Uses of Military Force Since 1798
Other U.S. Foreign
Interventions Since 1945
----Arranged by Country or Geographic Area----
The below list of [currently 345] uses of military force since 1798 and other U.S. foreign interventions since 1945 is not complete. Items will be added from time to time. To suggest additions or corrections, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Source information would be appreciated.
Source information for the list of uses of force and interventions is provided at the end of the list.
At the present time, the following are known to be omitted from the list below:
· The vast majority of small increases of U.S. Marine (or other military) guards sent to protect personnel at U.S. embassies. A few of these are included because of the messages [threats, or statements of support or non-support for a particular faction] intended to be sent within the political context in which the increase in force occurred.
· Most of the Indian Wars, generally said to have lasted until Wounded Knee, the tragic 1890 clash of reservation Sioux with U.S. troops. [That was the very year in which the U.S. Census recorded the disappearance of a frontier of settlement.] Perhaps between two and three dozen Indian Wars should be added to the list below. But that involves a study I haven’t finished, and decisions as to criteria for inclusion. One problem is that the U.S. sometimes authorized private citizens to enforce the Westward movement – or other edicts - upon Native Americans, just as the U.S. and other countries sometimes authorized privateers to plunder vessels of unfriendly governments.
· Some cases in which the U.S. Army Air Force bombed countries in a major war (such as in Eastern Europe during World War II) but left ground fighting to Allied troops from another country (e.g. Russia).
Where a use of force is listed under two names for the same country or geographic area, I have numbered that particular use of force only once. For example, there are items listed both under “Congo” and “Zaire” which are only counted when they are listed under “Zaire” – the name of the country at the time of the use of force. The Korean War is numbered under “China,” “South Korea,” and “North Korea” since the U.S. used force in all three countries. [China was only bombed, but it was also threatened with nuclear weapons; Korea has been two countries since shortly after the end of World War II when the Soviet Union and United States both reneged on their agreement to reunify North Korea and South Korea.] But the Vietnam War is numbered only in its entry under “Vietnam.” It is not numbered under “South Vietnam” or “North Vietnam,” since Vietnam was supposed to become one country according to provisions of the 1954 agreement that ended the French-Indochina War, and is one country today. I have tried to be consistent in the numbering. If inconsistencies are found, please email email@example.com.
In some cases a little history and/or geography has/have been included. This was usually done because I suspected people lack knowledge about areas geographically small and far away, or with small populations (for example, many Pacific island groups in which battles were fought during World War II).
Finally, readers will note that not all entries for uses of force or interventions have the same amount (or lack) of detail. Often, the more important uses of force – or interventions - have more detail. The combined entries for World War II uses of force, for example, amount to many pages. A fairly full account of the Korean War is given under “Korea,” with only brief mentions made under “South Korea” and “North Korea.” The full account is given under “Korea” so that it only has to be given once. The full account of the Korean War is given especially because of that war’s great importance in establishing (or settling) the tone for the Cold War between the communist and capitalist blocs led by the Soviet Union and United States.
[On September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush spoke to Congress and all Americans concerning the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in NY City. In the speech, Bush said, “On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars - but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941.” The sentence either said or suggested that the attack on the World Trade Center was the first enemy attack on American soil since the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. It was an amazing thing for the president to have said. Among the many people angered by the statement were people who had been local residents and soldiers stationed near the Alaskan port of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians on June 3-4, 1942. They remain proud of how they defended their country after the bombs fell on June 3-4, 1942, and they are tired of having their contribution overlooked. In the hopes of correcting popular history, they have built a new center to commemorate Alaska's World War II battles.]
Prince Sihanouk was yet another leader who did not fancy being an American
client. After many years of hostility towards his regime, including
assassination plots and the infamous Nixon/Kissinger secret "carpet bombings" of
1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Sihanouk in a coup in 1970. This was all
that was needed to impel Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces to enter the fray.
Five years later, they took power. But five years of American bombing had caused
Cambodia's traditional economy to vanish. The old
had been destroyed forever. Incredibly, the Khmer Rouge were to inflict even
greater misery on this unhappy land. To add to the irony, the United States
supported Pol Pot, militarily and diplomatically, after their subsequent defeat
by the Vietnamese. (William Blum)]
Following the Treaty of Nanking, other powers sought and secured similar trade privileges to those which the Treaty ceded to Britain. Negotiations between the U.S. and China resulted in the Treaty of Wanghsia in 1844. During the negotiations for that treaty, U.S. gunboats appeared in Chinese waters to emphasize the seriousness of the U.S. in asserting its interests in China. Before long, American gunboats – like British gunboats - began making trips on the Yangtze River, both to enforce trade concessions that had been demanded of China, and to allow for quick punitive measures to be taken whenever Americans were mistreated by Chinese. The presence of American ships in China’s waters soon became regular and routine.
[The display of naval power in order to achieve a country’s objectives was called “gunboat diplomacy.” Today the term “gunboat diplomacy” is often used to refer to the display of any kind of military force in order to achieve an objective. Although the United States was far from being the first country to use gunboat diplomacy, it eventually became the technique’s greatest and most frequent practitioner – not just in China, but in Central and South America, and other places as well. Even today, it is a frequent and routine occurrence for the U.S. to move warships very close to any part of the world where trouble breaks out. The message is, “Don’t harm Americans or their interests. We will use force to protect them.”]
By 1854, the United States was running regular patrols of the Yangtze. The Yangtze River Patrol of the United States Navy existed under various names between 1854 and 1941. This squadron-sized unit of the Asiatic Fleet patrolled the waters of the Yangtze river as far inland as Chungking, more than 1,300 miles from the sea, and occasionally far beyond. The patrol was necessary to protect U.S. citizens and their interests against pirates and warlords who would attack commercial ships on the river. In the early part of the 1900s China experienced turbulent times accompanied by many acts of violence against foreigners. The Yangtze Patrol was called upon to defend American lives, property, and commerce along the river and to support American foreign policy in the Far East.
United States gunboats were not to stop patrols of the important rivers of China until the U.S. entry into World War II (1941). What the West calls the era of "gunboat diplomacy," the Chinese call "the century of humiliation." The lessons of that painful century were not lost on the Chinese; nor were thinly veiled threats of nuclear attack made by the United States during the Korean War and throughout the 1950s.
China (This entry is repeated
Taiwan.) June 13. A
naval force landed and burned a number of huts to punish the murder of the crew
of a wrecked American vessel.
After a period of strategic retreat to the area around Pusan in the southern part of South Korea, United Nations forces drove the North Koreans back past the 38th parallel, the post-World War II dividing line between North and South Korea. The goal of saving South Korea had been achieved, but, because of the success and the prospect of uniting all of Korea under the rule of Syngman Rhee, the United States decided to continue into North Korea. This greatly concerned the Chinese. They worried that the U.N. forces might not stop at the northern end of North Korea. China issued warnings that it would not allow United States forces to approach the Yalu River, but the warnings were largely ignored. Many in the west, including the U.N. Command’s commander-in-chief, General MacArthur, thought that spreading the war to China was a good idea. MacArthur argued that, since the North Korean troops were being supplied by way way of bases in China, those supply depots should be bombed. However, Truman and the other leaders disagreed, and MacArthur was ordered to be very cautious when approaching the Chinese border.
Communist Chinese troops crossed the border into North Korea on October 19, 1950, and defeated the Republic of [South] Korea’s 6th Army on October 25. MacArthur ordered his air force commander, General George Stratemeyer, to destroy the twin bridges over the Yalu that linked Sinuiju and Antung. Washington, already upset with MacArthur for badly misreading Chinese intentions and abilities, cancelled the order, and Truman demanded that MacArthur restrict bombing to areas at least five miles distant from the Yalu River. MacArthur raged that this restriction would lead to the defeat of his forces, and Washington finally gave way. On November 8, 1950, nearly 400 United Nations Command aircraft bombed bridges across the Yalu, as well as towns on both the Chinese and North Korean sides of the river.
When the Chinese offensive effectively forced U.N. troops to retreat southward to the 38th parallel, and the Chinese took Seoul, MacArthur openly suggested the use of atomic bombs against Communist China. This infuriated the Chinese and also greatly alarmed many of the U.S. allies. Eventually, due to his many disagreements with Washington, and his bad judgments, MacArthur was fired by President Truman and replaced by General Matthew Ridgway as commander-in-chief of the U.N. forces.
After being pushed below the 38th parallel by the Chinese and North Koreans, the South Koreans and allies fought back and retook Seoul. A long period followed in which little territory was exchanged despite a lot of fighting. There were lengthy negotiations during the same period which finally resulted in the signing of an armistice on July 27, 1953.
The war was a stalemate. North Korea and South Korea each finished with approximately the same territory it had controlled before the very costly war began. Under the armistice agreement, a demilitarized zone (DMZ) would be maintained along the border between North and South Korea, [roughly] the 38th parallel. The DMZ still exists today, and both North and South Korea maintain large troop concentrations close by.
1950-55 -- China. (This entry is repeated under Formosa, Taiwan.) In June 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War, President Truman ordered the U.S. Seventh Fleet to prevent Chinese Communist attacks upon Formosa and Chinese Nationalist operations against mainland China.
Ultimately, it was learned from senior military and intelligence sources in Europe and the U.S. that the U.S. knew quite well where the Chinese embassy was located. In fact, the Chinese embassy had been removed from a prohibited targets (“do not bomb”) list after NATO electronic intelligence (Elint) detected it sending army signals to Milosevic's forces. NATO deliberately bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade after discovering it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications. The story was confirmed in detail by three other NATO officers - a flight controller operating in Naples, an intelligence officer monitoring Yugoslav radio traffic from Macedonia, and a senior headquarters officer in Brussels. They all confirm that they knew in April that the Chinese embassy was acting as a rebroadcast station for the Yugoslav army (VJ) after alliance jets had successfully silenced Milosevic's own transmitters. The Chinese were also suspected of monitoring the cruise missile attacks on Belgrade, with a view to developing effective counter-measures against U.S. missiles. For their part, Chinese officials accused the U.S. of striking the embassy to punish China for representing Yugoslav diplomatic interests in Washington. Whatever the precise motivation, the attack was certainly designed to send a blunt message to China: the devastation being wreaked upon Yugoslavia can be applied to China or any other country that obstructs U.S. economic and military policy. Why was the embassy bombed? It was just the U.S. way of letting the Chinese government know that we didn’t like the activities China was carrying out on its own property and within the international diplomatic community.
[The colonized Belgian Congo had two parts, Congo-Kinshasa (after its capital) and Congo-Brazzaville (after its capital). Congo-Kinshasa achieved Independence in 1960, and, in 1971, it became Zaire. Congo-Brazzaville became the Republic of the Congo. In 1997, Zaire changed its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the word “Democratic” serving to distinguish the country from the Republic of the Congo. Since 1998, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered greatly from the devastating and genocidal Second Congo War (known also as the African World War), perhaps the deadliest conflict between World War II and the present.]
(This entry is
repeated under Zaire, the name of the country from 1971 to 1997.)
From May 19 through June 1978, the United States utilized military transport
aircraft to provide logistical support to Belgian and French rescue operations
1991 -- Congo. (This item is repeated under Zaire, the name of the country from 1971 to 1997.) On September 25-27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, U.S. Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. U.S. planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and hauled back American citizens and third country nationals from locations outside Zaire.
1996-7 -- Congo. (This entry is repeated under Zaire, the name of the country from 1971 to 1997.) Troops/Marines at Rwandan Hutu refuge camps, in area where Congo revolution begins. [In 1997 the name is changed from Zaire to Democratic Republic of the Congo (“Democratic” to distinguish it from the Republic of the Congo).]
100. 1974 -- Cyprus. Evacuation from Cyprus. United States naval forces evacuated U.S. civilians during hostilities between Turkish and Greek Cypriot forces.
101. 1919 -- Dalmatia. U.S. forces were landed at Trau at the request of Italian authorities to police order between the Italians and Serbs.
102. 1798-1800 -- Dominican Republic. The U.S.’s undeclared naval war with France included land actions, such as that in the Dominican Republic’s city of Puerto Plata where U.S. marines captured a French privateer under the guns of the forts.
103. 1814-25 -- Dominican Republic (Spanish, Gran Columbian, Haitian territory). Engagements in the Caribbean between pirates and American ships or squadrons took place repeatedly especially ashore and offshore about Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Yucatan. Three thousand pirate attacks on merchantmen were reported between 1815 and 1823. In 1822 Commodore James Biddle employed a squadron of two frigates, four sloops of war, two brigs, four schooners, and two gunboats in the West Indies.
March 30 to April 21. A detachment of marines was landed to protect American
interests in the city of Santo Domingo during a revolutionary outbreak.
105. 1904 -- Dominican Republic. January 2 to February 11. American and Brritish naval forces established an area in which no fighting would be allowed and protected American interests in Puerto Plata and Sosua and Santo Domingo City during revolutionary fighting.
June and July. During a revolutionary movement,
naval forces by gunfire stopped the bombardment of Puerto Plata, and by threat
of force maintained Santo Domingo City as a neutral zone.
107. 1916-24 -- Dominican Republic. May 1916 to September 1924. American naval forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened insurrection.
108. 1963-66 -- Dominican Republic. In February 1963, Juan Bosch took office as the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic since 1924. Here at last was John F. Kennedy's liberal anti-communist, to counter the charge that the U.S. supported only military dictatorships. Bosch's government was to be the long sought "showcase of democracy" that would put the lie to Fidel Castro. He was given the grand treatment in Washington shortly before he took office. Bosch was true to his beliefs. He called for land reform, low-rent housing, modest nationalization of business, and foreign investment provided it was not excessively exploitative of the country and other policies making up the program of any liberal Third World leader serious about social change. He was likewise serious about civil liberties: communists, or those labeled as such, were not to be persecuted unless they actually violated the law. A number of American officials and congress-people expressed their discomfort with Bosch's plans, as well as his stance of independence from the United States. Land reform and nationalization are always touchy issues in Washington, the stuff that "creeping socialism" is made of. In several quarters of the U.S. press Bosch was red-baited. In September, 1963, the military boots marched. Bosch was out. The United States, which could discourage a military coup in Latin America with a frown, did nothing. Nineteen months later (see next entry), a revolt broke out which promised to put the exiled Bosch back into power. The United States sent 23,000 troops to help crush it. (William Blum)
109. 1965 -- Dominican Republic. The United States intervened to protect lives and property during a Dominican revolt and sent more troops as fears grew that the revolutionary forces were coming increasingly under communist control.
110. 1841 -- Drummond Island, Kingsmill Group. A naval party landed to avenge the murder of a seaman by the natives.
111. 1941 -- Dutch Guiana. In November the President ordered American troops to occupy Dutch Guiana, but by agreement with the Netherlands government in exile, Brazil cooperated to protect aluminum ore supply from the bauxite mines in Surinam.
112. 1975 -- East Timor (also known as Timor Leste, and known during its colonized period as Portuguese Timor). In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, and which had proclaimed its independence on November 28, 1975, after Portugal had relinquished control of it. The invasion was launched one day after U. S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia after having given Suharto permission to use American arms, which, under U.S. Iaw, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia was Washington's most valuable tool in Southeast Asia. Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000. The United States consistently supported Indonesia's claim to East Timor (unlike the U.N. and the E.U.), and downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree, at the same time supplying Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry out the job. (William Blum)
After Indonesia's hard-line president Suharto left office in 1998, his successor, B. J. Habibie, unexpectedly announced his willingness to hold a referendum on East Timorese independence, reversing 25 years of Indonesian intransigence. As the referendum on self-rule drew closer, fighting between separatist guerrillas and pro-Indonesian paramilitary forces in East Timor intensified. The UN-sponsored referendum had to be rescheduled twice because of violence. On Aug. 30, 1999, 78.5% of the population voted to secede from Indonesia. In the days following the referendum, pro-Indonesian militias and Indonesian soldiers retaliated by razing towns, slaughtering civilians, and forcing a third of the population out of the province. After enormous international pressure, Indonesia finally agreed to allow U.N. forces into East Timor on Sept. 12. Led by Australia, an international peacekeeping force began restoring order to the ravaged region. The U.N. Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) then governed the territory for nearly three years. Charismatic rebel leader José Alexandre Gusmão, who was imprisoned by Indonesia from 1992 to 1999, was overwhelmingly elected the nation's first president on April 14, 2002. (The president has a largely symbolic role; real power rests with the parliament). With the U.N.’s help, full nationhood was achieved on May 20, 2002. The first new country of the millennium, East Timor is also one of the world's poorest.
