Bill O'Reilly History Tip of the Day

HISTORY TIP OF THE DAY

History Tip of the Day – July 19th

Cuban missile crisis begins, October 16, 1962

National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy steps into the president’s bedroom. What he is about to say could change the course of history. “There is now hard photographic evidence that the Russians have offensive missiles in Cuba.” Six Soviet medium-range missile sites and twenty-one medium-range bombers are now just ninety miles from the United States. They are capable of delivering nuclear warheads that could kill eighty million people within a matter of minutes. Millions more would die later from the radioactive fallout. American forces around the world immediately prepare for war.

History Tip of the Day – July 18th

Nancy Davis is born, July 6, 1921

Anne Frances Robbins was born in New York City. Her mother was an actress, her father a traveling salesman. After they split up when the child was six, Nancy was sent to live with a family in Maryland. A year later, her mother married a Chicago neurosurgeon named Loyal Davis, who adopted Nancy and gave her his name. She studied dramatic arts at Smith College, then went to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. She was given a contract with MGM, and made eleven feature films between 1949 and 1958.

History Tip of the Day – July 17th

Joseph Kennedy Jr. is killed, August 12, 1944

John Kennedy’s older brother, Joe, is a US Navy bomber pilot flying antisubmarine missions against the Nazis in Europe. His experimental Liberator bomber is carrying 21,000 pounds of TNT when it detonates over the English Channel. There is no body to bury. Joe was the firstborn son in a family in which great things are expected from the oldest son. His father expected him to be a politician. John is the next in line. That explosion marked the moment when John F. Kennedy became a politician and began his journey to the Oval Office.

History Tip of the Day – July 16th

Jesse James is born, September 5, 1847

He was a son of the Old South. Jesse Woodson James was born in Clay County, Missouri, an area known as “Little Dixie.” When the Civil War began, his older brother, Frank, joined the Rebels in the clothes his mother had sewn for him. Two years later, sixteen-year-old Jesse joined his brother to ride with Quantrill’s Raiders, an especially violent band of Rebel bushwhackers. The James boys followed a subdivision led by Bloody Bill Anderson, whose savagery they would put to use after the war was over. For men like the Jameses, returning to any kind of normal civilian life would prove impossible.

History Tip of the Day – July 15th

Billy the Kid is killed, July 14, 1881

Pat Garrett, sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, brings two deputies with him on a tip that the cold-blooded killer Billy the Kid has been located. They cautiously approach a hacienda and wait in the shadows. Garrett sneaks into the house and asks the owner where the outlaw is. A thin figure appears in the doorway. Garrett sees a revolver in one hand, a knife in the other. The figure in the doorway raises the gun. Garrett draws his own gun and shoots twice. The house’s owner lights a candle. On the floor is the lifeless body of Billy the Kid.

History Tip of the Day – July 14th

French President Charles de Gaulle escapes assassination, August 22, 1962

De Gaulle is virtually untouchable inside the Élysée Palace, where he lives and works. But terrorists of the Organisation de l’armée secrète, waiting in ambush in the suburb of Petit Clamart, open fire on the limousine in which de Gaulle and his wife were riding. One hundred and fifty-seven shots were fired. Fourteen bullets struck the car, puncturing two tires, but de Gaulle’s driver skillfully steered to safety. The leader of the assassination plot, Jean Bastien-Thiry, a disgruntled former air force officer, will be convicted and become the last man in France to be shot by a firing squad.

History Tip of the Day – July 13th

Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery, June 24, 1889

He was a new kind of bank robber. He treated robbing as a profession rather than as a dangerous hobby. Instead of just bursting into a place and waving guns around, he spent considerable time planning his jobs. By the time he was ready to move, he knew how he was going to get into and out of town, how many lawmen might be on the job, and how much money was in the safe. He begins his career in Telluride, Colorado, when he and other masked men steal about $20,000 from the San Miguel Valley Bank.

History Tip of the Day – July 12th

Buffalo Bill Cody gives command performance for Queen Victoria, June 20, 1887

In London, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show so impresses the Prince of Wales that he arranges a command performance for Queen Victoria. After a recreation of an Indian attack on a stagecoach, Buffalo Bill opens its door. Out steps the king of Denmark, the king of Belgium, the king of Greece, and the king of Saxony—all in London to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee—and finally, the Prince of Wales, who loudly asks Cody, “You never held four kings like these before, have you?” Cody replies, “Four kings and the Prince of Wales makes a royal flush such as no man has ever held before!”

History Tip of the Day – July 11th

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

The Japanese military knew its primary adversary might eventually be the United States. Combined Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto had long been in favor of an aerial bombardment that would destroy the “dagger pointed at our throats,” as he referred to the US fleet. The attack would happen on a Sunday morning, when most sailors would be sleeping after a night on the town. Waves of carrier-launched Japanese dive bombers would destroy America’s naval presence in the Pacific. Yamamoto knew where to find these ships. They were anchored stem to stern at a naval base in Hawaii—a place known as Pearl Harbor.

History Tip of the Day – July 10th

John Hinckley Jr. is acquitted, June 21, 1982

A jury of seven women and five men heard eight weeks of testimony from forty-one witnesses—psychiatrists, medical doctors, ballistic experts. The defense cited Hinckley’s delusions about his relationship with the actress Jodie Foster, his history of decline, and his diagnoses of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses to prove he could not be held responsible for his acts. The jury deliberated for twenty-four hours over four days before finding Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity on all thirteen counts of shooting President Reagan, James Brady, Tim McCarthy, and Thomas Delahanty. He is taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC.

History Tip of the Day – July 9th

John Kennedy Jr. dies, July 16, 1999

The image of the three-year-old saluting his father’s coffin broke hearts worldwide. John Jr. became a symbol for the tragic history of the Kennedy family. He attended college at Brown and then went on to New York University’s School of Law. In 1988, People magazine named him “The Sexiest Man Alive.” Like his mother, he was the subject of intense media scrutiny. He was piloting a small plane when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off of Martha’s Vineyard. He was thirty-eight years old. Also killed were his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren.

History Tip of the Day – July 8th

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, October 26, 1881

The most famous shootout in the Old West arose from long-simmering hostility between Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp and a loosely knit gang known as the Cowboys. The Earps had been brought to Tombstone, in the Arizona Territory, to tame the town. The Cowboys openly threatened to “clean out the Earps,” along with Wyatt’s friend Doc Holliday, if they didn’t leave town. When the Cowboys menacingly assembled at the O.K. Corral, the Earps and Holliday confronted them. “Give up your arms or throw up your arms!” Virgil shouted. Thirty shots were fired in thirty seconds. Three Cowboys were killed.

History Tip of the Day – July 7th

Billy the Kid is born, September 17, 1859

William Henry McCarty Jr.—he called himself William H. Bonney—was probably born in New York City. He was the son of Irish immigrants who came to America to escape the potato famine. His father was long gone when his mother and stepfather opened a boarding house in Silver City, New Mexico. His mother tried to raise him right: he could read well, write a legible hand, and was known to be polite and well mannered. But the New Mexico Territory was a hard place to grow up. By the time Billy was eight, he could deal monte.

History Tip of the Day – July 6th

John Hinckley Jr. is born, May 29, 1955

A twenty-eight-year-old mother of two in Ardmore, Oklahoma, is about to give birth to her third child. If the baby is a boy, he will be named after his father. Two miles across town, a modern memorial hospital is being opened to the public. The baby boy could very well have earned the honor of being the first child delivered in this state-of-the-art facility. But his mother has opted to deliver at the Hardy Sanitarium, which is closing on this very day; this will be the last baby born there. John Warnock Hinckley Jr. is born in an obsolete mental hospital.

History Tip of the Day – July 5th

President John Kennedy speaks about the missiles in Cuba, October 22, 1962

There is no day and no night in the White House as the Cuban confrontation escalates. Now Kennedy appears on national television to inform America about the missiles in Cuba—and what he plans to do about them. “The 1930s taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. . . . Our unswerving objective, therefore, must be to prevent the use of these missiles against this or any other country and to secure their withdrawal or elimination from the western hemisphere. . . . Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right.”

History Tip of the Day – July 4th

March on Washington, August 28, 1963

Two hundred and fifty thousand people strain to hear his every word. Martin Luther King Jr. stands before the huge statue in the Lincoln Memorial. It has been one hundred years since Lincoln freed the slaves, and now King is saying that black Americans are still not free. “I have a dream!” King proclaims. The crowd is in fever pitch. In the White House, President Kennedy watches King’s speech on television. John Kennedy is considered a great orator. But he turns to Bobby and passes judgment on what he has just seen: “He’s damned good.”

History Tip of the Day – July 3rd

President John Kennedy speaks in West Berlin, June 26, 1963

He is clearly the most popular and charismatic man in the world. More than a million Germans lined President Kennedy’s motorcade route in Cologne when he arrived there a week ago. Twenty million more Europeans watched him on television. And another million greeted him in West Berlin. There, to chants of “Ken-ne-DEE,” he wins over the crowd with a powerful prodemocracy speech. “All free men, wherever they live, are citizens of Berlin,” the president says. “And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, Ich bin ein Berliner.” The crowd goes wild.

History Tip of the Day – July 2nd

President Harry Truman OKs atomic program, July 24, 1945

He is the one man in the world with the power to stop the bombing of Japan, and Truman chooses not to do so. It was a fairly easy decision, despite the objections of some of the nuclear scientists at Los Alamos and even General Dwight Eisenhower, Truman’s top commander in Europe. In the end, Truman came to the conclusion that an invasion would cost too many American lives. The decision to spare the modern capital of Tokyo and the nearby port at Yokohama has made it almost inevitable that Hiroshima will be attacked first.

History Tip of the Day – July 1st

Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo is executed, December 23, 1948

Tojo, viewed worldwide as the Hitler of Japan, had been the architect of the Japanese war effort as prime minister from October 1941 until July 1944. He oversaw the surprise attacks that began the war, and issued a mandate that POWs were expendable; more than 11,000 of 27,465 Americans held in Japanese POW camps die there; of the 93,941 Americans captured by the Germans, 92,820 survived. Before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Tojo accepted full responsibility for his actions during the war. Convicted of seven counts of war crimes, he was sentenced to die by hanging.

History Tip of the Day – June 30th

Nathan Hale is hanged, September 22, 1776

British General William Howe’s troops had just settled in New York when a fire destroyed almost a quarter of the city. The British suspected arson. Among the two hundred patriots arrested in the city was the twenty-one-year-old spy Nathan Hale. No evidence was discovered that he was the arsonist, but he was convicted of espionage and sentenced to hang. At an apple orchard near 68th Street and Park Avenue, he was executed. His immortal quotation seems devolved from a message he sent Washington, quoting Joseph Addison: “What a pity it is / That we can die but once to serve our country.”

History Tip of the Day – June 29th

Battle of Brooklyn, August 26, 1776

Just before midnight the first shots are fired. The British begin a frontal assault through the Gowanus Pass. George Washington’s strategy is to meet the initial assault, then retreat to the high ground of Brooklyn Heights. But Hessian troops attack the center of Washington’s forces. The Americans find themselves trapped on three sides and outnumbered ten to one. Washington calls retreat. Watching at a distance, he remarks, “Good God, what brave fellows I must on this day lose.” The colonials suffer 360 dead and 1, 100 wounded or captured. It was a catastrophic day for the Americans.

History Tip of the Day – June 28th

Wild Bill Hickok is killed, August 2, 1876

Hickok strolls into Nuttal and Mann’s Saloon, looking for a game of poker. He sits with three men he knows, with his back to the door. Jack McCall, a gambler known as Crooked Nose Jack, had played with Hickok the night before and had gotten cleaned out. He is at the bar when Hickok enters. Suddenly he draws his Colt .45 and shouts, “Damn you! Take that!” He shoots Hickok point blank in the back of the head. Hickok had just drawn aces and eights—known ever after as “the dead man’s hand.”

History Tip of the Day – June 27th

Hiroshima is bombed, August 6, 1945

Forty-three seconds after its release, at an altitude of 1,890 feet, the bomb’s proximity fuse detonates. One-millionth of a second later, the heat on the ground below spikes to 6,000 degrees. The people of Hiroshima begin to incinerate. Death comes so quickly that nerve endings do not have time to react to pain. Three milliseconds later, the sky erupts into a fireball 300 yards wide. Day turns into night as the mushroom cloud blots out the sun. Within seconds, 70,000 people are dead. Three months later, the death toll rises to 130, 000 due to infection from burns and radiation poisoning.

History Tip of the Day – June 26th

Four girls killed in Alabama church bombing, September 15, 1963

Fewer than three weeks after America listened to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, twenty-six black children are led into the basement of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church for Sunday morning services. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan have planted a box of dynamite nearby. The explosion doesn’t just destroy the basement, but also blows out the back wall of the church. Almost all of the children survive. However, four of them—Addie Mae Collins, 14; Cynthia Wesley, 14; Carole Robertson, 14; and Denise McNair, 11—do not. Their dream has come to an end.

History Tip of the Day – June 25th

Fort Ticonderoga is captured, May 10, 1775

Strategically located between the western shores of Lake Champlain and Lake George, Fort Ticonderoga was considered “the gateway to the continent.” Moreover, the colonists heard tantalizing stories that the British kept a large amount of artillery there. General Benedict Arnold and his militia joined forces with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys to take the fort; British forces there, unaware that shots had been fired in Massachusetts, were unprepared to offer resistance. Fort Ticonderoga was taken without a single shot being fired. It was Arnold’s first victory.

History Tip of the Day – June 24th

George Armstrong Custer is born, December 5, 1839

He is born in the small town of New Rumley, Ohio. His father, a farmer and a blacksmith, belonged to the New Rumley Invincibles, the local militia, and often brought his son to their meetings. Dressed in a Daniel Boone outfit made by his mother, young George loved the ceremony of these meetings, and by the time he was four, he could execute the entire manual of arms, using a wooden stick. When war against Mexico was being debated in 1846, he stunned the corps of Invincibles by waving a small flag and declaring, “My voice for war!”

History Tip of the Day – June 23rd

President Franklin Roosevelt hears a proposal for the atomic bomb, October 12, 1939

Though a longtime friend of the President, the eminent theoretical physicist Albert Einstein felt the most effective communication to Roosevelt would be through Alexander Sachs, a Wall Street financier and one of Roosevelt’s key advisers on the New Deal. At a late-night meeting, so secret that it will not appear in the official log of presidential appointments, Sachs reads a letter from Einstein saying he and other top scientists believe that “extremely powerful bombs of a new type” can be constructed—and that Nazi Germany is racing to build such weapons. FDR immediately summons his personal secretary. “This requires action,” he orders.

History Tip of the Day – June 22nd

USS Indianapolis is sunk by a Japanese submarine, July 30, 1945

Three days ago, the USS Indianapolis had unloaded a top-secret cargo: the atomic bomb that ultimately will be dropped on Hiroshima. Now it is steaming toward the Philippines. Its captain, confident that the ship is in no imminent danger, has ordered that evasive action be abandoned in order to increase sailing speed. Thirteen miles away, the Japanese submarine I-58 detects the vessel and fires six torpedoes. Eight minutes later, the crew is ordered to abandon ship as it slowly sinks into the sea. Eight hundred of the 1,196 crew members endure five days in the Pacific Ocean before 317 of them are rescued.

History Tip of the Day – June 21st

President Richard Nixon resigns, August 9, 1974

The scandal that would bring down a president began over two years earlier, on June 1, 1972. Nixon’s reelection campaign conducted political espionage against the Democrats. Burglars attempting to plant listening devices at the Democrats’ office in the Watergate Hotel were arrested, and the operation ultimately was uncovered. Throughout 1973, the evidence that Nixon funded acts of political espionage and engaged in a cover-up grew, until the House Judiciary Committee filed three articles of impeachment against him. By August 1974, it is clear he has no other choice. After an anguished night, he signs a letter of resignation.

History Tip of the Day – June 20th

Police dogs and fire hoses used to assault civil rights marchers, May 3, 1963

More than 1,000 strong, the protestors march. Some are less than ten years old. Most are teenagers. Their goal is to experience something their parents have never known: an integrated Birmingham, Alabama. Blacks have been demonstrating for more than a month. The city’s public safety commissioner, Eugene “Bull” Connor, has ordered firefighters to use fire hoses at full strength against the marchers. Many children are swept down the streets and sidewalks. Then Connor lets loose the police dogs. A photograph of a policeman encouraging his German shepherd to take a chunk out of a black high school student creates worldwide outrage.

History Tip of the Day – June 19th

Our American Cousin premieres, October 15, 1858

Laura Keene is not only one of the country’s most famous actresses but is also the first woman in America to manage her own career and to purchase a theater. For $1,000 she bought the world rights to Our American Cousin, a three-act farce written by English playwright Tom Taylor. It became the first blockbuster play in American history. It was performed in Chicago on the same night in May 1860 that Abraham Lincoln was confirmed as the Republican nominee for the presidency. Keene is giving her thousandth performance in the play the night Lincoln is shot.

History Tip of the Day – June 18th

Constitutional Convention begins, May 25, 1787

While supposedly called to amend the Articles of Confederation, the convention agreed to draft an entirely new document, one that would constitute the laws by which the states would come together as one country. Shays’ Rebellion made obvious the need for a stronger central government. Most people were far more loyal to their states than to the union. The delegates were attempting to achieve something that had never been done before: form a central government with sufficient power to rise above the states when necessary, while making certain those states maintained their sovereignty and that individual rights were protected.

History Tip of the Day – June 17th

Japan surrenders, August 14, 1945

Japanese Emperor Hirohito transmits his agreement to the American terms of surrender to the neutral governments of Sweden and Switzerland. They are instructed to forward news of the acceptance to the leaders of the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. Then, in an act unparalleled in the history of Japan, the emperor met with technicians from Japan’s public radio network, who record him reading the letter of surrender. At the White House, President Truman announces Japan’s unconditional surrender. Outside, almost half a million Americans begin a massive street party. At long last, World War II is over.

History Tip of the Day – June 16th

Lee and Marina Oswald return to the United States, June 13, 1962

In the faraway Soviet city of Minsk, Lee Harvey Oswald has finally cleared the tangle of red tape that has prevented him from returning home, after defecting in 1959. Two years later, he had married a local girl, Marina Prusakova; the couple now has a four-month-old daughter. But Lee has been dismissed from his job at an electronics plant; the plant director thought him careless and oversensitive and lacking initiative. Their ship docks in Hoboken, New Jersey. The Oswalds take a small room in New York City’s Times Square. The plan is to stay there until they can afford to fly to Texas.

History Tip of the Day – June 15th

John Kennedy accepts Democratic presidential nomination, July 15, 1960

The forty-three-year-old patrician with the movie star good looks steps to the podium and gazes at the 80, 000 delegates in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, who are on their feet cheering loudly. Two days ago, the Democratic National Convention gave him the necessary votes to secure the presidential nomination. With many high-ranking Democrats looking on, and Kennedy celebrity backers such as Henry Fonda and Frank Sinatra joining the festivities, Kennedy now launches what will become known as the “New Frontier” speech: “The world is changing. The old order is ending. The old ways will not do.”

History Tip of the Day – June 14th

Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, October 19, 1781

British General Charles Cornwallis stumbled into a trap in Yorktown, Virginia. George Washington has surrounded Cornwallis’s army with more than seventeen thousand French and American soldiers. Any escape over land was blocked by troops led by the Marquis de Lafayette. Any attempt to flee by ship was blocked by the French fleet. On September 28, a massive and continuous bombardment began. For three weeks, day and night, infantry and naval artillery and cannon blasted the British position. Finally Cornwallis surrenders. Although the war will continue for almost two more years, the victory marks the end of major combat in America.

History Tip of the Day – June 13th

Sam Giancana dies, June 19, 1975

A Chicago mafia kingpin, Giancana shared a clandestine connection with John Kennedy—a mistress, Judith Campbell. Once the two men were so close that Giancana referred to JFK as Jack rather than Mr. President. But he became angered when Attorney General Robert Kennedy conducted anti-Mafia investigations, and vowed revenge on the Kennedy brothers. Some conspiracy theorists believe he is connected to JFK’s assassination. Before he could testify before a Senate panel about ties between the Mafia and the CIA, Giancana is shot to death in his home in Oak Park, Illinois. The killer is never caught.

History Tip of the Day – June 12th

George Washington’s farewell address is published, September 19, 1796

After serving two terms, Washington must set one more precedent: the peaceful transition of power. It was not commonplace at the time, and Washington easily could have won a third term. But he publishes in the American Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia a thirty-two-page handwritten document, “The Address of General Washington to the People of the United States on His Declining of the Presidency of the United States.” His overriding theme is unity: “The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.”

History Tip of the Day – June 11th

Jacqueline Kennedy invents the “Camelot” myth, November 29, 1963

“For Jack, history was full of heroes,” Jackie tells Theodore White of Life magazine a week after the assassination. It is during this interview that she first tells of JFK listening to the cast recording of the Broadway musical Camelot, and how he loved the show’s final lyric, “Don’t let it be forgot/That once there was a spot/For one brief shining moment/That was known as Camelot.” When White dictates his story to his editors in New York, Jackie hovers nearby. She insists that the Camelot theme be predominant. This is how she wants her husband’s presidency to be remembered.

History Tip of the Day – June 10th

United States invades Grenada, October 25, 1983

On President Reagan’s orders, American troops invade the former British colony, an island in the south Caribbean. On October 19, Marxist commandoes overthrew the government, and there are fears that the new Grenadian leaders are aligned with Fidel Castro. The Cuban dictator has long sought to spread communism throughout the Western Hemisphere. Under the pretense that the lives of eight hundred Americans attending medical school in Grenada are at risk, eight thousand American Marines, Navy SEALS, and Army Rangers invade the island. Unfortunately, Reagan has lied to the British. His advisers have told Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s foreign secretary there would be no attack.

History Tip of the Day – June 9th

PFC Andrew J. Jackson receives Medal of Honor, October 5, 1945

On the third day of the Battle of Peleliu, Jackson single-handedly attacked a cement pillbox containing thirty-five Japanese soldiers. Even as he took heavy fire, he killed every enemy inside. Spotting two other pillboxes, Jackson stormed them alone, with the same unlikely result. But Jackson was not finished. Identifying twelve hidden Japanese machine-gun nests, the nineteen-year-old soldier dashed from emplacement to emplacement, killing fifty soldiers who were shooting at him. “I felt like I was a ballplayer who had just made the winning touchdown,” Jackson will recall. He receives the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony.

History Tip of the Day – June 8th

The Iran-Contra scheme is exposed, November 3, 1986

It is the greatest crisis of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. An Iranian cleric, Mehdi Hashemi, leaked news that the United States is selling arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages throughout the Middle East. The news is published in Ash-Shiraa, a Lebanese magazine. The operation was discovered after an airlift of weapons was downed over Nicaragua. A memorandum, overlooked in a subsequent frenzy of document shredding by Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, links the Reagan administration to the illegal arms sales.

History Tip of the Day – June 7th

President Andrew Jackson signs Indian Removal Act, May 28, 1830

Jackson believed the separation of whites and Indians was the only way to ensure peace and was the most humane way of dealing with the Indian problem. The law aroused great controversy and barely passed Congress by a vote of 28 to 19 in the Senate and 101 to 97 in the House of Representatives. Congressman Davy Crockett had lived among Indians his whole life and believed they should be left in peace on their lands; he called the act “a wicked, unjust measure.” After the bill was passed, the Cherokee chief sent Crockett a letter of thanks.

History Tip of the Day – June 6th

Germany invades the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941

Using more than 3 million troops, 19 panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces, Hitler attacks the country he had asked to join the Axis powers just one month before. In his quest for world domination, Hitler saw that besides the United States and England his biggest threat was Russia in the east. In the first day, the Germans destroy or disable a thousand Russian aircraft. In only a few days, they advance 300 miles into Russia. By December, the Germans are 20 miles from the Kremlin, but the onset of winter and fresh Russian troops from Siberia stall their advance.

History Tip of the Day – June 5th

Lee Harvey Oswald is shot to death, November 24, 1963

An impromptu midnight press conference at Dallas police headquarters was surreal. Reporters were allowed to crowd a handcuffed Oswald. Jack Ruby, the fifty-two-year-old owner of a strip club, works his way in. A loaded Colt Cobra .38 is in his suit pocket. Oswald is led through the basement, his right arm handcuffed to a detective. Suddenly Ruby emerges from the crowd. Known to policemen and reporters, he has no trouble, even though there is no reason for him to be there. He aims his gun at Oswald’s abdomen, and fires one shot. Forty-eight hours and seven minutes after Kennedy’s death, Oswald also dies.

History Tip of the Day – June 4th

John Kennedy’s funeral, November 25, 1963

An estimated 180 million people around the world watch the televised services at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Nineteen heads of state and three reigning monarchs attend. After the service, the casket is mounted on a caisson, a military cart. Jackie Kennedy and her children, Caroline and John Jr., stand as it passes. Mrs. Kennedy whispers to her son. The three-year-old then salutes as the casket passes by. The final procession to Arlington National Cemetery is miles long. As a final gesture, Jackie bends to light an eternal flame that will mark the grave site.

History Tip of the Day – June 3rd

George Washington retreats to Valley Forge, December 19, 1777

After defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, the battered remnants of George Washington’s army settle in for a long, cold winter at Valley Forge, a strong defensive position on the Schuylkill River. When the twelve-thousand-man army makes camp, they are short of every conceivable provision, including, food, clothing, and medicine. Two out of three soldiers lack shoes. Many of the men have to subsist on a mixture of flour and water. There is little shelter from the cold and wet. But Washington’s army becomes a tougher, more resilient, properly trained, and motivated force. The colonial troops are now ready to take the fight to the enemy.

History Tip of the Day – June 2nd

George Washington bids farewell to his officers, December 4, 1783

Resigning his commission, Washington invites his officers to meet with him one final time at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. These were the men with whom he had fought through the hardest winters and the bloodiest battles. “With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” Every officer in the room marches up and silently embraces his commander in chief.

History Tip of the Day – June 1st

James-Younger Gang is repelled in Minnesota, September 7, 1876

The gang made a fatal decision when it decided to move north for its next caper, far from its usual friendly surroundings, to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota. It was a small town; from the moment the robbers rode into town, they attracted suspicion. The robbery went wrong from the beginning. When the cashier refused to open the safe, he was killed. Townspeople reached for their long guns and started firing while the robbers were still in the bank. Two members of the gang were killed; everyone else was injured. It was the last robbery for the James-Younger Gang.

