This Day In History

June 26 is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 188 days remaining until the end of the year.

26 June Events

##221 – Roman Emperor Elagabalus adopts his cousin Alexander Severus as his heir and receives the title of Caesar.
##363 – Roman Emperor Julian is killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire. General Jovian is proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield.
##699 – En no Ozuno, a Japanese mystic and apothecary who will later be regarded as the founder of a folk religion Shugendō, is banished to Izu Ōshima.
##1409 – Western Schism: The Roman Catholic church is led into a double schism as Petros Philargos is crowned Pope Alexander V after the Council of Pisa, joining Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon.
##1541 – Francisco Pizarro is assassinated in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego Almagro the younger. Almagro is later caught and executed.
##1718 – Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, Peter the Great's son, mysteriously dies after being sentenced to death by his father for plotting against him.
##1723 – After a siege and bombardment by cannon, Baku surrenders to the Russians.
##1740 – A combined force Spanish, free blacks and allied Indians defeat a British garrison at the Siege of Fort Mose near St. Augustine during the War of Jenkins' Ear.
##1848 – End of the June Days Uprising in Paris.
##1857 – The first investiture of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park, London.
##1870 – The Christian holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States.
##1886 – Henri Moissan isolated elemental Fluorine for the first time.
##1889 – Bangui is founded by Albert Dolisie and Alfred Uzac in what was then the upper reaches of the French Congo.
##1906 – 1906 French Grand Prix, the first Grand Prix motor racing event held
##1907 – The 1907 Tiflis bank robbery took place in Yerevan Square, now Freedom Square, Tbilisi.
##1909 – The Science Museum in London comes into existence as an independent entity.
##1917 – The first U.S. troops arrive in France to fight alongside Britain and France against Germany in World War I.
##1918 – World War I, Western Front: Battle for Belleau Wood – Allied Forces under John J. Pershing and James Harbord defeat Imperial German Forces under Wilhelm, German Crown Prince.
##1924 – American occupying forces leave the Dominican Republic.
##1927 – The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island.
##1934 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes credit unions.
##1936 – Initial flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first practical helicopter.
##1940 – World War II: Under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union presents an ultimatum to Romania requiring it to cede Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina.
##1941 – World War II: Soviet planes bomb Kassa, Hungary (now Košice, Slovakia), giving Hungary the impetus to declare war the next day.
##1942 – The first flight of the Grumman F6F Hellcat.
##1944 – World War II: The Battle of Osuchy in Osuchy, Poland, ends with the defeat of the Polish resistance forces.
##1945 – The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco.
##1948 – The Western allies begin an airlift to Berlin after the Soviet Union blockades West Berlin.
##1948 – William Shockley files the original patent for the grown junction transistor, the first bipolar junction transistor.
##1948 – Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery is published in The New Yorker magazine.
##1952 – The Pan-Malayan Labour Party is founded in Malaya, as a union of statewise labour parties.
##1953 – Lavrentiy Beria, head of MVD, is arrested by Nikita Khrushchev and other members of the Politburo.
##1955 – The South African Congress Alliance adopts the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People in Kliptown.
##1959 – The Saint Lawrence Seaway opens, opening North America's Great Lakes to ocean-going ships.
##1960 – The former British Protectorate of British Somaliland gains its independence as Somaliland.
##1960 – Madagascar gains its independence from France.
##1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy gave his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, underlining the support of the United States for democratic West Germany shortly after Soviet-supported East Germany erected the Berlin Wall.
##1973 – At Plesetsk Cosmodrome nine people are killed in an explosion of a Cosmos 3-M rocket.
##1974 – The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley's chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio
##1975 – Two FBI agents and a member of the American Indian Movement are killed in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota; Leonard Peltier is later convicted of the murders in a controversial trial.
##1977 – The Yorkshire Ripper kills 16 year old shop assistant Jayne MacDonald in Leeds, changing public perception of the killer as she is the first victim who is not a prostitute.
##1978 – Air Canada Flight 189 to Toronto overruns the runway and crashes into the Etobicoke Creek ravine. Two of 107 passengers on board perish.
##1991 – Ten-Day War: The Yugoslav people's army begins the Ten-Day War in Slovenia.
##1995 – Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposes his father Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in a bloodless coup.
##1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Communications Decency Act violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
##2000 – President Clinton announces the completion of the first survey of the entire human genome.
##2003 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional.
##2006 – Mari Alkatiri, the first Prime Minister of East Timor, resigns after weeks of political unrest.
##2012 – The Waldo Canyon Fire descends into the Mountain Shadows neighborhood in Colorado Springs burning 347 homes in a matter of hours and killing two people.
##2013 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
##2013 – Riots in China's Xinjiang region kill at least 36 people and injuring 21 others.

Jun 26, 1541:
Conqueror of the Incas assassinated

Francisco Pizarro, the governor of Peru and conqueror of the Inca civilization, is assassinated in Lima by Spanish rivals.

The illegitimate son of a Spanish gentleman, Pizarro served under Spanish conquistador Alonso de Ojeda during his expedition to Colombia in 1510 and was with Vasco Nunez de Balboa when he discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513. Hearing legends of the great wealth of the Incas in South America, Pizarro formed an alliance with fellow conquistador Diego de Almagro in 1524 and sailed back to the Americas. Their first expedition only penetrated as far as present-day Ecuador, but their second reached farther and discovered evidence of the existence of the Inca kingdom.

Securing aid from Emperor Charles V, and a guarantee that he, not Almagro, would receive the majority of the expedition's future profits, Pizarro sailed to Peru and landed at Tumbes in 1532. He led his army up the Andes Mountains to the Inca city of Cajamarca and met with Atahualpa, the king of the Inca kingdom of Quito. After winning his trust, Pizarro captured Atahualpa, exacted a room full of gold as ransom for his life, and then treacherously had him executed. The conquest of Peru came quickly to Pizarro and his army, and in 1533 Inca resistance came to an end with their defeat at Cuzco.

Pizarro, now the governor of Peru, founded new settlements, including Lima, and granted Almagro the conquest of Chile as appeasement for claiming the riches of the Inca civilization for himself. However, Pizarro failed to provide Almagro with all the land he had promised, and Almagro responded by seizing Cuzco in 1538. Pizarro sent his half brother, Hernando, to reclaim the city, and Almagro was defeated and put to death. Three years later, on June 26, 1541, a group hired by Almagro's former adherents penetrated Pizarro's palace and slew the conquistador while he was eating dinner. Shortly after his death, Diego el Monzo, Almagro's son, proclaimed himself governor of Peru.

Jun 26, 1784:
Delaware Patriot Caesar Rodney dies

On this day in 1784, Delaware Patriot Caesar Rodney dies.

Rodney is best remembered for his overnight ride from Dover, Delaware, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to cast the deciding vote for the Declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. The image of Rodney on horseback riding for Philadelphia appears on the Delaware quarter, issued in 1999.

Rodney hailed from Kent County, one of the three lower counties of Pennsylvania that came to make up the state of Delaware on June 15, 1775, when the counties declared their independence from Britain and Pennsylvania. Rodney trained as a lawyer, but ran his family's farm from age 17 to 27, following his father's death. In 1755, he entered the political realm as sheriff of Kent County, followed by positions as register of wills, recorder of deeds, clerk of the Orphan's Court and justice of the peace.

Although most Anglican residents of Kent County were strong supporters of British "Court Party" politics, Rodney sided with the predominately Scotch-Irish Presbyterian "Country Party" politicians of New Castle County and developed a lifelong allegiance with Thomas McKean against Court Party leaders John Dickinson and George Read. It was McKean who joined Rodney in the push to create a separate state of Delaware, and McKean issued the urgent summons for Rodney to ride to Philadelphia in order to negate Read's vote against independence. Because Rodney did not represent the Loyalist inclinations rampant in Kent County, he promptly lost his seat in Congress after his vote became known to his constituency.

As the realities of war descended upon the people of Delaware following the occupation of Wilmington, they repented and not only sent Rodney back to the Continental Congress in October 1777, but also elected him as the president of Delaware the following March.

Jun 26, 1807:
Lightning strikes in Luxembourg

On this day in 1807, lightning hits a gunpowder factory in the small European country of Luxembourg, killing more than 300 people. Lightning kills approximately 73 people every year in the United States alone, but victims are almost always killed one at a time. The Luxembourg disaster may have been the most deadly lightning strike in history.

The earth experiences 8 to 9 million lightning strikes every single day. In a typical year, the United States will see about 70,000 thunderstorms somewhere in its territory. This produces approximately 20 million lightning strikes annually. A bolt of lightning can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit in instant heat. There are 100 million volts in an average lightning bolt, which can be as much as five miles long.

In 1807, Luxembourg was occupied by Napoleon's army. The French dictator used the country to stockpile weapons and ammunition. Many underground bunkers were built for this purpose. In the southern Luxembourg city of Kirchberg, a fortress built in 1732 was used as an armory.

When lightning struck the fortress on June 26, the ammunition housed within ignited on contact, causing a massive explosion. Two entire blocks were completely razed by the blast, which caused several other fires to rage nearby. The London Times later reported, This city has been plunged into the greatest consternation and distress.

Jun 26, 1844:
President John Tyler weds his second wife

Fifty-four year old widower President John Tyler marries 21-year-old Julia Gardiner on this day in 1844. It was his second marriage. At the time, Julia was the youngest first lady in history. Tyler had wooed Julia from the time she was 19, but it took a tragedy and a narrow escape from death for her to accept him.

Earlier that year, Tyler and an entourage, including wealthy New Yorker David Gardiner and his daughter Julia, had cruised the Potomac on board the new steam frigate U.S.S. Princeton. During the voyage, the Princeton fired off its new cannons in salute as it sailed past George Washington's former home at Mt. Vernon. At the time, Tyler was below deck raising a toast. The cannon exploded on its third volley, killing Julia's father and several others, including members of Tyler's cabinet. Tyler rushed up to the top deck just in time to catch Julia as she fainted at the news of her father's death. After the ship docked, Tyler whisked Julia off to safety in his arms. Thereafter, her admiration for him developed into love and, in 1844, they were married. Julia Gardiner Tyler reportedly insisted that "Hail to the Chief" be played at Tyler's entrance to every official event, thus establishing a presidential tradition. One of her constant companions was a greyhound given to her by her husband.

Tyler's first wife had been Letitia Christian, with whom he had eight children (one died in infancy). She died of a stroke in 1842. He and Julia had seven children together bringing his total to 15; Tyler holds the record for the most children sired (legitimately, at least) by a president. He was a devoted husband and doting father to his rather large brood of children from both marriages. The extended nature of his family, though, along with his penchant for overspending, left Tyler perpetually in debt. When he died of a stroke in 1862, he left Julia practically penniless. She died in 1889 in the same Richmond, Virginia, hotel room in which her husband had died 27 years earlier.

Jun 26, 1862:
Rebels strike Union at the Battle of Mechanicsville

At the Battle of Mechanicsville, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia strikes Union General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac, beginning the Seven Days' Battles. Although the Confederates sustained heavy losses and did not succeed in decisively defeating the Yankees, the battle had unnerved McClellan. During the next week, Lee drove him from the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, back to his base on the James River.

This was Lee's first battle as commander of the army. On June 1, 1862, he had replaced Joseph Johnston, who was severely wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks. McClellan's offensive had stalled just five miles from Richmond, and his army remained there until late June. During that time, General J.E.B. Stuart and his Rebel cavalry made a spectacular ride around McClellan's force, bringing back information that indicated that McClellan's right flank was "in the air," or unprotected by natural barriers. Lee informed his commanders on June 23 of his intention to attack the flank, occupied by Fitz John Porter's V corps, which was separated from the rest of the Union army by the Chickahominy River. This was a bold move–because it meant leaving a skeleton force to face the rest of McClellan's army south of the Chickahominy–and an early indication of Lee's audacious style.

But the attack did not go as planned. McClellan, alerted to the vulnerability of his flanks by Stuart's ride two weeks prior, had shored up his left, and moved Porter's men to high ground with a deep creek in front of them. Lee's plan had called for several smaller forces to overwhelm Porter's men, but it required precise timing. When the assault came, the coordination did not materialize. A major problem, among others, was General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's corps, which was slow to move into place. Jackson was just back from his brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, but he showed none of his previous vigor and speed at Mechanicsville.

Lee planned to bring about 55,000 troops against Porter, but the mistakes made by Jackson and others meant there were only about 11,000. Lee lost 1,475 men; Union losses were only 361. But Lee had stunned McClellan, who then began to fall back away from Richmond. Lee continued to hammer on McClellan for the next week, and the Yankees retreated to the James River. McClellan did not threaten Richmond again, and he eventually sailed his army back to Washington, D.C.

Jun 26, 1876:
Reno takes command of 7th Cavalry

Following Lieutenant Colonel George Custer's death the previous day in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Major Marcus Reno takes command of the surviving soldiers of the 7th Cavalry.

A West Point graduate who fought for the North during the Civil War, Marcus Reno was an experienced soldier and officer. Yet, despite having been sent west in 1868 as a major in Custer's 7th Cavalry, Reno had never actually fought any Indians prior to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

On June 25, 1876, Custer's scouts reported they had located a gigantic village of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians encamped nearby along the banks of the Little Big Horn River in southern Montana. Believing that his scouts must have grossly overestimated the size of the village, Custer immediately prepared to attack. He divided the 600 soldiers of the 7th Cavalry into four battalions, placing Reno in command of one of them. Custer and Reno led their two battalions down a small creek (later called Reno Creek) toward the Little Big Horn River. A third battalion commanded by Captain Frederick Benteen scouted the hills to the west, while the fourth stayed in the rear to protect the army's horses.

About three or four miles from the Little Big Horn, Custer and Reno spotted a group of about 50 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. Fearing that the village ahead was already fleeing, Custer ordered Reno and his battalion to give pursuit, promising "the whole outfit" would soon support him. Reno and his men quickly rode down the valley and crossed the Little Big Horn. As they charged toward the Indian village, they began to encounter growing numbers of warriors mounting a strong defense.

Uncertain of what lay ahead, Reno called a halt and ordered his men to dismount and fight on foot. Within minutes, he was under attack by a massive force of Sioux and Cheyenne braves. With no sign of the support Custer had promised, Reno decided he had no choice but to retreat and try to regain a defensible position on the high bluffs across the river. Some witnesses later said Reno panicked at this point and at least temporarily gave conflicting and confused orders. In any event, the retreat quickly became chaotic, allowing the Indians to easily pick off about one third of Reno's troops before they reached the bluffs. There, Benteen and his battalion soon joined them.

Benteen had received a dispatch from Custer downstream ordering the troops to hasten forward, but there was considerable disagreement among the officers about what to do. Their battalions had been badly hurt, and they needed time to regroup. Finally, the officers led the troops downstream toward the sound of heavy gunfire, but the presence of many wounded slowed their advance. Unbeknownst to Reno and Benteen, by this point the Indians had already wiped out Custer's battalion. The braves now rushed upstream to attack the advancing soldiers, forcing them to retreat to their entrenched positions on the bluffs.

The soldiers held off the Indians for another three hours of heavy fighting. When darkness fell, the Indians withdrew. The following day, June 26, Reno took formal command of the remnants of the 7th Cavalry, and he succeeded in fighting a holding action until the Indians decided to withdraw around noon. On June 27, fresh troops under General Terry arrived, and the soldiers began the grisly task of identifying and burying the dead.

In the postmortem of the disastrous battle, some refused to believe that the magnificent Custer could have been responsible and they blamed Reno. At Reno's request, in early 1879 the army staged a formal inquiry into the battle. After more than 26 days of testimony, a panel of three officers exonerated Reno. They ruled that he had fought desperately and bravely to keep his own battalion from being wiped out during the battle, and he could not be blamed for failing to go to Custer's aid. Some civilian critics labeled the ruling a whitewash, and Reno never managed fully to redeem himself in their eyes.

Jun 26, 1892:
Pearl Buck's birthday

Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl Buck is born in West Virginia to parents on furlough from their missionary work in China. The family soon returned to China, where Buck lived for the better part of 40 years. Her novel The Good Earth (1930), describing peasant life in China, became an international bestseller.

Young Pearl learned to speak Chinese before English. She returned to the U.S. to attend college, then married an American agriculture specialist in China. The two settled down to live in the province where she later set The Good Earth. The couple later moved to Nanking to teach college.

In 1930, Buck created a literary sensation with The Good Earth. Her novel won the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes and was translated into 30 languages. In the '30s, The Good Earth and other novels and stories by Buck were more widely read in Europe than those of any other American author. However, today few of her 80 novels and books retain as much interest as The Good Earth.

Buck created several charitable foundations for Asian-American children abroad, including an adoption agency. She spoke strongly against the internment of Japanese during World War II and wrote a letter of protest to The New York Times in 1954 that helped change immigration policy. She received many awards for her humanitarian activities. Buck died in 1973.
26 June Births

##1501 – Cho Shik, Korean poet and scholar (d. 1572)
##1575 – Anne Catherine of Brandenburg (d. 1612)
##1582 – Johannes Schultz, German composer (d. 1653)
##1681 – Hedvig Sophia of Sweden (d. 1708)
##1689 – Edward Holyoke, American clergyman and academic (d. 1769)
##1694 – Georg Brandt, Swedish chemist and mineralogist (d. 1768)
##1702 – Philip Doddridge, English educator and hymnwriter (d. 1751)
##1703 – Thomas Clap, American minister and academic (d. 1767)
##1730 – Charles Messier, French astronomer (d. 1817)
##1786 – Sunthorn Phu, Thai poet (d. 1855)
##1798 – Wolfgang Menzel, German poet and critic (d. 1873)
##1817 – Branwell Brontë, English painter and poet (d. 1848)
##1819 – Abner Doubleday, American general (d. 1893)
##1821 – Bartolomé Mitre, Argentinian politician, 6th President of Argentina (d. 1906)
##1824 – William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, Irish physicist and engineer (d. 1907)
##1835 – Thomas W. Knox, American author (d. 1896)
##1839 – Sam Watkins, American soldier and author (d. 1901)
##1854 – Robert Laird Borden, Canadian lawyer and politician, 8th Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1937)
##1865 – Bernard Berenson, American historian (d. 1959)
##1866 – George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, English banker (d. 1923)
##1869 – Martin Andersen Nexø, Danish author (d. 1954)
##1875 – Oskar Goßler, German rower (d. 1953)
##1880 – Mitchell Lewis, American film actor (d. 1956)
##1881 – Ya'akov Cohen, Israeli poet (d. 1960)
##1885 – Antonie Nedošinská, Czech actress (d. 1950)
##1892 – Pearl S. Buck, American author, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
##1893 – Dorothy Fuldheim, American journalist-commentator (d. 1989)
##1895 – George Hainsworth, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1950)
##1898 – Willy Messerschmitt, German engineer and businessman (d. 1978)
##1898 – Chesty Puller, American general (d. 1971)
##1899 – Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia (d. 1918)
##1901 – Stuart Symington, American lieutenant and politician (d. 1988)
##1902 – Hugues Cuénod, Swiss tenor (d. 2010)
##1903 – Big Bill Broonzy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1958)
##1904 – Frank Scott Hogg, Canadian astronomer (d. 1951)
##1904 – Peter Lorre, Slovak-American actor (d. 1964)
##1905 – Lynd Ward, American author and illustrator (d. 1985)
##1906 – Alberto Rabagliati, Italian singer and actor (Lecuona Cuban Boys) (d. 1974)
##1906 – Viktor Schreckengost, American industrial designer (d. 2008)
##1907 – Debs Garms, American baseball player (d. 1984)
##1908 – Salvador Allende, Chilean physician and politician, 29th President of Chile (d. 1973)
##1909 – Colonel Tom Parker, Dutch-American talent manager (d. 1997)
##1909 – Wolfgang Reitherman, German-American animator, director, and producer (d. 1985)
##1911 – Babe Didrikson Zaharias, American basketball player and golfer (d. 1956)
##1913 – Aimé Césaire, French poet, author, and politician (d. 2008)
##1913 – Maurice Wilkes, English computer scientist (d. 2010)
##1914 – Kathryn Johnston, American shooting victim (d. 2006)
##1914 – Laurie Lee, English author and poet (d. 1997)
##1915 – Paul Castellano, American mobster (d. 1985)
##1915 – Charlotte Zolotow, American author (d. 2013)
##1916 – Virginia Satir, American psychotherapist and author (d. 1988)
##1916 – Giuseppe Taddei, Italian opera singer (d. 2010)
##1919 – Richard Neustadt, American political scientist (d. 2003)
##1920 – Jean-Pierre Roy, Canadian baseball player and sportscaster
##1921 – Violette Szabo, French secret agent (d. 1945)
##1922 – Walter Farley, American author (d. 1989)
##1922 – Eleanor Parker, American actress and singer (d. 2013)
##1922 – Alan Peacock, British economist
##1923 – Franz-Paul Decker, German conductor
##1923 – Barbara Graham, American murderer (d. 1955)
##1924 – Kostas Axelos, Greek-French philosopher (d. 2010)
##1924 – Richard Bull, American actor (d. 2014)
##1925 – Pavel Belyayev, Russian pilot (d. 1970)
##1927 – Robert Kroetsch, Canadian author (d. 2011)
##1928 – Jacob Druckman, American composer (d. 1996)
##1928 – Yoshiro Nakamatsu, Japanese inventor
##1929 – Fred Bruemmer, Canadian photographer and author
##1929 – Milton Glaser, American graphic designer
##1930 – Jackie Fargo, American wrestler (d. 2013)
##1931 – Colin Wilson, English philosopher and author (d. 2013)
##1933 – Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor (d. 2014)
##1933 – Gene Green, American baseball player (d. 1981)
##1933 – David Winnick, English politician
##1934 – Kenneth Barker, British academic administrator and musician
##1934 – Dave Grusin, American pianist and composer
##1934 – Jeremy Wolfenden, English spy (d. 1965)
##1935 – Dwight York, American singer (Passion)
##1936 – Robert Maclennan, Scottish politician
##1936 – Edith Pearlman, American author
##1936 – Jean-Claude Turcotte, Canadian cardinal
##1936 – Nancy Willard, American author and poet
##1937 – Sombat Metanee, Thai actor and director
##1937 – Robert Coleman Richardson, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
##1938 – Neil Abercrombie, American politician, 7th Governor of Hawaii
##1938 – Billy Davis, Jr., American singer (The 5th Dimension)
##1938 – Margret Göbl, German figure skater (d. 2013)
##1938 – Gerald North, American educator
##1939 – Chuck Robb, American politician, 64th Governor of Virginia
##1940 – Vyacheslav Ionov, Russian canoe racer (d. 2012)
##1941 – Yves Beauchemin, Canadian author
##1941 – Hiro Narita, Japanese-American cinematographer
##1942 – J.J. Dillon, American wrestler and manager
##1942 – Gilberto Gil, Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and politician
##1943 – John Beasley, American actor
##1943 – Georgie Fame, English singer and pianist (Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings)
##1943 – Warren Farrell, American author
##1944 – Arthur Doyle, American singer-songwriter, saxophonist, and flute player (d. 2014)
##1944 – Wolfgang Weber, German footballer and manager
##1946 – Candace Pert, American neuroscientist and pharmacologist (d. 2013)
##1951 – Pamela Bellwood, American actress
##1951 – Gary Gilmour, Australian cricketer and manager (d. 2014)
##1952 – Gordon McQueen, Scottish footballer and manager
##1952 – Greg Palast, American journalist and author
##1953 – Robert Davi, American actor and singer
##1953 – Nigel Sheinwald, British diplomat
##1954 – Steve Barton, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 2001)
##1955 – Mick Jones, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite, General Public, Carbon/Silicon, and London SS)
##1955 – Dick Mol, Dutch paleontologist
##1955 – Gedde Watanabe, American actor
##1956 – Chris Isaak, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
##1956 – Patrick Mercer, British politician, Colonel and author
##1957 – Philippe Couillard, Canadian surgeon and politician, premier of Quebec
##1957 – Randy Pobst, American race car driver
##1957 – Patty Smyth, American singer-songwriter (Scandal)
##1957 – Al Ashton, English actor and script writer (d. 2007)
##1958 – Jonathan Bate, British academic
##1958 – Riho Sibul, Estonian singer and guitarist
##1959 – Mark McKinney, Canadian actor and screenwriter
##1960 – Zachary Breaux, American guitarist (d. 1997)
##1960 – Mark Durkan, Irish politician
##1961 – Greg LeMond, American cyclist
##1961 – Terri Nunn, American singer and actress (Berlin)
##1962 – Jerome Kersey, American basketball player
##1962 – George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews
##1963 – Richard Garfield, American game designer, created Magic: The Gathering
##1963 – Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russian businessman
##1963 – Mark McClellan, American politician
##1963 – Harriet Wheeler, English singer (The Sundays)
##1964 – Tommi Mäkinen, Finnish race car driver
##1966 – Dany Boon, French actor, director, and screenwriter
##1966 – Yūko Minaguchi, Japanese voice actress
##1966 – Jürgen Reil, American drummer (Kreator)
##1967 – Olivier Dahan, French director and screenwriter
##1967 – Todd Pletcher, American horse trainer
##1968 – Isshin Chiba, Japanese voice actor
##1968 – Paolo Maldini, Italian footballer
##1968 – Shannon Sharpe, American football player and sportscaster
##1969 – Colin Greenwood, English bass player and songwriter (Radiohead)
##1969 – Ingrid Lempereur, Belgian swimmer
##1969 – Mike Myers, American baseball player
##1969 – Carlo Boszhard, Dutch TV personality
##1970 – Paul Thomas Anderson, American director, producer, and screenwriter
##1970 – Irv Gotti, American record producer, co-founded The Inc. Records
##1970 – Sean Hayes, American actor, singer, and producer
##1970 – Takeshi Konomi, Japanese illustrator
##1970 – Matt Letscher, American actor and playwright
##1970 – Adam Ndlovu, Zimbabwean footballer (d. 2012)
##1970 – Chris O'Donnell, American actor
##1970 – Nick Offerman, American actor
##1971 – Max Biaggi, Italian motorcycle racer
##1971 – Emma Noble, Model and actress
##1972 – Garou, Canadian singer
##1972 – Caroline Nokes, English politician
##1972 – Asako Tajimi, Japanese volleyball player
##1972 – Jai Taurima, Australian long jumper
##1973 – Rebecca Budig, American actress
##1973 – Parry Shen, American actor
##1973 – Jussi Sydänmaa, Finnish singer-songwriter and guitarist (Lordi)
##1973 – Gretchen Wilson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
##1974 – Jason Craig, American illustrator
##1974 – Derek Jeter, American baseball player
##1974 – Jason Kendall, American baseball player
##1974 – Nicole Saba, Lebanese singer and actress (The 4 Cats)
##1974 – Kristofer Steen, Swedish guitarist (Refused and Final Exit)
##1974 – Matt Striker, American wrestler, sportscaster, and actor
##1975 – KJ-52, American rapper (Sons of Intellect and Peace of Mind)
##1975 – Chris Armstrong, Canadian ice hockey player
##1975 – Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Canadian opera singer
##1975 – Terry Skiverton, English footballer and manager
##1976 – Ed Jovanovski, Canadian ice hockey player
##1976 – Paweł Małaszyński, Polish actor
##1976 – Chad Pennington, American football player and sportscaster
##1976 – Gordon Moakes, English multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist for English indie rock band Bloc Party.
##1977 – Mark Jindrak, American wrestler
##1977 – Florian Kehrmann, German handball player
##1977 – Tite Kubo, Japanese illustrator
##1977 – Quincy Lewis, American basketball player
##1978 – Maxime Boilard, Canadian canoe racer
##1979 – Brandi Burkhardt, American actress and singer
##1979 – Ryo Fukuda, Japanese race car driver
##1979 – Walter Herrmann, Argentinian basketball player
##1979 – Ryan Tedder, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (OneRepublic)
##1980 – Sinik, French rapper
##1980 – Hamílton Hênio Ferreira Calheiros, Togolese footballer
##1980 – Jason Schwartzman, American actor, drummer, and songwriter (Phantom Planet)
##1980 – Chris Shelton, American baseball player
##1980 – Michael Vick, American football player
##1981 – Paolo Cannavaro, Italian footballer
##1981 – Andrea Gibbs, Australian actress and radio host
##1981 – Kanako Kondō, Japanese voice actress
##1981 – Damien Sargue, French singer and actor
##1981 – Takashi Toritani, Japanese baseball player
##1982 – Zuzana Kučová, Slovak tennis player
##1983 – Vinícius Rodrigues Almeida, Brazilian footballer
##1983 – Toyonoshima Daiki, Japanese sumo wrestler
##1983 – Felipe Melo, Brazilian footballer
##1983 – Antonio Rosati, Italian footballer
##1984 – José Juan Barea, Puerto Rican basketball player
##1984 – Yankuba Ceesay, Gambian footballer
##1984 – Elijah Dukes, American baseball player
##1984 – Raymond Felton, American basketball player
##1984 – Priscah Jeptoo, Kenyan runner
##1984 – Aubrey Plaza, American actress
##1984 – Gabrielle Walcott, Trinidadian model, Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2011
##1984 – Deron Williams, American basketball player
##1985 – Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Tibetan spiritual leader, 17th Karmapa Lama
##1986 – Xisco, Spanish footballer
##1987 – Carlos Iaconelli, Brazilian race car driver
##1987 – Samir Nasri, French footballer
##1988 – Amanda Marchant, English singer (Samanda)
##1988 – Sam Marchant, English singer (Samanda)
##1988 – Rina Nakanishi, Japanese model and singer (AKB48)
##1988 – Oliver Stang, German footballer
##1988 – Masakazu Tashiro, Japanese footballer
##1988 – Remy LaCroix, American pornographic actress
##1991 – Houssem Chemali, French footballer
##1991 – Diego Falcinelli, Italian footballer
##1992 – Joel Campbell, Costa Rican footballer
##1992 – Jennette McCurdy, American actress and singer
##1993 – Ariana Grande, American actress and singer
##1994 – Hollie Arnold, English javelin thrower
##1994 – Leonard Carow, German actor
##1995 – Reema Major, Sudanese-Canadian rapper
##2005 – Princess Alexia of the Netherlands

