Countries are depicted as animals. The USA an eagle, Japan a leopard, Russia a bear, Germany and Austria are vultures, Prussia a lion, France a rooster. and Italy a fox; all surround China which is a sleeping dragon.
What: The United States proposed an Open Door Policy, which allowed all nations to trade freely in China.
When: in the late 1890s
Who: issued by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay
Significance: As European powers carved out spheres of influence in China, which gave them favorable-trade status, many U.S. business and government leaders worried that they were not given equal access, so they demanded an Open Door Policy. However, some European governments realized that the policy would greatly benefit the United States and diminish the power they had accumulated. Thus, Europe was reluctant to accept this policy.
Illustration showing William Randolph Hearst as a jester tossing newspapers with sensationalist headlines to a crowd of eager readers. On the left, men carry bags of money that they dump into Hearst's printing press.
What: Sensationalist, or exaggerated, style of journalism
When: during the late 1890s
Who: The articles appeared mainly in two New York newspapers: the New York Journal, published by William Randolph Hearst, and the New York World, published by Joseph Pulitzer, after whom the Pulitzer Prize is named.
Significance: During this period, newspapers published shocking accounts of the suffering of the Cuban people. These newspapers were well known for sensationalist, or exaggerated, stories. Journalists used this style of writing to sway the American public to support certain efforts on the world stage. Yellow press contributed to public support for the Spanish-American War.
Uncle Sam gathering men labeled "Spy," "Traitor," "WWI," "German money," and "Sinn Fein" in front of United States Capital with flag stating "Sedition law passed."
What: Two acts of federal legislation made it a crime to speak or act against the war effort. The Espionage Act made it a crime to help the enemy or relay false information that interfered with a military mission. The Sedition Act made it a crime to make any communication that interfered with the war effort or to say anything disloyal to the U.S. government.
When: 1917 and 1918
Significance: Those who violated these laws could be jailed for up to 20 years and receive a $10,000 fine. Socialists, pacifists, labor leaders, and anti-war advocates were the targets of these laws. For example, Eugene Debs, the founder of the International Workers of the World, received a 10-year prison sentence.
Cross-channel ferry Sussex showing the effect of torpedo attack by German U-boat
What: On March 24, 1916, A German submarine torpedoed a French ship, the Sussex, that the Germans thought was laying mines. It was actually a passenger vessel, and though it did not sink, the attack killed 50 people.
When: May 4, 1916
Significance: This caused President Wilson to issue an ultimatum. If Germany did not end its attacks on passenger ships, the United States would break off diplomatic relations, which was usually a last step before a declaration of war. Germany responded with the Sussex Pledge, which attempted to appease the United States by stopping unrestricted submarine warfare. Instead, the Germans would stop passenger ships and inspect them to be sure they were not carrying weapons, the same policy the British employed toward neutral ships.
Photograph of Italians anarchists, Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left) and Nicola Sacco (right), who were accused of robbing a payroll delivery and murdering the guard in South Braintree, Massachusetts during the height of the post-WWI Red Scare
What: With the rise of striking workers, such as police officers, steel workers, and coal miners, the American public feared a Communist revolution of their own was on the horizon. This period of general fear against radical thought is termed the Red Scare.
Significance: All together, about 6,000 people were rounded up during the Red Scare. Most were arrested without warrant and held without charge, in violation of the Constitution. The case of Sacco and Vanzetti symbolized the effects of Red Scare thinking. However, by the summer of 1920, the Red Scare had subsided. Most Americans realized that the threat of revolution had been exaggerated, and their own liberties threatened by the raids.
Remains of an African American's house in Rosewood following the riot.
What: Reacting to a rumor that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman, a mob of 20 to 30 white men went in search of the suspected rapist. A gunfight broke out leaving four dead, including the suspected rapist. The next day the mob, plus an additional 200 men, returned to burn down the house where the previous fight had taken place. The rioters attacked the city of Rosewood, slaying animals, burning buildings, and killing African Americans. The death toll was between seven and 21.
