Posts Tagged ‘Gulf of Tonkin

04
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-4-2008: Sputnik

October 4, 1957

Sputnik launched

The Soviet Union inaugurates the “Space Age” with its launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. The spacecraft, named Sputnik after the Russian word for “satellite,” was launched at 10:29 p.m. Moscow time from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic. Sputnik had a diameter of 22 inches and weighed 184 pounds and circled Earth once every hour and 36 minutes. Traveling at 18,000 miles an hour, its elliptical orbit had an apogee (farthest point from Earth) of 584 miles and a perigee (nearest point) of 143 miles. Visible with binoculars before sunrise or after sunset, Sputnik transmitted radio signals back to Earth strong enough to be picked up by amateur radio operators. Those in the United States with access to such equipment tuned in and listened in awe as the beeping Soviet spacecraft passed over America several times a day. In January 1958, Sputnik’s orbit deteriorated, as expected, and the spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere.

Officially, Sputnik was launched to correspond with the International Geophysical Year, a solar period that the International Council of Scientific Unions declared would be ideal for the launching of artificial satellites to study Earth and the solar system. However, many Americans feared more sinister uses of the Soviets’ new rocket and satellite technology, which was apparently strides ahead of the U.S. space effort. Sputnik was some 10 times the size of the first planned U.S. satellite, which was not scheduled to be launched until the next year. The U.S. government, military, and scientific community were caught off guard by the Soviet technological achievement, and their united efforts to catch up with the Soviets heralded the beginning of the “space race.”

The first U.S. satellite, Explorer, was launched on January 31, 1958. By then, the Soviets had already achieved another ideological victory when they launched a dog into orbit aboard Sputnik 2. The Soviet space program went on to achieve a series of other space firsts in the late 1950s and early 1960s: first man in space, first woman, first three men, first space walk, first spacecraft to impact the moon, first to orbit the moon, first to impact Venus, and first craft to soft-land on the moon. However, the United States took a giant leap ahead in the space race in the late ’60s with the Apollo lunar-landing program, which successfully landed two Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon in July 1969.

“Sputnik launched.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Oct 2008, 04:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7040.

On This Day

1535 – The first complete English translation of the Bible was printed in Zurich, Switzerland.

1777 – At Germantown, PA, Patriot forces and British forces both suffer heavy losses in battle. The battle was seen as British victory, which actually served as a moral boost to the Americans.

1909 – The first airship race in the U.S. took place in St. Louis, MO.

1915 – The Dinosaur National Monument was established. The area covered part of Utah and Colorado.

1927 – The first actual work of carving began on Mount Rushmore.

1940 – Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met in the Alps at Brenner Pass. Hitler was seeking help from Italy to fight the British.

1958 – British Overseas Airways Corporation became the first jetliner to offer trans-Atlantic service to passengers with flights between London, England and New York.

1985 – The Shiite Muslim group Islamic Jihad announced that they had killed American hostage William Buckley. Later another American hostage said that he believed that Buckley had died four months earlier from torture.

1990 – The German parliament had its first meeting since reunification.

1993 – Russian Vice-President Alexander Rutskoi and Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov surrendered to Boris Yeltsin after a ten-hour tank assault on the Russian White House. The two men had barricaded themselves in after Yeltsin called for general elections and dissolved the legislative body.

1993 – Dozens of Somalis dragged an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu. A videotape showed Michael Durant being taken prisoner by Somali militants.

2004 – SpaceShipOne reached an altitude of 368,000 feet. It was the first privately built, manned rocket ship to fly in space twice within a two week window. The ship won the Ansari X Prize of $10 million dollars for their success.  http://www.scaled.com/projects/tierone/

2008 – The largest money-grab in the history of the United States began, bilking Americans out of billions of dollars.

October 4, 1964

Johnson orders the commencement of Oplan 34A raids

President Johnson issues the order to reactivate North Vietnamese coastal raids by South Vietnamese boats as part of Oplan 34A.

These raids had been suspended after the Gulf of Tonkin incident in early August. On August 2, North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the destroyer USS Maddox, which was conducting an intelligence gathering mission in the same general area that had just come under attack by several Oplan 34A raids. Two days after the first attack, there was another incident, the details of which remain unclear. The Maddox, joined by destroyer USS C. Turner Joy, engaged what were, at the time, believed to be more attacking North Vietnamese patrol boats.

Although it was questionable whether the second attack actually happened, the incident provided the rationale for retaliatory air attacks against the North Vietnamese and the subsequent Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which became the basis for the initial escalation of the war in Vietnam and ultimately, the insertion of U.S. combat troops into the area. After two months, approval was given to continue the Oplan 34A raids against North Vietnamese coastal installations.

“Johnson orders the commencement of Oplan 34A raids.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Oct 2008, 04:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1398.

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05
Aug
08

On This Day 8-5-08: Damn the Torpedoes…

Battle of Mobile Bay

Union Admiral David Farragut leads his flotilla through the Confederate defenses at Mobile, Alabama, to seal one of the last major Southern ports. The fall of Mobile Bay was a huge blow to the Confederacy, and the victory was the first in a series of successes that secured the reelection of Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Mobile became the major Confederate port on the Gulf of Mexico after the fall of New Orleans, Louisiana, in April 1862. With blockade runners carrying critical supplies from Havana, Cuba, into Mobile, Union General Ulysses S. Grant made the capture of the port a top priority after assuming command of all Federal forces in early 1864.

Opposing Farragut’s force of 17 warships was a Rebel squadron of only four ships; but it included the C.S.S. Tennessee, said to be the most powerful ironclad afloat. Farragut also had to contend with two powerful Confederate batteries inside of Forts Morgan and Gaines. On the morning of August 5, Farragut’s force steamed into the mouth of Mobile Bay in two columns led by four ironclads and met a devastating fire that immediately sank one of Farragut’s iron-hulled single-turret monitors, the U.S.S. Tecumseh. The rest of the fleet fell into confusion but Farragut rallied them with the words, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!” Although the authenticity of the quote is questionable, it nevertheless became one of the most famous in history.

The Yankee fleet quickly knocked out the smaller Confederate ships, but the Tennessee fought a valiant battle against overwhelming odds before it sustained heavy damage and surrendered. The Union laid siege to Forts Morgan and Gaines, and both were captured within two weeks. Confederate forces remained in control of the city of Mobile, but the port was no longer available to blockade runners.

The Battle of Mobile Bay lifted the morale of the North. With Grant stalled at Petersburg, Virginia, and General William T. Sherman unable to capture Atlanta, the capture of the bay became the first in a series of Union victories that stretched to the fall election.

“Battle of Mobile Bay.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:41 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2273.

 

On This Day

1833 – The village of Chicago was incorporated. The population was approximately 250.

1884 – On Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid.

1944 – Polish insurgents liberated a German labor camp in Warsaw. 348 Jewish prisoners were freed.

1953 – During the Korean conflict prisoners were exchanged at Panmunjom. The exchange was labeled Operation Big Switch.

1962 – Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home. The “probable suicide” was caused by an overdose of sleeping pills. Monroe was 36 at the time of her death.

1963 – The Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The treaty banned nuclear tests in space, underwater, and in the atmosphere.

1964 – U.S. aircraft bombed North Vietnam after North Vietnamese boats attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1969 – The Mariner 7, a U.S. space probe, passed by Mars. Photographs and scientific data were sent back to Earth.

1974 – U.S. President Nixon said that he expected to be impeached. Nixon had ordered the investigation into the Watergate break-in to halt.

1991 – An investigation was formally launched by Democratic congressional leaders to find out if the release of American hostages was delayed until after the Reagan-Bush presidential election.

2002 – The U.S. closed its consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. The consulate was closed after local authorities removed large concrete blocks and reopened the road in front of the building to normal traffic.

 

Lincoln imposes first federal income tax

On this day in 1861, Lincoln imposes the first federal income tax by signing the Revenue Act. Strapped for cash with which to pursue the Civil War, Lincoln and Congress agreed to impose a 3 percent tax on annual incomes over $800.

“Lincoln imposes first federal income tax .” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50716.

German assault on Liege begins first battle of World War I

On August 5, 1914, the German army launches its assault on the city of Liege in Belgium, violating the latter country’s neutrality and beginning the first battle of World War I.

“German assault on Liege begins first battle of World War I.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50618

Reagan fires 11,359 air-traffic controllers

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan begins firing 11,359 air-traffic controllers striking in violation of his order for them to return to work. The executive action, regarded as extreme by many, significantly slowed air travel for months.

“Reagan fires 11,359 air-traffic controllers.” 2008. The History Channel website. 4 Aug 2008, 01:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5236.

29
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-29-08: NASA

NASA created

On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

“NASA created.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52738.

 

On This Day

1588 – The English defeated the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines.

1773 – The first schoolhouse to be located west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Schoenbrunn, OH.

1890 – Artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers, France.

1914 – The first transcontinental telephone service was inaugurated when two people held a conversation between New York, NY and San Francisco, CA.

1957 – The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1967 – Fire swept the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin. 134 U.S. servicemen were killed.

1968 – Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against artificial methods of birth control.

1975 – OAS (Organization of American States) members voted to lift collective sanctions against Cuba. The U.S. government welcomed the action and announced its intention to open serious discussions with Cuba on normalization.

1981 – England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married.

1985 – General Motors announced that Spring Hill, TN, would be the home of the Saturn automobile assembly plant.

1993 – The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.” His death sentence was thrown out and he was set free.

2005 – Astronomers announced that they had discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun.

 

Spanish Armada defeated

Off the coast of Gravelines, France, Spain’s so-called “Invincible Armada” is defeated by an English naval force under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake. After eight hours of furious fighting, a change in wind direction prompted the Spanish to break off from the battle and retreat toward the North Sea. Its hopes of invasion crushed, the remnants of the Spanish Armada began a long and difficult journey back to Spain.

“Spanish Armada defeated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:31 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6973.

Belle Boyd is captured

Confederate spy Marie Isabella “Belle” Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. It was the first of three arrests for this skilled spy who provided crucial information to the Confederates during the war.

“Belle Boyd is captured.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2266.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams

In the early hours of July 29, 1914, Czar Nicholas II of Russia and his first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, begin a frantic exchange of telegrams regarding the newly erupted war in the Balkan region and the possibility of its escalation into a general European war.

“Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas of Russia exchange telegrams.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=829.

Washington wages war on the Bonus Army

The Great Depression sent poverty-stricken Americans scrambling for any available source of income. Veterans of World War I certainly felt pinched, and cast about for ways to haul in cash, but, unlike Americans who hadn’t fought in the war, the veterans seemingly had a solution: in the wake of the war, the government had promised to hand out handsome cash bonuses to all servicemen. The catch was the bonuses were to be paid out in 1945. In dire need of money, veterans called on legislators during the spring and summer of 1932 to speed up payment of the bonuses. In May, a group of veterans from Portland, Oregon, staged the “Bonus March” and headed to Washington, D.C., to plead their case. The March fast became a mini-movement, and by June a “Bonus Army” of 20,000 vets had set up shop in Washington. At first all seemed to go well for the veterans, as the House of Representatives passed the Patman Bonus Bill, which called for the early payment of bonuses. The Senate, however, put the kibosh on the movement and killed the Patman legislation. Though chunks of the Bonus Army fled Washington after the bill’s defeat, a hefty handful of veterans stayed on through late July. President Herbert Hoover ordered the ousting of the vets who had decamped in government quarters. When the eviction proceedings turned ugly, and two veterans were killed, Hoover called on the army to disperse the remaining Bonus protesters. General Douglas MacArthur, and his young assistant Dwight Eisenhower, marshaled troops, tanks and tear gas in their war to send the stragglers home. Duly persuaded by this gross show of force, the remaining members of the Bonus Army headed home on July 29, 1932.

“Washington wages war on the Bonus Army.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:26 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5941.

Japanese sink the USS Indianapolis

On this day in 1945, Japanese warships sink the American cruiser Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen in the worst loss in the history of the U.S. navy.

“Japanese sink the USS Indianapolis.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Jul 2008, 12:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6534.

 

I could have gone on flying through space forever.
Yuri Gagarin




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