February 26, 1917: President Woodrow Wilson learned of the Zimmerman telegram, an attempt by Germany to form a Mexican-German alliance against the U.S. in World War I. During the war, U.S. ships were attacked by Germany, but America still stayed neutral. The Zimmerman telegram changed that; America declared war on April 6.
February 26, 1929: Calvin Coolidge, in one of his final acts as president, dedicated land for what became Grand Teton National Park.
February 26, 1987: The Tower Commission rebuked President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his staff in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair. Iran-Contra was a complicated scheme on which Reagan administration officials, seeking to free U.S. hostages in Lebanon, sold weapons to Iran — and then funded the revenue to aid anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua. Although Reagan took responsibility for the scandal and called it a "mistake," no conclusive evidence has been found showing he authorized the Iran-Contra deal. There was talk of impeaching the president, and 11 administration officials were convicted — though many convictions were eventually overturned. President George H.W. Bush also pardoned some of those who had been convicted of wrongdoing.
Quote of the day
"If it were not for the reporters, I would tell you the truth." –Chester Alan Arthur
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
Subscribe to the Week