Little Bits of History

January 30

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2017

1933: Machtergreifung begins. On November 9, 1923 the Beer Hall Putsch failed in its attempt to seize power, but was instrumental in teaching Adolf Hitler new tactics. His lawyer and adviser, Hans Frank, developed a legal strategy for the “National Revolution” and the takeover of the government by the Nazi Party. In the 1930 elections, the Nazi Party saw great successes even as Chancellor Heinrich Brüning worked to keep both the constitution and the state itself alive under a minority government supported by the Social Democrats. His efforts served to increase mass unemployment as he brought in austerity measures to attempt to create a balanced budget. In 1932, President Paul von Hindenburg ousted Brüning and replaced him with Franz von Papen, Hindenburg’s confidant.

It was hoped that Papen would sway the growing Nazi Party members to support Hindenburg against up and coming factions. In the next month, another federal election found the Reighstag (Congress) filled with even more Nazis and Papen’s attempt at a coalition government failed. More elections were held in November and while the Nazis lost some seats, they were successful in keeping Papen’s coalition from forming. Papen resigned and twenty representatives of agriculture, finance, and industry intervened with President Hindenburg and requested he replace Papen with their own choice for Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. On this day, the 84-year-old President did just that and with Hitler and the Nazi Party in this leadership position, they began to consolidate their power base, or Machtergreifung.

In under a month, the new regime was working assiduously to control everything. On February 27 the Reighstag was set ablaze by a Dutch council Communist and unemployed brick layer, Marinus van der Lubbe. Hitler requested President Hindenburg to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree (based on emergency powers granted by the Weimar Constitution). This decree suspended most citizen rights and allowed the Nazis to arrest political opponents, mostly Communists. March had another election which had the Nazis with less power. But Communists were not permitted to take any seats won since their party had been banned earlier in the month. The new Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which gave the government, but specifically Hitler, the power make his own laws without the Reichstag. He continued to consolidate his power base.

Within six months, Hitler established the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, aka the Nazi Party, as the only legal political party in Germany. The next phase, Gleichschaltung, was the process of bringing all of Germany under the totalitarian control of the Nazis. They wished to control the economy, all trade associations, the media, the culture, and education. Their relentless pursuit of these goals culminated in the resolutions approved during the Nuremberg Rally of 1935. The symbols of the state and the party fused and the German flag became the Nazi flag. Jews were deprived of citizenship. And the path was set for the Holocaust. World War II would follow.

All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.

Hate is more lasting than dislike. – all from Adolf Hitler

Bristol Channel Flood

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2015
Bristol Channel map

Bristol Channel map

January 30, 1607: The Bristol Channel flood takes place. The channel is a major inlet along the island of Great Britain. It separates South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It takes its name from the English city of Bristol and is over 30 miles across at its widest point. The damage on this day was most severe on the Welsh side. Cardiff was the most badly damaged with the foundation of St. Mary’s Church destroyed. The flooding covered an estimated 200 square miles and killed more than 2,000 people. Farms were washed away and livestock lost along the coasts of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary in what was then the Kingdom of England.

The coasts of Devon and the Somerset Levels were awash in seawater with water reaching Glastonbury Tor, 14 miles inland. The seawall at Burnham-on-Sea was destroyed and water entered the low country and the moors. Thirty villages in Somerset were affected. Brean was said to have been “swallowed up” while the Church of All Saints at Kingston Seymour had water to a depth of five feet standing for ten days. A chiseled mark shows the crest of the water to be at 25.4 feet. Many area churches today sport signs showing how high the water reached during the flood. Some of the signs give the date as 1606 because at the time, the new year didn’t begin until March 25.

At the time, the cause of the flood was given as God’s punishment. A contemporary pamphlet entitled God’s warning to the people of England by the great overflowing of the waters or floods was printed. Later supposition was given as a storm surge resulting from extreme meteorological conditions associated with high tide. Newer theories as to the cause of the flood have surfaced since comparing the explanations of what happened in 1607 to what happened in 2004 in the Indian Ocean when the tsunami struck there. It is believed that the great flood in Bristol was caused by this type of phenomenon.

A huge landslide may cause a tsunami as can an earthquake. There is no evidence of a landslide. There is an unstable fault off the coast of Ireland which has caused a vertical displacement of the sea floor. One contemporary report mentioned an earth tremor on the day of the disaster. Other reasons to accept a tsunami as the cause is the displacement of large boulders onto beaches which would have taken extreme force. There is a layer up to eight inches thick composed of sand, shells, and stones within what is otherwise constant deposits of mud. This was found in boreholes from Devon to Gloucestershire. Rock erosion in the area is characteristic of high water velocities. While it is unlikely that such an event would repeat itself, if it occurred today, the cost would range from £7 – 13 billion at current insured values.

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. – Rabindranath Tagore

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. – Alan Watts

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. – W. H. Auden

Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo da Vinci

Also on this day: “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s” – In 1922, Dick Martin was born.
King Richard III – In 1835, an attempt was made to assassinate President Jackson.
Assassination attempt – In 1835, the first US Presidential assassination attempt takes place.
Mr. Music – In 1858, the Halle Orchestra performed.
Really, Really Dead – In 1661, Oliver Cromwell’s body was exhumed in order to be executed.

Really, Really Dead

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2014
Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

January 30, 1661: Oliver Cromwell is executed – two years after his death. Cromwell was born in 1599 into the middle gentry. He lived a relatively obscure life up until the 1630s when he became in independent Puritan. He became an intensely religious man as well as a military and political leader, believing that God was guiding him to victory. He joined the English Civil War on the side of the Roundheads or Parliamentarians. He was one of the signatories for King Charles I’s death warrant and became the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland on Christmas day in 1653 after dismissing Parliament earlier in the year.

His rule was short lived but during that time he fashioned an aggressive and effective foreign policy. His allies at home were able to help him both domestically and overseas. When he died in 1658 he was buried in Westminster Abbey next to his daughter. He had become ill in the fall with what today is considered to be a relapse of malaria which brought on a kidney or urinary tract infection. His doctors did what they could but were unable to help the suffering man. He died on September 3 from what was probably septicemia (blood infection) secondary to the urinary infection. His son took over the rule of the land but was not as effective as his father. He resigned in May 1659.

Eventually Charles II was invited back from exile to become King and restore the monarchy in 1660. On this day, which is also the twelfth anniversary of Charles I’s execution, Cromwell’s body was exhumed and ritually executed in turn. Posthumous executions have been used many times over history to really get the message out that the dead person is not well liked. This was the third time in this century that the British Empire was upset enough to kill a dead person. Cromwell was hanged in chains at Tyburn, then thrown into a pit after being beheaded. His head was placed on a pole outside Westminster Hall and remained there until 1685.

There is controversy over whether or not the disinterred corpse was really Cromwell or not.  It is assumed that the body of the despised regicide practitioner would have been moved between his death and this day to protect it from desecration by Royalists. However, if it was not Cromwell, no one today knows where that body lies. Cromwell’s head was moved about several times until it was eventually buried on the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1960. The Cromwell vault was used to bury the illegitimate descendants of Charles II. Today, in Westminster Abbey there is stone where Cromwell was first buried which says, “THE BURIAL PLACE OF OLIVER CROMWELL 1658-1661”.

Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.

Do not trust the cheering, for those persons would shout as much if you or I were going to be hanged.

The State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions. If they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies.

I would have been glad to have lived under my wood side, and to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than to have undertaken this government. – all from Oliver Cromwell

Also on this day: “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s” – In 1922, Dick Martin was born.
King Richard III – In 1835, an attempt was made to assassinate President Jackson.
Assassination attempt – In 1835, the first US Presidential assassination attempt takes place.
Mr. Music – In 1858, the Halle Orchestra performed.

That’s Crazy

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2013
Richard Lawrence and Andrew Jackson

Richard Lawrence and Andrew Jackson

January 30, 1835: Richard Lawrence pulls two pistols and shoots at President Andrew Jackson, the first known US Presidential assassination attempt. Lawrence was born in England in either 1800 or 1801. He was clearly insane by age 30, possibly due to the chemicals found in the paint he used in his work. He thought he was King Richard III and he blamed Jackson for his father’s death as well as keeping him from the throne. He moved to the US in order to rectify these miscarriages of justice. Fortunately, during the assassination attempt, both pistols misfired. Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of his life in insane asylums.

Four US Presidents have been assassinated while in office. Abraham Lincoln was shot in the head while attending Ford’s Theater and died the next day. James A. Garfield was shot in the back while at a train station in Washington, DC and died nearly three months later due to the poor medical care he received. William McKinley was shot in the chest at the Pan-American Exposition and died eight days later. John F. Kennedy was shot in the head while riding in a cavalcade in Dallas, Texas and died later in the day. Nine other Presidents have had unsuccessful attempts made on their lives.

Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang reigned in 210 BC when Jing Ke made an unsuccessful attempt on his life, the earliest documented attempt. In 44 BC Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times by a group of senators at the Forum in Rome. Assassinations have brought about the fall of nations, as in the Roman Republic. The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand is often cited as the start of World War I. Not all assassinations are political.

