In 1949, the German Democratic Republic was established. Formerly known as East Germany, it was created from the Russian controlled zone in Germany at the end of World War II. The new nation entirely surrounded the city of West Berlin. West Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany. The two Germanys would be reunited in 1990. East Germany was often called a satellite of the Soviet Union and Soviet forces remained in the country to counteract the United States. The economy was centrally planned and mostly state owned. Its population declined from 18 million to 16 million by 1990. The communist Socialist Unity Party primarily controlled East Germany until 1989.
A cruise ship, the Achille Lauro was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985. The ship was hijacked off the coast of Egypt and sailed to Syria with the passengers and crew held hostage. The PLF demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. After they were denied permission to dock in Syria, the hijackers killed a Jewish-American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer and threw his body overboard. The ship then headed to Port Said, Egypt where the hijackers agreed to release the ship and passengers in exchange for safe passage. Their plane was intercepted by U.S. fighter aircraft and forced to land in Sicily where the hijackers were arrested and later tried for murder.
The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001 and American armed forces are still present there. The invasion followed the September 11 attacks, and was an attempt to dismantle al-Qaeda. President Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden, but the Taliban declined to extradite him. Operation Enduring Freedom was launched in cooperation with the United Kingdom and later, other nations joined the coalition. Most Taliban and al-Qaeda forces managed to escaped to Pakistan or remote mountainous regions within Afghanistan. At last count, 2,238 American fatalities have taken place in the conflict.
1905 – Andy Devine, American actor and singer (d. 1977)
1911 – Vaughn Monroe, American singer, trumpet player, and bandleader (d. 1973)
1917 – June Allyson, American actress and singer (d. 2006)
1931 – Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and activist, Nobel Prize laureate
1943 – Oliver North, American colonel, journalist, and author
1951 – John Mellencamp, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
1952 – Vladimir Putin, Russian colonel and politician, 4th President of Russia
1955 – Yo-Yo Ma, French-American cellist (Silk Road Project)
1959 – Simon Cowell, English businessman and producer, created The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent
Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.