This Day in History

On Sept. 7, 1907, the
British liner RMS Lusitania set outfrom Liverpool, England, on its maiden voyage, arriving six days later in New York.

RMS Lusitania coming into port, possibly in New York, 1907-13

In 1940, Nazi Germany began its eight-month blitz of Britain during World War II with the first air attack on London.

September 7, 1940: Men assess the damage following a night raid on Elephant & Castle. Civilians sheltered in the underground station as German bombs were dropped.

In 1963, the National Professional Football Hall of Fame was dedicated in Canton, Ohio.

Opened in 1963, the Hall of Fame enshrines exceptional figures in the sport of professional football, including players, coaches, franchise owners, and front-office personnel, almost all of whom made their primary contributions to the game in the National Football League (NFL)

In 1977, the Panama Canal treaties, calling for the U.S. to eventually turnover control of the waterway to Panama, were signedin Washington by President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos.

In 1979, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) made its cable TV debut.

ESPN makes it debut to an estimated 30,000 viewers.

In 1986, Desmond Tutu was installed as the first Black clergyman to lead the Anglican Church in southern Africa.

Desmond Tutu named Archbishop of Cape Town

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:

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.”

On this day, 1944 Paris was liberated from 4 years of Nazi occupation.

After more than four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. German resistance was light, and General Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison, defied an order by Adolf Hitler to blow up Paris’ landmarks and burn the city to the ground before its liberation. Choltitz signed a formal surrender that afternoon, and on August 26, Free French General Charles de Gaulle led a joyous liberation march down the Champs d’Elysees.

Paris fell to Nazi Germany on June 14, 1940, one month after the German Wehrmacht stormed into France. Eight days later, France signed an armistice with the Germans, and a puppet French state was set up with its capital at Vichy. Elsewhere, however, General Charles de Gaulle and the Free French kept fighting, and the Resistance sprang up in occupied France to resist Nazi and Vichy rule.

The French 2nd Armored Division was formed in London in late 1943 with the express purpose of leading the liberation of Paris during the Allied invasion of France. In August 1944, the division arrived at Normandy under the command of General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc and was attached to General George S. Patton’s 3rd U.S. Army. By August 18, Allied forces were near Paris, and workers in the city went on strike as Resistance fighters emerged from hiding and began attacking German forces and fortifications.

Continue reading “On this day, 1944 Paris was liberated from 4 years of Nazi occupation.”