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ON THIS DAY

ON THIS DAY

16 July 1945: Allied leaders gather at Potsdam. The leaders of the three Allied nations have gathered in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Harry S Truman and leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin, accompanied by senior ministers and military staff, are conducting a systematic review of the political and economic situation in Europe. The main aims of the conference are: to establish the future control of Germany to decide how to disable certain industries in Germany so that the country cannot rise up against its neighbours again to ensure delivery of food and raw materials to a liberated Europe ravaged by war and in danger of famine. Adequate shipping is desperately need to bring in supplies, but allied ships are currently in demand in the Pacific region where fighting is continuing. The war in the Pacific will certainly be high on the agenda. Earlier this year the Soviet Union broke is treaty of friendship with Japan and the Japanese are hoping the USSR will not get involved in the war in the Far East. In the last few days US battleships and swarms of planes have been bombarding Japan’s industrial cities. The Japanese, crippled by defeats on islands off the Philippines last October, have been slow to respond and even the infamous suicide aircraft have been conspicuous by their absence. There is tight security around the conference which is being held in a secret location and guarded by thousands of British, American and Soviet troops. Earlier today, Mr Churchill and President Truman each visited the shattered German capital, Berlin. Mr Churchill, accompanied by Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and his daughter Mary Churchill, was greeted at the Brandenburg Gate by Colonel-General Gorabotov, the Soviet Military Governor of Berlin. The US President was driven in the summer heat through battle scarred avenues and past refugees camping out on the roadside. His car stopped at the ruins of the old Reichs Chancery from where Hitler made his speeches. He declined an invitation by Soviet Major-General Sidnev to inspect the building and drove on. (Source: BBC)

14 July 1958: Coup in Iraq sparks jitters in Middle East. A group of Iraqi army officers have staged a coup in Iraq and overthrown the monarchy. Baghdad Radio announced the Army has liberated the Iraqi people from domination by a corrupt group put in power by “imperialism”. From now on Iraq would be a republic that would “maintain ties with other Arab countries”. It said some 12,000 Iraqi troops based in neighbouring Jordan have been ordered to return. Major-General Abdul Karim el Qasim is Iraq’s new prime minister, defence minister and commander-in-chief. Baghdad Radio also announced that Crown Prince Abdul Illah and Nuri es Said, prime minister of the Iraq-Jordan Federation, had been assassinated. It said the body of the Crown Prince, the powerful uncle of 23-year-old King Faisal, was hanging outside the Defence Ministry for all to see. Reports from the US Embassy in Baghdad say the British Embassy has been ransacked and set on fire. The ambassador, Sir Michael Wright, and his wife were held at the embassy until late this afternoon when they were released. They are now in a Baghdad hotel. Unconfirmed reports suggest King Faisal himself has also been killed. His cousin, King Hussein of Jordan, has declared himself head of the Arab Federation – the five-month alliance between Iraq and Jordan – in the “absence” of King Faisal. In a broadcast to his subjects, King Hussein condemned the coup as the work of outsiders. While Iraqis are celebrating on the streets of Baghdad, the news is a cause for concern for western powers worried about their oil interests and instability in the region. The insurrection was probably inspired by a similar uprising staged in Egypt by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser six years ago. In February this year he formed a political union between Egypt and Syri

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