United States and American History: 1969

About the history of the United States in 1969, Nixon becomes president, Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick, Neil Armstrong is the first man on the moon, anti-Vietnam protests continue.

1969

--Sixty-five airplanes were hijacked.

Jan. 20 Richard Milhous Nixon was sworn in as the nation's 37th President. Thousands attended the ceremony, including demonstrators protesting the inauguration.

Mar. The U.S. Air Force began 14 months of secret bombings of Cambodia, a recognized neutral country. The request for the bombings by President Nixon bypassed the chain of command.

Apr. 10 A police assault forced students out of University Hall, at Harvard University. A mass strike began there against Harvard's intimate ties to the national security and military apparatus.

May Assistant Attorney General Richard Kleindienst called for the repression of "ideological criminals." He said about the student and antiwar movements: "When you see an epidemic like this cropping up all over the country-the same kind of people saying the same kinds of things-you begin to get the picture that it is a national subversive activity." Five years later, on May 16, 1974, Kleindienst became the 1st Attorney General in American history to plead Guilty to a crime. For having testified dishonestly during his Senate confirmation, he was sentenced to one month in jail and fined $100, both suspended, which drew much fire from proponents of equal justice for all citizens.

May 15 Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas resigned after Life magazine revealed that he had received a $20,000 fee from the foundation of Louis Wolfson, a man convicted of selling unregistered securities.

July 18 Sen. Edward Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, off Martha's Vineyard, Mass. His companion, 28-year-old secretary Mary Jo Kopechne, was killed. Kennedy reported the accident the next morning.

July 20 Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the 1st human to walk on the moon. He said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." President Nixon announced that this was the greatest event since the Creation.

Aug. 16 About half a million people gathered on a 600-acre farm near Woodstock, N.Y., to hear rock music for 4 days. The New York Times editorialized: "The dreams of marijuana and rock music that drew 300,000 fans and hippies to the Catskills had little more sanity than the impulses that drive the lemmings to march to their deaths in the sea. They ended in a nightmare of mud and stagnation that paralyzed Sullivan County for a whole weekend. What kind of culture is it that can produce so colossal a mess."

Oct. 15 Millions of Americans demonstrated in their towns and cities against the Vietnam War. Vice-President Spiro Agnew said that the Vietnam Moratorium Day was "encouraged by an effete corps of snobs who characterized themselves as intellectuals."

Nov. 15 Over 250,000 people gathered in Washington to protest the war in Vietnam. While demonstrators marched past the White House, President Nixon entertained himself and close friend Charles "Bebe" Rebozo before a color television watching a football game.

About 10,000 marchers, gathered at the Justice Department building to protest government prosecution of antiwar dissenters, were dispersed by tear gas. Martha Mitchell, the wife of Attorney General John Mitchell, commented: "It looked like the Russian Revolution."

Nov. 16 The 1st reports of the My Lai massacre were published.

Nov. 20 Eighty-nine American Indians occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The move signaled a coming together of many normally divided tribes.

Dec. 4 Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was shot to death by police while he lay asleep in his bed. The chief of security of the Chicago Panthers was actually a police agent acting under the direction of the FBI. The FBI had, in early 1968, initiated a program of disruption and provocation against black groups, and the Panthers in particular. The program, called "Cointelpro" (counter intelligence program), was secretly ordered by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and operated out of at least 41 field offices across the nation.

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