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§Of World Interest

Over the winter of 1928-9, ten years after the Great War had ended, Winston Churchill wrote that a new international order had emerged [dominated by the United States]. Hitler and Trotsky recognized the same reality that Churchill did. They too believed that World War I had opened a new phase of 'world organization'. But whereas Churchill took this new reality as cause for celebration, for a communist revolutionary like Trotsky or a national socialist such as Hitler it threatened nothing less than historical oblivion.

The first television show, The Queen's Messenger was broadcast. The sound was carried on General Electric's local WGY radio station. The program was filmed by three mechanically-scanned television cameras. While two actors spoke their lines on camera, two others acted as hand models for closeups. The broadcast was seen on a total of four 41-line television sets in Schenectady, New York, the home of General Electric.



June 4 - Huanggutun Incident: Zhang Zuolin, President of the Republic of China and warlord, is killed by Japanese agents.

June 8 - By seizing Beijing and renaming it Běipíng, the NRA puts an end to the Fengtian warlords' Běiyáng government there.


Hirohito was enthroned as the new emperor of Japan. However, there was a growing skepticism regarding the deity of the emperor, along with new opposition to Japan's form of government by communists and other radicals -- especially with the onset of a severe economic recession. To counter this, the Japanese government planned an elaborate year long celebration of Hirohito's enthronement, including dramatic gestures of benevolence. And it simultaneously increased the number of officials engaged in "thought control":

"Meanwhile the attention of Hirohito and the court group was focusing increasingly on his forthcoming enthronement. ...

"The Showa enthronement rituals, festivities, and national unity banquets were planned and staged under recession conditions. ... After all, tradition and mythology helped to hold society together, despite its underlying conflicts.

"Technology was also harnessed to the glorification of the monarchy. In 1928, when the enthronement year began, Japan had entered the age of mass advertising and mass consumer culture. For nearly three years, regular nationwide radio broadcasts had been affecting public opinion and values. ...

"The government [also] appointed in all prefectures 'thought procurators' and 'special higher police.' The armed forces established their own 'military thought police,' and special Home Ministry police officials were assigned to work full-time on uncovering anti-kokutai 'conspiracies' being plotted by communists and other radicals. As a result, from 1928 onward the imperial state assumed a sterner attitude toward its critics. First, communists and leaders of the sectarian Shinto organizations of Omotokyo and Tenrikyo, which refused to recognize Amaterasu Omikami as a superior deity, were subjected to increased police surveillance and repression; later the surveillance was extended to liberal intellectuals in journalism and the universities. Thus the process of manufacturing a new emperor through ritual and propaganda went hand in hand with a major expansion and dispersion of the thought-control apparatus. ...

"The enthronement rituals and ceremonies, from their start in January to their climax in early December 1928, helped to manufacture a new imperial image for the young emperor. ... The enthronement culminated during the months of November and December 1928. In November, in towns and cities in every prefecture and metropolitan district throughout the empire, hundreds of thousands of people took part in banquets and award ceremonies; millions of schoolchildren joined in flag parades and lantern festivals. Before the year ended the throne had dispensed millions of yen as an expression of imperial benevolence for the nation's poor, liberally awarded medals, granted titles, and bestowed posthumous decorations on historical figures from the thirteenth, fourteenth, and nineteenth centuries who were noted for loyalty to the throne. Also in the name of the emperor, the government reduced the sentences of 32,968 criminals, including the assassin of Hara Kei; commuted the punishments of 26,684 prisoners in the colonies; and granted special amnesty to another 16,878 prisoners."

§Atlantic Ocean

June 17 - Aviator Amelia Earhart starts her attempt to become the first woman to successfully pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean (she succeeds the next day).



June 11 - A medical doctors' strike begins in Vienna.


The Graf Zeppelin flew for the first time on September 18th, and, with a total length of 236.6 m (776 ft) and volume of 105,000 m³ (3,708,040 ft³), was the largest airship up to that time. It was powered by 5 Maybach 550 HP engines that ran off of Blau gas and could carry a payload of 60 metric tonnes.

§Great Britain

January 6-7 - The River Thames floods in London; 14 drown.

January 7 - The moat at the Tower of London, previously drained in 1843 (and planted with grass), is completely refilled by a tidal wave.

September 28 - Alexander Fleming discovers Pennicillin.

"When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn't plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world's first antibiotic, or bacteria killer," Fleming would later say, "But I suppose that was exactly what I did."

§British Law

July 2 - The Representation of the People Act 1928 becomes law, extending the right to vote to all women in the United Kingdom.

On the evening of Sunday 26 August 1928 May Donoghue, née M’Alister, boarded a tram in Glasgow for the thirty-minute journey to Paisley. At around ten minutes to nine, she and a friend took their seats in the Wellmeadow Café in the town's Wellmeadow Place. They were approached by the café owner, Francis Minchella, and Donoghue's friend ordered and paid for a pear and ice and an ice-cream drink. The owner brought the order and poured part of a bottle of ginger beer into a tumbler containing ice cream. Donoghue drank some of the contents and her friend lifted the bottle to pour the remainder of the ginger beer into the tumbler. It was claimed that the remains of a snail in a state of decomposition plopped out of the bottle into the tumbler. Donoghue later complained of stomach pain and her doctor diagnosed her as having gastroenteritis. She also claimed to have suffered emotional distress as a result of the incident.