Jun 26, 1917:
First U.S. troops arrive in France

During World War I, the first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops land in France at the port of Saint Nazaire. The landing site had been kept secret because of the menace of German submarines, but by the time the Americans had lined up to take their first salute on French soil, an enthusiastic crowd had gathered to welcome them. However, the "Doughboys," as the British referred to the green American troops, were untrained, ill-equipped, and far from ready for the difficulties of fighting along the Western Front.

One of U.S. General John J. Pershing's first duties as commander of the American Expeditionary Force was to set up training camps in France and establish communication and supply networks. Four months later, on October 21, the first Americans entered combat when units from the U.S. Army's First Division were assigned to Allied trenches in the Luneville sector near Nancy, France. Each American unit was attached to a corresponding French unit. Two days later, Corporal Robert Bralet of the Sixth Artillery became the first U.S. soldier to fire a shot in the war when he discharged a French 75mm gun into a German trench a half mile away. On November 2, Corporal James Gresham and privates Thomas Enright and Merle Hay of the 16th Infantry became the first American soldiers to die when Germans raided their trenches near Bathelemont, France.

After four years of bloody stalemate along the Western Front, the entrance of America's well-supplied forces into the conflict was a major turning point in the war. When the war finally ended on November 11, 1918, more than two million American soldiers had served on the battlefields of Western Europe, and more than 50,000 of these men had lost their lives.

Jun 26, 1940:
Turkey declares nonbelligerency

On this day in 1940, Turkey announces neutrality in the widening world war.

Turkey was precariously positioned, prime real estate for both the Soviet Union to the north and the Axis Powers to the west. For the Soviets, an occupied or "satellite" Turkey could be yet another buffer zone, protection against invasion. For Germany, it was a means to an end, a bridge to conquests in the Middle East. Turkey could not afford to antagonize one or the other.

But that position would not hold. By the time the Soviet Union had reconquered Crimea from Germany in 1944, Turkey needed to be seen as an "ally" of the Russian Bear so as not to invite, unwittingly, Russian troops onto its territory. Consequently, Turkey stopped chrome shipments to Germany and—with added prodding by Winston Churchill—declared itself "pro-Allied" but still not a belligerent. But by February 1945, Turkey, anticipating Hitler's defeat, finally formally declared war on Germany.

Jun 26, 1945:
U.N. Charter signed

In the Herbst Theater auditorium in San Francisco, delegates from 50 nations sign the United Nations Charter, establishing the world body as a means of saving "succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The Charter was ratified on October 24, and the first U.N. General Assembly met in London on January 10, 1946.

Despite the failure of the League of Nations in arbitrating the conflicts that led up to World War II, the Allies as early as 1941 proposed establishing a new international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. The idea of the United Nations began to be articulated in August 1941, when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter, which proposed a set of principles for international collaboration in maintaining peace and security. Later that year, Roosevelt coined "United Nations" to describe the nations allied against the Axis powers--Germany, Italy, and Japan. The term was first officially used on January 1, 1942, when representatives of 26 Allied nations met in Washington, D.C., and signed the Declaration by the United Nations, which endorsed the Atlantic Charter and presented the united war aims of the Allies.

In October 1943, the major Allied powers--Great Britain, the United States, the USSR, and China--met in Moscow and issued the Moscow Declaration, which officially stated the need for an international organization to replace the League of Nations. That goal was reaffirmed at the Allied conference in Tehran in December 1943, and in August 1944 Great Britain, the United States, the USSR, and China met at the Dumbarton Oaks estate in Washington, D.C., to lay the groundwork for the United Nations. Over seven weeks, the delegates sketched out the form of the world body but often disagreed over issues of membership and voting. Compromise was reached by the "Big Three"--the United States, Britain, and the USSR--at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and all countries that had adhered to the 1942 Declaration by the United Nations were invited to the United Nations founding conference.

On April 25, 1945, the United Nations Conference on International Organization convened in San Francisco with 50 nations represented. Three months later, during which time Germany had surrendered, the final Charter of the United Nations was unanimously adopted by the delegates. On June 26, it was signed. The Charter, which consisted of a preamble and 19 chapters divided into 111 articles, called for the U.N. to maintain international peace and security, promote social progress and better standards of life, strengthen international law, and promote the expansion of human rights. The principal organs of the U.N., as specified in the Charter, were the Secretariat, the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Trusteeship Council.

On October 24, 1945, the U.N. Charter came into force upon its ratification by the five permanent members of the Security Council and a majority of other signatories. The first U.N. General Assembly, with 51 nations represented, opened in London on January 10, 1946. On October 24, 1949, exactly four years after the United Nations Charter went into effect, the cornerstone was laid for the present United Nations headquarters, located in New York City. Since 1945, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded more than ten times to the United Nations and its organizations or to individual U.N. officials, most recently to both the organization as a whole and Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2001.

Jun 26, 1948:
Berlin Airlift begins

In response to the Soviet blockade of land routes into West Berlin, the United States begins a massive airlift of food, water, and medicine to the citizens of the besieged city. For nearly a year, supplies from American planes sustained the over 2 million people in West Berlin.

On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked all road and rail travel to and from West Berlin, which was located within the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany. The Soviet action was in response to the refusal of American and British officials to allow Russia more say in the economic future of Germany. The U.S. government was shocked by the provocative Soviet move, and some in President Harry S. Truman's administration called for a direct military response. Truman, however, did not want to cause World War III. Instead, he ordered a massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin. On June 26, 1948, the first planes took off from bases in England and western Germany and landed in West Berlin. It was a daunting logistical task to provide food, clothing, water, medicine, and other necessities of life for the over 2 million fearful citizens of the city. For nearly a year, American planes landed around the clock. Over 200,000 planes carried in more than one-and-a-half million tons of supplies.

The Soviets persisted with the blockade until May 1949. By then, however, it was apparent to everyone concerned that the blockade had been a diplomatic fiasco for the Russians. Around the world, the Soviets were portrayed as international bullies, holding men, women, and children hostage in West Berlin and threatening them with starvation. The unbelievably successful American airlift also backfired against the Russians by highlighting the technological superiority of the United States. By the time the Soviets ended the blockade, West Germany had become a separate and independent nation and the Russian failure was complete.

Jun 26, 1956:
Congress approves Federal Highway Act

On this day in 1956, the U.S. Congress approves the Federal Highway Act, which allocates more than $30 billion for the construction of some 41,000 miles of interstate highways; it will be the largest public construction project in U.S. history to that date.

Among the pressing questions involved in passing highway legislation were where exactly the highways should be built, and how much of the cost should be carried by the federal government versus the individual states. Several competing bills went through Congress before 1956, including plans spearheaded by the retired general and engineer Lucius D. Clay; Senator Albert Gore Sr.; and Rep. George H. Fallon, who called his program the "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways," thus linking the construction of highways with the preservation of a strong national defense.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower had first realized the value of a national system of roads after participating in the U.S. Army's first transcontinental motor convoy in 1919; during World War II, he had admired Germany's autobahn network. In January 1956, Eisenhower called in his State of the Union address (as he had in 1954) for a "modern, interstate highway system." Later that month, Fallon introduced a revised version of his bill as the Federal Highway Act of 1956. It provided for a 65,000-km national system of interstate and defense highways to be built over 13 years, with the federal government paying for 90 percent, or $24.8 billion. To raise funds for the project, Congress would increase the gas tax from two to three cents per gallon and impose a series of other highway user tax changes. On June 26, 1956, the Senate approved the final version of the bill by a vote of 89 to 1; Senator Russell Long, who opposed the gas tax increase, cast the single "no" vote. That same day, the House approved the bill by a voice vote, and three days later, Eisenhower signed it into law.

Highway construction began almost immediately, employing tens of thousands of workers and billions of tons of gravel and asphalt. The system fueled a surge in the interstate trucking industry, which soon pushed aside the railroads to gain the lion's share of the domestic shipping market. Interstate highway construction also fostered the growth of roadside businesses such as restaurants (often fast-food chains), hotels and amusement parks. By the 1960s, an estimated one in seven Americans was employed directly or indirectly by the automobile industry, and America had become a nation of drivers.

Legislation has extended the Interstate Highway Revenue Act three times, and it is remembered by many historians as Eisenhower's greatest domestic achievement. On the other side of the coin, critics of the system have pointed to its less positive effects, including the loss of productive farmland and the demise of small businesses and towns in more isolated parts of the country.

Jun 26, 1957:
A serial killer preys upon a woman out for a drive

Margaret Harold is shot and killed while out for a drive with her boyfriend near Annapolis, Maryland. Her killer swerved in front of the couple's car, approached with a .38 revolver, and shot Harold in the side of the face, while her boyfriend managed to escape. Investigating police found an abandoned building nearby, filled with pornographic pictures, but its full significance would not be revealed until nearly two years later.

Early in 1959, the Jackson family was driving along a dirt road in Virginia, returning home, when they were forced to stop and abducted at gunpoint. Two months later, two men came across the bodies of Carroll Jackson and his one year-old daughter Janet, dumped in a remote area of Fredicksburg, Virginia. A short time later, Mildred Jackson and her five-year-old daughter Susan were found buried in a shallow grave, just outside the abandoned building that police had discovered when investigating Harold's murder.

Mildred had been brutally raped in the same room where the pornographic pictures had been found two years earlier. Since investigators were reasonably certain that the same killer had committed the murders, the media jumped on the story. Tips began to pour in, and although most of them were worthless, one pointed authorities towards Melvin Rees.

Rees was eventually found in West Memphis, working as a piano salesman. Margaret Harold's boyfriend picked him out of a lineup and a search of his home turned up a .38 pistol. The most damning evidence, however, was a note paperclipped to a newspaper article about Mildred Jackson in which Rees described his horrific crimes in detail.

Detectives found evidence that linked Rees to the slayings of four other young women in the Maryland area as well. Rees was tried in February 1961 for the murder of Margaret Harold and in September 1961 for the murders of the Jackson family; he was convicted of both and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1972, and he died in prison from heart failure in 1995.

Jun 26, 1959:
St. Lawrence Seaway opened

In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway is officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes. The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.

Work on the massive project was initiated by a joint U.S.-Canadian commission in 1954, and five years later, in April 1959, the icebreaker D'Iberville began the first transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Since its official opening, more than two billion tons of cargo, with an estimated worth of more than $300 billion, have moved along its canals and channels.
26 June Deaths

363 – Julian, Roman emperor (b. 332)
1541 – Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador (b. 1471)
1688 – Ralph Cudworth, English philosopher (b. 1617)
1752 – Giulio Alberoni, Spanish cardinal (b. 1664)
1757 – Maximilian Ulysses Browne, Austrian field marshal (b. 1705)
1784 – Caesar Rodney, American lawyer and politician, 4th Governor of Delaware (b. 1728)
1793 – Gilbert White, English ornithologist (b. 1720)
1795 – Johannes Jährig, German linguist (b. 1747)
1810 – Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, French inventor, co-invented the hot air balloon (b. 1740)
1830 – George IV of the United Kingdom (b. 1762)
1836 – Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, French army officer and composer (b. 1760)
1856 – Max Stirner, German philosopher (b. 1806)
1878 – Mercedes of Orléans (b. 1860)
1883 – Edward Sabine, Irish-English astronomer, geophysicist, and ornithologist (b. 1788)
1918 – Peter Rosegger, Austrian poet (b. 1843)
1922 – Albert I, Prince of Monaco (b. 1848)
1938 – Daria Pratt, American golfer (b. 1859)
1938 – James Weldon Johnson, American poet, lawyer and politician (b. 1871)
1939 – Ford Madox Ford, English author, poet, and critic (b. 1873)
1943 – Karl Landsteiner, Austrian biologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1868)
1945 – Emil Hácha, Czech lawyer and politician, 3rd President of Czechoslovakia (b. 1872)
1946 – Max Kögel, German SS officer (b. 1895)
1946 – Yōsuke Matsuoka, Japanese politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Japan (b. 1880)
1947 – Richard Bedford Bennett, Canadian politician, 11th Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1870)
1948 – Lilian Velez, Filipino actress and singer (b. 1924)
1949 – Kim Gu, Korean politician and educator, 13th President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea (b. 1876)
1955 – Engelbert Zaschka, German engineer (b. 1895)
1956 – Clifford Brown, American trumpet player and composer (b. 1930)
1956 – Richie Powell, American pianist (b. 1931)
1957 – Alfred Döblin, German doctor and author (b. 1878)
1957 – Malcolm Lowry, English poet and author (b. 1909)
1958 – George Orton, Canadian runner (b. 1873)
1958 – Andrija Štampar, Croatian physician and scholar (b. 1888)
1962 – Émile Wegelin, French rower (b. 1875)
1964 – Léo Dandurand, American-Canadian businessman (b. 1889)
1967 – Françoise Dorléac, French actress (b. 1942)
1975 – Josemaría Escrivá, Spanish priest and saint (b. 1902)
1980 – Miriam Daly, Irish activist (b. 1928)
1989 – Howard Charles Green, Canadian politician (b. 1895)
1990 – Anni Blomqvist, Finnish author (b. 1909)
1992 – Buddy Rogers, American wrestler (b. 1921)
1993 – Roy Campanella, American baseball player (b. 1921)
1993 – William H. Riker, American political scientist (b. 1920)
1994 – Jahanara Imam, Bangladeshi author and activist (b. 1929)
1996 – Veronica Guerin, Irish journalist (b. 1958)
1997 – Don Hutson, American football player (b. 1913)
1997 – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, American singer-songwriter and ukulele player (Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau) (b. 1959)
2000 – Logan Ramsey, American actor (b. 1921)
2001 – Soccer, American dog actor (b. 1988)
2002 – Jay Berwanger, American football player (b. 1914)
2002 – Arnold Brown, English-Canadian 11th General of The Salvation Army (b. 1913)
2003 – Marc-Vivien Foé, Cameroon footballer (b. 1975)
2003 – Denver Randleman, American sergeant (b. 1920)
2003 – Denis Thatcher, English soldier and businessman (b. 1915)
2003 – Strom Thurmond, American general, lawyer, and politician, 103rd Governor of South Carolina (b. 1902)
2004 – Ott Arder, Estonian poet and translator (b. 1950)
2004 – Yash Johar, Indian film producer, founded Dharma Productions (b. 1929)
2004 – Naomi Shemer, Israeli singer-songwriter (b. 1930)
2005 – Tõnno Lepmets, Estonian basketball player (b. 1938)
2005 – Richard Whiteley, English journalist and game show host (b. 1943)
2006 – Tommy Wonder, Dutch magician (b. 1953)
2007 – Liz Claiborne, Belgian-American fashion designer, founded Liz Claiborne (b. 1929)
2007 – Joey Sadler, New Zealand rugby player (b. 1914)
2010 – Algirdas Brazauskas, Lithuanian politician, 2nd President of Lithuania (b. 1932)
2010 – Harald Keres, Estonian physicist (b. 1912)
2010 – Sergio Vega, Mexican singer (b. 1969)
2012 – Sverker Åström, Swedish diplomat (b. 1915)
2012 – Daniel Batman, Australian sprinter (b. 1981)
2012 – Pat Cummings, American basketball player (b. 1956)
2012 – Ann Curtis, American swimmer (b. 1926)
2012 – Juan Dyrzka, Argentinian hurdler (b. 1941)
2012 – Nora Ephron, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1941)
2012 – Mario O'Hara, Filipino director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1944)
2012 – Doris Singleton, American actress (b. 1919)
2012 – Risley C. Triche, American lawyer and politician (b. 1927)
2013 – Hervé Boussard, French cyclist (b. 1966)
2013 – Henrik Otto Donner, Finnish trumpet player and composer (b. 1939)
2013 – Edward Huggins Johnstone, Brazilian-American judge (b. 1922)
2013 – Byron Looper, American politician (b. 1964)
2013 – Kimberly McCarthy, American murderer (b. 1961)
2013 – Justin Miller, American baseball player (b. 1977)
2013 – Nilton Pacheco, Brazilian basketball player (b. 1920)
2013 – Marc Rich, Belgian-American businessman (b. 1934)
2013 – Bert Stern, American photographer (b. 1929)
2013 – Rawleigh Warner, Jr., American businessman (b. 1921)

Jun 26, 1963:
Kennedy claims solidarity with the people of Berlin

President John F. Kennedy expresses solidarity with democratic German citizens in a speech on this day in 1963. In front of the Berlin Wall that separated the city into democratic and communist sectors, he declared to the crowd, "Ich bin ein Berliner" or "I am also a citizen of Berlin."

In his speech, Kennedy assured West Germans that free nations still stood by the people of the democratically controlled sectors of Berlin who had lived within the hostile borders of East Germany since the end of World War II. Immediately after the war, the city of Berlin was divided into West Berlin, comprised of American, British and French-administered democratic enclaves, and East Berlin, an East German communist-controlled area. In an early confrontation of the Cold War, West Berliners had endured a Soviet-imposed blockade of their part of the city between June 1948 and May 1949 that cut off their food and energy supplies. In response, the Allied Military Air Transport Service had flown food, coal and school supplies into the city in an unprecedented logistical feat known as "Operation Vittles" or the "Berlin Airlift."

At the time of Kennedy's speech to West Berliners in 1963, the city's democratic enclave remained a tiny but strategically important foothold for democracy within communist-controlled Eastern Europe.

