History: August 9

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August 9

480BC After three days' resistance and one of history's most famous battles, King Leonidas of Sparta and 1,000 Greeks are beaten by the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae.

378BC Roman Emperor Valens attacks the Visigoths in the decisive battle of Adrianople. The Gothic cavalry rout the Romans killing over 20,000 including the Emperor. 

48BC Julius Caesar defeats Gnaius Pompey at Pharsalus.

1332 The Battle of Dupplin Moor takes place in Scotland.

1387 Birth: Henry V, British king, famous for his victory at Agincourt, France.

1483 Pope Sixtus IV celebrates the first mass in the Sistine Chapel, which is named in his honour.

1549 England declares war on France. Note: One wonders how many times in history these two have declared war upon one another? It must be a substantial number.

1638 Jonas Bronck of Holland becomes the first European settler in the Bronx, NY.

1645 Settlers in New Amsterdam gain peace with the Indians after conducting talks with the Mohawks.

1653 Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp is killed following the battle of Terheijde with the English fleet off the Dutch coast. Note: Tromp was the Dutch commander at the defeat of a superior Spanish fleet at the Battle of the Downs (1639).

1673 The Dutch recapture NY from the English, who get it back in 1674.

1678 American Indians sell the Bronx to Jonas Bronck for 400 beads.

1700 The province of New York enacts a law expelling all Jesuits, priests and others ordained by the Pope from the province by November 1. Other American colonies soon enact similar laws against Catholics.

1757 French and Indian War: The French under Montcalm capture Fort William Henry in America from British and colonial troops under Colonel Monro.

1757 Birth: Thomas Telford, Socttish civil engineer, his networks of roads, canals and bridges formed the backbone to the world's first industrial economy. In 1825-26 Telford built the 177 metre Menai suspension bridge in Wales. The new town of Telford in Shropshire is named after him. Telford built 1200 bridges and more than 1000 miles (1600 kilometres) of roads in Britain.

1776 Birth: Amedeo Avogadro, in Turin, Italy. He was professor of physics there (1834-59) and in 1811 formulated the hypothesis known as Avogadro's Law (6.022 x 10 ^ 23), that equal volumes of gases contain equal numbers of molecules, when at the same temperature and pressure.

1778 Captain Cook passes through the Bering Strait.

1790 The Columbia, the first ship to carry the American flag around the world, returns to Boston Harbor after a three-year voyage.

1792 French Revolution: The Legislative Assembly ends its session with calls for revolution, but without debating the motions for the removal of the King Louis XVI.

1796 Horatio Nelson captures from the French, the island of Elba, to which Napoleon Bonaparte is later exiled.

1803 The first horses arrive in Hawaii.

1805 Austria joins Britain, Russia, Sweden and the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in the third coalition against France.

1814 Andrew Jackson and the Creek Indians sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving the whites 23 million acres of Creek territory.

1819 Birth: William Thomas Green Morton, dentist, he was the first to use ether as a general anesthetic. Died in 1868.

1830 Louis-Philippe formally accepts the crown of France after the abdication of Charles X on August 2.

1831 The first steam locomotive begins its first trip between Schenectady and Albany, NY.

1842 The US and Canada sign the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which establishes the boundary between the United States and Canada from Maine to the Great Lakes.

1848 The Free-Soil Party, after merging with the Barnburners (anti-slavery) party,  nominate Martin Van Buren for president in Buffalo, NY.

1849 The Hungarian Republic is crushed by Austria and Russia.

1854 Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden, which describes his experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

1855 The Battle of Acapulco during the Mexican Liberal uprising takes place.

1859 Nathan Ames of Saugus, Massachusetts patented the escalator. However, the first working escalator appeared in 1900. Manufactured by the Otis Elevator Company for the Paris Exposition, it is installed in a Philadelphia office building the following year.

1862 US Civil War: At Cedar Mountain, Virginia, Confederate General 'Stonewall' Jackson repels an attack by Union forces and is victorious at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. It is Stonewall's eleventh hour rally. However General Charles S. Winder is killed.

1867 This day saw the arrest of John Harrison Surratt, on charges of conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln.

1870 The Elementary Education Act is passed. It would give compulsory free education to every child in England and Wales between the age of five and 13.

