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1929CE

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§Of World Interest

  • The Third Geneva Convention took place.
  • Vladimir Zworykin took out the first patent for color television.
  • November 29th, US Admiral Richard Byrd became the first person to fly over the South Pole.

§Europe

On September 5th, Aristide Briand presented his plan for the United States of Europe.

§France

French prime minister Raymond Poincaré resigned on July 24th for medical reasons. He was succeeded by Aristide Briand. His government lasted only about 3 months, collapsing on October 22nd.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the Pact of Paris after the city where it was signed on August 27, 1928, took effect on July 24th. It was an international treaty "providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy." It failed in its purpose but was significant for later developments in international law. It was named after the American secretary of state Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand, who drafted the pact. The pact was proposed 1927 by Aristide Briand, the French foreign minister and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, as a bilateral treaty between the United States and France outlawing war between the two countries. Briand thought it would both improve the cooled relations between the former allies and, more importantly, ensure that the United States would ally with France in the event of another European war.

Frank B. Kellogg, the US Secretary of State, wanted to avoid any involvement in another European war, and so was indifferent towards the proposal. However, if he opposed the treaty he would be attacked in both Congress and the press by groups which favored such an agreement. Kellogg thus responded with a proposal for a multilateral pact against war open for all nations to become signatories.

§Germany

On August 8th, the German airship, Graf Zeppelin, began a round-the-world flight which ended on August 29th.

§Great Britain

British general election return a hung parliament yet again on May 31st. The Liberals determine who has power. On June 7th the Conservatives concede power rather than risk courting Liberals for fragile majority. The next day, Ramsay MacDonald founded the new Labour government.

§British Law

March 7 - Alexander Flemings lab released penicillin. The age of antibiotics is born.

Donoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson ([1932] A.C. 562, 1932 S.C. (H.L.) 31, [1932] All ER Rep 1) is one of the most famous cases in British legal history. The decision of the House of Lords founded the modern tort of negligence (delict in Scotland), both in Scots law and across the world in common law jurisdictions. The case originated in Paisley, Scotland but the House of Lords declared that the principles of their judgment also applied in English law. It is often referred to as the "Paisley snail" or the "snail in the bottle" case.

On 9th April 1929, Donoghue brought an action against David Stevenson, an aerated water manufacturer in Paisley, in which she claimed £500 as damages for injuries sustained by her through drinking ginger beer which had been manufactured by the defendant.

The case was ultimately settled out of court and the facts were never established in a court of law.

The identity of Donoghue's friend is also unknown but that person is referred to as "she" in the case reports (including the first paragraph of the judgment of Lord MacMillan in the House of Lords).

Other uncertainties are whether the animal (if it existed) was a snail or a slug; whether the bottle contained ginger beer or some other beverage and whether the drink was part of an ice-cream soda.

On July 5th Scotland Yard seized 12 nude paintings of D.H. Lawrence from the Mayfair gallery on grounds of indecency.

§Sicily

Don Calo Vizzini, whose indictment under Il Duce in 1929 had signified the suppression of the honored society, was in the summer of 1943 appointed mayor of his town of Villalba. He would remain the Mafia's patriarch until his death in the summer of 1954.

§Vatican States

February 11 - The Lateran Treaty is one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, three agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, ratified June 7, 1929, ending the "Roman Question." Italy was then under a Fascist government; the succeeding Italian governments have all upheld the treaty.

The pacts consisted of three documents:

  • A political treaty recognising the full sovereignty of the Holy See in the State of Vatican City, which was thereby established.
  • A concordat regulating the position of the Catholic Church and the Catholic religion in the Italian state.
  • A financial convention agreed on as a definitive settlement of the claims of the Holy See following the losses of its territories and property.

It was signed for King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and for Pope Pius XI by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri. The agreements were signed in the Lateran Palace, hence the name by which they are known.