Jun 26, 1965:
Westmoreland given authority to commit U.S. forces

Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam, is given formal authority to commit American troops to battle when he decides they are necessary "to strengthen the relative position of the GVN [Government of Vietnam] forces." This authorization permitted Westmoreland to put his forces on the offensive. Heretofore, U.S. combat forces had been restricted to protecting U.S. airbases and other facilities.

The first major offensive by U.S. forces under this new directive was launched two days later by 3,000 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in conjunction with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit. These forces assaulted a jungle area known as Viet Cong Zone D, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The operation was called off after three days when it failed to make any major contact with the enemy. One American was killed, and nine Americans and four Australians were wounded.

Jun 26, 1972:
U.S. aircraft shifted to Thailand

The shift of fighter-bomber squadrons, involving up to 150 U.S. planes and more than 2,000 pilots from Da Nang, to bases in Thailand is completed. The shift was necessitated by the pending withdrawal of the U.S. infantry brigade that provided security for flyers at Da Nang. The departure of the U.S. unit was part of President Richard Nixon's Vietnamization program that he had instituted in June 1969. Under this program, the responsibility for the war was to be gradually transferred to the South Vietnamese so U.S. forces could be withdrawn.

Jun 26, 1975:
Sonny and Cher's divorce becomes final

With a string of pop hits in the mid-1960s that began with the career-defining "I Got You Babe" (1965), Sonny and Cher Bono established themselves as the most prominent and appealing married couple in the world of popular music. Hipper than Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, and far more fun than John and Yoko, Sonny and Cher projected an image of marital harmony that a lot of people could relate to—an image not so much of perfect bliss, but of a clearly imperfect yet happy mismatch. Mr. and Mrs. Bono traded on that image professionally for a solid decade, even several years past the point that it was true. After 13 years together as a couple and six years of marriage—the last three for the cameras—Sonny and Cher were legally divorced on this day in 1975.

By the time they were divorced, Sonny and Cher were primarily known as television stars thanks to their hugely successful NBC variety show, but their romantic and professional relationships started in the Southern California music industry in the early 1960s. In 1962, Salvatore "Sonny" Bono was working as a producer, gofer and sometime percussionist for the legendary producer Phil Spector when he met Cherilyn Sarkasian in a Los Angeles coffee shop. Just 16 years old and recently dropped out of her Fresno, California, high school, Cherilyn was soon singing backup on such legendary Spector-produced hits as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (Righteous Brothers, 1964), "Da Doo Ron Ron" (The Crystals, 1963) and "Be My Baby" (Ronettes, 1963). The couple released one unsuccessful single under the name "Caesar and Cleopatra" before landing a #1 pop hit in 1965 with "I Got You Babe" under their new name, Sonny and Cher.

Ultimately, Sonny and Cher had only a few memorable hits after their first, the biggest of them being 1967's "The Beat Goes On." By 1968, in fact, Sonny and Cher were essentially finished as a viable recording act, and Sonny's efforts to establish a film career for the pair were foundering. A move to Las Vegas, where they developed a nightclub act featuring playful, between-song bickering, is what ultimately resurrected Sonny and Cher's career. By 1971, they were starring in a top-10 television program built around that act that would run off and on, in various incarnations, until 1977. Two years later, they would be living in separate homes and with new romantic partners, but it was not until two years after that that their split became public and their divorce final on June 26, 1975.

Jun 26, 1993:
Clinton punishes Iraq for plot to kill Bush

In retaliation for an Iraqi plot to assassinate former U.S. President George Bush during his April visit to Kuwait, President Bill Clinton orders U.S. warships to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in downtown Baghdad.

On April 13, 1993, the day before George Bush was scheduled to visit Kuwait and be honored for his victory in the Persian Gulf War, Kuwaiti authorities foiled a car-bomb plot to assassinate him. Fourteen suspects, most of them Iraqi nationals, were arrested, and the next day their massive car bomb was discovered in Kuwait City. Citing "compelling evidence" of the direct involvement of Iraqi intelligence in the assassination attempt, President Clinton ordered a retaliatory attack against their alleged headquarters in the Iraqi capital on June 26. Twenty-three Tomahawk missiles, each costing more than a million dollars, were fired off the USS Peterson in the Red Sea and the cruiser USS Chancellorsville in the Persian Gulf, destroying the building and, according to Iraqi accounts, killing several civilians.

Jun 26, 2012:
Nora Ephron, director of "When Harry Met Sally," dies

On this day in 2012, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nora Ephron, whose credits include "Silkwood," "When Harry Met Sally," and "You've Got Mail," dies at age 71 of complications from leukemia in New York City. Known for her sharp, witty writing style, Ephron was an accomplished writer, director and producer as well as a journalist, essayist, novelist and playwright.

Nora Louise Ephron was born in New York City on May 19, 1941, and raised in Beverly Hills, California. Her parents were Hollywood screenwriters whose credits include "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954) and "Carousel" (1956). After graduating from Wellesley College in 1962, Ephron began her career as a mail clerk at Newsweek magazine. She went on to work as a reporter for The New York Post before becoming a magazine journalist and essayist in the late 1960s.

She launched her movie career by co-writing the screenplay for "Silkwood" (1983), based on the life of whistle-blower Karen Silkwood (1946-74), who died under suspicious circumstances while investigating claims of wrongdoing at an Oklahoma plutonium plant where she had been employed. Ephron's script earned her an Oscar nomination. Her next screenplay was for "Heartburn" (1986), which she adapted from her 1983 best-selling novel of the same name. The book was a roman a clef about the acrimonious breakup of her marriage to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein. Ephron garnered her second Oscar nomination for best screenplay for the romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), the box-office hit starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.

Ephron made her big-screen directorial debut with "This Is My Life" (1992), which she also co-wrote. The film flopped at the box office; however, her second directorial effort, the romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), which she also co-wrote, was a commercial success. The film, which featured Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, earned Ephron her third Oscar nomination for best screenplay. Hanks and Ryan also starred in the romantic comedy "You've Got Mail" (1998), another box-office hit written and directed by Ephron. Her last film was "Julie & Julia" (2009), which she wrote and directed, about a blogger who makes all of chef Julia Child's recipes from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Child was portrayed by Meryl Streep, who also starred in "Silkwood" and "Heartburn."

In addition to her movies, Ephron penned such best-selling essay collections as "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman" (2006) and "I Remember Nothing" (2010). With her sister Delia Ephron she wrote the play "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" (2008). At the time of her death, which was caused by pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia, Ephron had been married for more than two decades to author and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi ("Goodfellas," "Casino").
27 June Events

1358 – Republic of Dubrovnik is founded
1497 – Cornish rebels Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank are executed at Tyburn, London, England.
1556 – The thirteen Stratford Martyrs are burned at the stake near London for their Protestant beliefs.
1743 – War of the Austrian Succession: Battle of Dettingen: On the battlefield in Bavaria, George II personally leads troops into battle. The last time that a British monarch would command troops in the field.
1759 – General James Wolfe begins the siege of Quebec.
1760 – Cherokee warriors defeat British forces at the Battle of Echoee near present-day Otto, North Carolina during the Anglo-Cherokee War.
1806 – British forces take Buenos Aires during the first British invasions of the Río de la Plata.
1844 – Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his brother Hyrum Smith, are murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail.
1895 – The inaugural run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Royal Blue from Washington, D.C., to New York, New York, the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.
1898 – The first solo circumnavigation of the globe is completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia.
1899 – A. E. J. Collins scores 628 runs not out, the highest-ever recorded score in cricket.
1905 – Battleship Potemkin uprising: sailors start a mutiny aboard the battleship Potemkin, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.
1927 – Prime Minister of Japan Tanaka Giichi leads a conference to discuss Japan's plans for China; later, a document detailing these plans, the "Tanaka Memorial" is leaked, although it is now considered a forgery.
1941 – Romanian governmental forces, allies of Nazi Germany, launch one of the most violent pogroms in Jewish history in the city of Iaşi, (Romania), resulting in the murder of at least 13,266 Jews.
1941 – German troops capture the city of Białystok during Operation Barbarossa.
1946 – In the Canadian Citizenship Act, the Parliament of Canada establishes the definition of Canadian citizenship.
1950 – The United States decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War.
1952 – Guatemala passes Decree 900, ordering the redistribution of uncultivated land.
1954 – The Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, the world's first nuclear power station opens in Obninsk, near Moscow.
1954 – The 1954 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match between Hungary and Brazil, highly anticipated to be exciting, instead turns violent, with three players ejected and further fighting continuing after the game.
1957 – Hurricane Audrey makes landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border, killing over 400 people, mainly in and around Cameron, Louisiana.
1971 – After only three years in business, rock promoter Bill Graham closes the Fillmore East in New York, New York, the "Church of Rock and Roll".
1973 – The President of Uruguay Juan María Bordaberry dissolves Parliament and establishes a dictatorship.
1974 – U.S. president Richard Nixon visits the Soviet Union.
1976 – Air France Flight 139 (Tel Aviv-Athens-Paris) is hijacked en route to Paris by the PLO and redirected to Entebbe, Uganda.
1977 – France grants independence to Djibouti.
1980 – Italian Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 mysteriously explodes in mid air while in route from Bologna to Palermo, killing all 81 on board. Also known in Italy as the Ustica disaster
1981 – The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issues its "Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China", laying the blame for the Cultural Revolution on Mao Zedong.
1982 – Space Shuttle Columbia launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the final research and development flight mission, STS-4.
1985 – U.S. Route 66 is officially removed from the United States Highway System.
1988 – Gare de Lyon rail accident In Paris a train collides with a stationary train killing 56 people.
1991 – Slovenia, after declaring independence two days before is invaded by Yugoslav troops, tanks, and aircraft starting the Ten-Day War.
2007 – Tony Blair resigns as British Prime Minister, a position he had held since 1997.
2007 – The Brazilian Military Police invades the favelas of Complexo do Alemão in an episode which is remembered as the Complexo do Alemão massacre.
2008 – In a highly scrutizined election President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe is re-elected in a landslide after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn a week earlier, citing violence against his party's supporters.
2013 – NASA launches the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, a space probe to observe the Sun.

Jun 27, 1775:
Schuyler dispatched to Ticonderoga and Crown Point

On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress resolves that Major General Philip John Schuyler should travel to Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point in order to examine the troops, their supplies and their ability to navigate Lake Champlain and Lake George, as well as "obtain the best intelligence he can of the disposition of the Canadians and Indians of Canada."

Schuyler's orders included conferring with Colonel Benedict Arnold, who had seized Ticonderoga with Ethan Allen in May, and ordering "the necessary preparation of boats and stores for securing to the United Colonies the command of those waters adjacent to Crown Point and Ticonderoga." Congress feared that Canada's governor, Sir Guy Carleton, was preparing an invasion of the rebelling colonies and urging "Indian Nations to take up the Hatchet against them." This anxiety also led Congress to instruct Schuyler to lay claim to St. Johns, Montreal and any other parts of Canada that would, in his assessment, be important to the lower colonies' security, should he find it would "not be disagreeable to the Canadians."

As Congress directed, Schuyler took command of the Northern Department of the newly created Continental Army and planned an invasion of Canada. It fell to General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold to bring Schuyler's plan for the invasion of Canada to fruition. Although Montgomery successfully took Montreal the following November, the Canadians found it highly "disagreeable" to be invaded and drove the Americans from Canada, beginning with the devastating rebuff of Arnold's attack on Quebec on December 31, during which Montgomery died and Arnold was wounded, along with half their force of 900 Patriots.

Jun 27, 1829:
Smithson's curious bequest

In Genoa, Italy, English scientist James Smithson dies after a long illness, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to "the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Smithson's curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

Smithson had been a fellow of the venerable Royal Society of London from the age of 22, publishing numerous scientific papers on mineral composition, geology, and chemistry. In 1802, he overturned popular scientific opinion by proving that zinc carbonates were true carbonate minerals, and one type of zinc carbonate was later named smithsonite in his honor.

Six years after his death, his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, indeed died without children, and on July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson's gift. President Andrew Jackson sent diplomat Richard Rush to England to negotiate for transfer of the funds, and two years later Rush set sail for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, eight shillings, and seven pence, as well as Smithson's mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000. After considering a series of recommendations, including the creation of a national university, a public library, or an astronomical observatory, Congress agreed that the bequest would support the creation of a museum, a library, and a program of research, publication, and collection in the sciences, arts, and history. On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk.

Today, the Smithsonian is composed of 19 museums including the recently announced National Museum of African American History and Culture, nine research centers throughout the United States and the world and the national zoo. Besides the original Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as the "Castle," visitors to Washington, D.C., tour the National Museum of Natural History, which houses the natural science collections, the National Zoological Park, and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Museum of American History houses the original Star-Spangled Banner and other artifacts of U.S. history. The National Air and Space Museum has the distinction of being the most visited museum in the world, exhibiting marvels of aviation and space history such as the Wright brothers' plane and Freedom 7, the space capsule that took the first American into space. John Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution's great benefactor, is interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building.

Jun 27, 1844:
Mormon leader killed by mob

Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Mormon religion, is murdered along with his brother Hyrum when an anti-Mormon mob breaks into a jail where they are being held in Carthage, Illinois.

Born in Vermont in 1805, Smith claimed in 1823 that he had been visited by a Christian angel named Moroni who spoke to him of an ancient Hebrew text that had been lost for 1,500 years. The holy text, supposedly engraved on gold plates by a Native American historian in the fourth century, related the story of Israelite peoples who had lived in America in ancient times. During the next six years, Smith dictated an English translation of this text to his wife and other scribes, and in 1830 The Book of Mormon was published. In the same year, Smith founded the Church of Christ--later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--in Fayette Township.

The religion rapidly gained converts, and Smith set up Mormon communities in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, the Christian sect was also heavily criticized for its unorthodox practices, such as polygamy. In 1844, Smith announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Although he did not have great enough appeal to win, the idea of Smith as president increased anti-Mormon sentiment. A group of dissenting Mormons began publishing a newspaper that was highly critical of the practice of polygamy and of Smith's leadership; Smith had the press destroyed. The ensuing threat of violence prompted Smith to call out a militia in the Mormon town of Nauvoo, Illinois. He was charged with treason and conspiracy by Illinois authorities and imprisoned with his brother Hyrum in the Carthage city jail. On June 27, 1844, an anti-Mormon mob stormed in and murdered the brothers.

Two years later, Smith's successor, Brigham Young, led an exodus of persecuted Mormons from Nauvoo along the western wagon trails in search of religious and political freedom. In July 1847, the 148 initial Mormon pioneers reached Utah's Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Upon viewing the valley, Young declared, "This is the place," and the pioneers began preparations for the tens of thousands of Mormon migrants who would follow them to settle there.

Jun 27, 1864:
Confederate and Union forces clash at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

On this day in 1864, Union General William T. Sherman launches a major attack on Confederate General Joseph Johnston's army at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia.

Beginning in early May, Sherman began a slow advance down the 100-mile corridor from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Atlanta, refraining from making any large-scale assaults. The campaign was marked by many smaller battles and constant skirmishes but no decisive encounters. Johnston was losing ground, but he was also buying time for the Confederates. With Sherman frustrated in Georgia, and Ulysses S. Grant unable to knock out Robert E. Lee's army in Virginia, the Union war effort was stalled, casualty rates were high, and the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln appeared unlikely.

In the days leading up to the assault at Kennesaw Mountain, Sherman tried to flank Johnston. Since one of Johnston's generals, John Bell Hood, attacked at Kolb's Farm, Georgia, and lost 1,500 precious Confederate soldiers, Sherman believed that Johnston's line was stretched thin and that an assault would break the Rebels. So he changed his tactics and planned a move against the center of the Confederate lines around Kennesaw Mountain. He feigned attacks on both of Johnston's flanks, then hurled 8,000 men at the Confederate center. It was a disaster. Entrenched Southerners bombarded the Yankees, who were attacking uphill. Three thousand Union troops fell, compared with just 500 Confederates.

The battle was only a marginal Confederate victory. Sherman remained in place for four more days, but one of the decoy attacks on the Confederate flanks did, in fact, place the Union troops in a position to cut into Johnston's rear. On July 2, Johnston had to vacate his Kennesaw Mountain lines and retreat toward Atlanta. Sherman followed, and the slow campaign lurched on into the Georgia summer.

Jun 27, 1874:
Buffalo hunters and Indians clash at Adobe Walls

Using new high-powered rifles to devastating effect, 28 buffalo hunters repulse a much larger force of attacking Indians at an old trading post in the Texas panhandle called Adobe Walls.

The Commanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne Indians living in western Texas had long resented the advancement of white settlement in their territories. In 1867, some of the Indians accepted the terms of the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, which required them to move to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) but also reserved much of the Texas Panhandle as their exclusive hunting grounds. Many white Texans, however, maintained that the treaty had ignored their legitimate claims to the area. These white buffalo hunters, who had already greatly reduced the once massive herds, continued to hunt in the territory.

By the early 1870s, Commanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne hunters were finding it harder to locate buffalo, and they blamed the illegal white buffalo hunters. When the federal government failed to take adequate measures to stop the white buffalo hunters, the great chief Quanah Parker and others began to argue for war.

In the spring 1874, a group of white merchants occupied an old trading post called Adobe Walls near the South Canadian River in the Indian's hunting territory. The merchants quickly transformed the site into a regional center for the buffalo-hide trade. Angered by this blatant violation of the treaty, Chief Quanah Parker and Lone Wolf amassed a force of about 700 Commanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne braves. On this day in 1874, the Indians attacked Adobe Walls.

Only 28 hunters and traders occupied Adobe Walls, but they had two advantages over the Indians: the thick walls of the adobe structure were impenetrable to arrows and bullets, and the occupants had a number of high-powered rifles normally used on buffalo. The hunters' .50 caliber Sharps rifles represented the latest technology in long-range, rapid firing weaponry. Already skilled marksmen, the buffalo hunters used the rifles to deadly effect, decimating the warriors before they came close enough even to return effective fire. On the second day of the siege, one hunter reportedly hit an Indian warrior at a distance of eight-tenths of a mile.

Despite their overwhelmingly superior numbers, after three days the Indians concluded that Adobe Walls could not be taken and withdrew. The defenders had lost only four men in the attack, and they later estimated that the Indians had lost 13. Enraged by their defeat, several Indian bands subsequently took their revenge on poorly defended targets. Fearful settlers demanded military protection, leading to the outbreak of the Red River War. By the time the war ended in 1875, the Commanche and Kiowa had been badly beaten and Indian resistance on the Southern Plains had effectively collapsed.

Jun 27, 1914:
Colonel House meets with British foreign secretary in London

On June 27, 1914, Colonel Edward House, close adviser to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, meets with Foreign Secretary Edward Grey of Britain, over lunch in London.

The meeting, part of a diplomatic tour of Europe that House made during the early summer of 1914, took place several weeks after House's arrival in London, the previous June 9, after visiting Berlin, Germany, and Paris, France. The purpose of House's trip was to persuade Germany and Britain to join with the United States in a diplomatic alliance in order to preserve peace, not only in Europe but in the world. House had long believed that, due to the mass amount of military and naval might the great powers of Europe had accumulated, they, along with America, could work together to prevent major wars. On his trip to Europe, he sought an agreement between Britain and Germany to limit the size of their respective navies and cease the naval build-up that had been occurring over the past decade, in order to preserve the tenuous balance of power and avoid major conflict between the two great power blocs that had lined up in Europe by 1914: France, Russia and Great Britain on one side, and Germany, Austria-Hungary and a tentative Italy on the other.

In Berlin, House had achieved his primary goal of the visit, a private audience with Kaiser Wilhelm II, which he was granted on June 1. As House recorded in his diary, the two men discussed "the European situation as it affected the Anglo-Saxon race." The kaiser was of the opinion that Britain, Germany and the U.S.—as the best representatives of Christian civilization—were natural allies against the semi-barbarous Latin and Slavic nations (including France and Russia), but that all the Europeans should ally in defense of Western civilization "as against the Oriental races." House worked to persuade Wilhelm that Britain would not seek to ally itself with Russia if Germany would cease the challenge to its naval power. Both men agreed that American moderation—from House, for example, or from Wilson himself—might aid in bringing the great European powers together.

House left Germany after promising the kaiser to attempt to secure Britain's agreement to an American initiative. From Paris on June 3, he wrote to President Wilson that "both England and Germany have one feeling in common and that is fear of one another." If the two nations could get together and work to solve their misunderstandings, House believed, future war in Europe could be averted.

The meeting with Grey on June 27 was arranged by Walter Hines Page, the U.S. ambassador to Britain. House and Grey discussed at length the tense political situation in Europe: France's desire to take revenge on Germany for taking their territories of Alsace and Lorraine in 1871; Britain's need to maintain good relations with Russia; and Germany's aggressive naval program. House in turn warned Grey of "the militant war spirit in Germany and of the high tension of the people" that he had witnessed during his recent visit, and expressed his opinion that "the kaiser himself and most of his immediate advisors did not want war because they wished Germany to expand commercially and grow in wealth, but the army was military and aggressive and ready for war at any time." Nonetheless, the two men both agreed, by the end of the meeting, that "Neither England, Germany, Russia, nor France desire war."

Less than 24 hours later, however, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were killed by bullets fired at point-blank range by a 19-year-old Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, during an official visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia. Vienna, like the rest of the world, blamed their upstart nemesis in the Balkans, Serbia, for the crime, and entreated Germany to stand behind it in the case of war with Serbia and its powerful ally, Russia. A stunned and outraged Kaiser Wilhelm gave this assurance, and by the end of July, Europe was at war.

Jun 27, 1921:
Four-time thief escapes Baumes law

Marcley pleads guilty to attempted larceny of a motorcycle in New York. Since this was his first offense, he received a suspended sentence, which, after the establishment of Baumes law five years later, saved him from later serving a life sentence.

In 1922, Marcley stole a couple of chickens from a chicken house and then some auto parts from a local store. For this, he was given a three-year sentence to Sing Sing state prison in Ossining, New York. Shortly after his release, Marcley was caught stealing a car--his fourth felony.

In 1926, New York passed the Baumes law, which stated that criminals must automatically be sentenced to life imprisonment on their fourth felony conviction. An early precursor to California's Three Strikes law, New York's Baumes law removed all sentencing discretion from the trial judge.

