1935 was a great year for enterprise, bringing in the first can of beer, the first pair of briefs and the first parking metre, as well the discovery of the neutron and radar technology. Momentous speed records were broken by boat, plane, car and foot. And Alcoholics Anonymous, the Hoover Dam and the Moscow Metro system all opened their doors for the very first time.

But it wasn’t all good news in 1935. Tensions and war between Italy and Ethiopia divided the League of Nations. In Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler began bringing in new laws to marginalise and oppress Jews. And American Presidential candidate and senator Huey Long was assassinated.

This timeline looks back at what happened in 1935, and if you wish to delve deeper, why not treat yourself to one of our exquisite 1935 newspapers?

1935 Timeline

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January 1: Great Britain’s walking charity the Ramblers Association is founded. In 2021, the Ramblers boasted over 100,000 members nationwide.

January 1: In college football, the Orange Bowl, Sun Bowl and Sugar Bowl games are all played for the first time, won by Bucknell, El Paso and Tulane respectively.

January 1: Associated Press transmits the first photo on its 10,000-mile Wirephoto service.

January 3: The “Trial of the Century” begins against “The Most Hated Man in the World” Richard Hauptmann, accused of the abduction and murder of the Lindbergh baby, Charles Jr.

January 8: King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

January 12: Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to successfully fly solo from Hawaii to California (Honolulu to Oakland), a distance of 2,408 miles.

January 19: The world’s first pair of men’s briefs (as opposed to boxers) are sold by Coopers Inc. in Chicago as “jockeys”.

January 24: The first ever can of beer, a Krueger’s Cream Ale, is sold in Richmond, Virginia.

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February 13: Richard Hauptmann is found guilty by jury and sentenced to death. He would die by electrocution on April 3, 1936.

February 20: Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot on Antarctica.

February 26: In Daventry, Robert Watson-Watt first demonstrates the use of radar technology to detect aircrafts.

February 26: With the Nazi Party growing in prominence, Adolf Hitler reinstates the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air warfare branch, violating the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.

February 27: At the 7th Academy Awards, Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night becomes the first film to sweep the ‘Big Five’ awards, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay. Only two films have repeated the feat since (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1976 and The Silence of the Lambs in 1992).

February 28: The Ladby Ship, the only Viking ship burial to be discovered in Denmark, is found in Kerteminde. It is believed to date back over a thousand years.

1935 Lindberg trial

Charles Lindbergh testifying at the trial of Richard Hauptmann
Image: Wikimedia

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2 March: Porky Pig makes his debut as the first major Looney Tunes character in the Merrie Melodies short I Haven’t Got a Hat.

6 March: £21,000 (equivalent to over £1.5 million in 2021) worth of gold bullion, gold sovereigns and American Eagles are stolen from the Croydon Aerodrome vault. While three men were later charged with the theft, none of the gold was ever recovered.

8 March: Japan’s most famous dog, Hachikō the Akita, dies on a Shibuya street, almost ten years after the death of his beloved owner.

15 March: Percy Shaw founded Reflecting Roadstuds Limited to manufacture his Catseye invention.

18 March: The UK introduces a 30mph speed limit in built-up areas. The limit had previously been 20mph, but since 1931 there had been no speed limit for cars and motorcycles at all.

19 March: After a black Puerto-Rican shoplifter is beaten by staff at a five and dime store in Harlem, the “first modern race riot” breaks out, killing three, injuring hundreds, and causing an estimated $2 million of damage to local property.

21 March: Legendary football manager Brian Clough born in Middlesbrough.

21 March: Reza Shah requests the rest of the world to refer to his country, then-known as Persia, by its native name, Iran.

1935 hachiko statue

Hachikō statue in Shibuya, Japan
Image: Flickr

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April 6: The Harlem Globetrotters’ Harold ‘Bunny’ Levitt makes 499 consecutive basketball free throws, a world record that would stand until 1975.

