On This Day 26 Feb

US President Woodrow Wilson learns of the Zimmermann Telegram
In a critical moment for U.S. participation in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson learns of the so-called Zimmermann Telegram, a communique from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German ambassador to Mexico suggesting a Mexican-German alliance in the event of war between the U.S. and Germany.
In the telegram, intercepted by British intelligence in late January, Zimmermann instructed his ambassador, in the event of a German war with the United States, to offer significant financial aid to Mexico if it entered the conflict as a German ally. Germany also promised to restore to Mexico the lost states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

A political cartoon illustrating the German proposal for Americans.

Hitler organizes the Luftwaffe (German Air Force)
On February 26, 1935, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler signs a secret decree authorizing the founding of the Reich Luftwaffe as the air arm of the German military. In the same decree, Hitler appointed Hermann Goering, a German air hero from World War I and high-ranking Nazi, as commander in chief of the newly established German air force.
The Versailles Treaty that ended World War I prohibited military aviation in Germany, but a German civilian airline–Lufthansa–was founded in 1926 and provided training for the men who would later become Luftwaffe pilots. The Luftwaffe was to be gradually revealed so as not to alert foreign governments, and the size and composition of Luftwaffe units were to remain covert.

Hermann Goering congratulates German pilots who participated in the conquest of Poland.

First South Korean troops arrive in Vietnam
The first South Korean troops arrive in Saigon. Although assigned to non-combat duties, they came under fire on April 3. The South Korean contingent was part of the Free World Military Forces, an effort by President Lyndon B. Johnson to enlist allies for the United States and South Vietnam.
By securing support from other nations, Johnson hoped to build an international consensus behind his policies in Vietnam. The effort was also known as the “many flags” program. By the close of 1969, there were over 47,800 Korean soldiers actively involved in combat operations in South Vietnam. Seoul began to withdraw its troops in February 1972. The program was a valuable source of foreign exchange for South Korea, which was then underdeveloped.

South Korean troops land at Qui Nhon in Vietnam.

World Trade Center is bombed
A bomb explodes in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City on this day in 1993. Six people were killed and 1,000 were injured by the powerful blast, which also caused the evacuation of thousands of people from the Twin Towers.
On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was again attacked, when terrorists linked to Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaida hijacked and flew one jetliner into each tower. Within hours, both towers had collapsed, killing almost 3,000 people. A third jet was crashed into the Pentagon, killing almost two hundred people, including those on board the plane.

The aftermath of the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Centre.

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