July 26

1865 Birth: Philipp Scheidemann: German Social Democratic politician, responsible for the proclamation of the Republic on 9 November 1918, and who became the first Chancellor of the Weimar Republic.

Beginning his career as a journalist, Scheidemann became a Reichstag delegate for the Social Democrats in 1903, and soon rose to be one of the principal leaders of the party. During the First World War, Scheidemann, along with Friedrich Ebert was leader of the majority faction of the party, which continued to vote for war credits, while at the same time urging the negotiation of a compromise peace. When the Social Democrats were included in the cabinet for the first time in Prince Max of Baden's government in October 1918, Scheidemann entered the government as a minister without portfolio.

Following the Kaiser's abdication on November 9, Prince Max resigned in favor of Ebert. Although the new government intended to support a constitutional monarchy, probably in the person of one of the Kaiser's grandsons, Scheidemann, concerned in the face of a possible workers' revolution in Berlin, proclaimed the Republic from a balcony in the Reichstag building, without consulting any of his colleagues. The decision proved irrevocable.

Scheidemann continued to serve as a leader in the Provisional Government which followed for the next several months, and following the meeting of the National Assembly in Weimar in February 1919, Ebert was appointed President of Germany, and Scheidemann became Chancellor, in coalition with the German Democratic Party and the Catholic Center Party. Scheidemann resigned in June along with the DDP due to disagreement with the Treaty of Versailles, and never again served in the government, although he remained active in politics, serving as Mayor of Kassel (1920-1925), and then again as a Reichstag delegate, where he exposed military opposition to the Republic. Scheidemann went into exile following the Nazi takeover in 1933, dying in Denmark shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.

1893 Birth: George Grosz: German anti-Nazi satiric artist.

I thought the war would never end. And perhaps it never did, either. Peace was declared, but not all of us were drunk with joy or stricken blind. Very little changed fundamentally, except that the proud German soldier had turned into a defeated bundle of misery and the great German army had disintegrated. I was disappointed, not because we had lost the war but because our people had allowed it to go on for so many years, instead of heeding the few voices of protest against all that mass insanity and slaughter.

1908 FBI founded:

On July 26, 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is born when U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte orders a group of newly hired federal investigators to report to Chief Examiner Stanley W. Finch of the Department of Justice. One year later, the Office of the Chief Examiner was renamed the Bureau of Investigation, and in 1935 it became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

When the Department of Justice was created in 1870 to enforce federal law and coordinate judicial policy, it had no permanent investigators on its staff. At first, it hired private detectives when it needed federal crimes investigated and later rented out investigators from other federal agencies, such as the Secret Service, which was created by the Department of the Treasury in 1865 to investigate counterfeiting. In the early part of the 20th century, the attorney general was authorized to hire a few permanent investigators, and the Office of the Chief Examiner, which consisted mostly of accountants, was created to review financial transactions of the federal courts.

Seeking to form an independent and more efficient investigative arm, in 1908 the Department of Justice hired 10 former Secret Service employees to join an expanded Office of the Chief Examiner. The date when these agents reported to duty—July 26, 1908—is celebrated as the genesis of the FBI. By March 1909, the force included 34 agents, and Attorney General George Wickersham, Bonaparte's successor, renamed it the Bureau of Investigation.

The federal government used the bureau as a tool to investigate criminals who evaded prosecution by passing over state lines, and within a few years the number of agents had grown to more than 300. The agency was opposed by some in Congress, who feared that its growing authority could lead to abuse of power. With the entry of the United States into World War I in 1917, the bureau was given responsibility in investigating draft resisters, violators of the Espionage Act of 1917, and immigrants suspected of radicalism.

