1931 was a very interesting year, especially in regard to politics around the world. This was the year that Spain became a republic after the public voted for the republican parties, and the National Government in Britain took over from the Labour Party. The Scottsboro Boys made headlines when they were accused of attacking a white woman, and Jane Addams became the first American woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Our timeline takes you through all the most important events of the year, showing you what happened in 1931 that made news across the world. 

Reading a 1931 newspaper is a great way to discover what the public were reading about on a particular date of the year. 

1931 Timeline 

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January 1: In American college football, Washington State are defeated 24-0 by Alabama in the 17th Rose Bowl. 

January 1: In Kyushu Island, Japan, Bridgestone is established. 

January 2: The cyclotron, which is used to accelerate particles for the study of nuclear physics, is invented by Ernest Lawrence from South Dakota. 

January 2: In hockey, Nels Stewart, centre player for the Montreal Maroons scores the fastest two goals in the history of the NHL, with two just 4 seconds apart. This was in their 5-3 win against the Boston Bruins at the Montreal Arena. 

January 3: Astronomer Edwin Hubble and scientist Albert Einstein both begin to do research at the California Institute of Technology. 

January 4: Elly Beinhorn, a German pilot, starts her flight to Africa. 

January 5: In the United States, Lucille Thomas becomes the first woman to purchase a baseball team when she buys the Topeka franchise in the Western league. 

January 5: American award-winning actor and filmmaker, Robert Duvall, is born in San Diego, California. 

January 6: Thomas Edison submits his very last patent application. 

January 6: In Chicago, the first meeting to address a purpose for businesses during the Great Depression is held by CBMC, which ends up filling up more than 800 seats in the Garrick Theatre.

January 7: The first solo, non-stop trans-Tasman flight, from Australia to New Zealand, is flown by Guy Menzies in 11 hours and 45 minutes. Menzies crash lands on the west coast of New Zealand. 

January 13: American comedian and actor, Rip Taylor, is born in Washington D.C. 

January 16: In cricket, Australian player Don Bradman scores 223 runs in one day against the West Indies in their 3rd Test in Brisbane.

January 22: The French government under Steeg falls. 

January 22: In Diamantbeurs, Amsterdam, VARA starts an experimental TV broadcast.

January 22: In Australia, Sir Isaac Isaacs becomes the first Australian-born Governor-General of the country. 

January 25: Once again, Mahatma Gandhi is released from prison in India. 

January 26: A peace treaty is signed by Hungary-Austria. 

January 26: In New York City, Green Grow The Lilacs, a play by Lynn Riggs, premieres. 

January 26: The film directed by Wesley Ruggles and starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne, Cimarron, premieres in New York City. This is the first western film to win the Best Outstanding Production/Picture award.

January 27: A government in France is formed by Pierre Laval. 

January 30: The American silent romantic comedy directed by Charlie Chaplin, City Lights, which stars himself and Virginia Cherrill, premieres in the Los Angeles Theatre. 

January 31: American baseball shortstop, first baseman and Hall of Famer known as “Mr. Cub.,” Ernie Banks, is born in Dallas, Texas. He would go on to play all 19 of his career seasons with the Chicago Cubs. 

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February 1: Russian politician and President of Russian Federation between 1991 and 1999, Boris Yeltsin, is born in Butka, Sverdlovsk. 

February 2: For the first time, mail is delivered by a rocket. 

February 3: After journalist H. L. Mencken calls the state of Arkansas “apex of moronia,” the state legislature passes a motion to pray for his soul. 

February 3: The Hawke’s Bay earthquake hits New Zealand, causing the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. 256 people are killed and thousands more are injured, with Napier and the Hawke’s Bay region devastated. The earthquake reached a catastrophic 7.9 on the Richter scale, making this one of the most shocking 1931 events. 

February 4: Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, gives an address calling for rapid industrialisation. He claims that the most industrialised countries will win wars, with “weak” nations being “beaten.” Following this, Stalin’s five-year plan intensifies, which aims to industrialise agriculture. 

February 5: Maxine Dunlap is the first woman to gain a glider pilot license. 

February 5: Driving his famous Blue Bird car at Daytona Beach, Florida, Malcolm Campbell sets the word land speed record of 246.08mph.

February 7: At Met Opera in New York City, the American opera Peter Ibbetson by Deems Taylor premieres. 

February 7: Aviator Amelia Earhart marries George Palmer Putnam, a publisher, in Noank, Connecticut. 

February 8: In the Fushun coal mine in Manchuria, a gas explosion results in the deaths of 3,000 people. 

February 8: American actor and cultural icon James Dean is born in Marion, Indiana. 

