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Today in World War II History—July 31, 1944

Aerial view of Florence, Italy, 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

Aerial view of Florence, Italy, 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Toulouse, France, 1933 (public domain via Agence France-Presse)

French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Toulouse, France, 1933 (public domain via Agence France-Presse)

75 Years Ago—July 31, 1944: Soviet Army reaches East Prussian border.

Germans destroy all bridges in Florence, Italy, except historic Ponte Vecchio, which could only handle foot traffic anyway.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, famed aviator and the author of The Little Prince, is killed when his P-38 Lightning (flying for the Free French) crashes into the Mediterranean off Marseille.