Meanwhile, J. Edgar Hoover, a lawyer and former librarian, joined the Department of Justice in 1917 and within two years had become special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. Deeply anti-radical in his ideology, Hoover came to the forefront of federal law enforcement during the so-called "Red Scare" of 1919 to 1920. He set up a card index system listing every radical leader, organization, and publication in the United States and by 1921 had amassed some 450,000 files. More than 10,000 suspected communists were also arrested during this period, but the vast majority of these people were briefly questioned and then released. Although the attorney general was criticized for abusing his power during the so-called "Palmer Raids," Hoover emerged unscathed, and on May 10, 1924, he was appointed acting director of the Bureau of Investigation.

During the 1920s, with Congress' approval, Director Hoover drastically restructured and expanded the Bureau of Investigation. He built the agency into an efficient crime-fighting machine, establishing a centralized fingerprint file, a crime laboratory, and a training school for agents. In the 1930s, the Bureau of Investigation launched a dramatic battle against the epidemic of organized crime brought on by Prohibition. Notorious gangsters such as George "Machine Gun" Kelly and John Dillinger met their ends looking down the barrels of bureau-issued guns, while others, like Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, the elusive head of Murder, Inc., were successfully investigated and prosecuted by Hoover's "G-men." Hoover, who had a keen eye for public relations, participated in a number of these widely publicized arrests, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as it was known after 1935, became highly regarded by Congress and the American public.

With the outbreak of World War II, Hoover revived the anti-espionage techniques he had developed during the first Red Scare, and domestic wiretaps and other electronic surveillance expanded dramatically. After World War II, Hoover focused on the threat of radical, especially communist, subversion. The FBI compiled files on millions of Americans suspected of dissident activity, and Hoover worked closely with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Senator Joseph McCarthy, the architect of America's second Red Scare.

In 1956, Hoover initiated COINTELPRO, a secret counterintelligence program that initially targeted the U.S. Communist Party but later was expanded to infiltrate and disrupt any radical organization in America. During the 1960s, the immense resources of COINTELPRO were used against dangerous groups such as the Ku Klux Klan but also against African American civil rights organizations and liberal anti-war organizations. One figure especially targeted was civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who endured systematic harassment from the FBI.

By the time Hoover entered service under his eighth president in 1969, the media, the public, and Congress had grown suspicious that the FBI might be abusing its authority. For the first time in his bureaucratic career, Hoover endured widespread criticism, and Congress responded by passing laws requiring Senate confirmation of future FBI directors and limiting their tenure to 10 years. On May 2, 1972, with the Watergate affair about to explode onto the national stage, J. Edgar Hoover died of heart disease at the age of 77.

The Watergate affair subsequently revealed that the FBI had illegally protected President Richard Nixon from investigation, and the agency was thoroughly investigated by Congress. Revelations of the FBI's abuses of power and unconstitutional surveillance motivated Congress and the media to become more vigilant in the future monitoring of the FBI. (History.com)

1914 Countdown to war: From the text of a series of letters despatched from Berlin during the period 24-26 July 1914 by the Belgian ambassador to Germany, Baron Beyens.

What I have to tell you on the subject of the crisis is so serious that I have decided to send you this report by special messenger. Yesterday's reports which I have committed to the post, with a fear lest they should be read by the German cabinet noir, necessarily contained opinions of a much more optimistic nature. Repeated conversations, which I had yesterday with the French Ambassador, the Dutch and Greek Ministers, and the British Charge d'affaires, raise in my mind the presumption that the ultimatum to Serbia is a blow prepared by Vienna and Berlin, or rather designed here and executed at Vienna. It is this fact which creates the great danger.

1915 World War I: List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment continues to occupy a position at Fromelles, which is on a level field with water channels, willow trees and willow stalks; in the distance towards the enemy lines lie an insignificant wood with barbed wire entanglements. Under the direction of their defense-minded commander, Lieutenant General Gustav Scanzoni von Lichtenfels, the regiment works ceaselessly day and night to further fortify their position at Fromelles while fighting off repeated assaults by the enemy. [For further details, Click here.]

1916 World War I: Various:

List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare in Flanders (Artois) with 3 Company, 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment. [For further details, Click here.]

Australians battle Germans at Pozieres:

On July 26, 1916, during the epic Battle of the Somme, Australian troops taking part in their first offensive action on the Western Front battle the Germans at Pozieres, near the Somme River in France. (History.com)

1917 World War I: List Regiment (July 22-August 3): Dispatch Runner Gefreiter Adolf Hitler serves at the front with 3 Company, 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment during Phase 2 operations in Flanders. Most of their time in the trenches gas masks are worn, while English bombers and tanks—a new terror witnessed for the very first time by most—attempt to advance over a long front through seas of mud. [For further details, Click here.]

1918 World War I: Various:

List Regiment (July 20-August 4):Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16th RIR is tasked with building a new line of defenses on the site of the failed Second Battle of the Marne. [For further details, Click here.]

Death: Edward Mannock: Britain's top World War I ace, is shot down by ground fire on the Western Front:

Major Mannock offered to help a new arrival, Donald Inglis, obtain his first victory. After shooting down an Albatros behind the German front-line, the two men headed for home. While crossing the trenches, the fighters were met with a massive volley of ground-fire. The engine of Mannock's aircraft was hit and immediately caught fire and crashed behind German lines. Mannock's body was found 250 yards from the wreck of his machine. He did not fire his revolver but it is believed he might have jumped from his blazing plane just before it crashed.

1921 Nazi Party: Adolf Hitler, having resigned all his offices on July 21, succeeds in his power play and rejoins the NSDAP with new membership number 3608. (Maser)

1931 Grasshoppers bring ruin to Midwest: A swarm of grasshoppers descends on crops throughout the American heartland, devastating millions of acres. Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, already in the midst of a bad drought, suffered tremendously from this disaster. [For further information, click here]

1933 Holocaust: Oliver Locker-Lampson proposes a bill in the British House of Commons granting Palestinian citizenship to all "stateless" Jews.

1934 Austria: July Putsch: Various:

From the diary of Thomas Dodd, US Ambassador to Berlin:

On Monday, July 23, after repeated bombings in Austria by Nazis, a boat loaded with explosives was seized on Lake Constance by the Swiss police. It was a shipment of German bombs and shells to Austria from some arms plant. That looked ominous to me, but events of that kind had been so common that I did not report it to Washington.

Today evidence came to my desk that last night, as late as 11 o'clock, the Government issued formal statements to the newspapers rejoicing at the fall of Dollfuss and proclaiming the Greater Germany that must follow. The German Minister in Vienna had actually helped to form the new cabinet. He had, as we now know, exacted a promise that the gang of Austrian Nazi murderers should be allowed to go into Germany undisturbed, but it was realized about 12 o'clock that although Dollfuss was dead the loyal Austrians had surrounded the Government Palace and prevented the organization of a new Nazi regime. They held the murderers prisoners. The German Propaganda Ministry therefore forbade publication of the news sent out an hour before and tried to collect all the releases that had been distributed. A copy was brought to me today by a friend.

All the German papers this morning lamented the cruel murder and declared that it was simply an attack of discontented Austrians, not Nazis. News from Bavaria shows that thousands of Austrian Nazis living for a year in Bavaria on German support had been active for 10 days before, some getting across the border contrary to law, all drilling and making ready to return to Austria. The German propagandist Habicht was still making radio speeches about the necessity of annexing the ancient realm of the Hapsburgs to the Third Reich, in spite of all the promises of Hitler to silence him. But now that the drive has failed and the assassins are in prison in Vienna, the German Government denounces all who say there was any support from Berlin.

I think it will be clear one day that millions of dollars and many arms have been pouring into Austria since the spring of 1933. Once more, the whole world is condemning the Hitler regime. No people in all modern history has been quite so unpopular as Nazi Germany. This stroke completes the picture. I expect to read a series of bitter denunciations in the American papers when they arrive about 10 days from now.

