Archive for February 26th, 2009

26
Feb
09

Eagle in Flight

IMG_5118a

26
Feb
09

On This Day, February 26: Zimmerman Telegram

February 26, 1917

President Wilson learns of Zimmermann Telegram

In a crucial step toward U.S. entry into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson learns of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a message from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German ambassador to Mexico proposing a Mexican-German alliance in the event of a war between the U.S. and Germany.

On February 24, 1917, British authorities gave Walter Hines Page, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, a copy of the Zimmermann Telegram, a coded message from Zimmermann to Count Johann von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to Mexico. In the telegram, intercepted and deciphered by British intelligence in late January, Zimmermann instructed his ambassador, in the event of a German war with the United States, to offer significant financial aid to Mexico if it agreed to enter the conflict as a German ally. Germany also promised to restore to Mexico the lost territories of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

The State Department promptly sent a copy of the Zimmermann Telegram to President Wilson, who was shocked by the note’s content and the next day proposed to Congress that the U.S. should start arming its ships against possible German attacks. Wilson also authorized the State Department to publish the telegram; it appeared on the front pages of American newspapers on March 1. Many Americans were horrified and declared the note a forgery; two days later, however, Zimmermann himself announced that it was genuine.

The Zimmermann Telegram helped turn the U.S. public, already angered by repeated German attacks on U.S. ships, firmly against Germany. On April 2, President Wilson, who had initially sought a peaceful resolution to World War I, urged immediate U.S. entrance into the war. Four days later, Congress formally declared war against Germany.

“President Wilson learns of Zimmermann Telegram.” 2009. The History Channel website. 26 Feb 2009, 08:30 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=230.

 

On This Day

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the Island of Elba. He then began his second conquest of France.

1863 – U.S. President Lincoln signed the National Currency Act.

1919 – In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park with an act of the U.S. Congress.

1929 – U.S. President Coolidge signed a bill creating the Grand Teton National Park.

1952 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed an atomic bomb.

1986 – Corazon Aquino was inaugurated president of the Phillipines. Long time President Ferdinand Marcos went into exile.

1987 – The Tower Commission rebuked U.S. President Reagan for failing to control his national security staff in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair.

1993 – Six people were killed and more than a thousand injured when a van exploded in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City. The bomb had been built by Islamic extremists.

 

February 26, 1990

Sandinistas are defeated in Nicaraguan elections

A year after agreeing to free elections, Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government loses at the polls. The elections brought an end to more than a decade of U.S. efforts to unseat the Sandinista government.

The Sandinistas came to power when they overthrew long-time dictator Anastacio Somoza in 1979. From the outset, U.S. officials opposed the new regime, claiming that it was Marxist in its orientation. In the face of this opposition, the Sandinistas turned to the communist bloc for economic and military assistance. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan gave his approval for covert U.S. support of the so-called Contras-anti-Sandinista rebels based mostly in Honduras and Costa Rica. This support continued for most of the Reagan administration, until disapproval from the American public and reports of Contra abuses pushed Congress to cut off funding.

In 1989, Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega met with the presidents of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala to hammer out a peace plan for his nation. In exchange for promises from the other nations to close down Contra bases within their borders, Ortega agreed to free elections within a year. These were held on February 26, 1990. Ortega and the Sandinistas suffered a stunning defeat when Violeta Barrios de Chamarro, widow of a newspaper editor assassinated during the Somoza years, polled over 55 percent of the presidential vote. The opposition also captured the National Assembly.

Chamarro’s election was a repudiation of over 10 years of Sandinista rule that had been characterized by a destructive war with the Contras and a failing economic system. The United States saw Chamarro’s victory as validation of its long-time support of the Contras, and many analysts likened the electoral defeat of the Sandinistas to the crumbling of communist regimes in Eastern Europe during the same period. Critics of the U.S. policy toward Nicaragua retorted that negotiations among the Central American presidents had brought free elections to Nicaragua-which nearly 10 years of American support of armed conflict had been unable to accomplish.

In the wake of the election, the administration of President George Bush immediately announced an end to the U.S. embargo against Nicaragua and pledged new economic assistance. Though rumors flew that the Sandinista-controlled army and security forces would not accept Chamarro, she was inaugurated without incident. The Sandinistas, however, continued to play a role in Nicaraguan politics and still actively campaign for, and occasionally win, political office.

“Sandinistas are defeated in Nicaraguan elections.” 2009. The History Channel website. 26 Feb 2009, 08:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2589.




February 2009
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers