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25 September 1941

25 September 1941


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25 September 1941

September 1941

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Eastern Front

German paratroops are dropped in the Crimea



Church chronology : a record of important events pertaining to the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints

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25 September 1941 - History

1297 - Scotsman William Wallace defeated the English forces of Sir Hugh de Cressingham at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

1499 - French forces took over Milan, Italy.

1609 - Explorer Henry Hudson sailed into New York harbor and discovered Manhattan Island and the Hudson River.

1695 - Imperial troops under Eugene of Savoy defeated the Turks at the Battle of Zenta.

1709 - An Anglo-Dutch-Austrian force defeated the French in the Battle of Malplaquet.

1714 - Spanish and French troops broke into Barcelona and ended Catalonia's sovereignty after 13 months of seige.

1776 - A Peace Conference was held between British General Howe and three representatives of the Continental Congress (Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge). The conference failed and the American war for independence continued for seven years.

1777 - American forces, under General George Washington, were forced to retreat at the Battle of Brandywine Creek by British forces under William Howe. The Stars and Stripes (American flag) were carried for the first time in the battle.

1786 - The Convention of Annapolis opened with the aim of revising the articles of the confederation.

1789 - Alexander Hamilton was appointed by U.S. President George Washington to be the first secretary of the treasury.

1814 - The U.S. fleet defeated a squadron of British ships in the Battle of Lake Champlain, VT.

1842 - 1,400 Mexican troops captured San Antonio, TX. The Mexicans retreated with prisoners.

1855 - The siege of Sevastopol ended when French, British and Piedmontese troops captured the main naval base of the Russian Black fleet in the Crimean War.

1875 - "Professor Tidwissel's Burglar Alarm" was featured in the New York Daily Graphic and became the first comic strip to appear in a newspaper.

1877 - The first comic-character timepiece was patented by the Waterbury Clock Company.

1883 - The mail chute was patented by James Cutler. The new device was first used in the Elwood Building in Rochester, NY.

1897 - A ten-week strike of coal workers in Pennsylvania, WV, and Ohio came to an end. The workers won and eight-hour workday, semi-monthly pay, and company stores were abolished.

1904 - The U.S. battleship Connecticut was launched in New York.

1910 - In Hollywood, the first commercially successful electric bus line opened.

1926 - In Honolulu Harbor, HI, the Aloha Tower was dedicated.

1936 - Boulder Dam in Nevada was dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt by turning on the dam's first hydroelectric generator. The dam is now called Hoover Dam.

1941 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave orders to attack any German or Italian vessels found in U.S. defensive waters. The U.S. had not officially entered World War II at this time.

1941 - Charles A. Lindbergh brought on charges of anti-Semitism with a speech in which he blamed "the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration" for trying to draw the United States into World War II.

1941 - In Arlington, VA, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pentagon took place.

1951 - Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the English Channel from both directions.

1952 - Dr. Charles Hufnagel successfully replaced a diseased aorta valve with an artificial valve made of plastic.

1954 - The Miss America beauty pageant made its network TV debut on ABC. Miss California, Lee Ann Meriwether, was the winner.

1959 - The U.S. Congress passed a bill authorizing the creation of food stamps.

1964 - "Friday Night Fights" was seen for the last time.

1965 - The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) arrived in South Vietnam and was stationed at An Khe.

1967 - The Carol Burnett Show premiered on CBS.

1970 - The last "Get Smart" episode aired on CBS-TV.

1974 - "Little House On The Prairie" made its television debut.

1974 - The St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets set a National League record when they played 25 innings. It was the second longest game in professional baseball history.

1977 - The Atari 2600 was released. It was originally sold as the Atari VCS. The system was discontinued on January 1, 1992.

1985 - Pete Rose (Cincinnati Reds) achieved hit number 4,192 to break the record held by Ty Cobb.

1985 - A U.S. satellite passed through the tail of the Giacobini-Zinner comet. It was the first on-the-spot sampling of a comet.

1990 - U.S. President Bush vowed "Saddam Hussein will fail" while addressing Congress on the Persian Gulf crisis. In the speech Bush spoke of an objective of a new world order - "freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace".

1991 - Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced that thousands of troops would be drawn out of Cuba.

1997 - John Lee Hooker received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1997 - Scotland voted to create its own Parliament after 290 years of union with England.

1998 - Independent counsel Kenneth Starr sent a report to the U.S. Congress accusing President Clinton of 11 possible impeachable offenses.

1999 - The Wall Street Journal reported that Bayer Corp. had quit putting a wad of cotton in their bottles of aspirin. Bayer had actually stopped the practice earlier in the year.


The Cambridge History of the Cold War

The Cambridge History of the Cold War is a comprehensive, international history of the conflict that dominated world politics in the twentieth century. The three-volume series, written by leading international experts in the field, elucidates how the Cold War evolved from the geopolitical, ideological, economic, and socio-political environment of the two world wars and the interwar era, and explains the global dynamics of the Cold War international system. It emphasises how the Cold War bequeathed conditions, challenges and conflicts that shape international affairs today. With discussions of demography and consumption, women and youth, science and technology, ethnicity and race, the volumes encompass the social, intellectual, and economic history of the twentieth century, shedding new light on the evolution of the Cold War. Through its various geographical and national angles, the series signifies a transformation of the field from a national - primarily American - to a broader international approach.


25 September 1941 - History

Dachau , one of the first Nazi concentration camps, opened in March 1933, and at first interned only known political opponents of the Nazis: Communists, Social Democrats, and others who had been condemned in a court of law. Gradually, a more diverse group was imprisoned, including Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies , dissenting clergy, homosexuals, as well as others who were denounced for making critical remarks about the Nazis.

Five photographs and a map of Einsatzgruppen activities may be viewed in the Resources section.

A chilling report by the commander of one of the Einsatzgruppen, detailing the murders of 137,346 persons in a five month period.

Detailed information about the Einsatzgruppen, with primary source material.

A growing collection of documents related to the Einsatzgruppen is available at this site.

Map of Einsatzgruppen massacres in Eastern Europe, 1941-1942.

In September 1941, the Nazis began using gassing vans--trucks loaded with groups of people who were locked in and asphyxiated by carbon monoxide. These vans were used until the completion of the first death camp, Chelmno, which began operations in late 1941.

Nazi correspondence detailing the operation of gassing vans.

Nazi testimony regarding gassing vans.

On December 7, 1941, the Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) order was issued to deter resistance by allowing military courts to swiftly sentence resisters to death. Those arrested under this order were said to have disappeared into the "night and fog."

Wannsee Conference entry from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Minutes of the Wannsee Conference planning the annihilation of over 11 million European Jews.

Starting early in 1942, the Jewish genocide (sometimes called the Judeocide) went into full operation. Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau), Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibór began operations as death camps. There was no selection process Jews were destroyed upon arrival.

Ultimately, the Nazis were responsible for the deaths of some 2.7 million Jews in the death camps. These murders were done secretly under the ruse of resettlement. The Germans hid their true plans from citizens and inhabitants of the ghettos by claiming that Jews were being resettled in the East. They went so far as to charge Jews for a one-way train fare and often, just prior to their murder, had the unknowing victims send reassuring postcards back to the ghettos. Thus did millions of Jews go unwittingly to their deaths with little or no resistance.

The total figure for the Jewish genocide, including shootings and the camps, was between 5.2 and 5.8 million, roughly half of Europe's Jewish population, the highest percentage of loss of any people in the war. About 5 million other victims perished at the hands of Nazi Germany.

View hundreds of archival photographs of camps in the Resource section.

View hundreds of recent photographs of camps in the Resource section.

This table gives the name, location, type, years of operation, closure, and present status of the major concentration camps.

Many photographs of Buchenwald.

History of Buchenwald from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

This site contains photos and maps of tunnels, shelters, and underground production facilities built with forced labor from nearby camps.

Soviet cameramen made the first pictures of the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with its prisoners' barracks from the air.

Slideshow of Auschwitz and Birkenau camps by Scott Sakansky.

History of the Auschwitz camp from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Information about Chelmno, the first Nazi extermination camp.

Notes on the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women.

A collection of 11 articles about the Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka extermination camps.

An extensive article about Treblinka from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Article and photographs of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

This article provides a concise history of the Majdanek camp.

"Majdanek: Cornerstone of Himmler's SS Empire in the East" by Elizabeth B. White.

This article traces the phases of the Final Solution, from early resettlement plans, through ghettoization, to the death camps.

Nazi correspondence and reports on "medical" experiments carried out on camp inmates.

Nazi correspondence concerning plans to sterilize Jews needed as slave laborers for the Reich.

A lengthy article (with photographs) on Nazi medical experiments.

"Holocaust Numismatics," an article by Joel Forman about monetary systems used in concentration camps.

Staff Sgt. Albert J. Kosiek describes the liberation of Mauthausen and Gusen camps.

Article, maps, and photographs of the Stutthof concentration camp.

By the end of 1943 the Germans closed down the death camps built specifically to exterminate Jews. The death tolls for the camps are as follows: Treblinka, (750,000 Jews) Belzec, (550,000 Jews) Sobibór, (200,000 Jews) Chelmno, (150,000 Jews) and Lublin (also called Majdanek, 50,000 Jews). Auschwitz continued to operate through the summer of 1944 its final death total was about 1 million Jews and 1 million non-Jews. Allied encirclement of Germany was nearly complete in the fall of 1944. The Nazis began dismantling the camps, hoping to cover up their crimes. By the late winter/early spring of 1945, they sent prisoners walking to camps in central Germany. Thousands died in what became known as death marches.

Map of major death marches and evacuations, 1944-45.

Fritzie Weiss Fritzshall describes a death march from Auschwitz and her escape into the forest.

Interactive quiz on the camps.

Lesson plans, discussion questions, term paper topics, reproducible handouts, and other resources for teaching about the camps are available here.


A Brief History of West Point

West Point's role in our nation's history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga, to design the fortifications for West Point in 1778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in 1779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a 150-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Benedict Arnold's treason. West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.

Several soldiers and legislators, including Washington, Knox, Hamilton and John Adams, desiring to eliminate America's wartime reliance on foreign engineers and artillerists, urged the creation of an institution devoted to the arts and sciences of warfare.
President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy in 1802. He took this action after ensuring that those attending the Academy would be representative of a democratic society.

Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, the "father of the Military Academy," served as Superintendent from 1817 to 1833. He upgraded academic standards, instilled military discipline and emphasized honorable conduct. Aware of our young nation's need for engineers, Thayer made civil engineering the foundation of the curriculum. For the first half century, USMA graduates were largely responsible for the construction of the bulk of the nation's initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads.
After gaining experience and national recognition during the Mexican and Indian wars, West Point graduates dominated the highest ranks on both sides during the Civil War. Academy graduates, headed by generals such as Grant, Lee, Sherman and Jackson, set high standards of military leadership for both the North and South.

The development of other technical schools in the post-Civil War period allowed West Point to broaden its curriculum beyond a strict civil engineering focus. Following the creation of Army post-graduate command and staff schools, the Military Academy came to be viewed as the first step in a continuing Army education.

In World War I, Academy graduates again distinguished themselves on the battlefield. After the war, Superintendent Douglas MacArthur sought to diversify the academic curriculum. In recognition of the intense physical demands of modern warfare, MacArthur pushed for major changes in the physical fitness and intramural athletic programs. "Every cadet an athlete" became an important goal. Additionally, the cadet management of the Honor System, long an unofficial tradition, was formalized with the creation of the Cadet Honor Committee.

Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Arnold, Clark, Patton, Stilwell and Wainwright were among an impressive array of Academy graduates who met the challenge of leadership in the Second World War. The postwar period again saw sweeping revisions to the West Point curriculum resulting from the dramatic developments in science and technology, the increasing need to understand other cultures and the rising level of general education in the Army.
In 1964, President Johnson signed legislation increasing the strength of the Corps of Cadets from 2,529 to 4,417 (more recently reduced to 4,000). To keep up with the growth of the Corps, a major expansion of facilities began shortly thereafter.

Another significant development at West Point came when enrollment was opened to women in 1976. Sixty-two women graduated in the class of 1980, to include Andrea Hollen, Rhodes Scholar. Just as women are a vital and integral part of the U.S. Army, so they are at West Point.
In recent decades, the Academy's curricular structure was markedly changed to permit cadets to major in any one of more than a dozen fields, including a wide range of subjects from the sciences to the humanities.


Voyage of the Mayflower

The Mayflower was hired in London, and sailed from London to Southampton in July 1620 to begin loading food and supplies for the voyage--much of which was purchased at Southampton. The Pilgrims were mostly still living in the city of Leiden, in the Netherlands. They hired a ship called the Speedwell to take them from Delfshaven, the Netherlands, to Southampton, England, to meet up with the Mayflower. The two ships planned to sail together to Northern Virginia. The Speedwell departed Delfthaven on July 22, and arrived at Southampton, where they found the Mayflower waiting for them. The Speedwell had been leaking on her voyage from the Netherlands to England, though, so they spent the next week patching her up.

On August 5, the two ships finally set sail for America. But the Speedwell began leaking again, so they pulled into the town of Dartmouth for repairs, arriving there about August 12. The Speedwell was patched up again, and the two ships again set sail for America about August 21. After the two ships had sailed about 300 miles out to sea, the Speedwell again began to leak. Frustrated with the enormous amount of time lost, and their inability to fix the Speedwell so that it could be sea-worthy, they returned to Plymouth, England, and made the decision to leave the Speedwell behind. The Mayflower would go to America alone. The cargo on the Speedwell was transferred over to the Mayflower some of the passengers were so tired and disappointed with all the problems that they quit and went home. Others crammed themselves onto the already very crowded Mayflower.

Finally, on September 6, the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, and headed for America. By the time the Pilgrims had left England, they had already been living onboard the ships for nearly a month and a half. The voyage itself across the Atlantic Ocean took 66 days, from their departure on September 6, until Cape Cod was sighted on 9 November 1620. The first half of the voyage went fairly smoothly, the only major problem was sea-sickness. But by October, they began encountering a number of Atlantic storms that made the voyage treacherous. Several times, the wind was so strong they had to just drift where the weather took them, it was not safe to use the ship's sails. The Pilgrims intended to land in Northern Virginia, which at the time included the region as far north as the Hudson River in the modern State of New York. The Hudson River, in fact, was their originally intended destination. They had received good reports on this region while in the Netherlands. All things considered, the Mayflower was almost right on target, missing the Hudson River by just a few degrees.

As the Mayflower approached land, the crew spotted Cape Cod just as the sun rose on November 9. The Pilgrims decided to head south, to the mouth of the Hudson River in New York, where they intended to make their plantation. However, as the Mayflower headed south, it encountered some very rough seas, and nearly shipwrecked. The Pilgrims then decided, rather than risk another attempt to go south, they would just stay and explore Cape Cod. They turned back north, rounded the tip, and anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor. The Pilgrims would spend the next month and a half exploring Cape Cod, trying to decide where they would build their plantation. On December 25, 1620, they had finally decided upon Plymouth, and began construction of their first buildings.


25 September 1941 - History

Galveston after the September 8, 1900, hurricane. Texas State Library photo

Night of terror shaped island
A Galveston Daily News reporter in 1900 said the story of the Sept. 8, 1900, hurricane could never truly be written. For many, no words could ever be spoken again about the deadly hurricane that reshaped the Gulf Coast forever.

Rebuilding was 'Galveston's finest hour'
The story of the 1900 Storm is one about the fate of people at the hands of nature, but it's also one about people altering their own fates by changing the face of nature.

Orphanage tragedy remembered
More than 6,000 men, women and children lost their lives during the Great Storm. Among the dead were 10 sisters and 90 children from the St. Mary's Orphans Asylum.

Survivors tell their own tales
From Galveston's Rosenberg Library, Shelly Henley Kelly and Casey Edward Greene offer this collection of written and oral accounts by survivors immediately following the Storm.

Clara Barton and the Red Cross
The story of Clara Barton and the Red Cross, which established an orphanage for storm victims and helped acquire lumber to rebuild houses.

1900 Storm: A Pictorial
Visit our online gallery to see the photographs of the heavy damage suffered throughout the island.

The Aftermath: Film Clips
A series of silent film clips provide an eerie look at the island following the storm. See Library of Congress footage in Quicktime.

1900 Storm changed Isaac Cline's life
Hurricanes tell only one chapter in the story of Isaac Cline's life.

Published in conjunction with the City of Galveston 1900 Storm Committee.


The Date of Christmas

No one knows the real birthday of Jesus! No date is given in the Bible, so why do we celebrate it on the 25th December? The early Christians certainly had many arguments as to when it should be celebrated! Also, the birth of Jesus probably didn't happen in the year 1 but slightly earlier, somewhere between 2 BCE/BC and 7 BCE/BC, possibly in 4 BCE/BC (there isn't a 0 - the years go from 1 BC/BCE to 1!).

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). But it was not an official Roman state festival at this time.

However, there are many different traditions and theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.

A very early Christian tradition said that the day when Mary was told that she would have a very special baby, Jesus (called the Annunciation) was on March 25th - and it's still celebrated today on the 25th March. Nine months after the 25th March is the 25th December!

March 25th was also the day some early Christians thought the world had been made, and also the day that Jesus died on when he was an adult (Nisan 14 in the Jewish calendar) and they thought that Jesus was conceived and had died on the same day of the year.

The Winter Solstice is the day where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. It happens on December 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere. (In the Southern Hemisphere, this time is the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice happens in late June.)

To pagans this meant that they knew that the days would start getting lighter and longer and the nights would become shorter - marking a change in the seasons. To celebrate people had a mid-winter festival to celebrate the sun 'winning' over the darkness of winter. At this time, animals which had been kept for food were also often killed to save having to feed them all through the winter and some drinks which had been brewing since the autumn/harvest would also be ready to drink. So it was a good time to have a celebration with things to eat and drink before the rest of the winter happened. (We still have New Year celebrations near this time now!)

In Scandinavia, and some other parts of northern Europe, the time around the Winter Solstice is known as Yule (although the word Yule only seems to date to about the year 300). In Eastern Europe the mid-winter festival is called Koleda.

In Iranian/Persian culture, the winter solstice is known as 'Yalda Night' or 'Shab-e Chelleh' and it's a time when families and friends come together to eat, drink and recite poetry. Shab-e Chelleh means 'night of forty' as it happens forty nights into winter. The word Yalda means 'birth' and comes from early Christians living in Persia celebrating the birth of Jesus around this time. Eating, fruits, nuts, pomegranates and watermelons are important at Yalda/Chelleh and you can get Yalda cakes which look like watermelons!

The Roman Festival of Saturnalia took place between December 17th and 23rd and honoured the Roman god Saturn. The Romans also thought that the Solstice took place on December 25th. It's also thought that in 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian created 'Dies Natalis Solis Invicti' (meaning 'birthday of the unconquered sun') also called 'Sol Invictus' and it was held on December 25th.

Because of the dates, some people say that the Christians 'took over' December 25th from these Roman festivals and/or Yule. However, there are records going back to around 200 of early Christians connecting the Nisan 14 to the 25th March, and so 25th December was a 'Christian' festival date many years before 'Sol Invictus'! (More recent studies have also found that the 'Sol Invictus' connection didn't appear until the 12th century and it's from one scribbled note in the margins of a manuscript. There's also evidence that 'Sol Invictus' might also have happened in October and not December anyway!)

Christmas had also been celebrated by the early Church on January 6th, when they also celebrated the Epiphany (which means the revelation that Jesus was God's son) and the Baptism of Jesus. (Like the December 25th date above, this was based on a calculation of Jesus's death/conception but from the 6th April not the 25th March.) Now Epiphany mainly celebrates the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus, but back then it celebrated both things! Jesus's Baptism was originally seen as more important than his birth, as this was when he started his ministry.

The Jewish festival of Lights, Hanukkah starts on the eve of the Kislev 25 (the month in the Jewish calendar that occurs at about the same time as December). Hanukkah celebrates when the Jewish people were able to re-dedicate and worship in their Temple, in Jerusalem, again following many years of not being allowed to practice their religion.

