Posts Tagged ‘Peter the Great

05
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-5-2008: Black September

Arab terrorists take Israeli hostages at the Olympics

In the early morning hours of September 5, six members of the Arab terrorist group known as Black September dressed in the Olympic sweat suits of Arab nations and jumped the fence surrounding the Olympic village in Munich, Germany, carrying bags filled with guns. Although guards spotted them, they paid little attention because athletes often jumped the fence during the competition to return to their living quarters.

Twenty hours after Black September had begun their attack, a German police official, 5 Palestinian terrorists, and 11 Israeli athletes lay dead. Three of the terrorists who survived were imprisoned but were set free a month later when Arabs hijacked a Lufthansa 727 and demanded their release.

A few days after the tragic event at the Olympics, Israel retaliated with air strikes against Syria and Lebanon, killing 66 people and wounding dozens. In addition, Israel sent out assassination squads to hunt down members of Black September while Israeli troops broke through the Lebanese border, igniting the heaviest fighting since the Six-Day War of 1967.

“Arab terrorists take Israeli hostages at the Olympics.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Sep 2008, 06:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1117.

On This Day

1698 – Russia’s Peter the Great imposed a tax on beards.

1793 – In France, the “Reign of Terror” began. The National Convention enacted measures to repress the French Revolutionary activities.

1836 – Sam Houston was elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

1877 – Sioux chief Crazy Horse was killed by the bayonet of a U.S. soldier. The chief allegedly resisted confinement to a jail cell.

1905 – The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed by Russia and Japan to end the Russo-Japanese War. The settlement was mediated by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in New Hampshire.

1914 – The Battle of the Marne began. The Germans, British and French fought for six days killing half a million people.

1917 – Federal raids were carried out in 24 cities on International Workers of the World (IWW) headquarters. The raids were prompted by suspected anti-war activities within the labor organization.

1953 – The first privately operated atomic reactor opened in Raleigh, NC.

1957 – Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” was first published.

1975 – A Secret Service agent foiled an assassination attempt against U.S. U.S. President Gerald R. Ford. Lynette A. “Squeaky” Fromme was a follower of Charles Manson, who was incarcerated at the time. 17 days later, Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate Ford.

1983 – U.S. President Reagan denounced the Soviet Union for shooting down a Korean Air Lines. Reagan demanded that the Soviet Union pay reparations for the act that killed 269 people.

September 5, 1969

Calley charged for My Lai massacre

Lt. William Calley is charged with six specifications of premeditated murder in the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in March 1968. Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets that made up Son My village in Son Tinh District in Quang Ngai Province in the coastal lowlands of I Corps Tactical Zone on March 16, 1968. The company had been conducting a search and destroy mission as part of the yearlong Operation Wheeler/Wallowa (November 1967 through November 1968). In search of the 48th Viet Cong (VC) Local Force Battalion, the unit entered Son My village but found only women, children, and old men. Frustrated by unanswered losses due to snipers and mines, the soldiers took out their anger on the villagers, indiscriminately shooting people as they ran from their huts and systematically rounding up the survivors, allegedly leading them to nearby ditch where they were executed.

Reportedly, the killing was only stopped when Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, an aero-scout helicopter pilot landed his helicopter between the Americans and the fleeing South Vietnamese, confronting the soldiers and blocking them from further action against the villagers. The incident was subsequently covered up, but eventually came to light a year later. An Army board of inquiry, headed by Lt. Gen. William Peers, investigated the massacre and produced a list of 30 persons who knew of the atrocity, but only 14, including Calley and his company commander, Captain Ernest Medina, were charged with crimes. All eventually had their charges dismissed or were acquitted by courts-martial except Calley, whose platoon allegedly killed 200 innocents. He was found guilty of personally murdering 22 civilians and sentenced to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals and further reduced later to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army. Proclaimed by much of the public as a “scapegoat,” Calley was paroled by President Richard Nixon in 1974 after having served about a third of his 10-year sentence.

“Calley charged for My Lai massacre.” 2008. The History Channel website. 5 Sep 2008, 06:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1337.