The agreements included a political treaty which created the state of the Vatican City and guaranteed full and independent sovereignty to the Holy See. The Pope was pledged to perpetual neutrality in international relations and to abstention from mediation in a controversy unless specifically requested by all parties. The concordat established Catholicism as the religion of Italy. The financial agreement was accepted as settlement of all the claims of the Holy See against Italy arising from the loss of temporal power in 1870 CE.

§India

On December 29th the All India Congress in Lahore, Pakistan demanded Indian independence from Great Britain.

§Middle East

§Afghanistan

Civil war

King Amanullah moved to end his country's traditional isolation in the years following the Third Anglo-Afghan war. He established diplomatic relations with most major countries and, following a 1927 tour of Europe and Turkey (during which he noted the modernization and secularization advanced by Atatürk), introduced several reforms intended to modernize Afghanistan. A key force behind these reforms was Mahmud Tarzi, Amanullah Khan's Foreign Minister and father-in-law — and an ardent supporter of the education of women. He fought for Article 68 of Afghanistan's first constitution (declared through a Loya Jirga), which made elementary education compulsory. Some of the reforms that were actually put in place, such as the abolition of the traditional Muslim veil for women and the opening of a number of co-educational schools, quickly alienated many tribal and religious leaders. Faced with overwhelming armed opposition, Amanullah was forced to abdicate in January 1929 after Kabul fell to forces led by Habibullah Kalakani.

§North America

§Canada

On November 18th, a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake centered on Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland, broke 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggered a tsunami that destroyed many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula area, killing 28.

§Mexico

On March 3rd a revolt attempt of Generals José Gonzalo Escobar and Jesús María Aguirre failed in Mexico.

On June 21st, an agreement brokered by US ambassador Dwight Whitney Morrow ended the Cristero War in Mexico. On June 27th, church bells rang for the first time in Mexico in years.

§United States

On February 26th, The Grand Teton National Park was created.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the shooting of seven Chicago gang members during the Prohibition Era conflict between the South Side Italian gang led by Al "Scarface" Capone and the North Side Irish/German gang led by George 'Bugs' Moran.

On the morning of Thursday, February 14, St. Valentine's Day, seven members of George 'Bugs' Moran's gang were lined up against the rear inside wall of the garage of the S-M-C Cartage Company in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago's North Side. They were then shot and killed by five members of Al Capone's gang (two of whom were dressed as police officers). When one of the dying men, Frank "Tight Lips" Gusenberg, was asked who shot him, he replied, "Nobody shot me." Capone himself had arranged to be on vacation in Florida at the time.

The massacre was a result of a plan devised by Capone's gang member Jack 'Machine Gun' McGurn to eliminate Moran, Capone's chief criminal enemy. The massacre was planned by McGurn partly in retaliation for an unsuccessful attempt by Frank and his brother Peter Gusenberg to murder him a month earlier while at a telephone booth. Territorial corruptions between "Bugs" Moran and Al Capone about who would own the Chicago bootlegging business and make the most money from it also led Capone to accept Jack's inquiry on the killing.

McGurn assembled a team of six men led by Fred Burke with the intent of having Moran lured into an ambush. Bugs and his men would be tricked into visiting a warehouse on North Clark Street on the pretext of buying some bargain hijacked bootleg whiskey; Burke's team would then enter the building disguised as police officers and kill them. The chief architects of the plan, McGurn and Capone, would be well away from the scene.

Before any shooting had begun, Capone had placed lookouts in the apartments across the street from the warehouse. Capone, wishing to keep the lookouts inconspicuous, chose two men from another state to keep watch. Five members of the McGurn gang drove to the warehouse in a stolen police car at around 10:30 a.m., two dressed in police uniforms and three in ordinary street clothes. Moran, supposedly watching the warehouse, spotted the police car and fled. However, one of McGurn's lookouts confused one of Moran's men for Moran himself, and gave the signal to McGurn's men and they approached the warehouse.

At the warehouse, they found seven members of Moran's gang, and told them to line up facing the back wall, which they apparently did willingly, believing their captors were real (and comparatively harmless) police. All seven men were then shot and killed with a Thompson submachine gun.[1] Murdered were James Clark (AKA Albert Kachellek), Frank and Pete Gusenberg, Adam Heyer, Johnny May, optician Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer, and Al Weinshank.

