Aug 21

1914 World War I: Various:

Battles of the Frontiers fought near Ardennes and Charleroi: On this day in 1914, the second and third of what will be four "Battles of the Frontiers" fought between German and Allied forces on the Western Front during a four-day period in August 1914 begin near Ardennes and Charleroi in northern France.

Serbian Marshall Putnik defeats the Austrians at the battle of Sabac (August 21-24): The development of the town was interrupted by the First World War. Major military operations going on in this area, and bloody revenge of the Austrian army for the lost battles, led to the terrible suffering of Sabac and its surroundings. There were 14,000 inhabitants in Sabac before the war only 7,000 remained.

1915 World War I: List Regiment:

Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment continues to occupy a position at Fromelles—pictured above in a drawing by Hitler—on a level field with water channels, willow trees and willow stalks. In the distance towards the enemy lines lies 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: List Regiment:

Hitler and his fellow dispatch runners

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

1917 World War I: List Regiment (July 22-September 8):

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 attack from the air, and tanks attempt to advance over a long front through seas of mud. [For further details, Click here.]

1918 World War I: Various:

The British and French begin the second phase of the Battle of Amiens: Ludendorff orders a general withdrawal from the Lys and Amiens areas. British war correspondent Philip Gibbs noted:

Amiens' effect on the war's tempo, saying on 27 August that "the enemy . . . is on the defensive" and "the initiative of attack is so completely in our hands that we are able to strike him at many different places." Gibbs also credits Amiens with a shift in troop morale, saying "the change has been greater in the minds of men than in the taking of territory. On our side the army seems to be buoyed up with the enormous hope of getting on with this business quickly" and that "there is a change also in the enemy's mind. They no longer have even a dim hope of victory on this western front. All they hope for now is to defend themselves long enough to gain peace by negotiation. (Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI).

List Regiment (August 21-25): Gefreiter Adolf Hitler attends a signals training course in Nuremberg. [For further details, Click here.]

1927 Nuremberg: Twenty-thousand Storm Troopers attend the Congress of the National Socialist Party. Hitler's speech:

What is the nature of a nation's internal power? Three things are involved: First, a people has intrinsic value in its race. That is the primal value. A people that has the best blood but does not understand it, squandering it, receives no protection from its intrinsic value. And the purity of blood means nothing if the nation can be persuaded of the absurdity that its blood is worthless. Such a deepest value can be present, but not recognized. Individual people today are placed in large groups that no longer enable them to see this value. To the contrary, their program almost claims that there is no value in blood. They see race as completely insignificant.

Second, internal power depends, aside from the value of blood, on the abilities that such a nation still has. A nation cannot be called impotent as long as it is able to produce the minds that are necessary to solve the problems crying out for solution. We can measure the greatness of a people by the minds it produces. That too is a value, but only when it is recognized as a value. If a nation has the ability to produce great minds a thousand times over, but has no appreciation for the value of these minds and excludes them from its political life, these great men are of no use. It can therefore collapse, in the best case perhaps passing on its inventions and ideas to the minds of other nations, teaching these nations, but no longer is it a nation called to lead itself.

1930 Weimar: Nazi party convention in Nuremberg. Parade of 20,000 SA-men.

1932 The Third International Congress on Eugenics is held at the Museum of Natural History in New York. The Congress proceedings are dedicated to Averell Harriman's mother, who had paid for the founding of the race-science movement in America.

Eugenics movements did not begin to arise in Europe or the United States until the first decade of the twentieth century, and they did not become generally effective in promoting social and political programs nationally or internationally until after 1910. The earliest eugenics movements were founded in Germany in 1904, in Britain in 1907, and in the United States in 1908-1910. Other eugenics movements appeared subsequently around the world: in Western Europe (France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Russia, Latin America (Cuba, Brazil, Mexico), Canada, and Asia (Japan). However, it was in the United States, Britain, and Germany that eugenics as an intellectual and social movement made its greatest strides and, from eugenicists' point of view, achieved its greatest ideological and political effects.

