Top 10 Important Events in US History

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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The bomber named as B-29 was the world’s first deployed atomic bomb dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45). The explosion wiped out 90% of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. After several years, the program’s scientists worked on producing the key materials for nuclear fission uranium and plutonium Pu-239. They sent them to Los Alamos, Mexico, a team led by J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Then on the morning of July 16, 1945 the Manhattan Project held its first successful test of an atomic device of Trinity test site at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The first target was Hiroshima a manufacturing centre of some 350,000 people located about 500 miles from Tokyo.

The plane dropped the bomb–known as “Little Boy”–by parachute at 8:15 in the morning, and it exploded 2,000 feet above Hiroshima in a blast equal to 12-15,000 tons of TNT, destroying five square miles of the city.

However the Hiroshima’s failed to elicit immediate Japanese surrender and on August 9 Major Charles Sweeney flew another B-29 bomber, Bockscar, from Tinian. They targeted the city of Kokura, Nagasaki, where the plutonium bomb “Fat Man” was dropped at 11:02 that morning the bomb weighed nearly 10,000 pounds and was built to produce a 22-kiloton blast. At noon of Japanese time on August 15, 1945 Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s surrender in a radio broadcast. The formal surrender agreement was signed on September 2, aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.

After World War II, most of Hiroshima would be rebuilt, though one destroyed section was set aside as a reminder of the effects of the atomic bomb. Each August 6, thousands of people gather at Peace Memorial Park to join in interfaith religious services commemorating the anniversary of the bombing.

American Revolution

American Revolution

The American Revolution was a political disruption that took place between 1765 and 1783 during which colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies rejected the British monarchy and aristocracy. During this time protests by colonists known as patriots continued to increase rapidly, as in the Boston Tea Party in 1773 during which patriots destroyed a consignment of taxed tea from the British government favoured East India Company. In late 1774 the Patriots set up their own alternative. The Patriot leadership professed the political philosophies of liberalism and republicanism to reject monarchy and aristocracy, and proclaimed that all men are created equal.

The British were forced out of Boston in 1776, but then captured and held New York City for the duration of the war, nearly capturing General Washington and his army.

In early 1778, following a failed patriot invasion of Canada, a British army was captured by a patriot army at the Battle of Saratoga, following which the French entered the war as allies of the United States. The war later turned to the American South, where the British captured an army at South Carolina, but failed to enlist enough volunteers from Loyalist civilians to take effective control. A combined American–French force captured a second British army at Yorktown in 1781, effectively ending the war in the United States. A peace treaty in 1783 confirmed the new nations complete separation from the British Empire

Among the significant results of the revolution was the creation of a democratically-elected representative government responsible to the will of the people. Congress had powers of taxation that were lacking under the old Articles. The United States Bill of Rights of 1791 comprised the first ten amendments to the Constitution, guaranteeing many “natural rights” that were influential in justifying the revolution. The American gave birth to the ethic that has formed a core of political values in the United States.

 Civil War

civil war

The Civil War is the central event in American’s history. The Revolution of 1776-1783 created the United States, the Civil War of 1861-1865 determined what kind of nation it would be.

Northern victory in the war preserved the United States as one nation and ended the institution of slavery that had divided the country from its beginning. Nearly as many American soldiers as died in all the other wars in which this country has fought combined. The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states.

The real fighting began in 1862. Huge battles like Shiloh in Tennessee, Gaines, Second Manassas, and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland foreshadowed even bigger campaigns and battles in subsequent years, from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Vicksburg on the Mississippi to Chickamauga and Atlanta in Georgia.

The year of 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia staved off invasions and attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by a series of ineffective generals.

Meantime Union armies and river fleets in the theatre of war comprising the slave states west of the Appalachian Mountain chain won a long series of victories over Confederate armies commanded by hapless or unlucky Confederate generals. In 1864-1865 General William Tecumseh Sherman led his army deep into the Confederate heartland of Georgia and South Carolina, destroying their economic infrastructure while General George Thomas virtually destroyed the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee at the battle of Nashville.
By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union cavalry captured the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865, resistance collapsed and the war ended. The long, painful process of rebuilding a united nation free of slavery began.

