This week in history, we will see the anniversaries of several important events that shaped the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown:
On Oct. 1, 1908, the Ford Model T automobile was introduced in Detroit, Michigan. Henry Ford, the founder and leader of the company, implemented the mass assembly line to streamline production and make a car that ordinary people could afford. At the time, cars were a luxury item and there were only 200,000 on the road. Over a 20 year period, nearly 15 million Model T cars were produced and travelled across America. It was the longest continuously produced vehicle until the Volkswagen Beetle broke the record in 1972.
The mass assembly line allowed for unskilled workers to put together a car in a matter of hours, as each employee was responsible for a single production phase as opposed to one mechanic who built an entire car on their own. At the height of its power, Ford Motor Company could start production on 10,000 vehicles in one day. Henry Ford famously said about the Model T, “You can have it in any color you want, as long as it is black.”
On the same day in 1946, the Nuremberg Trials concluded in Germany with the sentencing of Nazi war criminals. Twenty-four men were accused of various charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and purposefully initiating wars of aggression. The trial lasted nearly a year and comprised legal representatives from several different countries.
The accused were senior members of the Third Reich who had some involvement in the Holocaust. Many German officials had committed suicide before the war ended to avoid capture, including Hitler himself. Twelve of the accused men were sentenced to execution; the rest either received time in prison or were acquitted of charges.
On Oct. 4, 1957, the satellite Sputnik I was launched into space by the Soviet Union, starting the Space Race between Russia and the United States. Sputnik I was the first manmade object to be put into orbit around the Earth and the Soviet Union would continue to launch several more satellites over the coming years.
Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to be put into space and orbit the Earth in 1961, beating out American Alan Shepard who was launched into space before returning safely the same year. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962.
President John F. Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon before the decade was over, and NASA successfully landed the Apollo 11 mission in July of 1969 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin both walking across its distant surface.
Lastly, on Oct. 5, 1962, the first James Bond film premiered with Sean Connery as the lead character in “Dr. No.” The Bond franchise went on to be incredibly successful worldwide with 26 movies made so far, seven different actors playing Agent 007, and grossing nearly $5 billion.
Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.