August 19 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred, famous birthdays, death days, legend quotes, and historical news on August 19.

August 19

Events on August 19

14 CE Death of Augustus, the first Raman emperor.

1929 Death of Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, founder of the Russian ballet company Ballets Russes in Paris.

1936 Federico Garcia Lorca, the Spanish poet and playwright best-known for the trilogy Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernardo Alba, is shot by Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War.

1960 The Soviets sentence U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers to 10 years’ detention.

1979 Pol Pot, ex-dictator of Cambodia, is sentenced to death for genocide in his absence by the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government.

1989 Poland becomes the first country in Eastern Europe to end one-party rule as Solidarity’s Tadeusz Mazowiecki takes office as prime minister.

1990 Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein offers to release all Western hostages in exchange for a US withdrawal from the Gulf region and an end to the blockade.

Famous Birthdays on August 19

John Dryden 1631. British poet and critic, author of verse satires such as Absalom and Achitophel and MacFlecknoe.

Antonio Salieri 1750, Italian composer and conductor who is suspected of poisoning Mozart.

Orville Wright 1871, American aviation pioneer, who, with his brother Wilbur, made the first powered and controlled flight.

Coco Chanel 1883, French fashion designer who revolutionized women’s clothing.

Ogden Nash 1902, American humorist who immortalized such lines as “Candy is dandy/But liquor is quicker”.

Willy Shoemaker 1931. American Jockey who rode a record breaking 7000 winners.

Johnny Nash 1940. American singer who had a hit with “I Can See Clearly Now”.

Quotes from Legend

If you want people to think well of you, do not speak well of yourself.

- Blaise Pascal, French philosopher and mathematician, who died today, 1662.

Historical News on August 19

Last-ditch Soviet Coup

1991 Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who gave a nervous world two words of hope – glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) – has been toppled.

Early this morning the Tass news agency issued a statement to the effect that the 60-year-old Gorbachev had fallen ill at his dacha on the Black Sea and was no longer able to run the country.

An “emergency committee” has been formed to perform this task.

The timing of the coup is significant – just one day short of the scheduled signing of the Union treaty, a document hated by hardliners because it signals the beginning of the end of the old Soviet empire they know and love.

Pascal Dies

Blaise Pascal dies on August 19
Blaise Pascal dies

1662 Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher, died in Paris today, aged 39 Pascal pursued his intellectual enquiries with an all-consuming passion.

In November 1654 he experienced the “night of fire” that changed his life, and temporarily abandoned the world of science – and inventions such as a calculating device, the syringe and the hydraulic press – to go in search of religious truth among the austere moral precepts of Jansenism taught in the convent of Port-Royal.

Thereafter, he wrote only at the convent’s request and never again under his own name.

Les Lettres provinciales, his most popular work, is a beautifully written defence of Jansenist Antoine Arnaud, who believed that no amount of Communion could wash away sins not truly repented.

At the time of his death Pascal was working on a treatise of spirituality.

1987 A lone gunman went on a six-hour rampage through the small British town of Hunger ford, on the Wiltshire-Berkshire borders today, leaving 14 dead, including the gunman’s mother, and a further 14 maimed from gunshot wounds.

The man, ex-paratrooper Michael Ryan, 27, eventually turned his gun on himself.

Ryan was said to have been deeply depressed by the death of his father two years ago.

He had a passion for guns and had collected a vast personal arsenal.

Hitler Gets The "Ja" Vote

1934 The German people went to the polls today to give their verdict on Adolf Hitler’s assumption of the titles Führer and Reich Chancellor.

Of the 45.5 million eligible to vote.

38 million have voted “Yes”, 4.25 million “No” and 8,70.000 spoil their ballot papers.

This is an impressive majority for the new German head of state, who announced on August 2, the day that President von Hindenburg died, his intention of merging the office of President with that of Chancellor.

Groucho Leaves His Marx

Groucho leaves his Marx on August 19
Groucho leaves his Marx

1977 Groucho Marx, the wise-cracking comic who made his name by creating mayhem on stage and film, died of pneumonia in Hollywood today.

He was 81 although, in true Marx brothers style, admitting to an age of 86! Groucho (real name Julius) and his real-life brothers – Leonard (Chico), Arthur (Harpo), Milton (Gummo) and Herbert (Zeppo) – owed their success to their indomitable mother, Minnie, who was convinced that her boys had talent, despite their own reservations.

Their film career was launched in 1929, after success on Broadway.

Groucho’s trademarks of cigar, moustache and stooping walk and his way of orchestrating the antics of the equally zany Chico and Harpo won him massive popularity around the world in films like A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera.

After retiring from films at the end of the 40s, Groucho began a new career in radio and television, as host of the weekly show You Bet Your Life.

Earlier this year the $2.9 million (£1.6 millión) estate of the thrice-married Groucho was the subject of a bitter legal wrangle between his companion and secretary for 17 years, Erin Fleming, 37, and his only son, Arthur, 56.

The court decided to place the ailing comic under the guardianship of neither, choosing his grandson, Andrew, instead.

Leave a Reply