December 1933

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December 5, 1933: Prohibition ends in the United States
December 9, 1933: Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks divorce
December 30, 1933: Helen Richey breaks world flight endurance record with Frances Marsalis
December 29, 1933: Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire appear in first film

The following events occurred in December 1933:

December 1, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • Clarence Norris, the first of the Scottsboro Boys to receive a new trial, was found guilty of rape and sentenced to death for the third time. His attorney, Samuel S. Leibowitz, appealed the verdict of the Decatur, Alabama jury.[1]
  • Born:
  • Died: Harry de Windt, 67, British explorer; and Richard B. Mellon, American financier

December 2, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • 1933 college football season: The Army Cadets, the nation's only major unbeaten and untied college team (9–0–0), was beaten 13–12 by a 2–5–1 Notre Dame team in a game watched by 80,000 people at Yankee Stadium in New York.[2] Michigan, which had finished 7–0–1 the week before, would become the recognized national champion the next week.
  • According to Bruno Hauptmann, it was on this date that his business associate, Isidor Fisch, left a shoebox with him while Fisch went to Germany. Hauptmann would tell FBI investigators that, eight months later, he opened the shoebox and found $15,000 in cash and began spending the money because Fisch (who died on March 29, 1934) owed him $7,000. Hauptmann's alibi, for being caught with $13,760 of bills that had been paid as ransom in the Lindbergh kidnapping, was not believed by the jury that convicted him of the kidnapping and murder of one-year-old Charles Lindbergh, Jr.; the press would dub the account the "Fisch story".[3]
  • In the last convictions for conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act, Frank Cornero and his sister Catherine were found guilty in a federal court in Los Angeles. They were sentenced to two years in prison and fined $500 apiece, but U.S. District Judge Paul J. McCormick suspended the prison sentences.[4]
  • Born: Mike Larrabee, American Olympic track athlete, 1964 gold medalist, in Hollywood, California (d. 2003)

December 3, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

December 4, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

December 5, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

December 6, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that the James Joyce novel Ulysses was not obscene, ending a 12-year-long ban against importation of the book into the United States, and clearing the way for Random House to sell the controversial work.[9]
  • Born: Henryk Górecki, Polish composer, in Czernica (d. 2010)

December 7, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Good-bye, Mr. Chips, a book by James Hilton about an English schoolmaster, was first published as a 17,000 word novella in the Christmas issue of The British Weekly. Popular in Britain, Mr. Chips was reprinted in the United States in the Atlantic Monthly in 1934, and then as a best-selling book in both nations, a 1939 film and a 1969 musical.[10]
  • The Fleet Marine Force of the United States Marine Corps was established by General Order Number 241 of the Department of the Navy as an amphibious strike force.[11]

December 8, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • Bernadette Soubirous, who had seen the first vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes on February 1, 1858, was canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.[12]
  • Died: Karl Jatho, 60, German airplane pioneer who claimed that he had been the first man to fly an airplane; Jatho briefly took to the air on August 18, 1903, three months before the Wright Brothers.;[13] John Joly, 76, Irish physicist

December 9, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

December 10, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

  • The Iron Guard (Garda de fier), Romania's fascist political organization, was ordered dissolved by Prime Minister Ion G. Duca ten days before elections for parliament were to start, and arrests were made of about 18,000 of the organization's members. General Gheorghe-Granicerul Cantacuzino warned Duca that he had "signed his own death sentence", and Duca would be assassinated on December 29 by one of the Iron Guard members.[17]
  • Died: János Hadik, 70, Hungarian politician who briefly served as that nation's Prime Minister

December 11, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • Chaco War: The last two of Bolivia's three tanks were captured by Paraguay. Seven years earlier, Bolivia had signed a contract worth 1.25 million British pounds to purchase 3 six-ton Vickers Mk E tanks. One tank had been destroyed on July 4. At Campo Via, the two tanks had been immobilized by Paraguay's 7th Cavalry in thick vegetation, after soldiers cut down quebracho trees in front and behind of the vehicles. The Bolivian crews surrendered after their ammunition ran out and the heat inside the armored vehicles became unbearable.[18]

December 12, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

Bailey and Shore

December 13, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • William H. Woodin, U.S. President Roosevelt's first Secretary of the Treasury, resigned effective December 30, after a decline in health that began shortly after he had taken office in March. He had been battling a staph infection for months, years before penicillin would become generally available, and would die less than five months after leaving office.[22]
  • The Nazi sponsored film Hans Westmar premiered in Berlin after substantial revision on the orders of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Originally adapted from the life story of Nazi martyr Horst Wessel, the film was re-edited and the name of the title character was changed.[23]