Who: Race riot between a white mob and African Americans
Where: Rosewood, Florida
Significance: African Americans hid in the local swamps, frightened by the escalating violence and racial tension. Some white residents of Rosewood helped African Americans escape the violence. Many residents fled to Gainesville and cities in the north, and Rosewood became deserted. The courts claimed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any of the rioters, and as result, no one was ever charged with a crime for the Rosewood massacre.
Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol
What: One of the signature elements of life in the Roaring Twenties was Prohibition. Supporters of Prohibition demanded the ban of alcohol for recreational purposes. They believed that alcohol was the root of family conflict, violence, and crime. Some supporters, who were also opposed to immigration, blamed alcohol abuse on certain immigrant groups.
Significance: Passed in 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment made it illegal to make, sell, or transport alcohol in the United States. Congress then passed the Volstead Act, which enforced the amendment. Prohibition reduced some health problems related to alcohol abuse. However, it also led to the rise in social problems. Alcohol smuggling became big business, which benefited notorious gangsters like Al Capone. These smugglers, known as bootleggers, sold alcohol to nightclub owners who ran "speakeasies" or illegal bars. Eventually, the government determined that the law was not enforceable. The Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933.
An image of several leaders of the National Women's Party is shown. Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, and other suffragettes are shown standing in front of a building in Washington, D.C. The women are holding a sign that reads, "No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex. Susan B. Anthony 1872 and 1894."
What: Before 1920, some states, including Wyoming and other western states, gave women the right to vote, also known as women's suffrage. Other states offered only partial suffrage for women. Nine states on the eastern seaboard, however, refused women the right to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment passed.
Significance: During World War I, women had entered the workplace and left the sphere of the home. This redefined and expanded the public notion of women's worth. This realization, along with aggressive new lobbying tactics, made women's suffrage inevitable. Congress finally passed the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919, giving women the right to vote.
Water-cooled machine guns, sent from the United States to England under lend-lease, being examined at a depot
What: The Lend-Lease Act allowed President Roosevelt to "sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government any defense article" without those governments having to pay cash.
Who: from United States to Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, France, and other allied nations
Significance: The British lacked the money, arms, and other supplies to continue fighting Nazi Germany, so President Roosevelt devised the Lend-Lease program to help them out. This program signified a dramatic shift away from isolationist policy, which had dominated U.S. foreign relations since the end of World War I.
The Big Three: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill (from left to right) on the portico of the Russian Embassy during the Tehran Conference. Note that Churchill is wearing the uniform of a Royal Air Force air commodore.
What: The Tehran Conference was a meeting to discuss Operation Overlord, the plan to invade German-occupied Europe.
Who: the "Big Three"—Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin
When: November and December of 1943
Where: Tehran, Iran
Significance: Stalin had been eager for the Allies to open a second front in Europe to take pressure off Soviet troops. In return, he agreed to declare war on Japan after the Allies defeated Germany. The leaders also discussed a new international peace organization to replace the failed League of Nations. Roosevelt proposed the future United Nations led by the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and China.
Black-and-white photograph of the Big Three: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin (from left to right) at the Yalta summit. Note the ornate carpeting and the presence of several military leaders from all three countries.
What: Because Germany's defeat seemed imminent, the Yalta Conference was held to plan the end of the war and the peace that would follow.
Who: the "Big Three" - Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin
When: February of 1945
Where: Yalta, a city by the Black Sea in the Soviet Union
Significance: The Big Three all agreed that Germany should be forced to surrender unconditionally. To ensure Stalin's support against Japan after the defeat of the Germans, and his support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt convinced Churchill to agree to a temporary division of Germany into four zones: American, British, French, and Soviet. Eventually, Germany would be reunited. In return, Stalin promised "free and unfettered elections" in Poland and other Eastern European countries. In addition, the Soviet Union was allowed to keep the part of Poland it had occupied before 1939. It was to be governed by a coalition until free elections could be held. The Soviets also regained territory lost to Japan in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.
A black-and-white photograph shows Allied troops upon a transport boat during the landing at Omaha Beach. In front of the boat is a tall metal gate designed to protect the soldiers as they approach landfall against German fire. Each soldier is wearing a rounded helmet, packs on their backs, and guns slung over their shoulders. Many soldiers are looking off to the left at other boats that are making landfall. In the distance, white smoke can be seen on the coast. Many other transport boats are nearer the coast and are preparing for the battle of their lives.
What: D-Day was the first day of the Allied offensive that began with the bombardment of German positions by air and the invasion of German-occupied France by crossing the English Channel.
When: June 6, 1944
Where: Normandy beaches on the coast of France
Who: force of more than 155,000 men and 50,000 vehicles
Significance: The Germans were well entrenched at Normandy and fought ferociously to repel the Allied attack. Despite fierce fire, the Allies successfully deployed eleven divisions of combat soldiers. The troops landed on five different beaches. The beaches were given code names: Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword, and Utah. The goal was to unite the beachheads into one front then move inland. The Allies suffered more than 9,000 casualties during the D-Day landings, but they held onto their hard-won beachheads. By June 11, the beachheads were linked, and the Allies were ready to begin the march inlnd.
American tanks are shown on a snow-covered road in Belgium. One of the tanks is shown turned on its side in a ditch.
What: The Battle of Bulge was a massive German offensive launched toward the end of World War II. It was also known as the Ardennes Offensive for the mountain region in Belgium where it took place. The Germans called it Operation: Watch on the Rhine.
When: December 16, 1944 - January 25, 1945
Where: On the Western Front through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium as well as France and Luxembourg.
Significance: No matter what it is called, this battle was Germany's last desperate attempt to beat the Allies. The battle lasted for over a month and resulted in huge casualties on both sides. The Allies had about 81,000 men killed, wounded, or captured. The Germans lost 120,000 troops, hundreds of tanks, and more than 1,000 aircraft. They could not replace these losses. As the Nazi retreat began, the German army realized they were cornered. By the end of January, it was clear that the end was near for the Nazis. Winston Churchill, following the Battle of the Bulge, said, "This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-faous American victory."
Crowds of people in Times Square, New York City, celebrating V-E Day
What: V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day, was the day that the fighting in Europe during World War II officially ended.
When: May 8, 1945
Who: new German leader, Karl Dönitz, officially surrendered
Significance: In the early months of 1945, Allied forces spread across Germany, and bombers continued the heavy bombing of Berlin. On April 30, 1945, Hitler realized that the Nazis had lost and committed suicide. With his death, fighting gradually came to a halt. Soviet forces entered the capital city of Berlin, which had been bombed to rubble. The city surrendered on May 2, and German armies throughout the country threw down their arms. Celebrations erupted in Allied nations and in formerly occupied countries. The menace of Nazism had been crshed.
Photograph of the Big Three at the Potsdam Conference: Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Josef Stalin (left to right) seated in garden.
What: The Potsdam Conference was a meeting of the Allied leaders to make plans for post-war Europe.
Who: President Harry S. Truman (who took office after Roosevelt's sudden death), British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (who was later replaced by Clement Attlee), and Communist Party General Secretary Josef Stalin
Where: Potsdam, occupied Germany
When: July 16- August 2, 1945
Significance: During the meetings, Stalin agreed to declare war against Japan. At the conclusion of the meeting, the conference participants, including the new British prime minister Clement Attlee, issued the Potsdam Declaration. Among the matters agreed upon were the areas of Germany each Allied power would occupy. The leaders also agreed to hold trials for Nazis in Nuremberg, the city in which the Nazi party had been founded. It also stated that Japan must surrender unconditionally or face "prompt and utter destruction." Unconditional surrender meant that the Japanese people would have to remove their emperor from power
Photograph of the mushroom cloud resulting from the atomic bomb explosion over Nagasaki, the location of the second atomic bombing.
What: The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the targets for the first (and only) uses of a nuclear weapon in war.
When: August 6 and August 9, 1945
Who: Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr. and crew flew the B-29 bomber Enola Gay with the first nuclear warhead, nicknamed "Little Boy"
Significance: Because the Empire of Japan did not respond to the Potsdam Declaration, President Truman authorized the use of nuclear weaponry. The first blast over Hiroshima killed about 50,000 people immediately and destroyed much of the city. At the same time, the Soviet Union attacked Manchuria, part of China occupied by the Japanese. Three days passed without surrender. Then on August 9, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on Nagasaki. About 40,000 people were killed. The two bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had more destruction power than all of the Allied bombs dropped in Europe. The effects of the atomic bombs would last for decades. Many more Japanese people would die of radiation sickness and related illnesses than those who die from the actual explosions.
Photograph of a legendary kiss taking place in Times Square on V-J Day.
What: V-J Day, or Victory over Japan Day, was the day that the fighting in the Pacific Ttheater during World War II officially ended.
When: August 14, 1945
Significance: After the second atomic bombing, Japanese emperor Hirohito finally ordered the Japanese military to surrender. Some resisted and tried to overthrow the government, but they were defeated. On August 14, Emperor Hirohito broadcasted an announcement over the radio that Japan had accepted most terms of the Potsdam Declaration. The war was now over. On September 2, the Japanese foreign minister officially signed the surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri. General Douglas MacArthur, who had been forced to flee from the Philippines earlier in the war, accepted the surrender. It was a conditional surrender, not the unconditional surrender demanded in the Potsdam Declaration. The Japanese emperor still retained some power.
Chart of U.S. Birth Rates with a segment highlighted red to show the Baby Boomer period
What: Servicemen and women returning home from World War II and couples previously unable to afford a family started having children.
Who: During this period, about 79 million babies were born in the United States.
Significance: The boom led to an increase in schools, homes, and businesses providing goods and services for families. In response to the demand, new homes were constructed in new suburbs, outside of cities. Manufacturers of home necessities, such as furniture, yard tools, and appliances, prospered from the housing boom. As baby boomers aged, their needs, wants and abilities changed U.S. society
Allen Ginsberg, member of the Beat Generation, speaks to a crowd.
What: The Beat Generation, or the Beats, was a group of artists who despised materialism and personal ambition. Their followers and imitators were known as Beatniks.
Where: New York City and San Francisco
Who: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, John Clellan Holmes, Edie Parker, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and others
Significance: The Beats challenged the conformity of the post-war years. They viewed suburbia and material possessions as destructive to the human spirit. They saw how the nuclear arms race threatened total annihilation. They sought fulfillment in the arts. People of the Beat Generation initiated some of the earliest protests.
Diplomatic leaders from the United States, Great Britain, and Russia chat about postwar security at Dumbarton Oaks.
What: Although World War II wasn't officially over, the Allied Powers already intended to ensure future peace and security through a new international organization. The stage was set for creating this international organization at a series of meetings called the Dumbarton Oaks Conference.
When: Late in 1944
Where: Dumbarton Oaks near Washington, D.C.
Who: representatives from the United States, China, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union
Significance: Diplomatic leaders planned to create a framework for an organization to take the place of the failed League of Nations. The members decided which nations would be invited to join the organization. They created a smaller Security Council that would make decisions about future military interventions. Finally, they resolved the issue of veto power among council members. The next year, in April, representatives from 50 nations would meet to formally create the United Nations (UN).
A newspaper image of the New York Times is shown. One of the main headlines reads, "Final Vote Condemns McCarthy, 67-22, For Abusing Senate and Committee; Zwicker Count Eliminated in Debate."
What: Congress investigated communist influence in the United States through the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The widespread suspicion and accusations against Americans of communistic activities became known as McCarthyism.
