Hour by Hour: 24 Minutes That Changed The World

Some of history's biggest events have become known as much for their iconic dates: September 11, 2001; November 22, 1963; April 15, 1912.

But within these days are moments in time that have huge significance as well. 

We've put together an entire day of fateful events, one per hour, so that you can more easily see some of these moments in a larger landscape.  These really are the minutes that changed the world.

Note: All times are time local to the event, unless otherwise indicated.

Midnight: Princess Diana is killed in a car crash

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Prince William, Prince of Wales, with his sons Princes William and Harry looking at floral tributes left at Kensington Palace following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Just after midnight, on August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in an automobile accident in Paris.  Her death at age 36 would provoke an outpouring of grief from around the world. 

1:23am: Chernobyl disaster begins

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Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in 1986. Laski Diffusion/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At 1:23am on April 26, 1986, at the nuclear power plant near Chernobyl, Ukraine, reactor number four exploded after a failed test releasing radioactive material into the air. 

The disaster would result in the direct deaths of 31 people in the plant. Untold thousands more would die from radiation-related conditions in the years since.  The disaster also changed people's perceptions towards the safety of nuclear power worldwide.

2:00am: D-Day Armada arrives

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Normandy Landing. Galerie Bilderwelt/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

During a night of assaults from paratroopers sent to soften the German defenses, an allied Armada of about 5,000 ships arrives in the waters around Normandy around 2:00am on June 6, 1944, beginning their preparation for attack. The amphibious assault in and around the beaches of Normandy in France begins later than morning.  An estimated 10,000 men were lost on D-Day, and the offensive would turn the tide of World War II. 

3:49am: The plane with the Nagasaki bomb leaves base

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A cloud rises after an atomic bomb is dropped in Nagasaki, Japan. National Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On at 3:49am, on August 9, 1945, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, another B-29 named Bock's Car, left the Pacific island of Tinian loaded with a second atomic bomb.

At 11:02 a.m., the atomic bomb, "Fat Man," was dropped over Nagasaki after it's primary target was blocked due to fog. The atomic bomb exploded 1,650 feet above the city.  The bomb would result in 70,000 deaths.  Japan would surrender a week later, effectively ending World War II. 

4:30am: The First Shot of the U.S. Civil War is fired

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Attack On Fort Sumter. Stock Montage/Archive Photos/Getty Images

At 4:30am, on April 12, 1861, a single mortar round burst over Fort Sumter, South Carolina, signaling to other Confederate forces to open fire in attack of the Union army sequestered there. Bombarded for thirty-four hours, Fort Sumter's officers' quarters caught on fire, but there were no fatalities during the battle itself.  It was a bloodless opening to the bloodiest war in American history. 

5:10am: The Armistice Ending World War I is Signed

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Signatories from both sides wait to sign the Armistice ending World War I. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At 5:10am, on November 11, 1918, in Compiègne, in the North of France, Germany signed an armistice ending hostilities in World War I. The fighting was to stop at 11am, meaning the war stopped on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month of 1918.  The Treaty of Versailles would formalize the end of the war the following summer.

Armistice Day, an observance created to remember this day, would later become Veteran's Day. 

6:00am: Pearl Harbor attack begins

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USS Arizona sinks during the Pearl Harbor attacks. U.S. Navy/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At 6:00am on the morning of December 7, 1941, without warning, Japanese naval forces began their attack on The United States Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack would prove catastrophic. More than 2,400 American servicemen were killed and the fleet suffered major damage.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it a "day which will live in infamy" when addressing the United States Congress the next day. This speech that would result in a declaration of war against Japan, and ultimately Germany, the same day, signaling the United States entry into World War II. 

7:58am: 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake starts

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Devastation left after the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. Dimas Ardian/Getty Images News

At about 7:58am, on December 26, 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck in the waters off the coast of Indonesia.  At 8:08am, without warning, a series of four enormous waves crashed ashore at heights as high as 80 feet tall.  The waves devastated everything in their path. More than 200,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

8:00am: Women Win The Right To Vote

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A facsimile of the original document which proclaimed the ratification of the nineteenth amendment to the constitution, which granted universal suffrage. Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On August 18, 1920, Tenneesee became the 36th state to ratify the Nineteeth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote. At on August 26, 1920, United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the proclamation, officially adding the amendment to the Constitution. 

Continue to Page 2: More minutes that changed history (9am-5pm) → →

 Including 9/11, the first flight, JFK and Nixon. 

9:04am: Plane hits second tower World Trade Center

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United Flight 175 strikes the South Tower. Carmen Taylor/WireImage/Getty Images

Ending any suspicion that the plot was anything other than a terrorist attack, a second plane hijacked by al Qaeda terrorist operatives stuck a second Tower at New York's World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 at 9:04am.  The day would be remembered as one of the darkest in history as 3,000 men, women and children from nations around the world lost their lives.

10:35am: First powered manned flight takes off

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First flight. Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The first flight with a manned, controlled, powered, heavier-than-air aircraft took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. At 10:35am, a biplane (the Flyer) designed by Orville and Wilbur Wright of Ohio took off and flew for 12 seconds, traveling 120 feet from takeoff, ushering in the era of modern aviation.  

11:39am: Challenger explodes after take off

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Challenger explodes after take off. MPI/Getty Images

At 11:39am on January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight, killing 7 astronauts, including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe.  The disaster would lead to wholesale changes in the American Space program, and it would be more than two years before a shuttle took flight again. 

12 noon: Nixon quits

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Presdident Nixon leaves The White House after resignation. David Hume Kennerly/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

 After the investigation into the Watergate scandal left him likely to be impeached, President Richard Nixon did what no other United States president has done before or since.  He resigned.   Effective at , he stepped down and Gerald Ford succeeded to the presidency. 

1:00pm: JFK is pronounced dead

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John F. Kennedy is struck by an assassin's bullet. Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Shot earlier that day in Dallas during a Presidential visit, President John F. Kennedy is pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital at .  The news is shared with the public at 1:30pm, with Walter Cronkites announcement of proving to be one of the most iconic moments in news history. 

2:28pm: The Lusitania is torpedoed by a German submarine and sinks

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The Lusitania in 1910. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Just over three years after the Titanic disaster, the luxury cruise liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-Boat on May 7, 1915.  The boat sank at 2:28pm, killing more than 1,100 passengers.  Germany's submarine warfare policies would ultimately draw the United States into World War I. 

3:00pm: Black Tuesday starts the Great Depression

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Wall Street on Black Tuesday. PhotoQuest/Archive Photos/Getty Images

At 3pm, closing time, on Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day ended as the worst day in history of the New York Stock Exchange. Worse yet, the day was the worst day of the 1929 stock market crash and ultimately started the Great Depression, 

4:53pm: Earthquake strikes Haiti in 2010

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Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the earthquake. Logan Abassi/MINUSTAH/Getty Images

At 4:53pm on January 12, 2010, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti.  The disaster killed 200,000-250,000 people or nearly 2% of the people who lived there. The social and economic impacts are being felt there even today. 

5:04pm: 1989 San Francisco Earthquake strikes

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Damage from the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. Garry Gay/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

At 5:04pm on October 17, 1989, the San Francisco Bay Area was shocked by a magnitude 7.1 Earthquake. The quake happened minutes before the beginning of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. It caused a partial collapse of the Bay Bridge, major damage throughout the rest of the city, and 63 deaths.  

Continue to Page 3: More minutes that changed history (6pm-11pm) → →

 Including the Berlin Wall, Beatles and bin Laden. 

6:53pm: The Berlin Wall starts to come down

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East Berliners climbing the Berlin Wall. Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On November 9, 1989, the East German government announces a new travel policy allowing East Germans to cross directly into West Germany for the first time since the Berlin Wall was built. At .  Within hours, East Germans flooded to the border checkpoints, and the Berlin Wall separated East and West Germany begins to crumble - literally.

7:25pm: Hindenberg crashes in New Jersey

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Hindenberg In flames. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At 7:25 p.m. on May 6, 1937, while the airship Hindenburg was attempting to land at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, a flame appeared on the rear of the ship. Within 35 seconds, the entire ship was consumed with fire. 35 of the 97 people on board were killed. The crash left inspiring iconic images of the ship in newsreels and photographs across the world, and ended the rigid airship as a popular mode of air transport. 

8:00pm: America Meets the Beatles

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The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. RB/Redferns/Getty Images

On February 9, 1964, just after 8pm US Eastern Time, CBS'  broadcasts the Beatles' first US television appearance.

Nearly 73 million Americans watch as John, Paul, George and Ringo perform "All My Loving," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There," and "I Want to Hold Your Hand".

9:45pm: White House shares news of bin Laden death address

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President Barack Obama walks to deliver the announcement. Pool/Getty Images News

At 9:45pm on May 1, 2011, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, sent this announcement via Twitter:

"POTUS to address the nation tonight at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time"

Little did anyone know at the time, but the announcement would be about the death of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 attacks, who had been killed in a US led raid earlier that day.

10:56pm: Man lands on the moon

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First step on the moon. Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images

After a 6 hour preparation process after landing on the moon, at 10:56 pm US Eastern Time on July 20, 1969, United States astronaut Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11, became the first person to actually set foot on it. He marked the moment with the now famous words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

11:40pm: Titanic hits the iceberg

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Titanic leaves Southampton on April 10, 1912. John Parrot/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

The luxurious and "practically unsinkable" Titanic struck an iceberg at  on April 14, 1912.  The ship would float for 2 hours before sinking around 2:20am the next day, resulting in the deaths of more than 1500 of her passengers.

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Team, About.com Social. "Hour by Hour: 24 Minutes That Changed The World." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2016, thoughtco.com/events-that-changed-the-world-3023318. Team, About.com Social. (2016, September 8). Hour by Hour: 24 Minutes That Changed The World. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/events-that-changed-the-world-3023318 Team, About.com Social. "Hour by Hour: 24 Minutes That Changed The World." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/events-that-changed-the-world-3023318 (accessed October 20, 2017).