February 6

1900 The International Arbitration Court at The Hague is created when the Netherlands' Senate ratifies an 1899 peace conference decree. [For further details, Click here.]

1907 Klara Hitler—weak but apparently recovering from a January 18, 1907 mastectomy—is discharged from the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Linz and returns home. [For further details, Click here.]

1911 Birth: Ronald Reagan:

As the 40th president of the United States, the former movie star was called the "Great Communicator" for his ability to get through to ordinary Americans and give them hope and optimism for their own future and that of their country. Despite his lifelong opposition to "big" government, he was credited with restoring faith in the U.S. government and the presidency after a long era of disillusionment in the wake of Nixon, Vietnam and economic hardship under Carter. But before his years of Hollywood stardom, and long before Washington, Ronald Reagan was born on this day in 1911, in Tampico, a small town in northwestern Illinois . . . . 

In addition to making more than 50 films, Reagan became heavily involved in the Screen Actors Guild during his years in Hollywood, serving six terms as its president and leading the union through some of the most volatile years in the movie industry. In 1947, when accusations of Communism were running rampant in Hollywood, Reagan testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and refused to name names of suspected Communist sympathizers (although an FBI file later revealed that he had in fact named people in secret). Around this same time, Reagan's personal life was in turmoil: His wife, the actress Jane Wyman, divorced him in 1948; his increasing involvement in the Screen Actors Guild was reportedly mentioned as a factor in the divorce. Reagan married Nancy Davis, also an actress, in 1952; they had two children, Patricia and Ronald. (Reagan and Wyman also had a daughter, Maureen, and adopted a son, Michael.) Nancy Reagan would become her husband's closest confidante and adviser during his future political career.

In the early 1950s, Reagan became familiar to a much wider audience when he began hosting the television program General Electric Theater; he also traveled the country giving speeches as the GE company spokesman. Though he was a registered Democrat during his years in Hollywood, he changed his political affiliation to Republican in 1962. Two years later, Reagan made his grand entrance on the political stage with a much-publicized speech at a fundraiser for Barry Goldwater, that year's Republican presidential candidate. In Kings Row (1941), Reagan had played a small-town hero whose legs are amputated. He considered it his finest film and took a line from it—"Where's the rest of me?"—for the title of his first autobiography, published in 1965, before his run for governor of California. The following year, Reagan defeated the incumbent governor of California, Pat Brown, by close to a million votes, taking the next step on the road to the White House.

At 69, Reagan was the oldest man in history to take office as U.S. president. His career in Hollywood, thought to be a weakness at the beginning of his life in politics, turned out to be arguably one of his biggest assets. As president, he projected a comforting optimism and weathered setbacks with such success that he became known as the "Teflon president." His foreign policy legacy, tarnished after the Iran-Contra affair, was redeemed in the eyes of many by the end of the Cold War and the opening of relations with the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. The long-term success of his sweeping tax cuts and "Reaganomics" may have been debatable, but he managed to maintain his popularity throughout, leaving the White House in the hands of his loyal vice president, George H.W. Bush, in 1988 and maintaining a high approval rating. Six years later, Reagan made the sobering announcement that he had Alzheimer's disease, which would end his public career. He died on June 5, 2004, at the age of 93.

1912 Births: Various:

Irmgard Keun: German author: Keun's first novel, Gilgi‑‑One of Us made her famous, as well as her next book and best-seller, The Artificial Silk Girl. In 1933/34, her books were confiscated and forbidden by the Nazis. She went into exile from 1936-1940, first to Ostend in Belgium and later to Holland.

Eva Braun: Mistress and, briefly, wife of Adolf Hitler:

Eva Braun was born in Simbach, Germany, in 1912. She worked as an assistant in the studio of Heinrich Hoffmann. In 1932 she met Adolf Hitler and became his mistress.

