Watergate Affair (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Criminal activities on the part of the White House and the chief of state degrade the office of president.
Summary of Event
On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested during a bungled break-in at the Democratic campaign headquarters at the Watergate hotel-apartment complex in Washington, D.C. Their action was later found to be at the behest of the Committee to Reelect the President, and to involve major figures in the administration of Richard Nixon in the conspiracy and in the subsequent attempted cover-up. When in 1974 definitive proof was made public of Richard Nixon’s involvement in the cover-up of the break-in, if not the break-in itself, he became the first president in American history to resign from office.
Nixon had risen politically during the first few years of the Cold War, in a period of concerted anti-communism that dominated U.S. politics after 1945. He had used unfair attacks on Jerry Voorhis and Helen Gehagen Douglas to win seats, respectively, in the house and senate of California, beating both opponents by accusing them of being “soft on communism.” As a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Nixon had gained national prominence by accusing Alger Hiss of communist sympathies (accusations never fully proven). The 1948 Hiss case propelled Nixon into the vice presidency under Dwight Eisenhower for two terms (1953-1961). Nominated by the Republicans for the...
(The entire section is 1970 words.)
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