October 10

732 Battle of Tours:

At the Battle of Tours near Poitiers, France, Frankish leader Charles Martel, a Christian, defeats a large army of Spanish Moors, halting the Muslim advance into Western Europe. Abd-ar-Rahman, the Muslim governor of Cordoba, was killed in the fighting, and the Moors retreated from Gaul, never to return in such force.

Charles was the illegitimate son of Pepin, the powerful mayor of the palace of Austrasia and effective ruler of the Frankish kingdom. After Pepin died in 714 (with no surviving legitimate sons), Charles beat out Pepin's three grandsons in a power struggle and became mayor of the Franks. He expanded the Frankish territory under his control and in 732 repulsed an onslaught by the Muslims.

Victory at Tours ensured the ruling dynasty of Martel's family, the Carolingians. His son Pepin became the first Carolingian king of the Franks, and his grandson Charlemagne carved out a vast empire that stretched across Europe. ["The First Reich" -Ed.] (History.com)

1845 Birth of the U.S. Naval Academy:

The United States Naval Academy opens in Annapolis, Maryland, with 50 midshipmen students and seven professors. Known as the Naval School until 1850, the curriculum included mathematics and navigation, gunnery and steam, chemistry, English, natural philosophy, and French. The Naval School officially became the U.S. Naval Academy in 1850, and a new curriculum went into effect, requiring midshipmen to study at the academy for four years and to train aboard ships each summer--the basic format that remains at the academy to this day. (History.com)

1911 China: Revolutionaries under Sun Yat-sen overthrow China's Manchu dynasty. (AP)

1914 World War I: Various:

List Regiment (Oct 9-11): Infantry Recruit Adolf Hitler, as a member of the 1st Company of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, continues the long march to Lechfeld on this bitterly cold Sunday, walking for thirteen hours before bivouacking in the open for the night. [For further details, Click here.]

The Capture of Antwerp by Erich von Falkenhayn:

Great Headquarters, October 10th. After a siege of only twelve days, Antwerp has fallen into our hands. On September 28th the first shot was fired against the forts of the outer lines. On October 1st the first forts were taken by storm, on October 6th and 7th the strongly embanked Nethe entrenchments, for the most part four hundred meters wide, were overcome.

On October 7th the bombardment of the town was announced in accordance with the Hague agreement. As the commandant declared that he would be answerable for the bombardment, it began at midnight from October 7th to 8th. At the same time the attack upon the inner forts began. Early in the morning of October 9th the forts of the inner lines were taken, and on the afternoon of October 9th the city could be occupied without serious resistance. The probably very strong garrison had at first defended itself very bravely. But as it finally did not feel itself equal to the assault of our infantry and the marine division, as well as to the effectiveness of our powerful artillery, it had fled in complete disorganization. Among the garrison there was also an English marine brigade which had just lately arrived. 

According to English newspaper reports it was to form the backbone of the defence. The degree of disorganization of the English and Belgian troops is indicated by the fact that the negotiations for the surrender had to be carried on with the mayor - as no military authorities were to be found. The complete surrender was confirmed on October 10th by the chief-of-staff of the hitherto existing government of Antwerp. The last forts, which had not as yet surrendered, were occupied by our troops. The number of prisoners cannot yet be estimated.  Many Belgian and English soldiers have fled to Holland, where they will be interned. Vast supplies of all kinds have been captured.

1915 World War I - List Regiment (Oct 7 - 14): Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's serves with 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment at Fromelles. [For further details, Click here.]

1916 World War I: Eighth Battle of the Isonzo:

On this day in 1916, Italian forces during World War I initiate the Eighth Battle of the Isonzo, essentially continuing a previous assault on Austrian positions near the Isonzo River and attempting to increase gains made during previous battles in the same region. [For further details, Click here]

1916 List Regiment (Oct 9 - Dec 3): Hitler, who had been fighting almost continuously for two years, finds himself on a hospital train headed for a Red Cross hospital in Beelitz, near Berlin. While his wound is serious, he will recover quickly, and will later write Balthaser Brandmayer: "Am suffering from hunger-induced typhus because I cannot eat bread; additionally I am adamantly denied any sort of jam." [For further details, Click here.]

1917 World War I (Sep 30-Oct 17): Hitler takes an eighteen-day furlough to accompany Schmidt [above] on a visit to his sister in Dresden with him. After sightseeing stops at Brussels and Cologne, they hit Leipzig, a city Hitler especially enjoys. He is impressed by the 300-foot tall monument, Battle of the Nations, honoring the war-dead of 1812. "This has nothing to do with art," he tells Schmidt (above), "but it is enormous and beautiful." After spending some time with Schmidt in Dresden, Hitler goes off by himself to Berlin to spend a few days with yet another front-line comrade. In a postcard to Schmidt, he writes: "The city is marvelous. A real world capital. Traffic is still tremendous. Am gone almost all day. Now finally have opportunity to study the museums a little better. In short: there is nothing lacking." [For further details, Click here.]

1918 World War I: Various:

Kaiser Wilhelm's Proclamation to the Army:

The hour is grave! We are fighting for the future of the Fatherland and for the protection of the soil of the Homeland. To that end we need the united action of the intellectual, moral, and economic powers of Germany. On the co-operation of those powers our invincibility rests.The will for defence must bind all separate views and separate wishes into one great unity of conception. God grant us something of the spirit of the war of liberation.

War at Sea: The Leinster, an Irish mail boat, is sunk by a German submarine on its way to Holyhead. At least 480 people are killed.

There were 771 people on board during the final voyage. The first torpedo to hit the ship struck on the port side in the vicinity of the postal sorting room. Twenty-one of the twenty-two postal sorters on duty were killed.

World War I - List Regiment (Sep 28-Oct 15): Gefreiter Adolf Hitler participates in defensive operations in Flanders with 3 Company, 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. [For further details, Click here.]

1933 Aviation: In the first proven act of air sabotage in the history of commercial aviation, a United Airlines Boeing 247 exploded in mid-air near Chesterton, Indiana, US, killing all seven people aboard. [For further information, click here]

1938 Germany completes its occupation of the Sudetenland.

1939 World War II: Various:

From the German Minister in Finland (Bluecher) to the German Foreign Office:

All indications are that if Russia will not confine its demands to islands in the Gulf of Finland, Finland will offer armed resistance. The consequences for our war economy would be grave. Not only food and timber exports, but also indispensable copper and molybdenum exports from Finland to Germany would cease. For this reason I suggest you intercede with Russian Government in the sense that it should not go beyond a demand for the islands.

France: President Daladier rejects Hitler's offer to negotiate. (See Oct 9)

Norway: Churchill argues in the British Cabinet for the mining of Norwegian coastal waters to interfere with German iron ore traffic.

Admiral Erich Raeder mentions to Hitler for the first time the idea of invading Norway. This is not something Hitler has contemplated, but Britain will make the first move and Hitler will ultimately triumph in Norway.

1940 World War II: Published in the Verordnungsblatt for the occupied territory of France on 17 October 1940:

Ordinance concerning protection against acts of sabotage, 10 October 1940. By virtue of the powers which have been conferred upon me by the Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, I decree the following: I. Whoever intentionally does not fulfill or fulfills inadequately the tasks of surveillance which are imposed upon him by the Chief of the Military Administration in France, or by an authority designated by the latter, shall be condemned to death...In less serious cases concerning infractions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the present ordinance, and in case of negligence, punishment by solitary confinement with hard labor or imprisonment may be imposed.

1941 World War II: Various:

From the Duty Book of Captain Shigeshi Uchida:

a. A telegram came from Nomura that there is little hope to get concessions from the US. b. Many grave doubts whether it would be possible to reach an agreement with the US. The Navy Minister by this time was becoming quite doubtful. (Dillon)

[See: Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor.]