July 14 to 18. American forces landed to protect American interests during
warfare between British and Egyptians and looting of the city of
114. 1956 -- Egypt. A Marine battalion evacuated U.S. nationals and other persons from Alexandria during the Suez crisis.
115. 1956-58 -- Egypt. The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States "is prepared to use armed forces to assist" any Middle East country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the Middle East and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, "communist." In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism. (William Blum)
116. 1983 -- Egypt. After a Libyan plane bombed a city in Sudan on March 18, 1983, and Sudan and Egypt appealed for assistance, the United States dispatched an AWACS electronic surveillance plane to Egypt.
On October 10, 1985, U.S. Navy pilots intercepted an Egyptian airliner
and forced it to land in Sicily. The airliner was carrying the hijackers of the
Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro who had killed an American citizen during the
118. 1980-92 -- El Salvador. El Salvador's dissidents tried to work within the system. But U.S. support of the government made that impossible. Repeated electoral frauds, and the murdering of hundreds of protesters and strikers were conducted by the government. In 1980, the dissidents took to the gun, and civil war. In 1981, after a guerilla offensive against the government, additional U.S. military advisers were sent to El Salvador, bringing the total to approximately 55. Officially, the U.S. military presence in El Salvador was limited to an advisory capacity, and to assist in training government forces in counterinsurgency. In actuality, military and CIA personnel played a more active role on a continuous basis. Covert bombings were conducted by the U.S. in the 1980s, particularly in 1984 and 1985. About 20 Americans were killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas, and considerable evidence surfaced of a U.S. role in the ground fighting as well. The war came to an official end in 1992; There had been 75,000 civilian deaths, and the U.S. Treasury had been depleted by six billion dollars. Meaningful social change was largely thwarted. A handful of the wealthy still own the country, the poor remain as ever, and dissidents still have to fear right-wing death squads. (Much of this item is from William Blum.)
119. 1981 -- El Salvador. After a guerilla offensive against the government of El Salvador, additional U.S. military advisers were sent to El Salvador, bringing the total to approximately 55, to assist in training government forces in counterinsurgency. Covert bombings were conducted in the 1980s, particularly in 1984 and 1985.
120. 1812-15 -- England. War of 1812. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war between the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Among the issues leading to the war were British interception of neutral ships and blockades of the United States during British hostilities with France.
Captain Duncan of the USS Lexington investigated the capture of three
American sealing vessels and sought to protect American interests.
July. Naval forces landed to punish natives for attacking American exploring and
September 12 to November 4. An American naval force landed to seek reparations
for depredations on American residents and seamen.
124. 1858 -- Fiji Islands. October 6 to 16. A marine expedition chastised natives for the murder of two American citizens at Waya.
1810 -- West
Gov. Claiborne of Louisiana, on orders of the President, occupied with troops
territory in dispute east of Mississippi as far as the Pearl River, later the
eastern boundary of Louisiana. He was authorized to seize as far east as the
1813 -- West
authority given by Congress, General Wilkinson seized Mobile Bay in April with
600 soldiers. A small Spanish garrison gave way. Thus U.S. advanced into
disputed territory to the Perdido River, as projected in 1810. No fighting.
127. 1812 -- East Florida and Amelia Island, then under Spain. Temporary possession was authorized by President Madison and by Congress, to prevent occupation by any other power; but possession was obtained by Gen. George Matthews in so irregular a manner that his measures were disavowed by the President.
1814 -- British
Gen. Andrew Jackson took Pensacola and drove out the British with whom the
United States was at war.
129. 1816 -- Spanish Florida. United States forces destroyed Nicholls Fort, called also Negro Fort, which harbored raiders making forays into United States territory.
1816-18 -- Spanish
First Seminole War.
The Seminole Indians, whose area was a resort for escaped slaves and border
ruffians, were attacked by troops under Generals Jackson and Gaines and pursued
into northern Florida. Spanish posts were attacked and occupied, British
citizens executed. In 1819 the Floridas were ceded to the United States. The
United States was in possession of Florida by 1821. Florida became a State on
March 3, 1845, between the Second Seminole War and the Third Seminole War.
Taiwan. (This item is
repeated under China.) June 13. A naval force landed and burned a number of huts
to punish the murder of the crew of a wrecked American vessel.
Taiwan. (This item is
repeated under China.) In June 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War,
President Truman ordered the U.S. Seventh Fleet to prevent Chinese Communist
attacks upon Formosa and Chinese Nationalist operations against mainland
133. 1798-1800 -- France. Undeclared Naval War with France. This contest included land actions, such as that in the Dominican Republic’s city of Puerto Plata where marines captured a French privateer under the guns of the forts.
134. 1944-45 -- France. World War II, D-Day and following. Before dawn on June 6, 1944, the Allied Expeditionary Force of British, American, Canadian, Polish, and Free French troops begins Operation Overlord, the long-awaited invasion of France. After an intensive naval and aerial bombardment, the first wave of 5 divisions (156,115 men) are landed at designated beaches in Normandy named Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. This is preceded by the British 6th Airborne Division which lands near Caen and some 12,000 paratroopers of the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions which are dropped on the Cotentin peninsula. These forces are supported by 1,213 warships, including 7 battleships and 23 cruisers, 1,600 auxiliary ships, and 4,126 landing craft, as well as massive British and American air support, which fly’s 14,674 sorties that day. Opposing them in their bunkers and on the beaches are 5 German infantry divisions with about 50,000 men and 100 tanks and assault guns. Despite some heavy casualties, especially by the American’s on Omaha Beach, the German defenders, stunned and surprised by the massive onslaught, are progressively overwhelmed, and most of the allied objectives are reached and secured by nightfall. There is very little opposition from the Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine. Following D-Day, in some of the bitterest fighting of the war, lasting over several months, France is liberated piece by piece.
World War I. On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war with Germany and
on December 7,1917, with Austria-Hungary. Entrance of the United States into the
war was precipitated by Germany's submarine warfare against neutral shipping.
136. 1941 -- Germany. Sometime in the spring the President ordered the Navy to patrol ship lanes to Europe. By July U.S. warships were conveying and September were attacking German submarines. In November, the Neutrality Act was partially repealed to protect U.S. military aid to Britain.
137. 1941-45 -- Germany. World War II. [The date on which World War II began is debated. In the West the start date usually cited is September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. In the East the start date is sometimes considered July 7, 1937, when Japan invaded China (the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War), or 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria. Some people argue that the two world wars are one conflict separated only by a ”ceasefire.” Woodrow Wilson with the American Peace Commissioners The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 is the peace treaty created as a result of the six-month-long Paris Peace Conference of 1919 which put an official end to World War I. The ceremonial signing of the treaty with Germany occurred June... A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war, for any of various reasons. ...The United States declared war with Japan on December 8, 1941, after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor one day earlier. The United States declared war with Germany and Italy on December 11, 1941, after those nations - under the dictators Hitler and Mussolini - declared war against the United States. The United States declared war with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania (allies of Germany and Italy) on June 5, 1942.] The first U.S. attack on mainland Germany took place on January 27, 1943, when U.S. planes bombed Wilhelmshaven. Aachen was the first German city to be captured when it fell to the U.S. First Army on October 21, 1944. Germany surrendered to the Allies on May 7, 1945.
138. 1948 -- Berlin, Germany. After the Soviet Union established a land blockade of the U.S., British, and French sectors of Berlin on June 24, 1948, the United States and its allies airlifted supplies to Berlin until after the blockade was lifted in May 1949. War was threatened should the Soviet Union try to stop the airlift.
139. 1950s -- Germany. After the U.S., Britain, and France dealt with the Berlin blockade, the CIA orchestrated a wide-ranging campaign of sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks, and psychological warfare against East Germany. This was one of the factors which led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. (William Blum)
140. 1942-43 -- Gilbert Islands. World War II. Having earlier been a protectorate and colony of the British Empire, the Gilbertese were self-governing at the time the Japanese invaded in 1941-42. When war came in December1941, the Japanese occupied Makin Atoll immediately and raided Tarawa; the British evacuated most of their people from Tarawa in February 1942. On August 17, 1942, 221 marines of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion were landed on Makin from two submarines. The raid was intended by the Americans to confuse the Japanese about U.S. intentions in the Pacific. However, it had the effect of alerting the Japanese to the strategic importance of the Gilbert Islands and led to their reinforcement and fortification. Tarawa and Apamama were occupied in force by the Japanese in September 1942 and during the next year garrisons were built up on Betio (Tarawa Atoll), and Butaritari (Makin Atoll). Only nominal forces were placed on other islands in the Gilberts. On November 20, 1943, the U.S. 2nd Marine Division invaded, in the battles of Makin and “Bloody Tarawa.” The Gilbert Islands were used to support the invasion of the Marshall Islands in February 1944. The colony became autonomous in 1971. From 1976 to 1978, the Ellices were separated, and the Gilberts became the Gilbert Islands colony, which issued stamps under that name. In 1979, the Gilberts opted for independence, becoming the independent nation of Kiribati.
141. 1827 -- Greece. In October and November, landing parties hunted pirates on the islands of Argenteire, Miconi, and Androse.
142. 1947-49 -- Greece. U.S. Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left which had fought the Nazis courageously. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a new internal security agency, KYP. Before long, KYP was carrying out all the endearing practices of secret police everywhere, including systematic torture. (William Blum)
143. 1964-74 -- Greece. A military coup took place in April 1967, just two days before the campaign for national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as prime minister. Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections. The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece. The 1967 coup was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a "communist takeover." Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory. It was torture, however, which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare. James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote in December 1969 that "a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand" the number of people tortured, usually in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States. Becket reported the following: “Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid. He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance: ‘You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and the free world on this side. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can't fight us, we are Americans.’” George Papandreou was not any kind of radical. He was a liberal anti-communist type. But his son Andreas, the heir-apparent, while only a little to the left of his father had not disguised his wish to take Greece out of the Cold War. Andreas had questioned Greece’s remaining in NATO, or at least as a satellite of the United States. (William Blum)
Greenland was taken under the protection of the United States in April.
145. 1979-84 -- Grenada. What would drive the most powerful nation in the world to invade a country of 110,000? Maurice Bishop and his followers had taken power in a 1979 coup, and though their actual policies were not as revolutionary as Castro's, Washington was again driven by its fear of "another Cuba," particularly when public appearances by the Grenadian leaders in other countries of the region met with great enthusiasm. U. S. destabilization tactics against the Bishop government began soon after the coup and continued until 1983, featuring numerous acts of disinformation and dirty tricks. The American invasion in October 1983 met minimal resistance, although the U.S. suffered 135 killed or wounded. There were also some 400 Grenadian casualties, and 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers. At the end of 1984, a questionable election was held which was won by a man supported by the Reagan administration. One year later, the human rights organization, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, reported that Grenada's new U.S.-trained police force and counter-insurgency forces had acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, and abuse of authority, and were eroding civil rights. In April 1989, the government issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, the prime minister suspended parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called "an increasingly authoritarian style." (William Blum)
146. 1983 -- Grenada. On October 25, 1983, President Reagan reported a landing on Grenada by Marines and Army airborne troops to protect lives and assist in the restoration of law and order and at the request of five members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
147. 1920 -- Guatemala. April 9 to 27. U.S. forces protected the American Legation and other American interests, such as the cable station, during a period of fighting between Unionists and the Government of Guatemala.
148. 1953-1990s -- Guatemala. (See next three items for some specifics.) A CIA-organized coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of death-squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling well over 100,000 victims -indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century. Arbenz had nationalized the U.S. firm, United Fruit Company, which had extremely close ties to the American power elite. As justification for the coup, Washington declared that Guatemala had been on the verge of a Soviet takeover, when in fact the Russians had so little interest in the country that it didn't even maintain diplomatic relations. The real problem in the eyes of Washington, in addition to United Fruit, was the danger of Guatemala's social democracy spreading to other countries in Latin America. (William Blum)
[The next three entries are from the list compiled by Zoltan Grossman.]
149. 1954 -- Guatamala. Bombings.
150. 1960 -- Guatamala. Bombings.
151. 1967-69 -- Guatamala. Bombings.
Gulf of Mexico.
American gunboats operated from New Orleans against Spanish and French
privateers off the Mississippi Delta, chiefly under Capt. John Shaw and Master
Commandant David Porter.
153. 1975 -- Gulf of Thailand. (This entry is repeated under Cambodia.) The Mayaguez incident, a ship capture and recapture, took place in the Gulf of Thailand (or Gulf of Siam). On May 15, 1975, President Ford reported he had ordered military forces to retake the SS Mayaguez, a merchant vessel which had been seized in international waters by Cambodian naval patrol boats and forced to proceed to a nearby island while it was en route from Hong Kong to Thailand with U.S. citizen crew.
1940 -- Guyana (Item is repeated under British Guiana, the name before 1967). Troops were sent to guard air and naval bases – sometimes called lend-lease bases - obtained by negotiation with Great Britain. This was a way of assisting Great Britain in the war against Germany without a formal U.S. entry into the war. The bases were in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana. [British Guiana was called that from 1917-1945. It had been called British Guiana and West Indies from 1900 to 1916, and has been Guyana since 1967.]
Guyana (Item is repeated under
British Guiana, the name before 1967). For 11 years, two of the
oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to
great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader from occupying his
office. Cheddi Jagan was another Third World leader who tried to remain neutral
and independent. He was elected three times. Although a leftist - more so than
Sukarno or Arbenz - his policies in office were not revolutionary. But he was
still a marked man, for he represented Washington's greatest fear: building a
society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist
model. Using a wide variety of tactics - from general strikes and disinformation
to terrorism and British legalisms, the U. S. and Britain finally forced Jagan
out in 1964. John F. Kennedy had given a direct order for his ouster, as,
presumably, had Eisenhower. One of the better-off countries in the region under
Jagan, Guyana, by the 1980s, was one of the poorest. Its principal export became
people. (William Blum) [The nation was British Guiana from 1917 to 1945, and has
been Guyana since 1967.]
December 20. A display of force persuaded the Haitian Government to give up an
American steamer which had been seized on the charge of breach of blockade.
U.S. forces sought to protect American lives and property on
January 29 to February 9, February 20 to 21, October 19. Intermittently U.S.
naval forces protected American nationals in a time of rioting and revolution.
157. 1915-34 -- Haiti. July 28, 1915, to August 15, 1934. U.S. forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened insurrection.
158. 1987-94 -- Haiti. The U.S. supported the Duvalier family dictatorship for 30 years, then opposed the reformist priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile, the CIA was working intimately with death squads, torturers, and drug traffickers. With this as background, the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend - because of all their rhetoric about "democracy" - that they supported Aristide's return to power in Haiti after he had been ousted in a 1991 military coup. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help the poor at the expense of the rich, and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving literally starvation wages. (William Blum)
159. 1994-? -- Haiti. Troops, naval/Blockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.
September 21. U.S.
forces placed the American flag at half mast upon the death of Queen Kalama,
when the American consul at Honolulu would not assume responsibility for so
February 12 to 20. Detachments from American vessels were landed to preserve
order and protect American lives and interests during the coronation of a new
162. 1889 -- Hawaiian Islands. July 30 and 31. U.S. forces protected American interests at Honolulu during a revolution.
