1807 – Former U.S. vice president Aaron Burr was acquitted of plotting to annex parts of Louisiana and Spanish territory in Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. He was acquitted on the grounds that, though he had conspired against the United States, he was not guilty of treason because he had not engaged in an “overt act,” a requirement of the law governing treason. Nevertheless, public opinion condemned him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe.
1939 – At 4:45 a.m., 1.5 million German troops invaded Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. Simultaneously, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields, and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II.
1966 – In a speech before 100,000 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, President Charles de Gaulle of France denounced U.S. policy in Vietnam and urged the U.S. government to pull its troops out of Southeast Asia.
1970 – The U.S. Senate rejected the McGovern-Hatfield amendment by a vote of 55-39. This legislation, proposed by Senators George McGovern of South Dakota and Mark Hatfield of Oregon, would have set a deadline of December 31, 1971, for complete withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam.<br>The Senate also turned down 71-22, a proposal forbidding the Army from sending draftees to Vietnam. Despite the defeat of these two measures, the proposed legislation indicated the growing dissatisfaction with President Nixon’s handling of the war.
1983 – Soviet jet fighters intercepted a Korean Airlines Flight 007 in Russian airspace and shot the plane down, killing 269 passengers and crew members. The incident dramatically increased tensions between the Soviets and the United States.
Despite the heated public rhetoric, many Soviets and American officials and analysts privately agreed that the incident was simply a tragic misunderstanding. The KAL flight had veered into a course that was close to one being simultaneously flown by a U.S. spy plane; perhaps Soviet radar operators mistook the two. In the USSR, several of the military officials responsible for air defense in the Far East were fired or demoted. It has never been determined how the KAL flight ended up nearly 200 miles off course.
1985 – Seventy-three years after it sunk to the North Atlantic ocean floor, a joint U.S.-French expedition located the wreck of the RMS Titanic. The sunken liner was about 400 miles east of Newfoundland.
2004 – An armed gang of Chechen separatist rebels entered a school in southern Russia and took more than 1,000 people hostage. The rebels demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from the disputed nearby region of Chechnya. September 1 was the first day of a new school year for millions of students across Russia, a day of celebration in schools that both parents and students traditionally attend. Nearly 340 people, about half of them children, died in the ensuing three-day ordeal.
2013 – Tommy Morrison, former heavyweight boxing champion and co-star of Rocky V, died of multiple organ failure and complications from AIDS. He was 44.