This Day in History (25-Feb- 1932) – Adolf Hitler obtains German citizenship by naturalization, which allows him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident

Adolf Hitler was an Austrian German. He lost his father at the age of 13. Throughout his youth, Hitler dreamed of becoming an artist. He applied twice to the Vienna Academy of Art but was denied entrance both times. After his mother’s death in 1908, Hitler spent four years living on the streets of Vienna, selling postcards of his artwork to make a little money. it is just as likely that Hitler picked up a hatred for Jews while living on the streets of Vienna, a city known at the time for its antisemitism.

Hitler volunteered to serve in the German army once World War I began. Hitler endured and survived four years of war. During this time, he was awarded two Iron Crosses for bravery. He sustained two major injuries during the war. The first occurred in October 1916 when he was wounded by a grenade splinter. The other was in October 1918, when a gas attack caused Hitler to go temporarily blind. It was while Hitler was recovering from the gas attack that the war got over. Hitler was furious that Germany had surrendered and felt strongly that Germany had been “stabbed in the back” by its leaders. Furious at Germany’s surrender, Hitler returned to Munich after the end of World War I, determined to enter politics. In 1919, Hitler became the 55th member of a small antisemitic party called the German Worker’s Party and soon became a party leader. He designed the swastika logo and renamed party to Nazi party.

Hitler had formally renounced his Austrian citizenship in 1925, but at the time did not acquire German citizenship. For almost seven years he was stateless, unable to run for public office, and faced the risk of deportation from Germany.  On 25 February 1932, the interior minister of Brunswick, who was a member of the Nazi Party, appointed Hitler as administrator for the state’s delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, making Hitler a citizen of Brunswick, and thus of Germany.

In 1932, Hitler ran against von Hindenburg in the presidential elections. 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.

 

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_25

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler

http://history1900s.about.com/od/hitleradolf/a/Hitler-Facts.htm

This Day in History (24-Jan-1972) – Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese soldier unaware World War II is over, is found on the island of Guam after hiding for 28 years

During WWII, Shoichi Yokoi had been transferred from Manchuria to Guam, and he served as a sergeant in the supply corps. When the Americans came, he and nine other men hid in the jungle. Their numbers gradually dwindled to three. He knew from a leaflet he found in 1952 that the war was over but never gave himself up because “we Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive.” Eight years before he was found, the other two men died, leaving him alone.  Yokoi proved to be a real “survival skills” expert living for almost 28 years in adverse conditions. On January 24, 1972, two residents of the village of Talofofo in the southern part of Guam were out hunting along the Talofofo River when they spotted a very old and wild appearing Japanese man carrying a shrimp trap. After a few confused words, they subdued 56-year-old Shoichi Yokoi and took him back to their home. Eventually, the police were summoned, and the story of Shoichi Yokoi’s saga became known.

During this period, Yokoi built little traps and caught shrimp and eel from the river. Yokoi had fashioned a rat trap from wire for rat meat. He wove cloth from the beaten fibre, and sewed the pieces together to make a total of three “suits” during his 28 years on the island. In the beginning, Yokoi used a lens for fire-starting. At some point he lost this lens and he is said to have made his fire by “rubbing two sticks together.” One of his shelters was a small house made from rushes he collected. He also lived in a hole that he dug under a bamboo grove. The entire cave was dug with a trowel that Yokoi fashioned from an old cannon shell. Inside, he had a toilet hole so well designed that it would flow off naturally to the river below. On another end of the cave — the “kitchen” — Yokoi had some shelves, and a hearth with a cooking pot. He carefully cut a Japanese canteen in two, and made a frying pan from one half and a plate from the other half. He took cylinders of bamboo and used them to collect rainwater and as dippers to collect water from the river.

Two weeks after his discovery in the jungle, Yokoi returned home to Japan to a hero’s welcome. He was besieged by the media, and was regularly invited to speak at universities and in schools across the country.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/january-24-1943-general-friedrich-von-paulus-is-denied-permission-to-surrender-in-the-battle-of-stalingrad

http://www.primitiveways.com/jungle_30_years.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16681636

This Day in History (16-Jan-1945) – Hitler descends into his bunker

After the Battle of the Bulge of World War II, Hitler had fallen into a state of deep despair and wearily returned to Berlin from his headquarters on the Western Front, setting up new headquarters inside the Reich Chancellery building, already partially damaged by Allied bombing. He remained there for 105 days until he committed suicide. During his daily military briefings he listened to gloomy reports concerning the unstoppable advance of largest combined military force the world had ever seen, now roaring into the Fatherland from East and West.

