On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization drive.
On this date:
In 1833, Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.
In 1862, the New York Tribune published an open letter by editor Horace Greeley calling on President Abraham Lincoln to take more aggressive measures to free the slaves and end the South's rebellion.
In 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after fighting had stopped.
In 1882, Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" had its premiere in Moscow.
In 1910, a series of forest fires swept through parts of Idaho, Montana and Washington, killing at least 85 people and burning some 3 million acres.
In 1940, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force before the House of Commons, saying, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
In 1955, hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.
In 1972, the Wattstax concert took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
In 1977, the U.S. launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.
In 1988, a cease-fire in the war between Iraq and Iran went into effect. Eight British soldiers were killed by an Irish Republican Army land mine that destroyed a military bus near Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.
In 1992, shortly after midnight, the Republican National Convention in Houston renominated President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.
Ten years ago: Opponents of Hugo Chavez turned in 2.7 million signatures to demand a referendum on ending his tumultuous presidency. The United States won the women's overall team gold medal at the World Gymnastics Championships in Anaheim, Calif.; Romania took the silver medal and Australia, the bronze.
Five years ago: A Spanish jetliner crashed during takeoff from Madrid, killing 154 people; 18 survived. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski signed a deal to put a U.S. missile defense base in Poland. In Beijing, Usain Bolt of Jamaica broke the world record by winning the 200 meters in 19.30 seconds. Former Chinese leader Hua Guofeng died in Beijing at age 87. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died in Cleveland at age 58. Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, died near California's Lake Tahoe at age 63.
One year ago: Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., fought to salvage his U.S. Senate campaign even as members of his own party turned against him over his comments that women were able to prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape." (Akin lost the election.) In a historic change at one of the world's most exclusive golf clubs, Augusta National invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first female members; both women accepted. Two college friends, Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, were killed when a CSX train derailed on a rail bridge in Ellicott City, Md., burying the young women in coal. Comedian Phyllis Diller, 95, died at her Los Angeles home.
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