Apollo11

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On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (1930) became the first humans ever to land on the moon. About six-and-a-half hours later, Armstrong the one who walk on the moon. Armstrong famously said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The Apollo 11 mission occurred eight years after President John Kennedy (1917-63) announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, took place in 1972.

In 1966, after five years of work the Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted the first unmanned Apollo mission, testing the structural integrity of the proposed launch vehicle and spacecraft combination. Then, on January 27, 1967, tragedy struck at Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, when a fire broke out during a manned launch-pad test of the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rocket. Three astronauts were killed in the fire.
At 9:32 a.m. EDT on July 16, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Centre with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission.

After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:17 p.m. the craft touched down on the south-western edge of the Sea of Tranquillity. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a now-famous message: “The Eagle has landed.”

At 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of the original schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module. As he made his way down the module’s ladder, a television camera attached to the craft recorded his progress and beamed the signal back to Earth, where hundreds of millions watched in great anticipation. At 10:56 p.m., as Armstrong stepped off the ladder and planted his foot on the moon’s powdery surface

Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface 19 minutes later, and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests and spoke with President Richard Nixon (1913-94) via Houston. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21, both astronauts were back in the lunar module and the hatch was closed. The two men slept that night on the surface of the moon, and at 1:54 p.m. the Eagle began its ascent back to the command module. Among the items left on the surface of the moon was a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon–July 1969 A.D–We came in peace for all mankind.”

At 5:35 p.m., Armstrong and Aldrin successfully docked and re-joined Collins, and at 12:56 a.m. on July 22 Apollo 11 began its journey home, safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:50 p.m. on July 24.

Titanic sinks

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At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before.

On April 10, the RMS Titanic, one of the largest and most luxurious ocean liners ever built, departed Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The Titanic was designed by the Irish shipbuilder William Pirrie and built in Belfast, and was thought to be the world’s fastest ship. It spanned 883 feet from stern to bow, and its hull was divided into 16 compartments that were presumed to be watertight. Because four of these compartments could be flooded without causing a critical loss of buoyancy, the Titanic was considered unsinkable. While leaving port, the ship came within a couple of feet of the steamer New York but passed safely by, causing a general sigh of relief from the passengers massed on the Titanic‘s decks. On its first journey across the highly competitive Atlantic ferry route, the ship carried some 2,200 passengers and crew.

After stopping at Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland, to pick up some final passengers, the massive vessel set out at full speed for New York City. However, just before midnight on April 14, the RMS Titanic failed to divert its course from an iceberg and ruptured at least five of its hull compartments. These compartments filled with water and pulled down the bow of the ship. Then the Titanic broke in half, and, at about 2:20 a.m. on April 15, stern and bow sank to the ocean floor.

Because of a shortage of lifeboats and the lack of satisfactory emergency procedures, more than 1,500 people went down in the sinking ship or froze to death in the icy North Atlantic waters. Most of the 700 or so survivors were women and children. Announcement of details of the tragedy led to outrage on both sides of the Atlantic. The first International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea was held in 1913. Rules were adopted requiring that every ship have lifeboat space for each person on board, and that lifeboat drills be held. An International Ice Patrol was established to monitor icebergs in the North Atlantic shipping lanes.

On September 1, 1985, a joint U.S.French expedition located the wreck of the Titanic lying on the ocean floor at a depth of about 13,000 feet. The ship was explored by manned and unmanned submersibles, which shed new light on the details of its sinking.

Gulf war

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On November 29, 1990, the U.N. Security Council authorized to force against Iraq. if it did not withdraw from Kuwait by the following January 15. By January, the coalition forces prepared to face off against Iraq. The coalition effort, known as Operation Desert Storm, benefited from the latest military technology, including Stealth bombers, Cruise missiles, so-called “Smart” bombs with laser-guidance systems and infrared night-bombing equipment. The Iraqi air force was either destroyed early on or opted out of combat under the relentless attack, the objective of which was to win the war in the air and minimize combat on the ground as much as possible.

