Major Military Operations
Since World War II
World War II was the last war fought in which the President asked Congress for a declaration of war. Since then, United States armed forces have been in combat several times, including the following:
- 1950-1953 Korean War Communist North Korea, supported by China, invades non-communist South Korea. UN forces, principally made up of U.S. troops, fight to protect South Korea. The Korean War is the first armed conflict in the global struggle between democracy and communism, called the Cold War.
- 1961 Cuba The U.S. orchestrates the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, an unsuccessful attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro's communist regime in Cuba.
- 1961-1973 Vietnam War In 1955, communist North Vietnam invades non-communist South Vietnam in an attempt to unify the country and impose communist rule. The United States joins the war on the side of South Vietnam in 1961, but withdraws combat troops in 1973. In 1975 North Vietnam succeeds in taking control of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War is the longest conflict the U.S. ever fought and the first war it lost.
- 1965 Dominican Republic U.S. president Lyndon Johnson sends marines and troops to quash a leftist uprising; he fears the Dominican Republic might follow in the footsteps of Cuba and turn communist.
- 1982 Lebanon U.S. troops form part of a multinational peacekeeping force to help the fragile Lebanese government maintain power in the politically volatile country. In 1983 241 U.S. Marines and 60 French soldiers are killed by a truck bomb. The multinational force withdraws in 1984.
- 1983 Grenada U.S. President Ronald Reagan invades the Caribbean island nation of Grenada to overthrow its socialist government, which has close ties with Cuba. A U.S. peace-keeping force remains until 1985.
- 1989 Panama U.S. President George H. W. Bush invades Panama and overthrows Panamanian dictator and drug-smuggler Manuel Noriega. Noriega is later tried and convicted on a number of charges, and is imprisoned in the United States.
- 1991 Gulf War (Kuwait and Iraq) Iraq invades the country of Kuwait. The Gulf War begins and ends swiftly when a U.S.-led multinational force comes to Kuwait's aid and expels dictator Saddam Hussein's forces.
- 1993 Somalia A U.S.-led multinational force attempts to restore order to war-torn Somalia so that food can be delivered and distributed within the famine-stricken country.
- 1994 Haiti After Haiti's democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is ousted in a coup in 1991, a U.S. invasion three years later restores him to power.
- 1994-1995 Bosnia During the Bosnian civil war, which begins shortly after the country declares independence in 1992, the U.S. launches air strikes on Bosnia to prevent ethnic cleansing. It becomes a part of NATO's peacekeeping force in the region.
- 1999 Kosovo Yugoslavia's province of Kosovo erupts in war in the spring of 1999. A U.S.-led NATO force intervenes with air strikes after Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian forces uproot the population and embark on a plan of ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population.
- 2001— Afghanistan The Taliban government harbored Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist group, responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. After Afghanistan refused to turn over Bin Laden, the U.S. and UN coalition forces invaded. The Taliban government was ousted and many terrorist camps in Afghanistan were destroyed. Thereafter, the Taliban begin regrouping. By 2005, the Taliban and coalition troops are it was engaged in ongoing clashes with coaltition troops. The year 2006 was the deadliest year for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001.
- 2003— Iraq War
The U.S. and Great Britain invade Iraq and topple the government of dictator Saddam Hussein. The U.S. engagement in Iraq continues for the next several years amid that country's escalating violence and fragile political stability.
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