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Adolf Hitler

 

Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] ( listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician, demagogue,[1] and Pan-Germanrevolutionary.[2][3] As leader of the Nazi Party(Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), he rose to power in Germany as Chancellor in 1933 and Führer ("Leader") in 1934.[a] As dictator of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939, and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

Adolf Hitler

Hitler in 1938

Führer of Germany

In office2 August 1934 – 30 April 1945

Preceded byPaul von Hindenburg(as President of the German Reich)

Succeeded byKarl Dönitz(as President)

Chancellor of Germany

In office30 January 1933 – 30 April 1945

President

Paul von Hindenburg(1933–1934; as President)

Himself(1934–1945; as Führer)

Deputy

Franz von Papen(1933–1934)

Hermann Göring(1941–1945)

Preceded byKurt von Schleicher

Succeeded byJoseph Goebbels

Führer of the Nazi Party

In office29 June 1921 – 30 April 1945

DeputyRudolf Hess(1933–1941)

Preceded byAnton Drexler(as Chairman)

Succeeded byMartin Bormann(as Party Minister)

Personal details

Born20 April 1889Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary

Died30 April 1945(aged 56)Berlin, Nazi Germany

Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot

Citizenship

Austria (1889–1925)

Germany (1932–1945)

Political partyNational Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party)(1921–1945)

Other politicalaffiliationsGerman Workers' Party (1920–1921)

Spouse(s)

Eva Braun(m. 1945; d. 1945)

Parents

Alois Hitler (father)

Klara Pölzl (mother)

RelativesHitler family

Professionpolitician

Signature

Military service

AllegianceGerman Empire

Service/branchBavarian Army

Years of service1914–1920

Rank

Gefreiter

Verbindungsmann

Unit

16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment

Reichswehrintelligence

Battles/warsWorld War I

Awards

Iron Cross First Class

Iron Cross Second Class

Wound Badge

Hitler was born in Austria—then part of Austria-Hungary—and was raised near Linz. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I. In 1919, he joined the German Workers' Party (DAP), the precursor of the NSDAP, and was appointed leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923, he attempted to seize power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned. In jail, he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versaillesand promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as part of a Jewish conspiracy.

By 1933, the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, but did not have a majority, and no party was able to form a majority parliamentary coalition in support of a candidate for chancellor. Former chancellor Franz von Papen and other conservative leaders persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Shortly after, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into Nazi Germany, a one-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism. Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain and France. His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the abrogation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I and the annexation of territories inhabited by millions of ethnic Germans, which gave him significant popular support.

Hitler sought Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people in Eastern Europe and his aggressive foreign policy is considered the primary cause of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland, resulting in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. In June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941, German forces and the European Axis powersoccupied most of Europe and North Africa. In December 1941, he declared war on the United States, bringing them directly into the conflict. Failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. Less than two days later on 30 April 1945, the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army and their corpses were burned.

Under Hitler's leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victimswhom he and his followers deemed Untermenschen (subhumans) or socially undesirable. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war. In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European theatre. The number of civilians killed during World War II was unprecedented in warfare and the casualties constitute the deadliest conflict in history.

Ancestry

Main article: Hitler family

Hitler's father Alois Hitler Sr. (1837–1903) was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber.[6] The baptismal register did not show the name of his father, and Alois initially bore his mother's surname Schicklgruber. In 1842, Johann Georg Hiedlermarried Alois's mother Maria Anna. Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedler's brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler.[7] In 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Alois's father (recorded as "Georg Hitler").[8][9] Alois then assumed the surname "Hitler",[9] also spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, or Huettler. The name is probably based on "one who lives in a hut" (German Hütte for "hut").[10]

Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Alois's mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a Jewish family in Graz, and that the family's 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois.[11] No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, and no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenberger's existence,[12] so historians dismiss the claim that Alois's father was Jewish.[13][14]

Early years

Childhood and education

Adolf Hitler as an infant (c. 1889–90)

Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary(in present-day Austria), close to the border with the German Empire.[15] He was christened as "Adolphus Hitler".[16] He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Three of Hitler's siblings—Gustav, Ida, and Otto—died in infancy.[17] Also living in the household were Alois's children from his second marriage: Alois Jr. (born 1882) and Angela (born 1883).[18] When Hitler was three, the family moved to Passau, Germany.[19] There he acquired the distinctive lower Bavarian dialect, rather than Austrian German, which marked his speech throughout his life.[20][21][22] The family returned to Austria and settled in Leonding in 1894, and in June 1895 Alois retired to Hafeld, near Lambach, where he farmed and kept bees. Hitler attended Volksschule (a state-owned school) in nearby Fischlham.[23][24]

The move to Hafeld coincided with the onset of intense father-son conflicts caused by Hitler's refusal to conform to the strict discipline of his school.[25] His father beat him, although his mother tried to protect him.[26] Alois Hitler's farming efforts at Hafeld ended in failure, and in 1897 the family moved to Lambach. The eight-year-old Hitler took singing lessons, sang in the church choir, and even considered becoming a priest.[27] In 1898 the family returned permanently to Leonding. Hitler was deeply affected by the death of his younger brother Edmund, who died in 1900 from measles. Hitler changed from a confident, outgoing, conscientious student to a morose, detached boy who constantly fought with his father and teachers.[28]

Hitler's mother, Klara

Hitler's father, Alois

Alois had made a successful career in the customs bureau, and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps.[29] Hitler later dramatised an episode from this period when his father took him to visit a customs office, depicting it as an event that gave rise to an unforgiving antagonism between father and son, who were both strong-willed.[30][31][32] Ignoring his son's desire to attend a classical high school and become an artist, Alois sent Hitler to the Realschule in Linz in September 1900.[b][33]Hitler rebelled against this decision, and in Mein Kampf states that he intentionally did poorly in school, hoping that once his father saw "what little progress I was making at the technical school he would let me devote myself to my dream".[34]

Like many Austrian Germans, Hitler began to develop German nationalist ideas from a young age.[35] He expressed loyalty only to Germany, despising the declining Habsburg Monarchy and its rule over an ethnically variegated empire.[36][37] Hitler and his friends used the greeting "Heil", and sang the "Deutschlandlied" instead of the Austrian Imperial anthem.[38]

After Alois's sudden death on 3 January 1903, Hitler's performance at school deteriorated and his mother allowed him to leave.[39] He enrolled at the Realschule in Steyr in September 1904, where his behaviour and performance improved.[40] In 1905, after passing a repeat of the final exam, Hitler left the school without any ambitions for further education or clear plans for a career.[41]

Early adulthood in Vienna and Munich

The house in Leonding in Austria where Hitler spent his early adolescence (photo taken in July 2012)

In 1907 Hitler left Linz to live and study fine art in Vienna, financed by orphan's benefits and support from his mother. He applied for admission to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna but was rejected twice.[42][43] The director explained his drawings showed "unfitness for painting" and suggested Hitler was better suited to studying architecture. Though this was an interest of his, he lacked the academic credentials as he had not finished secondary school.[44] On 21 December 1907, his mother died of breast cancer at the age of 47. In 1909 Hitler ran out of money and was forced to live a bohemianlife in homeless shelters and Meldemannstraße dormitory.[45][46] He earned money as a casual labourer and by painting and selling watercolours of Vienna's sights.[42]

The Alter Hof in Munich. Watercolour by Adolf Hitler, 1914

During his time in Vienna he pursued a growing passion for two interests, architecture and music, attending ten performances of Lohengrin, his favourite Wagner opera.[47]

It was here that Hitler first became exposed to racist rhetoric.[48] Populists such as mayor Karl Lueger exploited the climate of virulent anti-Semitism and occasionally espoused German nationalist notions for political effect. German nationalism had a particularly widespread following in the Mariahilf district, where Hitler lived.[49] Georg Ritter von Schönerer became a major influence on Hitler.[50] He also developed an admiration for Martin Luther.[51] Hitler read local newspapers such as Deutsches Volksblatt that fanned prejudice and played on Christian fears of being swamped by an influx of Eastern European Jews.[52] He read newspapers and pamphlets that published the thoughts of philosophers and theoreticians such as Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gustave Le Bonand Arthur Schopenhauer.[53]

The origin and development of Hitler's anti-Semitism remains a matter of debate.[54] His friend, August Kubizek, claimed that Hitler was a "confirmed anti-Semite" before he left Linz.[55] However, historian Brigitte Hamann describes Kubizek's claim as "problematical".[56] While Hitler states in Mein Kampf that he first became an anti-Semite in Vienna,[57] Reinhold Hanisch, who helped him sell his paintings, disagrees. Hitler had dealings with Jews while living in Vienna.[58][59][60] Historian Richard J. Evansstates that "historians now generally agree that his notorious, murderous anti-Semitism emerged well after Germany's defeat [in World War I], as a product of the paranoid "stab-in-the-back" explanation for the catastrophe".[61]

Hitler received the final part of his father's estate in May 1913 and moved to Munich, Germany.[62] Hitler was called up for conscription into the Austro-Hungarian Army,[63] so he journeyed to Salzburg on 5 February 1914 for medical assessment. After he was deemed by the medical examiners as unfit for service, he returned to Munich.[64]Hitler later claimed that he did not wish to serve the Habsburg Empire because of the mixture of races in its army and his belief that the collapse of Austria-Hungary was imminent.[65]

Hitler (far right, seated) with his army comrades of the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (c. 1914–18)

World War I

Main article: Military career of Adolf Hitler

In August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Hitler was living in Munich and voluntarily enlisted in the Bavarian Army.[66] According to a 1924 report by the Bavarian authorities, allowing Hitler to serve was almost certainly an administrative error, since as an Austrian citizen, he should have been returned to Austria.[66] Posted to the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 (1st Company of the List Regiment),[67][66] he served as a dispatch runner on the Western Front in France and Belgium,[68] spending nearly half his time at the regimental headquarters in Fournes-en-Weppes, well behind the front lines.[69][70] He was present at the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, and the Battle of Passchendaele, and was wounded at the Somme.[71] He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross, Second Class, in 1914.[71] On a recommendation by Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, Hitler's Jewish superior, he received the Iron Cross, First Class on 4 August 1918, a decoration rarely awarded to one of Hitler's Gefreiter rank.[72][73]He received the Black Wound Badge on 18 May 1918.[74]

During his service at headquarters, Hitler pursued his artwork, drawing cartoons and instructions for an army newspaper. During the Battle of the Somme in October 1916, he was wounded in the left thigh when a shell exploded in the dispatch runners' dugout.[75]Hitler spent almost two months in hospital at Beelitz, returning to his regiment on 5 March 1917.[76] On 15 October 1918, he was temporarily blinded in a mustard gas attack and was hospitalised in Pasewalk.[77] While there, Hitler learned of Germany's defeat, and—by his own account—upon receiving this news, he suffered a second bout of blindness.[78]

Hitler described the war as "the greatest of all experiences", and was praised by his commanding officers for his bravery.[79] His wartime experience reinforced his German patriotism and he was shocked by Germany's capitulation in November 1918.[80] His bitterness over the collapse of the war effort began to shape his ideology.[81] Like other German nationalists, he believed the Dolchstoßlegende (stab-in-the-back myth), which claimed that the German army, "undefeated in the field", had been "stabbed in the back" on the home front by civilian leaders, Jews, Marxists, and those who signed the armistice that ended the fighting - later dubbed the "November criminals".[82]

The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany must relinquish several of its territories and demilitarise the Rhineland. The treaty imposed economic sanctions and levied heavy reparations on the country. Many Germans saw the treaty as an unjust humiliation—they especially objected to Article 231, which they interpreted as declaring Germany responsible for the war.[83]The Versailles Treaty and the economic, social, and political conditions in Germany after the war were later exploited by Hitler for political gain.[84]

Entry into politics

Main article: Political views of Adolf Hitler

Hitler's German Workers' Party (DAP) membership card

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich.[85] Without formal education or career prospects, he remained in the army.[86]In July 1919 he was appointed Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) of an Aufklärungskommando (reconnaissance unit) of the Reichswehr, assigned to influence other soldiers and to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP). At a DAP meeting on 12 September 1919, Party Chairman Anton Drexler was impressed with Hitler's oratorical skills. He gave him a copy of his pamphlet My Political Awakening, which contained anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti-capitalist, and anti-Marxist ideas.[87] On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler applied to join the party,[88]and within a week was accepted as party member 555 (the party began counting membership at 500 to give the impression they were a much larger party).[89][90]

Around this time, Hitler made his earliest known recorded statement about the Jews in a letter (now known as the Gemlich letter) dated 16 September 1919 to Adolf Gemlich about the Jewish question. In the letter, Hitler argues that the aim of the government "must unshakably be the removal of the Jews altogether".[91]

At the DAP, Hitler met Dietrich Eckart, one of the party's founders and a member of the occult Thule Society.[92] Eckart became Hitler's mentor, exchanging ideas with him and introducing him to a wide range of Munich society.[93] To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei(National Socialist German Workers Party; NSDAP).[94] Hitler designed the party's banner of a swastika in a white circle on a red background.[95]

Hitler was discharged from the army on 31 March 1920 and began working full-time for the NSDAP.[96] The party headquarters was in Munich, a hotbed of anti-government German nationalists determined to crush Marxism and undermine the Weimar Republic.[97] In February 1921—already highly effective at crowd manipulation—he spoke to a crowd of over 6,000.[98] To publicise the meeting, two truckloads of party supporters drove around Munich waving swastika flags and distributing leaflets. Hitler soon gained notoriety for his rowdy polemic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, and especially against Marxists and Jews.[99]

Hitler poses for the camera, 1930

In June 1921, while Hitler and Eckart were on a fundraising trip to Berlin, a mutiny broke out within the NSDAP in Munich. Members of its executive committee wanted to merge with the rival German Socialist Party (DSP).[100]Hitler returned to Munich on 11 July and angrily tendered his resignation. The committee members realised that the resignation of their leading public figure and speaker would mean the end of the party.[101]Hitler announced he would rejoin on the condition that he would replace Drexler as party chairman, and that the party headquarters would remain in Munich.[102]The committee agreed, and he rejoined the party on 26 July as member 3,680. Hitler continued to face some opposition within the NSDAP: Opponents of Hitler in the leadership had Hermann Esser expelled from the party, and they printed 3,000 copies of a pamphlet attacking Hitler as a traitor to the party.[102][c]In the following days, Hitler spoke to several packed houses and defended himself and Esser, to thunderous applause. His strategy proved successful, and at a special party congress on 29 July, he was granted absolute powers as party chairman, replacing Drexler, by a vote of 533 to 1.[103]

Hitler's vitriolic beer hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. He became adept at using populist themes, including the use of scapegoats, who were blamed for his listeners' economic hardships.[104][105][106]Hitler used personal magnetism and an understanding of crowd psychology to his advantage while engaged in public speaking.[107][108] Historians have noted the hypnotic effect of his rhetoric on large audiences, and of his eyes in small groups.[109] Algis Budrys recalled the crowd noise and behaviour when Hitler appeared in a 1936 parade; some in the audience writhed and rolled on the ground or experienced fecal incontinence.[110] Alfons Heck, a former member of the Hitler Youth, recalled a similar experience:

We erupted into a frenzy of nationalistic pride that bordered on hysteria. For minutes on end, we shouted at the top of our lungs, with tears streaming down our faces: Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil! From that moment on, I belonged to Adolf Hitler body and soul.[111]

Early followers included Rudolf Hess, former air force ace Hermann Göring, and army captain Ernst Röhm. Röhm became head of the Nazis' paramilitary organisation, the Sturmabteilung (SA, "Stormtroopers"), which protected meetings and attacked political opponents. A critical influence on Hitler's thinking during this period was the Aufbau Vereinigung,[112] a conspiratorial group of White Russian exiles and early National Socialists. The group, financed with funds channelled from wealthy industrialists, introduced Hitler to the idea of a Jewish conspiracy, linking international finance with Bolshevism.[113]

The programme of the NSDAP, known colloquially as the "Nazi Party", was laid out in their 25-point programme on 24 February 1920. This did not represent a coherent ideology, but was a conglomeration of received ideas which had currency in the völkisch Pan-Germanic movement, such as ultranationalism, opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, distrust of capitalism, as well as some socialist ideas. For Hitler, though, the most important aspect of it was its strong anti-Semitic stance. He also perceived the programme as primarily a basis for propaganda and for attracting people to the party.[114]

Hitler and the NSDAP were not, fundamentally, reactionaries – although they did look back to a mythic halcyon Germany of the past – but were, instead, revolutionary. They sought "the destruction of existing political and social structure and their supporting elites [and had] profound disdain for civil order, for human and moral values" and for the ideas of classical liberalism as well as those of Marxism.[115]

Beer Hall Putsch and Landsberg Prison

Main article: Beer Hall Putsch

Defendants in the Beer Hall Putsch trial. From left to right: Pernet, Weber, Frick, Kiebel, Ludendorff, Hitler, Bruckner, Röhm, and Wagner.