163. 1893-1900 -- Hawaiian Islands. In January 1893, in an action later condemned by the United States, U.S. Marines landed from the U.S. Cruiser Boston, ostensibly to protect American lives and property, but many believed actually to promote a provisional government under Sanford B. Dole. Queen Liliuokalani surrendered her throne to the United States under protest. She wrote a document in which she "yielded to the superior forces of the United States." She pleaded with the U.S. government to "undo the actions of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority I claim as the Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands." A provisional government was formed with Sanford B. Dole as chairman of its executive council. The new government rushed representatives to the U.S. to argue for annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the U.S. A treaty was quickly signed by President Benjamin Harrison and submitted to Congress. However, before the Senate could approve the treaty, a new president took office. This president, Grover Cleveland, had reservations about taking over an independent country. He withdrew the treaty and sent a special commissioner to Hawaii to investigate the revolution. The commissioner reported that Minister Stevens had conspired with a small group of revolutionaries to overthrow the government. Cleveland made a speech to Congress condemning the overthrow of the monarchy, calling it "a misuse of the name and power of the United States." Cleveland said he would not annex Hawaii because the majority of Hawaiians were not in favor of it. He replaced Stevens with a new minister and tried to restore Liliuokalani to the throne. Sanford Dole flatly refused to give the government of Hawaii back to the native Hawaiians who opposed annexation. He told President Cleveland that the United States had no right to meddle in Hawaii's internal affairs. Congress agreed, and adopted a "hands off" policy toward the islands. Dole's new government then created an army and held a constitutional convention. On July 4th, 1894, the government unveiled the completed constitution and declared an independent Republic of Hawaii with Dole as President.
Despite Liliuokalani's pleas for help, other governments quickly recognized the new republic. In desperation, supporters of the queen began to collect weapons and to make secret plans to overthrow the republic and restore the monarchy. They planned to strike on the morning of January 7, 1895, but informers told the government about their plot. At dawn, as the queen's supporters slipped silently ashore on Waikiki, government soldiers opened fire. A few of the rebels fell dead or wounded; others surrendered. The government declared martial law. During the next few days, government troops defeated the disorganized rebels in a series of brief but deadly skirmishes. Within two weeks, they completely suppressed the uprising and captured its followers, including Queen Liliuokalani. The prisoners were tried for treason (Liliuokalani for misprision of treason, knowing about treason and not reporting it). Liliuokalani was sentenced to a $5,000 fine and five years imprisonment at hard labor. The sentence was not carried out, but Liliuokalani was forced to sign a document in which she finally renounced all claims to the throne. On New Year's Day, 1896, most imprisoned royalists were released. Queen Liliuokalani was not freed until later that year. Upon her release she went to Washington and was warmly welcomed by President Cleveland. But Cleveland was unable to help her. "I am ashamed of the whole affair," he wrote later.
In 1896, the election of a Republican, William McKinley, as president of the United States, rekindled hopes for the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands. President McKinley, like many Republicans, favored expansionism, and he welcomed the new annexation treaty. In 1898, a joint resolution of Congress annexing Hawaii passed both houses, and the islands became American possessions. While Congress was considering the annexation treaty, an American fleet was steaming across the Pacific to attack the Philippine Islands. The United States had gone to war. In 1900 the Hawaiian Islands became a U.S. territory. On August 21, 1959 Hawaii became the 50th American state. In 1993 Congress and President Clinton formally apologized for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Queen's heir, Princess Kaiulani, died in 1899 at the age of 23. Liliuokalani continued to live in Hawaii. She regained some of her crown lands, received a pension from the state, and also had income from the properties she owned. She attended most state occasions. But she didn't attend the 1898 ceremonies marking the U.S. annexation of Hawaii because she didn't want to see the Hawaiian flag lowered and the American flag raised.
In 1917 Liliuokalani had a stroke and died in Honolulu. She was 79. Today she is remembered as the composer of over 100 songs, including the famous "Aloha Oe." There is a statue of the queen, sculpted by Marianne Pineda, at the State Capitol in Honolulu.
164. 1941-45 -- Hawaiian Islands. World War II. At 7:55am on the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese fighter jets swooped through the still air of the military base at Pearl Harbor, initiating a surprise strike that would prove to be one of the single most destructive attacks in naval history. The Japanese objective was the obliteration of the fighting capacity of the 7 U.S. battleships moored there, and the American military strength in the Pacific as a whole. Japanese fighter pilots also targeted the American bombers at nearby airfields. Many people thought the attack was only another military drill until they saw the marks of the "rising sun" on the sides of the Japanese planes and witnessed the destruction. Of the 7 battleships, the USS Arizona suffered the most severe damage, taking 7 bombs and hits from an aerial torpedo. One of the bombs fell through the steel decks, detonating stored ammunition. The twisted hull of the ship still lies in the harbor as a poignant monument to the 1102 men entombed within. The attack seriously weakened American air strength in the Pacific and took the lives of over 2400 American military personnel and civilians. Historians and others have questioned how it was that such a massive and well-organized attack could have caught the Americans unawares. The American government had decoded the Japanese secret diplomatic code in 1940 and had suspected Japanese intentions, but it had discovered no specific plan for an attack at Pearl Harbor. A definitive answer still eludes the general public.
On December 8, President Franklin Roosevelt declared December 7, 1945, “a day that will live in infamy,” and Congress declared that a state of war existed between the United States and Japan. In a rapid chain of events due to established alliances, the attack on Pearl Harbor ultimately propelled the U.S. into World War II in the European Theater as well as in the Pacific Theater. There was a connection between the Japanese aggression and the general war that had begun in Europe on September 1, 1939. The Japanese believed that the European colonial powers’ preoccupation with the war in Europe provided Japan the opportunity to obtain supremacy in Southeast Asia through the capture of former European colonial holdings. One of the few obstacles left in their way was the sizeable American fleet that lay within striking distance of the South Pacific - the fleet based at Pearl Harbor.
Hawaii's Role in the Pacific Theater. As the United States reeled from the attack and began to prepare itself for war, martial law ruled in Hawaii. Martial law was declared directly following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was not lifted until October 24, 1944. During this time the writ of habeas corpus was suspended, and all those considered suspicious - most often those of Japanese descent - were rounded up and placed in custody at immigration stations. Following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii nonetheless continued to serve as a base for military operations in the Pacific. The next notable clash that occurred in the islands was the Battle of Midway in June of 1942. [This battle is listed separately under “Midway Islands” (1942). Although the Midway atoll lies within (next to last at the far end) the chain of small islets and atolls known as the Northwest Hawaiian Islands (or Leeward Hawaiian Islands), Midway was never officially a part of the Territory of Hawaii and is not administered by the State of Hawaii today.] The Battle of Midway - a victory for the U.S. - was a turning point for the American forces in the Pacific and marked Hawaii's movement from a combat zone to a training facility and military base. Hawaiian citizens stepped up to take part in the war effort. Some civilians participated in domestic defense and administration. Island-born Japanese served as language interpreters for the military. Many others took up arms. Among these were a contingent of Americans of Japanese descent (AJAs) who were discharged from the Hawaii Territorial Guard, most likely as a result of paranoia regarding those of Japanese descent. About 1400 of these Hawaiian men banded together to form the 100th battalion. The 100th battalion fought valiantly in the European theater, earning the nickname the “Purple Heart Regiment."
The Pacific war ended with the Japanese announcement of unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945. The surrender was announced to the American people on August 15, and was formalized on September 2, 1945, with the signing of documents on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The signing of the surrender documents took place nearly four months after the ending of the European war on May 8, 1945.
To this day, Hawaii hosts perhaps the largest combined American military presence in the entire world.
165. 1944-45 -- Holland. World War II. The liberation of Holland began with U.S. troops entering Maastricht on September 13, 1944. Maastricht and Eysden in southern Holland were taken by September 15. [British and Canadian forces were also to play major roles in Holland’s liberation.]
March 23 to 30 or 31. U.S. forces protected the American consulate and the
steamship wharf at Puerto Cortez during a period of revolutionary activity.
167. 1907 -- Honduras. March 18 to June 8. To protect American interests during a war between Honduras and Nicaragua, troops were stationed in Trujillo, Ceiba, Puerto Cortez, San Pedro Laguna and Choloma.
168. 1911 -- Honduras. January 26. American naval detachments were landed to protect American lives and interests during a civil war in Honduras.
169. 1912 -- Honduras. A small force landed to prevent seizure by the government of an American-owned railroad at Puerto Cortez. The forces were withdrawn after the United States disapproved the action.
September 8 to 12. A landing force was sent ashore to maintain order in a
neutral zone during an attempted revolution.
February 28 to March 31, September 10 to 15.
forces protected American lives and interests during election hostilities.
172. 1925 -- Honduras. April 19 to 21. U.S. forces protected foreigners at La Ceiba during a political upheaval.
173. 1983-89 -- Honduras. In July 1983 the United States undertook a series of exercises in Honduras that some believed might lead to conflict with Nicaragua. On March 25, 1986, unarmed U.S. military helicopters and crewmen ferried Honduran troops to the Nicaraguan border to repel Nicaraguan troops.
World War I. On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war with Germany and
on December 7,1917, with Austria-Hungary. Entrance of the United States into the
war was precipitated by Germany's submarine warfare against neutral shipping.
175. 1941 -- Hungary. Sometime in the spring the President ordered the Navy to patrol ship lanes to Europe. By July U.S. warships were conveying and September were attacking German submarines. In November, the Neutrality Act was partially repealed to protect U.S. military aid to Britain.
176. 1941-45 -- Hungary. World War II. On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war with Japan, on December 11 with Germany and Italy, and on June 5, 1942, with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
177. 1941 -- Iceland. Iceland, like Greenland, was taken under the protection of the United States during World War II.
Some [condensed] Iceland history:
After earlier attempts, King Haakon IV of Norway obtained acknowledgment of his suzerainty by the Icelanders between 1261 and 1264. Norwegian rule brought order, but high taxes and an imposed judicial system caused much discontent. When, with Norway, Iceland passed (1380) under the Danish crown, the Danes showed even less concern for Icelandic welfare; a national decline (1400-1550) set in. Although Lutheranism was imposed by force (1539-51), the Reformation brought new intellectual activity.
The 17th and 18th cent. were disastrous for Iceland in many ways. English, Spanish, and Algerian pirates raided the coasts and ruined trade; epidemics and volcanic eruptions killed a large part of the population; and the creation (1602) of a private trading company at Copenhagen, with exclusive rights to the Iceland trade, caused economic ruin. The private trade monopoly was at last revoked in 1771 and transferred to the Danish crown, and in 1786 trade with Iceland was opened to all Danish and Norwegian merchants. The exclusion of foreign traders was lifted in 1854.
The 19th cent. brought a rebirth
of national culture and strong agitation for independence. In 1874 a
constitution and limited home rule were granted. In 1918,
became a sovereign state in personal union with
The German occupation (1940) of Denmark in World War II gave Iceland an
opportunity to assume its king's prerogatives and the control of foreign
affairs. Great Britain sent (1940) a military force to defend the island from
possible German attack, and this was replaced after 1941 by U.S. forces.
In 1944 an overwhelming majority of Icelanders voted to terminate the union with Denmark. The kingdom of Iceland was proclaimed an independent republic on June 17, 1944. Iceland was admitted to the United Nations in 1946. It joined in the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In 1946, Iceland granted the United States the right to use the American-built airport at Keflavík for military as well as commercial planes. Under a 1951 defense pact, U.S. troops were stationed there.
Relations with Great Britain were strained when Iceland, in order to protect its vital fishing industry, extended (1958) the limits of its territorial waters from 4 to 12 mi (6.4-19.3 km). The conflict, which at times led to exchanges of fire between Icelandic coast guard vessels and British destroyers, was resolved in 1961 when Great Britain accepted the new limits. The dispute with Britain over fishing rights (widely known as the “cod wars” ) was renewed in 1972 when Iceland unilaterally extended its territorial waters to 50 mi (80 km) offshore and forbade foreign fishing vessels in the new zone. An interim agreement was reached in 1973, whereby the British would limit their annual catch and restrict themselves to certain fishing areas and specified numbers and types of vessels.
In 1973, Iceland and the United States began revising the 1951 defense pact, with a view toward ending the U.S. military presence. U.S. forces still use the NATO base at Keflavík Airport, and their presence continues to be a point of contention among Iceland's parties.
178. 1957-58 -- Indonesia. Bombings. Sukarno, like Nasser, was the kind of Third World leader the United States could not abide. He took neutralism in the cold war seriously, making trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well). He nationalized many private holdings of the Dutch, the former colonial power. He refused to crack down on the Indonesian Communist Party, which was walking the legal, peaceful road and making impressive gains electorally. Such policies could easily give other Third World leaders "wrong ideas." The CIA began throwing money into the elections, plotted Sukarno's assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government. Sukarno survived it all. (William Blum)
179. 1965 -- Indonesia. A complex series of events, involving a supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points, resulted in the ouster from power of Sukarno and his replacement by a military coup led by General Suharto. The massacre that began immediately - of communists, communist sympathizers, suspected communists, suspected communist sympathizers, and none of the above - was called by the New York Times "one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history." The estimates of the number killed in the course of a few years begin at half a million and go above a million. It was later learned that the U.S. embassy had compiled lists of "communist" operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres, as many as 5,000 names, and turned them over to the army, which then hunted those persons down and killed them. The Americans would then check off the names of those who had been killed or captured. "It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands," said one U.S. diplomat. "But that's not all bad. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment." (William Blum)
180. 1975 -- Indonesia. In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor which had proclaimed its independence on November 28 after Portugal had relinquished control of it. The invasion was launched the day after U. S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia after giving Suharto permission to use American arms, which, under U.S. Iaw, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia was Washington's most valuable tool in Southeast Asia. Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000. The United States consistently supported Indonesia's claim to East Timor - unlike the U.N. and the E.U., and downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree, at the same time supplying Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry out the job. (William Blum)]
181. 1953 -- Iran. Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint U.S./British operation. Mossadegh had been elected to his position by a large majority of parliament, but he had made the fateful mistake of spearheading the movement to nationalize a British-owned oil company, the sole oil company operating in Iran. The coup restored Mohommed Reza Shah Pahlevi to absolute power and began a period of 25 years of repression and torture, with the oil industry being restored to foreign ownership, as follows: Britain and the U.S., each 40 percent, other nations 20 percent. (William Blum)
182. 1980 -- Iran. On November 4, 1979, a mob composed mostly of Iranian students stormed the United States Embassy and took the entire staff (53 people) hostage. Iranians were angry over the U.S.’s long-time (and continuing) support of Mohommed Reza Shah Pahlevi who had been overthrown in a 1978 coup. The students demanded the extradition of the deposed Shah of Iran, who was in New York receiving cancer treatment. On April 25, 1980, Day 174 of the “hostage crisis,” the U.S. military aborted a hostage rescue attempt due to mechanical problems and a severe sandstorm. While withdrawing, a helicopter collided with a transport plane. Eight servicemen were killed in the resulting crash. On April 26, 1980, Carter addressed the nation and took responsibility for the mission's failure. Reaction of Americans was very mixed, although all were sad at the mission’s outcome. Some were pleased with Carter’s attempt. Some said a rescue attempt should have been carried out much earlier; others think not at all - because any rescue attempt had too little chance of succeeding. Many people believed tougher diplomatic measures – with or without threats of military force - could have returned the hostages to the U.S. within the first week of the crisis. On November 4, 1980, Day 367 of the crisis, America took to the polls and Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter for President in a landslide. The election date fell on the one-year anniversary of the hostage-taking. Carter’s inability to end the crisis was believed to be a crucial factor in his defeat. On January 20, 1981, Day 444 of the crisis, Carter and his senior staff worked feverishly and unsuccessfully during their last hours in office to finalize a deal with the Iranians. The hostages were released moments after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as President.
Many people were suspicious of the means by which Reagan’s people may have persuaded the Iranians to return the hostages on the day of his inauguration. Later in Reagan’s presidency, the American people learned that Reagan had been secretly selling weapons to Iran. With at least some of the receipts from the arms sales, the Reagan administration had funded illegal American participation in a Nicaraguan civil war. Despite a specific prohibition of Congress against intervening in the Nicaraguan struggle, the Reagan administration was found to have been aiding the Contras in their fight against the Sandinistas. In a Congressional investigation, Reagan underlings fell on the sword while supporting Reagan’s proclamation of ignorance over what his white house staff had been doing in both Iran and Nicaragua. The notion of Reagan’s “Teflon presidency” in which mistakes and charges of incompetence just bounced off him without affecting his reputation was reinforced.
183. 1987-88 -- Iran. Persian Gulf. After the Iran-Iraq War resulted in several military incidents in the Persian Gulf, the United States increased U.S. Navy forces operating in the Persian Gulf and adopted a policy of re-flagging and escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Gulf. President Reagan reported that U.S. ships had been fired upon or struck mines or taken other military action on September 23, October 10, and October 20, 1987 and April 19, July 4, and July 14, 1988. The United States gradually reduced its forces after a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq on August 20, 1988.
184. 1990s -- Iraq. (See next several entries for specifics.) Relentlessly bombing for more than 40 days and nights one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East; devastating its ancient and modern capital city; dropping 177 million pounds of bombs, the most concentrated aerial onslaught in the history of the world; using weapons of depleted uranium to incinerate people, collaterally causing cancer; blasting chemical and biological weapon storage and oil facilities, poisoning the atmosphere to a degree perhaps never matched anywhere; deliberately burying soldiers alive; targeting and destroying civilian infrastructure, with a terrible effect on health; and multiplying the health problems with economic sanctions that have killed perhaps more than a million children, and even more adults, over a decade. Iraq was the strongest military power among the Arab states. This may have been their crime. Noam Chomsky has written: "It's been a leading, driving doctrine of U.S. foreign policy since the 1940s that the vast and unparalleled energy resources of the Gulf region will be effectively dominated by the United States and its clients, and, crucially, that no independent, indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price." (William Blum)
185. 1991 -- Iraq. On January 18, 1991, President Bush reported that he had directed U.S. armed forces to commence combat operations on January 16 against Iraqi forces and military targets in Iraq and Kuwait, in conjunction with a coalition of allies and U.N. Security Council resolutions. On January 12 Congress had passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution (P.L. 102-1). Combat operations were suspended on February 28, 1991.
186. 1991 -- Iraq. On May 17, 1991, President Bush stated in a status report to Congress that the Iraqi repression of the Kurdish people had necessitated a limited introduction of U.S. forces into northern Iraq for emergency relief purposes.
187. 1992 -- Iraq. On September 16, 1992 President Bush stated in a status report that he had ordered U.S. participation in the enforcement of a prohibition against Iraqi flights in a specified zone in southern Iraq, and aerial reconnaissance to monitor Iraqi compliance with the cease-fire resolution.
188. 1993 -- Iraq. On January 19, 1993, President Bush said in a status report that on December 27, 1992, U.S. aircraft shot down an Iraqi aircraft in the prohibited zone; on January 13 aircraft from the United States and coalition partners had attacked missile bases in southern Iraq; and further military actions had occured on January 17 and 18. Administration officials said the United States was deploying a battalion task force to Kuwait to underline the continuing U.S. commitment to Kuwaiti independence.
189. 1993 -- Iraq. On January 21, 1993, shortly after his inauguration, President Clinton said the United States would continue the Bush policy on Iraq, and U.S. aircraft fired at targets in Iraq after pilots sensed Iraqi radar or anti-aircraft fire directed at them.
190. 1993 -- Iraq. In a status report on Iraq of May 24, President Clinton said that on April 9 and April 18 U.S. warplanes had bombed or fired missiles at Iraqi anti-aircraft sites which had tracked U.S. aircraft.
191. 1993 -- Iraq. On June 28, 1993, President Clinton reported that on June 26 U.S. naval forces had launched missiles against the Iraqi Intelligence Service's headquarters in Baghdad in response to an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait in April 1993.
192. 1993 -- Iraq. In a status report of July 22, 1993, President Clinton said on June 19 a U.S. aircraft had fired a missile at an Iraqi anti-aircraft site displaying hostile intent. U.S. planes also bombed an Iraqi missile battery on August 19, 1993.
193. 1998 -- Iraq. Bombing, missiles, nuclear threat. Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.
194. 2003-? -- Iraq. Iraq War. U.S. attacks Iraq on March 19, 2003. Bombing, missiles, troops, and occupation.
195. 1941-45 -- Italy. U.S. troops fought in Italy (excluding Sicily which was earlier) from September 9, 1943, to May 2, 1945. World War II.
On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war with Japan, on December 11 with Germany and Italy, and on June 5, 1942, with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The United States declared war against Japan after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor, and against Germany and Italy after those nations, under the dictators Hitler and Mussolini, declared war against the United States.
Allied victory in Sicily had resulted in the overthrow of Mussolini's government, and the capitulation of Italy was only a matter of negotiation and time. An armistice was announced on September 8. The Italian surrender resulted in German evacuation of the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, gave the Allies the Italian Navy, and, in effect, made Italy a co-belligerent with the Allies. Nevertheless, the Germans still had a firm hold on the Italian boot.
The Italian Campaign (September 3, 1943 - May 2, 1945) placed Allied troops on the European mainland for the first time, but it was never intended as a substitute for an attack aimed at Germany by way of the more open and more remunerative route through northern France. The invasion of Italy had a number of lesser objectives: to capitalize on the collapse of Italian resistance; to make immediate use of ready Allied strength; to engage German forces which might otherwise be used in Russia and northern France; to secure airfields from which to intensify the bombing of Germany and the Balkans; and to gain complete control of the Mediterranean.
On September 3, 1943 elements of the British Eighth Army landed on the toe of the Italian boot. Six days later, on September 9, the U.S. Fifth Army, under Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark landed on beaches along the Gulf of Salerno, and a British fleet placed a division of troops at Taranto in the arch of the boot.
Heavy fighting quickly developed at Salerno, where German armored counterattacks jeopardized the entire Allied position. It was six days before the Americans were able to surmount the crisis and secure the beachhead.
By October 1943 the U.S. Fifth and British Eighth Armies together had only 11 divisions, but this force was able to tie down some 20-odd German divisions throughout the long campaign. The mountainous terrain and the restrictions on maneuver imposed by the narrowness of the peninsula favored the German defenders, but the Allied force continued to press northward until the end of the war.
In May 1944 the Allied forces made a carefully planned assault on the Winter Line, synchronizing their thrusts with an attack from the beachhead earlier established on Anzio. The drive carried all the way to Rome, which fell to the Allies on 4 June 1944, two days before the cross-channel attack (D-Day).
The Germans made their next stand along the so-called Gothic Line in the north Apennine Mountains. The Allied force, although reduced in strength by the necessity to relinquish some divisions for use in France, initiated a drive in September that broke the Gothic Line after a three-month campaign. In the spring of 1945 the Allies pushed across the Po Valley and, when German resistance began to crumble, made spectacular advances which ended with the surrender of the German forces in Italy on 2 May 1945.
The Italian campaign involved some of the hardest fighting in the war and cost the United States forces some 114,000 casualties. But the campaign played an important part in determining the eventual outcome of the war, since the Allies, with a minimum of strength, engaged German forces that could possibly have upset the balance in France.
196. 1947-48 -- Italy. Using every trick in the book, the U.S. interfered in elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power legally and fairly. This perversion of democracy was done in the name of "saving democracy" in Italy. The Communists lost. For the next few decades, the CIA, along with American corporations, continued to intervene in Italian elections, pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars and much psychological warfare to block the specter that was haunting Europe. (William Blum)
197. 1985 -- Italy . On October 10, 1985, U.S. Navy pilots intercepted an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Sicily. The airliner was carrying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro who had killed an American citizen during the hijacking.
198. 1843 -- Ivory Coast. November 29 to December 16. Four United States vessels demonstrated and landed various parties (one of 200 marines and sailors) to discourage piracy and the slave trade along the Ivory Coast, and to punish attacks by the natives on American seamen and shipping.
199. 1940 -- Jamaica. Troops were sent to guard air and naval bases – sometimes called lend-lease bases - obtained by negotiation with Great Britain. This was a way of assisting Great Britain in the war against Germany without a formal U.S. entry into the war. The bases were in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana.
1853-54 -- Japan.
Commodore Perry and his expedition made a display of force leading to the
"opening of Japan" and the Perry Expedition.
July 16. The USS Wyoming retaliated against a firing on the American
vessel Pembroke at Shimonoseki.
202. 1864 -- Japan -- July 14 to August 3. Naval forces proteccted the United States Minister to Japan when he visited Yedo to negotiate concerning some American claims against Japan, and to make his negotiations easier by impressing the Japanese with American power.
September 4 to 14. Naval forces of the United States, Great Britain, France, and
the Netherlands compelled Japan and the Prince of Nagato in particular to permit
the Straits of Shimonoseki to be used by foreign shipping in accordance with
treaties already signed.
1868 -- Japan
Yokohama, and Negata). February 4 to 8, April 4 to May 12, June 12 and 13. U.S.
forces were landed to protect American interests during the civil war in Japan
over the abolition of the Shogunate and the restoration of the Mikado.
205. 1941-45 -- Japan. World War II. [The date on which World War II began is debated. In the West the start date usually cited is September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. In the East the start date is sometimes considered July 7, 1937, when Japan invaded China (the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War), or 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria. Some people argue that the two world wars are one conflict separated only by a ”ceasefire.” Woodrow Wilson with the American Peace Commissioners The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 is the peace treaty created as a result of the six-month-long Paris Peace Conference of 1919 which put an official end to World War I. The ceremonial signing of the treaty with Germany occurred June... A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war, for any of various reasons. ...The United States declared war with Japan on December 8, 1941, after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor one day earlier. The United States declared war with Germany and Italy on December 11, 1941, after those nations - under the dictators Hitler and Mussolini - declared war against the United States. The United States declared war with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania (allies of Germany and Italy) on June 5, 1942.]
206. 1851 -- Johanns Island (east of Africa). August. Forces from the U.S. sloop of war Dale exacted redress for the unlawful imprisonment of the captain of an American whaling brig.
207. 1956-58 -- Jordan. The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States "is prepared to use armed forces to assist" any Middle East country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the Middle East and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, "communist." In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism. (William Blum)
208. 1871 -- Korea. June 10 to 12. A U.S. naval force attacked and captured five forts to punish natives for depredations on Americans, particularly for murdering the crew of the General Sherman and burning the schooner, and for later firing on other American small boats taking soundings up the Salee River.
209. 1888 -- Korea. June. A naval force was sent ashore to protect American residents in Seoul during unsettled political conditions, when an outbreak of the populace was expected.
210. 1894-96 -- Korea. July 24, 1894 to April 3, 1896. A guard of marines was sent to protect the American legation and American lives and interests at Seoul during and following the Sino-- Japanese War.
211. 1904-05 -- Korea. January 5, 1904, to November 11, 1905. A Marine guard was sent to protect the American legation in Seoul during the Russo-Japanese War.
1950-53 -- Korea. Korean War. (Also listed under North Korea and South Korea, but the fullest account of this very important war is given here. Because of the importance of this war, both in solidifying a pattern of distrust and struggle between communist and capitalist countries, and in greatly accelerating the arms race that has squandered a huge portion of the world’s resources to the detriment of all its people, we’ll look at the Korean War’s background, important events, outcome, and aftermath.) Lasting from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, the Korean War was an extremely important event which contributed a lot to establishing the tone for the lengthy Cold War between a bloc of communist nations led by the Soviet Union and a bloc of capitalist nations led by the United States. The United States (along with several other nations) responded to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea by going to South Korea’s assistance pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Background. The country of Korea was invaded and effectively ruled by Japan from 1910 until the end of World War II in 1945. After liberation from Japanese rule, the peninsula was divided into North and South by the Soviet Union(USSR) and the United States, and was occupied by them. After dividing the nation of Korea, the leading powers of the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, established governments in their respective halves, each one favorable to their political ideology. The Allies agreed that Japanese forces north of 38 degrees north latitude (the 38th parallel) would surrender to the Soviet Union and those south of 38 degrees would surrender to the USA. The Allies pledged that Korea would be a unified, independent country under an elected government but failed to specify the details.
The United Nations held an election in 1948, but the Soviet Union refused to allow participation in their occupied zone. Instead, they handed over power to the North Korean Communist Party under Kim Il-Sung, who had been in exile in Moscow, Russia. The south elected the nationalist exile Syngman Rhee, though some observers considered the elections unfair or even fraudulent.
As for the American government, they believed at the time that the communist bloc was a unified monolith, and that North Korea acted within this monolith as a pawn of the Soviet Union. [In the 1960s and 1970s, the view that the war was just as much caused by western and South Korean provocation became popular. Today, with the opening of Soviet archives, the war is most often blamed on Kim Il-Sung who convinced a reluctant Joseph Stalin to support the venture.]
On January 12, 1950, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson told the National Press Club that America's Pacific defence perimeter was made up of the Aleutians, Ryukyu, Japan, and the Philippines, implying that the U.S. would not fight over Korea, and that the country was outside of American concern in the Pacific. This omission, which was not deliberate, encouraged North Korea and the Soviets.
South Korean President Synman Rhee and North Korean General Secretary Kim Il-Sung were each intent on reuniting the peninsula under their own systems. Partly because of Soviet support, the North Koreans were the ones able to go on the offensive, while South Korea, with only limited American backing, had far fewer options. That said, hundreds of forays by South Korean forces into the north may have convinced North Koreans that an all-out invasion was imminent. Documents show that both leaders were eager to escalate hostilities.
The war begins. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces moved south in force. Using Soviet equipment and with huge reserves of manpower, their surprise attack was a crushing success. Within days South Korean forces were in full strategic retreat. Seoul was captured by the North Koreans on June 28. Eventually the South Korean forces, and the small number of Americans in Korea, were driven into a small area in the far South around the city of Pusan. With the aid of American supplies and air support the ROK (Republic of Korea) forces managed to stabilize this frontier. This became a desperate holding action called the Pusan Perimeter. Although more U.N. support arrived, the situation was perilous, and it looked as though the North could gain control of the entire peninsula.
The invasion of South Korea (Republic of Korea, ROK) came as a complete surprise to the United States and the other western powers; Dean Acheson of the State Department had told Congress on June 20 that no war was likely. However, a CIA report in early March had predicted a June invasion.
On hearing of the invasion, Truman agreed with his advisors to use U.S. airstrikes, unilaterally, against the North Korean forces. He also ordered Seventh Fleet to protect Taiwan, thereby ending the policy of the United States of acquiescing to the defeat of the forces of Chiang Kai-Shek. The United States still had substantial forces in Japan that allowed for a quick intervention. The actions were put under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who was in charge of American forces in the Pacific. The other western powers quickly agreed with the American actions and volunteered their support for the effort.
The Americans organized a Task Force Smith, and on July 5 engaged in the first North Korean-U.S. clash of the war.
American action was taken for a number of reasons. Truman was under severe domestic pressure for being too soft on communism. Especially vocal were those who accused the Democrats of having "lost China." The intervention was also an important implementation of the new Truman Doctrine, which advocated the opposition of communism everywhere it tried to expand.
Truman would later take harsh criticism for not obtaining a declaration of war from Congress before sending troops to Korea. Thus, "Truman's War" was said by some to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the United States Constitution.
The western powers gained a United Nations mandate for action because the Soviets were boycotting the Security Council over the blocked admission of Mongolia to the United Nations while the (Nationalist controlled) Republic of China held the Chinese seat. The Republic of China refused to acknowledge the independence of Mongolia, and thus blocked its entry into the U.N. Without the Soviet veto and with only Yugoslavia abstaining, the U.N. voted to aid South Korea. U.S. forces were eventually joined during the conflict by troops from fifteen other U.N. members: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Columbia, the Philippines, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
The Chinese Nationalists, now confined to Taiwan, asked to participate early in the war, but their request was denied by the Americans who felt they would only encourage Communist Chinese intervention.
