What Happened on October 30?

  • Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" was broadcast on radio, causing a panic among some listeners. (1938) The fictional story of a Martian invasion was told using fake news reports. Amid the tension of an impending World War II, some listeners believed the story was true.

  • The Soviet Union exploded the largest nuclear weapon in world history. (1961) The nuclear test took place on the islands of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean. The bomb was 4,000 times stronger than the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.

  • US President Dwight Eisenhower approved secret documents to expand the arsenal of nuclear weapons in the United States. (1953) The National Security Council Paper No. 162/2 (NSC 162/2) stated that to remain ahead of communist threats, the US must make nuclear weapons as available as any other kind of military weapon in use.

  • Rosa Parks became the first woman to be honored by being laid in state at the United States Capitol rotunda. (2005) Parks, who had died on October 24, was honored for her commitment to the civil rights movement. She notably was defiant of racial segregation — she became well known for refusing to give her seat on a bus to a white man, though she wasn't the first to do that. She also was known for her contributions that launched Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the civil rights movement into the national spotlight.

  • The precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded. (1947) The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was established after countries around the world failed to successfully negotiate the International Trade Organization (ITO). It was replaced by the WTO in 1995, with the same basic purpose: to set international trade regulations and to police the international trade market.

  • The "Perfect Storm" hit the Atlantic Ocean. (1991) The storm began as a regular, but powerful, nor'easter storm, but then it absorbed a hurricane. A low pressure system moved into the storm's area at the same time as a high pressure system moved in from another direction. The clash of two pressure systems together with the hurricane-strength nor'easter created very rare weather conditions that produced waves up to 100 feet (about 30 meters) — larger than most tsunami waves, which are typically caused by earthquakes. The storm famously sunk the 72-foot (about 22-meter) Andrea Gail commercial fishing boat; the ship and her crew of six were never seen again. The book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger was based on this incident.

  • The first kidney transplant in England occurred. (1960) English surgeon Michael Woodruff transplanted a kidney from one identical twin to the other at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. The first kidney transplant in the US occurred in 1950.

  • The Ottoman Empire signed a cease-fire agreement with the Allies in World War I. (1918) The agreement ended the Ottoman Empire's participation in World War I and effectively ended the Empire as well.

  • US President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a $1 billion US Dollar loan to the Soviet Union to aid their military forces during World War II. (1941) The loan, called "Lend-Lease Aid," was a continued attempt to keep the US out of World War II. The loan had zero interest attached to it and wasn't due to be paid back until five years after the war had ended.

  • The fastest baseball pitch in Major League Baseball was thrown. (1974) Nolan Ryan, playing for the California Angels, threw the pitch, which was clocked at 100.9 miles per hour (about 162 kilometers per hour). The record was documented in the Guinness Book of World Records and has stood for more than 36 years.

Discussion Comments


One thing I've always admired Rosa Parks for is her bravery, especially when she wouldn't give up her seat on the bus. In fact, I remember watching a movie on her a while back, and though quite a bit of the film seem dramatized, I thought the scene in the bus was very well done.

However, one thing I really appreciate about the fourth bullet point is how it makes note of the fact the Rosa Parks wasn't the first person to give up her seat on the bus, which I think some people fail to realize.

While many blacks who refused to give up their seat were arrested (obviously), they didn't get much public attention, and they were simply treated like any other criminal.

However, in the case of Rosa Parks, the reason why her refusal was so well known, is due to the fact that she was a public figure around that time. Her arrest sparked the interest of many people. If she had been the "average" citizen, it wouldn't have made much of a difference.

Even though we still have a long way to go in this day and age, especially when it comes to subtle discrimination and racism, Rosa Parks certainly did the right thing, and her refusal became quite an outrage in the public.

In fact, this could also explain why some other blacks had refused to get up from tables as well, using nonviolent methods when they were beaten or attacked.


Surgery has always been rather interesting to me, so reading the tidbit about the kidney transplant seems to be pretty interesting. How about anyone else?

While surgery can be done with absolutely no problems nowadays, back then, it was really something big, and it also came with a lot of risks.

Also, considering that nowadays, organ transplants can be done with absolutely no problems, it really shows how far experience can get someone, if that makes sense.

Obviously in this day and age, surgery and transplants are rather easy to do, but back when it was new, there had to be careful attention to detail.

After all, don't forget that in the earlier times of performing surgery, medicine wasn't used, and that means the person had to stay awake the entire time. I imagine that had to be a rather gruesome experience.


In relation to the the first bullet point, while I wasn't around during this infamous broadcast, on the other hand, I definitely think it's something interesting to think about. Aliens have always been an interesting phenomenon.

Whether we believe in them or not, aliens are something that all of us have thought about from time to time.

Sometimes though, I wonder if they do exist, but are just being hidden from the public. I don't mean to sound paranoid, but I was watching the movie Super 8 the other night, and the main alien in the film was so aggressive, because it had been captured and tortured by the government for years. Even though it's only fiction, it's certainly something interesting to think about.

On a final note, what I think is most interesting about this article, is the fact that back then, people weren't all that familiar with aliens.

For the most part, this probably explains the chaotic response during the broadcast. After all, if there was a similar broadcast in this day and age, while it's true that there might be some panic, it probably wouldn't be at the level it was in 1938. I mean, unless we see proof, do aliens actually exist?

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