21 April 1940

21 April 1940

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21 April 1940

April 1940



RAF aircraft bomb airfields at Stavanger and Aalborg

Today in World War II History—April 21, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—April 21, 1940: British and German troops engage in heavy fighting at Lillehammer, Norway.

First US military casualty of WWII—Army Air Force observer Capt. Robert Losey is killed in German bombing at Dombås, Norway.

M24 Chaffee light tank of US 1st Armored Division in Bologna, Italy, late Apr 1945 (US Army photo)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 21, 1945: US Fifth Army and Polish II Corps take Bologna, Italy.

In Italy, future senator Lt. Daniel Inouye, serving with the Japanese-American 442 nd RCT, is injured in battle, loses arm, and earns Distinguished Service Cross and Bronze Star.

Letter to the Workers of the USSR

Written: 21 April 1940.
First Published: Fourth International, Vol.1 No.5, October 1940, pp.140-141.
Translated: By Fourth International.
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters.
Proofread: Scott Wilson
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Greetings to the Soviet workers, collective farmers, soldiers of the Red Army and sailors of the Red Navy! Greetings from distant Mexico where I found refuge after the Stalinist clique had exiled me to Turkey and after the bourgeoisie had hounded me from country to country!

Dear Comrades! The lying Stalinist press has been maliciously deceiving you for a long time on all questions, including those which relate to myself and my political co-thinkers. You possess no workers’ press you read only the press of the bureaucracy, which lies systematically so as to keep you in darkness and thus render secure the rule of a privileged parasitic caste.

Those who dare raise their voices against the universally hated bureaucracy are called “Trotskyists,” agents of a foreign power branded as spies-yesterday it was spies of Germany, today it is spies of England and France-and then sent to face the firing squad. Tens of thousands of revolutionary fighters have fallen before the muzzles of GPU Mausers in the USSR and in countries abroad, especially in Spain. All of them were depicted as agents of Fascism. Do not believe this abominable slander! Their crime consisted of defending workers and peasants against the brutality and rapacity of the bureaucracy. The entire Old Guard of Bolshevism, all the collaborators and assistants of Lenin, all the fighters of the October revolution, all the heroes of the Civil War, have been murdered by Stalin. In the annals of history Stalin’s name will forever be recorded with the infamous brand of Cain!

Revolution Was Not Made for Bureaucrats

The October revolution was accomplished for the sake of the toilers and not for the sake of new parasites. But due to the lag of the world revolution, due to the fatigue and, to a large measure, the backwardness of the Russian workers and especially the Russian peasants, there raised itself over the Soviet Republic and against its peoples a new oppressive and parasitic caste, whose leader is Stalin. The former Bolshevik party was turned into an apparatus of the caste. The world organization which the Communist International once was is today a pliant tool of the Moscow oligarchy. Soviets of Workers and Peasants have long perished. They have been replaced by degenerate Commissars, Secretaries and GPU agents.

But, fortunately, among the surviving conquests of the October revolution are the nationalized industry and the collectivized Soviet economy. Upon this foundation Workers’ Soviets can build a new and happier society. This foundation cannot be surrendered by us to the world bourgeoisie under any conditions. It is the duty of revolutionists to defend tooth and nail every position gained by the working class, whether it involves democratic rights, wage scales, or so colossal a conquest of mankind as the nationalization of the means of production and planned economy. Those who are incapable of defending conquests already gained can never fight for new cries. Against the imperialist foe we will defend the USSR with all our might. However, the conquests of the October revolution will serve the people only if they prove themselves capable of dealing with the Stalinist bureaucracy, as in their day they dealt with the Tsarist bureaucracy and the bourgeoisie.

