Tag Archives for Today in History

Below are all Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History tagged with, "Today in History".

Diplomacy Despite It All – Kissinger’s India Fix

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited India October 28, 1974 to discuss its nonalignment policy, which aimed at preserving India’s post-colonial freedom through refusal to join any coalition, including the U.S. or Soviet blocs. Relations between New Delhi and Washington were anything but cordial at this time. The 1971 refusal of Nixon and Kissinger to […]

Foundering Phoenix: Solidarity’s Turbulent Rise to Power

The path of Solidarity from dissident group to governance in the 1980s was far from smooth. Founded on September 17, 1980 at the Gdansk Shipyard, Solidarity (Solidarność) was the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union. Solidarity’s ascent was of great symbolic importance, marking the end of five decades of Communist rule in Poland. Its leader, Lech […]

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child: A Caning in Singapore

During the spring of 1994, Americans were gripped by an incident in Singapore which unexpectedly became a cause celebre:  the caning of Michael Fay, who was sentenced for his role in vandalizing property in Singapore. The sentence caused outrage in the United States and even President Bill Clinton became involved in the court proceedings. The […]

Starting an Embassy from Scratch in Papua New Guinea

In the decades following World War II, as colonies across the globe gained independence, the United States worked to establish embassies and consulates in these new nations, some in the remotest areas of the world. Papua New Guinea, which gained autonomy from Australia on September 16, 1975, was one such case. Mary Olmsted was assigned […]

Turning Out the Lights at U.S. Embassy Havana, 1961

The United States and Cuba officially severed diplomatic relations on January 3, 1961, the culmination of months of increasingly hostile bilateral relations. Fidel Castro had seized power in early 1959; relations between Cuba and the U.S. deteriorated rapidly as Cuba nationalized American and other foreign property and companies. The U.S. began to cut back trade with Cuba, […]

Which Witch?

When stationed abroad, Foreign Service Officers may face dangers such as carjackings, bombings, or even assassination attempts. However, for some, the most serious threat may be a supernatural one:  being cursed by a local witch doctor. The supernatural threats encountered by FSOs must always be taken seriously; otherwise, one risks temporal pain and spiritual punishment […]

The PFLP Hijacking of TWA Flight 840

Thomas Boyatt was on his way to Cyprus to resume his post as political officer on August 29, 1969 when his flight, TWA 840, was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).  They believed that Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., was aboard the flight. The hijackers, Leila […]

The Israeli Strike on the Iraqi Reactor at Osirak

Increasingly concerned by Iraq’s illicit program to produce nuclear weapons, Israel ordered its air force on a secret mission on June 7, 1981 to take out the Osirak nuclear reactor. The mission, code-named Operation Opera, shocked leaders across the Middle East as they saw Israel’s ability to strike unilaterally and preemptively as a threat to […]

The Coup Against Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh

Mohammad Mossadegh became Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and was hugely popular for taking a stand against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British-owned oil company that had made huge profits while paying Iran only 16% of its profits and often far less. His nationalization efforts led the British government to begin planning to remove him […]

The Enigmatic Jackie Kennedy

Popular U.S. politicians and their wives often become celebrities to the public, both home and abroad. This can make state visits incredibly thrilling for the public and exciting for the Foreign Service Officers who are involved in making the visit run seamlessly. Jacqueline Kennedy was one of those celebrities who caused a stir wherever she […]