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Richard Nixon (1913-94), the 37th U.S. Nixon stepped down in 1974, halfway through his second term, rather than face impeachment over his efforts to cover up illegal activities by members of his administration in the Watergate scandal. A former Republican congressman and U.S. senator from California, he served two terms as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) in the 1950s. In 1960, Nixon lost his bid for the presidency in a close race with Democrat John F. Kennedy (1917-63). He ran for the White House again in 1968 and won. As president, Nixon’s achievements included forging diplomatic ties with China and the Soviet Union, and withdrawing U.S. troops from an unpopular war in Vietnam. However, Nixon’s involvement in Watergate tarnished his legacy and deepened American cynicism about government.
Education and Early Political Career
Richard Milhous Nixon was born on January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California. He was the second of five sons of Francis Anthony Nixon (1878-1956), who struggled to earn a living running a grocery store and gas station, and his wife, Hannah Milhous Nixon (1885-1967). .Nixon absorbed his parents’ discontent with their working-class circumstances and developed a strong sense of ambition..
He attended Whittier College, where he excelled as a debater and was elected president of the student body before graduating in 1934. Three years later, he earned a law degree from Duke University, where he was head of the student bar association and graduated near the top of his class. After Duke, he returned to Whittier, California, and began working as an attorney. In 1940, Nixon married Thelma Catherine “Pat” Ryan (1912-93), whom he met while participating in a local theater group. The couple had two daughters, Patricia (1946-) and Julie (1948-). When America entered World War II (1939-45), Nixon joined the U.S. Navy and served as an operations officer in the Pacific.
Following the war, Nixon launched his political career in 1946 when he defeated a five-term Democratic incumbent to represent his California district in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a congressman, Nixon served on the House Un-American Activities Committee and rose to national prominence by leading a controversial investigation of Alger Hiss (1904-1996), a well-regarded former State Department official who was accused of spying for the Soviet Union in the late 1930s.
Nixon was re-elected to Congress in 1948 and two years later, in 1950, won a seat in the U.S. Senate.
An Unsuccessful Bid for the Presidency
Although Nixon’s attacks on alleged Communists and political opponents alarmed some people, they increased his popularity among conservative Republicans. In 1952, General Dwight Eisenhower selected the 39-year-old first-term senator to be his vice presidential running mate. A few months after accepting the nomination, Nixon became the target of a negative campaign that raised questions about money and gifts he allegedly received from industry lobbyists. Nixon answered these charges in his famous “Checkers” speech, claiming that the only gift he ever accepted was a puppy named Checkers for his young daughter. The speech proved effective and preserved Nixon’s spot on the ticket.
Eisenhower and Nixon won the election of 1952 and were re-elected in 1956. In 1960, Nixon claimed the Republican presidential nomination, but lost one of the closest elections in American history to U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The turning point of the campaign came in the first-ever nationally televised presidential debate. During the broadcast, Nixon appeared pale, nervous and sweaty compared with his tan, well-rested and vigorous opponent.
The loss to Kennedy dealt a terrible blow to Nixon’s ego. He claimed that the media disliked him and had slanted campaign coverage in favor of his handsome and wealthy opponent. Nixon returned home to California, where he practiced law and launched a campaign for governor in 1962. When he lost this election as well, many observers believed that his political career was over. As a disgusted Nixon told reporters, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
Winning the White House
Six years after losing the governorship in his home state, Nixon made a remarkable political comeback and once again claimed his party’s presidential nomination. He prevailed in the 1968 U.S. presidential election, defeating Democrat Hubert Humphrey (1911-78) and third-party candidate George Wallace (1919-98). Nixon took office at a time of upheaval and change in the U.S. The American people were bitterly divided over the Vietnam War (1954-75), while women marched for equal rights and racial violence rocked the nation’s cities.
Declaring his intention to achieve “peace with honor” in Vietnam, Nixon introduced a strategy known as Vietnamization, which called for gradually withdrawing American troops from the war while training South Vietnamese army forces to take over their own defense. In January 1973, Nixon administration officials reached a peace agreement with Communist North Vietnam. The last American combat troops left Vietnam in March of that year. The hostilities continued, however, and in 1975 North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam and reunited the country under Communist rule.In addition to dealing with the Vietnam War, Nixon made historic visits, in 1972, to China and the Soviet Union. He reduced tensions between these Communist nations and the U.S., helping to set the stage for establishing formal diplomatic relations. Nixon also signed important treaties to limit the production of nuclear weapons.
The Watergate Scandal and Beyond
While Nixon was running for re-election in 1972, operatives associated with his campaign broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Several members of Nixon’s administration had knowledge of the burglary and while Nixon denied any involvement, secret tapes of White House conversations later revealed that the president had participated in efforts to cover up the criminal activity.
Facing impeachment by Congress, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974. He was replaced by Vice President Gerald Ford (1913-2006), who a month later pardoned Nixon for any wrongdoing. A number of administration officials were eventually convicted of crimes related to the Watergate affair.
After leaving the White House, Nixon retired to California (he and his wife later moved to New Jersey) and quietly worked to rehabilitate his image, writing books, traveling extensively and consulting with Democratic and Republican presidents. By the time he died on April 22, 1994, at age 81 in New York City, after suffering a stroke, some people viewed him as a respected elder statesman. Other Americans, however, rejected efforts to paint him as anything but a disgraced criminal.
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Presidency of Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon's tenure as the 37th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 1969, and ended when he resigned on August 9, 1974, in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office, the only U.S. president ever to do so. He was succeeded by Gerald Ford, whom he had appointed vice president after Spiro Agnew became embroiled in a separate corruption scandal and was forced to resign. A prominent member of the Republican Party from California, Nixon took office after the 1968 presidential election, in which he defeated incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Although he had built his reputation as a very active Republican campaigner, Nixon downplayed partisanship in his 1972 landslide reelection.
Nixon's primary focus while in office was on foreign affairs. He focused on détente with the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union, easing Cold War tensions with both countries. As part of this policy, Nixon signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and SALT I, two landmark arms control treaties with the Soviet Union. Nixon promulgated the Nixon Doctrine, which called for indirect assistance by the United States rather than direct U.S. commitments as seen in the ongoing Vietnam War. After extensive negotiations with North Vietnam, Nixon withdrew the last U.S. soldiers from South Vietnam in 1973, ending the military draft that same year. To prevent the possibility of further U.S. intervention in Vietnam, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution over Nixon's veto.
In domestic affairs, Nixon advocated a policy of "New Federalism," in which federal powers and responsibilities would be shifted to the states. However, he faced a Democratic Congress that did not share his goals and, in some cases, enacted legislation over his veto. Nixon's proposed reform of federal welfare programs did not pass Congress, but Congress did adopt one aspect of his proposal in the form of Supplemental Security Income, which provides aid to low-income individuals who are aged or disabled. The Nixon administration adopted a "low profile" on school desegregation, but the administration enforced court desegregation orders and implemented the first affirmative action plan in the United States. Nixon also presided over the creation of Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of major environmental laws like the Clean Water Act, although that law was vetoed by Nixon and passed by override. Economically, the Nixon years saw the start of a period of "stagflation" that would continue into the 1970s.
Nixon was far ahead in the polls in the 1972 presidential election, but during the campaign, Nixon operatives conducted several illegal operations designed to undermine the opposition. They were exposed when the break-in of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters ended in the arrest of five burglars and gave rise to a congressional investigation. Nixon denied any involvement in the break in, but, after a tape emerged revealing that Nixon had known about the White House connection to the Watergate burglaries shortly after they occurred, the House of Representatives initiated impeachment proceedings. Facing removal by Congress, Nixon resigned from office. Though some scholars believe that Nixon "has been excessively maligned for his faults and inadequately recognised for his virtues",  Nixon is generally ranked as a below average president in surveys of historians and political scientists.   
Richard M. Nixon - HISTORY
Richard Nixon: Biography
Watch a short biography of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. Learn more about Richard Nixon: http://bit.ly/Vtl2m5, Watch more videos of Richard Nixon: http://bit.ly/UKu0hH, Watch the U.S. Presidents play list: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-Igx…, Learn more about Political Criminals: http://bit.ly/W8V9tH, Learn more about Politicians who Resigned from Office: http://bit.ly/TmOnly. Richard Nixon served as Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower and was the Republican Nominee for President in 1960. He was elected President in 1968, won re-election in 1972, and resigned in 1974 after the Watergate scandal.
Richard M. Nixon
Reconciliation was the first goal set by President Richard M. Nixon. The Nation was painfully divided, with turbulence in the cities and war overseas. During his Presidency, Nixon succeeded in ending American fighting in Viet Nam and improving relations with the U.S.S.R. and China. But the Watergate scandal brought fresh divisions to the country and ultimately led to his resignation.
His election in 1968 had climaxed a career unusual on two counts: his early success and his comeback after being defeated for President in 1960 and for Governor of California in 1962.
