January 6

1838 Morse demonstrates telegraph:

On this day in 1838, Samuel Morse's telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. [For further information, click here]

1876 Birth: Konrad Adenauer: First president of postwar Germany:

[Arrested] by the Gestapo in September 1944 and accused of being involved in the July Plot. After the war Adenauer was briefly Mayor of Cologne but was removed by the British authorities for alleged inefficiency. In 1945 he helped establish the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and in 1949 became the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). He held power for the next fourteen years. [For further details, Click here.]

1877 Alois Schicklgruber: Name officially and legally becomes Alois Hitler. (See June 7) [For further details, Click here.]

1898 Volkishness: Guido von List is visited by the Old Catholic bishop of Bohemia, Nittel von Warnsdorf, who congratulates him on "a new epoch in the history of religion."

1919 Death: Theodore Roosevelt:

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, dies at Sagamore Hill, his estate overlooking New York's Long Island Sound.

A dynamic and energetic politician, Theodore Roosevelt is credited with creating the modern presidency. As a young Republican, Roosevelt held a number of political posts in New York in the 1880s and '90s and was a leader of reform Republicans in the state. In 1898, as assistant secretary to the U.S. Navy, Roosevelt vehemently advocated war with Spain. When the Spanish-American War began, he formed the "Rough Riders," a volunteer cavalry that became famous for its contribution to the United States victory at the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba. The publicity-minded Roosevelt rode his military fame to the New York governor's seat in 1898 and to the vice presidency in 1900.

In 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated, and Roosevelt, 43 years old, became the youngest president ever to assume the office. He stamped the presidency with a vitality that delighted most Americans and was elected to a second term in 1904. As an American expansionist, Roosevelt asserted his executive powers to defend U.S. interests throughout the Americas as he sought to balance the interests of farmers, workers, and the business class at home. He insisted on a strong navy, encouraged the independence of Panama and the construction of the Panama Canal, promoted the regulation of trusts and monopolies, and set aside land for America's first national parks and monuments. In 1906, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation in the negotiations to end the Russo-Japanese War.

In 1912, three years after finishing his second term, Roosevelt ran for president again as the new Progressive Party candidate. Challenging his former vice president, President William Howard Taft, he campaigned on his "Square Deal" platform of social reform. In November, the divided Republican Party was defeated by Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

In the last few years of his life, Roosevelt became a vocal advocate of the U.S. entrance into World War I and even sought to win a commission to lead a U.S. Army division in Europe. President Wilson declined, and after the war Roosevelt was a vocal opponent of his League of Nations. In 1919, Roosevelt died at his home in New York. The tropical diseases he had contracted during his travels likely caught up with him, and he died at the age of 60. (History.com)

1926 Volkishness: Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels purchases the ruined 13th century church of Szent Balazs, near the village of Szentantalfa on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, as the new seat for the ONT priory of Marienkamp. Hungarian ONT brothers Ladislaus and Wilhelm are appointed as the priory's keepers.

1929 Weimar: Head of the SS:

The organization has fewer than 300 members and an independent SS leader, Kurt Daluege, in Berlin.

1929 Yugoslavia: Alexander I abolishes his country's constitution and institutes absolute rule. He then changes his title and calls himself king of Yugoslavia.

1934 Romania: George Tatarescu, Romania's new prime minister, promises to eliminate anti-Semitism throughout the nation.

1938 Romania US Secretary of State Cordell Hull declares that America cannot intervene in Romania's internal affairs.

1939 Danzig: Polish Foreign Minister Joseph Beck confers with Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Hitler says he is considering a formula that would make Danzig politically German and economically Polish, and that he is ready to give a formal and clear guarantee for the German-Polish frontiers. [See: What Were Adolf Hitler's Major Blunders?]

1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks of Four Freedoms:

On this day in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses Congress in an effort to move the nation away from a foreign policy of neutrality. The president had watched with increasing anxiety as European nations struggled and fell to Hitler's fascist regime and was intent on rallying public support for the United States to take a stronger interventionist role. In his address to the 77th Congress, Roosevelt stated that the need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily—almost exclusively—to meeting the foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency.

