Stories of the Month

August 2017

1
Battle of the Nile - Turning Point in the Napoleonic Wars 1798
In an unusual night battle, Britain's Admiral Horatio Nelson gets reinforcements to continue his attack against French ships at Abu Qir Bay (Egypt). Around 10 PM on 1 August 1798, the French flagship is destroyed in a massive explosion.
Deadliest Climbing Day at K2 2008
One of the worst mountaineering tragedies at K2 occurs on August 1, 2008. After reaching the summit, numerous climbers die as one bad thing after another happens on the world's second-highest peak.
2
The Potsdam Conference 1945
Meeting in the Berlin suburb Potsdam on August 2, 1945 three Allied leaders concluded their discussions about post-war Europe. What did they consider as they made decisions?
Einstein's Letter: Beginning of the Atomic Age 1939
August 2, 1939 Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt. That communication directly led to the Manhattan Project, the project responsible for developing the atomic bomb.
3
WWI - ''The Lamps Are Going Out All Over Europe" 1914
Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, expressed his emotions (on 3 August 1914) when negotiations to avoid WWI failed. He memorably said: ''The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.''
Jesse Owens - Great Olympic Champion 1936
At the 1936 Olympic Games, in Berlin, one athlete stood-out among all the others: Jesse Owens. Hitler was not pleased! Years later, Jesse tells us about those Games, his victories on 3 August 1936 and his life as a star athlete.
4
Betrayal of Anne Frank and Her Family 1944
Anne Frank and her family were betrayed by a Dutch informer who gave a tip to the Gestapo. The Nazis searched Anne's hiding place on August 4, 1944. She and her family (and the others who were sharing the cramped quarters) were found and arrested.
Mississippi Burning - Bodies Found after Informant is Paid 1964
After Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney and Andy Goodman went missing—following their release from questioning at a Mississippi jail—their bodies weren’t found until August 4, 1964, when a paid informant revealed the location.
5
Statue of Liberty - Cornerstone Laid 1884
Bedloe’s Island (located in New York Harbor near the mouth of the Hudson River), was once the site of a “pest house.” No longer a place to quarantine sick people, it became home to the Statue of Liberty when its cornerstone was laid in 1884.
Uprising in Warsaw 1944
In the summer of 1944, as the tide of war turned against Hitler, the Polish Home Army rebelled. Their efforts were not enough about 90% of Warsaw was destroyed, including historical sites.
6
Hiroshima - First Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan 1945
Documents and photographs from the Hiroshima Institute for Peace, Japanese & American national archives, answer questions about President Truman's choice to use the atomic bomb.
The Guns of August and WWI 1914
''The Guns of August'' relates what happened when (on the 6th of August, 1914) Austria-Hungary declared war against Russia, and Serbia declared war against Germany. The disastrous WWI would drag-on until November of 1918.
7
American Anarchy - Whiskey Rebellion 1794
On the 7th of August, in 1794, America’s only unanimously elected President, George Washington, tries to suppress an uprising known as the Whiskey Rebellion when he invokes the Militia Acts of 1792.
James Joyce - Ulysses Censorship Win in US 1934
James Joyce, an Irishman, wrote one of the most famous English-language novels of all times. Who was Joyce? What was he up to in ''Ulysses?'' The U.S. government banned the book, but the Court of Appeals struck-down that ban on August 7, 1934.
8
Richard Nixon Resigns as America's President 1974
On the 8th of August, 1974, America's 37th president, Richard Nixon, gave an oval-office address to the nation. He told the country he was resigning. A tape recording, released a few days before, had implicated Nixon in the Watergate cover-up.
Fireships and the Battle of Gravelines 1588
The August 8th battle of Gravelines - in 1588 - was so fierce that both sides effectively exhausted their ammo. For much of the battle, like much of the entire campaign, the Spanish were fighting both the British and the wind.
9
Jesse Owens Wins a 4th Gold Medal 1936
Jesse Owens was a sensation during the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. On the 9th of August, he won his fourth gold medal when he, and his team mates, took first place in the 400-meter relay. ''Meet'' Jesse in this video interview.
Bombing of Nagasaki 1945
Originally planning to drop its payload - a Plutonium 239 bomb dubbed ''Fat Man''- on the Japanese city of Kokura, the crew of a B-29 called Bock's Car diverts to Nagasaki. The explosion is the second blast over Japan in three days.