After the death of Geli Raubal in 1931, Hitler began to see more of Eva Braun. However he still had relationships with other women Hitler was especially fond of film-stars and one girlfriend the actress Renate Mueller, committed suicide by throwing herself out of a hotel window in Berlin.

Eva was extremely jealous of Hitler's other girlfriends and in 1932 she also attempted suicide by shooting herself in the neck. Doctors managed to save her life, and after this incident Hitler seemed to become more attached to Eva and saw less of other women . . . . 

The Nazi Party always attempted to keep Hitler's love life secret. In his speeches Hitler claimed that he had never married because he was "married to the German people." The severe casualties suffered during the First World War meant that there was a large number of widows and spinsters in Germany. Women in Germany found Hitler's bachelor image attractive and this helped win him votes during elections. It was for this reason that Eva Braun was never seen in public with Hitler.

Hitler gave Eva a flat in Munich but she later moved into the Berghof in Berchetesgaden. She remained there until April 1945 when she joined Hitler in his Berlin Bunker.

On 28th April, 1945, Hitler married Braun. That night Hitler tested out a cyanide pill on his pet Alsatian dog, Blondi. Braun agreed to commit suicide with him. She could have become rich by writing her memoirs but she preferred not to live without Hitler.

The Soviet troops were now only 300 yards away from Hitler's underground bunker. On 30th April Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun went into a private room and took cyanide tablets. Hitler also shot himself in the head. The bodies were then cremated and his ashes were hidden in the Chancellery grounds.

1917 World War I: Various:

German sub sinks US passenger ship California:

Just three days after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's speech of February 3, 1917, in which he broke diplomatic relations with Germany and warned that war would follow if American interests at sea were again assaulted, a German submarine torpedoes and sinks the Anchor Line passenger steamer California off the Irish coast.

The SS California departed New York on January 29 bound for Glasgow, Scotland, with 205 passengers and crewmembers on board. Eight days later, some 38 miles off the coast of Fastnet Island, Ireland, the ship's captain, John Henderson, spotted a submarine off his ship's port side at a little after 9 a.m. and ordered the gunner at the stern of the ship to fire in defense if necessary. Moments later and without warning, the submarine fired two torpedoes at the ship. One of the torpedoes missed, but the second torpedo exploded into the port side of the steamer, killing five people instantly. The explosion of the torpedo was so violent and devastating that the 470-foot, 9,000-ton steamer sank just nine minutes after the attack. Despite desperate S.O.S. calls sent by the crew to ensure the arrival of rescue ships, 38 people drowned after the initial explosion, for a total of 43 dead.

This type of blatant German defiance of Wilson's warning about the consequences of unrestricted submarine warfare, combined with the subsequent discovery and release of the Zimmermann telegram‑‑an overture made by Germany's foreign minister to the Mexican government involving a possible Mexican-German alliance in the event of a war between Germany and the US‑‑drove Wilson and the United States to take the final steps towards war. On April 2, Wilson went before Congress to deliver his war message; the formal declaration of U.S. entrance into the First World War came four days later. (History.com)

War at Sea: For Brazil's Position on U-Boat Warfare click here.

Spain's Reaction to Germany's Policy of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare:

The attitude of strict neutrality which Spain adopted from the beginning and has maintained with loyalty and unshakable firmness gives her the right to expect that the lives of her subjects engaged in sea trade should not be placed in such grave peril. It also gives her the right to expect that that trade should not be troubled nor diminished by such an increase in the extent of the zones in which the Imperial Government insists that, in order to attain its ends, it must use all weapons and suppress all limitations which it has hitherto imposed upon its methods of naval warfare.

Death: Edouard A. Drumont: French anti-Semite journalist:

Edouard Drumont's La France Juive (Jewish France) went through 210 printings between its first publication in 1886 and 1941. An amalgamation of all the varieties of anti-Semitism: religious, racial and economic, it reached all classes. Its popularity, along with that of his newspaper La Libre Parole, made Drumont a redoubtable figure during the era of the Dreyfus Affair.

