HomeToday in HistoryWhat Happened on May 10

What Happened on May 10

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Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president
Mandela’s inauguration came after more than 300 years of white rule. Before becoming president, he was a pivotal figure in the fight against the racist apartheid regime and was incarcerated for 27 years.

Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, parachutes into Scotland to broker a peace agreement
Hess was captured and interrogated. He was the last in a long line of prominent figures to be incarcerated in the Tower of London. Hitler characterized his peace mission four years before the end of World War II as treason.

Nazis ceremonially burn about 25,000 allegedly “un-German” books
The book burnings were part of the right-wing German Student Union’s Action against the Un-German Spirit. Among the burnt books were works by Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, and Franz Kafka.

In the United States, the first coast to coast railroad is completed
The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad systems were joined at Promontory Summit in Utah, using a “Golden Spike”. This last spike is now housed in the Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford University.

  • 1977 Nick Heidfeld
    German race car driver
  • 1960 Bono
    Irish singer-songwriter, actor, activist
  • 1957 Sid Vicious
    English singer, bass player
  • 1946 Donovan
    Scottish/English singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, actor
  • 1899 Fred Astaire
    American actor, singer, dancer
  • 1977 Joan Crawford
    American actress
  • 1897 Andrés Bonifacio
    Filipino activist
  • 1863 Stonewall Jackson
    American general
  • 1818 Paul Revere
    American military officer
  • 1774 Louis XV of France
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