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this month in history: december

This Month in History: December

In the early morning of 7 December 1941, the Empire of Japan bombed the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in attempt to cripple the nation’s Pacific Fleet, as they felt the United States was threatening Japanese imperial interests in Southeast Asia. This event is what triggered American involvement in World War II; the next morning President Franklin D. Roosevelt cited it as “day that will live in infamy.”

 All the gallant men
All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton


On 13 December 1991, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea (more commonly known as North and South Korea, respectively) signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression that formally ended the Korean War. Although actual fighting had ceased in 1953, this treaty ended a 38-year war between the two nations.

 Korean dream
Korean Dream: A Vision for a United Korea by Hyun Jin Preston Moon


Many highlights of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life happened in the month of December. On December 2, 1804, Napoleon was coronated as Emperor of France in the presence of Pope Pius VII. Exactly one year later, Napoleon defeated Russia and Austria in the Battle of Austerlitz, or the Battle of Three Emperors; this victory is what many consider to be Napoleon’s greatest military achievement. Napoleon’s life also came to an end in the month of December, specifically December 15, 1840. After a steady decline in his military and political power, Napoleon died in exile on the island of Saint Helena.

Napoleon : a life
Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts


On 16 December 1773, angry British colonists, increasingly identifying themselves as Americans, disguised themselves as Native Americans, boarded British ships in the Boston Harbor, and dumped 342 containers (around 95,000 lbs.) of East India Company tea into the harbor. This event would be known as the Boston Tea Party and it occurred in response to the 1773 Tea Act.

American tempest : how the Boston Tea Party sparked a revolution
American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked A Revolution by Harlow Unger