Today in History

October 3
1739   Russia signs a treaty with the Turks, ending a three-year conflict between the two countries.
1776   Congress borrows five million dollars to halt the rapid depreciation of paper money in the colonies.
1862   At the Battle of Corinth, in Mississippi, a Union army defeats the Confederates.
1906   The first conference on wireless telegraphy in Berlin adopts SOS as a warning signal.
1929   The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes officially changes its name to Yugoslavia.
1940   The U.S. Army adopts airborne, or parachute, soldiers. Airborne troops are later used in World War II for landing troops in combat and infiltrating agents into enemy territory.
1942   The German Wehrmacht successfully launches a V-2 /A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany. It will become the first manmade object to reach space. The Germans have developed the missile, which features a liquid-propellant rocket engine, as a “vengeance weapon” assigned to attack Allied cities in retaliation for the Allied bombings of German cities in World War II. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1944   German troops evacuate Athens, Greece.
1952   The UK successfully develops a nuclear weapon, becoming the world’s third nuclear power.
1963   A violent coup in Honduras ends a period of political reform and ushers in two decades of military rule.
1985   The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight.
1990   After 40 years of division, East and West Germany are reunited as one nation.
1993   The Battle of Mogadishu takes place, in which 18 US soldiers and some 1,000 Somalis are killed during an attempt to capture officials of the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s organization.
Born on October 3
1800   George Bancroft, historian, known as the “Father of American History” for his 10-volume A History of the United States.
1900   Thomas Wolfe, American novelist (Look Homeward Angel); not to be confused with American novelist Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff).
1916   James Herriot, Yorkshire veterinarian and author of All Creatures Great and Small.
1925   Gore Vidal, writer (“Myra Breckinridge,” “Burr,” “Lincoln”); one of the screenwriters on the movie Ben Hur (1959).
1935   Charles “Charlie” Duke, the youngest astronaut to walk on the moon (1972); retired from US Air Force as a brigadier general.
1938   Eddie Cochran, influential rock ‘n’ roll pioneer (“Summertime Blues”).
1941   Chubby Checker (Ernest Evans), singer, songwriter who popularized the dance The Twist; Billboard magazine ranked “The Twist” as the most popular single in its Hot 100 since the list’s debut in 1958.
1954   Al Sharpton, African-American minister, civil rights activist, TV and radio talk show host; unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency in 2004.

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