Year
1990

Bush and Gorbachev end second summit meeting

President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev end their three-day summit meeting with warm words of friendship but without any concrete agreement concerning German reunification.

Bush and Gorbachev held their second summit conference in Washington, D.C. The main topic of conversation was the future of a reunified Germany. Communist rule in East Germany had already crumbled and the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989. Differences arose between the United States and the Soviet Union, however, over the issue of a reunified Germany in Cold War Europe. The United States wished for the new Germany to be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which had been created in 1949 as a mutual defense organization to oppose Soviet expansion into Western Europe. The Soviet Union, already somewhat fearful of a reunified and armed Germany, expressed grave concerns over German membership in NATO. Gorbachev proposed that the new Germany be a member of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the communist bloc equivalent of NATO. Also part of the discussions at the second summit was the fate of Lithuania, the Soviet republic that had proclaimed its independence in late 1989. The Soviet government responded harshly to the Lithuanian independence movement, imposing economic sanctions and threatening military intervention. The Bush administration was clearly in favor of independence for Lithuania and asked the Soviet government to cease its threatening attitude toward the republic.

No agreements were reached at the summit concerning either Germany or Lithuania, or any other issue for that matter. President Bush, however, preferred to end the meetings on a positive note, declaring, “We’ve moved a long, long way from the depths of the Cold War. I don’t quite know how to quantify it for you, but we could never have had the discussions at Camp David yesterday, or as we sat in the Oval Office a couple of days before, with President Gorbachev, 20 years ago.” Events of the next year, however, rendered moot the issues that had been raised at the summit. Economic and political turmoil in the Soviet Union led to Gorbachev’s resignation as president in December 1991, at which point the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Terrorists attack London Bridge

During one horrific 8-minute period on June 3, 2017, eight people were killed as a band of terrorists drove a van through a pedestrian walkway on the London Bridge. The men then exited, armed with pink steak knives, and proceeded to slash and stab people in a nearby market.The ...read more

Duke of Windsor weds

In France, the duke of Windsor–formerly King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Northern Ireland–marries Wallis Warfield, the American divorcee for whom he abdicated the British throne in December 1936.Edward, born in 1896, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the ...read more

An American walks in space

One hundred and 20 miles above the earth, Major Edward H. White II opens the hatch of the Gemini 4 and steps out of the capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to walk in space. Attached to the craft by a 25-foot tether and controlling his movements with a hand-held oxygen ...read more

Crackdown at Tiananmen begins

With protests for democratic reforms entering their seventh week, the Chinese government authorizes its soldiers and tanks to reclaim Beijing’s Tiananmen Square at all costs. By nightfall on June 4, Chinese troops had forcibly cleared the square, killing hundreds and arresting ...read more

Nixon calls Cambodian operation a success

In a televised speech, President Richard Nixon claims the Allied drive into Cambodia is the “most successful operation of this long and difficult war,” and that he is now able to resume the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam.U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had launched ...read more

Le Duc Tho joins negotiations in Paris

Le Duc Tho, a member of the North Vietnam Communist Party’s Politburo, joins the North Vietnamese negotiating team as a special counselor. The Paris peace talks had begun in March 1968, but had made little headway in ending the war. In August 1969, Tho and Henry Kissinger would ...read more

Josh Gibson hits ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium

On this day in 1937, The Sporting News reports that catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays hit a ball two feet from the top of the façade of Yankee Stadium, 580 feet from home plate. If Negro League records were kept alongside those of the National and American ...read more

Western author Larry McMurtry is born

Larry McMurtry, one of the most talented modern writers working in the western genre, is born in Wichita Falls, Texas.McMurtry’s family had been involved in Texas ranching for three generations, and he was exposed to ranching life from an early age. McMurtry, however, ultimately ...read more

Larry McMurtry is born

Bestselling novelist Larry McMurtry is born on this day in Wichita Falls, Texas. Many of his novels will be set in Texas and the West.McMurtry was raised by his grandparents, first-generation pioneers who settled Archer City, Texas. McMurtry, who read nothing but drugstore ...read more

Lew Wasserman dies

In the words of Jack Valenti, the longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA): “If Hollywood is Mount Olympus, Lew Wasserman is Zeus.” Wasserman, an agent and studio executive who was arguably the most influential mogul in Hollywood for some 40 years ...read more

Natural gas explosion kills 500 in Russia

In a freak and tragic accident, a natural-gas pipeline explodes in Russia’s Ural Mountains just as two trains pass it. The explosion occurred near the town of Ufa in what was then the Soviet Union and was the result of poor judgment by pipeline workers. They were aware that the ...read more

Union disaster at Cold Harbor

On this day, Union General Ulysses S. Grant makes what he later recognizes to be his greatest mistake by ordering a frontal assault on entrenched Confederates at Cold Harbor, Virginia. The result was some 7,000 Union casualties in less than an hour of fighting.Grant’s Army of the ...read more