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When Did World War Two Begin?

31 Aug

When Did World War Two Begin?

 

While the easy and most accepted answer is September 1, 1939, other dates are in contention for that horrible honorific. On that date, 1.5 million German troops invaded Poland from three sides.

 

Warsaw, Poland after German Bombing in 1939

Warsaw, Poland after German Bombing in 1939

On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland.  Three days later, Britain, France, and Canada declared war on Germany in support of the embattled Poles.  On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union, acting in concert with the Nazis, invaded Poland from the east.  By October 6, 1936, the German and Soviet invasion of Poland was complete.  The last of the Polish forces had been defeated or driven into exile. 

Nazi-Soviet Partition of Poland

Nazi-Soviet Partition of Poland in 1939

While the Polish government and those troops and airmen who had escaped continued to fight on alongside Allied forces in other theaters, the nightmare inside Poland was just beginning.  Poland would suffer over six million deaths in World War Two.  The vast majority of these came as a result of the Holocaust, but many were also battle deaths, as ethnic Poles and Polish Jews resisted the Nazi occupiers.  The Soviets were also responsible for many Polish deaths, both in their initial invasion and also when they returned in 1944 and 1945 to drive out the Germans.

Poland suffered the highest population loss of any nation in World War Two as a percentage of the nation’s pre-war population.

While World War Two in Asia is often said to have started with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, for Europe, World War Two began on September 1, 1939.

 
 

Syrian War Page

01 Sep

With President Obama’s controversial decision to ask Congress for approval to attack Syria or not to attack Syria, the middle eastern nation is obviously in the news a lot lately, and likely will remain in the news for some time.  One question that remains is, will Syria now refrain from further chemical weapon attacks, or will Assad be emboldened to continue using chemical weapons on the rebels?

 

The link below is to a page on the Syrian War, which will be updated regularly as events warrant.

 

http://www.historyguy.com/syrian_civil_war.htm

 

Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad

 

Custer’s Last Stand 137th Anniversary

25 Jun

 

George Armstrong Custer

George Armstrong Custer

June 25, 1876, 137 years ago today, Lt. General George Armstrong Custer met his fate at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  History, and America’s historical memory (such as it is), remembers that battle by another name:  Custer’s Last Stand

Why is Custer’s Last Stand so well-known among America’s military defeats?  Unusually, for American military history, this battle (and a battle it was, not a massacre, as some folks like to think of it), is known by a person’s name.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons this battle resonates throughout our history, even to this day.  While Custer and 265 of his men (and quite a few Sioux and Cheyenne warriors as well), died that day on the banks of the Little Bighorn River, the news of this military disaster reached the eastern cities on the eve of  the 100th anniversary of the United States’ birth.  The juxtaposition of the nation’s Centennial celebrations with one of the worst military defeats of the Native American wars caused not a little shock to the America’s collective consciousness.  But again, the mythology and the reality of the situation do not always jive.

Many of the stories surrounding the Little Bighorn battle refer to Custer’s defeat as the worst U.S. Army defeat of the Indian Wars.  Yet, while significant in its time, this defeat paled in comparison to the Battle of the Wabash in 1791, in which General St. Clair lost to Native American forces in what is known as Little Turtle’s War.  St. Clair lost nearly 1,000 men, yet this battle is little remembered and the anniversary (November 4), is not marked at all in popular culture.

Custer was a dashing figure who was very well-known in his time, not just for his exploits on the western frontier, but also for his heroism and his victories in the Civil War.  Yes, his defeat was a big deal at the time, but within a few months, the reinforced U.S. Army won the Sioux War and forced Sitting Bull, the victor of the Little Bighorn, to go into exile in Canada.  American history is full of military defeats, but Custer’s Last Stand is perhaps the most well-known and mythologized of them all.

 

 

Korean War’s 63rd Anniversary No Cause To Celebrate

25 Jun

Today marks the 63rd anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.  The war in Korea was an unusual and unique conflict in many regards, not the least of which is the fact that the war technically never ended, but is only on a hiatus with an armistice.  And, unlike many other more “typical” wars, the non-outcome of the Korean War continues to haunt East Asia, the United States, and, in a sense, the whole world.

