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1972: Terrorism at the Olympics, Watergate Break-in, Nixon Visits China

By Patrick Mondout

Nixon in China, Nixon in Russia, and Nixon in a landslide were among the biggest stories of the year. But in retrospect, the murder of Israeli athletes during the Summer Games in Munich and the break-in of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate are perhaps the two biggest stories of 1972.

Major Stories

January 16: The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Miami Dolphins 24-3 to win Super Bowl VI.

January 26: A bomb explodes aboard a Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 at 33,000 feet. Incredibly, a stewardess survives the crash.

February 3-13: Japan becomes the first Asian nation to host the Winter Olympics.

February 21-28: Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to visit China.

March 30: Provisional government in Northern Ireland is suspended and direct rule from London is reinstated.

April 15: Bombing of North Vietnam by the U.S. begins again.

May 3: J. Edgar Hoover dies ending a 48-year reign of terror as director of the FBI. L. Patrick Gray is named as acting FBI director.

May 15: The island of Okinawa is returned to Japan by the United States.

May 15: President candidate and noted-racist George C. Wallace is shot while campaigning in Maryland. He is left paralyzed but does not withdraw from the race, finishing third.

June 17: Five "third-rate buglers" are arrested after breaking into the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex in Washington.

July 18: Unhappy with the assistance he is getting from the Soviets and hoping to warm relations with the West, Egypt's Anwar Sadat orders Soviet military advisors out of the country.

August 26-September 11: The Summer Olympics are held in Munich, Germany. Arab terrorists murder 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

September 1: Temperamental Bobby Fischer becomes the first American to win the world chess title.

September 23: Martial law is declared in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos.

October 24: Jackie Robinson, who was the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues, dies at age 53.

November 7: Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew easily win reelection over George McGovern and R. Sargent Shriver.

November 14: The Dow-Jones Industrial Average reaches 1,000 for the first time.

December 19: NASA's Apollo mission ends with the splash-down of Apollo 17. The Apollo 17 astronauts would be the last people of the century to walk on the moon.

December 29: An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-1011 TriStar crashes into the Everglades killing 99 of 163 onboard.

December 31: Baseball superstar Roberto Clemente is killed in an airplane crash while attempting to deliver disaster relief supplies to earthquake victims in Managua, Nicaragua.

 
 
 


On February 21, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit China. This photo, from the Great Wall of China, was taken Feb 24.

Courtesy of NARA/Nixon Library



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