November 20, 1945: The Nuremberg Trials begin. These military tribunals were held between this date and October 1, 1946 in Nuremberg, Germany. The Allied forces prosecuted prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany during World War II. A precedent had begun after the end of World War I when the Leipzig War Crimes Trials were held in May to July 1921. These were small scale and mostly ineffective. Poland’s government in exile had asked for sanctions against Germany as early as 1940 and Britain and France joined in the condemnation of Germany’s policies.
On January 14, 1942, nine countries occupied by Germany sent representatives to London to draft the Inter-Allied Resolution on German War Crimes. At that time, punishments were agreed upon for those responsible for war crimes during World War II. The legal basis for the trial was established by the London Charter on August 8, 1945. There were about 200 German war crimes defendants tried at Nuremberg and about another 1,600 were tried under traditional military channels. The Instrument of Surrender of Germany was the legal basis for the jurisdiction of the court. Political authority over Germany had been granted to the Allied Control Council and they could punish violators of international law and the those who broke the laws of war. They had no jurisdiction over any crimes before war was declared on September 1, 1939.
Nuremberg was chosen as the site of the trials for two reasons. One was that the Palace of Justice was large enough and basically undamaged. A large prison was part of the complex. Nuremberg was considered the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi Party and their yearly propaganda rallies had been held there. It seemed fitting to hold the trials in this place. Berlin was the official home of the Tribunal authorities, as an appeasement to Soviet Russia. Each of the four major powers provided one judge and one alternate. Soviet Russia, Great Britain, the United States, and France also each provided prosecutors with assisting legal teams. Germany provided most of the defense lawyers.
The International Military Tribunal was opened on November 19, 1945. On this day, the first session, presided over by Soviet judge, Nikitchenko, saw indictments against 24 major war criminals and seven organizations. Indictments were for participation in a common plan of a crime against peace; planning, initiating, or waging wars of aggression; war crimes; and crimes against humanity. Twelve men were found guilty and sentences to death. Seven were sentences to various times in prison. Three were acquitted. One of the defendants committed suicide. The other was too ill to stand trial. The death sentences were carried out on October 16, 1946. The men were hung by standard drop method rather than the long drop.
Death, death. Now I won’t be able to write my beautiful memoirs. – Joachim von Ribbentrop
I die innocent. The verdict is wrong. – Fritz Sauckel
Death by hanging. That, I thought, I would be spared. – Wilhelm Keitel
A victor’s justice. – Hermann Goering
Also on this day: What a Yo-Yo – In 1866, the yo-yo was patented.
God, Save the Queen – In 1992, Windsor Castle caught fire.
Sperm Whale’s Revenge – In 1820, the whaling ship Essex was attacked.
Whoops - In 1980, the Lake Peigneur disaster began.
November 19, 1969: Pelé scores his 1000th goal. Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born on October 21, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil. Unless he was born on October 23, 1940. He is better known as Pelé. His father was also a footballer. He was named after Thomas Edison, but his parents intentionally left out the middle “i” even though it is sometimes added back in certain documents. His family nickname is Dico and he was given the name Pelé in school. He grew up in poverty and earned extra money by working as a servant. His father taught him to play soccer even though they couldn’t afford to buy a real soccer ball. He played with the Bauru Athletic Club juniors and they won three consecutive championships between 1954 and 1956.
His coach took him, then 15 years old, to Sao Paulo, to try out for their professional club, Santos FC. He said the teenager would be the greatest football player in the world. Pelé impressed them and he signed his professional contract in June 1956. He debuted on September 7, 1956 and helped the team to a 7-1 win, scoring his first goal during the game. Pelé was given a starting position for the 1957 season and at the age of 16 became the top scorer in the league. Ten months after signing his first contract, he was called up to the Brazil national team. From the beginning, he scored often and kept racking up the goals.
During the 1962 World Cup, several wealthy European clubs attempted to lure Pelé away. Real Madrid, Juventus, and Manchester United tried to sign him, but Brazil had declared him an “official national treasure” to prevent him from being transferred out of the country. His scoring slacked off, but he continued to put the ball into the net. On this day, while playing against Vasco da Gama, Pelé scored from a penalty kick at the Maracana Stadium. This was a highly anticipated event and is popularly called O Milesimo (The Thousandth). According to the player himself, his most beautiful goal was scored on August 2, 1959 but there was no video of the event.
Pelé was voted the World Player of the Century in 1999 and made the list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. He is the most successful league goal scorer in the world with 541 league goals. He played 1,363 games in which he scored 1,281 goals which landed him in the Guinness World Records. These numbers included unofficial friendlies and tour games. He was, for a time, the highest paid athlete in the world and is a national hero in Brazil. He won three FIFA World Cups – 1958, 1962, and 1970, the only player to do so. He retired from the game in 1977 and has been a worldwide ambassador for his beloved sport since that time.
I am constantly being asked about individuals. The only way to win is as a team. Football is not about one or two or three star players.
Enthusiasm is everything. It must be taut and vibrating like a guitar string.
If I pass away one day, I am happy because I tried to do my best. My sport allowed me to do so much because it’s the biggest sport in the world.
Wherever you go, there are three icons that everyone knows: Jesus Christ, Pelé and Coca-Cola. – all from Pelé
Also on this day: Synonymous with Failure – In 1959, the Ford Edsel line was discontinued.
Seven – In 1997, the McCaughey septuplets were born.
87 Years Later – In 1863, Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.
Prestige - In 2002, the Prestige and her cargo sunk.
November 18, 1947: The Ballantynes’ Department Store fire takes place. The store was located in Christchurch, New Zealand. More than 300 people were employed there at the time. The upper floors of the store, located on the corner of Colombo Street and Cashel Street were devoted to staff work areas such as dressmaking, credit, and accounting departments. At 3.31 PM, a woman employee reported smoke coming up the stairs. The smoke was coming from the basement, beneath the furnishing department. There were no flames or sounds associated with burning. The woman was instructed to call the fire brigade, which she did. She also alerted the owners, Kenneth and Roger Ballantyne, who worked on a higher level floor.
The fire brigade was called a second time at 3.46. There were about 250 customers as well retail staff on the ground floor. These people were evacuated. The upper floors were filled with people just returned from a tea break and they did not leave the building. Flames erupted through to the furnishing department. At 3.47 PM, the fire brigade arrived on site. They were first led to believe the fire was contained in the cellar. They were also not made aware of people trapped on higher floors. The two most senior staff of the fire brigade were not working on this day and the company was understaffed. A decision was made not to bring a turntable ladder as the fire was thought to be relatively minor.
Suddenly, the center of the store exploded into flames, blowing out windows. Within just minutes, the entire building was engulfed. A call went out to help bring in all the area fire appliances, but this call was delayed as the telephone system was overloaded. It took a further ten minutes for the firemen to discover the source of the fire. Some of the upper floor departments had bosses who told their employees to leave earlier and they had arrived safely outside. However, those in the credit department had been told to wait and when the decision to evacuate was finally made, the stairwells were filled with smoke and the people could not leave. Some tried to use the fire escape, but this exit route was also unusable. Forty-one people died in the blaze or while attempting to escape.
The firemen were unable to contain the fire. Kenneth Ballantyne was saved when he escaped through a broken window and climbed onto the parapet. Hoses kept him wet and relatively safe until ladders could be brought to his rescue. He was the last to be rescued from the inferno. It took over 200 fire fighters and 20 appliances were used to get the blaze under control. By 6 PM, it was possible for beginning searches to look for bodies in the charred ruins. The fire was completely extinguished by 8 PM. The last of the bodies was not recovered until November 21. The store itself was a link of seven smaller buildings and was four stories high. It was completely destroyed. No primary cause for the blaze was ever determined. There had been no emergency plan and no fire alarms installed in the unsafe structure. When it was rebuilt, these oversights were addressed. It remains the worst fire disaster in New Zealand history.
Fire taps something ancient and vital in each of us, something both snarling and reverential. – Caroline Paul
The fire was followed by a period of grieving and then by an incredible lightness, freedom, and mobility. – Martin Puryear
If there was a fire at my house I would throw more things on it. The only thing I would take out? Myself! – Jean Nouvel
Ever since we invented fire and the wheel, we’ve been demonstrating both our ability and our inherent desire to fix things that we don’t like about ourselves and our environment. – Aubrey de Grey
Also on this day: Jonestown – In 1978, a mass suicide takes place in Jonestown, when 913 of Jim Jones’s followers kill themselves.
Great Shot – In 1307, William Tell shot an apple from his son’s head, according to legend.
Steamboat Willie – In 1928, the cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse was released.
Antipope - In 1105, Antipope Sylvester IV claimed the papacy.
November 17, 1950: Lhamo Dondrub (or Thondup) gets a new job. He was born on July 6, 1935 to a farming and horse trading family in Taktser. This region had formerly been part of the Tibetan region of Amdo but had already been assimilated into the Qinghai province of China. He was one of seven siblings to survive childhood with his oldest sister 18 years older than Lhamo. His first language was a dialect of Chinese, Xining and his family did not speak any Tibetan language. When he was two years old, a search party was sent out to locate a new incarnation. The thirteenth Dalai Lama’s head had turned in Lhamo’s direction, indicating the area to search. The seekers came to Lhamo’s home and the youngster was presented with relics and could identify all that had been the thirteenth Dalai Lama’s from those that had not.
Lhamo was recognized at the fourteenth reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. He was not formally enthroned as the Dalai Lama until he was fifteen and until this date, a regent acted as the head of the Kashag. While a child, he had a series of tutors in Tibet and met Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer in 1946. The two remained friends until Harrer’s death. In 1959 at the age of 23, the Dalai Lama took his final examination at Jokhang Temple and passed with honors. He received the Lharampa degree, the highest-level geshe degree akin to a PhD in Buddhist philosophy.
The Dalai Lama’s formal rule was brief. He worked with the Chinese government to achieve a peaceful libration of Tibet. This was an unsuccessful attempt to free the highest region in the world, nestled in the Himalayan mountains, from Chinese control. While the Dalai Lama was on a trip to India in 1956, he asked for political asylum from Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. He was discouraged from this tactic, as it might incite more strife in the region. The CIA offered help but even with this, Tibet remained under Chinese control. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India for his safety, crossing the border on March 10, 1959. Later, he set up the Government of Tibet in Exile and helped about 80,000 refugees.
The 14th Dalai Lama has also worked for international ideals. In 1987 he proposed to make Tibet a “zone of peace” without nuclear weapons and supporting human rights. He expanded on the idea the next year in Strasbourg proposing that Tibet work with the People’s Republic of China, but the plan was rejected. He has met with Popes and other religious leaders to open interfaith dialogues. His policy stance is nuanced and varied but tends toward the liberal ideology in most respects. Although calling himself a feminist, he stance on abortion is more rigid. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his work with freeing Tibetans both in and outside Tibet. He has stated he will seek the next reincarnation for the 15th Dalai Lama when he is 90 – or in another decade or so.
My true religion is Kindness.
It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible.
I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others.
Reason well from the beginning and then there will never be any need to look back with confusion and doubt. – all from Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Also on this day: The Heidi Game – In 1968, NBC didn’t finish the game, leaving a football game in progress to air the previously scheduled movie.
Point Made – In 1970, the computer mouse was patented.
Delta Phi - In 1827, the fraternity was formed.
Anglo-Swedish War – In 1810, war was declared between two non-combatants.
November 16, 1920: Qantas is founded. Originally known as QANTAS, the name was an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. Australia’s largest airline is nicknamed The Flying Kangaroo and is the second oldest in the world, with only KLM older (and still in operation). DELAG, was the world’s first airline and was founded in 1909, but it ceased operations in 1935. Qantas began operations in March 1921 using Avro 504K planes. These biplanes were flown by a crew of two and had a cruising speed of 75 mph and a maximum speed of 90 mph. They were initially an air mail service subsidized by the Australian government.
Between 1926 and 1928, the company built several aircraft and made the first Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia in 1928. The one year experiment, headed by Reverend John Flynn, brought medical services to remote areas and helped to establish hospitals in bush communities of the Outback. Qantas began international flights in May 1935 when they began flying from Darwin to Singapore. They were beginning to provide flying boat services when World War II interrupted air travel. In 1947, Qantas was nationalized with Labor government of Australia buying shares of the company. They also took possession of Lockheed L-749 Constellations which were used to fly to London. In 1958, they became the second round-the-world airline and flew Super Constellations westward from Australia to London through Asia and the Middle East.
