United States and American History: 1972

About the history of the United States in 1972, Nixon goes to China, ties with ITT and the RNC, Watergate is burglarized, Kissinger promises peace by the end of the year, Nixon wins reelection.

1972

Feb. 1 A wildcat strike began at the Lordstown, O., General Motors plant against speed-up and arbitrary management rules. The workers' average age was 24. This signaled the discontent of the younger generation with labor conditions.

Feb. 20-27 President Nixon visited the People's Republic of China, ending 23 years of pretense that the whole of China began and ended with the Chiang Kai-shek regime in Formosa.

Feb. 29 Newspaper columnist Jack Anderson disclosed a memo of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation's Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, which connected ITT's funding of part of the Republican National Convention with a Justice Department settlement of an antitrust suit favourable to ITT.

Apr. 10 Financier Robert Vesco, under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud, contributed $200,000 in cash to CREEP fund-raiser, Maurice Stans.

May 9 President Nixon ordered the harbor of Haiphong mined, and authorized massive bombing raids over North Vietnam.

May 15 Gov. George Wallace, campaigning for President in Laurel, Md., was shot by Arthur Bremer. Wallace, paralyzed from the waist down and forced to withdraw from the presidential race, later expressed his belief that the attempted assassination may have been a Plumbers-type operation. (See also: Assassinations, Chap.9.)

June 17 Five men, on another Plumbers' operation, were apprehended burglarizing the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in the Watergate building complex.

July 12 George McGovern won the Democratic nomination for President. The next day, he named Thomas Eagleton as his vice-presidential running mate. It was revealed later in the month that Eagleton had undergone shock therapy for recurrent depression. After declaring his "1,000%" support for Eagleton, McGovern requested, and received, his resignation from the ticket.

Oct. 10 The Washington Post, in articles by reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, uncovered a massive effort on the part of CREEP to disrupt the Democratic campaign.

Oct. 26 Henry Kissinger announced that "peace is at hand" in Vietnam, and that the war would be over within 60 days.

Nov. 7 Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were reelected with 61% of the popular vote.

Dec. 18 President Nixon ordered the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. There was widespread destruction of civilian areas. Bach Mai hospital was destroyed in the raids. The reason for the bombings was unconnected to the willingness of the North Vietnamese to sign an agreement. President Thieu of South Vietnam had threatened to sabotage any agreement, and in order to placate him Kissinger and Nixon sent the B-52s to bomb North Vietnam, including many heavily populated areas. Kissinger, in a National Security Council meeting, called this a "brutal ending" but a necessary one to win Thieu's acquiescence.

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