1919 Weimar: A new German National Assembly meets at Weimar and begins drawing up a new constitution; hence the name Weimar Republic.

This assembly had been elected in January (while the army repressed KPD rioting) and showed a significant increase in SPD seats over the last imperial Reichstag. The three parties of the Peace Resolution of 1917‑‑SPD, Center, and Progressives (now Democrats)‑‑had a large majority and formed the pro-republican "Weimar Coalition.'' The emergency constitution was modeled on the imperial constitution, with a president elected by the assembly in place of the Emperor.

1920 Volkishness: Grand Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg (Irmin) Chancellor of the loyalist Germanenorden dies of what is described as a heart attack. His funerary notice in the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz is decorated with swastikas. Note: Irminism is the religion professed years later by Karl Maria Wiligut (K.M. Weisthor of Himmler's SS staff. (THP)

1922 Washington Naval Treaty: The Washington Conference between the United States, France, Japan, Italy and Britain ends with agreement on restricting use of poison gas and submarine warfare.

The Signatory Powers, desiring to insure the enforcement of the humane rules of existing law declared by them with respect to attacks upon and the seizure and destruction of merchant ships, further declare that any person in the service of any Power who shall violate any of those rules, whether or not such person is under orders of a governmental superior, shall be deemed to have violated the laws of war and shall be liable to trial and punishment as if for an act of piracy.

1928 Various:

Weimar: Kellogg Pact ratified by German Reichstag:

The time has, come when a frank renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy should be made to the end that the peaceful and friendly relations now existing between their peoples may be perpetuated; Convinced that all changes in their relations with one another should be sought only by pacific means and be the result of a peaceful and orderly process.

Anastasia arrives in the United States:

On February 6, 1928, a woman calling herself Anastasia Tschaikovsky and claiming to be the youngest daughter of the murdered czar of Russia arrives in New York City. She held a press conference on the liner Berengaria, explaining she was here to have her jaw reset. It was broken, she alleged, by a Bolshevik soldier during her narrow escape from the execution of her entire family at Ekaterinburg, Russia, in July 1918. Tschaikovsky was welcomed to New York by Gleb Botkin, the son of the Romanov family doctor who was executed along with his patients in 1918. Botkin called her "Your Highness" and claimed that she was without a doubt the Grand Duchess Anastasia with whom he had played as a child.

Between 1918 and 1928, more than half a dozen other women had come forward claiming to be a lost heir to the Romanov fortune, so some American reporters were understandingly skeptical of Tschaikovsky's claims. Nevertheless, she was treated as a celebrity during her stay in New York and occasioned society parties and fashionable hotels worthy of a Romanov heir. Registering for one hotel during her visit, she used the name Anna Anderson, which later became her permanent alias.

In 1917, the February Revolution in Russia forced Czar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne. Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their four girls and one son were held at Czarskoye Selo palace and then taken to Ekaterinburg in the Urals after the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution. Civil war raged throughout 1918, and in July anti-Bolshevik Russian forces approached Ekaterinburg. Fearing that Nicholas and his family would be rescued, the local authorities passed a death sentence on the Romanovs.

Just after midnight on July 17, 1918, Nicholas, Alexandra, their five children, and four family retainers, among them Dr. Botkin, were ordered to dress quickly and go down to the cellar of the house in which they were being held. There, the family and servants were arranged in two rows—for a photograph, they were told, to quell rumors that they had escaped. Suddenly, nearly a dozen armed men burst into the room and shot the imperial family in a hail of gunfire. Those who were still breathing when the smoked cleared were stabbed to death.

The executioners then took the bodies to an abandoned mine shaft some 14 miles from Ekaterinburg, burned them in a gasoline-fueled bonfire, and doused the bones with sulfuric acid to further disguise the remains. Finally, what was left was thrown into the mine pit, which was covered with dirt.

