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What Happened on August 19?

  • Adolf Hitler officially became the Fuhrer of Germany. (1934) The country previously had been run by an executive committee with a chairman; Hitler replaced the committee with a single-leader dictatorship. The creation of the Fuhrer position was approved with a popular vote of 89.9 percent.

  • The Beatles held the first show of their first US tour. (1964) The first US concert was played at Cow Palace in San Francisco, California.

  • The Hungerford Massacre occurred in the United Kingdom. (1987) Gunman Michael Ryan murdered 16 people — including his mother — with an assault rifle and then killed himself. It was the worst mass murder in Britain's history at that time.

  • The Soviet Union jailed an American U-2 pilot for espionage. (1960) American pilot Francis Gary Powers' plane was shot down while he was on a mission and flew into Soviet air space. He was sentenced to three years in prison and another seven years of hard labor. He was returned to the US in 1962 in a spy swap.

  • The first and only little person played in a Major League Baseball game. (1951) In a stunt by St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck, little person Eddie Gaedel was sent in to pinch hit for Frank Saucier. Gaedel was just 3 feet 7 inches (1.1 meters) tall, and Detroit Tigers pitcher Bob Cain could do nothing but pitch over his head, bringing laughter to the crowd. It was Gaedel's only game.

  • The first official soap box derby took place. (1934) The All-American Soap Box Derby took place for the first time in Dayton, Ohio. The race continues annually with the World Championship race held every July.

  • French chemist Jacque Daguerre presented his new photographic process. (1839) Daguerre presented the daguerreotype photographic process to the French Academy of Sciences on this day. The process was mainly used for portraits and landscapes because the process required the subject to remain perfectly still for several minutes.

  • The Toronto Supercell hit Ontario, Canada — the second most expensive weather disaster in Canadian history. (2005) The storm produced at least three tornadoes, and a fourth was spotted in the city of Toronto but not confirmed by the weather service. The storm caused more than $500 million Canadian Dollars (about $475 million US Dollars) in damage.

  • Flooding in the Northeastern United States killed more than 200 people. (1955) The flooding was caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Diane which hit North Carolina two days earlier. Hurricane Diane was the most expensive in US hurricane history at that time, causing $3.25 billion US Dollars in damage.

  • French fashion designer Coco Chanel was born. (1883) Chanel was a pioneer in the fashion industry, so much so that Time magazine named her one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.

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