Qantas ordered their first jet, a Boeing 707-138, which was delivered in June 1959 with their first jet flight offered on July 29 of that year. It flew from Sydney to San Francisco via Nadi and Honolulu. On September 5, Qantas became the third airline to fly jets across the North Atlantic. The airway helped out during a crisis when Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin at Christmas 1974. They established a world record for the most people ever embarked on a single plane when they evacuated 673 people on a single Boeing 747 flight. They retired their last 707 plane in March 1979 and became the first 747-only airline.
Qantas, the safe airline, has never lost a jet airliner. It is the true they have had no jet fatalities. Prior to the jet age, they had eight fatal accidents and lost 63 people. Half of these were shoot-down occurrences during World War II. The last fatal accident from Qantas was in 1951. It is consistently ranked as one of the world’s safest airlines. Today, their 134 planes fly to 41 destinations. They are headquartered in Mascot, New South Wales, Australia with Leigh Clifford as AO (Chairman) and Alan Joyce as CEO. Their revenue last year was $15.9 billion (Australian) with a net income of A$6 million. They have 33,265 employees who are happy to say, “You’re the reason we fly.”
Airlines are interesting. They not only favor celebrities, they court them. – Phil Donahue
Airlines go in the long run at the competition to reason. For the passenger the competition is good, because each competitor tries to undercut the other one. – Niki Lauda
The easiest gift to give my husband is anything to do with airlines and flying. – Kelly Preston
If anyone wonders why the airlines are not doing well it is because flying has been made such an unpleasant and degrading experience. – Keith Henson
Also on this day: The Fugitive? – In 1966, Dr. Sam Sheppard was finally acquitted of his wife’s 1954 murder.
UNESCO – In 1945, UNESCO was founded.
Wagons, Ho – In 1821, the first Santa Fe trail crossing was completed.
Sentenced - In 1849, Fyodor Dostoevsky was sentenced to death.
November 15, 1914: Harry Turner’s injuries prove fatal, the first from the Ohio League to do so from game sustained injuries. Little is known of the Canton Professionals’ early life. He began playing professional football in 1907 when he joined the Canton (Ohio) Indians. The name changed in the following years first to Canton Cohen Tigers (1908), then to Canton Simpson Tigers (1909), and then Canton Professionals (1911). Turner played center and was the team captain in 1911. The team was part of the Ohio League, a forerunner of the National Football League. One of their biggest rivals was the Shelby Blues captained by George Watson (Peggy) Parratt. Parrett was quarterback for the Shelby, Ohio team. Before signing on with Shelby, Parratt was captain of the hated Massillon (Ohio) Tigers.
During the 1911 season, Turner pulled his entire team from the game in protest to a referee call favoring the Akron (Ohio) Indians. After the game, Turner held a press conference and vowed to quit the game on November 26, 1911. Instead, he returned to the game and played the rest of the season as well as the next three seasons as well. By 1914, Parratt was with the Akron Indians and they met the Canton team who had home field advantage. There were 3,000 people watching the big rivals at Lakeside Park even though the weather was bad. The game was rough but clean. Just before the end of the first half, Harry suffered a serious back injury and was taken from the field. At the end of the game, Canton took the win with a score of 6-0.
The next day, it was learned that Harry’s injury was far more serious than immediately realized. His back had been broken and his spinal cord severed. There was nothing to be done with this type of injury in 1914. All that could be done was wait for him to die. His last words, according to his friend and team manager was that he was glad to know the team had at least beaten Peggy Parratt. The news of Harry’s death was distressing to the team and many other players quit soon after. While Canton was able to continue play and even get a win the next week, they played Akron once again at the end of the season, on Thanksgiving Day. This final game was lost and ended their season 9-1.
The Ohio League began in 1903 and had 23 teams included, most of them located in Ohio. They remained active until 1919. Massillon took the championship for the first six years with Akron taking that spot in 1908 and 1909. Shelby won the next two championships with the Elyria Athletics top dog in 1912. Akron was back on top for the next two years with Youngstown taking over in 1915. The Canton team, now the Bulldogs, won in 1916 and 1917 with Dayton taking the penultimate championship game. The Canton team was the final champion in 1919. In 1920, more Ohio teams as well as teams from other states formed the American Professional Football Association which in 1922 became the NFL.
He showed a rare type of courage and spirit. I was at his bedside when he died. He was conscious almost to the end, and his last words left an indelible imprint on my memory. – Jack Cusack
I know I must go but I’m satisfied, for we beat Peggy Parratt. – Harry Turner’s last words
I played football for a huge portion of my life, all the way through college actually. – Matthew Fox
When you go out on a football field, you are responsible for taking care of yourself. The more rules you get, the less players truly take care of themselves. – Jim Brown
Also on this day: The King – In 1956, Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley’s first movie, was released.
Clutter Family – In 1959, Herb and Bonnie Clutter and their two children were murdered.
Where’s the Beef? - In 1969, Dave Thomas founded Wendy’s.
Remember - In 1939, the cornerstone for the Jefferson Memorial was laid.
November 14, 1967: Patent # 3,353,115 is issued to Theodore Maiman. He was born in 1927 in Los Angeles, California. His father was an electrical engineer and inventor. Ted helped his father with experimentation in their home laboratory after the family moved to Denver, Colorado. By the time he was a teenager, he was earning money by fixing electrical appliances and radios. After high school, Maiman was employed by the National Union Radio Company at the age of 17. He served in the US Navy during World War II and then earned his undergrad degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Colorado. He went on to Stanford University and received both his masters and PhD degrees from there.
Maiman’s doctoral thesis involved microwave-optical measurements of fine structural splittings in excited helium atoms and was achieved under the direction of Willis Lamb, a Nobel Laureate in Physics, awarded in 1955. While conducting research, Maiman also devised laboratory instrumentation for Lamb’s experiments. Maiman’s thesis experimentation was instrumental in his development of the laser, which is what the patent awarded on this day was for.
In 1956, Maiman began working at the Atomic Physics Department of the Hughes Aircraft Company (later HRL Laboratories) where he led the ruby maser redesign project for the US Army Signal Corps. He was able to reduce it from a 2.5-ton cryogenic device to four pounds and still improve performance. Because of his success in this venture, he was able to convince management to use company funds for research into his laser project. On a total budget of $50,000 he was able to design a laser using a synthetic ruby crystal. He was able to demonstrate this first laser (which other scientists had refused to believe would work) on May 16, 1960. He submitted this for patent and finally received that patent on this day.
A laser is a light-emitting device which works via optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” and is much easier to say. Lasers emit light coherently which makes them different from other light sources. A ruby laser is a solid-state laser using a synthetic ruby crystal as its gain medium and emits pulses of visible light at a wavelength of 694.3 nm – a deep red color. One of the major applications of ruby lasers is for range finding. They were the standard for military use by 1964. They are rarely used in industry because of low efficiency and low repetition rates. Their use is in decline as better systems have been invented. Maiman went on to win many awards both during his life and posthumously. He changed the world with his discovery and had been given accolades appropriate to his ingenuity. He died in 2007 at the age of 79 of a rare disease, systemic mastocytosis.
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one. – Theodore Maiman
It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. Theodore Maimen
A laser is a solution seeking a problem. – Theodore Maiman
Dr. Maiman published his discovery in the British journal Nature, after the journal Physical Review Letters mistakenly rejected it as repetitive. In a book marking the centennial of Nature, Dr. Townes called the short article “the most important per word of any of the wonderful papers” that the prestigious journal had published in its 100 years. – New York Times obituary for Theodore Maiman
Also on this day: Nellie Bly – Woman Journalist – In 1889, Nellie Bly left for her trip around the world.
The Big Barbecue – In 1957, a Mafia meeting was held in Apalachin, New York.
Sugar and Spice – In 1997, Reena Virk is murdered.
Crash - In 1970, Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed in West Virginia.
November 13, 1954: The first Rugby League World Cup comes to an end. The French first campaigned for a competition of this type beginning in 1935. World events conspired to put a hold on the idea but it was raised once again in 1951 by Paul Barriere, the President of the French Rugby League. It took a few years and some persuasion, but it finally came to fruition and in 1954 the Rugby League World Cup challenge was initiated. There were four nations/teams involved in this first match held in Paris. France was involved, of course, as were Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. The teams played each other in league format with the top two contenders playing on this day.
