Here are some of the important events that occurred on 2 May
Soviet Flag flies atop the Reichstag building in Berlin (1945)
The Soviet Red Army launches the final major offensive of World War Two on 16 April and succeeds in capturing the German capital of Berlin on 2 May.
The image, titled Raising a Flag over the Reichstag is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century showing two soviet soldiers raised the flag of the Soviet Union atop the Reichstag building. The damage sustained by Berlin can be seen in the background. This picture is the edited version of the original, which showed the man supporting the flag-bearer to be wearing a watch on both wrists (likely looted). It was edited by Ogoniok magazine to remove the watch on his right wrist.
Close to 200,000 people died in the roughly two weeks of fighting and the event marked one of the most important moments of the 20th century as Berlin would go on to become a flash-point in the following Cold War between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.
US Special Forces kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan (2011)
Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda is killed by US Special Forces in the Pakistani Town of Abbottabad after midnight on 2 May, 2011. The operation, code named Neptune Spear was run by the CIA.
US commandos were airlifted from Jalalabad, Afghanistan via never-seen-before special Black-Hawk helicopters designed specifically for stealth operations and reached Abbottabad within 90 minutes. They were undetected by Pakistan radars. The commandos, equipped with night-vision goggles, rappelled from the helicopters on the roof and killed bin Laden, who was in a room on the third floor. Four others were also killed. The crashed helicopter was heavily damaged by the commandos in order to prevent stealth technology from falling into Pakistani hands. Bin Laden’s body was scuttled off to Bagram Airbase, where DNA samples were taken. Bin Laden was ultimately buried in sea after being taken aboard USS Carl Vinson.
According to US government, the Pakistanis were not informed of the operation and former COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was informed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen at about 3 am.
Pakistan Air force F-16’s were scrambled but the US commandos had already left by then.
Pakistan came under intense pressure from the international community over allegations of support for bin laden though the Pakistani government denied this. In response, a Pakistani government-mandated investigation, known as the Abbottabad Commission Report was leaked to Al Jazeera which blamed “collective failure” by the intelligence authorities.
The official account of Osama bin Laden’s death has received widespread criticism both within and outside the US and has been subjected to a vast variety of conspiracy theories ever since.
Brian Lara is born
West Indies International Cricketer Brian Lara is born on 2 May, 1969. A highly skilled batsman and an iconic cricketer, he set a variety of world records throughout his career between 1990 – 2007.
Brian Lara is the only cricketer to have scored 400 runs in a single test match, one of the fastest to reach 10,000 runs and scored a total of nine double-hundreds over the course of his career. He retired from International Cricket in 2007 and was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2012.
Leonardo da Vinci passes away
The Rennaissance Era Polymath Leonardi da Vinci passes away on 2 May, 1519 at the age of 67. Arguably the most knowledgeable man of his time, Leonardo da Vinci has been called the father of Ichnology, Paleontology and Architecture in addition to making contributions to the fields of Astronomy, History, Engineering, Music, Mathematics, Painting, Sculpting, Science, Geology, Literature, Anatomy and others.
He is widely cited for being an ideal man who was the very embodiment of “unquenchable curiosity” , “Universal Genius” , a “Renaissance Man” and “A Man of Letters”.
Also known for his imagination and technological ingenuity, he was the first person in the world to develop designs for a parachute, a helicopter, solar power and a military tank.
Among his most famous paintings are Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
“There had never been another man born in the world who knew as much as Leonardo,” said Benvenuto Cellini “not so much about painting, sculpture and architecture, as that he was a very great philosopher.”
“Because of the multiplicity of interests that spurred him to pursue every field of knowledge … Leonardo can be considered, quite rightly, to have been the universal genius par excellence, and with all the disquieting overtones inherent in that term. Man is as uncomfortable today, faced with a genius, as he was in the 16th century. Five centuries have passed, yet we still view Leonardo with awe,” wrote Liana Bortolon about him in the 20th century.
The last king of Iraq is born
Faisal II of Iraq is born on 2 May, 1935. Known as the ‘Boy-King’, the last king of Iraq was killed during the 14 July, 1958 Revolution and his body hung from a street lamp.
J Edgar Hoover dies
J Edgar Hoover, the first director of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) dies on 2 May, 1972. During his reign at the helm of affairs at the FBI, he transformed law enforcement and crime-fighting in the US by the introducing new methodologies and establishing centralised forensic laboratories. Hoover was widely criticised for amassing information on political dissidents and even sitting presidents of the United States.
He was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2011 biographical drama film J. Edgar.
David Beckham is born
One of the most iconic sportsman of the late 20th and early 21st Century, David Beckham is born on 2 May, 1975 in London. Beckham would go on to play for Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain and the English national football team. He announced his retirement from football in 2013.
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