Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:April 29th, 2008 14:16 EST
World Chronicle: April 29

World Chronicle: April 29

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Brussels, Belgium...

Lithuania threatens to block EU trade negotiations with Russia, which are to begin this week, citing the unstable situation in the Caucasus region as one of the reasons. Other points that the Baltic state finds vital to solve before the 27 member states invite Russia to talks are the lack of unified energetic policy and hostile relations between Moscow and the Baltic republics. If the European Union fails to work out a compromise within itself, the trade negotiations will be delayed for the third consecutive year. The previous two attempts were vetoed by Poland that accused Russia of closing its markets to Polish products. However, both countries had reached an agreement early this year and the Polish foreign minister announced on Monday that his country would withdraw its veto.

It happened 63 years ago in Dachau, Germany...

On April 29, 1945, American troops brought freedom to thousands of prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who commanded the American forces in Europe, reported on the arrival to the camp, “Our forces liberated and mopped up the infamous concentration camp at Dachau. Approximately 32,000 prisoners were liberated; 300 SS camp guards were quickly neutralized.” During the last days of the camp's operation, the guardsmen executed hundreds of Russian soldiers and dispersed thousands of prisoners among other camps. The Dachau concentration camp was the first such place established by the Nazis in Germany as early as March 1933 with an intention of separating political opposition from the rest of the society. Among the first prisoners were Communists and Catholic leaders, both groups strongly opposing Adolf Hitler's fascist politics. Throughout the war, the camp also received inmates from Poland, Russia and other occupied territories. It is believed that more than 35,000 people were killed or died of starvation or diseases in the camp.

It happened 145 years ago in San Francisco, CA...

It's the birthday of William Randolph Hearst, a pioneer of yellow journalism. Hearst was born in San Francisco in 1865 to a wealthy family; his father, George Hearst, was an influential businessman and senator. Having been expelled from Harvard at 23, William Hearst began to invest in newspapers, starting with San Fransisco Examiner, which Hearst quickly turned into one of the most readable titles in the region. People loved to buy the newspaper that was the first to lambaste politicians, uncover personal scandals or even create national policy. Historians admit that it was Hearst and his newspapers that played a major role in bringing the United States into war with Spain over Cuba in 1898. Hearst is reported to say, “Don't be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it,” and “You can crush a man with journalism.” His brilliant career ended with the Great Depression that made him close most of his titles in order to save himself from bankruptcy. William Randolph Hearst died in 1951, but one remnant of his empire, The Hearst Corporation, still exists to the present day.

It happened 579 years ago in Orleans, France...

It was on this day that Joan of Arc arrived in besieged Orleans, an event that changed the outcome of the British-French one-hundred-year conflict. She was young and a woman who, in the Middle Ages, usually meant that her place was at home where she should wait for her husband and look after their numerous children. But since her early childhood, Joan had felt that God had predestined her to greater things, most notably to save France from barbarous England. When she arrived in Orleans on April 29, 1429, French commanders would not listen to her suggestions at first; only after she had won the approval of ordinary citizens and fighters, did the military begin to take her seriously. Joan opted for an aggressive counterattack that would surprise the English who had grown fatigued after months of besieging the city. Less than two weeks later, Orleans was free and Joan became the national heroine. Her victorious march would last until May 1430, when she was captured by English forces during the siege of Compiegne. By the verdict of the English clergy, Joan was sentenced to death for heresy and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. Almost thirty years later, the Vatican declared her innocent.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please write to: krzys.wasilewski@yahoo.com