Roosevelt insisted that people in all nations of the world shared Americans' entitlement to four freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. After Roosevelt's death and the end of World War II, his widow Eleanor often referred to the four freedoms when advocating for passage of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mrs. Roosevelt participated in the drafting of that declaration, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. (History.com)

1942 World War II: Various:

North-Africa: Fifty-five German tanks arrive. [See: The Mediterranean Strategy.]

Roosevelt commits to biggest arms buildup in U.S. history:

On this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces to Congress that he is authorizing the largest armaments production in the history of the United States.

Committed to war in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. had to reassess its military preparedness, especially in light of the fact that its Pacific fleet was decimated by the Japanese air raid. Among those pressing President Roosevelt to double U.S. armaments and industrial production were Lord William Beaverbrook, the British minister of aircraft production, and members of the British Ministry of Supplies, who were meeting with their American counterparts at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Beaverbrook, a newspaper publisher in civilian life, employed production techniques he learned in publishing to cut through red tape, improve efficiency, and boost British aircraft production to manufacturing 500 fighters a month, and he felt the U.S. could similarly beef up armament production.

Spurred on by Lord Beaverbrook and Prime Minister Churchill, Roosevelt agreed to the arms buildup. He announced to Congress that the first year of the supercharged production schedule would result in 45,000 aircraft, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 antiaircraft guns, and 8 million tons in new ships. Congressmen were stunned at the proposal, but Roosevelt was undeterred: "These figures and similar figures for a multitude of other implements of war will give the Japanese and Nazis a little idea of just what they accomplished." (History.com)
[See: Why Did the US Join the Fight Against Hitler?]

1943 World War II: From a record in Grand Admiral Eric Raeder's handwriting of an interview with Hitler:

[If] the Fuehrer was anxious to demonstrate that the parting was of the friendliest character and wished that the name Raeder should continue to be associated with the Navy, particularly abroad, it would perhaps be possible to make an appointment to the Inspector General, giving appropriate publicity in the press, et cetera. But a new Commander-in-Chief of the Navy with full responsibility for this office must be appointed. The position of Inspector General, or whatever it was decided to call it, must be purely nominal. The Fuehrer accepted this suggestion with alacrity. The Inspector General could perhaps carry out special tasks for him, make tours of inspection, et cetera. The name of Raeder was still to be associated with the Navy. After Commander-in-Chief of the Navy had repeated his request, the Fuehrer definitely agreed to 30th January as his release date. He would like to think over the details.

1945 World War II: Various:

Death: Josefa Llanes Escoda: On this day in 1945, Filipina suffragist Josefa Llanes Escoda was last seen before her presumed execution by the Japanese occupying troops holding her at Manila's Far Eastern University . . . . During the Japanese occupation, her efforts to aid POWs—including those on the Bataan Death March—made her the "Florence Nightingale of the Philippines". But she declined to do so in the capacity of Japanese collaborator and she and her husband Antonio were arrested in 1944 and executed in the weeks following MacArthur's return and push towards Manila.

Churchill to FDR:

