World History 1971 Part 2

About the history of the world in 1971, riots at Attica prison, China joins the United Nations, Russia puts something on Mars.



June 13 The New York Times ran the first installment of the Pentagon Papers, the classified history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War supplied to the media by former Deputy Defense Secretary Daniel Ellsberg. The U.S. Justice Dept. sued to suppress publication of the documents on grounds of national security, but the courts came down on the side of a free press and dismissed the government's petition as "prior restraint." Said Judge Murray Gurfein, "National security lies not at the ramparts alone, but lies also in the value of our free institutions."

July 10 Some 1,400 dissident Moroccan troops invaded the summer palace of King Hassan. Although the king escaped unharmed, 90 royal visitors were killed in the minirebellion.

Sept. 9--13 Inmates took over Attica State Prison in New York State. After Gov. Nelson Rockefeller refused to meet with prisoners, he ordered 1,500 state troopers, sheriff's deputies, and prison guards to storm the penitentiary. Nine guard-hostages and 31 prisoners died before order was restored. Pres. Richard Nixon supported Rockefeller's handling of the revolt and said, "When a man is in a hard place and makes a hard decision and steps up to it, I back him up. . . ."

Oct. 25 After 22 years, the U.S. finally dropped its opposition to Communist China's entry into the U.N., as President Nixon announced he would visit Peking. In the General Assembly, the U.S. argued strenuously to seat both China and Taiwan as two separate member nations, but it was not to be. The vote admitting Red China and expelling the Formosan delegation was 76--35 with 17 abstentions.

Dec. The U.S.S.R. placed an unmanned 4.6-ton spacecraft around the planet Mars. As a violent Martian dust storm settled down, the probe, Mars 2, dropped a capsule to the surface of the red planet. Just what was inside was never disclosed, but U.S. observers speculated that it might have contained scientific instruments which were damaged on impact, and that Soviet ground control had decided to keep mum about the setback. Whatever its contents, the alien object, sporting a hammer-and-sickle flag, became the first human artifact to touch the soil of Mars.

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