Year
1969

Lodge succeeds Harriman as chief negotiator

President-elect Richard Nixon names Henry Cabot Lodge to succeed W. Averell Harriman as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks. Lawrence Edward Walsh, a New York lawyer and former deputy attorney general, was named deputy chief negotiator to replace Cyrus R. Vance. Marshall Green, an Asian affairs expert and ambassador to Indonesia, was assigned to assist the negotiating team. The peace talks started on May 10, 1968, but had been plagued from the beginning by procedural questions that inhibited any meaningful negotiations or progress. Unfortunately, the change in personnel had no effect in fostering more meaningful negotiations.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Prague Spring begins in Czechoslovakia

Antonin Novotny, the Stalinist ruler of Czechoslovakia, is succeeded as first secretary by Alexander Dubcek, a Slovak who supports liberal reforms. In the first few months of his rule, Dubcek introduced a series of far-reaching political and economic reforms, including increased ...read more

Pol Pot renames Cambodia

On this day in 1976, Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot announces a new constitution changing the name of Cambodia to Kampuchea and legalizing its Communist government. During the next three years his brutal regime sent the nation back to the Middle Ages and was responsible for the ...read more

Kamikaze pilots get first order

On this day in 1945, Japanese pilots received the first order to become kamikaze, meaning “divine wind” in Japanese. The suicidal blitz of the kamikazes revealed Japan’s desperation in the final months of World War II. Most of Japan’s top pilots were dead, but youngsters needed ...read more

First divorce in the colonies

In the first record of a legal divorce in the American colonies, Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is granted a divorce from her absent and adulterous husband, Denis Clarke, by the Quarter Court of Boston, Massachusetts. In a signed and sealed affidavit presented to ...read more

Dreyfus Affair in France

French officer Alfred Dreyfus, condemned for passing military secrets to the Germans, is stripped of his rank in a humiliating public ceremony in the courtyard of Paris’ Ecole Militaire. The Jewish artillery captain, convicted on flimsy evidence in a highly irregular trial, began ...read more

Golden Gate Bridge is born

On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages. Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would ...read more

New York Yankees announce purchase of Babe Ruth

On this day in 1920, the New York Yankees major league baseball club announces its purchase of the heavy-hitting outfielder George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for the sum of $125,000. In all, Ruth had played six seasons with the Red Sox, leading them to three World ...read more

Truman delivers his Fair Deal speech

On this day in 1949, President Harry S. Truman announces, in his State of the Union address, that every American has a right to expect from our government a fair deal. In a reference to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, Truman announced his plans for domestic policy reforms ...read more

Nixon launches the space shuttle program

Also on this day in presidential history, Richard Nixon signs a bill authorizing $5.5 million in funding to develop a space shuttle. The space shuttle represented a giant leap forward in the technology of space travel. Designed to function more like a cost-efficient “reusable” ...read more

Landslides kill 33 in California

On this day in 1982, a series of landslides near San Francisco, California, kills up to 33 people and closes the Golden Gate Bridge. In all, an amazing 18,000 different landslides took place in the San Francisco Bay Area following a very heavy rain storm. Two fast-moving fronts ...read more