On February 28, Bush ending the Persian Gulf War. In the Gulf War, Kuwait and Iraq suffered enormous damage. In the immediate after the war, Hussein’s forces brutally suppressed a revolt by Kurds in the north of Iraq and Shiites in the south. The United States-led coalition failed to support the revolt. In the followed years U.S. and British aircraft continued to patrol skies and mandate a no-fly zone over Iraq. This resulted in an interruption of hostilities in 1998. Additionally Iraqi force regularly exchanged fire with U.S. and British aircraft over the no-fly zone.

In the year 2002, the United States sponsored a new U.N. resolution calling for the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq; U.N. inspectors re-entered Iraq that November. Bush without any further U.N. approval issued an ultimatum on March 17, 2003, demanding that Saddam Hussein step down from power and leave Iraq within 48 hours, under threat of war. Hussein refused, and the second Persian Gulf War–more generally known as the Iraq War–began three days later.

Hindenburg disaster

Hindenberg

The atmosphere was crumpled, the great airship flutter above its landing spot at New Jersey’s Lakehurst Naval Station on May 6.

In1937 the Hindenburg was just completing its first trip with ninety-seven people. Few days later she decided to return to Frankfurt – loaded with American passengers planning to attend the coronation of George VI.

Within 34seconds after Commander Rosendahl initially saw a small burst of flame on the top of the ship, Hindenburg was completely destroyed in an unbelievable fire. The 62 people miraculously survived.

The Hindenburg which had become a huge ball of fire was falling out of the sky!

Later Dr. Addison Bain (a retired NASA scientist) Conducted an independent investigation decades and he did not believe that hydrogen blamed. Otto Beyersdorff, a German engineer originally investigating the disaster, had concluded (by June of 1937) that the massive fire was caused by Hindenburg’s paint. It was extremely flammable.

In this story behind the disaster, see the great airship (designated LZ 129) as she was built in Germany and as she was consumed by flames in America.

World trade bombing

World trade bombing

A terrorist bomb explodes at 12.18 p.m. in a parking garage of the World Trade Centre in New York City, leaving a crater 60 feet wide and causing the collapse of several steel-reinforced concrete floors in the vicinity of the blast. But the terrorist bomb failed to critically damage the main structure of the skyscrapers, six people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.

The World Trade Centre itself suffered more than $500 million in damage. After the attack, authorities evacuated 50,000 people from the buildings, hundreds of whom were suffering from smoke inhalation. The evacuation lasted the whole afternoon.

City authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undertook the case and within days several radical Islamic fundamentalists were arrested. In March 1994, the criminals who responsible for the major crisis, were put into the prison. Two weeks later the one who helped to buy and mix the explosives was caught.

The mastermind of the attack–Ramzi Ahmed Yousef–remained at large until February 1995, when he was arrested in Pakistan. Eyed Ismoil, who drove the Ryder van into the parking garage below the World Trade Center, was captured in Jordan that year and taken back to New York.

In 1998 the bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, were began to suspect by U.S. investigators. Whether bin Laden was in fact involved in the 1993 twin tower attacks has not been determined.

The structural steel of the skyscrapers could not withstand the tremendous heat generated by the burning jet fuel, and both collapsed within two hours of being struck. Close to 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center and its vicinity, including a staggering 343 fire-fighters and 23 policemen who were struggling to complete the evacuation and save the office workers trapped on higher floors. Only six people in the World Trade Center towers at the time of their collapse survived. Almost 10,000 other people were treated for injuries, many severe.

Statue of liberty

statue of liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a joint effort between France and the United States, intended to commemorate the lasting friendship between the peoples of the two nations. The Statue of Liberty was then given to the United States and erected atop an American-designed pedestal on a small island in Upper New York Bay, now known as Liberty Island. Over the years, in 1986 the statue stood tall as millions of immigrants arrived in America via nearby Ellis Island

Today, the Statue of Liberty remains an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy, as well as one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks.

