I read William J. Bennett’s Book of Virtues to my children once. Well, by “once,” I mean for a year and a half, but it was worth it. As we read, I was intrigued by how much I was learning: I started the project to help my children develop character with good literature, but I had no idea that this collection could form the rudiments of a decent liberal education.
Bennett’s anthology presents an assortment of world literature that ranges deep and wide, giving us the greatest hits of history better than any of the college texts with which I’ve worked, and it plainly shows how morally didactic the classics are. I read something that referred to this book as an arrogant attempt to indoctrinate people with right-wing beliefs. Really? Where does Bennett twist a text to mean anything other than that for which it was clearly intended? Which of the virtues in here are peculiar to conservatives? Honesty? Patriotism? Faith? (Now, now, no cheap shots. Although, I would defy any socialist liberal to write a similar book that made such extensive use of classics to promote, say, the social and governmental experiments that their philosophy favors.)
As I read The Book of Virtues, I saw so many wonderful works that I’d never read or even heard of before (The Athenian Oath, the story of Cincinnatus, the funeral oration of Pericles, Roosevelt’s speech on “The Strenuous Life,” etc.) that painted such a glorious picture of our civilizational heritage, that I wanted to organize them into a timeline for use in instructing my children (I had also just read The Well-Trained Mind and loved it, hence my list’s preponderance of important texts). Bennett’s thematic chapters were appropriate for his purpose, but I wanted a way to use the text for a more academic setting.
As I made a list putting my favorite items in chronological order, I rounded it out with other historical events I deemed worthy for my children to study, including major historical events narrated in the scriptures. I also added some family events, such as the birthdays of my wife and I, and our children, though I deleted those from the copy below. For your entertainment and edification, here it is. (If I ever have a ton of time to kill, I’d reformat this with links to all these texts online.) References to page numbers in italics are to Bennett’s Book of Virtues; underlined references are to scripture:
5,000,000,000 BC Earth formed Moses 2, Abraham 4
64,000,000 BC Dinosaurs extinct
9000 BC Ice Age ends
2925 BC Egypt—Menes, first king of the 1st Egyptian Dynasty, Memphis
2570 BC Egypt—Great Pyramid of Cheops
2500 BC Egypt—Sphinx built to guard Great Pyramid
2300 BC Ur—Abraham Genesis 11-25, Book of Abraham
2000 BC Sumeria—Epic of Gilgamesh, the world’s oldest story
1780 BC Babylonian text, Code of Hammurabi, world’s first written law
1500 BC England—Stonehenge completed after hundreds of years of building and use
1410 BC Egypt—Joseph interprets dreams (for Pharaoh Thutmose IV?) Genesis 40-41
1325 BC Egypt—Tutankhamen (King Tut)
1290-1224 BC Egypt—Ramses II, see Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” page 68.
@1250-1240 Ten-year Trojan War between armies of Greece and Troy (as told in Homer’s Illiad)
@1200 BC—Moses leads Hebrew slaves out of Egypt Exodus 12-14 and receives the Ten Commandments
1150 BC Southern Mexico—Olmecs (Jaredites? Book of Ether)
1100 BC Ruth and Naomi in the Bible, see page 296 / Book of Ruth
1020 BC Saul became first King of Hebrews 1 Samuel 9-10
@1000 BC David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17 David becomes King of Judah/Israel, moves to Jerusalem 2
