October 22

1797 French balloonist Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the first parachute descent, landing safely from a height of about 3,000 feet. (AP) [For further information, click here.]

1914 World War I: Various:

War at Sea: The US formally withdraws its demand that Britain keep to the letter of the Declaration of London and cease confiscating American cargoes. The British are now willingly paying for the confiscated goods, and Americans are making a good profits without loss of life to their crews. Thereafter, Britain contains the German fleet in harbor and dries to a trickle the flow of goods to the Central Powers. Smarting under the impact of the blockade, Germany is forced to increase its U-boat activity. (THP)

First Battle of Ypres: An Account by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre:

On October 22nd our left, bounded six weeks earlier by the Noyon district, rested on Nieuport, thanks to the successive deployment of five fresh armies - three French armies, the British army, and the Belgian army.

Thus the coordination decided upon by the General in Chief attained its end. The barrier was established. It remained to maintain it against the enemy's offensive. That was the object and the result of the battle of Flanders, October 22nd to November 15th.

The German attack in Flanders was conducted strategically and tactically with remarkable energy. The complete and indisputable defeat in which it resulted is therefore significant. [For further details, Click here.]

1917 Russian Revolution:

Lenin secretly returns from Finland. After giving his instructions to the Bolsheviks at a secret session of the Bolshevik Central Committee, he once again goes into hiding. (THP)

1934 Hermann Goering—speaking in Hitler's name—offers to guarantee all of Romania's borders, including those with Russia and Hungary, and to completely rearm Romania with modern weapons, if it will pledge to oppose any attempt by Soviet troops to cross Romanian territory. Nicolae Titulescu, the Romanian Prime Minister, however, had previously promised the French and Czechoslovaks to allow the Soviets to cross Romania in case of war. Titulescu then attempts to conceal Goering's offer from his ministry and the Romanian government.

1936 Various:

Belgium declares martial law to combat Rexist violence.

Spanish Civil War: Oct 22-25 Spanish Republicans (Socialists) transfer Spain's gold reserves to the Soviet Union. (THP)

1937 The Duke and Duchess of Windsor arrive in Berlin to meet Hitler, study housing conditions and hear a concert by the Nazi District Orchestra.

1939 World War II: 'Elections' are held in Soviet-occupied Poland now called "Western Byelorussia" and "Western Ukraine.

The USSR confiscates all property including bank accounts, and replaces Polish currency with the ruble. Poles are fired from their jobs and thrown into jail as the NKVD compiles lists for deportation. Factories, hospitals, schools, are dismantled and shipped to the USSR. Polish education and language is phased out; libraries are closed and books burned. Churches are destroyed and priests arrested--even the wearing of crosses is forbidden. Owning a typewriter is now a crime.

1940 Holocaust: The German government deports more than 15,000 German Jews from the Rhineland to several internment camps in France, at the foot of the Pyrenees. Conditions in the camps result in the deaths of nearly 2,000 deportees. (THP)

1941 Countdown to Infamy: Washington (Namura) to Tokyo:

I have already wired you something about my present psychology. I am sure that I, too, should go out with the former cabinet. I know that for some time the Secretary of State has known how sincere your humble servant is, yet how little influence I have in Japan. I am ashamed to say that it has come to my ears that this is the case. There are some Americans who trust this poor novice and who say that things will get better for me, but alas, their encouragement is not enough. Among my confreres here in the United States there are also some who feel the same way, but, alas, they are all poor deluded souls. As for Your Excellency's instructions, WAKASUGI can carry them out fully. Nor do I imagine that you all have any objections. I don't want to be the bones of a dead horse. I don't want to continue this hypocritical existence, deceiving other people. No, don't think I am trying to flee the field of battle, but as a man of honor this is the only way open for me to tread. Please send me your permission to return to Japan. Most humbly do I beseech your forgiveness if I have injured your dignity and I prostrate myself before you in the depth of my rudeness.

1941 World War II: Various:

From notes made at the time by the Abbe Moyon:

It was on a beautiful autumn day. The temperature was particularly mild. There had been lovely sunshine since morning. Everyone in town was going about his usual business. There was great animation in the town for it was Wednesday, which was market day.

The population knew from the newspapers and from the information it had received from Nantes that a superior officer had been killed in a street in Nantes but refused to believe that such savage and extensive reprisals would be applied. At Choisel Camp the German authorities had, for some days, put into special quarters a certain number of men who were to serve as hostages in case of special difficulties. It was from among these men that those who were to be shot on this evening of 22 October 1941 were chosen.

The Cure of Bere was finishing his lunch when M. Moreau Chief of Choisel Camp presented himself. In a few words the latter explained to him the object of his visit. Having been delegated by M. Lecornu, the subprefect of Chateaubriant. he had come to inform him that 27 men selected among the political prisoners of Choisel were going to be executed that afternoon; and he asked Monsieur Le Cure to go immediately to attend them. The priest said he was ready to accomplish this mission, and he went to the prisoners without delay.

