Deep History


Military Intervention 


The history of military intervention by the United States is perhaps best summarized by U.S. Marine Corp Major General Smedley Butler in his book, War is a Racket:

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

1940 - The Axis Powers strike. Germany invades DenmarkNorwayBelgiumthe NetherlandsLuxembourg, and France, while launching a major bombing campaign against the United Kingdom and launching an aggressive u-boat campaign in the Atlantic. Japan invades Indochina. Italy invades Greece and Malta.

1940The Soviet Union annexes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

1940The Soviet Union kills some 22,000 Polish nationals in the Katyn massacre.

1940President Roosevelt signs the Selective Training and Service Act, the first peacetime draft in American history.

1941Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Some evidence suggests that high-ranking government and military officials had advance knowledge of the attack but did not pass this information on to the base commander, Admiral Kimmel. By the time of the Pearl Habor attack, many of Japan's codes had been broken. Memos show that Roosevelt's administration hoped to goad Japan into "firing the first shot" so that America would have an excuse to go to war with Japan and ultimately their ally Germany.

1941The Axis powers invade Yugoslavia, the Soviet UnionHong Kong, the Phillipines, the Dutch East Indies, and Malaya.

1941The United Kingdom invades Iraq.

1941The United Kingdom and Soviet Union invade Iran.

1941Finland and the Soviet Union begin fighting the Continuation War, so named for its relationship to the preceding Winter War.

1941The Viet Minh is formed.

1942Japan invades BurmaSingapore, and Rabaul, while launching a bombing campaign against Australia. Meanwhile, the Axis advance in Europe begins to stall.

1943Allied forces invade Italy and Germany. Italy surrenders.

1943In the Biscari massacre, U.S. soldiers kill 73 unarmed German and Italian POWs.

1944Allied forces enter Nazi-occupied France in the Invasion of Normandy. Nazi forces make a massive counter-offensive later in the year known as the Battle of the Bulge. Around 200,000 soldiers are killed on each side during the course of these engagements.

1944Allied forces are involved in a wave of mass rape during the liberation of France and the occupation of Germany, along with the subsequent liberation of Poland and occupation of Japan. Millions of women are believed to have been raped, and some 10,000 die in a surge in abortions in the following years.

1945 - Allied forces overrun Germany and capture the Reichstag building.

1945U.S. and British forces carry out the controversial bombing of Dresden. It is claimed that the industrial and rail facilities there make it a legitimate military target. It has also been argued, however, that these facilities did not contribute significantly to the German war effort, and that they were largely untouched as most bombs fell on the populated city center. In any event, nearly 25,000 people, mostly civilians, are killed.

1945 - With its fleets crippled, Japan attempts to negotiate an end to World War II with Russia.  The following month, the United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing 150,000-246,000 people, mostly civilians.

1945 - World War II ends. With a death toll of over 73 million, it is the most devastating conflict in human history.

1946The First Indochina War begins. Although initially neutral, the U.S. will eventually begin to provide modern weaponry and support operations to the French-allied forces.

1946Mercenary corporation DynCorp is founded.

1947 - US Marines land in Athens to assist in the re-establishment of the Greek Monarchy and the arrest of  Communist insurgents.

1948 - David Ben-Gurion, head of the World Zionist Organization, declares the creation of Israel as a Jewish state.

1950 - The Korean War begins.  Following World War II, U.S. forces had occupied the southern half of the country which formed a right-wing government, and Soviet forces had occupied the northern half of the country which formed a Communist government. When forces from the north invade South Korea, the U.S. sends some 300,000 troops to intervene.

1950During the No Gun Ri Massacre, the U.S. military kills hundreds of South Korean refugees. For decades, the Pentagon covers up the fact that the soldiers were ordered to do so.

1950 - The U.S. begins supplying modern weaponry and military assistance to French-allied forces in the First Indochina War. This includes ships, aircraft, and covert CIA airdrops and transport.

1951 - The U.S. carries out Operation Greenhouse, a series of nuclear detonations which deliver key findings for the development of the hydrogen bomb.

1952 - Aerospace defense contractor General Dynamics is formed.

1953 - The Korean War ends.

1954 - Mercenary/private security corporation Wackenhut is founded.

1955 - The Vietnam War begins.

1956 - Israel, France, and Britain attack Egypt following Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser's decision to nationalize the Suez Canal. The three aggressors withdraw following pressure from the United States, Russia, and the United Nations.

1957 - Cold War tensions escalate when Russia successfully tests the first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, using the same type of launch vehicle that put Sputnik in space.

1957 - The Eisenhower Doctrine is announced, which states that the United States will aid countries requesting military assistance against Communist encroachment. Following Russia's attempt to use the Suez Crisis as a pretext to enter Egypt, the oil-rich states of the Middle East and Central Asia are of particular concern to the United States in this context.

1957 - The U.S. government carries out Operation Plumbbob, the largest and longest series of nuclear tests ever carried out in the continental United States. The massive amount of radiation introduced into the atmosphere is believed to have led to 11,000 - 212,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 1,000 - 20,000 deaths.

1957A B-36 bomber accidentally drops a nuclear bomb near Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico. The high explosives in the bomb detonate after a fall from 1,700 ft. but the nuclear warhead itself luckily does not explode.


1958A B-47 bomber accidentally drops a nuclear bomb on the property of the Gregg family in Mars Bluff, South Carolina. The high explosives in the bomb detonate, obliterating the Gregg household and damaging several nearby buildings, but the nuclear warhead luckily does not explode.


1958 - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is formed to develop military technology.

1958The Mitre Corporation is formed to manage Federally Funded Research and Development Centers for the Department of Defense and other agencies.

1958 - In the first application of the Eisenhower Doctrine, the U.S. sends 14,000 troops to intervene in the Lebanon Crisis. Following some months of negotiations, Lebanese President Camille Chamoun steps down and the moderate Christian President Fuad Chehab is elected in his place.

1959 - Fidel Castro and Che Guevara overthrow Fulgencio Batista in the culmination of the Cuban Revolution.

1960 - The U.S. begins an embargo against Cuba.

1960 - The Aerospace Corporation is founded.

1960A nuclear missile at MacGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey catches on fire and burns intensely for 45 minutes. The nuclear warhead luckily does not explode despite the missile's 100-pound TNT detonator.


1961A B-52 bomber breaks up in midair over Goldsboro, North Carolina and two hydrogen bombs drop to the earth. One parachutes down while the parachute and three out of four safety switches on the other one fail.


1961In Project West Ford, MIT and the U.S. military attempt to create an artificial ionosphere above the Earth by dispersing hundreds of millions of tiny antennae into medium Earth orbit in order to facilitate radio communications. Although the U.S. assures the international community that the needles will fall out of orbit within a few years, clumps of them remain to this day.

1962 - The Cold War nearly goes nuclear during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Russia moves to place nuclear missiles in Cuba in response to American nuclear missiles in Turkey, attacks on Cuba, and other aggression. Kennedy and Krushchev are able to negotiate a mutual stand-down despite intense pressure from their respective military and intelligence establishments to launch a preemptive nuclear strike.

1964 - The Gulf of Tokin Incident occurs.  A U.S. destroyer inside Vietnamese waters opened fires on three approaching gunboats. The Johnson administration claims that the Vietnamese gunboats were the first to fire, and that they attacked in international waters. The administration goes on to completely fabricate another attack which supposedly happened two days later. These "unprovoked attacks" are cited as the causus belli for the massive U.S. military escalation in Vietnam which follows.

1965 - In Operation Power Pack, U.S. forces occupy the Dominican Republic, intervening in a civil war which ultimately sees U.S.-friendly Joaquín Balaguer take the presidency.

1966A B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear bombs crashes into another aircraft over Palomares, Spain. The high explosives of two of the bombs detonate on impact with the ground. The nuclear warheads themselves luckily do not explode, but the surrounding area is contaminated with radioactive material.

1968 - Over 400 civilians are killed by U.S. Army soldiers in the My Lai Massacre. Some are raped before being killed. A single officer serves three years of house arrest as a result.

1969 - Aerospace and defense company SAIC is founded.

1971 - Daniel Ellsberg releases the Pentagon Papers, revealing to the public that the Johnson administration had systematically lied to the American public about the Vietnam War.

1972 - The U.S. begins Operation Linebacker II, the largest bombing campaign of the Vietnam War, and the largest bombing campaign anywhere since the end of World War II.

1972Ariel Sharon has 3,000 Bedouins forcibly evicted from Negev and Sinai to make way for a large military training operation. The evictions occur in the dead of winter, and dozens of children and elderly die from exposure.

