What happened on this day in history: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is born, Vladimir Lenin is shot, and more.
1797: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Is Born
Novelist Mary Shelley (née Godwin) is born in London, England to political philosopher William Godwin and feminist activist Mary Wollstonecraft. Best known as the author of Frankenstein, Shelley wrote seven novels in addition to travel narratives, children’s books, short stories, and biographies. She also promoted the work of her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. She gave birth to four children, though only one survived, and Shelley died of a suspected brain tumor at the age of 53.
1918: Vladimir Lenin Is Shot
Fanny Kaplan, a Ukrainian Jewish woman and a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, shoots Vladimir Lenin in an assassination attempt. Lenin had just given a speech at the Hammer and Sickle, a factory in Moscow, and after he left the building, Kaplan shot at him three times. Two of the bullets struck him, one in the neck and one in the left shoulder. The Russian leader survived, but his health was never the same, and it’s been suggested that the shooting contributed to the later strokes that took his life.
1963: Hotline Opens Between Moscow And Washington, D.C.
A direct hotline opens between the White House and the Kremlin in Moscow in an effort to facilitate communication between U.S. and Soviet leaders. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy wanted a way to quickly exchange messages with the Kremlin to prevent future misunderstandings and reduce the risk of nuclear war. The line was to be used only for emergencies rather than for everyday communication, and it was first utilized three months later when Kennedy was assassinated.
2013: Bryce Laspisa Disappears
Bryce Laspisa vanishes while traveling on Interstate 5 in California on his way to visit his parents. Police found Laspisa’s car wrecked near Castaic Lake, but there was no sign of the 19-year-old. Dogs followed his scent to a nearby truck stop, then lost all track of him. Some later reported that he’d been acting strange prior to his disappearance, and some even believe he simply abandoned his car, phone, and wallet and set off to start a new life.
2021: The United States Leaves Afghanistan
The United States leaves Afghanistan after 20 years. Newly elected President Biden declared that he would end the war in Afghanistan and bring American troops home. Various agreements with the Taliban essentially forced the U.S. to withdraw all forces by 2021. Prior to pulling troops out of Afghanistan, the U.S. government warned American citizens to exit the country as quickly as possible. Immediately following the evacuation of U.S. troops, Afghanistan fell into Taliban hands, sparking a refugee crisis. The evacuation caused condemnation among many who believed it was poorly managed.