Year
1964

Goldwater nominated for president

Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) is nominated by the Republican Party to run for president. During the subsequent campaign, Goldwater said that he thought the United States should do whatever was necessary to win in Vietnam. At one point, he talked about the possibility of using low-yield atomic weapons to defoliate enemy infiltration routes, but he never actually advocated the use of nuclear weapons in Southeast Asia. Although Goldwater later clarified his position, the Democrats very effectively portrayed him as a trigger-happy warmonger. This reputation, whether deserved or not, was a key factor in his crushing defeat at the hands of Lyndon B. Johnson, who won 61 percent of the vote to Goldwater’s 39 percent.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Mariner 4 studies Martian surface

The unmanned spacecraft Mariner 4 passes over Mars at an altitude of 6,000 feet and sends back to Earth the first close-up images of the red planet.Launched in November 1964, Mariner 4 carried a television camera and six other science instruments to study Mars and interplanetary ...read more

Pike expedition sets out

Zebulon Pike, the U.S. Army officer who in 1805 led an exploring party in search of the source of the Mississippi River, sets off with a new expedition to explore the American Southwest. Pike was instructed to seek out headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers and to investigate ...read more

Rembrandt born

The great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn is born in Leiden on July 15, 1606, the son of a miller. His humble origins may help account for the uncommon depth of compassion given to the human subjects of his art. His more than 600 paintings, many of them portraits or ...read more

Nixon announces visit to communist China

During a live television and radio broadcast, President Richard Nixon stuns the nation by announcing that he will visit communist China the following year. The statement marked a dramatic turning point in U.S.-China relations, as well as a major shift in American foreign ...read more

Garbo makes an appearance

On this day in 1941, master spy Juan Pujol Garcia, nicknamed “Garbo,” sends his first communique to Germany from Britain. The question was: Who was he spying for?Juan Garcia, a Spaniard, ran an elaborate multiethnic spy network that included a Dutch airline steward, a British ...read more

Nixon announces a visit to China

In a surprise announcement, President Richard Nixon says that he will visit Beijing, China, before May 1972. The news, issued simultaneously in Beijing and the United States, stunned the world. Nixon reported that he was visiting in order “to seek normalization of relations ...read more

Tex Schramm dies

On this day in 2003, former Dallas Cowboys General Manager Tex Schramm dies at the age of 83. Schramm served as the architect of 30 Cowboys teams, from the franchise’s inception as an NFL expansion team in 1960 until 1989, when owner Burn Bright sold the team to oil billionaire ...read more

The Mad Trapper of Rat River heads for U.S.

Young Johan Jonsen, the future “Mad Trapper of Rat River,” leaves Norway with his family and heads for America.When he was six years old, the Norwegian Jonsen headed for America with his family on this day in 1904. His Swedish father settled the family on a barren 320-acre ...read more

Iris Murdoch is born

Irish Murdoch, author of 26 intellectually rigorous novels, is born on this day in Dublin.Murdoch’s family moved to London when she was still an infant. Her father, who worked in the civil service, encouraged her to read and discuss books, and she resolved at an early age to ...read more

Volcano buries victims in fiery mud

The Bandai volcano erupts on the Japanese island of Honshu on this day in 1888, killing hundreds and burying many nearby villages in ash. Honshu, the main island of the Japanese archipelago, is in an area of intense geological activity, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions ...read more

John Walker Lindh accepts plea bargain

On this day in 2002, John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban,” accepts a plea-bargain deal in which he pleads guilty to one count of supplying services to the Taliban and carrying weapons. Under the terms of the deal, Walker Lindh agreed to serve 20 years in prison and ...read more

A notorious English killer is executed

John Christie, one of England’s most notorious killers, is executed. Four months earlier, on March 25,the police and atenant at 10 Rillington Place in West London made an awful discovery: the bodies of four women in an empty apartment, three in a hidden cupboard and one more ...read more

CSS Arkansas attacks Union ships

The CSS Arkansas, the most effective ironclad on the Mississippi River, battles with Union ships commanded by Admiral David Farragut, severely damaging three ships and sustaining heavy damage herself. The encounter changed the complexion of warfare on the Mississippi and helped ...read more