On this day in the year 1939, Germany invades Poland, sparking World War II. Two years later, on this day in 1941, Hitler makes it obligatory for all Jews to wear the yellow star insignia. And, finally, on this day in 1945, three weeks after having two atomic bombs dropped on them, the Japanese officially surrender, finally putting an end to World War II. Nice fucking century we just went through, wasn't it?
On this day in 1983, Korean Airlines flight KAL 007 from New York to Seoul strays 200 miles off course, bringing it almost directly over a top secret Soviet military base in Kamchatka. Soviet radar technicians suspect the commercial flight might be a spy plane, so they dispatch two fighter jets to intercept. The fighters can't get a response to communication requests, so they launch heat-seekers and shoot it down, sending 269 passengers and crew to a fiery/watery doom in the Sea of Japan. Responding with outrage, President Ronald Reagan declared the Soviets had: "turned against the world and the moral precepts which guide human relations among people everywhere." Five years later, on July 3, 1988, an American warship in the Persian Gulf shoots down an Iranian Airbus 300 carrying 290 civilian passengers, none of whom survive. "I will never apologize for the United States; I don't care what the facts are," said then-presidential candidate George Herbert Walker "Poppy" Bush.
On this day, in 1985, a French-led submarine expedition discovers the wreckage of the Titanic, fucking up one of the few great mysteries of the Modern age.