Samuel 2,5; David writes book of Psalms
959 BC Solomon becomes King of Judah/Israel. 1 Kings 2-3; builds a temple in Jerusalem 1 Kings 6-8;
Solomon writes books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs
900 BC India—The meditations of the Upanishads, along with the older hymns of the Vedas, inform Hindu
776 BC Greece—1st recorded Olympic Games
753 BC Italy—According to legend, Rome is founded by brothers Romulus and Remus.
700 BC Greece– Homer writes The Iliad and The Odyssey (see pages 79, 467 and 701)—Other major Greek myths: King Midas and the Golden Touch–page 63, Phaeton—page 69, Echo and Narcissus—page 152, Icarus and Daedalus–page 211, Baucis and Philemon—page 303, Hercules Cleans the Augean Stable— page 389, The Choice of Hercules—page 390, The Minotaur—page 462, Castor and Pollux—page 699, and Deucalion and Pyrrha—page 775
620 BC Greece—Birth of Aesop, writer of immortal fables. See pages 46-48, 52, 66, 110, 271, 354, 359,
370, 388, 457, 529, 532, and 602
623 BC India—Birth of Gautama Siddhartha, founder of Buddhism. See “The Path of Virtue,” page 810
600 BC China—Lao Tzu writes Tao Te Ching, the book of philosophy that begins Taoism.
600 BC Lehi’s family, warned by God of imminent destruction of Jerusalem, flees into the wilderness, 1
594 BC Athens, Greece—Solon’s wise legal reforms design world’s first democracy
586 BC Temple at Jerusalem destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon; start of Babylonian exile for
Jews 2 Kings 24-25
569 BC Greece—Mathematician Pythagoras born; famous for geometrical theorem A²+B²=C²
551 BC China—Birth of Confucius; his sayings are collected in Analects.
539 BC Babylon—Cyrus II of Persia conquers Babylon, allows exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem and
rebuild temple. 2 Chronicles 36, Ezra 1
6th Century Athens, Greece—Boys turning 17 take an oath of loyalty to become citizens. See “The
Athenian Oath,” page 217
525 BC Greece—Birth of Aeschylus, first of the great Greek playwrights, author of Oresteia
509 BC Romans set up a republic, an elected representative government.
500 BC Babylon—Esther—See “How Queen Esther Saved Her People,” page 689 / Book of Esther
495 BC Greece—Birth of Sophocles, another great Greek playwright, author of Oedipus and Antigone
485 BC Rome—Cincinnatus, a farmer, agrees to become ruler to help defend his nation. When the war is
won, he gives up power and goes back to farming. See “The Story of Cincinnatus,” page 671
480 BC Greece—300 Spartan soldiers die trying to defend Thermopylae Pass from the Persian army. See
“The Brave Three Hundred,” page 472
460-429 BC Athens, Greece—The Age of Pericles, a golden age in history. See “The Funeral Oration of
Pericles,” page 243
450 BC Herodutus, the first historian, writes his Histories
432 BC Athens, Greece—The Parthenon completed
431-404 BC Greece—Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta; Thucydides writes The
400 BC India—The Mahabharata, one of the two major national epics of India (See “Yudisthira at
Heaven’s Gate,” page 684), and the source of the very important Bhagavad Gita, a primary text of
399 BC Athens, Greece—Socrates dies willingly, though innocently, after conviction of subverting
authority by pushing people to think for themselves. See “Plato on Responsibility,” page 246
390 BC, China—Mencius, a Confucian philosopher; has a book of philosophy named after him. See
“Man’s Nature is Good,” page 812
365 BC Greece—Birth of Euclid, whose textbook on geometry, Elements, is still the basis of geometry.
385 BC Plato founds “The Academy” in Athens.
360 BC Greece—Plato writes The Republic. See “Plato on Self-Discipline,” page 97 and “Plato on
Justice,” page 657
350 BC Greece—Aristotle writes extensively. See “Aristotle on Self-Discipline,” page 101 and “Aristotle
on Friendship,” page 331
332 BC Alexander the Great, a student of Aristotle, conquers Egypt
4th Century, Sicily—Damon returns to be executed after being allowed to leave, and his friend Pythias had
offered his own life as collateral. Their ruler, Dionysius, was impressed and released both men.
See page 306
300 BC Egypt—Ptolemy II establishes great museum and Library at Alexandria, the largest library of the
ancient world with 700,000 scrolls. It thrived for about 700 years, and was probably destroyed by
the Romans in the fourth century AD.
290 BC Sicily—Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes born. See “Eureka!” page 562
250 BC Rome—Regulus returns to torture and death because he said he would. See page 617
221 BC China—Building of Great Wall begins
190 BC Rome conquers Palestine
100 BC Rome—Birth of Cicero, Rome’s greatest public speaker. See “Cicero on Friendship,” page 333
49 BC Rome—Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon River with his army and marches into Rome to confront
the Senate. See “Crossing the Rubicon,” page 477
44 BC Julius Caesar killed by conspiracy on March 15, the “Ides of March.”
31 BC Virgil writes the great Latin epic of Roman history, The Aeneid
27 BC Roman republic falls and becomes an empire under Caesar Augustus.
Birth of Jesus Christ!
