This Day In History – July 31

July 31, 1777 – American Revolution
Marquis de Lafayette becomes a major-general without pay

A 19-year-old French aristocrat, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, accepts a commission as a major-general in the Continental Army—without pay. Young marquis escapes from prison to sail to the Americas to join the grand adventure to begin a new nation.

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Who Served Here? The Marquis de Lafayette – U.S. History
Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette –Wikipedia

Lafayette and Washington at Mt. Vernon, 1784

French Contribution to USA Independence – A Relatively Unsung Story


Union General George Thomas

July 31, 1816 – American Civil War
Union General George Thomas is born in Virginia

On this day, Union General George H. Thomas, who deserves a share of the credit for the Union success in the west, is born in Southhampton County, Virginia. Thomas a Virginian exemplified the difficulties that individuals who chose to break with their native states over the issue of secession faced.

A graduate of West Point and veteran of the Seminole and Mexican-American Wars Thomas commanded the Army of the Cumberland after the Battle of Chickamauga and he was one of the great generals of the American Civil War. However today, for a number of reasons, General Thomas is relatively unknown to the general public.

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General George Thomas – SonOfTheSouth
Was Gen. George Thomas Right – A Civil General Controversy

Battle of Chickamauga (lithograph by Kurz and Allison, 1890).

The Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga

Historic Photos of Chickamauga-Chattanooga Campaign
“Shadow In The Valley” Chickamauga DVD Trailer

Charles Martine Sr. , Chiricahua Apache Scout

July 31, 1937 – American Old West
Apache scout Martine dies

Charles Martine, an Apache scout who played an important role in the surrender of Geronimo, dies on the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico. Born in 1858 among the Chiricahua Apache of northern Mexico, Martine was captured as a young boy and sold to a Mexican family as a servant. His knowledge of both Spanish and Apache and his familiarity with the southern desert lands eventually made him a valuable interpreter and scout. In 1886, the American General Nelson Miles recruited Martine and another Apache, Kayitah, to help track down the renegade Apache chief Geronimo.

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David Martine – Native American & Landscape Artists
Apache Tribal Nation
Apache –Wikipedia



Australian gunners on a duckboard track in Château Wood near Hooge, 29 October 1917. Photo by Frank Hurley.

July 31, 1917 – World War I
Third Battle of Ypres begins in Flanders

The Allies launch a renewed assault on German lines in the Flanders region of Belgium, in the much-contested region near Ypres, during World War I. The attack begins more than three months of brutal fighting, known as the Third Battle of Ypres. The eventual capture of the village of Passchendaele, by Canadian and British troops, on November 6, 1917, allowed Haig to finally call off the offensive, claiming victory, despite some 310,000 British casualties, as opposed to 260,000 on the German side, and a failure to create any substantial breakthrough, or change of momentum, on the Western Front. Given its outcome, the Third Battle of Ypres remains one of the most costly and controversial offensives of World War I, representing–at least for the British–the epitome of the wasteful and futile nature of trench warfare.

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Battle of Passchendaele –Wikipedia

Wounded men at the side of a road after the Battle of Menin Road


Original WW1 Battle Footage Passchendaele 1917 Pont des Arts
Batalla de Ypres (1 de 5) El Infierno de gas.

Jews from the Lodz ghetto are loaded onto freight trains for deportation to the Chelmno extermination camp. Lodz, Poland, between 1942 and 1944.

July 31, 1941 – World War II
Goering orders Heydrich to prepare for the Final Solution

On this day in 1941, Herman Goering, writing under instructions from Hitler, ordered Reinhard Heydrich, SS general and Heinrich Himmler’s number-two man, “to submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

Goering recounted briefly the outline for that “final solution” that had been drawn up on January 24, 1939: “emigration and evacuation in the best possible way.” This program of what would become mass, systematic extermination was to encompass “all the territories of Europe under German occupation.”

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The United States Holocaust Museum
Final Solution –Wikipedia
Jewish resistance under Nazi rule

Abba Kovner with members of the Fareynikte Partizaner Organizatsye


Jewish Partisans
Partisans et résistants
Léo Ferré – L’affiche rouge – L’armée du crime
Les Partisans de Leonard Cohen


Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them. –Thomas Jefferson

America remember and honor your history – it will give direction, purpose and security to your future.


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