History Tip of the Day – May 31st

“The Buck Stops Here,” October 2, 1945

President Harry S. Truman receives his famous desk placard from his friend Fred A. Canfil, then US marshal for the Western District of Missouri. Canfil saw a similar sign while visiting the Federal Reformatory at El Reno, Oklahoma, and asked the warden to duplicate it. The two-and-a-half by thirteen-inch sign was mounted on a walnut base, and was imprinted with “I’m From Missouri” on the reverse, seen only by Truman. The phrase derives from games of poker played on the frontier, in which a buckhorn knife was passed around the table, indicating who was dealer.

History Tip of the Day – May 30th

Japan’s surrender is signed on USS Missouri, September 2, 1945

The two thousand crew members literally hang off of gun turrets and other parts of the ship to witness this moment of history. None of the eleven Japanese diplomats and military officers wants to be there, fearing the humiliation will stick to them permanently. They advance at the invitation of General Douglas MacArthur to sign the Instrument of Surrender. Two copies lie on the table, leather-bound for the Americans and canvas-coated for the Japanese. As the Japanese depart, a massive formation of American aircraft fly overhead. Looking up, they receive a dramatic message: the Americans are now your masters.

History Tip of the Day – May 29th

Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773

To save the financially troubled East India Tea Company, Parliament had passed the Tea Act, which granted the company and its distributors exclusive rights to America. The colonists were furious, even though the tax lowered the price of tea. But by paying that lesser price, they would be accepting Parliament’s right to tax them. As thousands of people watch from the dock, about 116 men, disguised as Indians, board 3 ships, smash all of the 114 chests of tea on each, and empty the cargo into the water. The financial loss is equivalent to more than a million dollars.

History Tip of the Day – May 28th

President Reagan denies Iran-Contra scheme, November 13, 1986

An Iranian cleric leaked news that the United States was selling arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages throughout the Middle East. Faced with the embarrassing report, Reagan appears live on national television and claims that his administration has sold “small amounts of defensive weapons and spare parts” to Iran. But he denies any knowledge of trading arms for hostages. “We did not—repeat—did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages—nor will we.” But the people do not believe him. In a poll taken shortly afterward, 62 percent of Americans correctly believe that Reagan is lying.

History Tip of the Day – May 27th

US Navy begins aerial attacks on Japan, July 10, 1945

Taking advantage of newly opened airfields on Okinawa, naval aviators start flying hundreds of sorties a day. Their bombs destroy Japan’s shipping, railways, and limited aerial defenses. Instead of the B-29s that drop their payloads from thousands of feet in the air, many aviators fly so low that the Japanese people actually duck as the fighter-bombers thunder overhead. Often they can clearly see the pilots’ faces. American power is slowly crushing Japan’s national morale. Yet the populace is being ordered to fight to the death. Many households have been issued sharpened sticks and are expected to use them when the Americans invade.

History Tip of the Day – May 26th

General George S. Patton rouses the US Third Army, June 5, 1944

Patton was renowned for his stirring, vigorously vulgar remarks to his troops. What became known as “The Speech,” was later made memorable in the movie Patton.

“Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. . . . My men don’t surrender. . . . I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. . . . Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose! . . . There is one great thing you will be able to say when this war is over. Twenty years from now when your grandson asks what you did in the great World War II, you can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!’”

History Tip of the Day – May 25th

Klamath Lake Massacre, May 11, 1846

John C. Frémont’s third expedition left St. Louis in 1845 and made its way to Klamath, Oregon. As the party slept, Indians crept into the camp and killed Kit Carson’s friend Basil Lajeunesse with a single hatchet blow to the head. Two other of Frémont’s men are also killed. Carson leads a retaliatory attack on a Klamath tribe fishing village where 150 braves live. By the end of the day, most of the Indians had been killed and the village burned to the ground. Later it was discovered that the tribe probably had not been involved in the initial attack.

History Tip of the Day – May 24th

John Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, November 22, 1963

From his sixth-floor sniper’s lair in the Texas Book Depository, Lee Harvey Oswald sees John F. Kennedy for the first time. He quickly sights his Italian carbine and takes aim. He gently squeezes the trigger, and even as he feels the recoil kick the rifle hard against his shoulder, he smoothly pulls back the bolt to chamber another round. Oswald fires again. Approximately 8.4 seconds after he fires the first shot, Oswald pulls the trigger a third time. Then he bolts. He drops the gun, and runs down the stairs. Sixty seconds later, the twenty-four-year-old assassin walks out into the sunshine.

History Tip of the Day – May 23rd

Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns, October 10, 1973

He was accused of taking bribes and kickbacks from contractors during his time as governor of Maryland from 1967 to 1969, a practice that continued when he assumed the vice presidency in 1969. Agnew was ultimately accused of tax evasion, conspiracy, bribery, and tax fraud. However, he plea-bargained those charges down to just one: income tax evasion, to which he pleaded no contest. The terms of this deal included three years’ probation and resignation from the office of vice president of the United States. Agnew never spoke to Richard Nixon again after he left office.

History Tip of the Day – May 22nd

Annie Oakley marries Frank Butler, August 23, 1876

Born in a rural Ohio cabin in 1860, Phoebe Ann Mosey often said, “I was eight years old when I made my first shot.” When she was a very young woman an enterprising Cincinnati hotel owner arranged a hundred-dollar betting match between her and Frank E. Butler, owner of a traveling marksman show. They matched each other for twenty-four shots; Butler missed the twenty-fifth. Within a year, she had become the star of Butler’s show. Butler also fell in love and marries the girl, who adopted the name Oakley from the Cincinnati neighborhood where she briefly lived with him.

History Tip of the Day – May 21st

John Frémont and Kit Carson set out West, June 10, 1842

On a Missouri River steamboat, Kit Carson met Lieutenant John C. Frémont of the Army Corps of Engineers, who coincidentally was looking to hire an experienced guide to lead him to Wyoming, where he was to survey the South Pass, the most popular route across the Continental Divide. “I have been some time in the mountains and I think I can guide you to any point there you wish to reach,” Carson told him. With twenty-six men, the two set out from St. Louis on the journey that would make Carson and Frémont national heroes.

History Tip of the Day – May 20th

Kit Carson is born, December 24, 1809

Christopher Carson was born in Madison County, Kentucky, the eleventh of fifteen children. His father was a celebrated hunter and farmer who had fought in the Revolution. Within a year of Kit’s birth, the family moves to the frontier settlement of Cooper’s Fort in Boonslick County, Missouri. This was considered the edge of civilization. It took great skill and daunting courage to survive. Those who took the risk were the mountain men, the trappers, the explorers, and the soldiers who went into the unknown. Carson became a man of that wilderness, learning how to track and shoot, and, when necessary, fight Indians.

History Tip of the Day – May 19th

Pulaski is killed, October 11, 1779

The Polish aristocrat Kazimierz Pulaski was a fighting soldier, a skilled horseman who earned great respect for leading cavalry into battle. Congress appointed him brigadier general in charge of the Continental Army’s four horse regiments. “The Father of the American Cavalry,” as he became known, created the country’s first trained cavalry corps, the Pulaski Legion. During the Siege of Savannah, Pulaski is struck by grapeshot while leading a full-scale charge into British fortifications. Pulaski becomes one of the few European officers to lose his life in the American Revolution.

History Tip of the Day – May 18th

Adlai Stevenson assaulted in Dallas, October 24, 1963

Dallas is a city that does not trust outsiders or their political views—particularly those of liberal Yankees. Texas is definitely not Adlai Stevenson country, even though a big crowd is seated in the Memorial Auditorium for United Nations Day. But as the sixty-three-year-old Stevenson tries to speak, he is heckled and booed. One man races to the podium and spits in Stevenson’s face. As he tries to leave, more protestors block his path and jeer at him. One woman strikes him with her picket sign. The many negative reports President Kennedy is getting about Dallas are being confirmed.

History Tip of the Day – May 17th

William Jennings Bryan gives “Cross of Gold” speech, July 9, 1896

Bryan was a thirty-six-year-old former congressman from Nebraska when he gave an address at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago advocating the use of silver coinage to increase American prosperity. Bryan’s oration was so powerful—“You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”—that the audience screamed in agreement, waving hats and canes. Some audience members threw their coats in the air. The speech was so effective that Bryan won the nomination. He lost the general election to William McKinley.

History Tip of the Day – May 16th

Nuremberg Trials begin, November 20, 1945

Twenty of Nazi Germany’s most brutal leaders sit in the dock in Courtroom 600 in the Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, Germany. Eight judges, two each from the United States, Britain, Russia, and France, form an International Military Tribunal that weighs charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace. Of the twenty-four defendants ultimately tried at Nuremberg, twelve will be sentenced to death by hanging, seven will receive prison sentences, and three will be acquitted. One was declared medically unfit for trial and another committed suicide before the trial began. Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, was tried and sentenced to death in absentia.

History Tip of the Day – May 15th

Octavian and Marc Antony triumph at Philippi, October 23, 42 BC

Two powerful armies, consisting of more than three dozen legions and 200, 000 men combined, face each other across a flat plain in Macedonia (present-day Greece). When it is done, the second and decisive encounter between Octavian and Marc Antony, and Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus, will end with thousands upon thousands of dead bodies. Cassius and Brutus both commit suicide when their forces are defeated. Octavian and Marc Antony are victors. But there can only be one ruler of this new empire. For the next decade, these two men will wage a long and bitter war for total control of Rome.

History Tip of the Day – May 14th

Constitutional Convention ends, September 17, 1787

The Constitutional Convention kept its proceedings completely secret, to prevent outside pressure from being brought upon the delegates. None of its debates were printed or communicated. The doors and windows were closed, and few notes were taken. Citizens waited eagerly to learn what kind of government the convention would propose. Some expected George Washington to emerge as the first king of America. As Benjamin Franklin emerges from Independence Hall, he is asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a monarchy or a republic?” Franklin barely hesitates before responding, “A republic, if you can keep it!”

History Tip of the Day – May 13th

“You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, November 7,” 1962

Richard Nixon has just lost an election for governor of California, an election he assumed he would win easily. The governorship was meant to be a job that would keep Nixon in the public eye until he could run again for president. Now Nixon faces the harsh reality that he is finished. He looks at the reporters assembled before him. The forty-nine-year-old Nixon believes the media to be his enemy. “I will leave you gentlemen now,” Nixon says. “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Fifty-nine seconds. That’s all it takes.

History Tip of the Day – May 12th

John Kennedy rescues PT-109 shipmates, August 2, 1943

A Japanese destroyer plows through US Navy Patrol Torpedo Boat 109. The boat explodes and burns. Two crewmembers are killed instantly. The eleven survivors float in the Pacific Ocean, waiting for capture by the Japanese or death by shark attack. The boat’s commander, twenty-six-year-old Lieutenant John Kennedy, orders them to swim to nearby Plum Pudding Island. He himself tows a badly burned crewmember the five hours it takes to reach land. The men survive on coconuts for six days until they are rescued. As president, Kennedy keeps a coconut as a paperweight on his desk.

History Tip of the Day – May 11th

Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775

Even after the colonial successes at Lexington and Concord, British generals could not believe that this untrained, underequipped, undisciplined army was a match for the well-supplied, superbly trained, and highly disciplined British regulars. After receiving 6,000 reinforcements, they intend to smash the upstart army and put a quick end to the rebellion. They attack colonists in Charlestown, Massachusetts, prevailing only after the patriots ran out of ammunition. The British lose 260 soldiers; 828 are wounded. The colonists suffer 140 deaths, with 300 wounded. The battle would be the bloodiest of the war. The skill of the patriots shook the British resolve.

History Tip of the Day – May 10th

George Armstrong Custer defeats Confederates at Two Taverns, July 1, 1863

It was at Gettysburg that Custer became nationally famous. At twenty-three, he is the youngest general in the army. When Confederate general Jeb Stuart attempts to flank the Union’s line and attack from the rear, he finds Custer waiting for him at a place called Two Taverns. Seven hundred men fight in close quarters. In the middle of it all was Custer. His ability to avoid being wounded will become known as “Custer’s Luck.” When Stuart is forced to withdraw, it is the first time his cavalry has been stopped.

History Tip of the Day – May 9th

Daniel Boone dies, September 26, 1820

In spirit as well as fact, Daniel Boone never really left the wilderness. He continued to hunt and fish into his older years; there is some evidence he went hunting up the Missouri all the way to Yellowstone in his eighty-first year. He spent the last years of his life living in a stone house on the land originally given to Boone by the Spanish in the town of Boonslick, Missouri. In 1820, secure in his status as an American hero, he said simply, “My time has come,” and died. He was two-and-a-half months short of his eighty-sixth birthday.

History Tip of the Day – May 8th

Berlin Wall is built, August 13, 1961

The Soviet Union erects an 87-mile-long wall through the heart of Berlin, Germany. The wall separates the Soviet-controlled sector from the rest of the city, which is controlled by the Western Allies. The barrier is not meant to keep people out, but to imprison the citizens of Communist East Germany. The wall is in two sections, separated by 180 meters of open ground. The space was mined, contained trip-wired machine guns, and was patrolled by guard dogs. Watch towers overlooked this no-man’s-land, and East German soldiers shot on sight anyone trying to escape to West Berlin.

History Tip of the Day – May 7th

Battle of Peleliu begins, September 15, 1944

The battle is crucial to the recapture of the Philippines and the drive toward Japan’s home islands because of Peleliu’s airstrip, capable of launching long-range bombers. The American commander predicts a quick and easy battle. But the Japanese commander engages in a protracted defensive battle to wear down the Americans. To the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army, surrender is a form of dishonor. The island is just six miles long and two miles wide, but the battle that was supposed to last just four days will take twelve weeks. Forty percent of the 28,000 American troops involved were killed or wounded.