February 10: In India, New Delhi becomes the capital and inauguration celebrations take place. 

February 10: The musical American Sweetheart by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart premieres at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway in New York City. 

February 11: In Germany, members of the German National People’s Party (DNVP) and the National Socialist Party (NSDAP) storm out of the German Reichstag in an attempt to protest changes in the protocol of parliament. These changes were intending to limit heckling. 

February 12: Vatican Radio starts to broadcast using the callsign HVJ. 

February 14: In Spain General Damasco Berenguer’s government falls. 

February 14: Starring Bela Lugosi as the vampire, the original Dracula film is released. 

February 15: In honour of the team’s late manager, the New York Yankees spring training site in St. Petersburg is renamed Miller Huggins Field. 

February 16: In Finland, Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, an extreme right-wing politician, becomes president. 

February 17: In hockey, the Hershey Bears, now with the AHL, play their first game. 

February 18: American writer Toni Morrison, and first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize, is born in Lorain, Ohio. 

February 20: California is officially permitted by Congress to build the Oakland-Bay Bridge. 

February 21: The medication Alka Seltzer is first introduced. 

February 21: In baseball, the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox play their first exhibition night game. 

February 21: A Ford Trimotor plane is hijacked by Peruvian revolutionaries who insist that the pilot flies over Lima and drops propaganda leaflets. 

February 28: The forward pass is adopted by the Canadian Rugby Union. 

February 28: Oswald Mosley, a British politician, establishes the New Party in order to break away from the Labour party. 

james dean

James Dean, actor and cultural icon, was born in 1931
Image: PxHere

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March 1: Following a refit, the USS Arizona is put back in full commission. 

March 2: Future General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is born in Stavropol, Russia. 

March 3: The song Star Spangled Banner is officially declared as the United States national anthem by congressional resolution. 

March 3: Minnie Moocher is recorded by Cab Calloway. The song later became the first million seller in Jazz music. 

March 4: On the last day of the 5th test in Sydney against the West Indies, cricketer Don Bradman is bowled for a rare first ball duck by Herman Griffith. The West Indies team wins by 31 runs, but Australia wins the series 4-1. This also marks the first time the West Indies defeated Australia in test matches. 

March 5: British viceroy Lord Irwin signs the Gandhi-Irwin pact with Mahatma Gandhi. 

March 7: In Helsinki, Finland, the Finnish Parliament House opens. 

March 8: In the Australian Championships Women’s Tennis, an all-Australian final sees Majorie Cox Crawford be defeated by Coral McInnes 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. 

March 8: In the Australian Championships Men’s Tennis, player Harry Hopman is defeated by fellow Australian player Jack Crawford 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, who wins the first of four Australian titles. 

March 10: After founding the New Party, British politician Oswald Moseley leaves the British Labour party. 

March 11: In the Soviet Union, Ready for Labour and Defence of the USSR, abbreviated as GTO, is introduced. 

March 11: Rupert Murdoch, Australian-born American media mogul, is born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 

March 14: In New York City, the first projector for rear movie projection is built. 

March 17: Gambling becomes legalised in the state of Nevada. 

March 18: In the United States, the first electric shavers go on sale. 

March 18: In Spain, Juan Bautista Aznar becomes Premier. 

March 19: Conservative candidate Duff Cooper wins the Westminster St. George’s by-election in the United Kingdom. 

March 20: In Hilversum, Holland, the KRO-broadcast studio is initiated. 

March 21: Maribel Vinson wins the US Ladies’ Figure Skating Championship. 

March 21: Roger Turner wins the US Men’s Figure Skating Championship. 

March 22: Canadian director, author and actor William Shatner is born in Montreal, Quebec. 

March 23: Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar, Indian Independence fighters, are hanged following their conduction of an assassination and a bombing. While they requested to be shot at by a firing squad, this was refused. 

March 25: Whistles is recorded by Hal Kemp and his orchestra, along with Skinny Enis. 

March 25: In Alabama, the Scottsboro Boys are arrested. The Scottsboro Boys a group of nine African American boys aged between 12 and 19 years who were accused of raping a white woman.

March 25: American civil rights activist and journalist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett passes away at the age of 68. 

March 26: A peace treaty is signed between Trans-Jordan and Iraq.

March 26: In Lorain, Ohio, three consecutive perfect games are bowled by Leo Bentley.

March 26: As the capital of the British Indies, Calcutta is replaced by New Delhi. 

March 26: American actor Leonard Nimoy, who plays Spock in Star Trek and stars in Mission Impossible, is born in Boston, Massachusetts. 

