Aug. 23 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1914, the British Expeditionary Force fought on European soil for the first time since the 1815 Battle of Waterloo in a confrontation with the German army in the Battle of Mons in Belgium.
In 1926, silent screen idol Rudolph Valentino died at the age of 31. The actor became ill with ulcers and after surgery fell into a coma and died.
In 1927, despite worldwide demonstrations on their behalf, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for murder.
In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact. Less than two years later, Germany launched a blitzkrieg attack on Russia.
In 1982, Beirut Christian leader Beshir Gemayel was elected president of Lebanon. He was assassinated less than one month later and was succeeded by his brother Amin.
In 1990, East and West Germany announced they would reunite on Oct. 3.
In 2008, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois confirmed he chose fellow Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate at the top of the Democratic Party ticket.
In 2010, rescue workers at a caved-in gold and copper mine in northern Chile made radio contact with 33 men trapped nearly 2,300 feet underground for 17 days who had found refuge in a small emergency shelter that had water and ventilation. In an unrelenting effort, all hands were rescued two months later.
In 2011, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, unusually strong for the eastern United States, rattled Washington and Virginia with shockwaves as far north as Canada. The quake was the strongest to hit Virginia in more than a century, briefly causing a power shutdown at a nuclear plant. The Washington Monument and National Cathedral in Washington were damaged by the quake.
In 2017, after two major warship collisions that killed several sailors, the U.S. Navy removed Vice Adm. Joseph Aucion as the Pacific Fleet's commander.