Today in History: December 8, U.S. enters World War II


In 1765, Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts.

In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Imperial Japan a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.

In 1980, rock star and former Beatle John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by Mark David Chapman.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1991, AIDS patient Kimberly Bergalis, who had contracted the disease from her dentist, died in Fort Pierce, Florida, at age 23.

In 2001, the U.S. Capitol was reopened to tourists after a two-month security shutdown.

In 2008, in a startling about-face, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal he would confess to masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks; four other men also abandoned their defenses.

In 2011, the 161-day NBA lockout ended when owners and players ratified the new collective bargaining agreement.

In 2014, the U.S. and NATO ceremonially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan, 13 years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks sparked their invasion of the country to topple the Taliban-led government.

In 2016, John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died in Columbus, Ohio, at age 95.

In 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Republicans’ last-gasp bid to reverse Pennsylvania’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the electoral battleground; the court refused to call into question the certification process in the state.

In 2012, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

In 2017, Japanese pitching and hitting star Shohei Ohtani announced that he would sign with the Los Angeles Angels.

In 2022, Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a high-profile prisoner exchange with the U.S., which released Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.


Flutist James Galway is 84.

Singer Jerry Butler is 84.

Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 82.

Actor Mary Woronov is 80.

Actor John Rubinstein is 77.

Actor Kim Basinger is 70.

Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 67.

Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 66.

Country singer Marty Raybon is 64.

Political commentator Ann Coulter is 62.

Rock musician Marty Friedman is 61.

Actor Wendell Pierce is 60.

Actor Teri Hatcher is 59.

Actor David Harewood is 58.

Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 57.

Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Mussina is 55.

Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 51.

Actor Dominic Monaghan is 47.

Actor Ian Somerhalder is 45.

Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 44.

R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 41.

Actor Hannah Ware is 41.

Country singer Sam Hunt is 39.

MLB All-Star infielder Josh Donaldson is 38.

Rock singer-actor wa is 37.

Christian rock musician Jen Ledger (Skillet) is 34.

NHL defenseman Drew Doughty is 34.

Actor Wallis Currie-Wood is 32.

Actor AnnaSophia Robb is 30.