This Week in History

HISTORY, 20 Apr 2015

Satoshi Ashikaga – TRANSCEND Media Service

Apr 20-26


You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” (Quoted from Desiderata) – Max Ehrmann


1998  German terrorist group the Red Army Faction announces their dissolution after 28 years.

1986  Pianist Vladimir Horowitz performs in his native Russia for the first time in 61 years.

1986  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1980  Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria as hundreds of Berber political activists are arrested.

1978  Korean Air Lines Flight 902 is shot down by the Soviet Union.

1967  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1961  Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed Cuban exiles against Cuba.

1951  US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak.

1951  Dan Gavriliu performs the first surgical replacement of a human organ.

1946  The League of Nations officially dissolves, giving most of its power to the United Nations. Visit the following websites, for instance,

League of Nations

League of Nations: International organization League of Nations

Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt Glossary: League of Nations.

1945  Twenty Jewish children used in medical experiments at Neuengamme are killed in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school.

1945  World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler makes his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.

1945  World War II: US troops capture Leipzig, Germany, only to later cede the city to the Soviet Union.

1939  Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday is celebrated as a national holiday in Nazi Germany.

1922  The Soviet government creates South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within Georgian SSR.

1918  Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims, his final victories before his death the following day.

1902  Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride.

1884  Pope Leo XIII publishes the encyclical Humanum genus.

1876  The April Uprising, a key point in modern Bulgarian history, leading to the Russo-Turkish War and the liberation of Bulgaria from domination as an independent part of the Ottoman Empire.

1871  The Civil Rights Act of 1871 becomes law.

1865  Astronomer Pietro Angelo Secchi demonstrates the Secchi disk, which measures water clarity, aboard Pope Pius IX‘s yacht, the L’Immaculata Concezion.

1862  Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete the experiment falsifying the theory of spontaneous generation.




2010  The controversial Kharkiv Pact (Russian Ukrainian Naval Base for Gas Treaty) is signed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev; it will be unilaterally terminated by Russia on March 31, 2014.

1992  The first discoveries of extrasolar planets are announced by astronomers Alexander Wolszczan and Dale Frail. They discovered two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12.

1989  Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.

1981  US furnish $1 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. Visit the following websites, for instance:

The AWACS Sale: Prospects for US Policy.

Saudi Arabia – United States relations.

U.S. Exports Arms to the World.

1976  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1975  Vietnam War: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu flees Saigon, as Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, falls.

1967  Greek military junta of 1967–74: A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos leads a coup d’état, establishing a military regime that lasts for seven years.

1966  Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visits Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.

1960  Brasília, Brazil‘s capital, is officially inaugurated. At 09:30, the Three Powers of the Republic are simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.

1945  World War II: Soviet forces south of Berlin at Zossen attack the German High Command headquarters.

1925  The Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals is published in Il Mondo, establishing the political and ideological foundations of Italian Fascism.

1918  World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron“, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.

1914  Ypiranga incident: A German arms shipment to Mexico is intercepted by the U.S. Navy near Veracruz, Veracruz.

1898  Spanish–American War: The United States Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports. When the U.S. Congress issued a declaration of war on April 25, it declared that a state of war had existed from this date.

1894  Norway formally adopts the Krag-Jørgensen bolt-action rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.

1863  Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, declares his mission as “He whom God shall make manifest“.

1836  Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto: Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeat troops under Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

1821  Benderli Ali Pasha arrives in Constantinople as the new Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire; he remains in power for only nine days before being sent into exile.

1809  Two Austrian army corps are driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France as two French corps to the north hold off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmühl.

1806  Action of 21 April 1806: A French frigate escapes British forces off the coast of South Africa.

1792  Tiradentes, a revolutionary leading a movement for Brazil’s independence, is hanged, drawn and quartered.

1782  The city of Rattanakosin, now known internationally as Bangkok, is founded on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke.




1997  Haouch Khemisti massacre in Algeria – 93 villagers killed.

1981  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1972  Vietnam War: Increased American bombing in Vietnam prompts anti-war protests in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco.

1970  The first Earth Day is celebrated.

1966  USSR performs underground nuclear test.

1954  Red Scare: Witnesses begin testifying and live television coverage of the Army–McCarthy hearings begins.

1951  Korean War: The Chinese People’s Volunteer Army begin assaulting positions defended by the Royal Australian Regiment and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry at the Battle of Kapyong.

1948  1948 Arab–Israeli War: Haifa, a major port of Israel, is captured from Arab forces.

1945  World War II: Führerbunker: After learning that Soviet forces have taken Eberswalde without a fight, Adolf Hitler admits defeat in his underground bunker and states that suicide is his only recourse.

1945  World War II: Prisoners at the Jasenovac concentration camp revolt. Five hundred twenty are killed and 80 escape.

For the Jasenovac [pronounced “yah-say-noh-vah-ts”] camp, visit the following websites, for instance:

Holocaust Encyclopedia: Jasenovac

The Jasenovac Extermination Camp: “Terror in Croatia”

Concentration Camps: Jasenovac

What was Jasenovac?

1944  World War II: Operation Persecution is initiated – Allied forces land in the Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura) area of New Guinea.

1944  The 1st Air Commando Group using Sikorsky R-4 helicopters stage the first use of helicopters in combat with combat search and rescue operations in the China-Burma-India theater.

1930  The United Kingdom, Japan and the United States sign the London Naval Treaty regulating submarine warfare and limiting shipbuilding.

1915  The use of poison gas in World War I escalates when chlorine gas is released as a chemical weapon in the Second Battle of Ypres.

1912  Pravda, the “voice” of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg.

1911  Tsinghua University, one of mainland China‘s leading universities, is founded.

1898  Spanish–American War: The USS Nashville captures a Spanish merchant ship.

1864  The U.S. Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864 that mandates that the inscription In God We Trust be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.




1997  Omaria massacre in Algeria: Forty-two villagers are killed.

1993  Sri Lankan politician Lalith Athulathmudali is assassinated while addressing a gathering, approximately four weeks ahead of the Provincial Council elections for the Western Province.

1993  Eritreans vote overwhelmingly for independence from Ethiopia in a United Nations-monitored referendum.

1990  Namibia becomes the 160th member of the United Nations and the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

1978  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1974  USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan, USSR.

1971  Bangladesh Liberation War: The Pakistan Army and Razakars massacre approximately 3,000 Hindu emigrants in the Jathibhanga area of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

1968  Vietnam War: Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City take over administration buildings and shut down the university.

1961  Algiers putsch by French generals.

1949  Chinese Civil War: Establishment of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

1945  World War II: Adolf Hitler‘s designated successor Hermann Göring sends him a telegram asking permission to take leadership of the Third Reich, which causes Hitler to replace him with Joseph Goebbels and Karl Dönitz.

Hermann Göring quotes.

Hermann Göring wikiquotes.

History: Joseph Goebbels.

Jewish Virtual Library: Joseph Goebbels.

World War II: Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz.

Jewish Virtual Library: Karl Dönitz.

1942  World War II: Baedeker BlitzGerman bombers hit Exeter, Bath and York in retaliation for the British raid on Lübeck.

1941  World War II: The Greek government and King George II evacuate Athens before the invading Wehrmacht.

1920  The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) is founded in Ankara, Turkey. It denounces the government of Sultan Mehmed VI and announces the preparation of a temporary constitution.

1918  World War I: The British Royal Navy makes a raid in an attempt to neutralise the Belgian port of Bruges-Zeebrugge.

1910  American President Theodore Roosevelt makes his “The Man in the Arena” speech.

1815  The Second Serbian Uprising: A second phase of the national revolution of the Serbs against the Ottoman Empire, erupts shortly after the annexation of the country to the Ottoman Empire.




2004  The United States lifts economic sanctions imposed on Libya 18 years previously, as a reward for its cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction.

1996  In the United States, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 is passed into law. For this issue, visit the following websites, for instance.

Articles: terrorism.

Punishment for terrorism.

Execute Terrorists at Our Own Risks.

Death penalty: the wrong answer for terrorism. Executing people for terrorism can make them martyrs and embolden their followers.

