On Feb. 21, 1848, The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with help from Friedrich Engels, was published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League.
On Feb. 21, 1916, the Battle of Verdun began with German bombardment of the city of Verdun, France. For ten months, the longest single engagement of World War II, German forces attacked the French along a 20-kilometer front crossing the Meuse River. When the battle ended, with no change in the strategic position of either army, the combined death toll was over 300,000 (out of over 700,000 casualties).
On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was gunned down by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity in New York City.
For something a tad more upbeat, on this date in 1952 the British government, under Winston Churchill, abolished identity cards in the UK to “set the people free.”