Who: Senator Joseph McCarthy
Significance: Stalin's refusal to allow free elections caused many Americans to believe that the Soviet Union was intent on world domination. One of the first areas HUAC investigated was the entertainment industry. Some accused entertainers were blacklisted, permanently blocked from working in Hollywood. Non-government groups also began to issue their own blacklists of people they suspected held communist beliefs. In this era, a simple suggestion could ruin people's careers and lives. Despite his lack of facts, many Americans supported Senator McCarthy in his search for communists. His sensationalist approach encouraged other Americans to charge people based on suspicion rather than evidence. Then, in 1954, McCarthy accused officials in the U.S. Army of communist sympathies. The hearings on the case were nationally televised, and many Americans around the nation realized that McCarthy had gone too far. His popularity began to diminish. McCarthy was later censured, or publicly reprimanded, by the U.S. Senate for his actions.
Map of the Korean War from 1950-1953, featuring the shifting military front lines, international borders, capital cities, other major cities, rivers, and surrounding seas. The 38th Parallel divides North and South Korea.
What: The Korean War was a Cold War conflict that resulted from the division of Korea by an Allied agreement following the end of the World War II in the Pacific.
Where: Korean peninsula
Who: Capitalist South Korean Army, backed by U.S. and UN forces, against Communist North Korean Army, supported by forces from the Soviet Union and Communist China
Significance: In 1948, the failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula triggered a key event in the Cold War. North Korea established a communist government, while South Korea established a capitalist one. The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. The United States and United Nations reacted quickly. The Korean peninsula became a battleground. By the time the war was over, little ground had been exchanged between North and South.
Leaders of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in a conference
What: The members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) pledged mutual support to prevent the spread of communism in the region.
Who: Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Great Britain, and the United States
Where: Southeast Asia
Significance: Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, was seen as a weak point in Cold War power politics. Many thought that if one nation fell to the communists, they all would. Although many member nations sent troops to aid in the fight against communism during the Vietnam War, the organization itself did not play a large role in the conflict.
General view of the Geneva Conference with four main tables to seat the Soviet, British, Laotian, French, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and American delegations
What: The treaty that established independence for French Indochina was called the Geneva Accords.
Where: an international meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland
Significance: The First Indochina war was significant because it showed the world that a colonial power from the West (France) could be defeated by native revolutionary forces. After the war, the treaty divided the territory of Vietnam into two nations: a communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam. The Geneva Accords stated that free elections would take place in 1956 to unite the two nations under one government. However, with the United States' support, the elections never happened.
Thousands of people stand in a crowd to protest the Vietnam War. Several people hold up signs that speak out against the war. One sign reads, "I am not a communist and I still oppose the war in Vietnam."
What: As the Vietnam conflict continued, more people began to oppose the war. The anti-war protest began largely as a student movement and expanded to a national protest crossing socioeconomic lines.
Where: at home in the United States
When: during the Vietnam War (1964-1973)
Who: Draft dodgers, doves, conscientious objectors
Significance: Protest groups, such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Students for a Democratic Society, loudly criticized the war and its effects. The draft was another major issue of the war. Some opponents of the draft ignored their orders, some fled to Canada and others burned their draft cards in protest. Anti-war protestors came together outside the Democratic National Convention to speak out against the war. A stunned nation watched as police beat demonstrators with nightsticks and protestors threw bottles and rocks at police. Then in 1970, anti-war protests turned deadly. At Kent State University in Ohio, National Guard members fired on students protesting military operations in Cambodia. Four demonstrators died. Less than two weeks later, police fired on student protestors at Jackson State University in Mississippi, killing two.
Mrs. Margaret McNamara, right, wife of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, presents a diploma to Juana Waquiu, 21, of Jemez Pueblo, New Mex., the first graduate of the Los Angeles Job Corps, center, Nov. 10, 1965, Los Angeles, Calif. The occasion was also the official dedication of the Job Corps Center by Mrs. McNamara. Watching the presentation is Job Corps director Dr. Franklyn Johnson who was just recently appointed to the position.
