Today in History: Oscar Peterson born in 1925

Oscar Peterson was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer who released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received numerous other awards and honours. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists and played thousands of concerts worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years. Peterson died in December of 2007 (wikipedia).

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Today in History: Lufthansa was (re)formed in 1954 

Today in History: Lufthansa was (re)formed in 1954 

Lufthansa originally formed back in 1926 as Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. (the name Deutsche Lufthansa was used as of 1933). But with the defeat of Germany in World War II, the country lost sovereignty over its airspace and Lufthansa had to cease all operations. A new national airline was founded under the name of Luftag in 1953. Luftag acquired the name and logo of Deutsche Lufthansa on August 6, 1954 and was granted approval to launch domestic flights in April of 1955. International operations began in May of 1955 and thus the tradition of the German flag carrier continued.

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Today in History: 1st Pink Floyd Album released in 1967

Today in History: 1st Pink Floyd Album released in 1967

51 years ago today, Pink Floyd released its first album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

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Today in History: One million Beetles in 1955

Today in History: One million Beetles in 1955

63 years ago today, the one millionth VW Beetle came off its assembly line in Wolfsburg, Germany, where it is still on display at the Volkswagen Auto Museum.

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Today In History: Opening of the Berlin Zoo in 1844

Today In History: Opening of the Berlin Zoo in 1844

The Berlin Zoo is the oldest and perhaps best known zoo in Germany. It opened in 1844 and is located in Berlin’s Tiergarten. With a space of 35 hectares (86.5 acres), some 1,380 different species and over 20,000 animals, the Berlin Zoo presents one of the most comprehensive collection of species in the world. The zoo and its aquarium had more than 3.5 million visitors in 2017. It is the most visited zoo in Europe and one of the most popular worldwide.

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Today in History: Last classic VW Beetle rolls off the line in 2003

Today in History: Last classic VW Beetle rolls off the line in 2003

On this day in 2003, the last of 21,529,464 Volkswagen Beetles built since World War II rolls off the production line at Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. One of a 3,000-unit final edition, the baby-blue vehicle was sent to a museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, where Volkswagen is headquartered.

The car produced in Puebla that day was the last so-called “classic” VW Beetle, which is not to be confused with the redesigned new Beetle that Volkswagen introduced in 1998. (The new Beetle resembles the classic version but is based on the VW Golf.) The roots of the classic Beetle stretch back to the mid-1930s, when the famed Austrian automotive engineer Dr. Ferdinand Porsche met German leader Adolf Hitler’s request for a small, affordable passenger car to satisfy the transportation needs of the German people Hitler called the result the KdF (Kraft-durch-Freude)-Wagen (or “Strength-Through-Joy” car) after a Nazi-led movement ostensibly aimed at helping the working people of Germany; it would later be known by the name Porsche preferred: Volkswagen, or “people’s car.”

The first production-ready Kdf-Wagen debuted at the Berlin Motor Show in 1939; the international press soon dubbed it the “Beetle” for its distinctive rounded shape. During World War II, the factory in Kdf-stat (later renamed Wolfsburg) continued to make Beetles, though it was largely dedicated to production of war vehicles. Production was halted under threat of Allied bombing in August 1944 and did not resume until after the war, under British control. Though VW sales were initially slower in the United States compared with the rest of the world, by 1960 the Beetle was the top-selling import in America, thanks to an iconic ad campaign by the firm Doyle Dane Bernbach. In 1972, the Beetle surpassed the longstanding worldwide production record of 15 million vehicles, set by Ford Motor Company’s legendary Model T between 1908 and 1927. It also became a worldwide cultural icon, featuring prominently in the hit 1969 movie “The Love Bug” (which starred a Beetle named Herbie) and on the cover of the Beatles album “Abbey Road.”

In 1977, however, the Beetle, with its rear-mounted, air-cooled-engine, was banned in America for failing to meet safety and emission standards. Worldwide sales of the car shrank by the late 1970s and by 1988, the classic Beetle was sold only in Mexico. Due to increased competition from other manufacturers of inexpensive compact cars, and a Mexican decision to phase out two-door taxis, Volkswagen decided to discontinue production of the classic bug in 2003. The final count of 21,529,464, incidentally, did not include the original 600 cars built by the Nazis prior to World War II.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/last-classic-vw-beetle-rolls-off-the-line

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Today in History: Ludwig Hohlwein born in 1874

Today in History: Ludwig Hohlwein born in 1874

The famous German poster artist was born 144 years ago today. Hohlwein was a trained and practicing architect. He moved to Munich in 1906 where he started to focus his talents on poster design. A self-taught graphic artist and influenced by the work of the Beggarstaff Brothers, Hohlwein showed an extraordinary talent for decorative compositions and color combinations. Breaking with Art Nouveau, he quickly became one of the leaders of the German “Plakatstil,” departing from ornaments or embellishments and simplifying the artwork through the use of form, flat colors and bold shapes.

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