Today in History with a Twist: July 31, 2013 | Richland Library Skip to content

Today in History with a Twist: July 31, 2013

Democracy comes to Germany! 

                                             

    The German national assembly in place of the government since the end of the war has adopted the Weimar Constitution (1919); it will come into effect on August 14.  It will be interesting to see how this fledgling democracy develops.

    Election (1932) results are in and the NSDAP (Nazi Party) has won more than 38% of the vote in German elections.  However, they do not have enough seats to win a controlling majority.  Interesting how the Nazis and Communists became the leading parties in a democracy.

    Maybe they should try some jelly bean diplomacy.  It’s National Jump for Jelly Beans Day!  Today, we encourage candy lovers everywhere to jump for joy and show your appreciation for jelly beans.  These tiny candies evolved from an ancient confection called “Turkish delight,” which was one of the earliest forms of hard candy.  Our modern-day jelly beans gained popularity during the American Civil War.  A candy company in Boston began marketing jelly beans as the perfect treat to send to soldiers, and soon everyone was hooked.  One of the most famous jelly bean fans was President Ronald Reagan.  He served them at his inauguration!  (punchbowl.com)

    Mark Antony led his forces to victory today (30 BC) at the Battle of Alexandria; however, a disastrous end seems to be in the offing.  Despite the victory, large numbers of Antony's legions are defecting to Octavian's forces.  With his army melting away, there doesn't seem to be much hope for Antony and his lover Cleopatra.  A love story for the ages. 

    Not all good news coming out of Spain, where earlier this year the king and queen sent Christopher Columbus on an expedition to find a shorter route to the Orient (1492). Today the King's Alhambra Decree to expel the Jews has taken effect.  Bankers never seem to be popular anywhere.

    She survived the Second World War, two hits from atomic bombs in postwar testing, and being the target for three other ships in training, but the USS Nevada (BB-36) was finally sunk today (1948) when she succumbed to an aerial torpedo.  That was one tough old bird!

    The Lunar Prospector mission, part of the Discovery Programcame to an end today (1999), when NASA intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the Moon.  The spaceship's mission was to try and detect frozen water on the moon's surface.  Did they do it out of frustration? 

 Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

    1837 - William Quantrill - Chemist, educator, and soldier (d. 1865) - Schoolteacher to guerilla leader, quite a resume.

    1867 - S. S. Kresge - Businessman, founded Kmart (d. 1966) - Couldn't stand toe to toe with Wal-Mart.

    1965 - J. K. Rowling - Author - True rags to riches story. 

Books related to the above topics:


How Democracy Failed by Ellen Eichenwald Switzer
Amazon Says: Analyses of interviews with various German people about national events and attitudes preceding World War II reveal why Hitler succeeded and the personal reasons Germans allow more...
Amazon Says: Analyses of interviews with various German people about national events and attitudes preceding World War II reveal why Hitler succeeded and the personal reasons Germans allowed him to come to power. less...
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Amazon Says: Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarka more...
Amazon Says: Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.   The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.   A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.   Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror. “Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes.”—New York Times Book Review    less...
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Amazon Says: Approximately 200 years of Spanish history (1300-1500) are the focus of this book. Paris sketches the medieval history of the Iberian peninsula, stressing the tolerance of mos more...
Amazon Says: Approximately 200 years of Spanish history (1300-1500) are the focus of this book. Paris sketches the medieval history of the Iberian peninsula, stressing the tolerance of most of the Islamic dynasties, the relative amity between the three major religions of the area, and the flourishing culture that this relatively peaceful era nourished. The 14th century brought division within the Catholic Church itself; a plague that killed 25-30% of the population of Europe; and, in Valencia in 1391, a pogrom that gave its Jewish residents the choice of conversion or death. The "end of days" refers to the second coming of Christ, which would happen only if all the Jews were converted. Over half of the Jewish residents of Spain converted in the 14th and 15th centuries. These "conversos" were the primary target of the early Inquisition. Paris describes the early period of the Inquisition, the motives and actions of the inquisitors, and the fate of those accused. The actual expulsion of the Jews (not the conversos) in 1492 and the Moors (who were also given the opportunity to convert) in 1502 mark the climax of the events of this book. less...
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J. K. Rowling by Colleen Sexton
Amazon Says: Describes the life of the British author whose blockbuster "Harry Potter" series catapulted her from poverty into worldwide fame. more...
Amazon Says: Describes the life of the British author whose blockbuster "Harry Potter" series catapulted her from poverty into worldwide fame. less...
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