This Day in History: December
01: December 7, 1941: Japan Bombs Pearl Harbor
Take a unique look at one of the most well-known events in military history to better understand how the bombing of Pearl Harbor ultimately marked the beginning of the end for the Japanese empire. Professor Mark J. Ravina examines the reasons why Japan embarked on a war they were not prepared to finish—let alone, win—and the plethora of disastrous miscalculations based on flawed assumptions made under the guidance of a leader with no military experience.
02: December 15, 1832: Gustave Eiffel Is Born
Join Professor Stephen Ressler to uncover the inner workings of the most recognizable structure in the world: the Eiffel Tower.
03: December 16, 1770: Ludwig van Beethoven Is Born
Join esteemed Professor Robert Greenberg, Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances, to take a look back at the life and times of Ludwig van Beethoven.
04: December 28, 1065: Westminster Abbey Is Consecrated
Professor Cook introduces you to the London abbey church commonly known as Westminster Abby. Dramatically redesigned and expanded in the 13th century, you’ll see how the church stands as both a monument to English royal history and a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture.
05: December 8, 1980: John Lennon Is Murdered
Fans of The Beatles were distraught when Mark David Chapman fatally shot John Lennon outside the Dakota in 1980. Decades earlier, it was death that formed a strong bond of friendship while teenaged John Lennon and Paul McCartney supported one another through the grief of the sudden loss of their mothers. Join Michael Shelden to take a look at how their friendship would change the world.
06: December 27, 537: Hagia Sophia Is Consecrated
Join Professor John Hale to learn about the astonishing feats of engineering that were required to create the Hagia Sophia, which was consecrated in Constantinople in 537 CE. See why its design continues to serve as a model for Eastern Orthodox churches around the world.
07: December 17, 1903: Wright Brothers Fly at Kitty Hawk
Only five people showed up to watch a moment in history that changed our world forever. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius shares the history and little-known details that led up to the first flight by Orville Wright.
08: December 30, 1916: Rasputin Is Assassinated
This day in history, December 30, 1916, a group of aristocrats close to Tsar Nicholas II carried out a murderous attack on the tsar’s adviser, Grigori Rasputin. But the death of the so-called “Mad Monk” would be as bizarre as his life had been. Professor Lynne Ann Hartnett shares the story of his assassination.