December 14, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • German chemical conglomerate IG Farben signed an agreement with the Reich Economic Ministry to produce 2.5 million barrels of synthetic gasoline annually in return for government financing of the process of hydrogenation of German coal.[24]

December 15, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • The India cricket team hosted a test cricket match for the first time in its history, after having played in England the year before. Over a period of four days in Bombay (now Mumbai, India lost to England by nine wickets.[25] India had become the sixth national team to be granted test status the year before by the Imperial Cricket Conference, joining the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, the West Indies and New Zealand.
  • The Newspaper Guild, the first labor union for newspaper journalists, was founded.[26]
  • Born: Tim Conway, American actor and comedian, as Thomas Daniel Conway in Willoughby, Ohio

December 16, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

December 17, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

  • In the first NFL Championship Game, played between the champions of the new Western and Eastern divisions, the Chicago Bears, defeated the New York Giants 23–21 at Chicago's Wrigley Field.[28]
  • Reich Bishop Ludwig Müller, the leader of Germany's Protestant Reich Church, ordered that the 700,000 children and teenagers, who had been part of the church's Evangelical Youth Movement, be placed under the control of the Hitler Youth and its leader, Baldur von Schirach.[29]
  • "Seasin's Greetinks!", a Popeye theatrical cartoon short starring voice actors William "Billy" Costello as Popeye, Bonnie Poe as Olive Oyl and Charles Lawrence as Wimpy, was released eight days before Christmas. The "Popeye the Sailor" series of theatrical cartoons would be released by Paramount Pictures regularly until 1957.
  • Born: Walter Booker, Irish-born American jazz bassist, in Bracknagh (d. 2006)
  • Died:
    • Thubten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama, 54, after 38 years as supreme leader of the Buddhists of Tibet. According to the beliefs of his followers, he was reincarnated, and would be reborn 18 months later as Lhamo Dhondup, who would become Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.[30]
    • Oskar Potiorek, 80, last Austro-Hungarian Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, co-passenger in the car carrying the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess during their assassination in 1914

December 18, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • The 'Asir Province of Saudi Arabia was invaded by Yemen, which also claimed the area. When Yemen refused to withdraw, the Saudis sent troops to the area on March 22, 1934, commencing a brief war between the two Arab kingdoms.[31]
  • Germany's Defense Ministry announced a program to increase the size of its peacetime army to 300,000 men in 36 divisions, with a goal of 650,000 men by 1935 and 1.2 million by 1936. When Germany began World War II on September 1, 1939, the army would have 102 divisions and 2,758,000 men.[32]
  • Died: Mary Parker Follett, 65, American management consultant

December 19, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Genrikh Yagoda, the deputy chief of the Soviet Union's OGPU secret police, gave Chairman Joseph Stalin his recommendations for outlawing male homosexuality across the USSR. After warning that in Moscow and Leningrad, "Pederasts have been recruiting and debauching completely healthy young people, Red Army men, navy men and students... I would consider it essential to issue an appropriate law to make pederasty answerable as a crime. In many ways this will clean up society, will rid it of nonconformists." Stalin then decreed the new law.[33]
  • Born: Cicely Tyson, American stage and film actress, in New York City
  • Died:

December 20, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Romania held elections for its Chamber of Deputies.[34] The official results had been arranged in advance by Premier Ion Duca of the Partidul Naţional Liberal, "who proceeded to assign himself 50.99 percent of the votes and 300 of the 387 seats".[35]
  • The first American ambassador to the Soviet Union, William C. Bullitt, was welcomed to Moscow with a banquet conducted at the Kremlin and attended by the Soviet leadership. Bullitt would later report that Chairman Joseph Stalin kissed him on the mouth, and that Bullitt returned with a kiss on the cheek. Years later, Bullitt would be bitter about the experience and the feeling of having been betrayed by the Soviets.[36]
  • Born: Jean Carnahan, U.S. Senator for Missouri 2001–2002 after being elected to succeed her husband, Mel Carnahan; in Washington D.C.

December 21, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The Newfoundland, at the time independent of Canada was returned to direct rule from the United Kingdom with the royal assent of the Newfoundland Act 1933, with the dominion's self-governing status being surrendered in return for its debts being assumed by the United Kingdom.[37]
  • Died:
    • Sir Henry Dickens, 85, British barrister and son of author Charles Dickens; after being struck by a motorcycle
    • Tod Sloan, 59, American jockey

December 22, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

December 23, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Lagny-Pomponne rail accident: The Paris to Strasbourg express train, moving at 65 miles an hour, crashed into the wooden coaches of a train carrying Christmas shoppers who were returning from Nancy to Château-Thierry. The collision occurred near Lagny-sur-Marne, 17 miles east of Paris, as the Express train was racing through a heavy fog to make up for lost time.[39] After 189 bodies were removed from the scene, another eleven died of their injuries, making the death toll exactly 200.[40]
  • The non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Poland went into effect after having been signed in Moscow on July 25, 1932. Although both sides agreed "to refrain from all aggressive acts or attack on one another", the Soviets would invade and conquer eastern Poland in 1939.[41]
  • Born: Akihito of Japan, Emperor since 1989, in Tokyo.[42]

