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What Happened on September 5?

  • The Israeli Olympic team was attacked by terrorists in Munich. (1972) The "Black September" Palestinian terrorist group took the team, including coaches, hostage at the Olympic Summer Games. The group wanted 230 Arab prisoners released from jails in Israel. 17 people were killed, including a policeman, 11 athletes and five of the terrorists.

  • The Cold War began.(1945) A Soviet Union embassy clerk named Igor Gouzenko defected to Canada and turned over evidence of Soviet espionage and efforts to gain access to nuclear technology. What became known as "Gouzenko Affair" is considered the event that prompted the start of the Cold War.

  • Russian Tsar Peter the Great began taxing beards. (1698) The new taxation was an attempt to modernize his citizens from what he felt were archaic traditions.

  • The world's longest highway tunnel opened. (1980) The St. Gotthard Tunnel connects the cities of Goschenen and Airolo in Switzerland. It spans 10.14 miles (about 16.22 kilometers) and was the longest tunnel at that time; it now is the world's third longest tunnel.

  • US President Gerald R. Ford averted an assassination attempt by Charles Manson follower Lynette Fromme. (1975) President Ford's secret service was able to stop Fromme from shooting. His protection detail also was able to prevent a second attempt on Ford's life just three weeks later when Sara Jane Moore tried to shoot him. Both shooters were sentenced to life in prison.

  • Pan Am Flight 73 was hijacked by four gunmen at Karachi International Airport. (1986) The hijackers held the plane and its passengers hostage for 16 hours. The gunmen eventually started firing on the passengers, killing 22 and injuring more than 150. The four hijackers, who were members of the Palestinian Abu Nidal Organisation, were given death sentences which were later commuted to life sentences. The leader of the group was tried in the US after being released in Pakistan and sentenced to 160 years in prison.

  • The US Continental Congress held its first session. (1774) The group wrote a "declaration of rights and grievances" in response to the British attempts to force control over the US colonies. They also elected Peyton Randolph as the first president of Congress.

  • Two English meteorologists accidentally set a world record for altitude. (1862) Henry Tracey Coxwell and James Glaisher were using a hot air balloon to collect atmospheric data. The two passed out when they hit about 29,000 feet (8,800 meters), but it's estimated their balloon took them as high as 35,700 feet (about 10,900 meters).

  • The first Labor Day Parade in the US took place. (1882) The first celebration took place on the streets of New York City.

  • American actress Raquel Welch was born. (1940) Welch is known for her starring roles in A Swingin' Summer and Fantastic Voyage, and for starring with such stars as Frank Sinatra, Mae West and Dean Martin. She is perhaps best known, however, as a 1960s and 1970s sex icon in America and elsewhere.

Discussion Comments

By Krunchyman — On Sep 06, 2014

While I've never had the same experience that's referenced in the first bullet point, when you think about it, it's pretty scary that this kind of stuff happens. Yes, it happened all the way back in 1972, but while not in the United States, it still happens in other countries to an extent. Whenever you visit places outside of the United States, I feel that this is something you should always be aware of. Not to say that it happens every day, but you can never be too sure. I'm glad that most Americans don't have to live in fear like this.


By RoyalSpyder — On Sep 06, 2014

Though it's unknown how much history would have been altered if many other famous figures (whether it's presidents or Martin Luther King Jr) weren't assassinated, the bullet point is interesting, considering that the secret service was able to stop an attempt on their lives. On another note, this also leads me to wonder how the other assassinators were able to get so close to John F. Kennedy without being seen. Considering how technology was less advanced in that day and age, that might be something to take into consideration.

By Euroxati — On Sep 05, 2014

In relation to the second bullet point, the "funny" thing about the Cold War is that unlike most wars, it didn't involve much violence, if any at all. That doesn't mean it didn't have any impact, but it's still something to take note of. After all, for the most part, it merely involved nuclear tensions. However, with "merely" being an understatement, the Cold War had even more of a last impact than several other wars, which were far more violent and bloody. Considering all the issues surrounding these year long tensions, one can only wonder if something like this will happen again in the future.

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