What: legislation designed to help eliminate poverty in the U.S.; it created offices and programs like Head Start, VISTA, and Job Corps
When: passed in 1964
Significance: Helped lower the number of people living in poverty in the U.S. Head Start provided preschool programs to improve education for the poor. Job Corps provided training in employable skills and helped lower the unemployment rate. Today, these programs are still used by many Americans.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., center with arms raised, marches along Constitution Avenue with other civil rights protestors carrying placards as they walked from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington, August 28, 1963.
What: collection of over 200,000 people protesting for civil rights including full integration of public facilities and voting rights for African Americans
When: August 28, 1963
Who: MLK, James Bevel, A. Philip Randolph and other leaders and members of the SNCC, SCLC, NUL and NAACP
Significance: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech was given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the march. The peaceful protest led Kennedy to speak out again in favor of civil rights legislation and brought more positive recognition to the movement.
Official logo of the National Organization for Women (NOW), an American women's rights organization founded in 1966.
What: Also known as the Women's Liberation Movement, the Feminist Movement was a fight to make women socially, politically and economically equal to men in American society.
Who: National Organization for Women (NOW), National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC), Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Schlafly, Fannie Lou Hamer
Significance: The movement had a lot of success in getting legislation passed to improve the status of women. This included the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 1963 Equal Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title IX. The controversial Equal Rights Amendment passed Congress, but fell short of being added to the Constitution due to lack of support from states. Events like the "Battle of the Sexes" in tennis and the Roe v. Wade decision brought even more attention to women's fight for equality.
A Native American man stands on the roof of a prison complex building during the siege of Alcatraz Island by a group of Native Americans, San Francisco, California, 1970. The Native Americans occupied the island, which at that time was out of service as a Federal Prison, for a number of months. The Native Americans believed the land was rightfully theirs in accordance with a treaty signed by Abraham Lincoln granting them the right to reclaim any land that was originally theirs but has been abandoned by the U.S. government.
What: The fight of Native Americans to maintain their culture and tribal lands while gaining social, political, and economic equality
Who: National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), American Indian Movement (AIM) and other Native American activists
Significance: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, several occupations brought attention to the plight of Native Americans. Protestors took over Alcatraz, a former federal prison, the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C., and Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Their efforts did grab the attention of Congress, leading to laws protecting Native American rights in education, health care, and child custody rules.
Allan Bakke is trailed by news and television reporters after attending his first day at the Medical School of the University of California at Davis on Monday, Sept. 25, 1978. Bakke, a Vietnam veteran, sued the university for reverse discrimination after his application was rejected in 1973 and 1974. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the university to admit Bakke, deciding that the school had illegally discriminated against him because he is white.
What: Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which stated that employers were not supposed to base hiring decisions on race or gender
Who: affected women, African Americans, and other minority groups
Significance: Affirmative action policies required that employers actively work to ensure that minority groups, especially African Americans, had the same opportunities in hiring, wages, and promotions as anyone else. The same rule would apply to college admissions, scholarships, and financial aid. The Supreme Court often helped define affirmative action by ruling on discrimination cases. Some of the rulings made citizens question the wisdom of the new policy. They began to believe that affirmative action was helping minorities by placing limits on those in the majority. This belief became known as reverse discrimination.
Image of New York City's World Trade Center towers. The tower on the right has smoke coming out of a huge multi-story hole while the tower on the left shows the explosion after the airplane crashed.
What: Four commercial airplanes were hijacked. Two were intentionally crashed two into New York City's World Trade Center towers. Another was crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. The fourth crashed in a Pennsylvania field, seemingly the result of passengers fighting back. Al-Qaeda's goal was to destroy symbols of American prosperity and military strength, spreading fear and hurting the U.S.'s position in the world.
Who: Members of Al-Qaeda, an Islamic extremist group
When: September 11, 2001
Significance: It was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil, taking the lives of 2,977 people. The number of fatalities included not just those on the planes, but also office workers in the buildings and hundreds of rescue workers. The victims were diverse, representing 91 countries. After 9/11, the United States declared a "War on Terror," a broad initiative that would not always be able to clearly define the enemy.