30 January 1969

The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London.

On January 30 1969, the Fab Four – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – played live for one last time with an impromptu gig on the rooftop of the Apple offices in London.

The afternoon of January 30, 1969, was when The Beatles surprised a central London office lunch crowd with an impromptu concert on the roof of their Savile Row Apple headquarters.

Before the outing was abruptly cut short by police who objected to the noise, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr with a little help from young keyboardist Billy Preston had managed to thrill Londoners on adjacent rooftops and the streets below with a run-through of songs they had been rehearsing with a vague album in mind.

The rooftop ‘concert’ was the first live gig since the band stopped touring in 1965 and the concert was closed by Lennon quipping: “I hope we passed the audition.” They had been recording Let It Be, their final album, in the basement studio, before staging their first live performance for nearly three years.

30 January 1933

Adolf Hitler is sworn in as the Chancellor of Germany.

On this day in 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg names Adolf Hitler, leader or fÜhrer of the National Socialist German Workers Party, as chancellor of Germany.

The year 1932 had seen Hitler’s meteoric rise to prominence in Germany, spurred largely by the German people’s frustration with dismal economic conditions and the still-festering wounds inflicted by defeat in the Great War and the harsh peace terms of the Versailles treaty. A charismatic speaker, Hitler channeled popular discontent with the post-war Weimar government into support for his fledgling Nazi party. In an election held in July 1932, the Nazis won 230 governmental seats; together with the Communists, the next largest party, they made up over half of the Reichstag.

Hindenburg, intimidated by Hitler’s growing popularity and the thuggish nature of his cadre of supporters, the SA, initially refused to make him chancellor. Instead, he appointed General Kurt von Schleicher, who attempted to steal Hitler’s thunder by negotiating with a dissident Nazi faction led by Gregor Strasser. At the next round of elections in November, the Nazis lost ground—but the Communists gained it, a paradoxical effect of Schleicher’s efforts that made right-wing forces in Germany even more determined to get Hitler into power. In a series of complicated negotiations, ex-Chancellor Franz von Papen, backed by prominent German businessmen and the conservative German National People’s Party, convinced Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor, with the understanding that von Papen as vice-chancellor and other non-Nazis in key government positions would contain and temper Hitler’s more brutal tendencies.

Hitler’s emergence as chancellor on January 30, 1933, marked a crucial turning point for Germany and, ultimately, for the world. His plan, embraced by much of the German population, was to do away with politics and make Germany a powerful, unified one-party state. He began immediately, ordering a rapid expansion of the state police, the Gestapo, and putting Hermann Goering in charge of a new security force, composed entirely of Nazis and dedicated to stamping out whatever opposition to his party might arise. From that moment on, Nazi Germany was off and running, and there was little Hindenburg or von Papen—or anyone—could do to stop it.

30 January 2003

Belgium officially recognizes same sex marriages.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Belgium have been seen as some of the most progressive in Europe and in the world. Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1795, with an equal age of consent, except from 1965 until 1985. After granting same-sex couples domestic partnership benefits in 2000, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003. Same-sex adoption was completely legalized in 2006 and is equalized with that of opposite-sex adoption. Lesbian couples can get access to IVF as well. Discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public and private accommodations have also been enacted since 2003 and on gender identity/expression since 2014. Transsexuals have been allowed to change their legal gender under certain circumstances since 2007.

Belgium has frequently been officially referred to as one of the most gay friendly countries in the world, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Belgians support same-sex marriage and adoption. The previous Prime Minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo, is an openly gay man and was one of the only three Prime Ministers in the world to identify as LGBT. Pascal Smet, the former Flemish Minister of Education and current Brussels minister, is also openly gay.