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The Holocaust (1933–1945)
“Holocaust” is the term describing the Nazi annihilation of about 6 million Jews (two thirds of the pre-World War II European Jewish population), including 4,500,000 from Russia, Poland, and the Baltic; 750,000 from Hungary and Romania; 290,000 from Germany and Austria; 105,000 from The Netherlands; 90,000 from France; 54,000 from Greece.
The Holocaust was unique in its being genocide—the systematic destruction of a people solely because of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, or sexual preference—on an unmatched scale. Along with the Jews, another 9 to 10 million people—Gypsies, Slavs (Poles, Ukrainians, and Belarussians), homosexuals, and the disabled—were exterminated.1933
Hitler named German Chancellor (Jan.). Dachau, first concentration camp, established (March). Boycotts against Jews begin (April).1935
Anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws passed by Reichstag; Jews lose citizenship and civil rights (Sept.).
Buchenwald concentration camp opens (July).1938
Extension of anti-Semitic laws to Austria after annexation (March). Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)—anti-Semitic riots and destruction of Jewish institutions in Germany and Austria (Nov. 9). 26,000 Jews sent to concentration camps; Jewish children expelled from schools (Nov. 9–10). Expropriation of Jewish property and businesses (Dec.).1940
As war continues, Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing squads) follow German army into conquered lands, rounding up and massacring Jews and other “undesirables.”1941
Goering instructs Heydrich to carry out the “final solution to the Jewish question” (July 31). Deportation of German Jews begins; massacres of Jews in Odessa and Kiev (Nov.); and in Riga and Vilna (Dec.).1942
Mass killings using Zyklon-B begin at Auschwitz-Birkenau (Jan.). Nazi leaders attend Wannsee Conference to coordinate the “final solution” (Jan. 20). 100,000 Jews from Warsaw Ghetto deported to Treblinka death camp (July).1943
Warsaw Ghetto uprisings (Jan. and April); Ghetto exterminated (May).1944
476,000 Hungarian Jews sent to Auschwitz (May–June). D-day (June 6). Soviet Army liberates Maidanek death camp (July). Nazis try to hide evidence of death camps (Nov.).1945
As Allies advance, Nazis force concentration camp inmates on death marches. Americans liberate Buchenwald and British liberate Bergen-Belsen camps (April). Nuremberg War Crimes Trial (Nov. 1945–Oct. 1946).
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1900 – 1909 World History1900
Hurricane ravages Galveston, Tex.; 6,000–8,000 dead. Fauvist movement in painting begins, led by Henri Matisse. Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams. Carrie Chapman Catt succeeds Susan B. Anthony as president of National Woman Suffrage Association.
Queen Victoria dies, and is succeeded by her son, Edward VII. As President McKinley begins second term, he is shot fatally by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Theodore Roosevelt sworn in as successor.
Enrico Caruso's first gramophone recording. Aswan Dam completed.1903
Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, fly first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air plane at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Henry Ford organizes Ford Motor Company. The Boston Red Sox win the first World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. W.E.B. Du Bois publishes The Souls of Black Folk.1904
Russo-Japanese War begins—competition for Korea and Manchuria. Entente Cordiale: Britain and France settle their international differences. General theory of radioactivity by Rutherford and Soddy. New York City subway opens.1905
In Russo-Japanese War, Port Arthur surrenders to Japanese; Russia suffers other defeats. President Roosevelt mediates Treaty of Portsmouth, N.H., which recognizes Japan's control of Korea and restores southern Manchuria to China. The Russian Revolution of 1905 begins on “Bloody Sunday” when troops fire onto a defenseless group of demonstrators in St. Petersburg. Strikes and riots follow. Sailors on battleship Potemkin mutiny; reforms, including first Duma (parliament), established by Czar Nicholas II's “October Manifesto.” Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity and other key theories in physics. Franz Lehar's Merry Widow.1906
San Francisco earthquake and three-day fire; more than 500 dead. Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, fixes magnetic North Pole.1907
Second Hague Peace Conference, of 46 nations, adopts 10 conventions on rules of war. Financial panic of 1907 in U.S. Mahler begins work on “Song of the Earth.” Oklahoma becomes 46th state. Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon introduces cubism.1908
Earthquake kills 150,000 in southern Italy and Sicily. U.S. Supreme Court, in Danbury Hatters' case, outlaws secondary union boycotts. Model T produced by Ford Motor Company.1909
North Pole reportedly reached by American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded in New York by prominent black and white intellectuals and led by W.E.B. Du Bois.