Franz von Papen is sent to Vienna as Minister to Austria: Hitler's letter of appointment to von Papen:

Dear Herr von Papen:

As a result of the events in Vienna, I am compelled to suggest to the Reich President the removal of the German Minister to Vienna, Dr. Rieth, from his post, because he, at the suggestion of Austrian Federal Ministers and the Austrian rebels, respectively, consented to an agreement made by both these parties concerning the safe conduct and retreat of the rebels to Germany without making inquiry of the German Reich Government. Thus, the Minister has dragged the German Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any reason.

The assassination of the Austrian Federal Chancellor which was strictly condemned and regretted by the German Government has made the situation in Europe, already fluid, more acute, without any fault of ours. Therefore, it is my desire to bring about, if possible, an easing of the general situation, and especially to direct the relations with the German-Austrian State, which have been so strained for a long time, again into normal and friendly channels.

For this reason, I request you, dear Herr von Papen, to take over this important task, just because you have possessed, and continue to possess, my most complete and unlimited confidence ever since we have worked together in the Cabinet.

Therefore, I have suggested to the Reich President that you, upon leaving the Reich Cabinet and upon release from the office of Commissioner for the Saar, be called on a special mission to the post of the German Minister in Vienna for a limited period of time. In this position you will be directly subordinated to me.

Thanking once more for all that you have at one time done for the co-ordination of the Government of the National Revolution, and since then together with us for Germany, I remain, yours very sincerely, Adolf Hitler.

[See: Austria: The Other Germany.]

1936 Spanish Civil War: Italy and Germany begin assisting General Franco's forces:

[What] was being prepared was a situation in which the Italian and German governments could land troops or marines quite openly on the Catalan coasts, declaring that they were doing so "in order to preserve order". That was the aim. Probably that is still the aim. The instrument for all this lay ready to hand for the Germans and Italians in the shape of the Trotskyist organisation known as the POUM. The POUM, acting in cooperation with well-known criminal elements, and with certain other deluded persons in the anarchist organisations, planned, organised and led the attack in the rearguard, accurately timed to coincide with the attack on the front.

1936 Various:

Antisemitism: Father Charles Coughlin, in an address to 5,000 American farmers, claims that the Roosevelt administration is a tool of the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Holocaust: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announces that during 1935 it contributed $300,000 to Jewish welfare in Germany.

1939 In yet another provocative move, the United States unilaterally rescinds the 1911 trade agreement with Japan.

From Secretary of State Hull to Japanese Ambassador Horinouchi:

During recent years the Government of the United States has been examining the treaties of commerce and navigation in force between the United States and foreign countries with a view to determining what changes may need to be made toward better serving the purposes for which such treaties are concluded. In the course of this survey, the Government of the United States has come to the conclusion that the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United States and Japan which was signed at Washington on February 21, 1911, contains provisions which need new consideration.

Toward preparing the way for such consideration and with a view to better safeguarding and promoting American interests as new developments may require, the Government of the United States, acting in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article XVII of the treaty under reference, gives notice hereby of its desire that this treaty be terminated, and, having thus given notice, will expect the treaty, together with its accompanying protocol, to expire six months from this date.

[See: Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor.]

1941 World War II: Various:

United States freezes Japanese assets:

On July 24, Tokyo decided to strengthen its position in terms of its invasion of China by moving through Southeast Asia. Given that France had long occupied parts of the region, and Germany, a Japanese ally, now controlled most of France through Petain's puppet government, France "agreed" to the occupation of its Indo-China colonies. Japan followed up by occupying Cam Ranh naval base, 800 miles from the Philippines, where Americans had troops, and the British base at Singapore.

