This Week in History

HISTORY, 16 Feb 2015

Satoshi Ashikaga – TRANSCEND Media Service

February 16–22

Quote of the Week:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. – Martin Luther King, Jr.


2013  A bomb blast at a market in Hazara Town in Quetta, Pakistan, kills more than 80 people and injures 190 others.

2011  Under pressure from conservationists and diplomats, Japan’s whaling fleet leaves the Antarctic. For more information on this event, visit, for instance,   and  For more information on Japan’s whaling, visit, for instance,;_ylt=AwrBT8iH98xUH20A6QxXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByNzA1YWV1BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDOQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw–?qid=20071117150420AAiwWzB and/or

2006  The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army

2005  The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia.

1999  Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrests one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.

1999  In Uzbekistan, a bomb explodes and gunfire is heard at the government headquarters in an apparent assassination attempt against President Islam Karimov.

1991  Nicaraguan Contras leader Enrique Bermúdez is assassinated in Managua.

1988  1st documented combat action by U.S. military advisors in El Salvador. See and

1987  The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed “Ivan the Terrible” in Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem.

1985  Hezbollah is founded.

1979  USSR performs nuclear test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan USSR.

1977  USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan USSR.

1960  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton begins Operation Sandblast, setting sail from New London, Connecticut, to begin the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.

1959  Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.

1945  World War II: American forces land on Corregidor Island in the Philippines.

1943  World War II: Insertion of Operation Gunnerside, Norway.

1943  World War II: Red Army troops re-enter Kharkov.

1942  Kim Jong-Il of DPRK, the successor of Kim Il-Sung and the father of Kim Jung-Un, is born. For Kim Jong-Il, visit, for instance ; and .

1940  World War II: Altmark Incident: The German tanker Altmark is boarded by sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack. 299 British prisoners are freed.

1934  The Austrian Civil War ends with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund.

1927  US restores diplomatic relations with Turkey. Visit .

1818  The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopts the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.

1874  Silver Dollar becomes legal US tender.

1866  Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington becomes British Secretary of State for War.

1804  First Barbary War: Stephen Decatur leads a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia.


2008  Kosovo declares independence as the Republic of Kosovo.

1995  The Cenepa War between Peru and Ecuador ends on a cease-fire brokered by the UN.

1992  Nagorno-Karabakh War: Armenian troops massacre more than 20 Azerbaijani civilians in the village of Qaradağlı.

1989  USSR performs nuclear test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan USSR.

1980  Mount Everest, 1st Winter Ascent by Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy.

1979  The Sino-Vietnamese War begins.

1978  The Troubles: The Provisional IRA detonates an incendiary bomb at the La Mon restaurant, near Belfast, killing 12 and seriously injuring 30.

1972  Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle exceed those of the Ford Model-T.

1964  Gabonese president Leon M’ba is toppled by a coup and his rival, Jean-Hilaire Aubame, is installed in his place.

1964  In Wesberry v. Sanders the Supreme Court of the United States rules that congressional districts have to be approximately equal in population. This issue refers to one of the basics of democracy in election. Visit, for instance,,_one_vote;_ylt=AwrBT8xATs5UZOcA6fFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE0djZ0M2x2BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMTIEY29sbwNiZjEEdnRpZANWSVA1NjVfMQ–?qid=20080109143444AALxEGo and/or

1953  “Years after serving as the civilian director of the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer gave one of many speeches opposing the growing nuclear arms race, this one at the Council on Foreign Relations. ‘We may anticipate a state of affairs in which [the U.S. and U.S.S.R.] will each be in a position to put an end to civilization and the life of the other, though not without risking its own…We may be likened to two scorpions in a bottle, capable of killing the other, but only at the risk of his own life.” (Sources: Craig Nelson. “The Age of Radiance.’ New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014, p. 259 and note that Oppenheimer’s speech excerpts were published in the July 1953 edition of Foreign Affairs: “Atomic Weapons and American Policy,” p. 529.)” Quoted from

1949  Chaim Weizmann begins his term as the first President of Israel

1944  World War II: Operation Hailstone begins. US naval air, surface, and submarine attack against Truk Lagoon, Japan’s main base in the central Pacific, in support of the Eniwetok invasion.

1944  World War II: The Battle of Eniwetok Atoll begins. The battle ends in an American victory on February 22.

1933  The Blaine Act ends Prohibition in the United States.

1897  Emilio Aguinaldo and a group of katipuneros defeat Spanish forces led by General Camilo de Polavieja at the Battle of Zapote Bridge in Cavite.

1885  Bismarck gives Carl Peters’ firm management of East-Africa.

1871  The victorious Prussian Army parades through Paris, France after the end of the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

1867  1st ship passes through Suez Canal.