History Tip of the Day – May 6th

Declaration of Independence receives its first public reading, July 8, 1776

After the Second Continental Congress approved it, an estimated two hundred copies of the Declaration of Independence, bearing only the names of John Hancock and Charles Thomson, the congress’s secretary, were printed and distributed to the colonies. Because signing the declaration was an act of treason, punishable by hanging, the names of the fifty-six delegates were kept secret until the next year. In the yard of Independence Hall, the Philadelphia financier John Nixon gives the Declaration its first public reading. George Washington ordered it read to his troops in Bowling Green the next day.

History Tip of the Day – May 5th

George H. W. Bush’s eight-hour presidency, July 13, 1985

The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that if “the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the vice president shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president.” This morning President Reagan undergoes a colonoscopy. He signs a document handing the presidency over to Vice President George H. W. Bush. For eight hours, the vice president runs the country, but cedes power back to Reagan as soon as the president emerges from the anesthesia.

History Tip of the Day – May 4th

Cuban missile crisis ends, October 28, 1962

The prospect of nuclear war has never been greater. President Kennedy has imposed a blockade to prevent any Soviet vessel from entering Cuban waters. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev sees that the American president is ready to conduct a nuclear war if pushed to the limit. Yes, the United States will be gone forever. But so will the Soviet Union. And so, a commentator for Radio Moscow states that the Soviets choose to “dismantle the arms . . . and to crate and return them to Soviet Russia.” After twelve long days the Cuban missile crisis is over.

History Tip of the Day – May 3rd

George S. Patton dies, December 21, 1945

He is paralyzed from the neck down. Bones in his spine were dislocated when his car collided with an army truck full of drunken joyriding soldiers. Patton’s number-three cervical vertebra was shattered, badly bruising his spinal cord. Suddenly Patton wakes up. His dark blue eyes flicker back and forth, searching for his wife, Beatrice. There she is. Patton gazes intently at his wife. “It’s so dark,” he says. “So late.” He closes his eyes and falls back. The general whom Nazi Germany feared more than any other is dead, seven weeks after his sixtieth birthday.

History Tip of the Day – May 2nd

Winston Churchill is born, November 30, 1874

He is the son of the legendary Randolph Churchill, a dynamic British statesman who died in 1895 at the age of forty-five, never having fulfilled his goal of becoming prime minister. Winston was in a self-described political wilderness for much of his career, and was considered out of touch with political reality, thanks to his criticism of Nazi Germany in the 1930s when few British politicians were bothered by the rise of Hitler. Once Churchill became prime minister in 1940, at the height of the Nazi threat, he inspired the British people with fearless radio speeches that offered them hope at a time when they had none.

History Tip of the Day – May 1st

Harry S. Truman is nominated for vice president, July 21, 1944

Truman and Franklin Roosevelt barely know each other, and the president clearly has no interest in asking Truman’s advice about running the country. It is also widely known that Truman did not campaign for the job. Foreseeing his own death, FDR had sought to replace his current vice president, Henry Wallace. Roosevelt studied several dossiers before settling on Truman. When the ballots were cast at the Democratic National Convention, Truman garnered 90 percent of the vote. Wallace received just 9 percent.

History Tip of the Day – April 30th

Japan war crimes trial begins, May 3, 1946

Formal war crimes indictments are read at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in a Tokyo courtroom. Twenty-five of the twenty-eight men charged with Class A war crimes will be convicted; seven of them will be sentenced to death. Sixteen others receive life sentences. In other tribunals, 4,300 Japanese soldiers will be found guilty of rape, abuse of prisoners of war, and murder. One thousand of these men will be sentenced to death, the rest given life imprisonment, although many of these sentences will be commuted.

History Tip of the Day – April 29th

Atomic bomb tested, July 16, 1945

A summer storm delays the test until 5:25 a.m. A tremendous light fills the sky, a brightness so intense that those who see it will talk about it for the rest of their lives. A fireball shoots to a height of 40,000 feet, then a purple cloud radiates heat that can be felt miles away. One hundred seconds later, an enormous boom erupts as a shock wave follows the explosion, so powerful that windows shatter 180 miles away. For a quarter mile around the blast site the earth is scorched black. The extreme heat melts the sand into green glass.

History Tip of the Day – April 28th

Drew Pearson reports Patton’s slapping incidents, November 21, 1943

During one week in August 1943, Patton assaulted two soldiers in field hospitals during his Italian campaign. Both victims were suffering shellshock. Patton slapped them and called them cowards.

Word of the incidents soon reaches Eisenhower, who upbraids Patton: “I must so seriously question your good judgment and your self-discipline as to raise serious doubts in my mind as to your future usefulness.” But that is to be the end of it. Eisenhower needs Patton’s tactical genius. However, despite Eisenhower’s best attempts at cover-up, the story is leaked to the press. NBC radio correspondent Drew Pearson announces the story to the nation. Public outrage leads Congress to call for Patton’s immediate dismissal.

History Tip of the Day – April 27th

Red Ball Express is founded, August 21, 1944

As General George S. Patton planned his march through France and then on to Germany, an essential element was the establishment of a trucking operation to move food, fuel, ammunition, replacement clothing, and medicine. The Red Ball Express (“red ball” referred to the railroad symbol for express freight) delivered 412,193 tons of supplies before it was disbanded in November. Nearly 75 percent of the drivers were African American. Many of them went on to help Patton and his Third Army in the Battle of the Bulge.

History Tip of the Day – April 26th

Commission named to investigate Iran-Contra scheme, December 1, 1986

Attorney General Edwin Meese has told President Reagan that he faces impeachment if he does not publicly acknowledge that the United States sold arms to Iran. Reagan was stunned but admitted nothing. Instead, he convenes a presidential commission to investigate Iran-Contra. Its chairman is John Tower, a former Republican senator from Texas. Other members include former secretary of state Edmund Muskie and former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft. The Tower Commission is the first presidential commission to review and evaluate the National Security Council.

History Tip of the Day – April 25th

South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated, November 2, 1963

A US-backed coup has overthrown the Diem government. Diem and his brother sneaked out of the presidential palace, literally running for their lives. The brothers, having taken refuge in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, have been recognized and are waiting to be arrested and deported from the country. Diem has readied himself by stuffing a briefcase with US banknotes. Vietnamese soldiers tie the hands of the Diem brothers and transport them to a railroad crossing. One of the soldiers then calmly places his finger on the trigger of his semiautomatic weapon and fires a bullet into the back of President Diem’s skull.

History Tip of the Day – April 24th

Buddhist priest self-immolates in South Vietnam, June 11, 1963

South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem’s great desire is to convert his country to Catholicism, and vital to that effort is the systematic subjugation of the country’s Buddhist majority. His forces have even fired upon unarmed Buddhist protestors. Now, a seventy-three-year-old Buddhist monk, Thích Quang Duc, sits on a crowded Saigon thoroughfare. He assumes the lotus position, while a fellow protestor pours five gallons of gasoline over his head. He has chosen to protest the government crackdown by burning himself to death. It is the beginning of the end for those who hold power in Saigon.

History Tip of the Day – April 23rd

Daniel Boone sets out for Texas, November 1, 1835

Dressed in his hunting suit and wearing a coonskin cap, he gives his rifle, Old Betsy, to his son John Wesley, and, following the trail blazed by his friend Sam Houston, sets out for Texas with three friends. His opposition to Andrew Jackson has cost him his seat in Congress, and during the campaign, he several times had promised to move to Texas if defeated. He had learned that the Texas provisional government was offering 4, 600 acres of land to anyone promising to fight for Texas’s freedom. His military assignment leads him to the Alamo.

History Tip of the Day – April 22nd

Kościuszko is commissioned as colonel of engineers, October 18, 1776

To an army lacking just about every form of military expertise, the arrival of the Polish military engineer Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko proved incredibly fortuitous. Among his other accomplishments, he designed an almost impregnable array of battlements at Bemis Heights, overlooking the Hudson River, that allowed the Continental Army to repulse several British attacks and led directly to the surrender of British General John Burgoyne. He also designed the fortification at West Point that Benedict Arnold sold to the British. At the end of the war Congress promoted him to brigadier general.

History Tip of the Day – April 21st

Marilyn Monroe dies, August 5, 1962

She lies naked, facedown on her bed. She is dead. The Los Angeles coroner will later conclude that the actress died from an overdose of barbiturates. Yet her stomach is almost completely empty, with no residue whatsoever. Mafia lore suggests that Chicago mafioso Sam Giancana conspired to have Marilyn Monroe killed as revenge for Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s ongoing investigations into organized crime. Monroe phoned Bobby several times in 1962, distraught over the end of her affair with President Kennedy. However, any involvement by Bobby Kennedy, whether it was suicide or murder, is a conspiracy theory without substance.

History Tip of the Day – April 20th

George S. Patton is born, November 11, 1885

He is descended from a Civil War Confederate colonel and has himself been in the military since graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1909. Soon after, he fought in Mexico against Pancho Villa. He then fought in the First World War. Patton was the very first officer ever assigned to the US Army tank corps, and is renowned for his tactical brilliance on the battlefield. He lives by the words of Napoleon: “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace”—“Audacity, audacity, always audacity.”

History Tip of the Day – April 19th

President John Kennedy meets with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, June 4, 1961

In the early days of Kennedy’s presidency, shortly after the Bay of Pigs incident, he and the Soviet premier Khrushchev held a summit meeting in Vienna. Khrushchev tried to bully his younger adversary on the subject of West Berlin, hoping to take control of the entire city because more and more citizens of Soviet-controlled East Berlin were risking their lives in the name of freedom by escaping to the adjacent territory, controlled by the United States and its World War II allies. Kennedy refused to back down, and a chastened Khrushchev began construction of the Berlin Wall to save face.

History Tip of the Day – April 18th

Potsdam Conference begins, July 17, 1945

It is the first time that the new Big Three, of Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, are meeting since the death of Franklin Roosevelt. Though the agenda is the administration of post-war Germany, Truman wants a private word with Stalin. “We have developed a new bomb far more destructive than any known bomb,” Truman says. Stalin’s face is impassive. He knows all about the atomic bomb, thanks to his extensive global intelligence network. “I’m glad to hear it,” the Russian responds. “I hope you make good use of it against the Japanese.”

History Tip of the Day – April 17th

General Douglas MacArthur arrives in Japan, August 30, 1945

The supreme commander has arrived. MacArthur will not only lead the occupation forces, but will be virtual dictator. There is no guarantee MacArthur’s transition to power will be smooth. Never before has Japan been profaned by a foreign conqueror’s boot. Thus, his staff is jumpy as they step off MacArthur’s personal airplane. Each man wears a stiffly pressed khaki uniform, but no sidearm, on MacArthur’s order. “Nothing will impress them like a show of absolute fearlessness.” He places his field marshal cap on his head, lights his corncob pipe, and steps down the ramp. It is just as he anticipated.

History Tip of the Day – April 16th

Davy Crockett is born, August 17, 1786

David Crockett, as he liked to be called, was a true child of the frontier. He was born near the Nolichucky River in Tennessee. As did all children growing up on the frontier, he learned how to track, hunt, and shoot fast and straight, and was always comfortable in the backwoods. When Davy was twelve years old he was leased out to settle his father’s debts, tending cattle on a four-hundred-mile cattle drive. When he returned, he was enrolled in school but took off after four days. His real knowledge came from practical lessons on how to survive on his own.

History Tip of the Day – April 15th

John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators are executed, July 7, 1865

The trial began on May 10, and 366 witnesses were called before it was over seven weeks later. From the beginning, the public viewed all the conspirators as clearly criminals. After deliberating for three days, the jury finds all eight defendants guilty. Four are sentenced to death. They are marched to a ten-foot-high gallows, with freshly dug graves beneath. They are seated in chairs, their hands and arms tied to their bodies. The death sentences are read in alphabetical order: George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Powell, and Mary Surratt, the first and only woman hanged by the United States government.

History Tip of the Day – April 14th

Marilyn Monroe serenades President John Kennedy, May 19, 1962

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” Marilyn Monroe stands before a dazzled crowd in New York’s Madison Square Garden for President Kennedy’s birthday gala. She sings the traditional song in the most salacious manner possible. Her skintight dress leaves little to the imagination. Two months before, she had spent two days with Kennedy in Palm Springs, but he suspects that she has visions of moving into the White House soon. Now she is desperately trying to rekindle that romance. She has become so obsessed with JFK that she calls the White House constantly, but the president has moved on.

History Tip of the Day – April 13th

Natasha Alliluyeva, November 9, Stalin’s second wife, dies, 1932

Natasha was twenty-three years younger than Stalin, a second wife to replace the one who had died from typhus. She simply went to bed one night and did not come down for breakfast in the morning. A maid found her alone in the bedroom, dead from a pistol shot. A suicide note was visible on the nightstand. The suicide was her final protest against Stalin’s nonstop cruelty and philandering, the bitter end to fourteen years of abuse and neglect. She is thirty-one-years old.

