Oct 31, 1517: Martin Luther posts 95 theses
On this day in 1517, the priest and scholar Martin Luther approaches the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nails a piece of paper to it containing the 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation.
In his theses, Luther condemned the excesses and corruption of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the papal practice of asking payment—called "indulgences"—for the forgiveness of sins. At the time, a Dominican priest named Johann Tetzel, commissioned by the Archbishop of Mainz and Pope Leo X, was in the midst of a major fundraising campaign in Germany to finance the renovation of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Though Prince Frederick III the Wise had banned the sale of indulgences in Wittenberg, many church members traveled to purchase them. When they returned, they showed the pardons they had bought to Luther, claiming they no longer had to repent for their sins.
Luther's frustration with this practice led him to write the 95 Theses, which were quickly snapped up, translated from Latin into German and distributed widely. A copy made its way to Rome, and efforts began to convince Luther to change his tune. He refused to keep silent, however, and in 1521 Pope Leo X formally excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church. That same year, Luther again refused to recant his writings before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Germany, who issued the famous Edict of Worms declaring Luther an outlaw and a heretic and giving permission for anyone to kill him without consequence. Protected by Prince Frederick, Luther began working on a German translation of the Bible, a task that took 10 years to complete.
The term "Protestant" first appeared in 1529, when Charles V revoked a provision that allowed the ruler of each German state to choose whether they would enforce the Edict of Worms. A number of princes and other supporters of Luther issued a protest, declaring that their allegiance to God trumped their allegiance to the emperor. They became known to their opponents as Protestants; gradually this name came to apply to all who believed the Church should be reformed, even those outside Germany. By the time Luther died, of natural causes, in 1546, his revolutionary beliefs had formed the basis for the Protestant Reformation, which would over the next three centuries revolutionize Western civilization.
Oct 31, 1963: Ed Sullivan witnesses Beatlemania firsthand, paving the way for the British Invasion
In the autumn of 1963, Beatlemania was a raging epidemic in Britain, and it was rapidly spreading across the European continent. But in the United States, where the likes of Bobby Vinton and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs sat atop the pop charts, John, Paul, George and Ringo could have walked through Grand Central Terminal completely unnoticed. It wasn't Grand Central that the Beatles were trying to walk through on this day in 1963, however—it was Heathrow Airport, London, where they'd just returned from a hugely successful tour of Sweden. Also at Heathrow that particular day, after a talent-scouting tour of Europe, was the American television impresario Ed Sullivan. The pandemonium that Sullivan witnessed as he attempted to catch his flight to New York would play a pivotal role in making the British Invasion possible.
It wasn't for lack of trying that the Beatles were still unknown in the United States. Their manager Brian Epstein had tried and failed repeatedly to convince Capitol Records, the American arm of their British label EMI, to release the singles that had already taken Europe by storm. Convinced that the Merseybeat sound wouldn't translate across the Atlantic, Capitol declined to release "Please Please Me," "From Me to You" and "She Loves You," allowing all three to be released on the minor American labels Vee-Jay and Swan and to languish on the pop charts without any promotion. Desperate to crack the American market, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a song explicitly tailored to the American market and recorded it just two weeks before their fateful indirect encounter with Ed Sullivan. That song was "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
Ed Sullivan had his staff make inquiries about the Beatles following his return to the United States, and Brian Epstein arranged to travel to New York to open negotiations. And in what surely must rank as one of the greatest one-two punches in the history of professional talent-management, Epstein convinced The Ed Sullivan Show to have the Beatles as headliners for three appearances rather than as a one-time, mid-show novelty act, and he then leveraged that contract into an agreement by Capitol Records to release "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in the United States and back it with a $40,000 promotional campaign.
As a result of the chance encounter at Heathrow on this day in 1963, and of Brian Epstein's subsequent coup in New York, the Beatles would arrive in the United States on February 7, 1964, with a #1 record already to their credit. The historic Ed Sullivan appearances that followed would lead to five more in the next 12 months.
Oct 31, 1776: King speaks for first time since independence declared
On this day in 1776, in his first speech before British Parliament since the leaders of the American Revolution came together to sign of the Declaration of Independence that summer, King George III acknowledges that all was not going well for Britain in the war with the United States.
