February 15 is a day of action that includes a near assassination of President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, plane and rocket crashes, the explosion of the USS Maine, a meteor and major power retreats from Singapore and Afghanistan.
Remember the Maine!
The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing 274. While the sinking of Maine was not a direct cause for action, it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Spain and eventually the Spanish-American War.
Assassin’s Bullet Misses FDR
In Miami, Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate US President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but instead shoots Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak, who dies of his wounds on March 6, 1933.
Singapore Falls in Largest British Surrender in History
Following an assault by Japanese forces, the British General Arthur Percival surrenders. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history.
US Figure Skating Team Killed in Crash
Sabena Flight 548 was a Boeing 707 aircraft that crashed en route from New York City toBrussels, Belgium, on February 15, 1961, killing 73 people, including the entire U.S. figure skating team. It remains the deadliest plane crash to occur on Belgian soil, and the first fatal accident involving a 707 in regular passenger service.
Soviets Complete Withdrawal from Afghanistan
The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan after 10 years of war.
Chinese Satellite Crash Kills Hundreds
Intelsat 708 was a telecommunications satellite intended to be launched and operated by Intelsat. It was destroyed during a launch failure on 15 February 1996, causing a large number of fatalities near the Xichang Satellite Launch Center near Xichang, People’s Republic of China.
Meteor Crashes in Russia
A meteor explodes over Russia, injuring 1,500 people as a shock wave blows out windows and rocks buildings. This happens unexpectedly only hours before the expected closest ever approach of the larger and unrelated asteroid 2012 DA14.