This Day In History – December 11


If one could make alive again for other people some cobwebbed skein of old dead intrigues and breathe breath and character into dead names and stiff portraits. That is history to me! ~George Macaulay Trevelyan


Plow & Hearth


Ancient History 361 – Julian the Apostate “The Last Pagan” enters Constantinople as sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.

Julian “the Apostate” (Latin: Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus; 331/332 – 26 June 363), commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer.

A member of the Constantinian dynasty, he was made Caesar over the western provinces, by Constantius II in 355, where he campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks. Most notable was his crushing victory over the Alamanni in 357 at the Battle of Argentoratum – despite being outnumbered. In 360 he was acclaimed Augustus by his soldiers, sparking a civil war between Julian and Constantius. However, Constantius died before the two could face each other in battle, naming Julian as his rightful successor. In 363, Julian embarked on an ambitious campaign against the Sassanid Empire. Though initially successful, Julian was mortally wounded in battle and died shortly after.

Julian was a man of unusually complex character: he was “the military commander, the theosophist, the social reformer, and the man of letters”. He was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire and it was his desire to bring the Empire back to its ancient Roman values in order to save it from “dissolution”. He purged the top-heavy state bureaucracy and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the cost of Christianity. His rejection of Christianity in favour of Neoplatonic paganism caused him to be called Julian the Apostate (Ἀποστάτης, or Transgressor: Παραβάτης) by the church. He was the last emperor of the Constantinian dynasty, the empire’s first Christian dynasty.

Read more at Wikipedia

Battle of Strasbourg - Argentoratum 357 AD Julian the Apostate defeats the Alamani - Igor Dzis

History of Christianity 5: A Century of Giants


Medieval History – Roots of America 1282 – Llywelyn the Last killed, the last native Prince of Wales

Llywelyn the Last, the last native Prince of Wales, is killed/murdered at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, south Wales.

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf (‘Llywelyn, Our Last Leader’) (c. 1223 – 11 December 1282), sometimes rendered as Llywelyn II, was the last prince of an independent Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots.

Do you not see the path of the wind and the rain?
Do you not see the oak trees in turmoil?
Cold my heart in a fearful breast
For the king, the oaken door of Aberffraw

The poet Gruffydd ab yr Ynad Coch in an elegy on Llywelyn

The Llywelyn Monument at Cilmeri near Builth Wells

By early 1282, many of the lesser princes who had supported Edward against Llywelyn in 1277 were becoming disillusioned with the exactions of the royal officers. On Palm Sunday that year, Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked the English at Hawarden castle and then laid siege to Rhuddlan. The revolt quickly spread to other parts of Wales, with Aberystwyth castle captured and burnt and rebellion in Ystrad Tywi in south Wales, also inspired by Dafydd according to the annals, where Carreg Cennen castle was captured. Read more at Wikipedia.

Further reading:

Llywelyn in History Struggle, Conquest and Treachery
There can be no doubt that Llywelyn ap Gruffudd’s journey to becoming Prince of Wales was a long, difficult one. His father, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, was an illegitimate son of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, Prince of Gwynedd, who died in 1240, leaving his kingdom to his legitimate, but younger, son Dafydd ap Llywelyn.

A tribute to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd – the Last Prince of Wales. Cilmeri – the stone monolith marking the place of his murder. Abaty Cwm Hir the site of the resting place for his decapitated body with in the walls of the Abbey ruins.

Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf

The legend of Owain Glyndwr


Washington and Lafayette look over the troops at Valley Forge

American Revolution 1777 – British delay Washington’s march to Valley Forge

On this day in 1777, General George Washington begins marching 12,000 soldiers of his Continental Army from Whitemarsh to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for the winter. As Washington’s men began crossing the Schuylkill River, they were surprised by a regiment of several thousand British troops led by General Charles Cornwallis. Cornwallis came across the continental forces by chance as he followed General William Howe’s orders to forage for supplies in the hills outside Philadelphia.