Born in California in 1913, Nixon had a brilliant record at Whittier College and Duke University Law School before beginning the practice of law. In 1940, he married Patricia Ryan they had two daughters, Patricia (Tricia) and Julie. During World War II, Nixon served as a Navy lieutenant commander in the Pacific.
On leaving the service, he was elected to Congress from his California district. In 1950, he won a Senate seat. Two years later, General Eisenhower selected Nixon, age 39, to be his running mate.
As Vice President, Nixon took on major duties in the Eisenhower Administration. Nominated for President by acclamation in 1960, he lost by a narrow margin to John F. Kennedy. In 1968, he again won his party’s nomination, and went on to defeat Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and third-party candidate George C. Wallace.
His accomplishments while in office included revenue sharing, the end of the draft, new anticrime laws, and a broad environmental program. As he had promised, he appointed Justices of conservative philosophy to the Supreme Court. One of the most dramatic events of his first term occurred in 1969, when American astronauts made the first moon landing.
Some of his most acclaimed achievements came in his quest for world stability. During visits in 1972 to Beijing and Moscow, he reduced tensions with China and the U.S.S.R. His summit meetings with Russian leader Leonid I. Brezhnev produced a treaty to limit strategic nuclear weapons. In January 1973, he announced an accord with North Viet Nam to end American involvement in Indochina. In 1974, his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, negotiated disengagement agreements between Israel and its opponents, Egypt and Syria.
In his 1972 bid for office, Nixon defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern by one of the widest margins on record.
Within a few months, his administration was embattled over the so-called “Watergate” scandal, stemming from a break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee during the 1972 campaign. The break-in was traced to officials of the Committee to Re-elect the President. A number of administration officials resigned some were later convicted of offenses connected with efforts to cover up the affair. Nixon denied any personal involvement, but the courts forced him to yield tape recordings which indicated that he had, in fact, tried to divert the investigation.
As a result of unrelated scandals in Maryland, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in 1973. Nixon nominated, and Congress approved, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford as Vice President.
Faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Nixon announced on August 8, 1974, that he would resign the next day to begin “that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”
In his last years, Nixon gained praise as an elder statesman. By the time of his death on April 22, 1994, he had written numerous books on his experiences in public life and on foreign policy.
The Presidential biographies on WhiteHouse.gov are from “The Presidents of the United States of America,” by Frank Freidel and Hugh Sidey. Copyright 2006 by the White House Historical Association.
For more information about President Nixon, please visit: The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Richard Nixon (1913-1994) was the 37th president of the United States, serving from January 1969 until his resignation in August 1974. Nixon’s foreign policy forged the path to Détente. Under his leadership, the US withdrew from Vietnam, restored diplomatic relations with China and signed an arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union.
Richard Nixon was born in California to a family of Quakers. He was educated at Duke University, graduating in law. Nixon volunteered for the US Navy in 1943, in which he was commissioned as a lieutenant and served in administrative roles in the Pacific theatre.
After the war, Nixon set his sights on a political career, campaigning for a seat in Congress. He was elected to the House of Representatives in late 1946. In the late 1940s, Nixon was an outspoken critic of suspected communists, sympathisers and unionists. He also served on the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
Senator and Vice-President
In 1950, Nixon moved from the House of Representatives to the US Senate. Two years later he received the Republican Party’s nomination as Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential running mate. In November 1952 Nixon, aged 39, became the second-youngest US vice-president in history.
Unlike previous vice-presidents he took an active role in foreign affairs, making important speeches and undertaking several state visits abroad. In 1959, Nixon attended an American exhibition in Moscow, where famously engaged with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in what later became known as the ‘Kitchen Debate‘.
Nixon served two terms as Eisenhower’s deputy before running for the White House himself in 1960, however, he was narrowly defeated by John F Kennedy and consequently withdrew from political life for several years.
Nixon returned from the wilderness in 1968, standing for the presidency and styling himself as a peacemaker who would seek an end to the Vietnam War. He won the November 1968 election comfortably, carrying 32 states against Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey.
Within months, Nixon had announced a policy of ‘Vietnamisation‘, aimed at transferring responsibility to the war to South Vietnam and allowing the withdrawal of US combat forces. In secret, Nixon also authorised the expansion of US military operations into Laos and Cambodia, a move that had devastating effects on those countries.
Nixon’s Cold War foreign policy called for greater communication with communist powers and contributed to the rising Détente in the early 1970s. In February 1972 Nixon made a historic visit to communist China. The following year he welcomed Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev on a two-week visit to the US. Nixon and Brezhnev held two summits in mid-1974 that paved the way for future arms agreements and the Helsinki Accords of 1975.
The last two years of Nixon’s presidency were tainted by domestic problems, a global oil crisis (1973) and the Watergate scandal. Implicated in a cover-up of illegal activities, Nixon was subject to rigorous investigation and scrutiny. Facing impeachment, Nixon resigned from the presidency in August 1974, the only US president to have ever done so.
Richard Nixon spent the last years of his life writing his memoirs and attempting to restore his legacy as president. Nixon died in New York City in April 1994, aged 81.
Richard M. Nixon
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While Nixon did lose his first run at Presidency, to John F. Kennedy, he managed to win his next two races for the President of the United States. But things were different for him on the election trail while growing up. In eighth grade, Nixon was elected President of his class. But just four years later, as a senior, he would go on to lose the race as President of his high school’s student body.
In 1971, and in 1972, Time gave him the honor of being “Man of the Year.” This was due in large part to Nixon’s efforts in getting China into the United Nations, as well as attempting to get the United States and the Chinese government on better terms. He is the first U.S. President to have visited China.
President Nixon was no stranger to the Time Magazine cover he appeared on the cover a total of 55 times.
Articles Featuring Richard Nixon From History Net Magazines
South Vietnamese general Le Van Hung (center) and president Nguyen Van Thieu (second from right) reveled in the victory at An Loc&mdasha victory for Nixon's Vietnamization policy. (U.S. Army Center of Military History)
From the Winter 2012 issue of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.
Today, not one American in ten thousand knows about the Battle of An Loc. But for a few months in the spring of 1972, An Loc looked as if it would assume the same mythic importance as the battles of Saratoga, the Argonne, and the Bulge. In that climactic year of the Vietnam War, U.S. president Richard M. Nixon gambled his presidency on a program he called &ldquoVietnamization.&rdquo Its goal was to gradually transfer responsibility for the fighting to the South Vietnamese, betting that&mdashaided by a handful of American advisers on the ground and the might of U.S. air power&mdashtheir troops could stand against the veteran battalions of North Vietnam. Under way for several years, this new style of warfare had seen limited success An Loc was the first chance to test it in a major battle. To the surprise of both sides, Vietnamization worked. An Loc became its seminal triumph, and the most important Vietnam battle of Nixon&rsquos presidency. Why then, is Vietnam now synonymous with failure and loss? The answer lies in An Loc, and the events that followed.
The Battle of An Loc proved that Nixon had found the key to victory in Vietnam
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An Loc is a city of about 15,000 people, the capital of rural Binh Long Province in South Vietnam, near the border with Cambodia. The surrounding countryside is thick with French-planted rubber trees that once made it a rather prosperous place. After more than a decade of savage civil war between North and South Vietnam, no one thought of An Loc or the province as militarily important. Only one division of South Vietnam&rsquos million-man army was stationed there. But An Loc sat on a paved highway, Route 13, just 65 miles from the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon. For General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), that made the city significant.
In distant Paris in spring 1972, North Vietnamese diplomats were pretending to negotiate a peace treaty with South Vietnamese and American representatives. President Nixon had refused to yield to massive protests against American involvement in the war. Again and again he touted Vietnamization as the only honorable way to end America&rsquos role in the conflict. By 1972, there were fewer than 100,000 combat GIs in Vietnam none was in or near Binh Long Province.
In November that year, Nixon would run for reelection. The leading Democratic challenger, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, was calling for immediate and total withdrawal of American troops, planes, and warships. He claimed the South Vietnamese army, the ARVN, was hopeless. He had even harsher things to say about the new republic&rsquos politicians.
Had Vietnamization, then, been a failure? Quite the contrary. In 1968 the South Vietnamese and Americans had inflicted a shattering defeat on the Viet Cong, the communist guerrilla army in the south, when the VC launched an all-out offensive during Tet, the traditional Vietnamese holiday. In the wake of this victory, the ARVN and U.S. armed forces had been able to pacify the countryside, producing a remarkable approximation of peace for nearly four years.