April 9: The Montreal Maroons defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 (3-0 in the series) to win the Stanley Cup. The Maroons disbanded three years later, and are today the last defunct team to win hockey’s biggest prize.

April 12: Kodak releases Kodachrome, the first commercially-available colour reversal film for cameras.

April 14: Black Sunday occurs as twenty black dust blizzards sweep the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. In an Associated Press article on the event, news editor Edward Stanley coins the phrase “Dust Bowl”.

April 15: The Roerich Pact is signed in Washington, D.C., legally recognising the preservation of cultural artefacts as more important than the destruction of their material for military use.

April 19: Nazi Germany announces that pacifism during wartime would be punished with the death penalty.

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May 6: King George V of England celebrates his silver jubilee.

May 13: British officer, diplomat, archaeologist and writer, Colonel T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, is fatally injured in a motorbike accident near to his cottage in Dorset. He would die six days later, aged 46.

May 15: The Moscow Metro, the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union, opens to the public.

May 19: Cardinal John Fisher and statesman Sir Thomas More, both executed by Henry VIII four-hundred years earlier in 1535, are canonised as saints by Pope Pius XI.

May 25: Babe Ruth hits the last of his 714 home runs, a Major League record which would stand until 1974.

May 27: In Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, the US Supreme Court rules President Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act, a major part of his New Deal, unconstitutional.

May 31: A 7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Quetta in British India (now Pakistan), killing somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 people. It would be the most devastating earthquake to ever hit South Asia until the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

May 31: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation is founded following a merger between Fox Film Corporation and Twentieth Century Pictures.

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June 1: Compulsory driving tests and licence plates are issued in the United Kingdom.

June 3: The SS Normandie earns the Blue Riband for the fastest voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, travelling from Le Harve, France to New York in 4 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes, a speed of just under 30 knots.

June 7: Stanley Baldwin, predecessor to Neville Chamberlain, becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following Ramsey MacDonald’s retirement.

June 10: Alcoholics Anonymous is formed in Akron, Ohio.

June 12: Huey Long filibusters New Deal legislation with a 15 ½ hour-long speech, in which he reads and analyses each section of the constitution.

June 12: The Chaco War, fought by Bolivia and Paraguay over oil-rich territory, ends in a Paraguayan victory, having caused 70,000 civilian deaths.

June 18: The Anglo-German Naval Agreement decrees that the size of the German navy in tonnage should be 35% that of the British navy, on a permanent basis. Adolf Hitler would denounce the agreement four years later.

June 24: The “King of Tango”, French-Argentine singer-songwriter Carlos Gardel, dies in a plane crash in Medellín, Colombia, aged 44.

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July 6: The Dalai Lama was born in the Qinghai Province of China.

July 12: Seven are killed in Belfast, Northern Ireland during riots between members of the Protestant Orange Order and Catholic Irish nationalists.

July 13: The East London Becontree estate, spanning Ilford, Dagenham and Barking, is completed. With over 25,000 houses, it immediately becomes the largest public housing estate in the world.

July 16: The world’s first parking metre is installed in Oklahoma City.

July 17: Cudjoe Lewis, the last known adult survivor of the Atlantic slave trade, dies in Mobile, Alabama, 75 years after being forcibly transported to the United States aboard the Clotilda ship.

July 17: Variety magazine prints its famous, much-replicated “Sticks Nix Hick Pix” headline.

July 26: At New York Harbor, hundreds of rioters storm the SS Bremen, tear the Nazi swastika flag from the foremast and throw it into the Hudson River.

July 30: Allen Lane founded Penguin Books to publish the first mass market paperbacks in Britain.

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August 1: The August 1 Declaration is made by the Communist Party of China, calling upon the nation to end its then-eight-year-long Civil War and unite under a National Front in order to resist invasion from Japan.

August 2: The Government of India Act is passed by parliament and given royal assent, granting a large measure of autonomy to the Indian provinces, which are also partially reorganised.

August 3: 25,000 people march in Harlem, New York to protest Italy’s potential invasion of Ethiopia.

August 5: A typhoon strikes Quanzhou, China, killing hundreds.

August 13: A dam bursts near Ovada, Italy, killing an estimated 250 people.

August 14: President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act. By 2019, the Social Security program would cost the United States over $1 trillion a year.

August 28: Pope Pius XI condemns the Abyssinia Crisis, calling it “unjust” and “unthinkable”.

August 29: Top Hat, the most successful film of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers partnership, premieres in New York City.

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September 2: The Great Labor Day Hurricane strikes Florida, killing 423.

September 3: The Blue Bird, driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell in Utah, becomes the first automobile to break the 300 miles per hour barrier, setting a new land speed record of 301.337 mph.

September 10: US Senator Huey Long dies in hospital 31 hours after being shot.

September 13: Howard Hughes sets a new airspeed record of 354.4 mph in his Hughes H-1 Racer plane.

September 15: The Nuremberg Laws are enacted in Germany, decreeing that those of Jewish blood should be ineligible for Reich citizenship, and forbidding marriages and intercourse between Germans and Jews.

September 17: Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina is elected the first President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

September 29: American musician Jerry Lee Lewis born in Ferriday, Louisiana.

September 30: President Roosevelt dedicates the Hoover Dam, then called the Boulder Dam.

1935 hoover dam

Hoover Dam
Image: Wikimedia

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October 1: Thailand ceases recognising polygamy in civil law.

October 3: After months of tension, Italy invades Abyssinia, beginning the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.

October 4: Luna Park opens in Sydney, Australia.

October 7: The League of Nations declares Italy guilty of committing an act of war against all its members by invading Abyssinia.

October 14: William Lyon Mackenzie King is elected as the new Prime Minister of Canada for the third time, five years after losing power in the previous federal election.

October 18: The Jérémie hurricane, also known as the Haiti hurricane, develops over the Caribbean Sea. Over the next nine days, it would kill over 2,000 people and cause $16 million worth of damage across Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua.

October 21: Grant v Australian Knitting Mills, a landmark case in consumer and negligence law, is decided, ruling that manufacturers owe a duty to take reasonable care to prevent injury to customers if and when they are aware of such a possibility.

October 25: Clement Attlee becomes leader of the Labour Party, a role that would also see him become Deputy Prime Minister during the Second World War.

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November 1:  Chine Premier Wang Jingwei and three other officials are shot in an assassination attempt while posing for a group photo.

November 3: Sohn Kee-chung breaks the world marathon record with a time of 2:26:42. The record, his second of the year, would stand until 1947.

November 3: In the Greek monarchy referendum, 98% vote to restore the exiled George II to the throne, eleven years after Greece voted to become a republic.

November 5: The Parker Brothers begin marketing their recently-acquired “real estate game” as Monopoly.

November 14: Stanley Baldwin of the Conservative Party is elected British Prime Minister for the third time. Although Baldwin would retire two years later, the 1935 House would remain in power until 1945 due to the Second World War.

November 15: A 700-strong mob lynches two African-American youths, aged 15 and 16, after they allegedly admit to attacking and drowning a young white woman. The County Attorney is quoted as saying of the mob, “I consider that their action was the expression of the will of the people.”

November 29: The China Clipper aeroplane, delivering the first-ever transpacific airmail cargo, arrives in Manila a week after taking off from San Francisco, having delivered over 110,000 pieces of mail along its 8,000-mile journey.

1935 china clipper

The China Clipper
Image: Wikimedia

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December 5: Educator and government consultant Mary McLeod Bethune founds the National Council of Negro Women, a non-profit organisation aiming to advance the opportunities of African-American women and their families.

December 5: After four years of study, the Church of England decides to bar women from becoming priests.

December 7: Japan publicly demands absolute naval parity with the United States and Great Britain, a possible precursor to such events as Pearl Harbor.

December 8: In an attempt to end the Italo-Ethiopian War, France and Britain concoct the Hoare-Laval Pact, a suggested plan to partition Abyssinia, handing much of its territory to Italy. The details are leaked by French newspapers the following day, causing mass controversy.