8 AD Rome—Ovid writes his Metamorphoses, a collection of mythology
35 Damascus—Conversion of Paul, author of most of the New Testament epistles, Acts 9
47 Rome—Birth of Plutarch, author of Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans
55 Rome—Birth of Stoic philosopher Epictetus, author of the Enchiridion
64 Corrupt Emperor Nero violently persecutes Christians
66 Jewish zealots revolt against Rome; Roman forces destroy Jerusalem and the temple, drive Jews into
exile (until 1948).
79 Italy—Mt. Vesuvius, a volcano, destroys Pompeii
End of 1st Century—As Apostles die and dissension increases, the Great Apostasy begins. 1 Nephi 13
167 Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, writes The Meditations
284 Emperor Diocletian sets out to restore order, restructures empire by splitting it into Eastern and
300 Guatemala and Mexico—Mayan civilization enters its classical age
312 Constantine gains the throne
324-325 Christianity becomes official religion of Empire; Council of Nicea establishes Christian dogma
397 Saint Augustine writes his Confessions
421 Southern Mexico—Decline of Nephite civilization from pride, aggression, idolatry. Mormon 6-8
476 Emperor Romulus Augustus overthrown—Traditional date of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
British historian Edward Gibbon, in his 1776 masterpiece The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, lists four main causes for the fall: natural disasters, erosion of unity and civilization by barbarian invaders, poor management by a bloated government, and the collapse of Roman morality.
524 Rome—Boethius, while wrongly imprisoned, writes The Consolation of Philosophy, the last great
work of the classical world.
570 Mecca, Saudi Arabia—Mohammad, founder of Islam, is born.
630-660 Islam rapidly spreads throughout Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North Africa.
653 The Koran, the holy book of Islam, is written down
720 England—Beowulf, the great epic of Old English, composed
800 France—Pope crowns Charlemagne emperor on Christmas Day; Holy Roman Empire begins
813 Persia (Iran)—The Thousand and One Nights, a collection of stories
841 Kenneth Mac Alpin becomes first king of Scotland
890 England—Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, an annual journal of national events, is compiled by King Alfred
the Great. See “King Alfred and the Cakes,” page 196
900 Mexico—Maya civilization flourishes
1000 Leif Erikson of Iceland is the first European to colonize North America
1000 Japan—The Tale of Genji is the world’s first novel, and written by a woman
1000 England—King Canute the Second rules, see “King Canute on the Seashore”, page 67
1014 Brian Boru, king of Ireland, dies in a battle where he drives out the Vikings forever.
1066 William the Conqueror of France takes control of England, leading to major French/Latin influence
1096 Oxford University is founded in Oxford, England—world’s oldest English-speaking University
1099 Christian knights of the First Crusade capture Jerusalem from Muslims
1162 Mongolia—Genghis Khan builds a massive empire in Asia, see “The King and His Hawk,” page 37
1181 Italy—Birth of Saint Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church,
dedicated to poverty and love of all living things. See “The Sermon to the Birds,” page 761.
1187 Arab Muslims, under Saladin, recover Jerusalem; end of the Crusades.
1215 England—The Magna Carta is forced on the king by the Pope and other leaders; for the first time, a
legal document limits the power of a king
1271 Marco Polo journeys to China, opening trade and culture between Europe and Asia
1284 Germany—The Pied Piper of Hamelin. See page 627
1297 Scotland—William Wallace leads rebellions against British invaders
1306-1329—Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. See “Bruce and the Spider,” page 553
1314 Italy—Dante publishes The Divine Comedy
1325 Mexico—Aztec civilization flourishes
1337-1453 Hundred Years’ War between England and France
1347 The Plague (or the Black Death) sweeps Europe, killing a third of the population
1390 England—Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales published. See “Chanticleer and Partlet,” page 458
1415 English king Henry V’s Battle of Agincourt. See “Henry’s Speech at Agincourt,” page 514
1428 France—Teenage Joan of Arc successfully leads army against England, is then burned at the stake
Renaissance and Reformation
1452 Italy—Birth of Leonardo da Vinci: painter, sculptor, writer, inventor, musician…a genius and the
prototypical “Renaissance man”
1453 Constantinople (Turkey)—Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire falls to Ottoman Turks
1456 Germany—Gutenberg Bible printed; is first printed book
1485 England—Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, main source of Arthurian legend
1492—Columbus sails to America. See “Sail on! Sail on!” page 565
1512 Italy—Michelangelo completes Sistine Chapel ceiling
1517 Germany—Martin Luther nails his essay 95 Theses, a list of complaints about the abuses of the
Catholic Church, to the door of a cathedral
1521 Mexico—Cortes destroys Aztecs, conquers Mexico for Spain
1529 Germany—Martin Luther writes the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” See page 770
1534 England—Henry VIII asks the pope to annul his marriage; when pope refuses, Henry starts Church of
1536 Switzerland—French theologian John Calvin publishes Institutes of the Christian Religion
1540 Society of Jesus (Jesuits) forms to combat heresy and spread Catholicism
1543 Italy—Copernicus proposes theory: earth revolves around the sun; is persecuted for heresy
1554 England—Birth of Sir Walter Raleigh, who put his coat on a mud puddle so the Queen could cross.
See page 200
1564 Stratford-on-Avon, England—William Shakespeare born! See “The Quality of Mercy,” page 151
1572 England—Poet John Donne born: see “Death, Be Not Proud,” page 809.
1597 England—Francis Bacon praises education with his essay “On Studies.” See page 423
1605 Spain—Cervantes publishes Don Quixote, the first modern novel.
1611 England—King James Version of the Bible published
1620 Plymouth, Massachusetts—Pilgrims arrive on the Mayflower, sign Mayflower Compact
1621 Pilgrims celebrate first Thanksgiving with Indians
1636 Massachusetts—Harvard University founded
1663 Italy—Galileo brought to trial before the Inquisition to deny Copernicus
1667 England—John Milton publishes Paradise Lost
1672 England—John Bunyan publishes The Pilgrim’s Progress
1687 England—Newton publishes Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, explaining the law of
1692 Salem, Massachusetts—The Salem Witch Trials, 20 people executed as witches
1700’s Europe—The Age of Reason (AKA Enlightenment), a philosophy based on rational thought and
science, begins. Some great thinkers include Locke, Hobbes, and (Scottish) David Hume.
1706 Boston, Massachusetts—Birth of Benjamin Franklin, the “first American”
1707 England and Scotland unite politically—now called “United Kingdom”
1732 Virginia—Birth of George Washington, see “Rules of Civility,” page 74
1742 England—German/English composer Handel writes Messiah
1743 Virginia—Birth of Thomas Jefferson: writer, diplomat, naturalist, architect, educator, avid reader,
linguist, musician, leader, and more. See “Jefferson Urges an Examination of Faith,” page 791.
1756 Austria—Birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, greatest composer of music in history
1768 Scotland—First Encyclopedia Britannica
1762 France—Rousseau publishes The Social Contract
1770 Germany—Birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, the great composer of classical Romantic music
1772 England—John Newton, a repentant former slave trader, writes “Amazing Grace” See page 772
1773 Boston Tea Party; Colonists rebel against unfair taxes
1775, March 23 Virginia—Patrick Henry declares, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” See page 519
1775, April 18 Massachusetts—Paul Revere rides through the night to warn of approaching British army.
See Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” page 708
1775, April 19 Massachusetts—British troops open fire on American farmers; Revolutionary War begins.
See Emerson’s “Concord Hymn,” page 713
1776—Scotsman Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations defends capitalism
1776, September—American soldier Nathan Hale declares, “I regret that I have but one life to lose for my
country,” before being hanged by the British. See page 714
1776, July 4—Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence signed, United States of America born!
