31 March 1921

The Royal Australian Air Force is formed.

The Royal Australian Air Force traces its history back to the Imperial Conference held in London in 1911, where it was decided aviation should be developed within the Armed Forces of the British Empire. Australia implemented this decision, the only country to do so, by approving the establishment of the Central Flying School in 1912. The location for the proposed school was initially to be at Duntroon, Australian Capital Territory, but in July 1913 Point Cook, Victoria, was announced as the preferred location. The first flights by CFS aircraft took place there in March 1914.

The Australian Flying Corps was formed as a Militia unit, with staff and students to be selected from the Citizen Forces. After an abortive deployment to German New Guinea at the end of 1914 as part of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, it earned a most creditable reputation in both Palestine and France during World War I as a part of the Australian Imperial Force. The Australian Flying Corps remained part of the Australian Army until 1919, when it was disbanded along with the AIF. Although the Central Flying School continued to operate at Point Cook, military flying virtually ceased until 1920, when the Australian Air Corps was formed. The Australian Air Force was formed on 31 March 1921. King George V approved the prefix “Royal” in June 1921 and it became effective on 31 August 1921. The RAAF then became the second Royal air arm to be formed in the British Commonwealth, following the British Royal Air Force.

The service was rapidly expanded during World War II and at its height, it was the fourth largest air force in the world, consisting of 53 squadrons based in the Pacific and a further 17 in Europe.

In 1911, the Imperial Conference that was held in London determined that the armed forces of the British Empire needed to develop an aviation branch. At the time, aircraft were a newly emerging technology, but nevertheless Australia implemented the decision, the only country to do so. The first step taken by the government was to approve the establishment of the Central Flying School in 1912. Initially, it had been proposed to establish the school at Duntroon, in the Australian Capital Territory, where the Royal Military College had been established in 1911, but in July 1913 it was determined that Point Cook, Victoria, was the preferred location. The Australian Flying Corps was subsequently formed as a Militia unit, with staff and students to be selected from the Citizen Forces, and the first flights by CFS aircraft took place in March 1914.

Soon after the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the AFC sent aircraft to assist the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in capturing German colonies in what is now north-west New Guinea. These colonies surrendered quickly however, before the planes were even unpacked. The first operational flights did not occur until 27 May 1915, when the Mesopotamian Half Flight was called upon to assist the Indian Army in protecting British oil interests in what is now Iraq. The corps later saw action in Egypt, Palestine and on the Western Front throughout the remainder of World War I. By the end of the war, four squadrons – Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 – had seen active service; another four squadrons – Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8 – had also been raised to provide training in the United Kingdom. The AFC was disbanded along with the rest of the Australian Imperial Force in 1919, following the end of hostilities. Although the Central Flying School continued to operate at Point Cook, military flying virtually ceased until 1920, when the Australian Air Corps was formed. The following year, this was separated from the Army on 31 March 1921, when the Australian Air Force was formed as an independent service; in June that year King George V gave his assent for the service to use the prefix “Royal” and this came into effect on 31 August 1921.

Upon formation, the RAAF had more aircraft than personnel, with 21 officers and 128 other ranks, and just 170 aircraft. Initially, it had been planned to expand the force to 1,500 personnel – three-quarters permanent staff and one quarter reserves – who would serve in six squadrons: two of fighter aircraft, two of reconnaissance aircraft, and two squadrons of seaplanes. These plans were scuttled a year after formation due to budget constraints and until 1924, the service’s strength remained steady at just 50 officers and 300 other ranks; of the six planned squadrons, only five had been raised, albeit cadre strength, and these were subsequently merged into a single mixed squadron until 1925. A slightly improved economic situation in 1925 allowed the re-raising of Nos. 1 and 3 Squadrons, which were initially composite units equipped with fighters and bombers. Later in the decade, they were reorganised with No. 1 Squadron becoming a solely bomber formation, while No. 3 focused on army co-operation roles; smaller squadrons – in reality only flights – of fighters and seaplanes were formed within the RAAF’s flying training unit, No. 1 Flying Training School, which had been raised at Point Cook.

Throughout the inter-war years the fledgling RAAF focused on local defence and providing training opportunities to Australia’s naval and military forces. It also undertook aerial survey missions, meteorological flights, public displays, and provision of defence aid to the civil community, undertaking search and rescue missions and bush fire patrols. In the late 1930s, the force was expanded amidst concerns about a future war in Europe. Additional squadrons were raised and bases established away from the south-east coast, including airbases in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. This expansion saw the RAAF increase its personnel from under 1,000 in 1935 to around 3,500 in 1939, and the establishment of a force of 12 squadrons, with plans for a further six, by the outbreak of World War II in September 1939.

24 March 1921

The first international women’s sports event, the 1921 Women’s Olympiad begins in Monte Carlo.

1921 Women’s Olympiad Flag of Monaco.svg Monte Carlo, Monaco First event 1921 Violette Morris

The 1921 Women’s Olympiad was the first international women’s sports event, a 5-day multi-sport event organised by Alice Milliat and held on 24–31 March 1921 in Monte Carlo at the International Sporting Club of Monaco. The tournament was formally called “1er Meeting International d’Education Physique Féminine de Sports Athlétiques” It was the first of three Women’s Olympiads or “Monte Carlo Games” held annually at the venue, and the forerunner of the quadrennial Women’s World Games, organised in 1922–34 by the International Women’s Sports Federation founded by Milliat later in 1921.

The games were organized by Alice Milliat and Camille Blanc, director of the “International Sporting Club de Monaco” as a response to the IOC decision not to include women’s events in the 1924 Olympic Games.

The games were attended by 100 participants from nations: France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The athletes competed in 10 events: running, high jump, long jump, standing long jump, javelin and shot put. The tournament also held exhibition events in basketball, gymnastics, pushball and rhythmic gymnastics.

The tournament was held at the “Tir aux Pigeons” in the gardens of the Monte Carlo Casino.

The tournament was a great success and an important step for Women’s sports. The 1922 Women’s Olympiad and 1923 Women’s Olympiad were held at the same Monaco venue; the 1922 event is sometimes confused with the 1922 Women’s World Games held in Paris.

The IAAF unveiled a commemorative plaque at the site of the games in 2008.

4 November 1921

Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi is assassinated in Tokyo.

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Hara Takashi, also called Hara Kei, politician who was prime minister of Japan from 1918 to 1921 and who established the political party as a fundamental institution of politics in Japan.

Hara was the son of a high-ranking samurai family of northern Japan. After graduating from Tokyo University he became a journalist. In 1882 he entered the foreign service, upon which he rose rapidly with the support of It? Hirobumi and other prominent figures in government. In 1900 Hara participated with It? in the founding of the Rikken Seiy?kai. Hara became the Seiy?kai’s secretary-general that year and was a principal leader of the party from then on, serving as its president after 1914.

Elected to the Diet parliament in 1900 and reelected eight times thereafter, he rose to become home minister in 1906–1908, 1911–12, and 1913–14. Hara built the Seiy?kai into a U.S.-style party whose popular support came from the patronage it dispensed and the regional economic development it sought to promote. On Sept. 29, 1918, Hara obtained the premiership, ushering in almost two decades in which the Seiy?kai machine and its business and agricultural allies dominated civilian politics.

Hara lowered the property qualifications for voting, thus enlarging the electorate to include the small landholders among whom Seiy?kai strength lay. He refused, however, to use the absolute majority the Seiy?kai commanded in the lower house of the Diet to institute universal male suffrage in Japan. Hara also attempted to reduce the power of the military, and he opposed the use of Japanese soldiers in Siberia. In 1921 he was assassinated by a young rightist fanatic.

26 October 1921

The Chicago Theatre opens.

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The Chicago Theatre, originally known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre, is a landmark theater located on North State Street in the Loop area of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. Built in 1921, the Chicago Theatre was the flagship for the Balaban and Katz (B&K) group of theaters run by A. J. Balaban, his brother Barney Balaban and partner Sam Katz. Along with the other B&K theaters, from 1925 to 1945 the Chicago Theatre was a dominant movie theater enterprise. Currently, Madison Square Garden, Inc. owns and operates the Chicago Theatre as a performing arts venue for stage plays, magic shows, comedy, speeches, and popular music concerts.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places June 6, 1979, and was listed as a Chicago Landmark January 28, 1983. The distinctive Chicago Theatre marquee, “an unofficial emblem of the city”, appears frequently in film, television, artwork, and photography.

When it opened October 26, 1921, the 3,880 seat theater was promoted as the “Wonder Theatre of the World”. Capacity crowds packed the theater during its opening week for the First National Pictures feature The Sign on the Door starring Norma Talmadge. Other attractions included a 50-piece orchestra, famed organist Jesse Crawford at the 26-rank Wurlitzer theatre organ.

7 September 1921

The first Miss America Pageant is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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Established in 1921 by local Atlantic City businessmen as a way to extend the summer season, The Miss America Organization has since grown to become one of the most recognizable household names in America.

Miss America remains a role model to young and old alike. Over the years, Miss America has continually made a difference in people’s lives through her charitable and community service endeavors, using her national platform to educate millions of Americans on important issues facing society.

Miss America is more than a title, it’s a movement of empowering young women everywhere to achieve their dreams by giving them a voice to inspire change and by honoring their commitment to helping others.

In September 1920, Atlantic City Businessmen staged a “Fall Frolic” to secure summer tourism past Labor Day. This city-wide festival was highlighted by a spectacular rolling chair parade down the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk.

By 1921, East Coast newspapers were looking for ways to increase their circulation. Newspaper organizations decided to sponsor photographic popularity contests from among their readership and awarded their respective winners with an all expense paid trip to the Second Annual Fall Frolic. Once there, frolic organizers placed the young women in an “Inter-City Beauty” contest in which the judging was largely based on their general appeal in appearance, personality, conversations with the judges, and interactions with the crowds. In order to build hype, the women were later put in the running for the Golden Mermaid trophy given to “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America.” Margaret Gorman swept both events. By September 1922 she became known as “Miss America.” In the ensuing years it would grow and reflect some of the most powerfully held attitudes towards what it meant to be an ideal American woman.

4 November 1921

The Prime Minister of Japan, Hara Takashi is assassinated in Tokyo.

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In the evening of 4 November 1921, Prime Minister HARA Takashi, who had led the Association of Friends of Constitutional Government with unparalleled political skill, in organizing Japan’s first “true party based cabinet” went to Tokyo Station, intending to board the 7:30 p.m. sleeper bound for Kyoto in order to attend the Seiyukai’s Kinki Conference. At the time he was fatally stabbed by a railway switchman named NAKAOKA Kon’ichi, who was infuriated by what he saw as the narrow partisan interests of the Seiyukai. The assassination of the incumbent Prime Minister sent shock waves through the political world, since it was the first such incident after Japan had become constitutional government.

The selection process of HARA’s successor as the leader of Seiyukai ran into problems, but ultimately TAKAHASHI Korekiyo was chosen as both Seiyukai President and Prime Minister, with the backing of Genro SAIONJI Kinmochi. In his policy address to the Imperial Diet, TAKAHASHI argued that he would continue the policies of the HARA Cabinet. Nonetheless, his Cabinet was destined for a short life, and the Seiyukai also fell apart.