One definition of the crime is “… to murder a prominent person by surprise attack.” The assassin commits 1. a terrible violence, 2. in public view, and 3. for a political, moral, or ideological reason. Religious icons have also been attacked, for instance – Pope John Paul II. More layers of security were added with devices such as the Popemobile. Bodyguards increased and sometimes body doubles were used. Access to the powerful and famous is becoming more restricted. Alas, this does not entirely stop the assassins.

“I’m scared to death. I know the assassin mentality he has. He’s always on attack. He’s always probing the defense. I liked it better when we didn’t know what was there.” – Jay Wright

“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.’ – Ernesto “Che” Guevara, facing his assassin

“Rome had Caesar, a man of remarkable governing talents, although it must be said that a ruler who arouses opponents to resort to assassination is probably not as smart as he ought to be.” – Barbara W. Tuchman

“The slanderer and the assassin differ only in the weapon they use; with the one it is the dagger, with the other the tongue. The former is worse that the latter, for the last only kills the body, while the other murders the reputation.” – Tyron Edwards

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Andrew Jackson was nicknamed Old Hickory because of his toughness and his aggressive nature. He was the seventh US President following John Quincy Adams and having Martin Van Buren assuming the office after Jackson’s second term. Van Buren had been the Vice President during that second term. Jackson was born in the frontier region around the Carolinas in 1767 just three weeks after his father was killed in an accident while his mother was returning home after burying her husband. His education was erratic at best. At the age of 13, he joined the militia and helped fight in the Revolutionary War. His family was decimated by the fighting and Jackson always blamed the British.

Also on this day: “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s” – In 1922, Dick Martin was born.
Assassination attempt – In 1835, the first US Presidential assassination attempt takes place.
Mr. Music – In 1858, the Halle Orchestra performed.

Mr. Music

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2012

Hallé Orchestra

January 30, 1858: The Hallé Orchestra performs for the first time. The Hallé is the oldest existing symphony orchestra in the world and the fourth orchestra to be assembled. Charles Hallé was a German pianist and conductor. Born in Germany in 1819, Hallé moved first to Paris then arrived in England in 1848 and settled in Manchester. He started a series of classical music concerts and gave performances throughout England. He was the first pianist in England to play all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.

In May 1857 Hallé brought a group of musicians together to perform at the Manchester Arts Treasures Exhibition. They performed together for six months and disbanded. Hallé decided to formally organize an orchestra and they gave their first concert at the Free Trade Hall. They did well until 1861 when they only gave two concerts but they survived the lean times. Hallé was knighted in 1890 and died in 1895. The Orchestra’s leadership was taken over by Hans Richter from 1899 to 1911. The Orchestra thrived under his direction and was honored to be able to present Sir Edward Alger’s Symphony No 1 for its premiere performance.

The Orchestra was again in trouble by 1943 when membership had declined to thirty. Between 1943 and 1970 under the directorship of Sir John Barbirolli, the Orchestra returned to its former glory. They made many recordings and were the premiere performers for Symphony No 8 by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Today, the Orchestra’s Musical Director is Sir Mark Elder. The Principal Guest Conductor is Christian Mandeal. The orchestra is joined by the Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth Orchestra, and Hallé Youth Choir.

The Free Trade Hall served as the venue for concerts from the orchestra’s founding until 1996. The Free Trade Hall was built in 1853-56 near the site of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre. The building was a symbolic salute to free trade and was instrumental in bringing wealth to Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. The Bridgewater Hall, the new venue, cost £42 million to build and opened September 11, 1996. They hold over 250 performances annually. The auditorium seats 2,341 people and is home to a pipe organ with 5,500 pipes.

For better or worse, you must play your own little instrument in the orchestra of life. – Dale Carnegie

To me, the piano in itself is an orchestra. – Cecil Taylor

Music is the most important thing. I’m thinking of my future. There has to be something new, and I want to be part of it. I want to lead an orchestra with excellent musicians. I want to play music which draws pictures of the world and its space. – Jimi Hendrix

I conceived of an instrument that would create sound without using any mechanical energy, like the conductor of an orchestra. The orchestra plays mechanically, using mechanical energy; the conductor just moves his hands, and his movements have an effect on the music artistry – Leon Theremin

Also on this day:

“Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s” – In 1922, Dick Martin was born.
King Richard III – In 1835, an attempt was made to assassinate President Jackson.
Assassination attempt – In 1835, the first US Presidential assassination attempt takes place.

