Cover of a BBC book on D-Day

History’s oddities

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were both involved in drafting the US Declaration of Independence, signed on 4 July 1776. Hence 4 July became Independence Day. Jefferson was Adam’s Vice-President until he became President in 1800.

They were the last surviving members of the American revolutionaries. Both died on 4 July 1826, fifty years after the Declaration of Independence.1 It might not be a coincidence that Independence Day is on 4 July (4/7) as 4 + 7 = 11. This date occurring two times is like 11:11 happening.

Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler

Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler were the only two persons who ever conquered nearly all of Europe. There is a series of parallels between them. Both came to power by a coup ending an unstable republic. Napoleon and Hitler both turned Europe into a battlefield. They both ventured into Africa and faced defeat in Egypt. They both waged war on two fronts because both attacked Russia while they had not defeated Great Britain.

Napoleon was born on Corsica, an independent island that later became part of France. Napoleon became the leader of France. Hitler was born in Austria, an independent country that later became part of Germany. Hitler became the leader of Germany. On 9 November 1799, Napoleon came to power after a coup to overthrow the government. Hitler was involved in a failed coup to overthrow the Weimar Republic on 9 November 1923.

The Titanic

The Titanic was deemed unsinkable because it had sealable compartments. Nevertheless, the ship sank on its maiden voyage after it struck an iceberg. In 1898 Morgan Robertson had written the novel Futility, describing the maiden voyage of a transatlantic luxury liner named the Titan. Although touted as unsinkable, it struck an iceberg and sank with much loss of life. In the book, the month of the wreck was April, the same month the Titanic sank. The similarities are striking:

  • The ships had similar names.
  • Both were the largest craft afloat and seen as the greatest of the works of men.
  • The sizes were roughly the same: the Titan was 45,000 tons, and the Titanic was 46,000 tons.
  • Both ships were deemed unsinkable.
  • Both had a triple screw (propeller).
  • Both vessels had a shortage of lifeboats.
  • Both struck an iceberg: the Titan, moving at 25 knots, struck an iceberg on the starboard side on a night in April, in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland, while the Titanic, moving at 22½ knots, struck an iceberg on the starboard side on the night of 14 April 1912 in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland.
  • Both ships sank with much loss of life.

After the demise of the Titanic, Robertson’s apparent clairvoyance attracted attention. He claimed that the similarities were the result of his knowledge of shipbuilding. His expertise however does not explain the similarity in names and the sinking of the Titanic.

In April 1935, the cargo vessel Titanian sailed in the North Atlantic. A sailor claimed that he had an uneasy feeling because the ship’s name was similar to Titanic. For that reason, he sounded a warning. He claimed to have done this before an iceberg was in sight. He added that the vessel stopped just in front of an iceberg. According to reports, the Titanian had run into some damage during the voyage.2

One hundred years later, the luxurious Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia sank after hitting a rock. The accident happened on Friday, 13 January 2012. The ship had thirteen decks. Some passengers claimed that the Titanic theme ‘My Heart Will Go On’ played in a restaurant when the accident happened.3

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand

On 28 June 1914 the Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand in his car. This act triggered World War I. World War I ended with the Armistice of 11 November 1918. 11 November is a peculiar date because it can be written as 11-11. And indeed, the assassination was beset by some strange coincidences. Franz Ferdinand had premonitions of an early death and the assassination succeeded after a series of mishaps.1 But the most peculiar coincidence proved to be the licence plate number of the car in which Franz Ferdinand was killed, which was A III 118. It can be seen as a reference to the Armistice of 11 November 1918 (11-11-18) that ended World War I. So is history a script? Is everything planned?

The car in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed
Gräf and Stift Double Phaeton ridden by the Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the time of his assassination

D-Day

The date of D-Day 6 June 1944 (6-6-44) is peculiar like 11 November because of the double digits. The Allies had chosen 5 June 1944 for their invasion because there was a full moon on that day. They postponed it because of the weather. It means that the date of D-Day being on 6 June wasn’t planned by the Allies. There is no agreement on the commencing date of World War II, while the Battle of Stalingrad, which was far more important than D-Day, took more than two months. And so D-Day may be the most important single date of World War II. D-Day means Decision Day. D is the fourth letter of the alphabet so Decision Day (DD) can signify 44, a number that refers to the year D-Day happened.

