2/8/1990 –Iraqi forces invade Kuwait, Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbour. Kuwait’s defence forces were rapidly overwhelmed, and those that were not destroyed retreated to Saudi Arabia and within hours Kuwait City had been captured and the Iraqis had established a provincial government gaining control of 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves.
5/8/1962 – Actress Marilyn Monroe is found dead in her home in Los Angeles. She was discovered lying nude on her bed, face down, with a telephone in one hand. Empty bottles of pills, prescribed to treat her depression, were littered around the room. After a brief investigation, Los Angeles police concluded that her death was “caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide.”
6/8/45 - At 8:16am Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world’s first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.
8/8/1974 – In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House.
9/8/69 - Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt wins the 200m at the London Olympics in 19.32 to become first to win 100/200m double in back-to-back Olympics.
10/8/1793 - After more than two centuries as a royal palace, the Louvre is opened as a public museum in Paris by the French revolutionary government. Today, the Louvre’s collection is one of the richest in the world, with artwork and artifacts representative of 11,000 years of human civilization and culture.
11/8/1934 - A group of federal prisoners classified as “most dangerous” arrive at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts–the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary–joined a few dozen military prisoners.
12/8/1999 - On this day in 1990, fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson discovers three huge bones jutting out of a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. They turn out to be part of the largest ever Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered, a 65 million year-old specimen dubbed Sue, after its discoverer – The skeleton was 90% complete and is now on display at the Field Museum in Chicago.
13/8/1961 - East German soldiers begin laying down barbed wire and bricks as a barrier between Soviet-controlled East Berlin and the democratic western section of the city. Soldiers began laying more than 100 miles of barbed wire slightly inside the East Berlin border. The wire was soon replaced by a six-foot-high, 96-mile-long wall of concrete blocks, complete with guard towers, machine gun posts and searchlights. The Berlin Wall remained in place until it was demolished in 1991.
15/8/1903 - New Zealand's All Blacks play their first Rugby Test Match against Australia's Wallabies at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney; New Zealand win 22-3.
16/8/1977 – The “King of Rock and Roll”, Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee at age 42. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.
17/8/1969 - The grooviest event in music history–the Woodstock Music Festival–draws to a close after three days of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll in upstate New York.
21/8/1911 - An amateur painter sets up his easel near Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, only to discover that the masterpiece is missing. The day before, in perhaps the most brazen art theft of all time, Vincenzo Perugia had walked into the Louvre, removed the famed painting from the wall, hid it beneath his clothes, and escaped.
31/8/1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales died in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France and the world mourned the loss of the “People’s Princess”. Her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed and driver Henri Paul also lost their lives in the accident that has long been shrouded in conspiracy.