This Day in History — August 12

Today is the 224th day of 2022. There are 141 days left in the year.


1961: The East German Parliament votes to erect a wall separating east Berlin from the western part. It goes up the same night.


1530: Florence is restored to the Medici family in Italy by Holy Roman Empire troops.

1813: Austria declares war on France.

1898: Hawaiian Islands in Pacific are transferred to United States.

1938: Germany begins mobilisation of its armed forces.

1941: French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain calls on his countrymen to give full support to Nazi Germany in World War II.

1953: The Soviet Union detonates its first hydrogen bomb.

1958: Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro announces the complete "liberation" of the Sierra Maestra area of Oriente Province from President Batista's army. Three-hundred Cuban soldiers are killed and 420 captured.

1960: UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold and UN troops enter rebel province of Katanga in Zaire.

1965: A US Navy jet fighter-bomber is shot down by a missile 50 miles (80 kilometres) south-west of Hanoi. It is the second US plane shot down by North Vietnamese in three weeks.

1970: West Germany and Soviet Union sign non-aggression pact in Moscow.

1971: Syria severs diplomatic relations with Jordan as border fighting breaks out.

1972: Last US ground combat unit in South Vietnam is deactivated.

1978: Japan and China sign a peace treaty implemented in October.

1980: Chilean President Augusto Pinochet announces that 20 police detectives have been arrested and will stand trial for the kidnappings and tortures of leftist students.

1990: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein offers to withdraw from Kuwait if Israel withdraws from occupied territories.

1991: Soviet President Mikhail S Gorbachev authorises the establishment of an agency to oversee the denationalisation of large-scale State enterprises.

1992: United States, Canada and Mexico reach a free-trade agreement.

1995: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's former right-hand man and son-in-law, Hussein Kamel al-Majid, who defected to Jordan, announces a campaign to topple him.

1996: Germany asks Italy to extradite former SS Captain Erich Priebke, who was freed by a military court in Rome after a war crimes trial but swiftly rearrested.

1998: Swiss banks agree to pay $1.25 billion to Holocaust survivors as restitution for lost assets.

2000: A Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk, malfunctions in the Barents Sea and sinks after two explosions in its forward weapons bay, killing 118 crewmen aboard.

2005: In one of his first acts as pope, Benedict XVI invites Rome's chief rabbi to his installation ceremony and issues special greetings to Jews. He also assures Muslims the Roman Catholic Church wants to build "bridges of friendship".

2008:The military junta that overthrew Mauritania's Government adopts a law transferring the power of the presidency to the head of the junta.

2009: US Marines battle Taliban fighters for control of a strategic southern town in a new operation to cut militant supply lines and allow Afghan residents to vote in a presidential election.

2010: WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange says his organisation is preparing to release the rest of the secret Afghan war documents it has on file. The Pentagon warns that would be more damaging to security and risk more lives than the organisation's initial release of some 76,000 war documents.

2013: Suspected Islamic militants gun down 44 people praying at a mosque in north-east Nigeria while another 12 die in an apparently simultaneous attack.

2014: Ukraine insists aid must be delivered to a rebel-held zone in the east by the Red Cross as a Russian help convoy leaves Moscow.


Robert Mills, US architect (1781-1855); Katherine Lee Bates, US author of America the Beautiful (1859-1929); Cecil B DeMille, US film producer and director (1881-1959); Cantinflas (Mario Moreno), Mexican comedian (1911-1993); Pete Sampras, US tennis player (1971- ); Casey Affleck, US actor (1975- )

— AP

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