April

1st April 1939 The End of the Spanish Civil War

A Gruesome Twosome: Hitler and Franco

On this day in 1939, Generalissimo Francisco Franco broadcast his final radio communiqué of the Spanish Civil War: “Today, after having disarmed and captured the Red Army, the Nationalist troops have secured their final military objective. The war is ended. … Continue reading

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2nd April 1917 the First Elected Female Politician Assumes Office

“We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress." - Jeannette Rankin

On this day in 1917, the first woman elected to any national legislature in a Western democracy took her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. And Sisters, our first-ever political representative didn’t let us down. Three full years before … Continue reading

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3rd April 2000 the Death of Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna

On this day in 2000 the world lost a great champion of freedom, creativity, and our inalienable right to increase both of these by partaking of nature’s rich pharmacy. Terence McKenna was a thinker, explorer, writer and raconteur obsessed with … Continue reading

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4th April 1968  the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

"If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. – the inspirational leader, moral arbiter and emblematic martyr of the U.S. civil rights movement.  A prophet who led America out of its Jim Crow darkness, for thirteen turbulent years, this devout Baptist preacher harnessed … Continue reading

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5th April 1992 the Siege of Sarajevo

Cellist Vedran Smajlović plays on in Sarajevo's destroyed National Library

On April 5th 1992 units of the Yugoslav People’s Army on orders from Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, in combination with Bosnian-Serb militia groups, took up positions in the hills surrounding the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. From there they opened fire on … Continue reading

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5th April 1722 Europeans Discover Easter Island

The restored moai at Tongariki, Easter Island. Photo: Moth Clark

The rise and fall of Easter Island is a parable for our times; a warning from history of what happens when our selfish species doesn’t pay close attention to every detail of Planet Three’s precious natural resources. On Easter Sunday 1722 Dutch … Continue reading

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6th April 1994 the Rwandan Genocide Begins

Genocidal Horror

On 6th April 1994, the plane carrying Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down by surface-to-air missiles as it approached Kigali Airport. All on board were killed. The responsibility for the downing of the plane remains a mystery, but the … Continue reading

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7th April 1969 “The Birth of the Internet”

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Today we wish a very happy 45th birthday to the internet. In truth, pinning down an exact date for the birth of the internet isn’t really possible, but Wired magazine suggests today’s as good a day as any to celebrate; … Continue reading

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7th April 1836 the Death of William Godwin

William Godwin

A tribute to William Godwin – the father of philosophical anarchism – will appear here shortly.

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8th April 2010 the Death of Malcolm McLaren

Malcolm McLaren

Today we pay tribute to that uproarious lord of mischief, Malcolm McLaren, who popped his clogs four years ago today. What more can be said of this tiresome entrepreneurial maverick haberdasher who practiced his trade in the dying embers of … Continue reading

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9th April 1865 Robert E. Lee Surrenders

The Surrender

On this day in 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to the Union’s Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. In the parlour of the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean in the town of Appomattox … Continue reading

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10th April 1919 the Death of Emiliano Zapata

Emiliano Zapata

Today we lament the death of the great Mexican revolutionary, natural anarchist and prophet ­– Emiliano Zapata – tragically betrayed and ambushed ninety-five years ago by federal forces after an heroic 9-year struggle to bring self-reliance and autonomy to his … Continue reading

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11th April 1979 the End of Idi Amin’s Reign of Terror

See ya

On 11th April 1979, Idi Amin was deposed as president of Uganda after his attempt to annex part of Tanzania spectacularly backfired. Following a counterattack by the Tanzania People’s Defence Force, the former stooge of Imperial Britain who had in 1971 … Continue reading

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12th April 1989 the Revolutionary Suicide of Abbie Hoffman

“You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.” - Abbie Hoffman

Today we commemorate everyone’s favourite Groucho Marxist – the radical activist, Abbie Hoffman. Co-founder of the Yippies and author of Steal This Book and Revolution for the Hell of It, Hoffman was one of the most colourful and iconic figures … Continue reading

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13th April 1873 the Colfax Massacre

Gathering the dead victims of the Colfax Massacre

On March 13th 1873, a brutal massacre occurred in Colfax, Louisiana that remains shockingly little-known considering the magnitude of the violence – it is one of the largest incidents of race-related mass murder in America’s non-combatant history – and the … Continue reading

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14th April 1964 the Death of Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

Today we commemorate one of the twentieth century’s greatest revolutionary heroines – the mother of the environmental movement, Rachel Carson. Passionate naturalist, brilliant biologist, fearless crusader and gifted writer, this outwardly demure and unassuming woman took on the federal government, … Continue reading

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15th April 1865 the Death of Abraham Lincoln

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

Seven score and nine years ago today at 7.22am, Abraham Lincoln died – nine hours after an assassin’s bullet entered the back of his head. This self-educated, rough-hewn lawyer from Illinois with virtually no administrative or military experience had for … Continue reading

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16th April

No great action has thus far occurred on this day that warrants an On This Deity entry. Instead, here’s something from Noam Chomsky to think about: “Personally I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society … Continue reading

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17th April 1975 Pol Pot Declares Year Zero

Pol Pot's Gruesome Legacy

On this day in 1975, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge captured Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and declared revolutionary Year Zero. After five years of bloody civil war, the conquering Communist guerrillas were welcomed as heroes by a relieved population desperate for … Continue reading

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18th April 1955 the Death of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

On the 18th of April 1955 Albert Einstein died in Princeton Hospital, New Jersey. He was 76 years old. One of the chief architects of the modern era, there are few other individuals whose impact on human culture has been … Continue reading

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19th April 1824 the Death of Lord Byron

Lord Byron on his death-bed

Yes, he was “mad, bad and dangerous to know” – flamboyant, dynamic and notorious for his scandalous love affairs and aristocratic excesses. A proto-rock star, he was the most famous literary figure of his day – capturing the imagination of Europe … Continue reading

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19th April 1943 The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Memorial to the heroic Jewish resistance fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Of the many tales of sacrifice and struggle commemorated here at On This Deity, few can be more poignant or inspirational than today’s – the anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. On this day in 1943, Nazi … Continue reading

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20th April 1911 the Lynching of Will Porter

"Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees."

Between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. And that astonishing figure only accounts for those that were recorded. Behind every one of those 4,743 extrajudicial “mob rules” executions, there lies a tragedy – but today we … Continue reading

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21st April 1792 the Execution of Tiradentes

Tiradente quartered

On this day in 1792, Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier – better known as Tiradentes – was hanged in Rio de Janeiro, his body then chopped into pieces, which were displayed along the road between Rio and Vila Rica. His head … Continue reading

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22 April Earth Day

Love your Mother Earth

Earth Day was first observed 43 years ago. Across America thousands of local events were organised, and the decentralised method was as inspiring as the new awakening to environmental issues. Initiator Gaylord Nelson said, ‘all we need to do to … Continue reading

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23rd April 1968 the Columbia University Student Protest

Students take Columbia's Hamilton Hall

It was the spring of 1968, the “year that rocked the world”. In America, the anti-Vietnam movement was intensifying, stirred by the Tet Offensive and My Lai Massacre. The women’s rights movement was mobilising. And Black Power and the Black … Continue reading

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24th April 1915 the Armenian Genocide

Death March of Armenians

Today we lament the beginning of the infamous Armenian Genocide in which 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of Turkey’s Ottoman regime. Force-marched to their deaths across stifling tundra, countless thousands driven en masse into subterranean caves at the … Continue reading

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25th April 1974 the Carnation Revolution

Guns n' Carnations

At twenty minutes past midnight on 25th April 1974, Lisbon night owls heard the unthinkable coming through their radios. “Grândola, Vila Morena” – a folk anthem well-known to young people and intellectuals, with lyrics extolling the virtues of brotherhood and … Continue reading

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26th April 1937 Guernica

Picasso's "Guernica"

Seventy-five years ago today it was market day in Guernica, a small town in northern Spain considered to be the spiritual capital of Basque culture. In late afternoon, without warning or provocation, Luftwaffe aircraft swooped down over Guernica. Wave after wave bombarded the … Continue reading

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27th April 1882 the Death of Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Sage of Concord

He’s been called the “prophet of his generation,” “America’s Plato,” “the Sage of Concord” and “the single most influential figure in American literary history.” Today we celebrate a true colossus – Ralph Waldo Emerson – who died on this day in … Continue reading

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28th April 1945 the Execution of Mussolini

Il Duce

On this day in 1945, Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was summarily executed by communist partisans and his body brutalised, violated and hung up for public display in Milan’s Piazzo Loreto – as ignominious a death as any of those … Continue reading

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29th April 1916 the Easter Rising

Pádraig Pearse, President of the Provisional Government, surrenders to General Lowe

On the 29th April 1916 poet, teacher and revolutionary, Pádraig Pearse, issued the following statement from a beseiged building on Dublin’s Moore Street, In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the … Continue reading

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30th April 1945 the Suicide of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

Today we celebrate with arms outstretched in utterly ecstatic glee the bizarre Berlin suicide sixty-seven years ago of that Cosmic Herostratus, World Garbage Mouth and Nihilistic Ruiner of All Things Adolf Hitler, who took his own life with poison even … Continue reading

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