September - This Month in the Cold War

09/04/54 A US Navy P2V Neptune, with a crew of ten was shot down by Soviet fighters 40 miles off the Siberian coast. Nine crewmembers were rescued by US forces. The aircraft's navigator was missing and presumed dead. The Soviet Union claimed the plane entered Soviet airspace and fired on Soviet aircraft. The charges were rejected by the United States.

September 9, 1948 - Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed with Pyongyang as its capital.

September 9, 1976 - Longtime leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao Zedong, died. As a Chinese revolutionary soldier and statesman, he proclaimed the People's Republic of China in 1949 in Beijing.

September 12, 1953 - Nikita Khrushchev was elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR.

September 12, 1974 - Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was deposed by an army coup after 44 years as ruler.

September 12, 1990 - A treaty was signed by East and West Germany and the Allies of World War II allowing for the restoration of sovereignty to a re-unified Germany.

09/02/58 A US Air Force RC-130, with a crew of seventeen was shot down by Soviet fighters twenty-four miles inside Soviet Armenia. At first the Soviets denied any knowledge of the incident and later claimed the aircraft had crashed. The remains of 6 crewmembers were returned to US custody on September 24, 1958. The Soviets denied any knowledge of the 11 other crew members. It is possible that this aircraft was lured into Soviet airspace by false navigational signals.

August - This Month in the Cold War

August 7, 1964 - Following an attack on two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam, the U.S. Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, granting President Lyndon B. Johnson authority "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."

August 13, 1961 - The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed wire to discourage emigration to the West. The barbed wire was replaced by a 12-foot-high concrete wall eventually extending 103 miles (166 km) around the perimeter of West Berlin. 

August 19, 1991 - Soviet hard-line Communists staged a coup, temporarily removing Mikhail Gorbachev from power. The coup failed within 72 hours when Boris Yeltsin rallied the Russian people and became the leading power in the country. The Communist Party was banned and by December the Soviet Union disintegrated.

08/23/56 US Navy P4M Martin Mercator was shot down by Chinese fighters, 160 miles north of Taiwan and 32 miles from the Chinese coast. The crew radioed that they were under attack by an aircraft. The Chinese claimed they fired on it believing it to be a Chinese Nationalist aircraft.

August 29, 1991 - Following the unsuccessful coup of August 19-21, the Soviet Communist Party was suspended, thus ending the institution that ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 75 years.

August 31, 1980 - Solidarity, the Polish trade union, was formed at Gdansk, Poland. Led by Lech Walesa, Solidarity opposed Communist rule and was outlawed in 1981. Seven years later, following partially free parliamentary elections. Solidarity candidates scored victories in the elections and gained power, paving the way for the downfall of Communism in Poland.

Excerpt from the Ethiopian Intercept: Rescue mission

The green jade waters of Lake Rudolf stretched off to our left. A small bush camp: two Land Rovers and about a half dozen safari tents lay to the right, the only sign of life for miles in the austere landscape.

Barker lined the Porter up on the approach to an isolated desert airstrip, little more than a dirt track cleared of rocks. He dipped the nose, pushed the throttle forward, gained speed, and came straight in. At the last second, he pulled up and buzzed the dusty airstrip at low altitude.

Read More

July - This Month in the Cold War

July 3, 1976 - The raid on Entebbe airport in Uganda by an Israeli commando unit. An Air France airliner had been hijacked en-route from Tel Aviv to Paris when by pro-Palestinian guerrillas. Three hostages, seven hijackers and twenty Ugandan soldiers were killed during the operation. 103 hostages were rescued.

July 26, 1953 - The beginning of Fidel Castro's revolutionary "26th of July Movement." In 1959, Castro led a rebellion that drove out dictator Fulgencio Batista.

July 29, 1953 -  A US Air Force RB-50 was shot down by Soviet fighters 40 miles off the Siberian coast.   The Soviets claimed the aircraft had violated Soviet airspace and opened fire on Soviet fighters. This claim was rejected by the United States. One crew member survived, the remains of two were recovered, and thirteen remained unaccounted for.