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23rd March

1908 * Joan Crawford, US film actress who won an Oscar for Mildred Pierce (1945).

1912 * Wernher von Braun, German rocket engineer who designed the V1 and V2 rockets.

1919 Italian Socialist Benito Mussolini formed the Fascist Party.

1921 * Donald Malcolm Campbell, holder of the world land speed record in 1955.

1929 * Sir Roger Bannister, the first athlete to break the 4-minute barrier for the mile.

1933 Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany.

1962 World's first nuclear powered merchant vessel, The Savannah, launched in New Jersey.

1966 The first meeting between the leaders of Catholic and Orthodox churches in 400 years.

1983 U.S. President Ronald Reagan proposed a space-based missile defence system called the Strategic Defence Initiative or 'Star Wars.'

1998 The epic film 'Titanic' won 11 Oscars at the 70th Academy Awards, tying with 'Ben-Hur' for the most ever.

2001 Russia's Mir space station ended its 15-year orbit of the Earth, splashing down in the South Pacific.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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