In his address, the king spoke about the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the revolutionary leaders who signed it, saying, "for daring and desperate is the spirit of those leaders, whose object has always been dominion and power, that they have now openly renounced all allegiance to the crown, and all political connection with this country." The king went on to inform Parliament of the successful British victory over General George Washington and the Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776, but warned them that, "notwithstanding the fair prospect, it was necessary to prepare for another campaign."
Despite George III's harsh words, General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Howe, still hoped to convince the Americans to rejoin the British empire in the wake of the colonists' humiliating defeat at the Battle of Long Island. The British could easily have prevented Washington's retreat from Long Island and captured most of the Patriot officer corps, including the commander in chief. However, instead of forcing the former colonies into submission by executing Washington and his officers as traitors, the Howe brothers let them go with the hope of swaying Patriot opinion towards a return to the mother country.
The Howe brothers' attempts at negotiation failed, and the War for Independence dragged on for another four years, until the formal surrender of the British to the Americans on October 19, 1781, after the Battle of Yorktown.
Oct 31, 1887: Chiang Kai-Shek is born
On this day in 1887, in Chekiang province, China, Chiang Kai-Shek, leader of the Nationalist government of China from 1928 to 1949, is born. As a young man training in the Japanese military, Chiang was converted to the ideals of republicanism. Upon returning to China, Chiang fought against the dying Manchu imperial dynasty. He eventually joined forces with Sun Yat-sen's Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang. Both Sun and Chiang became enamored of Soviet communism and even reorganized the Nationalist Party based on a Soviet model. Upon Sun's death, Chinese communists, who had been admitted into the party, came into conflict with strict republicans. It was at this point that Chiang's political shrewdness came to the fore, as he stemmed the influence of the communists in his party while keeping Moscow as an ally—that is, until Chiang led a coup that expelled the communists, feeling that they were too strong a challenge to his own control of the party. Chiang then lead the Nationalists in a march on Peking, eventually forming a new government under his control.
Unifying the country and keeping it from communist control were now most important to Chiang, even more important than his supposedly treasured social reforms or the invasion of Manchuria by Japan, which he did little to resist. But when full-blown war with Japan broke out in 1937, he was compelled to join forces with his communist enemies in order to repel further Japanese encroachments. China fought alone against the Japanese for four years, until the Allies declared war in 1941. Although the Allies hailed Chiang as the salvation of his nation, depicting him as a David against the Japanese Goliath, he was in fact a shortsighted tyrant who was more interested in maintaining his power base and privileges than fighting Imperial Japan. He resisted the attempts by U.S. Gen. Joseph Stilwell to create a modern Chinese army that would fight under joint Allied-Chinese control. He was more interested in getting hold of Lend-Lease money for his own purposes.
Upon the Allied defeat of Japan, Chiang returned to his battle against Mao Tse-tung and the communists. In 1949, he lost his nation to communism. Chiang removed himself to Taiwan, where he set up a relatively benign dictatorship—an alternate China.
Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:
445 BC - Ezra reads the Book of the Law to the Israelites in Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 9:1, NLTse).
802 - Empress Irene of Byzantium driven out
834 - 1st All Hallows Eve (Halloween) observed to honor the saints
1517 - Luther posts 95 theses on Wittenberg church - Protestant Reformation
1541 - Michelangelo Buonarroti finishes painting The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican
1552 - Emperor Karel & Markgraaf Albecht strike siege for Metz
1587 - Leiden University Library opens its doors after its founding in 1575.
1596 - English/French/Dutch delegates sign anti-Spanish "Drievoudig Covenant"
1617 - Laurens Reael resigns as governor-general of East-Indies
1759 - Earthquake in Safed Palestine kills hundred
1793 - Execution of Girondins at Paris, during Reign of Terror
1794 - John Dalton 1st lecture to Manchester Literary/Philosophical Society
1808 - Holland Brigade battle at Durango, Spain
1815 - Sir Humphrey Davy of London patents miner's safety lamp
1837 - Collision of river boat Monmouth & Trement on Miss; 300 die
1846 - Donner party, unable to cross the Donner Pass, construct a winter camp
1863 - The Maori Wars resumed as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the Waikato.
