On This Day in History: August 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

On August 3, 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine Nautilus accomplishes the first undersea voyage to the geographic North Pole. The world’s first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus  dived at Point Barrow, Alaska, and traveled nearly 1,000 miles under the Arctic ice cap to reach the top of the world. It then steamed on to Iceland, pioneering a new and shorter route from the Pacific to the Atlantic and Europe.

The USS Nautilus was constructed under the direction of U.S. Navy Captain Hyman G. Rickover, a brilliant Russian-born engineer who joined the U.S. atomic program in 1946. In 1947, he was put in charge of the navy’s nuclear-propulsion program and began work on an atomic submarine. Regarded as a fanatic by his detractors, Rickover succeeded in developing and delivering the world’s first nuclear submarine years ahead of schedule. In 1952, the Nautilus’ keel was laid by President Harry S. Truman, and on January 21, 1954, first lady Mamie Eisenhower broke a bottle of champagne across its bow as it was launched into the Thames River at Groton, Connecticut. Commissioned on September 30, 1954, it first ran under nuclear power on the morning of January 17, 1955.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was also the first vessel to complete a submerged transit across the North Pole.

Named for the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged for far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation and was able to travel to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction; this information was used to improve subsequent submarines.

The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. She has been preserved as a museum of submarine history in New London, Connecticut, where she receives some 250,000 visitors a year.

 8 – Roman Empire general Tiberius defeats Dalmatians on the river Bathinus.

435 – Deposed Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius, considered the originator of Nestorianism, is exiled by Roman Emperor Theodosius II to a monastery in Egypt.

881 – Battle of Saucourt-en-Vimeu: Louis III of France defeats the Vikings, an event celebrated in the poem Ludwigslied

1492 – Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.

1492 – The Jews of Spain are expelled by the Catholic Monarchs.

1527 – First known letter is sent from North America by John Rut while at St. John’s, Newfoundland.

1645 – Thirty Years’ War: Second Battle of Nördlingen (Battle of Allerheim).

1678 – Robert LaSalle builds the Le Griffon, the first known ship built on the Great Lakes.

1778 – The opera house La Scala opened in Milan, Italy, with a performance of Antonio Salieri’s “Europa riconosciuta.”

1783 – Mount Asama erupts in Japan, killing 35,000 people.

1811 – First ascent of Jungfrau, third highest summit in the Bernese Alps.

1852 – First Boat Race between Yale and Harvard, the first American intercollegiate athletic event. Harvard won.

1860 – The Second Maori War begins in New Zealand.

1900 – The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company is founded.

1913 – Wheatland Hop Riot.

1914 – World War I: Germany declares war against France.

1916 – World War I: Battle of Romani – Allied forces, under the command of Archibald Murray, defeat an attacking Ottoman army, under the command of Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, securing the Suez Canal, and beginning the Ottoman retreat from the Sinai.

1923 – Calvin Coolidge is sworn in as the 30th President of the United States in the early morning following the death of Warren G. Harding the previous day.

1934 – Adolf Hitler becomes the supreme leader of Germany by joining the offices of President and Chancellor into Führer.

1936 – Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter dash, defeating Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics.

1940 – World War II: Forces of Italy begin the invasion of British Somaliland.

1948 – Whittaker Chambers accuses Alger Hiss of being a communist and a spy for the Soviet Union.

1949 – The National Basketball Association is founded in the United States.

1958 – The nuclear submarine USS Nautilus travels beneath the Arctic ice cap.

1960 – Niger gains independence from France.

1972 – The United States Senate ratifies the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

1975 – A privately chartered Boeing 707 crashes into the mountainside near Agadir, Morocco killing 188.

1981 – U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Ronald Reagan that they would be fired.

1994 – Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as Supreme Court justice.

2001 – The Real IRA detonates a car bomb in Ealing, London, UK injuring seven people.

2004 – The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopens after being closed since the September 11 attacks.

2005 – President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya of Mauritania is overthrown in a military coup while attending the funeral of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia.

2009 – Iran’s supreme leader formally endorsed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term as president.


  1. The Dalai Lama Tweets:

    When we begin to develop a genuine appreciation of the value of compassion, our outlook on others begins automatically to change.

  2. In a submarine

    Under an ice cap

    No can do.

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