On This Day … 03 December


  • 1775: The USS Alfred becomes the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.
  • 1799: War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Wiesloch: Austrian Lieutenant Field Marshal Anton Sztáray defeats the French at Wiesloch.
  • 1800: War of the Second Coalition: Battle of Hohenlinden: French General Moreau decisively defeats the Archduke John of Austria near Munich. Coupled with First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte’s earlier victory at Marengo, this will force the Austrians to sign an armistice and end the war.
  • 1854: Battle of the Eureka Stockade: More than 20 gold miners at Ballarat, Victoria, are killed by state troopers in an uprising over mining licences.
  • 1912 – Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia (the Balkan League) sign an armistice with the Ottoman Empire, temporarily halting the First Balkan War. (The armistice will expire on February 3, 1913, and hostilities will resume.)
  • 1920: Following more than a month of Turkish–Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.
  • 1944: Greek Civil War: Fighting breaks out in Athens between the ELAS and government forces supported by the British Army.
  • 1971: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: Pakistan launches a pre-emptive strike against India and a full-scale war begins claiming hundreds of lives.
  • 1989: Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the Cold War between NATO and the Soviet Union may be coming to an end.
  • 1997 – In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign the Ottawa Treaty prohibiting manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines. The United States, People’s Republic of China, and Russia do not sign the treaty, however.

People (Births)

  • 1826: George B. McClellan, American general and politician, 24th Governor of New Jersey (d. 1885).
  • 1879: Donald Matheson Sutherland, Canadian physician and politician, 5th Canadian Minister of National Defence (d. 1970).
  • 1880: Fedor von Bock, German field marshal (d. 1945).
  • 1887: Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, Japanese general and politician, 43rd Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1990).
  • 1891: Thomas Farrell, American general (d. 1967).
  • 1895: Sheng Shicai, Chinese warlord (d. 1970).
  • 1902: Mitsuo Fuchida, Japanese captain and pilot (d. 1976).
  • 1918: Abdul Haris Nasution, Indonesian general and politician, 12th Indonesian Minister of Defence (d. 2000).
  • 1934: Viktor Gorbatko, Russian general, pilot, and astronaut.

People (Deaths)

  • 1610: Honda Tadakatsu, Japanese general and daimyō (b. 1548).
  • 1876: Samuel Cooper, American general (b. 1798).
  • 1980: Oswald Mosley, English lieutenant, fascist, and politician, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (b. 1896).
  • 2005: Frederick Ashworth, American admiral (b. 1912).
  • 2009: Richard Todd, Irish-born British soldier and actor (b. 1919).
  • 2013: Paul Aussaresses, French general (b. 1918).
  • 2013: Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, Egyptian air marshal (b. 1952).

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