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The 1991 Coup Against Mikhail Gorbachev

In August 1991, hard-line members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) who opposed President Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms and decentralization of government powers tried to overthrow him. The short-lived coup attempt is considered pivotal in the rise of Boris Yeltsin and the eventual breakup of the USSR. The attempt took place at a […]

Anatomy of an Overthrow: How an African Leader was Toppled

A council of combined security forces known as the Derg staged a coup d’état on September 12, 1974 against Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, arresting and imprisoning the monarch who had ruled for decades. The committee renamed itself the Provisional Military Administrative Council, took control of the government, soon abolished the monarchy and established Marxism-Leninism […]

Cleaning up America’s Backyard: The Overthrow of Guatemala’s Arbenz

The Central Intelligence Agency launched a covert operation on June 18, 1954 to overthrow the left-leaning government in Guatemala. The coup, code-named Operation PBSUCCESS, deposed Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz Guzman, ended the Guatemalan Revolution and installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas. Armas would be the first in a series of U.S.-backed strongmen to […]

Naming Names: U.S. Embassy Jakarta and Indonesian Purges 1965-1966

An article by an American reporter alleged that the U.S. embassy in Jakarta played a role in the Indonesian massacres of 1965-1966 by supplying a list of known communists to Major General Suharto (seen right), whose forces then hunted them down and killed them. The violence began when Communist forces killed six of Indonesia’s senior […]

A Front Row Seat to the 1975 Coup d’Etat in Chad

Throughout the 1970s, trouble was brewing in Chad. President François (N’Garta) Tombalbaye was the first president of Chad following its independence from France in 1960. His authoritarian regime became increasingly distrustful of and alienated from Chad’s military and Tombalbaye had jailed several prominent commanders. An insurgency in the north led by the Libyan-armed FROLINAT [National […]

Creating Bangladesh: The Triumph and Tragedy of Sheikh Mujib

The leader of the Bangladesh’s independence movement, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, helped create a sovereign nation, successfully taking on Pakistani occupying forces only to lose his life soon after coming to power. Britain relinquished its rule in the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and the area was carved into separate political entities. “East Pakistan” (now Bangladesh) was […]

Surviving the Coup that Transformed Liberia

Liberia erupted in violence on April 12, 1980 as Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe seized power from President William Tolbert, ending 133 years of political dominance by Americo-Liberians. Americo-Liberians traced their ancestry to African Americans and Black British subjects who immigrated to Africa and became the founders of the Republic of Liberia, in power from 1847-1980. In October […]

The Last Emperor – The Fall of Haile Selassie

None could be more considered more central to the modern history of Africa’s longest independent nation, Ethiopia, than Emperor Haile Selassie.  Regent from 1916-1930, he became emperor of Ethiopia on November 2, 1930 and ruled for nearly 45 years. While Ethiopia was able to avoid colonization and remained a political leader and symbol of African independence throughout […]