#TodayInHistory – October 244 min read
October 24 – Some important events on this day.
1260 👉🏼 Qutuz, Mamluk Sultans of Egypt (1259-60), is assassinated by Baibars, a fellow Mamluk leader, who seizes power for himself
1260 👉🏼 The spectacular Cathedral of Chartres is dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX of France. Now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
1360 👉🏼 The Treaty of Brétigny is ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.
1492 👉🏼 24 Jews are burned at the stake in Mecklenburg, Germany
1593 👉🏼 Alleged teleportation of Spanish soldier Gil Perez from the Philippines to Mexico
1648 👉🏼 Treaty of Westphalia ends The Thirty Years’ War in the Holy Roman Empire; Switzerland’s independence recognized
1856 👉🏼 Constitution of South Australia adopted
1917 👉🏼 Battle at Caporetto: German & Austria smash Italian army.
On this day, a combined German and Austro-Hungarian force scores one of the most crushing victories of World War I, decimating the Italian line along the northern stretch of the Isonzo River in the Battle of Caporetto, also known as the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo, or the Battle of Karfreit (to the Germans).
By the autumn of 1917, Italian Commander in Chief Luigi Cadorna’s strategy of successive offensives near the Isonzo River in northern Italy (11 Italian attacks since May 1915 preceded the Austrian assault at Caporetto) had cost the Italians heavy casualties for an advance of less than seven miles, only one third of the way towards their preliminary objective, the city of Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. Despite this, the wave of Italian attacks had also taken a serious toll on Austro-Hungarian resources in the region. Indeed, in the wake of the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo in August 1917, Austria’s positions around the city of Gorizia were dangerously close to collapse. As a result, the German Supreme Command, led by Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, determined with their Austrian counterpart, Arz von Straussenberg, to launch a combined operation against the Italians, intended for mid-September.
In preparation for the offensive, Germany transported seven divisions of troops to reinforce the Austrians on the upper banks of the Isonzo. Cadorna, learning by aerial reconnaissance of the Austro-German movements, pushed back his own army’s scheduled September offensive to prepare a defensive position for the scheduled attacks that month. Unfavorable weather, however, pushed back the plans, and by the time Germany and Austria-Hungary were ready to attack, they were able to catch the Italians by surprise. On this day, after a brief, effective artillery bombardment, the German and Austrian infantry moved ahead against the damaged Italian lines, using grenades and flamethrowers to exploit their advantage and achieve a quick and decisive breakthrough. By the end of the day, they had advanced an impressive 25 kilometers.
Italian casualties at Caporetto totaled almost 700,000—40,000 killed or wounded, 280,000 captured by the enemy and another 350,000 deserted. In the wake of the battle, violent anti-war protests reached a peak in Italy, as Cadorna was forced to resign his command. His successor, General Armando Diaz, would oversee a new Italian strategy, defensive, as opposed to offensive, for the remainder of the war, including a greater reliance on the resources of the stronger Allied powers.
1929 👉🏼 “Black Thursday”, start of stock market crash, Dow Jones down 12.8%
1930 👉🏼 A bloodless coup d’état in Brazil ousts Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa, the last President of the First Republic. Getúlio Vargas then installed as “provisional president.”
1931 👉🏼 Gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years for tax evasion
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet ships approach but stop short of the US blockade of Cuba
2008 👉🏼 “Bloody Friday” saw many of the world’s stock exchanges experienced the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10% in most indices.
2018 👉🏼 Largest jackpot in US history at $1.6 billion won by one person in South Carolina
2019 👉🏼 Remains of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco removed from mausoleum in Valley of the Fallen and reburied in private family vault in Madrid