March 18

1869 Birth: Neville Chamberlain: Conservative British politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. Chamberlain is perhaps the most ill-regarded British Prime Minister of the 20th century, largely because of his policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany regarding the abandonment of Czechoslovakia to Hitler at Munich in 1938.

1874 King David Kalakaua I (Kalākaua) "The Merrie Monarch" of Hawaii becomes the first king to ever visit the United States. (Kuykendall)

[See: Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor.]

1915 World War I: Allies open attack on Dardanelles: British and French forces launch an ill-fated naval attack on Turkish forces in the Dardanelles, the narrow, strategically vital strait in northwestern Turkey separating Europe from Asia.

As the only waterway between the Black Sea in the east and the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Dardanelles was a much-contested area from the beginning of the First World War. The stakes for both sides were high: British control over the strait would mean a direct line to the Russian navy in the Black Sea, enabling the supply of munitions to Russian forces in the east and facilitating cooperation between the two allies. The Allies were also competing with the Central Powers for support in the Balkans, and the British hoped that a victory against Turkey would persuade one or all of the neutral states of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania to join the war on the Allied side. Finally, as British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey put it, the approach of such a powerful Allied fleet towards the heart of the Ottoman Empire might provoke a coup d'etat in Constantinople, leading Turkey to abandon the Central Powers and return to its earlier neutrality.

Support from the rest of the British war command came none too soon for Winston Churchill, the British first lord of the Admiralty, who had long been a proponent of an aggressive naval assault against Turkey at the Dardanelles. Though others‑-especially the French military command, led by their chief, Joseph Joffre‑-argued that the navy should not strike until ground troops could be spared from the Western Front, Churchill pushed to begin immediately. The attack, planned throughout the winter of 1915, opened on March 18, 1915, when six English and four French battleships headed towards the strait.

The Turks were not unaware, however, that an Allied naval attack on the strait was a strong possibility, and with German help, had greatly improved their defenses in the region. Though the Allies had bombarded and destroyed the Turkish forts near the entrance to the Dardanelles in the days leading up to the attack, the water was heavily mined, forcing the Allied navy to sweep the area before its fleet could set forth. The minesweepers did not manage to clear the area completely, however: three of the 10 Allied battleships‑-the British Irresistible andOcean and the French Bouvet‑-were sunk, and two more were badly damaged.

With half the fleet out of commission, the remaining ships were pulled back. Though Churchill argued for the attack to be renewed the next day, claiming‑-erroneously, as it turned out‑-that the Turks were running low on munitions, the Allied war command opted to delay the naval attack at the Dardanelles and combine it with a ground invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula, which bordered the northern side of the strait. (

US Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau:

On March 18th, the Allied fleet made its greatest attack. As all the world knows, that attack proved disastrous to the Allies. The outcome was the sinking of the Bouvet, the Ocean, and the Irresistible and the serious crippling of four other vessels. Of the sixteen ships engaged in this battle of the 18th, seven were thus put temporarily or permanently out of action. Naturally the Germans and Turks rejoiced over this victory. The police went around, and ordered each householder to display a prescribed number of flags in honour of the event. The Turkish people have so little spontaneous patriotism or enthusiasm of any kind that they would never decorate their establishments without such definite orders. As a matter of fact, neither Germans nor Turks regarded this celebration too seriously, for they were not yet persuaded that they had really won a victory.

Journalist Henry Nevinson on the Anglo-French Setback at the Dardanelles:

Orders for washing and clean clothes (to avoid septic wounds) were issued on February 18th, and next morning, in clear and calm weather, "General Quarters" was sounded. The firing began at eight, and the first scene in the drama of the Dardanelles Expedition was enacted. The main forts to be destroyed were four in number; two on either side the entrance. One stood on the cliff of Cape Helles, just to the left or southwest of the shelving amphitheatre afterwards celebrated as V Beach. Another lay low down, on the right of the same beach, close in front of the medieval castle of Seddel Bahr, where still one sees lying in heaps or scattered over the ground huge cannonballs of stone.

World War I: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16th RIS [List Regiment] relocates to a position, at Fromelles, which is on a "level field with water channels, willow trees and willow stalks, in the distance towards the enemy lines lie an insignificant wood with barbed wire entanglements. A veritable no-man's-land." Alexander Weiss wrote of "beautiful white sandbags, in front of which [are] strong wall-like breastworks, and behind another wall of sandbags. In between, are protected entrances, [with only a] few large dug outs, which are more dwellings than fire-proof refuges."

