March 1

1899 Birth: Erich Bach-Zelewski: General of the Higher SS and Police Leader Corps, responsible for anti-partisan warfare on the eastern front.

A professional soldier from a Junker military family, Bach-Zelewski, joined the NSDAP in 1930 and served in the Reichstag from 1932-1944 representing the Breslau district. In 1939, he was promoted to SS General and two years later became a General of the Waffen-SS assigned to the Central Army Group on the Russian front until the end of 1942. There he was responsible for numerous atrocities in which he took a personal part. On October 31, 1941, after 35,000 persons had been executed in Riga, he wrote: "There is not a Jew left in Estonia." He also actively participated in massacres of Jews at Minsk and Mogilev in White Russia. In July 1943, he was appointed by Himmler as anti-partisan chief on the entire eastern front, later claiming that he had tried to protect the Jews from the Einsatzgruppen. Bach-Zelewski was in command of the German units which suppressed the Warsaw uprising in the summer of 1944 and was subsequently awarded the Knight's Cross.

The fact that he testified for the prosecution at Nuremberg, denouncing Himmler and his fellow police chiefs, saved him from extradition to Russia. In March 1951, he was sentenced by a Munich de-Nazification court to ten years' "special labor," which in reality was confinement in his own home in Franconia. He was never prosecuted for his role in the anti-Jewish massacres, even though he was the only major mass murderer who publicly denounced himself for his wartime actions. In 1961, he was arrested and tried for participating in the Roehm (Roehm) Blood Purge and sentenced to four and a half years. He was indicted again in 1962 for the 1933 murders of six German Communists and sentenced to life imprisonment by a jury in Nuremberg. Neither indictment mentioned his or the Waffen-SS' role during the war. He died on March 8, 1972, in a prison hospital at Munich-Harlaching.

1916 World War I: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare in Flanders (Artois) with 3 Company, 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment. (Maser-Appendix A, P 323) [For further details, Click here.]

1917 World War I Various:

Zimmermann Telegram published in United States::

On this day in 1917, the text of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a message from the German foreign secretary, Arthur Zimmermann, to the German ambassador to Mexico proposing a Mexican-German alliance in the case of war between the United States and Germany, is published on the front pages of newspapers across America. [For further details, Click here.]

Gefreiter Adolf Hitler—who had been hospitalized since October 9, 1916 after being shot in his left leg—is transferred back to the List Regiment, 3 Company, 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment [16th RIR]. He is in good spirits and happy to be back with his old comrades. According to Westenkirchner, the cook prepares a special meal of potato pancakes, bread, jam, and tea in Hitler's honor. His little dog Fuchsl was overjoyed, and Hitler will recall that "he hurled himself on me in a frenzy". The one thing that ruins Hitler's good mood is the large number of rats scurrying around in the trenches and dugouts. Ignaz Westenkirchner: "Long after the rest of us had turned in, Hitler was still fooling around with a flashlight in the dark and spitting the rats on his bayonet. Finally someone chucked a boot at his head, and we got a little peace." [For further details, Click here.]

Bread riots in Russia are followed by more killings:

Reflecting the intense pressure of the movement of the masses, at one of its first sittings, on March 1, the Soviet issued the famous 'Order No. 1' which included the following:

The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies has decreed: 1) Committees to be elected immediately in all companies, battalions . . . from the elected representatives of the rank and file of the above mentioned units. 2) In all political actions, troop units are subordinate to the Soviet . . . and to the committees thereof. 3) The orders of the military commission of the state Duma are to be obeyed, with the exception of those instances in which they contradict the orders and decrees of the Soviet.

1924 Weimar: Germany's prohibition of the Communist Party KPD is lifted:

Through the 1920s the KPD was racked by internal conflict between more and less radical factions, partly reflecting the power struggles between Zinoviev and Stalin in Moscow. Germany was seen as being of central importance to the struggle for socialism, and the failure of the German revolution was a major setback.

1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapped:

In a crime that captured the attention of the entire nation, Charles Lindbergh III, the 20-month-old son of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, is kidnapped from the family's new mansion in Hopewell, New Jersey. Lindbergh, who became an international celebrity when he flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, and his wife Anne discovered a ransom note demanding $50,000 in their son's empty room. The kidnapper used a ladder to climb up to the open second-floor window and left muddy footprints in the room.

The Lindberghs were inundated by offers of assistance and false clues. Even Al Capone offered his help from prison. For three days, investigators found nothing and there was no further word from the kidnappers. Then, a new letter showed up, this time demanding $70,000.

The kidnappers eventually gave instructions for dropping off the money and when it was delivered, the Lindberghs were told their baby was on a boat called Nelly off the coast of Massachusetts. After an exhaustive search, however, there was no sign of either the boat or the child. Soon after, the baby's body was discovered near the Lindbergh mansion. He had been killed the night of the kidnapping and was found less than a mile from home. The heartbroken Lindberghs ended up donating the mansion to charity and moved away.

The kidnapping looked like it would go unsolved until September 1934, when a marked bill from the ransom turned up. The gas station attendant who had accepted the bill wrote down the license plate number because he was suspicious of the driver. It was tracked back to a German immigrant and carpenter, Bruno Hauptmann. When his home was searched, detectives found a chunk of Lindbergh ransom money.

Hauptmann claimed that a friend had given him the money to hold and that he had no connection to the crime. The resulting trial was a national sensation. The prosecution's case was not particularly strong; the main evidence, besides the money, was testimony from handwriting experts that the ransom note had been written by Hauptmann. The prosecution also tried to establish a connection between Hauptmann and the type of wood that was used to make the ladder.

Still, the evidence and intense public pressure were enough to convict Hauptmann and he was electrocuted in 1935. In the aftermath of the crime—the most notorious of the 1930s—kidnapping was made a federal offense. (

1933 Nazi Germany promulgates decrees covering "Provocation to Armed Conflict" and "Provocation to a General Strike." [See: How Did Adolf Hitler Consolidate his Power?]

1934 China: The last Emperor of China, Henry Pu Yi, is installed as Emperor Kang Teh of Manchuria.

1935 The Saar is reunited with Germany and becomes an integral part of the Third Reich. The Nazis quickly apply their anti-Jewish legislation to the region. (THP) [See: What Was the Nature of Hitler's Anti-Semitism?]

1938 Poland: Thousands of Jews are deprived of their livelihood when the Polish government revokes Jewish tobacco dealers' licenses. (THP)

1939 Romania announces that it has taken away the citizenship of 43,000 Jews:

Romania's deep-seated anti-Semitism was present long before World War II. Allied with Nazi Germany under the wartime leadership of General Ion Antonescu, Romania was directly responsible for the murder of more Jews than any country other than Germany. Antonescu was convicted and executed as a war criminal after the war. Despite all of this, after the fall of communism, a revisionist history movement with close ties to prominent political circles emerged that portrayed Antonescu as a national hero. Statues of Antonescu were erected and streets were named in his honor.

1940 Various:

1940 World War II: Norway and Denmark: Hitler issues the final directive for the German invasion:

Goering: The Norwegian project surprised me, since strangely enough for a rather long time I was not informed about it. The Fuehrer went very far in his basic decree, which I already mentioned at the beginning, and did not call in the Air Force until very late. But since the most important part of this undertaking fell to the Air Force, I expressed my views in regard to this in an unmistakable and unfriendly fashion. From a military point of view I was definitely against this undertaking.

March 1-6 Sumner Welles (American Under-Secretary of State) visits Hitler in Berlin:

Yet while Welles and Roosevelt retreated for a time, they would continue to search for ways for Washington to play a more active role in the world crisis, and Welles would continue to speak publicly about creating "a new world order" modeled upon the Good Neighbor Policy and his "American system." What neither Roosevelt nor Welles realized . . . and failed to realize until the German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940 . . . was that the opportunity for a diplomatic or political solution to the crisis had long since passed.

