Timeline: 1971

Idi Amin

Idi Amin

Jan 25  Milton Obote, the socialist president of the former British colony of Uganda, is attending a Commonwealth meeting in Singapore. His army chief, Idi Amin, is afraid that he, Amin, might be arrested for misappropriating army funds. Amin takes power. The British foreign office describes Amin as "A splendid type and a good football player."

Jan 28  Idi Amin releases 55 political prisoners and imposes a ban on political activities.

Feb 1-2  Idi Amin dismisses mayors and other local officials because of their ties to the previous regime, and he closes parliament.  

Feb 6  In Britain, the government of Edward Heath recognizes the Amin regime. Amin establishes the so-called "State Research Bureau" to hunt down and kill Obote's supporters and intellectuals whom he distrusts. Military leaders who had not supported the coup are executed, many by beheading.

Feb 7 Switzerland gives women voting rights in state but not nationwide elections.

Feb 13  Twelve thousand ARVN (Saigon) troops, backed by US air and artillery support, invade Laos to block the Ho Chi Minh trail. The move drives the Communist forces deeper into Laos, and Laos becomes another war front in Indochina.

Mar 1  A bomb explodes in the men's room at the White House. The Weather Underground claims responsibility. Capitalism continues undeterred. 

Mar 8  In Turkey, four United States airmen are freed unharmed after five days in the hands of leftist kidnappers.

Mar 12  Hafez al-Assad becomes President of Syria. He has been Secretary of the National Command of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (Syrian section) since November, 1970.

Mar 25  President Khan of Pakistan launches Operation Search Light, a military assault on East Pakistan against those who want independence.

Mar 29  US Army Lieutenant William Calley has been found guilty of 22 murders in the My Lai massacre. He is sentenced to life in prison.

Apr 6   In South Vietnam, peasants in the hamlet of Phuqui return after having been forced from their homes during an American military sweep two years before. Many remain bitter and hostile toward the regime in Saigon.

Apr 8  China and the US have ping pong teams in Japan competing for the world table tennis championship. Ping pong diplomacy begins as China invites the United States team to China.

Apr 9  Charles Manson is sentenced to death.

Apr 17  President Khan's military operation in East Pakistan is bloody, aimed primarily at intellectuals but hitting at broader segments of the population. East Pakistan declares its independence from West Pakistan while Khan's troops continue their operation.

Apr 19  National Public Radio's first transmission covers hearings on the Vietnam war by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

Apr 19  The new government of Bangladesh flees from Pakistani forces to India.

Apr 20  The US Supreme Court rules unanimously that busing students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation.

Apr 21   François Duvalier (Papa Doc), President of Haiti, dies. His son, Jean-Claude Duvalier follows him as president-for-life.

May 3  The Harris Poll claims that 60 percent of Americans oppose the Vietnam War.

May 3  National Public Radio begins its news program "All Things Considered."

Jun 4  President Nixon and Henry Kissinger discuss the conflict over Bangladesh. Nixon dislikes India and its Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, supporters of East Pakistan's independence. Kissinger says that "If East Pakistan becomes independent, it is going to become a cesspool." He adds: "They're going to become a ripe field for Communist infiltration."

Jun 10  The US ends its trade embargo against Communist China. Americans can now sell or buy goods from China.

Jun 13  The New York Times begins publishing excerpts from the Pentagon Papers – a 7,000 page study of US involvement in Vietnam by the Defense Department – given to the Times by a former military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg. 

Jun 14  Norway begins producing oil from wells in the North Sea.

Jun 17  President Nixon, in the Oval Office, orders a break-in at the Brookings Institution to seize material that he fears might incriminate him regarding his violation of the Logan Act back on November 2, 1968. Nixon says, "I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it." (Not to be confused with the "Watergate break-in" on June 17, 1972.)

Jun 29  US Senator Mike Gravel, Democrat from Alaska, enters 4,100 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the record of his subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds.

Jun 30  The Nixon administration has applied an injunction against the New York Times publishing the Pentagon Papers. The US Supreme Court rules that the government's injunctions are unconstitutional. 

Jul 3  In his apartment in Paris, Jim Morrison, singer and lyricist for the rock band the Doors, is found dead in his bathtub.

Jul 10-11  In Morocco, 1,400 military cadets take over Hassan's palace for three hours, and they kill 28. Hopes surge among the hundreds of dissidents in jail. Troops loyal to Hassan defeat the rising.  King Hassan describes four generals as having attempted a "Libyan-style coup."

Jul 12  In Libya, press and radio express support for the attempted overthrow of King Hassan II. In Morocco, ten high-ranking Army officers are shot. It is reported that on command, units of the army, navy and air force spat on the bodies.

Jul 14 Libya severs diplomatic ties with Morocco.

Jul 15  President Nixon tells the public that his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, has accepted an invitation to visit China.

Jul 16  In Spain, Franco makes Prince Juan Carlos his successor.

Jul 17  Ending a three-day meeting to discuss divisions in the Arab world, President Sadat of Egypt, Gaddafi of Libya and delegates from Syria and Sudan condemn what they describe as the repression in Morocco since the coup attempt on July 10th. 

Jul 22  In a taped conversation with Kissinger, Nixon says, "We're doing the China thing to screw the Russians and help us in Vietnam."

July 24-25  Vice President Spiro Agnew visits King Hassan II. On behalf of President Nixon he congratulates Hassan for his courage. The US has three military bases in Morocco.

Aug 9  India signs a 20-year treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union. 

Aug 9  Violence has been increasing in Northern Ireland. There the British launch Operation Demetrius, the introduction of internment without trial and a ban on all parades. Relying on outdated lists containing 450 names, the British Army arrests 342 men. Within 48 hours 116 of those arrested will be released.

Aug 14  Britain increases its troops in Northern Ireland to 12,500. They are stationed along the border between the north and the Republic of Ireland to stop arms traffic.

Aug 15  The United States had been running a balance of payments and trade deficits for the first time in the twentieth century. The US abandons the gold standard, intending to let the value of the US dollar fall. President Nixon announces that the US will no longer convert dollars to gold at a fixed value. And hoping to control inflation he imposes a 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents.

Aug 16-17  In Londonderry, 8,000 workers go out on strike in a protest against the British. Thirty prominent Catholics withdraw from their public office jobs. The head of government in the Republic of Ireland, Jack Lynch, calls for an immediate end of internment of those from Northern Ireland whom the British have taken into custody.

Aug 18  Australia and New Zealand decide to withdraw their troops from Vietnam.

Aug 19-22  Following the death of President René Barrientos Ortuño, Bolivia has had a succession of weak governments. Alarmed by public disorder and growing influence of leftists, the military has overthrown the left-leaning presidency of Juan Jose Torres and has installed Colonel Hugo Banzer Suárez as President.

Aug 23  Bolivia's air force bombs the University of San Andres, where leftist students are making their last stand against the military coup.

Sep 1-31  This month, Supreme Court justices John Harlan and Hugo Black have announced their retirement. President Nixon wants to replace his vice president, Spiro Agnew, with John Connally. Nixon's White House tapes will record him and his advisor Haldeman discussing appointing Agnew to the Supreme Court. They are not recorded discussing Agnew's qualifications. Together they reject the idea believing that Agnew could not pass Senate confirmation. Nixon will nominate Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist.

Sep 3  Qatar becomes independent from British rule.

Sep 12  A four-day prison riot at Attica Prison in New York State kills 32 prisoners and 10 wardens.

Sep 28  In Hungary, Cardinal Mindszenty, who has been in the US Embassy since 1956, is allowed to leave Hungary. He is moving to Vienna.

Oct 3  Governor Ronald Reagan tells delegates to the California Republican State Central Committee convention that he is not supporting a move to make him President in 1972, that he is supporting President Nixon's reelection.

Oct 14  Secretary of State William P. Rogers states his confidence that the campaign to save the seat of Taiwan (Nationalist China) in the United Nations will succeed.

Oct 19  Security Advisor Henry Kissinger arrives in Beijing for talks.

Oct 20  West Germany's Social Democrat chancellor, Willy Brandt, wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his attempts to get along with Communist East Europe – ostpolitik.

Oct 25  The UN General Assembly admits mainland China and expels Taiwan. US Senataor Barry Goldwater says "I suggested on the floor of the Senate today that we stop all funds for the United Nations. Now, what that'll do to the United Nations, I don't know. I have a hunch it would cause them to fold up, which would make me very happy at this particular point. I think if this happens, they can well move their headquarters to Peking or Moscow and get 'em out of this country."

Oct 27  The Democratic Republic of the Congo, under the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, is renamed Zaire. 

Oct 28  Britain becomes the sixth nation to launch a satellite into orbit.

Oct 28  The British House of Commons votes 356 to 244 in favor of joining the European Economic Community.

Oct 29  US troops in Vietnam drop in number to 196,700, their lowest since January 1966.

Nov 10  Cambodian Communists, the Khmer Rouge (rouge being French for red), have been gaining adherents following US bombing raids. Prince Sihanouk is popular in rural Cambodia. Previously a neutral, he is now in exile in Beijing and supporting the Khmer Rouge. Khmer Rouge forces attack Phnom Penh and its airport, killing 44, wounding at least 30 and damaging 9 airplanes.

Nov 12  It is one year before another presidential election. President Nixon sets February 1 as a deadline for removal of another 45,000 troops from Vietnam.

Nov 23  The People's Republic of China takes its seat on the United Nations Security Council. 

Nov 28  The Irish Republican Army launches rocket attacks on targets in Northern Ireland. This and other incidents claim the lives of four.

Nov 29  Around 2,500, mostly women, march in Washington D.C. demanding a repeal of abortion laws, contraception laws and an end to forced sterilization.

Dec (day unknown)  Greenpeace is founded as an organization in Vancouver, Canada. It is opposed to US nuclear testing in Alaska.

Dec 2  Six sheikdoms found the United Arab Emirates.

Dec 3-4  Pakistan and India are at war regarding Pakistan's continued military operations against Bangladesh. Pakistan attacks nine Indian airbases. The next day India sends troops into Bangladesh. 

Dec 14  Facing a military defeat in Bangladesh, Pakistan kills hundreds of Bangladeshi intellectuals. 

Dec 16 In Bangladesh the Pakistani army surrenders, ending the conflict over Bangladeshi independence. 

Dec 18  The Group of Ten (G10) meets in the United States and agrees with the US to fixed exchange rates, but without gold or a world currency for support – unlike the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. European currencies are fixed at undervalued parities in relation to the dollar and the dollar is devalued to $38 per ounce of gold – its second devaluation in history.

Dec 29  Britain gives up its military bases in Malta.

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