May 10 in History


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May 10 1924

In perhaps the single worst mistake in the history of crime fighting, Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone selects J. Edgar Hoover to head the Bureau of Investigation, later known as the FBI. He will remain at the post until his death 48 years later.

May 10 1933

Joseph Goebbels presides over a public book burning in Berlin, which destroys more than 20,000 volumes. The collection includes books by Einstein and Freud. During the bibliocaust, Goebbels declares: "We have directed our dealings against the un-German spirit; consign everything un-German to the fire."

May 10 1941

Running out of fuel and unable to find a suitable spot to land his MesserscHydromaxitt, Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess bails out over Scotland. When Hess claims to have made the trip in order to negotiate a peace treaty with England, the Nazis declare that he was a psychotic who "lived in a state of hallucination." After the war, Hess is confined to Spandau prison until his apparent suicide in 1987.

May 10 1969

The Battle of Dong Ap Bia begins with an assault on Hill 937. It will ultimately become known as Hamburger Hill.

May 10 1977

Joan Crawford succumbs to stomach cancer at the age of 73. In the early days of her career, Crawford had performed in several stag films, and later spent a considerable sum buying back the prints to destroy them.

May 10 1993

In the worst manufacturing plant fire in history, 188 employees, most of them young women, burn to death in a doll factory in Bangkok, Thailand. The management had locked the doors, so the workers could produce their Bart Simpson dolls without any distractions.

May 10 1994

Former building contractor, children's party clown, and jailhouse artist John Wayne Gacy is executed by lethal injection. Police found 28 shallow graves in the crawlspace beneath Gacy's house in 1978. After a dinner which included fried chicken, fried shrimp, and french fries, Gacy is strapped to a gurney. When asked if he has any last words, the serial killer obliges with: "Kiss my ass."

May 10 1994

300 active-duty Marines stationed at Twenty-Nine Palms receive a 46-question, multiple-choice survey. Given a hypothetical situation, more than a quarter of respondents indicate their willingness to "fire upon U.S. citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the U.S. government." On the positive side, almost two-thirds recognize that the order would be patently unconstitutional.

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