When North Korea’s Communist dictator, Kim Il-Sung launched his invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, he set in motion a conflict that would engage much of the world.  By the end of 1950, the United States and over a dozen other nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia, Turkey, and other members of the so-called Free World, were fighting to preserve South Korean independence under the authority of the United Nations.  Also, by the end of 1950, the world’s most populous nation, China, entered the war on the Communist side.  And, as this conflict was a significant component of the new Cold War, the Soviet Union was heavily involved, providing material, moral, and diplomatic support for the Communist war effort.  In a little-known fact, Soviet pilots were aiding the North Koreans by flying North Korean warplanes as they battled the UN air forces.  All this made the Korean War a potential starting point for a new World War, with potentially disastrous consequences as both the U.S. and the Soviets possessed atomic bombs by then.

The Korean War, while very significant historically, is often left out of the popular consciousness in America because it is sandwiched between the Second World War and the Vietnam War.  This is despite the opinion that in many ways, the Korean conflict, and the fact that it never truly ended, has had more far-reaching effects on world history and the current world situation than the Vietnam War or most of the other Cold War conflicts fought by the U.S. and her allies.  For example, the survival of the North Korean regime allowed the Kim family dynasty of dictators to develop nuclear weapons, with which they now threaten and harass not just South Korea, but also Japan and the United States.  In addition, the North Koreans are known proliferators of their nuclear technology, with known links to the nuclear programs of Pakistan, Iran, and Syria.

Every few years, actual combat breaks out between North and South Korean forces, always as a result of a North Korean provocation.  In the 1960s, the U.S. and South Korean troops along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two warring Koreas waged a defensive war against North Korean infiltrators for several years in what is now called “The DMZ War.”  In 1968, North Korean forces seized a U.S. naval ship, the USS Pueblo, and held the crew captive for nearly a year.  In the 1970s, North Korean troops attacked some American soldiers with axes.  In the 1980s, a North Korean submarine landed a large force of commandoes inside South Korea, leading to running gun battles throughout the South Korean countryside.  In the 21st Century, North Korea has sunk a South Korean naval ship, and bombarded a South Korean island with an artillery barrage.  While all this

North Korea is now ruled by a Kim of the third-generation of dictators.  Under the latest Kim, frequent threats of war against the United States, South Korea, and Japan are an almost monthly occurrence.  The Korean War began in the hills and fields of Korea 63 years ago.  It is still being fought in many ways today, June 25, 2013.  Except that while the weapons of 1950 were for the most part leftovers from World War Two, the weapons of today, with which Kim Jong-Un, the latest North Korean tyrant threatens to use on his neighbors and enemies, are the weapons of the long-feared Third World War.

 

Sources on the Korean War’s ongoing issues, from Historyguy.com:

http://www.historyguy.com/korean_border_conflicts.htm

http://www.historyguy.com/korean_nuclear_crisis.htm

http://www.historyguy.com/korean_naval_battle_2009.htm

 

Historyguy Newsletter 06.02.13

02 Jun

The Syrian War Expands

 

Below is the link to the updated on the Wars of Lebanon page.  This page lists the many wars involving Lebanon and now includes information on Hezbollah’s intervention into the Syrian War. Syrian rebels are now attacking Hezbollah inside Lebanon as Hezbollah troops battle inside Syria. http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_lebanon.htm

 

A related post can be found at the War and Conflict Journal on the topic of how the Syrian War is expanding into a regional conflict.  This was written prior to the Syrian rebels firing rockets into Lebanon and the subsequent ground fighting between Hezbollah and the Syrian rebels.  That article can be found at http://warandconflictjournal.com/2013/05/syrian-conflict-is-now-a-regional-war/

 

Memorial Day Remembrance: One Hundred Years of American Wars

26 May
American Troops Land in Normandy During World War Two

American Troops Land in Normandy During World War Two

Another Memorial Day is upon us.  Today, in May of 2013, we are in the 12th year of the War in Afghanistan, we are ten years gone from the start of the War in Iraq, and now 22 years since the first War with Iraq, (better known as Operation Desert Storm),  and the 100th anniversary of start of World War One is only a year away. 

What does this roll call of wars and years really mean?  Americans like to think of themselves as a peace-loving people who only go to war when necessary.  Generally, that is not an inaccurate statement.  Americans generally speaking, do not want more war.  We are not ancient Sparta with its ingrained militaristic culture.  Nor are we an ancient Athens, with an almost obsessive desire to spread out and establish new colonies everywhere.  But we may be more like ancient Rome.  Suddenly thrust into superpower status, with economic and political ties to many regions far from home, we send our troops and our treasure far and wide.  Often, it is to protect our allies.  Frequently, there is an economic or financial relationship to an intervention.  And, most of America’s conflicts are usually couched in terms of a moral imperative.  Frequently, that moral impetus is also tied to more hard-nosed political, military, diplomatic, and/or economic realities.  All of these reasons, or excuses, if you will, add up to an amazingly large number of wars, conflicts, military interventions, and American casualties over the years.

American Troops in the Afghanistan War

American Troops in the Afghanistan War

An American born in 1913 would be one hundred years old now.  In the span of that person’s life, America has fought quite a few major wars, and has been engaged in numerous smaller wars.  Let’s look at a list of American foreign wars and conflicts since 1913. The wars that are generally considered by historians as “Major Wars,” are in bold.

  1. 1912-1933—U.S. occupation of Nicaragua, including the Sandino War (1927-1934)
  2. 1913—In the Philippines, American territory since the Spanish-American War of 1898, the U.S. Army fights the last battles against the Moros (members of a Filipino Muslim group).
  3. 1914—The U.S. seized, by force, the Mexican port city of Veracruz.
  4. 1915-1934—America militarily occupies Haiti
  5. 1916-1924– America militarily occupies the Dominican Republic
  6. 1917-1922– America militarily occupies Cuba (for the fourth time)
  7. 1916-1917—In response to a raid by the Mexican rebel Pancho Villa, the U.S. Army invaded northern Mexico in an attempt to capture Villa.
  8. 1919-U.S. military intervention in Honduras
  9. 1917-1918-The U.S. declares war on Germany and other members of the Central Powers, entering into World War One.
  10. 1919-1921—The U.S., Britain, France, Japan, and others, send troops to Russia intervene in the Russian Civil War.  U.S. troops finally leave Russia in 1921.
  11. 1924-1925–U.S. military intervention in Honduras
  12. 1927—During one of China’s civil wars, the American destroyers USS Noa and USS Preston, and the British cruiser HMS Emerald, fired shells into the Chinese city of Nanking to clear the streets, then dispersed the attackers with gunfire.
  13. 1937–USS Panay Incident.  During the Sino-Japanese War, the U.S. Navy maintained several river gunboats to protect American interests on the Yangtze River in China. In late 1937, the Japanese advance on Nanking, which served as China’s wartime capital city, caused the American embassy there to evacuate. While conducting the U.S. diplomatic evacuation and while also escorting American Standard Oil barges, one gunboat, the USS Panay, came under attack from Japanese warplanes. After several runs by the Japanese planes, the Panay and two of the oil barges were sunk. The surviving crew and passengers escaped and found shelter with friendly Chinese until they could be picked up by other U.S. ships. Two U.S. sailors and one civilian passenger were killed, while eleven others were wounded.
  14. 1940—American forces were sent to protect British military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana as part of the Lend-Lease program with Britain during World War Two.  The U.S. was still officially neutral in that war.
  15. 1941—In April, American troops occupy Greenland in order to protect it from Germany.
  16. 1941–USS Tutuila Incident –Japanese aircraft bomb USS Tutuila (PR-4) at Chungking, China on July 30, 1941. 
  17. 1941—In July, the U.S. takes over the duty of protecting Iceland, replacing British troops.
  18. 1941–USS Kearny –The destroyer USS Kearny (DD-432) was torpedoed and damaged southwest of Iceland on Oct. 17, 1941 by a German submarine.
  19. 1941–USS Salinas — The oiler USS Salinas (AO-19) is torpedoed by a German submarine 700 miles east of Newfoundland on October 30, 1941. There are no casualties and the ship makes port.
  20. 1941–USS Reuben James – -The German submarine U-552 sinks the USS Reuben James (DD- 245) on Oct. 31, 1941.   The Reuben James was escorting Convoy HX 156, with the loss of 115 lives. This is the first U.S. ship lost to enemy action in the European/Atlantic Theater in World War II.
