Year
1971

173rd Airborne Brigade departs Vietnam

U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade, among the first U.S. ground units sent to Vietnam, ceases combat operations and prepares to redeploy to the United States as part of Nixon’s troop withdrawal plan.

As the redeployment commenced, the communists launched a new offensive to disrupt the upcoming General Assembly elections in South Vietnam. The height of the new offensive occurred from August 28 to August 30, when the Communists executed 96 attacks in the northern part of South Vietnam. U.S. bases also came under attack at Lai Khe, Cam Ranh Bay, and other areas. Nixon’s troop reduction plans were supposedly tied to the level of enemy activity on the battlefield, but once they began, very little attention was paid to what the enemy was doing and the withdrawals continued unabated.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Paris liberated

After more than four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. German resistance was light, and General Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison, defied an order by Adolf Hitler to blow up ...read more

Englishman swims the Channel

Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old merchant navy captain, becomes the first known person to successfully swim the English Channel. Captain Webb accomplished the grueling 21-mile crossing, which really entailed 39 miles of swimming because of tidal currents, in 21 hours and 45 minutes. ...read more

Council of Nicaea concludes

The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church, concludes with the establishment of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in May, the council also deemed the Arian belief of Christ as inferior to God as ...read more

The Great Moon Hoax

On this day in 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper. Known collectively as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The ...read more

Liberation of Paris

On this day in 1944, French General Jacques Leclerc enters the free French capital triumphantly. Pockets of German intransigence remained, but Paris was free from German control. Two days earlier, a French armored division had begun advancing on the capital. Members of the ...read more

Germans burn Belgian town of Louvain

Over the course of five days, beginning August 25, 1914, German troops stationed in the Belgian village of Louvain during the opening month of World War I burn and loot much of the town, executing hundreds of civilians. Located between Liege, the fortress town that saw heavy ...read more

Gooden becomes youngest 20-game winner in history

On August 25, 1985, New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden becomes the youngest 20-game winner in Major League Baseball history. Gooden was 20 years, nine months and nine days old when he led his Mets over the San Diego Padres 9-3–a month younger than “Bullet” Bob Feller was when he ...read more

Outlaw Bill Doolin is killed

The outlaw Bill Doolin is killed by a posse at Lawson, Oklahoma. Born in Arkansas in 1858, William Doolin was never as hardened a criminal as some of his companions. He went west in 1881, finding work in Oklahoma at the big ranch of Oscar D. Halsell. Halsell took a liking to the ...read more

Hurricane David is born

On this day in 1979, the storm that will become Hurricane David forms near Cape Verde off the African coast in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It would go on to devastate the island of Dominica, and then the Dominican Republic, killing 1,500 people. On August 27, two days after ...read more

In Cold Blood author dies

Truman Capote, the author of the pioneering true-crime novel In Cold Blood dies at age 59 in Los Angeles. In Cold Blood told the story of the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, two parolees from the Kansas State Penitentiary, ...read more

Samantha Smith dies in plane crash

Samantha Smith, the 13-year-old “ambassador” to the Soviet Union, dies in a plane crash. Smith was best known for writing to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1982 and visiting the Soviet Union as Andropov’s guest in 1983. In late 1982, Smith, a fifth-grader at Manchester ...read more