March 27: Comedian, filmmaker and actor Charlie Chaplin is given France’s distinguished Legion of Honour.

March 27: The 90th Grand National takes place. At the age of nine, the horse Grakle wins by 1.5 lengths and at odds of 100/6. Grakle is ridden by jockey Bob Lyall.

March 31: A light plane crashes on a trip to Los Angeles from Kansas City, killing Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne along with seven other people. 


Actor Charlie Chaplin
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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April 1: In Managua Nicaragua, an earthquake devastates the area and results in the deaths of 2,000 people. 

April 1: In China, the Kuomintang government launches the Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet, in an attempt to destroy the Communist forces in the Jiangxi Province. 

April 1: When signing with the Chattanooga Lookouts Baseball Club in Tennessee, Jackie Mitchell becomes the second female, following Lizzie Arlington in 1898, to enter into organised baseball. 

April 2: In baseball, New York Yankees stars Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are struck out by Jackie Mitchell aged 17 in an exhibition baseball game played at Engel Stadium, Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

April 4: French industrialist, manufacturer and publisher of the Michelin Guide, Andre Michelin, passes away at the age of 78 from respiratory failure. 

April 6: The trial for the nine Scottsboro boys begins. 

April 6: Little Orphan Annie is broadcast for the first time on NBC radio. 

April 6: A film adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel, A Connecticut Yankee, starring Will Rogers and directed by David Butler, is released. 

April 6: Martial law is declared in Madeira and in the Azores by the government of Portugal, due to the ongoing Madeira uprising in Funchal. 

April 7: In San Francisco, the Seals Stadium opens. 

April 8: In London, the White Horse Inn opens. 

April 8: The ballet by Dmitri Shostakovich, The Arrow, premieres. 

April 12: In baseball, Joe McCarthy debuts as the manager for the New York Yankees. 

April 12: Votes in Spain reject the monarchy after municipal elections take place, and the republican parties emerge triumphant. 

April 14: With the overthrow of King Alfonso XIII, Spain becomes a republic. 

April 15: Plennie L. Wingo begins his backwards walk across America. He ended up walking backwards from Santa Monica, California to Istanbul, Turkey in an attempt to make money during the Great Depression. 

April 15: The murder of Joe “The Boss” Masseria brings the Castellammarese War to an end, which leaves Salvatore Maranzano as the capo dei capi (“boss of all bosses”) in the American mafia. This is only for a brief time, since Maranzano is murdered less than 6 months later and in turn, the Commission is created. 

April 17: The Catalan Republic changes to become the Generalitat of Catalonia, after negotiations had taken place between ministers. The Generalitat of Catalonia is then an autonomous government inside the republic of Spain. 

April 20: Jim Henigan wins the 35th Boston Marathon with a time of 2:46:45:8. 

April 20: In the British House of Commons, it is agreed that sports can be played on Sundays. 

April 22: A peace treaty is signed between Iraq and Egypt. 

April 22: The Spanish Republic is formally recognised by Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Austria. 

April 25: In Stuttgart, Ferdinand Porsche establishes the Porsche automobile manufacturer.

April 23: The Public Enemy, an American gangster film featuring Jean Harlow and James Cagney, premieres. 

April 26: In baseball, Lou Gehrig is called out on his home run due to passing a runner, which costs him the AL home run crown. He ends up tying for the season with Babe Ruth. 

April 27: A state record temperature is reached in Hawaii, when temperatures are recorded at 38 degrees celsius.

April 28: For the 1932 Olympics track and field, a programme for female athletes is approved. 

April 29: In baseball, Wes Ferrell, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, no-hits the St. Louis Browns, 9-0. 

1931 timeline

Baseball players Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Al Simmons
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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May 1: In New York City, the Empire State Building opens after construction is completed. 

May 1: Peter I Island is claimed by Norway. 

May 1: On CBS radio station, singer Kate Smith begins her long-running radio program. 

May 4: In Turkey, Kemal Atatürk is re-elected president.

May 5: The seventh government is formed in Turkey by İsmet İnönü.

May 6: In Westfield, Alabama, American Baseball Hall of Fame centre fielder Willie Mays is born. 

May 8: In London, operette Land of Smiles premieres. 

May 9: In the 56th American horse race Preakness, the horse Mate ridden by jockey George Ellis wins with a time of 1:59. 

May 10: Hail the size of a golf ball falls in Burlington, New Jersey. 

May 11: Beginning the financial collapse of Central Europe, the largest bank in Austria, Credit-Anstalt, goes bankrupt. The collapse leads to a worldwide financial meltdown.

May 11: The first sound film by Fritz Lang, M, starring Peter Lorre, premieres in Berlin, Germany. 