Stalinism Endangers the Soviet Union

If Soviet economic life had been conducted in the interests of the people if the bureaucracy had not devoured and vainly wasted the major portion of the national income if the bureaucracy had not trampled underfoot the vital interests of the population, then the USSR would have been a great magnetic pole of attraction for the toilers of the world and the inviolability of the Soviet Union would have been assured. But the infamous oppressive regime of Stalin has deprived the USSR of its attractive power. During the war with Finland, not only the majority of the Finnish peasants but also the majority of the Finnish workers, proved to be on the side of their bourgeoisie. This is hardly surprising since they know of the unprecedented oppression to which the Stalinist bureaucracy subjects the workers of near-by Leningrad and the whole of the USSR. The Stalinist bureaucracy, so bloodthirsty and ruthless at home and so cowardly before the imperialist enemies, has thus become the main source of war danger to the Soviet Union.

The old Bolshevik party and the Third International have disintegrated and decomposed. The honest and advanced revolutionists have organized abroad the Fourth International which has sections already established in most of the countries of the world. I am a member of this new International. In participating in this work I remain under the very same banner that I served together with you or your fathers and your older brothers in 1917 and throughout the years of the Civil War, the very same banner under which together with Lenin we built the Soviet state and the Red Army.

Goal of the Fourth International

The goal of the Fourth International is to extend the October revolution to the whole world and at the same time to regenerate the USSR by purging it of the parasitic bureaucracy. This can be achieved only in one way: By the workers, peasants, Red Army soldiers and Red Navy sailors, rising against the new caste of oppressors and parasites. To prepare this uprising, a new party is needed-a bold and honest revolutionary organization of the advanced workers. The Fourth International sets as its task the building of such a party in the USSR.

Advanced workers! Be the first to rally to the banner of Marx and Lenin which is now the banner of the Fourth International! Learn how to create, in the conditions of Stalinist illegality, tightly fused, reliable revolutionary circles! Establish contacts between these circles! Learn how to establish contacts through loyal and reliable people, especially the sailors, with your revolutionary co-thinkers in bourgeois lands! It is difficult, but it can be done.

The present war will spread more and more, piling ruins on ruins, breeding more and more sorrow, despair and protest, driving the whole world toward new revolutionary explosions. The world revolution shall reinvigorate the Soviet working masses with new courage and resoluteness and shall undermine the bureaucratic props of Stalin’s caste. It is necessary to prepare for this hour by stubborn systematic revolutionary work. The fate of our country, the future of our people, the destiny of our children and grandchildren are at stake.

1940 — Apr 21, Two Cars Collide Head-on (young people 17-23), Slayton, MN — 12

󈝸 Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “12 th Victim in Slayton Crash Dies in Hospital.” 6-13-1940.

󈝸 Moorhead Daily News, MN. “Ninth Victim of Auto Collision Dies.” 11-8-1940, p. 10.

󈝸 Star Tribune, MN. “62 years later, Slayton recalls one terrible night.” 4-21-2002.[2]

󈝷 Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “59 Pedestrians Walk to Deaths in Four Months.” 6-7-1940.

󈝷 Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “‘Youth at Wheel’ Tragedy…11 Dead.” 4-22-1940, p. 1.

󈝷 Grant, John D. “Chronology of the Year 1940.” Moorhead Daily News, MN. 12-31-1940, 6

󈝷 Moorhead Daily News, MN. “Car Wreck Kills 11 Minnesota Youths.” 4-22-1940, p. 1.

Narrative Information

April 22: “Slayton, Minn., April 22 (UP) – Eleven crushed bodies lay in a morgue today. Yesterday they were the sons and daughters of farmers and small merchants in this neighborhood. The youngest, 17, planned to go to college next year and play football like his big brother. But today they are dead and their parents are grieving — victims of what the Minnesota state highway department statement called “youth at the wheel.” The National Safety Council at Chicago said it was ‘the greatest toll of human lives ever taken in this country in a highway accident involving two pleasure cars.’ The council hoped it would be a challenge to ‘every parent in the country.’

“They died swiftly in the grinding head-on impact of two speeding automobiles early Sunday. Some of them were hurled 65 feet others died horribly in the twisted steel of the two machines. Two may live.

