Today in history

This Day in History
  • Final Public Execution in the US (1936)
    In 1936, convicted rapist Rainey Bethea was sentenced to be hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky, at a time when such hangings were conducted publicly. Because the county sheriff supervising the execution was a woman, the case sparked national press coverage, and up to 20,000 spectators gathered to watch the event, the last of its kind in the US. Two years later, the Kentucky legislature officially put an end to public executions. How did newspaper reports depict the hanging? Discuss
  • The Berlin Wall Goes Up (1961)
    After World War II, the Soviet Union occupied East Berlin while control of West Berlin was split between the US, the UK, and France. From 1949 to 1961, more than 2 million East Germans fled to West Germany to escape Communist rule before the wall was built to stop the tide of defectors. First constructed of barbed wire and erected at night, the barrier was eventually replaced by a concrete structure studded with watchtowers manned by East German soldiers. What was the "Death Strip"?
  • Russian Submarine K-141 Kursk Sinks in Barents Sea (2000)
    While completing naval exercises with dummy torpedoes on August 12, 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk suffered two explosions two minutes and 15 seconds apart. The second explosion registered about a 3.5 on the Richter scale. The blasts destroyed the front hull, and all 118 crew members died. It was initially believed that the entire crew died quickly. However, what evidence later suggested that some survived in another area of the submarine for about four hours after the explosions?

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