1941 World War II: Various:

Bulgaria joins the Axis:

When the Second World War broke out, Bulgaria declared its neutrality. But Bulgaria's King Boris was eager to expand his country's borders, and Germany had already coerced Romania to restore south Dobruja‑-which had been lost in World War I‑-to Bulgaria. Bulgaria had chosen the wrong side in World War I, deciding that its territorial needs then would best be met by joining the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary and the German Empire). They were wrong, and King Boris was determined not to make the same mistake again.

Believing Hitler's boasts that he had already won the war, King Boris chose to pitch his country's tent on the Axis side of the war. Hitler needed a compliant Bulgaria through which to march his troops en route to offensives against both Yugoslavia and Greece. If the Germans were victorious in Greece, Bulgaria hoped, as a new war partner, to gain access itself to the Aegean by claiming Greek territory to its south. On March 1, the Germans came marching through the Balkans, as the Bulgarian king signed the Tripartite Pact in Vienna with Hitler looking on.

Bulgaria benefited in the short term from the alliance; it made territorial gains in both Greece and Yugoslavia. But Hitler was not through exploiting its "partner"-the Fuhrer wanted Bulgaria's help in its war with the Soviet Union. While King Boris prepared Bulgarian troops for the Eastern Front in 1943, communists and agrarian reformers mounted a vigorous resistance campaign, assassinating more than 100 pro-Nazi officials. King Boris also died at this time‑-from a heart attack. A Regency Council was formed, which remained loyal to Germany. Successive governments rose and fell until the Soviet Union's invasion of Bulgaria in September 1944 resulted in an armistice and a postwar, pro-Soviet Bulgaria. (

The first appearance of the iconic Captain America:

How could Captain America not been a reaction to the times. The Nazis were a menace, an evil in the world. The US hadn't yet entered the war when Jack [Kirby] and I [Joe Simon] did Captain America, so maybe he was our way at lashing out against the Nazi menace. Evidently, Captain America symbolized, if that is the correct word, the American people's sentiments.

Holocaust: Heinrich Himmler visits Auschwitz for the first time:

Accompanied by Gauleiter Fritz Bracht and local senior police chiefs, Himmler orders the expansion on the camp so that it can accomodate 30,000 inmates, instead of the few thousand‑-mainly Poles‑-who are imprisoned there at that time. (THP) [See: How Widespread Was Guilty Knowledge of the Holocaust?]

1942 World War II: Various:

War in the Pacific: Japanese troops occupy Kalidjati airport in Java.

From a Hitler Order concerning Alfred Rosenberg:

The directives concerning co-operation with the Wehrmacht were given to the Chief of the OKW with the approval of Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg: Jews, Freemasons, and related ideological enemies of National Socialism are responsible for the war which is now being waged against the Reich. The co-ordinated ideological fight against those powers is a military necessity. I have therefore charged Reichsleiter Rosenberg to carry out this task in co-operation with the chief of the OKW. His Einsatzstab in the Occupied Territories is authorized to search libraries, record offices, lodges, and other ideological and cultural institutions of all kinds for suitable material, and to confiscate the said material for the ideological task of the NSDAP and the later scientific research work of the Hohe Schule. The same regulation applies to cultural assets which are in possession of or the property of Jews, or ownerless, or not clearly of unobjectionable origin. The necessary measures within the Eastern territories under the German Administration are determined by Reichsleiter Rosenberg in his capacity as Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. ‑-Adolf Hitler.

Yugoslavia: Tito establishes the second Proletariat Brigade in Bosnia:

Now former Yugoslavs who may be tired of hearing about the glory of medieval Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Montenegrin, or Macedonian kings, or who cannot quite remember why they are supposed to hate all those boys and girls from other ethnic groups who grew up next door, can bring back the days of "brotherhood and unity," as the old slogan said.

1944 World War II: Various:

War at Sea: U-358 is sunk in the Atlantic. "by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Gould, HMSAffleck, HMSGore and HMS Garlies. 50 dead and one survivor . . . 

