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Last updated 1/4/2022 at 2:53pm | View PDF

The History Channel

* On Jan. 5, 1945, Japanese pilots receive the first order to become kamikaze, meaning “divine wind.” They needed little training to take planes full of explosives and crash them into ships. At Okinawa, they sank 30 ships and killed almost 5,000 Americans.

* On Jan. 6, 1759, a 26-year-old George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis. Historical documents have revealed that Martha may not have been the great love of his life. Washington wrote cryptic yet passionate love letters to Sally Fairfax, the wife of a friend.

* On Jan. 7, 1959, six days after the fall of the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in Cuba, the U.S. government believes it can work with Fidel Castro and protect American interests in Cuba. Less than two years later, the U.S. severed diplomatic relations and launched the Bay of Pigs invasion.

* On Jan. 8, 1962, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, is exhibited for the first time in America.

* On Jan. 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids” and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.” They were in reality manatees. Mythical mermaids have existed in seafaring cultures since the time of the ancient Greeks.

* On Jan. 10, 1946, the first General Assembly of the United Nations, comprising 51 nations, convenes in London. Then, on Jan. 24, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution, a measure calling for the peaceful uses of atomic energy and the elimination of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction.

* On Jan. 11, 1937, nearly two weeks into a sit-down strike by General Motors auto workers at the Fisher Body Plant in Flint, Michigan, a riot breaks out when police try to prevent food deliveries to the strikers from supporters on the outside. The melee was later nicknamed the “Battle of the Running Bulls.”

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