Today in History: May 8, Truman announces Nazi surrender
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 8, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”
On this date:
In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.
In 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas; U.S. forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor were able to beat back Mexican forces.
In 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced that he had ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor during the Vietnam War.
In 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.
In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the “Son of Sam” shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms.)
In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
In 1993, the Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.
In 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for Blacks and whites.
In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear accord with Iran and restored harsh sanctions; Trump had been a severe critic of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration in which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program.
In 2020, the unemployment level surged to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Great Depression; the government reported that 20 million Americans had lost their jobs in April amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2021, a car bombing attack in Afghanistan’s capital killed more than 90 people, many of them students leaving a girls’ school.