In 1930, when New York's Court of Appeals took up Marcley's case, a loophole allowed him to escape the harsh penalty: the majority concurred that his 1921 suspended sentence did not count as a conviction and Marcley was released.
27 June Births

1040 – Ladislaus I of Hungary (d. 1095)
1350 – Manuel II Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor (d. 1425)
1462 – Louis XII of France (d. 1515)
1550 – Charles IX of France (d. 1574)
1696 – William Pepperrell, American merchant and soldier (d. 1759)
1717 – Louis Guillaume Le Monnier, French botanist (d. 1799)
1805 – Napoléon Coste, French guitarist and composer (d. 1883)
1817 – Louise von François, German author (d. 1893)
1838 – Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Indian journalist, author, and poet (d. 1894)
1838 – Paul Mauser, German weapon designer, designed the Gewehr 98 (d. 1914)
1846 – Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish politician (d. 1891)
1850 – Jørgen Pedersen Gram, Danish mathematician (d. 1919)
1850 – Lafcadio Hearn, Greek author (d. 1904)
1862 – May Irwin, Canadian-American actress and singer (d. 1938)
1865 – John Monash, Australian engineer and general (d. 1931)
1869 – Kate Carew, American caricaturist and journalist (d. 1961)
1869 – Emma Goldman, Lithuanian-American activist (d. 1940)
1869 – Hans Spemann, German embryologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1941)
1872 – Paul Laurence Dunbar, American author, poet, and playwright (d. 1906)
1880 – Natalia Brasova, Russian wife of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia (d. 1952)
1880 – Helen Keller, American author and activist (d. 1968)
1882 – Eduard Spranger, German philosopher and educator (d. 1963)
1884 – Gaston Bachelard, French philosopher and poet (d. 1962)
1885 – Guilhermina Suggia, Portuguese cellist (d. 1950)
1886 – Charlie Macartney, Australian cricketer (d. 1958)
1888 – Lewis Bernstein Namier, Polish-English historian (d. 1960)
1888 – Antoinette Perry, American actress and director (d. 1946)
1892 – Paul Colin, French illustrator (d. 1985)
1899 – Juan Trippe, American businessman, founded Pan American World Airways (d. 1981)
1905 – Armand Mondou, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1976)
1906 – Catherine Cookson, English author (d. 1998)
1906 – Vernon Watkins, Welsh poet (d. 1967)
1907 – John McIntire, American actor (d. 1991)
1908 – João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian author (d. 1967)
1909 – Billy Curtis, American film and television actor (d. 1988)
1913 – Elton Britt, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1972)
1913 – Willie Mosconi, American pool player (d. 1993)
1914 – Robert Aickman, English author (d. 1981)
1914 – Giorgio Almirante, Italian journalist and politician (d. 1988)
1915 – Grace Lee Boggs, American author and activist
1921 – Muriel Pavlow, English actress
1923 – Jacques Berthier, French composer (d. 1994)
1923 – Beth Chatto, British horticulturalist
1923 – Elmo Hope, American pianist (d. 1967)
1924 – Rosalie Allen, American singer (d. 2003)
1924 – Bob Appleyard, English cricketer
1925 – Claire Bonenfant, Canadian politician (d. 1996)
1925 – Leonard Lerman, American geneticist (d. 2012)
1925 – Doc Pomus, American singer-songwriter (d. 1991)
1926 – Don Raleigh, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2012)
1927 – Bob Keeshan, American actor and producer (d. 2004)
1928 – James Lincoln Collier, American journalist and author
1928 – Rudy Perpich, American politician, 34th Governor of Minnesota (d. 1995)
1929 – Dick the Bruiser, American football player and wrestler (d. 1991)
1929 – Peter Maas, American journalist and author (d. 2001)
1930 – Tommy Kono, Japanese-American weightlifter
1930 – Ross Perot, American businessman and politician
1931 – Charles Bronfman, Canadian businessman and philanthropist
1931 – Martinus J. G. Veltman, Dutch physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
1932 – Eddie Kasko, American baseball player and manager
1932 – Anna Moffo, American soprano and actress (d. 2006)
1932 – Magali Noël, French actress and singer
1932 – Hugh Wood, English composer
1935 – Laurent Terzieff, French actor (d. 2010)
1935 – Ramon Zamora, Filipino actor and director (d. 2007)
1936 – Lucille Clifton, American author and poet (d. 2010)
1937 – Joseph P. Allen, American physicist and astronaut
1937 – Otto Herrigel, Namibian lawyer and politician (d. 2013)
1937 – Kirkpatrick Sale, American author
1938 – Bruce Babbitt, American politician, 47th United States Secretary of the Interior
1938 – Kathryn Beaumont, English voice actress and singer
1938 – Tommy Cannon, English comedian, actor, and author
1938 – Shirley Anne Field, English actress
1938 – David Hope, Scottish judge
1938 – Konrad Kujau, German illustrator (d. 2000)
1939 – R.D. Burman, Indian composer (d. 1994)
1939 – Ivan Doig, American author
1940 – Ian Lang, British politician
1941 – Bill Baxley, American politician, 24th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
1941 – Ian Black, Scottish swimmer
1941 – James P. Hogan, English author (d. 2010)
1941 – Krzysztof Kieślowski, Polish director and screenwriter (d. 1996)
1941 – Avi Lerner, Israeli-American film producer
1942 – Bruce Johnston, American singer-songwriter and producer (The Beach Boys and Bruce & Terry)
1942 – Frank Mills, Canadian pianist and composer
1942 – Jérôme Savary, Argentinian-French actor and director (d. 2013)
1943 – Kjersti Døvigen, Norwegian-English actress
1943 – Rico Petrocelli, American baseball player, manager, and sportscaster
1943 – (David) Duncan Robinson, British academic
1944 – Angela King, British environmental campaigner
1944 – Patrick Sercu, Belgian cyclist
1945 – Joey Covington, American drummer (Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna) (d. 2013)
1945 – Norma Kamali, American fashion designer
1948 – Camile Baudoin, American guitarist (The Radiators)
1949 – Vera Wang, American figure skater and fashion designer
1950 – Peter J. Schmitt, American politician (d. 2012)
1951 – Anita Diamant, American author
1951 – Julia Duffy, American actress
1951 – Mary McAleese, Irish politician, 8th President of Ireland
1952 – Madan Kumar Bhandari, Nepalese politician (d. 1993)
1953 – Igor Gräzin, Estonian politician
1953 – Alice McDermott, American author
1954 – Richard Ibbotson, British Royal Navy officer
1955 – Isabelle Adjani, French actress and singer
1955 – Brad Diller, American illustrator
1956 – Heiner Dopp, German field hockey player
1956 – Brad Childress, American football player and coach
1956 – Scott Cunningham, American author (d. 1993)
1956 – Ted Haggard, American pastor
1957 – John Bolaris, American meteorologist
1958 – Lisa Germano, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (OP8 and Eels)
1958 – Brian Helicopter, English bass player (The Shapes, HellsBelles, and Rogue Male)
1958 – Magnus Lindberg, Finnish pianist and composer
1958 – Jeffrey Lee Pierce, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Gun Club) (d. 1996)
1959 – Dan Jurgens, American author and illustrator
1959 – Lorrie Morgan, American singer
1960 – David Cholmondeley, English film maker and peer
1960 – Craig Hodges, American basketball player and coach
1960 – Robert King, British conductor
1961 – Meera Syal, English actress, singer, and producer
1962 – Michael Ball, English actor and singer
1962 – Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Hong Kong actor and singer
1962 – Sunanda Pushkar, Indian-Canadian businesswoman (d. 2014)
1963 – Wendy Alexander, Scottish politician
1963 – Johnny Benson, Jr., American race car driver
1963 – Jay Karnes, American actor
1963 – Igor Kusin, Croatian linguist and author
1963 – Paul Roos, Australian footballer and coach
1964 – Stephan Brenninkmeijer, Dutch director, producer, and screenwriter
1964 – Chuck Person, American basketball player and coach
1965 – Simon Sebag Montefiore, British historian and writer
1966 – J. J. Abrams, American director, producer, and screenwriter
1966 – Jörg Bergen, German footballer and manager
1967 – Sylvie Fréchette, Canadian swimmer
1967 – Jeff Conine, American baseball player
1968 – Kelly Ayotte, American politician
1968 – Pascale Bussières, Canadian actress
1969 – Viktor Petrenko, Ukrainian figure skater
1969 – Draco Rosa, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and composer
1970 – Ahmed Ahmed, Egyptian-American actor and comedian
1970 – Régine Cavagnoud, French skier
1970 – John Eales, Australian rugby player
1970 – Jim Edmonds, American baseball player and sportscaster
1971 – Yancey Arias, American actor and producer
1971 – Jo Frost, English nanny, television host, and author
1971 – Kieren Keke, Nauruan doctor and politician
1972 – Dawud Wharnsby, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
1973 – George Hincapie, American cyclist
1974 – Christian Kane, American singer-songwriter and actor
1974 – Christopher O'Neill, British-American businessman and the husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden
1975 – Ace Darling, American wrestler
1975 – Bianca Del Rio, American drag queen performer
1975 – Sarah Evanetz, Canadian swimmer
1975 – Tobey Maguire, American actor and producer
1975 – Daryle Ward, American baseball player
1976 – Johnny Estrada, American baseball player
1976 – Leigh Nash, American singer-songwriter (Sixpence None the Richer)
1977 – Raúl, Spanish footballer
1977 – Arkadiusz Radomski, Polish footballer
1978 – Lolly, English singer and actress
1978 – Courtney Ford, American actress
1979 – Kim Gyu-ri, South Korean actress
1979 – Benjamin Speed, Australian singer-songwriter and producer
1979 – John Warne, American bass player (Relient K and Ace Troubleshooter)
1980 – Jennifer Goodridge, American keyboard player (Your Enemies Friends)
1980 – Kevin Pietersen, South African-English cricketer
1980 – Craig Terrill, American football player
1980 – Hugo Campagnaro, Argentine footballer
1981 – John Driscoll, American actor
1981 – Andrew Embley, Australian footballer
1983 – Alsou, Russian singer-songwriter, pianist, and actress
1983 – Jim Johnson, American baseball player
1983 – Dale Steyn, South African cricketer
1983 – Evan Taubenfeld, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
1984 – Rocío Guirao Díaz, Argentinian model
1984 – José Holebas, German-Greek footballer
1984 – Martin Hurt, Estonian footballer
1984 – Gökhan Inler, Swiss footballer
1984 – Khloé Kardashian, American businesswoman, model, and radio host
1984 – D. J. King, Canadian ice hockey player
1984 – Emma Lahana, New Zealand actress
1984 – Julie Ordon, Swiss model and actress
1985 – James Hook, Welsh rugby player
1985 – Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russian tennis player
1985 – Nico Rosberg, German race car driver
1986 – Drake Bell, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
1986 – Evgeniya Belyakova, Russian basketball player
1986 – Sam Claflin, English actor
1986 – Antoine Dodson, American singer
1986 – LaShawn Merritt, American sprinter
1986 – Sean Plott, American gamer
1987 – India de Beaufort, English actress and singer
1987 – Ed Westwick, English actor
1988 – Stefani Bismpikou, Greek gymnast
1988 – Matthew Spiranovic, Australian footballer
1988 – Colin Tilley, American director
1988 – Kate Ziegler, American swimmer
1989 – Hana Birnerová, Czech tennis player
1989 – Matthew Lewis, English actor
1989 – Bruna Tenório, Brazilian model
1990 – Aselin Debison, Canadian singer
1990 – Campbell Gillies, Scottish jockey (d. 2012)
1990 – Taylor Phinney, American cyclist
1991 – Madylin Sweeten, American actress
1992 – Sohee, South Korean singer, dancer, and actress (Wonder Girls)
1994 – Anita Husarić, Bosnian tennis player
1996 – Tanay Chheda, Indian actor and author
1999 – Chandler Riggs, American actor

Jun 27, 1922:
First Newbery Medal for children's literature

On this day in 1922, the American Library Association (ALA) awards the first Newbery Medal, honoring the year's best children's book, to The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon. The idea for an award honoring outstanding contributions to children's literature came from Frederic G. Melcher, a former bookseller who in 1918 became an editor of Publisher's Weekly. Over his long career, Melcher often looked for ways to encourage reading, especially among children. In 1919, he co-founded Children's Book Week with Franklin K. Mathiews, librarian of the Boy Scouts organization. Two years later, Melcher suggested the creation of a children's book award at a June 1921 meeting of the Children's Librarians' Section of the ALA. He proposed that it should be named for John Newbery, the 18th-century English bookseller and author who was considered the father or ''inventor'' of children's literature.

The group of children's librarians loved the idea, and Melcher's proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board the following year. The official purpose of the Newbery Medal, as agreed by Melcher and the board, was to encourage originality and excellence in the field of children's books, to let the public know that children's literature deserved the same recognition as poetry, plays or novels for adults, and finally ''to give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.'' Van Loon's The Story of Mankind, a history of the world written especially for children, was the first book to receive the bronze Newbery Medal.

In 1937, Melcher and the ALA began giving another annual award, the Caldecott Medal, for the best children's picture book. Together, the Newbery and Caldecott awards are the top honors for children's literature in America. In addition to the medal-winning books, the award committees also cite a few other books each year as worthy of attention, which are today called Newbery or Caldecott Honor Books.

Jun 27, 1939:
“Frankly, My Dear…”

On this day in 1939, one of the most famous scenes in movie history is filmed--Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara parting in Gone with the Wind. Director Victor Fleming also shot the scene using the alternate line, "Frankly, my dear, I just don't care," in case the film censors objected to the word "damn." The censors approved the movie but fined producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for including the curse.

The filming of the famous epic was itself an epic, with two and half years elapsing between Selznick's purchase of the rights to Margaret Mitchell's novel and the movie's debut in Atlanta in December 1939. Selznick had balked at paying an unprecedented $50,000 for the rights to a first novel, but Mitchell stuck to her asking price and Selznick agreed in July 1937. He hired director George Cukor immediately, and casting began in the fall. Selznick launched a nationwide talent search, hoping to find a new actress to play Scarlett. Meanwhile, he set writers to work on the script.

A year later, Selznick still hadn't found an actress or received a satisfactory script. In May 1938, running low on funds, Selznick struck a deal with MGM. He sold the worldwide distribution rights for the film to the studio for $1.5 million, and MGM agreed to lend Clark Gable to Selznick.

Filming finally began on December 10, 1938, with the burning of Atlanta scene, although Scarlett still hadn't been cast. British actress Vivien Leigh, newly arrived from London, dropped by the set to visit her agent, Myron Selznick, brother of the producer. David O. Selznick asked her to test for Scarlett. In January, Leigh signed on as Scarlett and Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, and at last, principal filming began. By February, however, there was trouble on the set. Gable clashed with the director, and by February 14, Victor Fleming replaced George Cukor. Principal filming ended on June 27, 1939.

The film debuted in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, and became an instant hit, breaking all box office records. The film was nominated for more than a dozen Oscars, and won nine, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress (which went to Hattie McDaniel, the first African American actress to win the award). The movie was digitally restored and the sound re-mastered for its 1998 re-release by New Line Pictures.

Jun 27, 1940:
Germans get Enigma

On this day in 1940, the Germans set up two-way radio communication in their newly occupied French territory, employing their most sophisticated coding machine, Enigma, to transmit information.

The Germans set up radio stations in Brest and the port town of Cherbourg. Signals would be transmitted to German bombers so as to direct them to targets in Britain. The Enigma coding machine, invented in 1919 by Hugo Koch, a Dutchman, looked like a typewriter and was originally employed for business purposes. The German army adapted the machine for wartime use and considered its encoding system unbreakable. They were wrong. The Brits had broken the code as early as the German invasion of Poland and had intercepted virtually every message sent through the system. Britain nicknamed the intercepted messages Ultra.

Jun 27, 1944:
U.S. troops liberate Cherbourg, France

On this day in 1944, the Allies capture the fortified town and port of Cherbourg, in northwest France, freeing it from German occupation. Hitler had for all intents and purposes anticipated his own defeat when, in contrast with the analysis of his advisers, he accurately predicted that the D-Day invasion would be focused on Normandy. He knew the Allies needed to take a large port-and Cherbourg fit the bill. (The Brits had actually handpicked Cherbourg as the target for a "Cross-Channel" landing back in 1942.) Once the Allies actually landed on Normandy beaches June 6, the fall of Cherbourg was only a matter of time.

Jun 27, 1950:
U.N. approves armed force to repel North Korea

Just two days after communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea, the United Nations Security Council approves a resolution put forward by the United States calling for armed force to repel the North Korean invaders. The action provided the pretext for U.S. intervention in the conflict and was the first time the Security Council had ever approved the use of military force.

On June 25, 1950, communist North Korea invaded South Korea. Although some U.S. military personnel were in South Korea, the North Korean forces made rapid headway. Almost immediately, the U.N. Security Council issued a resolution calling for a cease-fire and an end to North Korean aggression. North Korea dismissed the resolution as "illegal." On June 27, Warren Austin, the U.S. representative on the Security Council, proposed a resolution. It noted that North Korea had ignored the earlier cease-fire resolution and that South Korea was pleading for assistance. Therefore, the resolution asked that "the members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area." The resolution passed by a vote of 7 to 1. Yugoslavia was the only dissenting vote; Egypt and India abstained. The Soviet Union, as a permanent member of the Security Council, could have easily vetoed the resolution, but the Russian representative was boycotting Security Council meetings until the communist People's Republic of China was admitted to the United Nations.

The Security Council vote meant that any member nation could now come to the assistance of South Korea, though it left unstated how the efforts of various nations might be coordinated. For the United States, the resolution was all that was needed to provide a foundation for American military intervention. Just three days after the resolution was passed, President Harry S. Truman dispatched land, sea, and air forces to beat back the North Korean attack. That action led to three years of U.S. involvement in the Korean War and over 50,000 U.S. servicemen were killed in the conflict. An armistice signed in July 1953 left Korea a divided nation.

Jun 27, 1950:
Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea

On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea. The United States was undertaking the major military operation, he explained, to enforce a United Nations resolution calling for an end to hostilities, and to stem the spread of communism in Asia. In addition to ordering U.S. forces to Korea, Truman also deployed the U.S. 7th Fleet to Formosa (Taiwan) to guard against invasion by communist China and ordered an acceleration of military aid to French forces fighting communist guerrillas in Vietnam.

At the Yalta Conference towards the end of World War II, the United States, the USSR, and Great Britain agreed to divide Korea into two separate occupation zones. The country was split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces occupying the northern zone and Americans stationed in the south. In 1947, the United States and Great Britain called for free elections throughout Korea, but the Soviets refused to comply. In May 1948 the Korean Democratic People's Republic--a communist state--was proclaimed in North Korea. In August, the democratic Republic of Korea was established in South Korea. By 1949, both the United States and the USSR had withdrawn the majority of their troops from the Korean Peninsula.

At dawn on June 25, 1950 (June 24 in the United States and Europe), 90,000 communist troops of the North Korean People's Army invaded South Korea across the 38th parallel, catching the Republic of Korea's forces completely off guard and throwing them into a hasty southern retreat. On the afternoon of June 25, the U.N. Security Council met in an emergency session and approved a U.S. resolution calling for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" and the withdrawal of North Korean forces to the 38th parallel. At the time, the USSR was boycotting the Security Council over the U.N.'s refusal to admit the People's Republic of China and so missed its chance to veto this and other crucial U.N. resolutions.

On June 27, President Truman announced to the nation and the world that America would intervene in the Korean conflict in order to prevent the conquest of an independent nation by communism. Truman was suggesting that the USSR was behind the North Korean invasion, and in fact the Soviets had given tacit approval to the invasion, which was carried out with Soviet-made tanks and weapons. Despite the fear that U.S. intervention in Korea might lead to open warfare between the United States and Russia after years of "cold war," Truman's decision was met with overwhelming approval from Congress and the U.S. public. Truman did not ask for a declaration of war, but Congress voted to extend the draft and authorized Truman to call up reservists.

On June 28, the Security Council met again and in the continued absence of the Soviet Union passed a U.S. resolution approving the use of force against North Korea. On June 30, Truman agreed to send U.S. ground forces to Korea, and on July 7 the Security Council recommended that all U.N. forces sent to Korea be put under U.S. command. The next day, General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of all U.N. forces in Korea.

In the opening months of the war, the U.S.-led U.N. forces rapidly advanced against the North Koreans, but Chinese communist troops entered the fray in October, throwing the Allies into a hasty retreat. In April 1951, Truman relieved MacArthur of his command after he publicly threatened to bomb China in defiance of Truman's stated war policy. Truman feared that an escalation of fighting with China would draw the Soviet Union into the Korean War.

By May 1951, the communists were pushed back to the 38th parallel, and the battle line remained in that vicinity for the remainder of the war. On July 27, 1953, after two years of negotiation, an armistice was signed, ending the war and reestablishing the 1945 division of Korea that still exists today. Approximately 150,000 troops from South Korea, the United States, and participating U.N. nations were killed in the Korean War, and as many as one million South Korean civilians perished. An estimated 800,000 communist soldiers were killed, and more than 200,000 North Korean civilians died.

The original figure of American troops lost--54,246 killed--became controversial when the Pentagon acknowledged in 2000 that all U.S. troops killed around the world during the period of the Korean War were incorporated into that number. For example, any American soldier killed in a car accident anywhere in the world from June 1950 to July 1953 was considered a casualty of the Korean War. If these deaths are subtracted from the 54,000 total, leaving just the Americans who died (from whatever cause) in the Korean theater of operations, the total U.S. dead in the Korean War numbers 36,516.

Jun 27, 1953:
Alice McDermott's birthday

National Book Award winner Alice McDermott is born this day in Brooklyn to first-generation Irish-Catholic parents in 1953.

McDermott's Irish-Catholic upbringing on Long Island became the subject of much of her writing. She went to college at the State University of New York at Oswego, then worked in publishing for a year, unsuccessfully trying to rid herself of the writing bug. She went to graduate school at the University of New Hampshire and soon began publishing short stories in women's magazines. Her first novel, A Bigamist's Daughter, came out in 1982. Her second, That Night (1987), was nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

McDermott and her husband, a neuroscientist, have three children and lived in San Diego and Pittsburgh before settling in Bethesda. She taught at Johns Hopkins University while continuing to write novels, including At Weddings and Wakes (1992) and Charming Billy (1998), which beat out the favorite, Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, for the National Book Award. Her 2006 novel After This was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Jun 27, 1963:
JFK visits Ireland

John F. Kennedy, an Irish-American and the first Catholic to become president of the United States, arrives in Ireland for a visit on this day in 1963.

Kennedy was proud of his Irish roots and made a special visit to his ancestral home in Dunganstown, County Wexford, while in the country. There, he was greeted by a crowd waving both American and Irish flags and was serenaded by a boys choir that sang "The Boys of Wexford." According to the BBC report that day, Kennedy broke away from his bodyguards and joined the choir for the second chorus, prompting misty-eyed reactions from both observers and the press.

Kennedy met with 15 members of his extended Irish family at the Kennedy homestead in Dunganstown. There he enjoyed a cup of tea and some cake and made a toast to "all those Kennedys who went and all those Kennedys who stayed." His great-grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald had left Ireland for the United States in the middle of the Great Famine of 1848 and settled in Boston, becoming a cooper. Generations of his descendants went on to make their mark on American politics.

JFK's father, Joseph Kennedy, was a successful businessman who was highly influential in state and national politics. He served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission from 1933 to 1935 and as ambassador to England from 1938 to 1940. John F. Kennedy served as president from 1961 to 1963, before being assassinated. Robert F. Kennedy, John's brother, served as attorney general during his administration and ran for president in 1968 before he too was assassinated. Another of Joseph's sons, former Massachusetts Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, also ran for president in 1979. The Kennedy political tradition continued with a fourth (American-born) generation including, but unlikely to be limited to, U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), Massachusetts Representative Joseph Kennedy II and Maryland state legislator Mark Kennedy Shriver.

At the time of JFK's visit to Ireland, the predominantly Catholic Irish Republic had been an independent nation for 41 years. The northern counties of the island, however, remained part of the largely Protestant British Empire and still suffered from long-standing sectarian violence. The next day, in Dublin, Kennedy spoke before the Irish parliament, where he openly condemned Britain's history of persecuting Irish Catholics. Two days later, he traveled to England, America's oldest ally, to meet with British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan and his cabinet to discuss setting up a pro-democratic regime in British Guyana.