Thoreau Publishes ''Walden'' 1854
Henry David Thoreau spent two years in a small cabin in the woods near Walden Pond so he could withdraw from the constant demands and busyness of daily life. After revising his work seven times, he published ''Walden'' on August 9, 1854.
10
Magellan Begins His Voyage of Discovery 1519
Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese but sailing for Spain) had an important goal when he left the town of Seville on the 10th of August, 1519: Find a westward route to the Spice Islands. He did not personally achieve that goal, but some of his crew did.
Founding of Smithsonian Institution 1846
Lord Hugh Percy, a British Member of Parliament, fought against America in the Revolutionary War. Later, his half-brother donated a great deal of money to start a new US institution - the Smithsonian - which Congress chartered on August 10th of 1846.
11
End of First Indochina War 1954
After fighting a war with Ho Chi Minh and his supporters, in Vietnam, France negotiates a peace which takes effect 11 Aug 1954. A decade later, the US repeats French mistakes in Vietnam, leading to an unpopular war and many American casualties.
The Rock: Alcatraz Island and First Civilian Prisoners 1934
Alcatraz Island is located off the shore of San Francisco. Home to a federal prison, the place is also known as ''The Rock.'' Only military prisoners were initially housed on the island, but civilians began arriving there on August 11, 1934.
12
Frederick Douglass 1922
On the 12th of August, 1922, the home of Frederick Douglass was dedicated as a national shrine. Who was this man? Take a virtual trip through primary sources to learn more.
Sue, the T.rex, Discovered in South Dakota 1990
In the summer of 1990, Sue Hendrickson kept looking for fossils when her companions left to fix a flat tire. Staying behind in the Badlands - near Faith, South Dakota - was one of the best things she ever did.
13
Endeavour and the Damaged Heat Tiles 1989
View numerous NASA animations, pictures and videos to learn about the shuttle Endeavour's heat tiles and why flight engineers had to trouble-shoot this potentially serious problem in 1989.
Berlin Becomes a Divided City 1961
Beginning on 13 August 1961, when members of the Combat Groups of the Working Class seal the border between East and West Germany, Berlin becomes a divided city. The Soviets build a wall to stop people from leaving East Berlin.
Cardinal Richelieu - Hero or Villain? 1624
On the 13th of August, 1624, King Louis XIII appoints Cardinal Richelieu as the First Minister of France. Was this man, born Armand-Jean du Plessis, a hero or a villain? Might the answer depend on one's point of view?
14
Early Recording Played on Edison Phonograph 1888
During a London press conference on 14 August 1888, a recording of ''The Lost Chord,'' by Arthur Sullivan, introduces the British public to Thomas Edison's new invention - the phonograph. This is one of the first pieces of music ever recorded.
Early Days of Baseball 1866
With pictures and documents from national archives, and a video recreation of the first recorded baseball game in Canada, learn about the early days of the game.
15
Emperor Hirohito Announces the War is Over 1945
It was the 15th of August, 1945, in Tokyo when Hirohito announced, by radio, his country was accepting the Potsdam Declaration, ending WWII. It was still 14 August when President Truman made the announcement. Jubilation erupted worldwide.
Sistine Chapel Dedicated 1483
Inside a very nondescript building (from the outside) resides one of the most extraordinary art treasures of the world - the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. What do the frescoes mean? Pope Sixtus IV dedicated the chapel on this day in 1483.
16
Klondike Gold Rush and the Trump Fortune 1896
Not all Americans agreed the U.S. government did the right thing by purchasing Alaska, from Russia, in 1867. Things changed after three men found gold in the Yukon on August 16, 1896. The Klondike gold rush was soon followed by a gold strike in Nome.
Robespierre Demands Formation of Revolutionary Tribunal 1792
Maximilien de Robespierre - the Frenchman who used terror to achieve objectives during the French Revolution - presents a Petition from the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, on 16 August, demanding formation of a Revolutionary Tribunal.
17
J.E.B. Stuart Given Cavalry Command for Army of Northern Virginia 1862
With a sweeping feather in his hat, and red lining in his cape, J.E.B. Stuart is a distinguished Confederate officer whom Robert E. Lee places in charge of cavalry for the Army of Northern Virginia. He receives that position on 17 August 1862.
Death at the Berlin Wall 1962