From a directive, by Field Marshal Von Reichenau, Commander in-Chief (Oberbefehlshaber) of the German 6th Army then operating on the Eastern Front:

Subject: Conduct of troops in Eastern Territories. Regarding the conduct of troops towards the Bolshevistic system, vague ideas are still prevalent in many cases. The most essential aim of war against the Jewish-Bolshevistic system is a complete destruction of their means of power and the elimination of Asiatic influence from the European culture. In this connection the troops are facing tasks which exceed the one-sided routine of soldiering. The soldier in the Eastern Territories is not merely a fighter according to the rules of the art of war, but also a bearer of ruthless national ideology and the avenger of bestialities which have been inflicted upon German and racially related nations. Therefore, the soldier must have full understanding for the necessity of a severe but just revenge on subhuman Jewry.

The Army has to aim at another purpose, that is the annihilation of revolts in the hinterland, which as experience proves, have always been caused by Jews. The combating of the enemy behind the front line is still not being taken seriously enough. Treacherous, cruel partisans and unnatural women are still being made prisoners of war; and guerilla fighters dressed partly in uniforms or plain clothes and vagabonds are still being treated as proper soldiers and sent to prisoner-of-war camps. In fact, captured Russian officers talk even mockingly about Soviet agents moving openly about the roads and very often eating at German field kitchens. Such an attitude of the troops can only be explained by complete thoughtlessness, so it is now high time for the commanders to clarify the meaning of the present struggle.

The feeding of the natives and of prisoners of war who are not working for the Armed Forces from army kitchens is an equally misunderstood humanitarian act, as is the giving of cigarettes and bread. Things which the people at home can spare under great sacrifices and things which are being brought by the command to the front under great difficulties should not be given to the enemy by the soldier, not even if they originate from booty. It is an important part of our supply. When retreating the Soviets have often set buildings on fire. The troops should be interested in extinguishing fires only as far as it is necessary to secure sufficient numbers of billets. Otherwise, the disappearance of symbols of the former Bolshevistic rule, even in the form of buildings, is part of the struggle of destruction. Neither historic nor artistic considerations are of any importance in the Eastern Territories. The command issues the necessary directives for the securing of raw materials and plants essential for war economy. The complete disarming of the civil population in the rear of the fighting troops is imperative, considering the long and vulnerable lines of communication. Where possible, captured weapons and ammunition should be stored and guarded. Should this be impossible because of the situation, the weapons and ammunition will be rendered useless.

If isolated partisans are found using firearms in the rear of the Army, drastic measures are to be taken. These measures will be extended to that part of the male population who were in a position to hinder or report the attacks. The indifference of numerous allegedly anti-Soviet elements, which originates from a 'wait-and-see' attitude, must give way to a clear decision for active collaboration. If not, no one can complain about being judged and treated as a member of the Soviet system. The fear of the German counter measures must be stronger than the threats of the wandering Bolshevistic remnants. Being far from all political considerations of the future, the soldier has to fulfill two tasks:

1. Complete annihilation of the false Bolshevistic doctrine of the Soviet State and its armed forces.

2. The pitiless extermination of alien treachery and cruelty and thus the protection of the lives of German military personnel in Russia. This is the only way to fulfill our historic task to liberate the German people once and forever from the Asiatic-Jewish danger. Signed: Von Reichenau, Oberbefehlshaber.

Holocaust: Thousands of Slovak Jews are sent to labor camps at Sered, Vyhne, and Novaky, while the remaining Jews living in what had once been Czechoslovakia are ordered out of their homes and sent to specially designated ghetto areas in 14 selected towns. (THP)

[See: Why Do They Hate the Jews? by Albert Einstein.]

Holocaust: Reinhard Heydrich, in Prague, tells a conference of his subordinates that Hitler wants all the Jews removed from German space by the end of the year, if possible. All pending questions, he said, had to be resolved, and transportation should not be used as a reason for delay. (THP)

Roma: Heydrich also includes the Gypsies as being subject to "evacuation" (deportation to death camps) during the Prague conference. (THP)

Barbarossa: Soviet troops halt the German advance on Moscow.

