Category Archives: This day in History

Elvis Presley Inducted into the US Army (1958)

Though World War II ended in 1945, military conscription in the US continued in peacetime, and in 1957, the 22-year-old “King of Rock and Roll” was drafted for a two-year stint in the army. Despite concerns about his career, Presley did not try to avoid service and was inducted into the army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, in a ceremony mobbed by photographers. Five months later, and just a month before he was shipped out to Germany, Presley was granted a short emergency leave for what reason? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Benito Mussolini Founds the Fasci di Combattimento (1919)

In the troubled period following WWI, Mussolini organized his followers, mostly veterans, into a paramilitary organization that promoted aggressive nationalism and violently opposed communism and socialism. Amid strikes, unrest, and governmental failure, Mussolini advocated the use of force to restore order. In 1921, his Fasci di Combattimento became the Fascist Party, planting the seeds for the regime that would rule Italy for nearly 20 years. What title did Mussolini choose for himself? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Arab League Is Founded (1945)

The League of Arab States was formed in 1945 to give unified political expression to Arab nations and to foster the regional economy. It originally consisted of seven member states and has since grown to include 22. Member states collaborate on cultural, economic, and social programs and have agreed to coordinate military defense measures. They also use the league as a forum for mediating disputes. Which notable countries with large Arab populations are not members of the league? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Caligula Becomes Emperor of Rome (37 CE)

When Caligula became the Roman emperor in 37 CE, replacing the hated Tiberius, the public welcomed his reign, and for a time it was uneventful. Seven months later, he fell severely ill, and when he recovered, he was a changed man. Suddenly, his reign was marked by financially ruinous extravagance, unmatched cruelty, and rampant executions, even of his former supporters. He was assassinated within a few years. What may have caused the mental instability Caligula displayed after his illness? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Edward R. Murrow's See It Now Airs McCarthyism Episode (1954)

In the early 1950s, US Senator Joseph McCarthy persecuted scores of people he deemed subversive in a series of widely-publicized hearings that whipped the public into an anti-Communist frenzy. In 1954, journalist Edward R. Murrow produced an episode of his TV show See It Now that criticized the Red Scare and turned public opinion against McCarthy using the senator’s own words. Murrow later invited McCarthy to respond. What happened when the senator accepted? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Family Circus Cartoon Debuts (1960)

When The Family Circus debuted in 1960, the characters were about the same age as artist Bil Keane and his family. In the more than 50 years of cartoons that followed, the characters did not age appreciably, but their real-life counterparts did—Jeff Keane, the basis for 3-year-old Jeffy, went on to ink the cartoon for his father. The most widely syndicated cartoon panel in the world, it has appeared in 1,500 newspapers. What was the original name of the cartoon, and why did it change? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Cavalese Cable Car Disaster (1998)

Relations between Italy and the US were strained in 1998 when a US military plane, flying too low and too fast through a valley near the Italian town of Cavalese, clipped an aerial tramway cable. The cable car fell, killing all 20 people on board. The pilot and navigator were acquitted of homicide in a US military court, sparking outrage in Italy, but were later convicted of obstruction of justice for destroying a video of the incident. How did the US attempt to repair relations with Italy? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

United States Launches Explorer I (1958)

Explorer I was the first American satellite. It was launched four months after the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, was put into orbit by the Soviet Union, beginning the so-called space race. Although it carried a number of instruments, Explorer I was relatively small, weighing just 30 lbs (13 kg). It stopped transmission of data later in 1958, when its batteries died, but remained in orbit for more than 12 years. Where did it make its fiery reentry? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Saddam Hussein Is Executed (2006)

During his presidency of Iraq from 1979 to 2003, Hussein instituted a brutal dictatorship, launching wars against Iran and Kuwait and directing campaigns against Iraqi minorities, particularly the Kurds. After an Anglo-American force invaded Iraq in 2003 and drove him from power, he spent several months in hiding but was captured by US forces. In 2006, the Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced him to death for crimes against humanity. What hobby did Hussein take up while in prison awaiting execution? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Charlemagne Crowned Emperor (800 CE)

Charlemagne was king of the Franks (768–814) and emperor of the West (800–814). With the exception of the British Isles and parts of Italy and Spain, he united in one vast state almost all the Christian lands of Western Europe. After restoring Leo III to the papacy, he was crowned emperor in Rome on Christmas Day, 800 CE, finalizing the split between the Byzantine and Roman empires and marking the revival of the empire that was the forerunner of the Holy Roman Empire. What language did he speak? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary