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Today In History – February 28 – The First Gulf War Ends

1959:  Discoverer 1, an American spy satellite that is the first object to achieve a polar orbit, is launched: Discoverer 1 was the first of a series of satellites which were part of the Corona reconnaissance satellite program. It was launched on aThor-Agena rocket on February 28, 1959 at 1:49 PST from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. It was a prototype of the KH-1 satellite, but did not contain either a camera or a film capsule. It was the first satellite launched toward the South Pole in an attempt to achievepolar orbit, but was unsuccessful. A CIA report, later declassified, concluded that “Today, most people believe the DISCOVERER I landed somewhere near the South Pole.” More here

1975: Subway crash in London kills 43: On this day in 1975, a subway crash in London kills 43 people. The driver of the train apparently made no effort to brake as the train headed toward a dead end. The reason for his inaction remains a mystery. More here

1987: Gorbachev calls for nuclear weapons treaty: In a surprising announcement, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev indicates that his nation is ready to sign “without delay” a treaty designed to eliminate U.S. and Soviet medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe. Gorbachev’s offer led to a breakthrough in negotiations and, eventually, to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987. More here

1991: The first Gulf War ends: The Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991), commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from thirty-four nations led by Britain and the United States, against Iraq.

This war has also been referred to (by the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein) as the Mother of All Battles,and is commonly, though mistakenly, known as Operation Desert Storm for the operational name of the military response (See section 12.1 Operational Names below), the First Gulf War, Gulf War I, or the Iraq War, before the term became identified with the 2003-2010 Iraq War.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops that began 2 August 1990 was met with international condemnation, and brought immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council. U.S. President George H. W. Bushdeployed American forces to Saudi Arabia, and urged other countries to send their own forces to the scene. An array of nations joined the Coalition. The great majority of the military forces in the coalition were from the United States, with Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Egypt as leading contributors, in that order. Around US$36 billion of the US$60 billion cost was paid by Saudi Arabia. More here

1994: First NATO Military Action: In the first military action in the 45-year history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), U.S. fighter planes shoot down four Serbian warplanes engaged in a bombing mission in violation of Bosnia’s no-fly zone.

The United States, 10 European countries, and Canada founded NATO in 1949 as a safeguard against Soviet aggression. With the end of the Cold War, NATO members approved the use of its military forces for peacekeeping missions in countries outside the alliance and in 1994 agreed to enforce U.N. resolutions enacted to bring about an end to the bloody conflict in the former Yugoslavia. In 1994 and 1995, NATO planes enforced the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina and struck at Bosnian Serb military positions and airfields on a number of occasions. More here

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