U.S. forces were suffering from problems caused by demobilization which had been going on since 1945. Excluding the Marines, the infantry divisions sent to Korea were at 40% of paper strength, and the majority of their equipment was found to be useless. Other powers were even further demobilized, and apart from British Commonwealth units, it was many months before sizeable forces arrived from other coalition partners.
The Inchon Landing. In order to alleviate pressure on the Pusan Perimeter, MacArthur, as U.N. commander-in-chief for Korea, ordered an amphibious invasion far behind the North Korean troops at Inchon. This was an extremely risky operation, but once the American and other U.N. troops gained a foothold on the beach, it was extremely successful. United Nations troops landed at Inchon, faced only mild resistance, and quickly moved to recapture Seoul. The North Koreans, finding their supply lines cut, began a rapid retreat northwards and the ROK and U.N. forces that had been confined in the south moved north and joined those that had landed at Inchon.
The United Nations troops drove the North Koreans back past the 38th parallel. The goal of saving South Korea had been achieved, but because of the success and the prospect of uniting all of Korea under the rule of Syngman Rhee the United States decided to continue into North Korea. This greatly concerned the Chinese, who worried that the U.N. forces might not stop at the northern end of North Korea. Many in the west, including General MacArthur, thought that spreading the war to China was a good idea. MacArthur argued that, since the North Korean troops were being supplied by bases in China, those supply depots should be bombed. However, Truman and the other leaders disagreed, and MacArthur was ordered to be very cautious when approaching the Chinese border.
China’s entry into the war. The Communist Chinese had issued warnings that they would react if the U.N. forces encroached on the frontier at the Yalu River. Mao sought Soviet aid and saw intervention as essentially defensive: "If we allow the U.S. to occupy all of Korea… we must be prepared for the U.S. to declare… war with China", he told Stalin. Zhou Enlai was sent to Moscow to add force to Mao's cabled arguments. Mao delayed his forces while waiting for Russian help, and the planned attack was thus postponed from October 13 to October 19. Soviet assistance was limited to providing air support no nearer than sixty miles (96 km) to the battlefront. The MIG-15s in PRC (People’s Republic of China) colors were an unpleasant surprise to the U.N. pilots; the MIG-15s held air superiority against the F-80 Shooting Stars until the newer F-86 Sabres were deployed. The Soviet role was known to the U.S., but was kept quiet to avoid any international and potential nuclear incidents.
A Chinese assault began on October 19, 1950, with 380,000 CPV troops (officially named Chinese People's Volunteers, but actually People’s Liberation Army regulars) under the command of General Peng Dehuai. The Chinese offensive pushed the United Nation troops back to the 38th parallel, the pre-conflict border. The Chinese assault caught U.S. troops by surprise, as war between PRC and the United States had not been declared. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir in winter forced the U.N. troops to withdraw from North Korea. The United States X Corps retreat was the longest retreat of a U.S. unit in history. The Marines, on the eastern side of the peninsula, fared better, mainly due to better training and discipline.
On January 4, 1951, Communist Chinese and North Korean forces captured Seoul. The situation was such that MacArthur mentioned that atomic weapons might be used, much to the alarm of America's allies. In March 1951, Operation Ripper succeeded in repelling the North Korean and Chinese troops from Seoul.
MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman on April 11, 1951. The reasons for this are many and well documented. They include MacArthur's meeting with ROC President Chiang Kai-Shek in the role of a U.S. diplomat; he was also wrong at Guam when President Truman asked him specifically about Chinese troop buildup near the Korean border. Furthermore, MacArthur openly demanded nuclear attack on China, and was thought to be rude and flippant when speaking to Truman. MacArthur was succeeded by General Matthew Ridgway who managed to regroup the U.N. forces for an effective counter offense that managed to slowly drive back the enemy.
The rest of the war involved little territory change and lengthy peace negotiations (which started in Kaesong on July 10 of the same year). Even during the peace negotiations combat continued, for the South Korean and allied forces the goal was to recapture all of what had been South Korea before an agreement was reached in order to avoid losing any territory.
Real or alleged atrocities. There exists strong evidence that North Korean troops, South Koreans, Chinese, and United States personnel targetted civilians and/or mistreated POWs. Specifically, there is evidence to suggest:
North Korean and Chinese troops tortured and executed prisoners on a number of occasions, including shooting wounded soldiers lying at their feet.
Following the discovery of North Korean army units posing as civilian refugees, it became the military policy of the U.S. armed forces to shoot and eliminate any unidentified approaching civilian refugees in South Korea. An example of this policy enacted was the massacre of hundreds of mostly women and children civilians at No Gun Ri. Similar massacres took place across South Korea. The existence of this policy was denied for many years, but was eventually admitted. On some occasions, such as at No Gun Ri, hundreds of refugees caught in the fighting were shot and strafed.
Communist forces rounded up and executed thousands of civilians in captured villages. It is claimed that more than 100,000 were killed in 1950 during the capture of Seoul alone and 5000-7500 in Taejon.
South Korean forces executed without trial tens of thousands of "Communist Sympathizers".
Many consider these events to be atrocities and some refer to them as "war crimes". It is of little doubt that the killing of prisoners of war or wounded soldiers by signatories of the Geneva Conventions (especially GCIV) are war crimes, as these conventions specifically disallow it. However, no conventions of the time forbade the killing, purposefully or accidentally, of enemy civilians. Whilst it is extremely distasteful and unpopular to do so there does not seem to be any legal basis in calling these actions "war crimes". It is more reasonable to label them as crimes against humanity. There are Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention formed in 1977 which call for the protection of civilians, as do several U.N. Security Council Resolutions, but these all appear to post-date the war in Korea.
There are many more cases than those listed above but evidence, rather than accusations, is hard to come by. At the time, many of the killings were felt justified because of the fear of infiltration by irregular forces by the South Koreans and as a terror tactic by the North Koreans. It is also worth keeping in mind that the Korean war began only five years after World War II had ended, a war during which targeting of civilians was severe and routine by all major parties involved.
End of war. U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise on November 29, 1952, by travelling to Korea to find out what could be done to end the conflict. Eventually a cease-fire was established on July 27th, 1953, by which time the front line was back in the proximity of the 38th parallel, and so a demilitarized zone (DMZ) was established around it, which is still defended today by North Korean troops on one side and South Korean and American troops on the other. The DMZ passes to the north of the parallel towards the east, and to the south as it travels west. The site of the peace talks, Kaesong, the old capital of Korea, was part of the South before hostilities broke out but is currently a special city of the North. No peace treaty has yet been signed to date.
U.S. deaths. U.S. troops suffered about 54,000 fatalities, slightly less than the Vietnam War (about 58,000), but in a much shorter time. However, advances in medical services such as the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.) and the use of rapid transport of the wounded to them such as with helicopters enabled the death rate for U.N. forces to be much lower than in previous wars. For service during the Korean War, the United States military was issued the Korean Service Medal. Later neglect of remembrance of this war, in favor of the Vietnam War, World War I, and World War II, has caused the Korean War to be called the “Forgotten War” or the “Unknown War.” On July 27, 1995, a Washington D.C. museum called the Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated to veterans of the war.
Accelerated arms race. The war was instrumental in re-energizing the U.S. military-industrial complex from its post-war slump. The defense budget was boosted to $50 billion, the Army was doubled in size, as was the number of Air Groups, and they were deployed beyond American soil in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, including Vietnam, where covert aid to the French was made overt. The Cold War became a much stronger state of mind for American policy makers. Hostilities in Korea greatly accelerated a very costly arms race, to the detriment of all the world’s people.
The war also changed America's view of the Third World, most notably in Indochina. Before 1950 the Americans had been very critical of the French actions there. After Korea, they began to heavily support the French. When French colonialism in Indochina was defeated in 1954, the U.S. became very involved in trying to preserve western control over the area. Its involvement eventually led to the Vietnam War.
The Korean War also saw the beginning of racial integration efforts in the U.S. military service, where African Americans fought in integrated units. President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, calling on the armed forces to provide equal treatment and opportunity for black servicemen. The extent by which Truman's 1948 orders were carried out varied among the branches of the military, with segregated units still in deployment at the start of the conflict, and eventually integrating towards the end of the war.
The United States still maintains a heavy military presence in Korea, as part of the effort to uphold the armistice between South and North Korea. A special service decoration, known as the Korea Defense Service Medal is authorized for U.S. service members who serve a tour of duty in Korea.
212. 1976 -- Korea. Additional forces were sent to Korea after two American military personnel were killed while in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea for the purpose of cutting down a tree.
1999 -- Kosovo. (Item repeated under Yugoslavia and Serbia.) Bombing, missiles, heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo.
213. 1944-45 -- Kurile Islands. World War II. After withdrawing from the Aleutian Islands in the summer of 1943, Japan retreated to the Kurile Islands which stretch northeast from Hokkaido to Kamchatka, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. The U.S. conducted numerous aerial and naval bombardments of Japanese forces in the Kuriles throughout 1944 and until the surrender of Japan in August 1945. At the end of the war, the Kurile Islands were awarded to Russia. Russia clings to its territory in the rich fishing grounds of the North Pacific, defying Japan which wants the southern Kuriles (the islands of Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu and Kunashir) back. The territorial dispute is both political and economic issue. The inhabitants on the islands just wish their hard lives would get easier; they suffered severe economic difficulties throughout the Cold War without receiving much help from the Russian government. [More than fifty years have passed since the end of World War II, and no peace treaty has been concluded between Japan and the former Soviet Union. The reason for this delay is the unresolved Northern Territory (Kurile Islands) issue.]
214. 1991 -- Kuwait. On January 18, 1991, President Bush reported that he had directed U.S. armed forces to commence combat operations on January 16 against Iraqi forces and military targets in Iraq and Kuwait, in conjunction with a coalition of allies and U.N. Security Council resolutions. On January 12 Congress had passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution (P.L. 102-1). Combat operations were suspended on February 28, 1991.
215. 1992 -- Kuwait. On August 3, 1992, the United States began a series of military exercises in Kuwait, following Iraqi refusal to recognize a new border drawn up by the United Nations and refusal to cooperate with U.N. inspection teams.
216. 1962-75 -- Laos. From October 1962 until 1976, the United States played a role of military support in Laos. Bombings lasted at least from 1964 to 1973.
217. 1958 -- Lebanon. Marines were landed in Lebanon at the invitation of its government to help protect against threatened insurrection supported from the outside. The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States "is prepared to use armed forces to assist" any Middle East country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the Middle East and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, "communist." In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism. (William Blum)
218. 1976 -- Lebanon. On July 22 and 23, 1974, helicopters from five U.S. naval vessels evacuated approximately 250 Americans and Europeans from Lebanon during fighting between Lebanese factions after an overland convoy evacuation had been blocked by hostilities.
219. 1982 -- Lebanon. On August 21, 1982, President Reagan reported the dispatch of 80 marines to serve in the multinational force to assist in the withdrawal of members of the Palestine Liberation force from Beirut. The Marines left Sept. 20, 1982.
220. 1982 -- Lebanon. On September 29, 1982, President Reagan reported the deployment of 1200 marines to serve in a temporary multinational force to facilitate the restoration of Lebanese government sovereignty. On Sept. 29, 1983, Congress passed the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution (P.L. 98-119) authorizing the continued participation for eighteen months.
221. 1983-1984 -- Lebanon. Bombings.
222. 1990 -- Liberia. On August 6, 1990, President Bush reported that a reinforced rifle company had been sent to provide additional security to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, and that helicopter teams had evacuated U.S. citizens from Liberia.
223. 1997 -- Liberia. U.S. troops engaged in fire-fight during evacuation of foreigners.
224. 1981-89 -- Libya. (See next four entries for some specifics.) Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity. He would have to be punished. U.S. planes shot down two Libyan planes (1981) in what Libya regarded as its air space. The U.S. also dropped bombs on the country (1986), killing at least 40 people, including Qaddafi's daughter. There were other attempts to assassinate Qaddafi during the Reagan administration, as well as operations to overthrow him, a major disinformation campaign, and economic sanctions. The U.S. also blamed Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence. Libya eventually paid damages for the bombing in order to remove international sanctions, even though it has never been shown that the government of Libya had anything at all to do with the bombing. (Much of this entry is from William Blum)
225. 1981 --Libya. On August 19, 1981, U.S. planes based on the carrier Nimitz shot down two Libyan jets over the Gulf of Sidra after one of the Libyan jets had fired a heat-seeking missile. The United States periodically held freedom of navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra, claimed by Libya as territorial waters but considered international waters by the United States.
226. 1986 --Libya. On March 26, 1986, President Reagan reported to Congress that, on March 24 and 25, U.S. forces, while engaged in freedom of navigation exercises around the Gulf of Sidra, had been attacked by Libyan missiles and the United States had responded with missiles.
227. 1986 -- Libya. On April 16, 1986, President Reagan reported that U.S. air and naval forces had conducted bombing strikes on terrorist facilities and military installations in Libya.
228. 1989 -- Libya. On January 4, 1989, two U.S. Navy F-14 aircraft based on USS John F. Kennedy shot down two Libyan jet fighters over the Mediterranean Sea about 70 miles north of Libya. The U.S. pilots said the Libyan planes had demonstrated hostile intentions.
229. 1944 -- Luxembourg. World War II. U.S. troops freed Luxembourg and restored its sovereignty in September, 1944. Luxembourg had been a parliamentary monarchy when it was invaded and overrun by Germany on May 10, 1940.
230. 1993 -- Macedonia. On July 9, 1993, President Clinton reported the deployment of 350 U.S. armed forces to Macedonia to participate in the U.N. Protection Force to help maintain stability in the area of former Yugoslavia.
231. 1813-14 -- Marguesas Islands. U.S. forces built a fort on the island of Nukahiva to protect three prize ships which had been captured from the British.
232. 1898 -- Mariana Islands. The U.S. navy captured Guam, the fourth largest of the fifteen Islands in the Mariana group. The United States then bought it from Spain at the close of the Spanish-American War. [The other fourteen islands were sold to Germany, but were awarded to Japan at the end of World War I.]
233. 1944 -- Mariana Islands. World War II. U.S. Marines invaded Saipan on June 15, Guam on July 19 and Tinian on July 24, 1944. The liberation of Guam was completed on July 27, and the capture of all of the Marianas was completed on August 8. The airfield on Tinian was expanded in size in preparation for the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Japan. For nine months, beginning with December 1944, the airbase on Tinian was the largest and busiest in the world.
234. 1943-45 -- Marshall Islands. World War II. The Spanish explorer de Saavedra landed there in 1529. They were named for English explorer John Marshall, who visited them in 1799. The Marshall Islands were claimed by Spain in 1874. Germany established a protectorate in 1885. High Chiefs continued to rule under indirect colonial German administration. Japan took control of the Marshall Islands at the beginning of World War I. On January 31, 1944, American forces landed on Kwajalein atoll and, despite heavy fighting on Kwajalein and Eniwetok (or Enewetak) atolls, U.S. Marines and Army troops took control of the Marshall Islands within five days. In 1947, the United States, as the occupying power, entered into an agreement with the United Nations Security Council to administer much of Micronesia, including the Marshall Islands, as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI).
235. 1946-1958 -- Marshall Islands. Nuclear bomb testing. The United Nations created the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. Ponape (then including Kusaie), Truk, Yap, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands, together constituted the TTPI. The United States accepted the role of Trustee of this, the only United Nations Trusteeship to be designated as a "Security Trusteeship," whose ultimate disposition was to be determined by the United Nations Security Council. As Trustee, the U.S. was to "promote the economic advancement and self-sufficiency of the inhabitants," and govern the islands in the best interests of the Marshall Islanders. The United States conducted nuclear bomb tests between 1946 and 1958 on the islands of Bikini and Eniwetok despite vigorous protests from the locals. A total of 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests were conducted on various atolls. The people of Bikini were removed to another island. Despite clean-up attempts, the islands remain uninhabited today because of nuclear contamination. The U.S. paid the Marshall Islands $183.7 million in damages in 1983, and the U.S. approved a one-time $3.8-million payment to the relocated people of Bikini atoll in 1999.
