Timeline: 1969

Yippie button

Yippie opposition to the war

Jan 18 -19  Yippies and others hold a counter-inaugural parade, and at midnight they hold mock swearing-in ceremony. The character representing the president wears a pig mask, followed by a play assassination. They have an inaugural ball, with a poetry reading, a light show and rock bands. Many in the United States, including liberals, ignore it or dismiss it as an infantile disorder. A writer for New York's hippest newspaper, the Village Voice, describes the "bash" as "more depressing, deluded, exploitative, and trapped in the past than any straight event I attended during my time in Washington."

Jan 20  Richard Nixon enters the presidency convinced "that a clear-cut victory in Vietnam [is] no longer possible." ( Kissinger, Diplomacy, 1994, p. 676.) In his inaugural address Nixon proclaims that Americans "cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another." And he says, "the greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honor now beckons America."

Jan 25  In Paris, peace talks resume, attended by representatives from the US, the Saigon regime, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. President Nixon favors a negotiated settlement of the war, believing that a unilateral US withdrawal would be a disaster. He wants the war to end but without the appearance of a US capitulation.

Jan 27  In Baghdad, nine Jews are executed for spying. Baghdad Radio invites Iraqis to "come and enjoy the feast." An estimated 500,000 men, women and children parade and dance past the hanging bodies and chant "Death to Israel" and "Death to all traitors."

Jan 28  A "Third World" strike has been dwindling on the US Berkeley campus. Governor Reagan arranges to have police intervene to protect students from disruption.

Jan 29  Near Santa Barbara an offshore oil well begins what in the coming eleven days will be the release of 200,000 gallons of oil that will spread over 800 square miles of ocean and 35 miles of coastline. The people of this affluent part of California are outraged.

National Guard at U.S. Berkeley

At U.C. Berkeley, Frank Bardacke lectures the National Guard. For more on Bardacke, Google his name. Another photo of Frank Bardake lecturing National Guard troops on Berkeley campus

Feb 4  Al-Fatah leader Yasser Arafat takes over as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Feb 5  Turmoil has increased as off-campus anarchists have attacked a police line and the police have retaliated in forays that strike at students merely walking off campus. War between students and the police has erupted. Governor Reagan declares "a state of extreme emergency" on the Berkeley campus and surrounding area. 

Feb 25  In Vietnam, Navy Lt. Bob Kerry takes part in a raid on the village of Thanh Phong. More than a dozen women, children and old men are killed. Kerry is to receive a Bronze Star for the raid and would later express regret over his actions.

Feb 27  Governor Reagan orders the National Guard to control the Berkeley campus.

Mr. and Mrs. Lennon

Mr. and Mrs. Lennon

Mar 15   Violence erupts between China and the Soviet Union over a disputed island on the Ussuri River.

Mar 17  Moscow calls China a threat to world peace.

Mar 17  Golda Meir becomes Israel's fourth prime minister.

Mar 20  John Lennon, Beatle, marries Yoko Ono, artist.

Mar 18  US B52s begin carpet bombing in Eastern Cambodia, ordered by President Nixon, who wants to destroy sanctuaries for the North Vietnamese that could make remaining US forces vulnerable to attack when withdrawals of US forces begin.

Mar 21 The FBI is targeting the Black Panther Party in its program of investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States – a program labeled COINTELPRO. Alex Rackley, a 24-year-old member of the New York chapter of the Black Panthers, was suspected of being an informant and taken to the Panther headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut. There he was tortured and held for two days. On March 21 he is fatally shot and his body dumped in the Coginchaug River.  

Mar 28  Former President Eisenhower dies of heart failure.

Mar 29  In Stockholm, Czechoslovakia beats the Soviet Union in ice-hockey. Celebrations in Prague turn into demonstrations against the Soviet Union. Czechs attack Soviet occupation troops and ransack the Soviet airline office.

Apr 7  A legal search for betting paraphernalia in the home of Robert Eli Stanley has turned up a movie and projector. Stanley has been prosecuted for possessing obscene material. In Stanley v Georgia, the Supreme Court unanimously strikes down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene materials on the grounds of a constitutional right to privacy.

Apr 8  The first artificial heart is implanted into a human.

Apr 9  At Harvard University, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) occupy University Hall and are evicted by police. Thirty-seven are injured and 200 arrested.

Apr 17  In Paris, North Vietnam's representative rejects the US proposal for mutual troop withdrawals.

Apr 17  The "Prague Spring" has ended. Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek is forced to resign as First Secretary of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party. Soon he will be made ambassador to Turkey. 

Apr 19  On this Saturday at Cornell University, armed black students forcibly eject parents and university employees from Willard Straight Hall and occupy the hall. Their complaint: the university lacks "a program relevant to black students."