1973 - In Operation Nickel Grass, the United States supplies over 22,000 tons of tanks, artillery, and ammunition to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. In retaliation, OPEC states declare an oil embargo on the United States, leading to the 1973 oil crisis.

1975 - The Vietnam War ends with U.S. defeat and withdrawal.

1975The Lebanese Civil War begins. Initially Maronite Christians side with the West while Left Wing and pan-Arab groups side with Soviet aligned Arab countries, but by the end of the 15 1/2-year conflict numerous alliances had been betrayed or reshaped. The war claims over 120,000 lives.

1975 - United Technologies Corporation is founded.

1979 - The Sandanista National Liberation Front overthrows the Somoza family dictatorship in the Nicaraguan Revolution.

1979In the Iranian Revolution, the U.S.-backed Pahlavi Dynasty is overthrown by Ruhollah Khomeini with the support of Islamic, leftist, and student groups. A new Islamic Republic is formed.

1980Iraq invades Iran, initiating the nearly eight year Iran-Iraq War. The United States provides aid to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein including chemical weapons and satellite guidance for attacks. The conflict costs over a million lives and ultimately results in a stalemate.

1980A nuclear missile at a base in Damascus, Arkansas is damaged when a technician drops a wrench on it. A repair team is called in, but fuel vapor from the missile explodes, killing one and injuring 21 others. The nuclear warhead luckily does not detonate.

1980The American military carries out Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis which ultimately fails.

1980Libyan fighter jets fire on American fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra and are subsequently shot down by the American jets. Libya had previously claimed the Gulf of Sidra as territorial waters whereas the U.S. considered the region to be international waters.

1982Argentina and the United Kingdom fight the Falklands War for control of the Falklands Islands. The United States, France, and Chile provide support to the U.K., which ultimately triumphs.

1983Naval Space Command is created.

1983Reagan creates the Strategic Defense Initiative in a futile attempt to create a missile shield around the United States. He is widely criticized for both the technical infeasibility of the project and its potential to trigger a greater arms race with the Soviet Union.

1983The moderate socialist leader of Grenada, Maurice Bishop, is killed in a coup by hardline Marxists. The U.S. invades Grenada and swiftly defeats the coup leaders in an operation which the U.N. decries as "a flagrant violation of international law".

1983NATO carries out Able Archer 83, a war game which is so realistic that it nearly triggers a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.


1986U.S. forces again enter disputed waters in the Gulf of Sidra and clash with Libyan forces.

1986In Operation El Dorado Canyon, the U.S. military bombs Libya, killing 40.

1987The U.S. launches Operation Earnest Will to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers from Iranian attack during the Iran-Iraq War. Earnest Will is an umbrella operation for several other operations which involve both overt and covert attacks on Iranian naval assets and oil platforms.

1987 - The First Intifada, a widespread Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, begins.

1988The Iran-Iraq War ends in stalemate.

1988In a case of mistaken identity, the U.S. Navy shoots down Iran Air Flight 655, a civilian passenger plane, killing 290. Although the U.S. pays a settlement to the families of the victims, it never admits responsibility or apologizes.

1989In blatant violation of international law, the U.S. invades Panama. Dictator, drug lord, and former CIA asset Manuel Noriega is captured and Guillermo Endara assumes the presidency.

1989Two U.S. fighter jets shoot down two Libyan fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra.

1990Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. leads a coalition force against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. U.S. technological supremacy brings coalition forces a swift and decisive victory.

1991The Yugoslav Wars begin, in which Yugoslavia fragments into a number of smaller republics. Some 140,000 people will lose their lives in a conflict marked by genocide and other war crimes. NATO intervenes in various parts of the conflict, sometimes alongside the Kosovo Liberation Army, a terrorist drug-running organization with links to Al-Qaeda.

1991U.S. airstrikes on oil tankers and other sources contribute to the Gulf War oil spill. Between 270,000 and 820,000 tonnes of oil are spilled, making it one of the worst spills in history.

1991Over 100 Navy and Marine officers are accused of sexual assault in the Tailhook Scandal.

1994In response to NAFTA, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rises up in Chiapas, Mexico.

1994Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and defense corporation, is founded.

1994In the Rwandan Genocide, up to a million Tutsis are killed by the Hutus.

