Here is the Alt-Right Almanac for January 30, 2018.
On this day in 1835 a Washington, D.C. house painter named Richard Lawrence made the first recorded attempt to assassinate an American president. Although there is a lack of hard evidence, researchers speculate that exposure to toxic paint gave rise to the mental health issues that began to manifest in Lawrence about three years prior to his attempt. Lawrence’s increasingly erratic, paranoid, inexplicable behavior worried his family and amused neighborhood children, who mockingly called him “King Richard.” Fortunately for Lawrence, he actually believed he was Richard III of England, and thus failed to grasp that he was being ridiculed. Unfortunately for Lawrence, he made his assassination attempt in an age when presidents did not subsist on McDonald’s hamburgers or wear dad jeans. When President Andrew Jackson noticed Lawrence attempting to fire two pistols at him, Jackson, who was sixty-seven years old at the time, chased Lawrence down and beat him with his cane. After being found not guilty by reason of insanity, Lawrence was committed to a government-run asylum, where he remained until his death in 1861.
On this day in 1930 the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or Politburo, formalized Joseph Stalin’s decision a month earlier to “liquidate the kulaks as a class.” “Kulak” was the historical term for the relatively wealthier peasants who, according to Marxist-Leninist economic theory, amounted to class enemies of less affluent peasants. The official newspaper of the Communist Party, Pravda, had been pointing towards and preparing for dekulakization for at least two years through its propaganda efforts. Estimates vary dramatically, but at least a few hundred thousand and perhaps millions of kulaks were evicted, imprisoned, exiled or executed during this phase of Stalin’s collectivization campaigns.
On this day in 1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of the German government. By March Hitler had consolidated power as de facto dictator. Twelve years to the day after Hitler was named chancellor, in the later phases of the Second World War, the German transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff left Danzig on a mission to evacuate more than 10,000 civilians and military personnel to Kiel in northern Germany, south of Denmark. In spite of its non-aggressive mission and the fact that its on-board anti-aircraft guns were frozen, the captains of the Wilhelm Gustloff obediently declined to mark her as a hospital ship. She never reached Kiel. That night she was struck by three torpedoes fired from the Soviet submarine S-13. The result was the worst naval disaster in history; around 9,500 of those on board were either crushed, drowned, or frozen to death in the icy Baltic waters.
And it’s the birthday in 1974 of actor Christian Bale in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales. By the age of thirteen Bale had appeared on stage with Rowan Atkinson and in the critically-acclaimed film Empire of the Sun starring John Malkovich and directed by Steve Spielberg. Bale’s portrayal of Patrick Bateman in the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho and his take on Batman in the Christopher Nolan trilogy have become important cultural touchstones in the collected sensibilities of an energized online political right.
We’ll put a bookmark there in your Alt-Right Almanac for January 30, 2018.