Jun 27, 1963:
Kennedy appoints Lodge as ambassador

President John F. Kennedy appoints Henry Cabot Lodge, his former Republican political opponent, to succeed Frederick E. Nolting as ambassador to Vietnam. The appointing of Lodge and the recall of Nolting signaled a change in U.S. policy in South Vietnam. Lodge was a firm believer in the "domino theory," and when he became convinced that the United States could not defeat the communists in Vietnam with President Ngo Dinh Diem in office, he became very critical of Diem's regime in his dispatches back to Washington. Diem was ultimately removed from office and assassinated during a coup by opposition South Vietnamese generals that began on November 1, 1963. On orders from the Kennedy administration, Lodge had conveyed to the coup plotters that the United States would not thwart any proposed coup. Lodge served in Saigon until June 1964, when he resigned his ambassadorial post to pursue the Republican presidential nomination. Ultimately, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona secured the nomination and was defeated by Johnson in the general election. Lodge returned to Saigon in 1965 for another two-year stint as ambassador.
27 June Deaths

1162 – Odo II, Duke of Burgundy (b. 1118)
1458 – Alfonso V of Aragon (b. 1396)
1574 – Giorgio Vasari, Italian painter, architect, and historian (b. 1511)
1603 – Jan Dymitr Solikowski, Polish archbishop (b. 1539)
1627 – John Hayward, English historian (b. 1564)
1636 – Date Masamune, Japanese strongman (b. 1567)
1655 – Eleonore Gonzaga, Roman wife of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1598)
1672 – Roger Twysden, English historian and politician (b. 1597)
1720 – Guillaume Amfrye de Chaulieu, French poet (b. 1639)
1773 – Mentewab, Ethiopian wife of Bakaffa (b. 1706)
1794 – Wenzel Anton, Prince of Kaunitz-Rietberg (b. 1711)
1794 – Anne d'Arpajon, French noblewoman (b. 1729)
1794 – Philippe de Noailles, French soldier (b. 1715)
1825 – Domenico Vantini, Italian painter (b. 1765)
1827 – Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, German theologian (b. 1754)
1829 – James Smithson, English chemist and mineralogist (b. 1765)
1831 – Sophie Germain, French mathematician and physicist (b. 1776)
1839 – Ranjit Singh, Maharaja of Sikh (b. 1780)
1844 – Hyrum Smith, American religious leader (b. 1800)
1844 – Joseph Smith, American religious leader, founded the Latter Day Saint movement (b. 1805)
1878 – Sidney Breese, U.S. senator from Illinois known as the "father of the Illinois Central Railroad" (b. 1800)
1896 – John Berryman, British soldier, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1825)
1905 – Harold Mahony, Irish tennis player (b. 1867)
1907 – Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, American educator, co-founder of Radcliffe College (b. 1822)
1912 – George Bonnor, Australian cricketer (b. 1855)
1917 – Karl Allmenröder, German pilot (b. 1896)
1919 – Peter Sturholdt, American boxer (b. 1885)
1920 – Adolphe-Basile Routhier, Canadian lawyer and judge (b. 1839)
1934 – Francesco Buhagiar, Maltese politician, 2nd Prime Minister of Malta (b. 1876)
1935 – Eugene Augustin Lauste, French-American inventor (b. 1857)
1944 – Milan Hodža, Czech politician, 10th Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia (b. 1878)
1944 – Alf West, English footballer (b. 1881)
1946 – Wanda Gág, American author and illustrator (b. 1893)
1949 – Frank Smythe, English botanist and mountaineer (b. 1900)
1952 – Max Dehn, German mathematician (b. 1878)
1957 – Hermann Buhl, Austrian mountaineer (b. 1924)
1958 – Ragna Wettergreen, Norwegian actress (b. 1864)
1960 – Lottie Dod, English tennis player (b. 1871)
1962 – Paul Viiding, Estonian poet (b. 1904)
1967 – Jaan Lattik, Estonian politician and writer (b. 1878)
1970 – Daniel Kinsey, American hurdler (b. 1902)
1986 – George Nepia, New Zealand rugby player (b. 1905)
1987 – Billy Snedden, Australian politician (b. 1926)
1989 – A. J. Ayer, English philosopher (b. 1910)
1991 – Klaas Bruinsma, Dutch drug lord (b. 1953)
1991 – Milton Subotsky, American-English screenwriter and producer (b. 1921)
1994 – Tai Solarin, Nigerian educator and activist (b. 1922)
1996 – Albert R. Broccoli, American film producer (b. 1909)
1998 – Gilles Rocheleau, Canadian politician (b. 1935)
1999 – Georgios Papadopoulos, Greek colonel and politician, 169th Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1919)
2000 – Molly Bish, American murder victim (b. 1983)
2000 – Pierre Pflimlin, French politician, Prime Minister of France (b. 1907)
2001 – Tove Jansson, Finnish author (b. 1914)
2001 – Jack Lemmon, American actor and singer (b. 1925)
2002 – John Entwistle, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (The Who) (b. 1944)
2002 – Robert L. J. Long, American admiral (b. 1920)
2003 – David Newman, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1937)
2004 – George Patton IV, American general (b. 1923)
2004 – Darrell Russell, American race car driver (b. 1968)
2005 – Shelby Foote, American historian and author (b. 1917)
2005 – Frank Harte, Irish singer (b. 1933)
2005 – Domino Harvey, English bounty hunter (b. 1969)
2005 – Ray Holmes, English lieutenant and pilot (b. 1914)
2005 – John T. Walton, American businessman, co-founded the Children's Scholarship Fund (b. 1946)
2006 – Ángel Maturino Reséndiz, Mexican serial killer (b. 1959)
2007 – Patrick Allotey, Ghanaian footballer (b. 1979)
2007 – William Hutt, Canadian actor (b. 1920)
2007 – Dragutin Tadijanović, Croatian poet (b. 1905)
2008 – Sam Manekshaw, Indian field marshal (b. 1914)
2008 – Michael Turner, American illustrator (b. 1971)
2009 – Fayette Pinkney, American singer (The Three Degrees) (b. 1948)
2009 – Gale Storm, American actress and singer (b. 1922)
2011 – Mike Doyle, English footballer (b. 1946)
2012 – Stan Cox, English runner (b. 1918)
2012 – Rosemary Dobson, Australian poet and illustrator (b. 1920)
2012 – Jesse Glover, American martial artist (b. 1924)
2012 – Don Grady, American actor and composer (b. 1944)
2012 – Jerónimo Tomás Abreu Herrera, Dominican bishop (b. 1930)
2012 – Iurie Miterev, Moldovan footballer (b. 1975)
2012 – Konstantinos Triaridis, Greek politician (b. 1937)
2013 – Stefano Borgonovo, Italian footballer (b. 1964)
2013 – Dudley Knight, American actor and educator (b. 1939)
2013 – Alain Mimoun, French runner (b. 1921)
2013 – Bill Robertson, American politician (b. 1938)

Jun 27, 1968:
Elvis Presley tapes his famous TV "comeback special"

There was quite a bit more than just 12 years and a few extra pounds separating the Elvis Presley of 1968 from the Elvis that set the world on fire in 1956. With a nearly decade-long string of forgettable movies and inconsistent recordings behind him, Elvis had drifted so far from his glorious, youthful incarnation that he'd turned himself into a historical artifact without any help from the Beatles, Bob Dylan or the Stones. And then something amazing happened: A television special for NBC that Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker envisioned as an Andy Williams-like sequence of Christmas carol performances instead became a thrilling turning point in Elvis's legendary career. Elvis began taping his legendary "Comeback Special" on this day in 1968.

Much of the credit for the Comeback Special goes to the young director NBC turned to on the project. Only 26 years old but with a strong background in televised music, Steve Binder had the skills and creativity to put together a more interesting program than the one originally planned, but he'd also had the youthful confidence to tell Elvis that a successful show was an absolute necessity if he wanted to regain his relevance. "Basically, I told him I thought his career was in the toilet," Binder recalled in an interview almost four decades later. From the beginning, Elvis embraced almost every suggestion Binder made, including what would turn out to be the best one, which came after Binder watched Elvis jamming with his friends and fellow musicians in his dressing room one night after rehearsals. "Wait a minute, this is history," Binder recalls thinking. "I want to film this." Binder sold Elvis on the idea that would become the most memorable segment of the show: an informal, "unplugged" session before a live audience.

Elvis went to Hawaii with his wife, Priscilla, and their infant daughter, Lisa Marie, in the weeks leading up to the taping, and when he returned, he was tanned, rested and thinner than he'd been at any time since leaving the Army. "He was totally keyed up now, on edge in a way he had rarely been since abandoning live performing a decade before," writes Peter Guralnick in Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, the second volume of his Elvis biography. "His professionalism continued to be noted by the entire crew...but there was something else now, too. For the first time in a long time he didn't bother to hide the fact that he really cared."

When Elvis took to the stage on this night in 1968 to record the "jam session" portion of the Comeback Special, he did so only after Binder talked him out of a last-minute case of stage fright. After a nervous start, Elvis Presley gave the legendary performance that would reinvigorate his flagging career.

Jun 27, 1968:
U.S. forces begin to evacuate Khe Sanh

The U.S. command in Saigon confirms that U.S. forces have begun to evacuate the military base at Khe Sanh, 14 miles below the Demilitarized Zone and six miles from the Laotian border. The command statement attributed the pullback to a change in the military situation. To cope with increased North Vietnamese infiltration and activity in the area, Allied forces were adopting a more "mobile posture," thus making retention of the outpost at Khe Sanh unnecessary. The new western anchor of the U.S. base system in the northern region would be located 10 miles east of Khe Sanh.

The siege of Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive had been one of the most publicized battles of the war because of the similarities it shared with the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, in which the communist Viet Minh forces had decisively defeated the French and forced them from the war. Many in the American media had portrayed the battle for Khe Sanh as potentially "another Dien Bien Phu."

The battle began on January 22 with a brisk firefight involving the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines and a North Vietnamese battalion entrenched between two hills northwest of the base. An incessant barrage kept Khe Sanh's Marine defenders--which included three battalions from the 26th Marines, elements of the 9th Marine Regiment, and the South Vietnamese 37th Ranger Battalion--pinned down in their trenches and bunkers. During the 66-day siege, U.S. planes, dropping 5,000 bombs daily, exploded the equivalent of five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs in the area. The relief of Khe Sanh, called Operation Pegasus, began in early April as the 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) and a South Vietnamese battalion approached the base from the east and south, while the Marines pushed westward to re-open Route 9.

The siege was finally lifted on April 6, when the cavalrymen linked up with the 9th Marines south of the Khe Sanh airstrip. In a final clash a week later, the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines drove enemy forces from Hill 881 North. Gen. William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, contended that Khe Sanh played a vital blocking role at the western end of the Demilitarized Zone, and asserted that if the base had fallen, North Vietnamese forces could have outflanked Marine defenses along the buffer zone. Various statements in the North Vietnamese Communist Party newspaper suggested that Hanoi saw the battle as an opportunity to re-enact its famous victory at Dien Bien Phu.

There was much controversy over the battle at Khe Sanh, as both sides claimed victory. The North Vietnamese, although they failed to take the base, claimed that they had tied down a lot of U.S. combat assets that could have been used elsewhere in South Vietnam. This is true, but the North Vietnamese failed to achieve the decisive victory at Khe Sanh that they had won against the French at Dien Bien Phu. For their part, the Americans claimed victory because they had held the base against the North Vietnamese onslaught. It was a costly battle for both sides. The official casualty count for the Battle of Khe Sanh was 205 Marines killed in action and over 1,600 wounded (this figure did not include the American and South Vietnamese soldiers killed in other battles in the region). The U.S. military headquarters in Saigon estimated that the North Vietnamese lost between 10,000 and 15,000 men in the fighting at Khe Sanh.

Jun 27, 1976:
Ebola breaks out in Sudan

A factory storekeeper in the Nzara township of Sudan becomes ill on this day in 1976. Five days later, he dies, and the world's first recorded Ebola virus epidemic begins making its way through the area. By the time the epidemic is over, 284 cases are reported, with about half of the victims dying from the disease.

Symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever generally begin about four to 15 days after a person is infected with the virus. The average victim will first notice flu-like symptoms, such as a high fever, aching and general weakness. Usually this is followed by diarrhea, vomiting and the eruption of rashes all over the body. Then the person may begin bleeding from any and all body orifices and internal organ damage begins. Within seven to 10 days, exhaustion, dehydration and shock set in.

After the storekeeper in Nzara died, a second man in town died on July 6. His brother became sick soon after, but managed to recover. The brother's co-worker went to the hospital on July 12 with symptoms and was dead two days later; the co-worker's wife died five days after that. A week later a male neighbor died. Eventually, another 48 infections and 27 deaths were traced back to the neighbor.

Given this pattern of infection and the fact that hospital workers also started to develop symptoms, doctors realized that transmission of the virus required only close contact. At Maridi Hospital in southern Sudan, 33 of the 61 nurses ended up dead from Ebola fever.

The World Health Organization finally arrived in October and helped to contain the epidemic. Once it became clear that isolating the victims would stop the spread, the epidemic ended almost as quickly as it had appeared. There have been a handful of other Ebola outbreaks in the years since 1976. Scientists still do not know what causes the disease to return or how to cure it.

Jun 27, 1985:
Route 66 decertified

After 59 years, the iconic Route 66 enters the realm of history on this day in 1985, when the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials decertifies the road and votes to remove all its highway signs.

Measuring some 2,200 miles in its heyday, Route 66 stretched from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, passing through eight states. According to a New York Times article about its decertification, most of Route 66 followed a path through the wilderness forged in 1857 by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Edward Beale at the head of a caravan of camels. Over the years, wagon trains and cattlemen eventually made way for trucks and passenger automobiles.

The idea of building a highway along this route surfaced in Oklahoma in the mid-1920s as a way to link the state to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. Highway Commissioner Cyrus S. Avery touted it as a way of diverting traffic from Kansas City, Missouri and Denver. In 1926, the highway earned its official designation as Route 66. The diagonal course of Route 66 linked hundreds of mostly rural communities to the cities along its route, allowing farmers to more easily transport grain and other types of produce for distribution. The highway was also a lifeline for the long-distance trucking industry, which by 1930 was competing with the railroad for dominance in the shipping market.

Route 66 was the scene of a mass westward migration during the 1930s, when more than 200,000 people traveled from the poverty-stricken Dust Bowl to California. John Steinbeck immortalized the highway, which he called the "Mother Road," in his classic 1939 novel "The Grapes of Wrath."

Beginning in the 1950s, the building of a massive system of interstate highways made older roads increasingly obsolete, and by 1970, modern four-lane highways had bypassed nearly all sections of Route 66. In October 1984, Interstate-40 bypassed the last original stretch of Route 66 at Williams, Arizona, and the following year the road was decertified. According to the National Historic Route 66 Federation, drivers can still use 85 percent of the road, and Route 66 has become a destination for tourists from all over the world.

Often called the "Main Street of America," Route 66 became a pop culture mainstay over the years, inspiring its own song (written in 1947 by Bobby Troup, "Route 66" was later recorded by artists as varied as Nat "King" Cole, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones) as well as a 1960s television series. More recently, the historic highway was featured prominently in the hit animated film "Cars" (2006).

Jun 27, 1988:
Tyson knocks out Spinks

On June 27, 1988, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson knocks out challenger Michael Spinks 91 seconds into the first round. The decisive victory left the boxing world wondering if anyone could beat "Iron Mike" Tyson.

Mike Tyson was born on June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York. He had a troubled childhood in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood, an area known for its poverty and high crime. As a child he often skipped school, spending his time on Brownsville’s streets engaging in petty crimes. Tyson responded violently to his peers’ teasing about his high, lisping voice, which led to several stints in juvenile detention centers. He was eventually sent to a reform school near Catskill, New York, where he was discovered by legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato. D’Amato became a father figure to "Iron" Mike and a stabilizing force in his life: He took the young fighter into his home and dedicated himself to Tyson’s training. D’Amato helped Tyson to focus his aggression and develop the discipline to become a champion.

Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 15 of those coming in the first round. It was during this run that D’Amato died, in November 1985, at the age of 77. D’Amato’s associate Kevin Rooney took over as Tyson’s trainer, and one year later, Tyson beat Trevor Berbick for the WBC heavyweight championship in his first title shot. On March 7, 1987, Mike Tyson defeated James "Bonecrusher" Smith to unify the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles. Already the youngest-ever heavyweight champion, Tyson became the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion in boxing history.

Over the course of the next year, Tyson defeated four other opponents to retain his title and, in 1988, knocked out Larry Holmes, the only knockout of Holmes’ 76 fights as a pro. After Holmes, Michael Spinks was considered the only boxer with a chance against Tyson. Spinks had won Olympic gold in 1976 as a middleweight, beat Mustafa Muhammad for the light heavyweight championship in 1981 and later became the undisputed light heavyweight champ with a 1983 victory over Dwight Braxton. By 1985, he was struggling to find light heavyweight challengers, so he moved up a class to fight heavyweight Larry Holmes. Spinks outmaneuvered the bigger but older Holmes on his way to a 15-round decision and the IBF heavyweight belt on September 21, 1985. In the rematch a year later, Spinks won again.

To beat Tyson, Michael Spinks knew he had to dodge and weave to avoid the young champ’s punishing blows. Tyson, meanwhile, planned to charge straight ahead and hurt his shifty challenger early. Tyson’s trainer, Kevin Rooney, said before the fight that he had bet his cut and Iron Mike’s purse on a first-round knockout. When the bell rang, Tyson charged forward, as expected. Spinks could not escape him, and he was battered by right hands until he decided to slug it out. After being hit with a right to the head, Spinks took a left hook to the jaw and was dropped to his knees. He took three counts from the referee, stood up, waited through the mandatory eight count and then was knocked unconscious by another left hook, this one followed by a right hand that landed Spinks flat on his back. Spinks was knocked out 91 seconds into the biggest payday and worst beating of his career.

The fight was the peak of Tyson’s dominance, the apex of a promising career that turned sour, then tragic and eventually almost comic. Michael Spinks never fought again.
28 June Events

1098 – Fighters of the First Crusade defeat Kerbogha of Mosull.
1360 – Muhammed VI becomes the tenth Nasrid king of Granada after killing his brother-in-law Ismail II.
1389 – Battle of Kosovo between Serbian and Turkish armies.
1461 – Edward IV is crowned King of England.
1519 – Charles V is elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
1635 – Guadeloupe becomes a French colony.
1651 – The Battle of Beresteczko between Poland and Ukraine starts.
1709 – Peter the Great defeats Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava.
1745 – War of the Austrian Succession: A New England colonial army captures Louisbourg, New France, after a forty-seven-day siege (New Style).
1776 – The Battle of Sullivan's Island ends with the first decisive American victory in the American Revolutionary War leading to the commemoration of Carolina Day.
1776 – Thomas Hickey, Continental Army private and bodyguard to General George Washington, is hanged for mutiny and sedition.
1778 – The American Continentals engage the British in the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse resulting in standstill and British withdrawal under cover of darkness.
1807 – Second British invasion of the Río de la Plata; John Whitelock lands at Ensenada on an attempt to recapture Buenos Aires and is defeated by the locals.
1838 – Coronation of Victoria of the United Kingdom.
1841 – The Paris Opera Ballet premieres Giselle in the Salle Le Peletier
1859 – The first conformation dog show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
1865 – The Army of the Potomac is disbanded.
1880 – The Australian bushranger Ned Kelly is captured at Glenrowan.
1881 – Secret treaty between Austria and Serbia.
1882 – The Anglo-French Convention of 1882 marks the territorial boundaries between Guinea and Sierra Leone.
1894 – Labor Day becomes an official US holiday.
1895 – El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua form the Greater Republic of Central America.
1895 – Court of Private Land Claims rules James Reavis' claim to Barony of Arizona is "wholly fictitious and fraudulent."
1896 – An explosion in the Newton Coal Company's Twin Shaft Mine in Pittston City, Pennsylvania results in a massive cave-in that kills 58 miners.
1902 – The U.S. Congress passes the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.
1904 – The SS Norge runs aground and sinks
1914 – Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo by Bosnia Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip, the casus belli of World War I.
1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end in between Germany and the Allies of World War I.
1921 – Serbian King Alexander I proclaimed the new constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, known thereafter as the Vidovdan Constitution.
1922 – The Irish Civil War begins with the shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin by Free State forces.
1926 – Mercedes-Benz is formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging their two companies.
1936 – The Japanese puppet state of Mengjiang is formed in northern China.
1940 – Romania cedes Bessarabia (current-day Moldova) to the Soviet Union.
1942 – World War II: Nazi Germany started its strategic summer offensive against the Soviet Union, codenamed Case Blue
1945 – Poland's Soviet-allied Provisional Government of National Unity is formed over a month after V-E Day.
1948 – The Cominform circulates the "Resolution on the situation in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia"; Yugoslavia is expelled from the Communist bloc.
1948 – Boxer Dick Turpin beats Vince Hawkins at Villa Park in Birmingham to become the first black British boxing champion in the modern era.
1950 – Korean War: Seoul is captured by North Korean troops.
1950 – Korean War: Suspected communist sympathizers, argued to be between 100,000 and 200,000 are executed in the Bodo League massacre.
1950 – Korean War: Packed with its own refugees fleeing Seoul and leaving their 5th Division stranded, South Korean forces blow up the Hangang Bridge to in attempt to slow North Korea's offensive.
1950 – Korean War: North Korean Army conducted Seoul National University Hospital Massacre.
1956 – in Poznań, workers from HCP factory went to the streets, sparking one of the first major protests against communist government both in Poland and Europe.
1964 – Malcolm X forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
1967 – Israel annexes East Jerusalem.
1969 – Stonewall Riots begin in New York City, marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.
1973 – Elections are held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which will lead to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.
1976 – The Angolan court sentences US and UK mercenaries to death sentences and prison terms in the Luanda Trial.
1978 – The United States Supreme Court, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke bars quota systems in college admissions.
1981 – A powerful bomb explodes in Tehran, killing 73 officials of Islamic Republic Party.
1983 – Partial collapse of Connecticut's busy I-95 Mianus River Bridge, killing three.
1987 – For the first time in military history, a civilian population is targeted for chemical attack when Iraqi warplanes bombed the Iranian town of Sardasht.
1989 – On the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, Slobodan Milošević delivers the Gazimestan speech at the site of the historic battle.
1992 – The Constitution of Estonia is signed into law.
1994 – Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult release sarin gas in Matsumoto, Japan; Seven people are killed, 660 injured.
1996 – The Constitution of Ukraine is signed into law.
1997 – Holyfield–Tyson II: Mike Tyson is disqualified in the 3rd round for biting a piece off Evander Holyfield's ear.
2001 – Slobodan Milošević is deported to ICTY to stand trial.
2004 – Sovereign power is handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of that nation.
2009 – Honduran president Manuel Zelaya is ousted by a local military coup following a failed request to hold a referendum to rewrite the Honduran Constitution. This was the start of the 2009 Honduran political crisis.

Jun 28, 1519:
Charles elected Holy Roman emperor

Charles I of Spain, who by birth already held sway over much of Europe and Spanish America, is elected the successor of his late grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Charles, who was also the grandson of Ferdinand II and Isabella of Spain, had bribed the princes of Germany to vote for him, defeating such formidable candidates as King Henry VIII of England, King Francis I of France, and Frederick the Wise, the duke of Saxony.

Crowned as Emperor Charles V, the new Holy Roman emperor sought to unite the many kingdoms under his rule in the hope of creating a vast, universal empire. However, his hopes were thwarted by the Protestant Reformation in Germany, a lifelong dynastic struggle with King Francis, and the advance of the Ottoman Turks into Europe. In 1558, after nearly four decades as Holy Roman emperor, Charles abdicated the throne in favor of his brother, Ferdinand. He had already granted much of the other European territory under his rule to his son Philip.

Jun 28, 1836:
Former President James Madison dies

On this day in 1836, James Madison, drafter of the Constitution, recorder of the Constitutional Convention, author of the "Federalist Papers" and fourth president of the United States, dies on his tobacco plantation in Virginia.

Madison first distinguished himself as a student at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he successfully completed a four-year course of study in two years and, in 1769, helped found the American Whig Society, the second literary and debate society at Princeton (and the world), to rival the previously established Cliosophic Society.

Madison returned to Virginia with intellectual accolades but poor health in 1771. By 1776, he was sufficiently recovered to serve for three years in the legislature of the new state of Virginia, where he came to know and admire Thomas Jefferson. In this capacity, he assisted with the drafting of the Virginia Declaration of Religious Freedom and the critical decision for Virginia to cede its western claims to the Continental Congress.