History Tip of the Day – April 12th

John Wilkes Booth is born, May 10, 1838

Booth was one of eight children born to his flamboyant actor father, Junius Brutus Booth, a rogue if ever there was one. He abandoned his first wife and two children in England and fled to America with an eighteen-year-old London girl, who became John Wilkes’s mother. The young Booth was often lost in the confusion of the chaotic household. He nurtures a deep hatred for his father and the nation’s father figure, Abraham Lincoln. Booth was jealous of his father, an accomplished actor who never acknowledged his son’s talent. Booth’s paternal loathing was transferred to the president.

History Tip of the Day – April 11th

George S. Patton marries Beatrice Ayer, May 26, 1910

Beatrice was a remarkable woman, capable of making conversation in German, French, Spanish, and Italian. She wrote a book and had a passion for music and drama. Her ferocious passion for her husband was such that, on one occasion, she physically attacked an officer who had disparaged her beloved Georgie. Patton had to pry her off the man when she knocked him down and was banging his head on the floor. She and Patton were married thirty-five years, enduring countless separations as he waged war in Mexico, Africa, France, and Germany. After Patton’s death, she never remarried, and died eight years after him.

History Tip of the Day – April 10th

Baron von Steuben arrives in America, December 1, 1777

The forty-seven-year-old Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben arrives with more than three decades of military experience in the Prussian army. He joins General George Washington at Valley Forge and offers his services in exchange for his expenses. The Continental Army was in shambles. The troops didn’t even know how to march in formation. Steuben, almost single-handedly, brought professionalism to a willing but untrained assembly of militias; he created the prototype of the tough drill sergeant. His drill manual, called “The Blue Book,” has remained the foundation of the American military for more than two centuries.

History Tip of the Day – April 9th

Fénykövi elephant is shot, November 12, 1955

In 1954, big-game hunter Joseph Fénykövi spotted an unbelievably huge elephant track by the muddy shore of a lake in the jungles of Angola. It measured three feet—a foot bigger than the largest elephant trophy recorded to date. Fénykövi returned to Angola the next year and, finding a similar track, discovered the elephant with another large bull. “The smaller was an enormous beast, but my elephant was beyond my imagination. A real monster,” Fénykövi recalled. He presents the preserved elephant to the Smithsonian on March 6, 1959, where a team of taxidermists labor for sixteen months to prepare it for display.

History Tip of the Day – April 8th

British Major John André is executed, October 2, 1780

Benedict Arnold’s contact in his plot to surrender the colonial fort at West Point to the British in exchange for £20,000 (the equivalent of $3.5 million), André was apprehended by three colonial militia men, who discovered six pages of maps, diagrams, and notes hidden in his boot. While only one of them could read, they all certainly could recognize the plans for West Point. A board of colonial officers convicted André of espionage. George Washington offered to spare his life in exchange for Arnold, but the British refused. André’s remains now rest in the Hero’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.

History Tip of the Day – April 7th

Wild Bill Hickok is born, May 27, 1837

James Butler Hickok was born in the frontier town of Homer, Illinois. His parents, William Alonzo and Polly Butler Hickok, were abolitionists who risked their lives by turning their home into a station on the Underground Railroad. The Hickok family often hid slaves in cubbyholes dug out under their floorboards and, when necessary, carried them to the next station in their wagon. It was said that the Hickoks provided for dozens, maybe hundreds, of escaping slaves. As a teenager, James rode with the Jayhawks, an antislavery militia fighting in the Kansas Territory.

History Tip of the Day – April 6th

Battle of the Bulge begins, December 16, 1944

German artillery crews have been awake for hours, waiting for this moment. Someday they will tell their grandchildren about the great instant when they turned the tide of war in favor of the Fatherland, once and for all, with 406,000 men; 1,214 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns; and 4,224 pieces of artillery in the initial assault. Once the surprise attack splits the American and British armies, Hitler can sue for peace and prevent invasion into Germany. He calls the offensive Operation Watch on the Rhine. The world will know it as the Battle of the Bulge.

History Tip of the Day – April 5th

Japanese emperor Hirohito OKs Pacific War, November 2, 1941

The Japanese military came up with an audacious plan: it would invade every nation, island, and colony in the western Pacific that could offer Japan natural resources. The scope of this outrageous design would catch the rest of the world flat-footed. Japanese generals hoped the element of surprise would guarantee total victory. Emperor Hirohito chose a distinguished army general, Hideki Tojo, as prime minister. Though the emperor wavered for months to expand Japan’s war with China, through Tojo’s careful ministrations, Hirohito finally agreed it was time to complete Japan’s war of conquest. There was one stumbling block: the United States Navy.

History Tip of the Day – April 4th

John Kennedy’s baby son is born, August 7, 1963

Only a few weeks from full-term delivery, Jacqueline Kennedy suddenly feels sharp pains in her abdomen. After she is rushed to the hospital, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy is born through caesarean section at four pounds, ten and a half ounces. He is immediately placed in an incubator; his chest wall is retracted and his skin has a bluish pallor. President Kennedy rushes to be with his wife and child. Two days later, he stares helplessly as the small body of his son gasps for air. He holds young Patrick’s hand as the child breathes his last. “He put up such a fight,” the president says.

History Tip of the Day – April 3

Robert Kennedy is assassinated, June 6, 1968

Shortly after midnight, he briskly strides through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, on his way to meet the press. Bobby Kennedy is triumphant. He has just won the California Democratic primary. The incumbent, Lyndon Johnson, announced two months ago that he would not seek reelection. At the age of forty-two, Kennedy appears just five months away from being elected president. Suddenly shots ring out. A single bullet has passed through Kennedy’s brain. Two other bullets pierce his upper torso. After twenty-six hours, he loses his fight for his life.

History Tip of the Day – April 2

Tehran Conference begins, November 28, 1943

This is the first meeting of the Big Three—Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill—in which it was decided that the Americans and British would open a second front in Europe. This strategy was designed to take the pressure off the Russians, who had been battling the Nazis on Soviet soil for more than two years, at the cost of more than twenty million Soviet soldiers and citizens dead, wounded, or missing. The meeting was held at the Soviet embassy in Iran.

History Tip of the Day – April 1

American colonies declare independence, July 2, 1776

Nearly a month earlier Richard Henry Lee had offered to the Second Continental Congress a resolution officially declaring the colonies to be independent from Great Britain. The vote had been postponed, but a committee had been named to write a Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson’s draft had been delivered four days before, and debated for two days. Now the Lee Resolution is up for a vote. With twelve yeas and one abstention, from New York, the thirteen colonies unite to proclaim themselves independent. John Adams writes that the day “will be the most memorable Epocha in the history of America.”

History Tip of the Day – March 31

German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel dies, October 14, 1944

In the wake of a failed assassination plot, Hitler’s brutal reprisal resulted in the arrests of more than 7,000 people and the execution of nearly 5,000 of them—including his favorite general, Erwin Rommel.

Rommel knew of the assassination plot in advance, but said nothing. By proxy, this makes him guilty. Because of his extraordinary service to the Third Reich, Rommel is offered the option of swallowing a cyanide pill rather than going through a public trial. SS troopers drive Rommel to a forest clearing. He never gets out of the car. He is handed the suicide pill. Fifteen minutes later, the general whom the Allied leaders respected for his intelligence and military trade craft and considered their true opponent is dead.

History Tip of the Day – March 30th

Virginia Convention declares independence, May 15, 1776

As the Second Continental Congress debated if the colonies should declare independence, the Fifth Virginia Convention, the patriot legislature, commits itself. It instructs its delegates to tell the Congress “to declare the United Colonies free and independent states, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain.” Residents in Williamsburg, where the convention was meeting, mark the occasion by taking down the Union Jack from over the colonial capitol and running up a continental union flag. The convention also produces the first state constitution and the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

History Tip of the Day – March 29th

Ronald Reagan announces he has Alzheimer’s disease, November 5, 1994

Despite his growing confusion and forgetfulness, the eighty-three-year-old Reagan is still alert enough to be aware of the fate that has befallen him. The world is still learning about Alzheimer’s, lumping it with terms like dementia and senility. Reagan takes pen to paper to tell the world: “I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. . . . In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.”

History Tip of the Day – March 28th

Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe tells the Germans, December 22, “Nuts!” 1944

During the Battle of the Bulge, the US 101st Airborne Division, under McAuliffe’s command, was tasked with defending Bastogne, Belgium, against a siege from a numerically superior German force.

A most odd sight presents itself. Marching toward the American lines, carrying a white flag, are four German soldiers. The German general Heinrich Lüttwitz thinks it absurd to needlessly slaughter so many brave American soldiers. Instead, he has sent a note, offering McAuliffe and the 101st a chance to save their own lives by surrendering. A response is quickly typed: “To the German Commander, ‘Nuts!’ The American Commander.”

History Tip of the Day – March 27th

Gerald Ford is nearly killed in World War II, December 18, 1944

While he is serving aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey, the ship is struck by Typhoon Cobra near the Philippines. The storm is so severe that it sinks several destroyers, killing nearly eight hundred US sailors. The pitching Monterey is buffeted by screaming winds and seventy-foot waves. Young Lieutenant Ford ventures onto the exposed flight deck to climb a ladder to the ship’s wheelhouse. Suddenly, a wave taller than the Monterey itself breaks over the side of the ship, sending Ford toward the Pacific Ocean. At the very last minute, he grabs a small metal catwalk, and pulls himself to safety.

History Tip of the Day – March 26th

Mary Todd Lincoln dies, July 16, 1882

She never recovered from the assassination. Mary insisted on wearing only the color black for the rest of her life. Just when it appeared that she was recovering from her grief, in 1871 her eighteen-year-old son, Tad, died of a mysterious heart ailment. This brought on a downward spiral of mental instability—once she almost jumped out of a building after wrongly believing she saw flames. Her only remaining son, Robert, had her committed to a mental institution in 1875. Released the next year, she lived in France for four years before returning to Springfield, Illinois. She is buried alongside her husband.

History Tip of the Day – March 25th

Japan destroys American fleet in Philippines, December 8, 1941

One day after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck again, five thousand miles west across the open Pacific. Shortly after noon, a flight of Japanese fighter bombers from the Eleventh Air Fleet destroyed the American air base at Clark Field in the Philippines. Two days later, more waves of Japanese aircraft flew unopposed over the Cavite Navy Yard, laying waste to the docks. Capturing the Philippines would effectively give Japan control of the western Pacific.

History Tip of the Day – March 24th

Anne Frank’s family is arrested, August 3, 1944

Otto Frank moved his family from Frankfurt to Amsterdam in 1934, as the rise of Nazism increased anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany. Two months after the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Frank, unable to immigrate to the United States, took his family into hiding in a secret apartment above his business. Three months before the Allied liberation of the Netherlands, a secret informant gave away the family’s hiding place to the Gestapo. Within a month, Otto; his wife, Edith; and his teenaged daughters, Margot and Annelies (just “Anne” to her family), arrived at Auschwitz.

History Tip of the Day – March 23rd

Hideki Tojo is captured, September 11, 1945

The former Japanese prime minister hides in plain sight, waiting patiently in his farmhouse on the outskirts of Tokyo for American soldiers to arrest him. But if not for two American journalists who knocked on his front door yesterday, they might still be looking for him. Tojo was only too happy to grant them an exclusive interview. Now, he sees two American army vehicles come to a stop. “I am Tojo!” he yells, and places a pistol to his chest and pulls the trigger. Every element of his suicide plan has been staged to perfection but one: the bullet misses his heart. Hideki Tojo is not dead.

History Tip of the Day – March 22nd

Impressment riots in Boston, November 16, 1747

Riots erupt in the streets of Boston after the Royal Navy impressed, or kidnapped, forty-six men, intending to force them to serve aboard British ships in the long war against France. While impressment was common in other parts of the world, until this night both tradition and the law had protected the men of Massachusetts. The riots will last three days. The city will be paralyzed, and colonists will take several British naval officers hostage. Governor William Shirley will arrange a trade of the impressed men for the hostages. But the seeds of discontent have taken root.

History Tip of the Day – March 21st

President Reagan: “Tear down this wall!” 1987

He stands before the Berlin Wall, June 12, a symbol of the Cold War. It divides democratic West Berlin from Soviet-occupied East Berlin. At least eighty people have died trying to escape East Berlin. Reagan, like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has enjoyed better relations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev over the past year. But Reagan is not afraid of verbally scorching the Communist ideology. “There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace,” Reagan says. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

History Tip of the Day – March 20th

The Chappaquiddick scandal, July 18, 1969

Senator Edward Kennedy leaves a party on Chappaquiddick Island, near Martha’s Vineyard, with a campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy had been drinking, but drives off with the twenty-eight-year-old woman. Their car slides off a bridge into the water. Kennedy gets free and swims to the surface. He does not see or hear Kopechne. He flees the scene and does not inform authorities for nine hours. Though given a suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident, unanswered questions and innuendo will cling to Kennedy’s name and sabotage his efforts to run for President.

History Tip of the Day – March 19th

General Douglas MacArthur returns to Philippines, October 20, 1944

“As Ripley says, believe it or not, we’re here, ” MacArthur says from the rail of the USS Nashville. He gazes at his beloved Philippines, which have just been invaded by more than 100,000 US Army troops under his command. The most humiliating defeat of MacArthur’s storied career came when the Japanese took the islands two years ago. He promised that he would one day come back to retake the islands. Now, he is setting forth to make good on that vow. Almost a thousand days after fleeing the Philippines, MacArthur orders the landing craft to set sail for shore. He has returned.

