|February 14, 1943 - The United States encounters its first major
defeat in the European theater of World War II at the Battle for
Kasserine Pass in Tunisia.
April 13, 1943 - The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. is dedicated on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birth by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
June 21, 1943 - Race riots in Detroit and Harlem cause forty deaths and seven hundred injuries.
July 10, 1943 - The United States Army's 45th Infantry Division lands on the island of Sicily, starting the campaign of Allied invasion into Axis-controlled Europe. Nine days later, Rome is bombed by Allied forces. The conquest of Sicily would be completed on August 17 when U.S. forces under General Patton and British forces under Field Marshall Montgomery arrive.
November 28, 1943 - The Tehran Conference is held for three days, concluding in an agreement between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin about a planned June 1944 invasion of Europe with the code name Operation Overlord.
|June 6, 1944 - The Normandy
D-Day, occurs when one hundred and fifty-five thousand Allied troops,
including American forces and those of eleven other Allied nations
(Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom) land
in France. Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of France to begin
the World War II invasion of Europe that would lead to the liberation
of Paris. Operation Overlord gained footing quickly, pushing through
the Atlantic Wall in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
June 22, 1944 - The G.I. Bill of Rights is signed into law, providing benefits to veterans.
July 17, 1944 - The greatest continental U.S. tragedy of World War II occurs when two ships loading ammunition at Port Chicago Naval Weapons Station in California explodes. The accident killed three hundred and twenty people.
July 21, 1944 - The United States military begins to retake the island of Guam after Japanese troops had occupied the island during World War II. The battle would end on August 10.
November 6, 1944 - The last campaign speech of Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking his fourth term in office, is broadcast from his Hyde Park, New York home. One day later, Roosevelt would gain that fourth term by a significant, but smaller margin than any of his previous elections, especially in the popular vote where Dewey lost by only three and one half million votes. The Electoral College margin, however, at 432 to 99, insured Roosevelt good footing in prosecution of World War II.
December 18, 1944 - The United States Supreme Court rules in the case of Korematsu vs. the United States, the wartime internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast was valid during a time of war.
|February 4-11, 1945 - President Roosevelt, Prime Minister
Churchill, and Premier Josef Stalin hold the Yalta Conference in the
February 19, 1945 - Thirty thousand United States Marines land on Iwo Jima. On April 1, American troops invade Okinawa, beginning the Battle of Okinawa, which would continue until June 21.
March 1, 1945 - American troops cross the Rhine River at Remagen, Germany. Two weeks later, on March 18, twelve hundred and fifty U.S. bombers attack Berlin, causing Adolf Hitler to announce the destruction of his own industries and military installations one day later.
April 12, 1945 - President Roosevelt dies suddenly; Vice President Harry S. Truman assumes the presidency and role as commander in chief of World War II.
May 7, 1945 - The unconditional surrender of Germany at Reims, France concludes the military engagements of World War II in Europe. It is accepted by General Dwight D. Eisenhower in his role as the commander of Allied troops in the European theater of the war.
July 16, 1945 - The first atomic bomb, the Trinity Test, is exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico, after its production at Los Alamos.
August 6, 1945 - President Harry S. Truman gives the go-ahead for the use of the atomic bomb with the bombing of Hiroshima. Three days later, the second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. On August 15, Emperor Hirohito of Japan surrenders. (Photo bottom of page) Ruins of Nagasaki, Japan through a Shinto gate. Photo: Department of the Navy.
|March 12, 1947 - The Truman Doctrine is announced to the U.S.
Congress. When passed it would grant $400 million in aid to
Greece and Turkey to battle Communist terrorism. President Harry S.
Truman implements the act on May 22.
April 2, 1947 - The United Nations Security Council unanimously approves the trusteeship of Pacific Islands formerly controlled by Japan to the United States.
April 15, 1947 - Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball's barrier against colored players when he debuts at first base for Branch Rickey's Brooklyn Dodgers.
April 25, 1947 - Theodore Roosevelt National Park is established by President Harry Truman along the Little Missouri River and scenic badlands of North Dakota.
June 5, 1947 - Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposes aid extension to European nations for war recovery, known as the Marshall Plan, which would lead to Congressional approval of $12 billion over the following four years.
June 20, 1947 - President Harry S. Truman vetoes the Taft-Hartley Labor Act that would have curbed strikes, only to be overridden by Congress on June 23.
|April 1, 1948 - The Soviet Union begins its land blockade of the
Allied sectors of Berlin, Germany. A counter blockade by the west was
put into effect, as well as a British and U.S. airlift of supplies and
food, until both blockades were lifted on September 30, 1949.
April 30, 1948 - The Organization of American States is founded by twenty-one nations to provide a mutual security pact after World War II. Founding nations were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
July 26, 1948 - Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the United States military, is signed into effect by President Harry S. Truman.
November 2, 1948 - President Harry S. Truman rallies from behind, capturing his first president election from the supposed winner Thomas E. Dewey, the governor of New York. Headlines in national newspapers had overtly announced a Dewey victory, only to be proven wrong. Truman won the Electoral College vote with 303 to Dewey's 189, with Strom Thurmond, running as the States' Rights candidate, receiving 39 Electoral votes. Truman won the election with less than 50% of the popular votes, with additional candidate, Henry Wallace, siphoning off over one million votes in the four man race.
December 15, 1948 - Alger Hiss, former State Department official, is indicted for perjury in connection to denials of passing state secrets to a communist spy ring. He would be convicted of the conspiracy on January 21, 1950 and receive a five year sentence.
|March 2, 1949 - Captain James Gallagher lands the B-50 Lucky Lady
II in Texas after completing the first around-the-world non-stop
airplane flight. It was refueled four times in flight.
April 4, 1949 - NATO, the North American Treaty Organization, is formed by the United States, Canada, and ten Western European nations (Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom). The treaty stated that any attack against one nation would be considered an attack against them all.
June 29, 1949 - United States withdraws its troops from Korea.
October 7, 1949 - Tokyo Rose, the femme fatale of Japanese war broadcasts, is sentenced to ten years in prison. She would be paroled in 1956 and pardoned in 1977.
October 14, 1949 - Eleven leaders of the United States Communist party are convicted of advocating a violent insurrection and overthrow of the U.S. government. The Supreme Court would uphold the convictions on June 4, 1951.
Historic Travel Tip
History Historic Travel Tip
Be your own history detective. Across the United States, national, state, and local historical societies have placed roadside markers telling their historical stories. While some of these markers are in out of the way places, their import to the fabric of the U.S. tale are no less important.