April 25 in history: Churchill and Ataturk face off, UN Charter, Pioneer 10 and DNA

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Here is a list of important events that occurred on April 25


                   The Peloponnesian War comes to an end with the blockade of Athens

King Pausanias of Sparta and Admiral Lysander enforce a blockade of Athens in 404 B.C.E, effectively ending the Peloponnesian War. Once the pre-eminent power in the region, Athens’ fall came about after a series of shocking defeats at the hands of the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. While Sparta was the major land power, Athens had firm command of the sea. However, the Athenian expedition force at Sicily, comprising of more than a 100 ships and 5000 infantrymen was thoroughly defeated  followed by Defeat at the naval battle of Aegospotami in 405 B.C.E, completely destroying Athens’ source of power and leaving it no choice but to surrender. One major consequence of the Peloponnesian War was that the Greek city-states were seriously weakened, allowing a rising Macedonia led by Alexander the Great to march southwards all the way to Punjab.


              DNA Day

 

DNA Day is celebrated marking the publishing of a paper by Francis Crick and James Watson in 1953 outlining the structure of the DNA. Their discovery yielded ground-breaking insights into the genetic code and protein synthesis.
Fun Fact: Enough strands of DNA are carried inside the human body that if stretched, can reach the moon and back to Earth thousands of times! And for the record, the distance between the Earth and Moon is close to 0.4 million km!


           Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto

 

An artist’s impression of Pioneer 10 as it fly’s past Jupiter.

The Pioneer 10 spacecraft launched in 1972 by NASA goes beyond the outer reaches of the solar system, passing by Pluto in 1983. Originally launched to study Jupiter, the spacecraft continued to beam important data back to scientists on Earth as it flew at speeds in excess of 50,000 km/h. The Pioneer became one of the first man-made objects that went beyond the bounds of our solar system and continued to communicate with scientists intermittently. However, as its battery ran out, it communicated with Earth for the last time on January 23, 2003. At the moment, scientists think the Pioneer 10 is still gliding through space at high speeds and will continue to do so forever, until it crashes into another object. Given the vastness of space, it is very probable that the space craft is still there. So perhaps when we look at a particular direction in the night sky, maybe, just maybe, beyond the abilities of our eyes, the Pioneer 10 is still there, a symbol of humanity’s achievements.


 

 A 10-year-old American girl is invited by Soviet leader Yuri Andropov after an exchange of letters

A 10-year-old American girl named Samantha Smith is invited to visit by leader of the Soviet Union Yuri Andropov in 1983. She had written him a letter in 1982 and received a reply the next year, along with the invite.

This is what she wrote in 1983:

Dear Mr Andropov,

My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.

Sincerely,

Samantha Smith

In April next year, she received a reply:

Dear Samantha,

I received your letter, which is like many others that have reached me recently from your country and from other countries around the world.

You write that you are anxious about whether there will be a nuclear war between our two countries. And you ask are we doing anything so that war will not break out.

Your question is the most important of those that every thinking man can pose. I will reply to you seriously and honestly. Yes, Samantha, we in the Soviet Union are trying to do everything so that there will not be war on Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir Lenin, taught us.

Soviet people well know what a terrible thing war is. Forty-two years ago, Nazi Germany, which strove for supremacy over the whole world, attacked our country, burned and destroyed many thousands of our towns and villages, killed millions of Soviet men, women and children. In that war, which ended with our victory, we were in alliance with the United States: together we fought for the liberation of many people from the Nazi invaders. I hope that you know about this from your history lessons in school. And today we want very much to live in peace, to trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on this earth — with those far away and those near by. And certainly with such a great country as the United States of America.

In America and in our country there are nuclear weapons — terrible weapons that can kill millions of people in an instant. But we do not want them to be ever used. That’s precisely why the Soviet Union solemnly declared throughout the entire world that never — never — will it use nuclear weapons first against any country. In general we propose to discontinue further production of them and to proceed to the abolition of all stockpiles on Earth.

It seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to your second question: ‘Why do you want to wage war against the whole world or at least the United States?’ We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country–neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government–want either a big or ‘little’ war.

We want peace — there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space. We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha.

I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country, the best time being this summer. You will find out about our country, meet with your contemporaries, visit an international children’s camp – Artek – on the sea. And see for yourself: in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples.

Thank you for your letter. I wish you all the best in your young life.

Y Andropov.

 


 

                  The Battle of Gallipoli begins

 

 

Allied forces land on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on April 25, 1915. Facing a stalemate in Europe, the Allied forces sought to form a naval link with Russia through the Black Sea by eliminating Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula. The invasion soon ran into trouble as very little progress could be made after the landings. Heavy and intense fighting led to the deaths of 46,000 Allied troops and 65,000 Turks.
By December, the Turks were successfully able to repulse the attack, forcing the Allies to retreat. The future Prime Minister of England Winston Churchill and founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Attaturk fought during the battle. April 25 is also marked as ANZAC day in honour of the Australian and New Zealand troops who fought at Gallipoli.


                                      Italy Liberation Day

 

The National Liberation Committee in Italy makes a radio announcement in 1945 proclaiming a death sentence for all Fascist leaders, including Benito Mussolini. The event also marks an end to the Nazi occupation of Italy.


 

 

United Nations Conference on International Organisation begins

The United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) takes place in San Francisco, California in 1945. Delegates from 50 nations participate in the two-month-long conference that leads to the creation of the United Nations Charter.


 

Like what you read? Perhaps you’d be interested in what happened on April 24?  Stay in touch for our post for April 27!