Because eugenics developed in a variety of national contexts with a wide range of ideological and political programs, its content and style varied from one country to another and over time, from the early 1900s until just before the onset of World War II. For example, British eugenicists were particularly concerned with the high fecundity and inherited mental degeneracy of the urban working class, particularly those labeled as "paupers." By contrast, American eugenicists were more concerned with the number of feebleminded who filled the prisons and insane asylums and, after World War I, with the supposed genetic deficiencies of immigrants. In Germany mentally ill, psychotic, psychopathic, and psychiatric patients along with the congenitally deaf, blind, and feebleminded were of greatest concern. German eugenicists were also particularly interested in increasing the number of "fitter" elements in society (positive eugenics) where, prior to the National Socialist takeover in 1933, "fitness" was understood more in terms of class than of race. Certain core principles and beliefs did link various eugenics movements together, however, and the three major international eugenics congresses, held in 1912, 1921, and 1932, emphasized the similarities among the various movements while also revealing the differences.

1933 The Eighteenth Zionist Congress opens in Prague where attendants discuss the Nazi takeover of Germany, the growing persecution of German Jews, the assassination of Arlosoroff, the economic situation of the Yishuv and the conflict between the Labor Party and the Revisionists. The Congress will continue until September 4.

1939 Various:

The Trade and Credit Agreement is signed between Germany and the Soviet Union. Stalin cables Hitler:

I thank you for the letter. I hope that the German-Soviet non-aggression pact will mark a decided turn for the better in the political relations between our countries. The people of our countries need peaceful relations with each other. The assent of the German Government to the conclusion of a non-aggression pact provides the foundation for eliminating the political tension and for the establishment of peace and collaboration between our countries. The Soviet Government has authorized me to inform you that it agrees to Herr von Ribbentrop's arriving in Moscow on August 23. J. Stalin.

[See: Worst Dictator of Modern Times: Hitler or Stalin?]

Anglo-French-Soviet talks postponed indefinitely by Soviet Marshal Voroshilov (knowing of Ribbentrop's impending arrival).


Neville Chamberlain arrives in London, having traveled overnight from Scotland. British Intelligence suggests that Field Marshal Hermann Goering should come to London for discussions.

1940 Death: Leon Trotsky:

[He died] from wounds received on Aug 20 after being axed in the back of the head by an agent of Stalin's secret police. Note: Facts about the assassination will be kept secret in the Soviet Union until January 1989.

Forced to flee the Soviet Union, he went first to Turkey, then to France and Norway, and finally to Mexico. Throughout his sojourn he continued to attack Stalin, returning to his early critical themes of bureaucratic centralism and one-man dictatorship. Implacable as he was in his criticism, Trotsky did not draw on the most powerful polemical weapon available to him: that the cause of socialism had been lost in an "Asiatic restoration, " through the consolidation of a new bureaucratic despotism under Stalin. That would have meant the rejection of Soviet communism and the party. Trotsky, unable to do so, could attack only Stalin and his policies. On Aug. 20, 1940, Trotsky was mortally wounded in Mexico City by an ice ax wielded by Ramon Mercador, a Soviet assassin talked into this crime, according to one account, by his mother, who held the Order of Lenin for masterminding assassinations for the Soviet secret police.

1941 World War II: Various:

Antonescu promotes himself to Marshal:

Antonescu: When a country is in a war, the army of this country must go to the end of the earth to win the war. It's one of the basic principles of war, that has been applied from the time of the Romans to this very day. Search into the history of wars, any nation, any century, and you will see that no one stops with the army at the borders, but goes farther, aiming to destroy the enemy army. So did Scipio Africanus who took his army to the destruction of Carthage, so did Napoleon, who went to the center of Russia, so did Alexander of Russia, who went all the way to Paris.

Battle Of Leningrad: Hitler orders the investment, not capture, of Leningrad, and the transfer of several divisions from the North and Center to capture the Crimea and the Donets basin, an industrial region vital to the Soviet war effort.

1942 World War II: Various: Caucasus: A Nazi flag is installed atop the Elbrus Mountain. Hitler is enraged, believing that his soldiers should be killing enemies, not climbing mountains.

Holocaust: Himmler again visits Odilo Globocnik in Lublin: (THP)

While Auschwitz is probably the most enduring concentration camp name in Holocaust historiography, the Operation Reinhard camps (Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor), which operated for a far shorter period of time (early 1942 to late 1943) than Auschwitz, claimed the lives of 1.7 million human beings during their operation. The "success" of these camps can largely be attributed to Odilo Globocnik. Globocnik's name is hardly the first to come to mind when speaking of the Holocaust, but his crucial role in the events at the three Reinhard death camps, and later in Italy, makes him a pivotal figure of the period.

1944 World War II: Various:

Normandy: More than 300 Poles are killed in last German effort to break out of Falaise Gap. During the Falaise battles, 50,000 Germans are taken prisoner and 10,000 killed.

The Falaise campaign probably began on August 7, the same day as the German counterattack at Mortain, when Canadian troops launched a ground assault called Totalize toward Falaise. For the next two weeks, Allied troops-British, American, and Polish- harassed the German forces caught inside the pocket until finally, on August 21, the gap was closed.

But by that time, what could have been a great encirclement echoing some of the pivotal battles on the Eastern Front had become something less a victory, but one qualified by the number of German forces that had been able to flee through the gap. The fact that enemy forces did escape outraged American commanders, from the even-tempered Eisenhower and Bradley to the mercurial Patton. They saw it as yet another example of bad generalship by Montgomery, who pressured the pocket's western end, squeezing the Germans out eastward like a tube of toothpaste, rather than capping the open gap. Patton, ever aggressive, pleaded with Bradley for clearance to cut across the narrow gap, in front of retreating German forces, from Argentan north to Falaise. But Bradley wisely demurred, recognizing that the outnumbered Americans might be "trampled" by the German divisions racing for the gap. "I much preferred," Bradley recollected subsequently, "a solid shoulder at Argentan to the possibility of a broken neck at Falaise.

German forces retake Tukkum in Estonia:

Occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany ended with five decades of Soviet occupation of the Baltic nations. The European parliament has issued a resolution on the issue supporting the positions of The Estonian Government: as an independent Member State of the EU and NATO, has the sovereign right to assess its recent tragic past, starting with the loss of independence as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 and including three years under Hitler's occupation and terror, as well as 48 years under Soviet occupation and terror whereas the Soviet occupation and annexation of the Baltic States was never recognized as legal.

The seeds of the United Nations are planted:

On this day in 1944, representatives from the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China meet in the Dumbarton Oaks estate at Georgetown, Washington, D.C., to formulate the formal principles of an organization that will provide collective security on a worldwide basis—an organization that will become the United Nations.

Following up on a promise made at the Moscow Conferences of 1943 to create an international organization to succeed the League of Nations, the Dumbarton Oaks Conference began planning its creation. Step one was the outline for a Security Council, which would be composed of the member states (basically, the largest of the Allied nations)—the United States, the USSR, China, France, and Great Britain—with each member having veto power over any proposal brought before the Council.

Many political questions would remain to be hammered out, such as a specific voting system and the membership status of republics within the Soviet Union. A more detailed blueprint for the United Nations would be drawn up at both the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and the San Francisco Conference, which would produce the U.N. charter, also in 1945. (

1945 Various:

Lend-lease: President Truman orders an immediate end to the Lend-Lease Program that had shipped about $50 billion in aid to America's Allies during World War II. Stalin is enraged.

Nuclear accident: American physicist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. accidentally drops a tungsten carbide brick onto a delta phase plutonium bomb core and exposes himself to a lethal dose of neutron radiation, becoming the first known fatality due to a criticality accident 25 days later. [For further information, click here.]

