Tokyo burns, 1945.

This Year in History

Our Selections From March

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 March.

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1

March 1, 1977: United States Extends Territorial Waters

The Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 goes into effect, extending U.S. territorial waters by 200 miles. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

2

March 2, 1962: A Coup D'Etat in Burma

The army, led by General Ne Win, seizes power. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

3

March 3, 1976: Mozambique Closes Its border with Rhodesia

Mozambican President Samora Machel announces the closure of the border with Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) after Rhodesian troops entered the country without permission to root out rebel fighters during the Rhodesian Bush War. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

4

March 4, 1988: U.S. Supreme Court Bars Same-Sex Workplace Harassment

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc, considered a landmark case for gay rights, was later used to protect people from workplace harassment based on sexual orientation. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

5

March 5, 1946: Churchill Delivers "Iron Curtain" Speech

At Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill says, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

6

March 6, 1953: Malenkov Succeeds Stalin

Just a day after Joseph Stalin's death, Georgy Malenkov is appointed the new Premier and First Secretary of the Soviet Union, but he is quickly pushed out by Nikita Khrushchev. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

7

March 7, 1989: Iran and the United Kingdom Sever Ties

Iran breaks diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom for its failure to denounce Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

8

March 8, 2004: Iraq Adopts Interim Constitution

The document is a guideline for the transitional government. It was replaced by a permanent constitution in October 2005. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

9

March 9, 1945: Bombing of Tokyo

The firebombing was part of U.S. air raids on Japan during the WWII Pacific campaigns. This raid was later considered the most destructive bombing campaign in history. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

10

March 10, 1922: Mahatma Gandhi Arrested in India

He is tried for sedition and sentenced to six years in prison. He is released two years later in order to receive medical treatment. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

11

March 11, 2000: Dot-Com Bubble Bursts

The stock market begins to slip after peaking the day before at $6.71 trillion in combined value of stocks on the NASDAQ. By the end of the month, nearly a trillion dollars worth of stock had been lost. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

12

March 12, 1947: Truman Doctrine Announced

In a speech before Congress, President Harry S. Truman asks for U.S. aid to help Greece and Turkey resist communism. His statement is considered the official declaration of the Cold War. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

13

March 13, 1979: European Monetary System Enters Into Force

The goal is to stabilize the exchange rate by linking the currencies of ten major European countries. The system is later replaced by the Economic and Monetary Union. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

14

March 14, 1990: Gorbachev Becomes President

The Congress of People’s Deputies elects General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev as the new leader of the Soviet Union. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

15

March 15, 1960: "Ten Nation" Disarmament Talks Begins

The Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament begins a discussion on nuclear disarmament. It included five Warsaw Pact and five NATO nations. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

16

March 16, 1968: My Lai Massacre

A group of American soldiers brutally murders between 200 and 500 unarmed civilians at My Lai, a small village located near the northern coast of South Vietnam. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

17

March 17, 2005: George Kennan Dies

The prominent Cold War strategist passes away at 101. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

18

March 18, 1950: Chinese Nationalists Raid Mainland China

General Chiang Kai-Shek, who retreated to Taiwan after losing the mainland to the Communists in 1949, leads the nationalists forces in a costal invasion of China. The nationalists are again defeated and driven back to Taiwan. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

19

March 19, 1920: U.S. Rejects the Treaty of Versailles Again

In a vote of 49-35, the U.S. Senate fails to approve the treaty, a formal peace agreement between War World I Allies and Germany. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

20

March 20, 1995: Poison Gas Attack in Japan

A cult group releases sarin gas on the Tokyo subway, killing 12 and sickening 5,000. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

21

March 21, 1980: Carter Announces Boycott of Moscow Summer Olympics

U.S. President Jimmy Carter makes the announcement after the Soviet Union failed to comply with his deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by February 20, 1980. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

22

March 22, 1958: King Saud Transfers Executive Powers

Following an economic crisis in Saudi Arabia, King Saud gives his half-brother Crown Prince Faisal executive ruling powers. Faisal becomes king in 1964 and rules until his assassination in 1975. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

23

March 23, 1983: Reagan Announces "Star Wars" Initiative

U.S. President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative involved building new antimissile technology to protect against ballistic nuclear weapons. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

24

March 24, 1972: The U.K. Government Reasserts Direct Rule Over Northern Ireland

It ended five-decades of "home rule," by which Ireland oversaw its own domestic affairs. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

25

March 25, 1946: Soviets Announce Withdrawal from Iran

This move ended the Iran-Azerbaijan Crisis of 1946, in which the Soviet Union refused to give up occupied territory in Iran. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

26

March 26, 1979: Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty Signed

The treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and witnessed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

27

March 27, 1958: Khrushchev Becomes Soviet Premier

Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the Communist Party, succeeds Nikolai Bulganin as Soviet premier. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

28

March 28, 1979: The Three Mile Island Accident

An accident at nuclear generating station in Pennsylvania leads to one of the worst commercial nuclear meltdowns in history and cost $1 billion to clean up. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

29

March 29, 1951: The Rosenbergs Convicted of Espionage

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a husband and wife team, were found guilty of passing atomic secrets to the Soviets. They were executed in 1953. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

30

March 30, 1981: Attempted Assassination of Reagan

U.S. President Ronald Reagan is shot and seriously wounded. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

31

March 31, 1991: The Warsaw Pact Ends

The 36-year military alliance between the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites dissolves. Read more about it in the Foreign Affairs archive.

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