Alexander Weiss:

But only in a few places is the position constructed so: each squad [has] a small white island, in between great gaps without wall or trench [and] scarcely a barbed-wire entanglement. It is no better to the rear. There is no communications trench to protect the dispatch runners; they must carefully crawl back and forth beside a row of willows. A soldier's grave with a helmet, in a water-filled trench, gives us something to think about . . . . The enemy, Canadians as it happens, are mostly quiet by day but at night they spread fire—they possess more machine-guns than we—richly over our lines with the consequence that obtaining food and working on the trenches becomes extremely unpleasant.

Under the direction of their defense-minded commander, Lieutenant General Gustav Scanzoni von Lichtenfels, the regiment works ceaselessly day and night in the subsequent weeks, to further fortify their position at Fromelles.

Alexander Weiss:

Standing guard, filling sand bags, carrying loads: one unpleasant task follows the other, with no let up. [We] are laying the groundwork for a position of such serviceability, so as to offer protection and defensive possibilities for one and a half years. Very soon, in the general early-year offensive of May 1915, are we able to harvest the fruits of this bitter labor. Many comrades, embittered by the work of entrenchment, learn to recognize its worth during the attack of 9 May.

[For further details, Click here.]

1916 World War I: Various:

Russian Front: The Russians, responding to French appeals, launch a two-pronged drive in the Vilna-Naroch area as a counter to the German Verdun assault in the west. The Russian assault soon breaks down in the mud of the spring thaw, costing 70,000 to 100,000 casualties and 10,000 prisoners. German losses are about 20,000 men.

Gefreiter Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare in Flanders (Artois) with 3 Company, 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment [List Regiment]. [For further details, Click here.]

1917 World War I: War at Sea:The City of Memphis, Vigilante and Illinois, all American ships, are sunk without warning.

1921 The second Peace of Riga between Poland and Soviet Union. Despite the recent Polish successes, Soviets annex Ukraine and Belarus. Government of Ukraine emigrates to France. Famine kills millions of Russians.

1922 Birth: Egon Bahr: German politician: The former journalist created the "Ostpolitik" of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, for whom he served as Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office from 1969 until 1972. Between 1972 and 1990 he was an MP in the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany, and from 1972 until 1976 was also a Minister.

1933 Various:

Church and Reich: Franz von Papen visits Cardinal Bertram, inquiring whether the Church would not revise its stand on Nazism. The Cardinal tells him, "The act of revising has to be undertaken by the leader of the National Socialists himself." (THP) [See: Was Franz von Papen Really Innocent?]

Holocaust: Nazis arrest and beat Jews in Oehringen. (THP)

1936 Holocaust: Austria: Catholic leaders demand a numerus clausus against Jews. (THP)

1937 Spanish Civil War: Spanish Republican forces hand the Italian forces a grave defeat at the Battle of Guadalajara. At dawn, Mera led 14th Division across the pontoon bridge over the River Tajuña. They had cover from heavy sleet, but the weather also delayed the assault. After midday, the weather had improved enough to allow the Republican air force to operate. At around 13:30, Jurado gave the order to attack. Lister was slowed down by the Italian Littorio Division, arguably the best of the Italian units. 14th Division nearly managed to surround Brihuega, and the Italians retreated in panic. Remaining Italian soldiers were cleared out by the XI International Brigade. An Italian counterattack on Republican positions failed. The Littorio Division saved the Italians from a complete disaster when they conducted a well-organized retreat.

1938 Various:

Austria: The Gestapo and SD are empowered to act outside those powers enacted by law. (THP) [See: Is Nazi Efficiency a Myth?]

1939 Various:

Stalin postulates a "kinship" between Nazism and Communism in a radio speech.

Goebbels on the end of the only Democracy in Central Europe, Czechoslovakia:

The so-called Czecho-Slovakia ceased to exist. In a single night a nation vanished that in reality had never been a nation. It was the state for which France and England were presumably ready bring Europe to a crisis in fall 1938, perhaps even to plunge it into war. On 4 September 1938 the London "Observer" had written that the British people were ready to stand against the New Order "like block of steel, and an overwhelming alliance would stand at its side, as in the last war." Similar voices came from Paris, and had there not been more reasonable, clear-sighted and clear-thinking statesmen in England and France, the gambling politicians of democracy would have undoubtedly succeeded in provoking an unpredictable catastrophe for the sake of this artificial state.

