October 27, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month That Changed America Forever

January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month That Changed America Forever

James Robenalt

Language: English

Pages: 424

ISBN: 1613749651

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In January 1973, politics in America changed forever as, in the span of 31 days, the Watergate burglars went on trial, the Nixon administration negotiated an end to the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade, Lyndon Johnson died in Texas, and Richard Nixon was sworn in for his second term. The events had unlikely links and each worked along with the others to create a time of immense transformation. Using newly released Nixon tapes, author and historian James Robenalt provides readers an insider’s look at what happened in the White House, events both fascinating and terrifying, during this monumental month. He also delves into the judge’s chambers and courtroom drama during the Watergate break-in trial, and the inner sanctum of the United States Supreme Court as it hashed out its decision in Roe v. Wade. A foreword by John W. Dean sets the stage for this unique history, which details events that, while taking place more than 40 years ago, are key to understanding today’s current political paralysis.

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of schedule. Something, perhaps newspaper articles and editorials he read over the weekend, had darkened his mood considerably. One letter writer to the Sunday editors of the New York Times smelled a rat in all the guilty pleas and the round denials at the trial by everyone with any knowledge regarding who sponsored and authorized the affair. This feigned ignorance, the writer guessed, “may, conjecturally, be ascribed to a ‘deal.’ If they stay mum and thus play ball with the Administration, their

obstinate.” Henry Kissinger had his marching orders: end the war now. But as with so many actions taken by Richard Nixon, his rash decision to use raw power and military force to bring about peace negotiations opened Pandora’s Box. Not only was Congress galvanized to end the war, members like Mike Mansfield and Sam Ervin began to see that it was past time for Congress to reassert its authority and return balance to the constitutional balance of powers. Nixon took his election landslide as a

to tell whether they’re going to make real progress. It was tough going.” He even coached him on his demeanor: “You go in with a long face. You should play it absolutely cool.”25 Nixon fretted about whether the negotiations would “go downhill” the next day. Could this all be ephemeral? “Sir, I don’t think so,” Kennedy responded. Nixon said he didn’t have confidence in Kissinger’s immediate reactions. “He is the perennial optimist,” Nixon observed. “He is either up or down.” Kennedy’s clue that

warn. “He thinks we are anyway. He’s convinced that I’ve bugged him.” Nixon said, “Really?” “He really does,” Haldeman said. “He’s come in a couple of times on a very serious basis. He said someone’s told him his phone is being tapped. He said, ‘If you’re tapping my phone, I can understand why you would.’” “Sheesh,” Nixon hissed, as if the comment was on its face ludicrous. “And then he says,” Haldeman continued, “‘I just want you to know I know you are doing it.’” “Oh Christ,” Nixon moaned.

were to be couched in terms of “healing of war wounds” and “America’s traditional policy of benevolence.” But none of it could be written in detail in the accords. Kissinger said, “We cannot sign a protocol and cannot even exchange messages before this agreement is complete.”17 What the Americans proposed was a diplomatic message, to be delivered several weeks after the accords were signed. So there would be no surprises, Kissinger read the text of the note he planned to bring to Hanoi after the

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