On This Day

Weapons in History

Historical Events

  • 1776-05-02 France & Spain agreed to give weapons to American rebels
  • 1862-09-15 Confederates conquer Union-weapon arsenal at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  • 1895-06-29 Doukhobors burn their weapons as a protest against conscription by the Tsarist Russian government.
  • 1912-12-03 Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece & Bulgaria sign weapons pact
  • 1923-04-13 US Army wins 1st college three-weapon fencing championships
  • 1935-06-12 Weapons pact ends 3 year war of Gran Chaco (Bolivia vs Paraguay)

Meeting of Interest

1941-09-17 Famous meeting between Danish physicist Niels Bohr and German head of nuclear energy project Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen to discuss nuclear weapons (date approximate)

  • 1942-02-26 Werner Heisenberg, a principal scientist in the German nuclear weapons program, delivers a lecture to Nazi officials about extracting energy from nuclear fission
  • 1942-02-28 1st weapon drop on Netherlands
  • 1942-08-09 CBS radio broadcasts the debut of wartime series "Our Secret Weapon"

Historic Invention

1942-12-22 World War II: Adolf Hitler signs the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon

  • 1943-08-17 498 British bombers attack Peenemunde (development base for the V weapons)
  • 1944-01-04 Operation Carpetbagger begins (aerial dropping of supplies and weapons to resistance fighters in Europe)
  • 1944-10-28 Russia & Bulgaria sign weapons pact
  • 1948-10-21 UN rejects Russian proposal to destroy atomic weapons

Historic Event

1950-05-08 President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek asks US for weapons

Historic Event

1952-11-01 "Ivy Mike", the first thermonuclear weapon to utilize the H-bomb design of Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam, is detonated in the Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean

Historic Event

1955-03-16 President Eisenhower upholds the use of atomic weapons in case of war

Conference of Interest

1955-07-13 Industrialist Cyrus Eaton first offers to host a conference on dangers of nuclear weapons in Pugwash, Nova Scotia

  • 1955-07-15 18 Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by 34 more laureates
  • 1957-11-18 Tunisia refuses Russian weapons
  • 1958-03-25 West German parliament desires German atomic weapons
  • 1958-03-31 USSR suspends nuclear weapons tests, & urges US & Britain to do same
  • 1958-04-04 1st march against nuclear weapons from London to Aldermaston, England, home of the Defence Ministry's Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)
  • 1959-07-01 Israeli Knesset agrees to weapon sales to West Germany
  • 1960-11-22 French National Meeting decide to build own nuclear weapons
  • 1960-11-30 French Senate condemns building own nuclear weapons
  • 1961-10-30 Soviet Union tests a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb named Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated

Historic Event

1962-11-19 Fidel Castro accepts removal of Soviet weapons

  • 1963-10-09 French air force gets first nuclear weapons
  • 1964-11-17 British Labour Party installs weapon embargo against South Africa
  • 1966-12-08 US and USSR sign treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in outer space
  • 1967-01-27 Treaty signed banning military use of nuclear weapons in space
  • 1967-05-19 USSR ratifies treaty with Britain & US banning nuclear weapons in space
  • 1970-06-05 The Falls Road curfew in North Ireland, imposed by the British Army while searching for IRA weapons, is lifted after a march by women breaches the British Army cordon
  • 1970-07-03 The British Army impose curfew on Falls Road area of Belfast as they search for weapons; coming under attack from the Official IRA (OIRA) and republican rioters
  • 1970-07-04 The Falls Road curfew in North Ireland, imposed by the British Army while searching for IRA weapons, continues throughout the day; a man is killed by the British Army
  • 1971-02-11 US, UK, USSR, others sign Seabed Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons
  • 1972-04-10 US, USSR & 70 other nations agree to ban biological weapons
  • 1972-08-03 US Senate ratifies the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union to limit the use of missile systems capable of defending against missile-delivered nuclear weapons
  • 1973-10-17 OPEC oil ministers use oil as an economic weapon in the Arab-Israeli War, mandating a cut in exports and recommending an embargo against unfriendly states [1]
  • 1973-11-23 Arab summit conference adopts open and secret resolutions on the use of the oil weapons; embargo extended to Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa
  • 1974-01-18 Israel & Egypt sign weapons accord