Apr 21  Cornell's faculty votes 726 to 281 for the application of campus rules that would punish those blacks who broke the rules. A spokesman for the blacks, Tom Jones, speaks of a showdown with the university and announces on a local radio station that seven faculty members and administrators will be "dealt with." 

April 24  Leading faculty members at Cornell accuse the university administration of "selling out to terrorists." Some professors refuse to teach until they have written assurance from the university president, James A. Perkins, that the campus is disarmed.

Mao and Lin Biao

Mao and Lin Biao

Liu Shaoqi

Liu Shaoqi, "traitor and scab"

Apr 24  In China, the three-week long Communist Party Congress ends. It is the second such congress since 1949. Sixty percent of former Party members have been replaced. Lin Biao has been named Mao's successor, and he has denounced his old comrade Liu Shaoqi, who is in prison.  He describes Liu Shaoqi as a "traitor and a scab."

Apr 24  More bombing by B-52's occurs in eastern Cambodia.

May 1  The Soviet Union celebrates without the display military power of previous May Day celebrations.

May 10-20  The US launches an offensive in South Vietnam against Hill 937 (Hamburger Hill). The hill is bombed into a wasteland. When finally occupying the hill, the 101st Airborne Division finds that the North Vietnamese have withdrawn. Seventy US soldiers have died and 372 have been wounded.   

May 15  At dawn, a chain-link fence is quickly erected around a one-third acre of university-owned property called People's Park – ordered by the university's Board of Regents. Rioting begins as a crowd of about 3,000, many of them non-students, march from a noon rally on campus intent on "taking back" the park. Governor Reagan is involved with the Regents regarding Berkeley and calls for a tough response against trouble. The Country Sheriffs carry shot guns. A few "street people" on roof troops throw stones down onto the police. By the end of the day one young man on a roof-top, James Rector, has been shot and is near death. Another is blinded. At least 128 persons are treated in local hospitals for head trauma from clubbing, shotgun wounds and other injuries inflicted by law enforcement. Hundreds have been taken to a nearby prison at Santa Rita. Anti-police warfare results in minor injuries for nineteen policemen. None is hospitalized.

May 21 James Rector has died of his wounds. People gather on campus listening to speakers regarding Rector. It is considered an illegal assembly and National Guard troops with drawn bayonets force the crowd to disperse. Rioting erupts. Helicopters fly over the campus dropping CS gas. Gas carries into Cowell Hospital on the edge of the campus and over most of the rest of campus. Classes are closed and the campus vacated. Some who are late in leaving run through clouds of gas and past club wielding police with gas masks. The entire city of Berkeley is put under military control, including a curfew. Downtown Berkeley is lined with rows of barbed wire. City Councilman Ron Dellums, a Democrat and future chairman of the Congressional Armed Services Committee, rises as a spokesperson for the outraged. 

May 30  Berkeley citizens, numbering approximated 30,000 (out of a total of 100,000), have secured a Berkeley city permit and march without incident past barricaded People's Park to protest recent events. Young girls slide flowers down the muzzles of bayoneted National Guard rifles, and a small airplane flies overhead trailing a banner that reads, "Let a thousand parks bloom." 

May 31 John Lennon and Yoko Ono record "Give Peace a Chance."

Jun 1  A black professor at Cornell University, Thomas Sowell, accuses the university of "paternalism" toward black students and quits, joining a few other disgusted professors.

Jun 5-6  In Connecticut, in two successive nights in two square miles of Hartford's north end, hundreds of black youths hurl stones, break store windows and loot. The police establish a curfew and the rioting ends.

Jun 8  President Nixon begins his "Vietnamization" plan. He tells President Thieu of South Vietnam that 25,000 US troops will leave Vietnam by August.

Jun 11 China complains of Soviet troops crossing into its territory, in Sinkiang province, killing a herder, kidnapping another and concentrating armored troops on the border.

Jul 4  Linda Kasabian has left her home in New Hampshire, looking for God. She joins a group living on a ranch in the Los Angeles area. She describes the leader of the group, Charles Manson, as a beautiful person. Another young woman on the ranch, Susan Atkins, who enjoys getting high with the others, believes Manson is Jesus Christ.  

Charles Manson, jail photo

Charles Manson, jail photo

Charles Manson, entertainer

Charles Manson, publicity photo



Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger National Security Advisor

Jul 9  US Ambassador to Indonesia, Frank Galbraith, notes that possibly 85 to 90 percent of the population in West Papua (Irian) "are in sympathy with the Free Papua cause." He observes that recent Indonesian military operations in West Papua has "stimulated fears and rumors of intended genocide."

Jul 18 A car driven by Senator Edward Kennedy runs off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and submerges in water. His passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, drowns.

Jul 20  Mankind, represented by astronaut Neil Armstrong, steps onto the moon.

Jul 25  Stokely Carmichael, black power advocate and former prime minister of the Black Panther Party, meets Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver in exile in Algiers. He says that his differences with other Black Panther Party leaders is unresolved.    

