What happened today in history: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born, Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated, Bloody Sunday rocks Northern Ireland, and more.
1649: Charles I Is Beheaded
King Charles I of England is beheaded in London at the age of 48. A strong believer in the divine right of kings, Charles’ reign was marked by his distrust of Parliament, which eventually led to the English Civil War. After his eventual defeat, Charles was found guilty of treason and executed, but after a brief stint as a republic, England restored the monarchy in 1660 with Charles’s son, Charles II, as the king.
1882: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Is Born
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is born in Hyde Park, New York. The 32nd president of the United States — and the longest-serving American president — Roosevelt was first elected in 1933 and remained in power until his death in 1945. He oversaw a number of major historical events, including the end of the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and America’s involvement in World War II.
1933: Adolf Hitler Is Named Chancellor Of Germany
Adolf Hitler is named chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg. Von Hindenburg and others hoped that making Hitler chancellor would temper his growing power, as other non-Nazis in government might be able to rein him in. Instead, Hitler’s chancellorship acted as a springboard and the Nazi leader became Germany’s de facto dictator when he won the presidency, in addition to the chancellorship, in August 1934.
1948: Mahatma Gandhi Is Assassinated
Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated by Hindi extremist Nathuram Godse. An activist, writer, and leader of India’s independence movement, Gandhi spent his final days urging Muslims and Hindus in India to live together in peace. Such efforts outraged some, including Godse, who despised Gandhi’s tolerant attitude toward other religions.
1956: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Home Is Bombed
Segregationists bomb the Montgomery, Alabama, home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King, who was already becoming one of the most prominent leaders of the American civil rights movement. He had started to build a national reputation during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 — and drew the attention of segregationists. Though his wife and seven-month-old daughter were inside his home at the time of the bombing, they were unhurt.
1972: Bloody Sunday Takes Place In Northern Ireland
British paratroopers open fire on a crowd of protestors in Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland, killing 13 people and injuring 15 more. The massacre, dubbed Bloody Sunday, erupted following months of tension between the British government and citizens of Northern Ireland who opposed the arrests of suspected members of the Irish Republican Army without giving them a trial.
A government inquiry into Bloody Sunday in 2010 called the Saville Report found that the shooting was unjustified and that none of the victims had posed any threat to the soldiers.