May 13: In France, Paul Doumer is elected president. 

May 13: In Randolph County, Indiana, American Leader of Peoples Temple cult Jim Jones is born. 

May 14: In Ådalen, Sweden, five people lose their lives in what becomes known as the Ådalen shootings when soldiers open fire on an unarmed trade union demonstration. 

May 15: The encyclical Quadragesimo anno is published by Pope Pius XI.

May 15: A sharp defeat is inflicted on the Kuomintang forces in China against the Communists. 

May 19: In Kiel, the Deutschland cruiser is launched. 

May 21: In Belgium, the government of Jaspar falls. 

May 22: For the first time, canned rattlesnake meat goes on sale in Florida. 

May 23: In Bedfordshire, England, Whipsnade Zoo opens. 

May 24: The first air conditioned train is installed. 

May 27: In Langley Field, Virginia, the first full scale wind tunnel for testing airplanes is set up. 

May 27: The first flight into the stratosphere is made by Swiss men Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer by balloon from Augsburg in Germany. 

May 31: In the French Championships Men’s Tennis, Jean Borotra wins his only home title when he defeats Frenchman Christian Boussus. 

May 31: In the French Championships Women’s Tennis, German player Cilly Aussem defeats Betty Nuthall from England for the first of her two major titles this year. 

May 31: The Kuomintang in China are defeated and the Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet comes to an end. 

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June 3: The future 18th president of Cuba, Raúl Castro, is born in Biran, Holguin, Cuba.

June 3: At the Galerie Pierre Colle, the painting The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí is displayed for the first time.

June 5: In Belgium, Jules Renkin becomes the premier. 

June 5: In the British Open Men’s Golf, Argentine golfer José Jurado is outlasted by Tommy Armour by one stroke to win his only Open title and his third and final major championship.

June 5: Dr. Heinrich Brüning, the Chancellor of Germany, travels to London to alert Ramsay MacDonald, British Prime Minister, that Austria’s bank system collapse prompted by the Creditanstalt bankruptcy, has placed the whole of the German banking system on the verge of collapse. 

June 5: In Pyongyang, anti-Chinese rioting takes place. During the rioting, it is reported that 127 people from China lost their lives, with another 393 people wounded, and many properties had been destroyed by residents of Korea. 

June 6: Guy Lombardo’s There Ought To Be A Moonlight Saving Time hits number 1. 

June 6: In baseball, the New York Yankees turn a triple-play, but lose 7-5 against the Cleveland Indians. 

June 8: In Paramaribo, the Suriname Work Committee under Louis Doedel forms. 

June 9: Robert H. Goddard patents the first rocket-powered aircraft design. 

June 9: American comedian Jackie Mason is born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 

June 10: Greenland is occupied by Norway. 

June 12: Gangster Al Capone is indicted on five thousands counts of prohibition and perjury. 

June 14: Off St. Nazaire, France, the St. Philibert cruise ship sinks and kills 450 people. The ship was overcrowded and was taking travellers home to Nantes from the Île de Noirmoutier.

June 14: For the first time, Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich meets with Heinrich Himmler. 

June 15: Baseball legends Eddie Collins and Harry Heilmann retire from the sport. 

June 15: A friendship and trade treaty is signed by Poland and the USSR.

June 16: In Austria, the government of Ender falls. 

June 19: In West Haven, Connecticut, the first photoelectric cell is installed commercially. 

June 19: The Hoover Moratorium is introduced by US President Herbert Hoover in order to prevent the Central Europe banking crisis leading to a worldwide financial meltdown. 

June 19: The Geneva Convention, relative to the treatment of war prisoners, comes into force. 

June 20: In Austria, Karl Buresch becomes chancellor. 

June 23: Beginning a flight around the world, aviators Wiley Post and Harold Catty take off. This is the first around-the-world flight and the two men fly in a single-engine plane, finishing their journey in 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. 

June 24: A neutrality treaty is signed between Afghanistan and the USSR. 

June 27: In Ryder Cup golf, the United States win 9-3 with Walter Hagen captaining his second victorious team. 

June 29: A record state temperature is hit in Florida when 43 degrees celsius is recorded. 

June 29: An encyclical on Nun abbiamo bisogno (We do not need fascism and Mussolini) is published by Pope Pius XI. 

1931 events

Mug shot of Al Capone taken in June 1931
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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July 1: American educator, social worker and second woman in Congress Alice Mary Robertson passes away at the age of 77.

July 1: The Cleveland Municipal Stadium, home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the Cleveland Browns American football team opens. The stadium holds up to 78,189 people and would be demolished in 1996. 

