Henry Ford patented a plastic car. (1942) The car was actually made of soybean derivatives, and was 30 percent lighter than a normal car at the time. Known as the "soybean car," the design was abandoned when World War II diverted the focus of the auto industry.
The USSR boycotted the United Nations Security Council. (1950) The USSR had been unhappy with the UN's refusal to recognize the government of the People's Republic of China, and refused to attend security council meetings in hopes of preventing the council from any further action. The council continued to operate, and undertook the decision to send troops to fight in the Korean War during the USSR's absence, an action which the USSR likely would have vetoed.
Emile Zola exposed the Dreyfus affair in a French newspaper. (1898) Alfred Dreyfus had been sentenced to life in solitary confinement after allegedly passing military secrets to the German embassy. Dreyfus was later found to be innocent, but was still kept in jail on fabricated evidence, and the whole thing was covered up. Writer Emile Zola exposed the whole cover-up in his letter "J'Accuse," which started an intense political scandal, eventually leading to Dreyfus' release.
One British survivor escaped Kabul after his 16,000 man troop was massacred. (1842) British authorities had been trying to establish authority in Afghanistan to protect their holdings in India. Dr. William Brydon was the only survivor of an exploratory expedition to Kabul, which ended when Afghans massacred the troops in the Khyber Pass.
Allied leaders promised to prosecute war criminals. (1942) As word of the atrocities committed by the Axis forces began to leak out, Allied leaders met in London to agree on how to deal with them after the war. This was one of the first times the idea of "war crimes" was recognized and one of the first times it was decided to officially punish those that committed them.
An ejection seat was first used in a fighter jet. (1942) Before the ejection seat was designed, it was incredibly difficult for a pilot to get out of a fighter jet if something went wrong. This invention is still commonly used, and has saved hundreds of lives.
Gunslinger Wyatt Earp died. (1929) Earp was a famous outlaw and gunslinger, and was one of the main people involved in the shootout at the OK Corral. Earp died quietly in Los Angeles at age 80.
The Colored National Labor Union was founded. (1869) The CNLU was one of the first national associations of black leaders in America. Frederick Douglass was the second leader of the CNLU.
A vote in Saarland, a state in Germany, showed that 90 percent of the population wished to join Nazi Germany. (1935) Saarland had been occupied by allied forces after World War I, and developed heavy anti-French sentiments. When their term of occupation was over, the state voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Nazi Germany.
The Pope recognized the Knights Templar. (1128) The Knights Templar was a military order that protected Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The order was later persecuted by the Catholic Church, and has since played a large role in conspiracy theories.