A year after the Berlin Wall was built, dividing that city into eastern and western sectors, border guards shoot and kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he tries to reach West Berlin by climbing over the wall.
18
Death of Genghis Khan, the Great Conqueror 1227
As China’s Great Wall falls into ruins, a baby named Temujen is born. At birth, his right hand clenches a blood clot. Prophecies exist about such events. When that baby becomes a man, he is known as Genghis Khan, the great Mongol conqueror.
Steve Biko Arrested at Police Roadblock 1977
Steve Biko is known as the ''Father of Black Consciousness.'' Speaking against South African apartheid, Biko is unafraid. Arrested in an August 18, 1977 police roadblock, he is severely beaten by police. His massive head injuries lead to his death.
The Lost Colony of Roanoke 1590
When John White returns to the Roanoke Colony (in today's North Carolina), which he'd left three years before, he finds no one around. It is August 18, 1590, and all he finds are two clues. What do they mean? Why is this still an unsolved mystery?
19th Amendment Passes When Harry Burn Changes His Vote 1920
The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified on 18 August 1920 when a Tennessee legislator changes his vote. Harry Burn receives a letter from his mother urging him: ''Don't forget to be a good boy.'' Then ... Harry casts a supporting vote.
19
Salem Witch Trials - Execution of George Burroughs 1692
As mass hysteria over alleged ''witches'' continues in Salem Village, more and more people are arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. On August 19, 1692 a pastor named George Burroughs becomes a victim via death by hanging.
When Iran and the US Became Enemies 1953
On August 19, 1953, CIA and SIS operatives implement a top-secret plan for Iranian regime change. We know how things developed, and what happened, because the chief architect of the coup wrote a detailed history about it.
Damaging the US-Iranian Friendship 1953
Although President Truman would not approve a plan for regime-change in Iran, President Eisenhower viewed things differently. A plot to overthrow Iran's democratically elected leader moves full-steam-ahead. By 18 August 1953, a coup is about to occur
Boxing - Early Rules in Britain 1681
The ancient Greek sport of Pankration - a mixture of wrestling and boxing - had rules which would never pass muster today. Learn about the development of boxing as a sport.
20
Charles Darwin First Publishes His Theory on ''Natural Selection'' 1858
Working on a project he calls his ''big book,'' Charles Darwin is forced to publish earlier than he wishes since Alfred Russel Wallace is also writing a paper on ''natural selection.'' Who is Charles Darwin, the man? Have a look at this video clip.
''Never in the Field of Human Conflict Was So Much Owed by So Many to So Few'' 1940
Addressing Parliament on 20 August 1940, Winston Churchill praised Britain's airmen who were fighting back against Germany's awesome air power. His words still apply today, in various settings of war and violence, where so many owe so much to so few.
21
Nat Turner Leads a Slave Rebellion 1831
Nat Turner, a slave, led a slave uprising on the 21st of August, 1831. Although it was suppressed, and most of the insurgents were captured (and killed), it was the most-effective slave rebellion during America's slave-owning years.
Quantrill's Raiders Attack the Town and People of Lawrence, Kansas 1863
Most people in Lawrence, Kansas were still asleep on the morning of August 21, 1863 when William Quantrill and his Raiders attacked them. The guerrillas were seeking revenge for Kansas' anti-slavery stance.
22
The American Colonies Rebel 1775
August 22, 1775 - England's King George III claims the American colonies are in open rebellion! What next??
Theodore Roosevelt - 1st President to Ride in a Car 1902
A man of many interests and careers, Theodore Roosevelt became the first American president to publicly ride in an automobile. That took place in Hartford, Connecticut on August 22, 1902.
23
George III Declares the Colonies Are in Open Rebellion 1775
As disagreements grow between Britain's colonies in America, and King George III, the sovereign issues a royal decree on 23 Aug 1775, declaring those colonies are in open rebellion ''encouraged by...desperate persons within this realm.''
Non-Aggression Pact and Stalingrad 1939
August 23, 1939, Hitler and the Soviet Union agreed to a Non-Aggression Pact. Only 3 yrs later, to the day, Hitler ignored the Pact & began the deadliest battle in military history.
24
Brits Attack and Burn Parts of Washington, D.C. 1814
During the War of 1812, when America's capital city was still known as ''Washington City'' (instead of Washington, D.C.), British troops attacked and set fire to the White House, the Capitol, the navy yard and several warships.
Pompeii: From Devastation to a Living Museum 79 A.D.
