This Day in History

Samantha Smith Visits the Soviet Union (1983)
In 1982, Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old American girl, wrote a letter to the newly elected leader of the USSR, Yuri Andropov, asking if he intended to start a war. Andropov replied personally. Expressing a desire for lasting peace with the US, he invited Smith to visit. The following July, she and her parents spent two weeks in the USSR amidst a media frenzy that hailed her as a goodwill ambassador. After her death in a plane crash two years later, she was honored by both nations in what ways? Discuss

Louis Pasteur Successfully Tests His Rabies Vaccine (1885)
Pasteur was a pioneer in the field of germ theory. In 1881, the inventor of pasteurization perfected a way to isolate and weaken germs, and he went on to develop a vaccine against anthrax in sheep. He soon turned his attention to researching rabies. In 1885, he inoculated a 9-year-old boy who had been badly mauled by a rabid dog. The vaccine likely prevented the boy from contracting rabies, which then meant certain death. How did Pasteur's chickens accidentally get vaccinated against cholera?

The Battle of Wagram Begins (1809)
The two-day Battle of Wagram signaled the end of the 1809 War of the Fifth Coalition between the kingdoms of Austria and France. Due to the battle's then-unprecedented use of artillery, both sides suffered tens of thousands of casualties. The Austrians were broken by the battle. Napoleon's victory forced Archduke Charles of Austria to accept unfavorable armistice conditions, stripping Austria of land and subjects. The battle might have ended differently if who had shown up in time?