What Happened on May 8?

  • V-E Day was celebrated. (1945) The US and Europe celebrated the Allied victory in Europe after the surrender of all German forces the day before. Tens of thousands of POWs were released, and although there were small sporadic fights for a few days after, the war had ended.

  • The WHO certified that smallpox was eradicated. (1980) Smallpox was a huge killer all over the world until a vaccine was created in the late 1700s. The last naturally occurring case of smallpox took place in 1975; by 1979, it was clear that the disease was eradicated, a fact the WHO confirmed in 1980.

  • The USSR announced it would boycott the 1984 Olympics. (1984) The USSR was responding to the US boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980, though it claimed that it was boycotting the games because Los Angeles was too dangerous for their athletes. Other Communist countries followed suit, drastically reducing the competition in the games.

  • The AIM occupation of Wounded Knee ended. (1973) Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) had occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota, for 71 days to protest the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1890. Federal agents responded, and although several people were killed during the standoff, it ended peacefully when the protesters surrendered.

  • Dr. No was released. (1963) It was the first of the James Bond films, and introduced Sean Connery to the world as the debonair super-spy. The film was a hit, and the franchise took off with Connery starring in six more Bond films.

  • The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened. (1877) The show was first held mostly for hunting dogs, and was so popular it had to be extended a day longer than scheduled. It is one of the oldest continually held sporting events in the US, along with the Kentucky Derby, which started two years earlier.

  • The first European reached the Mississippi River. (1541) Hernando de Soto crossed the Mississippi River on this day, the first European to see it. De Soto was one of the first of many Europeans who explored America in hopes of finding a route to China, and was also known for conquering large parts of Central America and claiming them for Spain.

  • The first eye bank opened in the US. (1944) The first eye bank, a clinic that collects donated eyes and eye tissue and performs eye transplants, was founded in New York City on this day by Dr. Townley Paton.

  • Let it Be was released. (1970) It was the final studio album released by the Beatles, and was released just days after McCartney announced the band was breaking up.

  • Jean Henri Dunant was born. (1828) Dunant was a Swiss businessman who was also the founder of the Red Cross. He was also the first person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, which he won in 1901 for his work with the Red Cross.

Discussion Comments


is there anything else that happened around the 1980 olympics?

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