January 21: The Beginning of the Battle of Khe Sanh, The Women's March Against Trump, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on January 21 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1968 – Vietnam War: the Beginning of the Battle of Khe Sanh
Unlike many battles of the past, those fought in the conflicts of the Cold War era (especially, when it comes to the Vietnam War) lasted much longer than one or two days. January 21 marks the 51stt anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Khe Sanh, which lasted until July 1968. This was just the beginning of one of the most well-known, bloody and popularized battles of the war that changed America dramatically.
The battle itself was conducted in the Khe Sanh area of the northwestern Quảng Trị Province in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The main US forces defending the Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB) were two regiments of US Marines supported by elements from the United States Army and the United States Air Force, as well as a small number of South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) troops. They were pitted against two to three divisional-size elements of the North Vietnamese Army.
Although the battle was quite harsh and both sides claimed the victory, the result remained indecisive: The siege of Khe Sanh was broken by ground forces on April 6, 1968. The North Vietnamese Army gained control of the Khe Sanh region after the American withdrawal, but didn’t achieve a number of their strategic goals, thus the Battle of Khe Sanh turned out to be another useless clash in a useless war fought by the Americans. Society couldn’t understand it, especially when it came to war crimes committed by the Americans in Vietnam. And the losses from the American side were quite high as well, with 1,500 young lives lost by July 1968 in this one battle. What did they die for? Why were they sent there? These questions remain even half a century later.
1968 - Thule Air Base B-52 crash
January 21, 1968 was a bad day for the U.S.: Together with beginning of another useless battle in Vietnam, a serious accident occurred with a B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons onboard.
The accident occurred near Thule Air Base in the Danish territory of Greenland, which was formally claimed to be denuclearized. The aircraft was carrying four B28FI thermonuclear bombs on a Cold War "Chrome Dome" alert mission over Baffin Bay when a cabin fire forced the crew to abandon the aircraft before they could carry out an emergency landing at Thule Air Base. Six crew members ejected safely, but one who did not have an ejection seat was killed while trying to bail out. The bomber crashed onto sea ice in North Star Bay, Greenland, causing the conventional explosives aboard to detonate and the nuclear payload to rupture and disperse, which resulted in radioactive contamination.
The United States and Denmark immediately launched an intensive clean-up and recovery operation, but the secondary stage of one of the nuclear weapons could not be accounted for after the operation was completed. USAF Strategic Air Command "Chrome Dome" operations were discontinued immediately after the accident, which highlighted the safety and political risks of the missions. Safety procedures were reviewed and more stable explosives were developed for use in nuclear weapons.
2017 - The Women's March campaign against President Trump is launched
The worldwide Women’s March protest was held on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Tensions rose due to statements made by Trump considered by many as anti-women or otherwise offensive: It’s hard to satisfy angry feminist groups acting just like right-wing activists of the past, driven by hatred against men! Some historians say this was also the largest single-day protest in U.S. history as up to 5 million people took part in the protests all over America.
The goal of the march was to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, workers' rights and tolerance. All together! For all the good, against all the bad! For all the perverts, against all the conservatives! And indeed, crooked liberals and democrats of all kinds strongly supported this movement, as it was actually aimed against one person: Republican President Donald Trump and the conservative values he stood for. Let’s be frank about it.
These are the most notable events in the U.S. history that occurred on January 21, at least in our view.