Year
1964

General Khanh ousts General Minh as chief of state

General Nguyen Khanh, elected president by the Military Council, ousts Duong Van Minh as South Vietnamese chief of state and installs a new constitution, which the U.S. Embassy had helped to draft.

Khanh said that he was not becoming a military dictator, but it was clear that he was now the chief power in the Saigon government. Within the week, student demonstrations against Khanh and the military government quickly turned into riots. Meanwhile, Henry Cabot Lodge, former ambassador to South Vietnam, went to Western Europe as a personal emissary of President Johnson to explain U.S. policy in Vietnam and to obtain more support from allies. Lodge returned with pledges from West Germany, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, and Spain to provide nonmilitary technical aid to South Vietnam, but none agreed to provide military support.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Detroit surrenders without a fight

During the War of 1812, American General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit and his army to the British without a fight. Hull, a 59-year-old veteran of the American Revolution, had lost hope of defending the settlement after seeing the large English and Indian force gathering ...read more

Elvis Presley dies

Popular music icon Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42. The death of the “King of Rock and Roll” brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription ...read more

Babe Ruth dies

On August 16, 1948, baseball legend George Herman “Babe” Ruth dies from cancer in New York City. For two days following, his body lay in state at the main entrance to Yankee Stadium, and tens of thousands of people stood in line to pay their last respects. He was buried in ...read more

Gold discovered in the Yukon

While salmon fishing near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory on this day in 1896, George Carmack reportedly spots nuggets of gold in a creek bed. His lucky discovery sparks the last great gold rush in the American West.Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in ...read more

Senior U.S. POW is released

On this day in 1945, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, (captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor, in the Philippines), is freed by Russian forces from a POW camp in Manchuria, China.When President Franklin Roosevelt transferred Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his command in ...read more

Tonkin Gulf Resolution challenged

President Johnson’s broad interpretation of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is attacked in the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee by the Chairman, Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas, who feels that Johnson has no mandate to conduct the war on the present scale. ...read more

Heavy air attacks on North Vietnam

U.S. fighter-bombers fly 370 air strikes against North Vietnam, the highest daily total of the year; additionally, there are eight B-52 strikes in the North. Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes flew 321 missions (including 27 B-52 strikes) in South Vietnam, mostly in Quang Tri province. ...read more

Batter sustains fatal injury at plate

On August 16, 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman is struck in the temple by a ball pitched by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. He died 12 hours later. This was the first and only death to occur as the result of a pitched ball in major league history.Ray Chapman was ...read more

George Carmack discovers Klondike gold

Sometime prospector George Carmack stumbles across gold while salmon fishing along the Klondike River in the Yukon.George Carmack’s discovery of gold in that region sparked the last great western gold rush, but it was pure chance that he found it. In contrast to the discoverers ...read more

Poet Charles Bukowski is born

Charles Bukowski, leader of the “Meat School” of tough, masculine poetry, is born on this day in Andernach, Germany. Bukowski’s writing is filled with images of sex, violence, and heavy drinking.Bukowski’s family moved to the U.S. when he was a child. The family settled in Los ...read more

Madonna born

On this day in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone, the entertainment icon later known around the world by her first name only, is born near Detroit, Michigan. After rising to stardom as a pop singer and dancer in the 1980s, Madonna added acting to her resume, with roles in such films ...read more

Plane crashes into highway

A plane crash at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Michigan kills 156 people on this day in 1987. A four-year-old girl was the sole survivor of the accident, which was caused by pilot error.Northwest Flight 255 was headed to California with a stopover in Phoenix when it pulled away ...read more