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February 27, 2013

Today in History for Wednesday, February 27, 2013

-- — Today is Wednesday, Feb. 27, the 58th day of 2013. There are 307 days left in the year.

Highlight in History

On Feb. 27, 1933, Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag (RYKS’-tahg), was gutted by fire. Chancellor Adolf Hitler, blaming the Communists, used the fire as justification for suspending civil liberties.

On this date

In 1801, the District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress.

In 1911, inventor Charles F. Kettering demonstrated his electric automobile starter in Detroit by starting a Cadillac’s motor with just the press of a switch, instead of hand-cranking.

In 1913, author and playwright Irwin Shaw (“Rich Man, Poor Man”) was born in New York.

In 1922, the Supreme Court, in Leser v. Garnett, unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.

In 1939, the Supreme Court, in National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp., outlawed sit-down strikes.

In 1943, during World War II, Norwegian commandos launched a raid to sabotage a German-operated heavy water plant in Norway. The U.S. government began circulating one-cent coins made of steel plated with zinc (the steel pennies proved very unpopular, since they were easily mistaken for dimes).

In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.

In 1960, the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets, 3-2, at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)

In 1968, at the conclusion of a CBS News special report on the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite delivered a commentary in which he said the conflict appeared “mired in stalemate.”

In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until May.)

In 1982, Wayne Williams was found guilty of murdering two of the 28 young blacks whose bodies were found in the Atlanta area over a 22-month period. (Williams, who was also blamed for 22 other deaths, has maintained his innocence.)

In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, President George H.W. Bush declared that “Kuwait is liberated, Iraq’s army is defeated,” and announced that the allies would suspend combat operations at midnight, Eastern time.

Ten years ago

The Bush administration lowered the national terror alert from orange to yellow.

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