Thursday, 22 November 2012

Important dates in November's History

As we near the end of the month, and get closer and closer to Christmas (yay!) I thought I would brighten your November with some interesting dates of events that happened on November, as well as why November is actually called November, a question I bet you've never asked yourself before.

November is the penultimate month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, which is used throughout most of the world. The Gregorian calendar  replaced the Julian calendar in 1582, because the Julian Calendar had an error; it added a leap year every four years with no exceptions, adding about eleven extra minutes to the calendar annually. This made the seasons get out of track, and so a Neapolitan doctor named Aloysiuis Lilius suggested a new calendar should be implemented. This new calendar was made official by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom it was named on February 24, 1582.

November is called November because it stems from the Latin word novem, meaning 'nine'. As I am currently studying Nazi Germany at school, its seems appropriate to mention a few hugely important dates that occurred in November, many of which occurred during the Nazi regime and WWII.

On the night of November 9th and 10th, 1938, the windows in all of the Jewish stores in Germany and Austria were smashed and merchandise was thrown into the street. Over 300 Synagogues were burnt to the ground, and hundreds of the thousands of Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The name given by the Nazis to this destruction is Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass.

Another date which you ought to know is November 9th 1918 when the German Kaiser was forced to  abdicate and the German government was taken over by the SPD (Social Democrats).  Friedrich Ebert, the leader of the Social Democrats, was subsequently installed as the first president of the new Republic, which became known as the Weimar Republic because a German Constitution, modelled after the American Constitution, was written by the Social Democrats in the city of Weimar.

After World War II ended, German was divided into East and West Germany; the eastern half was Communist.  The city of Berlin, which was in Eastern Germany, was divided into zones and the Berlin wall separated the American zone and the Communist Soviet zone.  It was on November 9, 1989 that the wall came down and Germany was once again united.

The Armistice which ended World War I was signed by Matthias Erzberger, a representative of the Ebert government, on November 11, 1918, an event which is now celebrated in America as Veterans Day.  This holiday was formerly called Armistice Day. The Nazis would later call the Social Democrats “the November criminals” and characterize the signing of the Armistice as a “stab in the back” for the German people. For the next 20 years, a controversy would rage between the liberal left and the Nazis over whether or not the German army had been defeated on the battlefield, a claim which Hitler called the "Big Lie".

The final important event in German history that I am going to tell you about also happened on November 9, 1923 was that Hitler’s attempt to overthrow the German government was stopped. On the evening of November 8, 1923, Adolf Hitler announced the start of “the people’s revolution” in the Bürgerbräukeller, a Munich beer hall. Hitler and his supporters then marched through the streets of Munich in an attempt to seize power. This unsuccessful revolution became known as Hitler’s Beer-hall Putsch. The next day, on November 9th, Hitler and two thousand of his followers were stopped by the Munich police on Residenzstrasse in front of the Feldherrenhalle; four policemen and 16 of Hitler’s supporters were killed in the fighting. Hitler fled from the scene, but was later arrested and imprisoned at Landsberg am Lech after a trial in which he was convicted of treason.