We cover January 17th in two parts. In Part 1: Ike, Military Adventures and Murder we address President Eisenhower’s farewell speech warning of the Military Industrial Complex, the murder of Raoul Wallenberg and Patrice Lumumba and military adventures and misadventures in Hawaii, Spain and Iraq.
In Part 2: California Chaos, we cover the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the California electricity crisis of 2001.
A U.S. backed coup overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The island nation was annexed by the United States five years later.
Raoul Wallenberg Disappears
Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary, was taken by the Red Army during the Siege of Budapest. He was never seen again and is reported to have died in a KGB prison in 1947.
Among those he saved, was the late Congressman Tom Lantos who sponsored a bill to grant Wallenberg honorary citizenship – the second to receive the honor after Winston Churchill. The part of 15th street in front of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. was renamed in his honor.
Eisenhower’s Farewell Address Warns of Military Industrial Complex
In his farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower, the former general who led the United States in World War II, warned of the dangers of “the military-industrial complex”.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction… This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Patrice Lumumba Executed
The same day as Eisenhower’s speech, Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader who became its first Prime Minister in June 1960 was executed. He had been overthrown in a coup by Joseph-Désiré Mobutu in September 1960. Mobutu ruled the country, which he renamed Zaire, until just before his death in 1997.
B-52 Crashes With Nuclear Bombs
When a US Air Force B-52G collided with a KC-135 tanker during mid-air refueling off the coast of Spain, it led the tanker to ignite and B-52 G to break apart with its nuclear cargo. Three of the four bombs landed in the fishing village of Palomares, Spain, with the non-nuclear explosives detonating in two of the bombs. A fourth bomb was recovered from the Mediterranean after a 2½-month-long search. Cleanup of the contamination in Palomares is ongoing.
Operation Desert Storm Begins
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, a U.S. led coalition began aerial and naval bombardment of Iraqi assets. On February 24th, ground forces liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory – with a ceasefire declared after a mere 100 hours.
FOOTNOTE – 1917
U.S. Buys Virgin Island from Denmark for $25 Million
The United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark for a price of $25 million in gold coin or $550.23 million in 2017 dollars. The U.S. took possession of the islands on March 31, 1917 which is celebrated as Transfer Day on the islands. U.S. citizenship was granted to island residents in 1927.