Now that we have seen the month of August slip into history, it is worthwhile to look back and notice how significant the month is in Presidential history, how it is often a crisis month!
August 24, 1814–Great Britain invaded and burned the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC during the War of 1812, sending President James Madison and Congress fleeing to nearby Baltimore. This was the only invasion of American territory until Pearl Harbor in 1941.
August 4, 1914–World War I began in full swing, as all of the major European powers had finally declared war a week after the initial declaration. This alarmed President Woodrow Wilson issued a declaration that the United States would remain “neutral in thought, as well as action”, a statement which could not be upheld as the war progressed into a long term stalemate, leading to US entrance in 1917.
August 6 and 9, 1945–Newly inaugurated President Harry Truman, in office less than four months after the sudden death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, unleashes the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, leading to the end of World War II.
August 13, 1961–The Soviet Union begins the construction of the Berlin Wall, separating East Berlin from West Berlin, during the first year of the administration of President John F. Kennedy. It will remain a symbol of oppression until its destruction in November 1989.
August 4, 1964–The Tonkin Gulf Incident is reported during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, a supposed attack on US Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese patrol boats. This led to Johnson’s request of a resolution allowing the use of force to react to the reported aggression, and was the first step in the escalation of the war in Vietnam to a full scale conflict.
August 9, 1974–President Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first President to take such action, due to the “smoking gun” tape that showed his involvement in a coverup of the Watergate scandal. President Gerald Ford succeeded him in office, and later pardoned Nixon from prosecution, allowing Nixon to evade punishment, including being removed from office in an impeachment trial had he stayed in office.
August 2, 1990–Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, invaded its oil rich neighbor, Kuwait, alarming Saudi Arabia and other Arab and oil nations, and led to US involvement, in unison with a United Nations coalition, to force Iraq out of Kuwait, but also putting US troops for the first time in the Middle East, and inciting Muslims who became involved in terrorism through participation with Al Qaeda under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden,
August 2011–President Barack Obama faced the crisis of the Debt Ceiling, which led to a lowering of the credit rating of the United States by Standard and Poor’s and a stock market crisis. Additionally, the Atlantic Coast Earthquake and Hurricane Irene became major crises, along with the final steps toward the removal of Moammar Gaddafi from power in Libya after a five month effort by the US, with backing of NATO allies, the United Nations, and the Arab League.
So there has to be a sign of relief that the ugly month of August has again passed into history!