Year
1972

Last Thai contingent departs South Vietnam

A force of 824 soldiers, the last of Thailand’s 12,000 troops serving in South Vietnam, departs. The Thai contingent, which had first arrived in country in the fall of 1967, had been part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist allies for the United States and South Vietnam. By securing support from other nations, Johnson hoped to build an international consensus behind his policies in Vietnam. The effort was also known as the “many flags” program. In all, 44 countries responded to Johnson plea for military aid to South Vietnam, but only Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and Thailand provided combat troops. In the end, the program never achieved the widespread international support that Johnson sought.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

PLO is founded

With Yasir Arafat as its leader, the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded on February 4, 1969. By 1974 when he addressed the United Nations, Arafat had made significant strides towards establishing new respectability for the PLO’s campaign for a Palestinian homeland. But ...read more

States meet to form Confederacy

In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana convene to establish the Confederate States of America. As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between the North and the South over the issue of slavery led Southern ...read more

First U.S. president elected

George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, is unanimously elected the first president of the United States by all 69 presidential electors who cast their votes. John Adams of Massachusetts, who received 34 votes, was elected vice ...read more

Patty Hearst kidnapped

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by two black men and a white woman, all three of whom are armed. Her fiance, Stephen Weed, was beaten and tied up along ...read more

The Yalta Conference commences

On this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta, in the Crimea, to discuss and plan the postwar world—namely, to address the redistribution of power and influence. It is at Yalta that many place the birth of ...read more

Football great Lawrence Taylor born

On February 4, 1959, Lawrence Julius Taylor, one of the best defensive players in NFL history, is born in Williamsburg, Virginia. Taylor went on to play his entire 13-season professional career with the New York Giants and is credited with redefining the position of outside ...read more

George Washington is elected president

On this day in 1789, 69 members of Congress cast their ballots to elect George Washington the first president of the United States. As the former leader of the Continental Army and chairman of the Continental Congress, Washington possessed the necessary credentials for the ...read more

Earthquake rocks Guatemala City

In the very early morning of February 4, 1976, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake levels much of Guatemala City, killing 23,000 people and leaving one million others homeless. It was 3:04 a.m. when the first large tremor, centered six miles under the Earth’s surface 120 miles northwest ...read more

Yalta Conference foreshadows the Cold War

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet to discuss the Allied war effort against Germany and Japan and to try and settle some nagging diplomatic issues. While a number of important agreements were reached at the ...read more

Provisional Confederate Congress convenes

On this day in 1861, the Confederacy is open for business when the Provisional Confederate Congress convenes in Montgomery, Alabama. The official record read: “Be it remembered that on the fourth day of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, ...read more