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Polish mathematicians & code breakers made the first breakthroughs against Nazi Germany's Enigma code.......

1981: Iran released U.S. hostages.

Monday, January 20, 2020
1981: Iran released U.S. hostages.

On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans who had been held hostage for 444 days. (DoD photo of freed American hostages as they disembark from a plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Jan. 27, 1981, one week after being released.)

Excerpt from The New York Times Learning Network:

The hostages were released minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. The hostages were placed on a plane in Tehran as Reagan delivered his inaugural address.

The Iran Hostage Crisis had begun on Nov. 4, 1979, when a group of several hundred militant Islamic students broke into the United States embassy in Tehran and took its occupants hostage. The students initially intended to hold the hostages for only a short time, but changed their plans when their act garnered widespread praise in Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the country’s supreme leader, was among the supporters.

In response, President Carter imposed economic sanctions on Iran. In April 1980, he authorized a rescue mission, Operation Eagle Claw, conducted by the U.S. military. The mission failed badly, as two U.S. aircraft collided, killing eight military personnel. The prolonged crisis came to reflect poorly on Mr. Carter, who was seen as weak for failing to secure the hostages’ release. Ronald Reagan’s defeat of President Carter in the 1980 presidential election happened to fall on the one-year anniversary of the hostage-taking.

Mr. Carter continued to negotiate for the hostages’ release until the end of his term of office. Finally, on Jan. 19, 1981, Algerian-mediated talks between the U.S. and Iran produced an agreement to end the crisis.

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  • The first fully automatic computer, the "Harvard Mark I," formally began operations. In the photo: Grace Hopper working on the Mark-I at Harvard University during WWII. Photo from @GillianJacobs

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.