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June 24, 2017, 01:38:09 AM

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Today In History...

1940 - France signed an armistice with Italy after the axis country attacked a portion of southern France during Germany's blitzkrieg.
1940 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Vannevar Bush director of the newly formed National Defense Research Committee to continue U.S. nuclear research. In response to a plea by scientists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard, FDR initiated a modest program of uranium research in 1939. By June 1940, interest in uranium and its properties had increased to the point that the president created a larger organization, the National Defense Research Committee, with a broader scope of activity. He named as director Vannevar Bush, the president of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. The slowly growing effort gained further impetus in mid-1941 from a startling British document code-named the "MAUD Report." Based on British nuclear research, the report stated that a very small amount of uranium-235 could produce an explosion equivalent to that of several thousand tons of TNT. Roosevelt responded by creating a still larger organization, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, which, directed by Bush, would mobilize scientific resources to create an atomic weapon.
1940 - The Germans began to loot the artwork of Paris and more than 70,000 residences were plundered. A lot of artwork was sold to the Emil Buhrle Foundation in Switzerland, the largest buyer of confiscated French art. The story is told by Hector Feliciano in his 1997 book: ?The Lost Museum.? The best book on the fate of European art in WW II was reported to be ?The Rape of Europa? by Lynn Nicholas.
1940 - Before the end of the month the Soviet Union delivered an ultimatum to Romania and 2 days later occupied Bessarabia and North Bukovina.
1941 - President Franklin Roosevelt pledged all possible support to the Soviet Union.
1943 - Royal Air Force Bombers hammered Muelheim, Germany in a drive to cripple the Ruhr industrial base.
1943 - The US Liberty Ship S.S. Jeremiah O?Brian was launched.
1945 - Russians enjoy a victory parade On this day in 1945, Soviet troops parade past Red Square in celebration of their victory over Germany. As drums rolled, 200 soldiers performed a familiar ritual: They threw 200 German military banners at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum. A little over 130 years earlier, victorious Russian troops threw Napoleon's banners at the feet of Czar Alexander I. Also on this day in 1945, British bombers destroy the "Bridge Over the River Kwai." Thousands of British and Allied prisoners of war, forced into slave labor by their Japanese captors, had built a bridge, under the most grueling conditions, over the River Kwai, linking parts of the Burma-Siam (now Thailand) railway and enabling the Japanese to transport soldiers and supplies through this area. British aircraft bombed the bridge to prevent this link between Bangkok and Moulein, Burma. This episode of the war was dramatized in extraordinary fashion in the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai, directed by David Lean, and starring Alec Guinness and William Holden.

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