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What Happened on April 7?

  • President Eisenhower gave his "domino theory" speech. (1954) The theory that if one country "fell" to communism, the surrounding countries would follow suit like a line of dominoes was a major part of US foreign policy from the 1950s through the 1990s. It is because of domino theory, among other things, that the US intervened in Korea and Vietnam, wars which led to the theory falling out of favor in the 1980s.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) began operations. (1948) The WHO got its start on the first World Health Day and has had huge successes — two decades later, with largely WHO-led efforts, smallpox was eradicated.

  • US troops captured Baghdad. (2003) The troops were in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein's government; two days after they arrived the Hussein regime toppled.

  • Long distance television was demonstrated to the public. (1927) A group of people in New York were shown an image of then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C.

  • The first friction matches were sold. (1827) The matches known as "friction lights" were sold by a chemist, John Walker, who had invented them the previous year. He had discovered the formula for making friction-ignitable matches accidentally when mixing chemicals.

  • The largest battleship in the world was sunk. (1945) The Japanese ship Yamamoto was the largest battleship ever constructed, with a length of over 900 feet (300 meters) and a displacement of about 64,000 tons. She was sunk by American forces on while en-route for a suicide mission.

  • John Wayne won his first and only Oscar. (1970) Although Wayne was a major Hollywood star for decades, he only won one Oscar — Best Actor for his role in True Grit.

  • Tito became president for life in Yugoslavia. (1963) Josip Broz Tito was known for his repressive communist regime and his tendency to purge his political opponents. He remained in power until his death in 1980.

  • The Battle of Shiloh ended. (1862) This was a major battle in the Civil War, and though it looked promising for the Confederates in the beginning, they were eventually routed by the Union troops. The battle was extremely costly for both sides, and was one of the first indicators that the war wasn't going to end any time soon.

  • W.K. Kellogg was born. (1860) Kellogg is best known as the founder of the Kellogg cereal company and one of the inventors of cereal for use as a breakfast food. Modern cereal is very different from Kellogg's original versions though; he originally intended it to be a health food, so cereal consisted of plain, dry corn wafers.

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