“It had started out to be a gay evening for both parties. Four boys and two girls in one group went dancing they were on their way home, laughing and joking as the driver pressed his foot on the accelerator until the speedometer read ‘80’ and the car careened on the curves of the oiled gravel road. The other group consisted of seven boys who had been driving around Slayton visiting friends. They too thought it fun when their car rocketed around curves and slewed on the gravel surface at break-neck speed. Near the city limits the two cars met on a curve. Police theorized that one of them must have skidded far over the safety line into the path of the on-rushing machine. Head-on they met with a crash that awakened persons living nearly a mile away. The fronts of both cars were ground to junk gears flew out of their casing tires exploded.

The effects upon the occupants were just as terrible.

“Safety officials sought to make this an example to impress upon youths the nation over the awful results of speed and irresponsibility on the highway. ‘It is a tragic and spectacular example, said Col. John Stilwell, president of the National Safety Council, ‘of what occurs in a lesser degree day in and day out throughout the country. The problem of instilling safe driving habits in young people is one of the most acute we face.’” (Moorhead Daily News, MN. “Car Wreck Kills 11 Minnesota Youths.” 4-22-1940, p. 1.)

April 22: The dead ranged in age from 17-23. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “‘Youth at Wheel’ Tragedy Held Challenge to Parents 11 Dead.” 4-22-1940, p. 1.)

June 12: “Slayton, Minn. (UP) – The nation’s worst pleasure car accident took its twelfth life last night. Cecil Jensen, 17, died in a hospital of injuries he received in the head-on collision of two automobiles April 21. Eleven youths from Fulda, Jackson and Slayton, Minn., died almost instantly in the crash. Although Jensen’s condition had been critical since the accident, physicians had held hope for his recovery.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “12 th Victim in Slayton Crash Dies in Hospital.” 6-13-1940, p. 3)

Dec 31: “Disasters….April…21 – Eleven killed when two cars hit head-on in Minnesota.” (Grant, John D. “Chronology of the Year 1940.” Moorhead Daily News, MN. 12-31-1940, 6.)

Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “12 th Victim in Slayton Crash Dies in Hospital.” 6-13-1940, p. 3. Accessed at: http://newspaperarchive.com/fullpagepdfviewer?img=35331327&sterm

Brainerd Daily Dispatch, MN. “59 Pedestrians Walk to Deaths in Four Months.” 6-7-1940, p. 4. Accessed at: http://newspaperarchive.com/fullpagepdfviewer?img=35331292&sterm

Moorhead Daily News, MN. “Ninth Victim of Auto Collision Dies.” 11-8-1940, p. 10. Accessed at: http://newspaperarchive.com/fullpagepdfviewer?img=186642996&sterm=slayton+minn+auto

National Safety Council. “Greatest Number of Deaths in a Single Motor-Vehicle Accident.” Accident Facts 1970 Edition. Chicago, IL: NSC, 1970. p. 63.

Star Tribune (Richard Meryhew), Minneapolis, MN. “62 years later, Slayton recalls one terrible night. Town erects monument for deadliest two-car crash.” 4-21-2002. Accessed partial article 9-5-2016 at: https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-84991922.html

[1] We have been able to verify, up to the end of 1940, 12 deaths. There was a 13 th person, who survived..

[2] Article is written upon the dedication of a memorial to the victims, noting 11 died at the time and the 12 th later.

On This Day in History, 21 апрель

Polish astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan announced that he found two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12.

1967 Dictator Georgios Papadopoulos assumes power in Greece

During his six-year reign, thousands of political opponents were incarcerated and tortured.

1934 The Surgeon's photo, allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in the Daily Mail

In reality, the famous image depicts a toy submarine with a head and neck made of wood putty.

1918 The Red Baron is killed

Manfred von Richthofen was a legendary German fighter pilot. He earned his renown and nickname by achieving 80 air combat victories in World War I. He was shot down and killed during combat at the age of 25.

1509 Henry VIII is crowned King of England

In popular culture, the monarch is known mainly for his six marriages, two of which ended with the wife's execution.

