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Flashcards in Late 20th Century & Watergate Deck (42)
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What was the Nixon Doctrine?

The Nixon Doctrine was announced during President Nixon's speech to the nation about Vietnam in 1969, known as the Silent Majority Speech. Nixon told the country that while the United States would assist its allies in defending themselves, his doctrine meant that each nation was responsible for its own security.

During the speech, Nixon asked for the support of the silent majority, those Americans who did not participate in the counterculture, did not agitate in the protests against the Vietnam War, and did not actively engage in politics.


What was "Vietnamization"?

Vietnamization was Nixon's strategy to achieve victory in Vietnam. The policy called for replacing American ground troops by training South Vietnamese forces supported by American money, air power, and war materials.

By his fourth year in office, Nixon had reduced American forces in Vietnam from 540,000 to 30,000.


During his Presidency, Richard Nixon focused primarily on foreign policy efforts, and was assisted by his National Security Advisor _____ _____.

Henry Kissinger

A former Harvard professor, Kissinger later became Nixon's Secretary of State.

A master of foreign policy, he earned a Nobel Prize for his efforts at ending the war in Vietnam, achieved détente with China and the Soviet Union, and arranged for peace between Israel and Egypt after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.


In an effort to shore up South Vietnam as the United States cut troop levels, Nixon ordered U.S. troops to attack which ostensibly neutral country?


Bordering on South Vietnam, Cambodia was a poor country used by the North Vietnamese and the Việt Cộng as a supply route and to store arms and ammunition.

Secret bombings had been going on for years (outraging the country when they were uncovered), but Nixon made no secret of the invasion with U.S. ground troops, announcing it on live television.


Negotiations to end the Vietnam War, occurring primarily between Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese diplomat Lê Ðức Thọ, took place in which city?

Paris, France

The negotiations had begun in 1968, but had gone nowhere for years. By October 1972 Kissinger and Thọ had worked out a compromise, and Kissinger declared that "peace was at hand." The treaty broke down when it was opposed by the South Vietnamese, who hadn't been consulted. 


In October 1972, the treaty negotiated between Kissinger and Thọ to end the Vietnam War had broken down due to South Vietnamese opposition, and the North threatened to push for all-out victory. Nixon also faced widespread domestic oppostion to continuing the war. How did Nixon and Kissinger respond?

To keep North Vietnam at the bargaining table, the U.S. Air Force conducted a full-scale bombing campaign of the North's military production facilities in the largest air campaign since World War II.

Nixon and Kissinger exerted strong diplomatic pressure against South Vietnam, guaranteeing U.S. support in the event the North resumed hostilities. South Vietnamese leaders reluctantly agreed to sign the Paris Peace Accords.


In 1971, Nixon shocked the world by announcing an official visit to Mainland China in February 1972. The U.S. had had no diplomatic contact with China since 1949, when it had fallen under Communist control. Why did Nixon go to China?

Nixon was engaged in an aggressive foreign policy maneuver. Although both China and the U.S.S.R. were Communist, they were also historic rivals. China sought an ally against the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union in turn sought to placate the U.S., resulting in a visit from Nixon in May of 1972.

Desiring to foster good relations with the United States, both countries curtailed aid to the North Vietnamese, leading in part to that country's acceptance of the Paris Peace Accords.



Détente is a French term referring to the easing of a strained relationship. 

Détente with the Soviet Union occurred during the Nixon Administration, as the President and Henry Kissinger successfully negotiated several agreements with the U.S.S.R. to relieve tensions and forestall nuclear war.

At least in part, Nixon's détente resulted from renewed relations between the U.S. and China (a traditional Russian rival, though both were Communist).


During the early 1970s, Nixon negotiated two arms control treaties with the Soviet Union. What were they?

The two treaties were:

  1. Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT): froze the number of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
  2. Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty: ABMs were capable of destroying inbound missiles, and their use would have started a new arms race; both sides agreed not to further develop them


In 1971, President Nixon signed legislation establishing the _____ ______ Agency, whose purpose was to protect human health and the environment.

