Stories of the Month

May 2017

1
German Radio Announcement - Hitler is Dead 1945
On the 1st of May, 1945, German Radio announced that Adolf Hitler had died. This clip depicts how people in Britain heard the news.
The U-2 Spy Plane Incident 1960
An American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960.The US & the USSR were already at odds, This made the relationship much worse.
Empire State Building - A 14 Month Marvel 1931
It took just 410 days for a group of Depression-era workers to build the Empire State Building. It opened on May 1, 1931, learn more from this video.
Chancellorsville - A Stunning Victory 1863
General Lee and his Confederate soldiers were greatly outnumbered in early May, 1863. However, he had a significant advantage, the brilliant strategist Stonewall Jackson.
The Raven 1844
John Cusack plays the role of Edgar Allan Poe in a new film about the famous writer's final days. Our story behind the movie is suitable for nearly all ages.
2
The Hunger Games
Katniss Everdeen and her fellow Tributes are still taking the film-going world by storm. Check-out our story behind the movie, including a series of ''issues and questions to ponder.''
Leonardo da Vinci 1452
Leonardo da Vinci, a leading figure of the Renaissance, was born in 1452, just outside the village of Vinci in Italy. May 2, 1519, Leonardo died in France. Who was this famous man?
In Flanders Fields - Background of the Famous Poem 1915
John McCrae was horrified when his friend was blown apart by a German attack on May 2, 1915.He wrote ''In Flanders Field,'' an emotion-filled poem. Listen to it recited.
Falklands War - Sinking the General Belgrano 1982
During the Falklands War an Argentine cruiser General Belgrano sunk by British submarine Conqueror, killing more than 350 men through an order from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Friendly fire fells Stonewall Jackson 1863
After stunning Union troops, at Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson wanted to plan his next attack. On May 2, 1863 he was wounded by his own men!
Scarlett O'Hara - Margaret Mitchell's heroine 1937
The lead character in Gone with the Wind was played by a relatively unknown actress - Vivien Leigh.. Who was this private person? What opinions did she have of the film?
Negro National League 1920
Forced to play segregated baseball, African-Americans formed a national league (also called the NNL) in 1920. They played their first official game in Indianapolis on May 2,1920.
3
Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind 1937
Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Price on May 3, 1937 for her novel Gone with the Wind. Did Mitchell base her famous story on real people, in addition to real events?
Ireland is Partitioned 1921
After a bitter fight in Ireland, between forces wanting Irish Rule and forces wanting British Rule, the country is partitioned into Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. Partition is effective May 3, 1921.
Mirror, Mirror
Did you know that there's reasonably good evidence that Snow White was a real person? Turns out ... legends, history and fairy tales sometimes merge.
4
Inside Number 10 - Prime Minister's Residence 1979
Take a virtual trip to Number 10 Downing Street - the London residence of Britain's Prime Minister - to see the ''White Room'' (where visiting dignitaries meet the sitting PM).
Exocet missile in action - sinking the HMS Sheffield 1982
Retaliating against the loss of the General Belgrano, Argentinian forces used an exocet missile to sink the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War. The ship was lost on the 4th of May, 1982.
Peter Minuit buys Manhattan Island 1626
Peter Minuit arrived in 'New Netherland' on the 4th of May, 1626. In this clip, see the legendary spot where he made his deal with Native Americans.
Britain's First Female Prime Minister 1979
Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first female prime minister on May 4, 1979. We can hear how she sounded before & after she studied with a voice tutor at London's National Theatre.
Kent State Shootings 1970
At 12:24 PM on May 4, 1970, shooting erupted at a Vietnam War protest on the campus of Kent State University. This video clip contains historical footage of the tragedy.
Freedom Riders - 50th Anniversary 1961
On May 4, 1961, the first group of ''Freedom Riders'' boarded a bus in Washington, D.C. Laws prohibiting racial segregation were on the books but those laws were not enforced
5
First American in Space 1961
Alan Shepard was the first American to blast into space when he made the 15-minute trip on May 5, 1961. This clip, from NASA, incorporates the launch and other historic footage.
Secretariat Wins the Kentucky Derby 1973
In a stunning come-from-behind effort, Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby in 1:59 2/5 and by 2 1/2 lengths. Watch the famous race in this clip about ''Big Red'' and his incredible achievements.
Kublai Khan - New Ruler 1260
A grandson of Genghis, Kublai became the Great Khan in 1260. What was life like in China - on the 5th of May, 1260 - when Kublai became the country's new ruler?
6
Building the Eiffel Tower 1889
The Eiffel Tower was opened to the public on May 6, 1889. Intended to be a temporary structure what caused French officials to change their minds, allowing the tower to remain?
Last Message From Corregidor 1942
American soldiers fighting in the Philippines, surrendered to the Japanese. Irving Strobing, an American corporal, sent Morse-Code messages during the final hours on May 6, 1942.
Hindenburg explosion 1937
In 1937 as the Hindenburg was about to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey it suddenly burst into flames. In less than a minute, the entire dirigible was destroyed.
7
Tomb of Herod the Great 2007
For more than 3 decades, archaeologists searched for the burial site of King Herod the Great. On the 7th of May, 2007 a group believed they found what they were looking for.
Sinking of the Lusitania 1915
On the 7th of May, the Lusitania was attacked by a German submarine. She sank in eighteen minutes, causing the deaths of a reported 1,198 people.
8
VE Day - World War II Ends in Europe 1945
After telling the British people that Hitler was dead, Winston Churchill declared that May 8, 1945 would be VE (Victory in Europe) Day.
VE Day: Victory in Europe
Hitler took refuge in his underground bunker as the Soviet Army attacked Berlin. By May 2, 1945, he had committed suicide and Berlin was liberated. On May 8th, Germany surrendered.
9
Enigma Machine - Captured and Decoded 1941
Royal Navy crew in the waters south of Iceland on the 9th of May, 1941 attacked a German U-Boat. It contained a working Enigma machine together with its relevant code books.
Capture Of U-110 and the Enigma Codes 1941
This video clip, from a German newsreel, includes a segment featuring the captain of U-110, the German U-boat attacked by the Royal Navy on May 9, 1941.
10
Mandela Becomes President of South Africa 1994
After spending nearly 3 decades in prison, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated President of South Africa on May 10, 1994. From several primary sources, learn how that event came about.
Transcontinental Railroad Completed 1869
A golden spike was driven into the ground at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869. A telegram sent on May 10th let the nation know the country was now connected by rail. It read: ''Done.''
11
Massive Dust Storm in the U.S.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the US suffered another disaster when a massive dust storm impacted states throughout the country on May 11, 1934.
Pentagon Papers - All Charges Dropped 1973
During the trial of Daniel Ellsberg and Tony Russo, accused by the US government of leaking the ''Pentagon Papers,'' the federal judge declared a mistrial. He was outraged by the government's conduct against the defendants.
12
Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth 1937
Crowds lining the streets of London on May 12, 1937, as King George VI was officially crowned. His daughters, Elizabeth (the current Queen) and Margaret, are also featured in this video clip.
Look the Other Way - Slave Trade 1789
On May 12, 1789 William Wilberforce chided fellow members of the British Parliament with these words: ''You can look the other way, but you can no longer say you didn't know.''
National Famine Memorial Day
Once each year Ireland has a National Famine Memorial Day. In 2013, it occured on May 12. ''The Great Hunger'' caused about 1 million people to die and another million to leave Ireland.
13
Churchill: 'Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat' 1940
Three days after he became Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill addressed Parliament. This is a clip from that famous speech which Churchill gave on May 13, 1940.
Attempted Assassination of Pope John Paul II 1981
While greeting people in St. Peter's Square, in Vatican City, Pope John Paul II was seriously wounded by an attempted assassin. Who was this Pope? What did he contribute to his country before becoming Pope? What is his background?
14
Recorded Voice of Virginia Woolf 1925
On the 14th of May, 1925, Virginia Woolf published her famous novel, Mrs. Dalloway. A single recording of Virginia Woolf's voice survives. You can hear her in this clip.
Constitutional Convention Begins 1787
After winning the Revolutionary War, Americans realize their Articles of Confederation are too weak. A new form of government - under a constitution - would give more authority to a central government. Delegates begin their convention on May 14, 1787
15
Trial of Anne Boleyn 1536
Although she captured the heart of Henry III, Anne Boleyn was unable to give her husband a son. She stood trial, on charges of treason, on May 15, 1536. She was condemned to death by a specially selected jury.
The Fall of Holland 1940
Following massive bombing of The Netherlands, Hitler forced Holland's surrender. How did Germans learn the news regarding the events of that significant week of May 15th, 1940?
16
First Major Wagon Train Travels West via the Oregon Trail 1843
Although other individuals had traveled west via the Oregon Trail, the first major wagon train - consisting of about 1,000 people - left Elm Grove, Missouri on the 16th of May, 1843. These individuals were migrating to the Pacific Northwest.
Marie Antoinette Marries Louis-Auguste 1770
A 15-year old Austrian Princess, named Marie Antoinette, marries the teen-aged French dauphin, Louis-Auguste, who later becomes king of France. Neither were prepared for their turbulent future and the French Revolution.
17
New York Stock Exchange Is Born 1792
A group of 24 stock brokers and businessmen met under a sycamore tree in front of 68 Wall Street on the 17th of May, 1792. Locals called the tree a buttonwood, and the agreement was known as the ''Buttonwood Agreement.'' It was the start of the NYSE.
Van Gogh's Painting of 'Dr. Gachet'
On May 17, 1989, ''Portrait of Dr. Gachet'' by Vincent Van Gogh sold for an unbelievably high amount. Who was Vincent? What are his most-famous works? This story has answers!
18
Plessy v Ferguson - Separate-but-Equal Decision 1896
In a majority decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that the ''separate-but-equal'' doctrine is constitutional. Justice John Marshall Harlan dissents, predicting the negative impact of the decision on African-Americans.
Volcanic Eruption of Mt. Saint Helens 1980
Located in a pristine area of Washington State, not far from another at-rest volcano called Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens awakened during 1980 and massively erupted on the 18th of May that year. 57 people died and Spirit Lake looked like a moonscape.
19
Bismarck versus HMS Hood 1941
Two great ships - the Hood (pride of the Royal Navy) and the Bismarck (pride of the Third Reich) fought each other in May of 1941.
Franklin Expedition 1845
Sure he could find the last section of a Northwest Passage, Sir John Franklin left Britain with two ships on May 19, 1845. He, and all his men, were lost. What caused their deaths?
The Swift Fall of Anne Boleyn 1536
A mere 17 days passed between the date Anne Boleyn was arrested and the day she was beheaded. Was it justice which moved the clock so quickly? Or something else?
Death of Jackie Kennedy 1994
During her lifetime, Mrs. Kennedy was one of the most-admired women in the world. She died, of cancer, on the 19th of May, 1994. We can learn more about her in this video from 1962.
20
Amelia Earhart - First Transatlantic Flight 1932
Amelia Earhart began her first transatlantic flight on May 20, 1932. She left Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and landed at Culmore, Northern Ireland the next day.
First Solo Transatlantic Flight 1927
Charles A. Lindbergh, attempting the world's first solo transatlantic flight, leaves Long Island at 7:52 AM on May 20, 1927. His destination is Paris, which he reaches at 11:22 PM the next evening.
21
Lindbergh Lands at Le Bourget 1927
Flying a very small plane across the Atlantic Ocean, Charles Lindbergh - sometimes known as ''Lucky Lindy'' - lands at Le Bourget, an airfield near Paris, France. With this feat, he is the first person to complete a transatlantic flight.
West Loch Disaster at Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor was attacked during WW II on May 21, 1944. Men and supplies, scheduled to be part of the Saipan Invasion, were involved in a massive explosion. What happened?
22
Alexander the Great - Battle at the Granicus 344 BC
In his quest to conquer Darius III and the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great and his troops defeated the Persians at the Granicus River in 344 BC. Darius III was not present, during the battle, but reports of Alexander's abilities reached him.
Wright Brothers - Patent for 'Flying-Machine'
The Wright Brothers filed a patent application - for their ''Flying-Machine'' - on the 23rd of March, 1903. They were awarded Patent 821,393 on the 22nd of May, 1906.
23
Death of Bonnie and Clyde 1934
Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were notorious outlaws during the Great Depression. On the 23rd of May, 1934, they drove their stolen car into an ambush. What happened?
Joan of Arc Is Betrayed and Captured by Burgundians 1430
As Joan of Arc was helping France to rid her country of English control, she was betrayed by a group of Burgundians (who were English allies). Stranded on the wrong side of a drawbridge, in Compiegne, Joan was captured, then sold, to the English.
24
Bismarck Sinks the Hood 1941
In the spring of 1941, Germany had a mighty new battleship called the ''Bismarck.'' On the 24th of May, that year, she opened fire on HMS ''Hood,'' pride of the Royal Navy. Hood sank in 3 minutes following a massive explosion. Only 3 men survived.
Samuel Morse Sends 1st Telegraphic Message 1844
May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegraphic message. But ... was Morse really responsible for developing the famous code ... or ... did he have help from someone else?
Trial of Joan of Arc 1431
The English tried the French heroine, Joan of Arc, as a relapsed heretic in May of 1431. Her trial transcripts reveal that she was afraid of death by burning at the stake.
25
Jesse Owens - Shatters World Records 1935
May 25, 1935 Jesse Owens, at a college track-and-field meet shattered three world records, and tied a fourth, all within the span of 45 minutes. Learn more in this video interview.
JFK - Let's Go to the Moon! 1961
Although the US was behind in the space race, President Kennedy made a bold request on May 25, 1961. He asked the Congress for funds to send a man to the Moon before the end of the decade. Congress gave the funds; the goal was reached in July, 1969.
26
Bram Stoker Publishes
Basing his new novel on a real character, Irish writer Bram Stoker publishes his still-famous book called ''Dracula'' on May 26, 1897. See places in the story and hear a dramatization of 3 key excerpts as Jonathan Harker learns who Dracula really is.
Dunkirk Evacuation - 'Operation Dynamo'
What is known as ''The Miracle of Dunkirk'' began on May 26, 1940. Watch this compilation of historic footage to learn how hundreds of thousands of men escaped a certain death.
27
Peter the Great Founds the City of St. Petersburg 1703
Peter the Great, the Russian Tsar, wants a new capital city which resembles Amsterdam (which he greatly admires). Russia does not have such a place, but Peter is undaunted. He founds St. Petersburg on May 27, 1703.
British Navy Sinks the 'Bismarck'
Winston Churchill ordered the Royal Navy to do everything in its power to find - and sink - the ''Bismarck.'' This video clip explains how Churchill's order was carried-out on May 27, 1941.
28
Alan Turing Submits "On Computable Numbers" 1936
Considered the Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Alan Turing submits his influential paper, ''On Computable Numbers,'' for publication on 28 May 1936. Learn about Turing, his seminal paper and his code-breaking work.
Indian Removal Act of 1830
President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law on 28 May 1830. This law would lead to very serious consequences for Native Americans, such as the Cherokee, who were uprooted from their ancestral lands and forced to migrate elsewhere.
Belgium Surrenders During WWII
On May 15, 1940, German forces began a severe attack on Belgium. By May 28, the country had no choice but to surrender. Watch a video depiction from the German perspective.
29
Scaling Mt. Everest 1953
May 29, 1953, two men - Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - reached the top of Mount Everest. Their achievement is the first reported scaling of the world's tallest mountain.
The Fall of Constantinople 1453
In a world-changing event, the strategic city of Constantinople fell on 29 May 1453 after a siege led by the Ottoman ruler Mehmet II. Its name was changed to Istanbul, meaning ''City of Islam.'' Today it is the largest city in Turkey.
30
Joan of Arc - Who was She?
May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Centuries later, we can still study her trial transcript. The actual story is even more interesting than the legend.
Death of Joan of Arc 1431
On the 30th of May, 1431, nineteen-year-old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France. Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent movie, ''The Passion of Joan of Arc,'' recreates the event.
31
Brown II - Desegregate 'With all deliberate speed'
When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of ''Brown v Board of Education of Topeka,'' in 1954, the Justices declared that American schools had to desegregate.
Meet a Mummy - Rameses II
Rameses II, one of Egypt's most-famous Pharaohs, lived until he was nearly 90! Historians believe that his 67-year reign began on the 31st of May, 1279 BC.
Big Ben - How Does it Keep Time? 1859
Big Ben - London's famous clock - began keeping time on May 31, 1859. Have you ever seen how it works? Did you know that to reach the clock a person has to walk-up 334 steps?

May 1: German Radio Announcement - Hitler is Dead 1945

May 1: The U-2 Spy Plane Incident 1960

May 1: Empire State Building - A 14 Month Marvel 1931

May 1: Chancellorsville - A Stunning Victory 1863

May 1: The Raven 1844

May 2: The Hunger Games

May 2: Leonardo da Vinci 1452

May 2: In Flanders Fields - Background of the Famous Poem 1915

May 2: Falklands War - Sinking the General Belgrano 1982

May 2: Friendly fire fells Stonewall Jackson 1863

May 2: Scarlett O'Hara - Margaret Mitchell's heroine 1937

May 2: Negro National League 1920

May 3: Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind 1937

May 3: Ireland is Partitioned 1921

May 3: Mirror, Mirror

May 4: Inside Number 10 - Prime Minister's Residence 1979

May 4: Exocet missile in action - sinking the HMS Sheffield 1982

May 4: Peter Minuit buys Manhattan Island 1626

May 4: Britain's First Female Prime Minister 1979

May 4: Kent State Shootings 1970

May 4: Freedom Riders - 50th Anniversary 1961

May 5: First American in Space 1961

May 5: Secretariat Wins the Kentucky Derby 1973

May 5: Kublai Khan - New Ruler 1260

May 6: Building the Eiffel Tower 1889

May 6: Last Message From Corregidor 1942

May 6: Hindenburg explosion 1937

May 7: Tomb of Herod the Great 2007

May 7: Sinking of the Lusitania 1915

May 8: VE Day - World War II Ends in Europe 1945

May 8: VE Day: Victory in Europe

May 9: Enigma Machine - Captured and Decoded 1941

May 9: Capture Of U-110 and the Enigma Codes 1941

May 10: Mandela Becomes President of South Africa 1994

May 10: Transcontinental Railroad Completed 1869

May 11: Massive Dust Storm in the U.S.

May 11: Pentagon Papers - All Charges Dropped 1973

May 12: Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth 1937

May 12: Look the Other Way - Slave Trade 1789

May 12: National Famine Memorial Day

May 13: Churchill: 'Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat' 1940

May 13: Attempted Assassination of Pope John Paul II 1981

May 14: Recorded Voice of Virginia Woolf 1925

May 14: Constitutional Convention Begins 1787

May 15: Trial of Anne Boleyn 1536

May 15: The Fall of Holland 1940

May 16: First Major Wagon Train Travels West via the Oregon Trail 1843

May 16: Marie Antoinette Marries Louis-Auguste 1770

May 17: New York Stock Exchange Is Born 1792

May 17: Van Gogh's Painting of 'Dr. Gachet'

May 18: Plessy v Ferguson - Separate-but-Equal Decision 1896

May 18: Volcanic Eruption of Mt. Saint Helens 1980

May 19: Bismarck versus HMS Hood 1941

May 19: Franklin Expedition 1845

May 19: The Swift Fall of Anne Boleyn 1536

May 19: Death of Jackie Kennedy 1994

May 20: Amelia Earhart - First Transatlantic Flight 1932

May 20: First Solo Transatlantic Flight 1927

May 21: Lindbergh Lands at Le Bourget 1927

May 21: West Loch Disaster at Pearl Harbor

May 22: Alexander the Great - Battle at the Granicus 344 BC

May 22: Wright Brothers - Patent for 'Flying-Machine'

May 23: Death of Bonnie and Clyde 1934

May 23: Joan of Arc Is Betrayed and Captured by Burgundians 1430

May 24: Bismarck Sinks the Hood 1941

May 24: Samuel Morse Sends 1st Telegraphic Message 1844

May 24: Trial of Joan of Arc 1431

May 25: Jesse Owens - Shatters World Records 1935

May 25: JFK - Let's Go to the Moon! 1961

May 26: Bram Stoker Publishes

May 26: Dunkirk Evacuation - 'Operation Dynamo'

May 27: Peter the Great Founds the City of St. Petersburg 1703

May 27: British Navy Sinks the 'Bismarck'

May 28: Alan Turing Submits "On Computable Numbers" 1936

May 28: Indian Removal Act of 1830

May 28: Belgium Surrenders During WWII

May 29: Scaling Mt. Everest 1953

May 29: The Fall of Constantinople 1453

May 30: Joan of Arc - Who was She?

May 30: Death of Joan of Arc 1431

May 31: Brown II - Desegregate 'With all deliberate speed'

May 31: Meet a Mummy - Rameses II

May 31: Big Ben - How Does it Keep Time? 1859

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