What Happened on October 23?

  • Suicide bombers killed nearly 300 US and French military troops in Beirut.(1983) The attack occurred at a US Marines barracks where troops were stationed on an international peacekeeping mission aimed at Muslim and Christian factions in Lebanon. The terrorists drove trucks equipped with bombs into the compound and killed 58 French paratroopers, 220 US Marines, 3 US Army troops and 18 sailors. The US withdrew from Lebanon four months later and avoided retaliation in an effort to keep peace.

  • Hundreds of Hungarian protesters were killed by Soviet troops when the on-going protest against Soviet occupation in Hungary turned violent. (1956) The 1956 Hungarian Revolution had been peacefully ongoing since June, but heated up on this day when thousands of Hungarian citizens marched through the streets demanding an end to Soviet rule in Hungary. Hungary wouldn't become independent from Soviet rule until this day in 1989, when Hungarian President Matyas Szuros established a parliamentary republic, replacing the communist Hungarian Republic.

  • The Apple iPod was released. (2001) The portable music player, which later expanded to include other forms of media as well, changed the music industry drastically. To date, some 300 billion iPod devices have been sold.

  • In efforts to adhere to peace agreements, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) began decommissioning its weapons. (2001) For the first time in its 30-plus years of violence, IRA laid down its weapons in a major step toward peace with Britain.

  • The Moscow Theatre Siege began. (2002) Terrorist rebels from Chechnya took 700 people hostage at Moscow's House of Culture. The terrorists demanded that Russian troops withdraw from Chechnya immediately. During a stand-off that lasted 57 hours, two hostages were killed. Another 120 hostages and most of the terrorists were killed, however, when Russian forces controversially filled the theater with a dangerous narcotic gas before raiding it and taking control.

  • US President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus. (1861) President Lincoln suspended the writ in order to imprison those suspected of sympathizing with the Confederates during the American Civil War. He was able to incarcerate thousands of people without having to first acquire a warrant for their arrest.

  • An airplane was first used in a war effort. (1911) On this day, a pilot flying for Italian forces flew a plane over the Turkish army front to gather information during the Turco-Italian War. Airplanes also were used in combat fighting for the first time during this war, as were blimps.

  • More than 30,000 women marched in the streets of New York City, demanding to be granted the right to vote. (1915) Women's suffrage proponents finally won their battle in August 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed.

  • Vladmir Lenin initiated the October Revolution in Russia. (1917) The October Revolution was part of the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. In it, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian Provisional Government. The battles for power continued during the Russian Civil War and ultimately resulted in the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922.

  • The worst underground earthquake in the history of mining in North America killed more than 70 miners. (1958) The underground earthquake, also called a bump, hit the Springhill Mine in Nova Scotia and trapped more than 170 miners. At the time, this mine also was the deepest in North America. It took rescuers from across the globe more than a week to dig out the victims; they were able to save 100.

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