July 1: In Cambridge, Massachusetts, John Haven Emerson finishes his “iron lung” negative pressure ventilator, which is just in time for the polio epidemic that is continuing to grow.

July 1: In Los Angeles, ice vending machines are introduced, selling 25 lbs for 15 cents. 

July 1: The Trans African Railway becomes in use across Benguela, Angola-Jadotville and Congo. 

July 1: On war debt payments, President Herbert Hoover places a one year moratorium. 

July 1: In Italy, the Milano Centrale Railway Station, which had been rebuilt, officially opens. 

July 3: In boxing, Max Schmeling from Germany defeats Young Stribling from America in Cleveland by TKO in 15, winning him his first heavyweight title defence. This is also the first major fight broadcasted on a national radio station. 

July 3: In Wimbledon Women’s Tennis, the first ever all-German final takes place with Hilde Krahwinkel defeated by Cilly Aussem 6-2, 7-5. 

July 4: In Wimbledon Men’s Tennis, Frank Shields is defeated by fellow American player Sidney Woods Jr. in a walkover, causing an ankle injury. 

July 4: For the first time, a fireworks display is held at the Cleveland Stadium. 

July 4: In Cleveland Metroparks, the first trailside museum opens. 

July 4: James Joyce, an Irish writer who wrote Ulysses marries Nora Barnacle in a London registry after first meeting in 1904. 

July 6: In the US Open Golf, player Billy Burke wins by just one stroke against George Von Elm in a second playoff of 36-holes. This is the longest playoff in the history of the tournament. 

July 8: American President of ABC Sports, Roone Arledge, is born in New York City. 

July 9: The world water speed record is broken at Lake Garda, Italy, by Irish racing driver Kaye Don.

July 10: In Norway, a royal proclamation is issued, which claims the uninhabited part of eastern Greenland as Erik the Red’s Land.

July 12: In Sportsman Park, St. Louis, 45,715 fans squeeze into the 35,000-seat stadium which helps cause many ground rules doubles. There are 11 in the first game, and 21 in the second game. 

July 13: 22 people lose their lives after being shot by royal soldiers for demonstrating against the Maharaja Hari Singh, of the Indian state of Kashmir and Jammu. 

July 16: The first Constitution of Ethiopia is signed by the Emperor, Haile Selassie. 

July 18: The Mariposa, the first air conditioned ship, is launched. 

July 20: Soviet Air Force colonel, test pilot and engineer Marina Popovich is born in Leonenki, Smolensk Oblast, USSR.

July 21: The Reno race track is the first track in the United States to use daily double wagering.

July 23: It is announced by France that the country cannot afford to send their team to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. 

July 24: The world record for a 2 mile run is set by Paavo Nurmi, nicknamed “The Flying Finn,” who runs 2 miles in 8:59.6.

July 24: In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 48 people lose their lives when a fire breaks out in a home for the elderly. 

July 26: Antonin Magne, from France, wins the 25th Tour de France. 

July 26: At a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, the Bible Student movement acquires the name Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

July 27: Carlos Ibáñez, the president of Chile, is forced out of office. 

July 27: In Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, thousands of acres of crops are destroyed by grasshoppers. 

July 28: In a game against the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox baseball team win 14-12. 

July 28: In one of the most awful events in this 1931 timeline, Mad Dog Coll, a hitman, allegedly takes part in a kidnapping attempt. This ends in the death of a child by shooting, earning him his nickname. 

July 31: In the United Kingdom, the May Report suggests that extensive cuts should be made to government expenditure. As a result, a political crisis occurs, with many of the Labour Party rejecting the proposals. 

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August 2: Voters in Spanish Catalonia agree for an autonomous state with 99+% of the vote. 

August 2: Two police offices in Berlin, Germany, are killed by Communists. Their names were Franz Lenck and Paul Anlauf. 

August 4: American heart surgeon who performed the very first open heart surgery procedure, Daniel Williams, passes away at the age of 73. 

August 8: Bobby Burke, baseball pitcher for the Washington Senators, no-hits the Boston Red Sox, 5-0 at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. 

August 9: After a referendum takes place in Prussia regarding the ending of the Landtag, the results show that the “yes” side receives 37% of the votes, which is not sufficient for calling the early elections. The NSDAP, the DNVP and the Communist party were in support of the “yes” side, whereas the SPD and Zentrum supported the “no” side. These elections intend to pull out Otto Braun’s SPD, one of the most powerful forces for democracy in the German nation. 

August 11: An economic and political crisis is caused in Britain when a run on the British pound takes place. 

August 12: After heavy rain crumbles dikes in China, the Yangtze River floods.

August 15: The longest canoe journey without port is completed by Ernest Lassy, travelling 6,102 miles. 

August 15: As an assistant secretary, Roy Wilkins joins the NAACP.

August 15: The Spakenburg football team in the Netherlands is founded. 

August 18: In Detroit, baseball player Lou Gehrig reaches a career record when he plays his 1000th consecutive game. 

August 20: In the US National Championship Women’s Tennis, Eileen Bennett Whittingstall from England is defeated by Helen Willis Moody 6-4, 6-1, winning Moody her 7th and final US singles title. 

August 21: New York Yankees baseball star Babe Ruth becomes the first Major League Baseball player to hit 600 career home runs when his team defeats the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman’s Park, with a score of 11-7. 

August 23: American actress Barbara Eden is born in Tuscon, Arizona.

August 24: A neutrality treaty is signed by the USSR and France. 

August 24: In Britain, Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour government resigns and is replaced by a National Government under MacDonald made up of people from different parties.

August 31: Canadian hockey Hall of Fame star Jean Béliveau is born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

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September 1: Baseball player Lou Gehrig hits his third grand slam in four days, and  his sixth home run in consecutive games in a win for the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox, 5-1. 

September 2: Actor and singer Bing Crosby makes his solo radio debut. 

September 5: During a football match between Celtic and Rangers, Scottish football player John Thomson passes away from an accident. 

September 7: In London, the Second Round Table Conference opens regarding the constitutional future of India. The Indian National Congress is represented by Mahatma Gandhi.

September 10: It is announced by Lord Celi of the British government that “war was never so improbable.”

September 10: In the US National Championship Men’s Tennis, George Lott is defeated by Ellsworth Vines at Forest Hills, New York. Vines consequently wins his first of two straight single US titles. 

September 10: In British Honduras, the worst hurricane in history hits the area, resulting in the deaths of around 1500 people. 

September 11: The hitmen for New York City gangster Charles Luciano murder Salvatore Maranzano, an organised crime figure. 

September 13: The world speed record is flown by Captain G. H. Stainworth, at a speed of 655 kph. 

September 13: In Austria, the right-radical coup of Dr. Pfimer fails. 

September 13: Danish transgender woman and painter Lili Elbe (born Einar Wegener), the first identifiable receiver of sex reassignment surgery, passes away at the age of 48 from complications surrounding a uterus transplant. 

September 15: At Invergordon, the British naval fleet strike over pay cuts. 

September 16: A blimp is attached to the Empire State Building in New York City. 

September 16: The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team are National League champions again when they win 6-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

September 17: Viktoria and Her Hussar, an operetta by Paul Abraham, premieres at the Palace Theatre in London. The operetta has been adapted into English by Harry Graham. 

September 17: American screenwriter, director, actress and singer Anne Bancroft is born in The Bronx, New York City. 

September 18: In order to set up for the invasion of Manchuria and set up a pretext, the Japanese set up a fake railway explosion. 

September 18: Adolf Hitler’s niece, Geli Raubal, commits suicide in his apartment. 

September 19: In the PGA Championship Men’s Golf, American player Tom Creavy aged just 20 years old defeats Denny Shute in the final for his only major title. 

September 19: Mukden in South Manchuria is conquered by Japanese troops. 

September 20: The Chinese commander of the Kirin province has a gun pointed directly at his head while he proclaims that the Kirin territory will be annexed to Japan. 

September 22: In Britain, the gold standard is abandoned, which devalues the pound by twenty percent. 

September 22: In order to combat the Great Depression, a coalition government in New Zealand forms. The government was largely unsuccessful and paved the way for the first Labour Government in 1935. 

September 24: To raise money for the unemployed, a round-robin playoff of three major league teams in New York City concludes with the Brooklyn Dodgers losing to both the New York Yankees and New York Giants. 

September 28: In Peking, 200,000 people demonstrate against the declaration of war on Japan. 

September 29: In Malmö, Sweden, actress Anita Ekberg is born. 

September 30: In Bloemfontein, South Africa, the Die Voortrekkers youth movement for Afrikaners begins. 

1931 timeline

Bing Crosby would make his radio debut in September this year
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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October 1: General female suffrage is accepted by Spanish Cortes. 

October 1: The Philadelphia Athletics baseball team seek their third World Series title after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 at Sportsman’s Park, but end up losing the series 4-3 on October 10 against the Cardinals. 

October 1: In New York, the second (and current) Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is opened. 

October 3: National Hockey League goaltender Glenn Hall is born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. 

October 4: The Dick Tracy comic strip created by Cheester Gould makes its debut in the Detroit Mirror

October 4: In Chile, Juan Esteban Montero becomes the president. 

