November 2

1894 Birth: Alexander Lippisch: German pioneer of aerodynamics. He made important contributions to the understanding of flying wings, delta wings and the ground effect. His most famous design is the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor [above]. Like many German scientists, Lippisch was taken to the United States after the war under Operation Paperclip.' See: Wunderwaffen.

1914 World War I: Britain declares the entire North Sea a military area. Neutral ships bound for neutral ports now become subject to search and seizure. (THP)

List Regiment (Oct 29-31): Infantry Recruit Adolf Hitler's 1st Company, 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, temporarily attached to the 54th Reserve Division, see their first action on the Yser this day, when they are sent forward to relieve a hard-pressed unit. With English and Belgian shells falling all around, Hitler's company advances and retreats four times before eventually taking their assigned objective. The battle continues for three days, with fierce causalities on both sides. [For further details, Click here.]

1915 World War I (Oct 4, 1915 - Feb 29, 1916): Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's serves with 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment at Fromelles. [For further details, Click here.]

1916 World War I: Erich Ludendorff on the Loss of Forts Vaux and Douaumont:

The projected withdrawal of the first line in the Douaumont-Vaux sector of the front to prepared positions was accomplished on Wednesday night. Although the French, favoured by foggy weather, were able on October 24th to advance just at the time when this withdrawal was in progress, and thus obtained a local success, the methodical retreat of the troops from Vaux Fort was carried out on the night of November 1st without the attention of the enemy being aroused. Moreover, at dawn on November 2nd, the deceived French opened fire on Vaux Fort and maintained it into the daylight. French assaulting columns made an attack into space and discovered the fort had been abandoned. The forts of Douaumont and of Vaux played an important part in the battle of Verdun so long as they remained as French forts in the hands of the defenders. In order to weaken the Verdun position they had to be rendered inoffensive; deprived of their fighting means and largely destroyed, they possessed only a limited value. [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 Zionism: The Balfour Declaration proclaims support for Jewish settlement in Palestine:

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

"I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation."

1917 Various:

List Regiment
: (October 17-Nov 3) Dispatch Runner Gefreiter Adolf Hitler and the List Regiment hold down a series of trenches in front of Laon near the Chemin des Dames. While there is "no danger of being taken by surprise, for the canal lay as a natural obstacle between the lines of trenches". But it is still necessary to "build a robust line [since] the highly desired town of Laon lay to our rear . . . . In the first few weeks, we often suffered strong enemy fire. This eased significantly however, in weight as in violence, in December so that one may speak of enjoying Christmas in a quiet sector. [For further details, Click here.]

Lansing-Ishii Agreement: With the signing of the Lansing-Ishii Agreement, by Secretary of State Robert Lansing and Viscount Ishii Kikujiro of Japan, the US recognizes Japan's 'privileges' in China. (Cullen, Kajima)

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

1918 World War I: Battle of Verdun: American spearheads, now in the open, race up the Meuse Valley. The Battle of Verdun—also known as the 'Mincing Machine of Verdun' or 'Meuse Mill'—became a symbol of French determination, inspired by the sacrifice of the defenders. The successes of the fixed fortification system led to the adoption of the Maginot Line as the preferred method of defense along the Franco-German border during the inter-war years.

1918 World War I (Oct 15 - Nov 10): Gefreiter Adolf Hitler, blinded in a gas attack near Werwick on Oct 14, recovers in the Prussian Reserve Hospital at Pasewalk near Berlin. The doctors at this army hospital, on the cutting edge of medical treatments for gassed soldiers, provide Hitler with very good care, and his sight slowly and painfully begins to return to him over these few weeks. Hitler falls into a deep depression. After over four years on the front lines, his fighting days are over. In four years of war, the List Regiment has lost 3,754 dead, 8,795 wounded, with 678 taken prisoner. This is somewhat above the average for the German Armed Forces as a whole.

Throughout the length of the war, fifty-nine Jews served in the List Regiment, sixteen of these as officers. Thirty percent of the Jews in the List Regiment were honored for bravery, and seventeen percent were killed in action.[For further details, Click here.]