1888 Birth: Hans Oster, Chief of Staff to Admiral Canaris at the Abwehr. Said to have been a staunch anti-Nazi, Oster passed on warnings to the Allies of German plans for aggression against Holland, Belgium and Denmark in 1939-40, but also was instrumental in implementing many of Hitler's pet schemes. Later he will become a central organizer of the German resistance. Dismissed from the Abwehr in April 1943. Arrested following the failed attempt on Hitler's life in July 1944. Executed at Flossenburg concentration camp in April, 1945. (Edelheit)

1896 Death: Otto Lilenthal, killed during a glider test.

1896 Birth: Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist who did pioneering work on the development of children's intellectual faculties.

1897 Birth: Ralph Wyckoff, American pioneer in x-ray crystallography.

1902 Edward VII is crowned King of Great Britain and Ireland at Westminster Abbey after the death of his mother Queen Victoria. He is aged 64. The coronation had been postponed because he had an emergency appendectomy.

1909 Birth: John Baur, museum director, author, (American Paintings in 19th Century).

1911 Birth: William A Fowler, US astrophysicist, (Nobel 1983).

1918 WW1: As the end draws near, the German lines begin to give way as never before. The Germans fight a skillful rear guard action and when conditions favor them they stand and strike back hard. In most cases they can only be dislodged by vicious, close-in fighting. As they withdraw, the Germans do their demolition work well and greatly slow the Allied advance. Although the German line is never broken, the retreats continue. After being pushed back 20 miles from the Marne and Chateau Thierry, Hitler and his Regiment are shifted north between Arras and Bapaume. Meanwhile, the leaders of the wartime strikes in Germany, who were subsequently sent to the front against their will, are now using their organizational abilities to rouse the men in the trenches. The new replacements are especially vulnerable to their rhetoric. Most of the new soldiers, unlike their Allied counterparts, become convinced that their position is hopeless. Disaffection grows in leaps and bounds. Many soldiers refuse to risk their lives for a cause they see as lost and take the position: "Better a coward for three minutes than dead for the rest of your life." Old front line soldiers like Hitler are scorned as fools.

Hitler and his old comrades are devastated by the withdrawals. Four months earlier the Germans had been on the threshold of conquering Europe and had marched toward the front lines with the cry, "'Deutschland uber alles in der Welt,'" (Germany above all in the world). Now they were nearly back where they had started. Hitler believes that the army should fight to the end. He is convinced that the High Command's custom of constructing fortifications and defensive positions in the rear has an unsettling effect on fighting troops who are drawn to them like a magnet. He believes that huge withdrawals demoralize the troops as well as the civilians at home and build up the morale of the enemy. "In 1918," he would later state, "victory was as nearly in our grasp as it was in that of our adversaries. It was a battle of nerves." Hitler also believed that propaganda played a large role in the German failure. While he considered German propaganda "a complete failure," he considered the "propaganda of the British and the Americans" superior, highly skilled and truly inspired." It is these lessons learned that will be reflected in the future Fuehrer's wartime strategies, often with mixed results.

1927 Birth: Marvin Minsky, Artifical intelligence computer scientist (MIT).

1928 The Nazi party decides against the formation of National Socialist labor unions.

1930 Betty Boop makes her debut in Max Fleischer's innovative animated cartoon, Dizzy Dishes.

1935 Huey P. Long, US Senator from Louisiana and Roosevelt's number one rival in the upcoming presidential elections, makes a speech in the Senate, telling his colleagues that the "Black Hand," led by Jews, has ordered his assassination at a meeting in a New Orleans hotel. (Congressional Record)

1936 Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. He is the first American to win four medals in one Olympics. Owens ran one leg of the winning 400-metre relay team in Berlin. His three other gold medals are won in the 100-metre, 200-metre and the long jump events.

1942 Mohandas K. Gandhi is arrested Britain. He is not released until 1944.

1939 Germany issues an official warning to the Polish government in Warsaw, saying that another commentary note to Danzig will result in strained Polish-German relations, with Poland being responsible.

