Schicksalstag is a German word meaning, “Day of Fate.” It is used by Germans to describe November 9. Apparently it was first used by some German historians after WWII, but it picked up in popularity after 1989. There are five major events in German history that occurred on this date, with conflicting emotional baggage. However, when you look at list of events for November 9, you realize this Day of Fate doesn’t stop at Germany’s borders.
Here’s a partial list:
1494 – Medicis assume rule of Florence, Italy
1520 – King Christian II executes 80 Swedes (mostly nobles) in Stockholm Bloodbath
1729 – Spain, France and England sign Treaty of Seville ending Anglo-Spanish war.
1799 – Napoleon overthrew the French government in the coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire
1848 – German revolutionary, Robert Blum, executed
1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm steps down, and Germany’s Republic begins
1923 – Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch
1938 – Kristallnacht/Pogromnacht – German pogrom viewed as the start of the Holocaust
1953 – Cambodia declares its independence
1965 – Vietnam protester, Roger Allen LaPorte sets himself on fire in front of UN
1989 – Berlin wall comes down
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s death in 1940 would also be significant enough to be placed on the list since his replacement (Churchill) played such a key role in WWII — however, he did resign a few months before his death.
Outside of Germany, The 18 Brumaire probably has the greatest historical significance. Though I am a Francophile, so I might be biased in that regard.
Some will say you can form a list like this for any day….and if you want to make this argument, I challenge you to come up with a day, and a list, as impressive. (I’m not saying it can’t be done. I haven’t looked at all 366 days on Wikipedia.)
A few notes: the 1938 German pogrom is today officially referred to in Germany as Pogromnacht (The Night Pogrom). It’s original title Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) was a euphemism the Nazi party came up with. There are some, however, who argue history has endowed ‘Kristallnacht’ with enough baggage to counterract the original euphemistic intent, and Pogromnacht, while a more accurate description, is actually more of an euphemism. (probably a good example of irony.) I haven’t personally decided which side of the dispute I am on.
wherein I answer my own challenge: April 19 is a good challenger, with the biggest years, in my opinion, being: 1529, 1775, 1943, 1961, 1995. It’s too early to know whether 2005 will be important.