At first, the Bolshevik government reported that only Nicholas was executed and that his wife and children were moved to a safe location. Later, reports that the entire family had perished were confirmed by Russian investigators. At the same time, however, a persistent rumor spread through Europe, telling of a Romanov child, usually Anastasia, who had survived the carnage. Several pretenders came forward, hoping to cash in on the Romanov fortune reportedly held in European banks, but they were quickly exposed as frauds. Europe, however, had yet to meet Anna Anderson.

In 1920, an apparently suicidal young woman was pulled from the Landwehr Canal in Berlin. She refused to tell authorities her identity and was committed to the Dalldorf Asylum, where she lived in anonymity until 1922, when she suddenly announced that she was none other the Grand Duchess Anastasia.

At the time, Europe was filled with Russian exiles who had fled the Bolshevik Revolution, and a number of sympathetic czarists rushed to the aid of this young woman, who at first glance was certainly articulate and beautiful enough to be the lost Anastasia. Her body showed ugly scars, which she said she incurred from Bolshevik knives during the execution of her family. One Bolshevik soldier, she said, finding her alive, had helped her, and she eventually escaped to the West. Several months after claiming to be Anastasia, she was released from the asylum and moved in with the first of a long line of supporters.

During the next few years, her entourage of Russian emigres grew, and she became particularly close to Gleb Botkin, who as the son of the slain Romanov family physician had spent considerable time with the imperial family in his childhood. During this time, numerous Romanov relatives and acquaintances interviewed her, and many were impressed by both her resemblance to Anastasia and her knowledge of the small details of the Romanov's family life. Others, however, left skeptical when she failed to remember important events of young Anastasia's life. Her knowledge of English, French, and Russian, which the young Anastasia knew how to speak well, were also significantly lacking. Many blamed these inconsistencies on her reoccurring mental illness, which led to short stays in mental institutions on several occasions.

Meanwhile, her supporters began a long battle to win her legal recognition as Anastasia. Such recognition would not only win her access to whatever Romanov riches remained outside the USSR but would make her a formidable political pawn of czarist exiles who still hoped to overthrow Russia's communist leaders.

The Grand Duke of Hesse, Alexandra's brother and Anastasia's uncle, was a major critic of this effort, and he hired a private investigator to determine Anastasia Tschaikovsky's true identity. The investigator announced that she was in fact Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish-German factory worker from Pomerania who had disappeared in 1920. Schanzkowska had a history of mental instability and was injured in a factory explosion in 1916, which accounted for the scars. These findings were published in German newspapers but were not proved definitively.

The woman who became known as Anna Anderson continued her fight for recognition, losing several court cases as the decades passed. A French play about her story, Anastasia, debuted in 1954, and in 1956 an American film version appeared, with Ingrid Bergman winning an Academy Award for her title role.

In 1968, Anne Anderson married an American history professor, J.E. Manahan, and moved to the United States, living her final years in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1970, she lost her last major suit, and a remaining portion of the Romanov fortune was awarded to the duchess of Mecklenberg. Anna Anderson Manahan died in 1984.

In 1991, Russian amateur investigators, using a recently released government report on the Romanov execution, found what they thought to be the Romanov burial site. Russian authorities took over and exhumed human remains. Scientists studied the skulls, claiming that Anastasia's was among those found, but the Russian findings were not conclusive. To prove that the remains were indisputably those of the Romanovs, the Russians enlisted the aid of British DNA experts.

First, the scientists tested for sex and identified five females and four males among the remains. Next they tested to see how, if at all, these people were related. A father and mother were identified, along with three daughters. The four other remains were likely those of servants. The son Alexei and one daughter were missing.