1995NATO carries out a bombing campaign called Operation Deliberate Force while allied Bosnian and Croatian forces carry out a linked military action called Operation Mistral against Bosnian Serbs led by Radislav Krstić and Ratko Mladić.

1995Aerospace and defense corporation Lockheed Martin is formed through a merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta.

1996Following Iraqi aggression against Iraqi Kurdistan, the U.S. carries out Operation Desert Strike, a missile strike against Iraq.

1996Rwanda invades Zaire in the First Congo War, a brutal conflict in which somewhere around a million people are killed or go missing.

1997Mercenary corporation Blackwater is founded.

1997Military and intelligence contractor L-3 Communications is founded.

1998Nine African nations and some 20 different militant groups participate in the Second Congo War, which is the deadliest conflict since World War II. Although it formally ends in 2003, around a thousand people a day continue to die for years to come. By 2008 the death toll has reached 5,400,000. Although many factors led to the conflict, one of the biggest is control of gold, diamonds, and rare earth elements used for high-tech consumer goods.

1999NATO bombs Yugoslavia in Operation Allied Force. During the bombing, five U.S. guided bombs hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three and wounding at least 20 others. Clinton calls the strike a mistake and apologizes, but Chinese officials consider it a deliberate attack.

2000The Second Intifada begins after Israeli forces fire on rock-throwing Palestinian protesters during a visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount.

2001President Bush demands that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda. The Taliban requests that bin Laden leave the country, but decline to extradite him without evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The FBI admits that they have no hard evidence of his involvement but the U.S. invades Afghanistan anyways. Nearly all Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces escape, sometimes in massive convoys and airlifts which the U.S. is inexplicably unable to stop. Bin Laden himself is cornered at Tora Bora by elite Delta Force troops who are told to not to advance, and Bin Laden also escapes. As the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance comes to power in Afghanistan, the country's heroin production soars to a new record highs, and the sexual trafficking of children becomes prevalent, sometimes aided by military contractors such as Dyncorp. Some 15,000 allied troops are killed and tens of thousands are wounded. Estimates of opposition and civilians deaths vary widely from tens to hundreds of thousands.

2001President Bush expands Plan Colombia with the Andean Conterdrug Initiative, eventually allocating about $1.3 billion to send hundreds of additional military advisors and mercenaries to Colombia and other South American countries.

2001Paramilitary forces in Alto Noya, Colombia use chainsaws and machetes to kill between 40 and 130 civilians suspected of sympathizing with leftist guerrillas. Thousands are forced to flee. The nearby Colombian military declines to intervene.

2002The head of MI6 (British Foreign Intelligence) returns from Washington to meet secretly with senior members of the British government. He notes that the Bush administration is determined to attack Iraq and is cooking the evidence for weapons of mass destruction as justification. The minutes of this meeting will be leaked in 2005 when they will become known as the Downing Street Memo.

2003Under what are now admitted to be utterly fraudulent pretenses, the U.S. invades Iraq. U.S. forces will be officially withdrawn in 2011, but numerous mercenaries and contractors remain behind, and the U.S. intervenes again starting in 2014. Saddam Hussein is removed from power and executed, and a democratic system is established but chaos and sectarian strife are rampant. Over 25,000 allied troops are killed while some 35,000 enemy combatants are killed. Estimates of civilian casualties vary wildly, from around 100,000 to over a million.

2004A U.S. warplane accidentally strafes an intermediate school in New Jersey.

2005U.S. marines massacre 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians. The marines face trial, but most charges against them are dropped and none of them are sent to prison.

2006Saddam Hussein is executed in Iraq.

2006Five U.S. soldiers gang-rape and kill a 14-year-old Iraqi girl then murder her family.

2006North Korea successfully tests a nuclear weapon using technology provided in 2000 by a company which Donald Rumsfeld served on the board of.

2006The Gaza-Israel conflict begins. It will continue on for several years, resulting in the death of around 100 Israelis and over 5,000 Palestinians.

2007Israel carries out Operation Orchard, bombing an alleged nuclear reactor in Syria.

2008Israel invades Gaza following a handful of rocket attacks. The conflict results in the deaths of some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis (4 of which were from friendly fire). Over 4,000 homes in Gaza are destroyed along with critical infrastructure, leading to a humanitarian crisis.