7 June 1967

Six-Day War: Israeli soldiers enter Jerusalem.

The Six-Day War, also known as the June War, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or the Third Arab-Israeli War, was a conflict fought between June 5 and June 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt (known then as the United Arab Republic), Jordan, and Syria.

Causes and Background

Political Tensions: The war’s origins can be traced back to the political tension between Israel and the Arab countries, particularly Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The conflict was fueled by territorial disputes, refugee issues, and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict.
Blockade of the Straits of Tiran: In May 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced the blockade of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, which Israel considered a casus belli (justification for war).
Mobilization and Alliances: Egypt mobilized its military forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Jordan and Syria also began military mobilizations, and a defense pact was signed between Egypt and Jordan.

Course of the War

Preemptive Air Strikes: On June 5, 1967, Israel launched Operation Focus, a series of preemptive airstrikes that targeted Egyptian airfields. The Israeli Air Force achieved air superiority by destroying the majority of the Egyptian Air Force while it was still on the ground.
Sinai Peninsula: Israeli ground forces moved swiftly into the Sinai Peninsula, defeating Egyptian forces and advancing to the Suez Canal.
West Bank and East Jerusalem: Israel engaged Jordanian forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, ultimately capturing these territories.
Golan Heights: On June 9 and 10, Israeli forces attacked Syrian positions in the Golan Heights, eventually capturing the territory.

Outcomes and Consequences

Territorial Changes: Israel gained control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the Golan Heights. These territorial acquisitions significantly changed the political and geographic landscape of the region.
Casualties and Displacement: The war resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed. It also led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.
Political Impact: The war had a profound impact on Arab-Israeli relations. It demonstrated Israel’s military capability, leading to a shift in the balance of power in the Middle East. The war also laid the groundwork for future conflicts and peace negotiations.
UN Resolution 242: In November 1967, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242, calling for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency.”

Legacy

The Six-Day War is considered a pivotal event in Middle Eastern history. It reshaped the region’s borders and had lasting implications for Arab-Israeli relations, influencing subsequent conflicts, peace processes, and the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East. The territories captured by Israel during the war remain central issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and broader Arab-Israeli peace efforts.

7 June 1929

The Lateran Treaty is ratified, bringing Vatican City into existence.
The Lateran Treaty, also known as the Lateran Pacts, was an agreement between the Holy See (the authority of the Roman Catholic Church) and the Kingdom of Italy. It was signed on February 11, 1929, and marked the resolution of the “Roman Question” – a long-standing dispute between the Italian government and the Catholic Church over the status of the Papal States.

Under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, three separate agreements were reached:

The Treaty of Conciliation: This recognized the Vatican City as an independent sovereign entity, granting it full sovereignty and independence from the Kingdom of Italy. The Vatican City is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world and serves as the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Catholic Church.

The Financial Convention: This established financial compensation to the Holy See for the loss of the Papal States in 1870. Italy agreed to pay a sum of money as reparations, known as the “compensation for the loss of the Papal States.” This financial settlement aimed to reconcile the Church with the Italian state and provide the Vatican with financial stability.

The Concordat: This concordat, or agreement, defined the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Italian state. It acknowledged Catholicism as the state religion of Italy and granted the Church various privileges, including the recognition of religious marriages and the establishment of Catholic religious education in schools. It also outlined the Church’s role in social welfare and granted the Pope the authority to appoint bishops in Italy.

The Lateran Treaty effectively ended the long-standing tensions between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy, which had persisted since the capture of Rome in 1870. It restored diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Italy and established a framework for their mutual cooperation and coexistence. The treaty remains in effect to this day and has played a significant role in shaping the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Italian government.

7 June 1981

The Israeli Air Force destroys Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor during Operation Opera.

Operation Opera, also known as Operation Babylon, was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on 7 June 1981, which destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. The operation came after Iran’s unsuccessful Operation Scorch Sword operation had caused minor damage to the same nuclear facility the previous year, the damage having been subsequently repaired by French technicians. Operation Opera, and related Israeli government statements following it, established the Begin Doctrine, which explicitly stated the strike was not an anomaly, but instead “a precedent for every future government in Israel.” Israel’s counter-proliferation preventive strike added another dimension to their existing policy of deliberate ambiguity, as it related to the nuclear capability of other states in the region.

In 1976, Iraq purchased an “Osiris”-class nuclear reactor from France. While Iraq and France maintained that the reactor, named Osirak by the French, was intended for peaceful scientific research, the Israelis viewed the reactor with suspicion, believing it was designed to make nuclear weapons. On 7 June 1981, a flight of Israeli Air Force F-16A fighter aircraft, with an escort of F-15As, bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor. Israel called the operation an act of self-defense said that the reactor had “less than a month to go” before “it might have become critical.” Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed. The attack took place about three weeks before the elections for the Knesset.

At the time, the attack was met with sharp international criticism, including in the United States, and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in two separate resolutions. Media reactions were also negative: “Israel’s sneak attack … was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression”, wrote the New York Times, while the Los Angeles Times called it “state-sponsored terrorism”. The destruction of Osirak has been cited as an example of a preventive strike in contemporary scholarship on international law. The efficacy of the attack is debated by historians, who acknowledge that it brought back Iraq from the brink of nuclear capability but drove its weapons program underground and cemented Saddam Hussein’s future ambitions for acquiring nuclear weapons.

7 June 1942

The Battle of Midway comes to an end in American victory.

On June 7, 1942, the Battle of Midway–one of the most decisive U.S. victories in its war against Japan–comes to an end. In the four-day sea and air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers with the loss of only one of its own, the Yorktown, thus reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy.

In six months of offensives, the Japanese had triumphed in lands throughout the Pacific, including Malaysia, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and numerous island groups. The United States, however, was a growing threat, and Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto sought to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet before it was large enough to outmatch his own. A thousand miles northwest of Honolulu, the strategic island of Midway became the focus of his scheme to smash U.S. resistance to Japan’s imperial designs. Yamamoto’s plan consisted of a feint toward Alaska followed by an invasion of Midway by a Japanese strike force. When the U.S. Pacific Fleet arrived at Midway to respond to the invasion, it would be destroyed by the superior Japanese fleet waiting unseen to the west. If successful, the plan would eliminate the U.S. Pacific Fleet and provide a forward outpost from which the Japanese could eliminate any future American threat in the Central Pacific.

Unfortunately for the Japanese, U.S. intelligence broke the Japanese naval code, and the Americans anticipated the surprise attack. Three heavy aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were mustered to challenge the four heavy Japanese carriers steaming toward Midway. In early June, U.S. command correctly recognized a Japanese movement against Alaska’s Aleutian Islands as a diversionary tactic and kept its forces massed around Midway. On June 3, the Japanese occupation force was spotted steaming toward the island, and B-17 Flying Fortresses were sent out from Midway to bomb the strike force but failed to inflict damage. Early in the morning on June 4, a PBY Catalina flying boat torpedoed a Japanese tanker transport, striking the first blow of the Battle of Midway.

Later that morning, an advance Japanese squadron numbering more than 100 bombers and Zero fighters took off from the Japanese carriers to bomb Midway. Twenty-six Wildcat fighters were sent up to intercept the Japanese force and suffered heavy losses in their heroic defense of Midway’s air base. Soon after, bombers and torpedo planes based on Midway took off to attack the Japanese carriers but failed to inflict serious damage. The first phase of the battle was over by 7:00 a.m.

In the meantime, 200 miles to the northeast, two U.S. attack fleets caught the Japanese force entirely by surprise. Beginning around 9:30 a.m., torpedo bombers from the three U.S. carriers descended on the Japanese carriers. Although nearly wiped out, they drew off enemy fighters, and U.S. dive bombers penetrated, catching the Japanese carriers while their decks were cluttered with aircraft and fuel. The dive-bombers quickly destroyed three of the heavy Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser. The only Japanese carrier that initially escaped destruction, the Hiryu, loosed all its aircraft against the American task force and managed to seriously damage the U.S. carrier Yorktown, forcing its abandonment. At about 5:00 p.m., dive-bombers from the U.S. carrier Enterprise returned the favor, mortally damaging the Hiryu. It was scuttled the next morning.

Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto still had numerous warships at his command, but without his carriers and aircraft he was forced to abandon his Midway invasion plans and begin a westward retreat. On June 5, a U.S. task force pursued his fleet, but bad weather saved it from further destruction. On June 6, the skies cleared, and U.S. aircraft resumed their assault, sinking a cruiser and damaging several other warships. After the planes returned to their carriers, the Americans broke off from the pursuit. Meanwhile, a Japanese submarine torpedoed and fatally wounded the Yorktown, which was in the process of being salvaged. It finally rolled over and sank at dawn on June 7, bringing an end to the battle.

At the Battle of Midway, Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties. Japan’s losses hobbled its naval might–bringing Japanese and American sea power to approximate parity–and marked the turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. In August 1942, the great U.S. counteroffensive began at Guadalcanal and did not cease until Japan’s surrender three years later.

7 June 1929

The Lateran Treaty is ratified, establishing the Vatican City.

Lateran Treaty, also called Lateran Pact of 1929, treaty between Italy and the Vatican. It was signed by Benito Mussolini for the Italian government and by cardinal secretary of state Pietro Gasparri for the papacy and confirmed by the Italian constitution of 1948.

Upon ratification of the Lateran Treaty, the papacy recognized the state of Italy, with Rome as its capital. Italy in return recognized papal sovereignty over the Vatican City, a minute territory of 44 hectares (109 acres), and secured full independence for the pope. A number of additional measures were agreed upon. Article 1, for example, gave the city of Rome a special character as the “centre of the Catholic world and place of pilgrimage.” Article 20 stated that all bishops were to take an oath of loyalty to the state and had to be Italian subjects speaking the Italian language.

By article 34 the state recognized the validity of Catholic marriage and its subjection to the provisions of canon law; nullity cases were therefore reserved to the ecclesiastical courts, and there could be no divorce.The state agreed by article 36 of the concordat to permit religious instruction in the public primary and secondary schools and conceded to the bishops the right to appoint or dismiss those who imparted such instruction and to approve the textbooks that they used.

With the signing of the concordat of 1985, Roman Catholicism was no longer the state religion of Italy. This change in status brought about a number of alterations in Italian society. Perhaps the most significant of these was the end to compulsory religious education in public schools. The new concordat also affected such diverse areas as tax exemptions for religious institutions and ownership of the Jewish catacombs.