Here is a sampling of the significant military events with milestone anniversaries this year:
25th Anniversary of the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, August 2, 1990
On a map, Kuwait looks like a small and inconsequential patch of land. But to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1990, it held great appeal. The Kuwaitis had two things he wanted: oil and access to the Persian Gulf. Hussein had accused Kuwait of stealing from the oil field that straddled the Iraq-Kuwait border. Most experts dismissed Hussein’s threats as posturing. They were wrong. On August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait which quickly surrendered to the Iraqi army, at the time the fourth-largest in the world.
50th Anniversary of the first U.S. combat troops in South Vietnam, Mar. 8, 1965
In 1960, the United States had roughly 750 military advisors in South Vietnam; by 1964, the number had grown to 16,000. In Aug., 1964, Congress authorized the use of force against North Vietnam in the wake of a purported attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. After Viet Cong attacks on U.S. military facilities in South Vietnam in early Feb. 1965, President Lyndon Johnson ordered the dispatch of the first U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam.
70th Anniversary of the end of World War II
May 8, 1945 is the seventieth anniversary of V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe. August 14 marks the seventieth anniversary of V-J Day, Japan’s unconditional surrender to end World War II in the Pacific.
100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Lusitania, May 7, 1915
The passengers on board the RMS Lusitania were looking forward to the end of their voyage from New York. But the ship never reached port. Twelve miles off of southern Ireland, a German U-boat lay waiting. It fired one of its two remaining torpedoes and scored a direct hit. The Lusitania sank in just eighteen minutes; nearly 1,200 passengers, including 128 Americans, died. The result was the U.S entry into World War I.
150th Anniversary of the Surrender at Appomattox & Lincoln’s Assassination
April 9, 1865 after four years of Civil War, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, at the McLean home in rural Appomattox Court House, VA. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes.
April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, fatally shot President Lincoln at a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Booth—himself a well-known actor at the time—had planned the simultaneous assassination of Lincoln, Vice Pres. Andrew Johnson, Sec. of State William Seward as well as Gen. Grant. Booth and his co-conspirators hoped that murdering the president, two of his successors and Gen. Grant, would throw the government into disarray.
200th Anniversary of The Battle of New Orleans January 2, 1815
It was the last battle of the War of 1812 though actually fought after the war had officially ended.
The Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815
Napoleon Bonaparte was perhaps the greatest military and political genius of all time. Yet his defeat in battle south of Brussels, Belgium gave the world the metaphor for ultimate failure, “Waterloo”.
800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, June 15, 1215
The legacy of the Magna Carta lives today in the writ of habeas corpus, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2015” by James M. Lindsay. The Water’s Edge. Dec. 1, 2014