December 9: Investigative reporter Walter Liggett, midway through a crusade against the Farmer-Labor party for its perceived links with organised crime, is killed in a drive-by shooting outside his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

December 12: James Chadwick gives a Nobel lecture on the neutron, a discovery that won him the 1935 Nobel Prize in Physics two days earlier.

December 14: Arsenal striker Ted Drake scores seven goals in a 7-1 win at Aston Villa, a top-flight record which as of 2021 is still yet to be bettered. 12 days later, Robert Bell of Tranmere Rovers would set a new Football League record by scoring nine in a Third Division game.

December 28: Eighteen years after Christmas was banned due to an antireligious campaign, Christmas trees return to the Soviet Union, but on December 31st as “New Year Trees”.

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The Abyssinia Crisis

In September 1934, Italy and Abyssina (now known as Ethiopia) released a joint statement renouncing any aggression towards each other. Two months later, a skirmish at a border fort became the catalyst for a war that would kill over half a million people, the majority of which being civilians.

In early 1935, the League of Nations declined to declare either country culpable for the incident. The Italian military began sending troops to neighbouring Eritrea and Somaliland, much to Ethiopia’s dismay. In June, after an unsuccessful attempt to broker a peace agreement between Benito Mussolini and Haile Selassie, the United Kingdom imposed an arms embargo on both countries. After failing multiple times to find arbitrators, Ethiopia began to mobilise its army at the end of September. On October 3, Italy invaded Ethiopia, starting the second Italo-Ethiopian War, 39 years after the conclusion of the first.

The Hoare-Laval Pact, intended to end the war but at the predominant expense of Ethiopia, was rejected by Mussolini in December, and led to a negative opinion of both France and Britain in terms of trustworthiness and strength. Adolf Hitler used the ongoing event to align himself with Mussolini and break the Treaty of Versailles without sanction. By 1940, Italy controlled three-quarters of Ethiopia.

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Babe Ruth

Considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time, George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. played 21 Major League seasons for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, winning a total of seven World Series championships.

In 1935, at 40 years old and with management on his mind, Ruth joined the Boston Braves as a part-time player, but also as vice president, assistant manager and potential future co-owner. Despite his advancing years and lack of mobility (he could no longer run or field), the Braves, unable to afford their rent, saw Ruth as a potential gate attraction.

Within the first month of the 1935 season, after realising that the non-playing positions assigned to him were pointless and deceitful, Ruth asked Braves owner Emil Fuchs if he could retire. Fuchs persuaded Ruth to stay until Memorial Day. Ruth agreed, and on May 25 added one final chapter to his great story, hitting three home runs against Pittsburgh to bring his career total to 714, an MLB record. Ruth retired on June 2 and the Braves went on to finish the season 38-115, which remains the worst performance in modern Nation League history.

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Trial of the Century

One of the most widely reported 1935 events, the so-called “Trial of the Century” saw German carpenter Bruno Richard Hauptmann tried and convicted of abducting Charles Lindbergh Jr., son of the world-famous aviator, from his home in New Jersey in March 1932. Journalist H. L. Mencken referred to the story as “the biggest since the Resurrection”.

Hauptmann had been arrested in late 1934 after being linked to the spending of the ransom money, $14,000 of which was discovered in his garage. Police also found wood that was an exact match to that of the ladder used to infiltrate the Lindbergh home. On October 8, he was indicted for murder.

The State of New Jersey v. Bruno Richard Hauptmann began on January 3, 1935. Hauptmann pleaded innocent. His defence argued that all of the evidence against him was circumstantial, and noted that there were no witness sightings of Hauptmann near the scene, nor were any of his fingerprints found at the premises or on the ransom notes. Nevertheless, after a five week trial, the jury found Hauptmann guilty, and he was sentenced to death by electric chair. In late 1935 appeals against the decision reached the Supreme Court, but were rejected, and Hauptmann was executed the following April.

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