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1910 – 1919 World History1910
Boy Scouts of America incorporated. Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay, becomes immigration center for Asians entering U.S.1911
First use of aircraft as offensive weapon in Turkish-Italian War. Italy defeats Turks and annexes Tripoli and Libya. Chinese Republic proclaimed after revolution overthrows Manchu dynasty. Sun Yat-sen named president. Mexican Revolution: Porfirio Diaz, president since 1877, replaced by Francisco Madero. Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York; 146 killed. Amundsen reaches South Pole. Ernest Rutherford discovers the structure of the atom. Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. Irving Berlin's Alexander's Ragtime Band.1912
Balkan Wars (1912–1913) resulting from territorial disputes: Turkey defeated by alliance of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro; London peace treaty (1913) partitions most of European Turkey among the victors. In second war (1913), Bulgaria attacks Serbia and Greece and is defeated after Romania intervenes and Turks recapture Adrianople. Titanic sinks on maiden voyage; over 1,500 drown. New Mexico and Arizona admitted as states.1913
Suffragists demonstrate in London. Garment workers strike in New York and Boston; win pay raise and shorter hours. Henry Ford develops first moving assembly line. 16th Amendment (income tax) and 17th (popular election of U.S. senators) adopted. Bill creating U.S. Federal Reserve System becomes law. Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Woodrow Wilson becomes 28th U.S. president. Armory Show introduces modern art to U.S.; Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase shocks public.1914
World War I begins: Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand and wife Sophie are assassinated; Austria declares war on Serbia, Germany on Russia and France, Britain on Germany. (For detailed chronology see, World War I.) Panama Canal officially opened. Congress sets up Federal Trade Commission, passes Clayton Antitrust Act. U.S. Marines occupy Veracruz, Mexico, intervening in civil war to protect American interests. 1915
Lusitania sunk by German submarine. Second Battle of Ypres. U.S. banks lend $500 million to France and Britain. Genocide of estimated 600,000 to 1 million Armenians by Turkish soldiers. D. W. Griffith's film Birth of a Nation. Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. 1916
Congress expands armed forces. Battle of Verdun. Battle of the Somme. Tom Mooney arrested for San Francisco bombing (pardoned in 1939). Pershing fails in raid into Mexico in quest of rebel Pancho Villa. U.S. buys Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million. President Wilson re-elected with “he kept us out of war” slogan. “Black Tom” explosion at munitions dock in Jersey City, N.J., $40,000,000 damages; traced to German saboteurs. Margaret Sanger opens first birth control clinic. Easter Rebellion in Ireland put down by British troops. Jeannette Rankin becomes first woman elected to Congress.1917
First U.S. combat troops in France as U.S. declares war on Germany (April 6). Third Battle of Ypres. Russian Revolution of 1917—climax of long unrest under czars. February Revolution—Nicholas II forced to abdicate, liberal government created. Kerensky becomes prime minister and forms provisional government (July). In October Revolution, Bolsheviks seize power in armed coup d'état led by Lenin and Trotsky. Kerensky flees. Balfour Declaration promises Jewish homeland in Palestine. U.S. declares war on Austria-Hungary (Dec. 7). Armistice between new Russian Bolshevik government and Germans (Dec. 15). Sigmund Freud's Introduction to Psychoanalysis. 1918
Russian revolutionaries execute the former czar and his family. Russian Civil War between Reds (Bolsheviks) and Whites (anti-Bolsheviks); Reds win in 1920. Allied troops (U.S., British, French) intervene (March); leave in 1919. Second Battle of the Marne (July–Aug.) German Kaiser abdicates (Nov.); hostilities cease on the Western Front. Japanese hold Vladivostok until 1922. Worldwide influenza epidemic strikes; by 1920, nearly 20 million are dead. In U.S. alone, 500,000 perish.1919
Third International (Comintern) establishes Soviet control over international Communist movements. Paris peace conference. Versailles Treaty, incorporating Woodrow Wilson's draft Covenant of League of Nations, signed by Allies and Germany; rejected by U.S. Senate. Congress formally ends war in 1921. 18th (Prohibition) Amendment adopted. Alcock and Brown make first trans-Atlantic nonstop flight. Mahatma Gandhi initiates satyagraha (“truth force”) campaigns, beginning his nonviolent resistance movement against British rule in India.
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