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What Happened on September 21?

  • US President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged Congress to repeal the Neutrality Acts. (1939) President Roosevelt wanted to ensure the US could offer aid to European nations facing the German Nazis. The Neutrality Acts were passed in the early 1930s and embargoed military assistance to foreign nations. Congress ultimately agreed to amend the acts on November 4. The US entered World War II in 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

  • France was declared a republic and the monarchy was abolished. (1792) King Louis XVI was tried and found guilty of treason for acts of conspiracy with foreign countries committed during the French Revolution. He and Queen Marie-Antoinette were imprisoned and executed by guillotine.

  • The Superfortress bomber made its maiden flight. (1942) The US B-29 bomber was the largest bomber ever used in the world. It could carry almost its own weight and fly higher than 30,000 feet (about 9,144 meters). It made its bombing debut on June 5, 1944, when the US bombed Bangkok in a move to help the Allies free Burma from Japan. It was the only plane that could carry a 10,000-pound (about 4,535-kilogram) atomic bomb and was the plane that was use to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • The world's first Mach 3 aircraft bomber took flight. (1964) The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie could fly at a 70,000-foot (about 21,000-meter) altitude at Mach 3 speeds. It was the only plane at the time that was capable of avoiding enemy fighter planes.

  • The Philippines was put under martial law. (1972) Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos was ending his second term as President and by the country's laws couldn't run again. To remain in power, he used political leverage to declare martial law and rule the nation as a dictatorship or monarchy. He remained in power until 1986, when he called for a democratic election. The election fueled the People Power Revolution, and he was forced into exile.

  • The last remaining independent investment banks in the US became traditional holding companies. (2008) The subprime mortgage crisis in the US forced investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to become bank holding companies, effectively ending Wall Street investment banking.

  • Monday Night Football debuted in the US. (1970) The show originally ran on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network until 2005 — it was the ABC's second longest running network show in prime time. It now is shown on the ESPN network.

  • Women were allowed into the Virginia Military Institute for the first time. (1996) In the wake of a US Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Virginia which held that it was illegal for a publicly-funded school to refuse admission to women, VMI's board considered going private. After being told the school would lose the ROTC program if it went private, the board voted 8-7 to grant women admission. Two months after the vote, the US Congress passed legislation preventing the Department of Defense from removing an ROTC program from any military college.

  • The US Congress approved a bill giving US airline companies $15 billion US Dollars to recover from losses suffered from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (2001) The US airspace was closed after the terrorist attacks for several days, shutting down passenger travel. When flights resumed, passenger air travel dropped more than 20 percent, furthering financial damage to US airline companies.

  • American General Benedict Arnold committed treason. (1780) Arnold began making arrangements to give West Point to the British military in exchange for a position in the British military and a large amount of money. The plan was exposed before its execution, and Arnold was forced to flee to England with his name now being equated with "traitor."

Discussion Comments

By anon996636 — On Sep 21, 2016

As a Brit and a now a long-retired military professional, I understand that we treated Benedict Arnold in a politely subtle way as the traitor he was. We used what information he could give us and without looking him up, we may well have made him a nominal general, although he never held a command in the rank. We didn't like him any more than did the Americans and simply used him. Everybody loathes a traitor.

By anon992647 — On Sep 21, 2015

Yes, a friend of mine often comments that the history books are written by the winners. And it seems to make sense to me!

By ZipLine — On Oct 14, 2013

September 21st is also Armenia's Independence Day. Armenia broke off from the Soviet Union on this day in 1991.

By donasmrs — On Oct 14, 2013

@turquoise-- Have you ever heard of the phrase "history is written by the victors?"

Technically, US did not become a country until 1789 and the American War of Independence ended in 1782. So one could say that in 1780, when Benedict Arnold was making a deal with the British intelligence, both Arnold and Washington were still British subjects. I think the British would say that Washington was the traitor and not Arnold.

If the US hadn't won the war, the founding fathers would have definitely been tried for treason. So everything is subjective.

By turquoise — On Oct 13, 2013

Benedict Arnold is a traitor for Americans. I'm curious, how do the British view him? Do we have any Brits here? How is Benedict Arnold mentioned in British textbooks?

I think Brits must have a negative view of him as well, because once a traitor, always a traitor. How can anyone trust someone who tries to sell off his country?

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