Throughout his life, Adolf Hitler had never been able to admit a single mistake or accept responsibility for any failure. On the west front, unwisely, Hitler ignored advice from Field Marshal Rundstedt to position his troops on the right bank of the river, thereby forcing the Allies to cross the water to attack. Instead, he left them as-is on the left bank, nearer the invaders, resulting in the loss of 350,000 soldiers and their equipment by the end of the month. For this, Hitler blamed Rundstedt and sacked him. Germans had failed to destroy a huge railroad bridge spanning the river in time to prevent American troops and tanks from seizing it. A furious Hitler ordered the execution of the eight Army officers who had bungled the bridge’s defense. This marked the beginning of a do-or-die phase for German troops at the hands of their vengeful Führer.

Mishaps and mistakes were now punishable by death. “If the war is lost,” Hitler told his Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer, “the nation will also perish. This fate is inevitable. Those who will remain after the battle are only the inferior ones, for the good ones have all been killed.”

On April 29, Hitler married Eva Braun in their bunker hideaway. Eva Braun met Hitler while working as an assistant to Hitler’s official photographer. Loyal to the end, she refused to leave the bunker even as the Russians closed in. Only hours after they were united in marriage, both Hitler and Eva committed suicide. Both he and his wife swallowed cyanide capsules (which had been tested for their efficacy on his “beloved” dog and her pups). For good measure, he shot himself with his pistol.

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hitler-descends-into-his-bunker

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/defeat/enter-bunker.htm

This Day in History (2-Jan-1947) – Lord Bevin commented that with half of the population of beggars and thieves, India is ungovernable Nation

At the conclusion of the Second World War, the Labour Party, under Prime Minister Clement Richard Attlee, came to power in Britain. The Labour Party was largely sympathetic towards Indian people for freedom. A Cabinet Mission was sent to India in March 1946, which after a careful study of the Indian political scenario, proposed the formation of an interim Government and convening of a Constituent Assembly comprising members elected by the provincial legislatures and nominees of the Indian states. A Constituent Assembly was formed in July 1946, to frame the Constitution of India and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected its President. An interim Government was formed headed by Jawaharlal Nehru.

On 2nd Jan 1947, Mahatma Gandhi met Lord Bevin, the personal emissary of British Prime Minister, in Delhi. Bevin is reported to have told the great man, ”Eighteen languages, 500 dialects, some 30 religions, a million Gods and Goddesses, 300 million individuals, an infinity of castes and sub castes, and a population (that is) practically illiterate and half of which (are) beggars or thieves… Good luck, sir! Such a nation is ungovernable! It’d take you centuries to get anywhere!”. Gandhiji wrapped his large, white shawl a little more closely around him, and modestly replied, ‘India has eternity before her’.

Bevin’s statement showed the challenges new born India would be facing. However, India – a developing nation, proved Bevin wrong over a period creating largest democracy in the world.

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://knowindia.gov.in/knowindia/culture_heritage.php?id=7

This Day in History (15-Dec-1939) – Gone with the Wind Premieres in Atlanta

Gone With The Wind (1939) is often considered the most beloved, enduring and popular film of all time. Sidney Howard’s script was derived from Margaret Mitchell’s first and only published, best-selling Civil War and Reconstruction Period novel of 1,037 pages that first appeared in 1936, but was mostly written in the late 1920s. Producer David O. Selznick had acquired the film rights to Mitchell’s novel in July, 1936 for $50,000 – a record amount at the time to an unknown author for her first novel, causing some to label the film “Selznick’s Folly.” At the time of the film’s release, the fictional book had surpassed 1.5 million copies sold.

The famous film, shot in three-strip Technicolor, is cinema’s greatest, star-studded, historical epic film of the Old US South during wartime that boasts an immortal cast in a timeless, classic tale of a love-hate romance. Authenticity is enhanced by the costuming, sets, and variations on Stephen Foster songs and other excerpts from Civil War martial airs. Its opening, only a few months after WWII began in Europe, helped American audiences to identify with the war story and its theme of survival.