To show by-standers that everything was under control, two of Capone's men dressed as civilians came out with their hands up, led by the gang members posing as police officers. John May's Alsatian dog was the only survivor. Cops heard the howling of the dog and arrived at the SMC Cartage to find the dog trapped under a beer truck and floor covered with blood and bullet shells.

The massacre marked the end of Moran's power on the North Side, and his gang vanished into obscurity, enabling Capone to take over the area; however, the event also brought the belated and full attention of the federal government to Capone and his criminal activities. This was ultimately Capone's downfall, for it led to his conviction on income tax evasion charges in 1931.

§U.S. Entertainment

January 17 - Popeye the Sailor, a fictional hero notable for appearing in comic strips and animated films as well as numerous television shows was created by Elzie Crisler Segar, and first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre.

§U.S. Politics

Herbert Hoover is inaugurated as the 31st President of the United States on March 4rth, succeeding Calvin Coolidge. Even if the Hoover presidency has a negative imprint on it, it must be noted that there were some important reforms under the Hoover administration.

The President expanded civil service coverage, cancelled private oil leases on government lands and led the way for the prosecution of gangster Al Capone. He appointed a commission which set aside 3 million acres (12,000 km²) of national parks and 2.3 million acres (9,000 km²) of national forests; advocated tax reduction for low-income Americans (not enacted); doubled the numbers of veteran hospital facilities; negotiated a treaty on St. Lawrence Seaway (which failed in the U.S. Senate); wrote a Children's Charter that advocated protection of every child regardless of race or gender; built the San Francisco Bay Bridge; created an antitrust division in the Justice Department; required air mail carriers to improve service; proposed federal loans for urban slum clearances (not enacted); organized the Federal Bureau of Prisons; reorganized the Bureau of Indian Affairs; proposed a federal Department of Education (not enacted); advocated fifty-dollar-per-month pensions for Americans over 65 (not enacted); chaired White House conferences on child health, protection, homebuilding and homeownership; and signed the Norris-La Guardia Act that limited judicial intervention in labor disputes.

Hoover's humanitarian and Quaker reputation—along with a Native American vice president—gave special meaning to his Indian policies. His Quaker upbringing influenced his views that Native Americans needed to achieve economic self-sufficiency. As President, he appointed Charles J. Rhoads as commissioner of Indian affairs. Hoover supported Rhoads' commitment to Indian assimilation and sought to minimize the federal role in Indian affairs. His goal was to have Indians acting as individuals (not as tribes) and assume the responsibilities of citizenship which had been granted with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

In the foreign arena, Hoover began formulating what would later become Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy following the 1930 release of the Clark Memorandum, by withdrawing American troops from Nicaragua and Haiti; he also proposed an arms embargo on Latin America and a one-third reduction of the world's naval power, which was called the Hoover Plan. The Roosevelt Corollary ceased being part of U.S. foreign policy. He and Secretary of State Henry Stimson outlined the Hoover-Stimson Doctrine that said the United States would not recognize territories gained by force.

During his presidency, he mediated between Chile and Peru to solve a conflict on the sovereignty of Arica and Tacna that in 1883 by the Treaty of Ancón had been awarded to Chile for ten years, to be followed by a plebiscite that had never happened. By the Tacna-Arica compromise at the Treaty of Lima in 1929, Chile kept Arica, and Peru regained Tacna.

The economy was put to the test with the onset of the Great Depression in the United States in 1929. It is not accurate, as was routinely claimed by his Democratic opponents, that Hoover "did nothing" in the face of the crisis, nor that he was a believer in laissez-faire policies. He explicitly denounced laissez-faire in his 1922 book American Individualism, took an active pro-regulation stance as Commerce Secretary, and saw tariff and agricultural support bills through Congress. In his memoirs he recalled his rejection of Treasury Secretary Mellon's suggested "leave-it-alone" approach. However, Hoover opposed direct relief from the federal government, seeking instead to organize voluntary measures and encourage state and local government responses. Except for accelerating public works expenditures, Hoover largely shunned legislative relief proposals until late in his term. While his efforts were small in comparison to that of the Roosevelt administration, they exceeded that of any federal administration before him.

Soon after the stock market crash, Hoover summoned industrialists to the White House and secured promises to maintain wages. Henry Ford even agreed to increase workers' daily pay from six to seven dollars. From the nation's utilities, Hoover won commitments of $1.8 billion in new construction and repairs for 1930. Railroad executives made a similar pledge. Organized labor agreed to withdraw its latest wage demands. The President ordered federal departments to speed up construction projects. He contacted all forty-eight state governors to make a similar appeal for expanded public works. He went to Congress with a $160 million tax cut, coupled with a doubling of resources for public buildings and dams, highways and harbors. He appointed a Federal Farm Board that tried to raise farm prices.

Praise for the President's intervention was widespread. "No one in his place could have done more," concluded the New York Times in the spring of 1930. "Very few of his predecessors could have done as much." In February, Hoover announced—prematurely—that the preliminary shock had passed and that employment was on the mend.

Together government and business actually spent more in the first half of 1930 than the previous year. Yet frightened consumers cut back their expenditures by ten percent. A severe drought ravaged the agricultural heartland beginning in the summer of 1930. The combination of these factors caused a downward spiral, as earnings fell, smaller banks collapsed, and mortgages went unpaid. Hoover's hold-the-line policy in wages lasted little more than a year. Unemployment soared from five million in 1930 to over eleven million in 1931. A sharp recession had become the Great Depression...

In 1930, Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which raised tariffs on over 20,000 dutiable items, despite the protests of economists. Major trading partners, like Canada, immediately retaliated. The tariff, combined with the 1932 Revenue Act, which hiked taxes and fees across the board, is often blamed for deepening the depression, and are considered by some to be Hoover's biggest political blunders. Moreover, the Federal Reserve System's tightening of the money supply (for fear of inflation) is regarded by Milton Friedman and most modern economists as a mistaken strategy, given the situation. Hoover's stance on the economy was based on volunteerism. From before his entry to the presidency, he was among the greatest proponents of the concept that public-private cooperation was the way to achieve high long-term growth. Hoover feared that too much intervention or coercion by the government would destroy individuality and self-reliance, which he considered to be important American values. Though he was not averse to taking action which he considered was in the public good, such as regulating radio broadcasting and aviation, he preferred a voluntary, non-government approach.

In June 1931, to deal with a very serious banking collapse in Vienna that threatened to cause a worldwide financial meltdown, Hoover issued the Hoover Moratorium that called for a one-year halt in reparations payments by Germany to France and in the payment of Allied war debts to the United States. The Hoover Moratorium had the effect of temporarily stopping the banking collapse in Europe. In June 1932, a conference canceled all reparations payments by Germany.

§U.S. Economy

The Black Thursday crash of the Exchange on October 24th, and the sell-off panic which started on Black Tuesday, October 29th, are often blamed for precipitating the Great Depression.

The New York Fed responded effectively to the October 1929 panic by conducting large-scale (and unauthorized) market operations (buying bonds from the financial sector) to inject liquidity into the market.

On December 3rd Hoover announced to Congress that the worst effects of the recent stock market crash are behind the nation and the American people have regained faith in the economy.

§U.S. Industry

George Beauchamp applied for a patent on the single-cone dobro guitar, patent #1,808,756.

§Russia

§Lithuania

On September 17th, a coup ousted Augustinas Voldemaras in Lithuania; the new president was Antanas Smetona.

§South America

§Brazil

Days after the U.S. stock market crash on October 29, 1929, coffee quotations immediately fell 30% to 60%. The subsequent decline was even sharper. Between 1929 and 1931, coffee prices fell from 22.5 cents per pound to 8 cents per pound. As world trade contracted, the coffee exporters suffered a vast drop in foreign exchange earnings. The Great Depression possibly had a more dramatic effect on Brazil than on the United States.

§Sources

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