Today in History
December 20

69 Vespians's supporters enter Rome and discover Vitellius in hiding. He is dragged through the streets before being brutally murdered.
1355 Stephen Urosh IV of Serbia dies while marching to attack Constantinople.
1802 The United States buys the Louisiana territory from France.
1860 South Carolina secedes from the Union.
1861 English transports loaded with 8,000 troops set sail for Canada so that troops are available if the "Trent Affair" is not settled without war.
1924 Adolf Hitler is released from prison after serving less than one year of a five year sentence for treason.
1930 Thousands of Spaniards sign a revolutionary manifesto.
1933 The German government announces 400,000 citizens are to be sterilized because of hereditary defects.
1938 First electronic television system is patented.
1941 The Flying Tigers, American pilots in China, enter combat against the Japanese over Kunming.
1943 Soviet forces halt a German army trying to relieve the besieged city of Stalingrad.
1946 Viet Minh and French forces fight fiercely in Annamite section of Hanoi.
1948 U.S. Supreme Court announces that it has no jurisdiction to hear the appeals of Japanese war criminals sentenced by the International Military Tribunal.
1960 National Liberation Front is formed by guerrillas fighting the Diem regime in South Vietnam.
1962 In its first free election in 38 years, the Dominican Republic chooses leftist Juan Bosch Gavino as president.
1963 Four thousand cross the Berlin Wall to visit relatives under a 17-day Christmas accord.
1989 U.S. troops invade Panama to oust General Manuel Noriega and replace him with Guillermo Endara.
Born on December 20
1868 Harvey Firestone, industrialist and tire maker.
1881 Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers.