Historical Events in June
June 1, 1926 Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was born in Los Angeles (as Norma Jean Mortensen). Following an unstable childhood spent in foster homes and orphanages, she landed a job as a photographer’s model which led to a movie career. She later married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Beneath her glamorous movie star looks she was fragile and insecure and eventually succumbed to the pressures of Hollywood life. She died in Los Angeles from an overdose of sleeping pills on August 5, 1962. Best known for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Misfits (1961).
June 3, 1937 – The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Warfield Simpson in Monts, France. As King Edward VIII, he had abdicated the British throne in December of 1936 amid tremendous controversy to marry Simpson, an American who had been divorced. Following the wedding, the couple lived in France and had minimal contact with the British Royal family. The Duke died in Paris on May 28, 1972, and was buried near Windsor Castle in England.
June 4, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, Rome was liberated by the U.S. 5th Army, led by General Mark Clark. Rome had been declared an open city by German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring amid Allied concerns the Germans might stage a Stalingrad-style defence that would devastate the historic ‘Eternal’ city.
June 5, 1783 – The first sustained flight occurred as a hot-air balloon was launched at Annonay, France, by brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. Their 33-foot-diameter globe aerostatique ascended about 6,000 feet. In September, they repeated the experiment for King Louis XVI, using a sheep, rooster and duck as the balloon’s passengers.
June 6, 1944 – D-Day, the largest amphibious landing in history, began in the early-morning hours as Allied forces landed in Normandy on the northern coast of France. Operation Overlord took months of planning and involved 1,527,000 soldiers in 47 Allied divisions along with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. The Germans had about 60 divisions spread along France and the Low Countries. American forces landed on two western beaches, Utah and Omaha, while British and Canadian troops landed farther east on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. By the end of the day 150,000 Allied soldiers and their accompanying vehicles had landed with 15,000 killed and wounded.
June 9, 1898 – The British signed a 99-year lease for Hong Kong, located on the south eastern coast of China. Hong Kong, consisting of an area measuring 400 square miles, was administered as a British Crown Colony until July 1, 1997, when its sovereignty reverted to the People’s Republic of China.
Birthday – Composer and lyricist Cole Porter (1893-1964) was born in Peru, Indiana. He published his first song The Bobolink Waltz at the age of ten. His Broadway career was launched in 1928 when five of his songs were used in the musical play Let’s Do It. Among his many contributions to the Broadway stage; Fifty Million Frenchmen, The Gay Divorcee, Anything Goes, Leave It to Me, Du Barry Was a Lady, Something for the Boys, Kiss Me Kate, Can Can and Silk Stockings.
June 10, 1942 – In one of the most infamous single acts of World War II in Europe, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the Czech village of Lidice were shot by Nazis in reprisal for the assassination of SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. The women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some later taken to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking. The village was then completely levelled until not a trace remained.
June 12, – George Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was born in Milton, Massachusetts, June 12, 1924. During World War II, he became the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy. Following the war, he co-founded a Texas oil equipment manufacturing company. He then entered politics, serving in a variety of roles including in the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, as U.S. liaison to China, C.I.A. director, and two terms as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. Elected to the presidency in 1988, President Bush is best remembered for forging a successful multinational military alliance following the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army. However, following the defeat of Iraq, Bush was beset by domestic problems in the U.S. which resulted in a significant drop in popularity and his loss in the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.
June 14, 1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. President to broadcast a message over the radio. The event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore.
June 14, 1951 – Univac 1, the world’s first commercial electronic computer was unveiled in Philadelphia. It was installed at the Census Bureau and utilized a magnetic tape unit as a buffer memory.
June 15, 1215 – King John set his seal to Magna Carta, the first charter of British liberties, guaranteeing basic rights that have since become the foundation of modern democracies around the world.
June 16, 1890 – Film comedian Stan Laurel (1890-1965) was born in Ulverston, England. He teamed up with Oliver Hardy as Laurel & Hardy delighting audiences for more than 30 years.
June 18, 1886 Birthday – British explorer George Mallory (1886-1924) was born in Mobberley, Cheshire, England. When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, he simply answered, “Because it is there.” He disappeared while climbing through the mists toward its summit on the morning of June 8, 1924. His body, perfectly preserved due to the cold conditions, was discovered by climbers in 1999, just 600 meters (2,030 feet) from the summit.
June 21, 1982 – Britain’s Prince William (William Arthur Philip Louis) was born in London, June 21, 1982.
June 24, 1948 – Soviet Russia began a blockade of Berlin. Two days later the Allies responded with an emergency airlift to relieve two million isolated West Berliners. During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. A plane landed in Berlin every minute from eleven Allied staging areas in West Germany. The Russians lifted their blockade of Berlin on May 12, 1949, however the airlift continued until September 30th.
June 24, 2010 – Labor Party deputy Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female Prime Minister. She was born in Wales and had moved to Australia as a child. She worked as a lawyer before entering politics.
June 25, 1950 – The Korean War began as North Korean troops, led by Russian-built tanks, crossed the 38th parallel and launched a full scale invasion of South Korea. Five days later, U.S. ground forces entered the conflict, which lasted until July 27, 1953, when an armistice was signed at Panmunjom, formally dividing the country at the 38th parallel into North and South Korea.
June 25, 1991 – Following the collapse of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe, the republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia. Ethnic rivalries between Serbians and Croatians soon erupted. In 1992, fighting erupted in Bosnia-Herzegovina between Serbians and ethnic Muslims. A campaign of terrorism and genocide, termed ‘ethnic cleansing,’ was started by the Serbs against the Muslims. At least two million people became refugees, and about 200,000 were missing and presumed dead. Violence in the region raged on through 1995 despite economic sanctions and the efforts of U.N. peacekeeping forces in the area.
June 26, 1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco by 50 nations. The Charter was ratified on October 24, 1945.
June 28, 1914 – Archduke Francis Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria and his wife were assassinated at Sarajevo, touching off a conflict between the Austro-Hungarian government and Serbia that escalated into World War I.
June 28, 1919 – The signing of the Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I. According to the terms, Germany was assessed sole blame for the war, forced give up Alsace-Lorraine and overseas colonies, and pay reparations of $15 Billion. The treaty also prohibited German rearmament.
June 30, 1997 – In Hong Kong, the flag of the British Crown Colony was officially lowered at midnight and replaced by a new flag representing China’s sovereignty and the official transfer of power.