In 1923 Hitler enlisted the help of World War I General Erich Ludendorff for an attempted coup known as the "Beer Hall Putsch". The NSDAP used Italian Fascism as a model for their appearance and policies. Hitler wanted to emulate Benito Mussolini's "March on Rome" of 1922 by staging his own coup in Bavaria, to be followed by a challenge to the government in Berlin. Hitler and Ludendorff sought the support of Staatskommissar (state commissioner) Gustav Ritter von Kahr, Bavaria's de facto ruler. However, Kahr, along with Police Chief Hans Ritter von Seisser and Reichswehr General Otto von Lossow, wanted to install a nationalist dictatorship without Hitler.[116]

On 8 November 1923 Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting of 3,000 people organised by Kahr in the Bürgerbräukeller, a beer hall in Munich. Interrupting Kahr's speech, he announced that the national revolution had begun and declared the formation of a new government with Ludendorff.[117] Retiring to a back room, Hitler, with handgun drawn, demanded and got the support of Kahr, Seisser, and Lossow.[117]Hitler's forces initially succeeded in occupying the local Reichswehr and police headquarters, but Kahr and his cohorts quickly withdrew their support. Neither the army, nor the state police, joined forces with Hitler.[118] The next day, Hitler and his followers marched from the beer hall to the Bavarian War Ministry to overthrow the Bavarian government, but police dispersed them.[119] Sixteen NSDAP members and four police officers were killed in the failed coup.[120]

Dust jacket of Mein Kampf (1926–28 edition)

Hitler fled to the home of Ernst Hanfstaengland by some accounts contemplated suicide.[121] He was depressed but calm when arrested on 11 November 1923 for high treason.[122] His trial before the special People's Court in Munich began in February 1924,[123] and Alfred Rosenberg became temporary leader of the NSDAP. On 1 April, Hitler was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at Landsberg Prison.[124] There, he received friendly treatment from the guards, and was allowed mail from supporters and regular visits by party comrades. Pardoned by the Bavarian Supreme Court, he was released from jail on 20 December 1924, against the state prosecutor's objections.[125] Including time on remand, Hitler served just over one year in prison.[126]

While at Landsberg, Hitler dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf (My Struggle; originally entitled Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice) to his deputy, Rudolf Hess.[126] The book, dedicated to Thule Society member Dietrich Eckart, was an autobiography and exposition of his ideology. The book laid out Hitler's plans for transforming German society into one based on race. Some passages imply genocide.[127] Published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926, it sold 228,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. One million copies were sold in 1933, Hitler's first year in office.[128]

Shortly before Hitler was eligible for parole, the Bavarian government attempted to have him deported back to Austria.[129] The Austrian federal chancellor rejected the request on the specious grounds that his service in the German Army made his Austrian citizenship void.[130] In response, Hitler formally renounced his Austrian citizenship on 7 April 1925.[130]

 

Rebuilding the Nazi Party

At the time of Hitler's release from prison, politics in Germany had become less combative and the economy had improved, limiting Hitler's opportunities for political agitation. As a result of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazi Party and its affiliated organisations were banned in Bavaria. In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bavaria Heinrich Held on 4 January 1925, Hitler agreed to respect the state's authority and promised that he would seek political power only through the democratic process. The meeting paved the way for the ban on the NSDAP to be lifted on 16 February.[131]However, after an inflammatory speech he gave on 27 February, Hitler was barred from public speaking by the Bavarian authorities, a ban that remained in place until 1927.[132][133]To advance his political ambitions in spite of the ban, Hitler appointed Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser and Joseph Goebbels to organise and grow the NSDAP in northern Germany. Gregor Strasser steered a more independent political course, emphasising the socialist elements of the party's programme.[134]

The stock market in the United States crashed on 24 October 1929. The impact in Germany was dire: millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. Hitler and the NSDAP prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, strengthen the economy, and provide jobs.[135]

Rise to power

Main article: Adolf Hitler's rise to power

NSDAP election results[136]

ElectionTotal votes% votesReichstag seatsNotes

May 19241,918,3006.532Hitler in prison

December 1924907,3003.014Hitler released from prison

May 1928810,1002.612 

September 19306,409,60018.3107After the financial crisis

July 193213,745,00037.3230After Hitler was candidate for presidency

November 193211,737,00033.1196 

March 193317,277,18043.9288Only partially free during Hitler's term as chancellor of Germany

Brüning administration

The Great Depression provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent about the parliamentary republic, which faced challenges from right- and left-wing extremists. The moderate political parties were increasingly unable to stem the tide of extremism, and the German referendum of 1929 helped to elevate Nazi ideology.[137] The elections of September 1930 resulted in the break-up of a grand coalition and its replacement with a minority cabinet. Its leader, chancellor Heinrich Brüning of the Centre Party, governed through emergency decrees from President Paul von Hindenburg. Governance by decree became the new norm and paved the way for authoritarian forms of government.[138] The NSDAP rose from obscurity to win 18.3 per cent of the vote and 107 parliamentary seats in the 1930 election, becoming the second-largest party in parliament.[139]

Hitler and NSDAP treasurer Franz Xaver Schwarz at the dedication of the renovation of the Palais Barlow on Brienner Straße in Munich into the Brown House headquarters, December 1930

Hitler made a prominent appearance at the trial of two Reichswehr officers, Lieutenants Richard Scheringer and Hans Ludin, in late 1930. Both were charged with membership in the NSDAP, at that time illegal for Reichswehr personnel.[140] The prosecution argued that the NSDAP was an extremist party, prompting defence lawyer Hans Frank to call on Hitler to testify.[141] On 25 September 1930, Hitler testified that his party would pursue political power solely through democratic elections,[142] which won him many supporters in the officer corps.[143]

Brüning's austerity measures brought little economic improvement and were extremely unpopular.[144] Hitler exploited this by targeting his political messages specifically at people who had been affected by the inflation of the 1920s and the Depression, such as farmers, war veterans, and the middle class.[145]

Although Hitler had terminated his Austrian citizenship in 1925, he did not acquire German citizenship for almost seven years. This meant that he was stateless, legally unable to run for public office, and still faced the risk of deportation.[146] On 25 February 1932, the interior minister of Brunswick, Dietrich Klagges, who was a member of the NSDAP, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state's delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick,[147] and thus of Germany.[148]

Hitler ran against Hindenburg in the 1932 presidential elections. A speech to the Industry Club in Düsseldorf on 27 January 1932 won him support from many of Germany's most powerful industrialists.[149]Hindenburg had support from various nationalist, monarchist, Catholic, and republican parties, and some Social Democrats. Hitler used the campaign slogan "Hitler über Deutschland" ("Hitler over Germany"), a reference to his political ambitions and his campaigning by aircraft.[150] He was one of the first politicians to use aircraft travel for political purposes, and used it effectively.[151][152] Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 35 per cent of the vote in the final election. Although he lost to Hindenburg, this election established Hitler as a strong force in German politics.[153]

Appointment as chancellor

Hitler, at the window of the Reich Chancellery, receives an ovation on the evening of his inauguration as chancellor, 30 January 1933

The absence of an effective government prompted two influential politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred Hugenberg, along with several other industrialists and businessmen, to write a letter to Hindenburg. The signers urged Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as leader of a government "independent from parliamentary parties", which could turn into a movement that would "enrapture millions of people".[154][155]

Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two further parliamentary elections—in July and November 1932—had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. Hitler headed a short-lived coalition government formed by the NSDAP and Hugenberg's party, the German National People's Party (DNVP). On 30 January 1933, the new cabinet was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Hindenburg's office. The NSDAP gained three posts: Hitler was named chancellor, Wilhelm Frick Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring Minister of the Interior for Prussia.[156]Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control over the police in much of Germany.[157]

Reichstag fire and March elections

As chancellor, Hitler worked against attempts by the NSDAP's opponents to build a majority government. Because of the political stalemate, he asked Hindenburg to again dissolve the Reichstag, and elections were scheduled for early March. On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Göring blamed a communist plot, because Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbewas found in incriminating circumstances inside the burning building.[158] According to Kershaw, the consensus of nearly all historians is that van der Lubbe actually set the fire.[159] Others, including William L. Shirerand Alan Bullock, are of the opinion that the NSDAP itself was responsible.[160][161] At Hitler's urging, Hindenburg responded with the Reichstag Fire Decree of 28 February, which suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. The decree was permitted under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which gave the president the power to take emergency measures to protect public safety and order.[162] Activities of the German Communist Party (KPD) were suppressed, and some 4,000 KPD members were arrested.[163]

In addition to political campaigning, the NSDAP engaged in paramilitary violence and the spread of anti-communist propaganda in the days preceding the election. On election day, 6 March 1933, the NSDAP's share of the vote increased to 43.9 per cent, and the party acquired the largest number of seats in parliament. Hitler's party failed to secure an absolute majority, necessitating another coalition with the DNVP.[164]

Day of Potsdam and the Enabling Act

Main article: Enabling Act of 1933

Paul von Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler on the Day of Potsdam, 21 March 1933

On 21 March 1933, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony at the Garrison Church in Potsdam. This "Day of Potsdam" was held to demonstrate unity between the Nazi movement and the old Prussian elite and military. Hitler appeared in a morning coat and humbly greeted Hindenburg.[165][166]

To achieve full political control despite not having an absolute majority in parliament, Hitler's government brought the Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) to a vote in the newly elected Reichstag. The Act—officially titled the Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich")—gave Hitler's cabinet the power to enact laws without the consent of the Reichstag for four years. These laws could (with certain exceptions) deviate from the constitution.[167] Since it would affect the constitution, the Enabling Act required a two-thirds majority to pass. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to arrest all 81 Communist deputies (in spite of their virulent campaign against the party, the Nazis had allowed the KPD to contest the election[168]) and prevent several Social Democrats from attending.[169]

On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag assembled at the Kroll Opera House under turbulent circumstances. Ranks of SA men served as guards inside the building, while large groups outside opposing the proposed legislation shouted slogans and threats towards the arriving members of parliament.[170] The position of the Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, was decisive. After Hitler verbally promised party leader Ludwig Kaas that Hindenburg would retain his power of veto, Kaas announced the Centre Party would support the Enabling Act. The Act passed by a vote of 441–84, with all parties except the Social Democrats voting in favour. The Enabling Act, along with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler's government into a de facto legal dictatorship.[171]

Dictatorship

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power![172]

— Adolf Hitler to a British correspondent in Berlin, June 1934

Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his allies began to suppress the remaining opposition. The Social Democratic Party was banned and its assets seized.[173] While many trade union delegates were in Berlin for May Day activities, SA stormtroopers demolished union offices around the country. On 2 May 1933 all trade unions were forced to dissolve and their leaders were arrested. Some were sent to concentration camps.[174] The German Labour Front was formed as an umbrella organisation to represent all workers, administrators, and company owners, thus reflecting the concept of national socialism in the spirit of Hitler's Volksgemeinschaft("people's community").[175]

In 1934, Hitler became Germany's head of state with the title of Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor of the Reich).

By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. This included the Nazis' nominal coalition partner, the DNVP; with the SA's help, Hitler forced its leader, Hugenberg, to resign on 29 June. On 14 July 1933, the NSDAP was declared the only legal political party in Germany.[175][173] The demands of the SA for more political and military power caused anxiety among military, industrial, and political leaders. In response, Hitler purged the entire SA leadership in the Night of the Long Knives, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934.[176] Hitler targeted Ernst Röhm and other SA leaders who, along with a number of Hitler's political adversaries (such as Gregor Strasser and former chancellor Kurt von Schleicher), were rounded up, arrested, and shot.[177] While the international community and some Germans were shocked by the murders, many in Germany believed Hitler was restoring order.[178]

On 2 August 1934, Hindenburg died. The previous day, the cabinet had enacted the "Law Concerning the Highest State Office of the Reich".[5] This law stated that upon Hindenburg's death, the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government, and was formally named as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor),[4] although Reichskanzler was eventually quietly dropped.[179] With this action, Hitler eliminated the last legal remedy by which he could be removed from office.[180]

As head of state, Hitler became commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Immediately after Hindenberg's death, at the instigation of the leadership of the Reichswehr, the traditional loyalty oath of soldiers was altered to affirm loyalty to Hitler personally, by name, rather than to the office of commander-in-chief (which was later renamed to supreme commander) or the state.[181] On 19 August, the merger of the presidency with the chancellorship was approved by 88 per cent of the electorate voting in a plebiscite.[182]

Hitler's personal standard

In early 1938, Hitler used blackmail to consolidate his hold over the military by instigating the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair. Hitler forced his War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg, to resign by using a police dossier that showed that Blomberg's new wife had a record for prostitution.[183][184] Army commander Colonel-General Werner von Fritsch was removed after the Schutzstaffel(SS) produced allegations that he had engaged in a homosexual relationship.[185]Both men had fallen into disfavour because they objected to Hitler's demand to make the Wehrmacht ready for war as early as 1938.[186]Hitler assumed Blomberg's title of Commander-in-Chief, thus taking personal command of the armed forces. He replaced the Ministry of War with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), headed by General Wilhelm Keitel. On the same day, sixteen generals were stripped of their commands and 44 more were transferred; all were suspected of not being sufficiently pro-Nazi.[187] By early February 1938, twelve more generals had been removed.[188]

Hitler took care to give his dictatorship the appearance of legality. Many of his decrees were explicitly based on the Reichstag Fire Decree and hence on Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. The Reichstag renewed the Enabling Act twice, each time for a four-year period.[189] While elections to the Reichstag were still held (in 1933, 1936, and 1938), voters were presented with a single list of Nazis and pro-Nazi "guests" which carried with well over 90 percent of the vote.[190]These elections were held in far-from-secret conditions; the Nazis threatened severe reprisals against anyone who didn't vote or dared to vote no.[191]

Nazi Germany

Main article: Nazi Germany

Economy and culture

Main article: Economy of Nazi Germany

Ceremony honouring the dead (Totenehrung) on the terrace in front of the Hall of Honour (Ehrenhalle) at the Nazi party rally grounds, Nuremberg, September 1934

In August 1934, Hitler appointed ReichsbankPresident Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics, and in the following year, as Plenipotentiary for War Economy in charge of preparing the economy for war.[192]Reconstruction and rearmament were financed through Mefo bills, printing money, and seizing the assets of people arrested as enemies of the State, including Jews.[193]Unemployment fell from six million in 1932 to one million in 1936.[194] Hitler oversaw one of the largest infrastructure improvement campaigns in German history, leading to the construction of dams, autobahns, railroads, and other civil works. Wages were slightly lower in the mid to late 1930s compared with wages during the Weimar Republic, while the cost of living increased by 25 per cent.[195]The average work week increased during the shift to a war economy; by 1939, the average German was working between 47 and 50 hours a week.[196]

Hitler's government sponsored architectureon an immense scale. Albert Speer, instrumental in implementing Hitler's classicist reinterpretation of German culture, was placed in charge of the proposed architectural renovations of Berlin.[197]Despite a threatened multi-nation boycott, Germany hosted the 1936 Olympic Games. Hitler officiated at the opening ceremonies and attended events at both the Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Summer Games in Berlin.[198]

Rearmament and new alliances

Main articles: Axis powers, Tripartite Pact, and German re-armament

In a meeting with German military leaders on 3 February 1933, Hitler spoke of "conquest for Lebensraum in the East and its ruthless Germanisation" as his ultimate foreign policy objectives.[199] In March, Prince Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, secretary at the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office), issued a statement of major foreign policy aims: Anschluss with Austria, the restoration of Germany's national borders of 1914, rejection of military restrictions under the Treaty of Versailles, the return of the former German colonies in Africa, and a German zone of influence in Eastern Europe. Hitler found Bülow's goals to be too modest.[200] In speeches during this period, he stressed the peaceful goals of his policies and a willingness to work within international agreements.[201] At the first meeting of his cabinet in 1933, Hitler prioritised military spending over unemployment relief.[202]

On 25 October 1936, an axis was declared between Italy and Germany.

Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference in October 1933.[203] In January 1935, over 90 per cent of the people of the Saarland, then under League of Nations administration, voted to unite with Germany.[204] That March, Hitler announced an expansion of the Wehrmacht to 600,000 members—six times the number permitted by the Versailles Treaty—including development of an air force (Luftwaffe) and an increase in the size of the navy (Kriegsmarine). Britain, France, Italy, and the League of Nations condemned these violations of the Treaty, but did nothing to stop it.[205][206] The Anglo-German Naval Agreement (AGNA) of 18 June allowed German tonnage to increase to 35 per cent of that of the British navy. Hitler called the signing of the AGNA "the happiest day of his life", believing that the agreement marked the beginning of the Anglo-German alliance he had predicted in Mein Kampf.[207]France and Italy were not consulted before the signing, directly undermining the League of Nations and setting the Treaty of Versailles on the path towards irrelevance.[208]

Germany reoccupied the demilitarised zone in the Rhineland in March 1936, in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Hitler also sent troops to Spain to support General Franco during the Spanish Civil War after receiving an appeal for help in July 1936. At the same time, Hitler continued his efforts to create an Anglo-German alliance.[209] In August 1936, in response to a growing economic crisis caused by his rearmament efforts, Hitler ordered Göring to implement a Four Year Planto prepare Germany for war within the next four years.[210] The plan envisaged an all-out struggle between "Judeo-Bolshevism" and German national socialism, which in Hitler's view required a committed effort of rearmament regardless of the economic costs.[211]

Count Galeazzo Ciano, foreign minister of Mussolini's government, declared an axis between Germany and Italy, and on 25 November, Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan. Britain, China, Italy, and Poland were also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact, but only Italy signed in 1937. Hitler abandoned his plan of an Anglo-German alliance, blaming "inadequate" British leadership.[212] At a meeting in the Reich Chancellery with his foreign ministers and military chiefs that November, Hitler restated his intention of acquiring Lebensraum for the German people. He ordered preparations for war in the East, to begin as early as 1938 and no later than 1943. In the event of his death, the conference minutes, recorded as the Hossbach Memorandum, were to be regarded as his "political testament".[213] He felt that a severe decline in living standards in Germany as a result of the economic crisis could only be stopped by military aggression aimed at seizing Austria and Czechoslovakia.[214][215]Hitler urged quick action before Britain and France gained a permanent lead in the arms race.[214] In early 1938, in the wake of the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair, Hitler asserted control of the military-foreign policy apparatus, dismissing Neurath as foreign minister and appointing himself as War Minister.[210] From early 1938 onwards, Hitler was carrying out a foreign policy ultimately aimed at war.[216]

World War II

Hitler and the Japanese foreign minister, Yōsuke Matsuoka, at a meeting in Berlin in March 1941. In the background is Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Early diplomatic successes

Alliance with Japan

See also: Germany–Japan relations

In February 1938, on the advice of his newly appointed foreign minister, the strongly pro-Japanese Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler ended the Sino-German alliance with the Republic of China to instead enter into an alliance with the more modern and powerful Empire of Japan. Hitler announced German recognition of Manchukuo, the Japanese-occupied state in Manchuria, and renounced German claims to their former colonies in the Pacific held by Japan.[217] Hitler ordered an end to arms shipments to China and recalled all German officers working with the Chinese Army.[217] In retaliation, Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek cancelled all Sino-German economic agreements, depriving the Germans of many Chinese raw materials.[218]

October 1938: Hitler is driven through the crowd in Cheb (German: Eger), in the mostly German-populated Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, which had been annexed to Nazi Germany as part of the Munich Agreement

Austria and Czechoslovakia

On 12 March 1938, Hitler announced the unification of Austria with Nazi Germany in the Anschluss.[219][220] Hitler then turned his attention to the ethnic German population of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.[221]

On 28–29 March 1938, Hitler held a series of secret meetings in Berlin with Konrad Henleinof the Sudeten German Party, the largest of the ethnic German parties of the Sudetenland. The men agreed that Henlein would demand increased autonomy for Sudeten Germansfrom the Czechoslovakian government, thus providing a pretext for German military action against Czechoslovakia. In April 1938 Henlein told the foreign minister of Hungary that "whatever the Czech government might offer, he would always raise still higher demands ... he wanted to sabotage an understanding by any means because this was the only method to blow up Czechoslovakia quickly".[222] In private, Hitler considered the Sudeten issue unimportant; his real intention was a war of conquest against Czechoslovakia.[223]

In April Hitler ordered the OKW to prepare forFall Grün (Case Green), the code name for an invasion of Czechoslovakia.[224] As a result of intense French and British diplomatic pressure, on 5 September Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš unveiled the "Fourth Plan" for constitutional reorganisation of his country, which agreed to most of Henlein's demands for Sudeten autonomy.[225]Henlein's party responded to Beneš' offer by instigating a series of violent clashes with the Czechoslovakian police that led to the declaration of martial law in certain Sudeten districts.[226][227]

Germany was dependent on imported oil; a confrontation with Britain over the Czechoslovakian dispute could curtail Germany's oil supplies. This forced Hitler to call off Fall Grün, originally planned for 1 October 1938.[228] On 29 September Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, and Mussolini attended a one-day conference in Munich that led to the Munich Agreement, which handed over the Sudetenland districts to Germany.[229][230]

Chamberlain was satisfied with the Munich conference, calling the outcome "peace for our time", while Hitler was angered about the missed opportunity for war in 1938;[231][232]he expressed his disappointment in a speech on 9 October in Saarbrücken.[233] In Hitler's view, the British-brokered peace, although favourable to the ostensible German demands, was a diplomatic defeat which spurred his intent of limiting British power to pave the way for the eastern expansion of Germany.[234][235] As a result of the summit, Hitler was selected Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1938.[236]

In late 1938 and early 1939, the continuing economic crisis caused by rearmament forced Hitler to make major defence cuts.[237]In his "Export or die" speech of 30 January 1939, he called for an economic offensive to increase German foreign exchange holdings to pay for raw materials such as high-grade iron needed for military weapons.[237]

On 15 March 1939, in violation of the Munich accord and possibly as a result of the deepening economic crisis requiring additional assets,[238] Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Prague, and from Prague Castle he proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.[239]

Start of World War II

See also: Causes of World War II

In private discussions in 1939, Hitler declared Britain the main enemy to be defeated and that Poland's obliteration was a necessary prelude for that goal.[240] The eastern flank would be secured and land would be added to Germany's Lebensraum.[241] Offended by the British "guarantee" on 31 March 1939 of Polish independence, he said, "I shall brew them a devil's drink".[242] In a speech in Wilhelmshaven for the launch of the battleship Tirpitz on 1 April, he threatened to denounce the Anglo-German Naval Agreement if the British continued to guarantee Polish independence, which he perceived as an "encirclement" policy.[242]Poland was to either become a German satellite state or it would be neutralised in order to secure the Reich's eastern flank and prevent a possible British blockade.[243] Hitler initially favoured the idea of a satellite state, but upon its rejection by the Polish government, he decided to invade and made this the main foreign policy goal of 1939.[244]On 3 April, Hitler ordered the military to prepare for Fall Weiss ("Case White"), the plan for invading Poland on 25 August.[244] In a Reichstag speech on 28 April, he renounced both the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact.[245]Historians such as William Carr, Gerhard Weinberg, and Ian Kershaw have argued that one reason for Hitler's rush to war was his fear of an early death. He had repeatedly claimed that he must lead Germany into war before he got too old, as his successors might lack his strength of will.[246][247][248]

Hitler portrayed on a 42 pfennig stamp from 1944. The term Grossdeutsches Reich (Greater German Reich) was first used in 1943 for the expanded Germany under his rule.

Hitler was concerned that a military attack against Poland could result in a premature war with Britain.[243][249] Hitler's foreign minister and former Ambassador to London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, assured him that neither Britain nor France would honour their commitments to Poland.[250][251] Accordingly, on 22 August 1939 Hitler ordered a military mobilisation against Poland.[252]

This plan required tacit Soviet support,[253]and the non-aggression pact (the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact) between Germany and the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, included a secret agreement to partition Poland between the two countries.[254] Contrary to Ribbentrop's prediction that Britain would sever Anglo-Polish ties, Britain and Poland signed the Anglo-Polish alliance on 25 August 1939. This, along with news from Italy that Mussolini would not honour the Pact of Steel, prompted Hitler to postpone the attack on Poland from 25 August to 1 September.[255]Hitler unsuccessfully tried to manoeuvre the British into neutrality by offering them a non-aggression guarantee on 25 August; he then instructed Ribbentrop to present a last-minute peace plan with an impossibly short time limit in an effort to blame the imminent war on British and Polish inaction.[256][257]

On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded western Poland under the pretext of having been denied claims to the Free City of Danzigand the right to extraterritorial roads across the Polish Corridor, which Germany had ceded under the Versailles Treaty.[258] In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September, surprising Hitler and prompting him to angrily ask Ribbentrop, "Now what?"[259] France and Britain did not act on their declarations immediately, and on 17 September, Soviet forces invaded eastern Poland.[260]

Hitler reviews troops on the march during the campaign against Poland. September 1939

The fall of Poland was followed by what contemporary journalists dubbed the "Phoney War" or Sitzkrieg ("sitting war"). Hitler instructed the two newly appointed Gauleitersof north-western Poland, Albert Forster of Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia and Arthur Greiser of Reichsgau Wartheland, to Germanise their areas, with "no questions asked" about how this was accomplished.[261]In Forster's area, ethnic Poles merely had to sign forms stating that they had German blood.[262] In contrast, Greiser agreed with Himmler and carried out an ethnic cleansingcampaign towards Poles. Greiser soon complained that Forster was allowing thousands of Poles to be accepted as "racial" Germans and thus endangered German "racial purity".[261] Hitler refrained from getting involved. This inaction has been advanced as an example of the theory of "working towards the Führer", in which Hitler issued vague instructions and expected his subordinates to work out policies on their own.[261][263]

Another dispute pitched one side represented by Heinrich Himmler and Greiser, who championed ethnic cleansing in Poland, against another represented by Göring and Hans Frank (governor-general of occupied Poland), who called for turning Poland into the "granary" of the Reich.[264] On 12 February 1940, the dispute was initially settled in favour of the Göring–Frank view, which ended the economically disruptive mass expulsions.[264] On 15 May 1940, Himmler issued a memo entitled "Some Thoughts on the Treatment of Alien Population in the East", calling for the expulsion of the entire Jewish population of Europe into Africa and the reduction of the Polish population to a "leaderless class of labourers".[264] Hitler called Himmler's memo "good and correct",[264] and, ignoring Göring and Frank, implemented the Himmler–Greiser policy in Poland.

Hitler visits Paris with architect Albert Speer (left) and sculptor Arno Breker(right), 23 June 1940

On 9 April, German forces invaded Denmark and Norway. On the same day Hitler proclaimed the birth of the Greater Germanic Reich, his vision of a united empire of Germanic nations of Europe in which the Dutch, Flemish, and Scandinavians were joined into a "racially pure" polity under German leadership.[265] In May 1940, Germany attacked France, and conquered Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium. These victories prompted Mussolini to have Italy join forces with Hitler on 10 June. France and Germany signed an armistice on 22 June.[266] Kershaw notes that Hitler's popularity within Germany – and German support for the war – reached its peak when he returned to Berlin on 6 July from his tour of Paris.[267] Following the unexpected swift victory, Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of field marshal during the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony.[268][269]

Boundaries of the Nazi planned Greater Germanic Reich

Britain, whose troops were forced to evacuate France by sea from Dunkirk,[270] continued to fight alongside other British dominions in the Battle of the Atlantic. Hitler made peace overtures to the new British leader, Winston Churchill, and upon their rejection he ordered a series of aerial attacks on Royal Air Forceairbases and radar stations in south-east England. On 7 September the systematic nightly bombing of London began. The German Luftwaffe failed to defeat the Royal Air Force in what became known as the Battle of Britain.[271] By the end of September, Hitler realised that air superiority for the invasion of Britain (in Operation Sea Lion) could not be achieved, and ordered the operation postponed. The nightly air raids on British cities intensified and continued for months, including London, Plymouth, and Coventry.[272]

On 27 September 1940, the Tripartite Pactwas signed in Berlin by Saburō Kurusu of Imperial Japan, Hitler, and Italian foreign minister Ciano,[273] and later expanded to include Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, thus yielding the Axis powers. Hitler's attempt to integrate the Soviet Union into the anti-British bloc failed after inconclusive talks between Hitler and Molotov in Berlin in November, and he ordered preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union.[274]

In early 1941, German forces were deployed to North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. In February, German forces arrived in Libya to bolster the Italian presence. In April, Hitler launched the invasion of Yugoslavia, quickly followed by the invasion of Greece.[275] In May, German forces were sent to support Iraqi rebel forces fighting against the British and to invade Crete.[276]

Path to defeat

On 22 June 1941, contravening the Hitler–Stalin Non-Aggression Pact of 1939, 4–5 million Axis troops attacked the Soviet Union.[277] This offensive (codenamed Operation Barbarossa) was intended to destroy the Soviet Union and seize its natural resources for subsequent aggression against the Western powers.[278][279] The invasion conquered a huge area, including the Balticrepublics, Belarus, and West Ukraine. By early August, Axis troops had advanced500 km (310 mi) and won the Battle of Smolensk. Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to temporarily halt its advance to Moscow and divert its Panzer groups to aid in the encirclement of Leningrad and Kiev.[280] His generals disagreed with this change, having advanced within400 km (250 mi) of Moscow, and his decision caused a crisis among the military leadership.[281][282] The pause provided the Red Army with an opportunity to mobilise fresh reserves; historian Russel Stolfi considers it to be one of the major factors that caused the failure of the Moscow offensive, which was resumed in October 1941 and ended disastrously in December.[280] During this crisis, Hitler appointed himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres, at the same time limiting its authority to the eastern front.