Treaty of Interest

1974-11-24 Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev agree to a framework for the SALT-II treaty to reduce each side's number of nuclear weapons, at the Vladivostok Summit

  • 1975-03-26 The Biological Weapons Convention enters into force.
  • 1977-11-04 UN Security council proclaims weapon embargo against South Africa
  • 1979-06-18 US President Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT II treaty limiting nuclear weapons
  • 1981-11-30 Cold War: In Geneva, representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union begin to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe (the meetings ended inconclusively on December 17)
  • 1982-12-08 Norman Mayer holds Washington Monument hostage, demanding an end to nuclear weapons. Is killed by police after 10 hrs (he had no explosives)
  • 1983-03-08 House Foreign Affairs Com endorses nuclear weapons freeze with USSR

Historic Event

1983-05-03 Soviet leader Yuri Andropov decreases nuclear weapons in Europe

  • 1983-05-03 US bishops condemn nuclear weapons
  • 1983-11-18 Argentina announces its ability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons
  • 1983-11-23 USSR leaves weapon disarmament talks
  • 1985-02-04 Naval exercises canceled when US refuses to tell NZ if nuclear weapons aboard USS Buchanan

Historic Event

1986-11-13 US President Reagan confesses weapon sales to Iran

  • 1987-06-08 New Zealand's Labour government legislates against nuclear weapons and nuclear powered vessels in NZ. Only nation to legislate against nuclear power.
  • 1988-03-16 Chemical attack on Kurdish town of Halabja by Iraqi forces kills 5000 civilians - largest ever chemical weapons attack
  • 1988-09-03 Estimated by this date 50,000 Kurdish civilians and soldiers killed by Iraq, many using chemical weapons, in aftermath of Iran-Iraq War
  • 1989-01-07 International Conference on Limitation of Chemical Weapons opens in Paris
  • 1989-01-08 Soviet Union promises to eliminate stockpiles of chemical weapons
  • 1989-01-11 140 nations agree to ban chemical weapons (poison gas, etc)

Historic Event

1989-09-26 Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze calls for total destruction of Soviet & US chemical weapons

Music History

1991-02-27 Singer James Brown is paroled from prison after serving 2 years of 6 year sentence for weapon and drug related convictions

  • 1991-07-31 Russia and US sign long range nuclear weapons reduction pact
  • 1991-09-28 UN weapons inspectors ends 5-day standoff with Iraq
  • 1991-10-05 USSR reduces nuclear weapons arsenal
  • 1994-05-06 US House of Representatives passes the Federal Assault Weapons Ban
  • 1995-05-11 More than 170 countries agree to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons [1]
  • 1995-10-13 Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to Polish physicist Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, for their work to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons

Historic Event

1996-01-29 France will no longer test nuclear weapons, its president Jacques Chirac says, following international outcry over tests in the Pacific

  • 1997-04-29 Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 comes into force, outlaws production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons among its signatories
  • 1997-11-20 Iraq's Revolution Command Council formally endorses an agreement, arranged by Russia, that enables UN weapons inspection teams to resume operations in Iraq
  • 1998-10-31 Iraq disarmament crisis begins: Iraq announces it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

Historic Event

1999-02-21 Lahore Declaration signed between India's Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan's Navaz Sharif on use of nuclear weapons

  • 2002-11-18 Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.
  • 2004-04-24 United States lifts economic sanctions imposed on Libya 18 years ago, as reward for cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction
  • 2004-05-26 The New York Times publishes admission of journalistic failings, claims its flawed reporting and lack of skeptism during buildup to 2003 Iraq War helped promote belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
  • 2007-08-29 A United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident takes place at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base.
  • 2007-09-11 Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of all bombs.
  • 2012-01-23 European Union agrees to embargo Iranian oil in protest against Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program
  • 2012-04-29 International Chemical Weapons Convention deadline for chemical weapon stockpiles comes into effect
  • 2013-02-12 North Korea allegedly conducts its third nuclear test, saying it was a nuclear device that could be weaponized
  • 2013-08-06 An alleged chemical weapons attack on Damascus, Syria, is claimed by Syrian rebels
  • 2013-08-28 China and Russia walk out of a UN Security Council meeting after the US pushes for immediate action against Syria's use of chemical weapons
  • 2013-10-11 The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons wins the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize
  • 2017-07-07 United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty adopted in New York, without participation of nuclear countries
  • 2017-08-16 Last batch of Farc rebel weapons removed by the UN in Colombia
  • 2017-10-06 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
  • 2018-04-14 US, UK and French forces carry out airstrikes on sites associated with Syria's chemical weapons program, in response to Douma gas attack

Summit of Interest

2018-04-27 Historic Korean summit, the North's Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in of South Korea agree to officially end Korean war and rid peninsula of nuclear weapons

  • 2018-05-14 Boulder City Council in Colorado votes to ban assault weapons
  • 2018-09-19 Korean joint summit in Pyongyang agrees to limit North Korea's weapons programme and to South Korea economic cooperation
  • 2018-10-05 Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege and Yazidi activist Nadia Murad for "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war"

Historic Event

2019-03-21 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces a ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, 6 days after the Christchurch terrorist attack

  • 2019-08-08 Nuclear accident at Russian nuclear-weapon testing site at closed city Sarov kills five scientists in mysterious circumstances

Historic Event

2020-05-01 Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announces ban on 1,500 types of assault-style weapons in response to recent Nova Scotia shooting

Historic Event

2021-05-27 US President Joe Biden calls for a ceasefire in the Tigray conflict, north Ethiopia, citing killings and "widespread sexual violence" as a weapon of war

  • 2021-07-27 China tests a missile with a hypersonic weapon system, later called “very close” to a Sputnik moment by a US general [1]
  • 2021-11-16 Astronauts on board the International Space Station forced to take shelter as Russian weapons test creates 1,500 debris field

Famous Birthdays

  • 1838-06-27 Paul Mauser, German weapon designer, born in Oberndorf am Neckar, Kingdom of Württemberg (d. 1914)
  • 1855-01-23 John Moses Browning, American weapons manufacturer, born in Ogden, Utah Territory (d. 1926)
  • 1884-09-24 Hugo Schmeisser, German inventor and weapons designer, born in Jena, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, German Empire (d. 1953)
  • 1900-11-18 George Kistiakowsky, Ukrainian-American chemist who helped develop the first atomic bomb (Manhattan Project), but later opposed nuclear weapons, born in Kyiv, Ukraine (d. 1982)
  • 1920-02-20 Evgeny Dragunov, Russian weapons designer (d. 1991)

Danny Glover

1946-07-22 Danny Glover, American actor (Lethal Weapon; The Color Purple), and human rights activist, born in San Francisco, California

  • 1950-08-11 Gennidy Nikonov, Russian weapons inventor
  • 1950-10-09 Gary Frank, American actor (Enemy Territory, Deadly Weapon), born in Spokane, Washington

Mel Gibson

1956-01-03 Mel Gibson, American actor (Mad Max, Mrs Soffel, Lethal Weapon) and filmmaker, born in Peekskill, New York

  • 1958-05-05 Ron Arad, Israeli Air Force weapon systems officer (WSO) who is officially classified as missing in action since October 1986, born in Hod HaSharon, Israel
  • 1961-07-15 Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector in Iraq
  • 1968-03-04 Patsy Kensit, English actress (Lethal Weapon 2, Hanover St), born in London, England

Famous Deaths

  • 1882-01-13 Wilhelm Mauser, German weapon designer and manufacturer (b. 1834)
  • 1914-05-29 Paul von Mauser, German weapon designer, dies at 75
  • 1926-11-26 John M Brown, US weapons constructor, dies
  • 1953-09-12 Hugo Schmeisser, German inventor and weapons designer, dies at 68
  • 1982-12-07 George Kistiakowsky, Ukrainian-American chemist who helped develop the first atomic bomb (Manhattan Project) but later opposed nuclear weapons, dies at 82
  • 2003-07-17 David Kelly, Welsh UN weapons inspector (b. 1944)