May 6, 1937
GERMAN AIRSHIP EXPLODES AT LAKEHURST
The German airship Hindenburg, the largest aircraft ever to fly, plummeted to the ground this evening at 7:25 at Lakehurst, New Jersey after an internal explosion set it on fire.
On board were 97 passengers & crew. It is reported that 36 of them are dead.
Many of the survivors waited until the airship neared the ground before leaping out.
The Hindenburg was 803.8 feet long (equivalent to more than 2 1/2 football fields) & weighed 242 tons.
The great airship, based in Frankfurt, was using highly flammable hydrogen.
The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time, but an investigation will be conducted.
Herb Morrison of WLS Radio was recording a description of the Hindenburg coming into Lakehurst Naval Station when the tragedy occurred. Here is part of what he said:
“It’s burst into flames. It’s burning & bursting into flames…this is one of the worst catastrophes in the world…the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast. Oh, the humanity.”
The Hindenburg in Flames
Photo by Gus Pasquerella
May 6, 1933
FDR SIGNS ORDER CREATING WPA
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an Executive Order at the White House today creating the WPA or Works Progress Administration.
The New Deal agency will carry out public works projects such as building & road construction & in the process will put millions of unemployed Americans to work.
The agency is part of FDR’s program to bring the nation out of its worst economic depression in history.
Harry Hopkins has been appointed by FDR to head the WPA.*
*By 1943, WPA will have employed 8 million Americans & will have spent $11 billion.
May 6, 1940
JOHN STEINBECK WINS PULITZER PRIZE
American author John Steinbeck, a native of Salinas, California, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize today for his novel, The Grapes of Wrath.
The novel is about a family of sharecroppers named the Joads who having been victims of the Oklahoma “Dust Bowl” leave everything behind to go to California to start a new life.*
*In 1962, Steinbeck wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his acceptance speech, he says:
“The writer is delegated to declare & to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart & spirit for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion & love.”
John Steinbeck & Son Visit LBJ
May 16, 1966
Photo from the LBJ Library
May 6, 1970
ANTI-WAR PROTEST SPREADS ACROSS USA
Thousands of students across the United States joined in protest today of the war in Vietnam, invasion of Cambodia & the most recent killings of college students at Kent State University in Ohio & Jackson State College in Mississippi.
536 campuses were shut down completely.
Protests At New York University
May 6, 1970
photo from alumni.nyu.edu
May 6, 1992
GORBACHEV SPEAKS ON THE COLD WAR
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev spoke on the Cold War today at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.
The site of the speech was where British PM Winston Churchill made his famous “Iron Curtain” address.
Mr. Gorbachev said the end of the Cold War is “a victory for common sense, reason, democracy & common human values.”
Obama & Biden with Gorbachev
March 20, 2009
White House Photo by Pete Souza
May 6, 1994
ENGLISH CHANNEL TUNNEL OPENS
Queen Elizabeth II of Britain & President Francois Mitterand of France officially dedicated the English Channel tunnel connecting their two countries today.
The tunnel runs a distance of 31 miles making it the world’s largest undersea tunnel.
The English Channel Tunnel cost $16 billion.
Opening of the Channel Tunnel
May 6, 1994
Service Photographique du Ministere
des Affaires Etrangeres