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Today in World War II History—July 31, 1940 & 1945

Chiune Sugihara (public domain via Wikipedia)

Chiune Sugihara (public domain via Wikipedia)

80 Years Ago—July 31, 1940: In Lithuania, Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara begins writing thousands of visas for Jews to flee through the USSR into Japanese-controlled China.

Japanese navy receives first Mitsubishi A6M Zeros.

75 Years Ago—July 31, 1945: Former head of Vichy French government, Pierre Laval, is sent from Spain to Austria under pressure from France; he is immediately arrested by the Americans and turned over to the French; he will be executed October 15 for collaborating with the Nazis.