1930 Church and Reich: Bishop Schreiber of Berlin indicates that Catholics are not forbidden to become members of the Nazi party. (THP)

1933 Various:

From a speech by Franz von Papen from the same platform as Hitler and Gauleiter Terboven, in the course of the campaign for the Reichstag election and the referendum concerning Germany's leaving the League of Nations:

Ever since Providence called upon me to become the pioneer of national resurrection and the rebirth of our homeland, I have tried to support with all my strength the work of the National Socialist movement and its Fuehrer; and just as I at the time of taking over the Chancellorship (that was in 1932) advocated paving the way to power for the young fighting liberation movement, just as I on January 30 was destined by a gracious fate to put the hands of our Chancellor and Fuehrer; into the hand of our beloved Field Marshal, so do I today again feel the obligation to say to the German people and all those who have kept confidence in me: The good Lord has blessed Germany by giving her in times of deep distress a leader who will lead her through all distresses and weaknesses, through all crises and moments of danger, with the sure instinct of the statesman into a happy future...Let us, in this hour, say to the Fuehrer of the new Germany that we believe in him and his work.

[See: Was Franz von Papen Really Innocent?]

Church and Reich: Martin Niemöller speaks out against the anti-Jewish laws enacted within the churches in Germany:

In 1933, Niemöller founded the Pfarrernotbund, an organization of pastors to "combat rising discrimination against Christians of Jewish background." By the autumn of 1934, Niemöller joined other Lutheran and Protestant churchmen like Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer in founding the Confessing Church, a Protestant group that opposed the Nazification of the German Protestant churches. According to Raimund Lammersdorf, "Niemöller had exposed himself as an opportunist who had no quarrel with Hitler politically and only begun to oppose the Nazis when Hitler threatened to attack the churches." As late as 1935, Niemöller goes out of his way to preach hatred against the Jews: "What is the reason for [their] obvious punishment, which has lasted for thousands of years? Dear brethren, the reason is easily given: the Jews brought the Christ of God to the cross." [For further details, Click here.]

1938 Hungary occupies and annexes southern Slovakia. German and Italian Ministers draw new boundaries for Slovakia, giving Hungary a large slice of territory.

1939 Holocaust: First transport of Polish women arrives at Ravensbrueck concentration camp. (THP)

1941 World War II - Various:

Barbarossa: Major General Friedrich Eberhardt, military commander of Kiev, issues an order declaring that 300 hostages will be shot for the next act of sabotage. By the end of the month, the number has been raised to 400. (THP)

From the Diary of Rear Admiral Giichi Nakahara, the chief of the Japanese Navy Ministry's Personnel Bureau:

The US is not yet so excited. The bill allowing US armed merchant ships to enter the blockaded areas of England should have been passed, yet the time is not ripe for that, because the armament is not sufficient. Since the change of the Japanese Cabinet, the Government has been considering the National policy, and it was recently decided that the Government will take positive steps in this situation. It came to this--that some changes of political idea is absolutely necessary from the standpoint of armament plans. (Dillon)

From the Duty Book of Captain Shigeshi Uchida, a member of the Operations Section, First Bureau, Naval General Staff dealing with operational planning:

It is said that the liaison conference between the Government and the High Command, after several days' discussions, by midnight of 1 November has reached the decision that Japan will go to war. On 28 and 29 October, the chief of the section and Comdr. Yamamoto went down to the flagship of the Combined Fleet off Saeki Bay to inform them of the NGS's orders and directives and operational principles, central agreement between the Army and the Navy. (Dillon)

1942 World War II: Various:

British launch Operation Supercharge:

On this day in 1942, General Montgomery breaks through Rommel's defensive line at El Alamein, Egypt, forcing a retreat. It was the beginning of the end of the Axis occupation of North Africa.