German forces complete the battle of encirclement along the Sea of Azov and take 100,000 prisoners.

1942 Various:

Church and Reich: The Holy See replies to Taylor's note (September 26) that up to the present it had not been possible to verify the accuracy of the severe measures reportedly taken against the Jews. (THP)

World War II: German and Italian bomber forces begin a major offensive against the British island of Malta in the Mediterranean.

1943 Various:

Church and Reich: The provincial administrator of the Regensburg area reports that the joint pastoral letter from the bishops on August 19 castigating the killing of innocents has not had any lasting effect. He writes: "The population pays scant attention to such involved pronouncements burdened with stipulations." (THP)

War in the Air: First raid by American B-17's on German military targets in Poland.

War with Japan: The Kempeitai, the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army, arrest and torture more than 50 civilians and civilian internees on suspicion of their involvement in a raid on Singapore Harbour during Operation Jaywick. [For further information, click here]

1943 China: Chiang Kai-shek takes the oath of office as president.

1944 World War II: Various:

Balkans: In its advance toward Belgrade, the Red Army breaks through the German lines in Serbia.

Slovakia: The rebellion against the Tiso government is put down by the German Army.

Churchill and Stalin (from Moscow) to FDR:

We have agreed not to refer in our discussions to Dumbarton Oaks issues, and that these shall be taken up when we three can meet together. We have to consider the best way of reaching an agreed policy about the Balkan countries, including Hungary and Turkey. We have arranged for Mr. Harriman to sit in as an observer at all meetings where business of importance is to be transacted and for General Deane to be present whenever military topics are raised. We have arranged for technical contacts between our high officers and General Deane on military aspects, and for any meetings which may be necessary later in our presence and that of the two Foreign Secretaries, together with Mr. Harriman. We shall keep you fully informed ourselves about the progress we make. We take this occasion to send you our heartiest good wishes and to offer congratulations on the prowess of United States forces and upon the conduct of the war in the West by General Eisenhower.

Churchill (from Moscow) to FDR:

The pressure in Dutch salient seems to me growing very severe, and our advances are slow and costly. In these circumstances we have with much sorrow had to recommend that we should put off "Dracula" (the amphibious attack on Rangoon) from March to November and leave the British 3d Division in France, as well as sending there the 52d Division, one of our best, about 22,000 strong in fighting troops, and the 6th Airborne Division to the Netherlands. Eisenhower is counting on these for the impending operation on the Rhine, and of course this was much the quickest way to bring additional troops to France.

3. Could you not deflect two, or better still three, American divisions to the Italian front, which would enable them to join Mark Clarks Fifth Army and add the necessary strength to Alexander? They would have to be there in three or four weeks. I consider the fact that we shall be sending Eisenhower these extra two divisions gives me a case for your generous consideration.

4. With regard to Istria, Trieste, etc., General Wilson is forwarding his plan to Combined Chiefs of Staff. This plan will be in accord with over-all strategic objective, namely, the expulsion from or destruction in Italy of Kesselring's army.

Eight hundred children are gassed to death at Auschwitz:

On this day in 1944, 800 Gypsy children, including more than a hundred boys between 9 and 14 years old are systematically murdered.

Auschwitz was really a group of camps, designated I, II, and III. There were also 40 smaller "satellite" camps. It was at Auschwitz II, at Birkenau, established in October 1941, that the SS created a complex, monstrously orchestrated killing ground: 300 prison barracks; four "bathhouses," in which prisoners were gassed; corpse cellars; and cremating ovens. Thousands of prisoners were also used as fodder for medical experiments, overseen and performed by the camp doctor, Josef Mengele ("the Angel of Death").

