1970-1979 | United States

Post office argues against commemorating the American revolution

19 April 1975 Today in 1975, Tony Benn, secretary of state for industry, was astonished to discover that the Post Office did not wish to comply with his request to issue stamps commemorating the American Revolution and the bicentenary of the declaration of independence. Opening his red box, he found a note explaining that ‘this…

1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Germany

Cabinet – not sending birthday greetings might offend Hitler

19 April 1939 On 19 April 1939, the Cabinet deliberated over the correct diplomatic etiquette with regards to celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday, who would turn fifty the next day. The first issue raised was whether the British Charge d’Affaires in Berlin should offer a birthday present to the Fuhrer or at least join in a…

1920-1939 | Censorship | Collective punishments | Detention without trial | Martial law | Palestine

British security forces in Palestine granted draconian powers

19 April 1936 At 9 pm on 19 April 1936, Sir Arthur Wauchope, the British High Commissioner in Palestine, proclaimed a series of what he termed ‘precautionary measures,’ which gave Britain’s security forces enormous powers. This followed two days of rioting, triggered by sectarian violence between the Jewish and Arab communities, as well as Arab…

1500-1799 | Slavery

Bristol celebrates the defeat of Britain’s first anti-slavery bill

19 April 1791 Today in 1791, the House of Commons, many of its members having investments in the slaving business and the West Indies plantations, overwhelmingly rejected a bill proposed by William Wilberforce, to outlaw the slave trade. The margin of the defeat was substantial at 163 to 88, almost two to one.1 Within hours,…