December 24, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

  • The Archbishop Leon Tourian, who presided over the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was stabbed to death on Christmas Eve, as he was preparing to being services at the Holy Cross Armenian Church.[43]

December 25, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • The former Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany changed his will with directions that he was not to be buried in Germany until the monarchy was restored. Upon his death in 1941, he would be interred at Doorn in the Netherlands, where he had lived since his abdication in 1918.[44]
  • Kid Chocolate (Eligio Montalvo) lost his title as the world junior lightweight champion, after being knocked out in the seventh round by Frankie Klick in Philadelphia.[45]
  • Born:
  • Died: Francesc Macià, 74, Spanish Catalan politician who briefly served in 1931 as President of the Catalan Republic, and later led the autonomous government in Catalonia

December 26, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

December 27, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Codex Sinaiticus, dating from about 360 AD and containing the oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament, was acquired by the British Museum. The manuscript, which had been owned by the National Library of Russia since 1859, was purchased from the Soviet Union for £100,000, half of which was from private donations.[48]

December 28, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

December 29, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

December 30, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • A new world's record for longest flight in an airplane was set by two women, Frances Marsalis and Helen Richey, who had been piloting their aircraft, the October Girl, since December 20. After 236 hours aloft, the two touched down at 10:46 a.m. local time in Miami.[53]
  • Ten people were killed in the crash of an Imperial Airways airliner that had been on its way from Brussels to London. The pilot had been flying at low altitude in a heavy fog and crashed into a radio tower at the Belgian town of Ruiselede.[54]
  • The lowest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. state of Vermont was seen at Bloomfield, where it was measured at −50 °F (−46 °C). The record high of 105 °F was set on July 4, 1911.[55]

December 31, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]


  1. ^ "Negro Doomed for Third Time", Pittsburgh Press, December 2, 1933, p. 1
  2. ^ "Notre Dame Defeats Army In Brilliant 13–12 Battle", Pittsburgh Press, December 3, 1933, p. 1
  3. ^ Jim Fisher, The Ghosts of Hopewell: Setting the Record Straight in the Lindbergh Case (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999) pp xxii
  4. ^ "Pair Found Guilty on Eve of Repeal", Pittsburgh Press, December 2, 1933, p. 1
  5. ^ Ruth Kirk and Carmela Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past: A Road Guide to History (University of Washington Press, 1995) p. 90
  6. ^ Jim Cox, Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas (Scarecrow Press, 2005) p. 134
  7. ^ William J. Bennett, America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II) (Thomas Nelson Inc, 2008) p. 205
  8. ^ "U.S. PROHIBITION ENDS- Utah Casts 36th Vote for Repeal", Deseret News (Salt Lake City), December 5, 1933, p. 1
  9. ^ Joseph Kelly, Our Joyce: From Outcast to Icon (University of Texas Press, 1998) p. 131
  10. ^ Jeffrey Richards, Happiest Days: The Public Schools in English Fiction (Manchester University Press, 1988) p. 252
  11. ^ Allan R. Millett and Jack Shulimson, Commandants of the Marine Corps (Naval Institute Press, 2004) p. 242
  12. ^ "Girl Who Saw Mother Of Sorrows In Vision Becomes Saint In Colorful Papal Pageant", Pittsburgh Press, December 9, 1933, p. 1
  13. ^ "'First Man to Fly' Dies", Pittsburgh Press, December 9, 1933, p. 1
  14. ^ "Mary Pickford's Divorce Suit Wrecks 'Perfect Film Romance'", Pittsburgh Press, December 9, 1933, p. 1
  15. ^ "Dickinson System Awards Michigan National Grid Title," Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.), December 10, 1933, p. 19
  16. ^ "Real Charlie Chan Dies in Honolulu", Pittsburgh Press, December 10, 1933, p. 1
  17. ^ Ion C. Butnaru, The Silent Holocaust: Romania and Its Jews (Greenwood Publishing, 1992) pp. 50–51
  18. ^ Alejandro Quesada and Ramiro Bujeiro, The Chaco War 1932–35: South America's Greatest Modern Conflict (Osprey Publishing, 2011) pp. 33–35
  19. ^ Kelly McParland, The Lives of Conn Smythe: From the Battlefield to Maple Leaf Gardens (Random House Digital, 2011)
  20. ^ Debórah Dwork and Robert Jan Pelt, Flight from the Reich: Refugee Jews, 1933–1946 (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009) p. 26
  21. ^ Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II And the Holocaust (Harvard University Press, 2006) p. 18
  22. ^ David Tripp, Illegal Tender: Gold, Greed, And The Mystery Of The Lost 1933 Double Eagle (Simon and Schuster, 2004) pp. 152–155
  23. ^ David Welch, Propaganda and the German Cinema, 1933–1945 (I.B.Tauris, 2001) p. 63
  24. ^ John E. Lesch, The German Chemical Industry in the Twentieth Century (Springer, 2000) p. 160
  25. ^ ESPN Cricket info
  26. ^ Loren Ghiglione, CBS's Don Hollenbeck: An Honest Reporter in the Age of McCarthyism (Columbia University Press, 2011) p. 28
  27. ^ Julia Ortiz Griffin and William D. Griffin, Spain and Portugal: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present (Infobase Publishing, 2007) p. 446
  28. ^ Associated Press. Bears Cop Pro Gridiron Title by 23–21 score, Miami Daily News, December 18, 1933, p. 10
  29. ^ Leo Stein and Norman Vincent Peale, Hitler Came for Niemoeller: The Nazi War Against Religion (Pelican Publishing, 2003) p. 323
  30. ^ Patricia Cronin Marcello, The Dalai Lama: A Biography (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003) pp. 15–19
  31. ^ Michael Brecher and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis (University of Michigan Press, 1997) p. 633
  32. ^ Steven D. Mercatante, Why Germany Nearly Won (ABC-CLIO, 2012) p. 19; Benoît Lemay and Pierce Heyward, Erich Von Manstein: Hitler's Master Strategist (Casemate Publishers, 2010) p. 46
  33. ^ Donald Rayfield, Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him (Random House Digital, 2005) p. 261
  34. ^ "Liberal Party Holds Margin in Rumania", San Antonio Express, December 22, 1933, p. 3
  35. ^ Joseph Rothschild, East Central Europe Between the Two World Wars (University of Washington Press, 1974) p. 306
  36. ^ Frank Costigliola, Roosevelt's Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2011) pp. 259–260
  37. ^ Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (Princeton University Press, 2009) p. 82
  38. ^ Ray Morton, King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2005)
  39. ^ "140 Killed, 300 Hurt in Wreck", Pittsburgh Press, December 24, 1933, p. 1
  40. ^ Edgar A. Haine, Railroad Wrecks (Associated University Presses, 1993) pp. 155–156
  41. ^ "Poland-USSR Nonaggression Pact, 1932", in Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements, Edmund Jan Osmańczyk and Anthony Mango, eds. (Taylor & Francis, 2003) p. 1017
  42. ^ "Japan Rejoices As Heir To Nation's Throne, Future Ruler Of 90 Million People, Is Born", Pittsburgh Press, December 23, 1933, p. 1
  43. ^ Anny P. Bakalian, Armenian-Americans: From Being to Feeling Armenian (Transaction Publishers, 1993) p. 97 "N.Y. Prelate Is Slain at Church Rite", Salt Lake Tribune, December 25, 1933, p. 1
  44. ^ Giles MacDonogh, The Last Kaiser: The Life of Wilhelm II (Macmillan, 2003) p. 459
  45. ^ Tracy Callis, et al., Philadelphia's Boxing Heritage 1876–1976 (Arcadia Publishing, 2002) p. 71
  46. ^ Christopher H. Sterling and Michael C. Keith, Sounds of Change: A History of FM Broadcasting in America (University of North Carolina Press, 2008) p. 19
  47. ^ "A Short History of Nissan Motors: Prewar Years",]
  48. ^ Neil R. Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible (Baker Books, 2010) p. 51
  49. ^ "Non-Intervention vs. Containment", by Betty Goetz Lall, in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (May 1966) p. 22
  50. ^ "Premier Slain, Carol Alarmed", Pittsburgh Press, December 30, 1933, p. 1
  51. ^ Kevin Starr, The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s (Oxford University Press, 2002) p. 262
  52. ^ "Morrison, Norman", in The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, Spencer C. Tucker, ed. (ABC-CLIO, 2011) p. 775
  53. ^ "Record Flight Ended By Girls", Pittsburgh Press, December 30, 1933, p. 1
  54. ^ "10 Die When Plane Crashes in Flames", Pittsburgh Press, December 30, 1933, p. 1
  55. ^ Carole Marsh and Kathy Zimmer, The Big Vermont Activity Book! (Gallopade International, 2000) p. 46
  56. ^ Mike Spick, Illustrated Anatomy of the World's Fighters (Zenith Imprint, 2001) p. 74
  57. ^ Tony Collins, Rugby League Twentieth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural History (Taylor & Francis, 2006) p. 71