October 31 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 October 31.

October 31

Events on October 31

1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 theses against the corruption of the papacy in Rome to the church door at Wittenberg.

1864 Nevada became the 36th state of the Union.

1940 The Battle of Britain ends: the Royal Air Force has lost 915 aircraft, the Luftwaffe 1733.

1958 Nobel prize-winning author Boris Pasternak is expelled from the Soviet Writers’ Union and is likely to be exiled for his Dr Zhivago.

1958 The first internal heart pacemaker was implanted by Dr Ake Senning in Stockholm.

1961 Death of Welsh portrait painter and graphic artist Augustus John, renowned for his outstanding draughtsmanship.

1971 An IRA bomb explodes at the top of London’s Post Office Tower.

1987 Two young people are said to have committed double suicide near Canberra, Australia, when they are found beheaded and strapped in the front seat of their car with their heads mysteriously placed in the back.

Famous Birthdays on October 31

Jan Vermeer 1632, Dutch painter of exquisitely realistic scenes of serene and harmonious domestic life.

John Keats 1795, English Romantic poet best-known for his “Ode to a Grecian Urn” and “Ode to a Nightingale”.

Benoît Fourneyron 1802, French inventor who further developed the water turbine, taking over where Claude Burdin left off.

Sir Joseph Swan 1828, English chemist credited with Edison for inventing the electric lamp.

“Sardar” Vallabhbhai Patel 1875, Indian freedom fighter, statesman and one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress.

Chiang Kai-shek 1887, Chinese leader of the Kuomintang (Nationalist People’s Party), exiled in Taiwan after being ousted by the Communists.

Quotes from Legendary

Gentlemen, it was necessary to abolish the fez, which sat on the heads of our nation as an emblem of ignorance, negligence, fanaticism and hatred of progress and civilization, to accept in its place the hat, the headgear worn by the whole, civilized world.

- Kemal Ataturk, Founder of the Turkish Republic, 1927.

Historical News on October 31

Suez Canal Splits Atlantic Alliance

1956 A bitter row has erupted between Washington and London and Paris over the bombing of Egypt by Anglo-French aircraft.

The attack follows an ultimatum by Britain and France that Israel and Egypt should withdraw their forces from the Canal zone.

Two days ago Israeli forces moved into the Sinai Peninsula, ostensibly in retaliation for Egyptian attacks on Israel.

The alacrity with which the British and French produced the 12-hour ultimatum and then brought their military forces into play suggest that the timing of the Israeli action came as no surprise.

It came as a great surprise to President Eisenhower, who finds himself in the Soviet camp on this issue.

Anglo-French thinking is that the Suez Canal – nationalized by Nasser in July – must be kept open to international traffic, thereby securing Europe’s supply of oil.

President Eisenhower regards the action as a threat to world peace and wants an immediate ceasefire.

Bodyguards Kill Gandhi

Bodyguards kill Gandhi on October 31
Bodyguards kill Gandhi

1984 The Indian Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi was shot dead today as she walked in the garden of her home in New Delhi.

She was 67.

Ironically her killers were the men detailed to protect her, constable Satwant Singh and sub-inspector Beant Singh.

The two men, both Sikhs, had riddled Mrs Gandhi with bullets before police loyal to the prime minister intervened, shooting dead Beant Singh. Mrs Gandhi had ignored repeated warnings about the potential danger of keeping Sikh bodyguards.

Three months ago Mrs Gandhi outraged Sikh feelings by ordering the Army to storm the holy Golden Temple of Amritsar.

Her assassination is almost certainly linked to that act.

Rajiv Gandhi is expected to be sworn in as his mother’s successor later today.

Houdini Can't Escape Death

1926 Escapologist and conjuror Harry Houdini died in a Detroit hospital today aged 52.

The man who delighted in cheating death in his daring stage act succumbed to peritonitis after suffering a seemingly minor injury.

The Hungarian-born master magician began his career as a trapeze artist.

He changed his name from Erik Weiss to Houdini, after the famous French conjuror Jean-Eugène Robert Houdin.

By the early 1900s his stage act had earned him an international reputation.

Time and again he would enthrall audiences by escaping from all manner of straitjackets, handcuffs, prison cells and locked, weighted and submerged containers.

He attributed his success to his immense strength and (tongue in cheek) to his bow legs.

Rate of Inflation

1888 A Scottish veterinary surgeon’s efforts to reduce the vibration emanating from the solid rubber wheels of his son’s tricycle has resulted in him being awarded a patent for a new type of tyre.

John Boyd Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre consists of an all-rubber inner tube covered by canvas with a rubber tread.

The flaps of the canvas jacket are affixed to the wheel of the vehicle by means of rubber cement.

The idea is not new – some 40 years ago Robert William Thomson was given a British patent for his pneumatic tyre.

However, such is Dunlop’s determination to find applications for his tyre that he intends to start commercial production in the near future.

Duty's Sad Call

Duty's sad call on October 31
Duty's sad call

1955 In a broadcast to the British people last night, Princess Margaret said that she had decided not to marry divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend.

There has been intense speculation in the press about the possibility of the marriage since Townsend’s (her late father’s equerry) recent return from an enforced two-year posting to Brussels.

Had the princess married him she would have lost her income from the Civil List and her place in line to the throne.

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