Good News in History, March 5

90 years ago today, Mahatma Gandhi and British viceroy Lord Irwin sign a political peace pact. In the Gandhi–Irwin Pact, Britain agreed to end prosecutions, release all non-violent political prisoners, permit peaceful picketing, restore confiscated properties, allow collection of sea salt, and lift the ban over the Congress.

“The Two Leaders”—as Sarojini Naidu described Gandhi and Lord Irwin—had eight meetings that totaled 24 hours—and Gandhi was impressed by Irwin’s sincerity. The Gandhi–Irwin Pact marked the end of the Civil Disobedience Movement in India. (1931)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Frank Carauna of Buffalo, New York became the first to bowl two successive perfect 300 games in league play—and his 4-game total of 1115 became a record that stood for 50 years (1924)
  • Elvis Presley appeared on television for the first time (1955)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of blacks to attend any state schools, colleges, and universities (1956)
  • A revival of the Voltaire classic Candide opened on Broadway, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Lewis J. Stadlen stealing the show with his impish portrayal of Voltaire/Pangloss, in a theatre-in-the-round production that lasted for 740 shows (1974)
  • North and South Korea met for the first time in 25 years for peace talks (1997)
  • The nature documentary Planet Earth narrated by David Attenborough premiered on the BBC (2006)
  • Three 6 Mafia became the first hip-hop artists to win an Academy Award for Best Song, and to perform at the Oscars (2006)

Dolphin rescue Brazil-YouTube

9 years ago today, an impressive scene of humanity played out on a beach in Brazil when 30 dolphins mysteriously stranded themselves on a shore one morning, and they were all saved by locals at Arraial do Cabo who worked tirelessly to drag them back into the sea. Watch here. (2012)

Also, 61 years ago today, Cuban photographer Alberto Korda shot the most famous picture in the world.

Che Guevara original portrait by Alberto Korda-1960

Fidel Castro’s official photographer, Korda captured the moment at a memorial service for victims of an explosion in Havana. The image of revolutionary Che Guevara at 31 years old was captured with a 90mm lens, in only two frames before the leader exited the scene. As a lifelong communist and supporter of the Cuban Revolution, Korda claimed no payment for his picture and never asked for royalties. The Maryland Institute College of Art called the picture a symbol of the 20th century and the world’s most famous photo–one that was reproduced probably more than any other image in photography.” (1960)

51 years ago today, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty went into effect after ratification by 43 nations agreeing to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The goal was also to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to advance disarmament in general. It took three years for the treaty to be negotiated by a United Nations-sponsored committee made up of 18 countries: Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, the U.S., Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Burma, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, the United Arab Republic.

As of 2016, 191 countries have joined the treaty, with more nations embracing this treaty than any other arms limitation or disarmament agreement—a testament to the document’s significance, but with a few exceptions.

North Korea withdrew in 2003 and Iran has been in non-compliance with safeguards for two decades. Four UN member states have never accepted the treaty, three of which possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan. South Sudan, founded in 2011, has never joined.

From the beginning, the treaty delineated five countries, which already had nuclear explosives before January 1967, as “nuclear-weapon states”—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China. (1970)

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