Jesus was a Jew, so this could be another reason that helped the early Church choose December the 25th for the date of Christmas!

Most of the world uses the 'Gregorian Calendar' implemented by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Before that the 'Roman' or Julian Calendar was used (named after Julius Caesar). The Gregorian calendar is more accurate than the Roman calendar which had too many days in a year! When the switch was made 10 days were lost, so that the day that followed the 4th October 1582 was 15th October 1582. In the UK the change of calendars was made in 1752. The day after 2nd September 1752 was 14th September 1752.

Many Orthodox and Coptic Churches still use the Julian Calendar and so celebrate Christmas on the 7th January (which is when December 25th would have been on the Julian calendar). And the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates it on the 6th January! In some part of the UK, January 6th is still called 'Old Christmas' as this would have been the day that Christmas would have celebrated on, if the calendar hadn't been changed. Some people didn't want to use the new calendar as they thought it 'cheated' them out of 11 days!

Christians believe that Jesus is the light of the world, so the early Christians thought that this was the right time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They also took over some of the customs from the Winter Solstice and gave them Christian meanings, like Holly, Mistletoe and even Christmas Carols!

St Augustine of Canterbury was the person who probably started the widespread celebration of Christmas in large parts of England by introducing Christianity to the regions run by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th century (other Celtic parts of Britain were already Christian but there aren't many documents about if or how they celebrated the birth of Jesus). St Augustine of Canterbury was sent by Pope Gregory the Great in Rome and that church used the Roman Calendar, so western countries celebrate Christmas on the 25th December. Then people from Britain and Western Europe took Christmas on the 25th December all over the world!


Banks on Belarusian Territory: Milestones in History

Until recently, it was assumed that the origins of the Belarusian banking system go back to January 3, 1922 – the date on which the Byelorussian Office of the State Bank under the People's Finance Commissariat of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic became operational in Minsk.

However, the research into archive materials and the study into collections of financial documents and securities made it possible to obtain a compelling documentary evidence that the first banking institution in the territory of present-day Belarus was started at least half a century earlier, i.e. on January 8, 1870, when the Decree on the Establishment of the City Public Bank in Gomel issued by the Senate of the Russian Empire was signed. The history of the making and the development of the Belarusian banking system goes back to that time.

Why indeed the small borough of Gomel rather than a major governorate centre became the first Belarusian town to have a bank? The fact is that a large-scale railroad construction was underway in the second half of the 19th century in the Russian Empire, including Belarus. For example, in 1862 the St Petersburg – Warsaw railroad track passed through Grodno, in 1868 there were Vitebsk and Polotsk stations on the Riga – Orel railroad line, and in 1871 the Moscow – Brest railroad connected Orsha, Borisov, Minsk, and Baranovichy.

The railroad gave each region through which it ran a powerful stimulus for economic growth as the railroad construction was patronized by the state. It is no accident that the State Bank of the Russian Empire which was established by Emperor Alexander II in 1860 started to lend actively to the railroad construction almost immediately after the opening thereof. It allocated large amounts of money to the Grand Russian Railway Society as early as 1861-1864.

The Belarusian town of Gomel did not stand on the sidelines as well. Business activity in Gomel increased markedly following the abolition of serfdom in Russia and a year later the construction of the Libava – Romny railroad line connecting Ukraine and the Baltic States as well as the Polesye railroad line linking the entire southern part of present-day Belarus with Poland and Ukraine was started therein. All this led to a very rapid growth of population. There was a need for a full-fledged financial institution to address the pressing issues of urban life. This might have given rise to the Senate's corresponding decision to set up the City Public Bank in Gomel.

At the time of the bank's establishment its core capital was set at 20,000 rubles. The National Bank's museum collection contains a cashier's check of this bank, an incontrovertible "material evidence" of the bank's existence. Like many other city banks this first private commercial monetary institution in Belarus extended long-term loans against the pledge of urban and building plots. Funds from municipal budget were used to form capital of such banks and credit facilities were extended mainly to medium and small-sized business entities. Loans were also granted to the town council and local zemstvo (local government), whereas operational profit was allocated to municipal amenities and charity. Later, the towns of Polotsk, Vitebsk, Borisov, Mogilev, and Igumen also had, besides Gomel, their own city banks.

