This Week In History August 13 – 19

August 13

1779 – American Revolutionary War: The Royal Navy defeats the Penobscot Expedition with the most significant loss of United States naval forces prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

1898 – Spanish–American War: Spanish and American forces engage in a mock battle for Manila, after which the Spanish commander surrendered in order to keep the city out of Filipino rebel hands.

1906 – The all black infantrymen of the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Regiment are accused of killing a white bartender and wounding a white police officer in Brownsville, Texas, despite exculpatory evidence; all are later dishonorably discharged. (Their records were later restored to reflect honorable discharges but there were no financial settlements.

1942 – Major General Eugene Reybold of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizes the construction of facilities that would house the “Development of Substitute Materials” project, better known as the Manhattan Project.

1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker tape parade in New York City That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Richard Nixon.

2004 – One hundred fifty-six Congolese Tutsi refugees are massacred at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi.

August 14

1888 – An audio recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord”, one of the first recordings of music ever made, is played during a press conference introducing Thomas Edison’s phonograph in London, England.

1911 – United States Senate leaders agree to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the Senate among leading candidates to fill the vacancy left by William P. Frye’s death.

1912 – U.S. Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier.

1935 – Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, creating a government pension system for the retired.

1941 – World War II: Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter of war stating postwar aims.

2003 – A widescale power blackout affects the northeast United States and Canada.

2003– Project Thread, an operation launched by CSIS and other Canadian law enforcement agencies, saw the arrest and incarceration of 24 innocent Muslim men, most of them young Pakistani students.

2015 – The US Embassy in Havana, Cuba re-opens after 54 years of being closed when Cuba–United States relations were broken off.

August 15

1914 – World War I: Beginning of the Battle of Cer, the first Allied victory of World War I.

1915 – A story in New York World newspaper reveals that the Imperial German government had purchased excess phenol from Thomas Edison that could be used to make explosives for the war effort and diverted it to Bayer for aspirin production.

1945 – Jewel Voice Broadcast by the Emperor Showa following effective surrender of Japan in the World War II, Korea gains Independence from the Empire of Japan.

1948 – The Republic of Korea is established south of the 38th parallel north.

1962 – James Joseph Dresnok defects to North Korea after running across the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Dresnok still resides in the capital, Pyongyang.

1965 – The Beatles play to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.

1971 – President Richard Nixon completes the break from the gold standard by ending convertibility of the United States dollar into gold by foreign investors.

1973 – Vietnam War: The United States bombing of Cambodia ends.

1977 – The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space; the event is named the “Wow! signal” from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.

2005 – Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the northern West Bank begins.

2015 – North Korea moves its clock back half an hour to introduce Pyongyang Time, 8½ hours ahead of UTC.

August 16

1841 – U.S. President John Tyler vetoes a bill which called for the re-establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Enraged Whig Party members riot outside the White House in the most violent demonstration on White House grounds in U.S. history.

1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.

1966 – Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations of Americans who have aided the Viet Cong. The committee intends to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 people are arrested.

August 17

1862 – American Indian Wars: The Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as Lakota warriors attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.

1998 – Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; later that same day he admits before the nation that he “misled people” about the relationship.

August 18

1590 – John White, the governor of the Roanoke Colony, returns from a supply trip to England and finds his settlement deserted.

1920 – The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

1977 – Steve Biko is arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No. 83 of 1967 in King William’s Town, South Africa. He later dies from injuries sustained during this arrest bringing attention to South Africa’s apartheid policies.

August 19

1862 – American Indian Wars: During an uprising in Minnesota, Lakota warriors decide not to attack heavily defended Fort Ridgely and instead turn to the settlement of New Ulm, killing white settlers along the way.

1934 – The German referendum of 1934 approves Hitler’s appointment as head of state with the title of Führer.

1953 – Cold War: The CIA and MI6 help to overthrow the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran and reinstate the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

1960 – Sputnik program: Korabl-Sputnik 2: The Soviet Union launches the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, two rats and a variety of plants.

1989 – Several hundred East Germans cross the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events that began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

2010 – Operation Iraqi Freedom ends, with the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossing the border to Kuwait.

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