Kwajalein atoll is the site of an American military base, and has been used for missile defense testing since the 1960s. On May 1, 1979, in recognition of the evolving political status of the Marshall Islands, the United States recognized the constitution of the Marshall Islands and the establishment of the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The constitution incorporates both American and British constitutional concepts. In general, democracy has functioned well. The islands signed a compact of association with the United States in 1986. Up to 1999 the islanders received $180 million for continued American use of its base at Kwajalein atoll, $250 million in compensation for nuclear testing, and $600 million in other payments under the compact.
236. 1801 -- Mediterranean Sea. In an action simultaneous with the First Barbary War against Tripoli, the U.S. sent naval ships to the Mediterranean to take action against the Barbary corsairs (pirates).
237. 1948 -- Mediterranean Sea. Following the partition of Palestine in 1947 and the U.S. recognition of Israel in 1948, the U.S. sent warships to patrol the eastern Mediterranean to discourage Russian adventurism in the Middle East.
Capt. Z. M. Pike, with a platoon of troops, invaded Spanish territory at the
headwaters of the Rio Grande on orders from Gen. James Wilkinson. He was made
prisoner without resistance at a fort he constructed in present day Colorado,
taken to Mexico, and later released after seizure of his papers.
239. 1836 -- Mexico. General Gaines occupied Nacogdoches (Tex.), disputed territory, from July to December during the Texan war for independence, under orders to cross the "imaginary boundary line" if an Indian outbreak threatened.
240. 1842 -- Mexico. Commodore TA.C. Jones, in command of a squadron long cruising off California, occupied Monterey, Calif., on October 19, believing war had come. He discovered peace, withdrew, and saluted. A similar incident occurred a week later at San Diego.
241. 1844 -- Mexico. President Tyler deployed U.S. forces to protect Texas against Mexico, pending Senate approval of a treaty of annexation. (Later rejected.) He defended his action against a Senate resolution of inquiry.
Mexican War. On May 13,1846, the United States recognized the existence of a
state of war with Mexico.
After the annexation of Texas in 1845, the United States and Mexico failed to
resolve a boundary dispute and President Polk said that it was necessary to
deploy forces in Mexico to meet a threatened invasion.
Two hundred United States soldiers crossed the Rio Grande in pursuit of the
Mexican bandit Cortina.
To protect American residents, General Sedgwick and 100 men in November obtained
surrender of Matamoras. After 3 days he was ordered by U.S. Government to
withdraw. His act was repudiated by the President.
June 17 and 18. U.S. forces destroyed the pirate ship Forward, which had
been run aground about 40 miles up the Rio Tecapan.
246. 1873 -- Mexico. United States troops crossed the Mexican border repeatedly in pursuit of cattle and other thieves. There were some reciprocal pursuits by Mexican troops into border territory. Mexico protested frequently. Notable cases were at Remolina in May 1873 and at Las Cuevas in 1875. Washington orders often supported these excursions. Agreements between Mexico and the United States, the first in 1882, finally legitimized such raids. They continued intermittently, with minor disputes, until 1896.
May 18. An American force was landed to police the town of
temporarily while it was without other government.
248. 1913 -- Mexico. September 5 to 7. A few marines landed at Ciaris Estero to aid in evacuating American citizens and others from the Yaqui Valley, made dangerous for foreigners by civil strife.
249. 1914-17 -- Mexico. Undeclared Mexican--American hostilities followed the Dolphin affair and Villa's raids and included capture of Vera Cruz and later Pershing's expedition into northern Mexico.
250. 1918-19 -- Mexico. After withdrawal of the Pershing expedition, U.S. troops entered Mexico in pursuit of bandits at least three times in 1918 and several times in 1919. In August 1918 American and Mexican troops fought at Nogales.
251. 1904 -- Midway Islands. Claimed for the U.S. July 8, 1859, formal possession was taken during a ceremony on August 28, 1867. In March 1904, Marines were ordered to Midway to "protect property and guard the cable employees from marauders who might visit the islands to kill the sea birds." A detachment arrived on Midway on May 2, 1904, and set up two six-pounders. They were withdrawn in the spring of 1908.
252. 1942 -- Midway Islands. World War II. The Midway atoll lies nearly halfway between North America and Asia. It also lies almost halfway around the earth from Greenwich, England. By Executive Order, dated February 14, 1941, Midway was made a national defense area. It had been under the jurisdiction of the United States Navy Department since January 20, 1903. Although it lies within (next to last at the far end) the chain of small islets and atolls known as the Northwest Hawaiian Islands (or Leeward Hawaiian Islands), Midway has never officially been part of the Territory of Hawaii and is not administered by the State of Hawaii today. On June 4-7, 1942, Midway Island (actually an atoll of three islets) was the scene of a decisive naval battle in which the United States combined fleets destroyed Japan's carrier fleet. The Battle of Midway was a major turning point in the war for control of the Pacific. Four Japanese carriers were destroyed in a single day. The Battle of Midway had cost 362 American lives including those killed defending Midway. For the United States, Midway was a magnificent victory against greater odds and was described by Admiral Nimitz as "a glorious page in our history".
The atoll, which has no indigenous inhabitants, is an unincorporated territory of the United States, designated an insular area under the authority of the United States Department of the Interior. It is a National Wildlife Refuge administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The visitor program closed in January 2002 and there are no facilities at the present time for receiving visitors. However, visitors able to provide their own transportation can contact the refuge manager for information about visiting the atoll. The economy is derived solely from governmental sources. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.
253. 1904 -- Morocco. "We want either Perdicaris alive or Raisula dead." A squadron demonstrated in Tangier to force release of a kidnapped American. Marine guard was landed to protect the consul general.
254. 1942 -- Morocco. World War II. On November 8, 1942, American and British troops landed in Morocco and Algeria in Operation Torch. The local forces of Vichy France put up limited resistance before joining the Allied cause. Rommel's Africa Corps was not being supplied adequately because of the loss of transport shipments by the British Royal Navy and Air Force in the Mediterranean. This lack of supplies and no air force to speak of, destroyed any chance of large offensive capabilities for the Germans in Africa. Ultimately German and Italian forces were caught in the pincers of a twin advance from Algeria and Libya. The withdrawing Germans continued to put up stiff defense in Tunisia, and Rommel defeated the American forces decisively at the "Battle of the Kasserine Pass" before finishing a strategic withdrawal back to the meager German supply chain. Inevitably, with American troops advancing from the west and British troops advancing from the east, the Allies finally defeated the German Afrika Corps with the capture of Tunis on May 7, 1943. All Axis forces in North Africa surrendered on May 13, 1943.
255. 1943-1945 -- New Guinea. (Sometimes called Papau New Guinea, it is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, north of Australia and west of the Solomon Islands.) World War II. On January 23, 1942, the Japanese captured Rabaul on the large New Guinea island of New Britain and invaded the smaller island of New Ireland. At the same time, the Japanese also were invading the Solomon Islands to the east of New Guinea. A huge Japanese base of approximately 100,000 troops was established at Rabaul for use in Pacific island warfare. [The Japanese suffered their first major setback when they attempted an invasion by sea of Port Moresby on the southeastern coast of New Guinea. Allied naval units intercepted the invading Japanese naval force in the Coral Sea on May 7-8, 1942. The battle of the Coral Sea marked an important turning point in the war in the Pacific. This was followed on June 4-7, 1942, by the Battle of Midway (see under Midway Islands) in which the Japanese lost four aircraft carriers in a single day. In these two sea battles, the Japanese lost their ability to launch large offensive operations in the Pacific islands. They became primarily occupied with holding or defensive operations.] On November 16, 1942, U.S. and Australian Forces attacked the Japanese in Buna-Gona area, and by January 2, 1943, Buna had been captured. On December 15, 1943, American soldiers landed at Arawe, New Britain, and on December 26, 1943, American marines landed at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. Prolonged fighting followed, but there was no all-out attack on the huge Japanese force at Rabaul. The American strategy was to surround the huge force, making it of no effect on the rest of the war. U.S. bombing raids on Japanese positions in New Guinea continued throughout most of the last half of the war. Today, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, often referred to by just the initials, PNG, occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the other half is the Papua province of Indonesia).
March 11 to 13. U.S. forces landed to protect American lives and interests
during political disturbances.
July 9 to 15. Naval forces bombarded and burned San Juan del Norte (Greytown) to
avenge an insult to the American Minister to
April to May, November to December. In May Commander C.H. Davis of the United
States Navy, with some marines, received the surrender of William Walker, who
had been attempting to get control of the country, and protected his men from
the retaliation of native allies who had been fighting
In November and December of the same year
United States vessels
opposed another attempt of William Walker on
Commodore Hiram Paulding's act of landing marines and compelling the removal of
Walker to the United States, was tacitly disavowed by Secretary of State Lewis
Cass, and Paulding was forced into retirement.
Marines occupied Managua and Leon.
260. 1894 -- Nicaragua. July 6 to August 7. U.S. forces sought to protect American interests at Bluefields following a revolution.
261. 1896 -- Nicaragua. May 2 to 4. U.S. forces protected American interests in Corinto during political unrest.
262. 1898 -- Nicaragua. February 7 and 8. U.S. forces protected American lives and property at San Juan del Sur.
263. 1899 -- Nicaragua. American and British naval forces were landed to protect national interests at San Juan del Norte, February 22 to March 5, and at Bluefields a few weeks later in connection with the insurrection of Gen. Juan P. Reyes.
264. 1910 -- Nicaragua. May 19 to September 4. U.S. forces protected American interests at Bluefields.
265. 1912-25 -- Nicaragua. August to November 1912. U.S. forces protected American interests during an attempted revolution. A small force, serving as a legation guard and seeking to promote peace and stability, remained until August 5, 1925.
266. 1926-33 -- Nicaragua. May 7 to June 5, 1926; August 27, 1926, to January 1933. The coup d'etat of General Chamorro aroused revolutionary activities leading to the landing of American marines to protect the interests of United States. United States forces came and went intermittently until January 3, 1933. Their work included activity against the outlaw leader Sandino in 1928.
267. 1978-89 -- Nicaragua. When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978, it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast - "another Cuba." Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms. Under Reagan (President from Jan. 1981, to Jan. 1989), violence, including covert U.S. bombings, was the method of choice. For eight terribly long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington's proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza's vicious National Guard and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the government, burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing. These were the people Ronald Reagan called "freedom fighters." There would be no revolution in Nicaragua. (Most of this entry is from William Blum)
Congress had specifically ordered that the executive branch of government not intervene in the Nicaraguan civil strife between the Sandinistas and Contras. This was not to President Reagan’s liking. He believed that only the President should make such a decision. However, whatever action he took to aid the Contras would have to be covert, hidden even from the U.S. Congress. He needed a secret source of funds to carry out his covert mission in Nicaragua. Fortunately for Reagan, he had a secret source of funding available. On January 20, 1981, Day 444 of the hostage crisis in Iran, the American hostages had been released just moments after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as President. Many people were suspicious of the means by which Reagan’s people may have persuaded the Iranians to return the hostages on the day of his inauguration. Later in Reagan’s presidency, the American people learned that Reagan had been secretly selling weapons to Iran. With at least some of the receipts from the sale of arms to Iran, the Reagan administration had funded illegal American participation in the Nicaraguan civil war. Despite the specific prohibition of Congress against intervening in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration was proved to have been aiding the Contras in their fight against the Sandinistas. In a Congressional investigation, Reagan underlings fell on the sword while supporting Reagan’s proclamation of ignorance over what his White House staff had been doing in both Iran and Nicaragua. The notion of Reagan’s “Teflon presidency” – one in which mistakes and charges of incompetence just bounced off him without affecting his reputation and standing with the American people - was reinforced.
268. 1950-53 -- North Korea. (Also entered under South Korea and Korea. See the entry under Korea for the fullest account.) Korean War. June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. The United States - along with several other countries - respponded to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea by going to South Korea’s assistance pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Korean War was an extremely important event which contributed a lot to establishing the tone for the lengthy Cold War between communist and capitalist blocs of countries led by the Soviet Union and the United States, and for greatly accelerating the arms race between the two blocs.
Nuclear threat and preparation for nuclear attack.
1964-73 -- North Vietnam. (Also listed under Vietnam and South Vietnam.) Vietnam War. U.S. military advisers had been in South Vietnam a decade, and their numbers had been increased as the military position the Saigon government became weaker. After the attacks by North Vietnam on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, President Johnson asked for a resolution expressing U.S. determination to support freedom and protect peace in Southeast Asia. Congress responded with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, expressing support for "all necessary measures" the President might take to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces and prevent further aggression. Following this resolution, and following a communist attack on a U.S. installation in central Vietnam, the United States escalated its participation in the war to a peak of 543 000 in April 1969.
270. 1818 -- Oregon. The USS. Ontario dispatched from Washington, landed at the Columbia River and in August took possession of Oregon territory. Britain had conceded sovereignty but Russia and Spain asserted claims to the area.
271. 2001-? -- Pakistan. Al Qaeda suspects attacked near the Afghanistan border in the War against terrorists.
A marine consular guard was sent to Jerusalem to protect the U.S. Consul
Republic of New Grenada
-- September 19 to 22. U.S. forces landed tto protect American interests during
March 9 and 10. U.S. forces protected the lives and property of American
residents during a revolution.
January 18 and 19. U.S. forces were used to guard the valuables in transit over
the Panama Railroad, and the safes and vaults of the company during
revolutionary activity. In March, April, and May in the cities of Colon and
Panama, the forces helped reestablish freedom of transit during revolutionary
276. 1903-14 -- Panama. U.S. forces sought to protect American interests and lives during and following the revolution for independence from Colombia over construction of the Isthmian Canal. With brief intermissions, United States Marines were stationed on the Isthmus from November 4, 1903, to January 21 1914 to guard American interests.
277. 1904 -- Panama. November 17 to 24. U.S. forces protected American lives and property at Ancon at the time of a threatened insurrection.
278. 1912 -- Panama. Troops, on request of both political parties, supervised elections outside the Canal Zone.
279. 1918-20 -- Panama. U.S. forces were used for police duty according to treaty stipulations, at Chiriqui, during election disturbances and subsequent unrest.
280. 1921 -- Panama. American naval squadrons demonstrated in April on both sides of the Costa Rica-Panama Isthmus to prevent war between the two countries over a boundary dispute.
October 12 to 23. Strikes and rent riots led to the landing of about 600
American troops to keep order and protect American interests.
282. 1988 -- Panama. In mid-March and April 1988, during a period of instability in Panama and as pressure grew for Panamanian military leader General Manuel Noriega to resign, the United States sent 1,000 troops to Panama, to "further safeguard the canal, U.S. lives, property and interests in the area." The forces supplemented 10,000 U.S. military personnel already in Panama.
283. 1989 -- Panama. On May 11, 1989, in response to General Noriega's disregard of the results of the Panamanian election, President Bush ordered a brigade- sized force of approximately 1,900 troops to augment the estimated 11,000 U.S. forces already in the area.
284. 1989-90 -- Panama. On December 21, 1989, President Bush reported that he had ordered U.S. military forces to Panama to protect the lives of American citizens and bring General Noriega to justice. By February 13, 1990, all the invasion forces had been withdrawn.
[Washington's bombers strike again. December 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City wiped out, 15,000 people left homeless. Over several days of ground fighting against Panamanian forces, 500-something dead was the official body count, what the U.S. and the newly U.S.-installed Panamanian government admitted to. Other sources, with no less evidence, insisted that thousands had died, with 3,000-something wounded. Twenty-three Americans dead, 324 wounded. Question from reporter: "Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?" George Bush replied, "Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it." Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was not the only motive for the attack. Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if they reelected the Sandinistas. Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force even after the very recent dissolution of the "Soviet threat." The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega's drug trafficking, which Washington had known about, by not at all been bothered by, for years. (William Blum)]
285. 1859 -- Paraguay. Congress authorized a naval squadron to seek redress for an attack on a naval vessel in the Parana River during 1855. Apologies were made after a large display of force.
