On October 16…Wow Again!
“These defendants now ask this Tribunal to say that they are not guilty of planning, executing, or conspiring to commit this long list of crimes and wrongs. They stand before the record of this Trial as bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain king. He begged of the widow, as they beg of you ‘Say I slew them not.’ And the Queen replied, ‘Then say they were not slain. But dead they are…’ If you were to say of these men that they are not guilty, it would be as true to say that there has been no war, there are no slain, there has been no crime.”
~American prosecutor Robert H. Jackson
Nuremberg Trials, Closing Statement
1780 – Just before dawn, the town line of Tunbridge and Royalton, VT was the site of the last major raid of the Revolutionary War in New England.
In the “Royalton Raid,” three hundred Indians led by British soldiers invaded from Canada. The result was the destruction of dozens of homes, crops and livestock necessary to survive the coming winter.
Although women and girls were not harmed, four settlers were killed, and 26 men and boys were taken captive and marched to Canada to be imprisoned.
In the years that followed, many of the captives made their way back to their families, but some never returned.
1793 – Queen Marie Antoinette lost her head.
The widow of King Louis XVI – who had been executed on January 21, 1793 – had been tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal on October 14, 1793 in a trial in which the verdict had been decided in advance by the Committee of Public Safety.
On October 15, Marie Antoinette was declared guilty of the three main charges against her: depletion of the national treasury, conspiracy against the internal and external security of the State, and high treason
At worst, she and her lawyers had expected life imprisonment.
Her sentence was much worse.
On October 16, a guard arrived to cut her hair and bind her hands. She was forced into a cart and paraded through the streets of Paris for over an hour before reaching the guillotine.
Her last words were recorded as, “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait exprès” or “Pardon me, sir, I did not do it on purpose”, after accidentally stepping on her executioner’s shoe.
At 12:15 Marie Antoinette was executed and her head exhibited to a cheering crowd.
Her body was thrown into an unmarked grave in the Madeleine cemetery, but both Marie Antoinette’s and Louis XVI’s bodies were exhumed in January 1815 and a Christian burial of the royal remains took place three days later in the necropolis of French kings at the Basilica of St Denis.
1859 – Abolitionist John Brown led a small group on a raid against a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an attempt to start an armed slave revolt and destroy the institution of slavery.
Word of the raid spread, and by morning Brown and his men were surrounded. A company of U.S. marines arrived on October 17, led by Colonel Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart.
On the morning of October 18, the soldiers overran Brown and his followers. Ten of his men were killed, including two of his sons.
The wounded Brown was tried by the state of Virginia for treason and murder, and he was found guilty on November 2.
The 59-year-old went to the gallows on December 2, 1859. Before his execution, he handed his guard a slip of paper that read, “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”
It was a prophetic statement. Although the raid failed, it inflamed sectional tensions and raised the stakes for the 1860 presidential election. Brown’s raid helped make any further accommodation between North and South nearly impossible and thus became an important impetus of the Civil War.
1909 – William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz held the first summit between a U.S. and a Mexican president.
Both sides agreed that the disputed Chamizal strip connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juárez would be considered neutral territory.
They narrowly escaped assassination.
On the day of the summit, security chief Frederick Russell Burnham and Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route.
Burnham and Moore captured and disarmed the would-be assassin within a few feet of Taft and Díaz.
1912 – New York Giants outfielder Fred Snodgrass dropped an easy pop-up in the 10th inning of the deciding game of the World Series against the Red Sox. His error led to a two-run Boston rally and cost the Giants the championship.
The error – dubbed “the $30,000 muff” because that’s how much money the Giants stood to win from a Series championship – stuck with Snodgrass for the rest of his life.
When he died in 1974 – 62 years after that fateful World Series game – the New York Times headline blared: “Fred Snodgrass, 86, Dead; Ball Player Muffed 1912 Fly.”
1916 – Private Henry Farr of the British Expeditionary Force was executed for cowardice after he refused to go forward into the front-line trenches on the Western Front during World War I.
His descendants fought a long battle to clear his name.
Farr suffered from severe shell-shock, a condition that was just being recognized at the time, and had been damaged both physically and psychologically by his experience of combat, especially the repeated heavy bombardments to which he and his comrades at the front had been subjected.
In August 2006, the British High Court granted a pardon to Farr … not that it did him a lot of good.
1940 – The Warsaw Ghetto, largest of the Jewish ghettos in occupied Poland during World War II, was established by the German Governor-General Hans Frank.
The ghetto was split into two areas, the “small ghetto”, generally inhabited by richer Jews and the “large ghetto”, where conditions were extremely difficult.
The two ghettos were linked by a single footbridge. The Nazis then closed the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world on November 16, 1940, building a wall with armed guards.
1946 – In Nuremberg, Germany, 10 high-ranking Nazi officials were executed by hanging for their crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, waging wars of aggression, and war crimes during World War II. It was the final act of the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world.
Their crimes, the ultimate in 20th-century depravity, included the mass murders of some six million Jews and millions of other human beings deemed “undesirable” by Adolf Hitler.
In his opening statement of the Nuremberg Trials, American prosecutor Robert H. Jackson had said, “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated.”
Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi minister of Foreign Affairs
Wilhelm Keitel, Chief of Defense for Germany
Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Director of Reich Main Security Office
Alfred Rosenberg, Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories
Hans Frank, Governor-General of Occupied Poland
Wilhelm Frick, Minister of the Interior
Fritz Sauckel, General Plenipotentiary for Labor Deployment
Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command
Julius Streicher, Gauleiter of Franconia
Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Reichskommissar for the Occupied Dutch Territories
Three black-painted wooden scaffolds stood inside a gymnasium, a room approximately 33 feet wide by 80 feet long with plaster walls in which cracks showed. The gymnasium had been used only three days before by the American security guards for a basketball game.
The men were hanged one at a time, but to get the executions over with quickly, the military police would bring in the man while the prisoner who preceded him still was dangling at the end of the rope.
The ten once “great men” in Hitler’s Reich that was to have lasted for a thousand years walked up thirteen wooden steps to a platform eight feet high which also was eight square feet.
When the trap was sprung, the victim dropped from sight in the interior of the scaffolding. The bottom of it was boarded up with wood on three sides and shielded by a dark canvas curtain on the fourth.
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, the one-time Number Two man in the Nazi hierarchy, cheated the gallows of Allied justice by committing suicide in his prison cell two hours before he was scheduled to have been dropped through the trap door.
Walther Funk, Reich Minister of Economics – Life
Rudolf Hess, Deputy Führer – Life
Erich Raeder, Grand Admiral – Life
Baldur von Schirach, Reich Governor of Vienna – 20 Years
Albert Speer, Minister of Armaments and War Production – 20 Years
Konstantin von Neurath, Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs – 15 Years
Karl Dönitz, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy – 10 Years
Hjalmar Schacht, President of the Reichsbank
Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany
Hans Georg Fritzsche, Head of Radio Division of the Ministry
1962 – President John F. Kennedy was informed of photos taken on October 14 by a U-2 which confirmed the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
The U.S. had no plan in place because its intelligence had been convinced that the Soviets would never install nuclear missiles in Cuba.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously agreed that a full-scale attack and invasion was the only solution. They believed that the Soviets would not attempt to stop the U.S. from conquering Cuba. But Kennedy concluded that attacking Cuba by air would signal the Soviets to presume “a clear line” to conquer Berlin.
Kennedy also believed that U.S. allies would think of the country as “trigger-happy cowboys” who lost Berlin because they could not peacefully resolve the Cuban situation.
The story continues tomorrow.
1964 – Elvis Presley, still stinging from his rejection at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, joined the Shreveport, LA radio broadcast Louisiana Hayride, appearing weekly for the grand sum of eighteen dollars.
The show, broadcast on local station KWKH-AM, represented Presley’s first major musical exposure and would prove invaluable to getting him noticed nationally.