  21. 1941– In November, American troops occupy Dutch Guiana, with the permission of the Dutch government, in order to protect this colony from Germany.
  22. 1941-1945—Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, the U.S. officially enters World War Two.
  23. 1945-1949—U.S. military occupation of part of western Germany.
  24. 1945-1955—U.S. military occupation of part of Austria
  25. 1945-1952—U.S. military occupation of Japan
  26. 1945-1949—U.S. military occupation of South Korea
  27. 1945-1991—The Cold War.  U.S. forces are stationed in many parts of the world to contain the power of the Communist Bloc nations led by the Soviet Union and China.
  28. 1945-1949—Over 50,000 U.S. troops are sent to China, initially to aid in the disarmament of Japanese troops following the end of World War Two.  The mission changed to providing aid to the Nationalist Chinese in their war against the Communist Chinese forces of Mao. (part of Cold War)
  29. 1947-1949—U.S. military advisors aid the Greek military in fighting Communist rebels in the Greek Civil War.  The rebels were aided by the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria.  (part of Cold War)
  30. 1948-1949—The Berlin Airlift brings supplies to West Berlin, occupied by U.S., British, and French forces.  The airlift is in response to a Soviet Blockade of Berlin designed to force the Allies to abandon Berlin.  The Soviet effort failed. (part of Cold War)
  31. 1950-1953—The Korean War pits U.S. and allied forces against Soviet-backed Chinese and North Korean forces. The fighting ends in 1953, with an armistice, but the war officially never ended. Cross-border violence would periodically erupt along the border. (part of Cold War)
  32. 1955- U.S. military advisors are sent to the new Republic of South Vietnam to aid against the Communist insurgency. (part of Cold War).  This is the beginning of America’s role in the Vietnam War.
  33. 1958—U.S. troops land in Lebanon as an intervention in the first Lebanese Civil War.
  34. 1962— Cuban Missile Crisis.  U.S. blockades Cuba in response to Soviet nuclear missiles based in Cuba.  Nearly sparks World War Three.
  35. 1962—U.S. involvement in the Laotian Civil War begins.  U.S. aids the Laotian government against Communist Pathet Lao rebels and North Vietnamese troops.  This is a part of the larger Vietnam War for the U.S. (part of Cold War)
  36. 1964—U.S. military transport planes fly Belgian troops to the Congo to intervene in the Congolese Civil War.
  37. 1964—The Gulf of Tonkin Incident.  Two U.S. naval ships are attacked by North Vietnamese forces in the waters off of North Vietnam.  The American ships were there as support for a South Vietnamese naval raid on North Vietnam. (part of Cold War)
  38. 1964-1975—U.S. troops officially engage in combat as part of the Vietnam War (part of Cold War).
  39. 1965—U.S. troops intervene in the Dominican Republic to put down a rebellion.
  40. 1966-1969—DMZ War.  An unofficial and little-known extension of the ongoing Korean Conflict.   While the U.S. was distracted by the War in Vietnam, North Korean forces engaged U.S. and South Korean forces in a low-intensity border conflict along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), separating North and South Korea.
  41. 1968—USS Pueblo Crisis—On January 23,  1968, North Korean forces attacked and captured the U.S. Navy reconnaissance ship, the USS Pueblo.  The crew was held captive by North Korea for eleven months.
  42. 1967–The USS Liberty Incident—during the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab nations, the USS Liberty was attacked June 8, 1967 by Israeli armed forces, killing 34 and wounding more than 170 U.S. crew members.
  43. 1967– U.S. military transport planes again were dispatched to Congo to aid the government suppress a rebellion.
  44. 1973—U.S. engages in a massive airlift of weapons and ammunition to Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.  The Soviet Union also engages in a massive airlift in support of Syria and Egypt.  U.S. and Soviet naval forces face off in the Mediterranean Sea.  (part of Cold War)
  45. 1975—The Mayaguez Incident.  Considered the last combat action of the Vietnam conflict by American troops.   U.S. Marines attack a Cambodian island in an attempt to rescue the crew of the American ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by Cambodian Communist forces. (part of Cold War)