Environmental Protection

The EPA, under authority granted to it by the Congress, regulates water, air, and soil pollutants.


On March 28, 1979, what happened at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania?

Three Mile Island was a nuclear facility that suffered a partial nuclear meltdown in 1979.

Although only limited amounts of radiation were released, it enhanced the credibility of anti-nuclear groups, who had predicted just such an accident. In partial response to the accident, there has been no new groundbreaking on nuclear plants in the United States since 1974.


Although Nixon did not focus much attention on domestic policy during his administration, he did advocate for New Federalism. What was New Federalism?

New Federalism called for shifting much of the burden of the welfare programs onto the states. The federal government provided block grants to the individual states, who then administered those programs at the state level. 


Beginning in 1970, the United States entered a period of low economic growth but rapidly increasing prices, which continued almost without interruption until the early 1980s.

What was this economic phenomenon called?


The term came from the combined low growth rate (stagnation) and increasing prices (inflation). Nixon announced a 90-day wage and price freeze to aid the economy.

In an attempt to alleviate the economic crisis, Nixon announced an end to the linkage between the U.S. dollar and a set amount of gold in the U.S. Treasury. Nixon's announcment was known as "The Nixon Shock."



The Sunbelt is the region of the United States stretching from Southern California to Florida. Beginning in the 1960s, the Sunbelt saw a large population influx, driven by temperate weather, cheaper land, and lower taxes. Manufacturers also chose Sunbelt states, based on tax breaks and the availability of non-union labor.

Many of the new Sun Belt residents came from states such as Michigan and Ohio, which became known as the Rust Belt.


In 1972 George Wallace was once again competing for the Presidential nomination for the Democratic Party and was receiving high poll numbers, but he dropped out of the race. Why?

In Maryland, Wallace was the victim of a failed assassination attempt. Arthur Bremer, the shooter, hoped to become famous.

Many of Wallace's statements during his two presidential campaigns became famous, such as "the only two four-letter words that hippies don't know are w-o-r-k and s-o-a-p."


In 1972, the Democrats nominated George McGovern after a spirited primary. What two issues formed the heart of McGovern's campaign?

McGovern called for an immediate withdrawal from Vietnam and guaranteed incomes for the nation's poor. During the primaries, Hubert Humphrey accused McGovern of standing for "amnesty [for draft dodgers], abortion and acid" and the label dogged McGovern throughout the 1972 campaign.

McGovern's nomination by the Democratic Party marked a divorce from the hawk-Democrats who had triumphed in 1968, and the Party's identification with the anti-war, counterculture movement.


From what type of voters did Richard Nixon draw much of his electoral strength during the 1972 campaign?

Nixon's primary appeal was to his "Silent Majority," older Americans who were encouraged by his success in drawing the Vietnam War to a close and concerned about the counterculture movement.

Nixon voters were typically older, including Sun Belt and suburban residents.


What were the results of the 1972 presidential election?

Richard Nixon won the largest Electoral College victory in American history, carrying every state but Massachusetts. 


In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Act, aimed at preventing another Vietnam War. What limits did the Act place on the President's war powers?

The War Powers Act requires that the President notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 90 days without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war by Congress.


In 1973, Israel, supported by an American airlift, turned back a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria, known as the Yom Kippur War. How did Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) respond?

In October 1973, the OPEC member countries (most of whom were Arab states in the Middle East) announced an oil embargo, barring oil exports to the United States. Gas prices skyrocketed, the stock marketed crashed, and Nixon introduced gas rationing and price controls.

The embargo ended in May 1974, and although prices eased, the energy crisis continued through much of the 70s, leading to further inflation. High gas prices (averaging $0.63 in 1978) led to increased demand for fuel efficient cars, mainly produced in Japan.