President Roosevelt swung into action by freezing all Japanese assets in America. Britain and the Dutch East Indies followed suit. The result: Japan lost access to three-fourths of its overseas trade and 88 percent of its imported oil. Japan's oil reserves were only sufficient to last three years, and only half that time if it went to war and consumed fuel at a more frenzied pace. Japan's immediate response was to occupy Saigon, again with Vichy France's acquiescence. If Japan could gain control of Southeast Asia, including Malaya, it could also control the region's rubber and tin production—a serious blow to the West, which imported such materials from the East. Japan was now faced with a dilemma: back off of its occupation of Southeast Asia and hope the oil embargo would be eased—or seize the oil and further antagonize the West, even into war. (History.com)

Barbarossa: Three Soviet armies are encircled and destroyed in the Mogilev area:

In total, Germany amassed 117 army divisions for the attack excluding Rumanian and Hungarian units. In total, Russia amassed 132 army divisions for the defence of the 'motherland', including 34 armoured divisions. Plans for the attack on Russia had been around since 1940. It is now thought that Hitler lost interest in the Battle of Britain as he was far too focused on his desired attack on Russia. [See: What Were Adolf Hitler's Major Blunders.]

Death: Paul Ogorzow, the S-Bahn Murderer:

Paul Ogorzow (German link) plied his trade in a city blacked-out against British bombing, but he provides an illuminating glimpse at criminal investigation. While Ogorzow benefited from Berlin's preternatural darkness, he didn't go greatly out of his way to cover his tracks otherwise. At least four of his eight murders were within a mile of his house; one woman who survived his attack reported the assailant was wearing German Railways kit.

The police, prone then as now to (sometimes hastily) settle on a theory and seek evidence to confirm it, remained blind to the seemingly obvious possibility that a railway worker was the culprit . . . even if he also happened to be a Nazi party member in good standing.

The official fixation on Untermenschen may not be surprising given the ideological climate, but Germany had had its share of noteworthy murderers in the interwar years who were neither Jews nor foreign laborers nor British agents—the suspect profiles favored by German investigators—while Ogorzow continued his killing spree.

With the slightest measure of care, the S-Bahn Murderer might have plied his hobby unmolested until the wartime manpower shortages started making him look like an attractive bit of cannon-fodder for the eastern front. Alas for him, his voracious appetite for murder—eight victims, with a similar modus operandi, in just a few months—eventually made him so obvious that even the police could no longer overlook him.

Although the government kept the crime and its unedifying investigation fairly quiet, it was known. There was even a 1944 true crime potboiler by Wilhelm Ihde (pseudonymously writing as ''Axel Alt''), Der Tod fuhr im Zug (Death Rode the Train).

1942 Battle of the Caucasus: Start of the advance by Armeegruppe A from Rostov and the lower Don toward the Caucasus region.

1943 World War II: Italy:

Marshal Badoglio is appointed head of Italy by the Italian King after the arrest of Benito Mussolini. Hitler orders a number of Waffen-SS division sent from Russia to Italy, but only the 1st SS-Panzer-Division is actually transferred.

Following the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, there was a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council on July 24 and the following day in a technical coup d'etat King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy dismissed Mussolini and appointed Badoglio to head the government. Martial law was declared, Mussolini was arrested and negotiations were opened with the Allies. When the German army responded, the new Italian government was forced to flee to Pescara and Brindisi and accept Allied protection.

Mussolini is abandoned by most Italians: only his Blackshirts remain loyal. Hitler quickly issues orders to locate and rescue his friend. (See September 12)

1944 World War II: Various:

Poland: In Warsaw, the presence of Soviet troops nearby, leads to a decision by the Polish underground to revolt against the Germans before the Red Army arrives.

Many thought that the Germans would persist in unrestrained mass deportations only so long as the Jews were passive, but that in the face of resistance and armed confrontation they would think twice before embarking upon yet another Aktion. The Germans would also have to take into account the possibility that the outbreak of fighting in the ghetto might lead to the rebellion spreading to the Polish population and might create a state of insecurity in all of occupied Poland. These considerations led the civilian population of the ghetto, in the final phase of its existence, to approve of resistance and give its support to the preparations for the uprising.

