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Today in World War II History—December 24, 1939 & 1944

Brig. Gen. Frederick Castle on his promotion, 14 December 1944, ten days before his death (US Army Air Forces photo)

Brig. Gen. Frederick Castle on his promotion, 14 December 1944, ten days before his death (US Army Air Forces photo)

80 Years Ago—December 24, 1939: On Christmas Eve, Pope Pius XII appeals for peace.

75 Years Ago—Dec. 24, 1944: In the largest mission of the war, 2034 heavy bombers of the US Eighth Air Force bomb German targets in the Ardennes.

Brig. Gen. Frederick Castle dies in a B-17 crash after giving his crew time to bail out; he will receive the Medal of Honor.

Two-day Guam Riot begins: white Marines open fire at black Marines who had been talking to Asian women; 2 blacks will be killed in armed riots and 43 blacks—and no whites—will be court-martialed.

The San Francisco Ballet performs the first full-length performance of The Nutcracker ever in the US.

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