Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1944

Soviets capture Tarnopol in Poland

On this day in 1944, the Soviet Red Army occupies Tarnopol, one of the principal cities of Eastern Galicia, across the former Polish border.

Tarnopol, traditionally a part of Poland, then part of the Soviet Union, had become German-occupied territory in the great German offensive eastward in June 1941. One hundred and eighty Jews were shot in Tarnopol early in the German occupation; tens of thousands of Polish Jews would be slaughtered as German forces occupied larger swaths of the former eastern Poland. The Red Army naturally represented liberation for the Jewish survivors of German totalitarianism—although, Jews would eventually find their communist liberators to represent a totalitarianism of another stripe.

Also on this day in 1944, the U.S. plans Operation Wedlock, an invasion of the Kuril Islands of northern Japan. American and Canadian troops, aided by the Ninth Fleet and American bombers ordered to bomb the islands every day, prepare to occupy the islands long disputed between Japan and Russia.

The plan was a fiction. There was no invasion—or a Ninth Fleet. It was all a ruse to divert Japanese attention away from the Marianas Islands, the Allies’ true target. Operation Forager, the real thing, was launched on June 15, 1944, with a landing on Saipan, one of the three Marianas Islands. It was a U.S. success, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Japanese—both from combat and ritual suicide—including that of the Japanese commander, Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Lincoln dies from an assassin’s bullet

President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies from an assassin’s bullet. Shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington the night before, Lincoln lived for nine hours before succumbing to the severe head wound he sustained. Lincoln’s death ...read more

Titanic sinks

At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before. On April 10, the RMS ...read more

President Lincoln dies

At 7:22 a.m., Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies from a bullet wound inflicted the night before by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer. The president’s death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his ...read more

On this day in history in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier

On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 ...read more

Lincoln is pronounced dead

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln succumbs to a gunshot wound inflicted by an assassin the night before; he is pronounced dead at 7:22 am. An angry Confederate actor, John Wilkes Booth, shot Lincoln in the back of the head while the president, first lady Mary Todd ...read more

The Sacco-Vanzetti case draws national attention

A paymaster and a security guard are killed during a mid-afternoon armed robbery of a shoe company in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Out of this rather unremarkable crime grew one of the most famous trials in American history and a landmark case in forensic crime detection. Both ...read more

Castro visits the United States

Four months after leading a successful revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro visits the United States. The visit was marked by tensions between Castro and the American government. On January 1, 1959, Castro’s revolutionary forces overthrew the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. From ...read more