• On Oct. 12, 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie about where North America sits on the globe.
• On Oct. 17, 1906, Wilhelm Voigt, a German shoemaker wearing a stolen captain’s uniform, impersonates an army officer and leads an entire squad of soldiers to help him steal 4,000 marks from the mayor’s office cash box, exploiting their blind obedience to authority. The Kaiser thought the story was funny; the German army did not.
• On Oct. 16, 1946, at Nuremberg, Germany, 10 high-ranking Nazi officials are executed by hanging for their crimes during World War II after they were found guilty by the International War Crimes Tribunal.
• On Oct. 13, 1957, the science-fiction thriller “The Amazing Colossal Man” premieres in theaters. The film revolved around an Army officer who began to grow uncontrollably after he strayed too close to an atomic blast in the Nevada desert.
• On Oct. 14, 1968, the U.S. Defense Department announces that the Army and Marines will be sending about 24,000 men back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours because of the length of the war. The decision badly hurt troop morale and the combat readiness of U.S. forces around the world.
• On Oct. 11, 1975, “Saturday Night Live,” a comedy sketch show, makes its debut on NBC, with George Carlin as its host, and Billy Preston and Janis Ian as musical guests. Since its inception, SNL has featured a different guest host and musical act each week.
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