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Today in World War II History—December 17, 1939 & 1944

Admiral Graf Spee burning at Montevideo, 17 Dec 1939 (public domain via WW2 Database)

Admiral Graf Spee burning at Montevideo, 17 Dec 1939 (public domain via WW2 Database)

80 Years Ago—December 17, 1939: Damaged German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled in Montevideo, Uruguay as British ships wait offshore; the Graf Spee had sunk nine ships with no lives lost in those sinkings.

First Canadian troop convoy, TC-1, arrives in Britain, at the Clyde.

Joachim Peiper’s SS troops on the road to Malmédy, Belgium, 17 Dec 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

Joachim Peiper’s SS troops on the road to Malmédy, Belgium, 17 Dec 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

75 Years Ago—Dec. 17, 1944: In Belgium, German SS troops massacre 84 US POWs at Malmédy, 11 African-American soldiers at Wereth, plus another 200 US POWs and 100 Belgian civilians at various locations.

US War Department revokes West Coast exclusion order against Japanese-Americans, effective Jan. 2, 1945.

Ernest King, US Chief of Naval Operations, is promoted to fleet admiral.