August 31

1864 – Union forces led by General Sherman launch a final assault on besieged Atlanta.

1888 – Jack the Ripper murders his first victim, Mary Ann Nichols

1895 – Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his ‘Navigable Balloon’.

1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, a type of movie projector

1939 – Nazi Germany mounts a false flag attack on the Gleiwitz radio station, creating an excuse to attack Poland.

1945 – General Douglas MacArthur establishes the Supreme Allied Command headquarters in Tokyo.

1991 – Kyrgyzstan declares its independence from the Soviet Union

1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul are killed in a car crash in Paris.

Births*
12 – Gaius Caesar Germanicus, otherwise, Caligula
1870 – Maria Montessori
1897 – Fredric March
1903 – Arthur Godfrey
1914 – Richard Basehart
1916 – Daniel Schorr
1924 – Buddy Hackett
1928 – James Coburn
1935 – Eldridge Cleaver
1946 – Jerome Corsi
1949 – Richard Gere
1970 – Debbie Gibson

Deaths†
1688 – John Bunyan
1965 – E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith
1969 – Rocco ‘Rocky’ Marciano
1973 – John Ford
1974 – William Pershing Benedict
1979 – Sally Rand
2002 – Lionel Hampton
2008 – Icarus ‘Ike’ Pappas
2013 – David Frost