What Happened on August 18?

  • The BTK killer was sentenced to 175 years in prison. (2005) Dennis Rader, who murdered 10 people in the Wichita, Kansas, area was sentenced to 10 life terms, the equivalent of 175 years, in prison.

  • South Africa was banned from the Tokyo Olympic Games. (1964) The country, which was banned for its apartheid policies, didn't return to the Olympic Games in 1992.

  • Hitler temporarily stopped his euthanasia program. (1941) Due to strong protests, Hitler ordered a halt to euthanizing handicapped and mentally ill people. He would later resume the practice in the concentration camps in Poland.

  • Helium was discovered. (1868) Pierre Jules Cesar Janssen, a French astronomer, discovered the gas while observing a solar eclipse on this day. He was ridiculed at first for discovering an element in space before it was discovered on Earth.

  • The first black person graduated from the University of Mississippi. (1963) James Meredith graduated with a political science degree; he continued on to earn a law degree from Columbia in 1968.

  • Women were given the right to vote in the US. (1920) Tennessee became the 36th state to approve the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, making it law. The amendment gave every US citizen the right to vote, regardless of their gender.

  • A French Catholic priest was burned at the stake after being found guilty of witchcraft. (1634) Urbain Gandier was sentenced to death for making a pact with the devil. Gandier withstood torture but never admitted to witchcraft or signing the diabolical pact documents, which likely were forged.

  • The first female students were admitted to the Virginia Military Institute. (1997) The class of 30 women were the first female students in the institution's 158-year history.

  • The Mayor of Tokyo gifted the United States 2,000 cherry trees. (1909) US President William Howard Taft accepted the gift from Yukio Ozaki and placed the trees along the Potomac River.

  • Hurricane Alicia hit Texas, causing almost $3 billion US Dollars in damage. (1983) The Category 3 hurricane killed 22 people. It was the first hurricane to hit land in the US mainland since Hurricane Allen in 1980. The 1,103-day gap is the longest break in US hurricane history.

Discussion Comments


@Chmander - I definitely agree with you. By learning about the little things that have happened in history, both past and present, not only does it help us to expand our knowledge, but it also gives us more insight on other things that were happening around that time.

For example, when it discusses Hitler's program in 1941, though it's not all that significant, (especially when compared to other things that went on in the camps), it's interesting because it shows the lengths that Hitler was willing to go in order to create a perfect race. He was a charismatic monster without morals, and he'd do anything to achieve his goals, even it it meant euthanizing the sick and disabled.


It's interesting to see all of the events that happened on August 18th. Regardless of how significant some are or aren't, they've become a part of our history, and it's always good to look back and reflect on what's occurred. Though not all bits in history are "important" per se, sometimes, it's the little things that matter.


Whether it makes national history, or whether it stays within the family, there will always be those significant days that really stand out, for better or worse. For example, some days are celebratory, such as the Fourth of July, or even Christmas day. Those are days you generally don't forget, especially considering how people are always off work or on a vacation during those times.

However, there are also those days that are extremely hard to deal with. For example, if you have a loved one who passed away, then the anniversary(s) of their deaths can be a very hard day. There are always happy memories to share, and though you can "celebrate" their loss, it's still very difficult because on days like those, you're literally brought back to the very time it happened. Time goes on, but the memories will last forever.


Wow, there a lot of things that happened on August 18. Though there are quite a few I'm not familiar with, the one that stands out to me the most is when Dennis "BTK Killer" Rader was sentenced to prison, especially considering how I was growing up around that time. I didn't know much about him, until I saw his trial on a news channel one day. I'll admit, it was very disturbing to hear about the victims he murdered, and how he killed them. It was also heartbreaking to see what the families of the victims were going through.

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