December 26, 2018




British Navy Sank Nazi German Battleship:  On December 26, 1943, off the coast of North Cape, Norway, the British vessel HMS Duke of York accompanied by its escorting ships intercepted, attacked and sunk the German battleship, the Scharnhorst as it was headed towards an allied convoy.  The Scharnhorst ranked as a capital ship in the Kriegsmarine, and took part in operations raiding British merchant shipping in north Atlantic routes. They battled the HMS Rawalpindi in a short engagement (November 1939). and joined by the Gneisenau took part in Operation Weserübung (April–June 1940), the German invasion of Norway, and sank the British aircraft carrier, as well as the HMS Glorious and her escort destroyers, the Acasta and the Ardent.  (In the latter engagement, the Scharnhorst achieved one of the longest-range naval gunfire hits in history.)  Only 36 men were rescued from the Scharnhorst, out of a crew of 1,968.


American Army Broke the Siege on Bastogne:   The Siege of Bastogne was part of the Battle of the Bulge fought between American and German forces  (from December 20 to 27, 1944).  Elements of General George Patton's Third Army succeeded in reaching Bastogne from the southwest, arriving from the direction of Assenois. The spearhead reached the lines of the 326th Engineers on the day after the Christmas attack at about 16:50. The 101st's ground communications with the American supply dumps were restored on December, 27 and the wounded were evacuated to the rear. Gen. Taylor reached Bastogne with the 4th Armored Division and resumed command.  With the encirclement, the troops of the 101st expected to be relieved, but were given orders to resume the offensive


End of the Cold War:   The dissolution of the USSR officially took place on December 26, 1991, thereby granting sovereignty and independence to its satellites states.  The Declaration, number 142-Н enacted by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States (although five of the signatories ratified it much later or did not do so at all.)  On the previous day, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, resigned and declared his office extinct. Gorbachev handed over his powers, including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. At 7:32 p.m., the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag.  The repercussions following the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a severe economic crisis and catastrophic fall in living standards in post-Soviet states and the former Eastern Bloc. It was worse than the Great Depression.  Between 1988–1989 and 1993–1995 poverty and economic inequality skyrocketed.   According to a 2014 poll, 57 percent of Russian citizens regretted the collapse of the Soviet Union, while 30 percent said they did not.

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