In July 1942, having already taken Tobruk, Gen. Erwin Rommel and his mixed German-Italian forces attempted to push through the British defensive line at El Alamein, but failed. The Brits and the Axis had reached a standstill, and both sides took time to regroup before resuming the battle. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery took control of the British 8th Army, and on October 23 launched Operation Lightfoot, a broad offensive initiated by artillery fire. Rommel's forces had dug a five-mile-deep defensive area, replete with minefields and antitank guns. But this did not stop Montgomery, who had three armoured divisions and almost seven infantry divisions. The Axis forces were without their leader, as Rommel had taken ill and was convalescing in Austria. By the time the German general was recalled to Africa by Hitler, two days after the launching of Lightfoot, Monty and his forces had pushed passed his defensive line and were six miles beyond the original stalemate point.

Rommel gave as good as he got, using his antitank weaponry to destroy four times as many British tanks as he lost (but still leaving the Brits with 800 against Rommel's 90). Montgomery's drive northward was stopped-but only temporarily. On November 2, he launched Operation Supercharge, switched the direction of his attack westward, and punched through the German-Italian line. Rommel retreated to Fukah but Hitler insisted that Rommel hold his position at El Alamein. Rommel obeyed, which was a mistake. Instead of making a stand at Fukah, he was forced to waste more time and more of his forces as the British pushed harder, forcing Rommel to retreat even farther as he attempted to escape sweeping British offensives from the south. By mid-January 1943, Rommel had been pushed through Libya into Tunisia. As Churchill would sum up: "Up to Alamein we survived. After Alamein we conquered." (

Caucasus: 13th Panzer-Division of III Panzerkorps approaches the outskirts of Ordshonikidse, the southeastern-most point ever reached by the Wehrmacht on the entire Eastern front.

Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrives in Gibraltar to set up an American command post for the invasion of North Africa.

Death: Duncan Scott-Ford: On this date in 1942, British merchant sailor Duncan Scott-Ford was hanged at London's Wandsworth Prison for giving German agents sensitive information about ship movements. [For further details, Click here. ]

Norman Birkett

In October 1942 [Norman] Birkett sat for the first time as the principal trial judge at the Old Bailey . . . . This was the occasion of his first death sentence . . . . Birkett had always rather dreaded having to pass the capital sentence; but, when the actual moment came and the traditional Black Cap was placed on his head, he did so without the slightest trace of emotion. "I was strangely unmoved, for the prisoner could excite no sympathy, having sold naval information to the Germans for money." (Norman Birkett by H. Montgomery Hyde)

Holocaust: One of the most carefully organized and intensive Jewish roundups takes place in the Bialystok region. 110,000 Jews, who had been strictly confined to their villages, are now seized and eventually transported to Treblinka and Auschwitz. (THP)

1943 World War II: The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay in Bougainville ends with a US Navy victory over Japan: The Japanese force was a 'pick-up' team which hadn't practiced together, and Omori tried playing a game that was a little over his head. Confused by conflicting reports he was receiving from his scout planes as to the composition of the American force to his south, he executed a series of 180-degree turns (in pitch blackness) which were designed to give his aircraft more time to bring him information. Instead, all they did was throw his squadron into disarray, leaving his screening force far out of position, just as the Americans arrived on the scene. The Americans, coming upon the Japanese screen, launched torpedoes first, and then opened with guns. [For further details, Click here.]

1944 World War II: Various:

Hungary: the Red Army enters the southeastern suburbs of Budapest. [For further details, Click here.]

Holocaust: Nov 2-8 Tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews are driven out of Budapest by the SS as Soviet forces approach the city. Whipped and shot by the SS, they are forced westward toward Vienna. Some 4,000 are saved by the intervention of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, but more than 10,000 die during six days of terror. (THP)

Holocaust: Himmler's order of Oct 26 arrives at Auschwitz:

I forbid any further annihilation of Jews." Upon his further orders, all but one of the crematoriums are dismantled, the burning pits covered up and planted over with grass, and the gas pipes and other equipment shipped to concentration camps in Germany. The single remaining crematorium is for the disposal of those who die of natural causes and the gassing of about 200 surviving members of the Sonderkommando. The final solution is formally over. Yet tens of thousands of Jews will continue to die of brutality and neglect. (THP)