With three years advance publicity and Hollywood myth-making, three and one-half hours running time (with one intermission), a gala premiere in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, highest-grossing film status (eventually reaching $200 million), and Max Steiner’s sweeping musical score, the exquisitely-photographed, Technicolor film was a blockbuster in its own time. A budgeted investment of over $4 million in production costs was required – an enormous, record-breaking sum. The film (originally rough-cut at 6 hours in length) was challenging in its making, due to its controversial subject matter (including rape, drunkenness, moral dissipation and adultery) and its epic qualities, with more than 50 speaking roles and 2,400 extras.

When the Oscars rolled around the following year, Gone with the Wind received a record ten Academy Awards — a mark that would stand for 20 years. Marked for preservation by the National Film Registry in 1989, when ticket sales are adjusted for inflation, it remains the highest-grossing movie to hit theaters in history.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/december-15-1939-gone-with-the-wind-premieres-in-atlanta

http://www.filmsite.org/gone.html

This Day in History (7-Dec-1941) – Attack on Pearl Harbor

By July 1941, in order to build empire in Asia, Japan had completed their occupation of French Indochina and turned their sights to Thailand, Burma and the Philippines, in order to cut off supply lines of China. Concerned over Japan’s ambitions, the US, Netherlands and Great Britain froze Japanese assets in their countries and imposed stringent economic restrictions. Japan moved forward with war plans. They believed the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor was their only threat and set out to neutralize the fleet by means of a surprise air attack.

The first warning Hawaii received that Japan might attack the US was sent by the Navy to its fleet commanders on October 16, 1941, which was ignored. There was also an assumption in Washington that Japan had no seaborne aircraft capable of catching the Army’s B-24 bombers. They further believed that Japan had overextended their military in other regions and could not concentrate their military forces for a large scale strategic offensive in the Pacific.

On 7th December 1941, the Japanese began their air attack. The first wave arrived over Pearl Harbor at approximately 7:45 a.m. The Japanese initially hit the airfields, destroying many aircrafts located on the southern tip of Ford Island. Moments thereafter, torpedo planes attacked hitting the USS Helena, USS Utah, USS Raleigh, USS California, USS Nevada, USS Oklahoma and West Virginia. Additional bombs were dropped on “Battleship Row”, hitting several ships. The USS Arizona received a death blow followed by a huge explosion. The second wave of planes further attacked some of the ships already hit, further destroying the Navy Yard. The battleship Pennsylvania and three destroyers were bombed in dry dock. Other bombers went after the Nevada, which had left her berth and was trying to get to sea. Anti-aircraft gunfire met these ships, causing losses which were far greater than those of the first attack wave.

All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. The day after the assault, America finally joined World War II.

Reference:

https://www.pearlharboroahu.com/attack.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor

http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor

This Day in History (28-Nov-1943) – US President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill and Soviet Chairman Stalin meet for the Tehran Conference

During World War II, in November 1943, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt met together in Teheran, Iran, to discuss military strategy and post-war Europe, in a conference codenamed Eureka. Ever since the Soviet Union had entered the war, Stalin had been demanding that the Allies open-up a second front in Europe. Stalin, who always favoured in offensive strategy, believed that there were political, as well as military reasons for the Allies’ failure to open up a second front in Europe. Stalin was still highly suspicious of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt and was worried about them signing a peace agreement with Adolf Hitler. The foreign policies of the capitalist countries since the October Revolution had convinced Stalin that their main objective was the destruction of the communist system in the Soviet Union. Stalin was fully aware that if Britain and the USA withdrew from the war, the Red Army would have great difficulty in dealing with Germany on its own.

At Teheran, Joseph Stalin reminded Churchill and Roosevelt of a previous promise of landing troops in Western Europe in 1942. Later they postponed it to the spring of 1943. Stalin complained that it was now November and there was still no sign of an allied invasion of France. After lengthy discussions, it was agreed that the Allies would mount a major offensive in the spring of 1944. Roosevelt and Churchill also accepted Stalin’s demands regarding Poland’s post-war boundaries, which would give the Soviets Lwów, Wilno, and Poland’s eastern Kresy territory occupied by Stalin under his 1939 alliance with Nazi Germany. Churchill proposed that Poland, in return, be compensated with a corresponding slice of Germany. They all agreed that they would continue to make available to the Government of Iran economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations.

The D-Day landings in June, 1944 took the pressure off the Red Army and from that date they made steady progress into territory held by Germany bringing World war II to end.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/november-28-1660-the-royal-society-is-founded-at-gresham-college-in-london

http://spartacus-educational.com/2WWteheran.htm