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August 20, 2013

Today in History for Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

-- — Highlights in History

On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive.

On this date

In 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after fighting had stopped.

In 1882, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” had its premiere in Moscow.

In 1940, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force before the House of Commons, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

In 1977, the U.S. launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.

Ten years ago

Opponents of Hugo Chavez turned in 2.7 million signatures to demand a referendum on ending his tumultuous presidency. The United States won the women’s overall team gold medal at the World Gymnastics Championships in Anaheim, Calif.; Romania took the silver medal and Australia, the bronze.

Five years ago

A Spanish jetliner crashed during takeoff from Madrid, killing 154 people; 18 survived. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski signed a deal to put a U.S. missile defense base in Poland. In Beijing, Usain Bolt of Jamaica broke the world record by winning the 200 meters in 19.30 seconds. Former Chinese leader Hua Guofeng died in Beijing at age 87. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died in Cleveland at age 58. Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, died near California’s Lake Tahoe at age 63.

One year ago

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., fought to salvage his U.S. Senate campaign even as members of his own party turned against him over his comments that women were able to prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”

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