Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" was broadcast on radio, causing a panic among some listeners. (1938) The fictional story of a Martian invasion was told using fake news reports. Amid the tension of an impending World War II, some listeners believed the story was true.
The Soviet Union exploded the largest nuclear weapon in world history. (1961) The nuclear test took place on the islands of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean. The bomb was 4,000 times stronger than the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima.
US President Dwight Eisenhower approved secret documents to expand the arsenal of nuclear weapons in the United States. (1953) The National Security Council Paper No. 162/2 (NSC 162/2) stated that to remain ahead of communist threats, the US must make nuclear weapons as available as any other kind of military weapon in use.
Rosa Parks became the first woman to be honored by being laid in state at the United States Capitol rotunda. (2005) Parks, who had died on October 24, was honored for her commitment to the civil rights movement. She notably was defiant of racial segregation — she became well known for refusing to give her seat on a bus to a white man, though she wasn't the first to do that. She also was known for her contributions that launched Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the civil rights movement into the national spotlight.
The precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded. (1947) The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was established after countries around the world failed to successfully negotiate the International Trade Organization (ITO). It was replaced by the WTO in 1995, with the same basic purpose: to set international trade regulations and to police the international trade market.
The "Perfect Storm" hit the Atlantic Ocean. (1991) The storm began as a regular, but powerful, nor'easter storm, but then it absorbed a hurricane. A low pressure system moved into the storm's area at the same time as a high pressure system moved in from another direction. The clash of two pressure systems together with the hurricane-strength nor'easter created very rare weather conditions that produced waves up to 100 feet (about 30 meters) — larger than most tsunami waves, which are typically caused by earthquakes. The storm famously sunk the 72-foot (about 22-meter) Andrea Gail commercial fishing boat; the ship and her crew of six were never seen again. The book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger was based on this incident.
The first kidney transplant in England occurred. (1960) English surgeon Michael Woodruff transplanted a kidney from one identical twin to the other at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. The first kidney transplant in the US occurred in 1950.
The Ottoman Empire signed a cease-fire agreement with the Allies in World War I. (1918) The agreement ended the Ottoman Empire's participation in World War I and effectively ended the Empire as well.
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a $1 billion US Dollar loan to the Soviet Union to aid their military forces during World War II. (1941) The loan, called "Lend-Lease Aid," was a continued attempt to keep the US out of World War II. The loan had zero interest attached to it and wasn't due to be paid back until five years after the war had ended.
The fastest baseball pitch in Major League Baseball was thrown. (1974) Nolan Ryan, playing for the California Angels, threw the pitch, which was clocked at 100.9 miles per hour (about 162 kilometers per hour). The record was documented in the Guinness Book of World Records and has stood for more than 36 years.