To prove the identity of Alexandra and her children, the scientists took blood from Prince Philip, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II and the grand nephew of Alexandra. Because they all share a common maternal ancestor, they would all share mitochondria DNA, which is passed almost unchanged from mother to children. The comparison between the mtDNA in Philip's blood and in the remains was positive, proving them to be the Romanovs. To prove the czar's identity, who would not share this mtDNA, the remains of Grand Duke George, the brother of Nicholas, were exhumed. A comparison of their mtDNA proved their relation.

A Romanov daughter was missing from the burial site. Could Anastasia have escaped and resurfaced as Anna Anderson? In 1994, American and English scientists sought to answer this question once and for all. Using a tissue sample of Anderson's recovered from a Virginia hospital, the English team compared her mtDNA with that of the Romanovs. Simultaneously, an American team compared the mtDNA found in a strand of her hair. Both teams came to the same decisive conclusion: Anna Anderson was not a Romanov.

Later, the scientists compared Anna Anderson's mtDNA with that of Karl Maucher, a great nephew of Franziska Schanzkowska. The DNA was a match, finally proving the theory put forth by a German investigator in the 1920s. One of the great mysteries of the 20th century was solved. (History.com)

1930 Austria: Mussolini signs a treaty of friendship with Austria:

At various times after 1922, Mussolini personally took over the ministries of the interior, of foreign affairs, of the colonies, of the corporations, of the army and the other armed services, and of public works. Sometimes he held as many as seven departments simultaneously, as well as the premiership. He was also head of the all-powerful Fascist party (formed in 1921) and the armed Fascist militia. In this way he succeeded in keeping power in his own hands and preventing the emergence of any rival. But it was at the price of creating a regime that was overcentralized, inefficient, and corrupt. Most of his time was spent on propaganda.

1932 Memel: A fascist coup occurs in the Memel Territory.

1933 Anti-Nazism: Socialists in England, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Norway and Holland call for cooperation between Social Democrats and Communists in the struggle against Nazism. (THP)

1934 France: A political crisis occurs as Fascist agitation in the Third Republic leads to rioting in the streets of Paris, almost resulting in a coup.

1935 Eva Braun celebrates her 23rd birthday and begins a new diary. Twenty-two hastily written pages will be found after the war.

I think this must be the right day to begin this extra-special diary. I have now reached the happy age of 23. No, happy is not quite the right word. At this particular moment I am certainly not happy. The truth is that I have rather large ideas about the importance to be attached to this day: If I had a dog I would not feel so lonely, but I suppose that is asking for too much.

1936 Various:

Eugenics: The German Ministry of the Interior decrees that a system of records be set up to cover hereditary biological data on all patients in mental hospitals and institutions. (THP)

1936 Olympics: Feb 6-16: Hitler's Germany hosts the Winter Olympics in the resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. [See: History of Olympic Boycotts, From Berlin to Beijing.]

1938 Romania: Prime Minister Goga warns that he will not tolerate foreign interference in his domestic antisemitic policy.

1939 Various:

Holocaust: Einsatz des Juedischen Vermoegens is published, decreeing complete 'Aryanization' of Jewish property in the Reich. (THP)

Church and Reich: Bishop Hilfrich of Limburg is a pastoral letter writes that Jesus had been a Jew, but "the Christian religion has not grown out of the nature of this people, that is, is not influenced by their racial characteristics. Rather it has had to make its way against this people." Christianity, the bishop concludes, is not to be regarded as a product of the Jews; it is not a foreign doctrine or un-German. "Once accepted by our ancestors, it finds itself in the most intimate union with the Germanic spirit." (THP)

1940 Holocaust: German Jews lose their eligibility for clothing coupons. (THP)

1941 World War II: North Africa: Various:

Battle of Beda Fomm: The Italian 10th army is destroyed: elements of the British 7th Armored Division had cut across the desert and set up a road block in which the retreating 10th Italian Army is ambushed. Over 25,000 prisoners, 100 tanks, 216 guns, and 1,500 other vehicles are captured. [See: The Mediterranean Strategy.]

