Today In History
On Feb. 27, 1814, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93, was first performed in Vienna. (Also on the program was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, which had premiered in December 1813.)
On this date:
In 1801, the District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress.
In 1911, inventor Charles F. Kettering demonstrated his electric automobile starter in Detroit by starting a Cadillac’s motor with just the press of a switch, instead of hand-cranking.
In 1922, the Supreme Court, in Leser v. Garnett, unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.
In 1933, Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, was gutted by fire. Chancellor Adolf Hitler, blaming the Communists, used the fire as justification for suspending civil liberties.
In 1939, the Supreme Court, in National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp., effectively outlawed sit-down strikes. Britain and France recognized the regime of Francisco Franco of Spain.
In 1943, during World War II, Norwegian commandos launched a raid to sabotage a German-operated heavy water plant in Norway. The U.S. government began circulating one-cent coins made of steel plated with zinc (the steel pennies proved very unpopular, since they were easily mistaken for dimes).
In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.
In 1960, the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets, 3-2, at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)
In 1968, at the conclusion of a CBS News special report on the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite delivered a commentary in which he said the conflict appeared “mired in stalemate.”
In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until May.)
In 1982, Wayne Williams was found guilty of murdering two of the 28 young blacks whose bodies were found in the Atlanta area over a 22-month period. (Williams, who was also blamed for 22 other deaths, has maintained his innocence.)
In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, President George H.W. Bush declared that “Kuwait is liberated, Iraq’s army is defeated,” and announced that the allies would suspend combat operations at midnight, Eastern time.
Ten years ago: America’s top bishop, Wilton Gregory, declared the days of sheltering sex abusers in the Roman Catholic priesthood were “history” as two reports showed how pervasive assaults on minors had been during the previous half-century. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked the state’s top court to stop San Francisco from issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the justices could decide whether the weddings were legal. (The justices halted the weddings the following month.) In the Philippines, a bomb blamed on Islamic extremists killed 116 people aboard a ferry in Manila Bay.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama told Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C. that he would end combat operations in Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, and open a new era of diplomacy in the Middle East. The Rocky Mountain News ceased publishing after nearly 150 years in business.
One year ago: The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary by a vote of 71-26. President Barack Obama unveiled a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol. Van Cliburn, the internationally celebrated pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock star status, died in Fort Worth, Texas, at age 78.
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