John Paul Vann, a former army colonel who had become a key civilian adviser, said in January 1972: &ldquoWe are now at the lowest level of fighting the war has ever seen.&rdquo There was &ldquoan air of prosperity throughout the rural areas&rdquo of South Vietnam, Vann claimed. On the highways a traveler was in more danger &ldquofrom hustling Hondas and Lambrettas than&hellipfrom the VC.&rdquo
Given the relative success of Vietnamization and pacification, the NVA&rsquos General Giap had only one hope of victory: a massive invasion with his regular army. In the spring of 1972 he prepared a three-pronged assault to conquer large chunks of South Vietnam. The centerpiece of Giap&rsquos plan (later known as the Easter Offensive) was to capture An Loc and claim it as the provisional capital of Revolutionary South Vietnam. Communist politicians would muster there, while Giap readied a tank-led army to rumble down Route 13 to Saigon after disgusted, war-weary American voters elected McGovern, and the demoralized South Vietnamese &ldquopuppets&rdquo realized the United States was about to abandon them.
At U.S. Army headquarters in Saigon, there were no illusions that the war was over. Intelligence from NVA deserters and other sources detected General Giap&rsquos buildup of forces on South Vietnam&rsquos borders in preparation for the Easter Offensive. General Creighton Abrams, the U.S. Army commander, increased his air power at bases in South Vietnam and Thailand. Two aircraft carriers were ordered on station off the coast, with two more carriers on standby. B-52 long-range bombers on Guam were told to prepare for an all-out effort. &ldquoThe stakes in this battle will be great,&rdquo Abrams said.
At noon on March 30, 1972, the NVA attacked across the supposedly demilitarized zone between the two Vietnams. Fifteen North Vietnamese regiments poured thousands of rounds of mortar, rocket, and artillery fire into ARVN bases along the border and surged toward the district capital of Quang Tri. The second of Giap&rsquos three invasion forces burst from NVA sanctuaries in Cambodia into South Vietnam&rsquos Central Highlands, heading for another major city, Kontum. From farther south in Cambodia came Giap&rsquos biggest thrust: Three NVA divisions backed by hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces rumbled toward An Loc.
The 5th NVA Division had orders to clear the ARVN out of Loc Ninh, a small town on Route 13 about 20 miles north of An Loc. Seven American advisers, led by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Schott, who had recently transferred&mdashat his request&mdashfrom a desk job in Saigon, were in Loc Ninh. Colonel Nguyen Cong Vinh, the commander of the town&rsquos defenders, the 9th ARVN Regiment, had been fighting the communists since 1950. He was frankly dismayed by the withdrawal of American combat troops and had no confidence in the ARVN&rsquos ability to stand alone. Despite strong opposition from American air forces, the NVA&rsquos tanks and infantry smashed through Loc Ninh&rsquos defenses and overran the town in three days. Remnants of the 9th ARVN Regiment and the advisers fled into the countryside. Badly wounded in the head, Colonel Schott killed himself so his fellow advisers wouldn&rsquot risk their lives trying to save him.
Loc Ninh&rsquos fall was not a good omen for the defenders of An Loc. Inside the city was a team of American advisers headed by Colonel William &ldquoWild Bill&rdquo Miller, a veteran of three previous tours in Vietnam. His relationship with Brigadier General Le Van Hung, commander of the 5th ARVN Division, was tense Hung did not like to take advice from Americans. When the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) warned of the coming offensive, Hung stubbornly resisted Miller&rsquos urgent pleas to withdraw men from isolated firebases and concentrate them in An Loc. Eventually, some 35,000 NVA troops surrounded the city. The besieged, including 2,000 lightly armed provincial militia, numbered 7,500. On April 7, the 9th NVA Division attacked the crucial Quan Loi airstrip, two miles northeast of An Loc, where American and ARVN helicopters rearmed and refueled. Human wave assaults preceded by canisters of tear and nausea gas overwhelmed the two companies of the 5th Division&rsquos 7th Regiment defending the field. Onto the hills around An Loc the NVA dragged dozens of guns, ranging from mortars to 130mm Soviet-made artillery pieces. A few hours before dawn on April 13, they began a bombardment of horrendous intensity. In the next 15 hours, more than 7,000 shells and rockets crashed into An Loc, driving its defenders and trapped civilians underground.
At dawn the NVA launched an assault on the city&rsquos northern streets that panicked the South Vietnamese defenders. Swarms of T-54 tanks led the attack&mdashthe first time most of the South Vietnamese troops had confronted these death-dealing machines. Within hours, much of the northern section of the city was in enemy hands. It seemed that by equipping the NVA with this armored fist, North Vietnam&rsquos Soviet backers had ensured that Vietnamization would unravel in a matter of days.
But even as the ARVN retreated, South Vietnamese resistance stiffened. In An Loc, a young member of the provincial militia, Pham Cuong Tuan, peered from the roof of an elementary school and realized that the tanks were rolling far ahead of the infantry, virtually on their own. Tuan aimed his M72 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW) at one coming down the street. The tank exploded into flames. The North Vietnamese had violated a cardinal principle of urban armored warfare: Tanks need infantry to protect them. The news whirled through An Loc: LAWs kill tanks. Within hours, tank after isolated tank met a similar fate and the emboldened ARVN defenders began greeting the oncoming NVA infantry with blasts of machine gun and automatic rifle fire.
On March 30 ,some 20,000 North Vietnamese troops poured into South Vietnam in a massive gamble to win the war with a three-pronged offensive. The plan's centerpiece lay in taking An Loc and rolling down Route 13 to Saigon. (Map by Baker Vail)
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One tank crew was so certain they had an unbeatable weapon, they rolled all the way to the southern end of the city with their hatches open. A South Vietnamese soldier with a LAW ended their joyride.
Another tank clanked to a stop in front of a Catholic church and fired round after round through the front doors until it ran out of ammunition. The shells massacred some 100 men, women, and children who had taken shelter inside, hoping God would protect them. The tankers, perhaps realizing they were surrounded by LAW-wielding ARVN, climbed out of their killing machine and put up their hands. ARVN infantrymen shot them to death.
At the same time, the American commanders injected into the battle a second crucial ingredient for victory&mdashpowerful, coordinated tactical air strikes. Cobra gunships from the Blue Max Squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) fired high-explosive antitank rockets with deadly effect. A column of 12 tanks coming down Route 13 was paralyzed when Cobras blew up the lead tank and the last one. The forest on either side of the road was too thick for the others to turn around, leaving them easy prey to U.S. tactical aircraft&mdashA-6s, F-4s, and A-37s making constant sorties with the guidance of daring Forward Air Controllers (FACs) in light planes.
At least as important were the B-52 strikes, code-named Arc Light. Every strike saw three of the huge planes, each carrying more than a hundred 500-pound bombs, hit targets close to An Loc. One strike destroyed an entire NVA battalion and its tanks. Still, the partnership between the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces was nearly stretched to the breaking point that first day defending An Loc.
Captain Harold Moffett, the adviser to the ARVN 3rd Ranger Group, considered an elite force, was appalled when the men and their officers fled in panic. Moffett sprang into the street in front of the runaways, brandishing his rifle, and told the officers to do their duty. The shock treatment worked. The Rangers rejoined the battle and held their ground.
In the division command bunker, Colonel Miller had to prod and push General Hung and his staff to stay in the fight. Miller persuaded Hung to shift ARVN Ranger units from parts of the city not yet under attack to the endangered northern section.
By the end of the day, every NVA tank that had broken through the lines had been destroyed, and the NVA infantry&rsquos advance had stalled. ARVN fighting spirit was repeatedly buoyed by the planes and hovering Cobra helicopters. An unexpectedly robust version of Vietnamization was being forged in the struggle for An Loc.
After four days of fighting, the defenders were almost as battered as the attackers. Colonel Miller grimly assessed the situation for his MACV superior, Major General James F. Hollingsworth, on April 17. The enemy was still flinging 2,000 shells a day into An Loc. &ldquoCasualties continue to mount, medical supplies are low, wounded a major problem, mass burials for military and civilians,&rdquo Miller said.
Evacuation of the wounded was almost impossible, because of intense North Vietnamese antiaircraft fire. South Vietnamese helicopters that attempted to land were almost invariably shot down, and the effort was soon abandoned.
The NVA&rsquos high command was infuriated by the 9th Division&rsquos failure to quickly take An Loc, even denouncing the division&rsquos poor performance in letters to officers. General Giap insisted on meeting his timetable, which called for announcing An Loc as the Revolutionary capital on April 20.
Giap was soon frustrated. General Hollingsworth had persuaded the South Vietnamese to airlift two airborne battalions to An Loc&rsquos southern outskirts, and they disrupted an NVA attempt to stage a diversionary attack from that direction. Meanwhile, three fresh North Vietnamese regiments got nowhere in the northern streets. American air support pulverized tanks and men, and the ARVN defenders held firm. On April 22, emboldened South Vietnamese Rangers went on the offensive, hoping to eliminate NVA companies entrenched in the wreckage. They were assisted by one of America&rsquos most awesome airborne weapons, the AC-130 Spectre gunship, a plane whose 105mm cannons created nothing less than a rolling barrage behind which the ARVN advanced.