History Tip of the Day – March 18th

Ronald Reagan undergoes an operation, September 8, 1989

Two months ago, Reagan was thrown from a horse while riding at a friend’s ranch. At first he appeared uninjured. But a blood vessel in his head ruptured during the fall. Fluid has been leaking into his brain, causing a clot that is putting pressure on his brain. Were it not for his annual physical, his condition might never have been discovered. Surgeons drill a hole in Reagan’s skull, a procedure known as a burr. It is a success, and doctors are satisfied that Reagan shows no sign of stroke, nerve damage, or paralysis. But the fall has accelerated Reagan’s deteriorating condition.

History Tip of the Day – March 17th

Ronald Reagan inaugurated as California governor, January 2nd, 1967

Despite making fifty-three films, he has never known a moment of drama like the one he is experiencing now. His left hand rests on a Bible. “I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear I will faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States.” His voice fills the rotunda of the state capitol building in Sacramento. At long last he gets to play the leading man. Just two years ago, he was hosting a television show, Death Valley Days. Now he is the newly elected governor of California. There’s not a single writer in Hollywood who could have scripted this better.

History Tip of the Day – March 16th

Winston Churchill is made a US citizen, April 9th, 1963

“A son of America though a subject of Britain,” President John Kennedy begins, referring to the fact that Churchill’s mother was a US citizen, “has been throughout his life a firm and steadfast friend of the American people and the American nation.” Kennedy stands in the White House Rose Garden. Churchill, the ninety-one-year-old prime minister whose inspirational courage helped save Britain during World War II, watches live by satellite from his home in London. The purpose of the Rose Garden ceremony is to make him an American citizen—the only foreign leader since Lafayette to be so honored.

History Tip of the Day – March 15th

Aaron Burr is arrested, February 18th, 1807

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – March 14th

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train departs for Illinois, April 21st, 1865

One week after the assassination, Lincoln’s body is loaded aboard a special train for his trip home to Illinois. The body of Lincoln’s late son Willie rides in a nearby casket. The trip will recreate Lincoln’s journey to the White House—though in the opposite direction—stopping along the way in 12 cities and passing through 444 communities. Thirty million people will see this train before it comes to a halt in Springfield. Lincoln once confided to Mary that he wanted to be buried someplace quiet, so the president and his son are destined for Oak Ridge Cemetery.

History Tip of the Day – March 13th

Germany enacts “Aryan Certificate” law, April 7th, 1933

Top-level members of the SS had to prove their racial purity by providing records of their family lineage dating back to 1750. German law required that obtaining a certificate known as the Ariernachweis was mandatory for any individual wishing to hold public office in Germany or gain membership into the Nazi Party. This “Aryan Certificate” was attained by showing a complete record of family lineage (through birth and marriage certificates) that proved racial purity. The Aryan bloodline was thought to be purer because it had not intermingled with that of other ethnicities. The extermination of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and mentally and physically handicapped people was a way of cleansing Europe of people with non-German impurities.

History Tip of the Day – March 12th

Russian soldiers liberate Otto Frank from Auschwitz, January 27th, 1945

Otto Frank, father of the diarist Anne Frank, had been immured in the Nazi death camp for five months.

Five months later, Frank does not know if his family members are alive or dead. He hears ecstatic shouts outside his barracks. “We’re free,” the prisoners are shouting. Soviet troops are marching into the camp. They move from barracks to barracks, shocked at what they see. As Frank rises from his sickbed, his thoughts immediately turn to finding his family. But he will never find them. His wife, Edith, has died of starvation. His daughters were transferred to Bergen-Belsen. Margot died soon afterward. Anne was done in by a typhoid epidemic that would kill 17,000 inmates. She was just fifteen years old.

History Tip of the Day – March 11th

Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, 49 BC

In terms of sheer glory, legend, and impact, no moment will ever match this. Caesar is a great general, a fifty-year-old man who has spent much of the last decade conquering Gaul. He stands on the north side of a swollen, half-frozen river known as the Rubicon. All returning generals are required to disband their troops before crossing this border. Failure to do so is considered an act of war. But in Rome, Caesar faces charges of war crimes. So he decides on civil war. He addresses his four thousand soldiers: “The die is cast.” Caesar and his legion cross into Italy.

History Tip of the Day – March 10th

President Harry Truman dismisses General Douglas MacArthur, April 11th, 1951

In contravention of direct orders from Truman, MacArthur, commander of American and Korean forces during the Korean War, authorized a strike into China. It was clear MacArthur planned to fight on his own terms, without heed to the authority of the president of the United States. The Joint Chiefs of Staff soon weighed in, favoring the dismissal of MacArthur for insubordination. Truman formally announces that he is relieving MacArthur of his command. This marks the end of Douglas MacArthur’s military career.

History Tip of the Day – March 9th

Wild Bill Hickok becomes marshal of Abilene, Kansas, April 15th, 1871

The citizens of Abilene live in fear each time a herd comes in. Texas cowboys, after months on the trail and with a payoff in their pockets, intend to have fun—and there are plenty of disreputable men and fancy women eager to help them do it. Neither side is about to let honest citizens stop them. Finally, the mayor offers Wild Bill Hickok a badge. Hickok offers advice to potential troublemakers: “Leave town on the eastbound train, the westbound train, or go north in the morning”—“north” meaning Boot Hill. No one doubts his words.

History Tip of the Day – March 8th

John Wilkes Booth is killed, April 26th, 1865

Booth and his fellow conspirator David Herold are hiding in a Virginia barn. Booth does not know that US Calvary is surrounding them. The two are trapped; they have no idea how many men are outside. Herold says he wants out and exits, wrists first. He is immediately arrested. Booth hears the crackling of burning hay. He sees a soldier opening the door. Booth hefts his loaded carbine, preparing to take aim. He hears the crack of a rifle and feels a jolt in his neck, and then nothing. A soldier has fired a bullet that slices Booth’s spinal cord.

History Tip of the Day – March 7th

The fall of the Alamo, March 6th, 1836

Furious at rebel victories in the Texas Revolution, General Antonio López de Santa Anna was determined to demonstrate that resistance to Mexican rule was futile. His troops laid siege for 13 days against 145 Texans garrisoned in a fortified mission called the Alamo. At dawn, Santa Anna’s 4,000 soldiers advance, and, on their third attempt, breach the mission’s walls. The Mexicans show no quarter in vicious hand-to-hand fighting, and in two hours every defender is killed. Almost immediately, “Remember the Alamo” becomes the rallying cry of the Texas army of independence.

History Tip of the Day – March 6th

“Give me liberty or give me death!” March 23rd, 1775

The Virginia Convention is meeting in Richmond to consider raising its own militia. Many convention delegates have urged patience. However, the matter is settled when Patrick Henry speaks eloquently about the many steps that have led to this point, then concludes, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” The convention passes a resolution declaring the independence of the United Colonies from England. Henry himself is charged with building a militia.

History Tip of the Day – March 5th

Hezbollah kidnaps CIA bureau chief, March 16th, 1984

Minutes before 8 a.m., William Buckley, the fifty-five-year-old chief of the CIA’s Beirut station, is captured at his apartment building. He is the fourth of thirty key Americans kidnapped by Muslim extremists in Lebanon. Soon after, his captors round up his network of spies and informers within Lebanon, and murder them one by one. This confirms to the CIA that Buckley was tortured, and has broken. Buckley will endure more than a year of captivity before he is executed by Hezbollah. His corpse will not be located until 1991. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

History Tip of the Day – March 4th

Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” dies, February 27th, 1795

He is remembered today mostly by America’s toughest and bravest warriors, who often honor him as the “Father of Special Operations.” With his small band of untrained and unpaid fighting men, who lived and fought in the swamps and forests of South Carolina, Marion successfully harassed the British army for almost three years. His men traveled like ghosts, appearing suddenly and creating havoc—and then just as quickly were gone. After the war, Marion was elected to the South Carolina Assembly where he championed reconciliation between Loyalists and Patriots. He rebuilt his plantation and spent the remainder of his life in obscurity.

History Tip of the Day – March 3rd

Battle of Okinawa begins, April 1st, 1945

The American island-hopping strategy began with the capture of Guadalcanal in 1942, which put American forces within 3,000 miles of Tokyo. Capturing Peleliu in late 1944 put the Americans within 2,000 miles. The surrender of Iwo Jima closed the distance to 750 miles. Okinawa is half that. It is the linchpin of the final American campaign against Japan. The closer to Tokyo the Americans advance, the more brutal the fighting becomes. Japan’s casualties will number more than 100,000 dead soldiers in the 82 days of fighting. More than 20,000 Americans are killed, including 5,000 American soldiers killed in kamikaze attacks.

History Tip of the Day – March 2nd

Christopher Seider is shot to death, January 22nd, 1770

The flame that would ignite the American Revolution is lit when, according to the Boston Gazette, “a barbarous murder . . . was committed on the body of a young lad of about eleven years of age.” Christopher Seider and a crowd of young men had marched defiantly through Boston’s cobblestoned streets. Ebenezer Richardson, the greatly despised customs collector, tried to stop them. Forced to retreat to his home, a crowd of about sixty boys hurled rubbish and rocks. When an egg or a rock struck his wife, Richardson appeared at a window, brandishing a musket. He fires once. Christopher Seider is killed.

History Tip of the Day – March 1st

Allies begin bombing Dresden, February 13th, 1945

The British Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Force conducted four raids on Germany’s seventh-largest city. The attack figures in the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, who was being held as a prisoner of war in Dresden at the time. The bombing has been cited by Holocaust deniers to propose a moral equivalence between the war crimes committed by the Nazi government and the killing of German civilians by Allied bombing raids.

The Dresden bombings were a catastrophic slaughter of civilians. Allied bombers dropped 3,900 tons of bombs, killing somewhere between 35,000 and 100,000 people and leveling four square miles of the city.

History Tip of the Day – February 28th

Jack Ruby dies, January 3rd, 1967

Ruby argued that he shot Lee Harvey Oswald to redeem the city of Dallas after the Kennedy assassination. The legendary San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli defended Ruby for free at his trial, but his insanity defense did not sway the jury. Ruby was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals granted him a new trial, on the grounds that the enormous publicity precluded him from getting a fair trial, but before proceedings could begin, Ruby was hospitalized and found to have cancer in his liver, lungs, and brain. He dies of a pulmonary embolism at the age of fifty-nine.

History Tip of the Day – February 27th

Wells Fargo is founded, March 18th, 1852

The company begins in San Francisco, offering both banking and express services to miners. It uses every possible means of transportation—stagecoach, railroad, Pony Express, and steamship—to carry property, mail, and money in its many forms across the West. By 1866, Wells Fargo stagecoaches will cover more than 3,000 miles from California to Nebraska. Their famous green strongboxes, usually carried under the driver’s seat, weigh as much as 150 pounds, and often hold thousands of dollars’ worth of gold dust, gold bars, gold coins, checks, drafts, and currency.

History Tip of the Day – February 26th

Adolf Hitler born, April 20th, 1889

Born in Braunau am Inn, in present-day Austria, Hitler was one six children of Alois and Klara Hitler.

Hitler was raised Catholic. His parents were very devout. He was born into a middle-class household and never expected that he would have to work for a living but would live on his family’s savings. While he had dreams of being a famous architectural artist, he had not done well enough in school to get into the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. This man, who would later command thousands with horrible charisma, was shy and unusually silent as a child.

History Tip of the Day – February 25th

George Washington sworn in as first president, April 30th, 1789

In January, Washington, running unopposed, was elected first president of the United States. He did not campaign; in fact, he had to be convinced to come out of retirement. The Founding Fathers had failed to determine the president’s salary. While Washington considered rejecting any payment, concerned about the ethics of being paid for pubic service, he eventually agreed to accept $25,000 annually—although he had to use his own money to cover household expenses. As his carriage took him from Virginia to New York, crowds gathered to offer their respects. Finally, on the balcony of Federal Hall, where the First Congress was meeting, Washington is sworn into office.

History Tip of the Day – February 24th

George Washington rebukes Benedict Arnold, April 6th, 1780

It has never been determined when or even why Arnold made the decision to betray his country. Several factors may have culminated with being insulted by the man he admired most, George Washington. In 1779 Arnold’s oft-suspect business dealings resulted in thirteen charges of profiteering, including misuse of government property. He was court-martialed, and although he was acquitted of eleven charges and convicted of only two minor ones, part of his penalty is a public rebuke from General Washington, who calls Arnold’s conduct “imprudent and improper.” Arnold responds to this censure by resigning his post.

History Tip of the Day – February 23rd

American flag is raised on Iwo Jima, February 23rd, 1945

Along with Okinawa, and perhaps Formosa, taking Iwo Jima was necessary for the American invasion of Japan. The battle, which saw some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Theater, lasted five weeks. It began with a three-day naval bombardment before Marines stormed the island. On the fifth day of battle, six marines raised the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi. The action was repeated the next day and photographed by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, whose Pulitzer Prize–winning shot has become the iconic representation of the war.

History Tip of the Day – February 22nd

United States and Iran sign the Algiers Accords, January 19th, 1981

The agreement results in the freeing up of $7.9 billion in Iranian assets that had been frozen by the United States since the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran. Under the agreement, Iranian debts to US institutions will be paid, and the United States also promises not to intervene politically or militarily in Iranian internal affairs. The fifty-two Americans who worked in the embassy and had been taken hostage on November 4, 1979, will be set free and allowed to leave Iran.

History Tip of the Day – February 21st

General Douglas MacArthur vows, “I shall return,” February 21st, 1942

Following the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese destroyed the American air base, then the navy yard, in the Philippines, effectively gaining control of the western Pacific. Forces under the command of Douglas MacArthur retreated to the Bataan Peninsula, many taking refuge on an island known as Corregidor. The Japanese seemed unbeatable; President Roosevelt had to rescue MacArthur. Upon reaching Australia, MacArthur declares, “I came through and I shall return.”

History Tip of the Day – February 20th

John Hancock is born, January 23rd, 1737

He was only seven years old when his father died and he was sent to live with his wealthy uncle, the revered shipping tycoon Thomas Hancock. John was raised as a child of great privilege, and after graduating from Harvard, he traveled to Britain to attend the coronation of King George III. When his uncle died, the twenty-six-year-old Hancock took control of his import-export empire and became the second-richest man in the colonies. He was known as a generous man to causes and friends—among them Samuel Adams—and eventually would become one of the primary financiers of the freedom movement.

History Tip of the Day – February 19th

Aaron Burr is arrested, February 19th, 1807

After finishing his term as vice president, Burr left politics and became embroiled in one of the most curious episodes of early American history. It appears Burr went west to try to create his own independent nation. He began traveling up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, negotiating to sell parts of the Louisiana Purchase to England for half a million dollars. Alerted to this plot, President Jefferson informed Congress and ordered Burr’s arrest. He is discovered and taken into custody in the Mississippi Territory. Months earlier, he had been vice president; now he was arrested for treason.

History Tip of the Day – February 18th

President Franklin Roosevelt signs Japanese internment order, February 19th, 1942

Under Executive Order 9066, approximately 127,000 Japanese American citizens were incarcerated, having committed no crime other than having ancestors from Japan. Families were rounded up and sent to live in camps for the duration of the war. They slept side by side in barracks, surrounded by barbed-wire fences. Armed guards in high sentry towers watched their every move. There was no privacy: showers were communal, as were the latrines, which lacked any partitions. These Americans were unsure of what their lives would be when the war ended—where they will go, where they will work, how they will rebuild their lives.

History Tip of the Day – February 17th

Battle of Manila begins, February 3rd, 1945

The month-long action saw the worst urban fighting in the Pacific Theater.
Even though General Tomoyuki Yamashita has ordered Japanese forces to evacuate the city, rogue elements under his command refuse to obey. A large group of Japanese sailors and marines join them in fighting the Americans to the last man. They have mined the streets. Concealed snipers shoot Americans on sight. Many have become obsessed with brutalizing the citizens of Manila before they die. Even as they fight for control of the city, the Japanese are systematically murdering as many innocent residents as possible. The number of such deaths has been estimated from 100,000 to more than 500,000.

History Tip of the Day – February 16th

Billy the Kid escapes from jail, April 28th, 1881

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – February 15th

President Harry Truman authorizes invasion of Japan, April 25th, 1945

Twelve days after he has been sworn into office, Harry S. Truman approves the wholesale invasion of Japan by American forces. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are expected to perish if the attack is finally given the go. But the invasion might be unnecessary. The day before, Truman was briefed on the top secret news that the United States will soon test the atomic bomb. If successful, this weapon could end the Pacific War. At this point, Truman is not sure what the atomic bomb is. But he knows that the bleeding of American lives must be stopped—Japan must be crushed.

History Tip of the Day – February 14th

Jacqueline Kennedy’s televised tour of the White House, February 14th, 1962

Forty-six million Americans tune into NBC and CBS to watch. This is Jackie’s moment to show off her ongoing effort to restore the White House. She has scoured storage rooms and the National Gallery, turning up paintings by Cézanne, Teddy Roosevelt’s drinking mugs, and James Monroe’s gold French flatware. Even the president’s desk is one of her finds, a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford B. Hayes. She has removed oddities like the water fountains that made the White House look like an office building. The program is one of the most watched shows in television history, earning Jackie a special Emmy.

History Tip of the Day – February 13th

Judas betrays Jesus, 30 AD

Jesus has yet to publicly announce that he is the Christ. But he has enraged the religious leaders. So Judas decides to force Jesus’s hand. If Jesus is arrested and then declares himself to be the Christ, he will have no problem saving himself from the high priests. Judas finds the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest and the most powerful Jewish leader in Jerusalem. “What are you willing to give me if I hand over Jesus to you?” Judas asks. “Thirty silver coins,” comes the reply. This is the equivalent of four to six months’ wages for a laborer.

History Tip of the Day – February 12th

Lee Harvey Oswald receives the death weapon, March 25th, 1963

Oswald decides to buy a second gun to go along with the pistol he keeps in his Dallas home. This time it’s a rifle, purchased through American Rifle magazine. The Italian Mannlicher-Carcano, model 91/38, was made in 1940 and originally designed for the Italian infantry during World War II. This is not a gun designed for hunting animals, but for shooting men. Of all the amazing things happening in the world in 1963, this simple mail-order purchase would seem to have little significance. In fact, nothing will have greater impact on world events than this nineteen-dollar Italian war-surplus bolt-action rifle.

History Tip of the Day – February 11th

“Shot heard round the world” begins the Revolutionary War, April 19th, 1775

Not more than a hundred men await the British army on the common at Lexington. The redcoats order the colonists to disperse. Who fired the first shot—what will become known as “the shot heard round the world”—has never been determined. Both sides believe the shots had come from the opposing force. Within eight seconds, eight patriots are killed, another ten wounded. As the survivors flee, the British continue their march toward Concord. On their return to Lexington, the patriots attack, killing seventy-three British soldiers and wounding 250 more. It was an extraordinary victory for the colonists.

History Tip of the Day – February 10th

Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant, April 9th, 1865

The end has come. The Army of Northern Virginia is cornered in a little Virginia village called Appomattox Court House—Lee’s 8,000 men surrounded on three sides by Grant’s 60,000. Dressed in an impeccable formal gray uniform, polished black boots, and clean red sash, Lee waits. Grant wears a private’s uniform; it’s missing a button and is spattered with mud. Grant’s terms of surrender are remarkably lenient. The gist is simple: Put down your guns and go home. Let’s rebuild the nation together. This is President Lincoln’s vision, to which Grant subscribes. Lee and Grant arise simultaneously and shake hands.

History Tip of the Day – February 9th

Paul Revere’s ride, April 18th, 1775

Lord Dartmouth, the British secretary of state for the colonies, had decided to end the rebellion before it could take root by seizing the rebels’ weapons, arresting their leaders, and reasserting royal authority. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were lodging in Lexington and were in grave danger. Paul Revere and William Dawes are ordered to give warning. Revere arranges a simple code: one lantern would be hung in the bell tower of Old North Church if British troops were marching by land from Boston Neck, two lanterns if they were rowing across the bay to march from Cambridge.

History Tip of the Day – February 8th

British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery riles American soldiers, January 7th, 1945

Montgomery publicly takes credit for the Allied victory at the Battle of the Bulge. Monty insists that it was his British forces of the Twenty-First Army Group, not American GIs, who stopped the German advance. What Montgomery neglects to mention is that just three British divisions were made available for the battle. Of the 650,000 Allied soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, more than 600,000 were American. Montgomery’s press conference does considerable damage to Anglo-American relations. Prime Minister Winston Churchill is forced to give a pro-American speech in the British House of Commons to heal the wounds.

History Tip of the Day – February 7th

Julius Caesar is assassinated, 44 BC

He is the most powerful man in the world. But today he contemplates murder—his own. Friends, soothsayers, even his beloved wife, Calpurnia, have warned him that something terrible will happen. But the hint that the Senate might name him king lures him to its chambers. All nine hundred senators rise as Caesar enters. Immediately, a group of sixty walks toward him, until he is ringed by a small mob. Each holds a dagger, and they attack the defenseless Caesar. Then Marcus Brutus delivers the killing blow. “You too, my boy?” Caesar asks despairingly. His limp body slides to the floor. Death arrives.

History Tip of the Day – February 6th

Ronald Reagan marries Jane Wyman, January 26th, 1940

They met during the filming of Brother Rat, and quickly became Hollywood’s golden couple. They marry shortly before Reagan begins filming Knute Rockne, All American, his first A-level film. But Wyman grows bored with her husband, particularly his growing political activism and his fondness for screening his personal print of Kings Row, the favorite of his films, for dinner guests. He, in turn, resents Wyman’s growing level of celebrity, as his career is on the wane. She files for divorce in 1948. “I just couldn’t stand to watch that damned Kings Row one more time,” she says.

History Tip of the Day – February 5th

President Reagan gives secret order to fight terrorism, April 3rd, 1984

National Security Decision Directive 138 is a top-secret decision to counter state-sponsored terrorism “by all legal means.” But “legal means” will soon be set aside. Iran is at war with its neighbor Iraq, and has run out of weapons. Reagan will secretly authorize weapon sales to Iran, a sworn US enemy and the nation responsible for killing hundreds of Americans. Reagan knows this, but he decides that liberating American hostages is worth breaking the law. Under a plan masterminded by Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, American funds will be secretly funneled to rebel Contras fighting communism in Nicaragua.

History Tip of the Day – February 4th

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies, April 12th, 1945

He is trying to appear authoritative for the artist painting his picture. But the president looks far older than his sixty-three years. FDR is exhausted from twelve years in office and the incredible burden of world war. His hands shake with feeble palsy, forcing him to press his fountain pen firmly against the documents he is trying to sign as his portrait is being drawn. Suddenly the artist sees a crimson flush filling Roosevelt’s cheeks. He is in the early stages of a cerebral hemorrhage. “I have a terrific pain in my head,” he moans. His eyes close. His head spills forward. FDR is gone.

History Tip of the Day – February 3rd

Japanese Emperor Hirohito repudiates divine status, January 1st, 1946

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – February 2nd

Buffalo Bill Cody entertains Pope Leo XIII, March 8th, 1890

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was a three-hour show that included, among many other entertainments, recreations of Indian attacks, train robberies, buffalo hunting, and displays of riding, roping, and shooting—even a reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand. The show created a sensation during a European tour. In Rome, Pope Leo XIII personally conducted a tour for Cody and Sitting Bull. To promote the show, an Indian village was built inside the Coliseum and a mock shoot-out was staged in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a sharpshooting exhibition by Annie Oakley. And the show’s concessionaires introduced another American creation to the Italians—popcorn!

History Tip of the Day – February 1st

Buffalo Bill Cody is born, February 26th, 1846

William Cody was born in rural Iowa to educated parents. When he was seven years old, Isaac and Mary Ann Cody sold their farm and moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, arriving in the middle of a raging debate over slavery. In that part of the state, Isaac Cody’s antislavery sentiments were not popular. He died a few years later while trying to bring in antislavery settlers from Ohio. To support the family, young Bill Cody took an assortment of jobs, including ‘boy extra’ on wagon trains, teamster, bull whacker on cattle drives, and, finally, army scout.

History Tip of the Day – January 31st

Benjamin Franklin is born, January 6, 1705

There was little in Franklin’s early childhood to suggest that he would become such a towering figure. He was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the fifteenth child of candle maker Josiah Franklin. Although he had a limited formal education, he learned by reading every book or pamphlet he found. His lifetime of inventing began when he was eleven, when he devised a pair of swim fins that fit his hands. Among his many later inventions were bifocals, the heat-efficient Franklin stove, a musical instrument called the glass harmonica, and the lightning rod.

History Tip of the Day – January 30th

John Profumo dies, March 9th, 2006

As a dapper forty-eight-year-old British war hero and politician, Profumo had been caught having an affair with nineteen-year-old party girl Christine Keeler. And Keeler is also having sex with a deputy Soviet naval attaché. Profumo was Britain’s secretary of state for war and one of the most powerful men in the government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. When first confronted about his affair in the House of Commons, Profumo denied it, but was forced to admit he lied, and resigned in 1963. His wife, the film actress Valerie Hobson, stood by him, and Profumo devoted the rest of his life to charity work.

History Tip of the Day – January 29th

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral, April 19th, 1865

Six hundred mourners were ushered into the East Room of the White House. Its walls were decorated in black, the mirrors all covered, and the room lit by candles. General Ulysses S. Grant sat alone nearest his dear departed friend, next to a cross of lilies. He wept. Mary Lincoln is still so distraught that she will spend the next six weeks sobbing alone in her bedroom. Immediately after the funeral, Lincoln’s body is escorted by a military guard through the streets of Washington. One hundred thousand mourners line the route to the Capitol, where the body is put on view.

History Tip of the Day – January 28th

Lee Harvey Oswald shoots at Major General Edwin Walker, April 10th, 1963

Oswald hides in the shadows of a Dallas alleyway. His new rifle is pointed at Major General Edwin Walker, less than one hundred feet away. Walker is an anti-communist fanatic and a rabid segregationist who had been arrested in 1962 for attempting to block the integration of the University of Mississippi. Oswald watches Walker’s every move through the telescopic sight of his Italian rifle. Oswald fires just one shot, then turns and runs as fast as he can. The bullet ricochets off the windowpane, missing Walker’s head by three inches. Oswald has botched the easiest shot he will ever take.

