Texarkana Gazette

Today in History


Today is Saturday, March 18, the 77th day of 2023. There are 288 days left in the year. Today’s highlight in history:

On March 18, 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass, where the Italian dictator agreed to join Germany’s war against France and Britain.

On this date:

• In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act of 1765.

• In 1922, Mohandas K. Gandhi was sentenced in India to six years’ imprisonme­nt for civil disobedien­ce. (He was released after serving two years.)

• In 1925, the Tri-State Tornado struck southeaste­rn Missouri, southern Illinois and southweste­rn Indiana, resulting in some 700 deaths.

• In 1937, in America’s worst school disaster, nearly 300 people, most of them children, were killed in a natural gas explosion at the New London Consolidat­ed School in Rusk County, Texas.

• In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizin­g the War Relocation Authority, which was put in charge of interning Japanese-Americans, with Milton S. Eisenhower (the younger brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower) as its director.

• In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, ruled unanimousl­y that state courts were required to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants who could not afford to hire an attorney on their own.

• In 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov went outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether.

• In 1974, most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their 5-month-old embargo against the United States that had been sparked by American support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

• In 2002, Brittanie Cecil died two days short of her 14th birthday after being hit in the head by a puck at a game between the host Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames; it was apparently the first such fan fatality in NHL history.

• In 2016, police in Brussels captured Europe’s most wanted fugitive, Salah Abdeslam, who was the prime suspect in the deadly 2015 Paris attacks.

• In 2020, the U.S. and Canada agreed to temporaril­y close their shared border to nonessenti­al travel in the early days of the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Ten years ago: Democratic presidenti­al candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support for gay marriage in an online video released by the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. A mortar shell explosion killed seven Marines from Camp Lejeune and injured eight other people during mountain warfare training at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada.

Five years ago: A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle; Uber suspended its autonomous vehicle testing program in Arizona, California, Pittsburgh and Toronto after the crash. Vladimir Putin rolled to a crushing re-election victory for six more years as Russia’s president. The fourth in a series of bombings in Austin, Texas, left two people injured; authoritie­s said it was triggered along a street by a nearly invisible tripwire. “Black Panther” became the first film since “Avatar” in 2009 to top the weekend box office for five weeks in a row.

One year ago: Vladimir Putin appeared at a huge flag-waving rally at a Moscow stadium Friday and lavished praise on his troops fighting in Ukraine, three weeks into the invasion that led to heavier-than-expected Russian losses on the battlefiel­d and increasing­ly authoritar­ian rule. Volkswagen recalled more than 246,000 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because faulty wiring harnesses could make them brake unexpected­ly.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer John Kander is 96. Actor Brad Dourif is 73. Jazz musician Bill Frisell is 72. Alt-country musician Karen Grotberg (The Jayhawks) is 64. Movie writer-director Luc Besson is 64.

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