Today in 1918 at Compiegne, France, delegates sent by German chancellor Prince Max von Baden signed an armistice with the Allies at 5:10 am, ending The Great War, as it was known at the time.
Commander in chief of Allied forces telegrammed all commanders “Hostilities will cease on the entire front November 11 at 11 a.m. French time.”
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on July 28, 1914, is regarded by most historians as the spark that started the war.
WWI took nine million lives of soldiers with twenty-one million wounded. At least five million civilians lost their lives to exposure, disease, or starvation.
Both Germany and France sent 80 percent of their male populations aged 15 to 49 into battle.
The U.S. declared war following German provocations ending with the Zimmerman Telegraph.
The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 helped lay the groundwork for WWII in Europe.
Today in 1978 at the Georgia set-location, the orange 1969 Dodge Charger named the “General Lee” drove off a dirt ramp and jumped over a police car. The stunt was 16 feet high and 82 feet long, totaling the car. The “Dukes of Hazzard” TV series ran from 1979 to 1985.
Since almost every stunt involving the General Lee wrecked the car, prop masters bought every ’69 Charger they could find. (Dodge manufactured 85,000 Chargers that year.)
The car (not the actors) eventually received 35,000 fan letters each month. Millions of remote controlled “General Lee” toy cars were sold. Car buffs replicated the General. Indianapolis DJ Travis Bell restored the original General Lee.
Today in 1921 at Arlington Cemetery, Virginia, the Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated by President Warren Harding. The tombstone was designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones and not completed until 1932. It is inscribed, “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.”
Unidentified remains joined the site, honoring soldiers of the major wars of the 20th century.
The tomb is under permanent military guard by special sentinels.
Today in 1852 the “Saturday Evening Gazette” published “The Rival Painters: A Story of Rome,” the first published story written by Louisa May Alcott. Known for her children books, she wrote “Hospital Sketches” (1863), relating her experiences as a hospital nurse during the Civil War, until she contracted typhoid fever which affected her health for the rest of her life.
Alcott is best known for “Little Women,” a book for girls, and was originally published as a bestselling serial novel. Subsequent children books included “An Old-Fashioned Girl” (1870); “Little Men” (1871); “Eight Cousins” (1875); and “Jo’s Boys” (1886).
Alcott died in March 1888.
Today in 1942 the draft age of men was lowered from 21 to 18 and raised the upper limit from 36 to age 37.
By the end of WWII, 34 million men registered for the draft; 10 million were inducted into military service.
Today in1981, Fernando Valenzuela wins Rookie of the Year and the National League’s Cy Young Award, becoming the first player in baseball history to win both prizes in the same season.
In the spring of 1981, he won the first eight games he pitched for the Dodgers, including seven complete games and five shutouts, with an 0.50 ERA. He was just 20 years old (though rumors abounded that he was actually closer to 30). His picture was on the cover of dozens of magazines. People crowded ballparks to see him play, especially during his triumphant early-season winning streak.
Even though he was never again as good as he was that spring, Valenzuela had a solid season: he went 13-7 with eight shutouts and a 2.48 ERA. He had the league’s second-highest win total along with the highest number of complete games, shutouts, innings pitched and strikeouts. He started the All-Star Game for the NL–an unusual honor for a rookie–and pitched three wins to help the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series.
“Fernandomania” eventually faded, even though Fernando himself remained a dependable pitcher. In 1983, he won the Silver Bat, the prize given to the best-hitting pitcher in the National League. In 1984, he threw a career-high 15 strikeouts in a game against Philadelphia. He set a major league record in 1985 for not allowing a single earned run in 41 1/3 innings, and the next year he won a league-leading 21 games. In 1990, he pitched his first no-hitter.
Valenzuela pitched 11 seasons for the Dodgers and retired in 1996, after a few years of bouncing from team to team.
Happy birthday George Smith Patton, one of the great American generals of World War II, born in 1885 at San Gabriel, California. General Patton was said to have declared, “Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.” On December 21, 1945, he died in a hospital in Germany from injuries sustained in an automobile accident near Mannheim. He was buried at American Cemetery and Memorial, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
Rest in peace Nat Turner who was hanged today in 1831 at Jerusalem, Virginia, following a trial and conviction for leading the largest U.S. slave rebellion with about 75 followers. The rebellion was a bloody rampage that took the lives of 60 whites. It was crushed with a state militia of 3,000.
The rebellion led to legislative prohibitions including the assembly or education of slaves.