Friday, August 1, 2008

On August 1

On this day in ...
... 1975, more than 3 dozen states, including all of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, signed the Helsinki Final Act. The document, which included "a list of agreements concerning political freedom, mutual cooperation, and human rights; it can be considered the major achievement of détente," the name given to the Cold War thawing process. Part of the process included establishment of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, later renamed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a body whose 56 member states hail from Europe, Central Asia, and North America. (credit for photo of signing by, from left, West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, East German leader Erich Honecker, and U.S. President Gerald Ford)
... 1291, the Old Swiss Confederation was founded as an alliance for peace and free trade among various communities in Europe's Alps. Today remains a national holiday in Switzerland. (map credit)

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