Madison is best remembered for his critical role in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where he presented the Virginia Plan to the assembled delegates in Philadelphia and oversaw the difficult process of negotiation and compromise that led to the drafting of the final Constitution. Madison's published "Notes on the Convention" are considered the most detailed and accurate account of what occurred in the closed-session debates. (Madison forbade the publishing of his notes until all the participants were deceased.) After the Constitution was submitted to the people for ratification, Madison collaborated with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton on "The Federalist Papers," a series of pamphlets that argued for the acceptance of the new government. Madison penned the most famous of the pamphlets, "Federalist No. 10," which made an incisive argument for the ability of a large federation to preserve individual rights.

In 1794, Madison married a young widow, Dolley Payne Todd, who would prove to be Washington, D.C.'s finest hostess during Madison's years as secretary of state to the widowed Thomas Jefferson and then as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. Dolley Madison earned a special place in the nation's memory for saving a portrait of George Washington before fleeing the burning White House during the War of 1812.

The War of 1812 tested Madison's presidency. The Federalists staunchly opposed Madison's declaration of war against the British and threatened to secede from the Union during the Harford Convention. When the new nation managed to muster a tenuous victory, the Federalist Party was destroyed as America's status as a nation apart from Britain was secured.

After retiring from official political positions, Madison served Thomas Jefferson's beloved University of Virginia first as a member of the board of visitors and then as rector. In 1938, the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, Virginia, was renamed in Madison's honor as Madison College; in 1976, it became James Madison University.

Jun 28, 1857:
Western writer Emerson Hough is born

Emerson Hough, one of the most successful writers of adventure novels of the romantic western genre, is born in Newton, Iowa.

After graduating from the State University of Iowa in 1880, Hough briefly studied law before turning to a career in journalism. In his 20s, he became the manager of the Chicago branch of Field and Stream, the popular hunting and conservation magazine. Deeply fascinated with the frontier and wilderness living, Hough embarked on extensive tours of the wildest areas of the American West. A winter ski trip through the still relatively unknown territory of Yellowstone National Park in 1895 made him a lifelong advocate of the national park system.

Beginning in the late 1890s, Hough began producing a mixture of fictional and factual books reflecting his affection for the American West. His most notable non-fictional works were popular historical celebrations of great mythic figures of the Old West, and included The Story of the Cowboy (1897) and The Story of the Outlaw (1906).

Hough's greatest success, however, came with fictional works that combined sentimental romance stories with the western novel. One of his most popular works, The Covered Wagon (1922), established many of the conventions of the genre that continue to be popular today. The story concerns a migrant wagon train crossing the Oregon Trail. A noble but misunderstood hero vies with a charming but ultimately evil villain for the love of a beautiful young woman. As the wagon train travels west, the emigrants face disasters and dangers during which the hero's hidden strength and character are revealed. The hero, of course, wins his ladylove.

Although Hough maintained that The Covered Wagon and all his other western novels were based on fact, the books focused on conventional tales of love and romance rather than history. The western setting was often little more than a useful means of combing a masculine adventure story with a feminine love story. Hough was a master of his genre, however, and his simple but compelling tales were copied in countless books and movies. In 1923, The Covered Wagon was made into one of the first western movies.

Having published more than 18 books, Emerson Hough died in Evanston, Illinois, in 1923. He was 66 years old.

Jun 28, 1862:
Confederates capture commercial ship

On this day in 1862, a Confederate band makes a daring capture of a commercial vessel on Chesapeake Bay. The plan was the brainchild of George Hollins, a Maryland native and veteran of the War of 1812, who joined the U.S. Navy at age 15 and had a long and distinguished career. When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, Hollins, then a commander of a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean, returned to New York and resigned his commission. After a brief stop in his hometown, Baltimore, Hollins offered his services to the Confederacy and received a commission on June 21, 1861.

Soon after, Hollins met up with Richard Thomas Zarvona, a Marylander, former student at West Point, and adventurer who had fought with pirates in China and revolutionaries in Italy. They hatched a plan to capture the St. Nicholas and use it to marshal other Yankee ships into Confederate service. Zarvona went to Baltimore and recruited a band of pirates, who boarded the St. Nicholas as paying passengers on June 28. Using the name Madame La Force, Zarvona disguised himself as a flirtatious Frenchwoman. Hollins then boarded the St. Nicholas at its first stop.

The conspirators later retreated to the Frenchwoman's cabin, where they armed themselves and then burst out to capture the surprised crew. Hollins took control of the vessel and stopped on the Virginia bank of the Chesapeake to pick up a crew of Confederate soldiers. They planned to capture a Union gunboat, the Pawnee, but it was called away. Instead, the St. Nicholas and its pirate crew came upon a ship loaded with Brazilian coffee. Two more ships, carrying loads of ice and coal, soon fell to the St. Nicholas. These daring exploits earned Hollins a quick promotion in the Confederate navy.

Jun 28, 1888:
Robert Louis Stevenson sets sail for the South Seas

Writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his family leave San Francisco for their first visit to the South Seas on this day in 1888. Stevenson, an adventurous traveler plagued by tuberculosis, was seeking a healthier climate. The family finally settled in Samoa, where Stevenson died in 1894.

Stevenson was born in Scotland and studied civil engineering and law, but decided to pursue a career as a writer. His decision upset his parents, who remained alienated from him until he was 30 years old. At first, Stevenson wrote essays and travel accounts. In 1876, he fell in love with an American woman named Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who was separated from her husband. When she returned to San Francisco in 1879, Stevenson followed her. The couple married and returned to Scotland in 1880. Stevenson published a collection of essays in 1881 and Treasure Island, one of his most popular books, in 1883. In 1885, he published the first version of the popular nursery rhyme book A Child's Garden of Verse. In 1846, he published Kidnapped, and in 1886 he published Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

After returning to the U.S. for a year, the Stevenson family set sail for the South Seas. Stevenson wrote several travel accounts of the family's explorations of the region. He died in Samoa in 1894.

Jun 28, 1914:
Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated

In an event that is widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on this day in 1914.

The great Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck, the man most responsible for the unification of Germany in 1871, was quoted as saying at the end of his life that "One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans." It went as he predicted.

The archduke traveled to Sarajevo in June 1914 to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Ottoman territories in the turbulent Balkan region that were annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 to the indignation of Serbian nationalists, who believed they should become part of the newly independent and ambitious Serbian nation. The date scheduled for his visit, June 28, coincided with the anniversary of the First Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in which medieval Serbia was defeated by the Turks. Despite the fact that Serbia did not truly lose its independence until the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448, June 28 was a day of great significance to Serbian nationalists, and one on which they could be expected to take exception to a demonstration of Austrian imperial strength in Bosnia.

June 28 was also Franz Ferdinand's wedding anniversary. His beloved wife, Sophie, a former lady-in-waiting, was denied royal status in Austria due to her birth as a poor Czech aristocrat, as were the couple's children. In Bosnia, however, due to its limbo status as an annexed territory, Sophie could appear beside him at official proceedings. On June 28, 1914, then, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were touring Sarajevo in an open car, with surprisingly little security, when Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at their car; it rolled off the back of the vehicle and wounded an officer and some bystanders. Later that day, on the way to visit the injured officer, the archduke's procession took a wrong turn at the junction of Appel quay and Franzjosefstrasse, where one of Cabrinovic's cohorts, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, happened to be loitering.

Seeing his opportunity, Princip fired into the car, shooting Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range. Princip then turned the gun on himself, but was prevented from shooting it by a bystander who threw himself upon the young assassin. A mob of angry onlookers attacked Princip, who fought back and was subsequently wrestled away by the police. Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie lay fatally wounded in their limousine as it rushed to seek help; they both died within the hour.

The assassination of Franz-Ferdinand and Sophie set off a rapid chain of events: Austria-Hungary, like many in countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. As Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention–which would likely involve Russia's ally, France, and possibly Britain as well. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe's great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.

Jun 28, 1916:
Lasky Company merges with Famous Players, later to become Paramount

On this day in 1916, Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company merges with the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, forming the Famous Players-Lasky Company. The company will later become Paramount Pictures, one of the first and most successful Hollywood motion-picture studios.

Zukor, a Hungarian immigrant who became a successful Chicago furrier, entered the film business in the early 1900s, financing penny arcades. He soon partnered with Marcus Loew to develop a chain of theaters. Zukor parted ways with Loew in 1912 and purchased the American rights to the French-British film Queen Elizabeth, starring the legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. The film was a hit stateside, and Zukor invested the proceeds from its exclusive distribution into his own production company, Famous Players Film Company. The original idea was to make films featuring famous stage actors starring in current Broadway hits.

Lasky, a former vaudeville performer and theatrical producer, teamed up with his brother-in-law Sam Goldfish (later Goldwyn) and the director Cecil B. DeMille to found the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in 1913. The company’s first film, a Western called The Squaw Man (1914), became a critical and financial success. It was one of the first feature-length films to be produced in Hollywood.

After Lasky and Famous Players merged, they absorbed a dozen other production companies and acquired the film financing and distribution company Paramount Pictures, established by W.W. Hodkinson in 1914. During the next 10 years, the company acquired hundreds of theaters throughout the United States. In 1927, the company changed its name to Paramount Famous Lasky Corp., then to Paramount Publix Corp. in 1930. Paramount soon became one of Hollywood’s most powerful studios, featuring the work of such stars as Mary Pickford, Fatty Arbuckle, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino and releasing blockbusters like The Ten Commandments (1923).

After surviving a brush with bankruptcy and reorganization in 1933, the company--now known as Paramount Pictures--continued to attract top stars through the 1930s and ‘40s, including Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Gary Cooper, W.C. Fields and Bing Crosby. In 1949, after a long and complicated antitrust case, the U.S. Supreme Court forced the studio to sell its theater chains as part of the court’s effort to end studio monopoly of the film industry.

Despite the setbacks, Paramount continued to release hits, including Sabrina (1954) and Psycho (1960). In 1966, Gulf and Western purchased the studio, which continued to produce such hits as the three Godfather films, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and its sequels, and the Indiana Jones franchise, beginning with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Gulf and Western changed its name to Paramount Communications in 1989. In 1994, the communications and media giant Viacom Inc. acquired Paramount Communications, including Paramount Pictures Corporation.
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28 June Births

1476 – Pope Paul IV (d. 1559)
1490 – Albert of Mainz, German archbishop (d. 1545)
1491 – Henry VIII of England (d. 1547)
1503 – Giovanni della Casa, Italian author and poet (d. 1556)
1547 – Cristofano Malvezzi, Italian organist and composer (d. 1599)
1577 – Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter (d. 1640)
1582 – William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, English politician (d. 1662)
1641 – Marie Casimire Louise de La Grange d'Arquien, Polish wife of John III Sobieski (d. 1716)
1664 – Nicolas Bernier, French composer (d. 1734)
1703 – John Wesley, English cleric and theologian (d. 1791)
1712 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss philosopher and polymath (d. 1778)
1719 – Étienne François, duc de Choiseul, French general and politician, Prime Minister of France (d. 1785)
1734 – Jean-Jacques Beauvarlet-Charpentier, French organist and composer (d. 1794)
1742 – William Hooper, American lawyer, physician, and politician (d. 1790)
1824 – Paul Broca, French physician, anatomist, and anthropologist (d. 1880)
1831 – Joseph Joachim, Austrian violinist, composer, and conductor (d. 1907)
1836 – Emmanuel Rhoides, Greek journalist (d. 1904)
1852 – Charles Cruft, English showman, founded Crufts Dog Show (d. 1938)
1867 – Luigi Pirandello, Italian author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1936)
1873 – Alexis Carrel, French surgeon and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1944)
1875 – Henri Lebesgue, French mathematician (d. 1941)
1883 – Pierre Laval, French politician, 101st Prime Minister of France (d. 1945)
1884 – Lamina Sankoh, Sierra Leonean banker and politician (d. 1964)
1888 – George Challenor, Barbadian cricketer (d. 1947)
1890 – Howard Drew, American sprinter (d. 1957)
1891 – Esther Forbes, American historian and author (d. 1968)
1891 – Carl Panzram, American serial killer (d. 1930)
1891 – Carl Andrew Spaatz, American general (d. 1974)
1900 – Bob Taggart, Scottish centenarian (d. 2009)
1902 – Richard Rodgers, American composer (d. 1979)
1906 – Maria Goeppert-Mayer, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1972)
1907 – Jimmy Mundy, American saxophonist and composer (d. 1983)
1907 – Emily Perry, English actress and dancer (d. 2008)
1909 – Eric Ambler, English author (d. 1998)
1912 – Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, German physicist and philosopher (d. 2007)
1913 – Franz Antel, Austrian director and producer (d. 2007)
1913 – Walter Oesau, German pilot (d. 1944)
1914 – Aribert Heim, Austrian physician (d. 1992)
1915 – David "Honeyboy" Edwards, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2011)
1916 – Olle Björklund, Swedish actor and journalist (d. 1981)
1917 – Katherine Rawls, American swimmer (d. 1982)
1918 – Maxine Stuart, American actress (d. 2013)
1918 – William Whitelaw, 1st Viscount Whitelaw, Scottish politician, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1999)
1920 – A. E. Hotchner, American author and playwright
1921 – P. V. Narasimha Rao, Indian lawyer and politician, 9th Prime Minister of India (d. 2004)
1922 – Lloyd La Beach, Panamanian sprinter (d. 1999)
1922 – Michael Vale, American actor (d. 2005)
1923 – Pete Candoli, American trumpet player (d. 2008)
1923 – Adolfo Schwelm Cruz, Argentinian race car driver (d. 2012)
1923 – Gaye Stewart, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2010)
1926 – Mel Brooks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
1927 – Correlli Barnett, English historian
1927 – Frank Sherwood Rowland, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2012)
1928 – Hans Blix, Swedish politician, 33rd Minister for Foreign Affairs for Sweden
1928 – Harold Evans, English-American journalist
1928 – Cyril Smith, English politician (d. 2010)
1930 – Itamar Franco, Brazilian politician, 33rd President of Brazil (d. 2011)
1930 – Jack Gold, British film director
1931 – Junior Johnson, American race car driver
1931 – Lucien Victor, Belgian cyclist (d. 1995)
1931 – Patrick Wright, British diplomat
1932 – Geoffrey Copland, British physicist
1932 – Pat Morita, American actor (d. 2005)
1933 – Gusty Spence, Irish politician (d. 2011)
1934 – Robert Carswell, Irish judge
1934 – Bette Greene, American author
1934 – Carl Levin, American lawyer and politician
1935 – John Inman, English actor and singer (d. 2007)
1936 – Richard H. Cracroft, American author and academic (d. 2012)
1936 – Chuck Howley, American football player
1937 – Richard Bright, American actor (d. 2006)
1937 – George Knudson, Canadian golfer (d. 1989)
1937 – Fernand Labrie, Canadian medical researcher
1937 – Ron Luciano, American baseball umpire and author (d. 1995)
1937 – Tom Magliozzi, American radio host
1938 – John Byner, American actor
1938 – Leon Panetta, American politician, 23rd United States Secretary of Defense
1940 – Karpal Singh, Malaysian lawyer and politician (d. 2014)
1940 – Roderick Wright, Scottish bishop (d. 2005)
1940 – Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi economist, Nobel Prize laureate
1941 – Al Downing, American baseball player and sportscaster
1941 – Joseph Goguen, American computer scientist, developed the OBJ language (d. 2006)
1941 – David Johnston, Canadian academic, lawyer, and politician, 28th Governor-General of Canada
1941 – Ann Leslie, Indian-English journalist
1942 – Chris Hani, South African politician (d. 1993)
1942 – Hans-Joachim Walde, German decathlete (d. 2013)
1942 – Frank Zane, American bodybuilder
1943 – Jens Birkemose, Danish painter
1943 – Donald Johanson, American paleontologist
1943 – Klaus von Klitzing, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
1944 – Martin Harris, British academic
1945 – Ken Buchanan, Scottish boxer
1945 – David Knights, English bass player and producer (Procol Harum)
1945 – Raul Seixas, Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 1989)
1946 – Robert Asprin, American author (d. 2008)
1946 – Howard Barker, English playwright
1946 – Bruce Davison, American actor and director
1946 – David Duckham, English rugby player
1946 – Roger Godsiff, English politician
1946 – Jaime Guzmán, Chilean lawyer and politician (d. 1991)
1946 – Gilda Radner, American actress and singer (d. 1989)
1947 – Robert Bondi, American politician
1947 – Mark Clark, American activist (d. 1969)
1947 – Anny Duperey, French actress and author
1947 – Mark Helprin, American journalist and author
1947 – Laura Tyson, American economist
1948 – Kathy Bates, American actress, singer, and director
1948 – Sergei Bodrov, Russian-American director, producer, and screenwriter
1948 – Deborah Moggach, English writer
1948 – John Pugh, English politician
1948 – Dominic Walker, English bishop
1948 – Daniel Wegner, Canadian-American psychologist and educator (d. 2013)
1950 – David Lanz, American pianist
1950 – Mauricio Rojas, Chilean-Swedish economist and politician
1950 – Chris Speier, American baseball player and coach
1951 – Mark Shand, English conservationist and author (d. 2014)
1951 – Lalla Ward, English actress and author
1952 – Ray Ashcroft, English actor
1952 – Pietro Mennea, Italian sprinter and politician (d. 2013)
1952 – Jean-Christophe Rufin, French physician and author
1954 – A. A. Gill, Scottish author and critic
1954 – Alice Krige, South African-English actress
1955 – Shirley Cheriton, English actress
1955 – Eric Gates, English footballer
1955 – Steven M. Greer, American ufologist and author
1955 – Thomas Hampson, American opera singer
1956 – Amira Hass, Israeli journalist
1956 – Noel Mugavin, Australian footballer
1957 – Lance Nethery, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
1957 – Georgi Parvanov, Bulgarian historian and politician, 4th President of Bulgaria
1957 – Mike Skinner, American race car driver
1957 – Jim Spanarkel, American basketball player and sportscaster
1958 – Donna Edwards, American lawyer and politician
1958 – Félix Gray, French singer-songwriter
1959 – Clint Boon, English singer and keyboard player (Inspiral Carpets and The Clint Boon Experience)
1959 – Bridgette Monet, American pornographic actress
1959 – Sally Morgan, British politician
1960 – John Elway, American football player
1960 – Roland Melanson, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
1961 – Jeff Malone, American basketball player and coach
1961 – Eliezer Melamed, Israeli rabbi and author
1962 – Anișoara Cușmir-Stanciu, Romanian long jumper
1962 – Artur Hajzer, Polish mountaineer (d. 2013)
1962 – Kieth O'dor, English racing driver (d. 1995)
1962 – Ann-Louise Skoglund, Swedish hurdler
1963 – Peter Baynham, Welsh actor, producer, and screenwriter
1963 – Charlie Clouser, American keyboard player, songwriter, and producer (Nine Inch Nails)
1963 – Wisit Sasanatieng, Thai director and screenwriter
1963 – Tierney Sutton, American singer
1964 – Mark Grace, American baseball player and sportscaster
1964 – Francis Hare, Irish and British peer
1964 – Tommy Lynn Sells, American serial killer (d. 2014)
1964 – DJ Quicksilver, Turkish-German DJ and producer
1964 – Steve Williamson, English saxophonist and composer
1965 – Belayneh Densamo, Ethiopian long-distance runner
1965 – Jessica Hecht, American actress
1965 – Sonny Strait, American voice actor and singer
1966 – Peeter Allik, Estonian painter and illustrator
1966 – Bobby Bare, Jr., American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1966 – John Cusack, American actor, producer, and screenwriter
1966 – Mary Stuart Masterson, American actress, director, and producer
1966 – Sara Stewart, Scottish actress
1967 – Leona Aglukkaq, Canadian politician
1967 – Gil Bellows, Canadian actor and producer
1967 – Zhong Huandi, Chinese long-distance runner
1967 – Lars Riedel, German discus thrower
1968 – Chayanne, Puerto Rican singer and actor (Los Chicos)
1968 – Adam Woodyatt, English actor
1969 – Tichina Arnold, American actress and singer
1969 – Danielle Brisebois, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (New Radicals)
1969 – Fabrizio Mori, Italian hurdler
1969 – Ayelet Zurer, Israeli-American actress
1970 – Mushtaq Ahmed, Pakistani cricketer and coach
1970 – Steve Burton, American actor
1970 – Tom Merritt, American journalist
1970 – Mike White, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
1971 – Lorenzo Amoruso, Italian footballer
1971 – Fabien Barthez, French footballer
1971 – Kenny Cunningham, Irish footballer and coach
1971 – Norika Fujiwara, Japanese model and actress
1971 – Bobby Hurley, American basketball player and coach
1971 – Ron Mahay, American baseball player
1971 – Louise Mensch, English politician and author
1971 – Aileen Quinn, American actress, singer, and director
1971 – Ray Slijngaard, Dutch rapper (2 Unlimited and Ray & Anita)
1972 – Ngô Bảo Châu, Vietnamese-French mathematician
1972 – Jon Heidenreich, American wrestler
1972 – Christopher Leslie, English politician
1972 – Alessandro Nivola, American actor
1973 – Adrián Annus, Hungarian hammer thrower
1973 – Corey Koskie, Canadian baseball player
1974 – Rob Dyrdek, American skateboarder, actor, and producer
1975 – Ning Baizura, Malaysian singer and producer
1975 – Jon Nödtveidt, Swedish singer-songwriter, and guitarist (Dissection and Ophthalamia) (d. 2006)
1976 – Shinobu Asagoe, Japanese tennis player
1976 – Seth Wescott, American snowboarder
1977 – Measha Brueggergosman, Canadian soprano and actress
1977 – Chris Spurling, American baseball player
1977 – Mark Stoermer, American bass player, songwriter, and producer (The Killers)
1977 – Harun Tekin, Turkish singer and guitarist (Mor ve Ötesi)
1978 – Ha Ji-won, South Korean actress and singer
1978 – Simon Larose, Canadian tennis player
1979 – Jeanette Aw, Singaporean actress, singer, and dancer
1979 – Felicia Day, American actress, producer, and screenwriter
1979 – Kaidi Jekimova, Estonian footballer
1979 – Randy McMichael, American football player
1979 – Florian Zeller, French author and playwright
1979 – Neil Shanahan, Irish racing driver (d. 1999)
1980 – Jevgeni Novikov, Estonian footballer
1981 – Michael Crafter, Australian singer-songwriter (Confession, I Killed the Prom Queen, Carpathian, and Bury Your Dead)
1981 – Guillermo Martínez, Cuban javelin thrower
1981 – Brandon Phillips, American baseball player
1982 – Ibrahim Camejo, Cuban long jumper
1982 – Elaine Tan, English actress
1983 – Maui Taylor, Filipino-English model, actress, and singer
1984 – Tamara Ecclestone, Italian-English model and television host
1985 – Phil Bardsley, English footballer
1986 – Kellie Pickler, American singer-songwriter
1986 – Shadia Simmons, Canadian actress
1987 – Sonata Tamošaitytė, Lithuanian hurdler
1987 – Bailey Tzuke, English singer-songwriter
1987 – Terrence Williams, American basketball player
1988 – Gaku Hamada, Japanese actor
1988 – Lacey Schwimmer, American dancer and singer
1989 – Nicole Rottmann, Austrian tennis player
1989 – Lucy Rose, English singer-songwriter and guitarist
1989 – Julia Zlobina, Russian-Azerbaijani figure skater
1990 – Nick Purcell, American actor
1990 – Jasmine Richards, Canadian actress and singer
1990 – Daisy Turner, English model and actress
1991 – Seohyun, South Korean singer, dancer, and actress (Girls' Generation and Girls' Generation-TTS)
1991 – Kevin De Bruyne, Belgian footballer
1991 – Kang Min-hyuk, South Korean drummer, actor and singer (CN Blue).
1993 – Daehyun, South Korean singer and dancer (B.A.P)
1993 – Bradley Beal, American basketball player
1994 – Hussein bin Abdullah, Crown Prince of Jordan
1994 – Madeline Duggan, English actress
1995 – Kåre Hedebrant, Swedish actor
1996 – Donna Vekić, Croatian tennis player

Jun 28, 1919:
Harry S. Truman marries Bess Wallace

On this day in 1919, future President Harry S. Truman marries his longtime Missourian sweetheart, Bess. When the two met, Truman told a friend that she had the "most beautiful golden curls and blue eyes" and that she was the "one girl in the world" for him.