Hitler, announcing the declaration of war against the United States to the Reichstag, on 11 December 1941

On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked the American fleet based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four days later, Hitler declared war against the United States.[283]

On 18 December 1941, Himmler asked Hitler, "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", to which Hitler replied, "als Partisanen auszurotten" ("exterminate them as partisans").[284] Israeli historian Yehuda Bauerhas commented that the remark is probably as close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the genocide carried out during the Holocaust.[284]

In late 1942, German forces were defeated in the second battle of El Alamein,[285] thwarting Hitler's plans to seize the Suez Canal and the Middle East. Overconfident in his own military expertise following the earlier victories in 1940, Hitler became distrustful of his Army High Command and began to interfere in military and tactical planning, with damaging consequences.[286] In December 1942 and January 1943, Hitler's repeated refusal to allow their withdrawal at the Battle of Stalingrad led to the almost total destruction of the 6th Army. Over 200,000 Axis soldiers were killed and 235,000 were taken prisoner.[287] Thereafter came a decisive strategic defeat at the Battle of Kursk.[288]Hitler's military judgement became increasingly erratic, and Germany's military and economic position deteriorated, as did Hitler's health.[289]

The destroyed map room at the Wolf's Lair after the 20 July plot

Following the allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Mussolini was removed from power by Victor Emmanuel III after a vote of no confidence of the Grand Council. Marshal Pietro Badoglio, placed in charge of the government, soon surrendered to the Allies.[290] Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Soviet Union steadily forced Hitler's armies into retreat along the Eastern Front. On 6 June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed in northern France in one of the largest amphibious operations in history, Operation Overlord.[291] Many German officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that continuing under Hitler's leadership would result in the complete destruction of the country.[292]

Between 1939 and 1945, there were many plans to assassinate Hitler, some of which proceeded to significant degrees.[293] The most well known, the 20 July plot of 1944, came from within Germany and was at least partly driven by the increasing prospect of a German defeat in the war.[294] Part of Operation Valkyrie, the plot involved Claus von Stauffenberg planting a bomb in one of Hitler's headquarters, the Wolf's Lair at Rastenburg. Hitler narrowly survived because staff officer Heinz Brandt moved the briefcase containing the bomb behind a leg of the heavy conference table, which deflected much of the blast. Later, Hitler ordered savage reprisals resulting in the execution of more than 4,900 people.[295]

Defeat and death

Main article: Death of Adolf Hitler

By late 1944, both the Red Army and the Western Allies were advancing into Germany. Recognising the strength and determination of the Red Army, Hitler decided to use his remaining mobile reserves against the American and British troops, which he perceived as far weaker.[296] On 16 December, he launched the Ardennes Offensive to incite disunity among the Western Allies and perhaps convince them to join his fight against the Soviets.[297] The offensive failed after some temporary successes.[298] With much of Germany in ruins in January 1945, Hitler spoke on the radio: "However grave as the crisis may be at this moment, it will, despite everything, be mastered by our unalterable will."[299] Acting on his view that Germany's military failures meant it had forfeited its right to survive as a nation, Hitler ordered the destruction of all German industrial infrastructure before it could fall into Allied hands.[300] Minister for Armaments Albert Speer was entrusted with executing this scorched earth policy, but he secretly disobeyed the order.[300][301] Hitler's hope to negotiate peace with the United States and Britain was encouraged by the death of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 12 April 1945, but contrary to his expectations, this caused no rift among the Allies.[297][302]

On 20 April, his 56th birthday, Hitler made his last trip from the Führerbunker (Führer's shelter) to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth, who were now fighting the Red Army at the front near Berlin.[303] By 21 April, Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front had broken through the defences of General Gotthard Heinrici's Army Group Vistula during the Battle of the Seelow Heights and advanced to the outskirts of Berlin.[304] In denial about the dire situation, Hitler placed his hopes on the undermanned and under-equipped Armeeabteilung Steiner (Army Detachment Steiner), commanded by Waffen-SS General Felix Steiner. Hitler ordered Steiner to attack the northern flank of the salient, while the German Ninth Army was ordered to attack northward in a pincer attack.[305]

Hitler on 20 April 1945 in his last public appearance, in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, ten days before he and Eva Braun committed suicide.

Front page of the US Armed Forces newspaper, Stars and Stripes, 2 May 1945, announcing Hitler's death

During a military conference on 22 April, Hitler asked about Steiner's offensive. He was told that the attack had not been launched and that the Soviets had entered Berlin. Hitler asked everyone except Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Hans Krebs, and Wilhelm Burgdorf to leave the room,[306] then launched into a tirade against the treachery and incompetence of his commanders, culminating in his declaration—for the first time—that "everything was lost".[277] He announced that he would stay in Berlin until the end and then shoot himself.[307]

By 23 April the Red Army had surrounded Berlin,[308] and Goebbels made a proclamation urging its citizens to defend the city.[306] That same day, Göring sent a telegram from Berchtesgaden, arguing that since Hitler was isolated in Berlin, Göring should assume leadership of Germany. Göring set a deadline, after which he would consider Hitler incapacitated.[309] Hitler responded by having Göring arrested, and in his last will and testament of 29 April, he removed Göring from all government positions.[310][311] On 28 April Hitler discovered that Himmler, who had left Berlin on 20 April, was trying to negotiate a surrender to the Western Allies.[312][313] He ordered Himmler's arrest and had Hermann Fegelein (Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin) shot.[314]

After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in the Führerbunker.[315][d] Later that afternoon, Hitler was informed of the execution of Mussolini, which presumably increased his determination to avoid capture.[316]

On 30 April 1945, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler shot himself in the head and Braun bit into a cyanide capsule.[317][318] Their bodies were carried outside to the garden behind the Reich Chancellery, where they were placed in a bomb crater, doused with petrol,[319] and set on fire as the Red Army shelling continued.[320][321] Grand Admiral Karl Dönitzand Joseph Goebbels assumed Hitler's roles as head of state and chancellor respectively.[322]

Berlin surrendered on 2 May. Records in the Soviet archives obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union state that the remains of Hitler, Braun, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, the six Goebbels children, General Hans Krebs, and Hitler's dogs were repeatedly buried and exhumed.[323] On 4 April 1970, a Soviet KGBteam used detailed burial charts to exhume five wooden boxes at the SMERSH facility in Magdeburg. The remains from the boxes were burned, crushed, and scattered into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the Elbe.[324]According to Kershaw, the corpses of Braun and Hitler were fully burned when the Red Army found them, and only a lower jaw with dental work could be identified as Hitler's remains.[325]

The Holocaust

Main articles: The Holocaust and Final Solution

If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe![326]

— Adolf Hitler addressing the German Reichstag, 30 January 1939

A wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the liberated Buchenwald concentration camp (April 1945)

The Holocaust and Germany's war in the East were based on Hitler's long-standing view that the Jews were the enemy of the German people and that Lebensraum was needed for Germany's expansion. He focused on Eastern Europe for this expansion, aiming to defeat Poland and the Soviet Union and then removing or killing the Jews and Slavs.[327]The Generalplan Ost (General Plan East) called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to West Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered;[328] the conquered territories were to be colonised by German or "Germanised" settlers.[329] The goal was to implement this plan after the conquest of the Soviet Union, but when this failed, Hitler moved the plans forward.[328][330] By January 1942, he had decided that the Jews, Slavs, and other deportees considered undesirable should be killed.[331][e]

Hitler's order for Aktion T4, dated 1 September 1939

The genocide was organised and executed by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. The records of the Wannsee Conference, held on 20 January 1942 and led by Heydrich, with fifteen senior Nazi officials participating, provide the clearest evidence of systematic planning for the Holocaust. On 22 February, Hitler was recorded saying, "we shall regain our health only by eliminating the Jews".[332]Similarly, at a meeting in July 1941 with leading functionaries of the Eastern territories, Hitler said that the easiest way to quickly pacify the areas would be best achieved by "shooting everyone who even looks odd".[333] Although no direct order from Hitler authorising the mass killings has surfaced,[334] his public speeches, orders to his generals, and the diaries of Nazi officials demonstrate that he conceived and authorised the extermination of European Jewry.[335][336] During the war, Hitler repeatedly stated his prophecy of 1939 was being fulfilled, namely, that a world war would bring about the annihilation of the Jewish race.[337] Hitler approved the Einsatzgruppen—killing squads that followed the German army through Poland, the Baltic, and the Soviet Union[338]—and was well informed about their activities.[335][339] By summer 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp was expanded to accommodate large numbers of deportees for killing or enslavement.[340]Scores of other concentration camps and satellite camps were set up throughout Europe, with several camps devoted exclusively to extermination.[341]

Between 1939 and 1945, the Schutzstaffel(SS), assisted by collaborationistgovernments and recruits from occupied countries, was responsible for the deaths of at least eleven million non-combatants,[342][328] including 5.5 to 6 million Jews (representing two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe),[343][344] and between 200,000 and 1,500,000 Romani people.[345][344] Deaths took place in concentration and extermination camps, ghettos, and through mass executions. Many victims of the Holocaust were gassed to death, while others died of starvation or disease or while working as slave labourers.[346] In addition to eliminating Jews, the Nazis planned to reduce the population of the conquered territories by 30 million people through starvation in an action called the Hunger Plan. Food supplies would be diverted to the German army and German civilians. Cities would be razed and the land allowed to return to forest or resettled by German colonists.[347] Together, the Hunger Plan and Generalplan Ost would have led to the starvation of 80 million people in the Soviet Union.[348] These partially fulfilled plans resulted in additional deaths, bringing the total number of civilians and prisoners of war who died in the democide to an estimated 19.3 million people.[349]

Hitler's policies resulted in the killing of nearly two million non-Jewish Poles,[350] over three million Soviet prisoners of war,[351]communists and other political opponents, homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled,[352][353] Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, and trade unionists. Hitler did not speak publicly about the killings, and seems never to have visited the concentration camps.[354]

The Nazis embraced the concept of racial hygiene. On 15 September 1935, Hitler presented two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws—to the Reichstag. The laws banned sexual relations and marriages between Aryans and Jews and were later extended to include "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring".[355] The laws stripped all non-Aryans of their German citizenship and forbade the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households.[356] Hitler's early eugenic policies targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities in a programme dubbed Action Brandt, and he later authorised a euthanasia programme for adults with serious mental and physical disabilities, now referred to as Aktion T4.[357]

Leadership style

Hitler during a meeting at the headquarters of Army Group South in June 1942

Hitler ruled the NSDAP autocratically by asserting the Führerprinzip (leader principle). The principle relied on absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors; thus he viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex. Rank in the party was not determined by elections—positions were filled through appointment by those of higher rank, who demanded unquestioning obedience to the will of the leader.[358] Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to his subordinates and to place them into positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others, to have "the stronger one [do] the job".[359] In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting independently.[360][361] Hitler typically did not give written orders; instead he communicated verbally, or had them conveyed through his close associate, Martin Bormann.[362] He entrusted Bormann with his paperwork, appointments, and personal finances; Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler.[363]

Hitler dominated his country's war effort during World War II to a greater extent than any other national leader. He strengthened his control of the armed forces in 1938, and subsequently made all major decisions regarding Germany's military strategy. His decision to mount a risky series of offensives against Norway, France, and the Low Countries in 1940 against the advice of the military proved successful, though the diplomatic and military strategies he employed in attempts to force the United Kingdom out of the war ended in failure.[364]Hitler deepened his involvement in the war effort by appointing himself commander-in-chief of the Army in December 1941; from this point forward he personally directed the war against the Soviet Union, while his military commanders facing the Western Allies retained a degree of autonomy.[365]Hitler's leadership became increasingly disconnected from reality as the war turned against Germany, with the military's defensive strategies often hindered by his slow decision making and frequent directives to hold untenable positions. Nevertheless, he continued to believe that only his leadership could deliver victory.[364] In the final months of the war Hitler refused to consider peace negotiations, regarding the complete destruction of Germany as preferable to surrender.[366] The military did not challenge Hitler's dominance of the war effort, and senior officers generally supported and enacted his decisions.[367]

Legacy

Further information: Consequences of Nazism and Neo-Nazism

Outside the building in Braunau am Inn, Austria, where Hitler was born, is a memorial stone placed as a reminder of the horrors of World War II. The inscription translates as:

For peace, freedom

and democracy

never again fascism

millions of dead remind [us]

Hitler's suicide was likened by contemporaries to a "spell" being broken.[368][369] Public support for Hitler had collapsed by the time of his death and few Germans mourned his passing; Kershaw argues that most civilians and military personnel were too busy adjusting to the collapse of the country or fleeing from the fighting to take any interest.[370] According to historian John Toland, National Socialism "burst like a bubble" without its leader.[371]

Hitler's actions and Nazi ideology are almost universally regarded as gravely immoral;[372]according to Kershaw, "Never in history has such ruination—physical and moral—been associated with the name of one man".[373]Hitler's political programme brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe. Germany itself suffered wholesale destruction, characterised as Stunde Null(Zero Hour).[374] Hitler's policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale;[375] according to R. J. Rummel, the Nazi regime was responsible for the democidalkilling of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war.[342] In addition, 28.7 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II.[342] The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in the history of warfare.[376] Historians, philosophers, and politicians often use the word "evil" to describe the Nazi regime.[377] Many European countries have criminalised both the promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial.[378]

Historian Friedrich Meinecke described Hitler as "one of the great examples of the singular and incalculable power of personality in historical life".[379] English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper saw him as "among the 'terrible simplifiers' of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruelest, least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known".[380] For the historian John M. Roberts, Hitler's defeat marked the end of a phase of European history dominated by Germany.[381] In its place emerged the Cold War, a global confrontation between the Western Bloc, dominated by the United States and other NATO nations, and the Eastern Bloc, dominated by the Soviet Union.[382]Historian Sebastian Haffner avers that without Hitler and the displacement of the Jews, the modern nation state of Israel would not exist. He contends that without Hitler, the de-colonisation of former European spheres of influence would have been postponed.[383]Further, Haffner claims that other than Alexander the Great, Hitler had a more significant impact than any other comparable historical figure, in that he too caused a wide range of worldwide changes in a relatively short time span.[384]

Views on religion

Main article: Religious views of Adolf Hitler

Hitler was born to a practising Catholic mother and an anticlerical father; after leaving home Hitler never again attended Mass or received the sacraments.[385][386][387]Speer states that Hitler railed against the church to his political associates and though he never officially left it, he had no attachment to it.[388] He adds that Hitler felt that in the absence of organised religion, people would turn to mysticism, which he considered regressive.[388] According to Speer, Hitler believed that Japanese religious beliefs or Islam would have been a more suitable religion for Germans than Christianity, with its "meekness and flabbiness".[389]

Historian John S. Conway states that Hitler was fundamentally opposed to the Christian churches.[390] According to Bullock, Hitler did not believe in God, was anticlerical, and held Christian ethics in contempt because they contravened his preferred view of "survival of the fittest".[391] He favoured aspects of Protestantism that suited his own views, and adopted some elements of the Catholic Church's hierarchical organisation, liturgy, and phraseology.[392]

Hitler viewed the church as an important politically conservative influence on society,[393] and he adopted a strategic relationship with it that "suited his immediate political purposes".[390] In public, Hitler often praised Christian heritage and German Christian culture, though professing a belief in an "Aryan Jesus" who fought against the Jews.[394] Any pro-Christian public rhetoric contradicted his private statements, which described Christianity as "absurdity"[395] and nonsense founded on lies.[396]

According to a US Office of Strategic Services(OSS) report, "The Nazi Master Plan", Hitler planned to destroy the influence of Christian churches within the Reich.[397][398] His eventual goal was the total elimination of Christianity.[399] This goal informed Hitler's movement early on, but he saw it as inexpedient to publicly express this extreme position.[400] According to Bullock, Hitler wanted to wait until after the war before executing this plan.[401]

Speer wrote that Hitler had a negative view of Himmler's and Alfred Rosenberg's mystical notions and Himmler's attempt to mythologise the SS. Hitler was more pragmatic, and his ambitions centred on more practical concerns.[402][403]

Health

See also: Adolf Hitler's health and Psychopathography of Adolf Hitler

Researchers have variously suggested that Hitler suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular heartbeat, coronary sclerosis,[404] Parkinson's disease,[289][405]syphilis,[405] giant-cell arteritis,[406] and tinnitus.[407] In a report prepared for the OSS in 1943, Walter C. Langer of Harvard University described Hitler as a "neurotic psychopath".[408] In his 1977 book The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler, historian Robert G. L. Waite proposes that he suffered from borderline personality disorder.[409]Historians Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann consider that while he suffered from a number of illnesses including Parkinson's disease, Hitler did not experience pathological delusions and was always fully aware of, and therefore responsible for, his decisions.[410][277] Theories about Hitler's medical condition are difficult to prove, and placing too much weight on them may have the effect of attributing many of the events and consequences of Nazi Germany to the possibly impaired physical health of one individual.[411] Kershaw feels that it is better to take a broader view of German history by examining what social forces led to the Nazi dictatorship and its policies rather than to pursue narrow explanations for the Holocaust and World War II based on only one person.[412]

Hitler followed a vegetarian diet.[413] At social events he sometimes gave graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make his guests shun meat.[414] Bormann had a greenhouse constructed near the Berghof(near Berchtesgaden) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for Hitler.[415] Hitler publicly avoided alcohol. He occasionally drank beer and wine in private, but gave up drinking because of weight gain in 1943.[416] He was a non-smoker for most of his adult life, but smoked heavily in his youth (25 to 40 cigarettes a day); he eventually quit, calling the habit "a waste of money".[417] He encouraged his close associates to quit by offering a gold watch to anyone able to break the habit.[418] Hitler began using amphetamine occasionally after 1937 and became addicted to it in late 1942.[419] Speer linked this use of amphetamine to Hitler's increasingly erratic behaviour and inflexible decision making (for example, rarely allowing military retreats).[420]

Prescribed 90 medications during the war years by his personal physician, Theodor Morell, Hitler took many pills each day for chronic stomach problems and other ailments.[421] He regularly consumed amphetamine, barbiturates, opiates, and cocaine,[422][423] as well as potassium bromide and atropa belladonna (the latter in the form of Doktor Koster's Antigaspills).[424]He suffered ruptured eardrums as a result of the 20 July plot bomb blast in 1944, and 200 wood splinters had to be removed from his legs.[425] Newsreel footage of Hitler shows tremors in his left hand and a shuffling walk, which began before the war and worsened towards the end of his life.[421] Ernst-Günther Schenck and several other doctors who met Hitler in the last weeks of his life also formed a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.[426]

Family

Main articles: Hitler family and Sexuality of Adolf Hitler

Hitler in 1942 with his long-time lover, Eva Braun, whom he married on 29 April 1945

Hitler created a public image as a celibate man without a domestic life, dedicated entirely to his political mission and the nation.[146][427] He met his lover, Eva Braun, in 1929,[428] and married her in April 1945.[429] In September 1931, his half-niece, Geli Raubal, took her own life with Hitler's gun in his Munich apartment. It was rumoured among contemporaries that Geli was in a romantic relationship with him, and her death was a source of deep, lasting pain.[430] Paula Hitler, the younger sister of Hitler and the last living member of his immediate family, died in 1960.[17]

Adolf Hitler

 

Important Events From This day in History October 21st

Find Out What happened 21st October This Day in History on your birthday

 

 

 

21 Oct, 1966 - Wales Aberfan

1966 : The Aberfan Disaster buried a junior school in Aberfan, Wales killing 148 people, mostly children. The school was buried by a landslide of mud and waste sludge created from the local Merthyr Vale Colliery which was 700 ft high and towered over the local school before it collapsed. 

