Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On this Day in History - December 11 Germany Declares War on US

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!

Dec 11, 1941: Germany declares war on the United States

On this day, Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.  

The bombing of Pearl Harbor surprised even Germany. Although Hitler had made an oral agreement with his Axis partner Japan that Germany would join a war against the United States, he was uncertain as to how the war would be engaged. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor answered that question. On December 8, Japanese Ambassador Oshima went to German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop to nail the Germans down on a formal declaration of war against America. Von Ribbentrop stalled for time; he knew that Germany was under no obligation to do this under the terms of the Tripartite Pact, which promised help if Japan was attacked, but not if Japan was the aggressor. Von Ribbentrop feared that the addition of another antagonist, the United States, would overwhelm the German war effort.  

But Hitler thought otherwise. He was convinced that the United States would soon beat him to the punch and declare war on Germany. The U.S. Navy was already attacking German U-boats, and Hitler despised Roosevelt for his repeated verbal attacks against his Nazi ideology. He also believed that Japan was much stronger than it was, that once it had defeated the United States, it would turn and help Germany defeat Russia. So at 3:30 p.m. (Berlin time) on December 11, the German charge d'affaires in Washington handed American Secretary of State Cordell Hull a copy of the declaration of war.  

That very same day, Hitler addressed the Reichstag to defend the declaration. The failure of the New Deal, argued Hitler, was the real cause of the war, as President Roosevelt, supported by plutocrats and Jews, attempted to cover up for the collapse of his economic agenda. "First he incites war, then falsifies the causes, then odiously wraps himself in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy and slowly but surely leads mankind to war," declared Hitler-and the Reichstag leaped to their feet in thunderous applause.

Dec 11, 1915: Yuan Shih-kai accepts Chinese throne 

With war raging in Europe, conflict also reigns in the Far East between two traditional enemies, Japan and an internally-divided China. On December 11, 1915, the first president of the new Chinese republic, Yuan Shih-kai, who had come to power in the wake of revolution in 1911 and the fall of the Manchu Dynasty in 1912, accepts the title of emperor of China.  

Japan had declared war on Germany in August 1914, capturing the most important German overseas naval base at Tsingtao, on China's Shantung peninsula, by amphibious assault. In January 1915, Japan's imperialist-minded foreign minister, Kato Takaaki, presented China with the so-called 21 Demands, which included the extension of direct Japanese control over more of Shantung, southern Manchuria, and eastern Inner Mongolia and the seizure of more territory, including islands in the South Pacific controlled by Germany.  

If accepted in their entirety, the 21 Demands would have essentially reduced China to a Japanese protectorate. Though Yuan, a former general and China's president since February 1912, when he succeeded Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Kuomintang (KMT) or Nationalist Peoples' party, was forced to accept all but the most radical of the demands, he attempted to use Chinese anger over them to justify his bid for restoring the monarchy and installing himself as emperor. Having already dismissed the Chinese parliament and expelled the KMT party from the government, he was now ruling through provincial military governors throughout the country. The return to monarchy was met by such strong opposition within and outside of China, including from some of those same military governors, that Yuan was quickly forced to return the country to the republican form of government. He died in 1916.

Dec 11, 1969: Soviets declare nudity a sign of "western decadence"

On this day, the secretary of the Moscow writer's union declares that nudity as displayed in the popular play "Oh! Calcutta!" is a sign of decadence in Western culture. More disturbing, he claimed, was the fact that this "bourgeois" thinking was infecting Russian youth.  

Sergei Mikhailkov, best known for writing books for children in Russia, lashed out at the Broadway show (where performers were seen in their "birthday suits"), and pornography in general. Such exhibitions were "a general striptease-that is one of the slogans of modern bourgeois art." It was unfortunate, he lamented, that even Russian youth were becoming enamored of such decadence. Mikhailkov bemoaned the fact that young people in the Soviet Union were more familiar with "the theater of the absurd and the novel without a hero and all kinds of modern bourgeois reactionary tendencies in the literature and art of the West" than with "the past and present of the literature of their fatherland." Speaking at the end of a conference of Russian intellectuals, he also heaped scorn on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose scathing writings about the Soviet police state earned him the enmity of the Russian government. Although admitting that Solzhenitsyn was a "talented writer," he found it sad that the novelist "did not want to understand his role of 'special correspondent' of so many foreign institutions and organizations."  

Beyond the unintentional humor of many of Mikhailkov's statements, his comments revealed the impact that U.S. culture-theater, literature, music, and film-was having on the Soviet Union. In the war for hearts and minds, Western "decadence" seemed to be winning the battle.

Dec 11, 1918: Alexander Solzhenitsyn is born 

On this day in 1918, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is born in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia.  

Solzhenitsyn's father, an artillery officer on the German front in World War I, died before Solzhenitsyn was born, and he was raised by his mother, a typist. He began writing as a child but studied mathematics in college because there was no suitable literature program in the town where he lived, and he and his mother were too poor to move to Moscow. However, he did take correspondence courses in literature.  

During World War II, Solzhenitsyn was assigned to an artillery unit because of his mathematics background. He was put in command of the company until 1945, when he was arrested for writing a letter that criticized Stalin. He spent eight years in prison and labor camps, after which he was exiled to Kazakhstan for three years. He taught mathematics and physics and continued writing secretly for many years, not even letting his closest friends know about his writing. He was convinced his work would never be published. However, in 1961 he finally let go of his secret, and published One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a short novel which became an instant success, followed by a collection of short stories in 1963.  

But the government then withdrew its permission to publish his work and seized his manuscripts. Solzhenitsyn began to circulate his work secretly and published several novels abroad, including The First Circle (1968), Cancer Ward (1968), and August 1914 (1971). He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970 but declined to go to Sweden to accept the award for fear he would be denied re-entry to Russia. The publication of parts of The Gulag Archipelago in Paris in 1973 led to Solzhenitsyn's arrest and exile in 1974. He moved to Vermont, where he continued to write and publish. In 1990, Solzhenitsyn's citizenship was restored, and he moved back to Russia in 1994.

Dec 11, 1872: Buffalo Bill Cody makes his first stage appearance

Already appearing as a well-known figure of the Wild West in popular dime novels, Buffalo Bill Cody makes his first stage appearance on this day, in a Chicago-based production of The Scouts of the Prairie.  

Unlike many of his imitators in Wild West shows and movies, William Frederick Cody actually played an important role in the western settlement that he later romanticized and celebrated. Born in Iowa in 1846, Cody joined the western messenger service of Majors and Russell as a rider while still in his teens. He later rode for the famous Pony Express, during which time he completed the third longest emergency ride in the brief history of that company. During the Civil War, Cody joined forces with a variety of irregular militia groups supporting the North. In 1864, he enlisted in the Union army as a private and served as a cavalry teamster until 1865.  

Cody began to earn his famous nickname in 1867, when he signed on to provide buffalo meat for the workers of the Eastern Division of the Union Pacific Railroad construction project. His reputation for skilled marksmanship and experience as a rapid-delivery messenger attracted the attention of U.S. Army Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan, who gave Cody an unusual four-year position as a scout-a testament to Cody's extraordinary frontier skills.  

Cody's work as a scout in the western Indian wars laid the foundation for his later fame. From 1868 to 1872, he fought in 16 battles with Indians, participating in a celebrated victory over the Cheyenne in 1869. One impressed general praised Cody's "extraordinarily good services as trailer and fighter... his marksmanship being very conspicuous." Later, Cody again gained national attention by serving as a hunting guide for famous Europeans and Americans eager to experience a bit of the "Wild West" before it disappeared. As luck would have it, one of Cody's customers was Edward Judson, a successful writer who penned popular dime novels under the name Ned Buntline. Impressed by his young guide's calm competence and stories of dramatic fights with Indians, Buntline made Cody the hero of a highly imaginative Wild West novel published in 1869. When a stage version of the novel debuted in Chicago as The Scouts of the Prairie, Buntline convinced Cody to abandon his real-life western adventures to play a highly exaggerated version of himself in the play.  

Once he had a taste of the performing life, Cody never looked back. Though he continued to spend time scouting or guiding hunt trips in the West, Cody remained on the Chicago stage for the next 11 years. Buffalo Bill Cody was the hero of more than 1,700 variant issues of dime novels, and his star shone even more brightly when his world-famous Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show debuted in 1883. The show was still touring when Buffalo Bill Cody died in 1917.

Dec 11, 1981: Muhammad Ali vs. Trevor Berbick

On this day in 1981, the Jamaican boxer Trevor Berbick beat former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a unanimous 10-round decision, before a crowd of 10,000 at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau, the Bahamas.  

At the age of 39, Ali (born Cassius Clay) was attempting his second comeback from retirement. Crowned as the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champ in 1964 after beating Sonny Liston, he had successfully defended the title eight times before he was convicted of draft evasion in 1967, stripped of his boxing license and title and sentenced to five years in prison. Though the conviction was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Ali was inactive for two years and announced his retirement in 1970. He returned to the ring after only a short time, however, and regained his heavyweight title in 1974 after a win against George Foreman in Zaire. After losing and regaining the crown again in 1978, Ali announced his retirement for the second time. He reemerged in October 1980 to fight a championship bout against Larry Holmes, who knocked him out in the 11th round in a one-sided battle. Ali refused to accept the result, however, and pushed to set up the fight with Berbick in the Bahamas in order to prove himself.  

Immensely popular with the fans, Ali put in his best performance in the middle of the Berbick fight, seeming to win the fifth and sixth rounds with his combinations and aggressive punches. From the seventh round on, however, control belonged to the 27-year-old Berbick, whose speed and power allowed him to inflict a series of damaging punches, batter Ali in the corner, land a punch to the head in the ninth, and get him on the ropes in the tenth. In the end, all three judges gave the match to Berbick.  

Ali retired for good after the fight, finishing his career with an overall record of 56-5 and earning a lasting reputation as one of the 20th century’s most influential sportsmen. For his part, Berbick won the WBC heavyweight title in 1986 but was beaten in his first defense by the 20-year-old Mike Tyson. Berbick continued boxing for another 14 years but was plagued by issues in his personal life, including various arrests and a conviction for sexual assault. His boxing license was revoked in 2000 after a post-fight CAT scan found a blood clot in his brain. In October 2006, Berbick was found dead, with massive wounds to the head, in a church courtyard in his native town, Norwich, near Kingston, Jamaica. His 20-year-old nephew and a friend were charged in the killing.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:

359 - Honoratus, first known Prefect of the City of Constantinople, takes office.
384 - St Damasus I dies and ends his reign as Catholic Pope. Began reign 366
1282 - Llywelyn ab Gruffydd/Llywelyn the Last (b. c.1228), the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, south Wales. Reigned from 1259
1419 - Heretic Nicolaas Serrurier exiled from Florence
1477 - Duchess Maria van Bourgondie ends Great Privilegie
1572 - Spanish troops begin siege of Haarlem
1602 - A surprise attack by forces under the command of the Duke of Savoy and his brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, is repelled by the citizens of Geneva. Commemorations/celebrations on FĂȘte de l'Escalade are usually held on December 11 or the closest weekend.
1618 - Russia & Poland signs Peace treaty of Dailino
1620 - 103 Mayflower pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock (12/21 NS)
1665 - "Messiah" Sjabtai Tswi festival in Smyrna
1688 - King James II arrested
1710 - Battle of Villa Viciosa (France beat Habsburgers)
1719 - 1st recorded display of Aurora Borealis in US (New England)
1730 - Voltaire's "Brutus," premieres in Paris
1792 - France's King Louis XVI went on trial, accused of treason
1812 - 1st newspaper on Curacao (Curacao Gazette & Commercial Advertiser)
1816 - Citizens of Geneva thwarted Savoyard invaders
1816 - Indiana becomes 19th state
1844 - 1st dental use of nitrous oxide, Hartford, Ct
French Enlightenment Philosopher VoltaireFrench Enlightenment Philosopher Voltaire 1866 - 1st yacht race across Atlantic Ocean
1872 - 1st black US gov took office, Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback (La)
1882 - Boston's Bijou Theatre, 1st American playhouse lit exclusively by electricity, 1st performance, Gilbert & Sullivan's "Iolanthe"
1882 - Victorien Sardous "Fedora," with Sarah Bernhardt, premieres in Paris
1888 - French Panama Canal company fails
1893 - 11 fishing ships wash up at Wadden Sea, 22 killed
1903 - British forces under MacDonald & Young march into Tibet
1905 - 120°F (49°C), Rivadavia, Argentina (South American record)
1905 - British government of Campbell-Bannerman forms
1905 - A workers uprising occurs, establishing the Shuliavka Republic in Kiev.
1906 - US president Roosevelt attacks abuses in the Congo
1907 - New Zealand Parliament Buildings almost completely destroyed by fire.
1908 - Frederick Delius' "In a Summer Garden," premieres
1909 - Colored moving pictures demonstrated at Madison Square Garden, NYC
1909 - Canadian Football exhibition game played in Van Cortlandt Park in Bronx, Hamilton Tigers beat Ottawa Rough Riders, 11-6 before 15,000
1913 - "Mona Lisa," stolen from Louvre Museum in 1911, recovered
1914 - Stockton Street Tunnel (SF) completed
1916 - David Lloyd George forms British war government
1917 - 13 black soldiers hanged for participation in Houston riot
1917 - German-occupied Lithuania proclaims independence from Russia
1919 - Boll weevil monument dedicated in Enterprise, Ala
1925 - Pope Pius XI publishes encyclical Quas Primas
1926 - Josephine Baker goes up in Amsterdam
1926 - Queensland win their 1st Sheffield Shield cricket match, v NSW
31st US President Herbert Hoover31st US President Herbert Hoover 1928 - Buenos Aires police thwart an attempt on Pres-elect Herbert Hoover
1928 - NL Pres John Heydler proposes designated hitter for pitchers
1930 - Bank of the United States closes in New York City
1931 - Japan leaves the Golden Standard
1931 - Brit Statute of Westminster gives complete legislative independence to Canada, Australia, NZ, South Africa, Ireland, Newfndlnd
1932 - SF's coldest day (27°F) - it snows
1934 - 1935 All-Star Game is assigned to Cleveland
1934 - 1st Toronto Maple Leaf penalty shot, Conacher unsuccessful vs Rangers
1934 - Ford C Frick becomes president of baseball's National League
1934 - NL votes to permit night baseball (up to 7 games per home team)
1936 - Edward VIII announces in a radio broadcast that he is abdicating the British throne to marry Wallis Simpson
1937 - 25th CFL Grey Cup: Toronto Argonauts defeats Winn Blue Bombers, 30-7
1937 - Italy withdraws from League of Nations
1938 - NY Giants win NFL championship
1939 - New anti Jewish measurements in Poland, proclaimed
Duchess of Windsor Wallis SimpsonDuchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson 1940 - Russian general Zhukov warns of German assault
1941 - Dutch government in London declares war on Italy