There had been warning signs that the volcano was about to erupt, but no one on August 24, 79 A.D., knew what they meant. Learn more about this disaster from multiple sources!
25
Galileo Demonstrates His First Telescope 1609
Before he got himself into all kinds of trouble with his scientific theories, Galileo demonstrated his first telescope to a group of Venetian lawmakers. This historic event occurred on August 25, 1609.
Liberation of Paris and the Story of Georges Dukson 1944
After four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by Allied Forces on August 25, 1944. As Charles De Gaulle marches down the street, a young black man is part of the famous picture. Learn his role in the Resistance and what happened to him.
26
Amistad ''Slaves'' Recaptured off Long Island Sound 1839
After a mutiny on board the Amistad, thwarting the slavers' efforts to sell a group of kidnapped Africans, the ship made its way to Long Island Sound. On shore near Culloden Point, several Africans were recaptured.
Battle of Crecy and the English Longbow 1346
On the 26th of August, 1346, Edward III of England, his dismounted Knights and his archers with English longbows defeat French and Genoese forces at the Battle of Crecy in northern France. The battle impacts the future of medieval warfare.
27
LIFE Publishes ''The War Is Over'' Photo 1945
On August 14, 1945, Alfred Eisenstaedt - a LIFE magazine photographer - is taking candid photos of people. LIFE publishes his famous photo, ''The War Is Over,'' on August 27. Decades later, the public learns the names of the nurse and the sailor.
Krakatoa Explodes, Producing the Loudest Sound Ever Recorded 1883
Krakatoa roared to life, in 1883. So cataclysmic was its 4th explosion, which happened at 10:02 on the morning of August 27, that the volcano's ripping-itself-apart sounds were heard thousands of miles away (on Rodriguez Island).
28
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Delivers His ''I Have a Dream Speech'' 1963
Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a powerful speech. It was the culmination of a peaceful civil rights rally. Watch what happened that day.
Emmett Till - Murder in Mississippi 1955
A 7th grader from Chicago, Emmett Till was abducted from the home of his Great-Uncle. After his death, Emmett's mother insisted on an open coffin so people would know what had happened. Her courage was a major spark for the US Civil Rights Movement.
Slavery Emancipation Act in the UK 1833
Britain passes the Slave Emancipation Act, in 1833, giving all slaves in the Empire their freedom (after a set period of time). Plantation owners receive compensation; enslaved people receive no compensation but continue to face great hardships.
29
John Locke - Influenced America's Founding Fathers - Born in 1632
John Locke, an Englishman whose political philosophy greatly influenced America's Founding Fathers, was born in Somerset on August 29, 1632. Examine some of the reasons why his work influenced the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution
USSR Tests Its First Nuclear Bomb 1949
The USSR stuns the world when it successfully tests its first atomic bomb. RDS-1 is also called First Lightning; the U.S. dubbed it ''Joe-1,'' in reference to Joseph Stalin. The test occurs in today’s Kazakstan, at Semipalatinsk.
30
Thurgood Marshall Confirmed as Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court 1967
During a summer of racial tension and riots in American cities, the U.S. Senate (on August 30, 1967) confirms Thurgood Marshall as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was the first African-American to serve on the high court.
Attempted Assassination of Lenin Leads to ''Red Terror'' 1918
Fanny Kaplan shoots and seriously injures Vladimir Lenin. She is executed days later. The incident leads to ''Red Terror'' against perceived enemies of the Bolshevik Revolution, led by Cheka (the secret police) and Felix Dzerzhinsky.
31
Jack the Ripper - His First Victim 1888
Terror in the Whitechapel area of London begins on August 31, 1888 when someone known as ''Jack the Ripper'' kills his first victim: Mary Ann Nichols (also known as ''Polly''). At the inquest, Polly's father said she was too good to have any enemies.
''The Scream'' by Edvard Munch, Recovered by Norwegian Police 2006
When Edvard Munch painted ''The Scream,'' he was inspired by an event which he'd experienced. The famous painting was stolen in 2004, but Norwegian police recovered it in a raid they conducted on August 31, 2006.
Princess Diana - Car Crash in Paris 1997
On the 31st of August, 1997, Princess Diana was fatally injured in a car crash which occurred in a Paris tunnel. A week later, during Diana's funeral, Elton John called her ''England's Rose.'' Tony Blair referred to her as ''The People's Princess.''

Aug 1: Battle of the Nile - Turning Point in the Napoleonic Wars 1798

Aug 1: Deadliest Climbing Day at K2 2008

Aug 2: The Potsdam Conference 1945

Aug 2: Einstein's Letter: Beginning of the Atomic Age 1939

Aug 3: WWI - ''The Lamps Are Going Out All Over Europe" 1914

Aug 3: Jesse Owens - Great Olympic Champion 1936

Aug 4: Betrayal of Anne Frank and Her Family 1944

Aug 4: Mississippi Burning - Bodies Found after Informant is Paid 1964

Aug 5: Statue of Liberty - Cornerstone Laid 1884

Aug 5: Uprising in Warsaw 1944

Aug 6: Hiroshima - First Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan 1945

Aug 6: The Guns of August and WWI 1914

Aug 7: American Anarchy - Whiskey Rebellion 1794

Aug 7: James Joyce - Ulysses Censorship Win in US 1934

Aug 8: Richard Nixon Resigns as America's President 1974

Aug 8: Fireships and the Battle of Gravelines 1588

Aug 9: Jesse Owens Wins a 4th Gold Medal 1936

Aug 9: Bombing of Nagasaki 1945

Aug 9: Thoreau Publishes ''Walden'' 1854

Aug 10: Magellan Begins His Voyage of Discovery 1519

Aug 10: Founding of Smithsonian Institution 1846

Aug 11: End of First Indochina War 1954

Aug 11: The Rock: Alcatraz Island and First Civilian Prisoners 1934

Aug 12: Frederick Douglass 1922

Aug 12: Sue, the T.rex, Discovered in South Dakota 1990

Aug 13: Endeavour and the Damaged Heat Tiles 1989

Aug 13: Berlin Becomes a Divided City 1961

Aug 13: Cardinal Richelieu - Hero or Villain? 1624

Aug 14: Early Recording Played on Edison Phonograph 1888

Aug 14: Early Days of Baseball 1866

Aug 15: Emperor Hirohito Announces the War is Over 1945

Aug 15: Sistine Chapel Dedicated 1483

Aug 16: Klondike Gold Rush and the Trump Fortune 1896

Aug 16: Robespierre Demands Formation of Revolutionary Tribunal 1792

Aug 17: J.E.B. Stuart Given Cavalry Command for Army of Northern Virginia 1862

Aug 17: Death at the Berlin Wall 1962

Aug 18: Death of Genghis Khan, the Great Conqueror 1227

Aug 18: Steve Biko Arrested at Police Roadblock 1977

Aug 18: The Lost Colony of Roanoke 1590

Aug 18: 19th Amendment Passes When Harry Burn Changes His Vote 1920

Aug 19: Salem Witch Trials - Execution of George Burroughs 1692

Aug 19: When Iran and the US Became Enemies 1953

Aug 19: Damaging the US-Iranian Friendship 1953

Aug 19: Boxing - Early Rules in Britain 1681

Aug 20: Charles Darwin First Publishes His Theory on ''Natural Selection'' 1858

Aug 20: ''Never in the Field of Human Conflict Was So Much Owed by So Many to So Few'' 1940

Aug 21: Nat Turner Leads a Slave Rebellion 1831

Aug 21: Quantrill's Raiders Attack the Town and People of Lawrence, Kansas 1863

Aug 22: The American Colonies Rebel 1775

Aug 22: Theodore Roosevelt - 1st President to Ride in a Car 1902

Aug 23: George III Declares the Colonies Are in Open Rebellion 1775

Aug 23: Non-Aggression Pact and Stalingrad 1939

Aug 24: Brits Attack and Burn Parts of Washington, D.C. 1814

Aug 24: Pompeii: From Devastation to a Living Museum 79 A.D.

Aug 25: Galileo Demonstrates His First Telescope 1609

Aug 25: Liberation of Paris and the Story of Georges Dukson 1944

Aug 26: Amistad ''Slaves'' Recaptured off Long Island Sound 1839

Aug 26: Battle of Crecy and the English Longbow 1346

Aug 27: LIFE Publishes ''The War Is Over'' Photo 1945

Aug 27: Krakatoa Explodes, Producing the Loudest Sound Ever Recorded 1883

Aug 28: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Delivers His ''I Have a Dream Speech'' 1963

Aug 28: Emmett Till - Murder in Mississippi 1955

Aug 28: Slavery Emancipation Act in the UK 1833

Aug 29: John Locke - Influenced America's Founding Fathers - Born in 1632

Aug 29: USSR Tests Its First Nuclear Bomb 1949

Aug 30: Thurgood Marshall Confirmed as Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court 1967

Aug 30: Attempted Assassination of Lenin Leads to ''Red Terror'' 1918

Aug 31: Jack the Ripper - His First Victim 1888

Aug 31: ''The Scream'' by Edvard Munch, Recovered by Norwegian Police 2006

Aug 31: Princess Diana - Car Crash in Paris 1997

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