Today is Saturday, Sept. 1, the 245th day of 2012. There are 121 days left in the year.
On Sept. 1, 1939, World War II began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland.
On this date:
In 1715, following a reign of 72 years, King Louis XIV of France died four days before his 77th birthday.
In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr was found not guilty of treason. (Burr was then tried on a misdemeanor charge, but was again acquitted.)
In 1902, the Georges Melies short film “Le Voyage dans la lune” (A Trip to the Moon) opened in France.
In 1912, British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, known as the “Black Mahler” (and not to be confused with the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge), died at age 37.
In 1923, the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were devastated by an earthquake that claimed some 140,000 lives.
In 1932, New York City Mayor James “Gentleman Jimmy” Walker resigned following charges of graft and corruption in his administration.
In 1942, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Welsh, ruling from Sacramento, Calif., on a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Fred Korematsu, upheld the wartime detention of Japanese-Americans as well as Japanese nationals.
In 1951, the United States, Australia and New Zealand signed a mutual defense pact, the ANZUS treaty.
In 1961, the Soviet Union ended a moratorium on atomic testing with an above-ground nuclear explosion in central Asia. A TWA Lockheed Constellation crashed shortly after takeoff from Chicago’s Midway Airport, killing all 78 people on board.
In 1972, American Bobby Fischer won the international chess crown in Reykjavik, Iceland, as Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union resigned before the resumption of Game 21. An arson fire at the Blue Bird Cafe in Montreal, Canada, claimed 37 lives.
In 1983, 269 people were killed when a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 was shot down by a Soviet jet fighter after the airliner entered Soviet airspace.
In 1987, peace demonstrator Brian Willson lost his legs when he was hit by a train at the Concord Naval Weapons Station in California while protesting weapons shipments to Central America.