On May 8, 1945, President Harry Truman declared V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, announcing the surrender of Germany and officially ending the European phase of World War II.
From the Vault
The Baltimore riot of April 1968 was a long Palm Sunday weekend of contrasts from Saturday through Tuesday, and it wiped out much of the downtown business district.
People went to church and people looted. People were curious or scared to death. They went outside looking for adventure or to calm things down.
The skies were a sunny blue in one direction and black with smoke in another. Hundreds of city and state police officers were deployed to limit destruction in East and West Baltimore. Many merchants decried the lack of police protection for businesses. The sky was blackened with the smoke of 800 fires in 72 hours.
Todd Richissin, The Sun’s London correspondent, reported this story by, in part, following the footsteps of a Sun correspondent who traveled with American troops during World War II, the late Lee McCardell. It was initially published in May 2005.
McCardell arrived in Neunburg with the 11th U.S. Armored Division and parts of the 3rd Army in April 1945, and filed a lengthy article about the mass funeral organized by the Americans, along with photographs of those events.
Richissin, 60 years later, interviewed many of the surviving participants.
Warning: Graphic images
The Baltimore-Washington area played a central role in the events of April 1865. Lincoln, besides governing for more than four years out of Washington, traveled through Baltimore on his way to his first inauguration (and was the target of a foiled assassination plot at the time, many historians believe). His eventual assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was born in Bel Air. After he shot Lincoln, Booth escaped on a route that took him through Southern Maryland. And when the president’s body made its long journey back to his home in Illinois, Baltimore was the first city to hold a public funeral service.
On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 63, died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage. Vice President Harry S. Truman took the oath of office as President two hours and 34 minutes later.
According to a Baltimore Sun story at the time, Roosevelt’s last words were, “I have a terrific headache.”
Archival photos depict a grieving nation at the loss of the president, serving his fourth term, who died at the “little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia. More
The annual Easter egg roll became a White House tradition after egg rolls on the Capitol grounds were prohibited due to the 1876 Turf Protection Law. Alerted to the plight of the children, President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the gates to the South Lawn for the festivities in 1878.
On March 18, 1840, a bill passed the House incorporating the Baltimore Steam Packet Company, nicknamed the Old Bay Line. The steamboat line provided services on the Chesapeake Bay, primarily between Baltimore and Norfolk, Va. When it closed in 1962 after 122 years of existence, it was the last surviving overnight steamship passenger service in the United States.
Other cities serviced by the line were Washington, D.C., Old Point Comfort, and Richmond, Va. One of the Old Bay Line’s steamers, the former President Warfield, later became famous as the Exodus ship of book and movie fame, when Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe sailed aboard her in 1947 in an unsuccessful attempt to emigrate to Palestine.
On March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps of the United States Army began training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K-9 corps.” Over a million dogs served on both sides during World War I.
The Baltimore City Police Department deployed their first K-9 unit on March 1, 1956. Terrance Patrick Cahill, a British police dog trainer that joined the Baltimore police department in 1959, was instrumental in establishing their program, as well as the police dog program in Washington, D.C.
In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. led several attempts to march from Selma to Montgomery as part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement. The protesters encountered violent opposition from authorities and segregationists. But with federal backing, the demonstrators successfully made the four-day walk, a 50-mile stretch. That year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which gave African-Americans the right to vote.
Using the style and language of journalists of the era, including a reference to blacks as “Negroes,” AP reporters captured the tension of the marches.
Fifty years after its original publication, The AP is making available excerpts from a series of stories about the marches’ progress.