This is how the Iranian hostage crisis changed American history

The basic story goes like this.

On November 4, 1979, Iranian radicals stormed the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. The hostages were held for 444 days, and not released until minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president.

However, as always, there is more to the story.

The storming of the embassy came about eight months after the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni seized power in Iran after the outser of the country’s leader, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. But the Shah had taken power after a coup d’etat by royalist officers backed by the United States and Great Britain deposed prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, resolving an ongoing power struggle between the two.

The American Embassy in Iran being overrun in 1979 (Iranian Interior ministry photo)

While the Shah’s rule saw the Iranian economy improve significantly, he soon backed a secret police known as SAVAK. The growing repression, though, helped make the Shah more and more unpopular. By January 1979 he and his family left on a “vacation” and never returned.

After the Americans were taken hostage, Khomeni gave his approval to the capture of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Following that, the U.S. attempted a hostage rescue mission that failed. The crisis crippled then-President Jimmy Carter, who eventually lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide.

Eagle_Claw_wrecks_at_Desert_One_April_1980

The burned out C-130 from the failed Operation Eagle Claw sits in the Iranian Desert. At far right is the destroyed helicopter. Photo: US Special Operations Command

Reagan’s administration would proceed to launch a major peace-time military buildup, and the eventual end of the Cold War.

This History Channel video discusses the hostage crisis and its impact on U.S. policy in the decade that saw the end of the Soviet Union.


YouTube, History

TOP ARTICLES
This is the history behind the Navy's 'dixie cup'

The famous "dixie cup" is one of the most iconic symbols in the military today. You can spot a sailor from a mile away just from seeing this headgear.

The threats just keep coming from Russia over Syria strikes

Russia has warned the US that it will retaliate if Syrian government forces come under fire from positions held by a US-backed, Kurdish-led militia.

These narcos are going old school with their latest drug smuggling vessels

Since June, Coast Guard vessels patrolling the US's southern approaches have stopped seven stealthy ships that ride low in water to spirit illicit cargo.

The Marines' Hymn will make you want to re-enlist

The U.S. Marine Corps has bravely served our country since 1775, and The Marines’ Hymn reflects that legacy. Here's what you might not have known about it.

This is why Morgan Freeman is Russia's newest target

A new video features Morgan Freeman railing against Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Russian diplomats say he's been duped by political interests.

The Marine Corps could soon have its first female infantry officer

The unidentified lieutenant just finished a three-week combat exercise, the last graded portion of the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course.

This new tool shows what nukes would do to your home

Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science, has created an interactive map you can use to see how a nuclear detonation would impact your city.

How to kidnap Marines — according to a combat training role player

In this episode, we speak with Kelvin Garvanne about his life as an Arabic/Iraqi role player, and how he takes training troops to a whole new level.

This is how you fight when the waters are rising

Underwater, all the fitness in the world won't save you if you can't keep your head. But dying is dumb. Time to summon a little amphibian ambition.

One session with this trainer will make you assume the fetal position

Water Survival is so badass it's gonna take Max two episodes to get you ready to face it. This is Part 1, where he makes you feel bad about yourself.

THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY

We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles

COMPLETE SURVEY TO WIN