September 1933

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September 12, 1933: Leó Szilárd gains an insight... Southampton Row and Russell Square...
...on nuclear chain reaction

The following events occurred in September 1933:

September 1, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

September 2, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The Fascist government of Italy, and the Communist-governed Soviet Union, signed a treaty of "friendship, neutrality and non-aggression".[5]
  • With the signing of the Oil Code by American petroleum producers under the NIRA, U.S. Interior Secretary Ickes sent telegrams to the governors of oil-producing states, specifying the monthly production quota from each oil field.[6]
  • The Hotspur, a weekly "story paper" and later a comic book for British schoolchildren, published the first of 1,197 issues, lasting until October 17, 1959.[7]
  • Born: Mathieu Kérékou, President of Benin from 1972–1991, and 1996–2008, in Kouarfa (d. 2015)
  • Died: Francesco de Pinedo, Italian aviator, was killed when his plane crashed on takeoff from Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, before hundreds of spectators. De Pinedo was taking off in hopes of flying to Baghdad in record time, and his Bellanca airplane was loaded with 1,027 gallons of gasoline as he raced down the runway. Too heavy, the plane failed to lift off, struck a fence, and burst into flames, burning the flyer beyond recognition.[8]

September 3, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

September 4, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • Revolt of the Sergeants: At Camp Columbia, the Cuban Army base at Marianao, near Havana, Sergeant Fulgencio Batista led an uprising of non-commissioned officers against their Army superiors, seized control of the base, then incited a revolt that would topple the national government the next day.[10]
  • At the National Air Races in Chicago, aviator Jimmy Wedell became the first person to fly a landplane at an average of more than 300 miles per hour, averaging 304.98 mph in four runs on a three kilometer course.[11] At the time, the record for a seaplane was 407 mph, set by George Stainforth in 1931.[12] The feat was overshadowed by the death of 29 year old Florence Klingensmith, who had become the first woman to compete for the $10,000 Phillips Trophy. Her airplane fell apart as she passed the grandstand, and crashed at more than 200 mph.[13]

September 5, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The first regularly published list, of the most popular songs of the week, was started in the entertainment industry newspaper Variety.[14]
  • As the Revolt of the Sergeants continued, Cuba's President Carlos Céspedes, in office for only a few weeks after the overthrow of Gerardo Machado, stepped aside in favor of a five-member junta allied with Sgt. Batista.[15] The Pentarquia was led by law professor Guillermo Portela, accompanied by Jose Irizarri, Porfirio Franco, Sergio Carbo, and Ramon Grau San Martin.[16] Within a week, Grau would become President, and Batista would be promoted to Army Chief of Staff. Batista would later become dictator of Cuba until being overthrown in an uprising by Fidel Castro.[17]

September 6, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Twenty-eight years after introducing the successful a weekly entertainment magazine Variety, publisher Sime Silverman began publishing Daily Variety, Monday through Friday, in Hollywood. On the day issue #13 came out on September 22, Silverman died of a heart attack.[18]
  • Died: Marcel Journet, 65, French opera basso

September 7, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

September 8, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • King Faisal I of Iraq died of a heart attack in his hotel room in the Swiss city of Bern, where he had come earlier in the week for medical treatment. In 1920, he had been proclaimed King of Syria, but was deposed by France, and on August 23, 1921, he was approved by the United Kingdom as King of Iraq, following a plebiscite of approval.[20] His 23-year-old son, Crown Prince Ghazi, was proclaimed as the new king two hours after the death was announced; King Ghazi would be killed in an auto accident in 1939; Faisal's grandson, Faisal II, would be assassinated in 1958 in a coup that abolished the monarchy.[21]
  • Born: Michael Frayn, British playwright and novelist, winner of 2000 Tony Award for Copenhagen; in London

