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15th August | What else happened on the date India celebrates its Independence Day

India shares its Independence Day with three other countries as well, namely: The Republic of Congo, Korea and Liechtenstein.

Sonal Rana | New Delhi |

For India, 15th August directly translates into celebrations of Independence. However, the world has several other reasons as well to remember this day. Let’s look at some of the important events that took place on this date all over the world, and over the years.

15th August, 1769: Napoleon Bonaparte was born

Napoleon Bonaparte, a French general, an uncompromising revolutionary and an extraordinary Emperor was born on 15th August. He first rose to prominence during the French Revolution and served as the Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814. Napoleon is known for disguising himself as a typical bourgeois man and walking around Paris to question people about the policies and reforms he had introduced. Napoleon’s influence on the rest of the world can be realised by the following incident. Horse riders, during that time and age, used to control their horse using the left hand and hold a sword in the right hand to fight the enemy. Napoleon, however, being the genius that he was, introduced changes in this old tactic and reversed the arrangement, thus surprising his enemies. This convention still stands when it comes to driving. This is the reason why most countries in the world, by convention, have the steering wheel on the right hand side.

Napoleon died on 5th May 1821, due to a prolonged stomach ulcer.  

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August 15, 1945: Capitulation of Japan

Japan surrendered from the World War II on 15 August 1945, which brought the hostilities of the gruesome war to a close. On August 6, 1945, the United States discharged an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Following the bomb, came a warning that urged Japan to surrender or be prepared to “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth”. When Japan refused to pay any heed to the warning given by the then American President Harry S. Truman, another atomic bomb was detonated on Nagasaki. The bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still considered to be one of the most frightening tragedies of the world. Consequently, Japan was forced to surrender to the Allies.

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August 15, 1960: Republic of Congo is formed

The Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is a country in Central Africa. It was under the rule of the French and often referred to as French Congo. However, on 15 August 1960, after declaring independence, French Congo became the Republic of Congo. The Congo region, as the name suggests, is named after the Congo River basin. The Republic of Congo is presently the fourth-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea. The earliest inhabitants of this region are believed to be the Bantu-speaking people, who are said to have lived in said region more than 3000 years ago.    

The Republic of Congo and India, however, are not the only two countries that celebrate their Independence Day on 15th August. Joining them in the festivities are Korea and Liechtenstein.

The 1947 challenge: Accession of the princely states

August 15, 1975: Apocalypse Now was released

Apocalypse Now is regarded to be one among the most critically acclaimed movies based on the Vietnamese war, also known as the second India-China war. The movie, unlike most war movies, projects in front of the audience the actual atrocities of war, death and survival. After its release, it was applauded extensively by the critics who unanimously felt the movie was a brilliant work of art, which had successfully imitated life, in and during war. The monumental performances in the movie also amassed a tonne of appreciation from the viewers as well as the commentators. The film is as chaotic as it is disturbing, but it does bring forth a brilliant story quoted in honesty to the table.

Directed and produced by Francis Coppola, the spectacular film has received a number of lauded awards that have recognised the exceptional movie-makers and their genuine work.

August 15, 1994: Nelson Mandela Johannesburg opening of the Anne Frank Exhibition

Nelson Mandela, the first President of democratic South Africa, delivered a world famous and equally compelling speech on the opening of an Anne Frank Exhibition in Johannesburg. After spending 27 long years behind prison bars, the anti-apartheid leader remembered the exceptionally hard past of people who were subject to evils of nazism, fascism, discrimination and racism. He drew astounding parallels between apartheid and racism, calling them two schools of thought that relentlessly belief in the superiority of one race over the others. Speaking not only as a free man but as the President of a recently democratic nation, he went ahead to say that democracy was a win for Anne Frank as well, who spent a considerable chunk of her life in hiding and wished for nothing more than a society free of all forms of discrimination. The address is still regarded as one of the best speeches ever given by any public figure.