Although the NVA was forced to retreat a few blocks, the stalemate continued. Several groups of desperate civilians tried to escape the city. But the North Vietnamese artillery slaughtered them the moment they emerged into the open fields. The city&rsquos defenders had to figure out a way to feed both soldiers and civilians.
High-altitude airdrops tended to fall into NVA hands, thanks to inexperienced Vietnamese parachute riggers at Saigon&rsquos Tan Son Nhut Airfield. Low altitude drops resulted in several lost planes. To fix this problem, MACV flew in a team of trained American riggers from Okinawa. Soon drops were coming down in free fall from 8,000 feet, opening close to the ground, and landing in the arms of the hungry South Vietnamese.
The standoff lasted until the night of May 10&ndash11. Then came an ominous increase in the artillery bombardment. No less than 7,000 shells crashed into An Loc in four hours. By the end of the day, another 10,000 shells had fallen. Behind this curtain of fire came tanks and infantry trying to drive two powerful salients into the city and finish off the ARVN defenders piecemeal. With this assault came many mobile antiaircraft guns and units equipped with heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles to drive the Cobra gunships and FACs out of the sky.
Everyone sensed the battle of An Loc was reaching a climax. The Americans answered the new NVA challenge with redoubled punishment from the sky. Despite losing two Cobra gunships, two FAC planes, and an A-37, the airmen stayed in the battle, wreaking havoc on the enemy. Jittering all over the sky to escape the metal flying up at them, FACs guided 297 tactical aircraft missions on the crucial day of May 11. At least as important were B-52 strikes, which by this point in the war were amazingly precise. As they approached the city, the big planes could quickly change targets and come to the rescue of a hard-pressed ARVN unit in response to a FAC&rsquos emergency call. On May 11, the B-52s flew some 30 sorties, dropping 1,500 bombs.
Rain set in on the night of May 12. The NVA, hoping the weather would limit air support, launched another attack, this time with PT-76 amphibious light tanks, evidence that it had run out of the fearsome T-54 main battle tanks. They made little progress. After midnight, the weather cleared and two Spectre gunships were soon overhead, spouting destruction from their cannons. In the morning, B-52s arrived to add to the mayhem.
It was too much punishment for flesh and blood to endure. Facing ARVN counterattacks, the NVA abandoned its salients and retreated into the rubber trees. Several tank crews leaped out and ran, leaving their motors running. On May 15, the NVA launched another attack, but it was a pale imitation of previous assaults. The attackers seemed content to exchange random sniper fire in the ruins. The tanks stayed out of the fight, firing from far enough away that hits from LAWs were rare.
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It would take more than another month of fighting to clear Route 13 and regain control of An Loc&rsquos airport. But the NVA had lost the initiative and the ARVN went over to the attack. They soon recaptured the city of Quang Tri, which they had abandoned in April. By that time General Giap&rsquos North Vietnamese army was a wreck. Almost all its armor and artillery had been destroyed. The 14 divisions and 26 regiments thrown into the battle had suffered crippling losses. Giap himself was dismissed as commander in chief.
South Vietnam trumpeted this victory in An Loc to the watching world. Nguyen Van Thieu, the president of South Vietnam, visited the battered city on July 7 and compared the battle to Dien Bien Phu, the 1954 communist Viet Minh victory that drove the French army out of Vietnam. The French forces had collapsed after a 56-day siege. At An Loc, the ARVN had held out for 70 days&mdashand won. It was, Thieu said, &ldquoa victory of the free world&rsquos democracy over communist totalitarianism.&rdquo
Many observers agreed. Paris Match compared the battle to Verdun and Stalingrad. &ldquoThe South Vietnamese army proved it could stand on its own two feet,&rdquo the editors wrote. American advisers and the MACV commanders who had directed the crucial air support also praised the stubborn courage of the South Vietnamese on the ground.
President Nixon, meanwhile, hailed An Loc as proof that Vietnamization had succeeded. The crucial combination of air power and the steadying influence of advisers with the ARVN had vindicated and given teeth to the policy: It appeared the United States was poised to clasp South Vietnam&rsquos hand in victory over the communists.
Most American newsmen saw things differently. By 1972 the war had few defenders in the media. &ldquoPerhaps the best that can be said is that the city died bravely,&rdquo one reporter wrote.
Most in the press ignored the tremendous losses suffered by the North Vietnamese and were seemingly indifferent to An Loc&rsquos significance&mdashthat the South Vietnamese had stood up to the NVA&rsquos finest troops without the aid of American ground soldiers. The North Vietnamese had neither the weapons nor the strategy to counter America&rsquos awesome air power.
In the November presidential election, Nixon routed George McGovern. He won a staggering 61 percent of the popular vote his 18-million-vote margin of victory was the largest in U.S. history. The American people, ignoring the media and the protesters, overwhelmingly approved Nixon&rsquos policy of Vietnamization, with its victorious centerpiece, the Battle of An Loc. Seldom had American voters watched a president and a challenger clash over an issue as specific as Vietnam&mdashand responded with such massive support for the man in the White House.
At the Paris peace talks, meanwhile, the North Vietnamese and the Americans reached an agreement of sorts. It called for a cease-fire that ratified the status quo&mdashand left large numbers of NVA regulars holding territory in South Vietnam. President Thieu went on television and denounced this decision, made in secret by Henry Kissinger, Nixon&rsquos national security adviser. When Nixon told Kissinger to obtain changes to mollify Thieu, the North Vietnamese walked out of the talks.
On November 30, in the wake of his election victory, Nixon met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the situation. He reassured his military advisers that leaving the NVA in South Vietnam did not in any way signal that the United States was abandoning its ally. The president said he would &ldquoreact strongly&rdquo to violations of the treaty by North Vietnam and would maintain a potent military presence in Southeast Asia.
Even more significant was Nixon&rsquos decision when the North Vietnamese continued to boycott the Paris talks. He ordered a bombing campaign, dubbed Linebacker II, that gave Hanoi, after years of hesitation and limitations by previous presidents, its first taste of all-out air war. Navy planes swooped down and mined the harbors of Haiphong and Hanoi. For 11 days, 149 B-52s from Guam pounded the two cities, with support from hundreds of smaller bombers. No targets were off limits. Warehouses, docks, rail yards, petroleum storage tanks, and electric power plants were methodically smashed.
Afterward, the humbled North Vietnamese returned to Paris and signed the peace treaty. The president had showed an obstinate enemy that the United States, with air power alone, could amply support its South Vietnamese allies. The implication was clear any attempt to restart the war would trigger a renewal of this destruction from the air.
For the first months of 1973, there was peace in Vietnam. By any measure, Nixon could claim a resounding victory. The war was essentially over, and the Republic of Vietnam was intact.
But on March 30, Watergate intervened. On that day, Federal District Judge John Sirica&mdashwho had presided at a trial of five men who had broken into the Democratic Party&rsquos headquarters in the Watergate apartments during the presidential campaign&mdashread aloud in his courtroom a letter he had received from one of the convicted men. The man claimed he had been ordered to plead guilty to the break-in to protect high officials in the Nixon administration. Reporters raced to telephones.
At that moment, the astonishing victory at An Loc began fading from public consciousness, and the United States started to abandon South Vietnam. Though Nixon would remain in office for some time, the forceful president who had ordered Linebacker II receded to a dim historical phantasm, a weak, morose man who flailed in vain as an antiwar Congress seized control. Despite the victory at An Loc and the clear success of Vietnamization, many lawmakers wanted only to get out of Vietnam. The Watergate scandal became the cover behind which they achieved a ban on further U.S. military activity in South Vietnam. Equally fatal, they reduced American economic aid to the vanishing point.
The impact on the ARVN&rsquos morale and ability to fight was catastrophic. As Watergate simmered, the Soviet Union and China resupplied and re-equipped its communist ally&rsquos army with the latest tanks and artillery. In August 1974, Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment. His replacement, Vice President Gerald Ford, was a leader with neither power nor prestige.
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The end came in March 1975, almost exactly three years after General Giap launched his assault on An Loc. Overwhelming North Vietnamese attacks drove the ARVN out of the Central Highlands. Frantic attempts to regroup and save the southern half of the country collapsed. &ldquoOur friends are dying!&rdquo a desperate President Ford told Congress. On April 30, NVA tanks rolled into Saigon.
It was the beginning of an agonizing ordeal for the South Vietnamese who had sided with the Americans. Many leaders, including General Hung, the ARVN commander at An Loc, committed suicide. Millions of people fled to sea in small boats and confronted pirates and terrible storms to seek refuge in other countries. Their nation, the Republic of South Vietnam, ceased to exist&mdashand with it went the memory of the victory at An Loc.
Richard M. Nixon - HISTORY
from the National Archives
Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States.
Served as President: 1969-1974
Vice President: Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford
Age at inauguration: 56
Born: January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California
Died: April 22, 1994 in New York, New York
Married: Patricia Ryan Nixon
Children: Patricia, Julie
Nickname: Tricky Dick
What is Richard M. Nixon most known for?
Richard Nixon is most known for being the only president to resign from office as a result of the Watergate Scandal. He is also known for ending the Vietnam War and improving U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and China.
Richard Nixon grew up the son of a grocer in Southern California. His family was poor and he had a fairly difficult childhood that included two of his brothers dying from illness. Richard was smart, though, and wanted to go to college. He paid his way through Whittier College working nights at his father's grocery store. He enjoyed debate, sports, and drama while in college. He also earned a full scholarship to attend Duke University Law School in North Carolina.
President Nixon meets with Mao Tse-Tung
from the White House Photo Office
After graduating from Duke, Richard moved back home and began practicing law. When World War II broke out, he joined the navy and served in the Pacific theatre of the war where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before leaving the Navy in 1946.
Before He Became President
After leaving the Navy, Nixon decided to enter politics. He first ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and won a seat in the 1946 elections. Four years later he ran for Senate and won that election as well. Nixon gained a reputation in congress for being anti-communist. This made him popular with the public.
In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower selected Richard Nixon to be his running mate for president. Nixon served as Eisenhower's vice president for 8 years where he was one of the most active vice president's in U.S. history.
In many ways Nixon redefined the job of vice president doing far more than other vice presidents before him. He attended National Security and cabinet meetings and even ran several of these meetings when Eisenhower was unable to attend. When Eisenhower had a heart attack and was unable to work for six weeks, Nixon effectively ran the country. Nixon also helped shepherd legislation such as The Civil Rights Act of 1957 through congress and traveled the world conducting foreign affairs.
Nixon ran for president in 1960 and lost to John F. Kennedy. He then tried to run for governor of California and lost. He retired from politics after that and went to work on Wall Street in New York. In 1968 Nixon ran for president again, this time he won.
Richard M. Nixon's Presidency
- Man on the Moon - Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon on July 21, 1969. Nixon spoke to the astronauts during their historic moonwalk.
- Visit to China - Communist China had become a closed country, not meeting with the United States. Nixon managed to visit Chairman Mao and opened up important future relations with China.
- Vietnam War - Nixon ended the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. With the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, U.S. troops were pulled out of Vietnam.
- Treaty with the Soviet Union - Nixon also made a historic visit to the Soviet Union, meeting with their leader Leonid Brezhnev and signing two very important treaties: the SALT I Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Both were an effort to reduce arms and the chance of World War III.
In 1972 five men were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate buildings in Washington D.C. It turned out that these men were working for the Nixon administration. Nixon denied any knowledge of the break-in. He said that his employees had done this without his permission. However, later tapes were discovered that had recorded Nixon discussing the break-ins. He clearly had knowledge of them and had lied.
The congress was getting ready to impeach Nixon and it was believed that the Senate had the votes to kick him out of office. Instead of going through a brutal trial, Nixon resigned and vice president Gerald Ford became president.
Nixon died from a stroke in 1994. There were five presidents present at his funeral including Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford.
(1) Alger Hiss interviewed by Richard Nixon at the House of Un-American Activities Committee (16th August, 1948)
Richard Nixon: As of course, Mr. Hiss, you are aware, the committee has a very difficult problem in regard to the testimony which has been submitted to the committee by Mr. Chambers and by yourself. As you have probably noted from the press accounts of the hearings, Whittaker Chambers during the period that he alleges that he knew you was not known by the name of Whittaker Chambers. He has testified that he was known by the name of Carl. Do you recall having known an individual between the years 1934 and 1937 whose name was Carl?
Alger Hiss: I do not recall anyone by the name of Carl that could remotely be connected with the kind of testimony Mr. Chambers has given.
Richard Nixon: I am now showing you two pictures of Mr. Whittaker Chambers, also known as Carl, who testified that he knew you between the years 1934-37, and that he saw you in 1939. I ask you know, after looking at those pictures, if you can remember that person either as Whittaker Chambers or as Carl or as any other individual you have met.
Alger Hiss: May I recall to the committee the testimony I gave in the public session when I was shown another photograph of Mr. Whittaker Chambers, and I had prior to taking the stand tried to get as many newspapers that had photographs of Mr. Chambers as I could. I testified then that I could not swear that I had never seen the man whose picture was shown me. Actually the face has a certain familiarity. I think I also testified to that.
(2) In March 1954, Dwight Eisenhower decided that Joseph McCarthy had gone too far and delegated Nixon to signal this disapproval (4th March, 1954)
When you go out and shoot rats, you have to shoot straight because when you shoot wildly, it not only means that the rats may get away more easily, but you might hit someone else who is trying to shoot rats, too. So we have to be fair - for two very good reasons: one, because it is right and two, because it is the most effective way of doing the job.
Men who have in the past done effective work exposing Communists in this country have, by reckless talk and questionable methods, made themselves the issue rather than the cause they believe in so deeply.
(3) Richard Nixon, Six Crises (1962)
The Hiss case brought me national fame. But it also left a residue of hatred and hostility towards me - not only among Communists but also among substantial segments of the press and the intellectual community - a hostility which remains even today, ten years after Hiss's conviction was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
(4) Richard Nixon met Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow, in 1959. In his memoirs Nixon described the impression that Khrushchev made on him.
Khrushchev's rough manners, bad grammar, and heavy drinking caused many Western journalists and diplomats to underestimate him. But despite his rough edges, he had a keen mind and a ruthless grasp of power politics. Bluntly ignoring Western invitations for disarmament and détente, Khrushchev openly continued to stockpile weapons. many believed that he would have no qualms about using them to unleash a nuclear war.
(5) In his autobiography Nikita Khrushchev describes his first meeting with John F. Kennedy after he had beaten Richard Nixon to became president of the United States.
I was impressed with Kennedy. I remember liking his face, which was sometimes stern but which often broke into a good-natured smile. As for Nixon. he was an unprincipled puppet, which is the most dangerous kind. I was very glad Kennedy won the election. I joked with him that we had cast the deciding ballot in his election to the Presidency over that son-of-a-bitch Richard Nixon. When he asked me what I meant, I explained that by waiting to release the U-2 pilot Gary Powers until after the American election, we kept Nixon from being able to claim that he could deal with the Russians our ploy made a difference of at least half a million votes, which gave Kennedy the edge he needed.
(6) Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)
On Christmas Day, I had a long discussion with Pat, Tricia, and Julie. Pat said that she was completely happy with our life in New York, but whatever I decided, she was resigned to helping out. Tricia and Julie were now grown up, and I gave great weight to their opinions. Julie was a sophomore at Smith College. She had never really accepted the loss in 1960. She said, "You have to do it for the country." Tricia, a senior at Finch College, spoke in more personal terms. "If you don't run, Daddy, you really will have nothing to live for."
With the New Hampshire primary less than three months away, I could not prolong the final decision much longer. It was clear that in the busy holiday atmosphere at home, I would not be able to do any concentrated thinking. I decided therefore to go to Florida for a few days to relax and think in solitude.
As I left on December 28, Pat took my arm and kissed me. "Whatever you do, we'll be proud of you," she said. "You know we love you."
Bebe Rebozo met me at the airport, and we went directly to a villa at the Key Biscayne Hotel. I had telephoned Billy Graham and asked if he could come down and join us. For the next three days I walked on the beach and thought about the most important decision of my life. On the first night we sat up late talking about theology and politics and sports. Billy read aloud the first and second chapters of Romans. The next afternoon I invited him to join me for a walk along the beach. He had been very sick with pneumonia and was still recuperating, so we decided not to tax his strength by walking too far. I told him that I was genuinely torn on the question of whether to run. One part of me wanted to more than anything else, but another part of me rebelled at the thought of all it would entail. It was far from certain that I could win the nomination even if I did, that would be only the prelude to an even more arduous campaign. Ten months of campaigning would mean great stress and strain on me and on my family, especially Pat.
We had become so involved in our conversation that we walked more than a mile-all the way to the old Spanish lighthouse at the tip of Key Biscayne. By the time we got back, Billy was weak and exhausted. He went upstairs to rest while Rebozo and I watched the Green Bay Packers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in subfreezing weather in Green Bay. That night, New Year's Eve, we had dinner at the Jamaica Inn, where I had reserved my favorite table beside a small waterfall.