Normandy invaded England in the year 1066 while D-Day was on the 6th of June, hence 6/6. In the ensuing Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, King Harold II of England was killed while trying to repel the invasion. This happened a few days after he had killed King Harold III of Norway, who also had invaded England. On 14 October 1944 the German General Rommel committed suicide after having overseen the construction of the German defences intended to repel the allied invasion.

According to Roman de Rou, which is a verse chronicle made around 1170 by Wace covering the history of the Dukes of Normandy, Roger the Great de Montgomery commanded parts of the invading forces in 1066. Other sources do not confirm this account.2 During the 1944 invasion Bernard Montgomery commanded portions of the invading forces. Now follows a very peculiar twist.

On 11 March 2010, the principal founder Hans van Mierlo of the Dutch political party D66 died. The name D66 stands for Democrats 66 and it refers to the year 1966 as it was founded on 14 October 1966 by 44 people.3 The name of the party can be seen as a reference to D-Day. D-Day was on 6-6-44 so D66 may refer to D-Day 6-6. Hans van Mierlo died 44 years after founding D66, which was 66 years after D-Day. Hans van Mierlo had just married a few months earlier on 11 November 2009 (11-11).

The numbers 66 and 44 as well as the date of 14 October turn up in this scheme. And 11-11 seems part of it too. It was the day Hans van Mierlo married. 11 November is the date of the Armistice ending World War I. And 911 was the year Normandy was founded. This number is closely related to another major historic event. On 9 November 1989 (9/11 in European notation), the Berlin Wall fell. Perhaps, you were thinking of another event related to 9/11. That makes it even more remarkable.

The fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall was the hallmark event of the collapse of the Soviet Empire. The wall fell on 9 November 1989. This is remarkable because the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 (9/11 American notation) were the hallmark event of the war on terror that ended the period of relative peace after the fall of the Soviet Empire. On 11 September 1989, thousands of East Germans started to cross the Austrian-Hungarian border to emigrate to West Germany. This was the direct cause of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This date also being 11 September is quite remarkable.

The historian James P. O’Donnell unwittingly predicted the year the Berlin Wall would fall. In the German edition of Reader’s Digest he wrote ten years before it happened: “Not long ago I dreamed of Berlin. The year was 1989. The Wall was coming down. All along its hideous 165 kilometres East West Berliners were pouring out to dismantle it. … Canny merchants were weaving through the happy crowd selling souvenir bricks.”4

Perhaps this is not as curious as it may seem at first glance. He made his prediction in 1979. If you were thinking in 1979 about the Berlin Wall falling, and making a guess when that might happen, 1989 is a year you might have picked. It is not unusual to think of the end of the next decade at the end of a decade. There is an ABBA song from 1979 named Happy New Year that does the same. But then again, O’Donnell was thinking about it in 1979 so that he was likely to pick 1989, and that is a bit odd.

It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of eighty-nine

– ABBA, Happy New Year

There is another peculiar twist to his prediction. O’Donnell became Newsweek Magazine’s German bureau chief in 1945. He came to Berlin on 4 July 1945 to investigate Hitler’s death and gather information about his wife Eva Braun.5 Braun died at the age of 33 and Hitler died at the age of 56, while 33 +56 = 89. Hitler was born in 1889. And the erection of the Berlin Wall was a consequence of Hitler’s defeat. And it fell in 1989. And what about the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001? The peculiar coincidences surrounding this event are so numerous that they justify a separate story.

Featured image: Cover of the BBC book “D-Day: The Dramatic Story of the World’s Greatest Invasion” written by Dan Parry in 2004 [copyright info]

1. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die. History.com (2009).
2. Titanian – Echo of Titanic. Encyclopedia Titanica (2004).
3. Costa Concordia disaster. Wikipedia.


1a. Curses! Archduke Franz Ferdinand and His Astounding Death Car. Mike Dash (2013). Smithsonian. [link]
2. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. Wikipedia. [link]
3. Hans van Mierlo. Wikipedia. [link]
4. Reader’s Digest, Geman Edition, January 1979
5. James P. O’Donnell. Wikipedia. [link]