1941 - Germany & Italy declare war on US
1941 - Giants acquire Johnny Mize from Cards for 3 players & $50,000
1941 - Japanese attack Wake Island (only failed WW II-landing)
1941 - Japanese occupy Guam
1942 - Australian/Dutch guerrilla troops evacuated to Timor near Australia
1944 - Surprise attack on House of Keeping Axe, 29 prisoners freed
1945 - Het Parool publishes 1st Captain Rob-strip
1946 - Hank Williams begins to record on Sterling label
1946 - Spain suspended from UN
1946 - UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) established (Nobel 1965)
1947 - "Angel in the Wings" opens at Coronet Theater NYC for 308 performances
1947 - Bob Hilliard/Carl Sigman's musical "Angel in Wings," premieres in NYC
1947 - Pacific Coast League application for major league status rejected
1948 - WHEN (now WTVH) TV channel 5 in Syracuse, NY (CBS) begins broadcasting
1948 - WMC TV channel 5 in Memphis, TN (NBC) begins broadcasting
1949 - Chic Bear Johnny Lujack passes for 6 touchdowns vs Chic Cards (52-29)
1949 - Cleveland Browns beat SF '49ers 21-7 in final AAFC championship game
1949 - WOAI (now KMOL) TV channel 4 in San Antonio, TX (NBC) 1st broadcast
1950 - Baseball owners vote 9-7 not to renew Commissioner Chandler's contract
1950 - Hindemiths Concerto for clarinet, premieres
Baseball Player Joe DiMaggioBaseball Player Joe DiMaggio 1951 - Joe DiMaggio announces his baseball retirement
1953 - KTVA TV channel 11 in Anchorage (CBS) becomes Alaska's 1st TV station
1954 - Phillies purchase Connie Mack Stadium
1954 - USS Forrestal christened in Newport News, Va
1956 - Anti-Russian demonstrates in Stettin & Wroclaw Poland
1958 - 4th (last) Dutch government of Drees falls
1958 - Archibald MacLeish's "JB," premieres in NYC
1958 - Upper Volta (now Bourkina Faso) gains autonomy from France
1959 - Yanks trade Marv Thronberry, Don Larsen, Hank Bauer & Norm Seibern for Roger Maris, Kent Hadley & Joe Deaestri
1960 - Black Sunday - Riot in Algiers, 114 die
1960 - Coleman/Leigh's musical "Wildcat" with Lucille Ball premieres in NYC
1960 - Cleveland's Bernie Parrish sets club record for longest interception return with a 92 yard run
1961 - "Please, Mr. Postman" by Marvelettes, released
1961 - Adolf Eichmann is found guilty of war crimes, in Israel
1961 - Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii," album goes to #1 & stays #1 for 20 wks
US President John F. KennedyUS President John F. Kennedy 1961 - JFK provides US miltary helicopters & crews to South Vietnam
1964 - Che Guevara speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. An unknown terrorist fires a mortar shell at the building during the speech.
1965 - "Anya" closes at Ziegfeld Theater NYC after 16 performances
1965 - "Yearling" closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 3 performances
1966 - Al Nelson sets NFL record returning missed field goal, 100 yards
1967 - 6.5 earthquake in West India, 170 killed
1967 - Beatles' Apple Music signs its 1st group-Grapefruit
1967 - People's front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) established
1967 - SST prototype "Concorde" 1st shown (France)
1968 - KECC (now KECY) TV channel 9 in El Centro, CA (CBS) 1st broadcast
1968 - US Soccer Football Association refuses to let NASL disband
1969 - Libya adopts constitution
1970 - John Lennon releases an album that contains songs with word "fuck"
1970 - Start of the 1st Test match at the WACA, v England
1970 - Test Cricket debut of Gregory Stephen Chappell
Musician and Beatle John LennonMusician and Beatle John Lennon 1971 - The Libertarian Party of the United States is formed.
1972 - Astronauts Cernan & Harrison become 11th & 12th on Moon
1972 - Jet's Don Maynard becomes all time pro reception leader (632)
1973 - Houston Astro Caesar Cedino jailed in death of 19 year old woman
1973 - NA Soccer League awards LA, SF, Seattle & Vancouver franchises
1973 - Ron Santo becomes 1st to invoke no-trade clause of 10-year-1-club vet
1973 - West German chancellor Willy Brandt normalizes trade with Czech
1975 - 1st class postage rises from 10 cents to 13 cents
1975 - Great Yankee trade getting Willie Randolph, Dock Ellis & Ken Brett from Pirates for George "Doc" Medich
1978 - 6 masked men bound 10 employees at Lufthansa cargo area at NY Kennedy Airport & made off with $5.8 M in cash & jewelry
1979 - Geoff Boycott scores cricket century in a limited-over international
1979 - Great Britain grants independence to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
