Year
1944

Americans launch Operation Persecution in the Pacific

On this day in 1944, Allied forces land in the Hollandia area of New Guinea. The Japanese occupiers, only 15,000 in number, many of whom were on administrative duty, fight for more than three months against ludicrous odds at great cost: When the battle for the northern coast of New Guinea was finally won by the Allies, 12,811 Japanese were dead, compared with 527 Americans.

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ALSO ON THIS DAY

Germans introduce poison gas

On April 22, 1915, German forces shock Allied soldiers along the western front by firing more than 150 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French colonial divisions at Ypres, Belgium. This was the first major gas attack by the Germans, and it devastated the Allied line. Toxic ...read more

Rolls-Royce co-founder dies

Frederick Henry Royce, who with Charles Stewart Rolls founded the luxury British automaker Rolls-Royce, dies on this day in 1933 at the age of 70 in England. Royce was born on March 27, 1863, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. He grew up in a family of modest means and ...read more

The first Earth Day

Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational ...read more

Hitler admits defeat

On this day in 1945, Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse. Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s ...read more

The Oklahoma land rush begins

At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land. The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of ...read more

Sewers explode in Guadalajara

Dozens of sewer explosions in Guadalajara, Mexico, kill more than 200 people and damage 1,000 buildings on this day in 1992. The series of explosions was caused by a gas leak, the warning signs of which were ignored by the Mexican government and the national oil company. Three ...read more

Seduction is made illegal in Ohio

Ohio passes a statute that makes seduction unlawful. Covering all men over the age of 18 who worked as teachers or instructors of women, this law even prohibited men from having consensual sex with women (of any age) whom they were instructing. The penalty for disobeying this law ...read more

Union raid cuts Mississippi telegraph wires

Colonel Benjamin Grierson’s Union troops bring destruction to Central Mississippi as part of a two-week raid along the entire length of the state. This action was a diversion in General Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last remaining Confederate ...read more