Upon spotting General Cornwallis and the British troops, General Washington ordered his soldiers to retreat across the Schuylkill River, where they destroyed the bridge to prevent the British from pursuing them. After engaging the British for a short time from the opposite side of the river, Washington and the Continental Army retreated back to Whitemarsh, delaying their march to Valley Forge for several days. Read more at History.com

Further reading:

The War For America – National Army Museum

Valley Forge: A Winter Encampment Part 1


Stonewall Jackson (CSA) • William B. Franklin (USA)

American Civil War 1862 – The Federals occupy Fredericksburg

On this day in 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac occupies Fredericksburg, Virginia, as General Ambrose Burnside continues to execute his plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. However, the occupation did not happen until three weeks after Burnside’s army had arrived at Falmouth, Virginia, just across the river from Fredericksburg. Due to a logistical error, pontoon bridges had not been available so the army could not cross; the delay allowed Confederate General Robert E. Lee ample time to post his Army of Northern Virginia along Marye’s Heights above Fredericksburg.

Burnside replaced General George McClellan as head of the Army of the Potomac in early November 1862. He devised a plan to move his army quickly down the Rappahannock River, cross the river, and race Lee’s army south to Richmond. Everything went according to plan as the Yankees sped south from Warrenton, Virginia. Read more at History.com

Further reading:

The Real Battle of Fredericksburg – Stonewall Jackson, Prospect Hill, and the Slaughter Pen – Blue Gray Magazine

The Battle of Fredericksburg – Son of the South

The Battle of Fredericksburg – Wikipedia

Battle of Fredricksburg

This was a student entry in the 2008 Carencro High School Video and Animation Festival. It won 1st Place in its category (PhotoStory – Medium) and 1st Place in Best Story Telling.

Irish Brigade at Fredricksburg

“In 1771 your founder Mr. Franklin spent three months in Ireland and Scotland to look at the relationship they had with England to see if this could be a model for America, whether America should follow their example and remain a part of the British Empire. Franklin was deeply, deeply distressed by what he saw. In Ireland he saw how England had put a stranglehold o Irish trade, how absentee English landlords exploited Irish tenant farmers and how those farmers in franklin’s words “lived in retched hovels of mus and straw., were clothed in rags and subsisted chiefly on potatoes.” Not exactly the American dream … So instead of Ireland becoming a model for America, America became a model for Ireland.” Bono, lead singer of U2

Confederate Battle Plan for Fredericksburg – From “Gods & Generals”


Old West 1872 – Buffalo Bill Cody makes his first stage appearance

Already appearing as a well-known figure of the Wild West in popular dime novels, Buffalo Bill Cody makes his first stage appearance on this day, in a Chicago-based production of The Scouts of the Prairie.

Unlike many of his imitators in Wild West shows and movies, William Frederick Cody actually played an important role in the western settlement that he later romanticized and celebrated. Born in Iowa in 1846, Cody joined the western messenger service of Majors and Russell as a rider while still in his teens. He later rode for the famous Pony Express, during which time he completed the third longest emergency ride in the brief history of that company. During the Civil War, Cody joined forces with a variety of irregular militia groups supporting the North. In 1864, he enlisted in the Union army as a private and served as a cavalry teamster until 1865. Read more at History.com

Further reading:

The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
Buffalo Bill – Wikipedia

Frank Reno

Other events this day in the Old West

1869- Indiana- “The Night of Blood”- on this night over 100 red masked vigilantes stormed the jail at New Albany and hung the Reno brothers from an iron ceiling beam. The Reno gang had committed the first train robbery in North America on October 6,1866 by robbing an Ohio & Mississippi train gaining $10,000. Six months later they robbed the Daviess County treasurer’s office at Gallatin, Missouri of $22,000. Today in Old West History

Reno Gang – Wikipedia

Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917)

Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917) by gpollen
William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody (26th February 1846 – 10th January 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory (now the American state of Iowa), near LeClaire. He was one of the most colourful figures of the American Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honour in 1872. Upon the news of Cody’s death, he received tributes from King George V of the United Kingdom, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Imperial Germany, and President Woodrow Wilson. His funeral was in Denver at the Elks Lodge Hall. Wyoming Governor John B. Kendrick, a friend of Cody’s, led the funeral procession to the Elks Lodge.

Thomas Edison’s Buffalo Bill Wild West Show


Science History 1888 – In 1888, black American inventor, H. Creamer was issued a U.S. patent for a Steam Trap Feeder

H. Creamer was issued a U.S. patent for a Steam Trap Feeder (No. 394,463). He also patented five steam traps between 1887 and 1893. Today In Science History

Further reading:

Inventions and Patents of African-Americans – 19th Century
The Black Inventor Online


World War I 1915 – Yuan Shih-kai accepts Chinese throne

With war raging in Europe, conflict also reigns in the Far East between two traditional enemies, Japan and an internally-divided China. On December 11, 1915, the first president of the new Chinese republic, Yuan Shih-kai, who had come to power in the wake of revolution in 1911 and the fall of the Manchu Dynasty in 1912, accepts the title of emperor of China.