Assassination attempt

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2011

1835 etching made of the assassination attempt

January 30, 1835: The first assassination attempt of a US President, Andrew Jackson. He was approached by a house painter named Richard Lawrence. It is thought that the chemicals in the house paint may have led to Lawrence’s delusions. By the 1830s he had convinced himself he was truly Richard III of England. During this same time, he underwent a personality shift, changing from a conservatively dressed man to one donning flamboyant clothing. He also grew a mustache, gave up his job, and demanded the US government pay him large sums of money. He felt the President was keeping him from getting his money. He also blamed Jackson for killing his father in 1832 even though Lawrence senior died nine years earlier. He decided to kill Jackson.

Lawrence bought two flintlock pistols. He watched Jackson’s movements for several weeks. During this time, Lawrence was observed repeatedly in the same paint shop, laughing and talking to himself. On this day, Jackson was attending the funeral of South Carolina congressman Walter R. Davis. Lawrence hoped to kill the President as he entered the service, but was unable to get close enough. Lawrence waited by a pillar and after the service, approached Jackson as he was leaving. Lawrence fired first one pistol from a distance of about 13 feet aiming at Jackson’s back. It misfired. Lawrence got to point blank range and fired again. The second pistol also misfired.

While the guns Lawrence had chosen were noted for problems in wet weather, and it was a very damp day, they still made enough noise to catch the crowd’s attention. Lawrence was wrestled to the ground by those around. Congressman Davy Crockett was one of those subduing the would-be assassin. It is said Jackson also struck the man several times, using his cane. Lawrence was brought to trial on April 11, 1835 with prosecuting attorney Francis Scott Key bringing the state’s case. Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to Government Hospital until his death in 1861.

Four US Presidents have been assassinated. Abraham Lincoln was the first, followed by James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. There have been thirteen attempts or threats to assassinate presidents from Jackson to Barack Obama. Two attempts were made on Gerald Ford’s life. Ronald Reagan was shot on March 31, 1981 and survived. There is speculation that both Zachary Taylor and Warren G. Harding did not die of natural causes, but that their deaths were assassinations. Neither of these cases have been proven.

“An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.” – Voltaire

“Assassination has never changed the history of the world.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” – Robert M. Hutchins

Also on this day:
“Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s” – In 1922, Dick Martin was born.
Andrew Jackson – In 1835, the first Presidential assassination attempt was made. (A different article)

“Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s”

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2010

Dick Martin holding a Fickle Finger of Fate Award

January 30, 1922: Dick Martin is born near Detroit, Michigan. He was one half of the Rowan & Martin comedy team who hosted a maniacally charged, totally new concept program called Laugh-In that ran from 1968 – 1973. Martin graduated from Michigan State University and began writing for a radio situation comedy. He joined with Dan Rowan and the two became Rowan and Martin in 1952. They toured the country and overseas. They were seen on television, hosting and performing for other shows before being offered their own venue in 1968.

The American sketch comedy show ran for one hour each Monday. They had 140 shows between January 22, 1968 and May 14, 1973. The show began as a one-time special airing on September 9, 1967. The special was so successful, it replaced the four-year-old Man From U.N.C.L.E., a drama in the style of James Bond movies. Laugh-In had Dan Rowan acting as the straight man exasperated by the “dumb” guy, Dick Martin. This was a time honored schtick dating from Burns and Allen routines in Vaudeveille.

Segments on the show included: the beginning “Cocktail Party” where cast and guest stars danced and delivered one- or two-line jokes; “Laugh-In Looks at the News” parodied local news casts, with segments that looked at historical or future news as well; and “The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate” award, given for dubious governmental achievements or to famous people. They also had a New Talent Time and introduced all to such stars as Tiny Tim and Art Metrano. Arte Johnson’s Wolfgang the German soldier was heard muttering “Verrry interesting” and then adding, “… but shtupid!” He and Ruth Buzzi as Tyrone F. Horneigh and Gladys Ormphby were seated on a park bench, the dirty old man and hairnetted old woman, with Tyrone muttering until Gladys hit him with her purse. Henry Gibson held his flow while he spouted his poems. Lily Tomlin gave us Ernestine the telephone operator and Edith Ann the child in the rocking chair.

This is the place where we met many comedians for the first time: Goldie Hawn, Judy Carne, Lily Tomlin, and Arte Johnson. Even President-elect Nixon made a guest appearance to say “Sock it to me!” Hubert Humphrey was also invited, but declined the chance. He later stated that it may have cost him the election.

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.” – Francis Bacon

“After God created the world, He made man and woman. Then, to keep the whole thing from collapsing, He invented humor.” – Bill Kelly

“The satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive and eventually releases him again for another chance.” – Peter De Vries

“What do you mean, funny? Funny-peculiar or funny ha-ha?” – Ian Hay a.k.a. John Hay Beith

Also on this day, in 1835 the first Presidential assassination attempt was made.