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1904

Madame Butterfly premieres

On this day in 1904, Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly premieres at the La Scala theatre in Milan, Italy. The young Puccini decided to dedicate his life to opera after seeing a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida in 1876. In his later life, he would write some of the best-loved operas of all time: La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900), Madame Butterfly (1904) and Turandot (left unfinished when... Read more >

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1979

China invades Vietnam

In response to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, China launches an invasion of Vietnam. Tensions between Vietnam and China increased dramatically after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Attempting to expand its influence in Indochina, Vietnam established a military presence in Laos; strengthened its ties with China's rival, the Soviet Union; and toppled the Cambodian regime of Pol Pot in 1... Read more >

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1944

U.S. troops land on Eniwetok atoll

Operation Catchpole is launched as American troops devastate the Japanese defenders of Eniwetok and take control of the atoll in the northwestern part of the Marshall Islands. The loss for the Japanese was significant: only 64 of the 2,677 defenders who met the Marine and Army force survived the fighting. The Americans lost only 195. The position on Eniwetok gave U.S. forces a base of operation... Read more >

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1947

Voice of America begins broadcasts to Russia

With the words, "Hello! This is New York calling," the U.S. Voice of America (VOA) begins its first radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union. The VOA effort was an important part of America's propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The VOA began in 1942 as a radio program designed to explain America's policies during World War II and to bolster the morale of its allies thr... Read more >