 

 

21 Oct, 1805 - Spain Death of Admiral Nelson

1805 : During the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805Admiral Horatio Nelson is killed by musket shot on the deck of H.M.S. Victory, and died in the midshipmen's berth below deck. 

 

21 Oct, 1879 - U.S.A. Thomas Edison

1879 : Thomas Edison invented a commercially practical incandescent light at his industrial research lab in Menlo Park, N.J. Full Size Original Here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Edison_in_his_NJ_laboratory_1901.jpg

 

21 Oct, 1910 - Los Angeles Times

1910 : A bomb explodes in the Los Angeles Times building killing 21 and injuring many more. 

 

 

21 Oct, 1927 - Hong Kong Pirates

1927 : The Chinese steamer Irene manned by British Officers was taken over by pirates masquerading as passengers on Wednesday. After taking control they headed out to sea where two British Submarines intercepted the vessel and demanded them to halt and surrender. The Pirates refused to surrender and the Submarines fired two torpedoes into the ships hold causing the ship to stop and start to sink. The British ship then rescued the passengers and crew. 

 

21 Oct, 1937 - Spain Civil War

1937 : Franco has now gained control of the North of Spain as the last government seaport of Gijon surrenders to the insurgent army of Franco. 

 

21 Oct, 1944 - Australia First Kamikaze Attack

1944 : HMAS Australia is attacked by the first kamikaze Attack when a Japanese aircraft carrying a 200 kg (441 lb) bomb strikes the superstructure, above the bridge. 30 crew members were killed in the attack which caused severe damage to the ship but because of the bombs failure to explode the ship was not destroyed. 

 

21 Oct, 1945 - France Women Get The Vote

1945 : Women in France get the right to vote in the parliamentary elections as part of the woman's suffrage movement. Many attribute the start of the modern woman's suffrage movement to women in France in the 18th century. 

 

21 Oct, 1947 - U.S.A. Forest Fires

1947 : Forest fires continue to claim millions of acres of forests and property in Maine after strong fresh winds start new outbreaks across the State which now has more than 50 separate forest fires to contend with. Other states in New England are also affected with forest fires but appear to be under control currently. 

 

21 Oct, 1949 - Female Federal Judge

1949 : Harry S. Truman appoints the first female federal judge in the nation. Burnita Shelton Matthews from Hazelhurst, MS. 

 

21 Oct, 1952 - Kenya State of Emergency Declared

1952 : Following the state of Emergency a number of members of the Mau Mau Movement who are demanding immediate self government from Britain are arrested including Jomo Kenyatta. 

 

21 Oct, 1958 - U.S.A. Civil Rights

1958 : The Civil Rights Commission is fighting an uphill battle to access to county voter records in Macon County, Alabama. The reason the commission is fighting to obtain records is that African-American residents outnumber white residents by 6 to 1 but voting records show white voters outnumber black voters by 2 to 1. 

 

21 Oct, 1965 - Disney Plans Walt Disney World Resort Orlando

1965 : Following the success of Disneyland in Anaheim, California (opened in 1955) Walt Disney buys 27,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida (using dummy corporations to stop land speculators pushing up the price) for $5 million (News story leaked by the Orlando Sentinel). Walt Disney World opened on October 1st, 1971, five years after the death of Walt Disney with the Magic Kingdom theme park and is now the most visited and largest recreational resort in the world. 

 

21 Oct, 1967 - U.S.A. Vietnam Demonstrations

1967 : 100,000 Demonstrators march on the Pentagon but the demonstration was marred by violence when the more radical element of the demonstrators clashed with the soldiers and U.S. Marshals protecting the Pentagon, in total 683 people including novelist Norman Mailer and two United Press International reporters, were arrested. Demonstrations also happened in Japan and Western Europe on the same day. 

 

21 Oct, 1973 - U.S.A. Aide Package Israel

October 21st, 1973 : President Nixon is seeking a 2.2 billion dollar military aide package for Israel. 

 

21 Oct, 1978 - Rhodesia Guerrillas

1978 : Massive raids by the Rhodesian army and air force on 12 black guerrilla bases in Zambia have left the death toll at over 1,500 and the Rhodesian Prime minister is blaming the British and American government for not arranging a cease fire with guerrillas as promised. 

 

21 Oct, 1986 - U.S.A. Ozone Layer

October 21st, 1986 : In a satellite hook up from Antarctica scientists have been studying a huge hole that has appeared in the earths ozone layer over Antarctica. They believe it may have been caused by a chemical process and are suspecting the gas used in Aerosol Cans. The preliminary studies the chemical reaction is caused by Chlorofluorocarbons CFC's. Although the use of Chlorofluorocarbons has been banned in the US in Aerosol Cans since 1978, they are still used in many applications including air conditioning in cars through to keeping Big Mac's warm and the overall growth in use has continued to rise. 

 

21 Oct, 1988 - Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos

1988 : Former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, are indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges of fraud and racketeering. Full Size Original Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marcos_with_Bosworths.jpg

 

21 Oct, 1994 - South Korea Seongsu Bridge Collapses

October 21st, 1994 : The Seongsu Bridge over the Han River in Seoul collapses when the suspension structure gives way leaving 32 dead.

 

21 Oct, 1998 - U.S.A. Mike Tyson

1998 : Mike Tyson has been given his boxing license back by the Nevada Athletic Commission who took his license away following his match with Evander Holyfield where he bit his opponents ears. Full Size Original Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mike-g-tyson.jpg 

 

21 Oct, 2001 - U.S.A. Anthrax

October 21st, 2001 : A Washington postal worker is confirmed as the ninth confirmed case of anthrax since anthrax infected mail began turning up in Florida, Washington and New York following the 11 September attacks. 

 

21 Oct, 2002 - World Wide Internet Attack

2002 : An attempt to cripple the internet by attacking its central address books in a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDos) causes some problems and temporarily disables seven of the net's 13 root servers, but due to the design of the Internet most users were not badly affected. 

 

21 Oct, 2003 - U.S.A. Right To Die

October 21st, 2003 : Florida Governor Jeb Bush has ordered a feeding tube reinserted into Terry Schiavo, who suffered severe brain damage in 1990 the patient at the center of The Right To Die battle in Florida. 

 

21 Oct, 2006 - Iceland Begins Whaling Again

2006 : Iceland broke a twenty-one year international moratorium on whaling after the Hvalur 9 whaling ship caught and killed a fin whale. A week prior to the catch Iceland announced that it would resume commercial whaling. 

 

21 Oct, 2008 - Greece National Strike

October 21st, 2008 : A strike by hundreds of thousands in Greece has bought the country to a standstill with Air traffic, urban transport and public services unavailable. The strike is over the governments proposals at privatization, caps on pay and reforms to the pension system combined protests against a 28bn-euro (£22bn) government rescue package to banks hit by the international credit crisis. 

 

21 Oct, 2009 - Banking Sector Sees Upturn In Profits

2009 : After nearly 12 months with large losses or low profits, the US banking sector begins the current reporting session with larger than expected profits. Many are concerned that this will mean large bonuses for banking sector employees while the rest of the country is in a recession. 

 

21 Oct, 2011 - President Obama Announces Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

October 21st, 2011 : President Obama announced that all troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of December 2011, honoring the terms set between Iraq and the United States when George W. Bush was president. The war began in 2003 with 150,000 American troops. During the span of the war, around 4,400 US soldiers were killed and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians were estimated to have been killed. 

 

21 Oct, 2012 - Nixon Presidential Challenger Dies

2012 : George McGovern, the Democratic challenger to Richard Nixon in the 1972presidential election died at the age of ninety. McGovern had been in hospice care and had been suffering from a number of medical issues due to advancing age. 

 

21 Oct, 2013 - Severe Smog in China

October 21st, 2013 : Severe smog impedes daily life in parts of China with schools being closed due to the difficulty of travel and health risks. The city of Harbin in the Heilongjiang province experienced dense smog making it difficult to travel, highways and schools were closed and many flights were cancelled. The visibility was reported at less than 160 feet in some areas. 

 

Born This Day In History 21st October

Celebrating Birthdays Today Judith Sheindlin Born: 21st October 1942 Brooklyn, New York Known For : American supervising family court judge in Manhattan, New York for many years. In 1996 after retiring from the bench she has became famous for presiding over her own syndicated courtroom show. Judge Judy who had a reputation as one of the most outspoken family court judges in the country took her style to arbitrate over small claims cases in Judge Judy and is watched by millions of viewers and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Manfred Mann Born: 21st October 1940 Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa Known For : Founding member of Manfred Mann and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The original Manfred Mann band had a number of number of chart topping hits in the UK which included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," "Pretty Flamingo," "Ha! Ha! Said the Clown" from 1964 to 1967. In 1971 Manfred Mann formed the progressive rock band "Manfred Mann's Earth Band" which has had over 25 years of musical success with many top 20 selling albums in the US and the popular single "Blinded By The Light" in 1976. 

October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 73 days remaining until the end of the year.

 

202 BC – Second Punic War: At the Battle of Zama, Roman legions under Scipio Africanus defeat Hannibal Barca, leader of the army defending Carthage.

439 – The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage in North Africa.

1216 – King John of England dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.

1386 – The Universität Heidelberg holds its first lecture, making it the oldest German university.

1453 – The Hundred Years' War ends with the French recapture of Bordeaux, leaving English control only on Calais

1466 – The Thirteen Years' War ends with the Second Treaty of Thorn.

1469 – Ferdinand II of Aragon marries Isabella I of Castile, a marriage that paves the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.

1512 – Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology (Doctor in Biblia).

1596 – The Spanish ship San Felipe runs aground on the coast of Japan and its cargo is confiscated by local authorities

1649 – New Ross town, County Wexford, Ireland, surrenders to Oliver Cromwell.

1781 – At Yorktown, Virginia, representatives of British commander Lord Cornwallis hand over Cornwallis' sword and formally surrender to George Washingtonand the comte de Rochambeau.

1789 – John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Austrian General Mack surrenders his army to the Grande Armée of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Ulm; 30,000 prisoners are captured and 10,000 casualties inflicted on the losers.

1812 – Napoleon Bonaparte retreats from Moscow.

1813 – The Battle of Leipzig concludes, giving Napoleon Bonaparte one of his worst defeats.

1822 – In Parnaíba; Simplício Dias da Silva, João Cândido de Deus e Silva and Domingos Dias declare the independent state of Piauí.

1864 – Battle of Cedar Creek: A U.S. Armyforce under Philip Sheridan destroys a Confederate army under Jubal Early.

1864 – St. Albans Raid: Confederateraiders launch an attack on Saint Albans, Vermont from Canada.

1866 – Austria cedes Veneto and Mantuato France, which immediately awards them to Italy in exchange for the earlier Italian acquiescence to the French annexation of Savoy and Nice.

1900 – Max Planck discovers the law of black-body radiation (Planck's law).

1912 – Italy takes possession of Tripoli, Libya from the Ottoman Empire.

1914 – The First Battle of Ypres begins.

1921 – Portuguese Prime Minister António Granjo and other politicians are murdered in a Lisbon coup.

1922 – British Conservative MPs meeting at the Carlton Club vote to break off the Coalition Government with David Lloyd George of the Liberal Party.

1933 – Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.

1935 – The League of Nations places economic sanctions on fascist Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia.

1943 – The cargo vessel Sinfra is attacked by Allied aircraft at Souda Bay, Crete, and sunk; 2,098 Italian prisoners of war drown with it.

1943 – Streptomycin, the first antibioticremedy for tuberculosis, is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.

1944 – United States forces land in the Philippines.

1944 – A coup is launched against Juan Federico Ponce Vaides, beginning the ten-year Guatemalan Revolution

1950 – The People's Liberation Army takes control of the town of Chamdo; this is sometimes called the "Invasion of Tibet".

1950 – The People's Republic of China joins the Korean War by sending thousands of troops across the Yalu River to fight United Nations forces.

1950 – Iran becomes the first country to accept technical assistance from the United States under the Point Four Program.

1956 – The Soviet Union and Japan sign a Joint Declaration, officially ending the state of war between the two countries that had existed since August 1945.

1960 – Cold War: The United States government imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.

1973 – President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.

1974 – Niue becomes a self-governing colony of New Zealand.

1984 – Roman Catholic priest from Poland, Jerzy Popiełuszko, associated with the Solidarity Union, is murdered by three agents of the Polish Communist internal intelligence agency.

1986 – Samora Machel, President of Mozambique and a prominent leader of FRELIMO, and 33 others die when their Tupolev Tu-134 plane crashes into the Lebombo Mountains.

1987 – The United States Navy conducts Operation Nimble Archer, an attack on two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf.

1987 – Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points.

1988 – The British government imposes a broadcasting ban on television and radio interviews with members of Sinn Féin and eleven Irish republican and Ulster loyalistparamilitary groups.

1989 – The convictions of the Guildford Four are quashed by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, after they had spent 15 years in prison.

2001 – SIEV X, an Indonesian fishing boat en route to Christmas Island, carrying over 400 asylum seekers, sinks in international waters with the loss of 353 people.

2003 – Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

2005 – Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

2005 – Hurricane Wilma becomes the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record with a minimum pressure of 882 mb.

2012 – A bomb explosion kills eight people and injures 110 people in Beirut, Lebanon.

2013 – At least 105 people are injured in a train crash at the Once railway station in Buenos Aires.