September 9, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

September 10, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

September 11, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • Austria's Chancellor and dictator, Engelbert Dollfuss, proclaimed the Ständestaat in Vienna, a fascist nation with one political party, his own Fatherland Front.[31]
  • The radio soap opera Today's Children began a five-season run, starting on the NBC Blue Network, and finishing the last two seasons on the NBC Red Network.[32]
  • Ernest Rutherford, the "father of nuclear physics", said in an address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science that his experiments in the splitting of the atom showed that there was no future for what is now called nuclear energy. "The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing," he said. "Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of those atoms is talking moonshine."[33] Energy from uranium fission would be discovered five years later, after Rutherford's death, and the first uranium reactor would be operating by 1942.[34]
  • Hitlerjunge Quex, the first major Nazi German motion picture, premiered in Munich at the Ufa-Phoebas-Palast theater, followed eight days later by its Berlin debut.[35]
  • Born: William Luther Pierce, American physics professor at Oregon State University, founder of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and author (under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald") of the racist and anti-Semitic novel The Turner Diaries, in Atlanta (d. 2002)

September 12, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Leó Szilárd, waiting for a red light on Southampton Row at Russell Square in Bloomsbury, conceived the idea of the nuclear chain reaction. Szilárd had read an account of Ernest Rutherford's comments, made the day before, that thoughts of nuclear energy were "moonshine". "As the light changed to green and I crossed the street," he would say later, "it suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by neutrons and which would emit two neutrons when it absorbs one neutron, such an element, if assembled in sufficiently large mass, could sustain a nuclear chain reaction."[36]
  • Dr. Earle Haas was granted U.S. Patent No. 1,926,900 for his 1931 invention, a "catamenal device" with an applicator, which was marketed as the Tampax tampon.[37]

September 13, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Elizabeth Combs became the first woman to be elected to New Zealand's Parliament, to succeed her late husband.[38]
  • A crowd of almost 250,000 marchers paraded down New York City's Fifth Avenue with banners displaying the "Blue Eagle", to demonstrate their gratitude for the National Recovery Administration. The parade was organized by NRA Administrator Hugh S. Johnson, and required ten hours to complete as the quarter-million participants were given the half a day off by order of Mayor John P. O'Brien.[39] TIME Magazine suggested that Johnson, a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, raised his hand constantly in a "fascist salute", and one historian commented that the pro-government rally "was too reminiscent of mass rallies in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany".[40]
  • A 118-year-old ban against tobacco smoking was rescinded in Prussia, Germany's largest state. Previously, offenders could be fined for smoking, though the law was seldom enforced.[41]
  • Adolf Hitler announced the new Nazi program Winterhilfswerk, with Germans contributing money, clothing, fuel and shelter to help other Aryan Germans before winter arrived.[42]
  • Iranian Prime Minister Medayat resigned without explanation.[43]
  • The fantasy drama film Berkeley Square starring Leslie Howard and Heather Angel premiered in New York.

September 14, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • The British High Commissioner for the African protectorate of Bechuanaland (now the Republic of Botswana), Vice Admiral E.R.G.R. Evans, sent in troops to the city of Serowe, to depose the King of the Bamangwato tribe, Chief Tshekedi. The King had violated a law prohibiting trial of any European national in native courts, after permitting a British citizen, Phineas McIntosh, to be flogged as punishment for adultery.[44]
  • Born:
  • Died: Irwin "Ike" H. Hoover, White House Chief Usher, employee since 1890, who had served ten U.S. Presidents, from Benjamin Harrison to Franklin D. Roosevelt. His memoir would be published by Houghton Mifflin in 1934 as Forty-Two Years in the White House

September 15, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • Edward "Spike" O'Donnell, a gangster "who once ranked almost equal to Al Capone" before falling on hard times, was acquitted by a jury of vagrancy charges.[45]

September 16, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The Columbia News Service, forerunner of CBS News, was incorporated by the CBS Radio Network in order to gather its own news stories rather than relaying those from newspaper services.[46]

September 17, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

  • The new Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden (National Representation of German Jews) was created to encompass all of the Jewish organizations in Nazi Germany, with the Rabbi Leo Baeck as its President and Otto Hirsch as Director of its governing board.[47] As persecution of Jews increased, the group would be forced to change its name in 1935 from Representation of German Jews to Representation of Jews in Germany, when Jews would no longer be classified as German citizens.[48]
  • The Chinese city of Shanhaikwan and the surrounding area was annexed to the Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo. According to Japan's press agency, a delegation by Governor Puyi arrived "to find the population celebrating the move".[49]
  • The 1933 NFL season opened, with changes in the rules and three new teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Pittsburgh Pirates (later the Steelers), and the Cincinnati Reds. In the first games, the Boston (later Washington) Redskins tied the Green Bay Packers 7-7, and the Portsmouth Spartans (later the Detroit Lions) beat the football Reds 21-0.
  • Born: David Kaplan, American philosopher, in Los Angeles

September 18, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

  • The bituminous coal operators of the United States agreed to come under the jurisdiction of the National Recovery Act, guaranteeing their employees a minimum wage of $4.60 a day and a 40-hour week.[50]
  • Born:
  • Died: Stephen Pichon, former Foreign Minister of France during World War One.