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08
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-8-08: PBSUCCESS

Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala

Col. Carlos Castillo Armas is elected president of the junta that overthrew the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in late June 1954. The election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of U.S. efforts to remove Arbenz and save Guatemala from what American officials believed to be an attempt by international communism to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1944, Guatemala went through a revolution that saw the removal of a long-time dictator and the establishment of the first democratically elected government in the nation’s history. In 1950, Guatemala witnessed another first with the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president, Arbenz. Officials in the United States had watched the developments in Guatemala with growing concern and fear. The Guatemalan government, particularly after Arbenz came to power in 1950, had launched a serious effort at land reform and redistribution to Guatemala’s landless masses. When this effort resulted in the powerful American-owned United Fruit Company losing many acres of land, U.S. officials began to believe that communism was at work in Guatemala.

By 1953 and into 1954, the U.S. government was intent on removing Arbenz from power and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was given this task by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The CIA established a multifaceted covert operation (code named PBSUCCESS). Beginning in June 1954, the CIA saturated Guatemala with propaganda over the radio and through leaflets dropped over the country, and also began small bombing raids using unmarked airplanes. It also organized and armed a small force of “freedom fighters”–mostly Guatemalan refugees and mercenaries–headed by Castillo Armas. This force, which never numbered more than a few hundred men, had little impact on subsequent events.

By late June, the Arbenz government, diplomatically and economically isolated by the United States, came to the conclusion that resistance against the “giant of the north” was futile, and Arbenz resigned on June 27. A short time later, Castillo Armas and his “army” marched into Guatemala City and established a ruling junta. On July 8, 1954, Castillo Armas was elected president of the junta.

For the United States, the election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of a successful covert operation against international communism. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that Guatemala had been saved from “communist imperialism.” The overthrow of Arbenz had added “a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition of the American states.” Many Guatemalans came to have a different perspective. The new regime rounded up thousands of suspected communists, and executed hundreds of prisoners. Labor unions, which had flourished since 1944, were crushed, and United Fruit’s lands were restored. Castillo Armas, however, did not long enjoy his success. He was assassinated in 1957. Guatemalan politics then degenerated into a series of coups and countercoups, coupled with brutal repression of the country’s people.

“Colonel Castillo Armas takes power in Guatemala.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2722.

1099 – Christian soldiers on the First Crusade march around Jerusalem.

1608 – The first French settlement at Quebec was established by Samuel de Champlain.

1709 – Peter the Great defeated Charles XII at Poltava, in the Ukraine, The Swedish empire was effectively ended.

1776 – Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence to a crowd at Independence Square in Philadelphia.

1815 – Louis XVIII returned to Paris after the defeat of Napoleon.

1865 – C.E. Barnes patented the machine gun.

1879 – The first ship to use electric lights departed from San Francisco, CA.

1881 – Edward Berner, druggist in Two Rivers, WI, poured chocolate syrup on ice cream in a dish. To this time chocolate syrup had only been used for making ice-cream sodas.

1919 – U.S. President Wilson returned from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.

1950 – General Douglas MacArthur was named commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea.

1960 – The Soviet Union charged Gary Powers with espionage. He was shot down in a U-2 spy plane.

1986 – Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.

Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, sails into Tokyo Bay, Japan, with a squadron of four vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but under threat of attack by the superior American ships they accepted letters from President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it had been declared closed to foreigners two centuries before. Only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to continue trade with Japan after 1639, but this trade was restricted and confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki.

After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Commodore Perry returned to Tokyo with nine ships in March 1854. On March 31, he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in over 200 years reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks, discussing expansion of trade with the United States. Treaties with other Western powers followed soon after, contributing to the collapse of the shogunate and ultimately the modernization of Japan.

“Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:30 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5161.

First Americans killed in South Vietnam

Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas strike a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group had arrived in South Vietnam on November 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers, and province and district headquarters.

“First Americans killed in South Vietnam.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Jul 2008, 11:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1954.




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