On May 21, 1881, the American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton and her acquaintances. Barton was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her work with the wounded in the Civil War. Barton later worked with the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War which lead her to help found the American Chapter.
Today in Military History
On May 20, 1956, the first U.S. test of a hydrogen bomb drops from a B-52 bomber over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. The bomb is released at an altitude of more than 50,000 feet and explodes around 15,000 feet during Operation Redwing.
On May 15, 1942 congress passes a bill establishing an all female corps in the U.S. Army and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs it into law the next day. The bill creates the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and grants females official status in the military. The legislation was introduced a year earlier by the first women elected to Congress, Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers (R-MA).
On May 13, 1846, the United States declares war against Mexico: Congress overwhelmingly votes in favor of President James K. Polk’s request to declare war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas.
On May 9, 1945, the day after Germany surrendered to the Allies, Hermann Goering, Hilter’s right hand man, is captured by the U.S. Seventh Army in Bavaria. Goering was commander in chief of the Luftwaffe, president of the Reichstag, head of the Gestapo and prime minister of Prussia.
The British ocean liner, the Lusitania, is sunk by a German submarine, killing 1,195, 128 of which are Americans. The sinking of the Lusitania expedites the U.S. entry into World War I.