Richard Nixon (03:10)
The Watergate scandal defines President Nixon's legacy. On Aug. 9, 1974, Nixon became the first American president to resign. His speech showed that he understood he let his resentments control his actions.
Nixon and the Press (04:04)
Nixon grew up poor in California and began to resent the media when his finances were questioned during the 1952 presidential election. He blamed his next two political losses on the media, which hurt him politically.
Nixon's Presidency (07:58)
Nixon was elected president in 1968, partly because of the failure of the Vietnam War. He vowed to be a peacemaker and end the war. Nixon was an introvert, who designed his administration, so he had few daily interactions.
Nixon and Vietnam (03:05)
Nixon told his aides that his success or failure as president would be tied to Vietnam. He secretly expanded the bombing raids into Cambodia as a show of force to Communists around the world. Secrecy was a major part of his administration because of his arrogance and paranoia.
Nixon and Vietnam Leaks (03:30)
From the beginning of Nixon's presidency, classified documents about the Vietnam War were leaked to the press. He put wire tapes on journalists and members of his own staff. His relationship with the press grew worse and anti-war protests increased.
Nixon's War Escalation (05:06)
Nixon authorized ground troops to enter Cambodia, thinking that would intimidate North Vietnam into ending the war. The American public saw it as revving up the war. Massive anti-war protests broke out after the Kent State shooting.
Nixon and the Protestors (04:18)
Nixon spoke with protesters to try to understand their reasoning. He was convinced they were being controlled by Communists and ordered the CIA and FBI to spy on them. It led to him putting a taping system in his offices at the White House and Camp David.
Nixon's Taping System (04:20)
Wiretaps showed Nixon's paranoia; not all of his closest advisors knew about them. He secretly recorded over 3,700 hours of meetings and phone calls. Many showed his deep-seated resentments.
Nixon's Resolution (04:05)
Nixon would write resolutions to political and national conflicts. Many of his aides said he had progressive ideas but not the right personality for politics.
The Pentagon Papers (04:15)
In June 1971, the New York Times published the first story about the Pentagon Papers. The studied showed that deception of the Vietnam War went back to its beginning. Nixon's response was to begin surveilling for leaks, which eventually led to the Watergate scandal.
Nixon and China (03:21)
Nixon opened diplomatic relations with communist China in secret. His secretary of state was informed an hour before the press conference.
Nixon's Global Strategy (07:39)
Nixon's visit to China was part of an effort to avoid nuclear war with Communist nations. He traveled to the Soviet Union to sign the first arms control agreement. He became more popular as the presidential election drew closer, but he remained paranoid.
In June 1972, five men were caught breaking to the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel. Nixon feared more of his activities would be revealed and the cover-up began. There was little interest in the story at first and Nixon was reelected.
End to Vietnam War (02:21)
After his reelection, Nixon focused on ending the war. Having rejected North Vietnam's terms, which the South approved of, Nixon order an intense bombing campaign. The North Vietnamese changed their terms, reached an agreement with the South, and American forces withdrew.
Watergate Cover-up (06:54)
Nixon's staff feared the full extent of their activities would be revealed, but Nixon seemed unbothered. He forced aides who had been implicated to resign. The Watergate Committee attempted to reveal the details of the Watergate break-in.
Watergate Hearings (03:32)
With the Watergate Committee still trying to determine Nixon's guilt, White House Counsel John Dean testified. He explained the full extent of the actions of Nixon and his staff, but not everyone believed him. In a closed-door deposition, an aide told the committee about the tapes.
Fight of the Tapes (04:06)
Nixon believed the tapes were his private property and no one had the power to seize them. Nixon fired the lead Watergate investigator. People began calling for Nixon's impeachment and he released transcripts of the tapes to show he was not a criminal.
Nixon's Worsening Situation (03:10)
The first of Nixon's staff went to jail for a break-in related to the Pentagon Papers. Nixon took risks with his health and members of his staff worried about suicide.
Nixon's Final Days in Office (04:17)
The Senate voted to impeach Nixon. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that he must hand over the tapes to authorities.
Nixon's Resignation (08:15)
Nixon announced his resignation on Aug. 8, 1974. He was determined to leave with dignity and with family at his side. His replacement, President Gerald Ford, pardoned him.
Credits: Nixon: A Presidency Revealed (00:20)
Credits: Nixon: A Presidency Revealed
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