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12 September 2001: US declares war on terror. The President of the United States has described the destruction caused in New York and Washington as an act of war against all freedom-loving people. In a statement broadcast at 1053 local time (1553 BST), George Bush vowed the US would use all its resources to avenge the worst-ever attacks on American soil. But he warned an angry and wounded nation they would have to be patient and said any action could be a monumental struggle. The president has also been seeking the backing of world leaders for an international campaign against terrorism. As the estimated number of dead rose into the thousands the day after the tragedy, members of the US government began talking openly of war. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said: “It isn’t going to be solved with a single counter-attack against one individual, it’s going to be a long term conflict.” (Source: BBC)

08 September 1943: Italy’s surrender announced. Italy has signed an unconditional armistice with the Allies, General Dwight D Eisenhower has announced. The surrender was signed five days ago in secret by a representative of Marshal Pietro Badoglio, Italy’s prime minister since the downfall of Benito Mussolini in July. General Eisenhower – the commander in chief of Allied forces in the Mediterranean – said the Italian Government had agreed to end all hostilities with the United Nations. In a broadcast on Algiers radio at 1730 local time, he said: “All Italians who now act to help eject the German aggressor from Italian soil will have the assistance and support of the United Nations.” Afterwards, in a personal message to the Italian people, Marshal Badoglio confirmed the surrender and even hinted his people should turn against their former allies, the Germans. “The Italian forces will cease all acts of hostilities against the Anglo-American forces, wherever they may be. They will, however, oppose attacks of any other forces.” The Italian Government first suggested an armistice in August, three weeks after the fall of Mussolini during a meeting on neutral territory – probably Portugal. When the surrender was finally signed on 3 September in Sicily, it was agreed to keep it secret until the Allied invasion of Italy was well under way. German radio has broadcast a furious attack of Marshal Badoglio for asking for an armistice, calling it “open treason”. Marshal Badoglio and the Italian King Victor Emmanuel had insisted to the Germans that there had been no surrender, but now the truth was out. “With this,” said the German broadcaster, “a veil has been torn from a treacherous intrigue which for weeks had been enacted by an Italian clique, serfs to Jews and alien to their own people.” The surrender indicates the Axis and the Tripartite Pact is now in tatters. But US President Franklin D Roosevelt has said it is too early to assume this is the end of war in the Mediterranean. In a broadcast from Washington he said: “The great news you have heard from General Eisenhower does not give you licence to settle back in your rocking chair and say ‘Well, that does it. We’ve got ’em on the run. Now we start celebrating.’ The time has not yet come for celebration.” (Source: BBC)

07 September 1940: London blitzed by German bombers. The German air force has unleashed a wave of heavy bombing raids on London, killing hundreds of civilians and injuring many more. The Ministry of Home Security said the scale of the attacks was the largest the Germans had yet attempted. “Our defences have actively engaged the enemy at all points,” said a communiqué issued this evening. “The civil defence services are responding admirably to all calls that are being made upon them.” The first raids came towards the end of the afternoon, and were concentrated on the densely populated East End, along the river by London’s docks. About 300 bombers attacked the city for over an hour and a half. The entire docklands area seemed to be ablaze as hundreds of fir

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