October 5: The first transpacific flight takes place, with American aviators Clyde Edward Pangborn and Hugh Herndon Jr. completing a flight from Japan to Washington D.C in 41 and a half hours. 

October 5: House of Connelly, by Paul Green, premieres in New York City. 

October 6: The Verdinaso (Union of Flemish National Solidarists) is created by Joris van Severen. 

October 7: In Rochester, New York, the first infrared photograph is produced. 

October 7: Anglican Archbishop of South Africa and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, Desmond Tutu, is born in Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal, South Africa.

October 10: Belshazzar’s Feast by William Walton premieres in Leeds. 

October 11: Harzburger Front is formed by 100,000 extreme-right German people following a rally, bringing together the NSDAP, the DNVP, the Stahlhelm along with other right-wing organisations.

October 12: The first International Conference on Calendar Reform takes place. 

October 12: Built by engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the Christ the Redeemer statue opens on top of Mount Corcovado, overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue stands 30 metres high (989 feet). 

October 13: The play Cavalcade by Noël Coward premieres in London. 

October 14: The Dutch Radio People’s University has its first broadcast. 

October 14: An agreement to separate the church and state is made by the Spanish Cortes. 

October 16: Trunk murderess Winnie Ruth Judd from the United States kills two of her friends, then dismembers one of them in Phoenix, Arizona. 

October 17: For tax evasion, American gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison in Chicago. 

October 17: In England, the Leeds Bradford International Airport is opened. 

October 18: American inventor Thomas Edison, who invented the motion picture camera, the lightbulb and the phonograph, passes away at the age of 84. 

October 20: American baseball Hall of Fame player and outfielder, Mickey Mantle, is born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. 

October 24: The bridge linking New Jersey and New York City, the George Washington Bridge, is dedicated, ready to be opened the following day. The bridge stands at 3500 feet (1100 m), which nearly doubles the preceding record for the longest main span in the world. 

October 26: The play cycle Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill premieres in New York City. 

October 27: The long jump record is set by Chuhei Numbu from Japan, who reaches 26 feet, 2 ½ inches. 

October 27: In the United Kingdom’s greatest ever electoral landslide, the Labour Party are defeated by the National Government in the general election. 

October 29: The Philadelphia Athletics baseball pitcher Lefty Grove is named the American League’s MVP after winning 31 games. 

October 30: In New York City, the W2XB TV channel 1 starts broadcasting. 

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November 1: Synthetic rubber is introduced by Dupont. 

November 2: The musical Laugh Parade by Warren, Dixon and Young has its premiere in New York City. 

November 3: After the introduction of synthetic rubber, the first commercially produced synthetic rubber is manufactured. 

November 7: Mao Zedong proclaims the Chinese People’s Republic. 

November 7: In China, the Red China News Agency is established, with a news wire service beginning in Ruijin, Jiangxi Province. The agency is a predecessor to the Xinhua News Agency. 

November 8: A large-scale raid against Corsican bandits is launched by French police. 

November 8: Due to earthquake damage, the Panama Canal is closed for a couple of weeks. 

November 10: At the 4th Academy Awards, Cimarron, starring Marie Dressler and Lionel Barrymore wins Best Picture. It is the first western film to win the award, and would remain the only western film to win until 1991 when Dances With Wolves would become the second. 

November 11: In San Francisco, the cornerstones are laid for the Opera House and Veteran’s Building. 

November 12: The ballet production by Jean Sibelius and Frederick Ashton, Lady of Shalott, premieres in London. 

November 13: Hattie Caraway becomes the first American female senator. 

November 14: In Britain, the Ottawa mint Act is proclaimed. 

November 17: In the Sikorsky flying boat “American Clipper,” aviator Charles Lindbergh creates the Pan Am services from Cuba to South America. 

November 21: Based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, the horror film of the same name is released, starring Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster and directed by James Whale. 

November 21: In Britain, the “Bright young things” subculture comes to an end, marked by the infamous Red-and-White Party. 

November 23: In Hague, the Nationally Crisis Committee forms. 

November 26: Later named deuterium, heavy hydrogen is discovered by Harold Urey, an American chemist. 

November 28: Don Bradman, Australian cricketer, scores 226 runs against South Africa in his first Test appearance in Brisbane. 

November 30: The companies His Master’s Voice and Columbia Records merge into EMI. 

November 30: American professional Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh is born in Los Angeles, California. Walsh would go on to coach the San Francisco 49ers

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December 1: The Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint starts to function as the Royal Canadian Mint. 

December 2: French teacher and composer Vincent d’Indy passes away at the age of 80. 