April 12 - A bomb attack against Mussolini in Milan kills 17 bystanders.


March 12 - Malta becomes a British dominion.


July 28 - The 1928 Summer Olympics officially open in Amsterdam.

In 1928 the building of the bridge across the Eendracht ended Tholen's isolated position. Formally it was no longer an island anymore, although plans to dam up and impolder the stream to definitively merge Tholen into the mainland never came to realization.


February 11 - The II Olympic Winter Games open in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

§Middle East


The Muslim Brotherhood, precursor to Al Qaeda was formed as a reaction against British colonial rule.

§North America

September 10 - The S.S. Commack storm was first observed a Cape Verde-type hurricane 900 miles (1450 km) to the east of Guadeloupe.

September 12 - September 12 the storm passed over Guadeloupe and then south of the other Leeward Islands; Guadeloupe reported a pressure of 27.76 inHg (940 mbar), and a ship just south of St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands reported it as an even stronger storm with a pressure of 27.50 inHg (931 mbar).


July 17 - José de León Toral assassinates Álvaro Obregón, president of Mexico.

§Puerto Rico

September 13 - A storm struck Puerto Rico as a Category 5 hurricane, allegedly packing winds of 160 mph (260 km/h); reliable reports from San Juan placed the wind speed at 125 knots (145 mph, 230 km/h), and a report from Guayama placed the pressure at 27.65 inHg (936 mbar). The 160 mph (260 km/h) wind measurement from Puerto Rico was taken by a cup anemometer in San Juan, 30 miles (50 km) north of the storm's center, which measured 160 mph (260 km/h) sustained winds three hours before the peak wind speed was reached; however, the instrument was destroyed soon after and could not be calibrated. This unverified reading was the strongest wind measurement ever reported for an Atlantic hurricane up until that time.

The island of Puerto Rico received the worst of the storm's winds when the hurricane moved directly across the island at Category 5 strength. The island knew of the storm's approach well ahead of time; by about 36 hours in advance all police districts were warned and radio broadcasts provided constant warnings to ships. Effective preparation is credited for the relatively low death toll of 312, and not a single ship was lost at sea in the vicinity of Puerto Rico.

§United States

March 12 - In California, the St. Francis Dam north of Los Angeles fails, killing 400.

March 21 - Charles Lindbergh is presented the Medal of Honor for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

May 10 - The first regular schedule of television programming begins in Schenectady, New York by the General Electric's television station W2XB (the station is popularly known as WGY Television, after its sister radio station WGY).

May 15 - The animated short Plane Crazy is released by Disney Studios in Los Angeles, featuring the first appearances of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

July 12 - Mexican aviator Emilio Carranza dies in a solo plane crash in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, while returning from a goodwill flight to New York City.

September 16 - The Okeechobee hurricane made landfall in the United States in Palm Beach County between Jupiter and Boca Raton. in the latest (2005) update to the National Hurricane Center publication "The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones" lists the death toll from the Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 as "at least 2,500", establishing the Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 the second worst natural disaster as far as number of people killed in U.S. history.

December 21 - President Coolidge signed the bill authorizing the Boulder Dam. The Boulder Canyon Project Act appropriated $165 million for the Hoover Dam along with the downstream Imperial Dam and All-American Canal, a replacement for Beatty's canal entirely on the U.S. side of the border

§U.S. Economy

With Strong's death from tuberculosis in October 1928, the Federal Reserve Board in Washington came to dominate monetary policy, with disastrous results

§U.S. Business

Kelloggs Rice Krispies first marketed to the U.S. public.

September 3 - Many inventors had built electromechanical television systems prior to Philo Farnsworth's seminal contribution, but Farnsworth designed and built the world's first working all-electronic television system, employing electronic scanning in both the pickup and display devices. He first demonstrated his system to the press.

September 25 - Paul V. Galvin and his brother, Joseph, incorporated Motorola's founding company — the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation — in Chicago.

§U.S. Politics

April 10 - Pineapple Primary: The Republican Party primary elections in Chicago are preceded by assassinations and bombings.

June 29 - New York Governor Alfred E. Smith becomes the first Catholic nominated by a major political party for U.S. President, at the Democratic National Convention in Houston, Texas.

August 22 - Alfred E. Smith accepts the Democratic presidential nomination, with W2XB simulcasting the event on radio and television.

§North Pole

June 24 - A Swedish aeroplane rescues part of the Italian North Pole expedition, including Umberto Nobile. The Soviet icebreaker Krasin saves the rest July 12.

§South America


June 14 - Students take over the medical wing of Rosario University in Argentina.


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