This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
October 30 is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 62 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1938, Orson Welles scares the nation.
The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds.
The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated “news bulletins”, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a ‘sustaining show’ (it ran without commercial breaks), thus adding to the program’s quality of realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage. The program’s news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode secured Orson Welles’ fame.
758 – Guangzhou is sacked by Arab and Persian pirates.
1137 – Battle of Rignano between Ranulf of Apulia and Roger II of Sicily.
1226 – Tran Thu Do, head of the Tran clan of Vietnam, forces Ly Hue Tong, the last emperor of the Ly dynasty, to commit suicide.
1270 – The Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis end by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily (brother to King Louis IX of France, who had died months earlier) and the sultan of Tunis.
1340 – Battle of Rio Salado.
1470 – Henry VI of England returns to the English throne after Earl of Warwick defeats the Yorkists in battle.
1485 – King Henry VII of England is crowned.
1501 – Ballet of Chestnuts – a banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace where fifty prostitutes or courtesans are in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.
1831 – In Southampton County, Virginia, escaped slave Nat Turner is captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.
1863 – Danish Prince Wilhelm arrives in Athens to assume his throne as George I, King of the Hellenes.
1864 – Second war of Schleswig ends. Denmark renounces all claim to Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg, which come under Prussian and Austrian administration.
1864 – Helena, Montana is founded after four prospectors discover gold at “Last Chance Gulch”.
1894 – Domenico Melegatti obtains a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.
1905 – Czar Nicholas II of Russia grants Russia’s first constitution, creating a legislative assembly.
1918 – The Ottoman Empire signs an armistice with the Allies, ending the First World War in the Middle East.
1920 – The Communist Party of Australia is founded in Sydney.
1922 – Benito Mussolini is made Prime Minister of Italy.
1925 – John Logie Baird creates Britain’s first television transmitter.
1929 – The Stuttgart Cable Car is constructed in Stuttgart, Germany.
1938 – Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience in the United States.
1941 – World War II: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approves U.S. $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Allied nations.
1941 – 1,500 Jews from Pidhaytsi (in western Ukraine) are sent by Nazis to Belzec extermination camp.
1944 – Anne Frank and sister Margot Frank are deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
1945 – Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signs a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break the baseball color barrier.
1947 – The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which is the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is founded.
1950 – Pope Pius XII witnesses “The Miracle of the Sun” while at the Vatican.
1953 – Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which states that the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.
1960 – Michael Woodruff performs the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
1961 – Nuclear testing: The Soviet Union detonates the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 58 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.
1961 – Because of “violations of Lenin’s precepts”, it is decreed that Joseph Stalin’s body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin’s tomb and buried near the Kremlin wall with a plain granite marker instead.
1965 – Vietnam War: Just miles from Da Nang, United States Marines repel an intense attack by wave after wave of Viet Cong forces, killing 56 guerrillas. Among the dead, a sketch of Marine positions is found on the body of a 13-year-old Vietnamese boy who sold drinks to the Marines the day before.
1970 – In Vietnam, the worst monsoon to hit the area in six years causes large floods, kills 293, leaves 200,000 homeless and virtually halts the Vietnam War.
1972 – A collision between two commuter trains in Chicago, Illinois kills 45 and injures 332.
1973 – The Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.
1974 – The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman takes place in Kinshasa, Zaire.
1975 – Prince Juan Carlos becomes Spain’s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.
1980 – El Salvador and Honduras sign a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969’s Football War before the International Court of Justice.
1983 – The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule are held.
1985 – Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.
1987 – In Japan, NEC releases the first 16-bit home entertainment system, the TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine.
1991 – The Madrid Conference for Middle East peace talks opens.
1993 – Greysteel massacre: The Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist terrorist group, open fire on a crowded bar in Greysteel, Northern Ireland. Eight civilians are killed and thirteen wounded.
1995 – Quebec sovereignists narrowly lose a referendum for a mandate to negotiate independence from Canada (vote is 50.6% to 49.4%).
2000 – The last Multics machine is shut down.
2002 – British Digital terrestrial television (DTT) Service Freeview begins transmitting in parts of the United Kingdom.
2005 – The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) is reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.