1966 – Singer Joan Baez and 123 other demonstrators protesting the military draft in the United States were arrested after they blocked the entrance of the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, California.
1968 – United States athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked off the U.S. Olympic team after both raised a black-gloved salute during their medal ceremony and kept them raised until the American national anthem had finished.
1972 – A twin-engine Cessna 310 plane carrying Congressman (and House Majority Leader) Hale Boggs (D-LA), along with Congressman Nick Begich (D-AK) and two others, vanished in foul weather while en route between Anchorage and Juneau.
At the time, Begich, a freshman, was locked in a tight reelection race and Boggs was headed to Alaska to campaign on his behalf.
Their disappearance triggered the largest search and rescue operation up to that point in U.S. history. It involved 40 military aircraft, 50 civilian planes, a search grid of 325,000 square miles and more than 3,600 hours of search time.
After 39 days, the search was called off with no sign of the wreckage or survivors.
Keep It In The Family Factoid: In 1973, Boggs’ wife Lindy was elected by special election to the second district seat left vacant by her husband’s death. She was reelected to the eight succeeding Congresses (March 20, 1973 – January 3, 1991) and retired after the 1990 election.
Famous Kid Factoid: The Boggs had four children, one of whom was a daughter named Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs …but you probably remember her by her more prominent name; news journalist Cokie Roberts.
Nickname Factoid: Roberts, who passed away in September 2019, received the nickname Cokie from her brother, Tommy, who, as a child, could not pronounce her given name of Corinne.
1978 – Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope John Paul II after the October Papal conclave. He was the first non-Italian pontiff since 1523.
1986 – Chuck Berry was the center of an all-star “60th birthday” bash in his hometown of St. Louis.
The tribute concert – held two days before his actual 60th – where the legendary rocker was joined by Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Etta James, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Julian Lennon, and many others, was held at the local Fox Theatre.
The making of the concert and the show itself were filmed by veteran director Taylor Hackford for the critically acclaimed hits 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll.
1991 – George Jo Hennard drove his truck through the glass front of Luby’s Cafeteria in Kileen, Texas, and then opened fire on a lunch crowd of over 100 people, killing 23 and injuring 20 more. Hennard then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. No clear motive for his actions was ever determined.
1992 – Actress Shirley Booth died at the age of 94.
She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Come Back, Little Sheba, was a 3-time Tony Award winning actress on Broadway, but perhaps is best remembered for her role as Hazel Burke on television’s Hazel –
1995 – The Million Man March, a gathering of African-American men, was held on and around the National Mass in Washington, DC.
Organizers believed that politicians were failing the black community by “papering over the most vital dimensions of the crisis in international capitalism” and blaming urban blacks for “domestic economic woes that threatened to produce record deficits, massive unemployment, and uncontrolled inflation.”
In the spirit of unity and atonement, black leaders issued a call for all black people not in attendance at the March to recognize it as a sacred day meant for self-reflection and spiritual reconciliation.
All black Americans were encouraged to stay home from their work, school, athletic, entertainment activities and various other daily responsibilities on the “Day of Absence.”
1997 – Actress Audra Lindley, most famous for her role as landlady Helen Roper on Three’s Company, died of leukemia at the age of 79.
2002 – President George W. Bush signed Public Law 107-243, a congressional resolution authorizing war against Iraq.
2003 – Aaron Boone hit a home run off Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning to give the New York Yankees a 6-5 win over Boston and a trip to the World Series.
2007 – Actress Deborah Kerr died from the effects of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 86.
During her illustrious film career, she was nominated six times for a Best Actress Academy Award (The Sundowners, Separate Tables, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, The King and I, From Here To Eternity, and Edward, My Son) but failed to win any.
In 1994, however, Kerr received an Academy Honorary Award with a citation recognizing her as “an artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance.”
2010 – Actress Barbara Billingsley, best remembered for her role as June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver, died of Polymyalgia rheumatica at the age of 94.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2019 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.