1939 German Ambassador von Dirksen, preparing to depart on leave to Germany, visits British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax. Halifax questions von Dirksen over the "sharp tone of the German press concerning Danzig." Dirksen replies that it is the fault of the Polish newspaper Czas which has published a statement that if there were any attempt to incorporate Danzig into the Reich, Polish troops would open fire on the Free City. (Howarth)

1939 The joint British-French military mission finally arrives in Leningrad.

1939 Zionism: Jews from several Hagana units sink the British police boat Sinbad II in Palestine. (Edelheit)

1941 WW2: 9-12 The Atlantic Conference:) Roosevelt and Churchill hold a conference on a warship off the coast of Newfoundland. The two leaders agree to present plans for a "new world order" based on an end to tyranny and territorial aggrandizement, the disarmament of aggressors, and the fullest cooperation of all nations for the social and economic welfare of all. The result is the so-called The Atlantic Charter, designed as a counterthrust to a possible new Hitler peace offensive as well as a statement of postwar aims. Although the United States has not yet entered World War II, this statement becomes an unofficial manifesto of American and British aims in war and peace. In conclusion, both agree to send strong warnings to Japan in regard to any possible attacks against British or Dutch possessions in the Far East.

1941 WW2: Aug 9-12 Polish Carpathian Brigade defends western section of Tobruk.

1942 WW2: The Germans capture the Caucusus oilfields.

1943 WW2: National Armed Forces (NSZ), a Polish group fighting both Nazis and Communists, kills 26 Polish partisans from the People's Guard aligned with the Soviets.

1944 WW2: The XV Corps, on the left flank of the Third Army, pushes east to capture Le Mans, then north toward Argentan.

1944 The Warsaw Uprising: First broadcast by Polish radio in five years.

1944 Diary of Leon Gladun: A new position near the village of Ripe. PD [command post] in a house which is quite comfortable. I do a bit of shooting for propaganda purposes. The Germans are shelling the area quite a bit.

1944 The US Forest Service and Wartime Advertising Council creates "Smokey the Bear."

1945 WW2: 'Fat Man', a plutonium bomb carried by the USA B-29 bomber, Bock's Car, is scheduled to be dropped on the Japanese city of Kokura. It is three days after the US had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, but the weather made visibility poor, so the aircraft passed Kokura and chose its secondary target, Nagasaki. At 11:02am local time Fat Man destroys over half of Nagasaki and kills more than 70,000 people. This is the last act of WW2. (See August 14)

1945 WW2: The first network television broadcast occurs in Washington, DC.  The program announces the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

1945 WW2: Japanese defense lines in Manchuria are smashed by Soviet forces numbering almost 1.5 million.

1962 Death: Herman Hesse, German author whose works include Steppenwolf.

1965 Singapore becomes an independent republic within the Commonwealth after seceding from Malaysia.

1969 Cult leader Charles Manson and his disciples commit one of Los Angeles' most heinous crimes as they enter the Bel Air home of movie director Roman Polanski and brutally murdered Polanski's wife, a pregnant Sharon Tate, movie director Voityck Frykowski, famous hair stylist Jay Sebring, student Steven Parent and coffee heiress Abigail Folger.

1971 Security forces in Northern Ireland detain hundreds of guerrilla suspects and put them in the Maze prison, the beginning of an internment without trial policy. Over 20 die in riots which follow.

1972 Rockwell receives the NASA contract to construct the Space Shuttle.

1973 The USSR launches Mars 7.

1973 Watergate: The US Senate committee investigating the Watergate affair files suit against President Richard Nixon.

1974 In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon.

Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, the disgraced Nixon smiles farewell and enigmatically raises his arms in a victory salute. The helicopter door then closes, and the Nixon family begins their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon is the first US president to resign from office.

Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over." Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration's wrong doings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

1976 The USSR launches Luna 24, the last Lunar flight to date from Earth.

1985 Arthur J. Walker, a retired Navy officer, is found guilty of seven counts of spying for the Soviet Union.

1990 China's first airship, 40 metres (130 feet) long, makes its maiden flight over the central province of Hubei.

1990 Gulf War 1: 12 Arab leaders agree to send pan-Arab forces to protect Saudi Arabia.

1995 The 50th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki is observed in the Japanese city.

1996 An ill-looking Boris Yeltsin attends a brief swearing-in ceremony for his new term as president of Russia.

2002 Post 911: The glass is replaced on the World Financial Center Atrium across from the WTC site.



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