Bullet Points in BOLD are possible exam questions.
“No aspect of American History better reflects the interests and values of the nation, for better or for worse, than the wars it has fought” (New York Public Library Desk Reference) Over 1 million deaths related to war involvement.
1775 April 19, start of Revolutionary War. In Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts , first shots and casualties. Continental Army organized, George Washington is appointed its head.
1776 Continental Congress signs Declaration of Independence. Washington loses battle of Long, Island, British occupy New York City. Colonial army cross into Pennsylvania. 1st year of fighting ends in draw.
1777 British strategy to divide New England and Hudson Valley . Washington spends winter in Valley Forge
1778 French formally enter war with the colonists. Colonists are winning frontier (famous example is Daniel Boone in Kentucky )
1779 War moves south. Spain declares war on Great Britian.
1781 After Cornwallis’ troops systematically picked off in Carolinas, surrenders at Yorktown , VA.
1783 Treaty of Paris signed on September 3.
1787 Constitution framed so that congress given power to declare war, president is commander in chief.
1791 US army made of volunteers and state militia.
1798 US Marine Corps established
1802 US Military Academy at West Point established
1812 War of 1812: based largely upon border, sea and trade disputes.
1813 US wins campaigns around Great Lakes .. Indians fight alongside British.
1814 US near bankruptcy. British done battles in Europe, devise three fold plan for US war. 1. Secure Chesapeake Bay Region (burn capital). 2. Secure Canada to NYC (lose at Lake Chaplain ). 3. Take New Orleans
1814 Francis Scott Key “The Star Spangled Banner” after battle of Fort McHenry .
1814 Treaty of Ghent . No land changes hands as result of war.
1845 US Naval Academy established.
1846 Mexican War. US annexation of Texas . Mexican Troops attack in Rio Grande region. Polk declares “shed blood upon American soil”.
1848 Grant and Lee fight as colleagues in war.
1860 Lincoln elected President. South Carolina secedes from Union.
1861 Civil War causes: slavery, tariffs, representation
1861 6 other states secede, form Confederate States of America . Richmond the capital (after a short period where Montgomery Alabama was capital)
1862 Lincoln orders naval blockade of South. First ironclad ship battle. Robert Lee (confederates) and Ulysses Grant (union) rising generals. Congress passes law that blacks are allowed to serve in union army.
1862 Confederate National Draft (21% of army comes by draft),
1862 Union-2% by draft. People can buy a replacement or pay fee.
1863 Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettsyburg, 51,000 lives.
1864 Union Sea blockade halts 1/3 of ships to south. Sherman takes control of Atlanta and other Georgia cities
1865 Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House , Virginia .
1876 US Coast Guard established
1898 Spanish-American War rooted in Spain ’s treatment of Cuba . McKinley called ‘weak, would-be politician’ by Spanish ambassador. USS Maine explodes in Havana harbor, killing 260.. Warzone extends to Pacific. Treaty of Paris , Spain cedes Puerto Rico, Guam , Philippines .
1914 WWI Archduke Ferdinand ( Austria-Hungary ) assassinated. Russia , Britain , France , Serbia against Germany , Austria-Hungary. Trench warfare key component of war.
1915 German submarine sinks Lusitania , 128 Americans killed
1917 Zimmerman Telegram; German proposed alliance with Mexico where Promise to return SW land to Mexico . Leads to Congressional declaration of war on Germany , A-H. President Wilson states “world must be made safe for democracy”.
1917 first national draft instituted, increases army from 200,000 to 5 million. 2 million fight in Europe. (72% of army by way of draft)
1918 US involvement helps France push through Germany forces. Germany surrenders, Treaty of Versailles, 11am on 11/11.
1935 US passes Neutrality Acts, forbidding US Companies to sell materials or fuel to warring nations.
1941 (march) Lend-Lease program created. Will aid any country whose cause deemed vital to US interest. This program designed to avoid war involvement in Europe
1941 (August) Roosevelt and Churchill meet to create Atlantic Charter, guiding post war plans. !
1941 Dec 7: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor . Dec. 8. US declares war on Japan . Dec. 11 Germany , Italy declare war on US.
1941 draft enlists all men from 18 to 38 (45) for duration of war. Labor and volunteerism dramatically increase. Example: US has 5 aircraft carriers when war declared. By 1945: 139.
1944 Operation Overlord, D DAY, June 6: largest air/sea invasion in history: 176,000 US troops, 20,000 vehicles.
1944-5 Battle of Bulge ( Germany ), largest land battle of war.
1945 United Nations plan organized by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin at meeting in Yalta , Ukraine .
1945 Germany surrenders.
1945 (August) atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima , Nagasaki . 200,000 people die. Japan surrenders.
1945 Korea divided at 38th Parallel.
1950 North Korean forces invade South Korea. War involves China , UN forces. US forces led by MacArthur, who eventually is replaced by Truman for philosophical differences. Little land exchanged by 1953 settlement.
1954 US Air Force established.
1954 Vietnam divided into North and South after French attempt at colonization. Elections in 1956 designed to unite nation, but South pulls out worried about communist victory.
1961 Bay of Pigs Cuba : attempted overthrow of Fidel Castro.
1964 Johnson asks congress to “join in affirming that the US will continue its basic policy of assisting the free nations of the area to defend their freedom” Gulf of Tonkin resolution gives president Johnson the power to wage war without formal declaration of war by congress. This is the only example in US history.
1967 buildup of US troops (385,000)
1969 first attempt at peace talks. Lottery system for draft established
1971 Pentagon Papers, congressional support for war drops discovering executive strategy and involvement for the war.
1975 Ford halts draft registration
1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait . UN imposes sanctions.
1991 4 days of bombing clears Kuwait of Iraq presence.
2001 Office of Homeland Security created
2002 Dept. of Homeland Security established. Sweeping gov’t reorganization.
2003 citing non-compliance with UN resolution, military operations begin to depose Hussein, disarm country and create democratic government.
OTHER MILITARY ACTIONS from 1893-2001
Hawaii, Cuba, Samoa, China, Panama, Cuba, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti, Mexico, Russia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan