Thomas A. Smith 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.
Thomas A. Smith was 20 years old when World War II: Combat ends in the Pacific Theater: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in the Pacific and Asia. It was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia, and in China.
Thomas A. Smith was 32 years old when Space Race: Launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. The Space Race refers to the 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for dominance in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II, aided by captured German missile technology and personnel from the Aggregat program. The technological superiority required for such dominance was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, uncrewed space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon.
Thomas A. Smith was 38 years old when John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas; hours later, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One as the 36th President of the United States. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. As a member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented the state of Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate prior to becoming president.
Thomas A. Smith was 47 years old when Munich massacre: Nine Israeli athletes die (along with a German policeman) at the hands of the Palestinian "Black September" terrorist group after being taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games. Two other Israeli athletes were slain in the initial attack the previous day. The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, in which the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them along with a West German police officer.
Thomas A. Smith was 60 years old when Space Shuttle program: STS-51-L mission: Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts on board. The Space Shuttle program was the fourth human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which accomplished routine transportation for Earth-to-orbit crew and cargo from 1981 to 2011. Its official name, Space Transportation System (STS), was taken from a 1969 plan for a system of reusable spacecraft of which it was the only item funded for development.
Thomas A. Smith died on 22 Jun 1997 at the age of 71