T.S.Eliot called April the cruelest month, and indeed, at the end of this April, in particular, it may seem that a twisted sort of reverence is being paid to the tragedies of Aprils elapsed in time.
“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Interestingly, on April 1, 1778, Oliver Pollock, a New Orleans businessman, created the "$" symbol, a mark that, no doubt, underlies much of the bloodletting and violence, not only in April, of course, but throughout history.
Let's take a look at a few of these notable man-made events that took place in the cruelest of months:
April 1, 1933 - Nazi Germany begins persecution of Jews boycotting Jewish businesses
April 1, 1934 - Bonnie and Clyde encountered two young highway patrolmen near Grapevine, Texas. Before the officers could draw their guns, they were shot dead.
April 1, 1945 - U.S. forces invade Okinawa during WWII. The Battle of Okinawa has been called the largest sea-land-air battle in history. It is also the last battle of the Pacific War.
April 2, 1986 - Four U.S. passengers killed by bomb at TWA counter Athens Airport Greece
April 2, 2012 - One Goh shot and killed seven people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, Calif., where he had previously studied.
April 3, 1975 - The Easter Sunday Mass Murders: James Rupperts plotted and schemed to kill his family in order to collect more than $300,000 in life insurance, savings, investments and real estate.
April 3, 2009 - Naturalized immigrant Jiverly Wong shot and killed 13 people and himself at the American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y. He left a note complaining about harassment from the police and his inability to get a job.
April 4, 1968 - Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee.
April 5, 1862 - Battle of Yorktown began as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War.
April 5, 1894 - Eleven striking miners killed in riot at Connellsville, Pennsylvania,
April 5, 1951 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death.
April 6, 1815 - The massacre at Dartmoor Prison. The English militia shoots prisoners of the War of 1812, indiscriminately, hundreds killed
April 6, 1917 - U.S. entered World War I in Europe.
April 6, 1968 - Richmond Indiana explosion: Gunpowder stocks at a sporting-goods store explode, killing 41 and injuring over 150 people.
April 6, 1994 - The beginning of genocide in Rwanda as a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. They had been meeting to discuss ways of ending ethnic rivalries between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. After their deaths, Rwanda descended into chaos, resulting in genocidal conflict between the tribes. Over 500,000 persons were killed with two million fleeing the country.
April 6, 2012 - White supremacists Jake England and Alvin Watts shot and killed three black pedestrians in Tulsa, Okla., in a racially motivated attack.
April 7, 1712 - In New York City, 27 black slaves rebelled, shooting nine whites as they attempted to put out a fire started by the slaves. The state militia was called out to capture the rebels. Twenty one of the slaves were executed and six committed suicide.
April 7, 1818 - General Andrew Jackson conquered St. Marks Florida from Seminole Indians during the first Seminole war.
April 7, 1862 - Battle of Shiloh: Grant defeats Confederates at Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time.
April 7, 1865 - Battle of High Bridge: Together, the battles at High Bridge were tactically inconclusive, despite the 847 Union casualties (including 800 captured) versus only about 100 Confederate.
April 8, 1864 - Battle of Mansfield, also known as the Battle of Sabine Crossroads, in De Soto Parish, Louisiana. The Union forces had suffered 113 killed, 581 wounded, and 1,541 captured. Confederate loss was "about 1,000 killed and wounded".
April 9, 1864 - Battle of Pleasant Hill of the American Civil War, near Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, between Union forces was essentially a continuation of the previous day's Battle of Mansfield, fought nearby, which ended around sunset due to darkness.
April 9, 1917 - Battle of Arras began.
April 9, 1940 - German cruiser Blucher torpedoed and capsizes in Oslofjord, 1,000 die.
April 9, 1945 - A U.S. Liberty ship loaded with aerial bombs explodes, setting three merchant ships afire, killing 360 people in Bari harbor, Italy.
April 9, 1945 - The Allied tanker Nashbulk collides with the U.S. freighterSt. Mihiel in fog
off Massachusetts, killing 15.
April 10, 1863 - Battle of Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee, during the American Civil War.
April 10, 1917 - Eddystone Ammunition Corporation, a munitions factory explodes in Eddystone PA, kills 133 workers, mainly women and girls. 52 never identified
April 10, 1942 - The WWII Bataan Death March began as American and Filipino prisoners were forced on a six-day march from an airfield on Bataan to a camp near Cabanatuan. Some 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans were forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water to the POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths.
April 10, 1966 - First large scale B-52 bombing raid on North Vietnam
April 11, 1863 - Battle of Suffolk (Hills Point), in Suffolk Virginia
April 11, 1942 - Three thousand Jews from Zamosc, Poland, are deported to the Belzec death camp.
April 12, 1861 - Battle of Fort Sumter: The American Civil War began as Confederate troops under the command of General Pierre Beauregard opened fire at 4:30 a.m. on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
April 12, 1864 - Fort Pillow Massacre, The battle ended with a massacre of surrendered Federal black troops by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Military historian David J. Eicher concluded, "Fort Pillow marked one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history.
April 12, 1864 - Battle of Blair's Landing in Red River Parish, Louisiana.
April 12, 1908 - Fire leaves 12 dead, 85 missing and presumed dead, and 17,000 homeless in Chelsea Massachusetts.
April 12, 1963 - Birmingham police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful demonstrators
April 12, 1982 - Three CBS employees were shot to death when they stumbled upon the abduction of a woman in a rooftop parking lot on a pier on Manhattan's West Side
April 13, 1863 - Battle of Irish Bend near Franklin, the seat of St. Mary Parish in southern Louisiana.
April 13, 1918 - Electrical fire kills 38 mental patients in Norman State Hospital in Oklahoma City.
April 13, 1919 - Amritsar Massacre-British troops fired on a crowd of unarmed Indian protesters, killing hundreds.
April 13, 1945 - Gardelegen Massacre, SS burns and shoots 1,100 inside a barn near the Medieval walled town of Gardelegen in eastern Germany
April 14 - France declares war on Austria, starting French Revolutionary Wars
April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and died the following morning at 7:22 a.m.
April 14, 1994 - Black Hawk Down incident. U.S. F-15 accidentally shoots 2 U.S. helicopters down over Iraq, 26 die
April 15, 1912 - In the icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic with 2,224 persons on board sank at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg just before midnight. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived about two hours after Titanic went down.
April 15, 1986 - U.S. air raids Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, comprised air-strikes by the United States against Libya. The attack was carried out by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps via air-strikes, in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.
April 16, 1854 - The Powhatan sank off the coast of New Jersey in a severe storm, with no survivors. The loss of life was estimated by various sources to be between 250 and 311 people.
April 16, 1947 - The Texas City disaster, the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, and one of the largest non-nuclear explosions. Originating with a mid-morning fire on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp (docked in the Port of Texas City), its cargo of approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated, with the initial blast and subsequent chain-reaction of further fires and explosions in other ships and nearby oil-storage facilities killing at least 581 people, including all but one member of the Texas City fire department. The disaster triggered the first ever class action lawsuit against the United States government, under the then-recently enacted Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), on behalf of 8,485 victims.
April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech Massacre – 32 killed; 17 injured.
April 16, 2013 – Boston Marathon Explosions– 3 killed; 107 injured.
April 17, 1961 - A U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba failed disastrously in what became known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
April 18, 1862 - Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip the decisive battle for possession of New Orleans in the American Civil War.
April 18, 1864 - Battle of Poison Springs, in Ouachita County, Arkansas as part of the Camden Expedition.
April 18, 2013 – Fertilizer plant explosion, Texas – 14 killed, hundreds injured
April 19, 1775 — Revolutionary War began with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, which made the Masonic-led Revolutionary War inevitable.
April 19, 1904 — The Great Fire of Toronto.
April 19, 1943 — After trapping the last Jewish Resistance Fighters in a storm drain in Warsaw, and holding them for several days, Nazi Storm Troopers began to pour fire into each end of the storm drain, using flame-throwers. They continued pouring the fire into the drain until all fighters were dead. Blood sacrifice brought about by a fiery conflagration.
April 19, 1989 - 47 U.S. sailors were killed by an explosion in a gun turret on the USS Iowa during gunnery exercises in the waters off Puerto Rico.
April 19, 1993 – Waco Massacre: An FBI assault lead to the burning down of the compound of a sect named Branch Davidians, killing 76 men, women and children.
April 19, 1995 - Oklahoma City bombing – 168 people killed.
April 19, 2010 - BP Oil/Deep Water Horizon disaster
April 20, 1889 - Birthday of Adolf Hitler.
April 20, 1898 - Spanish American War declaration: Congress adopted a resolution declaring war against Spain.
April 20, 1914 - Ludlow Massacre: Miners in Ludlow, Colorado, were attacked by National Guardsmen paid by the mining company. The miners were seeking recognition of their United Mine Workers Union. Five men and a boy were killed by machine gun fire while 11 children and two women burned to death as the miners' tent colony was destroyed.
April 20, 1985 — ATF raid on The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord compound in northern Arkansas.
April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School Massacre - 13 people murdered, 21 injured.
April 23, 1946 - U.S. Sailor, 19, goes berserk on Yangtze; kills 9 shipmates in sudden frenzy
April 24, 1915 - Armenian genocide In Asia Minor during World War I, the first modern-era genocide began with the deportation of Armenian leaders from Constantinople and subsequent massacre by Young Turks. In May, deportations of all Armenians and mass murder by Turks began, resulting in the complete elimination of the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire and all of the historic Armenian homelands. Estimates vary from 800,000 to over 2,000,000 Armenians murdered.
April 26, 1986 - At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere, eventually covering most of Europe. A 300-square-mile area around the plant was evacuated. Thirty one persons were reported to have died while an additional thousand cases of cancer from radiation were expected. The plant was then encased in a solid concrete tomb to prevent the release of further radiation.
April 27, 1865 - On the Mississippi River, the worst steamship disaster in U.S. history occurred as an explosion aboard the Sultana killed nearly 2,000 passengers, mostly Union solders who had been prisoners of war and were returning home.
April 28, 1996 - The Port Arthur massacre was a killing spree in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded, mainly at the historic Port Arthur prison colony, a popular tourist site in south-eastern Tasmania, Australia.
April 29, 1992 - Rodney King riots erupted in Los Angeles following the announcement that a jury in Simi Valley, California, had failed to convict four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of an African American man.