286. 1984 -- Persian Gulf. On June 5, 1984, Saudi Arabian jet fighter planes, aided by intelligence from a U.S. AWACS electronic surveillance aircraft and fueled by a U.S. KC-10 tanker, shot down two Iranian fighter planes over an area of the Persian Gulf proclaimed as a protected zone for shipping.
287. 1987-88 -- Persian Gulf. After the Iran-Iraq War resulted in several military incidents in the Persian Gulf, the United States increased U.S. Navy forces operating in the Persian Gulf and adopted a policy of reflagging and escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Gulf. President Reagan reported that U.S. ships had been fired upon or struck mines or taken other military action on September 23, October 10, and October 20, 1987 and April 19, July 4, and July 14, 1988. The United States gradually reduced its forces after a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq on August 20, 1988.
288. 1835-36 -- Peru. December 10, 1835, to January 24, 1836, and August 31 to December 7, 1836. Marines protected American interests in Callao and Lima during an attempted revolution.
289. 1965 -- Peru. Green Berets napalm alleged terrorist enclaves.
290. 1989 -- Peru. Andean Initiative in War on Drugs. On September 15, 1989, President Bush announced that military and law enforcement assistance would be sent to help the Andean nations of Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru combat illicit drug producers and traffickers. By mid-September there were 50- 100 U.S. military advisers in Colombia in connection with transport and training in the use of military equipment, plus seven Special Forces teams of 2-12 persons to train troops in the three countries.
291. 1899-1902 -- Philippine Islands. U.S. forces protected American interests following the war with Spain and conquered the islands by defeating the Filipinos in their war for independence. Enlightened by what was called the Propaganda Movement to the injustices of the Spanish colonial government, Filipinos clamored for independence. Jose Rizal, the most famous Propagandist, was arrested and executed in 1896 for acts of subversion. Soon after, the Philippine Revolution broke out, pioneered by the KKK (Kataastaasan at Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan) or Katapunan, a secret revolutionary society founded by Andres Bonifacio and later led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The revolution nearly succeeded in ousting the Spanish by 1898. That same year Spain and the United States fought the Spanish-American War, after which Spain ceded the Philippines, Cuba, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the United States for U.S. $20 million through the Treaty of Paris. However, as the Filipinos had by then declared independence, the new American claim to the islands resulted in the Philippine-American War which began on February 4, 1899. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt officially proclaimed the Philippine-American War to have ended on July 4, 1902, but fighting continued on several islands for years to come (until 1913). The islands were made a U.S. territory with little self-government until 1935, when their status was upgraded to that of a U.S. Commonwealth. Independence was finally granted in 1946, after the Japanese had occupied the islands during most of World War II. The post-independence period has been marred by problems. There was considerable civil unrest during the unpopular dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted in 1986. There have also been prolonged problems of communist insurgency and Muslim separatism.
292. 1941-45 -- Philippines. World War II. Several major battles were fought in the Philippines. Japan attacked the Philippines on December 7, 1941, and invaded the Philippines three days later. The U.S. surrendered the Philippines to Japan on May 6, 1942, and the last American holdouts surrendered on May 12. The U.S. began its recapture of the Philippines on October 20, 1944, with the invasion of Leyte. After a long series of battles, all Japanese resistance in the Philippines ended on June 28. The liberation of the Philippines was declared on July 5, 1945. The Japanese commander in the Philippines surrendered on September 3, 1945, one day after Japan’s formal signing of surrender documents on the Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay.
293. 1945-53 -- Philippines. U.S. military fought against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders. After the war, the U. S. continued its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as president, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. (William Blum)
294. 1989 -- Philippines. On December 2, 1989, President Bush reported that on December 1 U.S. fighter planes from Clark Air Base in the Philippines had assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from the U.S. Navy base at Subic Bay to protect the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
295. 1942-45 -- Poland. World War II. Bombings during the liberation of Poland, mostly accomplished by Russia.
296. 1814-25 -- Puerto Rico. Engagements in the Caribbean between pirates and American ships or squadrons took place repeatedly - especially ashore and offshore about Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Yucatan. Three thousand pirate attacks on merchantmen were reported between 1815 and 1823. In 1822 Commodore James Biddle employed a squadron of two frigates, four sloops of war, two brigs, four schooners, and two gunboats in the West Indies.
297. 1824 -- Puerto Rico (Spanish territory). Commodore David Porter with a landing party attacked the town of Fajardo which had sheltered pirates and insulted American naval officers. He landed with 200 men in November and forced an apology. Commodore Porter was later court-martialed for overstepping his powers.
298. 1941-45 -- Romania. World War II. On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war with Japan, on December 11 with Germany and Italy, and on June 5, 1942, with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
299. 1918-20 -- Soviet Russia. Marines were landed at and near Vladivostok in June and July to protect the American consulate and other points in the fighting between the Bolshevik troops and the Czech Army which had traversed Siberia from the western front. A joint proclamation of emergency government and neutrality was issued by the American, Japanese, British, French, and Czech commanders in July. In August 7,000 men were landed in Vladivostok and remained until January 1920, as part of an allied occupation force. In September 1918, 5,000 American troops joined the allied intervention force at Archangel and remained until June 1919. These operations were in response to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and were partly supported by Czarist or Kerensky elements.
1920-22 -- Soviet
February 16, 1920, to November 19, 1922. A Marine guard was sent to protect the
United States radio station and property on Russian Island, Bay of Vladivostok.
301. 1853-54 -- Ryukyu Islands and Bonin Islands. Commodore Perry on three visits before going to Japan - and while waiting for a reply from Japan - made a naval demonstration, landing marines twice, and secured a coaling concession from the ruler of Naha on Okinawa, the most important island of the Ryukyu group. Perry also demonstrated in the Bonin Islands with the purpose of securing facilities for commerce.
302. 1944-45 -- Ryukyu Islands. World War II. The largest amphibian landing, and bloodiest battle of World War II’s Pacific Theater, took place over the island of Okinawa from April 1 to June 21, 1945. The last major campaign of the war, the intensity of the battle was due to the island’s proximity to Japan. By the early 1950s, the control of the Ryukyu Islands slowly started to revert from the U.S. back to Japan. The transfer back to Japan was not completed until 1972, and the U.S. retained the right to military bases in the Ryukyu Islands, with some limitations.
303. 1990 -- Saudi Arabia. On August 9, 1990, President Bush reported that he had ordered the forward deployment of substantial elements of the U.S. armed forces into the Persian Gulf region to help defend Saudi Arabia after the August 2 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. On November 16, 1990, he reported the continued buildup of the forces to ensure an adequate offensive military option.
February 24. A naval party landed and burned towns after the murder of an
American seaman on Upolu Island.
November 14, 1888, to March 20, 1889. U.S. forces were landed to protect
American citizens and the consulate during a native civil war.
306. 1899 -- Samoa. February-May 15. American and British naval forces were landed to protect national interests and to take part in a bloody contention over the succession to the throne.
1999 -- Serbia. (Item is repeated under Yugoslavia and Kosovo.) Bombing, missiles, heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo.
307. 1943 -- Sicily. July 9 to August 17. World War II. On the night of 9-10 July 1943, an Allied armada of 2,590 vessels launched one of the largest combined operations of World War II— the invasion of Sicily. Over the next thirty-eight days, half a million Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen grappled with their German and Italian counterparts for control of this rocky outwork of Hitler's "Fortress Europe." When the struggle was over, Sicily became the first piece of the Axis homeland to fall to Allied forces during World War II. More important, it served as both a base for the invasion of Italy and as a training ground for many of the officers and enlisted men who eleven months later landed on the beaches of Normandy.
Slightly larger than the state of Vermont, Sicily's 10,000 square miles of rough, highly defensible terrain is cut in a roughly triangular shape. Situated ninety miles off the north coast of Africa and a mere two and one-half miles from the "toe" of the Italian peninsula, Sicily was both a natural bridge between Africa and Europe and a barrier dividing the Mediterranean Sea.
The Sicily Campaign marked the first time in World War II that a complete U.S. field army had fought as a unit. With over 200,000 men in its ranks by the time it reached Messina, the American Seventh Army employed the services of more than 150 different types of units, from infantry regiments to graves registration companies. The final victory was achieved only through the cooperation and collaboration of thousands of individuals from every branch of service.
Sicily was an important victory for the Allies, but not a decisive one. Coalition politics and the innate conservativeness of men who were still learning how to work the intricate machinery of joint, multinational operations tied Allied armies to a strategy which achieved the physical objective while letting the quarry escape. Nevertheless, Axis forces did not escape unscathed, and the experience Allied commanders gained in orchestrating airborne, amphibious, and ground combat operations during the campaign would serve them well in the months ahead, first in Italy and then at Normandy.
In thirty-eight days British and American forces had killed or wounded approximately 29,000 enemy soldiers and captured over 140,000 more. In contrast, American losses totaled 2,237 killed and 6,544 wounded and captured. The British suffered 12,843 casualties, including 2,721 dead.
308. 1992 -- Sierra Leone. On May 3, 1992, U.S. military planes evacuated Americans from Sierra Leone, where military leaders had overthrown the government.
309. 1982 -- Sinai. On March 19, 1982, President Reagan reported the deployment of military personnel and equipment to participate in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. Participation had been authorized by the Multinational Force and Observers Resolution, Public Law 97-132.
310. 1945 -- Singapore. U.S. planes bomb and destroy docks used by the Japanese who had captured Singapore from the British in 1942.
311. 1942-1944 -- Solomon Islands. World War II. From May 1942, when the Battle of the Coral Sea was fought, until December 1943, the Solomon Islands were the scene of some of the bitterest land, sea, and air fighting of World War II. [Much of the fighting in the Solomon Islands was simultaneous with fighting in nearby New Guinea.] The Solomon Islands are a vast archipelago of about 920 islands with about 350 inhabited. A Spanish explorer, Álvaro de Mendeña de Neira, was the first European to visit the islands (1568), but his colonizing efforts failed. European settlers and missionaries arrived throughout the 18th and 19th cent. In 1885 the German New Guinea Company established control over the northern Solomons. The southern islands were placed under a British protectorate in 1893; the eastern islands were added to it in 1898. In 1900, Germany transferred its islands (except the northern islands of Bougainville and Buka) to Great Britain in return for British withdrawal from Western Samoa. Bougainville and Buka were occupied by Australian forces during World War I and were placed under Australian mandate by the League of Nations in 1920. During World War II, Choiseul, New Georgia, Isabel, and Guadalcanal were occupied by the Japanese (1942) but were liberated by U.S. forces (1943–44).
Some of the more important events of the war in the Solomons: On January 23, 1942, the Japanese invaded Australian-controlled Bougainville, the largest island in the Solomon Sea and the island which forms a divide between the Solomons and New Guinea. (On the same day the Japanese occupied Rabaul on New Britain in New Guinea.) After their invasion of Bougainville, the Japanese established a major base on the island, from which they could attack Guadalcanal and other Allied bases in both the Solomons and New Guinea. On May 3, 1942, the Japanese took Tulagi. The first amphibious U.S. landing of the Pacific war took place on August 7, 1942, when the U.S. landed troops on Rendova Island and invaded Tulagi and Guadalcanal. The U.S. landing on Guadalcanal was virtually unopposed, but a bloody fight soon developed over the island’s airstrip. By August 8, U.S. Marines took control of the unfinished airfield on Guadalcanal and named it Henderson Field after Maj. Lofton Henderson, a hero of Midway. The capture of the airfield led to the development of the adjacent town of Honiara as the United States logistics center, making Guadalcanal an important target to the Japanese. August 8-9, 1942, one of the most furious sea battles ever fought took place off Savo Island, north of Guadalcanal. It was a major U.S. disaster as eight Japanese warships waged a night attack and sank three U.S. heavy cruisers, an Australian cruiser, and one U.S. destroyer, all in less than one hour. Another U.S. cruiser and two destroyers were damaged. Over 1,500 Allied crewmen were lost. On August 21, 1942, U.S. Marines repulsed the first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal. On August 24, 1942, U.S. carriers defeated Japanese carriers in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. On September 15, 1942, a Japanese submarine torpedo attack near the Solomon Islands resulted in the sinking of the Carrier Wasp and Destroyer O'Brien, and damaged the Battleship North Carolina. On October 11-12, 1942, U.S. cruisers and destroyers defeated a Japanese task force in the Battle of Cape Esperance off Guadalcanal. On October 13-14, 1942, the first U.S. Army troops landed on Guadalcanal. On October 14-17, 1942, the Japanese bombarded Henderson Field from warships and sent troops ashore onto Guadalcanal in the morning as U.S. planes counter-attacked. On October 15-17, 1942, the Japanese continued their bombardment of Henderson Field at night from warships. On October 26, 1942, the Battle of Santa Cruz off Guadalcanal resulted in the loss of the U.S. Carrier Hornet to Japanese warships. On November 14-15, 1942, U.S. And Japanese warships clashed again off Guadalcanal resulting in the sinking of the U.S. Cruiser Juneau and the deaths of the five Sullivan brothers. On November 30-31, 1942, the Battle of Tasafaronga took place off Guadalcanal. By the time the Japanese completely withdrew from Guadalcanal in February 1943, over 7,000 Americans and 21,000 Japanese had died. On April 18, 1943, U.S. code breakers pinpointed the location of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto flying in a Japanese bomber near Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. Eighteen P-38 fighters then located and shot down Yamamoto. On June 21, 1943, Allied forces advanced to New Georgia, Solomon Islands. On August 1-2 - A group of 15 U.S. PT-boats attempted to block Japanese convoys south of Kolombangra Island in the Solomons. PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, was rammed and sunk by the Japanese Cruiser Amagiri, killing two and badly injuring others. The remaining crew survived as Kennedy saved one badly injured man by towing him to a nearby atoll. On August 6-7, 1943, the Battle of Vella Gulf took place in the Solomons. On August 25, 1943, Allied forces completed the occupation of New Georgia. On November 1, 1943, U.S. Marines invaded Bougainville to begin a concerted offensive to drive out the Japanese. By December 1943, the Allies were virtually in command of the entire Solomon chain. By the time the Allies completed their takeover of the island of Bougainville in April, 1944, more than 17,500 Japanese soldiers had been lost in the battle for Bougainville, either in combat or from disease and malnutrition.
After the war, Australia once again assumed control of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, this time on behalf of the United Nations. Papua New Guinea includes the eastern half of the island of Papau New Guinea (the western half is the Papau Province of Indonesia), the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, and the island of Bougainville, itself still [politically] a part of the Solomon Islands. Stability was restored to the Solomon Islands during the 1950s, as the colonial administration build a network of official local councils. On this platform Solomon Islanders with experience on the local councils started participation in central government. A Governing Council was set up in 1970, and in 1974 a new constitution was established which gave the islanders Prime Ministerial and Cabinet responsibilities. In mid-1975, the name Solomon Islands officially replaced that of British Solomon Islands Protectorate. On January 2, 1976, the Solomons became self-governing, and full independence followed on July 7, 1978. The government is parliamentary, with a governor-general representing the British crown, a prime minister and cabinet, and an elected unicameral parliament. The U.S. does not maintain an embassy in the Solomon Islands. The U.S. Ambassador resident in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, also is accredited to Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands' Permanent Representative to the United Nations also is accredited as its ambassador to the United States and Canada.
312. 1992-1993 -- Somalia. Operation Restore Hope was authorized by the U.N. on December 3, 1992. On December 10, 1992, President Bush reported that he had deployed U.S. armed forces to Somalia in response to a humanitarian crisis and a U.N. Security Council Resolution determining that the situation constituted a threat to international peace. This operation, called Operation Restore Hope, was part of a U.S.-led United Nations Unified Task Force (UNITAF) and came to an end on May 4, 1993. U.S. forces continued to participate in the successor United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II), which the U.N. Security Council authorized to assist Somalia in political reconciliation and restoration of peace.
