Year
1972

Nixon promises Thieu that U.S. will continue to support South Vietnam

One week after his re-election, President Richard Nixon extends to South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu his “absolute assurance” that the United States will “take swift and severe retaliatory action” if Hanoi violates the pending cease-fire once it is in place.

Thieu responded with a list of 69 amendments that he wanted added to the peace agreement being worked out in Paris. Nixon instructed Henry Kissinger to present Le Duc Tho, the senior North Vietnamese negotiator in Paris, with Thieu’s amendments. Kissinger protested that the changes were “preposterous” and might destroy chances for the treaty. Despite Kissinger’s concerns, the indication that the peace accords were near completion resulted in the Dow Jones closing above 1,000 for first time. In the end, however, Kissinger was correct and the peace talks became deadlocked and were not resumed until after Nixon ordered the December bombing of North Vietnam.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Walesa released from jail

Lech Walesa, leader of communist Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, returns to his apartment in Gdansk after 11 months of internment in a remote hunting lodge near the Soviet border. Two days before, hundreds of supporters had begun a vigil outside his home upon learning that ...read more

Apollo 12 lifts off

Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the surface of the moon, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr.; Richard F. Gordon, Jr.; and Alan L. Bean aboard. President Richard Nixon viewed the liftoff from Pad A at Cape Canaveral. He was the ...read more

Moby-Dick published

Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest to catch a giant white whale was a flop. Its author, Herman Melville ...read more

Ottoman Empire declares a holy war

On November 14, 1914, in Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares an Islamic holy war on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging his Muslim followers to take up arms against Britain, France, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro in ...read more

Major battle erupts in the Ia Drang Valley

In the first major engagement of the war between regular U.S. and North Vietnamese forces, elements of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) fight a pitched battle with Communist main-force units in the Ia Drang Valley of the Central Highlands. On this morning, Lt. ...read more

Plane crash devastates Marshall University

On November 14, 1970, a chartered jet carrying most of the Marshall University football team clips a stand of trees and crashes into a hillside just two miles from the Tri-State Airport in Kenova, West Virginia. The team was returning from that day’s game, a 17-14 loss to East ...read more

Lincoln approves Burnside’s plan

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln approves of General Ambrose Burnside’s plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. This was an ill-fated move, as it led to the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginiain December 1862, in which the Army of ...read more

Benjamin Franklin takes sides

On this day in 1776, the St. James Chronicle of London carries an item announcing “The very identical Dr. Franklyn [Benjamin Franklin], whom Lord Chatham [former leading parliamentarian and colonial supporter William Pitt] so much caressed, and used to say he was proud in calling ...read more

Germans bomb Coventry

On this day in 1940, German bombers devastate the English city of Coventry, demolishing tens of thousands of buildings and killing hundreds of men, women, and children. The verb “Koventrieren” (to Coventrate) passed into the German language, meaning “to annihilate or reduce to ...read more