1863  A group of citizens of Geneva founded an International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which later became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

1854  The United Kingdom recognizes the independence of the Orange Free State.

1838  Weenen massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulus.

1814  War of the Sixth Coalition: The Battle of Mormans.

1753  In Sweden February 17 is followed by March 1 as the country moves from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

1600  The philosopher Giordano Bruno is burned alive, for heresy, at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome.

1568  Holy Roman Emperor agrees to pay tribute to the Sultan for peace.


2014  At least 76 people are killed and hundreds are injured in clashes between riot police and demonstrators in Kiev, Ukraine.

2007  Terrorist bombs explode on the Samjhauta Express in Panipat, Haryana, India, killing 68 people.

2001  Inter-ethnic violence between Dayaks and Madurese breaks out in Sampit, Indonesia, that will ultimately result in more than 500 deaths and 100,000 Madurese displaced from their homes.

2001  FBI agent Robert Hanssen is arrested for spying for the Soviet Union. He is ultimately convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

1991  The IRA explodes bombs in the early morning at Paddington station and Victoria station in London.

1983  Thirteen people die and one is seriously injured in the Wah Mee massacre in Seattle, Washington. It is said to be the largest robbery-motivated mass-murder in US history.

1972  The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, (6 Cal.3d 628) invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment. See also Walter James Bolton’s case in New Zealand in 1957, mentioned below.

1969  PLO-attack El-Al plane in Zurich Switzerland. Visit, for instance,   and

1957  Walter James Bolton becomes the last person legally executed in New Zealand.

– For death penalty in New Zealand, visit, for instance, ;  and/or

– For pros and cons of death penalty, visit, for instance, and/or

– For Amnesty International’s argument about death penalty, visit   and

– For arguments about death penalty at the UN, visit, for instance, and/or

– For relevant information on the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, visit and

1957  Kenyan rebel leader Dedan Kimathi is executed by the British colonial government.

1955  Operation Teapot: Teapot test shot “Wasp” is successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons. Wasp is the first of fourteen shots in the Teapot series.

1947  First Indochina War: The French gain complete control of Hanoi after forcing the Viet Minh to withdraw to mountains.

1946  Sailors of the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny in Bombay harbour, from where the action spreads throughout the Provinces of British India, involving 78 ships, twenty shore establishments and 20,000 sailors.

1943  Joseph Goebbels delivers his Sportpalast speech.

1943  The Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose movement.

1942  World War II: The Imperial Japanese Army begins the systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore.

1938  During the Nanking Massacre the Nanking Safety Zone International Committee is renamed “Nanking International Rescue Committee” and the safety zone in place for refugees falls apart. For the Nanking Safety Zone and relevant issues on Nanking Massacre, visit, for instance, and/or

1932  The Empire of Japan declares Manzhouguo (the obsolete Chinese name for Manchuria) independent from the Republic of China.

1927  U.S. and Canada begin diplomatic relations. Visit, for instance, and/or

1900  Second Boer War: Imperial forces suffer their worst single-day loss of life on Bloody Sunday, the first day of the Battle of Paardeberg.

1873  Bulgarian revolutionary leader Vasil Levski is executed by hanging in Sofia by the Ottoman authorities.

1814  Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Montereau.

1797  French Revolutionary Wars: Sir Ralph Abercromby and a fleet of 18 British warships invade Trinidad.

1781  Fourth Anglo-Dutch War: Captain Thomas Shirley opens his expedition against Dutch colonial outposts on the Gold Coast of Africa (present-day Ghana).

1745  The city of Surakarta, Central Java is founded on the banks of Bengawan Solo River, and becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Surakarta.

1637  Eighty Years’ War: Off the coast of Cornwall, England, a Spanish fleet intercepts an important AngloDutch merchant convoy of 44 vessels escorted by 6 warships, destroying or capturing 20 of them.


2003  An Ilyushin Il-76 military aircraft crashes near Kerman, Iran, killing 275.

2001  The Oklahoma City bombing museum is dedicated at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

1986  Akkaraipattu massacre: the Sri Lankan Army massacres 80 Tamil farm workers the eastern province of Sri Lanka.

1986  US Senate decides to ratify UN’s anti-genocide convention 37 years later. See . The ratification was done on 25 November 1988. (See

“In response to President Nixon’s request, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1970 held hearings on the treaty and favorably reported the treaty to the entire Senate. The latter, however, took no action…. The Foreign Relations Committee did the same in 1971, 1973, 1976 and 1978, but it was not until February 19, 1986, that the Senate voted, 83 to 11, to give its advice and consent to such ratification…. That implementing legislation was adopted on November 4, 1988, with President Ronald Reagan’s signature of the Genocide Implementation Act of 1987, 18 U.S.C. § 1091… On November 25, 1988 (three weeks after the adoption of that federal statute), President Ronald Reagan deposited notice of U.S. ratification with the U.N. Secretary-General. This constitutes the actual act of ratification.” (Quoted from

– The issue on the reluctance of the United States in the ratification of international human rights treaties, visit, for instance, and

– For genocide, visit, for instance, and/or

– For the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), visit, for instance, and

1985  William J. Schroeder becomes the first recipient of an artificial heart to leave hospital.

1976  Executive Order 9066, which led to the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps, is rescinded by President Gerald R. Ford‘s Proclamation 4417.   Visit, for instance,   and

1965  Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and a communist spy of the North Vietnamese Viet Minh, along with Generals Lâm Văn Phát and Trần Thiện Khiêm attempted a coup against the military junta of Nguyễn Khánh.

