This Week in History

HISTORY, 18 Dec 2023

18-24 December 2023

Videos of the Week:

Michael Jackson – Heal the World (6:22) – YouTube

The story behind the Christmas Truce of 1914 (3:18) – YouTube


18 December

1622  Portuguese forces score a military victory over the Kingdom of Kongo at the Battle of Mbumbi in present-day Angola.

1878  The Al-Thani family become the rulers of the state of Qatar.

[1]      History of Qatar:

[2]      Thani Dynasty :

1944  The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Korematsu v. United States supporting Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s Executive Order 9066 which cleared the way for the incarceration of nearly all 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, born and raised in the United States.

[Internment of Japanese Americans ]

1972  Vietnam WarPresident Richard Nixon announces that the United States will engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with North Vietnam on the 13th.

[1]      Timeline of America’s Vietnam War:

[2]      North Vietnam, 1972: The Christmas bombing of Hanoi

2005  The Chadian Civil War begins when rebel groups, allegedly backed by neighboring Sudan, launch an attack in Adré.

2018  List of bolides: A meteor exploded over the Bering Sea with a force over 10 times greater than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.


19 December

1932  BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.

1941  World War IIAdolf Hitler appoints himself as head of the Oberkommando des Heeres.

1961  India annexes Daman and Diu, part of Portuguese India.

1984  The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997, is signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.

1995  The United States Government restores federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Native American tribe.

2000  The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in IstanbulTurkey, killing one person and injuring three.

2001  A record high barometric pressure of 1,085.6 hectopascals (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, KhövsgölMongolia.

2001  Argentine economic crisisDecember riots: Riots erupt in Buenos AiresArgentina.


20 December

1924   Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison.

1941  World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the “Flying Tigers“, in Kunming, China.

1948  Indonesian National Revolution: The Dutch military captures Yogyakarta, the temporary capital of the newly formed Republic of Indonesia.

1989  The United States invasion of Panama deposes Manuel Noriega.

1995  NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.

[NATO Peacekeeping in Bosnia]

2019  The United States Space Force becomes the first new branch of the United States Armed Forces since 1947.


21 December

1832  Egyptian–Ottoman WarEgyptian forces decisively defeat Ottoman troops at the Battle of Konya.

1923  United Kingdom and Nepal formally sign an agreement of friendship, called the Nepal–Britain Treaty of 1923, which superseded the Treaty of Sugauli signed in 1816.

1941  World War II: A Thai-Japanese Pact of Alliance is signed.

1963  “Bloody Christmas” begins in Cyprus, ultimately resulting in the displacement of 25,000–30,000 Turkish Cypriots and destruction of more than 100 villages.

1965  International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is adopted.

[1]      International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Full Text)

[2]      Case of Palestinians and Israelis:

1973  The Geneva Conference on the Arab–Israeli conflict opens.

1995  The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.

1999  The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid, Spain.

2004  Iraq War: A suicide bomber kills 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at MosulIraq, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.

[1]      Iraq War of 2002/2003:

[2]      Rationale for the Iraq War :

[3]      American Exceptionalism and the War in Iraq:

[4]      G.W.Bush, Saddam Hussein, Revenge?

[5]      BushAdministration, Oil & Iraq: Some Truth at Last:

[6]      The Costs of War in Iraq :

[7]      Behind the Iraq War:

2020  A great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurs, with the two planets separated in the sky by 0.1 degrees. This is the closest conjunction between the two planets since 1623.


22 December

1769   Sino-Burmese War: The war ends with the Qing dynasty withdrawing from Burma forever.

1808  Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth SymphonySixth SymphonyFourth Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy

1939  Indian Muslims observe a “Day of Deliverance” to celebrate the resignations of members of the Indian National Congress over their not having been consulted over the decision to enter World War II with the United Kingdom.

1942  World War II: Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon.

1944  World War II: The People’s Army of Vietnam is formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indochina, now Vietnam.

1945   U.S. President Harry S. Truman issues an executive order giving World War II refugees precedence in visa applications under U.S. immigration quotas.

1971  The international aid organization Doctors Without Borders is founded by Bernard Kouchner and a group of journalists in ParisFrance.

1974  Grande ComoreAnjouan and Mohéli vote to become the independent nation of ComorosMayotte remains under French administration.

1975  U.S. President Gerald Ford creates the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to the 1970s energy crisis.

1987   In Zimbabwe, the political parties ZANU and ZAPU reach an agreement that ends the violence in the Matabeleland region known as the Gukurahundi.

1989  Romanian RevolutionCommunist President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu is overthrown by Ion Iliescu after days of bloody confrontations. The deposed dictator and his wife Elena flee Bucharest in a helicopter as protesters erupt in cheers

1989  German reunification: Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

[1]      Brandenburg Gate as a Symbol of Unity of Germany:

[2]      German Reunification, 1989-90

[3]      Why did East Germany fail? :

1990  Lech Wałęsa is elected President of Poland.

[1]      Lech Walęsa: Hero or double agent?

[2]      Solidarity Movement in Poland:

[3]      CIA and “Solidarity”:

1990  Final independence of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia after termination of trusteeship.

2001  Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Northern Alliance, hands over power in Islamic State of Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.

2010  The repeal of the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, the 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the United States military, is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

2016  A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70 and 100% effective, thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.

2017  United Nations Security Council Resolution 2397 against North Korea is unanimously approved.


23 December

1876   First day of the Constantinople Conference which resulted in agreement for political reforms in the Balkans.

1947  The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.

1948  Seven Japanese military and political leaders convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed by Allied occupation authorities at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.

1954  First successful kidney transplant is performed by J. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray.

1970  The Democratic Republic of the Congo officially becomes a one-party state.

1979  Soviet–Afghan War: Soviet Union forces occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital.

1990  History of Slovenia: In a referendum, 88.5% of Slovenia‘s overall electorate vote for independence from Yugoslavia.

2007  An agreement is made for the Kingdom of Nepal to be abolished and the country to become a federal republic with the Prime Minister becoming head of state.

2008  A coup d’état occurs in Guinea hours after the death of President Lansana Conté.


24 December

1906  Reginald Fessenden transmits the first radio broadcast; consisting of a poetry reading, a violin solo, and a speech.

1914  World War I: The “Christmas truce” begins.

[The WW1 Christmas Truce of 1914 ]

1924  Albania becomes a republic.

[1]      History of Albania

[2]      Greater Albania /Велика Албанија

[3]      Political Movement Toward the Creation of a Greater Albania:

[4]      CIA and the Greater Albania:

[5]      U.S./CIA and Kosovo:

1943  World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Operation Overlord.

1951  Libya becomes independent. Idris I is proclaimed King of Libya.

1964  Vietnam WarViet Cong operatives bomb the Brinks Hotel in SaigonSouth Vietnam to demonstrate they can strike an American installation in the heavily guarded capital.

1969  Nigerian troops capture Umuahia, the Biafran capital.

2005  Chad–Sudan relationsChad declares a state of belligerence against Sudan following a December 18 attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead.

2008  The Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, begins a series of attacks against civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, massacring more than 400.

2021  Burmese military forces commit the Mo So massacre, killing at least 44 civilians.


Satoshi Ashikaga is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. Having worked as researcher, development program/project officer, legal protection/humanitarian assistance officer, human rights monitor-negotiator, managing-editor, and more, he prefers a peaceful and prudent life.  His previous work experiences, including those in war zones and war-torn zones, constantly remind him of the invaluableness of peace.

Disclaimer: The author and TMS take no responsibility for–and do not necessarily subscribe to–contents of websites hyperlinked as sources.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Dec 2023.

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