Events

Births

879 – Yingtian, empress of the Khitan Liao Dynasty (d. 953)

1276 – Prince Hisaaki of Japan (d. 1328)

1433 – Marsilio Ficino, Italian astrologer and philosopher (d. 1499)

1507 – Viglius, Dutch politician (d. 1577)

1545 – John Juvenal Ancina, Italian Oratorian and bishop (d. 1604)

1562 – George Abbot, English archbishop and academic (d. 1633)

1582 – Dmitry of Uglich (d. 1591)

1605 – Thomas Browne, English physician and author (d. 1682)

1609 – Gerrard Winstanley, English Protestant religious reformer (d. 1676)

1610 – James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, English-Irish general, academic, and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (d. 1688)

1613 – Charles of Sezze, Italian Franciscan friar and saint (d. 1670)

1658 – Adolphus Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (d. 1704)

1680 – John Abernethy, Irish minister (d. 1740)

1688 – William Cheselden, English surgeon and anatomist (d. 1752)

1718 – Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie, French general and politician, French Secretary of State for War (d. 1804)

1720 – John Woolman, American-English preacher, journalist, and activist (d. 1772)

1721 – Joseph de Guignes, French orientalist and sinologist (d. 1800)

1784 – Leigh Hunt, English poet and critic (d. 1859)

1789 – Theophilos Kairis, Greek priest and philosopher (d. 1853)

1810 – Cassius Marcellus Clay, American journalist, lawyer, and diplomat, United States Ambassador to Russia (d. 1903)

1814 – Theodoros Vryzakis, Greek painter (d. 1878)

1826 – Ralph Tollemache, English priest (d. 1895)

1850 – Annie Smith Peck, American mountaineer and academic (d. 1935)

1851 – Empress Myeongseong of Korea (d. 1895)

1858 – George Albert Boulenger, Belgian-English zoologist and botanist (d. 1937)

1862 – Auguste Lumière, French director and producer (d. 1954)

1868 – Bertha Knight Landes, American academic and politician, Mayor of Seattle(d. 1943)

1873 – Jaap Eden, Dutch speed skater and cyclist (d. 1925)

1873 – Bart King, American cricketer (d. 1965)

1876 – Mordecai Brown, American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 1945)

1876 – Mihkel Pung, Estonian lawyer and politician, 11th Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs (d. 1941)

1879 – Emma Bell Miles, American writer, poet, and artist (d. 1919)

1882 – Umberto Boccioni, Italian painter and sculptor (d. 1916)

1885 – Charles E. Merrill, American banker and philanthropist, co-founded Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (d. 1956)

1895 – Frank Durbin, American soldier (d. 1999)

1895 – Lewis Mumford, American historian, sociologist, and philosopher (d. 1990)

1896 – Bob O'Farrell, American baseball player and manager (d. 1988)

1897 – Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, Pakistani chemist and scholar (d. 1994)

1899 – Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemalan journalist, author, and poet, Nobel Prizelaureate (d. 1974)

1900 – Erna Berger, German soprano and actress (d. 1990)

1900 – Bill Ponsford, Australian cricketer and baseball player (d. 1991)

1900 – Roy Worters, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1957)

1901 – Arleigh Burke, American admiral (d. 1996)

1903 – Tor Johnson, Swedish wrestler and actor (d. 1971)

1907 – Roger Wolfe Kahn, American bandleader and composer (d. 1962)

1908 – Geirr Tveitt, Norwegian pianist and composer (d. 1981)

1909 – Marguerite Perey, French physicist and academic (d. 1975)

1910 – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian-American astrophysicist, astronomer, and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1995)

1910 – Shunkichi Hamada, Japanese field hockey player (d. 2009)

1910 – Paul Robert, French lexicographer and publisher (d. 1980)

1913 – Vinicius de Moraes, Brazilian poet, playwright, and composer (d. 1980)

1914 – Juanita Moore, American actress (d. 2014)

1916 – Jean Dausset, French-Spanish immunologist and academic, Nobel Prizelaureate (d. 2009)

1916 – Emil Gilels, Ukrainian-Russian pianist (d. 1985)

1916 – Minoru Yasui, American soldier, lawyer, and activist (d. 1986)

1917 – Sharadchandra Shankar Shrikhande, an Indian mathematician.

1917 – William Joel Blass, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (d. 2012)

1917 – Walter Munk, Austrian-American oceanographer, author, and academic

1918 – Charles Evans, English-Welsh mountaineer, surgeon, and educator (d. 1995)

1918 – Russell Kirk, American theorist and author (d. 1994)

1918 – Robert Schwarz Strauss, American lawyer and diplomat, United States Ambassador to Russia (d. 2014)

1920 – LaWanda Page, American actress (d. 2002)

1920 – Harry Alan Towers, English-Canadian screenwriter and producer (d. 2009)

1920 – Pandurang Shastri Athavale, Indian activist, philosopher, and spiritual leader (d. 2003)

1921 – George Nader, American actor (d. 2002)

1922 – Jack Anderson, American journalist and author (d. 2005)

1923 – Ruth Carter Stevenson, American art collector, founded the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (d. 2013)

1923 – Baby Dalupan, Filipino basketball player and coach (d. 2016)

1925 – Bernard Hepton, English actor and producer

1925 – Czesław Kiszczak, Polish general and politician, 11th Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Poland (d. 2015)

1925 – Emilio Eduardo Massera, Argentinian admiral (d. 2010)

1926 – Arne Bendiksen, Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer (d. 2009)

1926 – Joel Feinberg, American philosopher and academic (d. 2004)

1926 – Vladimir Shlapentokh, Ukrainian-American sociologist, historian, political scientist, and academic (d. 2015)

1926 – Marjorie Tallchief, American ballerina

1927 – Pierre Alechinsky, Belgian painter and illustrator

1927 – Stephen Keynes, English businessman

1928 – Lou Scheimer, American animator, producer, and voice actor, co-founded the Filmation Company (d. 2013)

1929 – Lewis Wolpert, South African-English biologist, author, and academic

1930 – John Evans, Baron Evans of Parkside, English union leader and politician

1930 – Mavis Nicholson, Welsh-English journalist

1931 – Ed Emberley, American author and illustrator

1931 – John le Carré, English intelligence officer and author

1931 – Atsushi Miyagi, Japanese tennis player

1932 – Robert Reed, American actor (d. 1992)

1933 – Brian Booth, Australian cricketer and educator

1933 – Anthony Skingsley, English air marshal

1934 – Yakubu Gowon, Nigerian general and politician, 3rd Head of State of Nigeria

1934 – Dave Guard, American folk music singer-songwriter, arranger, and musician (d. 1991)

1935 – Don Ward, Canadian-American ice hockey player (d. 2014)

1936 – James Bevel, American civil rights activist and minister (d. 2008)

1937 – Marilyn Bell, Canadian swimmer

1937 – Peter Max, German-American illustrator

1937 – Terence Thomas, Baron Thomas of Macclesfield, English banker and politician

1938 – Bill Morris, Baron Morris of Handsworth, Jamaican-English union leader and politician

1939 – David Clark, Baron Clark of Windermere, Scottish academic and politician, Minister for the Cabinet Office

1940 – Larry Chance, American singer-songwriter

1940 – Michael Gambon, Irish-British actor

1940 – Rosny Smarth, Haitian lawyer and politician, 8th Prime Minister of Haiti

1941 – Simon Ward, English actor (d. 2012)

1942 – Andrew Vachss, American lawyer and author

1943 – Robin Holloway, English composer and academic

1943 – Takis Ikonomopoulos, Greek footballer and coach

1943 – L. E. Modesitt, Jr., American author and poet

1944 – George McCrae, American singer

1944 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1987)

1945 – Angus Deaton, Scottish-American economist and academic, Nobel Prizelaureate

1945 – Divine, American drag queenperformer, and actor (d. 1988)

1945 – Patricia Ireland, American lawyer and activist

1945 – Gloria Jones, American singer-songwriter

1945 – John Lithgow, American actor

1945 – Jeannie C. Riley, American singer

1945 – Martin Welz, South African journalist

1946 – Bob Holland, Australian cricketer and surveyor

1946 – Philip Pullman, English author and academic

1946 – Keith Reid, English songwriter and lyricist

1947 – Giorgio Cavazzano, Italian author and illustrator

1948 – James Howard Kunstler, American author and critic

1948 – Dave Mallow, American voice actor and screenwriter

1948 – Patrick Simmons, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1949 – Lynn Dickey, American football player and radio host

1949 – Jamie McGrigor, English-Scottish politician

1950 – Yeslam bin Ladin, Saudi Arabian-Swiss businessman

1951 – Demetrios Christodoulou, Greek mathematician and physicist

1951 – Annie Golden, American actress and singer

1951 – Kurt Schrader, American veterinarian and politician

1952 – Peter Bone, English accountant and politician

1952 – Verónica Castro, Mexican actress and singer

1953 – Lionel Hollins, American basketball player and coach

1954 – Sam Allardyce, English footballer and manager

1954 – Deborah Blum, American journalist and author

1954 – Joe Bryant, American basketball player and coach

1955 – Dan Gutman, American author

1955 – LaSalle Ishii, Japanese actor and director

1956 – Steve Doocy, American journalist and author

1956 – Elena Garanina, Soviet ice dancer and coach

1956 – Grover Norquist, American activist, founded Americans for Tax Reform

1956 – Didier Theys, Belgian race car driver and coach

1956 – Carlo Urbani, Italian physician (d. 1993)

1956 – Bruce Weber, American basketball player and coach

1957 – Dorinda Clark-Cole, American singer-songwriter and pianist

1957 – Ray Richmond, American journalist and critic

1957 – Karl Wallinger, Welsh singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer

1958 – Carolyn Browne, English diplomat, British Ambassador to Kazakhstan

1958 – Hiromi Hara, Japanese footballer and manager

1958 – Tiriel Mora, Australian actor

1958 – Michael Steele, American journalist and politician, 7th Lieutenant Governor of Maryland

1959 – Nir Barkat, Israeli businessman and politician, Mayor of Jerusalem

1959 – Martin Kusch, German philosopher and academic

1960 – Dawn Coe-Jones, Canadian golfer (d. 2016)

1960 – Jennifer Holliday, American actress and singer

1960 – Takeshi Koshida, Japanese footballer

1960 – Susan Straight, American author and academic

1960 – Ayuo Takahashi, Japanese-American singer-songwriter

1960 – Dan Woodgate, English musician, songwriter, composer, and record producer

1961 – Sunny Deol, Indian actor and producer

1961 – Cliff Lyons, Australian rugby league player and coach

1962 – Tracy Chevalier, American-English author

1962 – Brian Henninger, American golfer

1962 – Bendik Hofseth, Norwegian saxophonist and composer

1962 – Evander Holyfield, American boxer and actor

1962 – Svetlana Zainetdinova, Soviet-Estonian chess player and coach

1963 – Sinitta, American-British singer

1964 – Ty Pennington, American model, carpenter and television host

1965 – Brad Daugherty, American basketball player and sportscaster

1965 – Todd Park Mohr, American rock singer-songwriter and musician (Big Head Todd and the Monsters)

1966 – Jon Favreau, American actor, director, and screenwriter

1966 – Dimitris Lyacos, Greek poet and playwright

1966 – David Vann (writer), American novelist and short story writer

1967 – Amy Carter, American illustrator and activist

1967 – Yōji Matsuda, Japanese actor

1967 – Yoko Shimomura, Japanese pianist and composer

1968 – Rodney Carrington, American comedian, actor, and singer

1969 – John Edward, American psychic and author

1969 – Trey Parker, American actor, animator, producer, and screenwriter

1969 – Erwin Sánchez, Bolivian footballer and manager

1970 – Andrew Griffiths, English politician

1970 – Chris Kattan, American actor, producer, and screenwriter

1972 – Keith Foulke, American baseball player

1972 – Pras, American rapper-songwriter (Fugees), record producer, and actor

1973 – Hicham Arazi, Moroccan tennis player

1973 – Okan Buruk, Turkish footballer and manager

1973 – Joaquin Gage, Canadian ice hockey player

1975 – Burak Güven, Turkish singer-songwriter and bass player

1976 – Omar Gooding, American actor and producer

1976 – Jostein Gulbrandsen, Norwegian guitarist and composer

1976 – Desmond Harrington, American actor

1976 – Paul Hartley, Scottish footballer and manager

1976 – Hiroshi Sakai, Japanese footballer

1976 – Dan Smith, Canadian ice hockey player

1976 – Michael Young, American baseball player

1977 – Habib Beye, French-Senegalese footballer

1977 – Louis-José Houde, Canadian comedian and actor

1977 – Jason Reitman, Canadian-American director, producer, and screenwriter

1977 – Raúl Tamudo, Spanish footballer

1977 – Mo Twister, Filipino radio and television host

1978 – Enrique Bernoldi, Brazilian race car driver

1978 – Zakhar Dubensky, Russian footballer

1978 – Henri Sorvali, Finnish guitarist and keyboard player

1979 – José Luis López, Mexican footballer

1979 – Brian Robertson, American trombonist

1979 – Sachiko Sugiyama, Japanese volleyball player

1980 – José Bautista, Dominican baseball player

1980 – Rajai Davis, American baseball player

1981 – Leon Bott, Australian rugby league player

1981 – Heikki Kovalainen, Finnish race car driver

1982 – Atom Araullo, Filipino journalist

1982 – Gillian Jacobs, American actress and director

1982 – Louis Oosthuizen, South African golfer

1982 – Gonzalo Pineda, Mexican footballer

1982 – Daan van Bunge, Dutch cricketer

1983 – Rebecca Ferguson, Swedish actress

1983 – Andy Lonergan, English footballer

1983 – Cara Santa Maria, American neuroscientist and blogger

1984 – Danka Barteková, Slovak skeet shooter

1987 – Tsunenori Aoki, Japanese actor

1987 – Sam Groth, Australian tennis player

1988 – Zeph Ellis, English rapper and producer

1988 – Markiyan Kamysh, Ukrainian writer

1988 – Chris Lawrence, Australian rugby league player

1989 – James Gavet, New Zealand rugby league player

1989 – Miroslav Stoch, Slovakian footballer

1989 – Rakuto Tochihara, Japanese actor

1989 – Janine Tugonon, Filipino model and television host

1990 – Tom Kilbey, English footballer

1990 – Endō Shōta, Japanese sumo wrestler

1990 – Janet Leon, Swedish singer-songwriter and dancer

1991 – Colton Dixon, American singer-songwriter and pianist

1992 – Shiho, Japanese actress and model

1993 – Abby Sunderland, American sailor

1994 – Agnė Sereikaitė, Lithuanian speed skater

1996 – Bernadeth Pons, Filipino volleyball athlete

Deaths

727 – Frithuswith, English saint (b. 650)

993 – Conrad I, King of Burgundy (b. c. 925)

1216 – John, King of England (b. 1167)

1287 – Bohemond VII, Count of Tripoli

1354 – Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada (b. 1318)

1375 – Cansignorio della Scala, Lord of Verona (b. 1340)

1401 – John Charleton, 4th Baron Cherleton (b. 1362)[1]

1432 – John de Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, English politician, Earl Marshal of England (b. 1392)

1587 – Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (b. 1541)

1595 – Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel, English nobleman (b. 1537)

1608 – Martin Delrio, Flemish theologian and author (b. 1551)

1609 – Jacobus Arminius, Dutch Reformed theologian (b. 1560)

1619 – Fujiwara Seika, Japanese philosopher and educator (b. 1561)

1636 – Marcin Kazanowski, Polish politician (b. 1566)

1678 – Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten, Dutch painter (b. 1627)

1682 – Thomas Browne, English physician and author (b. 1605)

1723 – Godfrey Kneller, German-English painter (b. 1646)

1745 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (b. 1667)

1772 – Andrea Belli, Maltese architect and businessman (b. 1703)

1790 – Lyman Hall, American physician and politician, 16th Governor of Georgia (b. 1724)

1796 – Michel de Beaupuy, French general (b. 1755)

1813 – Józef Poniatowski, Polish general (b. 1763)

1815 – Paolo Mascagni, Italian physician and anatomist (b. 1755)

1842 – Aleksey Koltsov, Russian poet and author (b. 1808)

1851 – Marie Thérèse of France (b. 1778)

1856 – William Sprague III, American businessman and politician, 14th Governor of Rhode Island (b. 1799)

1889 – Luís I of Portugal (b. 1838)

1893 – Lucy Stone, American activist (b. 1818)

1897 – George Pullman, American engineer and businessman, founded the Pullman Company (b. 1831)

1901 – Carl Frederik Tietgen, Danish businessman and philanthropist, founded GN Store Nord (b. 1829)

1905 – Virgil Earp, American marshal (b. 1843)

1916 – Ioannis Frangoudis, Greek general and target shooter (b. 1863)

1918 – Harold Lockwood, American actor (b. 1887)

1924 – Louis Zborowski, English race car driver and engineer (b. 1895)