1963  The publication of Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique reawakens the Feminist Movement in the United States as women’s organizations and consciousness raising groups spread.

1959  The United Kingdom grants Cyprus independence, which is then formally proclaimed on August 16, 1960.

1953  Censorship: Georgia approves the first literature censorship board in the United States.

1948  The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convenes in Calcutta.

1945  World War II: Battle of Iwo Jima – about 30,000 United States Marines land on the island of Iwo Jima.

1943  World War II: Battle of the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia begins.

1942  World War II: Nearly 250 Japanese warplanes attack the northern Australian city of Darwin killing 243 people.

1942  World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the executive order 9066, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

1941  1st transport of Jews to concentration camps leave Plotsk, Poland. For more relevant information, visit, instance, ; and/or

1915  World War I: The first naval attack on the Dardanelles begins when a strong Anglo-French task force bombards Ottoman artillery along the coast of Gallipoli.

1861  Serfdom is abolished in Russia.


2012 IAEA nuclear inspectors hold discussions about Iran’s nuclear program in Tehran. Visit, for instance, and

2011  North Korea raises concerns regarding nuclear testing; reports show they have dug tunnels at a nuclear test site located in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province. Visit, for instance, ; and

2009  Two Tamil Tigers aircraft packed with C4 explosives en route to the national air force headquarters are shot down by the Sri Lankan military before reaching their target, in a kamikaze style attack.

2005  Spain becomes the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout.

1991  A gigantic statue of Albania‘s long-time leader, Enver Hoxha, is brought down in the Albanian capital Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters.

1989  An IRA bomb destroys a section of a British Army barracks in Ternhill, England.

1988  The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast votes to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia, triggering the Nagorno-Karabakh War.

1978  The last Order of Victory is bestowed upon Leonid Brezhnev.

1975  USSR performs nuclear test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan USSR.

1971  The United States Emergency Broadcast System is accidentally activated in an erroneous national alert.

“At 9:33 a.m. EST, the National Emergency Warning Center at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters in Colorado Springs allegedly transmitted an emergency teletype message directing all U.S. radio and television stations to cease normal broadcasting by order of President Richard Nixon. The message was not cancelled for more than 40 minutes. This incident may have been caused by a teletype operator loading the wrong tape instead of the routine Emergency Broadcast Network test broadcast. Nevertheless, newsrooms across America were in turmoil and the public was unnecessarily panicked. (Source: Jesus Diaz. This Message From NORAD Announced Global Nuclear War – In 1971. July 5, 2012. accessed January 7, 2015.)” Quoted from

1966  Author Valery Tarsis banished in USSR (= departure from USSR). Visit, for instance, and

1959  The Avro Arrow program to design and manufacture supersonic jet fighters in Canada is cancelled by the Diefenbaker government amid much political debate.

1944  World War II: The United States takes Eniwetok Island.

1944  World War II: The “Big Week” began with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers.

1943  The Saturday Evening Post publishes the first of Norman Rockwell‘s Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt‘s 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.

1943  American movie studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.

1942  Lieutenant Edward O’Hare becomes America’s first World War II flying ace.

1941  Nazis order Polish Jews barred from using public transportation. For the timeline of Jewish persecution, including this event, by Nazi, visit, for instance, and/or

1941  Romania breaks relations with Netherlands. For more information on diplomatic relations between Romania and Netherlands, visit, for instance, and

1935  Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.

1933  Adolf Hitler secretly meets with German industrialists to arrange for financing of the Nazi Party‘s upcoming election campaign.

1929  American Samoa organizes as territory of US. For American Samoa, visit and

1921  The Young Communist League of Czechoslovakia is founded.

1913  King O’Malley drives in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra.

1901  The legislature of Hawaii Territory convenes for the first time.

1877  Tchaikovsky‘s ballet Swan Lake receives its première performance at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

1872  In New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens.

1869  Tennessee Governor W. C. Brownlow declares martial law in Ku Klux Klan crisis. For Ku Klux Klan, visit, for instance, ; and

1865  End of the Uruguayan War, with a peace agreement between President Tomás Villalba and rebel leader Venancio Flores, setting the scene for the destructive War of the Triple Alliance.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Olustee occurs – the largest battle fought in Florida during the war.

