#TodayInHistory – December 20
December 20 – Some important events on this day.
1046 👉🏼 Pope Gregory VI abdicates at the Council of Sutri, ending a conflict between himself, Benedict IX and Sylvester III; Clement II becomes the new Pope
1522 👉🏼 Suleiman the Magnificent accepts surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle in Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta.
1790 👉🏼 1st successful US cotton mill begins spinning yarn in Pawtucket, Rhode Island built by Samuel Slater based on Richard Arkwright’s design
1803 👉🏼 French flag lowered in New Orleans to mark the formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase from France to USA for $27M
1812 👉🏼 “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” or “Children’s and Household Tales” by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm is first published.
Rumpelstiltskin is a fairytale of European origin mostly famously included in The Brother’s Grimm collection “Household Tales” in 1812. Its age is unknown but is though to date to least the sixteenth century.
1820 👉🏼 Missouri imposes a $1 bachelor tax on unmarried men aged between 21 & 50
1823 👉🏼 Play “Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus” by Helmina von Chézy with incidental music by Franz Schubert premieres in Vienna
1883 👉🏼 Intl cantilever railway bridge opens at Niagara Falls
1892 👉🏼 Pneumatic automobile tire patented, Syracuse, NY
1917 👉🏼 Cheka formed – Soviet state security force and forerunner to the KGB, under Felix Dzerzhinsky after decree by Lenin
1946 👉🏼 Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” film premieres in New York, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore
1957 👉🏼 Elvis Presley receives his draft notice to join the US Army for National Service
1960 👉🏼 The National Liberation Front, better known as the Viet Cong, is officially formed in South Vietnam
1963 👉🏼 Berlin Wall opened for first time.
More than two years after the Berlin Wall was built by East Germany to prevent its citizens from fleeing its communist regime, nearly 4,000 West Berliners are allowed to cross into East Berlin to visit relatives. Under an agreement reached between East and West Berlin, over 170,000 passes were eventually issued to West Berlin citizens, each pass allowing a one-day visit to communist East Berlin.
The day was marked by moments of poignancy and propaganda. The construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 separated families and friends. Tears, laughter, and other outpourings of emotions characterized the reunions that took place as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters met again, if only for a short time. Cold War tensions were never far removed from the scene, however.
Loudspeakers in East Berlin greeted visitors with the news that they were now in “the capital of the German Democratic Republic,” a political division that most West Germans refused to accept. Each visitor was also given a brochure that explained that the wall was built to “protect our borders against the hostile attacks of the imperialists.” Decadent western culture, including “Western movies” and “gangster stories,” were flooding into East Germany before the wall sealed off such dangerous trends.
On the West Berlin side, many newspapers berated the visitors, charging that they were pawns of East German propaganda. Editorials argued that the communists would use this shameless ploy to gain West German acceptance of a permanent division of Germany.
The visits, and the high-powered rhetoric that surrounded them, were stark reminders that the Cold War involved very human, often quite heated, emotions.
1996 👉🏼 Horror film classic “Scream”, starring Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox, is released