On this day in 1810 -- (206 years ago) – Andreas Hofer, an Austrian innkeeper and leader of a rebellion against French and Bavarian armies loyal to Napoleon, was executed by firing squad. For more than a year, Hofer had traveled through mountain villages in the Austrian and Italian Tyrol, urging insurrection and organizing armed resistance. After several months of fighting, he and his troops had briefly taken the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck, only to be routed by French and Bavarian forces after the Austrian emperor backed off his promise of protection. Abandoned by his men, Hofer went into hiding, but a neighbor revealed his location to Napoleon’s troops in order to collect a cash reward. Facing the firing squad, Hofer refused to kneel or wear a blindfold, and insisted on giving the order to fire himself.
On this day in 1933 – (83 years ago) – three weeks after taking office as the new German chancellor, Adolf Hitler convened a secret meeting with about two dozen of Germany’s top business leaders to seek funding for the Nazi Party’s political campaign in the upcoming national elections. Hitler’s guests included xecutives and board members from Siemens, Allianz, Opel, and other important companies. In an atmosphere of national political turmoil, some of these industrialists had already helped persuade Germany’s president, Paul von Hindenburg, to make Hitler the head of a fragile coalition government. Upon taking office, Hitler had immediately pushed for elections, and now he was anxious for his Nazi Party to win enough parliamentary seats to pass the Enabling Act and make him Germany’s de facto dictator. At this meeting he told his guests that to silence democracy and crush communism, his party would need a total of three million German marks. Before leaving, the businessmen signed commitments to provide him with more than two million.
On this day in 2003 -- (13 years ago) -- the rock band Great White was in the middle of their set at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, when a pyrotechnic display onstage behind the band caused flammable foam insulation on the ceiling and walls to catch on fire. Within minutes, the entire nightclub was engulfed in flames. One hundred people died and another 230 were injured.
Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi