Today In History July 21


A root from where we stemmed is our world history, and like every story has a start, our past has a great role to play in our present. Our chaotic routines might have forced us to think it is the present which we should concentrate on and not think about the past which has gone, which is somewhat correct but only to some extent. However, when we give it a thought, we realize that we cannot do without history. After all, it is the past that has shaped our future and one end of the thread of changes that have occurred over the years lies buried somewhere in the past. Many of us dismiss history by terming it ‘boring’ and ‘obsolete’ and often fail to understand its importance in our life. Each day holds some or the other significance, but there are a few who have witnessed events that revolutionized the world. One such date is July 21, which has seen the beginning of ‘NATO’ as well as the division of Vietnam. Apart from these, numerous other major events occurred on this day and were instrumental in building todays. Please scroll down to dive into the past and get a refreshing idea of our present.


1974: Cyprus conflict spills into London

Thousands of Greek-Cypriots in London have been protesting about the disputed government of Cyprus. Turkish troops landed in the north of the Mediterranean island early yesterday morning after a Greek-sponsored coup in the capital, Nicosia, last week of the conflict.

More than 10,000 Greek-Cypriots and British left-wing activists marched through the center of London to support an independent Cyprus and the restoration of Archbishop Makarios as its elected president.

But trouble flared when the group collected outside the All Saints Greek Orthodox church in Camden Town and confronted against the other Greek Cypriots in favor of union or enosis with Greece.

An action committee was having a meeting in the headquarters of the Coordinating Movement for Union of Cyprus with Greece – opposite the church – to prepare a force of volunteers to join the Greek Army.

Marchers tore down pro-Greek unionist posters – calling for the removal of Turkish forces – from railings surrounding the HQ. Police were called to separate the opposing crowds of Greek-Cypriots as they shouted abuse against each other across the street.

A spokesman for the pro-Greek unionists referred to the demonstrators as “communists” and said: “Makarios is turning Cyprus into a Mediterranean Cuba.” Britain has been airlifting troops and equipment into Cyprus, whilst a ceasefire in Nicosia is protecting foreign civilians from the warring factions.

The 2,000 British holidaymakers stranded on the island have criticized the Labour Government for failing to anticipate the onset of fighting. Gun battles have been fiercest around Kyrenia and Famagusta where many Britons were staying.

Most of the 21,000 Britons on the island – including 17,000 dependents of the 9,000 forces personnel – have now been safely escorted to British military bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. British and American naval frigates are cruising the coast-line to evacuate any “friendly nationals” from the beaches. West German officials were advising their nationals to leave the island on Thursday – two days before the Turkish invasion.

1954: Peace deal ends Indo-China war

The major world powers have reached agreement on the terms for a ceasefire in Indo-China, ending nearly eight years of war. The war began in the year 1946 between the nationalist forces of the Communist Viet Minh under leader Ho Chi Minh and France, the occupying colonial power.

But there was no lasting agreement on peace in Korea, the main subject of the talks in Geneva, Switzerland between France, Britain, and the USA, the USSR, China, and countries of Indo-China.

The news of a ceasefire has come as a great relief in Europe and the U.S. The newly appointed French Prime Minister, Pierre Mendes-France, had set a deadline for an agreement that was finally signed in the early hours of 21st July morning.

In the afternoon, he told the French Parliament he had achieved his aim of “an honorable settlement” to end a war that has cost at least 300,000 lives. However, there is concern that the terms of the Geneva Accord concede too much to the Viet Minh – not least in the U.S, which gave $385m to equip the Vietnamese Army.

President Dwight D Eisenhower said in a statement from Washington that the agreement contained elements that he did not like or agree to – such as the division of Vietnam between north and south – and a great deal depended on how they worked in practice.

Senate leaders from both parties went one step further and expressed their alarm at what is widely regarded as a Communism victory.

“We may regret that such an agreement has been forced upon the French,” said Senator William Knowland, Republican, and Senate Majority Leader.

That conference was the first international meeting at which the China Communist government took part.