World History 1925

About the history of the world in 1925, the Charleston dance becomes popular, Hitler writes Mein Kampf, the first motel opens.



* A new dance called the Charleston became popular.

* Harold S. Vanderbilt of New York developed modern contract bridge from the then popular card game of auction bridge.

* Charlie Chaplin, 36, starred in The Gold Rush.

* Adolf Hitler, 36, dictated the first volume of Mein Kampf ("My Struggle") to fellow inmate Rudolf Hess while the pair were serving time in Landsberg Prison for engineering the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. Part autobiography, part political tract, the book was published in Munich in July and sold nearly 10,000 copies by year's end. A second volume went to press late the following year. In Mein Kampf, Hitler squeezed Darwinism dry of any moral or ethical considerations, laced the residue with racism, and served it up as a recipe for modern Germany. In order to survive, he said, a nation must have sufficient Lebensraum, living space. A crowded Germany, hemmed in by artificial borders, must expand or expire. Elbow room was not enough, however. To survive, Germany must also attain racial purity, he said. Hitler conceded that centuries of conquest and absorption had defiled the German race, but this could be corrected once the Nazis took over and purged their land (and ultimately the world) of the archenemy of pure blood-the Jews. "We cannot bargain with the Jews," he wrote, "only present them with a hard 'either-or.'"Like all good demagogues, Hitler blurred the lines separating his work from God's will. "I am now convinced," he went on, "that I am acting as the agent of our Creator by fighting off the Jews; I am doing the Lord's work." He underscored this point later in a yuletide speech in 1926: "Christ was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world enemy, the Jews. . . . The work that Christ started but could not finish, I-Adolf Hitler-will conclude." The book that quickly became the Nazi bible also called on Germany to ignore its traditional enemy, France, long enough to expand eastward into Russia and neighboring states, there to acquire Lebensraum and to free Russia from its "yoke of the Jew." By the close of 1926, some 50,000 Germans around the country were extending the stiff, brown-sleeved salute to the mustachioed messiah. The nightmare had begun.

Jan. 5 Nellie Tayloe Ross, 45, of Wyoming, became the first woman governor of a state as she filled the unexpired term of her husband. She later became the first woman director of the U. S. Mint.

July Lawyers William Jennings Bryan, 65, and Clarence Darrow, 68, squared off in the Scopes "monkey" trial in Dayton, Tenn. Officially, the trial concerned itself only with the issue of whether or not schoolteacher John T. Scopes had, contrary to Tennessee law, taught the theory of evolution in his classroom. It achieved worldwide notoriety, however, on the basis of the real question involved: Was man created by God, or did he evolve from lower forms of life? Darrow reduced Bryan's fundamentalism to a shambles, but Scopes was found guilty.

Oct. 30 John Logie Baird, 37, of Scotland, transmitted the first light-and-shade television images in his attic laboratory in London. With a crude contraption pieced together with cardboard, darning needles, hatboxes, used electric motors, piano wire, glue, string, wax, and lenses, Baird first tuned in the silhouette of a dummy's head. Anxious to capture a live performer, he rushed downstairs and returned with a 15-year-old office boy named William Taynton. Frightened by the bright lights, the lad would sit still before the transmitter only if Baird promised him a few shillings for his patience. Baird later commented, "It is curious that the first person in the world to be seen by television should have required a bribe to accept that distinction."

Dec. 12 The first motor hotel, or motel, the Motel Inn, opened in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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