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On the Two Hundred and Eighth Day of the Trial, Defense affidavits are submitted in bulk:

Horst Pelckmann (Co-counsel for the SS): 55,303 SS members state that in this training they had no indication of criminal aims. It was training for character, for decency, for comradeship, and exemplary conduct of life. It is noteworthy that none of the SS men in connection with the training mentions Hitler's book Mein Kampf. Statistics will prove that the mass of SS men did not read this book at all.

289 affidavits deal with the evaluation of the racial doctrine.

233 do not consider it conducive to racial hatred, to the desire to destroy other races, or to create a master race. They see therein only a demand for a separation of the races from one another.

57 affidavits see in the doctrine the purpose of selecting the best among the people. Various affidavits say that the racial doctrine included respect for other peoples. The problem of colonization and Germanization is not mentioned in any affidavit as a so-called training problem.

Many affidavits deal with the question of whether the General SS were trained as political soldiers. 20,010 affidavits are available on this subject. 15,461 ascribe no military character to the General SS. They give, for example, the following reasons:

They never had any military training in the General SS. The ranks of the General SS were not recognized in the Wehrmacht. There were no arms or so-called tactical exercises; tactical discussions were f6rbidden. Shooting was done only with small-bore rifles. There were not enough rifles.

1,053 affidavits confirm the testimony of various witnesses here that during, the war service in the General SS no longer occurred at all, or only in exceptional cases; at the end, of the war there was none whatsoever.

On the question of psychological preparation for war, 3,304 affidavits say that their authors did not think of war and did not believe in war. At the Junker schools, various affidavits say, rejection of war was taught, since it created a so-called negative counterselection. And in the Verigungstruppe, the so-called field service, a more military service, was taken up only when general military service was introduced.

127 affidavits confirm that the General SS did not demand any special obedience-that is, no oath which according to its form would obligate the individual to more than in the Wehrmacht or-in the civil service.

2,674 affidavits report on the training of SS men. In 3,138 affidavits it is asserted that orders against humanity were not known to them and were certainly not given.

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

1957 The USSR launches the worlds first true ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), the R-7 Semyorka. (Menaul)

Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, as quoted in The Russian Space Bluff by Leonid Vladimirov:

We [in the USSR] followed closely the reports of preparations going on in the United States of America to launch a sputnik called, significantly, Vanguard. It seemed to some people at the time that it would be the first satellite in space. So we then reckoned up what we were in a position to do, and we came to the conclusion that we could lift a good 100 kilograms (220 lbs.) into orbit. We then put the idea to the Central Committee of the Party, where the reaction was: "It's a very tempting idea. But we shall have to think it over." In the summer of 1957 I was summoned to the Central Committee offices. The OK had been given.

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

1959 Hawaii becomes 50th state:

The modern United States receives its crowning star when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star rows. The new flag became official July 4, 1960.

In 1893, a group of American expatriates and sugar planters supported by a division of U.S. Marines deposed Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was established as a U.S. protectorate with Hawaiian-born Sanford B. Dole as president. Many in Congress opposed the formal annexation of Hawaii, and it was not until 1898, following the use of the naval base at Pearl Harbor during the Spanish-American War, that Hawaii's strategic importance became evident and formal annexation was approved. Two years later, Hawaii was organized into a formal U.S. territory. During World War II, Hawaii became firmly ensconced in the American national identity following the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

In March 1959, the U.S. government approved statehood for Hawaii, and in June the Hawaiian people voted by a wide majority to accept admittance into the United States. Two months later, Hawaii officially became the 50th state. [For further details, Click here.]

1968 Czechoslovakia: Radio Prague (Czech) at 12.50am, announces a Soviet led invasion. Forces from the Soviet Union and four other Warsaw Pact states march towards Prague because of the country's experiments with a more liberal government.

1992 Fugitive neo-Nazi leader Randall Weaver opens fire on US marshals from his home in Idaho. Weaver surrenders 11 days later ending the standoff. During the standoff a deputy marshal, Weaver's wife and his son are killed.

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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