Sauckel at a meeting of the Central Planning Board:

The most abominable point against which I have to fight is the claim that there is no organization in these districts properly to recruit Frenchmen, Belgians, and Italians and to dispatch them to work. So I have even proceeded to employ and train a whole staff of French and Italian agents of both sexes who for good pay, just as was done in olden times for 'shanghaiing,' go hunting for men and dupe them, using liquor as well as persuasion in order to dispatch them to Germany. Moreover, I have charged several capable men with founding a special labor allocation organization of our own, and this by training and arming, under the aegis of the Higher SS and Police Fuehrer, a number of indigenous units; but I still have to ask the munitions ministry for arms for these men. For during the last year alone several dozens of high-ranking labor allocation officials of great ability have been shot. All these means must be used, grotesque as it may sound, to refute the allegation that there is no organization to bring labor to Germany from these countries.

1945 World War II:Various:

Western front: A US infantry regiment captures Moenchengladbach.

Eastern Front: Meanwhile, Zhukov's Army Group joins Rokossovsky's major thrust north through Pomerania. Himmler, after receiving an order from Hitler demanding that he exterminate all prisoners and destroy all remaining concentration camps to avoid them falling into the hands of the enemy, takes to his hospital bed once again, complaining of 'angina.' [See: The Last Days of the Third Reich.]

FDR reports to Congress on the Crimean Conference:

When we met at Yalta, in addition to laying our strategic and tactical plans for the complete, final military victory over Germany, there were other problems of vital political consequence. For instance, there were the problems of occupational control of Germany after victory, the complete destruction of her military power. [For the full text, Click here.]

From Washington Goes to War by David Brinkley:

Roosevelt came back from Yalta aboard the Quincy, docking at the Norfolk navy yard, and then proceeded by train to Washington and the underground siding at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He arrived at 6 AM, but stayed in bed, as was his habit, even though he was in a railroad car twenty feet under the trolleys, buses, taxis and morning commuter traffic above him on Fourteenth Street. He lay there drinking coffee and reading the newspapers until 9 AM, when he came above-ground into the daylight and drove to the White House. He spent the day working on a speech he was to make to Congress the next day, March 1, in which he would report on his meeting at Yalta.

It was one of the poorest speeches of his life. It was too long, more than an hour. He kept wandering away from the written text and ad-libbing lines that to an NBC reporter in the radio gallery on the balcony made no sense. His voice was weak and quavering. Dean Acheson of the State Department called it 'an invalid's voice.' He was even willing, as he had never been before, to refer in public to his physical disability. In the past, he had made his speeches standing and holding on to the House Chamber's podium, supported by the steel braces on his legs attached to a wide leather band around his waist. This time, he told Congress and the radio audience, he would speak on the floor of the House Chamber because, he said, after a long trip it was easier not to have the weight of ten pounds of steel around his legs.

Wunderwaffen: A team of Soviet rocket specialists in Poland attempt to send an Li-2 aircraft loaded with salvaged V-2 components to Moscow. The plane crash lands near Kiev and only a portion of the shipment ever makes it to the Soviet capital. (Menaul) [See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry.]

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Dr Martin Loffer (Counsel for the SA) questions the Prosecution's Clarification of the Criminality of Organizations:

Part of the essence of a conspiracy is the idea that its criminal aims be kept secret from its opponents. An organization of several millions is, by its very nature, not suited to carrying out a plot. The leaders of the SA emphasized in numerous addresses that they wanted to maintain peace under all circumstances. They pointed out that Germany would be rather a danger to European peace if she were without defense and arms in the heart of Europe and that being in a state of preparedness was the best guarantee for securing future peace in Europe. The simple members point again and again to the fact that foreign powers gave diplomatic recognition to the leaders of National Socialism. They consider this fact not simply an act of "international courtesy" but are convinced that foreign governments would not have entered into relation with the German Government if that German Government had consisted of open criminals. [For the full text of today's proceedings, Click here.]

1947 Wernher von Braun—Hitler's former chief rocket scientist—on leave from his work for the US Government, weds his first cousin, Maria Louise von Quistorp, at the Lutheran Church in Landshut, Bavaria. (Piszkiewicz)

1952 Heligoland‑-an island in the North Sea‑-is returned to (West) Germany by Britain.

1961 Kennedy establishes Peace Corps: Newly elected President John F. Kennedy issues an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. It proved to be one of the most innovative and highly publicized Cold War programs set up by the United States. [For further information, click here]

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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