July 17 in history:
During the First World War, when England was fighting against Germany, English King George V officially changed his family name from the German-sounding “Saxe Coburg and Gotha” to the more British-sounding “Windsor” on July 17th, 1917.
One year later, on July 17th of 1918, George’s relatives in the Russian royal family, the Romanovs, were executed by Bolshevik revolutionaries. King George was a first cousin to both Czar Nicholas and Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm.
By 1945, Stalin was leader of Russia and the entire Soviet Union. On July 17th of that year, he was meeting with U.S. President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Potsdam Conference, to decide the future of Nazi Germany after World War II. During the three-week conference, Churchill was voted out of the Prime Minister’s office. His successor, Clement Attlee, completed the Potsdam talks.
Germany would be led by chancellors after the two world wars. The first female Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, was born on this date in 1954.
November 7 in history:
November 7th of 1917 is marked as the official date of the Russian Revolution, when Lenin led an assault on Russia’s provisional government at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
Colorado citizens did something revolutionary on this date in 1893. They passed a constitutional amendment to give the state’s women the right to vote. That made Colorado the first state to approve women’s suffrage through a popular election.
On November 7th, 1916, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress. That same day in 2000, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first presidential spouse in the U.S. to win public office, when she was elected a Senator from New York.
How did the Wizard of Oz become a Wizard? In the 1939 movie, he explains to Dorothy that the citizens of Oz proclaimed him “the First Wizard Deluxe” when he drifted to their land in a runaway hot-air balloon. Herman Mankiewicz was one of many screenwriters who worked on “Oz.” He also co-wrote “Citizen Kane,” whose lead character ran for public office. Mankiewicz was born on November 7th, 1897.