See page 251
1782, USA—George Washington refuses to consider the popular idea that he become king of America, see
1787 New York—James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay publish essays in newspapers to
explain the new Constitution and convince people to support it. These essays are collected and
called The Federalist Papers. See Federalist #55, page 252
1789, July 14 France—Storming of the Bastille; beginning of violent French Revolution
1789 USA—Constitution adopted, George Washington unanimously chosen as first President
1794 England—Poet William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, see “The Lamb and the Tyger,” page
1796, September 19 USA—In his Farewell Address, George Washington tells Americans that they need
religion and morality for the nation to be successful.
19th Century, USA—Slaves sing “Go Down, Moses” to keep up morale. See page 561
1803 President Thomas Jefferson purchases Louisiana Territory from France, doubling size of USA
1804 France—Napoleon, a great military leader of the French Revolution, declares himself Emperor
1805 Denmark—Birth of Hans Christian Andersen, author of beloved fairy tales. See “The Little Match
Girl,” page 124, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” page 536, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” page 630
1805, December 23 Vermont, USA—Birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith
1807 USA—Birth of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author of “The Arrow and the Song,” page 341, “The
Village Blacksmith,” page 397 and “A Psalm of Life,” page 436
1808 Napoleon replaces the king of Spain with his brother
1809, February 12 USA—Birth of Abraham Lincoln. See “Honest Abe,” page 620
1812 Napoleon invades Russia
1812 Germany—The Grimm Brothers publish their book of fairy tales. See “Grandmother’s Table,” page
143, “The Shoemaker and the Elves,” page 370 and “Hansel and Gretel,” page 453
1812 England—Birth of novelist Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, see “Marley’s
Ghost,” page 154
1814, August 23 USA—When British troops burn Washington D.C. as part of the War of 1812, President
James Madison’s wife Dolley takes the time to rescue a portrait of George Washington before
running. See “Dolley Madison Saves the National Pride,” page 481
1815 Belgium—Napoleon defeated at Waterloo
1819 England—Birth of novelist George Eliot. See “Count That Day Lost,” page 171
1820 New York, USA—Joseph Smith’s First Vision, Joseph Smith—History 1
1826, July 4 USA—Longtime friends Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die exactly 50 years after
signing the Declaration of Independence.
1828 Russia—Birth of Leo Tolstoy, great novelist of War and Peace and Anna Karenina, see ”Where Love
Is, God Is,” page 158, “Little Girls Wiser Than Men,” page 318, “How Much Land Does a Man
Need?” page 88, “Elias,” page 431
1830 New York, USA—Book of Mormon published; LDS Church founded April 6. D&C 20
1830 USA—Birth of Emily Dickinson, poet. See “If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking,” page 147 and
“I Never Saw a Moor,” page 753
1832 USA—Reverend Samuel Smith writes patriotic hymn “America.” See page 718
1835 France—Toqueville publishes his book Democracy in America, where he says America is great
because its people are good and religious. See “The Influence of Democracy,” page 180
1836, March 6 Texas, USA—180 men die defending the Alamo from an army of six thousand Mexicans
under dictator Santa Anna. See “An Appeal from the Alamo,” page 484
1841 USA—Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes his essays “Friendship” (see page 336) and “Self-Reliance”
(see page 521)
1844, June 27 Illinois—Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum are murdered by a mob. D&C 135
1846 USA—Smithsonian Institutes founded
1847 USA—Brigham Young leads LDS pioneers from Illinois to Salt Lake Valley, Utah. D&C 136
1847 USA—Birth of Thomas Edison, inventor of over one thousand things. See “It’s Plain Hard Work
That Does It,” page 409
1848 Russia—Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels publish The Communist Manifesto, claiming that people are
too weak and corrupt to rule themselves, and must give over their authority and property to a
collective government. Modern communism begins here.
1849 USA—Harriet Tubman escapes slavery and soon returns to help others do the same, as part of the
“Underground Railroad.” See “The Moses of Her People,” page 501
1854 USA—Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden, his book about living alone in the woods for two
1854, October 25 Russia—During the Crimean War, a small British band rides against a much larger army
because they are ordered to do so, knowing that most of them will die. See “The Charge of the
Light Brigade,” page 220
1859 USA—Charles Darwin publishes Origin of Species, explaining how life forms evolve over time.
1861, November 18 USA—Julia Ward Howe writes “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” see page 797.