1980 - Dirk Wellham scores 100 on 1st-class debut, NSW v Victoria
1980 - The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (known as either CERCLA or Superfund) is enacted by the U.S. Congress.
1981 - Argentine president/gen Roberto Viola flees
Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad AliHeavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali 1981 - Muhammad Ali's 61st & last fight, losing to Trevor Berbick
1981 - Peru's Javier Perez de Cuellar becomes sec-gen of UN
1981 - Spacelab I arrives at Kennedy Space Center
1981 - UN Sec Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru as 5th Sec Genl
1981 - Wash Capitals biggest margin of victory (9) beating Toronto 11-2
1981 - El Mozote massacre: Salvadoran armed forces kill an estimated 900 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the country's civil war.
1983 - 1st visit to Lutheran church by a pope (John Paul II in Rome)
1983 - 72nd Australian Mens Tennis: Mats Wilander beats Ivan Lendl (61 64 64)
1983 - Jan Stephens/Fred Couples wins LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
1984 - "Doug Henning & His World..." opens at Lunt-Fontanne NYC for 60 perf
1984 - Mauretania military coup under Col Maawiya Ould Sid'ahmed Taya
1985 - Computer store owner in Sacramento California killed by package bomb
1985 - Dow Jones closes above 1,500 for 1st time (1,511.70)
1985 - General Electric acquires RCA Corp & its subsidiary, NBC
1985 - NHL Record 62 points scored, Edmonton (36) beats Chicago (26) 12-9 & ties record of 21 goals
264th Pope John Paul II264th Pope John Paul II 1986 - A Bartlett Giamatti becomes president of baseball's National League
1986 - South Africa censors press
1987 - Test debut of Carl Hooper, WI v India at Bombay
1989 - "City of Angels" opens at Virginia Theater NYC for 878 performances
1989 - Mark Davis signs record $3.25 million per year KC Royals contract
1990 - 13 die in 83 vehicle accident in Chattanooga Tn I-75, due to fog
1990 - US 69th manned space mission STS 35 (Columbia 11) returns from space
1991 - William Kennedy Smith found not guilty of rape
1992 - Nor'easter storm hits NY, doing $ Billion worth of damage
1992 - WNEW AM radio on 1130 in NYC ends transmitting after 58 years
1993 - 59th Heisman Trophy Award: Charlie Ward, Florida State (QB)
1993 - Eduardo Frei elected president of Chile
1994 - Kelly Robbins & Tammie Green wins LPGA Diner's Club Golf Matches
1994 - Russian troops pull inside Tsjetsjenie
1995 - Thomas O Hicks buys NHL Dallas Stars for $84 million
1997 - "Sunshine Boys," opens at Lyceum Theater NYC
1997 - Fed judge orders Microsoft not to bundle IE4 in Windows
1997 - The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change opens for signature.
1998 - Thai Airways Airbus A310-200 crashes near Surat Thani Airport, killing 101
2001 - The People's Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization.
2005 - The Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead is rocked by explosions, causing a huge oil fire.
2005 - Cronulla riots: Thousands of White Australians demonstrate against ethnic violence resulting in a riot against anyone thought to be Lebanese (and many who were not) in Cronulla Sydney. These are followed up by ethnic attacks on Cronulla.
Iran President Mahmoud AhmadinejadIran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 2006 - The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust is opened in Tehran, Iran by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
2007 - Two car bombs go off at the Constitutional Court building in Algiers and the United Nations office. An estimated 45 people are killed in the bombings.
2008 - Bernard Madoff arrested and charged with securities fraud in $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
2009 - Tiger Woods announced an indefinite leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage.
2010 - Two explosions occur in a busy shopping district of Stockholm, Sweden, killing one and injuring two others. Officials say the incident is being treated as a terrorist attack.
2012 - 125 people are killed and 200 are injured by bombings in Aqrab, Syria
2012 - HSBC bank settles with US authorities to pay $1.9 billion for drug cartel money laundering
2012 - British physicist, Stephen Hawking, wins the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize, the most lucrative academic prize in the world

