Every day brings about the potential for an interesting or obscure event for future generations to analyze or tease. Here are some of the most fascinating facts throughout history which occurred between January 15th to the 31st:15th of January: A storage tank filled with about 12,000 tons of molasses suddenly bursts in the North End of Boston. The aftermath of this disaster was gruesome, to say the least, with 21 killed, and a staggering 150 injured. Reports showed that the first day the gargantuan tank was filled in 1915, there were multiple leaks, and was constructed sloppily and hastily. Luckily, giant vats of molasses are not placed in the heart of cities anymore. (1919)16th of January: Years of peaceful and violent protest do not go unnoticed by the United States government. The 18th Amendment of the US constitution is ratified by a majority of US states, authorizing the prohibition of alcohol. The idea of prohibition originates from religious ideals and was supported by a large amount women in response to the drinking rates of the time, which is nearly 3 times the amount today. (1919)17th of January: Joseph "Big Joe" McGinnis orchestrated a plan and assembled a team to rob the Brink's Building. At the time of the robbery, it was the largest robbery in the history of the US. In total, about $2.775 million ($29.9 million today) was stolen. Every member of the gang was caught, many being arrested just 5 days before the statute of limitations was set to expire. (1950)18th of January: Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and Emperor Wilhelm I unite the formerly dispersed states into the German Empire. Nationalism single-handedly united Germany as linguistic, artistic, and philosophical identity merged in response to the dominance of Napoleon's ever-growing French Empire. (1871)19th of January: John Lennon is inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame joined by Elton John, Bob Marley, and others. Although Lennon was not there, Paul McCartney shared very kind words with his friend. If you would like to read or listen to the full speech, you can here. (1994)20th of January: John F. Kennedy is administered his oath of office at his inauguration by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren. Kennedy is the youngest elected President in United States history. Interestingly, Kennedy chose not to wear a coat despite the 22 °F (−6 °C) weather, nor at noon in the chilling 7 °F (−14 °C) temperatures. (1961)21st of January: King Louis XVI is executed by guillotine in Paris for all to see. Before his journey to the Place de la Révolution, Louis heard his last mass and received Communion. Louis maintained a story of innocence to the crowd until his last breath. Some accounts have stated that members of the crowd dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood to keep as souvenirs. (1793)22nd of January: The Tonight Show airs the last episode hosted by Conan O'Brien after a large controversy concerning the Tonight Show timeslot. Dozens of celebrities shared their support for Conan, including Tom Hanks, Jim Gaffigan, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ricky Gervais. (2010)23rd of January: Duke Ellington plays in Carnegie Hall for the first time. His performance was recorded and forged into a live album which has been rated 5 stars by AllMusic and The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. Some of the songs played include, "The Star-Spangled Banner", "Bojangles", and a three-part piece name, "Black, Brown, and Beige". (1943)24th of January: The world's first canned beer is sold by American company Krueger Brewing Company based in Newark, New Jersey. By 1952, the Neward plant alone was producing one million barrels of beer a year. (1935)25th of January: The first Winter Olympics were hosted in Chamonix, France. There were 16 events including but not limited to: curling, ice hockey, speed skating, and military patrol. A military patrol was a unique event that combined cross-country skiing, ski mountaineering, and rifle shooting. Norway won a staggering 17 medals total, 6 more than the second-place nation Finland. (1924)26th of January: Isaac Newton embarrasses fellow mathematician Johann Bernoulli when he solves a question sent as a challenge meant to be solved in 6 months the night that he received the letter. Upon completion, Newton sent the letter back anonymously by post. Bernoulli recognized the author, remarking that he "recognizes a lion from his claw mark". This feat goes to show the sheer intellect of Newton, as Bernoulli took two weeks to solve his question. (1697)27th of January: The Soviet military advances on Poland, liberating Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps along the way. Between 1940 and 1945, nearly 1.3 million people had been deported to Auschwitz by Nazi Germany, 1.1 million of whom were murdered. Further liberation of camps continued until the end of World War II. (1945)28th of January: The construction of the Eiffel Tower begins in Paris, and ends nearly 2 years later on March 15, 1989. The Eiffel Tower has changed its height over the years, due to antenna changes and flagpole additions. Today, the Eiffel Tower is nearly 40 feet taller than it was originally. (1887)29th of January: It is believed that William Shakespeare's most hated play among Freshmen students "Romeo and Juliet" was performed for the first time, and published two years after in 1597. (1595)30th of January: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Montgomery home is bombed by an unidentified white supremacist. While there were no injuries it sparked major controversy and stood to contest the Reverend's commitment to non-violence. (1956)31st of January: US President Harry Truman announces his support for the development of a hydrogen bomb. Hydrogen bombs are nuclear weapons that function differently from atomic bombs. Atomic bombs utilize the process of nuclear fission, which involves the splitting of a nucleus which releases a very large amount of energy to form. Hydrogen bombs use the power of nuclear fission to power a fusion reaction, which involves fusing two nuclei as opposed to splitting one. No country has ever utilized a hydrogen bomb, however, if used it has the potential to be upwards of 1000 times more powerful than an atomic bomb. (1950)
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