September 19, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

September 20, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The Rosh Hashanah holiday was celebrated by German Jews with "record-breaking attendance at German synagogues" in defiance of the Nazi government's wave of anti-Semitic decrees to mark the beginning of year 5694 on the Hebrew calendar.[53]
  • The team that would become the Pittsburgh Steelers played its first game. Known at the time as the Pirates, the team lost to the New York Giants, 23-2. The game was played on a Wednesday because Pennsylvania did not permit Sunday afternoon sports at the time.[54]
  • Died:
    • Annie Besant, 85, British Theosophical Society member and activist for Indian independence
    • William Walker, 73, African-American jockey who won the Kentucky Derby in 1877;
    • Albrecht Höhler German Communist convicted of murdering Nazi Horst Wessel, following an interrogation by the Gestapo

September 21, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Mabel Smith Douglass, who had founded the New Jersey College for Women (NJCW), disappeared after venturing out in a rowboat on New York's Lake Placid. Her capsized boat was found later, but Mrs. Douglass's body was not found until nearly 30 years later, September 15, 1963, scuba divers would locate her remains on the bottom of the lake, "tied to an anchor with an estimated weight of 50 pounds".[55] NJCW, now affiliated with Rutgers University, was renamed Douglass College in her honor in 1955.[56]
  • Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the Deputy People's Commissar for the Soviet Army and Navy, ordered the formation of the RNII (Reaktivnyy nauchno-issledovatel’skiy institut, literally the Reaction-Engine Scientific Research Institute) to begin the Soviet Union's development of missiles and space rockets.[57]
  • U.S. President Roosevelt ordered the immediate purchase of "surplus foodstuffs and staples for distribution to the nation's needy" at a total cost of $75,000,000 to provide food and clothing for 3.5 million American families.[58]
  • Egypt's Prime Minister Ismail Pasha Sidqi resigned.[59]
  • American aviator Wiley Post was seriously injured, and his famous airplane, the Winnie Mae, heavily damaged, in a crash on takeoff from the airport in Quincy, Illinois.[60]
  • The Washington Senators clinched the American League pennant by defeating the St. Louis Browns 2-1.[61]
  • Born:

September 22, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture) was created in Germany at the direction of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who served as the Chamber's president. All "creators of culture" were required to register as members of one of the subdivisions of the organization, such as the Reich Film Chamber, the Reich Theatre Chamber, or those for literature, music, radio, the fine arts and even for the press, in order to continue to have the privilege of continuing their cultural work, and non-Aryans were excluded from membership.[62]
  • Bank robber John Dillinger was arrested at a boarding house at 324 West First Street in Dayton, Ohio. He would be transferred six days later from Dayton's jail to one in Lima, Ohio, where his gang would help him escape on October 12.[63]
  • Born:

September 23, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The groundbreaking for Germany's Autobahn system of superhighways took place at Frankfurt, where Chancellor Adolf Hitler turned the first shovelful of earth, after telling 700 unemployed workers, "Before years have passed, this gigantic work will bear witness to our will, our industry, our ability, and our determination. German workers, to the work!"[64] The first stretch of four-lane highway, from Frankfurt to Darmstadt (now Bundesautobahn 5 or A5), would open on May 13, 1935.[65]
  • Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was on a boat trip on the Black Sea, at Sukhumi, when the craft came under rifle fire from the coast. What had first appeared to be an assassination attempt turned out to be a mistake made by guards from the local NKVD secret police, who thought that the unfamiliar boat was bringing foreign spies. The guards' pleas for mercy were accepted by Stalin at the time, with normal discipline measures for the hasty act; four years later, during the Great Purge, the men's convictions would be reviewed and they would be executed.[66]
  • Born:

September 24, 1933 (Sunday)[edit]

