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Today In History

April 01, 2015 07:10 GMT

Today is Wednesday, April 1, the 91st day of 2015. There are 274 days left in the year. This is April Fool's Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 1, 1945, American forces launched the amphibious invasion of Okinawa during World War II. (U.S. forces succeeded in capturing the Japanese island on June 22.)

On this date:

In 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York; Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House speaker.

In 1815, Prussian/German statesman Otto von Bismarck was born in Schoenhausen.

In 1865, during the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan routed Confederate soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. George Pickett in the Battle of Five Forks in Virginia.

In 1924, Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. (Hitler was released in Dec. 1924; during his time behind bars, he wrote his autobiographical screed, "Mein Kampf.")

In 1933, Nazi Germany staged a daylong national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.

In 1954, the United States Air Force Academy was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1962, the Katherine Anne Porter novel "Ship of Fools," an allegory about the rise of Nazism in Germany, was published by Little, Brown & Co. on April Fool's Day.

In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect after Jan. 1, 1971.

In 1972, the first Major League Baseball players' strike began; it lasted 12 days.

In 1975, with Khmer Rouge guerrillas closing in, Cambodian President Lon Nol resigned and fled into exile, spending the rest of his life in the United States.

In 1984, recording star Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father, Marvin Gay (cq) Sr. in Los Angeles, the day before his 45th birthday. (The elder Gay pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and received probation.)

In 1992, the National Hockey League Players' Association went on its first-ever strike, which lasted 10 days.

Ten years ago: The Vatican reported that Pope John Paul II was near death, his breathing shallow and his heart and kidneys failing. President Bill Clinton's former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, pleaded guilty to sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives; he was later sentenced to two years' probation.

Five years ago: Roman Catholic cardinals across Europe used their Holy Thursday sermons to defend Pope Benedict XVI from accusations he'd played a role in covering up sex abuse scandals. Dayton denied the previous year's national champs another title as the Flyers beat North Carolina 79-68 to win the NIT. Actor John Forsythe, 92, died in Santa Ynez, California.

One year ago: Mocking his critics, President Barack Obama boasted that 7.1 million people had signed up for his health care law, and said "the debate over repealing this law is over." Congress demanded answers from General Motors' new CEO, Mary Barra, on why the automaker had taken 10 years to recall cars with a faulty ignition switch linked at that time to 13 traffic deaths; Barra acknowledged that the company took too long to act.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Jane Powell is 86. Actress Grace Lee Whitney is 85. Actress Debbie Reynolds is 83. Country singer Jim Ed Brown is 81. Actor Don Hastings is 81. Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro is 76. Actress Ali MacGraw is 76. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rudolph Isley is 76. Baseball All-Star Rusty Staub is 71. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 67. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is 65. Rock musician Billy Currie (Ultravox) is 65. Actress Annette O'Toole is 63. Movie director Barry Sonnenfeld is 62. Singer Susan Boyle is 54. Actor Jose Zuniga is 53. Country singer Woody Lee is 47. Actress Jessica Collins is 44. Rapper-actor Method Man is 44. Movie directors Albert and Allen Hughes are 43. Political commentator Rachel Maddow is 42. Tennis player Magdalena Maleeva is 40. Actor David Oyelowo (oh-YEHLOH'-oh) is 39. Singer Bijou Phillips is 35. Actor Sam Huntington is 33. Comedian-actor Taran Killam is 33. Actor Matt Lanter is 32. Actor Josh Zuckerman is 30. Country singer Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum) is 29. Actor Asa Butterfield is 18.

Thought for Today: "The only sin is mediocrity." -- Martha Graham, American modern dance pioneer (born 1894, died this date in 1991).

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