December 11, 2018

DECEMBER 11 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

DECEMBER 11

1922

Gabriel Narutowicz became the first President of the Second Republic of Poland when it regained its sovereignty after World War I.   Narutowicz held office for only five days from December 11 to December 16,  1922 when he was assassinated.  During the elections in 1922,  having defeated the leading opponent Maurycy Zamoyski, Narutowicz gained support from the center-left, in particular, the Polish People's Party, and by national minorities. However, he was harshly criticized by members of the right-wing National Democrats and far-right Endecja party. The Ultra-Catholic unions and nationalists also targeted him for what they considered political indifference on his part, and for his sympathy towards the Jews.   Five days after being elected President, Gabriel Narutowicz was assassinated by oppositionist Eligiusz Niewiadomski while viewing paintings at the ZachÄ™ta Art Gallery.  The assassin was a painter who had ties to the National Democratic Party.  He was sentenced to death and executed outside the Warsaw Citadel on January 31.  Narutowicz'  funeral was attended by almost 500,000 people. It  was a manifestation of the peoples desire for peace which had a direct effect of diminishing the power of the far-right movement in the upcoming years. Narutowicz was buried with honors on December 22, 1922 in the vault of St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw.


1936

King Edward Abdicated Throne of British Empire.  On the night of December 11, 1936, Edward made a radio broadcast to explain his decision to abdicate in which he professed his love for Wallis Simpson. He said, ".....I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love....." Henceforth,  Edward departed Britain for Austria the following day alone. He could not join Simpson until her divorce became final several months later.  His brother, the Duke of York, succeeded to the throne as George VI. George VI's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth, became heir presumptive. (Editors note:  The British government surely had to be relieved upon the news of the abdication, since Edward was openly a Nazi-sympathizer. Edward and Wallis had socialized with Hitler and were very cordial towards him, a liaison that gave the Nazi Germans great anticipation of acquiring England as an ally in the war to come.)


1941

Hitler declared war on the United States:  On December 11, 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States declaration of war against the Japanese Empire, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States. Hitler's declaration was unilateral with barely any prior consultation, and alleged that the US government was responsible for a series of provocations.  On the same day,  the United States declared war on Germany.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt then requested Congress for a declaration of war on Germany saying, "Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization."  America had to commit almost ninety percent of its military resources during the war to defeat Nazi Germany.


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