  • German nuclear physics student Klaus Fuchs arrived in England, after having escaped arrest in Nazi Germany during a roundup of German Communist Party members. Despite his Communist background, Fuchs would be cleared for work on the top secret American atomic bomb program, and would share the information so that the Soviet Union could develop its own nuclear weapons.[67]
  • Born: Don Porter, American actor (Gidget), in Miami, Oklahoma (d. 1997)
  • Died: Mike Donlin, 55, American baseball player; and Horace Liveright, 49, American stage producer

September 25, 1933 (Monday)[edit]

September 26, 1933 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly was captured in Memphis, Tennessee, along with his wife and two other partners in crime.[69] According to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Kelly shouted "Don't shoot, G-Men!", which was later explained as meaning "government men" for the federal officers, a nickname that would be picked up by the press for FBI agents.[70] Kelly, convicted of the kidnapping of Oklahoma City businessman Charles Urschel, would spend the rest of his life in prison, dying on July 17, 1954.[71]
  • St. Zita (1212–1272) was designated by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of maids and domestic servants.[72]
  • Charged with setting the Reichstag Fire, Marinus Van Der Lubbe confessed at his trial in Leipzig that he had set fire to the city hall, the former imperial palace and a welfare office in Berlin, but denied burning the Reichstag.[73]

September 27, 1933 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Ludwig Müller was elected as the first Reichsbischof of the Nazi-controlled German Evangelical Church, referred to as the Reichskirche.[74] On the same day, the 2,000 assembled ministers voted to approve the Aryan paragraph for the church bylaws, expelling any Protestant minister who had a Jewish ancestor.[75] Müller would serve as Reichsbischof until Germany's defeat in 1945, and would commit suicide on July 31 after realizing that he would be tried as a war criminal.[76]
  • Born:
  • Died:

September 28, 1933 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Gustav Lemoine of France set a new altitude record for an airplane, reaching 13,611 meters (44,819 feet) in a Potez 33.[77]
  • Born: Madeleine M. Kunin, Swiss-born American politician who served as the first female Governor of Vermont 1985-1991, and the first Jewish woman to govern any American state; in Zurich

September 29, 1933 (Friday)[edit]

  • The Reichserbhofgesetz, (State Law on Hereditary Farms) was decreed in Germany, requiring that mid-size family farms could not be inherited by any other person except for the youngest son, could not be divided among the family, and could not be owned by any non-Aryan people.[78]
  • Born:
  • Died: Ernest Holloway Oldham, 39, cipher clerk in British Foreign Office and spy for the Soviet Union (suicide)

September 30, 1933 (Saturday)[edit]


