- Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark enter European Economic Community (Jan. 1).
- A ceasefire is signed, ending involvement of American ground troops in the Vietnam War. (Jan. 28).
- US bombing of Cambodia ends, marking official halt to 12 years of combat activity in Southeast Asia (Aug. 15).
- Chile’s Marxist president, Salvadore Allende, is overthrown (Sept. 11); Gen. Augusto Pinochet takes power.
- Fourth and largest Arab-Israeli conflict begins when Egyptian and Syrian forces attack Israel as Jews mark Yom Kippur, holiest day in their calendar (Oct. 6). Egypt and Israel sign US-sponsored cease-fire accord (Nov. 11). Background: Arab-Israeli Wars
- Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) hikes oil prices tremendously in retaliation for Western countries’ involvement in Yom Kippur War.
- Nixon, on national TV, accepts responsibility, but not blame, for Watergate; accepts resignations of H. R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman, fires John W. Dean III as counsel (April 30).
- Spiro T. Agnew resigns as Vice President and then pleads no contest to charges of evasion of income taxes while Governor of Maryland (Oct. 10).
- In the “Saturday Night Massacre,” Nixon fires special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus; Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigns (Oct. 20).
- US Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade.
US GDP (1998 dollars): $1,382.60 billion
Federal spending: $245.71 billion
Federal debt: $466.3 billion
Median Household Income
(current dollars): $10,512
Consumer Price Index: 44.4
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.08
Miami d. Washington (14-7)
Oakland A’s d. NY Mets (4-3)
New York d. LA Lakers (4-1)
Montreal d. Chicago (4-2)
Women: Billie Jean King d. C. Evert (6-0 7-5)
Men: Jan Kodes d. A. Metreveli (6-1 9-8 6-3)
Kentucky Derby Champion
Secretariat (also won the Triple Crown: Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes)
NCAA Basketball Championship
UCLA d. Memphis St. (87-66)
NCAA Football Champions
Notre Dame (AP, FW, NFF) (11-0-0) & Alabama (UPI) (11-1-0)
- At the 1972 Academy Awards, Sacheen Littlefeather stands in for Marlon Brando and refuses his Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Godfather, to protest the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans.
- The Jamaican film The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff, launches the popularity of reggae music in the United States.
- PBS airs the series An American Family, about the dysfunctional Loud family.
- The Harder They Come, American Graffiti, The Exorcist, The Sting, Last Tango in Paris
- Daniel Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience, Vol. 3
- Duke Ellington, Music is My Mistress
- Thomas McGuane, Ninety-Two in the Shade
- Czeslaw Milosz, Selected Poems
- Joyce Carol Oates, Do With Me What You Will
- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
- Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
- Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed and in 1983 it becomes the standard for communicating between computers over the Internet. Background: Computers and Internet
- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), the technology behind MRI scanning, is developed.
- Skylab, the first American space station, is launched (May 14). Background: Space Exploration
- W.H. Auden
- Pearl S. Buck
- Betty Grable
- Pablo Picasso
- Lyndon Baines Johnson