Today is Wednesday, Sept. 12, the 256th day of 2012. There are 110 days left in the year.
On Sept. 12, 1942, during World War II, a German U-boat off West Africa torpedoed the RMS Laconia, which was carrying Italian prisoners of war, British soldiers and civilians. The German crew, joined by other U-boats, began rescue operations. (On Sept. 16, the rescue effort came to an abrupt halt when the Germans were attacked by a U.S. Army bomber; some 1,600 people died while more than 1,100 survived. As a result, U-boat commanders were ordered to no longer rescue civilian survivors of submarine attacks.)
On this date:
In 1814, the Battle of North Point took place in Maryland during the War of 1812 as American forces slowed the advance of British troops on Baltimore.
In 1846, Elizabeth Barrett secretly married Robert Browning at St. Marylebone Church in London.
In 1910, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, popularly known as the “Symphony of a Thousand,” had its premiere in Munich, Germany, with Mahler conducting.
In 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded the right of self-determination for the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia.
In 1943, German paratroopers took Benito Mussolini from the hotel where he was being held by the Italian government.
In 1953, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (boo-vee-AY’) in Newport, R.I.
In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addressed questions about his Roman Catholic faith, telling a Southern Baptist group, “I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”
In 1972, the situation comedy “Maude” premiered on CBS.
In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by Ethiopia’s military after ruling for 58 years.
In 1977, South African black student leader Steve Biko died while in police custody, triggering an international outcry.
In 1986, Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped (he was released in Dec. 1991).
In 1992, the space shuttle Endeavour blasted off, carrying with it Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space; Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space; and Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese national to fly on a U.S. spaceship. Police in Peru captured Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman. Actor Anthony Perkins died in Hollywood at age 60.
Ten years ago: Raising the specter of war, President George W. Bush told skeptical world leaders at the United Nations to confront the “grave and gathering danger” of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq — or to stand aside as the U.S. acted. Three former Tyco International executives were charged with looting the conglomerate of hundreds of millions of dollars; all three pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in New York. (Former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and former CFO Mark Swartz were later convicted of grand larceny and securities fraud; Tyco’s former top lawyer, Mark A. Belnick, was acquitted.)
Five years ago: Oil prices briefly topped a record $80 a barrel. Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced long-serving Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov with an obscure Cabinet official, Viktor Zubkov. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation.
One year ago: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the perceived front-runner in the Republican presidential contest, endured an onslaught from seven rivals during a fractious two-hour debate in Tampa, Fla. In Logan, Utah, about a dozen bystanders rescued motorcyclist Brandon Wright, who’d become pinned under a burning car after a collision. A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya’s capital exploded, turning part of a Nairobi slum into an inferno, killing 119 people, according to the Kenya Red Cross. Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 to win his first U.S. Open championship. Kurt Ziebart, a certified master auto mechanic in his native Germany who invented the Ziebart rust-proofing process, died in Williamsburg, Mich., at age 91.