Consequent upon the expansion of the railroad construction, the State Bank of the Russian Empire opened its branches in a number of Belarusian governorate cities, including in Minsk in 1881, Vitebsk and Mogilev in 1883, and Grodno in 1884. Along with providing financial support to the railroad construction, governorate branches were authorized to lend to industry and trade, exchange time-worn banknotes for new ones and large-denomination banknotes for small-denomination ones and visa versa, redeem interest-bearing securities coupons, take cash from legal and natural persons to transfer it to the State Bank and its offices and branches, accept deposits, and extend loans against the pledge of interest-bearing securities, shares, and bonds.

According to the data available, the Moscow Office was ranked first among the State Bank's institutions in terms of accounting operations volume, leaving the second and the third places to Odessa and Kiev (towards the end of the 19th century), respectively. The Minsk Office enjoyed the fifth position on that list and thus left all other branches in the Northwestern region behind. By the end of the 19th century Minsk had turned into the largest banking center in the region.

Even though the State Bank was originally the largest commercial bank in the Russian Empire, since 1870s the situation took a different turn due to the development of non-state financial institutions which offered soft credit terms to lure borrowers from the State Bank, thereby building their own client base.

The National Bank's permanent exhibition on the history of financial institutions holds notes and a 250-ruble share of the Minsk Commercial Bank issued in 1896. It is a fact that on April 21, 1873, the Minister of Finance of the Russian Empire approved the Statute of this bank and that on September 10 it became operational. Local businessmen acted as the bank's promoters. At the time of the bank's establishment its core capital was set at 1.5 million rubles.

Pursuant to the Statute, the Minsk Commercial Bank was entitled to discount bills, receive payments under securities and bills, carry out operations in precious stones, accept deposits, keep valuables in custody, and transfer money to its branches in other cities. The bank's representative offices were opened not only on the territory of Belarus (in Gomel, Mogilev, and Pinsk), but also in some other cities of the Russian Empire, including Libava, Romny, Konotop, Zhitomir, Belaya Tserkov, Cherkassy, Vorozhba, Sumy, and Rovno.

Following the Russian Empire's banking reform in the second half of the 19th century, by the early 20th century an extensive credit system had been developed, new types of banks had been established, and fundamentally new kinds of banking operations had been introduced and rapidly developed thereafter. The credit system comprised the State Bank, commercial joint-stock banks, mortgage banks, mutual loan societies, city banks, and credit cooperative society. Such a system had been functioning in a stable and well-coordinated manner up to 1917.

On December 14 (December 27 O.S.), 1917, following the victorious October armed uprising, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (the VTsIK) approved Decree "On Banks' Nationalization". The state declared monopoly on banking business, the People's Bank of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) was set up, and its local offices and branches were opened. The establishment of the institutions of the People's Bank was not commonplace in Belarus due to the civil war and military intervention. Nevertheless, there is information that in March 1919 the Minsk District Office of the People's Bank was set up within the system of the People's Finance Commissariat of the Lithuanian-Byelorussian Republic. Actually, it was a body responsible for supplying monetary notes. As early as January 19, 1920, the People's Bank of the RSFSR and its local bodies, including the Minsk District Office, were disbanded and all their assets and liabilities were transferred to the bodies of the People's Finance Commissariat of the RSFSR.

After that, on December 4, 1921, the Council of People's Commissars (the CPC) and the VTsIK decreed the establishment of the State Bank (Gosbank) of the RSFSR.

On December 3, 1921, the CPC of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic passed resolution on the organization of the Byelorussian Office of the State Bank in Minsk (Minutes No. 32 of the SPC's meeting).

The State Bank's Office launched operations in Minsk on January 3, 1922. Local branches in Vitebsk, Borisov, Bobruisk, and Mogilev and agencies in Slutsk, Mozyr, Orsha, Klimovichi, and Polotsk were opened.

In 1923, in connection with the formation of the USSR, the State Bank of the RSFSR was transformed into the State Bank of the USSR. The Byelorussian Office was incorporated therein. In January 1927, the Gomel branch, formerly under the direct control of the State Bank of the USSR, was reassigned to the Byelorussian Office.

In 1923-1925, the affiliates of all-union joint-stock banks – Prombank, All-Union Cooperative Bank, and, beginning in 1936, Torgbank – began their operations in the republic. These years saw the formation of the local bank network. In 1923, the Gomel Workers' Bank was opened and in a year or so it was transformed into the local Communal Bank. In 1925, Belcommunbank was set up.

To pool available funds for the purpose of lending to farms, district agricultural credit partnerships – Byelorussian, Gomel, Vitebsk, Orsha, Kalinin, Bobruisk, Mogilev, Mozyr, and Polotsk – were established. In 1924, the Byelorussian partnership was transformed into Belselbank (Byelorussian Agricultural Bank) which played a principal part in providing loans to agriculture. At that time, the State Bank and specialized banks devoted themselves entirely to rebuilding and reconstructing the national economy.

Tackling these key issues was only possible on the basis of hard currency. Therefore, with the commencement of NEP (new economic policy), the authorities set out to strengthen the monetary system. In 1922-1924, a monetary reform was enacted. As a result, a monetary system was established, whereas the State Bank turned into the money issuing center of the USSR and money circulation regulator. Introduction of a sound currency was beneficial to production growth and fostering the economy as a whole.

As a result of the restructuring of the banking system, the following entities were functioning in Belarus between 1932 and 1959: Communal Bank, offices with branches of the State Bank of the USSR, Prombank of the USSR, Selkhozbank of the USSR, and Torgbank of the USSR (until 1957).

Just prior to WWII, in 1940, there were 10 regional (provincial) offices and 184 branches of the State Bank in Belarus employing 4,087 staff. The Great Patriotic War turned out to be a real endurance test both for the Belarusian bankers and the entire nation. On June 25, 1941, the Byelorussian Office of the State Bank was moved to Tambov (Russia), then, in November, to Karaganda (Kazakhstan), and in March 1942, to Gorky (Russia). The CPC of the USSR decreed the closure of the Office on September 9, 1943. It resumed its operation in October 1943, moving to Gomel in December and to Minsk in July 1944.

Arranging for money circulation has always been and still remains one of the major functions of the state banking system, including the Belarusian banking system, at all stages of the development thereof. The 1947 monetary reform was an important event in this respect.

Shortly after the end of the recovery period there was need for both corresponding adjustment of the monetary system and further improvement of the bank's credit ties with the national economy. As early as 1959, reorganization of the banking system took place. Specialized banks were disbanded with their functions transferred to the State Bank and Stroibank of the USSR. Since 1959, the Belarusian banking system was represented by the institutions of the State Bank and Promstroibank of the USSR.

The banking system was subject to a major reorganization in 1987 as well. Belarusian republican banks with their branches of the State Bank, Vnesheconombank, Savings Bank, Promstroibank, Agroprombank, and Zhilsotsbank of the USSR were established and were operating on the basis of self-sufficiency and self-finance.

Perestroika that started in 1985 laid the basis for the transition of the existing monetary system to a new qualitative state and the beginning of the making of the two-tier banking system.

The Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (hereinafter – “the BSSR”) was adopted on July 27, 1990 (the Declaration was granted the constitutional law status on August 25, 1991).

On December 14, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR passed laws “On the National Bank of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic” and “On Banks and Banking in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic” which became effective from January 1, 1991.

On December 21, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR adopted Resolution declaring the USSR banks’ branches with their establishments, enterprises and organizations located in the BSSR to be the property of the independent state.

The establishment of the National Bank was finalized on April 1, 1991.

The Belarusian banking system entered its modern history.

The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus created the national currency in the most challenging environment of the early 1990s crisis. This made it possible not only to stabilize the economy but also preserve independence of the Republic of Belarus. In addition, since the mid 1990s the issue center has been actively involved in creating and issuing commemorative coins which retain the most essential information about our state and have already become the hallmark of Belarus.



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