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Journal • When you think of a “hostage situation” what is the first thing that comes to mind? What do you think is the most effective way to get what you want? To what extent do you think people would go in order to get what they want? What would you if you were taken hostage?
Timeline • November 10, 1979-a mob attacks the Embassy and takes 66 people captive • November 11, 1979-thirteen hostages were released because they were black or women • April 25, 1980-US sends rescue mission, but ultimately fails • January 20, 1981-All hostages released
Background • Islamic Revolution (1978-79): Ayatollah Khomeini sought to destroy all western influence • He overthrew leader Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi- who was backed by the American Government • Because of major health concerns Shah was let into US for medical treatment • Destroying American and Iranian relations Ayatollah Khomeini Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi
November 4, 1979 • Due to the allowance of Shah into the US- Iranian radicals feared that the Us was trying to put him back into power • A mob of young Islamic revolutionaries overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran • Stated that they were performing a sit-in, they were able to infiltrate the embassy • From here, they were able to take more than 60 Americans hostage
The Crisis • It was not at all clear who they represented or what the students hoped to achieve • The students vowed not to release the Americans until the U.S. returned the Shah for trial, along with billions of dollars they claimed he had stolen from the Iranian people.
November 11, 1979 • On November 11, President Carter responded to the hostage crisis and embargoed Iranian oil • In return 13 hostages were released because they were Black or Women- because women and minorities already suffered "the oppression of American society.” • Fifty-three Americans (including two women, and one African American) remained as hostages.
Desert One • With no sign of releasing hostages, Carter decided to act • Approved a high-risk rescue mission • Odds were against the plan working • Mission was a complete failure • 3 helicopters malfunctioned • 1 crashed into a transport plane-8 servicemen died • Iranians broadcasted failed attempt
Desert One • Broadcasted smoky remains of helicopters • Iranians believed failed mission showed American incompetence • Humiliated the pubic and scarred Carter’s presidency
January 20, 1981 • Khomeini's government realized there was little advantage in anti-American/Shah publicity • Hostage situation made it harder to solve already disordered economy • Carter’s negotiations went on for months, even though public thought of “October Surprise”
The Release “October Surprise” was opinion that Carter would get the hostages home before the election Reagan crushed Carter in election, one of largest landslides in history Carter’s last minute effort to bring home all the hostages before the end of his term was unsuccessful Iranians released all hostages minutes after Reagan was inaugurated
Public Reaction – Day 1 • This is a copy of a message sent to President Carter on the American Hostages in Iran: The safety and well being of American citizens comes first, whether at home or abroad. Americans know that our self respect and safety are even more important than fighting inflation or how much oil we import. Sometimes we must turn the other cheek, but never when it causes American lives to be put in jeopardy. We strongly urge you, Mr. President, to take firm positive action to protect Americans -- just as in the old days. Denver Post, Mr. & Mrs. Paul S. Litman, Letter to the Editor
Day 367- Ronald Reagan wins election • Stand by, Americans, for the campaign surprise -- the hostages will probably be set free just a few days or perhaps even hours before the election. And there you'll see on your favorite news program "Old Grinnin' Jimmy" telling all you good folks out there what difficult times he went through just to get the hostages released. (In time to get a lot of political mileage out of the event, just before the Nov. 4 Presidential elections.) How in the name of heaven can people of this great country be taken in by brazen tactics such as these? Denver Post, Lee Wall, Letter to the Editor
Day 444- Hostage Release/Inauguration • I had tears in my eyes at hearing that our people had finally come to the end of what must have been a terrible hardship, and one that will live with them forever. Also, tears of joy upon hearing President Reagan's speech. I can't remember having been so moved in years; even as he almost broke down while talking, I did, just listening. What a privilege to be an American. Minneapolis Tribune, Wm. F. Zieske, Letter to the Editor