On this date in history:
In 1941, four days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
In 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.
In 1953, Alaska's first TV station signed on the air.
In 1972, Apollo XVII astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt landed on the moon for a three-day exploration. (John's note: This would be the last time a man would set foot on the moon!)
In 1983, 30,000 women tried to rip down fences around a U.S. cruise missile base at Greenham Common, England.
In 1984, a nativity scene was displayed near the White House for the first time since courts ordered it removed in 1973.
In 1989, Bulgarian leader Peter Mladenov set a May 31 deadline for free elections in the Eastern European country. He also called for a constitution stripping the Communist Party of its guaranteed dominant role in Bulgaria.
In 1991, William Kennedy Smith was acquitted on rape charges by a jury that deliberated less than 77 minutes following a 10-day televised trial.
In 1992, the three major TV networks agreed on joint standards to limit entertainment violence by the start of the next fall's season.
In 1993, parliamentary elections were held in Russia.
Also in 1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the ruling center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy won Chile's presidential election.
In 1994, up to 40,000 Russian troops invaded Chechnya, a semi-autonomous republic on Russia's border with Georgia, to put down a secessionist rebellion.
In 1995, two Japanese cult members admitted they had released the toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains the previous March that killed 12 people.
In 1996, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, was shot and wounded.
In 1997, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that Microsoft Corp. could not bundle Microsoft Internet Explorer with Windows 95.
In 1998, the International Olympic Committee began an internal investigation into rumors that bribes had been offered by cities seeking to be chosen as sites for the Olympic games.