ON THIS DAY in 1944, the Battle of the Bulge–a major German offensive against the Allies–began, in the Ardennes forest, Belgium. This event was depicted in the 1965 film THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, starring Henry Fonda and Robert Ryan.
ON THIS DAY in 1939, the Battle of the River Plate began; the first naval battle of World War II, and the only hostilities of the war in South America. The battle was dramatized in the 1956 Powell/Pressburger film, BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE, or PURSUIT OF THE GRAF SPEE.
ON THIS DAY in 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, resulting in the United States entry into World War II. This event was depicted in the 1953 film, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, with Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Donna Reed.
ON THIS DAY in 1944, General Douglas MacArthur, who’d said “I shall return”, fulfilled his promise, returning to the Philippines for the Allied reclamation of the islands from Japan. The 1977 film, MacARTHUR, starring Gregory Peck, chronicled this event.
ON THIS DAY in 1946, members of the political, military, and economic leadership of defeated Nazi Germany were sentenced at the Nuremberg Trials. Director Stanley Kramer’s 1961 film, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, starring Spencer Tracy, dramatized these post-war tribunals.
ON THIS DAY in 1945, the Battle of Wake Island, ongoing since December of 1941, ended when Japanese forces surrendered to U.S. Marines. The 1942 film, WAKE ISLAND, with Brian Donlevy, dramatized the early days of that conflict.