November 14 is a day marked by devastation and conflict from the fictional whale Moby Dick to the Coventry Blitz, the crushing of the Hungarian Uprising and political warfare in Washington.
Moby Dick is Published
Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick is published. The novel was a commercial failure and out of print at the time of the author’s death in 1891, but has since been hailed as one of the greatest works of American fiction. Call me Ishmael” is among world literature’s most famous opening sentences.
Bombing of Coventry
After 68 consecutive days of bombing London, the German Luftwaffe blitz the town of Coventry destroying 75 percent of its buildings including a 14th-century cathedral.
POST SCRIPT: It is believed that the firebombing of Dresden in 1945 was Churchill’s revenge for Coventry. Following the blitz, the Cathedral’s Provost etched the words “Father forgive” into the ruins of the sanctuary wall and above it erected a cross made out of three original nails that survived the bombing. The Cross of Nails has become a sign of Christian hope and reconciliation and a Coventry Cross of Nails hangs today in Dresden’s cathedral.
Five Sullivan Brothers Killed on USS Juneau
George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan were born into an Irish-American family of seven children in Waterloo, Iowa. The brothers enlisted after Pearl Harbor and received special permission to serve together on the USS Juneau. During the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Juneau was struck twice. Four of the brothers were killed in the attack and the fifth made it to life rafts but was not rescued.
The Sullivan brothers were remembered by the Navy through the christening of the destroyer “USS The Sullivans” in 1943 by their mother. The Sullivan brothers story was depicted in the 1945 film, “The Fighting Sullivans.”
End of Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution, a mass uprising against the Soviet-backed government, began on October 23 and subsequently was crushed by the Soviet Union on November 4th when it installed a new government. The last pockets of resistance ended on November 14th.
Marshall Football Team Killed in Crash
Southern Airways plane crashes into West Virginia mountains killing 75 including members of the Marshall University football team. The crash and school’s rebound was the topic of the 2006 film “We are Marshall”.
First trains for the public run through the English Channel Tunnel aka Chunnel.
Republicans Force Government Shutdown
Budget standoff between President Clinton and Congressional Republicans forces a federal government shutdown. The move that ultimately backfired on the Republicans and Speaker Gingrich, as the public blamed them for the shutdown (as evident by the iconic New York Daily News front page above.