Narva: After months of heavy fighting, the Red Army finally recaptures Narva in the "Battle of the European SS" - named as such because of the very large numbers of foreign troops in the ranks of the German Waffen-SS who held the lines in and around Narva. Fighting rages in Normandy as Allied troops continue to attempt to break out of their beachhead.

War in the Air: The first victory for a turbojet fighter aircraft in aviation history occurs as Lt. Alfred Schreiber's Me 262 downs a Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft.

[See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry.]

The Secret Diary of Anti-Hitler Conspirator Ulrich von Hassel: (By Wolf Ulrich von Hassel):

On July 26, 1944, he succeeded in coming to Berlin and seeing our father once more. The three of us ate at the Hotel Adlon, as in times past. Two days later, on the morning of July 28, 1944, my father was arrested in his office. Shortly before this I had received a warning from Potsdam and was able to inform my father that the hour had come. Sitting at his writing desk, he received the Gestapo.

1945 World War II: Potsdam Declaration: Allied leaders at Potsdam demand that Japan must immediately surrender, unconditionally, or face what they call: "utter destruction."

1945 Various:

Winston Churchill resigns:

In the 11th hour of World War II, Winston Churchill is forced to resign as British prime minister following his party's electoral defeat by the Labour Party. It was the first general election held in Britain in more than a decade. The same day, Clement Attlee, the Labour leader, was sworn in as the new British leader.

Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father's death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.

In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, and he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned and volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. However, in 1917, he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war and in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of Nazi and Japanese aggression.

After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would "never surrender." He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.

In July 1945, a few weeks before the defeat of Japan in World War II, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee's Labour Party, and Churchill resigned as prime minister. He became leader of the opposition and in 1951 was again elected prime minister. Two years later, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II and for his political speeches. In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the year before his death. (History.com)

Charles Lindbergh gives an interview in the offices of the publisher of the Chicago Tribune voicing his opposition to establishment of the UN. Historian Henry O'Neil: "In promoting appeasement and military unpreparedness, Lindbergh damaged his country to a greater degree than any other private citizen in modern times. That he meant well makes no difference."

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Justice Robert Jackson delivers his Final Speech for the prosecution:

In the testimony of each defendant, at some point there was reached the familiar blank wall: Nobody knew anything about what was going on. Time after time we have heard the chorus from the dock: "I only heard about these things here for the first time." These men saw no evil, spoke none, and none was uttered in their presence. This claim might sound very plausible if made by one defendant. But when we put all their stories together, the impression which emerges of the Third Reich, which was to last a thousand years, is ludicrous. If we combine only the stories of the front bench, this is the ridiculous composite picture of Hitler's Government that emerges.

It was composed of:

A Number 2 man who knew nothing of the excesses of the Gestapo which he created, and never suspected the Jewish extermination program although he was the signer of over a score of decrees which instituted the persecutions of that race;

A Number 3 man who was merely an innocent middleman transmitting Hitler's orders without even reading them, like a postman or delivery boy;

A foreign minister who knew little of foreign affairs and nothing of foreign policy;

A field marshal who issued orders to the Armed Forces but had no idea of the results they would have in practice;

A security chief who was of the impression that the policing functions of his Gestapo and SD were somewhat on the order of directing traffic;

A Party philosopher who was interested in historical research and had no idea of the violence which his philosophy was inciting in the twentieth century;

A governor general of Poland who reigned but did not rule;

A Gauleiter of Franconia whose occupation was to pour forth filthy writings about the Jews, but who had no idea that anybody would read them;

A minister of interior who knew not even what went on in the interior of his own office, much less the interior of his own department, and nothing at all about the interior of Germany;

A Reichsbank president who was totally ignorant of what went in and out of the vaults of his bank;

And a plenipotentiary for the war economy who secretly marshaled the entire economy for armament, but had no idea it had anything to do with war.

This may seem like a fantastic exaggeration, but this is what you would actually be obliged to conclude if you were to acquit these defendants. They do protest too much.