Jul 28  President Nixon and Henry Kissinger visit Indonesia. Kissinger characterizes President Suharto as  "moderate." He has advised President Nixon that it would be best that they "not raise this issue" of West Papua and that "we should avoid any US identification" with what Indonesia is doing there." 

Aug 8  Charles Manson wants to bring about a race war by having members of his group kill wealthy people and cast suspicion on blacks. He believes that in their music the Beatles have been warning of a coming holocaust, which he calls Helter Skelter. Manson's first target is the house where Terry Melcher once lived. Melcher failed to help Manson in his music career. Manson sends some followers to the house, with Susan Atkins assuming an aggressive role. Among the five people his followers kill is the pregnant wife of movie producer Roman Polanski: Sharon Tate.

Aug 10  Manson's second Helter Skelter operation kills Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Aug 15-18  What begins as a profit venture becomes a free concert, to be known as Woodstock, in upstate New York. 

Sep 1  King Idris of Libya is in Turkey for medical treatment. Military officers led by Captain Muammar al-Gaddafi take power. Gaddafi is a socialist and will proclaim Libya to be ruled by the people. He will accept a ceremonial rank of colonel and assume no formal office. He will take the title "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution."

Sep 2 The president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, dies.

Sep 10  Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, sends President Nixon a memo stating that if Vietnamization takes too long, public restlessness might increase. The note expresses concern about Hanoi continuing its course of "waiting us out."

Sep 11  President Nixon wants to encourage the North Vietnamese to settle the war to his liking. He resumes bombing in North Vietnam.  

Oct 4  In West Hollywood, Diane Linkletter jumps from her sixth-story home to her death. Her famous father, Art Linkletter, will blame drugs and Timothy Leary. Drugs but no LSD will be found in her system.   

Oct 8  In the US, small faction within the Students for a Democratic Society have split off from the others. They believe that a war should begin immediately against the capitalist system. The are called the "Weathermen," from a Bod Dylan song about "which way the wind blows." In Chicago they gather to begin "bringing the war home." Only 300 of the 10,000 they expected show up. They rampage through downtown Chicago, smashing windows. They also blow up a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Six of them are shot and seventy arrested.

Oct 9-10  In Chicago two smaller violent confrontations occur. The capitalist system has withstood the shock. The "Days of Rage" are over. The Weathermen go into hiding and are determined to continue fighting.

Oct 15  President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke of Somalia is assassinated by a policeman.

Oct 21  In Somalia, a Soviet Union oriented Marxist general, Mohamed Siad Barre, takes power in a military coup. He throws the former prime minister in prison. He is to start a large-scale public works programs, begin an urban and rural literacy campaign and is to rule dictatorially until 1991. 

Oct 21  Jack Kerouac, author of "On the Road" has recently described himself not a beatnik but as a Catholic. He has painted a portrait of the Pope. On this day he dies from alcoholism – internal bleeding from cirrhosis of the liver. He was 47. 

Nov 3  In a televised speech, President Nixon describes the "Nixon Doctrine." He states that the US henceforth expects its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense.  He opposes withdrawal of US forces, sayling: '"Our defeat and humiliation in South Vietnam without question would promote recklessness in the councils of those great powers who have not yet abandoned their goals of world conquest. This would spark violence wherever our commitments help maintain the peace--in the Middle East, in Berlin, eventually even in the Western Hemisphere."

Nov 6  A black-power movement is said to be spreading through the English-speaking Caribbean, putting pressure on political leaders in former British colonies as well as in the US Virgin Islands.

Nov 6  In jail for auto theft, Susan Atkins begins bragging about the Tate murders. The law is about to learn what was behind the Tate murders.

Nov 12  The US Army admits that a massacre of civilians took place at My Lai and announces that an investigation of the incident is underway.  

Nov 12  In the Soviet Union, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is expelled from the Writers' Union.

Nov 13  The nation remains divided concerning the US fighting and dying in Vietnam. Regarding President Nixon's speech on Nov 3, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew speaks of a "small and unelected elite" of television producers, "their minds... made up in advance," having attempted to undermine the President's plea for national unity, as if the president could get national unity by pleaing for it if only the "Eastern Liberal Elite" didn't intervene. </p>

Nov 15  In Washington D.C. a quarter of a million people stage a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War.

Nov 20  The Nixon administration announces a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT.

Nov 20  A group of 80 American Indian college students occupy Alcatraz Island in the name of all tribes.

Dec 6  A free concert "Woodstock of the West" is attempted at Altamont Speedway, about 50 miles east of Oakland and Berkeley. The Rolling Stones and some other big names are featured. The Hell's Angels are hired for security. Fans are  beaten. A Hell's Angel stomps and stabs Meredith Hunter to death. 

Dec 16  The British House of Commons votes 343 to 185 to abolish the death penalty.

Dec 26  Timothy Leary is sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of marijuana.

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