This week in history, we will see the anniversaries of several important events that helped shape the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown:
On April 23, 1945, the Red Army began its assault on the city of Berlin during World War II. As the war was coming to an end, the Russians were advancing across Germany from the East, while the Allies were advancing from the west. After Hitler’s last ditch effort to prolong the war with his surprise counterattack during the Battle of the Bulge through the Ardennes Forest, it became increasingly clear that the Axis powers were going to be defeated. There was a great deal of discussion and desire to be the first army to take the German capital, but Stalin’s forces managed to get there first. The remaining German army fought for every inch of the city, but they were eventually defeated. Within the week, the majority of the German high command was either captured or committed suicide, including Hitler himself. After Germany’s total surrender, the war in Europe officially came to an end on May 8, 1945.
On the same day in 2005, the first ever video was uploaded to the website YouTube. It was called “Me at the zoo” and has now been viewed over 65 million times. The online video platform became a massive unparalleled success, with the company being bought by Google for $1.65 billion just over a year after the first video. Today, YouTube has nearly two billion active monthly users and almost a billion hours of content are watched on the platform each day.
On April 24, 1916, the Easter Rising took place in Dublin, Ireland. An insurrection by Irish Republicans against the British government, the armed rebels took control of key points of the city including the Bank of Ireland, Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green and the General Post Office. Led by school teacher Patrick Pearse and paramilitary commander James Connolly, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Irish Citizen Army turned these areas into fortified defenses before the British Army could react. As this rebellion took place in the middle of World War I, it took several days before the British government could gather its forces and march on Dublin. Once the British soldiers marched into the city and surrounded the rebels, fierce battles began to rage across the area. One by one, the rebel strongholds began to fall as British artillery and machine guns overwhelmed the defenders. After six days of fighting, Pearse offered his official surrender and ordered his men to stand down.
Almost 500 people had been killed in the battles, most of them civilians caught in the crossfire or killed in artillery blasts. The British court martials following the fighting were swift in their judgement of the Irish Rebellion. Fourteen men who were considered the ringleaders of the whole uprising, including Pearse and Connolly, were convicted and subsequently executed by firing squad over the course of one week. While public opinion had originally been against the rebels because they had cost the lives of many civilians and destroyed the city of Dublin, the executions of the leaders after the fighting greatly turned the Irish public against the British government. Several of the men executed had little to no involvement in the planning or fighting of the rebellion, and James Connolly had to be tied to a chair before he was shot due to his wounds and shattered ankle sustained during the fighting. While valiant in their effort, the men and women of the Easter Rising failed, and the dream of Irish freedom from British rule would have to wait until 1922 with the creation of the Irish Republic.
Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.