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What Happened on October 31?

  • Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was assassinated. (1984) Gandhi was assassinated by two of her body guards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. The two were Sikh extremists. Her assassination is suspected to have been a retaliation for the Harmandir Sahib holy shrine military attacks, called Operation Blue Star, conducted by the Indian army in June that same year. Her assassination prompted widespread riots in which more than 1,000 Sikhs were killed in New Delhi.

  • Martin Luther posted the "95 Theses." (1517) Luther, a scholar and priest, posted a sheet of paper containing the theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The theses purported revolutionary opinions and protested abuses by church clerics. The action is widely regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation.

  • Nevada was admitted as the 36th US state. (1864) The statehood helped get US President Abraham Lincoln re-elected, as the new state's inhabitants were supporters. It is the seventh-largest US state in terms of area, and is widely known for its legalized gambling policies.

  • US President Lyndon B. Johnson halted bombing attacks in North Vietnam. (1968) President Johnson halted the US Air Force attacks, called Operation Rolling Thunder, in hopes of achieving a peace agreement. The war, however, continued until 1975, but the three-year Operation Rolling Thunder campaign was officially finished.

  • The first road that connected the US coast-to-coast was dedicated. (1913) The Lincoln Highway connects San Francisco, California, to New York City, spanning about 3,389 miles (5,454 kilometers).

  • The Iraq Disarmament Crisis began. (1998) Iraqi officials refused to cooperate with the weapons inspectors from the United Nations, partially in response to the US signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, which supported the groups working to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

  • Joseph Stalin's body was removed from Vladimir Lenin's tomb. (1961) When Vladimir Lenin died, his body was encased in a glass tomb in the Red Square in Moscow so people could continue to view and honor him. After Stalin died, his body was encased in the same honorary tomb, next to Lenin. After Stalin was condemned by Soviet leaders for his brutality, his body was removed from its place of honor and entombed elsewhere.

  • The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade conducted the final successful calvary charge in world military history. (1917) Fighting in the World War I Battle of Beersheba, the famous brigade charged across 3.7 miles (about 6 kilometers) of battle field to overpower the final remaining Turkish trenches and capture the Birussebi wells.

  • The Japanese car company Toyota established a headquarters in the US. (1957) The headquarters were established in Hollywood, California, at an old Rambler dealership to sell the "Toyopet" model sedans. By 1975, the Toyota import brand had become the top-selling import automobile in the US.

  • The first Americans visited the South Pole, and they were the first in history to land a plane there. (1956) US Naval officer Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek, along with a six-man crew, also planted the US flag at the South Pole.
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