An artist's impression of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864).

This Year in History

Our Selections From January

All year, we've been highlighting historical news events—and Foreign Affairs articles about those events—as part of our "This Day in History" series. Here are our collected selections for January.

Click here to see all months.

1

January 1, 1912: Founding of the Republic of China

Sun Yat-sen serves as the republic's first leader. He played a key role in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

2

January 2, 1963: The Battle of Ap Bac

The Viet Cong wins its first major battle during the Vietnam War. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

3

January 3, 1959: Alaska Admitted to the Union

U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower signs a proclamation making Alaska the 49th state. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

4

January 4, 1965: President Johnson's "Great Society"

During his State of the Union address, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces his plans for the ”Great Society,” a collection of civil rights and anti-poverty programs. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

5

January 5, 1957: The Eisenhower Doctrine

During the Cold War, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposes a new Middle East policy that promises economic and political aid to countries fighting Communism. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

6

January 6, 1958: Khrushchev's "Peaceful Coexistence" Policy

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announces a troop reduction of 300,000 over the course of the year as part of his goal to create "peaceful coexistence" with the West. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

7

January 7, 1953: The United States Develops a Hydrogen Bomb

In his last State of the Union address, President Harry S. Truman announces that that the United States has produced a hydrogen bomb. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

8

January 8, 1976: Chinese Leader Zhou Enlai Dies

Zhou Enlai, the premier of China under Mao Zedong, dies at age 77. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

9

January 9, 1952: Truman's "Cold War" State of the Union Address

In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Harry S. Truman exclaims, "...communism...That is what we have got to fight, and unless we fight that battle and win it, we can't win the cold war or a hot one either." Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

10

January 10, 1920: The League of Nations Established

The League of Nations is formally instituted as the treaty establishing the league, which was ratified by 42 nations in 1919, comes into force. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

11

January 11, 1943: United States and United Kingdom Give Up Extraterritorial Rights in China

Both countries sign a treaty with China giving up any special rights they had to its land in order to gain its cooperation with Allied Powers during World War II. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

12

January 12, 1954: Dulles Stresses a More Proactive Cold War Policy

In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announces that the United States will defend against communism through the “deterrent of massive retaliatory power.” Although Dulles did not specifically mention nuclear weapons, it was implied. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

13

January 13, 1950: The Soviets Boycott the United Nations Security Council

After the UN voted against the Soviet proposal to unseat the nationalist Chinese delegate, the Soviet representative Jacob Malik storms out of the Security Council meeting and announces he will boycott further meetings. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

14

January 14, 1943: The Casablanca Conference

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill hold a wartime meeting in Casablanca. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

15

January 15, 1860: The Democratic Party's First Association With a Donkey

Cartoonist Thomas Nast portrays the Democratic Party as a donkey in an illustration for Harper's Weekly. In 1874, he characterizes the Republican Party as an elephant. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

16

January 16, 1991: Operation Desert Storm Begins

During the Gulf War, U.S., U.K., French, Saudi, and Kuwaiti aircrafts head for Iraq. President George Bush gives a televised address, stating that Washington's goals are to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

17

January 17, 1961: Eisenhower Warns of the "Military Industrial Complex"

In his farewell address, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower expresses concern that the United States is being “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry” and falling prey to “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

18

January 18, 1985: The United States Walks Out on World Court Case

The United States leaves an International Court of Justice case that argues the United States violated international law by supplying weapons to the anti-government rebels in Nicaragua. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

19

January 19, 1966: Indira Gandhi Becomes First Female Prime Minister of India

After Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's death, Indira Gandhi takes over as the Congress Party leader. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

20

January 20, 1949: Truman Announces "Point Four" Program

So-called because it was the fourth point in his inaugural address, President Harry S. Truman announces a program of scientific and technical aid to developing countries. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

21

January 21, 1950: Alger Hiss Convicted of Perjury

The former State Department official is found guilty for lying under oath during his 1948 trial, in which he denied any involvement in a Soviet spy ring before and during WWII. Hiss spent four years in jail and maintained his innocence until his death. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

22

January 22, 1982: Reagan Places Conditions on Soviet Talks

President Ronald Reagan announces his plan to postpone further talks with the Soviet Union until it eases up on Poland. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

23

January 23, 1973: Nixon Announces Accord Reached Over Vietnam

In a televised speech, President Richard Nixon explains how the agreement will end U.S. involvement in Vietnam and “bring peace with honor.” Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

24

January 24, 1965: Churchill Dies

Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill passes away at 90 in London. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

25

January 25, 1971: Ugandan Coup D'État

Ugandan General Idi Amin seizes power while President Milton Obote is in Singapore. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

26

January 26, 1950: Birth of the Indian Republic

The Indian Constitution, adopted in 1949, comes into force, creating a democratic India. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

27

January 27, 1951: Nuclear Testing at Nevada Site Begins

A one-kiloton bomb is dropped on Frenchman Flat, a reservation that serves as a U.S. national security site. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

28

January 28, 1935: Iceland Legalizes Abortion

It is the first Western nation to create a law recognizing that a mother's health, among other conditions, should be considered when deciding to perform an abortion. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

29

January 29, 1950: Apartheid Riots in Johannesburg

Riots break out after the police try to arrest a black man for buying a container of allegedly illegal liquor. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

30

January 30, 1948: Gandhi Assassinated

A Hindu extremist murders Mahatma Gandhi outside Birla House in New Delhi. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

31

January 31, 1915: First Large-Scale Use of Poison Gas

Germany is the first nation to use poison gas on a large-scale during the Battle of Bolimów against Russia. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

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