1960: Leonid Brezhnev is selected as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet – the Soviet equivalent to the presidency. This was another important step in Brezhnev’s rise to power in Russia, a rise that he later capped by taking control of the Soviet Union in 1964.
1915: The British ocean liner, Lusitania, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, killing 1,198 (including 128 Americans) of the 1,959 people on board. The sinking of the Lusitania appalled many and contributed to the decision by the United States to eventually get into World War One.
1902: Mount Pele on the French Caribbean island of Martinique begins the deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. The following day, the city of Saint Pierre is virtually wiped off the map. Residents failed to heed warnings and evacuate. The city was buried within minutes and virtually everyone died instantly. In all, about 30,000 people died.