Due to the need to raise funds for the statue, the sculpture did not begin until 1875. Bartholdi’s massive creation, titled “Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World,” depicted a woman holding a torch in her raised right hand and a tablet in her left, upon which was engraved “July 4, 1776,” Bartholdi, modelled the woman’s face after  his mother, hammered large copper sheets to create the statue’s “skin”. The skeleton was created by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, designer of Paris’ Eiffel Tower.

In 1885, Bartholdi completed the statue with the height reached 305 feet including the pedestal. On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland officially dedicated the Statue of Liberty in front of thousands of spectators.

In 1892, the U.S. government opened a federal immigration station on Ellis Island, located near Bedloe’s Island in Upper New York Bay

Until 1901, the U.S. Lighthouse Board operated the Statue of Liberty, as the statue’s torch represented a navigational aid for sailors. After that date, it was placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. War Department. In 1924, the federal government made the statue a national monument, and it was transferred to the care of the National Parks Service in 1933.

By the early 20th century, the oxidation of the Statue of Liberty’s copper skin through exposure to rain, wind and sun had given the statue a distinctive green colour, known as verdigris. On July 5, 1986, the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public in a centennial celebration. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Liberty Island closed for 100 days until august 2004.In July 2009, the statue’s crown was again reopened to the public, though visitors must make a reservation to climb to the top of the pedestal or to the crown.

Manhattan project

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The Manhattan Project was based at a 428,000-acre industrial complex in New Mexico; thousands of the West’s best scientists had worked on the project at one time or another. $2 billion had been spent. By mid-July, 1945, not even Robert Oppenheimer who was the civilian leader of the project knew if ‘The Beast’ or ‘The Thing’ or ‘The Device’ (as the scientists variously nick-named the bomb. There were varied opinions– some believed it would fail to explode.

On July 14th, two hemispheres of plutonium were moved from Los Alamos to the test site. The omens for a successful outcome were not good. On July 15th, one of the so-called X-units (the trigger that would actually detonate the bomb) had blown its circuits for no known reason.

Also as the bomb was being lifted up to the top of a detonation tower, it had fallen 50 feet and landed on mattresses without any damage.

Robert Oppenheimer was a very nervous man as the time for the test explosion approached. At one time, he had 100,000 people working under his command.

In the early morning of July 16th, Groves took command of what was going on. Groves decided to delay the test. The original firing time had been 04.00 but because of the weather problem it’s delayed. Finally at 05.30, as planned, the first atomic explosion in history took place. It is estimated at the instant of the explosion, the temperature at the core of the bomb was 60 million degrees centigrade and that the initial explosion was brighter than the sun. It is said that the force of the bomb destroyed windows 120 miles away. The explosion was the equivalent of 22,000 tons of conventional explosives. The brilliant light created by the explosion had been seen 180 miles away.

Louisiana Purchase

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 We cannot forget the one shrewd business deal, Thomas Jefferson doubled the United States of America’s area. The U. S. paid 60 million francs, and cancelled French debts totalling another 18 million, for a grand total of 78 million francs, or about $15 million. Today, that would be worth about $220 million, which is an extraordinarily good sale price for 828,800 square miles.

Today that area comprises some 15 states, including all of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. Jefferson couldn’t pass up a deal. It should be noted that France’s illustrious leader at the time, Napoleon Bonaparte, made this deal mostly for the money, but also to give “England a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride.” Not that America ever did conquer Britain on the high seas (no one ever did), but Napoleon thought it would take a bit of the oceanic strain off his aspirations for global conquest. Two years later, his and Spain’s navies met England’s under Lord Horatio Nelson off Cape Trafalgar, Spain, and his sale of the Louisiana territory wasn’t such a sale anymore.

Jefferson immediately ordered the territory explored, and commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for the job. His purpose was multiple, with both scientific and commercial goals, especially “to find direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce with Asia.” At the time, no one on Earth, except for the thousand or so tribes of Indians, knew what sort of environs Lewis and Clark were to go through. They were still looking for the Northwest Passage, but the Pacific Ocean said, “No.” This single business transaction left only about a third of the modern United States to be explored, acquired, and founded.

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