  46. 1978—From May to June, American transport aircraft fly Belgian and French troops to Zaire (formerly the Congo), to defeat a rebel invasion of Zaire’s Shaba Province.
  47. 1979-1981—U.S.-Iran Hostage Crisis.  The American embassy was occupied by radical Iranian forces and 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.  In 1980, the U.S. attempted a military rescue operation which failed miserably.
  48. 1979-1989—The U.S. provided extensive aid to Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan.  (part of Cold War)
  49. 1980-1988—The U.S. gave intelligence aid and diplomatic support to Iraq in its war against Iran.
  50. 1981—Salvadoran Civil War.  U.S. military advisors are sent to El Salvador to assist the government forces against Marxist rebels aided by Nicaragua and Cuba. (part of Cold War)
  51. 1981—The First Gulf of Sidra Incident occurs in April, when American warplanes clash with Libyan planes over waters near Libya.
  52. 1982—U.S. Marines are sent to Lebanon in August and September as part of a multi-national force assisting with the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) forces from the besieged city of Beirut.  This was a part of the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
  53. 1982-1984–Only nine days after the Marine withdrawal, they were again sent to Lebanon in greater numbers following the massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Shabra and Shatilla refugee camps.  This deployment will last until 1984 and will climax with the Bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut in October, 1983.  While in Lebanon, the Marines battled the Amal Shiite militia, Syrian forces, and the new Hezbollah militia.
  54. 1983—In October, the U.S. invaded the island of Grenada to effect a rescue of American medical students there and to overthrow a pro-Soviet and pro- Cuban Marxist government.
  55. 1986—Second Gulf of Sidra Incident.  American forces again clashed with the Libyan military.
  56. 1986—Operation El Dorado Canyon.  In April, American warplanes and naval forces attacked targets in Libya in retaliation for a terrorist bombing against an American target in Berlin.
  57. 1987—During the ongoing Iran-Iraq War (also called the First Persian Gulf War), the USS Stark was struck on May 17 by two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi F-1 Mirage during the Iran-Iraq War, killing 37 U.S. Navy sailors.  The U.S. did not retaliate.
  58. 1987-1988—U.S. military intervention in the Iran-Iraq War as U.S. naval forces combatted Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf in Operation Nimble Archer, and Operation Earnest Will. During this conflict, the USS Vincennes shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655.
  59. 1989—In January, American planes again engaged in combat with Libyan planes over the Gulf of Sidra.
  60. 1989—U.S. Intervention in a coup attempt in the Philippines. Known as Operation Classic Resolve, on December 1, U.S. Air Force fighters from Clark Air Base in Luzon assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay to protect the United States Embassy in Manila.
  61. 1989- In December, in the U.S. Invasion of Panama, American forces overthrew dictator Manuel Noriega.
  62. 1991—U.S. and other allied forces deployed to Saudi Arabia in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  This is known as Operation Desert Shield.
  63. 1991—In January, U.S. and allied forces liberated Kuwait in what became known as the Gulf War or the First Iraq War.  At the time, it was best known as Operation Desert Storm.
  64. 1991-1996—Operation Provide Comfort, an attempt to protect the Kurdish population of northern Iraq from Saddam Hussein.  This operation in effect resulted in an allied occupation of northern Iraq that enabled the Kurds to establish a semi-autonomous state.
  65. 1991—Allied intervention in Zaire.   On September 25–27, 1991, after widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, Zaire, Air Force C-141s transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Kinshasa. American planes also carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and transported evacuated American citizens.
  66. 1992-2003—The No-Fly Zone War against Iraq.  U.S. and British warplanes enforced a no-fly zone over much of Iraq.  These operations frequently resulted in allied attacks on Iraqi air and ground targets.  In effect, this was a low-intensity continuation of the Gulf War.  As the 2003 invasion of Iraq drew closer, the attacks on Iraqi targets continued in order to soften up Iraqi defenses.
  67. 1992-1995—U.S. and allied intervention in Somalia.  While originating as a humanitarian exercise to help the civilian population, it quickly changed into a nation-building attempt that brought American and other allied forces into combat with Somali militias.  It is believed that the first al-Qaida attacks on American targets took place at this time in Somalia as the Jihadi terrorist organization aided the Somali rebels.  The infamous Blackhawk Down incident occurred during this Somali intervention.
  68. 1993-1995—U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War.  Intervention began in 1993 with the start of a no-fly zone, with actual U.S. combat involvement starting in 1994 with the shooting down of six Serb aircraft.  In August and September of 1995, U.S. and NATO forces engaged in extensive bombing of Serb ground targets in Bosnia.   This helped lead to the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war.
  69. 1994-1995—U.S. invasion and occupation of Haiti.  While the occupation was peaceful, this is only because the Haitian government collapsed in the face of an imminent U.S. invasion.
  70. 1998—In Operation Desert Fox, U.S. and British forces engage in a major four-day bombing campaign of Iraq from December 16–19, 1998.  This was in response to an Iraqi attempt to assassinate former President George Bush while on a visit to Kuwait. This is a part of the larger No-Fly Zone War.
  71. 1998–Operation Infinite Reach.  On August 20, President Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack against two suspected al-Qaida terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical factory in Sudan.  This was in response to the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaida a few days earlier.
  72. 1999—Kosovo War. U.S. and NATO forces engage in an air war with Serbia in order to liberate the region of Kosovo from Serbia.
  73. 2000—In October, al-Qaida terrorists attack the naval ship USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.
  74. 2001—Hainan Island Incident–On April 1, 2001, a mid-air collision between a U. S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II signals surveillance aircraft and a People’s Liberation Army Navy J-8II interceptor fighter jet resulted in an international dispute between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  The crisis was resolved peacefully.
  75. 2001—9/11 Terrorist attacks on the U.S. mark the start of the U.S War on Terror.
  76. 2001-Present—War in Afghanistan.  In response to the al-Qaida attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, American and allied forces invade Afghanistan in October, 2001.  The War in Afghanistan becomes the longest official war in U.S. history. (part of the War on Terror)
  77. 2002-Present—Drone strikes on terrorist (al-Qaida and other Jihadist) targets in Yemen begin.  (part of the War on Terror)
  78. 2002-U.S. Special Forces deploy to the Philippines to assist the Filipino government in their fight against Jihadist (and al-Qaida aligned) Muslim rebels. (part of the War on Terror)
  79. 2003-2011—U.S.-led Invasion and Occupation of IraqThe Iraq War resulted in the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  (Considered by the Bush Administration to be part of the War on Terror)
  80. 2004-Present—Drone War in Pakistan.  U.S. drones operating out of Afghanistan launch missile attacks on suspected al-Qaida, Taliban, and other Jihadist targets. (part of the War on Terror)
  81. 2006-Present–U.S. Operations against Jihadist (al-Qaida, Islamic Courts, others) forces in Somalia in conjunction with Ethiopian, Ugandan, Somali government, and other allied forces.  U.S. operations include air strikes, drone strikes, Special Forces raids and assistance to allied forces fighting the Jihadist militias. (part of the War on Terror)
  82.  
  83. 2011—Libyan War.  U.S, NATO, and other allied forces aid rebels fighting to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Khadafy.
  84. 2011—On May, 2, 2011, U.S. forces conduct a raid into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden.  (part of the War on Terror)
  85. 2011—U. S. Special Forces are deployed to Uganda and Central Africa to aid in the hunt for infamous war criminal Joseph Kony and his band of LRA guerrillas.
  86. 2012—Benghazi Attack.  On September 11, 2012, suspected Jihadist militants attacked the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killing  four Americans, including the Ambassador. (part of the War on Terror)
  87. 2013—War in Mali—U.S. transport planes ferry French troops as they engage Jihadist forces in northern Mali.  (part of the War on Terror)
  88. 2013– US Air Force planes supported the French in the Bulo Marer hostage rescue attempt in Somalia. (part of the War on Terror)

Over the span of nearly 100 years, America has been engaged in 88 military conflicts.  This list does not include most cases of U.S. forces, usually Marines, going ashore to protect diplomatic missions and such.  It also does not include most cases of CIA-led coups, clashes, and proxy wars, the current Drone Wars being the exception.  More than likely, the next time Memorial Day rolls around, there will be more military engagements to add to this list, and more fallen American service members to mourn.  Let us hope that their sacrifices are not in vain.

Memorial Day Crosses

Memorial Day Crosses

 

Israeli Airstrikes into Syria 2013

05 May

Israel and Syria have been in an official state of war since 1948.  Since that first Israel-Syria conflict, (and also the first official conflict in the larger Arab-Israeli wars), the two hostile neighbors have engaged in many wars, conflicts, and border clashes.  As the Syrian Civil War (2011-Present), intensifies, Syria’s ally, the Shi’ite Lebanese militia army known as Hezbollah, has also entered the civil war against the rebels.  As conditions inside Syria continue to decay, Israel increasingly is concerned about the transfer of advanced missiles or chemical, biological, or nuclear materials from Syrian control to Hezbollah.  To that end, as of May 5, 2013, Israel has conducted three airstrikes against Syrian targets.  Below is a listing of those airstrikes into Syria.

 

January 30, 2013Israel launched air strikes into Syrian territory. Among the targets were a convoy believed to be transferring arms from Syria to Hezbollah, and Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jamarya northwest of Damascus, which was believed to be a biological weapons research center. The Israeli planes entered Syrian airspace near Mt. Hermon, flying in low at dawn to avoid radar detection.
May 3, 2013Israel launched air strike into Syria from Lebanese airspace, using the Israeli Air Force’s “stand off” bombs, capable of covering large distances, enabling Israel to take out a target inside Syira without actually entering Syrian territory. The target was believed to be a shipment of advanced missiles on its way into Lebanon for Hezbollah. The Lebanese Shi’ite militia is an active participant in the Syrian Civil War on the side of Assad regime.

Fateh-110 Conqueror Missile

Fateh-110 Conqueror Missile

May 5, 2013Israel launched the second air strike in three days on the night of Sunday, May 5, 2013. The target was apparently a shipment of Fateh-110 missiles, which are Iranian-produced missiles with precise guidance systems and aiming ability superior to anything Hezbollah currently has its arsenal. The air strike occurred in Damascus, causing multiple explosions.

 

General Petraeus and His Place in History

10 Nov

General David Petraeus, perhaps America’s best-known, and most respected military leader since Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, has resigned his post as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as the result of an extra-marital affair.  Petraeus gained intense fame and respect for leading American forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, serving under both Presidents Bush and Obama.

The affair apparently with Paula Broadwell, the woman who wrote a glowing biography of the general, came to light during a background investigation by the FBI.  While such a revelation is not always an automatic career-killer in civilian life, or even in politics, for both the military and the intelligence services, it is considered a serious security breach.  News reports have General Petraeus tendering his resignation to President Obama on Thursday (two days after the presidential election), and Obama accepting the resignation on Friday, November 09, 2012.

In the post-9/11 wars, General David Petraeus’ career in a way served as a roadmap to those wars against Islamic Jihadists (i.e. the Taliban, al-Qaida, Somalia’s Shabab, among others), as well as the wars against Saddam, Gaddafi, and the proxy wars against Assad and Iran.  He commanded the 101st Airborne Division in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  From 2007 to 2008, Petraeus commanded all U.S. forces in Iraq, and implemented the controversial, but ultimately successful “surge” of troops into insurgent-infested areas of Iraq, usually in urban areas.  Following his Iraq command, Petraeus was promoted to command the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), headquartered in Tampa, Florida.  In this position, Petraeus oversaw all American operations in the Middle East from Egypt to Pakistan.

General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

In the summer of 2010, following the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of forces in Afghanistan, President Obama assigned Petraeus to take over the war in Afghanistan.

David Petraeus retired from the military on August 31, 2011, having reached the highest working rank in the U.S. Army, that of a four-star general.  Following his retirement, the President appointed Petraeus as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  He held this important position in the so-called War on Terror until he offered to resign due to an extra-marital affair.  His resignation was accepted by President Obama on November  9, 2012.

As a result of his various commands and the influence he had on U.S. military and intelligence policy during these post-9/11 wars, General David Petraeus holds a unique place in recent American history.  If he ever writes a book of his wartime work, it will likely be a very informative tome that could shed light on many aspects on the American way of war  in the 21st Century.

 

Historyguy Newsletter 10-07-12

07 Oct

The 57th American Presidential Election will take place on November 6, 2012.  The two main party candidates this year, as everyone knows, are incumbent President Barack Obama, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  Both men, as well as their two running mates, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, possess extensive political histories and experiences that they present to the American electorate as justification for winning votes.

To learn more about these four candidates, click on the links below to access their political biographies.

Barack Obama Political Biography

http://www.historyguy.com/politics/barack_obama_political_biography.htm

 

Mitt Romney Political Biography http://www.historyguy.com/politics/mitt_romney_political_biography.htm

 

Joe Biden Political Biography http://www.historyguy.com/politics/joe_biden_political_biography.htm

 

Paul Ryan Political Biography

http://www.historyguy.com/politics/paul_ryan_political_biography.htm

 

 

Also, to learn more about the entire list of U.S. Presidents, take a look at The List of Presidents at http://www.historyguy.com/presidents_of_the_united_states.html

 

 

Did you know that eight American Presidents have died in office?  Four of those men were assassinated.  We all remember about Lincoln and Kennedy, but who were the others?  Read more about them at http://www.historyguy.com/politics/presidents_who_died_in_office.htm

 

And, finally, most of us remember that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, but who were the other American Presidents who won that award?  Find out at http://www.historyguy.com/lists/list_of_american_presidents_who_won_nobel_prize.htm

 

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History Guy Newsletter 9.29.12

29 Sep

As American and other allied forces gather in the Persian Gulf region, and as Israel continues to prepare for a possible military strike on Iran over the nuclear issue, Historyguy.com has several resources related to the history Middle East wars, as well as to the histories of the various nations and potential combatants in this escalating issue.

The regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad is allied to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is engaged in a bloody civil war with anti-Assad rebels.  Israel has stated that any potential use or transfer of Syria’s known chemical weapons inventory would be considered a reason for Israeli intervention.  The U.S. and other allied nations have made similar statements.  Here are some resources related to conflicts involving Israel and Syria:

Wars Between Israel and Syria at http://www.historyguy.com/israel_syria_wars.htm

Arab-Israeli Border Wars at http://www.historyguy.com/arab_israeli_border_wars.html

 

While Iran and Israel have not fought an official war, it is a well-known fact that the two nations have engaged in what is called “Asymmetrical Warfare” for some time now, with assassinations, sabotage, and other forms of attacks between them. For one example of this type of warfare, see http://commentary.historyguy.com/2012/07/does_terror_attack_in_bulgaria_give_israel_cause_for_war_with_iran299/299

For a look at the modern wars involving Iran (or Persia, as it used to be known), go to the page on The Wars of Iran and Persia at http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_iran.htm

If war breaks out between Israel and Iran, the other allies of Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, may also become involved, which may also draw in Egypt. For a look at the past as well as the ongoing conflicts on Israel’s northern and southern fronts, go to:

The history of the Israel-Lebanon Conflict at: http://www.historyguy.com/israel-lebanon_conflict.html

The Gaza War between Hamas and Israel at: http://www.historyguy.com/gaza_war.htm

The world is potentially on the brink of a new Middle East War, one that could draw in not only the usual belligerents (Israel, Lebanon, Syria, etc.) and Iran, but also other neighboring nations such as Turkey, Azerbaijan (Iran’s neighbor, but is friendly with Israel), but also global powers such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and other NATO nations.  The History Guy Newsletter will continue to send more frequent updates on this situation.

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