1864 - Nevada admitted as 36th state of the Union
1868 - Standard uniform approved for US postal carriers
Painter MichelangeloPainter Michelangelo 1871 - Founding of Netherland Protestant Union in Dokkum
1876 - Cyclone hits Bengal, about 200,000 die
1876 - A monster cyclone ravages India, resulting in over 200,000 human deaths.
1881 - Metropolitan club plays its last game of its non-league season They win 80 of 151 games (18-43 versus NL teams)
1887 - Rimski-Korsakov's "Capricio Espagñol," premieres in St Petersburg
1888 - John Boyd Dunlop patents pneumatic bicycle tyre
1892 - Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
1900 - AL pres Ban Johnson writes to NL pres Nick Young seeking peace
1905 - Great revolutionary demonstration for amnesty in St Petersburg
1906 - George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar & Cleopatra," premieres in NYC
1907 - Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club's 1st game defeating Strathcona Rugby Foot-ball Club 15-0 at Calgary
1908 - 4th Olympic games ends in London
1913 - 1st US paved coast-to-coast highway, the Lincoln Highway is dedicated
1914 - Great Britain & France declare war on Turkey
1916 - Clare Kummer's "Good Gracious Annabelle," premieres in NYC
Playwright George Bernard ShawPlaywright George Bernard Shaw 1917 - Eugene O'Neill's "In the Zone," premieres in NYC
1917 - World War I: Battle of Beersheba - "last successful cavalry charge in history"
1918 - Spanish flu-virus kills 21,000 in US in 1 week
1918 - Banat Republic founded
1920 - Romania annexes Bessarabia
1921 - Federation Sportive Feminine Intl forms (1st woman track & field association)
1922 - Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) becomes premier of Italy
1922 - Karel & Josef Capék's "World We Live In," premieres in NYC
1923 - 160 consecutive days of 100 degrees at Marble Bar, Australia begins
1924 - World Savings Day was announced in Milano/Italy by the Members of the Association at the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks).
1925 - Cossack officer Reza Chan replaces sultan Ahmad Shah in Persia
1932 - Greek government of Venizelos falls
1936 - The Boy Scouts of the Philippines was formed.
1937 - Spanish government moves from Valencia to Barcelona
1938 - Great Depression: In an effort to try restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.
Italian Dictator Benito MussoliniItalian Dictator Benito Mussolini 1939 - 27 U boats sunk this month (135,000 ton)
1940 - 63 U boats sunk this month (325,000 ton)
1940 - Battle of Britain, fought between the RAF and Luftwaffe over the English Channel and southern England, ends
1940 - Deadline for Warsaw Jews to move into Warsaw Ghetto
1941 - 13 U boats sunk this month (62,000 ton)
1941 - Mount Rushmore Monument is completed
1941 - Prior to US in WW II, Germany torpedoes US destroyer Reuben James
1941 - Clothing factory fire in Huddersfield, England kills 49
1942 - 94 U boats sunk this month (619,000 ton)
1942 - 9th day of the Battle of El Alamein
1943 - Wash Redskin Sammy Baugh passes for 6 touchdowns vs Bkln (48-10)
1943 - World War II: F4U Corsair accomplishes the first successful radar-guided interception.