In 1972, five men were discovered breaking into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. What was the purpose of the break-in?

The five men intended to bug the Democratic Headquarters, but were caught in the act. Within a few hours of the arrests, FBI investigators discovered that two of the men had the name and phone number of "E. Howard Hunt."

Hunt worked for President Nixon, and the White House was quickly implicated in the break-in.


What organization funded the Watergate burglars?

The burglars were funded by the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). Checks earmarked for the Nixon General Campaign fund were found in one of the burglars' safe. 

By October 1972, the FBI reported the break-in was only a part of a campaign of political spying and sabotage directed from within the White House and employing a group known as the "Plumbers."


How did Richard Nixon react to the Watergate break-in?

Nixon directed his subordinates, including his White House Counsel, attorney John Dean, and his Chief of Staff H.R. Halderman, to organize a cover-up, which they attempted to do.

Although it is not known whether Nixon had prior knowledge of the break-in, given Nixon's massive victory in the 1972 campaign, the break-in itself was patently unnecessary. 


Who were Woodward and Bernstein?

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were two Washington Post reporters who did much of the reporting on the Watergate scandal. They discovered that Watergate led to high officials in the White House, Justice Department, and FBI. Woodward and Bernstein used anonymous sources regularly, including one known as Deep Throat.

In 2005, Deep Throat was revealed to be Mark Felt, an Assistant Director at the FBI. Felt had been passed over for promotion to Acting Director by President Nixon.


Which branch of Congress established a select committee to investigate Watergate?

In February of 1973, a joint committee of Senators and Representatives began to conduct televised hearings. In July, a witness testified that the Oval Office contained a recording system.

Archibald Cox, who had been named to investigate Watergate, issued a subpoena to the President, demanding the tapes be turned over. Nixon refused, citing executive privilege. 


What was the Saturday Night Massacre?

In October 1973, in response to Archibald Cox's subpoena requesting that he turn over White House tapes, Nixon ordered his Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused, as did his deputy. Nixon fired them and finally found someone in the Justice Department to fire Cox, Solicitor General Robert Bork.

The terminations were known as the Saturday Night Massacre, and infuriated Congress and the public. Bork quickly named a new Special Prosecutor.


Although President Nixon released redacted transcripts, he still refused to release the tapes themselves, citing executive privilege. The executive privilege claim came before the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon in 1974. How did the Court decide?

The Court held, 8-0, that executive privilege did not apply, and that Nixon had to turn over the tapes. He complied, although a mysterious 18:30-minute gap of recorded material was missing.

The tapes were filled with profanity, ethnic slurs, and conversations about Watergate. The House now began to move forward with impeachment proceedings.


Was President Nixon impeached?

No. Before the the House ever voted on whether charges of impeachment should be referred to the Senate, President Nixon resigned, and Gerald Ford was sworn in as President.


Vice President Gerald Ford succeeded President Nixon in August 1974. One of Ford's first acts proved highly unpopular, and ruined any chances he possessed to run for President in his own right in 1976. What was the act?

Ford pardoned Nixon. The new President sought to move the country beyond Watergate and declared that "our long national nightmare is over."

Although unpopular at the time, Ford's actions are now widely praised. In 2001, Ford won the Kennedy Library Foundation's Profile in Courage Award. "In pardoning Nixon," said the Foundation, "Ford placed his love of country ahead of his own political future and brought needed closure to the divisive Watergate affair."


In early 1975 the North Vietnamese took advantage of Nixon's resignation to launch an attack against South Vietnam. What city did the North capture on April 30?


On April 30, Saigon, the Southern capital, surrendered, marking the end of the Vietnam War. Before the city's fall, the U.S. conducted a massive airlift of American personnel, as well as South Vietnamese civilians. 

An airlift operation, dubbed Operation Babylift, evacuated some 2,000 orphans, and Operation New Life flew 110,000 Vietnamese civilians to the Philippines. Many eventually emigrated to the United States.