1 – Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow Ambushed by Lawmen in Louisiana
On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car in Louisiana.
The pair met when Parker was 19 years old and her husband was serving time in jail for murder.
Shortly after, Barrow was imprisoned for robbery and Parker helped him escape, but he was soon caught and sent back to jail. When he was paroled in 1932, the pair immediately hooked up and began a life of crime together.
Over the next two years, the couple teamed with various accomplices to rob a string of banks and stores across the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, and Louisiana.
The Barrow Gang, including Barrow’s friend, Raymond Hamilton, his brother Buck, and his wife Blanche, were cold-blooded criminals who didn’t hesitate to kill anyone who got in their way. Despite this, some of the public saw the couple as Robin Hood-like folk heroes.
In early 1934, Texan prison officials hired retired Texas police officer, Captain Frank Hamer, as a special investigator to track them down. After a three-month search, Hamer traced the couple to Louisiana.
Before dawn on May 23, Hamer and a group of Louisiana and Texas lawmen hid in the bushes along a country road outside Sailes. When Parker and Barrow appeared, the officers opened fire, killing the couple instantly in a hail of bullets.
The Barrow Gang was believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people, including nine police officers.
Even so, Parker and Barrow are still seen by many as romantic figures, however, especially after the success of the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.
2 – Mao Zedong Begins the Long March North with 100,000 Soldiers
The Long March (October 1934 – October 1935) was a military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People’s Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) army.
There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south escaped to the north and west.
The best known is the march from Jiangxi province which began in October 1934.
The Communist Army was on the brink of annihilation by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s troops in their stronghold in Jiangxi province.
The Communists, under the eventual command of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, escaped in a circling retreat to the west and north, which reportedly traversed over 9,000 kilometers, through some of the most difficult terrains of western China, over 370 days.
The Long March began Mao Zedong’s ascent to power, whose leadership during the retreat gained him the support of the members of the party.
The bitter struggles of the Long March, which was completed by only about one-tenth of the force that left Jiangxi, would come to represent a significant episode in the history of the Communist Party of China.
3 – John Dillinger is Shot Outside Chicago Movie Theater
John Dillinger was an infamous American gangster. In the heyday of the Depression-era outlaw, Dillinger was probably the most notorious of all.
He operated with a group of men, known by some as the Dillinger Gang, which was accused of robbing 24 banks and four police stations, among other activities. Dillinger also escaped from jail twice.
On July 22, 1934, FBI agents were tipped off that Dillinger was planning to go to the Biograph theatre in Chicago to see Clark Gable’s ‘Manhattan Melodrama’. Agents Samuel Cowley & Melvin Purvis staked out the theatre with a number of other agents.
After the film, Dillinger looked Purvis directly in the eyes as he left, but made no indication of recognition or suspicion.
As Dillinger, and the two women he was with, left the theatre, Purvis signaled the other agents by lighting a cigar and pulled out his gun.
Dillinger began to run, reaching into his pants pocket to draw a gun. He entered an alley just as a volley of gunfire greeted him.
A crowd formed around Dillinger’s lifeless body, with several people dabbing handkerchiefs into his blood for souvenirs. The police were eventually called in to move people away so that federal agents could secure the scene and remove Dillinger’s body.
Agent Charles Winstead is thought to have fired the fatal shot and received a personal letter of commendation from J. Edgar Hoover.
4 – First Jewish Immigrant Ship to Break the English Blockade in Palestine
On August 25, 1934, the first attempt to bring a large number of illegal Jewish immigrants into Palestine by sea happened.
Some 350 Jews sailed on a chartered ship, the Vallos, without the permission of the Jewish Agency, who feared illegal immigration would cause the British to restrict legal immigration.
The ship arrived off the coast of Palestine and the passengers disembarked with the help of the Haganah, which received special permission to assist them.
The Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in the British Mandate of Palestine, which became the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).