1940 World War II: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass in the Alps and agree to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.

Italy did join the war on June 10th 1940. Why? He feared that Germany might get all the spoils of war as she was completely successful up to this date. To Mussolini, it was only a matter of time before Britain surrendered and he saw Europe as rich for easy pickings. [See: How Did the Pact of Steel Effect Germany and Italy?]

1941 World War II: Various:

From a radio speech by Hans Fritzsche:

But the crown of all wrongly applied Rooseveltian logic is the sentence: 'There never was a race and there never will be a race which can serve the rest of mankind as a master.' Here, too, we can only applaud Mr. Roosevelt. It is precisely because there exists no race which can be the master of the rest of mankind, that we Germans have taken the liberty to break the domination of Jewry and of its capital in Germany, of Jewry which believed it had inherited the crown of secret world domination." [See: How Did Hans Fritzsche Avoid the Noose?]

Notes from a meeting between Raeder and Hitler:

Japan must take steps to seize Singapore as soon as possible, since the opportunity will never again be as favorable (whole English fleet contained; unpreparedness of USA for war against Japan; inferiority of US fleet vis-a-vis the Japanese). Japan is indeed making preparations for this action, but according to all declarations made by Japanese officers she will carry it out only if Germany proceeds to land in England. Germany must therefore concentrate all her efforts on spurring Japan to act immediately. If Japan has Singapore all other East Asiatic questions regarding the USA and England are thereby solved (Guam, Philippines, Borneo, Dutch East Indies). Japan wishes, if possible, to avoid war against the USA. She can do so if she determinedly takes Singapore as soon as possible. [See: Did Hitler Have Foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor?]

1942 Various:

Church and Reich: Martin Bormann issues an order declaring a letter allegedly written by Werner Muelders, the recently killed number one ace of the Luftwaffe, as a forgery. A reward of 100,000 marks is offered for information leading to the apprehension of the real author. The Nazis were upset because in this letter, Muelders had reported with pride that Catholics, on account of their dedication, were now finally being accepted as full-fledged Germans and were enjoying the respect of those who earlier had taunted them as meek and other worldly. (THP)

From a conference of district political leaders at Krakow:

Frank: Incidentally, the struggle for the achievement of our aims will be pursued cold-bloodedly. You see how the state agencies work. You see that we do not hesitate at anything, and stand dozens of people up against the wall. This is necessary because a simple reflection tells me that it cannot be our task at this period, when the best German blood is being sacrificed, to show regard for the blood of another race; for out of this, one of the greatest dangers may arise. One already hears today in Germany that prisoners of war, for instance, in Bavaria or Thuringia, are administering large estates entirely independently, while all the men in a village fit for service are at the front. If this state of affairs continues, then a gradual retrogression of Germanism will result. One should not underestimate this danger. Therefore, everything revealing itself as a Polish power of leadership must be destroyed again and again with ruthless energy. This does not have to be shouted abroad; it will happen silently."

War Relocation Authority is established in United States: The War Relocation Authority is created to "Take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war."

Anger toward and fear of Japanese Americans began in Hawaii shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; everyone of Japanese ancestry, old and young, prosperous and poor, was suspected of espionage. This suspicion quickly broke out on the mainland; as early as February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that German, Italian, and Japanese nationals‑-as well as Japanese Americans‑-be barred from certain areas deemed sensitive militarily. California, which had a significant number of Japanese and Japanese Americans, saw a particularly virulent form of anti-Japanese sentiment, with the state's attorney general, Earl Warren (who would go on to be the chief justice of the United States), claiming that a lack of evidence of sabotage among the Japanese population proved nothing, as they were merely biding their time.

While roughly 2,000 people of German and Italian ancestry were interned during this period, Americans of Japanese ancestry suffered most egregiously. The War Relocation Authority, established on March 18, 1942, was aimed at them specifically: 120,000 men, women, and children were rounded up on the West Coast. Three categories of internees were created: Nisei (native U.S. citizens of Japanese immigrant parents), Issei (Japanese immigrants), and Kibei (native U.S. citizens educated largely in Japan). The internees were transported to one of 10 relocation centers in California, Utah, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming.

The quality of life in a relocation center was only marginally better than prison: Families were sardined into 20- by 25-foot rooms and forced to use communal bathrooms. No razors, scissors, or radios were allowed. Children attended War Relocation Authority schools.

One Japanese American, Gordon Hirabayashi, fought internment all the way to the Supreme Court. He argued that the Army, responsible for effecting the relocations, had violated his rights as a U.S. citizen. The court ruled against him, citing the nation's right to protect itself against sabotage and invasion as sufficient justification for curtailing his and other Japanese Americans' constitutional rights. (

1943 World War II: General Patton's II U.S. Corps takes Gafsa and pushes toward El Guettar.

1944 World War II: FDR to Stalin:

I have today dispatched by air a personal letter to President Inonu on the subject of chrome, as I am impressed by the importance of Turkish chrome to Germany. I feel sure that you will concur, but please let me know if this action runs counter to any steps you are now taking or contemplating so that I can halt delivery of the letter. The text of my letter to President Inonu reads in paraphrase as follows: "Almost every day in the week there are many matters about which I would like to talk to you and I greatly wish that you and I were not thousands of miles apart. At this time I want to write you on the subject of chrome. As you are aware, the Russians by the capture of Nikopol have succeeded in denying an important source of manganese to the Germans. For many purposes Turkish chrome ore can be substituted for manganese, and the denial to the Germans of manganese from Nikopol consequently multiplies the importance of chrome from Turkey to the German war production. It is obvious that it has now become a matter of grave concern to the United Nations that large supplies of chrome ore continue to move to Germany from Turkey. You can best decide how the Germans are to be denied further access to Turkish chrome ore. Know of your inventive genius, I hope you will find some method to bring this about. I firmly believe that you will recognize this opportunity for a unique contribution to be made by Turkey to what really is the welfare of the world. It is needless to tell you how very happy I was in our talks in Cairo and I feel that now you and I can talk to each other as old friends. I send all my good wishes and count on our meeting again in the near future." I am sending Mr. Churchill a similar telegram."

World War II: Click here for the March 18, 1944 issue of the Canadian newspaper supplement section of the Toronto Star Weekly, featuring many articles and pictures relating to the War.

1945 World War II: Various:

Responding to a report by Commander in Chief in the West, Kesselring, that the German populace is playing a negative role in the struggle against advancing American forces, Hitler orders Wilhelm Keitel to draft the following order:

The presence of the population in the battle zone threatened by the enemy imposes difficulties upon the fighting troops, as it does upon the population itself. The Fuehrer therefore issues the following command: West of the Rhine, or in the Saar Palatinate, as the case may be, all inhabitants are to be evacuated at once from the area, beginning directly behind the main battle field . . . . Removal is to take place in a general southeasterly direction.

Neither Speer, nor anyone else present at the conference, raises any objection to this ridiculous order. In fact, Martin Bormann sends out a circular the next day with implementation instructions, including that 'in case transportation is not available, evacuation should be undertaken in horse or ox-drawn wagons. If necessary the male part of the population should proceed on foot.' (Speer)

Panzer Leader General Heinz Guderian—extremely concerned that huge numbers of Waffen SS and other German troops are in danger of being surrounded and captured (and most probably killed) by the Red Army, meets with the Reichsfuehrer SS. Himmler, with no military training or aptitude whatsoever, is in command of the endangered forces, but Guderian finds him laid up 'with an attack of influenza' in a hospital. He finds him sitting up in his bed and, as the annoyed general writes in his diary, 'apparently in robust health.' Guderian, realizing that the lives of many German troops have no chance of rescue under Himmler, whose hospital stay in reality has been caused by the strain of being an incompetent officer faced with an impossible situation, attempts to convince Himmler to give up command by humoring him.

