Rudolf Plattner was 14 years old when World War II: Nazi Germany and Slovakia invade Poland, beginning the European phase of World War II. World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although conflicts reflecting the ideological clash between what would become the Allied and Axis blocs began earlier. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most global war in history; it directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of total war, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Rudolf Plattner was 20 years old when World War II: German forces in the west agree to an unconditional surrender. The German Instrument of Surrender ended World War II in Europe. The definitive text was signed in Karlshorst, Berlin, on the night of 8 May 1945 by representatives of the three armed services of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Allied Expeditionary Force together with the Supreme High Command of the Red Army, with further French and US representatives signing as witnesses. The signing took place 9 May 1945 at 00:16 local time.
Rudolf Plattner was 28 years old when Jonas Salk announced the successful test of his polio vaccine on a small group of adults and children (vaccination pictured). Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. Born in New York City, he attended New York University School of Medicine, later choosing to do medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician. In 1939, after earning his medical degree, Salk began an internship as a physician scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital. Two years later he was granted a fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he would study flu viruses with his mentor Thomas Francis, Jr.
Rudolf Plattner was 40 years old when Thirty-five hundred United States Marines are the first American land combat forces committed during the Vietnam War. The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting amphibious operations with the United States Navy. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
Rudolf Plattner was 48 years old when Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam. The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was a conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; the South Vietnamese army was supported by the United States, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some US perspectives. The majority of Americans believe the war was unjustified. The war would last roughly 19 years and would also form the Laotian Civil War as well as the Cambodian Civil War, which also saw all three countries become communist states in 1975.
Rudolf Plattner was 64 years old when The tanker Exxon Valdez spilled 10.8 million US gallons (260,000 bbl; 41,000 m3) of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, causing one of the most devastating man-made maritime environmental disasters. A tanker is a ship designed to transport or store liquids or gases in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and gas carrier. Tankers also carry commodities such as vegetable oils, molasses and wine. In the United States Navy and Military Sealift Command, a tanker used to refuel other ships is called an oiler but many other navies use the terms tanker and replenishment tanker.
Rudolf Plattner was 69 years old when The Rwandan genocide begins when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down. The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from 7 April to mid-July 1994, constituting as many as 70% of the Tutsi population. Additionally, 30% of the Pygmy Batwa were killed. The genocide and widespread slaughter of Rwandans ended when the Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame took control of the country. An estimated 2,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Hutus, were displaced and became refugees.