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Richard Milhous Nixon was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate on 8th August 1968 and exactly six years later, 8th August 1972; he announced he was resigning as the 37th President of the United States becoming the only President to resign office.

After service in the Navy in World War 2 Nixon entered national politics serving in Congress and the Senate, where he was both respected and feared, before being elected as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Vice President, serving from 1952-1960. In the 1960 election he was narrowly beaten for the top job by John F. Kennedy.

Having been charged by the House Judiciary Committee with “high crimes and misdemeanours” over the Watergate affair, Nixon’s faced the prospect of an imminent impeachment trial – and possible removal from office.

The charges stemmed from a 1972 break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex during that year’s election campaign. The break-in was traced to members of a Nixon-support group, the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP).  Despite denials tape recordings showed that the president subsequently tried to influence the police investigation into the crime.

His successor, President Gerald Ford, issued an unconditional pardon in September 1974 for any offences Mr Nixon might have committed as president, saving him from possible prosecution.

But the five Watergate burglars and two co-plotters – former White House staff G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt – were jailed and a total of 40 government officials were either indicted or jailed. In June 2005, former FBI deputy head Mark Felt was revealed to be the anonymous source “Deep Throat”, who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate affair.

In retirement, Nixon’s work as an elder statesman, author of nine books and undertaking many foreign trips, helped to rehabilitate his public image, and in truth he did a lot of good work both before and after his fall from grace which, in time, may mean that history will be kinder to him memory. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later at the age of 81.

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Category: Historic Events

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