November 30th marks two historic acts of resistance – the Finnish defense against the Soviet invasion in the 1939 Winter War and the 1999 Battle in Seattle with anti-globalization protestors. On this day President Clinton signed the Brady Bill requiring background checks for gun purchases and two years later he became the first U.S. President to visit Northern Ireland.
Also on this day is the first human in the modern era to be struck by a meteorite, the release of two landmark albums – The Wall and Thriller – and the birthdays of Mark Twain and Winston Churchill.
The Soviet Union Invades Finland to Launch the Winter War
The Soviet Union launched an invasion of Finland, which had been part of the Russian Empire prior to independence in 1917, beginning a 104-day conflict known as the Winter War. The Finns, who had no standing army, held the Soviets at bay and inflicted substantial losses for two-months before ultimately being overpowered. In the Moscow Peace Treaty, Finland ceded 11 percent of its territory along Lake Ladoga and in Northern Finland representing 30 percent of its economy to the Soviet Union. It is believed that the Soviet’s poor performance in the war was a factor in Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union in 1941.
Meteorite Strikes Alabama Woman
Elizabeth Hodges became the first human in modern history to be struck by a meteorite when it crashed through the roof of her Sylacauga, Alabama home and struck her on the hip. The meteor rock, which weighed 8.5 pounds and was seven inches in length, left Ms. Hodges with a nasty bruise but no permanent injuries.
Pink Floyd Releases The Wall
English rock band Pink Floyd released its 11th studio album – a double album rock opera – The Wall. It became one of the best-selling albums of all-time and in 2003, Rolling Stone placed The Wall at number 87 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
Michael Jackson Releases Thriller
Michael Jackon’s sixth studio alum, Thriller, quickly became and remains the world’s best-selling album with seven top-10 hits. Slant Magazine named it the best album of the 1980’s and Rolling Stone placed it at number 20 of their list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
Brady Bill Becomes Law
President Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (often referred to as the Brady Bill) mandating federal background checks on firearm purchasers in the United States. The bill was named after James Brady, the former press secretary to President Reagan who was seriously wounded in the assassination attempt on the President.
Clinton Visits Northern Ireland
President Clinton became the first U.S. President to visit Northern Ireland, where he rallied support for a peace process that ultimately yielded the “Good Friday Accords” in 1998 that brought an end to 30 years of strife.
Battle in Seattle
Approximately 40,000 anti-globalization protestors descended on Seattle for a World Trade Organization conference. The protestors overwhelmed Seattle police and gained control of key intersections near the convention center to block delegates from gaining access to the event or their hotels. The protestors vandalism and clashes with police, which included the use of tear gas and arrests of hundreds, gained worldwide attention.
The protests were depicted in the 2007 film, Battle in Seattle.