... 1917 (90 years ago today), at 5:03 p.m. Eastern time, the United States went to war against Austria-Hungary when President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the action. The United States had entered World War I in April, when it declared war against Imperial Germany.
... 1941, at 7:48 a.m. Hawaii time, Japanese bombers startled the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor with an early morning attack, prompting the United States' northern neighbor, Canada to declare war against Japan at once. The United States followed the next day, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a speech to Congress that can be heard here, condemned December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy."
... 1945, a U.S. military commission convicted and sentenced to death Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, who had surrendered after Japan-controlled Philippines fell to the U.S. military. On a theory of command responsibility Yamashita (pictured at right returning to his cell after a day of trial) was held responsible for war crimes committed by his troops. In fewer than 2 months the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his habeas petition by a vote of 7-2, and Yamashita was hanged soon after. In time the opinions of dissenting Justices Frank Murphy and Wiley B. Rutledge, Jr. won over many legal commentators; indeed, they were discussed favorably in the Court's invalidation in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld of President George W. Bush's post-9/11 military commissions.
... 1952 (55 years ago today), U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Me.), was born in Caribou, Maine.