1993  An IRA bomb devastates the Bishopsgate area of London.

1990  Gruinard Island, Scotland, is officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine.

1990  STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery.

1980  Eight U.S. servicemen die in Operation Eagle Claw as they attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis.

1975  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1970  The Gambia becomes a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Dawda Jawara as the first President.

1970  The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, is launched.

1968  Mauritius becomes a member state of the United Nations.

1968  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1967  Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland says in a news conference that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.”

1965  Civil war breaks out in the Dominican Republic when Colonel Francisco Caamaño, overthrows the triumvirate that had been in power since the coup d’état against Juan Bosch.

1963  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1957  Suez Crisis: The Suez Canal is reopened following the introduction of UNEF peacekeepers to the region.

1955  The Bandung Conference ends: Twenty-nine non-aligned nations of Asia and Africa finish a meeting that condemns colonialism, racism, and the Cold War.

1933  Nazi Germany begins its persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses by shutting down the Watch Tower Society office in Magdeburg.

1926  The Treaty of Berlin is signed. Germany and the Soviet Union each pledge neutrality in the event of an attack on the other by a third party for the next five years.

1923  In Vienna, the paper Das Ich und das Es (The Ego and the Id) by Sigmund Freud is published, which outlines Freud’s theories of the id, ego, and super-ego.

1922  The first segment of the Imperial Wireless Chain providing wireless telegraphy between Leafield in Oxfordshire, England, and Cairo, Egypt, comes into operation.

1918  First tank-to-tank combat, at Villers-Bretonneux, France, when three British Mark IVs meet three German A7Vs.

1916  Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean to organise a rescue for the ice-trapped ship Endurance.

1916  Easter Rising: The Irish Republican Brotherhood led by nationalists Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, and Joseph Plunkett starts a rebellion in Ireland.

1915  The arrest of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul marks the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.

1914  The Franck–Hertz experiment, a pillar of quantum mechanics, is presented to the German Physical Society.

1904  The Lithuanian press ban is lifted after almost 40 years.

1877  Russo-Turkish War: Russian Empire declares war on Ottoman Empire.




2005  Bulgaria and Romania sign accession treaties to join the European Union.

1990  Violeta Chamorro takes office as the President of Nicaragua, the first woman to hold the position.

1988  In Israel, John Demjanuk is sentenced to death for war crimes committed in World War II.

1984  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1983  American schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war.

1982  Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula per the Camp David Accords.

1982  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1981  More than 100 workers are exposed to radiation during repairs of a nuclear power plant in Tsuruga, Japan.

For exposure of people to radioactivity, visit the following websites, for instance:

How Fracking Is Exposing People to Radioactive Waste.

Radioactive Iodine.

Radiation Exposure: Medline Plus.

Health Effects: Radiation Protection.

1980  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1977  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1975  USSR performs underground nuclear test.

1975  As North Vietnamese forces close in on the South Vietnamese capital Saigon, the Australian Embassy is closed and evacuated, almost ten years to the day since the first Australian troop commitment to South Vietnam.

1974  Carnation Revolution: A leftist military coup in Portugal overthrows the fascist Estado Novo regime and establishes a democratic government.

1972  Vietnam War: Nguyen Hue Offensive – The North Vietnamese 320th Division forces 5,000 South Vietnamese troops to retreat and traps about 2,500 others northwest of Kontum.

1971  USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk, USSR.

1962  US resumes above ground nuclear testing, at Christmas Island.

1960  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton completes the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.

1954  The first practical solar cell is publicly demonstrated by Bell Telephone Laboratories.

1954  US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Island atmosphere. Visit United States Nuclear Tests by Date and List of nuclear weapons tests.

1953  Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” describing the double helix structure of DNA.

1951  Korean War: Assaulting Chinese forces are forced to withdraw after heavy fighting with UN forces, primarily made up of Australian and Canadian troops, at the Battle of Kapyong.

1945  The last German troops retreat from Finland’s soil in Lapland, ending the Lapland War. Military acts of Second World War end in Finland.