December 3: The medicine Alka Seltzer goes on sale to the public. 

December 5: In Moscow, and by order of Joseph Stalin, the original Cathedral of Christ the Saviour from 1883 is dynamited. 

December 8: In Germany, the position of Reich Price Commissioner is obtained by Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, in order to put the Brüning government’s deflationary policies in place. 

December 9: The Chinese province of Jehol is attacked by the Japanese army. 

December 9: Spain officially becomes a republic when the Spanish Constitution of 1931 is approved by the Spanish Constituent Cortes. 

December 9: In baseball, squads are cut from 25 players to 23, and the National League continues to forbid uniform numbers. 

December 10: Jane Addams becomes the first American woman to become a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. 

December 10: In Spain, Manuel Azaña becomes Prime Minister, while Niceto Zamora becomes the president.

December 11: Japan decides to leave the gold standard. 

December 11: In the Statute of Westminster, legislative independence is given to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Ireland and Newfoundland, with Newfoundland at that time not a part of Canada. 

December 11: Puerto Rican singer, actress and dancer, who stars in West Side Story, Rita Moreno, is born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. 

December 12: The government of Imukai in Japan is established. 

December 13: In the National Football League championship, the Green Bay Packers win their third straight first past the post title. 

December 16: In Germany, the SPD starts an Iron Front against facism. 

December 16: In Roswell, New Mexico, American sportscaster and football player Tom Brookshier is born. 

December 19: In Australia, Joseph A. Lyons becomes premier. 

December 22: At the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the work of Diego Rivera, Mexican artist in a retrospective show opens. 

December 25: Over radio, the New York Metropolitan Opera broadcasts a full opera. 

December 26: The musical play Of Thee I Sing, which won a Pulitzer Prize, premieres on Broadway in New York City, starring George and Ira Gershwin. 

December 26: The oldest surviving Lation fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha, is established in the United States. 

December 28: In Nanjing-China, Chiang Kai-Shek is succeeded by Lin-Sen as president. 

1931 events

Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive a Nobel Prize
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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The Scottsboro Boys 

When looking at what happened in 1931, the Scottsboro Boys trials are an event that will long be remembered. The Scottsboro Boys were a group of nine African American teenagers, who were falsely accused of raping two white women while travelling on a train close to Scottsboro, Alabama. The incident sent shockwaves around the world as the trials, and retrials, of the boys made headlines. 

The 1930s saw the eruption of the Great Depression, with the situation in the early 1930s leading many Americans who had lost their jobs to jump on freight trains to move about the country in search of work. There was a fight on a Southern Railroad freight train in Jackson County, Alabama, on March 25, 1931. The police arrested nine black boys on a minor charge in response to the fight, but two white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, were interviewed and claimed the boys had raped them while on the train. While they awaited trial, the nine boys were transferred to Scottsboro and before they were arrested, only four of them knew each other. 

When news spread about the supposed rape of these women, an angry group of white people stood outside the jail. In the South during this time, strict Jim Crow laws were in place that made this accusation a very serious charge just in terms of race. The local sheriff of the area had to call upon the Alabama National Guard in order to prevent a lynching taking place. 

The first set of trials took place in April 1931, and were extremely harsh against the boys. The all-male, all-white jury immediately decided that the Scottsboro boys were guilty, and eight of the boys were sentenced to death. The trial of the ninth, youngest boy, Leroy Wright, ended in a hung jury in which it was decided he would face life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. A mistrial was declared later on and Wright would stay in prison until the final verdicts had been made on the other boys, which wouldn’t be until 1937. Eventually, the boys were granted a stay of execution. 

A national campaign began to free the Scottsboro boys, protested by a range of people from different backgrounds and with different political beliefs. In the end, four of the convicted boys were allowed to be out on parole. The Scottsboro boys trials are remembered as a devastating yet crucial event for sparking the classical civil rights movement in the 1960s and helping rethink the nation’s approach to cultural laws. 

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Jane Addams, First American Woman to Receive a Nobel Peace Prize

Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, and the second overall. She worked tirelessly towards peace throughout her life as a sociologist, establishing the Women’s International League for Peace in 1919. Addams worked for years to persuade the main powers of the world to disarm and make peaceful agreements, especially after the devastating First World War

Hull House in Chicago was a place where Addams would give support to immigrants, and she worked to stop children being forced into industrial labour work in harsh conditions, particularly among the poor. Addams was a consistent supporter of women’s suffrage and believed women using their voices was crucial to make important societal changes. By awarding Addams the Nobel Peace Prize, America and the rest of the world were showing their appreciation for her dedication to peace, most prominently in the early 20th century. 

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