This Day in History

In 1939, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland.

Adolf Hitler (right) prepares to fly to the Polish front, 1939. Hugo Jaeger—The LIFE Picture Collection

In 1976, America’s Viking 2 lander touched down on Mars to take the planet’s first close-up, color photos.

This photo from NASA’s Viking 2 lander was almost certainly transferred from magnetic reels to a finished photo using a Model 505 data reconstruction camera. (Photo: nasa.gov)

In 1978, Pope John Paul II was installed as the 264th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

In this Oct. 22, 1978 file photo, Pope John Paul II blesses the faithful in St. Peter’s Square from a Vatican City balcony after he was named Pontiff.  (AP Photo, File)

In 1995, the online auction site eBay was founded in San Jose,California.

After spending Labor Day weekend at home writing code on his personal computer, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launches AuctionWeb, a site “dedicated to bringing together buyers and sellers in an honest and open marketplace.”

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