On This Day … 21 March

Events

  • 537 – Siege of Rome: King Vitiges attempts to assault the northern and eastern city walls, but is repulsed at the Praenestine Gate, known as the Vivarium, by the defenders under the Byzantine generals Bessas and Peranius.
  • 717 – Battle of Vincy between Charles Martel and Ragenfrid.
  • 1801 – The Battle of Alexandria is fought between British and French forces near the ruins of Nicopolis near Alexandria in Egypt.
  • 1814 – Napoleonic Wars: Austrian forces repel French troops in the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube.
  • 1861 – Alexander Stephens gives the Cornerstone Speech.
  • 1871 – Otto von Bismarck is appointed as the first Chancellor of the German Empire.
  • 1918 – World War I: The first phase of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, begins.
  • 1919 – The Hungarian Soviet Republic is established becoming the first Communist government to be formed in Europe after the October Revolution in Russia.
  • 1921 – The New Economic Policy is implemented by the Bolshevik Party in response to the economic failure as a result of war communism.
  • 1925 – The Butler Act prohibits the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.
  • 1928 – Charles Lindbergh is presented with the Medal of Honour for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.
  • 1943 – Wehrmacht officer Rudolf von Gersdorff plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler by using a suicide bomb, but the plan falls through; von Gersdorff is able to defuse the bomb in time and avoid suspicion.
  • 1945 – World War II: British troops liberate Mandalay, Burma.
  • 1945 – World War II: Operation Carthage: Royal Air Force planes bomb Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. They also accidentally hit a school, killing 125 civilians.
  • 1945 – World War II: Bulgaria and the Soviet Union successfully complete their defence of the north bank of the Drava River as the Battle of the Transdanubian Hills concludes.
  • 1968 – Battle of Karameh in Jordan between the Israel Defense Forces and the combined forces of the Jordanian Armed Forces and PLO.
  • 1980 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet–Afghan War.
  • 1983 – The first cases of the 1983 West Bank fainting epidemic begin; Israelis and Palestinians accuse each other of poison gas, but the cause is later determined mostly to be psychosomatic.
  • 1990 – Namibia becomes independent after 75 years of South African rule.

People (Births)

  • 1825 – Alexander Mozhaysky, Russian soldier and engineer (d. 1890).
  • 1865 – George Owen Squier, American general (d. 1934).
  • 1927 – Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German soldier and politician, Vice-Chancellor of Germany (d. 2016).
  • 1944 – Mike Jackson, English general.
  • 1960 – Benito T. de Leon, Filipino general.

People (Deaths)

  • 1843 – Guadalupe Victoria, Mexican general and politician, 1st President of Mexico (b. 1786).
  • 1854 – Pedro María de Anaya, Mexican soldier. President (1847-1848) (b. 1795).
  • 1863 – Edwin Vose Sumner, American general (b. 1797).
  • 1869 – Juan Almonte, son of José María Morelos, was a Mexican soldier and diplomat who served as a regent in the Second Mexican Empire (1863-1864) (b. 1803).
  • 1891 – Joseph E. Johnston, American general (b. 1807).
  • 1939 – Ali Hikmet Ayerdem, Turkish general and politician (b. 1877).
  • 1943 – Cornelia Fort, American soldier and pilot (b. 1919).
  • 1945 – Arthur Nebe, German SS officer (b. 1894).
  • 1958 – Cyril M. Kornbluth, American soldier and author (b. 1923).
  • 1987 – Robert Preston, American captain, actor, and singer (b. 1918).
  • 2003 – Umar Wirahadikusumah, Indonesian general and politician, 4th Vice President of Indonesia (b. 1924).
  • 2015 – Ishaya Bakut, Nigerian general and politician, Governor of Benue State (b. 1947).
  • 2015 – James C. Binnicker, American sergeant (b. 1938).
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