313. 1993 -- Somalia. On June 10, 1993, President Clinton reported that in response to attacks against U.N. forces in Somalia by a factional leader, the U.S. Quick Reaction Force in the area had participated in military action to quell the violence. The quick reaction force was part of the U.S. contribution to its success. On July 1, President Clinton reported further air and ground military operations on June 12 and June 17 aimed at neutralizing military capabilities that had impeded U.N. efforts to deliver humanitarian relief and promote national reconstruction, and additional instances occurred in the following months.
314. 1950-53 -- South Korea. (Also entered under North Korea and Korea. See the entry under Korea for the fullest account.) Korean War. June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. The United States - along with several other countries - respponded to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea by going to South Korea’s assistance pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Korean War was an extremely important event which contributed a lot to establishing the tone for the lengthy Cold War between communist and capitalist blocs of countries led by the Soviet Union and the United States, and for greatly accelerating the arms race between the two blocs.
[Actually, the U.S. involvement in South Korea began in 1945. After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favor of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments. (William Blum)]
1964-73 -- South Vietnam. (Also listed under Vietnam and North Vietnam.) Vietnam War. U.S. military advisers had been in South Vietnam a decade, and their numbers had been increased as the military position the Saigon government became weaker. After the attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, President Johnson asked for a resolution expressing U.S. determination to support freedom and protect peace in Southeast Asia. Congress responded with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, expressing support for "all necessary measures" the President might take to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces and prevent further aggression. Following this resolution, and following a communist attack on a U.S. installation in central Vietnam, the United States escalated its participation in the war to a peak of 543 000 in April 1969.
1975 -- South Vietnam. (Also listed under Vietnam.) Evacuation. On April 3, 1975, President Ford reported U.S. naval vessels, helicopters, and Marines had been sent to assist in evacuation of refugees and U.S. nationals from Vietnam. (Note 3) On April 30 1975, President Ford reported that a force of 70 evacuation helicopters and 865 Marines had evacuated about 1,400 U.S. citizens and 5,500 third country nationals and South Vietnamese from landing zones near the U.S. Embassy in Saigon and the Tan Son Nhut Airfield.
South Vietnam. (Also listed under
On April 30 1975, President Ford reported that a force of 70 evacuation
helicopters and 865 Marines had evacuated about 1,400 U.S. citizens and 5,500
third country nationals and South Vietnamese from landing zones near the U.S.
Embassy in Saigon and the Tan Son Nhut Airfield.
315. Sri Lanka (British Colonial Ceylon from 1900-1957; Ceylon Republic from 1963 to 1971; Sri Lanka 1972 to the present.)
316. 1940 – St. Lucia. Troops were sent to guard air and naval bases – sometimes called lend-lease bases - obtained by negotiation with Great Britain. This was a way of assisting Great Britain in the war against Germany without a formal U.S. entry into the war. The bases were in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana.
317. 1998 – Sudan. Missiles/Attack on pharmaceutical plant incorrectly alleged to be "terrorist" nerve gas plant.
- February 6 to 9. A naval force landed andd stormed a fort to punish natives of
the town of Quallah Battoo for plundering the American ship Friendship.
- December 24, 1838, to January 4, 1839. A naval force landed to punish natives
of the towns of Quallah Battoo and Muckie (Mukki) for depredations on American
320. 1903 -- Syria -- September 7 to 12. U.S. forces protectedd the American consulate in Beirut (now Lebanon) when a local Moslem uprising was feared.
321. 1956-58 – Syria. The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States "is prepared to use armed forces to assist" any Middle East country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the Middle East and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, "communist." In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism. (William Blum)
322. 1962 -- Thailand. The 3d Marine Expeditionary Unit landed on May 17, 1962 to support that country during the threat of communist pressure from outside; by Jul 30 the 5000 marines had been withdrawn.
323. 1946-54 -- Trieste. (U.S. intervention began in 1946, during the unsettled period after World War II when Yugoslavia was asserting itself in Trieste. The city had not yet obtained its brief recognition as the Free Territory of Trieste [1947-1954]). President Truman ordered the augmentation of U.S. troops along the zonal occupation line and the reinforcement of air forces in northern Italy after Yugoslav forces shot down an unarmed U.S. Army transport plane flying over Venezia Giulia. Earlier, U.S. naval units had been dispatched to the scene. When the U.S. ended its intervention in 1954, the city was returned to Italian control.
324. 1940 -- Trinidad. Troops were sent to guard air and naval bases – sometimes called lend-lease bases - obtained by negotiation with Great Britain. This was a way of assisting Great Britain in the war against Germany without a formal U.S. entry into the war. The bases were in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana.
The First Barbary War included the USS George Washington and USS
Philadelphia affairs and the Eaton expedition, during which a few marines
landed with United States Agent William Eaton to raise a force against
in an effort to free the crew of the
declared war but not the
326. 1815 -- Tripoli. After securing an agreement from Algiers, Decatur demonstrated with his squadron at Tunis and Tripoli, where he secured indemnities for offenses during the War of 1812.
327. 1942-1943 -- Tunesia. World War II. On November 8, 1942, American and British troops landed in Morocco and Algeria in Operation Torch. The local forces of Vichy France put up limited resistance before joining the Allied cause. Rommel's Africa Corps was not being supplied adequately because of the loss of transport shipments by the British Royal Navy and Air Force in the Mediterranean. This lack of supplies and no air force to speak of, destroyed any chance of large offensive capabilities for the Germans in Africa. Ultimately German and Italian forces were caught in the pincers of a twin advance from Algeria and Libya. The withdrawing Germans continued to put up stiff defense in Tunisia, and Rommel defeated the American forces decisively at the "Battle of the Kasserine Pass" before finishing a strategic withdrawal back to the meager German supply chain. Inevitably, with American troops advancing from the west and British troops advancing from the east, the Allies finally defeated the German Afrika Corps with the capture of Tunis on May 7, 1943. All Axis forces in North Africa surrendered on May 13, 1943.
328. 1849 -- [Geographical] Turkey. In July, a naval force went to Ottoman Smyrna and gained the release of an American who had been seized by Austrian officials.
After a massacre of foreigners - including Americans - at
in January, the American Mediterranean Squadron was ordered to perform a
demonstration along the Turkish (Levant)
The Secretary of State requested a display of naval force along the
after a massacre of Americans at
Jaffa and mistreatment elsewhere
"to remind the authorities (of Turkey) of the power of the United States."
-- November 18 to December 3. U.S. forces gguarded the American legation at
Constantinople during a Balkan War.
332. 1919 -- Turkey. Marines from the USS Arizona were landed to guard the U.S. Consulate during the Greek occupation of Constantinople.
September and October. A landing force was sent ashore with consent of both
Greek and Turkish authorities, to protect American lives and property when the
Turkish Nationalists entered Smyrna.
November 25 to 29. United States and European naval forces landed to protect
American interests during an attempted revolution in Montevideo.
-- January 2 to 27. Forces from two United States warships landed to protect
American property during a revolution in Montevideo.
336. 1868 -- Uruguay -- February 7 and 8, 19 to 26. U.S. forces protected foreign residents and the customhouse during an insurrection at Montevideo.
337. 1964-73 -- Vietnam. (Also listed under North Vietnam and South Vietnam.) Vietnam War. U.S. military advisers had been in South Vietnam a decade, and their numbers had been increased as the military position the Saigon government became weaker. After the attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, President Johnson asked for a resolution expressing U.S. determination to support freedom and protect peace in Southeast Asia. Congress responded with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, expressing support for "all necessary measures" the President might take to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces and prevent further aggression. Following this resolution, and following a communist attack on a U.S. installation in central Vietnam, the United States escalated its participation in the war to a peak of 543 000 in April 1969.
[The slippery slope actually began in 1950 when the U.S. sided with the French - the former colonizers and collaborators with the Japanese in Indo-China - against Ho Chi Minh and his followers who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist. He had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America's help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. All his entreaties were ignored. Ho Chi Minh modeled the new Vietnamese declaration of independence on the American, beginning it with "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with ..." But this would count for nothing in Washington. Ho Chi Minh was some kind of communist. Twenty-three years and more than two million dead later, the United States withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Most people say that the U.S. lost the war. But by destroying Vietnam to its core, and poisoning the earth and the gene pool for generations, Washington had achieved its main purpose: preventing what might have been the rise of a good development option for Asia. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist. (William Blum)]
338. 1975 -- Vietnam. (Also listed under South Vietnam.) Evacuation. On April 3, 1975, President Ford reported U.S. naval vessels, helicopters, and Marines had been sent to assist in evacuation of refugees and U.S. nationals from Vietnam. (Note 3) On April 30 1975, President Ford reported that a force of 70 evacuation helicopters and 865 Marines had evacuated about 1,400 U.S. citizens and 5,500 third country nationals and South Vietnamese from landing zones near the U.S. Embassy in Saigon and the Tan Son Nhut Airfield.
339. 1941-45 -- Wake Island. World War II. Wake Island was claimed for the U.S. July 4, 1898, and formally annexed on January 17, 1899. The atoll in the Northwest Pacific was declared a “National Defense Area” by President Roosevelt on January 17, 1941. Japan bombed the island on December 7, 1941, and captured it after a hard-fought fifteen-day siege on December 23, 1941. The intensity of the battle over Wake Island signaled the difficult struggle to be conducted in the Pacific until the end of the war with Japan in August 1945. The first attempt at a Japanese landing was repulsed on December 11. The outgunned U.S. personnel inflicted damage to many Japanese ships and sank two destroyers - including the Hayate, the first Japanese vessel sunk in World War II. The second Japanese invasion force, on December 23, 1941, was composed of most of the same ships from the first landing attempt, but with some new additions. After a full night and morning of fighting, the Wake garrison surrendered to the Japanese in mid-afternoon. The U.S. lost 49 Marines, 3 navy personnel, and 70 civilians in the entire 15-day siege. The Japanese losses were recorded at between 700 and 900 killed, with at least 1,000 more wounded. Those Japanese losses were in addition to the two destroyers lost in the first invasion attempt, as well as at least 20 land-based and carrier aircraft. The Japanese captured all Americans remaining on the island, of whom the majority were civilian contractors employed with Morrison-Knudsen Company. United States forces bombed the island several times from 1942 until Japan's surrender in 1945. George H. W. Bush conducted his first mission as an aviator over Wake Island. On October 5, 1943, carrier planes from USS Yorktown conducted an extremely successful raid. Two days later, fearing an imminent invasion, Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara ordered the execution of 98 captured American contract workers remaining on the island who had been doing forced labor for the Japanese. They were taken to the northern end of the island, blindfolded and machine-gunned. One of the prisoners (whose name has never been discovered) escaped the massacre, apparently returning to the site to carve the message “98 US PW 5-10-43” on a large coral rock near where the murdered Americans had been hastily buried in a mass grave. This unknown American was re-captured within a few weeks, after which Sakaibara personally beheaded him with a sword. The inscription on the rock can still be seen and is a Wake Island landmark. After the war, Sakaibara and his subordinate, Lieutenant-Commander Tachibana, were sentenced to death for this and other crimes (several Japanese officers in American custody had committed suicide over the incident, leaving written statements that incriminated Sakaibara). Tachibana's sentence was later commuted to life in prison. On September 4, 1945, two days after the formal signing of surrender documents on the Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay, the remaining Japanese garrison on Wake Island surrendered to a detachment of the U.S. Marine Corps. In a brief ceremony, the handover of Wake was officially conducted. Today, as an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, Wake Island is technically administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. But all current activities on the island are managed by the United States Air Force. The Island is still considered to be of strategic significance in the North Pacific and is an important location for emergency landings to pilots flying across the Pacific.
340. 2002 -- Yemen. On November 3, 2002, a drone plane was used to deliver a hellfire missile killing an alleged terrorist and five acquaintances.
341. 1814-25 -- Yucatan. Engagements in the Caribbean between pirates and American ships or squadrons took place repeatedly especially ashore and offshore about Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Yucatan. Three thousand pirate attacks on merchantmen were reported between 1815 and 1823. In 1822 Commodore James Biddle employed a squadron of two frigates, four sloops of war, two brigs, four schooners, and two gunboats in the West Indies.
342. 1999 -- Yugoslavia. (Item is repeated under Kosovo and Serbia.) From March 24,1999, to June 10, 1999, Operation Allied Force. Bombing, missiles, heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo.
From May 19 through June 1978, the United States utilized military transport
aircraft to provide logistical support to Belgian and French rescue operations
344. 1991 – Zaire (Congo). On September 25-27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, U.S. Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. U.S. planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and hauled back American citizens and third country nationals from locations outside Zaire.
345. 1996-7 -- Zaire (Congo). Troops/Marines at Rwandan Hutu refuge camps, in area where Congo revolution begins. [In 1997 the name is changed from Zaire to Democratic Republic of the Congo (to distinguish it from the Republic of the Congo).]
A Google search for “William Blum” turned up more than 88,000 entries in May, 2005. One Internet biography of William Blum reads:
William Blum left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer, because of his opposition to what the United States was doing in Vietnam. He then became one of the founders and editors of the Washington Free Press, the first "alternative" newspaper in the capital. In 1969, he wrote and published an exposé of the CIA in which was revealed the names and addresses of more than 200 employees of the Agency. Mr. Blum has been a freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government's "socialist experiment" and its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various parts of the world. In the mid-1970's, he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds. The late 1980s found Mr. Blum living in Los Angeles, teaching and pursuing a career as a screenwriter. Unfortunately, his screenplays all had two (if not three) strikes against them because they dealt with that thing which makes grown men run screaming in Hollywood: ideas and issues. William Blum is currently living in Washington, DC again, using the Library of Congress and the National Archives to strike fear into the hearts of US government imperialists. Blum maintains his own Web Site and also maintains the Foreign Policy Watch section of ZNet.
This report lists 234 instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It brings up to date a 1989 list that was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough sketch survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad. A detailed description and analysis are not undertaken here.
The instances differ greatly in number of forces, purpose, extent of hostilities, and legal authorization. Five of the instances are declared wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846, the Spanish American War of 1898, World War I declared in 1917, and World War II declared in 1941.
Some of the instances were extended military engagements that might be considered undeclared wars. These include the Undeclared Naval War with France from 1798 to 1800; the First Barbary War from 1801 to 1805; the Second Barbary War of 1815; the Korean War of 1950-53; the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973; and the Persian Gulf War of 1991. In some cases, such as the Persian Gulf War against Iraq, Congress authorized the military action although it did not declare war.
The majority of the instances listed were brief Marine or Navy actions prior to World War II to protect U.S. citizens or promote U.S. interests. A number were actions against pirates or bandits. Some were events, such as the stationing of Marines at an Embassy or legation, which later were considered normal peacetime practice. Covert actions, disaster relief, and routine alliance stationing and training exercises are not included here, nor are the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and the continual use of U.S. military units in the exploration, settlement, and pacification of the West.
The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 1999 . This guide does not include demonstration duty by military police, mobilizations of the National Guard, offshore shows of naval strength, reinforcements of embassy personnel, the use of non-Defense Department personnel (such as the Drug Enforcement Agency), military exercises, non-combat mobilizations (such as replacing postal strikers), the permanent stationing of armed forces, covert actions where the U.S. did not play a command and control role, the use of small hostage rescue units, most uses of proxy troops, U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes, foreign disaster assistance, military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat, civic action programs, and many other military activities. Among sources used, besides news reports, are the Congressional Record (23 June 1969), 180 Landings by the U.S. Marine Corps History Division, Ege & Makhijani in Counterspy (July-Aug. 1982), Daniel Ellsberg in Protest & Survive, and "Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad. 1798-1993," by Ellen C. Collier of the Library Congress Congressional Research Services.
For a discussion of the evolution of lists of military actions and legal authorization for various actions, see Wormuth, Francis D. and Edwin B. Firmage, To Chain the Dog of War; the War Power of Congress in History and Law. Dallas, Southern Methodist University Press, 1986. p. 133-149.
For a discussion of the War Powers Resolution and various types of reports required under it, see The War Powers Resolution: Eighteen Years of Experience, CRS Report 92- 133 F; or The War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance, CRS Issue Brief IB81050, updated regularly.