On This Day … 08 December 2020


  • 395 – Later Yan is defeated by its former vassal Northern Wei at the Battle of Canhe Slope.
  • 757 – Du Fu returns to Chang’an as a member of Emperor Xuanzong’s court, after having escaped the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.
  • 877 – Louis the Stammerer (son of Charles the Bald) is crowned king of the West Frankish Kingdom at Compiègne.
  • 1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kęstutaitis is fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the Lithuanian Civil War.
  • 1851 – Conservative Santiago-based government troops defeat rebels at the Battle of Loncomilla, signaling the end of the 1851 Chilean Revolution.
  • 1912 – Leaders of the German Empire hold an Imperial War Council to discuss the possibility that war might break out.
  • 1914 – World War I: A squadron of Britain’s Royal Navy defeats the Imperial German East Asia Squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.
  • 1941 – World War II: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares 07 December to be “a date which will live in infamy”, after which the US declares war on Japan.
  • 1941 – World War II: Japanese forces simultaneously invade Shanghai International Settlement, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. (See 07 December for the concurrent attack on Pearl Harbour in the Western Hemisphere.)
  • 1943 – World War II: The German 117th Jäger Division destroys the monastery of Mega Spilaio in Greece and executes 22 monks and visitors as part of reprisals that culminated a few days later with the Massacre of Kalavryta.
  • 1953 – US President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his “Atoms for Peace” speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
  • 1971 – Indo-Pakistani War: The Indian Navy launches an attack on West Pakistan’s port city of Karachi.
  • 1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
  • 1987 – Cold War: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the White House.
  • 1987 – An Israeli army tank transporter kills four Palestinian refugees and injures seven others during a traffic accident at the Erez Crossing on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, which has been cited as one of the events which sparked the First Intifada.
  • 1988 – A United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II crashes into an apartment complex in Remscheid, Germany, killing 5 people and injuring 50 others.
  • 1991 – The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sign an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
  • 1998 – Eighty-one people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
  • Battle Day (Falkland Islands).

People (Births)

  • 1542 – Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, at Linlithgow Palace (d. 1587).
  • 1765 – Eli Whitney, American engineer, invented the cotton gin (d. 1825).
  • 1865 – Rüdiger von der Goltz, German general (d. 1946).
  • 1884 – Francis Balfour, English colonel and politician (d. 1965).
  • 1900 – Sun Li-jen, Chinese general and politician (d. 1990).
  • 1908 – John A. Volpe, American soldier and politician, 61st Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1994).
  • 1923 – Rudolph Pariser, Chinese-American soldier and chemist.
  • 1927 – Vladimir Shatalov, Kazakhstani general, pilot, and astronaut.
  • 1941 – Duke Cunningham, American commander and politician.
  • 1943 – Bodo Tümmler, German runner.
  • 1972 – Janae Marie Kroczaleski, American powerlifter.
  • 1972 – Édson Ribeiro, Brazilian sprinter.
  • 1977 – Anita Weyermann, Swiss runner and journalist.
  • 1980 – Yuliya Krevsun, Ukrainian runner.
  • 1984 – Emma Green Tregaro, Swedish high jumper.
  • 1994 – Conseslus Kipruto, Kenyan runner.

People (Deaths)

  • 855 – Drogo of Metz, illegitimate son of Charlemagne (b. 801).
  • 1746 – Charles Radclyffe, English courtier and soldier (b. 1693).
  • 1914 – Maximilian von Spee, Danish-German admiral (b. 1861).
  • 1963 – Sarit Thanarat, Thai field marshal and politician, 11th Prime Minister of Thailand (b. 1908).
  • 1982 – Haim Laskov, Israel Defense Forces fifth Chief of Staff (b. 1919).
  • 1984 – Semih Sancar, Turkish general (b. 1911).
  • 1993 – Yevgeny Minayev, Russian weightlifter (b. 1933).

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