“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”
Comment to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
1889 – The Wyoming state convention approved a constitution that includes a provision granting women the right to vote. Formally admitted into the union the following year, Wyoming thus became the first state in the history of the nation to allow its female citizens to vote.
1927 – Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season and with it set a baseball record that would stand for 34 years until Roger Maris, another New York Yankee, broke it in 1961.
1938 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew home to Britain, where he addressed a jubilant crowd in London and praised the Munich Pact he had signed with Adolf Hitler earlier that day for bringing “peace with honor” and “peace in our time.”
Although the agreement was to give Hitler only the Sudetenland, the part of Czechoslovakia where 3 million ethnic Germans lived, it also handed over to the Nazi war machine 66 percent of Czechoslovakia’s coal, 70 percent of its iron and steel, and 70 percent of its electrical power. It also left the Czech nation open to complete domination by Germany.
In short, the Munich Pact sacrificed the autonomy of Czechoslovakia on the altar of short term peace – very short term. The terrorized Czech government was eventually forced to surrender the western provinces of Bohemia and Moravia (which became a protectorate of Germany) and finally Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine.
In each of these partitioned regions, Germany set up puppet, pro-Nazi regimes that served Adolf Hitler. By the time of the invasion of Poland in September 1939, the nation called “Czechoslovakia” no longer existed.
Chamberlain had been convinced that Hitler’s territorial demands were not unreasonable (and that Hitler was a “gentleman”).
He could not possibly have been more wrong.
1951 – The Red Skelton Show debuted on NBC. The show would later move to CBS. Overall, the program remained a fixture on U.S. television for 20 years.
1955 – 24-year-old actor James Dean was killed in Cholame, CA, when the Porsche he was driving hit a Ford Tudor sedan at an intersection.
The driver of the other car, 23-year-old California Polytechnic State University student Donald Turnupseed, was dazed but mostly uninjured. Dean’s passenger, German Porsche mechanic Rolf Wutherich was badly injured but survived.
Only one of Dean’s movies, East Of Eden, had been released at the time of his death (Rebel Without A Cause and Giant opened shortly afterward), but he was already on his way to superstardom – and the crash made him a legend.
1962 – In Oxford, Mississippi, James H. Meredith, an African American, was escorted onto the University of Mississippi campus by U.S. Marshals, setting off a deadly riot.
Two men were killed before the racial violence was quelled by more than 3,000 federal soldiers. The next day, Meredith successfully enrolled and began to attend classes amid continuing disruption.
1968 – Trying to distance himself from Lyndon Johnson’s policies, Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey announced that, if elected, he would halt the bombing of the North if there was any “evidence, direct or indirect, by deed or word, of communist willingness” to restore the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam.
Despite Humphrey’s announcement, many voters saw him as only a continuation of the Johnson approach to the war, which had been marked by escalation and continued stalemate. He was defeated by Richard Nixon, who hinted during the campaign that he had a secret plan to end the war and achieve “peace with honor.”
1972 – Pittsburgh’s Roberto Clemente hit a double for his 3,000th career hit. It was the last regular season at-bat of his career. On December 31, 1972, he died in an airplane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
1982 – Cheers debuted on NBC.
It was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked last in ratings for its premiere. Over its eleven-season run, the cast and crew garnered a record 111 Emmy Award nominations, with a total of 28 wins.
1999 – Large doses of radiation were released at Japan’s Tokaimura nuclear plant. It was Japan’s worst nuclear accident, caused by a serious error made by workers at the plant. One person was killed, 49 were injured and thousands of others were forcibly confined to their homes for several days.
Workers were mixing liquid uranium when they made a serious, and inexplicable, mistake. Instead of pouring five pounds of powdered uranium into nitric acid, the workers poured 35 pounds, seven times too much.
The resulting chain reaction caused gamma rays and stray neutrons to flood the purification chamber, where the radioactive water was treated.
2017 – Monty Hall, co-creator and longtime host of Let’s Make A Deal, died from heart failure at the age of 96.
Hall was well known for his philanthropic work. He helped raise close to one billion dollars for charity in his lifetime.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.