August 20 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 20.

August 20

Events on August 20

1794 General Napoleon Bonaparte is freed from the jail where he was being held on suspicion of Robespierrism.

1828 Brahmo Samaj, a socio-religious reforms, is founded by Ram Mohan Roy in Calcutta, India.

1912 Death of William Booth, the British founder of the Salvation Army.

1913 Adolphe Pégond bales out of an airplane at 700 ft (213 m) and parachutes safely to the ground, becoming the first person to parachute from a plane.

1913 Stainless steel was first cast in Sheffield by Harry Brearly.

1924 British sprinter Eric Liddel refused to run in the 100 metres at the Paris Olympics on religious grounds because the event is held on a Sunday.

1940 Radar was used for the first time by the British during World War Two.

1956 The first nuclear power in Britain is generated at Calder Hall power station in Cumbria.

1970 Lieutenant Calley’s sentence for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam is reduced by 20 years after public claims that he is a scapegoat.

1988 A ceasefire between Iran and Iraq takes effect.

Famous Birthdays on August 20

H.P. Lovecraft American science fiction author of macabre tales such as The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness.

Jack Teagarden 1905. American jazz trombonist. singer, composer and bandleader, best known for his version of The Ballad of Basin Street”.

Rajiv Gandhi 1944, the sixth and youngest prime minister of India who took office at the age of 40.

Robert Plant 1948. English singer and songwriter, best known as the vocalist of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Quotes from Legend

From being a patriotic mythi, the Russian people have become an awful reality.

- Leon Trotsky, who died today, 1940.

Historical News on August 20

RAF Invincible in Battle for Skies

RAF invincible in battle for skies on August 20
RAF invincible in battle for skies

1940 The offensive launched by Germany on August 13 in preparation for an invasion of the British Isles is met with strong resistance and considerable victory by the RAF.

Southeast England has borne the brunt of the attacks from fleets of bombers protected by fighter aircraft.

So far 236 German aircraft have been downed for the loss of just 95 British, with the RAF’s efforts concentrated on destroying the Luftwaffe’s bombers.

A switch of German tactics may well be on the cards as Luftwaffe supremo Hermann Goering searches for a way of cracking the British fighter command nut and winning air superiority.

1989 A birthday party held aboard a Thames pleasure boat ended in tragedy in the early hours of this morning when the 60-year-old vessel Marchioness was hit and run over by a 1475-ton sand dredger, the Bow Belle.

The smaller craft sank in less than two minutes, leaving those below deck with little chance of escape.

Police are questioning the crews of both vessels.

Violent Death for Born Free Star

1989 British conservationist George Adamson, who with his wife Joy became world famous through the film about their tame lions, Born Free, was gunned down by bandits near his camp in the Kora National Reserve today.

The men responsible for killing the 83-year-old Adamson and two of his assistants are thought to be the remnants of a gang of poachers recently driven out of Kenya’s Meru and Tsavo national parks.

Nairobi-born Adamson, the son of a coffee farmer, settled in the remote Kora Reserve 18 years ago, after his favourite lion, Boy (the mate of Elsa the lioness in Born Free), had mauled Mark Jenkins, the son of the Meru Park warden. Joy stayed behind at Meru and ten years ago was stabbed to death by a member of staff at the park.

Axe Falls for Trotsky

1940 Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution in 1917, was stabbed to death with an alpine axe at his home in Coyoacan, near Mexico City today.

He was 61.

Ramón Mercader, a Spanish communist, has been charged with Trotsky’s murder.

Trotsky had lived abroad since January 1929, when Stalin finally lost patience with the steady stream of criticism issuing from the Ukrainian’s place of exile at AlmaAta in Central Asia and banished him from Soviet soil.

His fall from grace in the Soviet hierarchy came swiftly after the death of Lenin in 1923.

Outmanoeuvred by the wily Stalin, he found himself first ousted from the Politburo, then the Party, and finally the Soviet Union itself.

Stalin then ordered the rewriting of the official history of the USSR to play down and denigrate Trotsky’s place in Soviet history.

Daguerre Captures The Real World

Daguerre captures the real world on August 20
Daguerre captures the real world

1839 A crowded joint meeting of the Académie des Sciences and the Institut de France in Paris heard yesterday of a revolutionary new photographic process sponsored by the French government.

The process records an image by exposing to light a copper-coated silver plate sensitized by iodine which is then developed by bringing it into contact with heated mercury vapour.

The government has agreed to pay L.J.M. Daguerre and Isidore Niepce, the son of Daguerre’s now deceased partner in the project, Joseph Niepce, annual annuities of 6,000 and 4,000 francs respectively in return for the copyright.

Although the image produced by the daguerreotype is of an exquisite tonal quality, it damages easily and cannot generate duplicates.

The way ahead seems to be pointed by the negative-positive process of photography developed by Englishman Henry Fox Talbot, announced in February.


  1. Palma Scoleri September 18, 2021
    • today September 18, 2021
  2. Edythe Tillson September 24, 2021
  3. Wilford Pruss September 27, 2021

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