MONTGOMERY'S 8TH ARMY INVADED ITALY 70 YEARS AGO
Calabria, Italy (JFK+50) Four years to the day after Great Britain entered WWII and 70 years ago today, September 3, 1943, the British 8th Army* under Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery landed on the mainland of Italy.
British 8th Army Tank
Photo by Chetwyn L.
Imperial War Museum Image
*The British 8th army was part of Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. After the landing on the mainland of Italy, the 8th linked with the US 5th Army and continued fighting on the eastern flank of the Allied forces.
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had resigned on July 25 and the new government under Pietro Badogilo secretly agreed to surrender after the British invasion.
Italy declared war on Britain on June 10, 1940 as German troops prepared to enter Paris. Mussolini was concerned that the war would end leaving Italy out of peace negotiations.
"I only need a few thousand dead so that I can sit at the peace conference as a man who has fought."
ATHENIA TORPEDOED 74 YEARS AGO TODAY
London (JFK+50) The British passenger liner ATHENIA was torpedoed by a German U-Boat or submarine 74 years ago today, September 3, 1939.
The 1st shots of the "Battle of the Atlantic" were ordered by Fritz Julius Lemp, commander of a U-30 submarine.
The attack came as the 13.580 ton ship sailed off the northwest coast of Ireland bound for Canada with 1100 passengers.
The German commander reported that the vessel was "zig-zagging" at high speed which would be inconsistent with a passenger ship.*
*311 Americans were on board the Athenia. 118 passengers perished.
RFK RESIGNED AS ATTORNEY GENERAL 49 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the late President John F. Kennedy, resigned as Attorney General of the United States 49 years ago today, September 3, 1964.
Bob Kennedy had been one of the youngest and least experienced attorney generals in history*, and was the first relative of a President to serve in the cabinet.
RFK also announced that Stephen Smith would be his campaign manager in his bid to win election to the United States Senate representing the state of New York.
*JFK joked with reporters in making the announcement of his brother's appointment as attorney general by saying that he saw nothing wrong with giving his brother an opportunity to gain some experience "before he goes out to practice law."
Robert F. Kennedy
White House Cabinet Room
Photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto
LBJ Library Photo (1964)
STARS AND STRIPES FLIES FOR FIRST TIME
Newark, Delaware (JFK+50) General William Maxwell ordered the 13 star-13 stripe American flag raised for the 1st time 236 years ago today, September 3, 1777, as his army went into battle with British and Hessian troops at Cooch's Bridge here in Delaware.
The flag displayed 13 stars in a circle on a blue union with 13 alternate red and white stripes. The number 13 represented the original 13 colonies.
Thirteen Star Flag
San Francisco, CA
Photo by Makaristos (2008)
The Hessians, leading British forces under General William Howe, were met with rifle fire from either side of the road leading toward Cooch's Bridge.
When the Americans ran out of ammunition, they continued the fight with sword before retreating across the bridge. They eventually made their way back to their main camp near Wilmington.
There were 450 American militia involved in the fighting and 293 Hessian and British soldiers. Casualties numbered less than 50 killed or wounded on either side.
TREATY OF PARIS SIGNED 230 YEARS AGO TODAY
Paris, France (JFK+50) Representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France met here in Paris 230 years ago today, September 3, 1783, to sign the Treaty of Paris, 1783 which officially ended the American War for Independence.
By the terms of the treaty, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States of America and her status as a free nation.
The boundaries of the USA were also set from Florida to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River.
The treaty was ratified by Congress on January 14, 1884.
"American Commissioners of the
Preliminary Peace Agreement
with Great Britain"
Painting by Benjamin West