1946 USA: Homer L. Loomis, Jr., the self-styled Fuehrer of the Columbians and three other uniformed members are arrested for intimidating, by threats of violence, a Negro family from moving into a home in an Atlanta neighborhood. (THP)

1947 Spruce Goose flies:

The Hughes Flying Boat-the largest aircraft ever built-is piloted by designer Howard Hughes on its first and only flight. Built with laminated birch and spruce, the massive wooden aircraft had a wingspan longer than a football field and was designed to carry more than 700 men to battle. Howard Hughes was a successful Hollywood movie producer when he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. He personally tested cutting-edge aircraft of his own design and in 1937 broke the transcontinental flight-time record. In 1938, he flew around the world in a record three days, 19 hours, and 14 minutes.

Following the U.S. entrance into World War II in 1941, the U.S. government commissioned the Hughes Aircraft Company to build a large flying boat capable of carrying men and materials over long distances. The concept for what would become the "Spruce Goose" was originally conceived by the industrialist Henry Kaiser, but Kaiser dropped out of the project early, leaving Hughes and his small team to make the H-4 a reality. Because of wartime restrictions on steel, Hughes decided to build his aircraft out of wood laminated with plastic and covered with fabric. Although it was constructed mainly of birch, the use of spruce (along with its white-gray color) would later earn the aircraft the nickname Spruce Goose. It had a wingspan of 320 feet and was powered by eight giant propeller engines.

Development of the Spruce Goose cost a phenomenal $23 million and took so long that the war had ended by the time of its completion in 1946. The aircraft had many detractors, and Congress demanded that Hughes prove the plane airworthy. On November 2, 1947, Hughes obliged, taking the H-4 prototype out into Long Beach Harbor, CA for an unannounced flight test. Thousands of onlookers had come to watch the aircraft taxi on the water and were surprised when Hughes lifted his wooden behemoth 70 feet above the water and flew for a mile before landing.

Despite its successful maiden flight, the Spruce Goose never went into production, primarily because critics alleged that its wooden framework was insufficient to support its weight during long flights. Nevertheless, Howard Hughes, who became increasingly eccentric and withdrawn after 1950, refused to neglect what he saw as his greatest achievement in the aviation field. From 1947 until his death in 1976, he kept the Spruce Goose prototype ready for flight in an enormous, climate-controlled hangar at a cost of $1 million per year. Today, the Spruce Goose is housed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. (

1948 Truman defeats Dewey:

In the greatest upset in presidential election history, Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman defeats his Republican challenger, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, by just over two million popular votes. In the days preceding the vote, political analysts and polls were so behind Dewey that on election night, long before all the votes were counted, the Chicago Tribune published an early edition with the banner headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN."

Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency by Franklin D. Roosevelt's death in 1945. Approaching the 1948 presidential election, he seemed to stand a slim chance of retaining the White House. Despite his effective leadership at the end of World War II and sound vision in the confused postwar world, many voters still viewed Truman as an ineffectual shadow of his four-term predecessor. He also antagonized Southern Democrats with his civil rights initiatives. Most were sure that Dewey would take the White House.

In the last weeks before the election, Truman embarked on a "whistle-stop" campaign across the United States in defiance of his consistently poor showings in the polls. He traveled to America's cities and towns, fighting to win over undecided voters by portraying himself as an outsider contending with a "do-nothing" Congress. Truman, a one-time farmer who was elevated to the pinnacle of American politics because of his reputation for honesty and integrity, won the nation's affection, and he narrowly won a second term. (

1949: In the company of an Army escort, Werner von Braun, Hitler's former chief rocket scientist who is now working for the US, crosses the border into Mexico and travels to the US consulate in Ciudad Juarez. Obtaining a visa to enter the US, he returns a few hours later as a legal immigrant. By the spring of 1950, most of the German rocket team will make the same trip for the same purpose. (Piszkiewicz)

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

1995 Argentina: the Supreme Court orders the extradition to Italy of former SS captain Erich Priebke to face trial for a World War II massacre of prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves.

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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