Today in World War II History—April 21, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—April 21, 1940: British and German troops engage in heavy fighting at Lillehammer, Norway.

First US military casualty of WWII—Army Air Force observer Capt. Robert Losey is killed in German bombing at Dombås, Norway.

M24 Chaffee light tank of US 1st Armored Division in Bologna, Italy, late Apr 1945 (US Army photo)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 21, 1945: US Fifth Army and Polish II Corps take Bologna, Italy.

In Italy, future senator Lt. Daniel Inouye, serving with the Japanese-American 442 nd RCT, is injured in battle, loses arm, and earns Distinguished Service Cross and Bronze Star.


On April 21, 1942, "evacuation" announcements addressed to Japanese Americans are posted on Seattle telephone poles and bulletin boards. The community is ordered to leave the city in three groups on the following Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan in December 1941 had set in motion a series of events and decisions that led to what has been called the worst violation of constitutional rights in American history: the expulsion and imprisonment of 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the U.S. West Coast. Two thirds of them were American citizens.

The U.S. government wasted no time in clamping down on the 9,600 Japanese Americans in King County. The FBI arrested Issei (first generation Japanese) and a few Nisei (second generation), including Buddhist priests, Japanese language teachers, and officials and leaders of community organizations.

By the end of March, 1942, sites had been determined for "assembly centers," temporary prison camps to be used as holding centers for persons of Japanese ancestry until the people could be moved to more permanent "relocation centers." At the time, 14,400 Japanese and Japanese Americans lived in Washington state, 9,600 of them in King County. The Japanese population of Seattle was nearly 7,000.

A total of 12,892 persons of Japanese ancestry from Washington state were incarcerated. Seattle and Puyallup Valley Japanese were sent to the Puyallup "assembly center" and then onto Minidoka in Idaho.

Posting of Japanese Exclusion Order (No. 17, dated April 24, 1942), Seattle, 1942

Social Trends in Seattle Vol 14 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1944)

Japanese American evacuees, Camp Harmony (Puyallup Assembly Center), 1942

Photo by Howard Clifford, Courtesy UW Special Collections (UW526)

Government posters telling Japanese Americans where to report for internment, May 10, 1942

Hope, Through History

Welcome to Hope, Through History, with Pulitzer Prize Winning and Best Selling Author and Historian, Jon Meacham and directed and produced by Cadence13, in partnership with The HISTORY® Channel. HTH explores some of the most historic and trying times in American History, and how this nation dealt with these moments, the impact of these moments and how we came through these moments a unified nation. Season One takes a look at critical moments around the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic and the Cuban Missile Crisis. These stories of crisis—the term originates in the writings of Hippocrates, as a moment in the course of a disease where a patient either lives or dies—are rich, and in our own 2020 hour of pandemic and slow-motion but indisputably real panic, there’s utility in re-engaging with the stories of how leaders and citizens have reacted amid tension and tumult. The vicissitudes of history always challenge us in new and often-confounding ways that’s in the nature of things. Still, as Winston Churchill once remarked, “The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope”—the hope that human ingenuity, reason, and character can combine to save us from the abyss and keep us on a path, in another phrase of Churchill’s, to broad, sun-lit uplands.

This Was Brainerd - April 21

Mary (Houle) Streiff will be inducted into the BHS Athletic Hall of Fame in a sport she originally detested. Streiff, A Warrior gymnast who went to the state meet twice in the parallel bars, was dragged into diving as a sophomore. She went on to qualify three times for the NCAA Div. II diving meet, finishing 8 th in the nation and earning All-American honors.

Kory Adair made his first start for the Warrior baseball team memorable, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a single to St. Cloud Apollo. A batch of errors made it difficult for Brainerd to escape with a 5-4 win. But that was far better than the 24-1 pasting Brainerd took from St. Cloud Tech the day before.

The city council last night gave approval for a $900,000 municipal bond for a new medical office building to be built on S. 6 th Street north of the Holiday Inn. Glen Gustafson, attorney for the project, said the building will house six doctors and dentists, plus a drug store to be leased to Service Drug.

