On this day on 9th October

On this day in 1192 Richard I of England, the Lion Heart, leaves Jerusalem in disguise. Winston Churchill claims that Richard the Lionheart, despite his many faults, was one of England's most important heroes. "His memory has always stirred English hearts, and seems to present throughout the centuries the pattern of the fighting man. Although a man of blood and violence, Richard was too impetuous to be either treacherous or habitually cruel. He was as ready to forgive as he was hasty to offend; he was open-handed and munificent to profusion; in war circumspect in design and skilful in execution; in politics a child, lacking in subtlety and experience. His political alliances were formed upon his likes and dislikes; his political schemes had neither unity nor clearness of purpose."

Richard the Lionheart's seal (c. 1190)

Richard the Lionheart's seal (c. 1190)

On this day in 1290 the last of 16,000 Jews expelled by King Edward I leave England. The first Jewish communities of significant size came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066, when William issued an invitation to the Jews of Rouen to move to England, because he wanted feudal dues to be paid to the royal treasury in coin rather than in kind, and for this purpose it was necessary to have a body of men scattered through the country who would supply quantities of coin. The Edict of Expulsion was a royal decree issued on 18 July 1290. Edward advised the sheriffs of all counties he wanted all Jews expelled by no later than All Saints' Day (1 November) that year. The expulsion edict remained in force for the rest of the Middle Ages . The edict was not an isolated incident, but the culmination of over 200 years of increasing antisemitism .

An image of Jews being beaten from a 13th century English manuscript. The figures in blue and yellow are wearing a badge in the shape of two tablets, identifying them as Jews
An image of Jews being beaten from a 13th century English manuscript. The figures in blue
and yellow are wearing a badge in the shape of two tablets, identifying them as Jews

On this day in 1635 religious dissident Roger Williams banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Williams objected to the royal charter of Massachusetts because it contained a lie when it claimed that England first discovered the region. Williams argued that the king had no right to grant the land to the settlers and that it should be purchased from the Native Americans. Although John Winthrop accepted the truth of this argument, he feared that if the king heard about what Williams was saying he might take back control of the colony and bring an end to this Puritan republic. Winthrop therefore decided to banish Williams from the colony. Williams and his followers moved to Rhode Island where they purchased land from the Narragansett Indians at Providence. Williams established a democratic society and a haven of religious toleration and admitted Jews and Quakers into the colony. Anne Hutchinson, who had been banished by John Winthrop from the Massachusetts colony, also joined Williams on Rhode Island. So did Quakers such as Elizabeth Hooton and Mary Dyer.

Roger Williams arriving on Rhode Island
Roger Williams arriving on Rhode Island

On this day in 1665 the House of Commons meets at the University of Oxford rather than the Palace of Westminster because of the Great Plague of London.

Rudolf Ackermann, House of Commons, from Microcosm of London (1808)
Rudolf Ackermann, House of Commons, from Microcosm of London (1808)

On this day in 1823 Mary Ann Cary, the former slave and women's suffrage campaigner was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She moved to Canada and while based in Toronto she published and edited the anti-slavery newspaper, Provincial Freeman. The newspaper included several articles illustrating the role played by women in the emancipation struggle and argued against all forms of gender discrimination. In 1869, at the age of forty-six, became the first woman student at the Howard University Law School. While studying for her degree Cary worked with Frederick Douglass on the National Era newspaper. Cary's articles often dealt with women's suffrage and in 1871 she and sixty-three other women attempted to register to vote in Washington. Cary was also the founder of the Colored Women's Progressive Franchise Association in 1880. In her final years Cary campaigned for training programmes for equal rights, an increase in the number of occupations open to women, co-operative stores and local labour bureaus. Mary Ann Cary died on 5th June, 1893.

Mary Ann Cary and Provincial Freeman
Mary Ann Cary and Provincial Freeman

On this day in 1863, Emil Eichhorn, an important figure in the German Revolution, was born in Chemnitz-Röhrsdorf.  On 9th November, 1918, he was appointed head of the Berlin Police Department. As Rosa Levine pointed out: "A member of the Independent Socialist Party and a close friend of the late August Bebel, he enjoyed great popularity among revolutionary workers of all shades for his personal integrity and genuine devotion to the working class. His position was regarded as a bulwark against counter-revolutionary conspiracy and was a thorn in the flesh of the reactionary forces."

On 4th January, 1919, Friedrich Ebert, Germany's new chancellor, ordered the removal of Eichhorn, as head of the Police Department. Chris Harman, the author of The Lost Revolution (1982), has argued: "The Berlin workers greeted the news that Eichhorn had been dismissed with a huge wave of anger. They felt he was being dismissed for siding with them against the attacks of right wing officers and employers. Eichhorn responded by refusing to vacate police headquarters. He insisted that he had been appointed by the Berlin working class and could only be removed by them. He would accept a decision of the Berlin Executive of the Workers' and Soldiers' Councils, but no other."

Friedrich Ebert, Germany's new chancellor, called in the German Army and the Freikorps to bring an end to the rebellion. By 13th January, 1919 the rebellion had been crushed and most of its leaders were arrested. After the suppression of the Spartacus Uprising, Eichhorn went into hiding. In 1920 he joined the German Communist Party but remained a supporter of the theories of Rosa Luxemburg and this brought him into conflict with Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. In 1921 Paul Levi resigned as chairman of the KPD over policy differences. Later that year, Lenin and Trotsky, demanded that he should be expelled from the party. Eichhorn resigned along with Levi. Eichhorn died in Berlin on 26th July, 1925.

Emil Eichhorn
Emil Eichhorn

On this day in 1864 Brigadier General George Custer takes part in the defeat of Jubal A. Early and his Confederate Army at Tom's Brook. It was a significant Union Army victory during the American Civil War. One that was mockingly dubbed the "Woodstock Races" for the speed of the Confederate withdrawal.

George Custer
George Custer

On this day in 1932 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin expels Lev Kamenev and Gregory Zinoviev from the Communist Party after a power struggle. In July 1936 Nikolai Yezhov told Kamenev and Zinoviev that their children would be charged with being part of the conspiracy and would face execution if found guilty. The two men now agreed to co-operate at the trial if Stalin promised to spare their lives. At a meeting with Stalin, Kamenev told him that they would agree to co-operate on the condition that none of the old-line Bolsheviks who were considered the opposition and charged at the new trial would be executed, that their families would not be persecuted, and that in the future none of the former members of the opposition would be subjected to the death penalty. Stalin replied: "That goes without saying!"

On 24th August, 1936, Vasily Ulrikh entered the courtroom and began reading the long and dull summation leading up to the verdict. Ulrikh announced that all sixteen defendants were sentenced to death by shooting. Edward P. Gazur has pointed out: "Those in attendance fully expected the customary addendum which was used in political trials that stipulated that the sentence was commuted by reason of a defendant's contribution to the Revolution. These words never came, and it was apparent that the death sentence was final when Ulrikh placed the summation on his desk and left the court-room."

The following day Soviet newspapers carried the announcement that all sixteen defendants had been put to death. This included the NKVD agents who had provided false confessions. Joseph Stalin could not afford for any witnesses to the conspiracy to remain alive. Edvard Radzinsky, the author of Stalin (1996), has pointed out that Stalin did not even keep his promise to Kamenev's sons and later both men were shot.

Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev
Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev

On this day in 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approves an atomic program that would become the Manhattan Project. In 1942 the Manhattan Engineer Project was established under the command of Brigadier General Leslie Groves. Scientists recruited to produce an atom bomb included Robert Oppenheimer (USA), David Bohm (USA), Leo Szilard (Hungary), Eugene Wigner (Hungary), Rudolf Peierls (Germany), Otto Frisch (Germany), Niels Bohr (Denmark), Felix Bloch (Switzerland), James Franck (Germany), James Chadwick (Britain), Emilio Segre (Italy), Enrico Fermi (Italy), Klaus Fuchs (Germany) and Edward Teller (Hungary).

Manhattan Project physicists at Los Alamos. From left to right: Kenneth Bainbridge, Joseph Hoffman, Robert Oppenheimer, Louis Hempelmann, Robert Bacher, Victor Weisskopf and Richard Dodson.
Manhattan Project physicists. From left to right: Kenneth Bainbridge, Joseph Hoffman,
Robert Oppenheimer, Louis Hempelmann, Robert Bacher, Victor Weisskopf & Richard Dodson.

On this day in 1943 Anne Frank writes in her diary: "Our many Jewish friends are being taken away by the dozen. These people are being treated by the Gestapo without a shred of decency, being loaded into cattle trucks and sent to Westerbork."

Anne Frank
Anne Frank

On this day in 1944 Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin meet in Moscow. These originally-proposed spheres of influence that Churchill were nominated to Stalin in percentages: Romania = 90% Russian; Greece = 90% Great Britain (in accord with USA) and Russian 10%; Yugoslavia = 50-50%, Hungary = 50-50%, Bulgaria = 75% Russian. ] Averell Harriman US ambassador to the Soviet Union, representing President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was not present for the discussions, but Churchill informed Roosevelt on 10 October of an agreement after more deliberations. However, it is not certain to what extent the true details were made known at the time.

Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in Moscow (1944)
Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in Moscow (1944)

On this day in 1953 Konrad Adenauer elected Chancellor of West Germany. He held power for the next fourteen years. In 1950 Adenauer appointed Walter Hallstein as undersecretary of state and was leader of the German delegation at the Schuman Plan Conference. In this post he developed what became known as the Hallstein Doctrine. According to this doctrine, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) had exclusive right to represent the entire German nation. Except for the Soviet Union, the government refused to maintain diplomatic relations with states that recognized the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer

On this day in 1963 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan resigns and is replaced by Alec Douglas-Home. He immediately resigned his peerage and won a by-election at Kinross and Western Perthshire. A year later the Conservative Party was defeated at the 1964 General Election and Harold Wilson became the new prime minister.

Alec Douglas-Home
Alec Douglas-Home