World Events

24th March 1976 Argentina’s Dirty War

VIctims of the Dirty War – “Los desaparecidos” or “the disappeared.

38 years ago today, power was seized in a coup d’etat by a military junta that would rule Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Throughout those seven grueling years, Argentines endured a repressive regime of indiscriminate violence, persecution, torture, kidnappings, theft … Continue reading

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31st October 1517 Martin Luther Posts the Ninety-Five Theses on the Church Door in Winnberg

Nailing the Ninety-Five

Despite the best efforts of fundamentalists of all kinds to have it otherwise, most of us are products of a generally secular society. This makes it almost impossible for us to conceive of a time when every expression of thought, … Continue reading

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1st October 1949  Mao Zedong Declares the People’s Republic of China

Communism is not love. "Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy." - Chairman Mao

On this day in 1949, following twenty years of bitter and bloody civil war, Mao Zedong stood victorious at Beijing’s Gate of Heavenly Peace and solemnly proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China.  At last, 500 million poor … Continue reading

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2nd July 1937 Amelia Earhart Disappears

"Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done.' - Amelia Earhart

“…first lady of the skies,  she had no guy holding her down, no one could clip her wings, she was no bird in the hand, she is no living thing now…” from the poem ‘Amelia Earhart’ by Patti Smith When 10-year-old … Continue reading

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20th August 1968 The End of the Prague Spring

Russian tanks roll into Prague

An entry on the brutal suppression of the Prague Spring will appear here shortly.

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11th July 1960  Harper Lee Publishes To Kill A Mockingbird

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

“…Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked … Continue reading

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18th June 1815 Waterloo

Battle of Waterloo by William Holmes Sullivan

Today in 1815 near a small town in Belgium, an Anglo-Allied army defeated Napoleon’s imperial army in a twelve-hour battle that even the victorious Duke of Wellington described as a ‘damn near run thing’ with victory only coming in the … Continue reading

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16th May 1918 The Sedition Act

SeditionAct-Snake

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” states the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Except when it suits Congress. And ninety-five years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson pushed through the Sedition Act of 1918 – a blatant … Continue reading

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9th May 1960  The Pill is Approved

"Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man’s equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation." - Margaret Sanger

“No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother” - Margaret Sanger The most revolutionary and liberating act for women is surely the availability of The Contraceptive Pill. Before The Pill … Continue reading

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3rd May 1915 “In Flanders Fields”

flanders_field

Days ahead of his departure for the Great War, Doctor John McCrae wrote to his mother a sentiment likely shared by every soldier going his way: “I am really rather afraid, but more afraid to stay at home with my … 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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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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29th February A Century of American Imperialist Interventions

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As no world-changing event has occurred on February 29th, let’s instead take this opportunity to reflect on one country’s determination to dominate the world in the last one hundred years by jackbooting its self-anointed authority across the globe in a … Continue reading

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29th December 1916  the Death of Grigori Rasputin

Rasputin: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

The death on this day in 1916 of Gregory Rasputin left a legacy as full of myth and misinformation – along with some bizarre truths – as his life had been. Poisoned with five times the usual lethal dose of … Continue reading

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13th November 1949 The Birth of the AK-47

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Sixty-four years ago today, Mikhail Kalashnikov completed his development of the AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle – an invention so reliable, so easy and inexpensive to manufacture and so serviceable that the way was opened up for post-war freedom fighters finally … Continue reading

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3rd November 1918  The Kiel Mutiny

Mutinous German sailors of SMS  Prinzregent Luitpold

Following the stalemate that resulted from the Battle of Jutland in 1916, the German surface fleet was trapped in its home bases whilst only the U-boats continued a losing battle against allied shipping. By the autumn of 1918 the Imperial German … Continue reading

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14th October 1066 The Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest

Harold

The British Isles has a long history of invaders: Angles, Danes, Saxons, Vikings. But on 28th September 1066, when William, Duke of Normandy, landed at Pevensey in Sussex, an invasion force on this scale had not occurred since the Romans … Continue reading

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28th September 1928 Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin

Fleming's original Petri dish containing the lowly mould that would save millions of lives

“One sometimes finds what one is not looking for. When I woke up just after dawn on Sept. 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I guess … Continue reading

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13th September 1922 The Destruction of Smyrna

The Great Fire of Smyrna

At the beginning of the 20th century, the great city of Smyrna on the Anatolian coast was one of the world’s richest, most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse metropolises – containing large Armenian and Jewish communities, as well as twice as many … Continue reading

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6th August 1945 the Bombing of Hiroshima

The atomic mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. Fucking hell.

On 6th August 1945, the United States government unleashed upon the world the first weapon of mass destruction when the nuclear bomb “Little Boy” was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Exploding with a yield equivalent to 12,500 tonnes of … Continue reading

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28th July 1968 the Founding of the American Indian Movement

The flag of the American Indian Movement

From the first contact with their invaders, American Indians have striven to be treated with the respect deserving of an indigenous, sovereign and culturally distinct nation. In turn, they’ve faced overt attempts by their conquerors at removal, forced assimilation and … Continue reading

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27th July 1945 Labour’s Landslide Victory

Clement Attlee's 1945 Labour government

Today in 1945 the British people awoke to the headlines that they had a socialist government.  When parliament later reconvened, the newly elected Labour MPs stood to sing the ‘Red Flag’. To generations of us who have since come to … Continue reading

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23 July 1967  the Detroit Riot

Motor City is Burning

On this day in 1967, the Detroit police raided an after-hours bar in the city’s poor black ghetto where nearly 100 locals had gathered to celebrate the return of two African American soldiers from Vietnam. Typically in such raids, the … Continue reading

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22nd July 2005 the Murder of Jean Charles de Menezes

Jean Charles de Menezes

Today we remember one of the great miscarriages of British justice of the present time, in which the British police – indeed the Metropolitan police, those paragons of English authority whose collective beats are more international and mutli-cultural than probably … Continue reading

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21st July 1969 “One Giant Leap For Mankind”

Apollo_11_Buzz_Aldrin_Salutes_US_Flag

Forty-five years ago today – and just sixty-seven years after the very first piloted aircraft flight – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon. Or so it is claimed.

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16th July 1945 the Manhattan Project

The Trinity explosion

At half past five on the morning of July 16th 1945, The Gadget exploded and the whole world shook. Three square miles of desert sand was melted into glass. A mushroom cloud rose almost 8 miles into the sky and … Continue reading

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14th July 1789 the Storming of the Bastille

The Storming of the Bastille, by Jean-Pierre Houël

Today we celebrate, though not without a small note of reservation, the Storming of the Bastille in Paris on this day in 1789. Commemorated with a public holiday in France, Bastille Day has come to mark the beginning of The … Continue reading

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12th July 1936  the Murder of Jose Castillo

José Castillo (left), and José Calvo Sotelo

At 9.30pm on 12th July 1936, José Castillo – a Spanish lieutenant in the governing Republic’s special police Guardia de Asalto and a high-profile anti-fascist – left his house in Madrid to walk to work. When he reached the corner, a … Continue reading

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11th July 1954 “In God We Trust”

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On 11th July 1954, the U.S. Congress enacted Public Law 84-140, which decreed that “In God We Trust” would henceforth appear on all American currency. This pious new motto was a direct violation of the First Amendment. The separation of … Continue reading

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10th July 1985 the Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

The stricken Rainbow Warrior

On July 10th 1985, French intelligence agents acting under direct orders of President François Miterrand bombed the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour to prevent its protest voyage to the nuclear testing site of Moruroa in French Polynesia. The French … Continue reading

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2nd July 1940 the Sinking of the Arandora Star

The Arandora Star

Today marks the anniversary of the sinking of the Arandora Star – the killing of hundreds of people due to the British government’s callous disregard of their welfare simply because of their nationality. It also demonstrated the common humanity and … Continue reading

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27th June 1905 the Founding of the Industrial Workers of the World

An injury to one is an injury to all

One hundred and eight years ago today, on June 27th 1905, a couple of hundred anarchists, socialists and vagabond activists gathered in a hall in Chicago for what would later become known as the First Annual Convention of the Industrial … Continue reading

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25th June 1876 the Battle of the Little Bighorn

