Today in History
June 30

1520   Montezuma II is murdered as Spanish conquistadors flee the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan during the night.
1857   Charles Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol at St. Martin’s Hall in London–his first public reading.
1859   Jean Francois Gravelet aka Emile Blondin, a French daredevil, becomes the first man to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
1908   A mysterious explosion, possibly the result of a meteorite, levels thousands of trees in the Tunguska region of Siberia with a force approaching twenty megatons.
1934   Launching “Operation Hummingbird” on direct orders from Adolf Hitler, Nazi SS and Gestapo officers begin methodically carrying out a series of executions in a political purge that will become known as “The Night of the Long Knives.” Among those murdered are Karl Ernst (left), who is shot by a firing squad, and Gregor Strasser (right), who is shot once in his main artery and left to bleed to death.

At least 85 people will die before the operation ends on July 2; most of those killed, including Ernst and Strasser, are members of the Sturmabteilung, a Nazi paramilitary organization that Hitler has come to mistrust. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]

1936   Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone With the Wind, is published.
1948   John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley demonstrate their invention, the transistor, for the first time.
1960   Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Psycho, opens.
1971   Three Soviet cosmonauts die when their spacecraft depressurizes during reentry.
Born on June 30
1685   John Gay, poet and playwright (The Beggar’s Opera).
1768   Elizabeth Kortright, later Elizabeth Monroe, first lady to U.S. President James Monroe.
1911   Czeslaw Milosz, Polish poet and critic.
1917   Lena Horne, American singer.
1919   Susan Hayward, actress.
1926   Paul Berg, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist.
1932   Mongo Beti, novelist and political writer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *