Ralph Rentner was 8 years old when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated by a Yugoslav nationalist named Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, sparking the outbreak of World War I. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este was a member of the imperial Habsburg dynasty, and from 1896 until his death the heir presumptive (Thronfolger) to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia, which in turn triggered a series of events that resulted in Austria-Hungary's allies and Serbia's declaring war on each other, starting World War I.
Ralph Rentner was 24 years old when The New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of '29 or "Black Tuesday", ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression. The New York Stock Exchange, is an American stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at US$21.3 trillion as of June 2017. The average daily trading value was approximately US$169 billion in 2013. The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of 21 rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building and the 11 Wall Street building were designated National Historic Landmarks in 1978.
Ralph Rentner was 25 years old when Great Depression: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Herbert Hoover proposes a $150 million (equivalent to $2,197,000,000 in 2017) public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world's economy can decline.
Ralph Rentner was 35 years old when World War II: Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, from German Drittes Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire. The Nazi regime ended after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.