December 9, 1979
A commission of eminent scientists declare that smallpox had been eradicated. The World Health Assembly would certify its eradication the following May. This was the first time a disease was declared eradicated.
Otis Redding Killed in Plane Crash
December 10, 1967
26-year-old Otis Redding is killed in a plane crash. He had just recorded the song (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay (1968) two days earlier. It was released after his death, becoming his only Billboard #1 hit and the first posthumously-released song to reach #1 on the U.S. charts.
World War II – Italy and Germany Declare War Against the U.S.
December 11, 1941
Italy and Germany declare war against the U.S., with Adolf Hitler declaring, “After victory has been achieved, Germany, Italy, and Japan will continue in closest co-operation with a view to establishing a new and just order.” In return, the U.S. declared war against them. Also today, Poland declared war on Japan.