Japan had declared war on Germany in August 1914, capturing the most important German overseas naval base at Tsingtao, on China’s Shantung peninsula, by amphibious assault. In January 1915, Japan’s imperialist-minded foreign minister, Kato Takaaki, presented China with the so-called 21 Demands, which included the extension of direct Japanese control over more of Shantung, southern Manchuria, and eastern Inner Mongolia and the seizure of more territory, including islands in the South Pacific controlled by Germany. Read more at History.com

Yuan Shikai


World War II 1941 – Germany declares war on the United States

On this day, Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor surprised even Germany. Although Hitler had made an oral agreement with his Axis partner Japan that Germany would join a war against the United States, he was uncertain as to how the war would be engaged. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor answered that question. On December 8, Japanese Ambassador Oshima went to German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop to nail the Germans down on a formal declaration of war against America. Von Ribbentrop stalled for time; he knew that Germany was under no obligation to do this under the terms of the Tripartite Pact, which promised help if Japan was attacked, but not if Japan was the aggressor. Von Ribbentrop feared that the addition of another antagonist, the United States, would overwhelm the German war effort.

But Hitler thought otherwise. He was convinced that the United States would soon beat him to the punch and declare war on Germany. The U.S. Navy was already attacking German U-boats, and Hitler despised Roosevelt for his repeated verbal attacks against his Nazi ideology. He also believed that Japan was much stronger than it was, that once it had defeated the United States, it would turn and help Germany defeat Russia. So at 3:30 p.m. (Berlin time) on December 11, the German charge d’affaires in Washington handed American Secretary of State Cordell Hull a copy of the declaration of war.

That very same day, Hitler addressed the Reichstag to defend the declaration. The failure of the New Deal, argued Hitler, was the real cause of the war, as President Roosevelt, supported by plutocrats and Jews, attempted to cover up for the collapse of his economic agenda. “First he incites war, then falsifies the causes, then odiously wraps himself in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy and slowly but surely leads mankind to war,” declared Hitler-and the Reichstag leaped to their feet in thunderous applause.


Hitler’s declaration of war against the U.S.

The film depicts Hitler’s perspective of FDR and United States’ policies. It should be kept in mind in listening to Hitler’s allegations and personal world view, that at the time he made this speech the following events (see below), most at Hitler’s diabolic impulse had occurred in Europe in WWII in 1939, 1940 and 1941.

Hitler’s declaration of war against the U.S. from Rebel News on Vimeo.


World War Two timeline

A Chinese POW about to be beheaded by a Japanese officer with a shin gunto during the Nanking Massacre.

1937 Pre-WWII
Dec 13 — The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing (Nanking), the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. During this period hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers were murdered and 20,000–80,000 men, women and children were raped by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.

1939 Timeline

Sep 1 — Germany invades Poland, world war 2 begins.
Sep 3 — Britain and France declare war on Germany.
Sep 8 — The US remains neutral but president Roosevelt declares ‘limited national emergency’.
Sep 17 — Russia invades Poland
Sep 27 — Warsaw surrenders
Oct 6 — The last remaining polish forces surrender
Nov 30 — Russia invades Finland

1940 Timeline

Jan 17 — The first German Enigma messages are decoded by British intelligence
Mar 12 — Russia-Finland war ends. It convinces Hitler that the Russian military is ineffective.
Apr 8 — Germany invades Denmark and Norway.
Apr 14 — British forces land in Narvik, Norway, but leave in 10 days
May 10 — Germany invades France, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg. Winston Churchill becomes Britain’s prime minister.
May 20 — German forces reach the English channel.
May 27 — Evacuation of British and French forces to Britain at Dunkirk begins.
Jun 4 — The evacuation at Dunkirk ends. 338,000 troops were rescued. Churchill declares that Britain will never surrender.
Jun 9 — Norway surrenders
Jun 10 — Italy declares war on the collapsing France and on Britain.
Jun 14 — German troops march into Paris
Jun 18 — Russia invades Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
Jun 22 — France surrenders
Jun 27 — Russia annexes the eastern regions of Romania.
Jul 1 — Germany invades the British Channel Islands.
Jul 10 — The ‘Battle of Britain’ air campaign begins.
Jul 18 — Churchill declares this is Britain’s finest hour.
Aug 8 — The Luftwaffe begins to bomb British early warning radars
Aug 15 — The Luftwaffe loses 76 aircraft in one day
Aug 25 — British night bombers bomb Berlin
Sep 3 — Hitler changes the Luftwaffe’s objective from destroying the Royal Air Force to bombing London. This allows the R.A.F to recover and win the battle of Britain.
Sep 13 — Italy invades British-held Egypt from Libya, the north African campaign begins.
Sep 15 — The largest Luftwaffe daytime bombardment, it loses 56 aircraft
Sep 27 — Japan joins the ‘axis’
Oct 7 — German troops enter their Ally Romania, Germany’s only source of oil which is threatened by Russia
Oct 12 — Hitler cancels the invasion of Britain.
Oct 23 — Spain rejects Hitler’s offer to join the war and remains neutral.
Oct 28 — Italy invades Greece from Albania, but stopped, twice.
Nov 11 — British carrier aircraft sink Italian fleet in Taranto’s harbour. Yamamoto in Japan is impressed by their success.
Nov 20 — Hungary and Romania, both military dictatorships, join the axis.
Dec 9 — British forces in Egypt counter attack the Italians and advance along the Libyan coast

1941 Timeline

Feb 12 — Hitler sends Rommel and the ‘Afrika Korps’ to help the Italians in north Africa
Mar 1 — Bulgaria joins the axis. The axis-Russian border now stretch from the Baltic sea to the black sea.
Mar 3 — Rommel attacks the British forces in north Africa.
Mar 5 — British troops arrive at Greece to support it.
Apr 6 — Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece
Apr 13 — After military clashes, Japan and Russia sign non-aggression pact.
Apr 17 — Yugoslavia surrenders. British forces evacuate Greek mainland to Crete
Apr 27 — German troops occupy Athens
May 9 — U-boat U-110 is captured with Enigma settings tables
May 20 — German paratroopers and airborne troops invade Crete by air
May 31 — British forces in Crete surrender.
Jun 8 — British forces aided by Israeli volunteers invade French controlled Syria and Lebanon
Jun 22 — Germany invades Russia. Hitler orders “maximum cruelty” against civilians, which results in fanatic Russian resistance.
Jul 3 — Stalin orders the ‘scorched earth’ strategy.
Jul 16 — German army group ‘centre’ takes Smolensk, just 220 miles from Moscow.
Jul 21 — The Luftwaffe bombs Moscow
Jul 24 — Japan invades French Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia)
Jul 29 — Hitler, eager to occupy the rich Ukraine first, orders to stop army group centre’s advance to Moscow and to transfer its two tank armies to army groups ‘north’ and ‘south’. This is perhaps Hitler’s greatest mistake. The German generals argue in vain against it.
Jul 31 — Hermann Goering orders the S.S. to prepare “the final solution”, the plan to murder the millions of European jews.
Sep 6 — Hitler orders to restore the advance to Moscow, in order to take it “in the limited time before winter”. Army group ‘centre’, is given back its two tank armies, plus a third tank army and additional air units.
Sep 15 — The long German siege of Leningrad begins.
Sep 18 — The Germans in the south occupy Kiev and reach the Crimea.
Oct 2 — The final German attack towards Moscow begins (operation Typhoon).
Oct 15 — Rains stop German advance to Moscow due to deep mud which stops both tanks and infantry.
Oct 16 — Russian government leaves Moscow, the Germans occupy Odessa.
Oct 17 — General Tojo becomes Japan’s prime minister
Oct 21 — Churchill orders top priority to any request by the Enigma decoders.
Oct 26 — The Germans occupy Kharkov
Nov 15 — With the mud frozen by the dropping temperatures, German advance to Moscow resumes.
Nov 30 — The foremost German forces reach 27km from Moscow, but can advance no further due to strong Russian resistance.
Dec 6 — At temperatures of -34C (-29F) and below, a major Russian counter attack near Moscow begins. Moscow is saved, and the Germans are pushed back.
Dec 7 — The Japanese navy attacks Pearl Harbour and the Phillipines, and the US joins the war.
With the German failure to defeat Russia, which is marked by their failure to take Moscow, and with the United States joining the war a day later, This date marks the main turning point of world war 2
Dec 11 — Germany and Italy declare war on the US.


Read about other moments in history >>


“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.”Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833


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


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