When the priest appeared to carry out his mission, the subprefect was already among the condemned. He came to announce the horrible fate which was awaiting them, asking them to write letters of farewell to their families without delay. It was under these circumstances that the priest presented himself at the entrance to the quarters... Suddenly there was the sound of automobile engines. The door, which I had shut at the beginning so that we might be more private, was abruptly opened and French constables carrying handcuffs appeared. A German officer arrived. He was actually a chaplain. He said to me, 'Monsieur le Cure, your mission has been accomplished and you must withdraw immediately."' Access to the quarry where the execution took place was absolutely forbidden to all Frenchmen. I only know that the condemned were executed in three groups of nine men, that all the men who were shot refused to have their eyes bound, that young Mocquet fainted and fell, and that the last cry which sprang from the lips of these heroes was an ardent 'Vive la France.'

Barbarossa: A notice is posted in Kiev informing the citizens that 100 hostages will be shot for every act of sabotage. (See November 2) (THP)

1942 World War II: Various:

Allies confer secretly about Operation Torch:

On this day in 1942, American Maj. Gen. Mark Clark meets in Algeria with French officials loyal to the Allied cause, as well as Resistance fighters, regarding the launch of Operation Torch, the first Allied amphibious landing of the war.

It was decided as early as Christmas 1941, at the Arcadia Conference in Washington, that an Allied offensive against Rommel and the German army in North Africa would be launched. The details were debated for months, as American government officials objected to an early British operation, nicknamed Gymnast, which was deemed costly and ineffective-and was scrapped. The American chiefs of staff were also anxious to engage the Germans in Europe-not Africa. An ultimatum was even proposed: Unless the British supported an Allied cross-Channel attack, that is, an invasion of France, the United States would turn its attention to the Pacific and maintain only a defensive posture toward Germany. President Roosevelt was unwilling to issue such an ultimatum-and the chiefs of staff were ordered to work out a compromise operation for North Africa.

Operation Torch was that compromise. A secret meeting in Algiers, which was also one of the intended landing targets, was planned by an American diplomat stationed in North Africa. General Clark and members of his staff flew to Gibraltar and were then taken to Algiers via British submarine. Meeting with French army officers and Resistance fighters, Clark laid out the plan for the American landing and opened the discussion for who would be entrusted with leading the French forces. Gen. Charles De Gaulle, so instrumental in the organization of Resistance forces, was ruled out, as he would prove antagonistic to those French soldiers and officers still loyal to Petain and Vichy France, but who might be encouraged to turn on their German masters when supported by a massive Allied operation. It was finally agreed that Gen. Henri Giraud would lead the African French, as he had support in both the Vichy and Free French camps.

The meeting was interrupted at one point by the arrival of French police loyal to the Vichy government. Clark and company had to hide out in a nearby wine cellar. The conference resumed the next day, and plans for bringing the "Torch" of freedom to French North Africa took final shape.

Stalingrad: Against fierce Soviet resistance, German forces under von Paulus capture most of the Red October and Barricades factories in the northern part of the city.
[For further details, Click here.]

1944 World War II: Various:

East Prussia: the Red Army continues its drive west and captures several towns near the Russian-German border.

Churchill to FDR:

Mikolajczyk is going to urge upon his London colleagues the Curzon Line, including Lvov, for the Russians. I am hopeful that even in the next fortnight we may get a settlement. If so I will cable you the exact form so that you can say whether you want it published or delayed. 5. On major war criminals U.J. took an unexpectedly ultra-respectable line. There must be no executions without trial; otherwise the world would say we were afraid to try them. I pointed out the difficulties in international law, but he replied if there were no more trials there must be no death sentences, but only life-long confinements. 6. We also discussed informally the future partition of Germany. U.J. wants Poland, Czecho, and Hungary to form a realm of independent, anti-Nazi, pro-Russian States, the first two of which might join together. Contrary to his previously expressed view, he would be glad to see Vienna the capital of a federation of South German States, including Austria, Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and Baden. As you know, the idea of Vienna becoming the capital of a large Danubian federation has always been attractive to me, though I should prefer to add Hungary, to which U.J. is strongly opposed. 7. As to Prussia, U.J. wished the Ruhr and the Saar detached and put out of action and probably under international control, and a separate State formed in the Rhineland. He would also like the internationalization of the Kiel Canal. I am not opposed to this line of thought. However, you may be sure that we came to no fixed conclusions pending the triple meeting. 8. I was delighted to hear from U.J. that you had suggested a triple meeting toward the end of November at a Black Sea port. I think this is a very fine idea, and hope you will let me know about it in due course. I will come anywhere you two desire.

FDR to Churchill:

I am delighted to learn of your success at Moscow in making progress toward a compromise solution of the Polish problem. When and if a solution I arrived at I should like to be consulted as to the advisability from this point of view of delaying its publication for about two weeks. You will understand. Everything is going well here at the present time. Your statement of the present attitude of Uncle J. towards war criminals, the future of Germany, and the Montreux Convention is most interesting. We should discuss these matters, together with our Pacific war effort, at the forthcoming three-party meeting.

1954 West Germany joins NATO.

1962 Cold War:

In a televised speech of extraordinary gravity, President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. These missile sites—under construction but nearing completion—housed medium-range missiles capable of striking a number of major cities in the United States, including Washington, D.C. Kennedy announced that he was ordering a naval "quarantine" of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island and explained that the United States would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place. The president made it clear that America would not stop short of military action to end what he called a "clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace." [For further information, click here.]

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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