What Happened on August 8?

  • US President Richard Nixon announced his resignation. (1974) Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, resigned amid allegations he was involved in the Watergate Scandal. His resignation took effect the following day, on August 9th. He was the first president in the history of the United States to resign.

  • Robbers made off with 2.6 million pounds (about $7 million US Dollars at the time) in the "Great Train Robbery" in Britain. (1963) 15 thieves in Land Rovers stole 120 mail bags from a train at the Bridego Railway Bridge, near Buckinghamshire, England. Most of the money was never recovered. 13 of the robbers were caught.

  • The first successful heart transplant in Japan occurred. (1968) Dr. Jurō Wada removed a beating heart from a teenager whom he had declared brain dead, and transplanted it into another teenager with congenital heart disease. The boy who received the transplant lived for another three months, and Dr. Wada was arrested for murder. His trial dragged on for six years before it was finally dropped.

  • Wilbur Wright made his first public flight. (1908) The Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, invented and built the world's first working airplane. On this day, they performed a public flight demonstration for the first time in Le Mans, France, at the Hunaudières horse racing track.

  • Six Nazi saboteurs were executed in the US. (1942) Eight Germans secretly entered the US during World War II with plans to attack the US civil infrastructure. They were captured due to information provided by two of the Nazis, George Dasch and Ernest Burger. Dasch and Burger were imprisoned and the other six were executed. In 1948, US President Harry S. Truman released Dasch and Burger, allowing them to return to Germany.

  • 262 miners were trapped by a coal-mine fire and 136 of those miners were killed. (1956) The fire trapped miners in a coal mine in Marcinelle, Belgium. It was the worst mining disaster in Belgium's history.

  • Wrigley Field in Chicago turned on its lights for the first time. (1988) Wrigley was the last Major League Baseball venue to begin holding night games. The first major league night game happened in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1935 when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously switched on the lights.

  • The patent for the mimeograph was awarded to Thomas Edison. (1876) Edison also invented the first practical light bulb, the motion picture camera, and the phonograph. He is considered the world's most prolific inventor, with 1,093 US patents in his name, and patents in Germany, England and France as well.

  • The one millionth patent was filed in the US. (1911) The patent for a tubeless vehicle tire was filed by Francis Holton at the United States Patent Office. The first US patent was filed July 31, 1790 and was signed by the first US President — George Washington. By the end of 2009, more than 15 million patent applications had been filed in the US.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte left for the South Atlantic to live in exile. (1815) Napoleon was a political and military leader in France. In 1813, a coalition of Prussia, Russia, Sweden, Austria, the United Kingdom and some of the German States forced Napoleon to abdicate and retreat into exile in St. Helena in the South Atlantic. He died six years later of stomach cancer.

Discussion Comments


Even though the Holocaust happened a long time ago, I've always wondered if there were any ex-Nazis living in the U.S. After all, there are still some Holocaust survivors around, and though they're very old, it really shows how even though time goes on, history never changes.


While I've never had surgery, and don't know much about heart transplants, I'm assuming that it can be a very dangerous process. Let's look at it this way. People go through surgery all the time, but the risk always depends on what it is. For example, if one is getting a wisdom tooth removed, they could remain awake and it wouldn't be much of a problem. However, what makes a heart transplant so dangerous is that you're temporarily removing the life source from someone. It can always come with risks, as the patient isn't even alive during the entire operation.


The sixth bullet point brings up a very interesting fact in the sense that working in a mine can be very dangerous. Even though there are obviously some people who do it for a living, it comes with risks. Not only can there be dangerous substances in the lower levels, but more than often, you hear incidents of people getting trapped. The sad part is that some don't get rescued in time, and may even end up suffocating.

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