A move to get Brainerd's PTA groups to support fluoridation of city water started here two months ago. To date, five PTA group – Lincoln, Whittier, Harrison, Garfield and Lowell – have passed resolutions of support petitioning the city council to add fluoride. Previous efforts have died with the Water and Light board.

Joseph Ruttger, Sr., 81, founder of Ruttger's Lodge on Bay Lake, and one of the earliest settlers of that community, died yesterday after several months' illness. Ruttger homesteaded at Bay Lake in 1886 and founded the lodge in 1890. One of his four sons, Alex, currently operates the resort.

Under the direction of its leader, Charles Stadlbauer, the drum corps of the Elks Lodge is making rapid progress. Interest is high because of the addition of four trumpets to the battery of snare drums and bass drums. The trumpets are of the Gabriel kind, five feet long, and are guaranteed to wake the dead.

This day in history, April 21: Fire breaks out inside overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates

Today is Wednesday, April 21, the 111th day of 2021. There are 254 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 21, 1930, fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.

In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.

In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

In 1816, Charlotte Bronte, author of “Jane Eyre,” was born in Thornton, England.

In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.

In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut, at age 74.

In 1918, Manfred von Richthofen, 25, the German ace known as the “Red Baron” who was believed to have downed 80 enemy aircraft during World War I, was himself shot down and killed while in action over France.

In 1926, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, London she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and the Queen Mother.

In 1975, with Communist forces closing in, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after nearly 10 years in office and fled the country.

In 1976, clinical trials of the swine flu vaccine began in Washington, D.C.

In 1977, the musical play “Annie,” based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,377 performances.

In 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon however, she was later exposed as a fraud. (Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was named the actual winner of the women’s race.)

In 2015, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama announced the Justice Department was assembling a team to “root out any cases of fraud or manipulation” in oil markets that might be contributing to $4 a gallon-plus gasoline prices. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., announced he would step down amid a developing ethics probe over how he’d handled an admitted extramarital affair with a former staffer and whether he tried to illegally cover it up. (The Senate Ethics Committee referred the case to the Justice Department, which decided not to prosecute Ensign.)

Five years ago: Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times, was found dead at his home in suburban Minneapolis he was 57. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, drew crowds of well-wishers and floods of tributes on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs pitched his second no-hitter in a span of 11 regular-season starts, shutting down the Cincinnati Reds in a 16-0 rout.

One year ago: The coroner’s office in California’s Santa Clara County received autopsy results showing that a woman who died there on Feb. 6 and a man who died on Feb. 17 had the coronavirus. (It wasn’t until Feb. 29 that the first known U.S. death from the virus was reported in Kirkland, Washington officials later attributed two Feb. 26 deaths to the virus.) Researchers reported that a malaria drug that had been widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the coronavirus showed no benefit in large study of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. In its first-quarter earnings report, Netflix revealed that it had added nearly 16 million global subscribers during the first three months of the year, as stay-at-home orders went into effect.

Today’s birthdays: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is 95. Actor-comedian-writer Elaine May is 89. Actor Charles Grodin is 86. Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean is 82. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 74. Actor Patti LuPone is 72. Actor Tony Danza is 70. Actor James Morrison is 67. Actor Andie MacDowell is 63. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 62. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 62. Actor-director John Cameron Mitchell is 58. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 55. Actor Leslie Silva is 53. Actor Toby Stephens is 52. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 51. Actor Rob Riggle is 51. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 51. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 48. Olympic gold medal pairs figure skater Jamie Sale (sah-LAY’) is 44. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 43. Actor James McAvoy is 42. Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 41. Actor Terrence J is 39. Actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw is 38. Actor Christoph (cq) Sanders is 33. Actor Frank Dillane is 30. Rock singer Sydney Sierota (Echosmith) is 24.

Journalism, it’s often said, is the first-draft of history. Check back each day for what’s new … and old.

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