1282 - Llywelyn (Llewelyn ap Gruffydd) was killed in Cilmeri, central Wales.   1719 - The first recorded sighting of the Aurora Borealis was in New England.   1769 - Edward Beran of London patented venetian blinds.   1792 - France's King Louis XVI went before the Convention, which had replaced the National Assembly, to face charges of treason. He was convicted and condemned and was sent to the guillotine the following January.   1816 - Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th American state.   1844 - Dr. Horace Wells became the first person to have a tooth extracted after receiving an anesthetic for the dental procedure. Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas, was the anesthetic.   1872 - Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became America's first black governor when he took office as acting governor of Louisiana.   1882 - Boston's Bijou Theater had its first performance. It was the first American playhouse lit exclusively by electricity.   1894 - The world's first motor show opened in Paris with nine exhibitors.   1928 - In Buenos Aires, police thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.   1930 - The Bank of the United States in New York failed.   1936 - Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry American Wallis Warfield Simpson. He became the Duke of Windsor.   1937 - The Fascist Council in Rome, withdrew Italy from the League of Nations.   1941 - Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. The U.S in turn declared war on the two countries.   1943 - The City Center of Music and Drama was dedicated in New York by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.   1946 - The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established by the U.N. General Assembly. The fund provides relief to children in countries devastated by war.   1951 - Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees) announced his retirement from major league baseball. DiMaggio only played for the Yankees during his 13-year career.   1961 - The first direct American military support for South Vietnam occurred when a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon.   1967 - The prototype of the Concorde was shown for the first time in Toulouse, France.   1973 - West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and Czech Prime Minister Lubomir Strougal formally nullified the 1938 Munich pact when they signed a treaty sanctioning Hitler's seizure of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.   1980 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed into law legislation creating $1.6 billion environmental "superfund" that would be used to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.   1981 - Muhammad Ali fought his last fight. He lost his 61st fight to Trevor Berbick.   1985 - The U.S. House of Representatives joined the U.S. Senate by giving final congressional approval to the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction law.   1985 - General Electric Company agreed to buy RCA Corporation for $6.3 billion. Also included in the deal was NBC Radio and Television.  1986 - The government of South Africa expanded its media restrictions by imposing prior censorship and banning coverage of a wide range of peaceful anti-apartheid protests.   1987 - Charlie Chaplin's trademark cane and bowler hat were sold at Christie's for £82,500.   1988 - 62 people were killed in a Mexico City marketplace when tons of illegal fireworks exploded.   1990 - Ivana Trump was divorced from Donald Trump after 12 years of marriage.   1991 - Salman Rushdie, under an Islamic death sentence for blasphemy, made his first public appearance since 1989 in New York, at a dinner marking the 200th anniversary of the First Amendment (which guarantees freedom of speech in the U.S.).   1994 - Thousands of Russian troops, armored columns and jets entered Chechnya. The move by Moscow was an effort to restore control the breakaway republic.   1994 - The world's largest free trade zone was created when leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations signed a free-trade declaration known as "The Miami Process."   1996 - In Crystal City, VA, "The Art of the Toy" opened. The exhibit was at the Patent and Trademark Office Museum.   1997 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams became the first political ally of the IRA to meet a British leader in 76 years. He conferred with Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.   1997 - More than 270 Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed by Juto guerillas in Mudende, Rwanda.   1997 - More than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth's "greenhouse gases."   1998 - Scientists announced that they had deciphered the entire genetic blueprint of a tiny worm.   1998 - The Mars Climate Orbiter blasted off on a nine-month journey to the Red Planet. However, the probe disappeared in September of 1999, apparently destroyed because scientists had failed to convert English measures to metric values.   1998 - Majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed through three articles of impeachment against U.S. President Clinton.   2000 - Mario Lemeiux, owner of Pittsburgh Penquins, announced that he would end his three-plus year retirement and become an active National Hockey League (NHL) player again. When Lemieux returned officially he became the first owner/player in NHL history.   2001 - U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft announced the first federal indictment directly related to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Zacarias Moussaoui was charged with six conspiracy charges. Moussaoui was in custody at the time of the attacks.   2001 - Ted Turner purchased 12,000 acres in Nebraska for Bison ranches.   2001 - It was announced that U.S. President George W. Bush would withdraw the U.S. from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.   2001 - Federal agents seized computers in 27 U.S. cities as part of "Operation Buccaneer." The raids were used to gain evidence against an international software piracy ring.

1816 Indiana became the 19th state. 1844 Nitrous oxide was used for the first time in dentistry. 1936 King Edward VIII abdicated the throne of Britain for the woman he loved, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. 1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. 1946 The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established. 1994 Russian troups invaded Chechnya in an unsuccessful attempt to restore Moscow's power in the region. 1997 Housing secretary Henry Cisneros was indicted for conspiracy, obstructing justice, and false statements to the FBI.

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