  1. ^ John B. Kirby, Black Americans in the Roosevelt Era: Liberalism and Race (University of Tennessee Press, 1982) p22
  2. ^ Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich in Power (Penguin, 2006) p168-169
  3. ^ Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Politics of Upheaval: 1935-1936, The Age of Roosevelt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003) pp112-121
  4. ^ Stephen Donovan, et al., Authority Matters: Rethinking the Theory and Practice of Authorship (Rodopi, 2008) p147
  5. ^ Ion S. Munro, Through Fascism to World Power: A History of the Revolution in Italy (Ayer Publishing, 1933) p271
  6. ^ Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (Simon and Schuster, 2008) p238
  7. ^ Owen Dudley Edwards, British Children's Fiction in the Second World War (Edinburgh University Press, 2007) p286
  8. ^ "Italian All Set for Bagdad Hop", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 2, 1933; "De Pinedo Dies in Flames As Ocean Plane Crashes", Youngstown Vindicator, September 2, 1933
  9. ^ Gerard O’Connell. "The Founding and Story of Fine Gael — 1933 – 2002". Archived from the original on 2010-11-12.
  10. ^ Ted Henken, Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook (ABC-CLIO, 2008).
  11. ^ "Wedell Sets Speed Mark at Air Races", St. Joseph (MO) Gazette, September 5, 1933, p1
  12. ^ Walter J. Boyne, Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the United States Air Force, 1947-2007 (Macmillan, 2007) p450
  13. ^ "Daring Girl Flier Killed Racing Men", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 1933, p1
  14. ^ Russell Sanjek, American Popular Music and Its Business: From 1900 to 1984 (Oxford University Press, 1988) p193
  15. ^ "Cuban Junta Quickly Ousts De Cespedes", Montreal Gazette, September 6, 1933, p1
  16. ^ "Soldiers, Radicals Oust New Cuban Government", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 6, 1933, p1
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  19. ^ "U.S. Masses 30 War Vessels Off Cuba", Milwaukee Journal, September 7, 1933, p1
  20. ^ "Feisal, King of Irak, Dies", Milwaukee Journal, September 8, 1933, p2
  21. ^ Malik Mufti, Sovereign Creations: Pan-Arabism and Political Order in Syria and Iraq (Cornell University Press, 1996) p31
  22. ^ "Beauty Contest Revived; Shore Hails Happy Days", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 4, 1933
  23. ^ "Crown Goes to Nutmeg State Girl", Los Angeles Times (Windsor, ON), September 10, 1933, p1, from
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  26. ^ Frank J. Coppa, Controversial Concordats (Catholic University of America Press, 1999) p139
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  28. ^ "New President of Cuba Wants Full Freedom", Milwaukee Journal, September 11, 1933, p1
  29. ^ Hugh Thomas, Cuba, or, The Pursuit of Freedom (Da Capo Press, 1998) p650
  30. ^ O. Anwar Bég, Giants of Engineering Science (Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2003) pp14-26
  31. ^ Katrin Kohl and Ritchie Robertson, eds., A History Of Austrian Literature 1918-2000 (Camden House, 2006) p5
  32. ^ Jim Cox, Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas (Scarecrow Press, 2005) p230
  33. ^ "No Power from Atoms", St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, September 12, 1933, p5
  34. ^ V.L. Ginzburg, The Physics of a Lifetime: Reflections on the Problems and Personalities of 20th Century Physics (Springer, 2001) p139
  35. ^ Eric Rentschler, The Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife (Harvard University Press, 1996) p319
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  37. ^ David John Cole, et al., Encyclopedia of Modern Everyday Inventions (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003) p191
  38. ^ "New Zealand Elects Woman to Parliament", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 14, 1933, p2
  39. ^ "Monster NRA Parade in N.Y.", Reading (PA) Eagle, September 14, 1933, p9
  40. ^ Naomi E. Pasachoff, Frances Perkins: Champion of the New Deal (Oxford University Press, 2000) p86
  41. ^ "Prussia Makes Smoking Legal", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 14, 1933, p4
  42. ^ Irene Guenther, Nazi 'Chic'?: Fashioning Women in the Third Reich (Berg, 2004) p232
  43. ^ "Persian Premier Quits In Mystery Shakeup", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 14, 1933, p3
  44. ^ "Chieftain Who Flogged Britisher Is Deposed", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 15, 1933, p2
  45. ^ "Noted Gangster Acquitted by Jury", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 16, 1933, p1
  46. ^ Louise M. Benjamin, Freedom of the Air And the Public Interest: First Amendment Rights in Broadcasting to 1935 (SIU Press, 2006) p176
  47. ^ Leni Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945 (Oxford University Press, 1991) p77
  48. ^ Werner T. Angress, Between Fear & Hope: Jewish Youth in the Third Reich (Columbia University Press, 1988) p156
  49. ^ "Manchukous Asked to Annex Region", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 18, 1933, p3
  50. ^ "Roosevelt to Sign Code Today, Ending Years of Mine Warfare", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 18, 1933, p1
  51. ^ "Giants Clinch 13th Pennant; Tie Record". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago. September 20, 1933. p. 19.
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  53. ^ "German Jews Throng New Year Ceremonies", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 21, 1933, p3
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  59. ^ "Egyptian Premier Resigns", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 22, 1933, p1
  60. ^ "Wiley Post Hurt Badly in Crash", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 22, 1933, p1
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  68. ^ "5,000 Lives Lost, Tampico in Chaos After Hurricane", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 26, 1933, p1
  69. ^ "'Machine Gun' Kelly Captured in Memphis", Milwaukee Journal, September 26, 1933, p1
  70. ^ Lawrence Block, Gangsters, Swindlers, Killers, and Thieves: The Lives and Crimes of Fifty American Villains (Oxford University Press, 2004) p125
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  78. ^ Heinrich August Winkler, Germany: The Long Road West: Volume 2: 1933-1990 (Oxford University Press, 2007) pp28-29
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