As Billy was getting ready to leave the next day, I went to his room and sat looking out at the ocean while he finished packing. "Well, what is your conclusion?" I asked. "What should I do?" Billy closed his suitcase and turned toward me. "Dick, I think you should run," he said. "If you don't you will always wonder whether you should have run and whether you could have won or not. You are the best prepared man in the United States to be President." He talked about the problems facing America and how much greater and more serious they were now than in 1960. He said that I had been denied the chance to provide leadership in 1960, but now, providentially, I had another chance. "I think it is your destiny to be President," he said.Pat Oliphant, Denver Post (1973)
(7) In his autobiography, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, he described meeting Henry Kissinger for the first time in 1968 (1978)
John Mitchell arranged for Kissinger and me to meet on November 25 (1968) in my transition office in the Hotel Pierre in New York. Since neither of us was interested in small talk, I proceeded to outline for him some of the plans I had for my administration's foreign policy. I had read his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy when it first appeared in 1957, and I knew that we were very much alike in our general outlook in that we shared a belief in the importance of isolating and influencing the factors affecting worldwide balances of power. We also agreed that whatever else a foreign policy might be, it must be strong to be credible and it must be credible to be successful. I was not hopeful about the prospects of settling the Vietnam war through the Paris talks and felt that we needed to rethink our whole diplomatic and military policy on Vietnam. Kissinger agreed, although he was less pessimistic about the negotiations than I was. I said that I was determined to avoid the trap Johnson had fallen into, of devoting virtually all my foreign policy time and energy to Vietnam, which was really a short-term problem. I felt that failing to deal with the longer-term problems could be devastating to America's security and survival, and in this regard I talked about restoring the vitality of the NATO alliance, and about the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and Japan. Finally I mentioned my concern about the need to re-evaluate our policy toward Communist China, and I urged him to read the Foreign Affairs article in which I had first raised this idea as a possibility and a necessity.
Kissinger said he was delighted that I was thinking in such terms. He said that if I intended to operate on such a wide-ranging basis, I was going to need the best possible system for getting advice. Kennedy had replaced NSC strategic planning with tactical crisis management and Johnson, largely because of his concern with leaks, had reduced NSC decision-making to informal weekly luncheon sessions with only a few advisers. Kissinger recommended that I structure a national security apparatus within the White House that, in addition to coordinating foreign and defense policy, could also develop policy options for me to consider before making decisions.
I had a strong intuition about Henry Kissinger, and I decided on the spot that he should be my National Security Adviser. I did not make a specific offer to him then, but I made it clear that I was interested in having him serve in my administration.
I met with Kissinger again two days later and asked him if he would like to head the NSC. He replied that he would be honored to accept. He immediately began assembling a staff and analyzing the policy choices that I would have to address as soon as I took office. From the beginning he worked with the intensity and stamina that were to characterize his performance over the years.
(8) Walter Reuther, letter to President Nixon (May, 1970)
Your decision to invade the territory of Cambodia can only increase the enormity of the tragedy in which our nation is already deeply and unfortunately involved in that region. Widening the war at this point in time once again merely reinforces the bankruptcy of our policy of force and violence in Vietnam. Your action taken without consultation or authorization by the Congress has created a serious Constitutional crisis at a time when there is growing division in our nation.
By your action you have driven the wedge of division deeper and you have dangerously alienated millions of young Americans. The bitter fruits of this growing alienation and frustration among America's youth have been harvested on the campus of Kent State University, where the lives of four students were ended by the needless and inexcusable use of military force.
The problem. Mr. President, is that we cannot successfully preach nonviolence at home while we escalate mass violence abroad. It is your responsibility to lead us out of the Southeast Asian War - to peace at home and abroad. We must mobilize for peace rather than wider theatres of war in order to turn our resources and the hearts, hands, and minds of our people to the fulfillment of America's unfinished agenda at home.
(9) H. R. Haldeman, The Ends of Power (1978)
For years Nixon had been trying to track down proof that Larry O'Brien was on Howard Hughes's payroll as a lobbyist at the same time that he was Chairman, of the Democratic National Committee. This could be hot ammunition to discredit O'Brien, Nixon believed. What had O'Brien done in exchange for Hughes's money (reportedly, a huge $180,000-a-year retainer)? A wiretap on O'Brien's telephone and a bug in his office could obtain the proof Nixon wanted.
To take such a risk as that burglary to gain that information was absurd, I thought. But on matters pertaining to Hughes, Nixon sometimes seemed to lose touch with reality. His indirect association with this mystery man may have caused him, in his view, to lose two elections.
His brother Don had been granted a $205,000 loan from Hughes in the 1950s when Nixon was Vice-President. Jack Anderson had broken that story shortly before the 1960 election, and Nixon felt his razor-thin defeat by John Kennedy was partially due to that story.
Then in the 1962 California gubernatorial rare the loan had surfaced again, this time in a Reporter magazine article by James Phelan - and Governor Pat Brown could have credited his surprise victory over Nixon to the repercussions of that story.
And yet, even with this background,, at that very moment, unknown to me at the time, $100,000 of Hughes's cash was resting in a safe deposit box in Florida leased by Charles 'Bebe' Rebozo, Nixon's closest personal friend.
Years later, in 1976, I asked Nixon about that $100,000, which by then had been the subject of vigorous investigation for years. The investigation had finally petered out with no results. Rebozo explained that the $100,000 was a campaign contribution, and the reason it never reached the Campaign Committee was that an internecine war had broken out in the Hughes empire Rebozo said he was afraid the President would be embarrassed by one side or another in the Hughes war if the campaign contribution was revealed.
(10) Richard Nixon, diary entry (June, 1972)
I got the disturbing news from Bob Haldeman that the break-in of the Democratic National Committee involved someone who is on the payroll of the Committee to Re-elect the President. Mitchell had told Bob on the phone enigmatically not to get involved in it, and I told Bob that I simply hoped that none of our people were involved for two reasons - one, because it was stupid in the way it was handled and two, because I could see no reason whatever for trying to bug the national committee.
(11) Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)
My reaction to the Watergate break-in was completely pragmatic. If it was also cynical, it was a cynicism born of experience. I had been in politics too long, and seen everything from dirty tricks to vote fraud. I could not muster much moral outrage over a political bugging.
Larry O'Brien might affect astonishment and horror, but he knew as well as I did that political bugging had been around nearly since the invention of the wiretap. As recently as 1970 a former member of Adiai Stevenson's campaign staff had publicly stated that he had tapped the Kennedy organization's phone lines at the 1960 Democratic convention Lyndon Johnson felt that the Kennedys had had him tapped - Barry Goldwater said that his 1964 campaign had been bugged and Edgar Hoover told me that in 1968 Johnson had ordered my campaign plane bugged. Nor was the practice confined to politicians. In 1969 an NBC producer was fined and given a suspended sentence for planting a concealed microphone at a closed meeting of the 1968 Democratic platform committee. Bugging experts told the Washington Post right after the Watergate break-in that the practice "has not been uncommon in elections past. it is particularly common for candidates of the same party to bug one another."
(12) In his autobiography, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon described the peace talks that were taking place to end the Vietnam War (1978)
Kissinger had already planned to hold a press conference on October 26 in order to reassure the North Vietnamese that we were serious about reaching an agreement as well as to distract attention from Thieu's obstructionism. Now his press conference took on an additional purpose and importance: we had to use it to undercut the North Vietnamese propaganda maneuver and to make sure that our version of the agreement was the one that had greater public impact.
In his opening remarks Kissinger said, "We believe that peace is at hand. We believe that an agreement is within sight, based on the May 8 proposals of the President and some adaptations of our January 25 proposal, which is just to all parties."
Public attention focused on this turn of phrase, "Peace is at hand." Another statement later in the briefing would also come back to haunt us. Kissinger said, "We believe, incidentally, what remains to be done can be settled in one more negotiating session with the North Vietnamese negotiators, lasting, I would think, no more than three or four days, so we are not talking of a delay of a very long period of time." When Ziegler told me that the news lead from Kissinger's briefing was "Peace is at hand," I knew immediately that our bargaining position with the North Vietnamese would be seriously eroded and our problem of bringing Thieu and the South Vietnamese along would be made even more difficult. No less disturbing was the prospect of the premature hopes for an early settlement that would be raised at home, while the McGovern supporters would naturally claim that we were trying to manipulate the election. Kissinger himself soon realized that it was a mistake to have gone so far in order to convince the North Vietnamese of our bona fides by making a public commitment to a settlement.
On the positive side, there was no doubt that Kissinger's briefing had succeeded in completely undercutting the enemy's ploy and superseding their false interpretation of the proposed peace agreement.
(13) Richard Nixon, diary entry (October, 1972)
The North Vietnamese thought they were going to surprise us by going public through the NLF with a somewhat distorted and garbled version of the peace plan. Consequently, Henry (Kissinger) went public and indicated that "peace was at hand." This was really going considerably further than I would have gone, and I know Henry was worried about it. However, when I talked to him about what I should say when we went to campaign in Kentucky, he very much did not want me to go back from what he had said.
(14) Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Final Days (1976)
John Dean, the President's former counsel had been fired on April 30 and was now busily leaking stories all over Washington about the Watergate scandal. Some of them hinted that the President was involved in the cover-up. Dean seemed to have some record of White House misdeeds he told Judge John Sirica that he had removed certain documents from the White House to protect them from "illegitimate destruction". Dean had put them in a safe-deposit box and given the keys to the judge. The New York Times, also citing anonymous informers, said that one of its sources "suggested that Mr. Dean may have tape-recorded some of his White House conversations".
(15) Taped conversation between Richard Nixon and John Dean (21st March, 1973)
John Dean: We have a cancer within, close to the Presidency, that is growing. Basically it is because we are being blackmailed.
Richard Nixon: How much money do you need?
John Dean: I would say these people are going to cost a million dollars over the next two years.
Richard Nixon: You could get a million dollars. You could get it in cash. I know where it could be gotton.
(16) Richard Nixon, private notes made in May, 1974.
(1) Cox had to go. Richardson would inevitably go with him. Otherwise, if we had waited for Cox making a major mistake which in the public mind would give us what appeared to be good cause for him to go would mean that we had waited until Cox had moved against us.
(2) We must learn from the Richardson incident what people we can depend on. Establishment types like Richardson simply won't stand with us when chips are down and they have to choose between their political ambitions and standing by the President who made it possible for them to hold the high positions from which they were now resigning.
(3) As far as the tapes were concerned we need to put the final documents in the best possible PR perspective. We must get out the word with regard to no "doctoring" of the tapes.
(4) We must compare our situation now with what it was on April 30. Then the action with regard to Haldeman and Ehrlichman, Gray, Dean, and Kleindienst did not remove the cloud on the President as far as an impression of guilt on his part was concerned. In fact it increased that doubt and rather than satisfying our critics once they had tasted a little blood they liked it so much they wanted far more. Since April 30 we have slipped a great deal. We had 60 percent approval rating in the polls on that date and now we stand at 30 percent at best.
(5) Now the question is whether our action on turning over the tapes or the transcripts thereof helps remove the cloud of doubt. Also on the plus side, the Mideast crisis, probably if the polls are anywhere near correct, helped some what because it shows the need for RN's leadership in foreign policy.
(6) Our opponents will now make an all-out push. The critical question is whether or not the case for impeachment or resignation is strong enough in view of the plus factors I noted in previous paragraph.
(17) Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)
Over the past months I had talked about resignation with my family with a few close friends, and with Haig and Ziegler. But the idea was anathema to me. I believed that my resignation under pressure would change our whole form of government. The change might not be apparent for many years but once the first President had resigned under fire and thereby established a precedent, the opponents of future Presidents would have a formidable new leverage. It was not hard to visualize a situation in which Congress, confronted with a President it did not like could paralyze him by blocking him on legislation, foreign affairs and appointments. Then, when the country was fed up with the resulting stalemate, Congress could claim that it would be better for the country if the President resigned. And Nixon would be cited as the precedent. By forcing Presidents out through resignation, Congress would no longer have to take the responsibility and bear the verdict of history for voting impeachment.
(18) Richard Nixon, diary entry (20th April, 1974)
I realize that these transcripts will provide grist for many sensational stories in the press. Parts will seem to be contradictory with one another and parts will be in conflict with some of the testimony given in the Senate Watergate Committee hearings.
I have been reluctant to release these tapes not just because they will embarrass me and those with whom I have talked - which they will - and not just because they will become the subject of speculation and even ridicule - which they will - and not just because certain parts of them will be seized upon by political and journalistic opponents - which they will.
I have been reluctant because, in these and in all the other conversations in this office, people have spoken their minds freely, never dreaming that specific sentences or even parts of sentences would be picked out as the subjects of national attention and controversy.
I am confident that the American people will see these transcripts for what they are, fragmentary records from a time more than a year ago that now seems very distant, the records of a President and of a man suddenly being confronted and having to cope with information which, if true, would have the most far-reaching consequences not only for his personal reputation but, more important, for his hopes, his plans, his goals for the people who had elected him as their leader.
In giving you these records - blemishes and all - I am placing my trust in the basic fairness of the American people.
I know in my own heart that through the long, painful, and difficult process revealed in these transcripts I was trying in that period to discover what was right and to do what was right.
(19) Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)
I called Steve Bull, who had greeted Goldwater and his colleagues in the West Lobby. "Take the boys into the office," I said, "and make them comfortable until I get over."
They were all seated when I arrived: Barry Goldwater, the former standard-bearer and now the silver-haired patriarch of the party Hugh Scott, the Senate Republican Leader, and John Rhodes, the House Republican Leader. Over the years I had shared many successes and many failures with these men. Now they were here to inform me of the bleakness of the situation, and to narrow my choices. I pushed back my chair, put my feet up on the desk, and asked them how things looked.
Scott said that they had asked Goldwater to be their spokesman. In a measured voice Goldwater began, "Mr. President, this isn't pleasant, but you want to know the situation, and it isn't good."
I asked how many would vote for me in the Senate. "Half a dozen?" I ventured.
Goldwater's answer was maybe sixteen or perhaps eighteen.
Puffing on his unlighted pipe, Scott guessed fifteen. "It's pretty grim," he said, as one by one he ran through a list of old supporters, many of whom were now against me. Involuntarily I winced at the names of men I had worked to help elect, men who were my friends.
(20) Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)
I asked St. Clair how long he thought we could take to turn over the sixty-four tapes covered by the decision. He said that with all the problems involved in listening to them and preparing transcripts, we could probably take a month or more.
I thought that we should assess the damage right away. When Haig called Buzhardt to discuss the decision, I took the phone and asked him to listen to the June 23 tape and report back to Haig as soon as possible. This was the tape I had listened to in May on which Haldeman and I discussed having the CIA limit the FBI investigation for political reasons rather than the national security reasons I had given in my public statements. When I first heard it, I knew it would be a problem for us if it ever became public - now I would find out just how much of a problem.
Buzhardt listened to the tape early in the afternoon. When he called back, he told Haig and St. Clair that even though it was legally defensible, politically and practically it was the "smoking gun" we had been fearing.
On Thursday, August 1, I told Haig that I had decided to resign. If the June 23 tape was not explainable, I could not very well expect the staff to explain and defend it.
(21) Richard Nixon resignation speech (9th August, 1974)
In the past few days . it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process, and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong - and some were wrong - they were made in what I believed at the time to be in the best interest of the nation.
I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts. I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America, but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war. This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the presidency.
(22) Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993)
The Watergate break-in of 1972 (in which, I have always been convinced, Nixon was not so much a guilty perpetrator as a guilty victim) followed Nixon's secret negotiations with Hanoi for disengagement from Vietnam, significantly advanced by his May 1972 visit to Moscow, where he signed the first Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement.
(23) Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup: The Removal of Richard Nixon (1991)
Nixon told his press secretary, Ron Ziegler, that having reached the low point he was now prepared for the ascent. It was going to be "a turning point for our approach to dealing with Watergate," he later wrote. "`We will take some desperate and strong measure,' I told Ziegler, `and this time there is no margin for error.' " He planned a televised speech for November 7, precisely one year after he'd been reelected, to launch Operation Candor. He would display not the wounded president but the man who had come back from many previous political defeats and who would once more rise from the ashes. The speech would be followed by ten days of "bridge-building" breakfast meetings and private chats with hundreds of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and a swing through the South to trumpet the message that the president was still on the job and fighting for the country.
This, then, was the setting for one of the more curious episodes in the history of Watergate, the eighteen-and-a-half-minute gap in a taped conversation. The gap has usually been attributed to a mistake on the part of Nixon's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods, and/or to a deliberate attempt by a mechanically clumsy president to erase information detrimental to him. But there was a more sinister aspect to the affair than has previously been understood, and it involves Haig and Buzhardt and an especially well-timed and dramatic revelation by Deep Throat.
Back on September 28, anticipating that the appellate court would rule that the tapes must be turned over, Nixon had asked Haig to arrange for Rose Mary Woods to go to Camp David and transcribe the subpoenaed conversations. Woods was a particularly good choice for this task because she knew intimately the president's patterns of speech, and also knew most of the voices on the recordings-those of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and other counselors. Fiercely loyal to Nixon, she could be counted on to delete the expletives and the scatological characterizations that sometimes dotted their chatter, not to be shocked by the conversations, and to keep silent about their contents. To help with the technical arrangements, Haig turned to John Bennett, the deputy presidential assistant whom Haig had appointed custodian of the recordings in July.
The next day, Woods and Steve Bull drove to Camp David carrying eight tapes and three Sony tape recorders provided by Bennett. In the privacy of rustic Dogwood Cabin, Woods began what she soon discovered would be a long and painstaking weekend of listening and typing. She spent twenty-nine hours just on the first item listed on the Special Prosecutor's subpoena, the June 20, 1972, meeting in the president's EOB office attended at various times by Nixon, Ehrlichman, and Haldeman, a meeting that lasted from 10:30 A.M. to nearly noon. As pointed out earlier, the quality of the recordings taken from the EOB office was less satisfactory than those recorded in the Oval Office.