Although they had known each other since the fifth grade, Harry and Bess did not marry until their mid-30s. The very practical Truman did not want to marry until he could make a decent living, so it took many years and a stint in the military before Truman proposed.

The Trumans' relationship and his political beliefs are well-documented in the many letters Harry wrote to Bess. For example, six months before their wedding, he wrote from the front in World War I in his inimitable no-nonsense manner: "We'll stay there until Woodie [Woodrow Wilson] gets his pet peace plans refused or okayed?–I don't give a whoop whether there's a League of Nations or whether Russia has a Red government or a Purple one...we came over here to help whip the Hun. For my part I've had enough vin rouge and frogeater victuals to last me a lifetime."

The Trumans had one daughter, Margaret, upon whom they doted. Truman had an explosive temper and was fiercely loyal to his family. When Margaret received an unfavorable review of her 1950 signing debut in the Washington Post, then-President Truman was so furious that he wrote a letter to the paper's editor the next day in which he threatened to give the reviewer a black eye and a broken nose. Although Truman was known as "Give 'em Hell Harry" for doggedly pursuing political aims, he did not follow up on that particular non-political threat.

Jun 28, 1919:
Keynes predicts economic chaos

At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. The English economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the peace conference but then left in protest of the treaty, was one of the most outspoken critics of the punitive agreement. In his The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in December 1919, Keynes predicted that the stiff war reparations and other harsh terms imposed on Germany by the treaty would lead to the financial collapse of the country, which in turn would have serious economic and political repercussions on Europe and the world.

By the fall of 1918, it was apparent to the leaders of Germany that defeat was inevitable in World War I. After four years of terrible attrition, Germany no longer had the men or resources to resist the Allies, who had been given a tremendous boost by the infusion of American manpower and supplies. In order to avert an Allied invasion of Germany, the German government contacted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in October 1918 and asked him to arrange a general armistice. Earlier that year, Wilson had proclaimed his "Fourteen Points," which proposed terms for a "just and stable peace" between Germany and its enemies. The Germans asked that the armistice be established along these terms, and the Allies more or less complied, assuring Germany of a fair and unselfish final peace treaty. On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and went into effect, and fighting in World War I came to an end.

In January 1919, John Maynard Keynes traveled to the Paris Peace Conference as the chief representative of the British Treasury. The brilliant 35-year-old economist had previously won acclaim for his work with the Indian currency and his management of British finances during the war. In Paris, he sat on an economic council and advised British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, but the important peacemaking decisions were out of his hands, and President Wilson, Prime Minister Lloyd George, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau wielded the real authority. Germany had no role in the negotiations deciding its fate, and lesser Allied powers had little responsibility in the drafting of the final treaty.

It soon became apparent that the treaty would bear only a faint resemblance to the Fourteen Points that had been proposed by Wilson and embraced by the Germans. Wilson, a great idealist, had few negotiating skills, and he soon buckled under the pressure of Clemenceau, who hoped to punish Germany as severely as it had punished France in the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Lloyd George took the middle ground between the two men, but he backed the French plan to force Germany to pay reparations for damages inflicted on Allied civilians and their property. Since the treaty officially held Germany responsible for the outbreak of World War I (in reality it was only partially responsible), the Allies would not have to pay reparations for damages they inflicted on German civilians.

The treaty that began to emerge was a thinly veiled Carthaginian Peace, an agreement that accomplished Clemenceau's hope to crush France's old rival. According to its terms, Germany was to relinquish 10 percent of its territory. It was to be disarmed, and its overseas empire taken over by the Allies. Most detrimental to Germany's immediate future, however, was the confiscation of its foreign financial holdings and its merchant carrier fleet. The German economy, already devastated by the war, was thus further crippled, and the stiff war reparations demanded ensured that it would not soon return to its feet. A final reparations figure was not agreed upon in the treaty, but estimates placed the amount in excess of $30 billion, far beyond Germany's capacity to pay. Germany would be subject to invasion if it fell behind on payments.

Keynes, horrified by the terms of the emerging treaty, presented a plan to the Allied leaders in which the German government be given a substantial loan, thus allowing it to buy food and materials while beginning reparations payments immediately. Lloyd George approved the "Keynes Plan," but President Wilson turned it down because he feared it would not receive congressional approval. In a private letter to a friend, Keynes called the idealistic American president "the greatest fraud on earth." On June 5, 1919, Keynes wrote a note to Lloyd George informing the prime minister that he was resigning his post in protest of the impending "devastation of Europe."

The Germans initially refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, and it took an ultimatum from the Allies to bring the German delegation to Paris on June 28. It was five years to the day since the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, which began the chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. Clemenceau chose the location for the signing of the treaty: the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles Palace, site of the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War. At the ceremony, General Jan Christiaan Smuts, soon to be president of South Africa, was the only Allied leader to protest formally the Treaty of Versailles, saying it would do grave injury to the industrial revival of Europe.

At Smuts' urging, Keynes began work on The Economic Consequences of the Peace. It was published in December 1919 and was widely read. In the book, Keynes made a grim prophecy that would have particular relevance to the next generation of Europeans: "If we aim at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare say, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for very long the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the later German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilisation and the progress of our generation."

Germany soon fell hopelessly behind in its reparations payments, and in 1923 France and Belgium occupied the industrial Ruhr region as a means of forcing payment. In protest, workers and employers closed down the factories in the region. Catastrophic inflation ensued, and Germany's fragile economy began quickly to collapse. By the time the crash came in November 1923, a lifetime of savings could not buy a loaf of bread. That month, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler launched an abortive coup against Germany's government. The Nazis were crushed and Hitler was imprisoned, but many resentful Germans sympathized with the Nazis and their hatred of the Treaty of Versailles.

A decade later, Hitler would exploit this continuing bitterness among Germans to seize control of the German state. In the 1930s, the Treaty of Versailles was significantly revised and altered in Germany's favor, but this belated amendment could not stop the rise of German militarism and the subsequent outbreak of World War II.

In the late 1930s, John Maynard Keynes gained a reputation as the world's foremost economist by advocating large-scale government economic planning to keep unemployment low and markets healthy. Today, all major capitalist nations adhere to the key principles of Keynesian economics. He died in 1946.

Jun 28, 1928:
Louis Armstrong records "West End Blues"

On June 28, 1928, a 26-year-old Louis Armstrong walked into a Chicago recording studio with five fellow jazz instrumentalists and walked out having changed the course of music history. The record Armstrong and his Hot Five had just made was of a song called "West End Blues," written and first recorded several months earlier by Armstrong's mentor, Joe "King" Oliver. Oliver had taken a teenage Louis Armstrong under his wing back in their native New Orleans. He'd taught Armstrong to play by ear, invited him into his band and then brought him to Chicago, the jazz capital of the world at the time, in 1922. Armstrong left Oliver's band in 1925 for a three-year stint in New York City, where his playing was the talk of the jazz community. But it was not until this day in 1928, with the recording of "West End Blues," that Louis Armstrong definitively left his teacher in his wake and captured on record the revolutionary style and virtuosic technique that would make him an international sensation.

Armstrong's "West End Blues" features a brilliant piano solo by the great Earl "Fatha" Hines, one of Armstrong's greatest lifelong friends and collaborators, and a vocal section by Armstrong that is one of the earliest recorded examples of scat singing. But even without the rest of the landmark recording, Louis Armstrong's 15-second trumpet intro to "West End Blues" and his eight-bar solo near the end make it one of the most influential pieces of recorded music in history. Armstrong's playing established a new standard for rhythmic and melodic complexity, for technical mastery and, most important, for sheer beauty and emotional content.

"Sometimes the record would make me so sad, I'd cry up a storm," Billie Holliday wrote of Armstrong's "West End Blues." "Other times the same damn record would make me so happy." Holliday also cited Louis Armstrong's instrumental technique as a formative influence on her own vocal style. "It sounded like he was making love to me" she once told the jazz critic Nat Hentoff. "That's how I wanted to sing."

The technology of 1928 didn't allow for playback in the recording studio, so when Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five ended their session on June 28, they hadn't even heard the recording that is recognized as a critical influence even on rock and roll. When Armstrong and Earl Hines finally did hear "West End Blues," they were reportedly as blown away as everyone else. Their recording signaled a clear move toward solo innovation as the driving creative force in jazz, but more than that, it signaled the end of jazz as a mere form of popular entertainment and the beginning of jazz as an acknowledged art form.

Jun 28, 1940:
Britain recognizes General Charles de Gaulle as the leader of the Free French

On this day in 1940, General Charles de Gaulle, having set up headquarters in England upon the establishment of a puppet government in his native France, is recognized as the leader of the Free French Forces, dedicated to the defeat of Germany and the liberation of all France.

For Charles de Gaulle, fighting Germans was an old story. He sustained multiple injuries fighting at Verdun in World War I. He escaped German POW camps five times, only to be recaptured each time. (At 6 feet 4 inches in height, it was hard for de Gaulle to remain inconspicuous.)

At the beginning of World War II, de Gaulle was commander of a tank brigade. He was admired as a courageous leader and made a brigadier general in May 1940. After the German invasion of France, he became undersecretary of state for defense and war in the Reynaud government, but when Reynaud resigned, and Field Marshal Philippe Petain stepped in, a virtual puppet of the German occupiers, he left for England. On June 18, de Gaulle took to the radio airwaves to make an appeal to his fellow French not to accept the armistice being sought by Petain, but to continue fighting under his command. Ten days later, Britain formally acknowledged de Gaulle as the leader of the "Free French Forces," which was at first little more than those French troops stationed in England, volunteers from Frenchmen already living in England, and units of the French navy.

On August 2, a French military court sentenced de Gaulle to death in absentia for his actions. (No doubt at the instigation of the German occupiers.)

De Gaulle would prove an adept wartime politician, finally winning recognition and respect from the Allies and his fellow countrymen. He returned to Paris from Algiers, where he had moved headquarters of Free French Forces and formed a "shadow government" in September 1943. He went on to head two provisional governments before resigning.

Jun 28, 1948:
Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM

The Soviet Union expels Yugoslavia from the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) for the latter's position on the Greek civil war. The expulsion was concrete evidence of the permanent split that had taken place between Russia and Yugoslavia.

The Soviet Union had established COMINFORM in 1947 to serve as a coordinating body for communist parties in Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Most Western observers believed the organization to be the successor to the Communist International (COMINTERN had been dissolved by Russia in 1943, in an effort to placate its wartime allies--the United States and Great Britain). With the hardening of Cold War animosities after World War II, however, the establishment of COMINFORM signaled that the Soviet Union was once again setting itself up as the official leader of the communist bloc nations. In addition, the inclusion of the Italian and French communist parties served notice that the Soviet Union wished to have a strong say in political developments outside of its eastern European satellites. Yugoslavia was an original member, but that nation's leader, Josef Broz Tito, proved to be reluctant in following the Soviet line. Throughout 1947 and into 1948, Tito harshly criticized Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's lack of assistance to communists fighting for power in Greece. When Tito refused to tone down his complaints, Stalin ordered Yugoslavia expelled from COMINFORM.

After its expulsion, Yugoslavia continued to chart a communist, but distinctly independent, pathway in its domestic and foreign policies. The United States was delighted with the Soviet-Yugoslavia split, and actively courted Tito with economic and military aid in the late-1940s and 1950s. As Stalin had already discovered, however, Tito refused to be the puppet of any government. COMINFORM slowly declined after 1948, as other communist parties, such as Italy's, also chafed under the Soviet desire for control. The Soviet Union officially dissolved the organization in 1956.

Jun 28, 1953:
Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan

On this day in 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assemble the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that would become an American icon. The first completed production car rolled off the assembly line two days later, one of just 300 Corvettes made that year.

The idea for the Corvette originated with General Motors' pioneering designer Harley J. Earl, who in 1951 began developing plans for a low-cost American sports car that could compete with Europe's MGs, Jaguars and Ferraris. The project was eventually code-named "Opel." In January 1953, GM debuted the Corvette concept car at its Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It featured a fiberglass body and a six-cylinder engine and according to GM, was named for the "trim, fleet naval vessel that performed heroic escort and patrol duties during World War II." The Corvette was a big hit with the public at Motorama and GM soon put the roadster into production.

On June 30, 1953, the first Corvette came off the production line in Flint. It was hand-assembled and featured a Polo White exterior and red interior, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, a wraparound windshield, whitewall tires and detachable plastic curtains instead of side windows. The earliest Corvettes were designed to be opened from the inside and lacked exterior door handles. Other components included a clock, cigarette lighter and red warning light that activated when the parking brake was applied--a new feature at the time. The car carried an initial price tag of $3,490 and could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 11 or 12 seconds, then considered a fairly average speed.

In 1954, the Corvette went into mass production at a Chevy plant in St. Louis, Missouri. Sales were lackluster in the beginning and GM considered discontinuing the line. However, rival company Ford had introduced the two-seater Thunderbird around the same time and GM did not want to be seen bowing to the competition. Another critical development in the Corvette's survival came in 1955, when it was equipped with the more powerful V-8 engine. Its performance and appeal steadily improved after that and it went on to earn the nickname "America's sports car" and become ingrained in pop culture through multiple references in movies, television and music.

Jun 28, 1965:
U.S. forces launch first offensive

In the first major offensive ordered for U.S. forces, 3,000 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade--in conjunction with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit--assault a jungle area known as Viet Cong Zone D, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The operation was called off after three days when it failed to make any major contract with the enemy. One American was killed and nine Americans and four Australians were wounded. The State Department assured the American public that the operation was in accord with Johnson administration policy on the role of U.S. troops.

Jun 28, 1969:
The Stonewall Riot

Just after 3 a.m., a police raid of the Stonewall Inn--a gay club located on New York City's Christopher Street--turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers begin rioting against the police.

Although the police were legally justified in raiding the club, which was serving liquor without a license among other violations, New York's gay community had grown weary of the police department targeting gay clubs, a majority of which had already been closed. The crowd on the street watched quietly as Stonewall's employees were arrested, but when three drag queens and a lesbian were forced into the paddy wagon, the crowd began throwing bottles at the police. The officers were forced to take shelter inside the establishment, and two policemen were slightly injured before reinforcements arrived to disperse the mob. The protest, however, spilled over into the neighboring streets, and order was not restored until the deployment of New York's riot police.

The so-called Stonewall Riot was followed by several days of demonstrations in New York and was the impetus for the formation of the Gay Liberation Front as well as other gay, lesbian, and bisexual civil rights organizations. It is also regarded by many as history's first major protest on behalf of equal rights for homosexuals.
28 June Deaths

548 – Theodora I, Byzantine wife of Justinian I (b. 500)
572 – Alboin, Lombard king (b. 530)
683 – Pope Leo II (b. 611)
767 – Pope Paul I (b. 700)
928 – Louis the Blind, Roman emperor (b. 880)
1061 – Floris I, Count of Holland (b. 1020)
1175 – Andrey Bogolyubsky, Russian saint (b. 1111)
1189 – Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony (b. 1156)
1194 – Emperor Xiaozong of Song (b. 1127)
1385 – Andronikos IV Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor (b. 1348)
1586 – Primož Trubar, Slovenian author and reformer (b. 1508)
1598 – Abraham Ortelius, Flemish cartographer and geographer (b. 1527)
1716 – George FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, English general (b. 1665)
1813 – Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Prussian general (b. 1755)
1834 – Joseph Bové, Russian architect, designed the Triumphal Arch of Moscow (b. 1784)
1836 – James Madison, American politician, 4th President of the United States (b. 1751)
1880 – Texas Jack Omohundro, American cowboy and actor (b. 1846)
1881 – Jules Armand Dufaure, French politician, 33rd Prime Minister of France (b. 1798)
1889 – Maria Mitchell, American astronomer (b. 1818)
1892 – Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, Greek poet and politician (b. 1810)
1913 – Manuel Ferraz de Campos Sales, Brazilian lawyer and politician, 4th President of Brazil (b. 1841)
1914 – Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg (b. 1868)
1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (b. 1863)
1915 – Victor Trumper, Australian cricketer (b. 1877)
1916 – Ştefan Luchian, Romanian painter (b. 1868)
1922 – Velimir Khlebnikov, Russian poet and playwright (b. 1885)
1929 – Edward Carpenter, English poet and philosopher (b. 1844)
1936 – Alexander Berkman, American author and activist (d. 1870)
1946 – Raymond Lawler, American soccer player (b. 1888)
1960 – Jake Swirbul, American businessman, co-founded the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation (b. 1898)
1962 – Mickey Cochrane, American baseball player and manager (b. 1903)
1962 – Cy Morgan, American baseball player (b. 1878)
1965 – Red Nichols, American cornet player, bandleader, and composer (The California Ramblers) (b. 1905)
1971 – Franz Stangl, Austrian SS officer (b. 1908)
1974 – Frank Sutton, American actor (b. 1923)
1975 – Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis, Greek architect (b. 1913)
1975 – Serge Reding, Belgian weightlifter (b. 1941)
1975 – Rod Serling, American actor, screenwriter, and producer (b. 1924)
1976 – Stanley Baker, Welsh actor and producer (b. 1927)
1978 – Clifford Dupont, English-Rhodesian politician, 1st President of Rhodesia (b. 1905)
1980 – José Iturbi, Spanish pianist and conductor (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) (b. 1895)
1981 – Terry Fox, Canadian runner and activist (b. 1958)
1984 – Yigael Yadin, Israeli archeologist, general, and politician (b. 1917)
1985 – Lambros Konstantaras, Greek actor (b. 1913)
1985 – Lynd Ward, American author and illustrator (b. 1905)
1989 – Joris Ivens, Dutch journalist, director, and producer (b. 1898)
1989 – Mike Sebastian, American football player and coach (b. 1910)
1992 – Mikhail Tal, Latvian chess player (b. 1936)
1992 – Guy Nève, Belgian racing driver (b. 1955)
1993 – GG Allin, American singer-songwriter (The Murder Junkies and The Jabbers) (b. 1956)
1995 – Petri Walli, Finnish singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (Kingston Wall) (b. 1969)
2000 – Jane Birdwood, Baroness Birdwood, Canadian-English politician and activist (b. 1913)
2000 – Nils Poppe, Swedish actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1908)
2001 – Mortimer J. Adler, American philosopher and author (b. 1902)
2001 – Joan Sims, English actress (b. 1930)
2003 – Joan Lowery Nixon, American journalist and author (b. 1927)
2003 – Willem Slijkhuis, Dutch runner (b. 1923)
2004 – Anthony Buckeridge, English author (b. 1912)
2005 – Brenda Howard, American activist (b. 1946)
2005 – Michael P. Murphy, American lieutenant, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1976)
2006 – Jim Baen, American publisher, founded Baen Books (b. 1943)
2006 – George Page, American television host and producer (b. 1935)
2006 – Peter Rawlinson, Baron Rawlinson of Ewell, English lawyer and politician, Attorney General for England and Wales (b. 1919)
2006 – George Unwin, English pilot and commander (b. 1913)
2007 – Eugene B. Fluckey, American admiral, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1913)
2007 – Kiichi Miyazawa, Japanese politician, 78th Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1919)
2008 – Ruslana Korshunova, Kazakhstani model (b. 1987)
2009 – A. K. Lohithadas, Indian director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1955)
2009 – Billy Mays, American salesman (b. 1958)
2009 – Fred Travalena, American comedian and actor (b. 1942)
2010 – Bill Aucoin, American band manager (b. 1943)
2010 – Robert Byrd, American lawyer and politician (b. 1917)
2011 – Angélico Vieira, Portuguese singer and actor (D'ZRT) (b. 1982)
2012 – Richard Isay, American psychiatrist and author (b. 1934)
2012 – Leontine T. Kelly, American bishop (b. 1920)
2012 – Zhang Ruifang, Chinese actress (b. 1918)
2012 – Robert Sabatier, French author and poet (b. 1923)
2012 – Doris Sams, American baseball player (b. 1927)
2012 – Chris Sanderson, Canadian lacrosse player and coach (b. 1974)
2012 – Norman Sas, American businessman (b. 1925)
2012 – Paul Stassino, Greek actor (b. 1930)
2013 – Yiye Ávila, Puerto Rican televangelist (b. 1925)
2013 – Bhavna Chikhalia, Indian politician (b. 1955)
2013 – Fred Gibson, Jamaican-English cricketer (b. 1912)
2013 – Ted Hood, American sailor (b. 1927)
2013 – Tamás Katona, Hungarian historian and politician (b. 1932)
2013 – Kenneth Minogue, New Zealand-Australian political scientist and academic (b. 1930)
2013 – Matt Osborne, American wrestler (b. 1957)
2013 – F.D. Reeve, American author and academic (b. 1928)
2013 – David Rubitsky, American sergeant (b. 1917)
2013 – Charlie L. Russell, American playwright (b. 1932)
2013 – Silvi Vrait, Estonian singer and actress (b. 1951)

Jun 28, 1972: Nixon announces draftees will not go to Vietnam

President Nixon announces that no more draftees will be sent to Vietnam unless they volunteer for such duty. He also announced that a force of 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by September 1, which would leave a total of 39,000 in Vietnam.

Jun 28, 1975: A teenage girl's boyfriend murders her parents

Police are called to the home of Jim and Naomi Olive in Terra Linda, California, after Jim Olive's business partner reports that the couple has not been seen in a week. The house in disarray, officers found no sign of either the Olives or their adopted teenage daughter Marlene. However, Marlene turned up at the police station later that day and began telling a bizarre series of stories explaining her parent's disappearance.

Marlene first claimed that her parents had gone to Lake Tahoe for a vacation but had not returned. As the interrogation extended into the second day, she told detectives that Jim had killed Naomi and then fled. But, when pressed on this story, she contradicted herself and claimed that her mother was the killer. In an entirely new tale, she then told the police that both of her parents were killed and taken away by a group of Hell's Angels.

The detectives waited patiently until Marlene finally led them to a fire pit outside the town where the burned remains of her parents were located. With a little investigation, the detectives found out about Chuck Riley, Marlene's boyfriend. At his home was an unopened letter from Marlene that read, "I have no guilty feelings at all about my folks. NONE. NEITHER SHOULD YOU. Relax."

From Riley, police learned that Marlene and Naomi had a rocky relationship, mostly because Naomi was schizophrenic and paranoid. Apparently, she repeatedly told her daughter that she would grow up to be a whore just like her real mother. Angry and insecure, Marlene began biting off chunks of her own arm.

Marlene met Chuck Riley in 1974, and the two began a contractual relationship: Marlene provided sex for Riley in return for drugs. In March 1975, the two went on a $6,000 shoplifting spree and Naomi threatened to send Marlene to juvenile hall.

On June 21, Marlene arranged to go shopping with her father while Riley sneaked into the house and attacked Naomi with a claw hammer. Failing to kill her, he then stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife. By the time Jim and Marlene returned home, Riley was still in the middle of the attack. When Jim attempted to intervene, Riley shot and killed him.

Because she was a teenager at the time of the murders, Marlene Olive served only four years before being released from prison in 1979. Riley was given a death sentence that was later commuted to life imprisonment.

Jun 28, 1992: Two big quakes rock California

Two of the strongest earthquakes ever to hit California strike the desert area east of Los Angeles on this day in 1992. Although the state sits upon the immense San Andreas fault line, relatively few major earthquakes have hit California in modern times. Two of the strongest, but not the deadliest, hit southern California on a single morning in the summer of 1992.

Just before 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a 7.3-magnitude quake struck in Landers, 100 miles east of Los Angeles. Because the Landers area is sparsely populated, damage was relatively minor given the intensity of the jolt. In Los Angeles, residents experienced rolling and shaking for nearly a minute. The tremors were also felt in Arizona, Las Vegas and as far away as Boise, Idaho.

Just over three hours later, a second 6.3-magnitude tremor hit in Big Bear, not too far from the original epicenter. This quake caused fires to break out and cost three people their lives. A chimney fell on a 3-year-old child and two people suffered fatal heart attacks. Between the two quakes, 400 people were injured and $92 million in damages were suffered. The physical damage was also significant. The quakes triggered landslides that wiped out roads and opened a 44-mile-long rupture in the earth, the biggest in California since the 1906 San Francisco quake.

Jun 28, 1993: A serial rapist strikes in Allentown

A knife-wielding serial rapist and murderer attacks Denise Sam-Cali in her Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Although he succeeded in raping Sam-Cali on the front lawn outside her house, the courageous woman survived and later proved instrumental in bringing him to justice.

Sam-Cali's vicious attack was the third of its kind that month in Allentown. On June 9, a 15-year-old girl had been abducted and was later found dead in a reservoir with 22 stab wounds. On June 20, a five-year-old girl was raped by a man who broke into her home and unsuccessfully tried to choke her to death.

But Sam-Cali's attacker was not through yet: He killed again on July 14. On July 18, Sam-Cali's house was broken into. Police believed it was her attacker and began a stakeout of her home, leaving a window open to entice the assailant. In the early morning of July 31, the attacker climbed though the window and was greeted by a police officer hiding in the living room. A shootout ensued and he busted through another window to escape.

Hours later, 18-year-old Harvey Robinson stumbled into a local hospital, bleeding from two bullet wounds. Already a career criminal, Robinson had burglarized a home at the age of nine and was constantly in trouble with the law. When he was spotted by a police officer in the hospital, he attempted to flee, but was arrested.

After being identified by his surviving victims and DNA evidence, Harvey Robinson was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to death.

Jun 28, 1997: Mike Tyson bites ear

On June 28, 1997, Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear in the third round of their heavyweight rematch. The attack led to his disqualification from the match and suspension from boxing, and was the strangest chapter yet in the champion’s roller-coaster career.

Mike Tyson enjoyed a rapid rise to stardom. In 1986 he became the youngest heavyweight champion in history by beating Trevor Berbick at just 19 years old. By 1989, however, Tyson had begun a long downward spiral into sports infamy. His erratic behavior included marrying and divorcing actress Robin Givens (after being accused by her of domestic violence), firing and suing his manager, breaking his hand in an early morning street brawl and two car accidents, one of which was reportedly a suicide attempt. Tyson also fired trainer Kevin Rooney and replaced him with notorious promoter Don King.

Unable to keep his focus on boxing, Tyson, once thought unbeatable, lost the heavyweight title after being knocked out by 42-to-1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas in a stunning upset on February 11, 1990. In 1991, Tyson was accused of rape by Desiree Washington, a contestant in a beauty pageant he was judging in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was convicted on February 10, 1992, and served three years and one month in a federal penitentiary.

Once released, Tyson regained his heavyweight belts and then planned a bout with Evander Holyfield, a clean-living, religious former heavyweight champion from Georgia who was considered the best heavyweight challenger for Tyson after number-one contender Lennox Lewis, who Tyson refused to schedule. Holyfield had retired in 1994, but the prospect of a huge payday proved tempting, and on November 9, 1996, the underdog Holyfield shocked the boxing world by beating Tyson in an 11th round TKO to win Tyson’s WBA title.

Holyfield came into the widely anticipated rematch on this day in 1997 even stronger than he had been for the first fight. In the first round, he hit Tyson hard with body shots while Tyson flailed away, ignoring the science of boxing his trainer had promised he would employ. By the end of the round, the crowd chanted Holyfield’s name, turning on the usual fan favorite Tyson. In the second round, Holyfield head-butted Tyson, opening a cut over Tyson’s right eye.

In the third round, Tyson lost what composure he had left. He spit out his mouthpiece, bit off a chunk out of Holyfield’s right ear and then spit it onto the canvas. Though Holyfield was in obvious pain the fight resumed after a brief stoppage, and then Tyson bit Holyfield’s other ear. With 10 seconds left in the third round, he was disqualified. His $30 million purse was withheld while Nevada boxing officials reviewed the fight.

Events in Tyson’s life took repeated turns for the worse in the aftermath of the fight, and culminated in his declaring bankruptcy--in part due to $400,000 a year spent on maintaining a flock of pet pigeons--and an arrest for cocaine possession. In 2006, Tyson agreed to join Heidi Fleiss’ legal brothel in Nevada as a prostitute.

Jun 28, 2006: DaimlerChrysler announces Smart's arrival in United States

After a flurry of rumors, DaimlerChrysler chairman Dieter Zetsche announces on this day in 2006 that the company's urban-focused Smart brand--already popular in Europe--will come to the United States in early 2008.

Smart--an acronym for Swatch Mercedes ART--began as a joint venture between Swatch, the company known for its colorful and trendy plastic watches, and the German automaker Mercedes-Benz. The result of this collaboration was the Smart ForTwo, which measured just over eight feet from bumper to bumper and was marketed as a safe, fuel-efficient car that could be maneuvered easily through narrow, crowded city streets. The ForTwo debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997 and went on sale in nine European countries over the next year. Despite its popularity among urban Europeans, Smart posted significant losses, and Swatch soon pulled out of the joint venture. Despite these setbacks, Mercedes maker DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG) made an initial foray into the North American market, launching the Smart in Canada in 2004.

On June 28, 2006, Zetsche announced Smart's planned U.S. launch, declaring: "The time has never been better for this--and I am convinced that the Smart ForTwo as an innovative, ecological and agile city car will soon become just as familiar a sight on the streets of New York, Miami or Seattle, as it is today in Rome, Berlin or Paris." Between 2003 and 2006, as reported by the German newspaper Handelsblatt, DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG) had taken a loss of some 3.9 billion euros (around $5.2 billion) on the Smart brand, and the company looked to the U.S. market as a way to bring the brand into profitability. It had initially planned a 2006 release in the United States, but pushed it back; the skyrocketing price of fuel gave the company the impetus it needed to introduce the Smart, which was designed to achieve 40 plus miles per gallon under normal driving conditions.

Marketed as "a small car with a big urban solution," the Smart was inevitably compared to another small, odd-looking vehicle that had arrived in the United States from Germany nearly four decades before: the Volkswagen Beetle. Though early interest in the Smart resulted in more than 30,000 early registrations by September 2007, skeptics pointed to several factors that might hurt the Smart's sales among American consumers, including the popularity of gas-electric hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius (reportedly more fuel efficient than the Smart) and that of another small (though much larger than the Smart) urban-friendly car, the Mini Cooper.
June 29 is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 185 days remaining until the end of the year.

29 June Events

226 – Cao Pi dies after an illness; his son Cao Rui succeeds him as emperor of the Kingdom of Wei.
1149 – Raymond of Poitiers is defeated and killed at the Battle of Inab by Nur ad-Din Zangi.
1194 – Sverre is crowned King of Norway.
1444 – Skanderbeg defeats an Ottoman invasion force at Torvioll.
1534 – Jacques Cartier is the first European to reach Prince Edward Island.
1613 – The Globe Theatre in London, England burns to the ground.
1644 – Charles I of England defeats a Parliamentarian detachment at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, the last battle won by an English King on English soil.
1659 – At the Battle of Konotop the Ukrainian armies of Ivan Vyhovsky defeat the Russians led by Prince Trubetskoy.
1776 – First privateer battle of the American Revolutionary War fought at Turtle Gut Inlet near Cape May, New Jersey
1776 – Father Francisco Palou founds Mission San Francisco de Asis in what is now San Francisco, California.
1786 – Alexander Macdonell and over five hundred Roman Catholic highlanders leave Scotland to settle in Glengarry County, Ontario.
1807 – Russo-Turkish War: Admiral Dmitry Senyavin destroys the Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Athos.
1850 – Autocephaly officially granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Church of Greece.
1864 – Ninety-nine people are killed in Canada's worst railway disaster near St-Hilaire, Quebec.
1874 – Greek politician Charilaos Trikoupis publishes a manifesto in the Athens daily Kairoi entitled "Who's to Blame?" in which he lays out his complaints against King George. He is elected Prime Minister of Greece the next year.
1880 – France annexes Tahiti.
1881 – In Sudan, Muhammad Ahmad declares himself to be the Mahdi, the messianic redeemer of Islam.
1888 – George Edward Gouraud records Handel's Israel in Egypt onto a phonograph cylinder, thought for many years to be the oldest known recording of music.
1889 – Hyde Park and several other Illinois townships vote to be annexed by Chicago, forming the largest United States city in area and second largest in population.
1895 – Doukhobors burn their weapons as a protest against conscription by the Tsarist Russian government.
1914 – Jina Guseva attempts to assassinate Grigori Rasputin at his home town in Siberia.
1916 – The Irish Nationalist and British diplomat Sir Roger Casement is sentenced to death for his part in the Easter Rising.
1922 – France grants 1 km² at Vimy Ridge "freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada, the free use of the land exempt from all taxes".
1926 – Arthur Meighen returns to office as Prime Minister of Canada.
1927 – The Bird of Paradise, a U.S. Army Air Corps Fokker tri-motor, completes the first transpacific flight, from the mainland United States to Hawaii.
1927 – First test of Wallace Turnbull's controllable pitch propeller.
1928 – The Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in Staten Island, New York are both opened.
1945 – Carpathian Ruthenia is annexed by the Soviet Union.
1956 – The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 is signed, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System.
1972 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in the case Furman v. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
1974 – Isabel Perón is sworn in as the first female President of Argentina. Her husband, President Juan Peron, had delegated responsibility due to weak health and died two days later.
1974 – Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.
1975 – Steve Wozniak tested his first prototype of Apple I computer.
1976 – The Seychelles become independent from the United Kingdom.
1995 – Space Shuttle program: STS-71 Mission (Atlantis) docks with the Russian space station Mir for the first time.
1995 – The Sampoong Department Store collapses in the Seocho-gu district of Seoul, South Korea, killing 501 and injuring 937.
2002 – Naval clashes between South Korea and North Korea lead to the death of six South Korean sailors and sinking of a North Korean vessel.
2006 – Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President George W. Bush's plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.
2007 – Apple Inc. releases its first mobile phone, the iPhone.
2012 – A derecho strikes the eastern United States, leaving at least 22 people dead and millions without power.

Jun 29, 1613: The Globe Theater burns down

The Globe Theater, where most of Shakespeare's plays debuted, burned down on this day in 1613.

The Globe was built by Shakespeare's acting company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, in 1599 from the timbers of London's very first permanent theater, Burbage's Theater, built in 1576. Before James Burbage built his theater, plays and dramatic performances were ad hoc affairs, performed on street corners and in the yards of inns. However, the Common Council of London, in 1574, started licensing theatrical pieces performed in inn yards within the city limits. To escape the restriction, actor James Burbage built his own theater on land he leased outside the city limits. When Burbage's lease ran out, the Lord Chamberlain's men moved the timbers to a new location and created the Globe. Like other theaters of its time, the Globe was a round wooden structure with a stage at one end, and covered balconies for the gentry. The galleries could seat about 1,000 people, with room for another 2,000 "groundlings," who could stand on the ground around the stage.

The Lord Chamberlain's men built Blackfriars theater in 1608, a smaller theater that seated about 700 people, to use in winter when the open-air Globe wasn't practical.

Jun 29, 1776: South Carolina's Edward Rutledge opposes independence

On this day in 1776, Edward Rutledge, one of South Carolina's representatives to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, expresses his reluctance to declare independence from Britain in a letter to the like-minded John Jay of New York.

Contrary to the majority of his Congressional colleagues, Rutledge advocated patience with regards to declaring independence. In a letter to Jay, one of New York's representatives who was similarly disinclined to rush a declaration, Rutledge worried whether moderates like himself and Jay could "effectually oppose" a resolution for independence. Jay had urgent business in New York and therefore was not able to be present for the debates. Thus, Rutledge wrote of his concerns.

Rutledge was born in Charleston, to a physician who had emigrated from Ireland. Edward's elder brother John studied law at London's Middle Temple before returning to set up a lucrative practice in Charleston. Edward followed suit and studied first at Oxford University before being admitted to the English bar at the Middle Temple. He too returned to Charleston, where he married and began a family in a house across the street from his brother. As revolutionary politics roiled the colonies, first John, then Edward served as South Carolina's representative to the Continental Congress. Neither Rutledge brother was eager to sever ties with Great Britain, but it fell to Edward to sign the Declaration of Independence and create the appearance of unanimity to strengthen the Patriots' stand. At age 26, Edward Rutledge was the youngest American to literally risk his neck by signing the document.

Jun 29, 1835: Texan William Travis prepares for war with Mexico

Determined to win independence for the Mexican State of Texas, William Travis raises a volunteer army of 25 soldiers and prepares to liberate the city of Anahuac.

Born in South Carolina and raised in Alabama, William Travis moved to Mexican-controlled Texas in 1831 at the age of 22. He established a legal practice in Anahuac, a small frontier town about 40 miles east of Houston. From the start, Travis disliked Mexicans personally and resented Mexican rule of Texas politically. In 1832, he clashed with local Mexican officials and was jailed for a month. When he was released, the growing Texan independence movement hailed him as a hero, strengthening his resolve to break away from Mexico by whatever means necessary.

Early in 1835, the Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrew the republican government and proclaimed himself dictator. Rightly fearing that some Texans would rebel as a result, Santa Anna quickly moved to reinforce Mexican control and dispatched troops to Anahuac, among other areas. Accustomed to enjoying a large degree of autonomy, some Texans resented the presence of Santa Anna's troops, and they turned to Travis for leadership.

On this day in 1835, Travis raised a company of 25 volunteer soldiers. The next day, the small army easily captured Captain Antonio Tenorio, the leader of Santa Anna's forces in Anahuac, and forced the troops to surrender. More radical Texans again proclaimed Travis a hero, but others condemned him for trying to foment war and maintained that Santa Anna could still be dealt with short of revolution. By the fall of 1835, however, conflict had become inevitable, and Texans prepared to fight a war of independence.

As soon as the rebels had formed an army, Travis was made a lieutenant colonel in command of the regular troops at San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, Travis joined forces with Jim Bowie's army of volunteers to occupy an old Spanish mission known as the Alamo. The following day, Santa Anna and about 4,000 of his men laid siege to the Alamo. With less than 200 soldiers, Travis and Bowie were able to hold off the Mexicans for 13 days. On March 6, Santa Anna's soldiers stormed the Alamo and killed nearly every Texan defender, including Travis.

In the months that followed, "Remember the Alamo" became a rallying cry as the Texans successfully drove the Mexican forces from their borders. By April, Texas had won its independence. Travis, who first hastened the war of independence and then became a martyr to the cause, became an enduring symbol of Texan courage and defiance.

Jun 29, 1862: Rebels inflict attack Yankees at the Battle of Savage's Station

On this day in 1862, at the Battle of Savage's Station, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacks Union General George McClellan as he is pulling his army away from Richmond, Virginia, in retreat during the Seven Days' Battles. Although the Yankees lost 1,000 men–twice as many as the Rebels–they were able to successfully protect the retreat.

George McClellan spent the spring of 1862 preparing the Army of the Potomac for a campaign up the James Peninsula toward Richmond. For nearly three months, McClellan landed his troops at Fort Monroe, at the end of the peninsula, and worked northwest to Richmond. The Seven Days' Battles were the climax of this attempt to take the Confederate capital. Although he had an advantage in numbers, McClellan squandered it and surrendered the initiative to Lee, who attacked the Yankees and began driving them away from Richmond.

As McClellan retreated, Lee hounded his army. When the Union army moved past Savage's Station–a stop on the Richmond and York River Railroad and the site of a Union hospital–Lee ordered an assault on the troops screening the retreat. This was a chance to break McClellan's flank and deal a shattering defeat to the Yankees. But although Lee's strategy was sound, it was complicated, requiring precise timing on the part of several generals. The Confederates inflicted serious damage on the Northerners but were not able to break the rear guard. Fighting continued until nightfall, when a torrential rainstorm ended the battle.

Jun 29, 1915: Austria-Hungary protests shipment of U.S. munitions to Britain

On June 29, 1915, Foreign Minister Istvan von Burian of Austria-Hungary sends a note to the United States protesting the U.S. sale and shipment of munitions in enormous quantities to Britain and its allies for use against the Central Powers–Austria-Hungary and Germany–on the battlefields of World War I.

When war broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, the United States maintained a position of strict neutrality. The commercial opportunities of the war, however, were enormous, and neutrality did not impede the U.S.–by 1910 the leading industrial nation, with 35.3 percent of the world's manufacturing capacity, compared with 15.9 percent for Germany and 14.7 percent for Britain–from carrying on a brisk trade of munitions from the first months of the conflict. Beginning with guns and proceeding to boats and submarines, a steady flow of war materials soon began to travel across the Atlantic. Due to the naval blockade of the Central Powers by the mighty British navy, in place from the autumn of 1914, the great majority of these war materials were bought by Britain and France, a situation Burian considered intolerable and incompatible with the U.S. profession of neutrality.

In his note of June 29, 1915, Burian deplored "the fact that for a long time a traffic in munitions of war to the greatest extent has been carried on between the United States of America on the one hand and Great Britain and its allies on the other, while Austria-Hungary as well as Germany have been absolutely excluded from the American market." He went on to make the case for a violation of neutrality, stating that "a neutral government may not permit traffic in contraband of war to be carried on without hindrance when this traffic assumes such a form or such dimensions that the neutrality of the nation becomes involved thereby."

On August 15, U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing issued the official reply to Burian's note. In it, he vigorously refuted Burian's suggestions of a violation of neutrality and claimed that a comparable situation had existed during the Boer War of 1899-1902, during which Austria-Hungary and Germany had sold munitions to Britain, even as British dominance of the seas prevented a similar trade with Britain's enemies, the Boer population of South Africa. "If at that time Austria-Hungary and her present ally had refused to sell arms and ammunition to Great Britain on the ground that to do so would violate the spirit of strict neutrality," Lansing pointed out, "the Imperial and Royal Government might with greater consistency and greater force urge its present contention."

Austria-Hungary was as entitled as Britain to purchase U.S. munitions, Lansing continued, but the U.S. required that the munitions be collected by Austro-Hungarian ships from American ports, as to transport war materials in U.S. ships would, in fact, violate the principles of neutrality. If the inability of Austro-Hungarian (or German) ships to do this was due to the overwhelming threat of the British navy, Lansing maintained, it was not the fault of the United States. He concluded the statement by thoroughly dismissing Burian's claims, asserting that "The principles of international law, the practice of nations, the national safety of the United States and other nations without great military and naval establishments?are opposed to the prohibition by a neutral nation of the exportation of arms, ammunition, or other munitions of war to belligerent Powers during the progress of the war."

Jun 29, 1941: Germans capture Lvov-and slaughter ensues

On this day in 1941, the Germans, having already launched their invasion of Soviet territory, invade and occupy Lvov, in eastern Galicia, in Ukraine, slaughtering thousands.

The Russians followed a scorched-earth policy upon being invaded by the Germans; that is, they would destroy, burn, flood, dismantle and remove anything and everything in territory they were forced to give up to the invader upon retreating, thereby leaving the Germans little in the way of crops, supplies, industrial plants, or equipment. (It was a policy that had proved very successful against Napoleon in the previous century.) This time, as the Germans captured Lvov, the Soviet NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB secret police, proceeded to murder 3,000 Ukrainian political prisoners.

Lvov had had a long history of being occupied by foreign powers: Sweden, Austria, Russia, Poland, and since 1939, the Soviet Union, which had proved especially repressive. The German invaders were seen as liberators, if for no other reason than they were the enemy of Poland and Russia—two of Lvov's, and Ukraine's, enemies. But release from the Soviet grip only meant subjection to Nazi terror. Within days, administrative control of Ukraine was split up between Poland, Romania, and Germany. Some 2.5 million Ukrainians were shipped to Germany as slave laborers, and Ukrainian Jews were subjected to the same vicious racial policies as in Poland: Some 600,000 were murdered. (Ukrainian nationalists also had blood on their hands in this respect, having gone on the rampage upon the withdrawal of Russian troops by scapegoating Jews for "Bolshevism," killing them in the streets.)

Jun 29, 1941: Germans advance in USSR

One week after launching a massive invasion of the USSR, German divisions make staggering advances on Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev.

Despite his signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin knew that war with Nazi Germany--the USSR's natural ideological enemy--was inevitable. In 1941, he received reports that German forces were massing along the USSR's eastern border. He ordered a partial mobilization, unwisely believing that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler would never open another front until Britain was subdued. Stalin was thus surprised by the invasion that came on June 22, 1941. On that day, 150 German divisions poured across the Soviet Union's 1,800-mile-long eastern frontier in one of the largest and most powerful military operations in history.

Aided by its far superior air force, the Luftwaffe, the Germans raced across the USSR in three great army groups, inflicting terrible casualties on the Red Army and Soviet civilians. On June 29, the cities of Riga and Ventspils in Latvia fell, 200 Soviet aircraft were shot down, and the encirclement of three Russian armies was nearly complete at Minsk in Belarus. Assisted by their Romanian and Finnish allies, the Germans conquered vast territory in the opening months of the invasion, and by mid-October the great Russian cities of Leningrad and Moscow were under siege.

However, like Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812, Hitler failed to take into account the Russian people's historic determination in resisting invaders. Although millions of Soviet soldiers and citizens perished in 1941, and to the rest of the world it seemed certain that the USSR would fall, the defiant Red Army and bitter Russian populace were steadily crushing Hitler's hopes for a quick victory. Stalin had far greater reserves of Red Army divisions than German intelligence had anticipated, and the Soviet government did not collapse from lack of popular support as expected. Confronted with the harsh reality of Nazi occupation, Soviets chose Stalin's regime as the lesser of two evils and willingly sacrificed themselves in what became known as the "Great Patriotic War."

The German offensive against Moscow stalled only 20 miles from the Kremlin, Leningrad's spirit of resistance remained strong, and the Soviet armament industry--transported by train to the safety of the east--carried on, safe from the fighting. Finally, what the Russians call "General Winter" rallied again to their cause, crippling the Germans' ability to maneuver and thinning the ranks of the divisions ordered to hold their positions until the next summer offensive. The winter of 1941 came early and was the worst in decades, and German troops without winter coats were decimated by the major Soviet counteroffensives that began in December.

In May 1942, the Germans, who had held their line at great cost, launched their summer offensive. They captured the Caucasus and pushed to the city of Stalingrad, where one of the greatest battles of World War II began. In November 1942, a massive Soviet counteroffensive was launched out of the rubble of Stalingrad, and at the end of January 1943 German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered his encircled army. It was the turning point in the war, and the Soviets subsequently recaptured all the territory taken by the Germans in their 1942 offensive.

In July 1943, the Germans launched their last major attack, at Kursk; after two months of fierce battle involving thousands of tanks it ended in failure. From thereon, the Red Army steadily pushed the Germans back in a series of Soviet offensives. In January 1944, Leningrad was relieved, and a giant offensive to sweep the USSR clean of its invaders began in May. In January 1945, the Red Army launched its final offensive, driving into Czechoslovakia and Austria and, in late April, Berlin. The German capital was captured on May 2, and five days later Germany surrendered in World War II.

More than 18 million Soviet soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War. Germany lost more than three million men as a result of its disastrous invasion of the USSR.