocean by boat. Now, the sights and sounds of this ceremony are broadcast instantaneously to billions around the world..."

1996 Palestinians vote for the first time in elections that consolidate PLO chief Yasser Arafat's rule of the West Bank and Gaza under a peace deal with Israel. He becomes the first democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people with 88.1 percent of the vote. (Bradley)

1996 Death: Mohammed Hamed Abu el-Nasr, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and most influential Islamist organization, at 83.

1997 William J. Clinton is inaugurated for a second term as the 42nd president of the United States. It is the first time that the ceremony has been broadcast live on the Internet and the first inaugural that falls on the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. "...The promise of America was born in the 18th century out of the bold conviction that we are all created equal. It was extended and preserved in the 19th century, when our nation spread across the continent, saved the union, and abolished the awful scourge of slavery. Then, in turmoil and triumph, that promise exploded onto the world stage to make this the American Century. And what a century it has been. America became the world's mightiest industrial power; saved the world from tyranny in two world wars and a long cold war; and time and again, reached out across the globe to millions who, like us, longed for the blessings of liberty. Along the way, Americans produced a great middle class and security in old age; built unrivaled centers of learning and opened public schools to all; split the atom and explored the heavens; invented the computer and the microchip; and deepened the wellspring of justice by making a revolution in civil rights for African Americans and all minorities, and extending the circle of citizenship, opportunity and dignity to women. Now, for the third time, a new century is upon us, and another time to choose..."

1998 Less than a year after scientists in Scotland stunned the world by announcing the birth of Dolly from the frozen udder cell of an adult sheep, two University of Massachusetts scientists show how quickly cloning technology is advancing. They essentially repeat prior work done with sheep as they introduce Charlie and George, two long-lashed, week-old, genetically engineered Holsteins, to the world.

2001 The inauguration of George Walker Bush on 20 January 2001 is only the second time in history when both parents of the newly elected president are present at the ceremony. Bush, former governor of the state of Texas becomes the 43rd President of the United States. This marks the 63rd Presidential Inauguration in United States history. "...America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them; and every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American. Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character. America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness. Some seem to believe that our politics can afford to be petty because, in a time of peace, the stakes of our debates appear small. But the stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led. If we do not turn the hearts of children toward knowledge and character, we will lose their gifts and undermine their idealism. If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most..."
















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