1862 France—Victor Hugo publishes Les Miserables. See “The Good Bishop,” page 644.
1863, November 19 Pennsylvania, USA—President Abraham Lincoln dedicates the cemetery at Gettysburg
with a short speech inspiring Americans to live worthy of America’s principles and those who
fought and died for them. See page 568
1865, March 4 USA—Abraham Lincoln delivers his Second Inaugural Address, comforting Americans that
their righteous efforts to free slaves would be rewarded. See page 795.
1865, April 15 USA—President Lincoln assassinated. Poet and Civil War veteran Walt Whitman writes
“O Captain! My Captain!” about him. See page 178
1865 England—Birth of Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book, Just So Stories (see page 373), and
“If” (see page 476)
1870’s, USA—Legend of hard-working John Henry begins. See page 393
1872 France—Claude Monet creates Impressionist painting
1872 USA—Susan B. Anthony goes to the polls and demands that women be allowed to vote for president.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution does so, in 1920, 14 years after Anthony’s death. See
“Susan B. Anthony,” page 485
1876 USA—Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
1883 USA—Emma Lazarus writes “The New Colossus” about immigration for the Statue of Liberty. See
1885 Germany—Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche says that Europe has rightly abandoned religion and
morality with his quote, “God is dead.”
1887, March 3 USA—Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, meets her new teacher, Anne Sullivan, who
teaches her to read and write, and to use sign language. See page 312
1898 Ireland—Birth of C.S. Lewis, Christian writer and author of The Chronicles of Narnia. See “Men
Without Chests,” page 263, an essay about moral education
1900 London, England—Sir Ernest Shackleton puts an ad in a newspaper asking for volunteers to go
explore the South Pole. He promises suffering, then honor. Thousands of men apply. See “Men
Wanted for Hazardous Journey,” page 493
1901 USA—Former slave Booker T. Washington publishes Up From Slavery, where he encourages others
to lift their lives through education. See page 404
1901 USA—Theodore Roosevelt becomes 26th President of the United States. See “In Praise of the
Strenuous Life,” page 416 and “Going to Church,” page 798
1903, December 17, South Dakota, USA– Wright brothers invent airplane. See “Kill Devil Hill,” page
1905, USA—O. Henry writes “The Gift of the Magi.” See page 166
1905, Austria—Albert Einstein, a deeply philosophical and creative man, revolutionizes the world of
physics with four major discoveries in one year, including his theory of relativity and the famous
1907, United Kingdom—Boy Scouting begins. See “The Duties of a Scout,” page 217
1912, March 29—As Captain Robert Scott’s expedition to the South Pole ends in disaster, he leaves a note
behind that says, “Englishmen can still die with a bold spirit, fighting it out to the end.” See ”The
End of the Scott Expedition,” page 493
1912, April 14 The British ship Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic Ocean on first voyage; 1,513 people die.
1914 World War I starts
1917 United States enters the war
1917 Russia—Lenin and Trotsky take over Russia during a revolution, start communism
1918, November 11—German government signs armistice ending World War I
1918 Influenza epidemic kills over 20 million people worldwide
1920 USA—Robert Frost writes “The Road Not Taken,” see page 523
1922 USA—Publication of The Velveteen Rabbit, see page 275
1924 USA—George Gershwin composes the great American jazz classic Rhapsody in Blue
1928, Sept 15—Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming notices penicillin mold killing a staphylococcus
culture. The revolution of antibiotics is started.