CUSTER_HEADSTONE

Today we meditate long and hard upon the legendary and heroic but ultimately Pyrrhic victory of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull’s Indian Alliance at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Could General George Custer have avoided defeat had this hothead … Continue reading

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23rd June 1937 George Orwell flees Spain

The square in Barcelona re-named in honour of George Orwell

On the morning of June 23rd 1937, George Orwell boarded a train at Barcelona station with his wife, Eileen, and two companions, John McNair and Stafford Cottman. The train was bound for the French border and Orwell (or Eric Blair … Continue reading

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19th June 1953  the Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Today marks the anniversary of the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the electric chair at New York’s Sing Sing prison. Convicted of conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, the Rosenbergs – who maintained their innocence … Continue reading

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17th June 1972 the Watergate Arrests

The infamous Watergate complex

On a balmy Saturday evening in Washington DC, Frank Wills was doing his rounds. It was June 17th 1972 and he was working as a security guard in the Watergate complex. During the course of his routine patrol he noticed … Continue reading

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16th June 1836 the Birth of Chartism

454px-WilliamLovettYoung-1

Today we celebrate the founding of the London Working Men’s Association – the radical organisation that would be responsible for the key demands that were incorporated into the People’s Charter, thus heralding the birth of Chartism – the first mass working-class … Continue reading

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15th June 1962 the Port Huron Statement

The defining document of the New Left

Fifty-two years ago today, a small group of American students authored a mission statement that would serve as the defining document of the revolutionary 1960s. “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed in universities, … Continue reading

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11th June 1963 the Revolutionary Suicide of Thich Quang Duc

The self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức

On 11th June 1963, 67-year-old Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức sat down in the lotus position at a busy crossroads in Saigon, doused himself in petrol, lit a match and burned to death. This spectacular public act of self-immolation in … Continue reading

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29th May 1851 ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’

The impeccably (self-) named Sojourner Truth

Today we recall that extraordinary, incendiary moment when former slave, itinerant preacher, abolitionist and firebrand Sojourner Truth took to the podium at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, raised herself to her full height of over six feet, … Continue reading

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28th May 1871  Defeat of the Paris Commune

Paris ablaze during La Semaine Sanglante (The Bloody Week), the final days of the Paris Commune, 21–28 May 1871

Today we lament the unfathomably brutal suppression of the first proletarian revolution in history, the Paris Commune. Just three months earlier, on 18th March 1871, the workers of Paris rose up, seized power from the new provisional French government, declared … Continue reading

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27th May 1980 the Kwangju Massacre

The rounding-up of Kwangju dissidents

Today we lament the brutal suppression of the Kwangju Democratisation Movement. Ten days earlier, the citizens of the liberal South Korean city of Kwangju joined a student-led uprising in opposition to the illegitimate authoritarian rule of General Chun Doo-hwan. In response, … Continue reading

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25th May 2000  Lebanon Liberation Day

Peace in Lebanon

On the morning of May 22nd 2000, Israeli armed forces began to pull out of Southern Lebanon, signalling the end of a military occupation that had lasted more than two decades. Within three days the withdrawal was complete and by … Continue reading

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24th May 1856  the Commencement of John Brown’s Holy War

John Brown and the clash of forces at Pottawatomie: the first battle of his Holy War

On this night one hundred and fifty-eight years ago in Kansas, a gang of seven abolitionists paid an unexpected visit to the home of militant pro-slavery advocate James Doyle. Doyle and two of his sons were ordered outside, whereupon the … Continue reading

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21st May 1927 Charles Lindbergh’s Solo Atlantic Flight

Charles Lindbergh arriving in Paris

Today we celebrate, rejoicing with arms outstretched at the audacious and heroic actions of America’s Charles Lindbergh, whose 30-hour flight from America’s east coast to Paris eighty-seven years ago in a single-engine monoplane even shorter than a Spitfire turned him … Continue reading

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19th May 1536  the Beheading of Anne Boleyn

Anne in the Tower, awaiting her fate

Four-hundred and seventy-eight years ago today, Anne Boleyn knelt upright on a scaffold in the Tower of London on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII (1491 – 1547). Looming over her was expert swordsman Jean Rombaud who had … Continue reading

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15th May 1940 the First McDonald’s

Unknown

Today we recall with epic sadness that dreadful disastrous day seventy-three years ago when the first McDonald’s hamburger restaurant opened for service in San Bernadino, California. The extraordinary trajectory of McDonald’s flight to world infamy these past seven decades embodies … Continue reading

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11th May 1846 the Commencement of Manifest Destiny

John Gast's interpretation of Manifest Destiny, with Columbia – the personification of the United States – guiding and protecting western settlers whist driving Native Americans and bison into obscurity

  On 11th May 1846, the 11th president of the United States, James Polk, asked Congress to recognise the existence of a war with Mexico triggered by America’s annexation of Texas. Two days later, war was officially declared and thus … Continue reading

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7th May 1763 Pontiac’s Rebellion

Chief Pontiac

On this day in 1763, one of the most significant Indian rebellions in the history of Colonial America began when a confederacy of tribes under the leadership of Chief Pontiac attacked British forces at Fort Detroit. Pontiac’s war would rage … Continue reading

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5th May 2011 the Death of WWI’s Final Warrior

Claude Stanley Choules

Early in the morning of 5th May 2011, the last living soldier and genuine veteran of World War One quit this planet at the inspiring age of 110. Claude Stanley Choules signed up to the Royal Navy in 1915 when … Continue reading

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4th May 1886 the Haymarket Affair

The Haymarket Martyrs

Today we recall the Haymarket Affair – the most sensational American labour incident of the 19th century, whose legacy even today continues to surreptitiously reverberate. What began as a nationwide movement for the 8-hour work day on 1st May ignited just a few … Continue reading

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1st May 1886 May Day! May Day!

Protesting for the 8-hour work day

Today, May Day, marks the international celebration of the social and economic achievements of the labour movement. Except in the United States. Yet it is from the New World itself that May Day received its inspiration. One hundred and twenty-eight … 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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26th April 1937 Guernica

Picasso's "Guernica"

Seventy-seven 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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31st March 1970  The Yodo-Go Hijack

The infamous JAL hijack gave its name to one of the Japanese underground's most legendary albums, "Yodo-go-a-go-go"

Forty-four years ago today occurred the all-time single-most revolutionary political act in rock’n’roll, when Moriaki Wakabayashi – bass player of Tokyo’s notorious underground legends Les Rallizes Denudés – accompanied several other members of the Japanese Red Army Faction in the armed hijack … Continue reading

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25th March 1969  John & Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace

The newspeople said, "Say, what you're doing in bed?" I said, "We're only trying to get us some peace"

On 25th March 1969 Yoko Ono and John Lennon staged their first ‘bed-in’ for peace. Married five days earlier in Gibraltar, the Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton – inviting the world’s press to come and interview them about … Continue reading

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24th March 1989 the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

dead whale

At four minutes past midnight on March 24th 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Despite not even being in the top 50 global oil spills by volume, the Exxon Valdez disaster … Continue reading

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20th March 1852 the Publication of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

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Today we commemorate the anniversary of the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly – one of the few works of fiction that can lay genuine claim to changing history. A literary incendiary, Beecher … Continue reading

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19th March 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom

operation iraqi freedom emblem

On March 19th 2003 US President George W. Bush announced that US and UK armed forces had launched strikes against “targets of military opportunity” in Iraq. It marked the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; a disastrous conflict that would drag … Continue reading

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18th March 1871 the Paris Commune Begins

"Storming Heaven" The barricades of Montmartre, 18 March 1871

Today marks the anniversary of the formation of the Paris Commune – the first successful seizure of power by the working class. Facing Prussian invasion forces on one side and French troops mobilised against its own citizens on the other, … Continue reading

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17th March 1921 the Kronstadt Tragedy

The Red Army charge on Kronstadt

On this day in 1921 after two weeks of siege, a rebellion at the Kronstadt naval base fell to Soviet government forces. Anarchist and sometime Bolshevik-ally Victor Serge described the events as, ‘Seventeen dreadful days, more dreadful than anything I … Continue reading

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11th March 1941 The Commencement of Lend-Lease

The ultimate symbol of Lend Lease was America’s Bell P-39 Airacobra. Rejected by the RAF for its dangerous engine layout and poor altitude, these duds fetched up as slow-moving tankbusters with the Red Army.

Today marks the anniversary of the commencement of Lend-Lease, the controversial programme through which America gave aid to Great Britain’s war effort as she struggled alone against Hitler’s Nazi Germany in those dark days after the fall of France. Cajoled, … Continue reading

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8th March International Women’s Day

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.”
- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.” – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan” Continue reading

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6th March 1857 the Dred Scott Decision

Dred Scott v Sandford (1857 pg. 2)

On this day in 1857, African-Americans were delivered a conclusive and seemingly fatal blow to their prospects for freedom. It was official. The United States Supreme Court – the highest bastion of law and morality – ruled that ‘Negroes’ were not … Continue reading

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3rd March 1985 The End of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike

Before the Dream Faded. NUM leader Arthur Scargill at Orgreave

Twenty-nine years ago today, the UK Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 ended in defeat for Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers when miners reluctantly and bitterly voted to return to work. The strike, lasting just two days short of … Continue reading

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1st March 1969 Jim Morrison’s Miami Mischief Night

"See it? Did you see it?"

Forty-five years ago today, in his hometown of Miami, Florida, controversial Doors singer Jim Morrison finally abandoned all notions of changing society through his role as a pop singer and entertainer. Instead, profoundly inspired by three successive viewings of the … Continue reading

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28th February 1906 The Publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”

Chicago's Meatpacking Death Factory, 1904

There have been plenty of novels written about revolutions, but not many that have been genuinely revolutionary – works that not only captured the collective imagination but also triggered a seismic social shift. Today we’re remembering one of a mere … Continue reading

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27th February 1917 Czar Nicholas II Abdicates

Nicholas II: The Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias no more

On this day in 1917 Czar Nicholas II abdicated – marking the end of a thousand years of Romanov rule and the beginning of a chain of events that would change the course of world history. Russia had witnessed previous … Continue reading

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25th February 1956 Khrushchev Outs Stalin

Khrushchev delivers his "Secret Speech"

On this day in 1956, before a closed session at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev delivered his sensational speech, On the Personality Cult and its Consequences – or the “Secret Speech” as … Continue reading

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21st February 1965 Assassination of Malcolm X

"Snakes couldn't have turned on me faster than the liberal" - Malcolm X

Today we pay tribute to America’s extraordinary 1960s ‘Black Muslim’ leader and future World Prophet Malcolm X – murdered forty-nine years ago – whose audacious and inflammatory words, infamous autobiography and extraordinary TV appearances as the Nation of Islam’s spokesman … Continue reading

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19th February 1942 Roosevelt Issues Executive Order 9066

Newspaper Headline delighting in the imminent "ouster" of all Japanese Americans

On this day in 1942, in response to the Imperial Japanese Army’s attack on Pearl Harbor two months earlier, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which cleared the way for some 120,000 Japanese Americans to be relocated … Continue reading

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18th February 1943 STOP PRESS! Coming Soon! Cracks in the Nazi War Machine!

Seventy-one years ago on this day, the first indications that all was not tickety-boo with Hitler’s Holocaust came to light when Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivered a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large but carefully selected audience … Continue reading

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16th February 2005 the Kyoto Protocol Comes into (Non) Effect

The Kyoto Protocol: They Blew It

Although the concept of human-induced climate change was a century old by the latter part of the 20th century, it was only then gaining wide attention among the relevant scientists. The impact of relentlessly adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere … Continue reading

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15th February 1989 The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Cheering crowds as Soviet T-62 battle tank withdraws from Afghanistan

Empires fall. It’s what they do. It’s inevitable. Sometimes the collapse is due to the depletion of essential resources. Sometimes it’s a result of being overwhelmed by external aggressors. Sometimes it’s plague or a natural disaster that does it. And … Continue reading

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13th February 1970 The Release of “BLACK SABBATH”

Ozzy, Tony, Bill & Geezer

Today we celebrate the release, nay, escape of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut LP, forty-four years ago, with which the initial re-paganising of late-50s Whitey – with its fuse lit by Afro-American rock’n’rollers – was crystallised forever by four psychedelicized Anglo-Saxon … Continue reading

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12th February 1909 The Founding of the NAACP

naacp-2

On 12th February 1909, the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, a group of sixty black and white intellectuals, reformers and socialists dedicated to securing the civil and political rights of African Americans as guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth … Continue reading

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11th February 1990 The Freeing of Nelson Mandela

Free at Last!

Today we dance in celebration on this the 24th  anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in South Africa. Incarcerated for almost three decades, subjected to inhuman conditions breaking rocks in a lime quarry, restricted to two visitors per year, … Continue reading

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7th February 1992 the Maastricht Treaty

European-Union-Flag_1

Today we look back to 1992 and the signing of a treaty that would cause delight, despair and scepticism. A treaty that announced a radical evolution of the European Project from an economic trade pact to a political union. But … Continue reading

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6th February 1976 Leonard Peltier Illegally Arrested

Peltier's Arrest

On this day in 1976, leading Native American activist Leonard Peltier was illegally arrested in Canada by means of coerced and fraudulent testimony for the murder of two FBI agents. Extradited to the United States, Peltier was tried and convicted … Continue reading

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31st January 1968 the Tet Offensive

Eddie Adams's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo taken on the streets of Saigon during the Tet Offensive sent shock waves through America

In the early hours of 31st January 1968, thirteen years into the Vietnam War, 70,000 North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces launched a wave of simultaneous attacks on more than 100 towns and cities in South Vietnam. This audacious operation took … Continue reading

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30th January 1649 the Execution of Charles I

Off with his head

Today we commemorate the execution of King Charles I of England, three hundred and sixty-five years ago, executed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell after a trial by the Rump Parliament found the king guilty of being ‘a tyrant, traitor … Continue reading

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27th January 1967 the Apollo 1 Sacrifice

The incinerated command module of Apollo 1

Today we pay tribute to the three American astronauts of Apollo 1, who died forty-seven years ago when their command module cabin caught fire during a pre-launch test at Cape Kennedy. The flight had already caused controversy when, just days … Continue reading

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26th January 1788 Australia’s “First Fleet”

Australian Aboriginals commemorating the 150th anniversary of the First Fleet as a 'Day of Mourning'

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago today, the “First Fleet” of eleven ships arrived at Sydney Cove, Australia. Its passengers were the first white settlers of this remote continent: some 750 convicted petty criminals and 500 marine guards and officers … Continue reading

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25th January 1971 Charles Manson Convicted

CharlesManson

It was forty-three years ago on this day that Charles Manson and three of his female accomplices were finally convicted of those horrendously violent murders which have come to many to represent the symbolic termination of the Swinging Sixties. Undoubtedly, … Continue reading

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24th January 1965 the Death of Winston Churchill

Mad enough

Today we are duty bound to remember that dreadful old scoundrel, Winston Churchill, who died exactly forty-nine years ago. Racist, royalist, aristocrat, misogynist, opposer of women’s rights, deployer of army weapons against striking miners even; who knows the scores of ways … Continue reading

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22nd January 1905 Bloodsky Sunday

Bloody Sunday outside the Winter Palace

Today marks one of the defining events of the 20th Century, for it was exactly 109 years ago today that a seismic shift occurred that would ultimately end Russia’s seemingly unassailable dynastical certainties – setting the stage for the new … Continue reading

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21st January 1924 the Death of Vladimir Lenin

lenin

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin who, as leader of the Bolshevik Party and architect of the first successful workers’ revolution, unleashed upon the world a new kind of tyranny that substituted dynastical despots for … Continue reading

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16th January 1968 the Release of Blue Cheer’s VINCEBUS ERUPTUM

Paul, Dickie & Leigh: Sonic Revolution

Let us today pay tribute to Blue Cheer’s astounding debut LP VINCEBUS ERUPTUM, their teenage master class in colossally loud avant-garde guitar dynamics released exactly forty-six years ago and arguably the first rock album genuinely deserving of the description ‘Heavy … Continue reading

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15th January 1919  the Murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht

Revolutionary leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg

The murder of revolutionary leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht on 15th January 1919 at the hands of the proto-Nazi Freikorps marked the end of the Spartacist Week – the failed workers’ uprising in Berlin. Incredibly their murder was ordered … Continue reading

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