1945  Fifty nations gather in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organization.

1945  Liberation Day (Italy): The Nazi occupation army surrenders and leaves Northern Italy after a general partisan insurrection by the Italian resistance movement; the puppet fascist regime dissolves and Benito Mussolini is captured after trying to escape. This day was set as a public holiday to celebrate the Liberation of Italy.

1945  Elbe Day: United States and Soviet troops meet in Torgau along the River Elbe, cutting the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany in two, a milestone in the approaching end of World War II in Europe.

1944  The United Negro College Fund is incorporated.

1943  The Demyansk Shield for German troops in commemoration of Demyansk Pocket is instituted.

1920  At the San Remo conference, the principal Allied Powers of World War I adopt a resolution to determine the allocation of Class “A” League of Nations mandates for administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East.

1916  Anzac Day is commemorated for the first time on the first anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove.

1916  Easter Rebellion: The United Kingdom declares martial law in Ireland.

1915  World War I: The Battle of Gallipoli begins—The invasion of the Turkish Gallipoli Peninsula by Australian, British, French and New Zealand troops begins with landings at Anzac Cove and Cape Helles.

1898  Spanish–American War: The United States declares war on Spain.

1882  Tonkin Campaign: French and Vietnamese troops clashed in Tonkin, when Commandant Henri Rivière seized the citadel of Hanoi with a small force of marine infantry.




2005  Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country (Syrian occupation of Lebanon).

1989  People’s Daily publishes the People’s Daily editorial of April 26 which inflames the nascent Tiananmen Square protests

1986  A nuclear reactor accident occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union (now Ukraine), creating the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Visit the following pertinent websites, among many others.

Chernobyl Accident 1986.

Chernobyl: Capping a Catastrophe.

Watch: What Chernobyl looks like now – from a drone.

At Chernobyl, Hints of Nature’s Adaptation.

Do Animals in Chernobyl’s Fallout Zone Glow?

1981  Dr. Michael R. Harrison of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center performs the world’s first human open fetal surgery.

1973  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1970  The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization enters into force.

1968  US underground nuclear test, “Boxcar,” 1 megaton device.

1966  A new government is formed in the Republic of Congo, led by Ambroise Noumazalaye.

1964  Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form Tanzania.

1963  In Libya, amendments to the constitution transform Libya (United Kingdom of Libya) into one national unity (Kingdom of Libya) and allows for female participation in elections.

1960  Forced out by the April Revolution, President of South Korea Syngman Rhee resigns after twelve years of dictatorial rule.

1954  The Geneva Conference, an effort to restore peace in Indochina and Korea, begins.

1945  World War II: Filipino troops of the 66th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL and the American troops of the 33rd and 37th Infantry Division, United States Army are liberated in Baguio City and they fight against the Japanese forces under General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

1945  World War II: Battle of Bautzen – last successful German tank-offensive of the war and last noteworthy victory of the Wehrmacht.

1944  Heinrich Kreipe is captured by Allied commandos in occupied Crete.

1944  Georgios Papandreou becomes head of the Greek government-in-exile based in Egypt.

1943  The Easter Riots break out in Uppsala, Sweden.

1937  Spanish Civil War: Guernica (or Gernika in Basque), Spain is bombed by German Luftwaffe.

1933  The Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established.

1925  Paul von Hindenburg defeats Wilhelm Marx in the second round of the German presidential election to become the first directly elected head of state of the Weimar Republic.

1805  First Barbary War: United States Marines captured Derne under the command of First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon.

1803  Thousands of meteor fragments fall from the skies of L’Aigle, France; the event convinces European science that meteors exist.

1802  Napoleon Bonaparte signs a general amnesty to allow all but about one thousand of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France, as part of a reconciliary gesture with the factions of the Ancien Régime and to eventually consolidate his own rule.


Satoshi Ashikaga is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment originally from Japan.

(Sources and references: to 26; to 26; to 26; and other pertinent websites and documents, mentioned above.) Note that the views expressed in the cited or quoted websites and/or documents in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the editor/complier of this article. These websites and/or documents are cited or quoted for academic or educational purposes.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 20 Apr 2015.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: This Week in History, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

Comments are closed.