Great Britain topped the table as a result of points difference, defeating France who had the second place on the table. The event hosted seven matches played in front of 138,329 spectators with 30,000 of them watching the final game place at the Parc des Princes in Paris. The tournament was the idea of the French as the rugby union had seized assets during World War II. The World Cup was highly successful with a high standard of play maintained throughout the event. The trophy was donated by the French and was worth eight million francs. In 1953, the four teams along with America had decided to play for this top honor and it took another year before the games could be played and then without the participation of an American team.
In the early 1950s, all four of the competing teams were fairly evenly matched and any could have, at least in theory, beaten the others for the title. There were no test series in the period and so no champion could be named. Australia was the favorite having won the Ashes before the decisions of 1953. By the time the games were held, Australia had lost to both the French and the Kiwis and Great Britain had defeated New Zealand. Because of injuries, many of the British team had not played together and their squad was fairly untried. The four captains were; Puig-Aubert (France), Cyril Eastlake (New Zealand), Clive Churchill (Australia) and Dave Valentine (Britain).
During the first round on October 30, France beat New Zealand 22-13 and on October 31 Great Britain beat Australia 28-13. During the second round on November 7, France and Great Britain tied at 13 all and Australia beat New Zealand 34-15. During the third round on November 11, Great Britain won over New Zealand 26-6 and France took Australia 15-5. During the final round on this day, Great Britain won with a score of 16 over France’s 12. Australia has won the event 10 times, the most of any nation. Mick Cronin has been the top scorer making 112 points for Australia while Kurt Sorenson, also of Australia, has made 25 appearances. The Rugby League World Cup event has been held 14 times so far with the next one scheduled for 2017 with Australia and New Zealand co-hosting.
Rugby is great. The players don’t wear helmets or padding; they just beat the living daylights out of each other and then go for a beer. I love that. – Joe Theismann
It’s like a rugby team. If you’re picking for the World Cup final, you’re picking experience with youth. Everything is better off having that balance and that mix. I think that, especially, goes for the monarchy as well. – Prince William
I’ve always said that playing rugby in Spain is like being a bullfighter in Japan. – Javier Bardem
The scrum and the tackle are the two really contentious areas of the game. If you get those two aspects right, most rugby matches will work in your favour. – Alan Lewis
Also on this day: Deadliest Natural Disaster of the Twentieth Century – In 1970, the Bhola cyclone hits land.
Meteors – In 1833, the Leonids meteor shower occurred.
Sammy and May - In 1960, the two married.
Rescue - In 1901, the Caister-on-Sea incident took place.
November 12, 1793: Jean Sylvain Bailly dies. He was born in Paris, France in 1736. His father was an artist and supervisor of the Louvre. His grandfather had also been an artist and the younger Bailly was intended to follow the family traditions. As a student, he became interested in the sciences, particularly astronomy. Nicolas de Lacaille was a particular influence over Bailly. The young man was able to calculate the next appearance of Halley’s Comet and correctly reduced Lacaille’s observations of 515 stars. Bailly also participated in the construction of an observatory at the Louvre and was elected to the 31st French Academy of Sciences in 1763 for all the above mentioned efforts.
He went on to publish several papers concerning the sciences and astronomy. He also wrote histories of past and present notable personages including King Charles V, Moliere, and Gottfried Leibniz. Bailly was admitted to the Académie française in 1784 and to the Académie des Inscriptions in 1785. After that time, he devoted his efforts to writing about the history of science with several books published in the years that followed. Because of his achievements in this field, there is a lunar crater named in his honor. Unfortunately, the politics of the time interrupted his studies and he was forced to abandon his writing and participated instead in the French Revolution.
Bailly was elected deputy from Paris to the Estates-General and was then elected as the president of the National Assembly on June 17, 1789. He played a pivotal role in the Tennis Court Oath. It was there that 576 of the 577 members of the Third Estate were locked out a meeting of the Estates-General and were forced to meet at a local tennis court. They pledged “not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established”. After the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 Bailly became the first mayor of Paris and remained in that role until November 16, 1791.
