On this day

In 1869, Meiji Restoration reforms abolished the Japan's class system.

In 1922, the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell died in Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia.

In 1923, a Prime Minister and President of Israel Shimon Peres was born in Viszniewo, Poland.

In 1924, the American author and civil rights activist James Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York, New York.

In 1934, the German general and President Paul von Hindenburg died in Neudeck, East Prussia, Germany. Hindenburg's death provided Hitler and the Nazi Party with an occasion to consolidate their power.

In 1934, upon the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, Adolph Hitler became Germany's Führer or leader of the Nazi Party and, more importantly, of Germany. The Nazis had thus combined Hitler's Party and governmental functions into one superordinate group of individuals: Führer und Reichskanzler. Of course, Hitler was the only member of this group in Germany. And, the combination was a sign pointing to the fusion of the Nazi party with the German state.

In 1943, prisoners in Treblinka II rebelled, setting the camp ablaze. Some prisoners escaped while others perished. The upshot: The Germans closed Treblinka I (the Arbeitslager or labor camp) and II.

In 1945, the Potsdam Conference concluded.

In 1964, North Vietnamese gunboats were alleged to have fired on an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. Another incident in the Tonkin Gulf was supposed to have occurred on August 4, 1964. Together, these 'attacks" motivated the United States Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (Southeast Asia Resolution, P.L. 88-408). The Resolution was an enabling act which authorized President Lyndon Johnson to use American troops to contest Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. This troop usage did not require Congress to pass a Declaration of War. The American government's abuse of this delegated authority under Presidents Johnson and Nixon led to the passage of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548).

In 1976, the Austrian film director Fritz Lang died in Beverly Hills, California. Metropolis is often considered Lang's greatest film.

In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The invasion led to the Persian Gulf War between the UN forces (led by the United States and Great Britain) and Iraq.

In 1997, the writer and spoken word performer William S. Burroughs died in Lawrence, Kansas. Burroughs is best remembered for his novel Naked Lunch.

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