C.I.G.S. and I have passed the last two days with Eisenhower and Montgomery, and they both feel the battle very heavy, but are confident of success. I hope you understand that, in case any trouble should arise in the Press, His Majesty's Government have complete confidence in General Eisenhower and feel acutely any attacks made on him.
2. He and Montgomery are very closely knit, and also Bradley and Patton, and it would be disaster which broke up this combination, which has in 1944 yielded us results beyond the dreams of military avarice. Montgomery said to me today that the break-through would have been most serious to the whole front but for the solidity of the Anglo-American Army.
3. Although I regret our divisions only amount to seventeen and two-thirds, all units are absolutely up to strength, and we have seven or eight thousand reinforcements all ready in addition in France awaiting transfer to their units. The measures we have taken to bring another 250,000 into or nearer the front line enable me to say with confidence that at least our present strength will be maintained throughout the impending severe campaign . . . . 
5. I most cordially congratulate you on the extraordinary gallantry which your troops have shown in all this battle, particularly at Bastogne and two other places which Montgomery mentioned to me on his own front, one at the peak of the salient, where the 1st and 9th American Divisions fought on and won with extremely heavy losses, and the other in connection with the United States Armored Division, which seems to have performed the highest acts of soldierly devotion. Also many troops of the First Army have fought to the end, holding cross-roads in the area of incursion, which averted serious perils to the whole armies of the north at heavy personal sacrifice.
6. As I see there have been criticisms in the American papers of our troops having been kept out of the battle, I take this occasion to assure you that they stand absolutely ready at all times to obey General Eisenhower's commands. I believe that the dispositions which he and Field-Marshal Montgomery under him have made are entirely in accordance with strict military requirements, both as regards the employment of troops in counter-attacks and their lateral movement, having regard to criss-cross communications. I have found not a trace of discord at the British and American headquarters; but, Mr. President, there is this brute fact: we need more fighting troops to make things move.

Churchill to Stalin:

The battle in the west is very heavy and at any time large decisions may be called for from the Supreme Command. You know yourself from your own experience how very anxious the position is when a very broad front has to be defended after the temporary loss of initiative. It is Eisenhower's great desire and need to know in outline what you plan to do, as this obviously effects both his and our major decisions . . . . I shall be grateful if you can tell me whether we can count on a major Russian offensive on the Vistula front, or elsewhere during January, with any other points you may care to mention. I shall not pass this information to anyone except Field-Marshal Brooke and General Eisenhower, and only under conditions of utmost secrecy. I regard the matter as urgent.

Western Front: Germans units counterattack north of Strasbourg.

Field Marshal von Rundstedt again requests permission to withdraw from the Ardennes. Hitler again refuses.

Holocaust: Several hundred Jewish women are evacuated by train from the forced labor camp at Sered in Slovakia to Ravensbrueck, north of Berlin.

Holocaust: Rosa Robota, a member of the Jewish underground in Auschwitz, is executed by the Germans for her part in the unsuccessful Sonderkommando revolt in Birkenau.

[Her] actions involving the smuggling of black powder (Schwartzpulver) into Auschwitz. This product was made into explosives which were used during the famous Sonderkommando Revolt. Although this prisoner-uprising failed to stop the wheels of death at Auschwitz, Crematorium IV was successfully destroyed by the demolition. In addition, the prisoners in Auschwitz for a brief moment, showed the Germans they were capable of resistance - even in this most extreme of environments. The actions by Rosa were ones for which she gave up her life. [For further details, Click here.]

Poland: The Soviet Union recognizes the Lublin Committee as the Provisional Government of Poland. The US and Britain continue to publicly recognize the exile government in London as Poles continue to die.

Greece: Fighting between the British and the Greek Communists come to an end in Athens.

War with Japan: The first Kamikaze attacks are launched:

Kamikaze, which means "Divine Wind" in Japanese, was Japan's last attempt to balance the ever increasing technological and material advantage of the American forces advancing to Japan. The Kamikaze attack tactic was suggested on October 19, 1944, by vice-Admiral Onishi of the Japanese Navy, when he was assigned to command the air attacks against the huge American invasion fleet off the Philippines, and then realized that he had less than 100 operational aircraft for this task. There was no way to sink or even severely damage the American fleet in any conventional tactic, so the Admiral needed a force multiplier, a way to get a significantly greater striking power from a given force.

1950 Wunderwaffen: Lieutenant Colonel James P. Hamill gives Werner von Braun, Hitler's former chief rocket scientist who is now working for the US, an important assignment. Robert H. Goddard's estate, with backing from the Guggenheim Foundation, has filed suit against the US government claiming that the V-2 rockets being tested at White Sands, and newer rockets being developed, are infringing upon many of Goddard's patents. Von Braun is asked to read through the over 200 patents in Goddard's name and write a report from an engineering standpoint. While von Braun had never seen any of Goddard's patents before, he discovers that many devices and features he had developed independently are, nonetheless, infringements on many of the famed rocket pioneers patents. In his report, he identifies the use of jet vanes for flight path control, turbo-pumps to feed liquid fuels to the engines, gyroscopic guidance controls, and much more, as possible infringements. He concludes that Goddard had a brilliant and inventive mind, and he becomes an admirer, and life-long defender, of the late rocketeer. (Piszkiewicz) Wernher von Braun:

[Goddard was] ahead of us all [and] in the light of what has happened since his untimely death, we can only wonder what might have been if America realized earlier the implications of his work. I have not the slightest doubt that the United States today would enjoy unchallenged leadership in space exploration had adequate recognition been accorded to him. [See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry?]

1958 Cold War: Soviet Union announces troop reduction:

The Soviet Union announces plans to cut the size of its standing army by 300,000 troops in the coming year. The reduction was part of a 1956 policy announced by Krushchev in anticipation of "peaceful coexistence" with the West, and an indication that Cold War relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were undergoing a slight thaw in the mid- to late-1950s.

The Soviet troop reduction was the latest in a series of reductions started in 1955. The new rollback of 300,000 troops brought the total troop reduction since 1955 to nearly 2 million. A Soviet official called the most recent action a "new, serious contribution to the cause of easing tensions and creating an atmosphere of confidence in the relations between states." Nearly 60,000 of the 300,000 troops to be cut came from Soviet forces in Hungary and East Germany.

Total Soviet forces still numbered close to 3 million, but the reduction was still seen as evidence of Khrushchev's interest in "peaceful coexistence" with the West. There was also an economic motivation to the troop cuts, though, since the funds used to keep 300,000 men in uniform could be redirected to the Soviet industrial infrastructure. In addition, the Soviet Union was facing a labor shortage, and 300,000 extra workers would help alleviate that problem.

The Soviet action had little effect on U.S. policy. Despite Khrushchev's talk of peaceful coexistence, the preceding two years of the Cold War gave U.S. officials little confidence in his sincerity. The brutal Soviet repression of the Hungarian revolt in 1956, the Suez Crisis of that same year, and the launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 convinced many U.S. statesmen that a tough, competitive stance toward the Russians was the best policy. (History.com)

1967 Sir Hartley Shawcross, former IMT Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom:

The point now is what effect this trial will have on the future course of history. In this I must confess to great disillusionment. During the trial we had close friendly relations with our Russian colleagues despite the fact that we raised violent objection to their inclusion of the Katyn massacre in the Indictment. We thought that we were on terms of confidence with the Russians and would keep them as friends. But when the trial was over they went back to Russia, we lost all contact with them. All attempts to gain touch with them again failed. This communist veto on normal relationships is a sad fact. Even sadder were the cynical violations of international as created at Nuremberg which we have had to witness meanwhile—Korea, Hungary, Kashmir, Algeria, Congo, Vietnam. Our Nuremberg hope that we had made some contribution to transition to a peaceful world under the rule of law has not been fulfilled. [See: Are There Any Lasting Effects From the Nuremberg Trials?]

1975 Death: Gottlob Berger—Himmler's 'racial selection' expert:

He was a co-author of Heinrich Himmler's pamphlet Der Untermensch, and also promoted the pamphlet Mit Schwert und Wiege (With Sword and Cradle)for the recruitment of non-Germans. He was the father-in-law of SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Karl Leib, the head of the Norwegian recruitment office at Drammensveien, Oslo. In SS ranks he was known as one of Himmler's 'Twelve Apostles' and was nicknamed 'der Allmaechtige Gottlob' — 'the Almighty Gottlob'. His organizational abilities contributed to the amazing expansion of the Waffen-SS in World War II, but he also became ensnared in typical in-fighting among the SS hierarchy.

He ran the main SS office in Berlin from 1940 and was involved in liasing with the so called 'Eastern Territories'. In August 1944 he was sent to deal with an uprising in Slovakia and immediately after this was put in control of all prisoner of war camps.

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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