1929, October 24 USA—Stock Market crashes, Great Depression starts
World War II
1938 Hitler takes over Austria
1939 Germany invades Poland, WWII Begins
1939 Nazi forces storm into Poland revealing Hitler’s blitzkrieg
1939 Hitler annexes the rest of Czechoslovakia
1940 Germany targets Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium. He takes all of them over.
1940, June 4 England—Prime Minister Winston Churchill tells his discouraged country, “We shall fight in
the fields and in the streets… we shall never surrender!” He inspires them to persevere. See page
1940 Italy declares war on France. Germany attacks France. France surrenders.
1940 Japan advances into French Indochina and Dutch East Indies
1940 General Tojo Hideki gains support for war in Japan
1941, December 7—Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, US enters war. 2,400 people killed, 19 ships destroyed
1941, December 10—Germany and Italy declare war on the US as Japan’s Allies
1941, June—Germany ends raids on Britain and moves on to the Soviet Union
1941 Germany—Nazi’s support “the final solution to the Jewish problem” – genocide. Hitler kills 12
million people, including 6 million Jews.
1942 American Navy and Air Force damage Japan’s fleet in the Battle of Midway [island]
1944 Soviet troops advance into Eastern Europe
1944, June 6—D-Day: Battle of Normandy begins final part of war as Allied forces move into Europe to
free it from the Axis nations
1944, October—Macarthur retakes the Philippines
1944, December—Germany launches a counterattack at the Battle of the Bulge
1945, March Amsterdam—Anne Frank, whose family had been hiding in an attack from the Nazis for
years, is captured and killed just weeks before the war ends. She kept a diary which tells her story.
1945, May 8—V-E Day: victory in Europe
1945, August 6—Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima
1945, August 9—Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
1945, August 10—Emperor Hirohito forces government to surrender
Post WWII—Cold War and Today
1946 Stalin creates Communist governments between the Soviet Union and Germany. This starts the Cold
1946 Churchill visits the US. He speaks of an “iron curtain”; this became the symbol of the Cold War.
1947 Truman Doctrine limits Communism – containment
1948 United Nations partitions Palestine: creates Israel for Jews to return to.
1948 India—Mahatma Gandhi, a famous peaceful protester, is shot and killed
1949 People’s Republic of China founded by Mao Tse Tung as a communist government
1950-1954—Senator Joseph McCarthy discovers many communist spies in US government
1950, Sweden—American author William Faulkner accepts the Nobel Prize for Literature with a speech
declaring that writers should help the human race by bringing out the best in us. See page 593
1954 USA—Brown v. Board of Education ends segregation in schools
1955, December 1 Alabama, USA—Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat and move to the back of a bus; a
major event in the Civil Rights movement. See page 489
1957 Soviets launch Sputnik 1; Americans scared
1963, August 28, Washington D.C., USA—Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech,
inspiring Americans to create a society of true justice. See page 57
1963, November 22 Dallas, Texas—President John F. Kennedy is killed in a mysterious assassination.
1967-1974— Americans torn over Vietnam War
1969, July 20 Neil Armstrong, an American astronaut, becomes the first man to walk on the moon.
1974 US President Richard Nixon resigns from office after he’s connected to spying on other politicians.
1979 Soviet Union invades Afghanistan; United States helps repel them.
1979, November 4 Tehran, Iran—Revolution turns Iran into a fundamentalist dictatorship. American
embassy invaded, 300 hostages held for over a year. The age of terrorism begins to hit home for
1987, Germany—US President Ronald Reagan stands by the Berlin Wall and declares to Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev, “Tear down this wall!” Two years later, the wall came down and East and
West Germany were reunited.
1989 China—100,000 college students protest in Tiananmen Square for freedom; communist government
sends in tanks and kill 1,000 people, thousands more sent to jail.
1991 Soviet Union collapses; Cold War ends.
1991 Persian Gulf War: USA defends Kuwait from invasion by Iraq
1991 South Africa—Official government policy “apartheid,” which separated races and oppressed blacks,
1994 Rwanda, Africa—Hutus and Tutsis massacre nearly 1 million of each other during a few weeks.
1995 The Internet becomes a popular tool for learning, entertainment, communication, and business.
1995 LDS Church issues The Family: A Proclamation to the World, urging all people to support and
nourish their families.
2000 LDS Church, led by President Gordon B. Hinckley, greets new millennium by issuing a statement
about the divinity and Atonement of Jesus Christ; also, the Church has over ten million members
worldwide (mostly outside the US), over 100 temples, and prints the Book of Mormon in over 100
2001, September 11—United States attacked by terrorists; 3000 innocent people die