1936 – Lu Xun, Chinese author and critic (b. 1881)

1937 – Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prizelaureate (b. 1871)

1943 – Camille Claudel, French sculptor and illustrator (b. 1864)

1944 – Dénes Kőnig, Hungarian mathematician (b. 1884)

1945 – Plutarco Elías Calles, Mexican general and politician, 40th President of Mexico (b. 1877)

1945 – N. C. Wyeth, American painter and illustrator (b. 1882)

1950 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet and playwright (b. 1892)

1952 – Edward S. Curtis, American ethnologist and photographer (b. 1868)

1956 – Isham Jones, American saxophonist, songwriter, and bandleader (b. 1894)

1960 – George Wallace, Australian comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1895)

1961 – Şemsettin Günaltay, Turkish historian and politician, 9th Prime Minister of Turkey (b. 1883)

1964 – Sergey Biryuzov, Marshal of the Soviet Union (b. 1904)

1964 – Nettie Palmer, Australian poet and critic (b. 1885)

1964 – Christopher Vane, 10th Baron Barnard, English soldier and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Durham (b. 1888)

1965 – Edward Willis Redfield, American painter and educator (b. 1869)

1969 – Lacey Hearn, American sprinter (b. 1881)

1970 – Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexican general and politician, 44th President of Mexico (b. 1895)

1978 – Gig Young, American actor (b. 1913)

1983 – Maurice Bishop, Aruban-Grenadian lawyer and politician, 2nd Prime Minister of Grenada (b. 1944)

1984 – Jerzy Popiełuszko, Polish priest and activist (b. 1947)

1985 – Alfred Rouleau, Canadian businessman (b. 1915)

1986 – Dele Giwa, Nigerian journalist, co-founded Newswatch Magazine (b. 1947)

1986 – Samora Machel, Mozambican commander and politician, 1st President of Mozambique (b. 1933)

1987 – Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist and educator (b. 1945)

1987 – Hermann Lang, German race car driver (b. 1909)

1988 – Son House, American singer and guitarist (b. 1902)

1992 – Magnus Pyke, English scientist and television host (b. 1908)

1994 – Martha Raye, American actress and comedian (b. 1916)

1995 – Don Cherry, American trumpet player (b. 1936)

1995 – Harilaos Perpessas, Greek pianist and composer (b. 1907)

1997 – Glen Buxton, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1947)

1997 – Ken Wood, English businessman (b. 1916)

1999 – James C. Murray, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (b. 1917)

1999 – Nathalie Sarraute, Russian-French lawyer and author (b. 1900)

2002 – Nikolay Rukavishnikov, Russian physicist and astronaut (b. 1932)

2003 – Road Warrior Hawk, American wrestler (b. 1957)

2003 – Alija Izetbegović, Bosniak lawyer and politician, 1st President of Bosnia and Herzegovina (b. 1925)

2003 – Margaret Murie, American environmentalist and author (b. 1902)

2003 – Nello Pagani, Italian motorcycle racer and race car driver (b. 1911)

2005 – Ryan Dallas Cook, American trombonist (b. 1982)

2006 – James Glennon, American cinematographer (b. 1942)

2006 – Phyllis Kirk, American actress (b. 1927)

2007 – Winifred Asprey, American mathematician and computer scientist (b. 1917)

2007 – Randall Forsberg, American activist and author (b. 1943)

2007 – Michael Maidens, English footballer (b. 1987)

2007 – Jan Wolkers, Dutch author, sculptor, and painter (b. 1925)

2008 – Richard Blackwell, American actor, fashion designer, and critic (b. 1922)

2009 – Howard Unruh, American murderer (b. 1921)

2009 – Joseph Wiseman, Canadian-American actor (b. 1918)

2010 – Tom Bosley, American actor (b. 1927)

2011 – Kakkanadan, Indian author (b. 1935)

2012 – Lincoln Alexander, Canadian lawyer and politician, 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (b. 1922)

2012 – Wissam al-Hassan, Lebanese general (b. 1965)

2012 – Wiyogo Atmodarminto, Indonesian general and politician, 10th Governor of Jakarta (b. 1922)

2012 – Mike Graham, American wrestler (b. 1951)

2012 – Fiorenzo Magni, Italian cyclist (b. 1920)

2013 – John Bergamo, American drummer and composer (b. 1940)

2013 – Noel Harrison, English singer, actor, and skier (b. 1934)

2013 – Ronald Shannon Jackson, American drummer and composer (b. 1940)

2013 – Mikihiko Renjō, Japanese author (b. 1948)

2013 – Mahmoud Zoufonoun, Iranian-American violinist and composer (b. 1920)

2014 – John Holt, Jamaican singer-songwriter (b. 1947)

2014 – Stephen Paulus, American composer (b. 1949)

2014 – Raphael Ravenscroft, English saxophonist and composer (b. 1954)

2014 – Serena Shim, Lebanese-American journalist (b. 1984)

2015 – Leon Bramlett, American football player and politician (b. 1923)

2015 – Bill Daley, American football player and sportscaster (b. 1919)

2015 – Fleming Mackell, Canadian ice hockey player and singer (b. 1929)

2015 – Ali Treki, Libyan politician and diplomat, Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs(b. 1938)

2016 – Phil Chess, Czech-American record producer, co-founded Chess Records (b. 1921)

2016 – Giovanni Steffè, Italian rower (b. 1928)

2017 – Umberto Lenzi, Italian film director (b. 1931)

Holidays and observances

Christian feast day:

Aaron (Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria)

Aquilinus of Évreux

Desiderius (Didier) of Auxerre

Frideswide

Henry Martyn (Anglican Communion)

Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf, and Companions

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko

Paul of the Cross

Ptolemaeus and Lucius

Varus

Veranus of Cavaillon

William Carey (Episcopal Church)

October 19 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

Constitution Day, in honor of the country's independence (self-governing in free association with New Zealand) in 1974. (Niue)

Mother Teresa Day (Albania)

Reference

  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Charlton, John de". Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 126.

October 20 is the 293rd day of the year (294th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 72 days remaining until the end of the year.

Events

1548 – The city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace) is founded by Alonso de Mendoza by appointment of the king of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

1568 – Battle of Jodoigne: the Spanish Duke of Alba defeats a Dutch rebel force under William the Silent.

1572 – Relief of Goes: Cristóbal de Mondragón, with 3000 soldiers of the Spanish Tercios, relieves the siege of the city.

1720 – Caribbean pirate Calico Jack is captured by the Royal Navy.

1740 – Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refuse to honour the Pragmatic Sanction and the War of the Austrian Succession begins.

1781 – The Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, is approved in Habsburg Monarchy.

1803 – The United States Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.

1818 – The Convention of 1818 is signed between the United States and the United Kingdom, which settles the Canada–United States border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.

1827 – In the Battle of Navarino, a combined Turkish and Egyptian fleet is defeated by British, French, and Russiannaval forces in the last significant battle fought with wooden sailing ships.

1873 – Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Rutgers universities draft the first code of American football rules.

1883 – Peru and Chile sign the Treaty of Ancón, by which the Tarapacá province is ceded to the latter, bringing an end to Peru's involvement in the War of the Pacific.

1904 – Chile and Bolivia sign the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, delimiting the border between the two countries.

1910 – The hull of the RMS Olympic, sister-ship to the ill-fated RMS Titanic, is launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1935 – The Long March, a mammoth retreat undertaken by the armed forces of the Chinese Communist Party a year prior, ends.

1941 – World War II: Thousands of civilians in Kragujevac in German-occupied Serbiaare murdered in the Kragujevac massacre.

1944 – The Soviet Army and Yugoslav Partisans liberate Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia

1944 – Liquefied natural gas leaks from storage tanks in Cleveland and then explodes; the explosion and resulting fire level 30 blocks and kill 130.

1944 – American general Douglas MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines when he commands an Allied assault on the islands, reclaiming them from the Japanese during the Second World War.

1946 – Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam decides that October 20 is Vietnam Women's Day.

1947 – The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of the cinema of the United States, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.

1947 – The United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan establish diplomatic relations for the first time.

1951 – The "Johnny Bright incident" occurs in Stillwater, Oklahoma

1952 – Governor Evelyn Baring declares a state of emergency in Kenya and begins arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising, including Jomo Kenyatta, the future first President of Kenya.

1961 – The Soviet Union performs the first armed test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, launching an R-13 from a Golf-class submarine.

1962 – People's Republic of China launches simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line, igniting the Sino-Indian War.

1968 – Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

1973 – "Saturday Night Massacre": United States President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.

1973 – The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.

1976 – The ferry George Prince is struck by a ship while crossing the Mississippi Riverbetween Destrehan and Luling, Louisiana. Seventy-eight passengers and crew die, and only 18 people aboard the ferry survive.

1977 – Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crashes. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines perish in the crash.

1981 – Two police officers and an armored car guard are killed during an armed robbery in Rockland County, New York, carried out by members of the Black Liberation Army and Weather Underground.

1982 – During the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem, 66 people are crushed to death in the Luzhniki disaster.

1991 – A 6.8 Mw earthquake strikes the Uttarkashi region of India, killing more than 1,000 people.

1999 – The anime One Piece is broadcast for the first time.

2011 – Libyan Civil War: National Transitional Council rebel forces capture ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafiin his hometown of Sirte and kill himshortly thereafter.

 

On This Day

 

OCTOBER18

Historical Events on October 18

 

 

 

 

October 18

EVENTS

 Highlights Events Birthdays Deaths Weddings & Divorces 

707 John VII ends his reign as Catholic Pope

1009 The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacks the Church's foundations down to bedrock

1016 Danes defeat Saxons at Battle of Assandun (Ashingdon)

1081 Battle of Dyrrhachium: Southern Italian Normans under Robert Guiscard defeat Byzantine Empire

1267 Battle at Marienholz: Henry III, Otto II van Gelre beat Keuls archbishop Engelbert III

1356 Basel earthquake, the most significant historic seismological event north of the Alps, destroys Basel in Switzerland.

1386 Opening of the University of Heidelberg

1534 New pursuit of French protestants

1561 Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima -- Takeda Shingen defeats Uesugi Kenshin in the climax of their ongoing conflict

1564 John Hawkins begins 2nd trip to America

1572 Spanish troops attack Maastricht

1622 French King Louis XIII & Huguenots sign Treaty of Montpellier

1648 1st labor organization forms in North American colonies (Boston Shoemakers)

1667 English fleet plunders Suriname plantations

1672 Poland & Turkey sign Peace of Buczacz

Event Event of Interest

1685 French King Louis XIVrevokes Edict of Nantes cancelling rights of French Protestants

The Sun King of FranceLouis XIV

 

1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle signed, ending War of Austrian Succession

1752 Premiere of Rousseau's opera "Le Devin du Village"

1767 Mason Dixon line, the boundary between Maryland & Pennsylvania agreed upon

Event of Interest

1775 African-American poet Phillis Wheatley freed from slavery.

PoetPhillis Wheatley

1776 In a bar decorated with bird tail in Elmsford, New York, a customer requests a glassful of “those cock tails” from bartender Betsy Flanagan

1776 Battle of Pelham: Colonel John Glover & Marblehead regiment meet British Forces in Bronx

Event of Interest

1790 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling is granted permission to enroll at the Tübinger Stift at an earlier age than usually permitted

PhilosopherFriedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Event of Interest

1855 Franz Liszt's "Prometheus" premieres

Composer/PianistFranz Liszt

 

1860 The Second Opium War finally ends at the Convention of Peking with the ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin, an unequal treaty.

1862 Morgan's raiders capture federal garrison at Lexington, KY

1863 Battle of Charlestown, WV

1867 US takes formal possession of Alaska from Russia having paid $7.2 million

1869 Henrik Ibsen's "De Unges Forbund" premieres in Christiania (Oslo), Norway

1873 1st football game between Toronto Argonauts & Hamilton Tigers

1873 Columbia Princeton Rutgers & Yale set rules for collegiate football

1878 Edison makes electricity available for household use

1878 Anti-socialist laws are ratified in Germany

1887 Start of Sherlock Holmes adventure "A Case of Identity" (BG)

1889 1st all NYC World Series NY Giants (NL) play Bkln (AA)

1892 1st commercial long-distance phone line opens (Chicago-NY)

1898 American flag raised in Puerto Rico

1900 Count Bernard von Bulow becomes Chancellor of Germany, famous for first referring to Germany's need for 'place in the sun' and global empire

1901 Belgium's Louise of den Plas begins activities towards women rights

1904 Gustav Mahler's 5th symphony premieres in Cologne

1908 Belgium annexes Congo Free State

1909 Comte de Lambert of France sets airplane altitude record of 300 m

Historic Publication

1910 E. M. Forster publishes novel "Howards End"

Writer and NovelistE. M. Forster

1912 The Treaty of Lausanne ends the Tripolitan War between Turkey and Italy

1912 The First Balkan War breaks out, with Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece opposed to Turkey

1914 Schoenstatt Movement is founded in Germany

1915 3rd Italian offensive at Isonzo

1918 Czechoslovakia declares independence from Austro-Hungarian Empire

1918 NHL's Quebec Bulldogs sold to a Toronto businessman P. J. Quinn

1918 Russian 10th Army drives out White armies of Tsaritsyn (Stalingrad)

Event of Interest

1919 David Beatty is created 1st Earl Beatty, Viscount Borodale, and Baron Beatty of the North Sea and Brooksby

British Admiral of the FleetDavid Beatty

1921 Biding its time, Soviet Russia agrees to independence for the Crimea

1922 British Broadcasting Company (BBC) founded, later called British Broadcasting Corporation

Event of Interest

1924 Harold "Red" Grange, finest collegiate football game (4 long TD runs)

NFL LegendRed Grange

1924 Notre Dame beats Army 13-7, NY Hearld Tribune dubs them (4 Horsemen)

1925 -20] French Gen Sarrail bombs Damascus

1925 Salt Lake City (PCL) Tony Lazzeri hits his 60th HR of the season

Historic Publication

1926 Frankfurter Zeitung publishes Lenin's political testament

Marxist Revolutionary and Soviet LeaderVladimir Lenin

1929 Women are considered "Persons" under Canadian law

1930 Joseph Sylvester becomes 1st jockey to win 7 races in 1 day

Event of Interest

1931 American gangster Al Caponeconvicted of tax evasion

GangsterAl Capone

1932 Belgium government of Renkin falls

1939 Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Harts musical "Too Many Girls" premieres in NYC

1940 Kaufman & Harts "George Washington Slept Here" premieres in NYC

1941 Soviet spy Richard Sorge arrested in Tokyo

Event of Interest

1942 Hitler orders captured allied commandos to be killed

Dictator of Nazi GermanyAdolf Hitler

1943 US bombing of Bougainville, Solomon Island

Event of Interest

1944 Eisenhower, Bradley & Montgomery confer in Brussels

34th US President & WWII GeneralDwight D. Eisenhower

1944 Soviet troops invade Czechoslovakia during WW II

1945 Paul Robeson wins Spingarn Medal for singing & acting achievements

Music Premiere

1946 Aaron Copland's 3rd Symphony premieres

ComposerAaron Copland

1948 Operation 10 Plagues - Israeli offensive against Egyptian army

Event of Interest

1950 Connie Mack retires as manager of Philadelphia Athletics after 50 years, longest serving manager in MLB history

Baseball LegendConnie Mack

1951 USSR performs nuclear test

1952 Date of the first Mad Magazine issue

1952 "Buttrio Square" closes at New Century Theater NYC after 7 performances

1952 Vinoo Mankad takes 13 Pakistan wkts to win 1st India-Pak clash

1953 WLJT TV channel 11 in Lexington, TN (PBS) begins broadcasting

1953 WTVK TV channel 26 in Knoxville, TN (NBC) begins broadcasting

1953 Willie Thrower becomes 1st black NFL quarterback in modern times

1954 Hurricane Hazel becomes most severe to ever hit the US, killing 195 in US and Canada

1954 WBTW TV channel 13 in Florence, SC (CBS/ABC) begins broadcasting

1954 WNBC radio changes call letters to WRCA (NYC)

1954 Texas Instruments Inc. announces the first transistor radio.

Event of Interest

1955 Track & Field names Jesse Owens all-time track athelete

Track and Field AthleteJesse Owens

1955 University of California discovers anti-proton

1960 Casey Stengel retired by NY Yankees (won 10 pennants in 12 years)

1960 In Britain, News Chronicle & Daily Mail merge and London Evening Star merges with Evening News

1961 Emergency crisis proclaimed in South Vietnam due to communist attack

1961 "West Side Story", directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, the film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical, starring Natalie Wood, is released (Academy Awards Best Picture 1962)