Bailly along with the Marquis de Lafayette are considered to be indisputable heroes of the French Revolution. Bailly was attacked in his role as mayor for being too conservative. One of his positions was to promote the power of the mayor while limiting the power of the General Assembly of the Commune. He helped pass a law even in the face of threats which made Jews French citizens with all attendant rights and privileges. After leaving the post of mayor, he retired to Nantes and began to write again. He left Nantes and was recognized. He was supposed to testify against Marie Antoinette and refused to do so. He was brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal in Paris during the Reign of Terror. He was tried and found guilty and on this day, he was sent in the freezing rain, to the guillotine. He died at the age of 57.
Heckler from the crowd at his execution: Do you tremble, Bailly?
Jean Sylvain Bailly: Yes, but it is only the cold.
He met his death with patient dignity; having, indeed, disastrously shared the enthusiasms of his age, but taken no share in its crimes. – Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911
Jean Sylvain Bailly was born in the Louvre and died less than a mile away, under the guillotine. - Dan Edelstein
Peoples do not judge in the same way as courts of law; they do not hand down sentences, they throw thunderbolts; they do not condemn kings, they drop them back into the void; and this justice is worth just as much as that of the courts. – Maximilien de Robespierre
Also on this day: Thar She Blows – In 1970, a rotting beached whale was removed from an Oregon beach, sorta.
Daring Young Man – In 1859, the first trapeze performance took place.
Terrorist Attack – In 1997, Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of the WTC bombing of 1993.
Found - In 1912, Robert Scott’s frozen body was found.
November 11, 1750: The Flat Hat Club forms. The F.H.C. Society was the first recorded collegiate society within the territory of what is today the United States. The initials stand for a secret Latin phrase which is likely either “Fraternitas, Humanitas, et Cognitio” or “Fraternitas Humanitas Cognitioque” which both mean brotherhood, humaneness, and knowledge. The Flat Hat Club is a backronym and probably refers to mortarboard caps worn by college students at the time. These are the same types of caps worn today only at graduation ceremonies.
The young men were students at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The most famous member of the fraternity was Thomas Jefferson, third US President. George Wythe was also a member of the society and at the time of his membership, there were only six participants and the group served “no useful object”. By March of 1773, there was a second William and Mary Latin-letter fraternity – the P.D.A. Society, publically called Please Don’t Ask. This was a copy of the F.H.C. group. John Heath wanted to become a member of the P.D.A. group and was denied admission and so he began his own fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa Society.
By 1781, the Flat Hat Club was disbanded and ceased to exist. After 1909, old documents were found containing references to the Society. Interest was once again piqued and the Society had a brief revival in the twentieth century – twice. The first time it was revived, it lasted until 1943 when world events caused the university population to dwindle and the society went dormant. The current iteration of the F.H.C. was begun in 1972 and it remains an all-male fraternity and most of the activities are secret within the university.
Fraternities have existed since ancient Greek times. Originally they were brotherhoods of men involved in similar activities. Trades guilds were the logical outcome of many fraternities and these guilds replaced prior groupings. Fraternities and sororities or sisterhoods have been part of college life since this date. They became far more established in the early 1800s. The oldest active US social fraternity is the Kappa Alpha Society founded in 1825 at Union College. Sigma Phi Society and Delta Phi Fraternity were both established in 1827 at the same school. While fraternities have been historical male members only, in September 2014, Wesleyan University in Connecticut ordered all fraternities on campus to become company-educational within the next three years.
Being part of a fraternity has given me the foundation for everything I do in my career from the loyalty to the determination; it laid the foundation for everything I’ve been able to enjoy. – Terrence J
I think that when people join clubs as simple as a sorority or a fraternity, a football team, a baseball team, it’s just – you want to be in a group. You want to be around people, you want to be with people. – Theo Rossi
For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? – Tim Matheson
I would say my fraternity was nothing but a bunch of farm boys; we weren’t really in the whole fraternity scene, but yeah, that’s a safe assessment of who I am. I’ve lived that life, growing up in agriculture and then going off to college and joining a fraternity, livin’ that life. – Luke Bryan
Also on this day: The War to End All Wars – In 1918, World War I ended.
This Isn’t the Hudson – In 1620, the Mayflower Compact was signed.
Mum’s the Word - In 1790, Chrysanthemums were introduced into England.
Cold - In 1930, Einstein’s refrigerator was patented.