On this day, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt meet in Casablanca, Morocco, along with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, to discuss strategy and study the next phase of the war. This meeting marked the first time an American president left American soil during wartime. Participants also included leaders of the French government-in-exile, Gen. Charles de Gaulle and Gen. Henri Giraud, who were assured of a postwar united France. The success of the North Africa invasion, which resulted in the defeat of Vichy French forces, compelled President Roosevelt to meet with Prime Minister Churchill (Joseph Stalin, president and dictator of the USSR, declined an invitation to attend) to confer on how best to push forward an end to the war. Top priority was given to destroying German U-boat patrols in the Atlantic and launching combined bombing missions. Most important, in a controversial declaration, they announced that the Allies would accept only unconditional surrender from the Axis powers, a decision that caused consternation on all sides as too extreme and allowing too little room for political maneuvering. The meeting was kept secret–even by newspapers that knew about it–until the participants left Morocco on January 27.
Also on this Day
On this day in 1875 theologian, musician, philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning physician Albert Schweitzer is born in Upper-Alsace, Germany (now Haut-Rhin, France). Albert Schweitzer was a German philosopher, physician, musician and theologian. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor, and between 1893 and 1899, he studied Philosophy and Protestant theology at the Universities of Strasbourg, Berlin, ... Read more >
After being released from government control, gold reaches a new record price on January 14, 1980, exceeding $800 an ounce. Gold is scattered sparsely throughout the earth’s crust and since ancient times has been treasured for both its scarcity and metallurgic properties. Before the 19th century, most nations maintained a bimetallic monetary system, which often included gold but consisted mai... Read more >
In a crushing diplomatic rebuke to the Soviet Union, the U.N. General Assembly votes 104 to 18 to “deplore” the Russian intervention in Afghanistan. The resolution also requested the “immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan.” The immense margin of victory for the resolution indicated the worldwide disapproval for the December 1979 Soviet inva... Read more >
Young director Alfred Hitchcock's first film, 'The Pleasure Garden,' is released in England on this day in 1927. Hitchcock continued to direct English suspense films, but he moved to Hollywood in 1939 to take advantage of American filmmaking technology. His first American movie, 'Rebecca' won the 1940 Oscar for Best Picture and landed Hitchcock a Best Director nomination. During the 1950s, he s... Read more >