1944 - Chief of staff Kruls names De Quay chairman of Universal Commission
1949 - "Regina" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 86 performances
1949 - Amsterdam Telegraph-director/SS'er Henri Holdert sentenced to 12 years
1949 - WOC (now KWQC) TV channel 6 in Davenport, IA (NBC) 1st broadcast
1950 - Collazo & Torresola attempt to kill Harry Truman in Washington, DC
1951 - Second Chamber accept plan-Schuman
1952 - 1st thermonuclear bomb detonated at Marshall Islands
1953 - TV broadcasting begins in Belgium
1954 - Algerian Revolution against French begins
1954 - Betsy Rawls wins LPGA Texas Golf Open
1954 - KREM TV channel 2 in Spokane, WA (CBS/ABC) begins broadcasting
1955 - Mgr Alfrink appointed archbishop of Utrecht
1956 - Rear Adm GJ Dufek becomes 1st American to land an airplane at South Pole
1956 - Britain & France begin to bomb Egypt to reopen Suez Canal
1956 - Brooklyn, NY ends streetcar service
1957 - "Jamaica" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 558 performances
Ex-soldier, drifter Lee Harvey OswaldEx-soldier, drifter Lee Harvey Oswald 1959 - Lee Harvey Oswald announces in Moscow he will never return to US
1959 - USSR & Egypt sign contracts for building Aswan Dam
1960 - Cyclone hits coast of Gulf of Bengal; about 10,000 die
1961 - Hurricane Hattie, kills 400 in British Honduras
1961 - Federal judge rules that Birmingham, Alabama, laws against integrated playing fields are illegal
1963 - Ed Sullivan witnesses Beatles & their fans at London Airport
1963 - J. Edgar Hoover's last meeting with president John F Kennedy
1963 - Leaking propane gas explodes kills 64 at "Holiday on Ice" (Indiana)
1964 - Barbra Streisand's "People," album goes #1 for 5 weeks
1967 - KIMO TV channel 13 in Anchorage, AK (ABC) begins broadcasting
1967 - Nguyen Van Thieu took oath of office as 1st President of South Vietnam 2nd Rep
1967 - SF's Mike McCormick wins NL Cy Young Award
1968 - Linda Eastman moves to UK permanently
1968 - Milwaukee Bucks win their 1st game beating Detroit 138-118 (6th game)
1968 - President Johnson orders a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam
Vietnamese Politican Nguyen Van ThieuVietnamese Politican Nguyen Van Thieu 1968 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1969 - George Harrison's "Something" is released in UK
1969 - Race riot in Jacksonville Florida
1971 - "On the Town" opens at Imperial Theater NYC for 65 performances
1972 - Gaylord Perry wins AL Cy Young award
1973 - Tom Seaver wins NL Cy Young Award
1974 - Ted Bundy victim Laura Aime disappears in Utah
1974 - Durch Marines end hostage crisis in Scheveningen prison
1975 - Bob Geldof's 1st appearance with Boomtown Rats
1976 - Javed Miandad, 206 v NZ, age 19 yrs 141 days (29 fours 1 six)
1978 - Iranian oil workers go on strike
1978 - People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South) adopts constitution
1979 - Mike Flanagan, wins AL Cy Young Award
1979 - US DC-10 crashes at Mexico-City, 74 killed
1980 - Julian Nott sets world hot-air balloon altitude record (16,806 m)
1980 - Polish government recognizes Solidarity trade union
1980 - Senegal routes troops to Gambia due to Libyan threat
1981 - 1st live radio drama in 25 years (Halloween Story on NBC)
1982 - "Rock 'n Roll!: The 1st..." closes at St James NYC after 9 perfs
264th Pope John Paul II264th Pope John Paul II 1982 - Pope John Paul II becomes 1st pontiff to visit Spain
1983 - Paul McCartney releases "Pipes of Peace" album
1983 - Ron Grant completes a 217 day, 8,316 mile run around Australia
1984 - Howard Goodall/Melvyn Bragg's musical "Hired Man," premieres in London
1984 - Puerto Rican tanker, San Francisco explodes spilling 2 million gallons of oil as ship caught fire
1984 - Indian PM Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her bodyguards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh at her home in New Delhi
1985 - Last day in Test cricket for Zaheer Abbas
1987 - 1st jockey to win 9 races in 1 day (Chris Antley at Belmont)
1987 - A pair in Coventry, England ties world record for longest singles tennis match at 80 hrs 21 minutes
1988 - 19°F lowest temperature ever recorded in Cleveland in Oct
1988 - 1st Monday Night NFL game in Indianapolis, Colts beat Denver 55-23
1988 - Journalists demand greater press freedom in Yugoslavia
1989 - AR Gurney's "Love Letters," premieres in NYC
1989 - France performs nuclear test at Muruora Island
1989 - Turgat Ozal elected president of Turkey
Musician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartneyMusician & member of the Beatles Paul McCartney 1989 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1990 - Pakistan make 3-0 drubbing of NZ, Waqar Younis 29 series wkts
1991 - Palestinians attend US mideast peace talks in Madrid
1992 - Don Keller makes his 18,000th sky diver
1992 - Roman Catholic church reinstates Galileo Galilei after 359 years
1992 - Horse Racing Breeders' Cup Champs: A P Indy, Fraise, Gilded Time, Liza, Lure, Paseana, Thirty Slews at Gulfstream Park
1993 - "Wonderful Tennessee" closes at Plymouth Theater NYC after 9 perfs
1993 - 25 people killed during Ghana-Ivory Coast soccer match
1993 - Germany unemployment hits country record of 3.5 million
1993 - Rapper Tupac Shakur charged with aggravated assault
1993 - US wins Nichirei International LPGA Golf Tournament
1994 - American Eagle ATR-72 crash down at Gary, Indiana: 68 killed
1995 - NHL NJ Devils agree to stay in NJ
1996 - The Fokker F100 on TAM Transportes Aéreos Regionais Flight 402 crashes into several houses in São Paulo, Brazil killing 98 including 2 on the ground.
