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On this day in history, Aug. 20

(Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)
(Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)
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Updated: 8/20 11:59 am
  • In 1833, Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.

  • 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 1910, a series of forest fires swept through parts of Idaho, Montana and Washington, killing at least 85 people and burning nearly 3 million acres.

  • In 1914, German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.

  • 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 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.

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

  • 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.

  • In 1989, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were shot to death in their Beverly Hills mansion by their sons, Lyle and Erik.

  • In 2004, Michael Phelps matched Mark Spitz's record of four individual gold medals in the Olympic pool with a stirring comeback in the 100-meter butterfly, then removed himself from further competition in the Athens games.

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