The president was at Camp David that weekend and came in to check on his secretary's progress. She told him it was slow going because she had to replay sections of the tape over and over to get an accurate account. Nixon himself put on the headphones and listened for about five minutes. "At first all I could hear was a complete jumble," he recalled in his memoir. "Gradually I could make out a few words, but at times the rattling of a cup or the thump of a hand on the desk would obliterate whole passages." The Oval Office tapes that he had personally listened to back in June had been much easier to understand, he told Woods, and then left the cabin after sympathizing about her arduous task.
Bull had a problem, too, that weekend. He was to locate the conversations called for in Cox's subpoena on the correct six-hour tape reels, and cue them to the proper beginning spots to ready them for Woods. He found the June 20 EOB tape, but could not match up the conversation on the reel with the subpoena list. The list asked for one conversation among the participants, and there had been two on the morning of June 20, one between Nixon and Ehrlichman, and a second immediately thereafter between Nixon and Haldeman.
Haig phoned the cabin on the morning of September 29 to see how the work was going, and Bull told him he simply could not find the one long conversation referred to on the subpoena. Haig called Buzhardt, who had remained in Washington, and explained the situation. Buzhardt made a judgment, which Haig then passed to Woods, who typed a note that she gave to Bull. The note later became part of the documentary evidence assembled by the House Judiciary Committee. It reads, in full: "Cox was a little bit confused in his request re the meeting on June 20th. It says Ehrlichman Haldeman meeting-what he wants is the segment on June 20 from 10:25 to 11:20 with John Ehrlichman alone. Al Haig."
Bull promptly went back to his search, and it was then that he discovered that two of the other subpoenaed conversations were missing he passed the information to Haig.
The entire crew returned to the White House on Monday, October 1. Woods had still not finished transcribing the first conversation, but back at her White House office she now had a more convenient mechanical setup. The Secret Service had supplied her with a Uher 5000 recorder that included a foot pedal for easy operation.
Just after two that afternoon, she rushed into Nixon's EOB office, visibly upset and saying, "I have made a terrible mistake." After completing her work on the Ehrlichman conversation, she told Nixon, she had forwarded the tape to make sure that she had indeed transcribed all of that section. As she was doing so, a call came in on her office phone and she had a conversation of four or five minutes. When she hung up and went back to work on the tape, she was rudely greeted by a shrill buzzing sound. A section of the Haldeman conversation had been wiped out.
Later, Woods would reconstruct her mistake for a court hearing. She stated that she must have pushed the "record" button on the machine rather than the "stop" button, while unintentionally resting her foot on the pedal throughout her phone call, an action that kept the machine running and, in effect, recording noise over the previously recorded conversation.
Nixon calmed Woods and told her the mistake was not of consequence because Buzhardt had told him that the Haldeman portion was not among the subpoenaed tapes. Haig called Buzhardt, who reconfirmed that the Haldeman conversation was not on Cox's list, and Nixon was relieved.
He should not have rested easy, because Buzhardt was at the very least plain wrong. The counsel had been in continuous touch with Cox since the subpoena had been served, and was in possession of a memo from Cox, dated August 13, that clarified the grand jury subpoena and made it plain that what he expected was Nixon's conversation with "John D. Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman in his Old Executive Office Building [OEOB] office on June 20, 1972 from 10:30 a.m. until approximately 12:45 p.m." Any lingering doubt that both conversations were sought was removed by the additional statement in Cox's memo that "Ehrlichman and then Haldeman went to see the President" that morning (italics added for emphasis). Moreover, Buzhardt had also had his alarm bells rung on the matter of the subpoenaed tapes by the news from Steve Bull that two of the conversations couldn't be located. That he reassured Nixon a second time as to the Haldeman conversation's irrelevance suggests that Buzhardt either didn't look at Cox's explanatory August 13 memo, or that he deliberately ignored it. Error of omission or commission?
When Bennett took the stand in Sirica's courtroom on November 6 and described his custodianship of the recordings, his role in providing the tapes to Bull for the trip to Camp David, and so on, the issue was the missing two conversations. The next day, November 7, when Bennett returned to the stand, he told the court that he'd had a talk the previous evening with Rose Mary Woods during which she complained of an unexpected "gap" in one of the tapes she was reviewing for the president.
But this wasn't the gap in the June 20 conversation that she had inadvertently caused. It was a different tape, which as it would turn out had no gap. Woods hadn't mentioned the gap in the June 20 tape to Bennett, but had told Bennett that she'd been reviewing a tape that hadn't even been subpoenaed, an April 16, 1973, Nixon-Dean meeting. "I think she was puzzled," Bennett testified. "The tape was on the machine. She said, `I've got a gap in this.' " Two days earlier, Bennett told the court, he'd given Woods a new batch of six tapes and had said that the president wanted her to listen to that particular Nixon-Dean conversation and that it was among those reels somewhere.
Rose Mary Woods was called to the stand the next day. She said she had checked the tape and had been mistaken and that there was no gap in that tape. When cross-examined, she made clear that all she had meant by the word "gap" was a missing conversation. With that, the inquiry into this particular gap was settled, and the hearing went on to consider other matters. But by raising the specter of one gap, Bennett had opened up the possibility that the still-secret four-to-five-minute erasure on the June 20 Haldeman tape would shortly be uncovered in the court hearing. That, of course, would be damaging both to Woods and to Nixon.
Meanwhile, Bennett's testimony was the occasion for some curious doings at the Washington Post.
There were two stories on the front page of the Post on November 8, 1973, the day on which Woods testified. Under the headline TAPES HAVE PUZZLING "GAP" were two articles. One, under the subhead NIXON AIDE TESTIFIES, was the straight news account of Bennett's court testimony on the previous day, in which he had quoted Rose Mary Woods about a gap that puzzled her.
The second, situated next to the first, was under the subhead PARTS "INAUDIBLE." This second story was written by Bernstein and Woodward, and said that "portions of the seven White House tapes" that Nixon was to turn over to Sirica "are `inaudible' and thus will probably fail to definitively answer questions about Mr. Nixon's role" in Watergate. Quoting "White House sources" to whom the reporters had talked over the past three days, the story said the tapes were marred by "`gaps in conversations,' 'unevenness,' 'excessive background noise,' 'periods of silence,' and 'cut-ins and cut-outs during conversation.' " The article stated flatly that "there is serious concern among the President's aides and advisers that the latest problems regarding the tapes will further strain the credibility of the White House." For instance, the reporters quoted a "high-ranking presidential adviser" as saying, "This town is in such a state that everybody will say, 'They've doctored the tapes.' " This same official had "made clear he rejected that notion."
Two paragraphs down, the reporters quoted a source who clearly did anything but reject the doctoring notion:
"Of five sources who confirmed that difficulties have risen concerning the quality of the tapes, one said the problems "are of a suspicious nature" and "could lead someone to conclude that the tapes have been tampered with." According to this source, conversation on some of the tapes appears to have been erased - either inadvertently or otherwise - or obliterated by the injection of background noise. Such background noise could be the result of either poorly functioning equipment, erasure or purposeful injection, the same source said. The four other sources disputed that there is anything suspicious about the deficiencies and insisted the tapes are marred only by technical problems that can be satisfactorily explained in court."
Who was the one source who believed that an effort might be under way to destroy evidence? Later, in All the President's Men, the authors of the article revealed that it was Deep Throat. Sometime in the first week of November 1973, Woodward initiated a meeting with his source in the underground garage, and received startling information: "Deep Throat's message was short and simple: One or more of the tapes contained deliberate erasures."
(24) The Guardian (28th July, 2003)
President Richard Nixon personally ordered the Watergate break-in of the Democratic party headquarters, according to a senior aide who was jailed for his part in the affair. Hitherto it has been assumed that the president took part only in covering up the break-in organised by other members of his team in 1972.
Jeb Magruder, who was jailed for seven months for his part in the break-in, now claims, in a television documentary to be shown in the US this week, that Nixon was involved from the beginning.
Mr Magruder, now a Presbyterian minister, says he was with the attorney general, the late John Mitchell, on March 30 1972 and heard the president give instructions on the telephone to go ahead with the break-in. It took place on June 17 1972.
He says he heard Nixon's voice say: "John . we need to get the information on [the Democratic party chairman] Larry O'Brien, and the only way we can do that is through Liddy's plan. And you need to do that."
Mr Magruder says he could not hear every word but he "heard the import".
Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment
During the hearings of the Senate Watergate Committee, a special committee convened to investigate the Watergate burglary and the surrounding scandals, the President lost yet another court decision in which the Supreme Court upheld a 1974 ruling in United States v. Nixon that the president had to surrender tapes of his personal conversations to the special prosecutor appointed to investigate administration activities.
These tapes contained the &ldquosmoking gun&rdquo that revealed Nixon had orchestrated the Watergate cover-up. To avoid certain impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate, the president resigned from office.
This article was originally published in 2009. Matthew M Caverly is a lecturer at Middle Georgia State University. He teaches courses in American civics including an extensive section on the "1st Amendment Freedoms." Caverly received his Ph. D. in political science from the University of Florida.