1997 - British au pair Louise Woodward, 19, sentenced to life in death of Matthew Eappen 8½ months (judge changes to time served)
Rapper Tupac ShakurRapper Tupac Shakur 1998 - Iraq disarmament crisis begins: Iraq announces it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
1999 - Roman Catholic Church and Lutheran Church leaders sign the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, ending a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation.
1999 - Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.
1999 - EgyptAir Flight 990 traveling from New York City to Cairo crashes off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing all 217 on-board.
2000 - The last Multics machine was shut down.
2000 - A chartered Antonov An-26 explodes after takeoff in Northern Angola killing 50
2000 - A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 operating as Flight 006 collides with construction equipment upon takeoff in Taipei, Taiwan killing 79 passengers and four crew members
2002 - A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas formally indicted former Enron Corp. chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.
2003 - A bankruptcy court approves MCI's reorganization plans, essentially clearing the telecommunications company to exit bankruptcy.
2003 - Mahathir bin Mohamad resigns as Prime Minister of Malaysia and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, marking an end to Mahathir's 22 years in power.
2011 - The world population reaches 7 billion inhabitants according to the United Nations
2012 - The New York stock exchange opens after being closed for two days after Hurricane Sandy
1517 - Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church. The event marked the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. 1860 - Juliette Low, the founder off the Girl Scouts, was born. 1864 - Nevada became the 36th state to join the U.S. 1868 - Postmaster General Alexander Williams Randall approved a standard uniform for postal carriers. 1914 - The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) joined the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria). 1922 - Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy. 1926 - Magician Harry Houdini died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. His appendix had been damaged twelve days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows. 1940 - The British air victory in the Battle of Britain prevented Germany from invading Britain. 1941 - Mount Rushmore was declared complete after 14 years of work. At the time the 60-foot busts of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were finished. 1941 - The U.S. Navy destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed by a German submarine near Iceland. The U.S. had not yet entered World War II. More than 100 men were killed. 1952 - The U.S. detonated its first hydrogen bomb. 1954 - The Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) began a revolt against French rule. 1955 - Britain's Princess Margaret announced she would not marry Royal Air Force Captain Peter Townsend. 1956 - Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole. 1959 - Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine from Fort Worth, TX, announced that he would never return to the U.S. At the time he was in Moscow, Russia. 1961 - In the Soviet Union, the body of Joseph Stalin was removed from Lenin's Tomb where it was on public display. 1968 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. 1969 - Wal-Mart Discount City stores were incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 1981 - Antiqua and Barbuda became independent of Great Britain. 1983 - The U.S. Defense Department acknowledged that during the U.S. led invasion of Grenada, that a U.S. Navy plane had mistakenly bombed a civilian hospital. 1984 - Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated near her residence by two Sikh security guards. Her son, Rajiv, was sworn in as prime minister. 1992 - In Liberia, it was announced that five American nuns had been killed near Monrovia. Rebels loyal to Charles Taylor were blamed for the murders. 1993 - River Phoenix died at the age of 23 after collapsing outside The Viper Room in Hollywood. 1993 - The play "Wonderful Tennessee" closed after only 9 performances. 1994 - 68 people were killed when an American Eagle ATR-72, plunged into a northern Indiana farm. 1997 - Louise Woodward, British au pair, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen. She was released after her sentence was reduced to manslaughter. 1998 - Iraq announced that it was halting all dealings with U.N. arms inspectors. The inspectors were investigating the country's weapons of mass destruction stemming from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. 1999 - EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the coast of Nantucket, MA, killing all 217 people aboard. 1999 - Leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The event ended a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation. 2001 - Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department reached a tentative agreement to settle the antitrust case against the software company.
The following links are to web sites that were used to complete this blog entry: