On this day in 52 BC Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls, surrenders to the Romans under Julius Caesar, ending the siege and battle of Alesia.
On this day in 42 BC the first Battle of Philipp took place: Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Octavian fight an indecisive battle with Caesar's assassins Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius. After the battle Octavian returned to Rome and Mark Antony went on to govern the east, whereas Marcus Aemilius Lepidus went on to govern Hispania and the province of Africa.
On this day in 1863 US President Abraham Lincoln, expressing gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg, announces that the nation will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on the last Thursday in November.
On this day in 1904 Mary McLeod Bethune established the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls. The school was a great success and by 1922 it had 300 students and 25 staff. The following year it was merged with the Cookman Institute for Men and from 1929 became known as the Bethune-Cookman College. Bethune played an active role in the civil rights movement. A member of the NAACP, Bethune defied Jim Crow customs and all seating in her schools were desegregated. Although threatened by the Ku Klux Klan, Bethune and her staff always voted in elections. Bethune was also president of the National Association of Colored Women (1924 to 1928) and in 1935 established the National Council of Negro Women. In these posts Bethune campaigned against lynching and discrimination in employment.
On this day in 1913 US Federal income tax signed into law (at 1%) by President Woodrow Wilson.
On this day in 1940 Neville Chamberlain resigned from Winston Churchill'ss coalition Government due to ill health. He was suffering from terminal cancer and died on 9 November 1940. His official biographer, Keith Feiling, wrote in 1946: "Though he might fail to show it in public, a man different from what he was to kith and kin and friends: simple, sensitive, and selfless, arduous, just, and merciful. For a short time, measured by the long scale of history, the standards by which he marched have been cast down and trampled on by brute force. But they will be raised again."
On this day in 1941 Adolf Hitler broadcast on German radio and update on Operation Barbarossa. He claimed that Germany had defeated the Soviet Union: "We had no idea how gigantic the preparations of this enemy were against Germany and Europe and how immeasurably great was the danger, how by the skin of our teeth we have escaped the destruction not only of Germany but also of Europe. That I can say now. I say it only today because I can say that this enemy is already broken and will never rise again."
On this day in 1941 the Germans blew up six synagoges in Paris. The New York Times reported: "Attempts to blow up seven synagogues were made in Paris during the hours between 1 A.M. and 5 A.M. today. In six instances they were successful, and the damage done was considerable, only the external walls of the structures remaining."
On this day in 1957 Willy Brandt is elected mayor of West Berlin (1957-1966). Brandt was a strong supporter of Britain joining the European Economic Community. In December 1967 he argued "Our own interest, which it is up to us to represent, and our understanding of the state of European interests, obliges us to speak a clear language and urge our French neighbours not to make things too difficult for themselves and others." In 1969 Brandt became Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). He continued with his policy of Ostpolitik and in 1970 negotiated an agreement with the Soviet Union accepting the frontiers of Berlin. Later that year he signed a non-aggression pact with Poland.