He sympathetically points out that the SS chief has far too much responsibility, and that 'such a plethora of offices was bound to be beyond the strength of any one individual.' After Guderian musters a number of further arguments, Himmler protests that he simply could not face Hitler and ask to be relieved. 'He wouldn't approve of my making such a suggestion,' he answers. Guderian offers to talk with the Fuehrer on Himmler's behalf, and Himmler soon gives his assent. Guderian meets with Hitler soon after and, explaining that Himmler is unwell and 'overburdened,' recommends that he be replaced by the commander of the 1st Panzer Army, General Heinrici. After 'a certain amount of grumbling,' Hitler agrees to the move. He will later comment ruefully that giving Himmler a military command had been a failed experiment. (Clark)[See: Was Adolf Hitler a 'Great' Military Leader?]

War in the Air: On a beautiful Sunday morning, 1,250 American bombers with a 700 fighter escort deliver a devastating raid on Berlin. The Luftwaffe sends 28 ME-262 jet fighters into the fray - the first significant number of these jets to see action - and they succeed in shooting down a mere 15 Allied planes. 7 more US planes are brought down by flak. (Read) [See: The Last Days of the Third Reich.]

1945 Speer to Hitler:

The enemy air force has concentrated further on traffic installations. Economic transportation has thereby been considerably reduced . . . . In 4 to 8 weeks the final collapse of German economy must therefore be expected with certainty . . . . After that collapse, the war cannot even be continued militarily . . . . We at the head have the duty to help the nation in the difficult times which must be expected. In this connection we must soberly, and without regard for our fate, ask ourselves the question as to how this can be done even in the more remote future. If the opponent wishes to destroy the nation and the basis of its existence, then he must do the job himself. We must do everything to maintain, even if perhaps in a most primitive manner, a basis of existence for the nation to the last . . . . It must be insured that, if the battle advances farther into the territory of the Reich, nobody has the right to destroy industrial plants, coal mines, electric plants, and other supply facilities, as well as traffic facilities and inland shipping routes, et cetera.

The blowing-up of bridges to the extent which has been planned would mean that traffic facilities would be more thoroughly destroyed than the air attacks of the last years have been able to achieve. Their destruction means the removal of any further possibilities of existence for the German nation . . . . We have no right, at this stage of the war, to carry out destructions on our part which might affect the life of the people. If the enemies wish to destroy this nation, which has fought with unique bravery, then this historical shame shall rest exclusively upon them. We have the obligation of leaving to the nation all possibilities which, in the more remote future, might be able to insure for it a new reconstruction.

After reading Speer's memorandum, Hitler meets privately with Speer, telling him:

If the war is lost, the nation will also perish. This fate is inevitable. There is no necessity to take into consideration the basis which the people will need to continue a most primitive existence. On the contrary, it will be better to destroy these things ourselves because this nation will have proved to be the weaker one and the future will belong solely to the stronger eastern nation (Russia). Besides, those who remain after the battle are only the inferior ones, for the good ones have been killed." (Shirer, Payne, Speer) [See: Why Did Hitler Insist on No Surrender?]

Churchill to FDR:

Peace with Germany and Japan on our terms will not bring much rest to you and me (if I am still responsible). As I observed last time, when the war of the giants is over the wars of the pygmies will begin. There will be a torn, ragged, and hungry world to help to its feet; and what will Uncle Joe or his successor say to the way we should like to do it?"

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal:

On day 84, defendant Hermann Goering deftly fields cross-examination by the prosecution:

Justice Jackson: By the time of January 1945 you also knew that you were unable to defend the German cities against the air attacks of the Allies, did you not?

Goering: Concerning the defense of German cities against Allied air attacks, I should like to describe the possibility of doing this as follows: Of itself . . . . 

Justice Jackson: Can you answer my question? Time may not mean quite as much to you as it does to the rest of us. Can you not answer 'yes' or 'no'? Did you then know, at the same time that you knew that the war was lost, that the German cities could not successfully be defended against air attack by the enemy? Can you not tell us 'yes' or 'no'?

Goering: I can say that I knew that, at that time, it was not possible.

Justice Jackson: And after that time it was wen known to you that the air attacks which were continued against England could not turn the tide of war, and were designed solely to effect a prolongation of what you then knew was a hopeless conflict?

Goering: I believe you are mistaken. After January 1945 there were no more attacks on England, except perhaps a few single planes, because at that time I needed all my petrol for the fighter planes for defense. If I had had bombers and oil at my disposal, then, of course, I should have continued such attacks up to the last minute as retaliation for the attacks which were being carried out on German cities, whatever our chances might have been.