Sir Hartley Shawcross (Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom):

That these defendants participated in and are morally guilty of crimes so frightful that the imagination staggers and reels back at their very contemplation is not in doubt. Let the words of the Defendant Frank, which were repeated to you this morning, be well remembered: "Thousands of years will pass and this guilt of Germany will not be erased." Total and totalitarian war, waged in defiance .of solemn undertakings and in breach of treaties; great cities, from Coventry to Stalingrad, reduced to rubble, the countryside laid waste, and now the inevitable aftermath of war so fought-hunger and disease stalking through the world; millions of people homeless, maimed, bereaved.

And in their graves, crying out, not for vengeance but that this shall not happen again: 10 million who might be living in peace and happiness at this hour, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians killed in battles that ought never to have been.

Nor was that the only or the greatest crime. In all our countries when perhaps in the heat of passion or for other motives which impair restraint some individual is killed, the murder becomes a sensation, our compassion is aroused, nor do we rest until the criminal is punished and the rule of law is vindicated. Shall we do less when not one but on the lowest computation 12 million men, women, and children, are done to death? Not in battle, not in passion, but in the cold, calculated, deliberate attempt to destroy nations and races, to disintegrate the traditions, the institutions, and the very existence of free and ancient states. Twelve million murders' Two-thirds of the Jews in Europe exterminated, more than 6 million of them on the killers' own figures. Murder conducted like some mass production industry in the gas chambers and the ovens of Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Maidanek, and Oranienburg.

And is the world to overlook the revival of slavery in Europe, slavery on a scale which involved 7 million men, women, and children taken from their homes, treated as beasts, starved, beaten, and murdered?

It may be that the guilt of Germany win not be erased, for the people of Germany share it in large measure, but it was these men who, with a handful of others, brought that guilt upon Germany and perverted the German people. "It is my guilt"-confessed the Defendant Schirach-"that I educated the German youth for a man who committed murders a millionfold."

For such crimes these men might well have been proceeded against by summary executive action and had the treatment, which they had been parties to meting out against so many millions of innocent people, been meted out to them, they could hardly have complained. But this Tribunal is to adjudge their guilt not on any moral or ethical basis alone, but according to law-that natural justice which demands that these crimes should not go unpunished, at the same time insists that no individual should be punished unless patient and careful examination of the facts shows that he shared the guilt for what has been done. And so, during these many months, this Tribunal has been investigating the facts and has now to apply the law in order both that justice may be done to these individuals as to their countless victims, and also that the world may know that in the end the predominance of power will be driven out and law and justice shall govern the relations between states.

[For the full text of today's proceedings, Click here.]

1947 Cold War: Truman signs the National Security Act:

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act, which becomes one of the most important pieces of Cold War legislation. The act established much of the bureaucratic framework for foreign policymaking for the next 40-plus years of the Cold War. [For further details, Click here.]

1956 Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal:

The Suez Crisis begins when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the British and French-owned Suez Canal.

The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas across Egypt, was completed by French engineers in 1869. For the next 87 years, it remained largely under British and French control, and Europe depended on it as an inexpensive shipping route for oil from the Middle East.

After World War II, Egypt pressed for evacuation of British troops from the Suez Canal Zone, and in July 1956 President Nasser nationalized the canal, hoping to charge tolls that would pay for construction of a massive dam on the Nile River. In response, Israel invaded in late October, and British and French troops landed in early November, occupying the canal zone. Under Soviet, U.S., and U.N. pressure, Britain and France withdrew in December, and Israeli forces departed in March 1957. That month, Egypt took control of the canal and reopened it to commercial shipping.

Ten years later, Egypt shut down the canal again following the Six Day War and Israel's occupation of the Sinai peninsula. For the next eight years, the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai from the rest of Egypt, existed as the front line between the Egyptian and Israeli armies. In 1975, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat reopened the Suez Canal as a gesture of peace after talks with Israel. Today, an average of 50 ships navigate the canal daily, carrying more than 300 million tons of goods a year. (History.com)

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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