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April 3, 2012

Today in History for Tuesday, April 3, 2012

-- — Highlight in History

On April 3, 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces began their final assault on Bataan against American and Filipino troops who surrendered six days later; the capitulation was followed by the notorious Bataan Death March.

On this date

In 1860, the legendary Pony Express began carrying mail between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. (The delivery system lasted only 18 months before giving way to the transcontinental telegraph.)

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Mo., by Robert Ford, a member of James’ gang.

In 1946, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander held responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed by firing squad outside Manila.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist Communism.

In 1974, deadly tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted.

Ten years ago

Israeli tanks rolled into the West Bank’s largest city, Nablus, and other troops laid siege to a refugee camp in Jenin, battling Palestinians who’d barricaded entrances and fought back with bombs and guns. Soldiers also encircled hundreds of Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Bethlehem church marking Jesus’ birthplace.

Five years ago

President George W. Bush denounced Democrats for going on spring break without approving money for the Iraq war; he also criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria.

One year ago

The United States agreed to NATO’s request for a 48-hour extension of American participation in coalition air strikes against selected targets within Libya. Marine Lance Corporal Harry Lew fatally shot himself at a remote Afghanistan patrol base; three Marines were court-martialed for alleged hazing. (Two were acquitted; one pleaded guilty to assault after admitting he’d punched and kicked Lew.)

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