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1936

Jan 1  Sweden has recovered from the Depression. Its industrial production has risen 50 percent above what it had been in 1929, and unemployment has returned to 5 percent. Unemployment in the US is around 15 percent, about half what it was in 1932.

Jan 1  Britain's King George V dies. His eldest son, Prince Edward of York and Cornwall, succeeds him, becoming Edward VIII, King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India.

Feb 16  An election gives rise to a "Popular Front" government in Spain, ending two years of rule by a coalition of center and rightist parties. Peasants will take this as a signal to seize land. Strikes will erupt against employers. Anarchists will begin setting fire to churches, monasteries and the homes and offices of capitalists. Armed robberies against common people will skyrocket in Barcelona.

Feb 26  In Japan, a cabal of junior military officers believes that the government is inadequate in meeting what they perceive to be the threat from the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States. While believing they are being loyal to the emperor, they lead 1,500 men in a murderous attempt to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Keisuke Okada.

Feb 29  In Japan the coup has failed. Emperor Hirohito orders the Army to arrest 123 coup conspirators. Nineteen of them will be executed in July.

Mar 1  In the US, construction of Hoover Dam is completed.

Mar 7  In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupies its Rhineland, Hitler believing that France and Britain will not oppose his move militarily.

Mar 9  Japan's pro-democracy prime minister, Okada Keisuke, a former admiral, steps down and is replaced by Koki Hirota, who is weaker in standing up to the military.

Mar 12  Winston Churchill is upset about the Rhineland. In Britain's House of Commons he speaks of danger to parliamentary nations from heavily armed dictatorships. He complains that the spirit of the British people is being tamed and cowed "with peace films, anti-recruiting propaganda and resistance to defense measures." Churchill is denounced as a scaremonger and warmonger.

Mar 12  Communists outside the Soviet Union are fixated on attempts that have been made to destroy the Soviet Revolution. Harry Pollitt, General Secretary of Britain's Communist Party, says that "the trials in Moscow represent a new triumph in the history of progress."

Apr 19  Arabs in Palestine rebel against British colonialism and the increase in Jewish immigration. They kill nine Jews in Jaffa. Jewish homes are set afire, shops looted and orchards destroyed. Struggling for independence, the Arabs stage strikes, boycotts and demonstrations. Trying to maintain order, British soldiers kill more than 140 Muslims. The rebellion will last to November and cause the British to adjust their policy regarding Jewish immigration to Palestine.

May 5  Italy's invasion of Ethiopia has been underway since October. Italian forces have been using mustard gas in artillery shells and bombs. They take Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa. Haile Selassi goes into exile.

May 7  Italy annexes Ethiopia.

May 9  Italy unites Eritrea, Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland into what it calls Italian East Africa.

Jun 19  Max Schmeling knocks out Joe Louis in the twelfth round of their heavyweight boxing match at Yankee Stadium in New York City. In Germany people are ecstatic. German-Americans in New York City march arm-in-arm.

Jun 27  The Soviet government issues a decree prohibiting abortions. The government increases financial help to mothers and to families with multiple children. And It expands the availability of obstetrical services and childcare facilities.

Jul 17  General Manuel Goded Llopis and General Francisco Franco begin a rebellion against Spain's "Popular Front" government. The rebels gain the support of Germany and Italy.

Aug 1  The Summer Olympics open in Berlin.

Aug 3  At the Berlin Olympics, Jesse Owens, a black man from the United States, upsets Hitler by winning the 100-meter dash.

Aug 8  France closes its border with Spain.

Aug 19  In Spain, members of the fascist group "Escuadra Negra" kidnap the poet Garcia Lorca and force him to dig his own grave. They execute him. Later they will say they did so because he was a homosexual.

Aug 20  In the Soviet Union, a show trial begins for sixteen accused of being members of a "Trotskyite" terrorist conspiracy. The accused include two former high-ranking Bolsheviks, Kamenev and Zinoviev. The trial is to be described by Arthur Koestler in his famous novel Darkness at Noon.

Aug 25  The sixteen on trial in the Soviet Union have been sentenced and are shot. Trotsky has been sentenced to death in absentia.

Sep 29  In Spain, Franco is given the title "Generalissimo" by his colleagues.

Oct 27  In Madrid, Spain's republican government receives its first shipment of Soviet tanks.

Nov 5  Italy's Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII, visits President Roosevelt and says "The great danger in America is that it will go communist." He adds: "Mr. President, you simply do not understand the terrible importance of the communist movement." Roosevelt responds,"You just don't understand the American people". (David I Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini, p 250.)

Nov 12  In California, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.

Nov 25  The Abraham Lincoln Brigade sails from New York City on its way to Spain to join other "international brigades" attempting to defend Spain's leftist government.

Nov 26  Germany and Japan sign an "anti-Comintern Pact" directed against the Communist International (the Comintern) and the Soviet Union.

Dec 5  A new Soviet constitution goes into effect, to be known as the Stalin Constitution. It repeals restrictions on voting, adds universal direct suffrage and the right to work, rest and leisure. It guarantees health protection, care in old age, housing and education benefits. The constitution is largely the brainchild of Stalin's Bolshevik comrade, Nikolai Bukharin.

Dec 11  Edward VIII has abdicated. He becomes the Duke of Windsor and is succeeded by George VI.

Dec 12  In China, the deputy commander-in-chief of Chiang Kai-shek's armies takes him prisoner. Chiang is told to direct the country's energies toward fighting the Japanese and to stop his war against the country's Communists. Chiang agrees and is released. Japan accuses the Soviet Union of having instigated the kidnapping.

Dec 29  The United Auto Workers begin their sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan.

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