History Tip of the Day – January 27th

Jacqueline Kennedy brings the Mona Lisa to the United States, January 8th, 1963

Jacqueline Kennedy looks stunning in a pink gown and dangling diamond earrings. She makes small talk with André Malraux, the French minister of culture. As she stands in the National Gallery of Art, she turns to look at a painting: La Gioconda, better known as the Mona Lisa. About a year ago, Jackie had made a discreet request to Malraux, who then arranged the loan of the painting, which, except for evacuation during the world wars, had never left the Louvre. “Mona Mania” grips the country; more than a million Americans will view it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

History Tip of the Day – January 26th

The Big Three meet at Yalta, February 4th, 1945

The purpose of the Yalta Conference between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin is to define the shape of the postwar world. The end of the war in Europe is now in sight. American and British troops have just thwarted Germany’s last great offensive at the Battle of the Bulge. In the east, Russian troops have already taken Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia from the Nazis, and are just forty miles from Berlin. But Stalin’s goal is to recover Japanese-occupied Manchuria. When Roosevelt requests that Russia enter the war against Japan, Stalin agrees after demanding FDR’s acquiescence to his designs in Asia.

History Tip of the Day – January 25th

James-Younger Gang commits the first daylight bank robbery, February 13th, 1866

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – January 24th

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies, March 5th, 1953

The Russian dictator ruled the Soviet Union for thirty years, dying at the age of seventy-four from a stroke and complications of heart disease brought on by years of heavy smoking. Ironically, his life might have been lengthened if doctors had reached him more quickly after his stroke, but Stalin’s standing orders that his guards never enter his room worked against him. Once, just to test them, he lay on his bed and screamed in agony. The guards rushed into the room to save his life. Stalin’s screams were fake. Each man was then executed for failure to follow orders.

History Tip of the Day – January 23rd

Jesse James is killed, April 3rd, 1882

After breakfast, Jesse has some chores to do. It is a warm day, so he takes off his coat. Jesse always wears his guns, but he also wears a coat so no one questions why he is carrying two six-shooters. Jesse also takes off his gun belt and lays his guns on the bed. He suddenly notices that a picture is askew on his wall and stands on a chair to straighten it. His treacherous gang members, Charley and Bob Ford, draw their guns. Bob Ford shoots Jesse James dead. He is thirty-four years old.

History Tip of the Day – January 22nd

Patton, Eisenhower, and Bradley visit a concentration camp, April 12th, 1945

Generals George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and Omar Bradley tour the newly liberated concentration camp at Ohrdruf, Germany. A former inmate shows them the gallows where men were hanged for trying to escape and the whipping table where beatings were administered at random. “Just beyond the whipping table,” Patton later wrote, “there was a pile of forty bodies, more or less naked. All of these had been shot in the back of the head at short range, and the blood was still cooling on the ground.” Patton, who has seen men blown to pieces and others lose their entire faces to exploding shells, excuses himself and vomits against the side of a building.

History Tip of the Day – January 21st

Adolf Hitler dies, April 30th, 1945

With the Russian army methodically advancing through Berlin, Hitler is ensconced in his Führerbunker in central Berlin and decides to avoid capture.

His staff lines up in the corridor outside his bedroom. Hitler shakes each hand and whispers a personal message to the two dozen secretaries, soldiers, and doctors who have tended to him during his three months in the bunker. He and Eva Braun, whom he had married the day before, have known each other for sixteen years. She goes first, placing the cyanide pill between her teeth. Seconds later, Eva Braun is dead. The Führer then places his capsule between his teeth. At the same time, he places the business end of his Walther 7.53 pistol at his right temple. He bites down on the capsule and pulls the Walther’s trigger a split second later.

History Tip of the Day – January 20th

Jesus’s resurrection, 30 AD

Dawn will soon break over Jerusalem, marking the third day since Jesus’s death. Mary Magdalene now takes it upon herself to perform the traditional task of examining the dead body. She travels with another woman named Mary, though not the mother of Jesus. But when the two Marys approach the tomb, they are stunned. The tombstone has been rolled away. The crypt is empty. Mary Magdalene cautiously steps forward and looks inside. She smells the myrrh and aloe in which Jesus’s body was anointed. She clearly sees the linen shroud in which he was wrapped. But there is nothing else there. To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.

History Tip of the Day – January 19th

Louisiana Purchase Treaty is signed, April 30th, 1803

President Jefferson dispatched James Monroe to France, authorizing him to offer $10 million for New Orleans or all or part of the Floridas. The French made an extraordinary and completely unexpected counteroffer. Napoleon had been advised to abandon his plan to restore the French Empire in North America and to simply sell the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States. For $15 million Jefferson purchased 828,000 square miles, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Hudson Bay basin, from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The purchase more than doubled the size of the United States, at about 3 cents an acre.

History Tip of the Day – January 18th

Adolf Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany, January 30th, 1933

In response to appeals from influential politicians, industrialists, and businessmen who considered Hitler “independent from parliamentary parties” and leader of a movement that could “enrapture millions of people,” German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler second in command in the German government.

Hitler and his Nazi Party are seen as saviors of a country where six million people were unemployed. More than 50,000 people are said to have joined the Nazi party in the week following Hitler’s rise to power. As he consolidated his regime, 83 percent of German Jews under the age of twenty-one flee the country.

History Tip of the Day – January 17th

Shays’ Rebellion, January 25th, 1787

To raise desperately needed revenue, states had begun imposing taxes on their citizens—in some cases, at rates higher than the British had once demanded. When farmers were unable to pay, their homes, fields, and livestock were seized; in some places, they were imprisoned. Once more anger was simmering in New England. The growing rebellion finds a leader in a Massachusetts farmer named Daniel Shays. He and some 1,500 protestors prevent courts from hearing foreclosure cases. Shays then leads 2,000 farmers in an attempt to seize an arsenal in Springfield. When they are repulsed, the rebellion is finished.

History Tip of the Day – January 16th

Bay of Pigs incident, April 17th, 1961

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – January 15th

Richard Nixon’s funeral, April 27th, 1994

Twenty years after the Watergate scandal brought him down, and less than a year after his wife, Pat, succumbed to a long cancer, the thirty-seventh president of the United States is dead of a stroke at the age of eighty-one. Nixon is being laid to rest on the grounds of his birthplace and presidential library in Yorba Linda, California. There are four former Presidents—Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan—and the current chief executive, Bill Clinton, in attendance, with their wives. A crowd of 4,000 other mourners awaits the start of the ceremony.

History Tip of the Day – January 14th

The Boston Massacre, March 5th, 1770

The city is alive with danger. Two British soldiers are attacked and beaten. Then about three hundred colonists attack a regiment of British soldiers, pelting them with ice and snowballs. What happens next will be disputed by both sides, but soldiers begin firing into the crowd. A forty-seven-year-old mulatto sailor named Crispus Attucks is struck by two bullets in the chest and thus becomes the first casualty of battle of the Revolutionary War. Two others will die and six more are injured. The confrontation lasts no more than twenty minutes, but it resonates throughout the colonies and the British Empire.

History Tip of the Day – January 13th

Hitler orders scorched-earth policy, March 19th, 1945

The Allies are bombing around the clock. Berlin is a city in ruins. The Führer begins a policy designed to deprive Germany’s approaching conquerors of sustenance. His Nero Decree states, “All military, transportation, communications, industrial, and food supply facilities, as well as all other resources within the Reich which the enemy might use either immediately or in the foreseeable future for continuing the war are to be destroyed.” This is all Hitler can do: Prepare for the end.

History Tip of the Day – January 12th

President Abraham Lincoln is shot, April 14th, 1865

John Wilkes Booth takes a bold step out of the shadows, derringer clutched in his right fist and knife in his left. He extends his arm and aims for the back of Abraham Lincoln’s head. Booth pulls the trigger. Lincoln slumps forward in his rocking chair. Booth drops the derringer and steps to the front of the presidential box. “Freedom!” he bellows. He hurls his body over the railing, onto the stage of Ford’s Theatre. ‘Sic semper tyrannis!’ he yells. The theater explodes in confusion. Booth slashes at anyone who gets in his way. He disappears into the night.

History Tip of the Day – January 11th

The United States firebombs Tokyo, March 10th, 1945

Known as Operation Meetinghouse, the aerial bombardment of Tokyo is the most horrific bombing in history. American B-29s drop special M-69 firebombs, each a twenty-inch steel pipe packed with the jellied gasoline known as napalm. One M-69 is capable of starting a massive fire. One ton will ensure complete destruction. On the morning of March 10, American bombers drop 2,000 tons of M-60 on Tokyo. Trapped inside walls of fire, citizens spontaneously burst into flames. The fire consumes sixteen square miles, one-fourth of the city. One hundred thousand are killed, forty thousand badly burned but alive, and one million homeless.

History Tip of the Day – January 10th

The Tower Commission issues its report, February 26th, 1987

After three months, in which it interviewed eighty witnesses, including the president, the commission delivers its three-hundred-page report. It lays the blame for Iran-Contra on Ronald Reagan, demanding that he “take responsibility” for the illegality. The report also blames his staff for shielding him from a number of key issues involving the sale of arms to Iran. “Yes, the president made mistakes,” the commission’s chairman, John Tower, tells the press. “I think that’s very plain English.”

History Tip of the Day – January 9th

Ronald Reagan marries Nancy Davis, March 4th, 1952

Nancy Davis has campaigned hard for this moment since setting sights on Ronald Reagan three years ago, even telling him she might be pregnant. The ceremony is stunningly casual. Except for the minister, the only people in attendance are the best man, the actor William Holden, and the matron of honor, Holden’s wife, Ardis Anderson (whose screen name is Brenda Marshall). There is no formal reception. The group will adjourn to the Holdens’ home for cake and champagne. Nancy is so eager to marry Reagan that she willingly accommodates his every wish.

History Tip of the Day – January 8th

John Hinckley shoots President Reagan, March 30th, 1981

President Reagan follows his Secret Service escort out of the Washington Hilton. John Hinckley sees him clearly. Quickly he pulls the gun out. One shot hits Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, just above his left eye. The next strikes DC police officer Thomas Delahanty in the neck, lodging against his spinal column. Another strikes Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy—the only agent ever to take a bullet for a president. Hinckley’s last shot ricochets off the presidential limousine, then pierces Reagan’s body under his left arm. The bullet enters his lung, coming to rest one inch from his heart.

History Tip of the Day – January 7th

Battle of Stalingrad ends, February 2nd, 1943

The turning point of the war between the Russians and the Germans took place in the city of Stalingrad. The fierce battle lasted for five-and-a-half months, and saw the deaths of 1.2 million Russian soldiers and civilians and 850,000 Germans dead or wounded. Eventually, the German Sixth Army was cut off from supplies. German General Friedrich von Paulus implored Hitler to let his army withdraw. The Führer refused. This results in 91,000 Germans being taken prisoner when the battle comes to an end. Of that number, only 6,000 survived the cruelty of their Russian captors and returned home alive after the war.

History Tip of the Day – January 6th

President Abraham Lincoln delivers his second inaugural address, March 4th, 1865

Lincoln makes an eloquent plea for reunification. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds . . . to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” It is a speech worthy of a dramatic actor. And one of America’s most famous actors stands just yards away. Focused on the president is John Wilkes Booth.

History Tip of the Day – January 5th

John Kennedy is inaugurated as president, January 20th, 1961

After taking the oath of office, Kennedy, the youngest president ever elected, stands at the podium bearing the presidential seal. His listeners long for some words that will heal a nation divided by McCarthyism, terrified of the cold war, and struggling with racial segregation and discrimination. His words resonate like a psalm. “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. . . . Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

History Tip of the Day – January 4th

Winston Churchill dies, January 24th, 1965

After losing the general election in 1945, Churchill was once again elected prime minister in 1951. He served until 1955, whereupon he resigned, citing a series of strokes and his advanced age of eighty. He dies seventy years to the day after his father passed. His funeral is the largest such state ceremony in world history until that time, with delegates from 112 nations coming to pay their respects. As his casket is borne down the Thames aboard a barge, the cranes lower their jibs in salute. He is buried in the Churchill family plot at St. Martin’s Church in Bladon, next to his wife, Clementine. They were married for fifty-six years.

History Tip of the Day – January 3rd

Alexander Hamilton is born, January 11th, 1757

He was born on the West Indian island of Nevis, the illegitimate son of a Scottish merchant and a divorced young woman. He proved to be a brilliant student and at seventeen was sent to the colonies by several patrons to further his education. He finally settled at King’s College, which is now Columbia University. In 1775, his passions aroused by the growing demands for freedom, he dropped out of school and organized his own volunteer militia unit. His mathematical prowess earned him a reputation as an outstanding artillery officer, capable of plotting and adjusting the trajectory of his cannons.

History Tip of the Day – January 2nd

Argentina invades the Falkland Islands, April 2nd, 1982

Argentine troops take over a collection of mountainous, windswept islands that Britain has controlled for nearly 150 years, despite Argentina’s assertion that the islands are its territory. In desperation, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reaches out to President Reagan for military assistance. Reagan refuses, seeing the islands as a vestige of Britain’s colonial past. Thatcher resolves that Britain must go it alone, and dispatches armed forces to retake the islands. Although Reagan repeatedly advises her to negotiate, Thatcher perseveres in military action. After ten weeks, Argentina surrenders. Margaret Thatcher has emerged as a global force.

History Tip of the Day – January 1st

Bank of the United States is chartered, February 25th, 1791

Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury, advocated the creation of a national bank with the power to issue paper money. It was a daring suggestion, especially when many Americans did not trust bankers. Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state, believed the creation of a national bank was unconstitutional; he also opposed Hamilton’s plan to impose excise taxes, pointing out that such taxes were the very reason that states had declared independence. When President Washington finally backs Hamilton, the bank is chartered—and Jefferson begins organizing opposition parties, the Democratic-Republican Societies.