1846  Polish insurgents lead an uprising in Kraków to incite a fight for national independence.

1832  Charles Darwin visits Fernando Noronha in Atlantic Ocean.

1816  Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville premieres at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.

1813  Manuel Belgrano defeats the royalist army of Pío de Tristán during the Battle of Salta.

1810  Andreas Hofer, Tirolean patriot and leader of rebellion against Napoleon‘s forces, is executed.


2008  US Navy destroys a U.S. spy satellite with a missile. Visit, for instance, and

1975  Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.

1974  The last Israeli soldiers leave the west bank of the Suez Canal pursuant to a truce with Egypt.

1973  Over the Sinai Desert, Israeli fighter aircraft shoot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 jet killing 108.

1972  President Richard Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations.

1971  The Convention on Psychotropic Substances is signed at Vienna.

1965  Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam.

1963  US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1958  The peace symbol, commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.

1952  The Bengali Language Movement protests occur at the University of Dhaka in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

1952  The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to “set the people free”.

1945  World War II: Japanese Kamikaze planes sink the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea and damage the USS Saratoga.

1942  World War II/Asia-Pacific War: Operation Sook Ching is begun to be implemented in Singapore (until 4 March 1942). “Operation Sook Ching was a Japanese military operation aimed at purging or eliminating anti-Japanese elements from the Chinese community in Singapore. From 21 February to 4 March 1942, Chinese males between the ages of 18 and 50 were summoned to various mass screening centres and those suspected of being anti-Japanese were executed.” (Source:  For more information on this massacre event, visit, in addition to the above mentioned website, for instance,   and/or

1937  The League of Nations bans foreign national “volunteers” in the Spanish Civil War.

1921  Rezā Shāh takes control of Tehran during a successful coup.

1921  Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia adopts the country’s first constitution.

1919  German socialist Kurt Eisner is assassinated. His death results in the establishment of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and parliament and government fleeing Munich, Germany.

1916  World War I: In France, the Battle of Verdun begins.

1913  Ioannina is incorporated into the Greek state after the Balkan Wars.

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Valverde is fought near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory.

1848  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.

1808  Without a previous declaration of war, Russian troops cross the border to Sweden at Abborfors in eastern Finland, thus beginning the Finnish war, in which Sweden will lose the eastern half of the country (i.e. Finland) to Russia.

1804  The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.

1543  Battle of Wayna Daga – A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeats a Muslim army led by Ahmed Gragn.

1440  The Prussian Confederation is formed.


2011  Bahraini uprising: Tens of thousands of people march in protest against the deaths of seven victims killed by police and army forces during previous protests.

1997  In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly has been successfully cloned.

1991  Bush and US Gulf War allies give Iraq 24 hours to begin Kuwait withdrawal. Visit  For more relevant information on the Gulf War, visit, for instance,

1986  Start of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines.

1979  Independence of Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom.

1974  The Organisation of the Islamic Conference summit begins in Lahore, Pakistan. Thirty-seven countries attend and twenty-two heads of state and government participate. It also recognizes Bangladesh.

1973  Cold War: Following President Richard Nixon‘s visit to the People’s Republic of China, the two countries agree to establish liaison offices.

1972  The Official Irish Republican Army detonates a car bomb at Aldershot barracks, killing seven and injuring nineteen others.

1958  Egypt and Syria join to form the United Arab Republic.

1948  Communist revolution in Czechoslovakia.

1943  World War II: Members of the White Rose resistance, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, and Christoph Probst are executed in Nazi Germany.

1941  Nazi SS begin rounding up Jews of Amsterdam.  Visit, for instance, and/or

1921  After Russian forces under Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg drive the Chinese out, the Bogd Khan is reinstalled as the emperor of Mongolia.

1916  World War I: Germany institutes unrestricted submarine warfare.

1899  Filipino forces led by General Antonio Luna launch counterattacks for the first time against the American forces during the Philippine–American War. The Filipinos fail to regain Manila from the Americans.

1848  The French Revolution of 1848, which would lead to the establishment of the French Second Republic, begins.

1847  Mexican–American War: The Battle of Buena Vista – 5,000 American troops defeat 15,000 Mexicans.

1821  Greek War of Independence: Alexander Ypsilantis crosses the Prut river at Sculeni into the Danubian Principalities.

1819  By the Adams–Onís Treaty, Spain sells Florida to the United States for five million US dollars.

1797  The Last Invasion of Britain begins near Fishguard, Wales.

1744  War of the Austrian Succession: The Battle of Toulon begins.


Satoshi Ashikaga is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment originally from Japan.

(Sources and references: to February_22; to February_15; to February/22; and other relevant websites and/or documents, mentioned above.)


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Feb 2015.

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