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March 12 - 1947 - The Truman Doctrine is Announced

When President of the United States of America Harry S. Truman addresses Congress in March of 1947, he focused on the need to protect Greece and Turkey from Communist influence. Greece was facing an internal insurrection from a Communist Party, while Turkey was facing more obvious threats from the Soviet Union over access to the Bosphorous and the Dardanelles. What Truman really wanted was to avoid having the spreading Soviet sphere of influence include Greece and Turkey. In asking...


March 11 - 1946 - The Arrest of Rudolf Höss

Rudolf Höss became notorious during World War II as the Commandant of the concentration and death camps at Auschwitz in Poland. After the war ended, this made him one of the key leaders among the Third Reich that was wanted by Allied leaders. While he managed to blend into the civilian population initially, Rudolf Höss was given up by his family less than a year after the fall of the Third Reich. What made Höss' capture so notable was that he seemed to have no issue with fully describing...


March 3 - 1918 - The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed by representatives of Soviet Russia and representatives from the Central Powers, effectively ended World War I on the Eastern Front. In order to do this, Russia had to accept extremely harsh terms regarding territorial claims and concessions. Yet the government of Russia was not the one that had been prosecuting the war, because Russia had undergone two revolutions in 1917, the February Revolution that overthrew the Tsar and the October Revolution that...


March 2 - 1882 - Roderick Maclean Attempts to Assassinate Queen Victoria

Roderick McLean approached Queen Victoria's carriage as it left Windsor Castle with a pistol, because she had given a curt reply to some poetry he had sent her. It turned out McLean was more unimpressive as an assassin than a poet. His shot missed the Queen's carriage completely, and he was brought to the ground by boys wielding umbrellas. McLean was the eight man in forty years to try to assassinate Queen Victoria, and met the fate many of his forebears experienced when he was adjudged...


March 1 - 1932 - The Kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.

When the 20 month old Charles Lindbergh, Jr. was taken from the crib in his upstairs bedroom, the crime was destined to become the "Crime of the Century."His father was perhaps the most famous man in America, the aviator Charles Lindbergh. Initially, the clues led to a variety of possibilities, but then a kidnapper was revealed to be seeking the ransom through a random intermediary. Once a man known only as "Cemetery John" received $50,000 in ransom money, the case went cold. Over two...


January 17 - 1945 - Raoul Wallenberg is Disappeared by the Soviet Union

Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish special envoy to Hungary who devoted himself in the last few months of 1944 to save many Jews from being deported to concentration camps. Wallenberg was a businessman who could come and go between Sweden and Hungary, as Sweden was neutral in World War II. Hungary was technically an ally of Nazi Germany under the rule of Miklos Horthy, then became an uneasy ally, then became a puppet state of the Nazis in 1944, after Horthy sought peace terms with the Allies....


January 16 - 1883 - The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act is Signed Into Law

The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was a direct reaction to the assassination of President James Garfield, who was killed by Charles Guiteau because Guiteau believed he deserved a government appointment. The issue of civil service reform was a long simmering political issue, with the main ire being directed at the spoils system, which gave jobs to political donors. Despite the assassination of Garfield, a bill for civil service reform seemed unlikely to be signed by the new President,...


January 15 - 1947 - "The Black Dahlia" is Found Murdered

No one called her the Black Dahlia when she was living, but shortly after Elizabeth Short's body was found cut in two and mutilated, Elizabeth Short forever after was known as the Black Dahlia. Her body was posed in an empty lot, and she had clearly been tortured for some time. Immediately, the press went crazy about the story, not only giving her her nickname, but also speculating wildly about what she had done in the days and weeks leading to her murder. This made the case impossible to...


January 14 - 1943 - The Casablanca Conference Begins

When US President Franklin Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill met at Casablanca, their ostensible agenda were the immediate war plans. By early 1943, the British had repelled Nazi Germany's intended invasion, the Russians had the German Army bogged down on the Eastern Front, and the Allies had together cleared the Axis powers out of North Africa. There were some thorny issues, notably how to invade mainland Europe and what to do with the Free French Forces, but instead of...


January 8 - 1918 - Woodrow Wilson Gives the Fourteen Points Speech

The Fourteen Points, US President Woodrow Wilson's plan for peace negotiations at the end of World War I, were an incredibly audacious statement of idealistic foreign policy principles. Most audacious of all was that Wilson announced the Fourteen Points in a speech to Congress just months after America entered the war and well before the war was actually over. Yet Wilson was outlining a way to prevent another World War by focusing on the ideals of national determinism, free trade, and open...