Justice Jackson: What about robot attacks? Were there any robot attacks after January 1945?

Goering: Thank God, we still had one weapon that we could use. I have just said that, as long as the fight was on, we had to hit back; and as a soldier I can only regret that we did not have enough of these V-1 and V-2 bombs, for an easing of the attacks on German cities could be brought about only if we could inflict equally heavy losses on the enemy.

Justice Jackson: And there was no way to prevent the war going on as long as Hitler was the head of the German Government, was there?

Goering: As long as Hitler was the Fuehrer of the German people, he alone decided whether the war was to go on. As long as my enemy threatens me and demands absolutely unconditional surrender, I fight to my last breath. [For the full text of today's proceedings, Click here.]

Nuremberg Tribunal: From a report to the British Foreign Office by Patrick Dean:

Justice Jackson began his cross-examination of Goering at noon today. It was very disappointing and unimpressive and has been severely criticized here. He never pressed Goering on any of the numerous matters on which the cross-examination touched even though Goering was frequently lying and good material for cross-examination exists. In consequence Goering indulged in much Nazi propaganda and showed everything in the most favorable light for himself. [See: Why Didn't Adolf Hitler Fire Hermann Goering?]

1950 Nationalist Chinese forces invade mainland China:

In a surprise raid on the communist People's Republic of China (PRC), military forces of the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan invade the mainland and capture the town of Sungmen. Because the United States supported the attack, it resulted in even deeper tensions and animosities between the U.S. and the PRC.

In October 1949, the leader of the communist revolution in China, Mao Zedong, declared victory against the Nationalist government of China and formally established the People's Republic of China. Nationalist troops, politicians, and supporters fled the country and many ended up on Taiwan, an island off the Chinese coast. Once there, they declared themselves the real Chinese government and were immediately recognized as such by the United States. Officials from the United States refused to have anything to do with the PRC government and adamantly refused to grant it diplomatic recognition.

Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek bombarded the mainland with propaganda broadcasts and pamphlets dropped from aircraft signaling his intention of invading the PRC and removing what he referred to as the "Soviet aggressors." In the weeks preceding the March 18, 1950 raid, Chiang had been particularly vocal, charging that the Soviets were supplying the PRC with military advisors and an imposing arsenal of weapons. On March 18, thousands of Nationalist troops, supported by air and sea units, attacked the coast of the PRC, capturing the town of Sungmen that lay about 200 miles south of Shanghai. The Nationalists reported that they killed over 2,500 communist troops. Battles between the raiding group and communist forces continued for weeks, but eventually the Nationalist forces were defeated and driven back to Taiwan.

Perhaps more important than the military encounter was the war of words between the United States and the PRC. Communist officials immediately charged that the United States was behind the raid, and even suggested that American pilots and advisors accompanied the attackers. (No evidence has surfaced to support those charges.) American officials were cautiously supportive of the Nationalist attack, though what they hoped it would accomplish beyond minor irritation to the PRC remains unknown. Just eight months later, military forces from the PRC and the United States met on the battlefield in Korea. Despite suggestions from some officials, including the commander of U.S. troops Gen. Douglas MacArthur, that the United States "unleash" the Nationalist armies against mainland China, President Harry S. Truman refrained from this action, fearing that it would escalate into World War III. (

1965 Wunderwaffen: Cosmonauts of the Voskhod 2 perform the first ever Space Walk (EVA—extra-vehicular activity).

1969 U.S. bombs Cambodia for the first time:

U.S. B-52 bombers are diverted from their targets in South Vietnam to attack suspected communist base camps and supply areas in Cambodia for the first time in the war. President Nixon approved the mission--formally designated Operation Breakfast--at a meeting of the National Security Council on March 15. This mission and subsequent B-52 strikes inside Cambodia became known as the "Menu" bombings. A total of 3,630 flights over Cambodia dropped 110,000 tons of bombs during a 14-month period through April 1970. This bombing of Cambodia and all follow up "Menu" operations were kept secret from the American public and the U.S. Congress because Cambodia was ostensibly neutral. To keep the secret, an intricate reporting system was established at the Pentagon to prevent disclosure of the bombing. Although the New York Times broke the story of the secret bombing campaign in May 1969, there was little adverse public reaction. [For further information, click here]

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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