Today in History
On Jan. 24, 1942, the Roberts Commission placed much of the blame for America’s lack of preparedness for Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Rear Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, the Navy and Army commanders.
On this date:
In 1742, Charles VII was elected Holy Roman Emperor during the War of the Austrian Succession.
In 1848, James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of ’49.
In 1908, the Boy Scouts movement began in England under the aegis of Robert Baden-Powell.
In 1924, the Russian city of Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) was renamed Leningrad in honor of the late revolutionary leader. (However, it has since been renamed St. Petersburg.)
In 1939, at least 28,000 people were killed by an earthquake that devastated the city of Chillan in Chile.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill concluded a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.
In 1961, a U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed near Goldsboro, N.C., dropping its payload of two nuclear bombs, neither of which went off; three crew members were killed.
In 1963, a U.S. Air Force B-52 on a training mission crashed into Elephant Mountain in Maine after encountering turbulence and losing its vertical stabilizer; seven of the nine crew members were killed.
In 1965, Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.
In 1978, a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite, Cosmos 954, plunged through Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated, scattering radioactive debris over parts of northern Canada.
In 1984, Apple Computer began selling its first Macintosh model, which boasted a built-in 9-inch monochrome display, a clock rate of 8 megahertz and 128k of RAM.
In 1989, confessed serial killer Theodore Bundy was executed in Florida’s electric chair.
Ten years ago: Howard Dean sharply questioned John Kerry’s judgment on Iraq as Democratic presidential rivals raced through a final weekend of campaigning before the New Hampshire primary. NASA’s Opportunity rover landed on Mars, arriving at the Red Planet exactly three weeks after its identical twin, Spirit.
Five years ago: Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who’d safely landed a crippled US Airways jetliner in the Hudson River, received a hero’s homecoming in Danville, Calif. President Barack Obama met with his economic advisers after asking Americans to support his economic package as a way to better schools, lower electricity bills and health coverage for millions who lose insurance. Brazilian model Mariana Bridi, 20, died after contracting an infection that had forced doctors to amputate her hands and feet. Alissa Czisny won the women’s title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland. Katie Stam of Indiana was crowned Miss America, the first winner from the Hoosier State.
One year ago: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the lifting of a ban on women serving in combat. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee opened a hearing into President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state. President Obama appointed Mary Jo White, a former prosecutor, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. In Chicago, David Coleman Headley, an American drug dealer who had faced life in prison, was sentenced instead to 35 years for helping plan the deadly 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India — a punishment prosecutors said reflected his broad cooperation with U.S. investigators. New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson announced he was changing his team’s nickname to the Pelicans for the start of next season.
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