A mini-revolt took place on October 7, 1944. As several hundred Jewish prisoners were being forced to carry corpses from the gas chambers to the furnace to dispose of the bodies, they blew up one of the gas chambers and set fire to another, using explosives smuggled to them from Jewish women who worked in a nearby armaments factory. Of the roughly 450 prisoners involved in the sabotage, about 250 managed to escape the camp during the ensuing chaos. They were all found and shot. Those co-conspirators who never made it out of the camp were also executed, as were five women from the armaments factory: but not before being tortured for detailed information on the smuggling operation. None of the women talked.

Gypsies, too, had been singled out for brutal treatment by Hitler's regime early on. Deemed "carriers of disease" and "unreliable elements who cannot be put to useful work," they were marked for extermination along with the Jews of Europe from the earliest years of the war. Approximately 1.5 million Gypsies were murdered by the Nazis. In 1950, as Gypsies attempted to gain compensation for their suffering, as were other victims of the Holocaust, the German government denied them anything, saying, "Gypsies have been persecuted under the Nazis not for any racial reason but because of an asocial and criminal record." They were stigmatized even in light of the atrocities committed against them. (History.com)

1946: A US-launched V-2 rocket takes the first pictures of earth from space (62 miles, 100 km).

[See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry.]

1951 Cold War: Truman signs Mutual Security Act:

On this day in 1951, President Harry S. Truman signs the Mutual Security Act, announcing to the world, and its communist powers in particular, that the U.S. was prepared to provide military aid to "free peoples." The signing of the act came after the Soviet Union exploded their second nuclear weapon in a test on October 3. [For further details, Click here]

1957: From an NCS (National Security Council) Memorandum:

Secretary Quarles thought it quite proper to emphasize the paramount scientific aspect of the U.S. earth satellite program. Our Government had never regarded this program as including as a major objective that the United States should launch an earth satellite first though, of course, we have always been aware of the cold war implications of the launching of the first earth satellite.

Another of our objectives in the earth satellite program was to establish the principle of the freedom of outer space, that is the international rather than the national character of outer space. In this respect the Soviets have now proved very helpful. Their earth satellite has over-flown practically every nation on earth, and there have, thus far, been no protests.

Turning to the military implications, Secretary Quarles pointed out that the U.S. program had used [rockets that were separate], from the rockets employed in the program to achieve military ballistic missiles. The evidence was to the contrary in the Soviet Union, where the earth satellite program had always been integrated into the military ballistic programs of the Soviet Union.

Moreover, there was clear evidence that the Soviets had embarked on their earth satellite program, with a prime objective of being the first nation to orbit an earth satellite. They have now offered to cooperate with the United States and permit us to place our own instrumentation in one of their satellites. Our disposition is to find a good reason to refuse this offer. Since our own instrumentation is better and more elaborate than theirs, we would stand to lose, more than we would gain, by accepting their offer. [For the full text, Click here.]

1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to African diplomat:

In the conclusion to an extremely embarrassing situation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower offers his apologies to Ghanian Finance Minister, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, who had been refused service at a restaurant in Dover, Delaware. It was one of the first of many such incidents in which African diplomats were confronted with racial segregation in the United States. While the matter might appear rather small relative to other events in the Cold War, the continued racial slights to African (and Asian) diplomats during the 1950s and 1960s were of utmost concern to U.S. officials. During those decades the United States and the Soviet Union were competing for the "hearts and minds" of hundreds of millions of people of color in Asia and Africa.

Racial discrimination in America--particularly when it was directed at representatives from those regions--was, as one U.S. official put it, the nation's "Achilles' heel." Matters continued to deteriorate during the early 1960s, when dozens of diplomats from new nations in Africa and Asia faced housing discrimination in Washington, D.C., as well as a series of confrontations in restaurants, barbershops, and other places of business in and around the area. It was clear that American civil rights had become an international issue. (History.com)

1982 Pope John Paul II canonizes the Reverend M. Kolbe, who had volunteered to die in place of another inmate at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

2005 Angela Merkel becomes Germany's first female chancellor and its first leader from the former Communist east.

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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