24 February 1942

The Battle of Los Angeles: A false alarm led to an anti-aircraft barrage that lasted into the early hours of February 25.

The Battle of Los Angeles, also known as the Great Los Angeles Air Raid, was an incident that occurred during World War II in the early hours of February 25, 1942. This event was marked by an intense anti-aircraft barrage over Los Angeles, California, prompted by fears of a Japanese air attack on the West Coast of the United States.

The events unfolded shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which had put the entire country on high alert. On the night of February 24-25, just a few months after Pearl Harbor, radar operators and air defense units along the coast of California detected an unidentified object or objects approaching from the sea.

In response to the perceived threat, air raid sirens sounded throughout the Los Angeles area, triggering a blackout as part of the city’s defense measures. Anti-aircraft artillery units were immediately mobilized, and the sky over Los Angeles was filled with searchlights and barrages of anti-aircraft fire.

Despite the intense barrage, no enemy aircraft were ever confirmed, and no bombs were dropped on the city. However, the incident caused widespread panic and confusion among the civilian population.

The military initially claimed that Japanese aircraft were responsible for the incident, but this assertion was later retracted, and the object or objects remain unidentified to this day. The official explanation provided by the U.S. military was that the incident was likely caused by a combination of war nerves, stray balloons, and possibly Japanese aircraft that were spotted off the coast but never made it inland.

The Battle of Los Angeles remains a controversial and mysterious event in American history, with various theories and explanations proposed over the years, ranging from weather balloons to extraterrestrial activity. Regardless of the true nature of the incident, it highlighted the fear and tension that gripped the United States during World War II and the vulnerability felt by civilians on the home front.

24 February 1918

Estonian Declaration of Independence.

The Estonian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on February 24, 1918, by the Estonian Provincial Assembly in Tallinn, Estonia. The declaration marked the end of over two centuries of foreign rule and established Estonia as an independent republic.

The declaration was a response to the political chaos that emerged after the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the aftermath of the revolution, Estonia was briefly occupied by both German and Soviet forces, but in late 1917, the Estonian Provincial Assembly declared itself the supreme authority in the region.

The declaration itself was written by a committee of Estonian leaders, including Konstantin Päts, Jüri Vilms, and Konstantin Konik. It declared Estonia to be an independent democratic republic with a government elected by the people.

The declaration was not immediately recognized by foreign powers, and Estonia had to fight for its independence in the Estonian War of Independence, which lasted from 1918 to 1920. The war was ultimately successful, and Estonia was recognized as an independent state by the Soviet Union in the Treaty of Tartu in 1920.

The Estonian Declaration of Independence remains an important symbol of Estonian national identity and is celebrated as a national holiday in Estonia every February 24th.

24 February 1920

The Nazi Party is founded.

This article is about the German Nazi Party that existed from 1920 to 1945. For the ideology, see Nazism. For other Nazi Parties, see Nazi Party.
The National Socialist German Workers’ Party. German: About this soundNationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of Nazism. Its precursor, the German Workers’ Party , existed from 1919 to 1920.

The Nazi Party emerged from the German nationalist, racist and populist Freikorps paramilitary culture, which fought against the communist uprisings in post-World War I Germany. The party was created as a means to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism. Initially, Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalist rhetoric, although such aspects were later downplayed in order to gain the support of industrial entities and in the 1930s the party’s focus shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes.

Pseudo-scientific racism theories were central to Nazism. The Nazis propagated the idea of a “people’s community”. Their aim was to unite “racially desirable” Germans as national comrades, while excluding those deemed either to be political dissidents, physically or intellectually inferior, or of a foreign race. The Nazis sought to improve the stock of the Germanic people through racial purity and eugenics, broad social welfare programs and a collective subordination of individual rights, which could be sacrificed for the good of the state and the “Aryan master race”. To maintain the supposed purity and strength of the Aryan race, the Nazis sought to exterminate Jews, Romani and Poles along with the vast majority of other Slavs and the physically and mentally handicapped. They imposed exclusionary segregation on homosexuals, Africans, Jehovah’s Witnesses and political opponents. The persecution reached its climax when the party-controlled German state organised the systematic genocidal killing of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other targeted victims, in what has become known as the Holocaust.

The party’s leader since 1921, Adolf Hitler, was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. Hitler rapidly established a totalitarian regime known as the Third Reich. Following the defeat of the Third Reich at the conclusion of World War II in Europe, the party was “declared to be illegal” by the Allied powers, who carried out denazification in the years after the war.

24 February 1854

The Penny Red, the first postage stamp is officially issued for distribution.

The Penny Red was a British postage stamp, issued in 1841. It succeeded the Penny Black and continued as the main type of postage stamp in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until 1879, with only minor changes to the design during that time. The colour was changed from black to red because of difficulty in seeing a cancellation mark on the Penny Black; a black cancel was readily visible on a Penny Red.

Initially, some of the same plates that were used to print the Penny Black were used to print the Penny Red and about 21 billion Penny Reds were printed by Messrs. Perkins, Bacon & Co. Initially, the stamp had no perforations, and had to be cut from the sheet using scissors in the same manner as for the Penny Black and the early printings of the Two pence blue. Perforations, first came into use in 1850 and were officially adopted in 1854. The experimental issue can be distinguished from the general issue as the later was applied to stamp which used a different alphabet type for the letters in the lower corners. Each stamp has unique corner letters AA, AB, AC … AL etc., so its position on the plate can be identified.

In January 1855, the perforation size was changed from 16 to 14 as it was found that the sheets were coming apart too easily. The reduced size allowed the sheets to remain intact until pressure was applied to force the separation.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 240, so one row cost 1 shilling and a complete sheet one pound. This 240 stamps per sheet configuration continued with all British postage stamps issued until 1971 when decimal currency was introduced when the sheet size was changed to 200, making the lowest value denomination one pound per sheet.

24 February 1942

A false alarm led to an anti-aircraft barrage that lasted into the early hours of February 25 for what became known as the Battle of Los Angeles.

A remarkable series of false alarms and errors, most likely brought on by widespread “war nerves”, began in California on this day in 1942, resulting in an incident which became known as The Battle of Los Angeles. Rumours of an air raid on the city and the heightened state of readiness – just three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor provoked America’s entrance into World War II – led to reports of an enemy attack and an hour of anti-aircraft bombardment into the night sky.The day before, the Californian coast had been fired upon by a Japanese submarine near Ellwood, the first shelling of the North American mainland in the war. Though minimal damage was caused, the bombardment was widely reported, causing some panic which led hundreds to flee the area.

Despite rumours of a cover-up, no proof could be found that any attack had taken place. A stray weather balloon was blamed for the start of the bombardment, with confusion exacerbated by anti-aircraft shell bursts, caught in searchlights, being mistaken for enemy planes.