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Today in History: March 5, Stalin dies after long USSR reign

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, March 5, the 65th day of 2024. There are 301 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:

On March 5, 1953, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died after three decades in power.

On this date:

In 1770, the Boston Massacre took place as British soldiers who'd been taunted by a crowd of colonists opened fire, killing five people.

In 1849, Zachary Taylor was inaugurated as the 12th president of the United States. (The swearing-in was delayed by a day because March 4 fell on a Sunday.)

In 1868, the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson began in the U.S. Senate, with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding. Johnson, the first U.S. president to be impeached, was accused of "high crimes and misdemeanors" stemming from his attempt to fire Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; the trial ended on May 26 with Johnson's acquittal.

In 1933, in German parliamentary elections, the Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote; the Nazis joined with a conservative nationalist party to gain a slender majority in the Reichstag.

In 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in which he said: "From Stettin in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an 'iron curtain' has descended across the continent, allowing police governments to rule Eastern Europe."

In 1963, country music performers Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins died in the crash of their plane, a Piper Comanche, near Camden, Tennessee, along with pilot Randy Hughes (Cline's manager).

In 1970, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons went into effect after 43 nations ratified it.

In 1979, NASA's Voyager 1 space probe flew past Jupiter, sending back photographs of the planet and its moons.

In 1982, comedian John Belushi was found dead of a drug overdose in a rented bungalow in Hollywood; he was 33.

In 1998, NASA scientists said enough water was frozen in the loose soil of the moon to support a lunar base and perhaps, one day, a human colony.

In 2004, Martha Stewart was convicted in New York of obstructing justice and lying to the government about why she'd unloaded her Imclone stock just before the price plummeted; her ex-stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, also was found guilty in the stock scandal. (Each later received a five-month prison sentence.)

In 2013, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Latin America's most vocal and controversial leader, died in Caracas at age 58 after a struggle with cancer.

In 2018, Los Angeles police arrested a man on charges that he stole Frances McDormand's Oscar trophy after the Academy Awards a night earlier; the award was returned to the actress. (The charges would later be dismissed.)

In 2020, Palestinian officials closed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem over fears of the coronavirus. Officials ordered a cruise ship with 3,500 people aboard to stay back from the California coast until passengers and crew could be tested; a traveler from its previous voyage died of the coronavirus.

In 2021, California relaxed guidelines for reopening outdoor venues, clearing the way for fans to attend opening-day baseball games and return to Disneyland nearly a year after coronavirus restrictions shut down major entertainment spots.

In 2022, a promised cease-fire in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol collapsed amid scenes of terror in the besieged town. The number of people fleeing the country reached 1.4 million just 10 days after Russian forces invaded.

Today's birthdays: Actor Paul Sand is 92. Actor James B. Sikking is 90. Actor Fred Williamson is 86. Actor Samantha Eggar is 85. Actor Michael Warren is 78. Singer Eddy Grant is 76. Rock musician Alan Clark (Dire Straits) is 72. Actor-comedian Marsha Warfield is 70. Magician Penn Jillette is 69. Actor Adriana Barraza is 68. Actor Talia Balsam is 65. Rock singers Charlie and Craig Reid (The Proclaimers) are 62. Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin is 58. Actor Paul Blackthorne is 55. Rock musician John Frusciante is 54. Singer Rome is 54. Actor Kevin Connolly is 50. Actor Eva Mendes is 50. Actor Jill Ritchie is 50. Actor Jolene Blalock is 49. Model Niki Taylor is 49. Actor Kimberly McCullough is 46. Actor Karolina Wydra is 43. Singer-songwriter Amanda Shires is 42. Actor Dominique McElligott is 38. Actor Sterling Knight is 35. Actor Jake Lloyd is 35. Actor Micah Fowler is 26.