Libya: British troops conquer Bengazi:

Then in the bazaar . . . they said it was safer if there were three or four of you together . . . masses of tall Wogs in flowing dirty white robes . . . some of them carrying sticks . . . out of the hot dusty sun into a cool dark little shop (maybe you wanted to buy some stockings or tapestries) . . . then out into the blinding sunshine again . . . Wogs with something wrong with one eye . . . a Wog with no legs, just wheeling himself along the street on a trolley: a trunk, two arms and a head. Sometimes he would stop and get off his cart and move himself along with a loping motion on his arms and the bottom of his trunk, the way a monkey sometimes hops along on its front legs. And small Wog eggs with a taste of their own.

[Note: Wog in the UK is usually regarded as a racially offensive slang word referring to a dark-skinned person from Africa or Asia . . . . Use of the word is strongly discouraged in Britain, and most dictionaries refer to the word with the caution that it is derogatory and offensive.

The origin of the term is unknown, though unsupported folk etymology has much to say. Many dictionaries say "wog" derives from the Golliwog, a blackface minstrel doll character from a children's book published in 1895 . . . . 

The saying "The wogs begin at Calais" was originated . . . in 1949. In a parliamentary debate concerning the Burmese, Wigg shouted at the Tory benches . . . . the Right Honourable Member for Woodford [i.e. Winston Churchill] thinks that the 'wogs' begin at Calais."[2] Wigg's coinage, sometimes paraphrased as "Wogs start at the Channel" or "Wogs start at Dover", is used to characterise a stodgy Europhobic viewpoint, and more generally the view that Britain (more so England) is inherently separate from and superior to the Continent. In this case, "wog" is used to compare any foreign, non-British person to those more traditionally labelled "wogs".]

1943 World War II: Various:

Mussolini fires his son-in-law:

Wary of his growing antiwar attitude, Benito Mussolini removes Count Galeazzo Ciano, his son-in-law, as head of Italy's foreign ministry and takes over the duty himself.

Ciano had been loyal to the fascist cause since its inception, having taking part in the march on Rome in 1922, which marked the Black Shirts' rise to power in Italy. He graduated from the University of Rome with a degree in law, and then went to work as a journalist. Soon thereafter he began a career in Italy's diplomatic corps, working as consul general in China. He married Mussolini's daughter, Edda, in 1930; from there it was a swift climb up the political ladder: from chief of the press bureau to member of the Fascist Grand Council, Mussolini's inner circle of advisers.

Ciano flew a bombing raid against Ethiopia in 1935-36 and was made foreign minister upon his return to Rome. Both because of his experience in foreign affairs and personal relationship to the Duce, Ciano became Mussolini's right-hand man and likely successor. It was Ciano who promoted an Italian alliance with Germany, despite Mussolini's virtual contempt for Hitler. Ciano began to suspect the Fuhrer's loyalty to the "Pact of Steel"—a term Mussolini used to describe the alliance between Germany and Italy—when Germany invaded Poland without consulting its Axis partner, despite an agreement to the contrary Ciano made with his German counterpart, Joachim von Ribbentrop. Despite his concern about Germany's loyalty, he felt that Italy stood to profit nicely from an alliance with the "winning side," so when France fell to the Germans, Ciano advocated Italian participation in the war against the Allies.

After humiliating defeats in Greece and North Africa, Ciano began arguing for a peace agreement with the Allies. Mussolini considered this defeatist—and dismissed him as foreign minister, taking control of that office himself. Ciano became ambassador to the Vatican until he and other members of the Grand Council finally pushed Mussolini out of power in July 1943. Mussolini never forgave his son-in-law for what he later considered a betrayal. Ciano soon fled Rome for the north when the new provisional government began preparing charges of embezzlement against him. Ciano unwittingly fled into the arms of pro-fascist forces in northern Italy and was charged with treason. He was executed on January 11, 1944 on his father-in-law's orders—Mussolini was installed in a puppet government that had been set up by the Germans. Ciano's diaries, which contained brutally frank and sardonic commentaries on the personalities of the war era, are considered an invaluable part of the historical record. (History.com)
[See: How Did the Pact of Steel Effect Germany and Italy?]

North Africa: General Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed commander-in-chief of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in North Africa. He will later become Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. [For further details, Click here.]

1945 Various:

Death: Robert Brasillach: Fascist intellectual and Vichy collaborator shot for treason:

Novelist, journalist and litterateur was the "James Dean of French fascism," fashionable apostle of the interwar fascist movement Action Francaise. A proper James Dean dies young, which fate was supplied courtesy of Brasillach's editorship of the antisemitic rag Je Suis Partout (I Am Everywhere) and enthusiastic support of the Vichy government. Inasmuch as his collaboration had been in the form of ideas propagated, Brasillach's case engaged the French polity in the challenging question of whether "intellectual crime"‑‑and even "intellectual treason"‑‑could exist categorically. Given another year, when occupation was not so fresh a memory and the Nazis were no longer knocking at the door, the puzzle would probably not have been a life and death one. But then, ideas are sometimes life and death matters themselves, and nowhere is that more true than in France.

Many anti-fascist intellectuals appealed to de Gaulle for Brasillach's life: many, but not all. Death penalty opponent Albert Camus signed the petition for clemency; Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir refused. Between fellow-feeling among the literary set, ideological enmity, and the searing experience of the occupation only just lifted lay a test for the conscience of many a French thinker, aphorized by the very words de Gaulle would use in turning aside the appeal: "Talent is a responsibility."

Yalta Conference: Poland is brought up for the first time on the conference's third day, with the respective perspectives of the participants manifesting as radically divergent. In a bid at a compromise concerning the contentious issue of the make-up of a new Polish government, FDR pens a late-evening note to Stalin:

It seems to me that it puts all of us in a bad light throughout the world to have you recognizing one government while we and the British are recognizing another in London. I am sure this state of affairs should not continue and that if it does it can only lead our people to think there is a breach between us, which is not the case. I am determined that there shall be no breach between ourselves and the Soviet Union. Surely there is a way to reconcile our differences . . .

You must believe me when I tell you that our people at home look with a critical eye on what they consider a disagreement between us at this vital stage of the war. They, in effect, say that if we cannot get a meeting of minds now when our armies are converging on the common enemy, how can we get an understanding on even more vital things in the future? (Harriman) [See: The Last Days of the Third Reich.]

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Fifty-Second Day: Assistant Prosecutor for the French Republic, M. Charles Gerthoffer delivers the Presention of Stolen Art.

M. Charles Gerthoffer:

As the Tribunal will realize, the leaders of the Reich primarily and systematically seized works of art belonging to private individuals, mostly under the pretext that these individuals were Jews, thus procuring for themselves very valuable means of exchange. In Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and France picture galleries, public as well as private collections, ancient furniture, china, and jewelry were stolen.

It was not a question of individual looting, of pillaging by soldiers, such as is encountered in all wars and of which we still find examples; this campaign of plunder was carried out in a systematic and disciplined manner. The methods introduced varied in character. Personal judgment and personal initiative could be exercised only insofar as they contributed to the execution of plans already elaborated by the National Socialist leaders before the month of June 1940.

The official organization for pillaging was primarily Minister Rosenberg's Einsatzstab for the occupied territories of western Europe and the Netherlands. If this organization was not the sole agent, it was the most important one. Colonel Storey has already drawn the attention of the Tribunal to this criminal behavior.

The urge to seize works of art, as well as material wealth, underlies the policy of National Socialist expansion. The behavior in Poland of the Defendant Frank has already given sufficient proof of this. The idea of protecting this valuable booty arose at the time of the invasion of western Europe. From the very beginning, in their haste and their desire to seize as much as they could, several parallel authorities would carry out the confiscations, firstly by the military authorities, either indirectly, as in Holland through the special services of the Devisenschutzkommando or directly as in France through the Department for the Protection of Works of Art. Further, the same mission was entrusted simultaneously to the civil authorities, whether represented by the German Embassy in Paris or, in Holland, the Office for Enemy Property under the auspices of the Reich Commissioner. This plurality of control, moreover, did not end with the establishment of the Rosenberg Staff.

This is the first phase in the pillage of works of art. According to official correspondence, as well as to the statements of Otto Abetz, the initiative may be attributed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, beginning with the Defendant Ribbentrop. The first phase lasted from the entrance of the Germans into the countries of western Europe until October 1940.

The second phase opened with the arrival of Einsatzstab Rosenberg which appeared on the scene under the aegis of the Defendant Goering. From now on this Einsatzstab must be considered primarily responsible for the organized pillage.

Towards July 1942 a third phase opens in the history of the Staff Rosenberg. The person primarily responsible is the Defendant Alfred Rosenberg. The activities of this staff did not cease in Europe until the liberation. [For the full text of today's proceedings, Click here.]

1952 Death: King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Elizabeth becomes queen:

After a long illness, the King dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, the eldest of the king's two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was in Kenya at the time of her father's death; she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, at age 27.

King George VI, the second son of King George V, ascended to the throne in 1936 after his older brother, King Edward VIII, voluntarily abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. During World War II, George worked to rally the spirits of the British people by touring war zones, making a series of morale-boosting radio broadcasts (for which he overcame a speech impediment) and shunning the safety of the countryside to remain with his wife in bomb-damaged Buckingham Palace. The king's health deteriorated in 1949, but he continued to perform state duties until his death in 1952.

1952 Sixty-four V-2s have been launched at White Sands by this time. One V-2 is used as the first stage of a two-stage missile named Bumper. The top half is a US WAC Corporal rocket. [See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry.]

1985 Cold War: The Reagan Doctrine is announced:

In his State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan defines some of the key concepts of his foreign policy, establishing what comes to be known as the "Reagan Doctrine." The doctrine served as the foundation for the Reagan administration's support of "freedom fighters" around the globe.

Reagan began his foreign policy comments with the dramatic pronouncement that, "Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God's children." America's "mission" was to "nourish and defend freedom and democracy." More specifically, Reagan declared that, "We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives‑‑on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua‑‑to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth." He concluded, "Support for freedom fighters is self-defense."

1989 Death: Chris Gueffroy: last person killed escaping over the Berlin wall.

1990 West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl proposes unifying the currencies of East and West Germany.

1994 Death: Jack "King" Kirby [above, to the right of his sometimes partner, Joe Simon]: Famed American comic book writer and artist, born Jacob Kurtzberg to Jewish-Austrian parents. Among the characters that the prolific Kirby either created or co-created were the iconic Captain America [with Joe Simon], as well as The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Boy Commandos, Kamandi, Darkseid, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Challengers of the Unknown, The New Gods, Captain Victory, The Silver Surfer, The Mighty Thor and at least a hundred others. [For further details, Click here.]

After America became involved in World War Two, Timely Comics superhero Captain America's Jewish creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby pitted their star-spangled warrior against the Nazi agent Red Skull. Captain America's alter ego Steve Rogers could be seen as a symbol for the way Jews were stereotypically depicted as frail and passive. That is, until he took a serum that transformed him into the robust Captain America. The serum was created by "Professor Reinstein," an obvious nod to famed Jewish physicist Albert Einstein. -Arie Kaplan

2002 Death: Max Perutz: Austrian-born molecular biologist, Nobel Prize Laureate. During World War II, he was asked to find a way to improve the structural qualities of ice for Project Habakkuk (a secret project to build an aircraft carrier made of ice) and investigated the recently invented mixture of ice and woodpulp known as pykrete.

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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