What Happened on September 30?

  • The Berlin Air Lift ended. (1949) After World War II, the Soviet Union blocked ground traffic into the areas it controlled in West Berlin in an attempt to hold the people hostage. The blockade left the residents without food or medical supplies. On June 26, 1948, US pilots began flying planes into the area, loaded with provisions. During the following 15 months, more than 275,000 flights were made to deliver the much-needed supplies, outsmarting the Soviets and ruining their plot. The Soviet blockade ended in May, but the flights continued while the Berlin economy struggled to recover.

  • The Munich Pact was signed in an effort to avoid the start of World War II. (1938) The pact was signed by French prime minister Edouard Daladier and Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister. It essentially gave Czechoslovakia to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. He first occupied the Sudetenland area, then followed by annexing the rest of the country, ending its existence. Hitler had already annexed Austria, and war ultimately was not averted as Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. World War II began two days later.

  • The first two members of the US Senate were elected. (1788) Robert Morris and William Maclay were elected by the Pennsylvania legislature. After the Seventeenth Amendment was passed in 1913, Senators were elected by popular vote.

  • Ether was used for the first time as an anesthetic. (1846) William Morton, a dentist in Boston, demonstrated its use during a surgery to extract a tooth.

  • Twenty-two Nazi leaders were found guilty of war crimes. (1946) The "Trial of the Major War Criminals" in Nuremberg, Germany, tried 24 Nazi defendants. Twenty-two were found guilty, 12 of whom were sentenced to death by hanging. Secondary trials were also held at the US Nuremberg Military Tribunals to try lesser war criminals.

  • The first atomic-powered marine vessel was commissioned. (1954) The US Navy commissioned the USS Nautilus submarine, the first to be powered by a nuclear reactor. The USS Nautilus also was the first vessel to traverse the North Pole while submerged. It was decommissioned in 1980.

  • Wyoming became the fist US state to allow women to vote. (1889) Legislators approved a state constitution allowing women to vote — the US as a whole didn't allow women to vote until 1920 after the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution passed through Congress.

  • The first hydroelectric power plant in the world began operations. (1882) The Appleton Edison Light Company, later called the Vulcan street plant, opened in Appleton, Wisconsin, on the Fox River.

  • Specifications for the ethernet were first published. (1980) The ethernet is the technology behind local area networks (LANs). The first draft of specifications was published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), with cooperation from Xerox, Digital Equipment Corporation and Intel.

  • The vacuum cleaner was patented. (1901) British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth invented the world's first powered vacuum cleaner and was awarded the patent on this day.

  • The Major League Baseball World Series was televised for the first time. (1947) The series featured the Brooklyn Dodgers playing against the New York Yankees — the Yankees won in seven games.

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