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What Happened on September 12?

  • Hitler demands that Germans in the Sudetenland be reunited with Germany. (1938) Hitler made this declaration at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg. UK Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain agreed to the cessation, likely hoping that appeasement would curb Hitler's appetite, but many historians and analysts believe this political move was a major, or the, precursor to what would become World War II. Germany finally annexed the Sudetenland in the beginning of October, 1938.

  • NASA launched its 50th space shuttle mission, the Endeavour. (1992) The Endeavour mission was staffed with several firsts including the first black woman to fly in space, Mae Carol Jemison, and the first married couple to fly in space, Jan Davis and Mark Lee.

  • The United States declared war on terror. (2001) US President George W. Bush called the attacks an act of war and requested $20 billion US Dollars (USD) from the US Congress. The "War on Terror" began October 8, 2001, when the United States and the United Kingdom bombed Afghanistan.

  • While text-messaging, a train engineer ran the commuter train he was leading through a red light and head-on into a freight train; 25 people were left dead. (2008) Train engineer, Robert Sanchez, ran the Metrolink train into a Pacific Union Freight train in Los Angeles and was killed in the accident.

  • The idea of a nuclear chain reaction was conceived. (1933) Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard thought of the concept while waiting at a stoplight. He later patented the idea with Enrico Fermi. Szilard also wrote the letter for Einstein that led to the Manhattan Project.

  • The Soviet Union launched a rocket ship called Lunik II at the moon — it was the first man-made object to reach the moon from Earth. (1959) It was the Soviet's second attempt to launch a rocket to the moon and the first successful attempt when it landed two days later. It's data-collecting mission lasted 33.5 hours.

  • The Lascaux Cave Paintings were discovered. (1940) Four teenagers outside Montignac, France, chased their dog into the cave which contains paintings from 15,000 to 17,000 years ago. There are more than 600 paintings and 1,500 engravings in the cave. It was opened to the public at one point, but closed in 1963 because the paintings were fading due to the artificial light used to illuminate the cave.

  • The SS Central America sank while carrying about 15 tons (13,600 kilograms) in gold from the San Francisco Gold Rush. (1857) The ship sank off the coast of North Carolina after encountering a hurricane. 426 passengers and crew members drowned as a result.

  • The first US television series to be broadcast in color debuted. (1959) Bonanza ran for 14 seasons, one of the longest-running Western shows in the US.

  • Music legend Johnny Cash died. (2003) The influential singer-songwriter was buried next to his wife, June Carter Cash, in Tennessee.

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