This Day in History: NORAD Established; Berlin Olympics Kickoff

Cold War era defense system established (1957)
On August 1, 1957, the United States of America and Canada reached an agreement to create NORAD – the North American Defense Agreement, later changed to the North American Aerospace Defense Command – amid fears of a Cold War nuclear attack.

American and Canadian combined their air-defense forces under joint-command in Colorado Springs.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command was renewed in 2006, and now includes unified naval operations. NORAD has provided air security at Olympic Games, NASA space shuttle launches, G8 summit meetings and Super Bowls.

Colorado admitted to the Union (1876)
President Ulysses S. Grant admitted Colorado to the Union on August 1, 1876, with Proclamation 230.

In just a century since America had declared independence, the country added an additional 25 states, Colorado being the 38th state. It had been a territory since the start of the Civil War.

It is currently the 21st most populous state, according to the 2010 Census.

Berlin Olympics (1936)
Just 60 years later, came the world’s first televised Olympic Games – the 1936 Berlin Olympics – which were marred in controversy.

Adolf Hitler, then-Chancellor of Germany, oversaw the games. There were rumors of Jewish- and ethnic-bans; boycotts; but in the end, only German-Jewish athletes were barred from the games, by their own government.

Hitler planned the games to be an ethnic-superiority showcase for Germany, but African-American sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens became the Games’ most-successful athlete. Owens made Hitler’s racist views look foolish, by winning four gold medals, though Germany won the most medals in total.

Czechoslovakia, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, all pushed for a relocation or boycott of the Games; however, all participated. Individual Jewish athletes, including Americans Milton Green and Norman Cahners, did sit out, though.

Due to World War II, there were no Olympic Games until 1948.

Revolt in Warsaw, Poland (1944)
Amid World War II – waged against the same Nazi regime – Soviet forces and the Polish ‘Home Army’ sparked an uprising against Nazi’s, at one of their largest concentration camps.

The fight for liberation lasted 63 days, while a majority of the Home Army and 200,000 civilians perished, though tens of thousands of Nazi soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. The Germans regained brief control before ultimately ceding the city in January of 1945.

The Germans then began looting and demolishing what little remained left of Warsaw, destroying valuable Polish-cultural artifacts and history. It saved possibly thousands of lives, interrupting concentration camp killings month before Germans officially vacated the city.

Mass Shooting Before Anyone Knew the Term (1966)
Neal Spelce was scrounging for news to fill his Austin station's noon radio broadcast when he heard this announcement on the police scanner: "We have a report of a shot being fired at the University of Texas."

That message, on Aug. 1, 1966, didn't even begin to capture the magnitude of the tragedy about to rock the sleepy college town. For more on NBC's coverage of this Texas News tragedy, click here.

35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapses (2007)
A decade ago – August 1, 2007 – a section of I-35W in Minneapolis, a bridge over the Mississippi River, collapsed during rush hour, killing 13 and injuring 145 others.

I-35, a staple of travel in Dallas-Fort Worth, stretches from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota. The highway spans six states and is the ninth-longest interstate highway, third-longest of the north-south highways.

A replacement bridge was rapidly constructed, opening in September of 2008.

Airstrike in Libya (2016)
One year ago today - August 1, 2016 - former President Barack Obama approved  airstrikes against ISIS in Surt, Libya - creating a new front against terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The Libyan government, supported by the United Nations, requested support in its battle against rebels. Airstrikes, American Special Operations forces, British military personal and French forces have all been involved in attempting to stabilize the nation.

The Libyan Civil War began with the death of Muammar Gaddafi, former 'Brotherly Leader' of Libya. President Obama has previously stated that his lack of preparation for post-Gaddafi Libya is one of his biggest mistakes.

That civil war is still ongoing today. 

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