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October 16 in German History

October 16, 1708

Birth of the biologist Albrecht von Haller in Bern, Switzerland. He was a professor of medicine, anatomy, and surgery at the University of Göttingen. He was the first to understand the system of respiration. He demonstrated the function of nerves. His 8-volume Elementa Physiologiae Corporis Humani is a classic in medicine.

October 16, 1813

Battle of Leipzig

Beginning of the Battle of Leipzig (through October 19). The Battle of Leipzig was one of the decisive battles against Napoleon. Napoleon had retreated from Moscow and would be defeated at Waterloo by Wellington and Blücher.

October 16, 1827

Birth of Arnold Böcklin in Basel, Switzerland. The painter is characterized by his metaphysical symbolism and his love of the Italian landscape.

October 16, 1854

Birth of Karl Kautsky in Prague, Austrian Empire (now in the Czech Republic). Kautsky studied at the University of Vienna and there joined the Social Democratic Party. He was a close friend of Friedrich Engels. He the primary author of the Erfurt Program which oriented the party to an evolutionary variety of Marxism.

October 16, 1927

Günter Grass

Birth of Günter Grass in Danzig, Germany (now in Poland). Grass is doubtlessly the most known of Germany's living novelists. After WWII he was a member of the literary association , Gruppe 47. Die Blechtrommel appeared in 1959, Katz und Maus in 1961, Hundejahre in 1963, Örtlich betäubt in 1969, Der Butt in 1977, Unkenrufe in 1992 and Ein weites Feld in 1995. The film version of Die Blechtrommel won an Academy Award in the United States.

October 16, 1941

The German army reaches a position only 60 miles from Moscow.

October 16, 1946

Defendants at the nuremberg trial
Defendants at the Nuremberg trial

Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi foreign minister, is executed in Nürnberg, Germany by the War Crimes Commission. He had met Hitler and joined the Nazi Party in 1932. In 1935 he negotiated the agreement with Great Britain which allowed the building of a German navy (disallowed by the Versailles Treaty). In 1939 he negotiated the non aggression pact with the Soviet Union. He was tried by the Nürnberg court after the war, found guilty of war crimes and hanged. While in prison he wrote his memoirs, Zwischen London und Moskau.

October 16, 1946

Wilhelm Keitel is executed for war crimes in Nürnberg, Germany. He was head of Germany's armed forces during WWII. He was completely loyal to Hitler.

October 16, 1946

Fritz Sauckel is hanged in Nürnberg, Germany. Sauckel was the Nazis' head of slave labor procurement during World War II. Tried in Nürnberg, he was found guilty of war crimes.

October 16, 1946

The Austrian Nazi leader Arthur Seyss-Inquart is executed in Nürnberg.

October 16, 1946

General Alfred Jodl is executed in Nürnberg.

October 16, 1946

Execution of Alfred Rosenberg in Nürnberg, Germany. Rosenberg moved to Munich, Germany in 1919 where he joined the young Nazi party. He edited the party's paper, Völkischer Beobachter. It was he who drew from the English racist Houston Stewart Chamberlain's views and warned of a Jewish plot to take over the world. He was designated by Hitler to lead the party while Hitler was in prison in the 20's. Possibly his most influential book was Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts in 1934 in which he developed the basis of the idea of "German racial purity". After the war at the war crimes trials in Nürnberg Rosenberg was executed by the allies.

October 16, 1946

Julius Streicher, one of the strongest voices of anti-Semitism among the Nazis is hanged in Nürnberg after being found guilty of war crimes. Streicher who had been an elementary school teacher in Nürnberg joined the Nazi party and developed as one of those pushing strongly in anti-Semitic directions. He founded and edited the strongly anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer in 1923 and through that position along with his party position was instrumental in the passage of the Nürnberg Laws in 1935.

October 16, 1946

Execution of Wilhelm Frick in Nürnberg, Germany. Frick was the minister of the interior for Adolf Hitler. He had been with Hitler in Munich and became a member of the Reichstag in 1924. He was instrumental in drafting the Nürnberg Laws of 1935. (The Nürnberg Laws removed legal protections from the Jews.) After the war he was tried in Nürnberg and executed for war crimes.

October 16, 1946

Execution of Hans Frank in Nürnberg, Germany. Frank joined the Nazi Party in 1921. In the early years he served as Hitler's personal attorney. When the Nazis came to power he became the minister of justice. In 1939 after the conquest of Poland, Frank was appointed governor of Poland. He directly ordered the execution of hundreds of thousands in that position. He was captured in 1945, tried at Nürnberg and hanged.

October 16, 1963

Election of Ludwig Erhard as Chancellor.

October 16, 1973

Henry Kissinger, an immigrant from Germany, wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

October 16, 1994

The Federal Republic of Germany holds parliamentary elections. The CDU/CSU gets 41.4% of the vote, the SPD 36.4%, the FDP 6.9%, the Green Party 7.3%. The CDU/CSU-FDP coalition continues. Helmut Kohl (CDU) continues as chancellor.

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