Meeting of Interest

1962 JFK meets Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko

35th US PresidentJohn F. Kennedy

Music Recording

1962 Tony Sheridan & Beat Brothers record "Let's Dance"

Singer-Songwriter and and GuitaristTony Sheridan

1962 US launches Ranger 5 for lunar impact; misses Moon

1962 US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Johnston Island

Nobel Prize

1962 James Watson (US), Francis Crick (UK) and Maurice Wilkins (UK) win the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work in determining the structure of DNA

Molecular biologistFrancis Crick

Molecular BiologistJames Watson

1963 IOC votes Mexico City to host 1968 Olympics

1964 Australian swimmer Kevin Berry sets world record 2:06.6 to beat American Carl Robie by 0.9s and win the men's 200m backstroke gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics

1966 "Apple Tree" opens at Shubert Theater NYC for 463 performances

Film Release

1966 "Persona", Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann, is released

Director, WriterIngmar Bergman

1967 Nobel prize for physics awarded to Hans A Bethe

1967 Soviet Venera 4 becomes 1st probe to send data back from Venus

1967 Walt Disney's "Jungle Book" film is released

1967 AL votes to allow Athletics to move from KC to Oakland & expand league to 12 teams in 1971 with KC & Seattle teams

1968 American long jumper Bob Beamon sets an incredible world record (8.90m, 29' 2½") in high altitude at the Mexico City Olympics; 0.55m (22") improvement over previous world record

1968 Circus Circus hotel opens in Las Vegas, largest permanent big top in the world

1968 John Lennon & Yoko One fined £150 for marijuana possession

1968 Lee Evans sets world record of 43.8 seconds in 400 meter dash

Event of Interest

1968 Police find 219 grains of cannabis resin in John Lennon and Yoko Ono's apartment

Musician and BeatleJohn Lennon

Artist & MusicianYoko Ono

 

1968 US Olympic Committee suspends Tommie Smith & John Carlos for giving "black power" salute as a protest during victory ceremony

1968 American swimmer Don Schollander anchors US 4 × 200m freestyle relay team to world record 7:52.1 and the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo; Schollander's 4th gold of the Games

1968 American athletes sweep the medals in the men's 400m at the Mexico City Olympics; Lee Evans wins gold in world record 43.86s ahead of Larry James and Ron Freeman

1968 Polish sprinter Irena Szewińska runs a world record 22.58s to beat Australian Raelene Boyle by 0.16s and win the 200m gold medal at the Mexico City Olympics

1968 A rare Australian 1-2 in track & field; Maureen Caird in Olympic record 10.39s beats team mate Pam Kilborn by 0.07s to win the 80m hurdles at the Mexico City Games

1969 Federal government bans use of cyclamates artificial sweeteners

1969 Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kanter arrested for marijuana possession

Event of Interest

1969 Rod Stewart joins Small Faces

SingerRod Stewart

1969 Soyuz 8 returns to Earth

1970 Sachio Kinugasa begins 2,215 cons game streak for Hiroshima Carp

1973 "Raisin" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 847 performances

1973 Congress authorizes bi-centennial quarter, half-dollar & dollar coin

1973 Judd Woldon & Robert Brittens musical "Raisin," premieres in NYC

1973 Nobel prize for Economic Sciences awarded to American Wassily Leontief

1974 1st NBA game at Market Square Arena - Pacers beat Spurs 129-121

1974 Andre van de Louw appointed Mayor of Rotterdam

1974 Wings (Country Hams) release "Walking in the Park with Eloise"

Event of Interest

1974 Chicago Bull Nate Thurmondbecomes 1st in NBA to complete a quadruple double-22 pts, 14 rebounds, 13 assists & 12 blocks

NBA ForwardNate Thurmond

Event of Interest

1975 Simon & Garfunkel reunite on "Saturday Night Live", sing "My Little Town"

Television ProducerLorne Michaels

1975 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1976 Nobel prize for chemistry awarded to American William Lipscomb

1977 1st Islander 0-0 tie-Kings at Nassau-25th time shutout-Resch's 15th

1977 NY Yankees win their 21st World Championship, 4 games

1977 West German commandos liberate Boeing 737 with 86 hostages at Mogadishu

Baseball Record

1977 Reggie Jackson hits 3 consecutive homers tying Ruth's series record

MLB Right FielderReggie Jackson

1977 Yanks beat Dodgers 8-4 for 21st world championship, 1st in 15 years

1978 US 1st daughter Susan Ford announces engagement to Charles F Vance

1978 NY Islanders 1st scoreless tie, vs LA Kings

1979 "Beatlemania" opens in London

Event of Interest

1979 Iran's Ayatollah Khomeiniorders mass executions to stop

Supreme Leader of IranAyatollah Khomeini

1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1980 Brooke Alexander, 18, of Hawaii, crowned Miss World USA

1980 Detroit blocks 21 Atlanta shots setting NBA record (double OT)

1981 Andreas Papandreous' PASOK wins Greek elections

1981 NY Giant Joe Danelo ties NFL record of 6 field goals in a game

1981 Poland General Jaruzelski elected party leader

1984 Discovery moves to Vandenberg AFB for mating of STS 51A mission

1984 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1988 Israel's supreme court uphold's ban on Kahane`s Kach Party as racist

1988 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

Television Debut

1988 "Roseanne" TV comedy starring Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf premieres in the US on ABC

Comedienne and ActressRoseanne Barr

ActorJohn Goodman

 

1989 East German state/party leader Erich Honecker, resigns

1989 Hungary revises its constitution after the fall of its Communist regime

1989 US 62nd manned space mission STS 34 (Atlantis 5) launches into orbit

1990 "Once on this Island" opens at Booth Theater NYC for 469 performances

1991 "Most Happy Fella" closes at NY State Theater NYC

1991 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Film Release

1991 "My Own Private Idaho" directed and written by Gus van Sant starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves is released

ActorRiver Phoenix

Actor and MusicianKeanu Reeves

1992 "Oba Oba '93" closes at Marquis Theater NYC after 22 performances

1992 1st non-US team to win a World Series Game; Toronto 5, Atlanta 4

1992 6.6 earthquake hits Colombia with no fatalities

1992 Philadelphia Eagle Randall Cunningham sets NFL quarterback scramble record of 3,683

1992 Start of Zimbabwe's 1st Test match, v India at Harare

1993 STS-58 (Columbia) launches into orbit

1995 NHL Winnipeg Jets sold to Americans who plan to move them to Phoenix

1999 MLB American League Championship: New York Yankees beat Boston Red Sox, 4 games to 1

Event of Interest

2000 Zack de la Rocha announces he is leaving rock band Rage Against the Machine

GuitaristTom Morello

2001 Crude Oil for November delivery falls to its lowest level since August 1999 on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)

2003 Bolivian Gas War: President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, is forced to resign and leave Bolivia

Event of Interest

2007 After 8 years in exile, Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan. The same night, suicide attackers blow themselves up near Bhutto's convoy, killing over 100, including 20 police officers. Bhutto escapes uninjured.

Pakistani PoliticanBenazir Bhutto

NFL Record

2009 QB Tom Brady throws five second quarter touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans, an NFL record for touchdown passes in one quarter

NFL QuarterbackTom Brady

2009 British Mercedes driver Jenson Button finishes 5th in Brazilian Grand Prix at Autódromo José Carlos Pace to clinch his first World F1 Drivers Championship

2011 Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas

2012 Syrian military airstrikes kill 40 people in Maaret al-Numan

2012 Google stock trading suspended after premature release of a quarterly report indicating a 20% drop in profits and a 9% fall in share price

2012 MLB American League Championship: Detroit Tigers beat New York Yankees, 4 games to 0

Event of Interest

2012 Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen are honoured for their work with fashion label The Row at the WSJ Magazine's Innovator Of The Year Awards in New York City

Actress and fashion designerAshley Olsen

2013 Saudi Arabia becomes the first country to turn down a seat on the UN Security Council in protest over Syria

2013 MLB National League Championship: St. Louis Cardinals beat Los Angeles Dodgers, 4 games to 2

2016 US White Houses says it is "confident" Russia behind recent email hacking and attemps to influence US election

Event of Interest

2017 US congresswoman Frederica Wilson says President Donald Trump said to bereaved army family of Sgt. La David Johnson "He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway"

45th US President, Businessman and TV PersonalityDonald Trump

Conference of Interest

2017 19th Chinese Communist Party congress opens in Beijing with President Xi Jinping delivering 3hr 23min speech heralding “new era”

Paramount Leader of ChinaXi Jinping

On this day, Historical Events on October 18

When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in protest at the 1968 Summer Games, Australian runner Peter Norman stood by them. It lost him his career.

It’s an iconic image: Two athletes raise their fists on the Olympic podium. The photograph, taken after the 200 meter race at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, turned African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos from track-and-field stars into the center of a roiling controversy over their raised-fist salute, a symbol of black power and the human rights movement at large.

But look in the photo and you’ll see another man as well: silver medalist Peter Norman, a white Australian runner. Norman didn’t raise his fist that day, but he stood with Smith and Carlos. Though his show of solidarity ended up destroying Norman’s career, the three athletes’ actions that day would be just one in a line of protests on the athletic stage.

U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos raise gloved hands skyward during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, 1968.

AP Photo

Smith and Carlos, who had won gold and bronze, respectively, agreed to use their medal wins as an opportunity to highlight the social issues roiling the United States at the time. Racial tensions were at a height, and the Civil Rights movement had given way to the Black Power movement. African-Americans like Smith and Carlos were frustrated by what they saw as the passive nature of the Civil Rights movement. They sought out active forms of protests and advocated for racial pride, black nationalism and dramatic action rather than incremental change.

It was only months after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and protests against the Vietnam War were gaining steam as well. In the lead-up to the Olympics, Smith and Carlos helped organize the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a group that reflected their black pride and social consciousness. The group saw the Olympic Games as an opportunity to agitate for better treatment of black athletes and black people around the world. Its demands included hiring more black coaches and rescinding Olympic invitations to Rhodesia and South Africa, both of which practiced apartheid. Though the project initially proposed a boycott of the Olympics altogether, Smith and Carlos decided to compete in the hopes they could use their achievements as a platform for broader change.

Mexico City police beating a protester during a student march days before the military gunned down hundreds of students during a similiar peaceful march at Tlatelolco Plaza in Mexico City. (Credit: AP Photo)

Then, just 10 days before the opening of the Summer Games, an unarmed group of protesters assembled in Mexico City’s Three Cultures Square to plan the next move of the growing Mexican students’ movement. The Mexican government sent in bulldozers to disperse the thousands gathered, and troops fired into the crowd, massacringbetween four (the government’s official count) and 3,000 students.

Carlos and Smith were deeply affected by these events and the plight of marginalized people around the world. “It was a cry for freedom and for human rights,” Smith told Smithsonianmagazine in 2008. “We had to be seen because we couldn’t be heard.”

The third man on the podium became part of the protest, too, albeit in a less direct way. Before winning silver, Norman was a working-class boy from Melbourne, Australia, born in 1942. His family members were devout members of the Salvation Army, an evangelical group connected with the charitable group better known to Americans. Part of that faith was the belief that all men were equal.

Though he was poor growing up, Norman was an extraordinarily fast runner, and learned to race on spikes that his father, a butcher, borrowed due to lack of funds. In 1960, the teenager burst onto the national running scene as a junior, winning his first major title in Victoria. From then on, he became a major contender in Australian track and field. A powerful sprinter, his specialty was his finishes—an area in which some short-course runners falter.

The final of the Men’s 200 meter event at the 1968 Summer Games. From left to right: Peter Norman of Australia, and Larry Questad, John Carlos and Tommie Smith of the United States. (Credit: Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

He displayed that skill during the 200 meter final on October 16, 1968, at Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium. Though Norman had finished strong in the qualifying rounds, he was underestimated by the other runners—until, at the very end of the medal race, he edged in front of John Carlos at the finish line. “Out of nowhere, Norman stormed down the last 50 meters, taking the line before a shocked Carlos,” writesCNN’s James Montague. Norman finished his sprint second with a time of 20.06 seconds and qualified for a silver medal.

At the time, Australia was experiencing racial tensions of its own. For years, it had been governed by its “White Australia Policy,” which dramatically limited immigration to the country by non-white people. While the Australian government welcomed new residents from predominantly white areas like the Baltics, it regularly turned down non-European migrants. In 1966, the government made the first steps toward abolishing the policy, but its effects reverberated throughout Australia. Non-Australians weren’t the only people discriminated against: Aboriginal Australians, too, were historically oppressed in the country, which forced Aboriginal children into boarding schools, while removing others from their families and placing them with white households.

Norman supported his fellow Olympians’ protest, in part because of the intolerance he had witnessed in Australia. “Australia was not a crucible of tolerance,” notes Steve Georgakis, a sports studies specialist from Australia. “Norman, a teacher and guided by his Salvation Army faith, took part in the Black Power salute because of this opposition to racism and the White Australia Policy.”

Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos after receiving their medals. (Credit: Patrice Habans/Paris Match/Getty Images)

As the athletes waited to go to the podium, Carlos and Smith told Norman that they planned to use their win as an opportunity to protest. Smith and Carlos decided to appear on the podium bearing symbols of protest and strength: black-socked feet without shoes to bring attention to black poverty, beads to protest lynchings, and raised, black-gloved fists to represent their solidarity and support with black people and oppressed people around the world.

“I looked at my feet in my high socks and thought about all the black poverty I’d seen from Harlem to East Texas. I fingered my beads and thought about the pictures I’d seen of the ‘strange fruit’ swinging from the poplar trees of the South,” Carlos later wrote.

Carlos realized he had forgotten his gloves, and Norman suggested the American athletes share a pair. The Australian also asked how he could support his fellow medalists. They suggested he wear a badge for the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Norman didn’t raise his fist, but by wearing the badge he made his stance clear.

As the American athletes raised their fists, the stadium hushed, then burst into racist sneers and angry insults. Smith and Carlos were rushed from the stadium, suspended by the U.S. team, and kicked out of the Olympic Village for turning their medal ceremony into a political statement. They went home to the United States, only to face serious backlash, including death threats.  

However, Carlos and Smith were both gradually re-accepted into the Olympic fold, and went on to careers in professional football before retiring. Norman, meanwhile, was punished severely by the Australian sports establishment. Though he qualified for the Olympic team over and over again, posting the fastest times by far in Australia, he was snubbed by the team in 1972. Rather than allow Norman to compete, the Australians did not send a sprinter at all.

Peter Norman at Williamstown Beach, Australia, 2000. (Credit: Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media/Getty Images)

Norman immediately retired from the sport and began to suffer from depression, alcoholism and a painkiller addiction. “During that time,” writes Caroline Frost for the BBC, “he used his silver medal as a doorstop.”

Norman died without being acknowledged for his contributions to the sport. Though he kept his silver medal, he was regularly excluded from events related to the sport. Even when the Olympics came to Sydney in 2000, he was not recognized. When Norman died in 2006, Carlos and Smith, who had kept in touch with Norman for years, were pallbearers at the Australian’s funeral.

It took until 2012 for the Australian government to apologize for the treatment Norman received in his home country. But even though it cost him his career and much of his happiness, Norman would have done it over again. “I won a silver medal,” he told the New York Times in 2000. “But really, I ended up running the fastest race of my life to become part of something that transcended the Games.”

Carlos and Smith are still in touch today—and have been publicly supportive of other protesting athletes, including the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick. “What I did was right 48 years ago, and 48 years later it has proven to be right,” Carlos told The Telegraphin 2016. “In 1968 we were on a program for humanity—we are still on the same program today

How the Black Power Protest at the 1968 Olympics Killed Careers

History

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