July 23, 1951 – Petain, leader of the Vichy government, dies

July 23, 1951 – Petain, leader of the Vichy government, dies

On this day in 1951, General Henri-Philippe Petain, French national hero of World War I, who was convicted of collaboration with the German occupiers of his country during World War II and sentenced to life in prison, dies.

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June 28, 1914 – Archduke Ferdinand assassinated

June 28, 1914 – Archduke Ferdinand assassinated

In an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

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April 9, 1917 – Battle of Vimy Ridge

April 9, 1917 – Battle of Vimy Ridge

Many historians have pointed to the victory at Vimy Ridge during World War I as a moment of greatness for Canada, when it emerged from Britain’s shadow to attain its own measure of military achievement.

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April 22, 1915 – Germans use poison gas

April 22, 1915 – Germans use poison gas

German forces shock Allied soldiers along the Western Front by firing 168 tons of lethal chlorine gas against two French divisions and one Canadian division at Ypres, Belgium.

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December 29, 1915 – French government gives land for British war cemeteries

December 29, 1915 – French government gives land for British war cemeteries

On this day in 1915, the French National Assembly passes a law formally ceding the land that holds the British war cemeteries to Great Britain.

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