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1972

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Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -   1980s   1990s   2000s
Years: 1969 1970 1971 - 1972 - 1973 1974 1975

Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar.

Events of 1972

January
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January

  • January 2 - Pierre Hotel Robbery: Six men rob the safety deposit boxes of The Pierre Hotel in New York City of at least $4 million.
  • January 4
    • Rose Heilbron becomes the first woman judge at the Old Bailey in London.
    • Kurt Waldheim becomes the Secretary General of the United Nations.
  • January 5 - U.S. President Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.
  • January 7 - An Iberian Airlines passenger plane crashes into a 250-meter peak on the island of Ibiza; 104 dead.
  • January 9
    • Howard Hughes speaks by telephone to denounce Clifford Irving's supposed biography of him.
    • RMS Queen Elizabeth is destroyed by fire in Hong Kong harbour.
  • January 11 - East Pakistan wins independence with the name Bangladesh.
  • January 13 - Prime Minister of Ghana Kofi Abrefa Busia is overthrown in a military coup.
  • January 14 - King Frederick IX of Denmark dies; he's succeeded by his daughter Queen Margaret II of Denmark.
  • January 24 - Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi is discovered in Guam. He had spent 28 years in the jungle.
  • January 25 - Shirley Chisholm, the first African American Congresswoman, announces her candidacy for President.
  • January 26
    • Yugoslavian air stewardress Vesna Vulovic is the only survivor when her plane crashes in Czechoslovakia. She survives after falling 10,160 meters in the tail section of the aircraft.
    • The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is set up on the lawn of Parliament House in Canberra.
  • January 30
    • Pakistan withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • January 31 - King Birendra succeeds his father as King of Nepal.

February

February
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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14 15 16 17 18 19 20
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28 29          
  • February 1 - First scientific hand-held calculator ( HP-35) is introduced (price $395).
  • February 2
    • A bomb explodes at the British Yacht Club in West Berlin. The only casualty is Irwin Beelitz, a German boat builder.
    • The German militant group Movement 2 June announces its support of the Irish Republican Army.
    • Anti-British riots throughout Ireland take place. The British Embassy in Dublin is burned to the ground, as are several British-owned businesses.
  • February 3- February 13 - The 1972 Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, Japan.
  • February 4 - Mariner 9 sends pictures from Mars.
  • February 5
    • U.S. airlines begin mandatory inspection of passengers and baggage.
    • Bob Douglas becomes the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • February 9 - The British government declares a state of emergency over a miners' strike.
  • February 15
    • President of Ecuador José María Velasco Ibarra is deposed for the fourth time.
    • Phonorecords are granted U.S. Federal copyright protection for the first time.
  • February 17 - Volkswagen Beetle sales exceed those of the Ford Model-T when the 15,007,034th Beetle is produced.
  • February 21 - The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 lands on the Moon.
  • February 21- February 28 - U.S. President Richard M. Nixon makes an unprecedented 8-day visit to the People's Republic of China and meets with Mao Zedong.
  • February 22 - Aldershot bombing - an Official IRA bomb kills 7 in Aldershot, England.
  • February 23
  • February 24 - North Vietnamese negotiators walk out of the Paris Peace Talks to protest U.S. air raids.
  • February 26
    • A coal sludge spill kills 125 people in Buffalo Creek, West Virginia.
    • Luna 20 comes back to Earth with a cargo of moon rocks.
  • February 28 - In Karuizawa, Japan, the Japanese authorities attempt to rescue a female hostage ends with a standoff between five Japanese United Red Army and the authorities, in which two policemen are killed and 12 injured.

March

March
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 
27 28 29 30 31    
  • March 1
    • The Thai province Yasothon is created after being split off from the Ubon Ratchathani Province.
    • The Club of Rome publishes its report Limits to Growth.
  • March 2
    • The Pioneer 10 spacecraft is launched from Cape Kennedy, to be the first man-made satellite to leave the solar system.
    • Jean-Bedel Bokassa becomes President of the Central African Republic.
  • March 3 - Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson are completed at Stone Mountain, Georgia.
  • March 4 - Libya and the Soviet Union sign a cooperation treaty.
  • March 5 - Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis leaves the Greek Communist Party.
  • March 13
    • The United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China elevate diplomatic exchanges to the ambassadorial level after 22 years.
    • Clifford Irving admits to a New York court that he had fabricated Howard Hughes' "autobiography".
  • March 16 - The first building of the Pruitt-Igoe housing development is destroyed.
  • March 19 - India and Bangladesh sign a friendship treaty.
  • March 22 - The 92nd U.S. Congress votes to send the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification.
  • March 24
    • The Godfather is released in cinemas in the USA.
    • The British government announces the prorogation of the Parliament of Northern Ireland and the introduction of ' Direct Rule' of Northern Ireland, after the Unionist government refuses to cede security powers.
  • March 26 - An avalanche on Mount Fuji kills 19 climbers.
  • March 30 - Vietnam War: The Easter Offensive begins after North Vietnamese forces cross into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of South Vietnam.

April

April
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3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
  • April 7 - Vietnam War veteran Richard McCoy, Jr. hijacks a United Airlines jet and extorts $500,000 – he is later captured.
  • April 10
    • The U.S. and the Soviet Union join some 70 nations in signing an agreement to ban biological warfare.
    • A 7.0 Richter scale earthquake kills 5,000 people in the Iranian province of Fars.
    • The 44th Annual Academy Awards are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.
  • April 13 - The Universal Postal Union decides to recognize the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate Chinese representative, effectively expelling the Republic of China administering Taiwan.
  • April 16
    • Apollo 16 ( John Young, Ken Mattingly, Charlie Duke) is launched. During the mission, the astronauts achieve a lunar rover speed record of 18 km/h.
    • Vietnam War: Nguyen Hue offensive - Prompted by the North Vietnamese offensive, the United States resumes bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong.
  • April 18 - The Roland Corporation was founded in Osaka.
  • April 22 - Sylvia Cook and John Fairfax finish rowing across the Pacific.
  • April 27 - A no-confidence vote against German Chancellor Willy Brandt fails under obscure circumstances.

May

May
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 
29 30 31        
  • May
    • Burundian Genocide against Hutu begins. More than 500,000 Hutus die.
    • The Magnavox Odyssey video game system is released, thus marking the dawn of the video game age.
  • May 2 - Fire in a silver mine in Idaho, United States kills 91.
  • May 5 - An Alitalia DC-8 crashes west of Palermo, Sicily (115 dead).
  • May 7 - General elections are held in Italy.
  • May 8 - U.S. President Richard Nixon orders the mining of Haiphong Harbour in Vietnam.
  • May 13 - Fire in a nightclub atop the Sennichi department store in Osaka, Japan, leaves 115 dead.
  • May 15 - Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama is shot by Arthur Herman Bremer at a Laurel, Maryland political rally.
  • May 16 - The first financial derivatives exchange, the International Monetary Market (IMM) opens on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
  • May 18 - Four troopers of both SAS and SBS are parachuted onto the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, 1,000 miles off Britain in the Atlantic, after a bomb threat and ransom demand, which turns out to be bogus.
  • May 19 - Three out of 6 bombs explode in the Springer Press building in Hamburg, Germany, injuring 17 (the Red Army Faction claims responsibility).
  • May 21 - In Rome, Laszlo Toth attacks Michelangelo's " Pietà" statue with a sledgehammer, shouting that he is Jesus Christ.
  • May 22 - Ceylon becomes the republic of Sri Lanka under prime minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, when its new constitution is ratified.
  • May 23 - Tamil United Front (now known as Tamil United Liberation Front, a pro-Tamil organization, is founded.
  • May 24
    • Rangers lift the Cup Winners Cup, defeating Dynamo Moscow in the final at the Nou Camp. Their supporters cause a riot, with the team banned from defending the trophy the following season.
    • A RAF bomb explodes in the Campbell Barracks of the U.S. Army Supreme European Command in Heidelberg, West Germany. Three U.S. soldiers (Clyde Bonner, Ronald Woodard and Charles Peck) are killed.
  • May 26
    • Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT I treaty in Moscow, as well as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and other agreements.
    • First failed attempt at Watergate first break-in: the "Ameritas dinner" at the Watergate.
    • Wernher von Braun retires from NASA, frustrated by the agency's unwillingness to pursue a manned trans-orbital space program.
    • Willandra National Park is established in Australia.
  • May 27 - Second failed attempt at Watergate first break-in.
  • May 28 - Watergate first break-in.


June

June
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 
26 27 28 29 30    
  • June - Iraq nationalizes the Iraq Petroleum Company.
  • June 2 - Andreas Baader, Jan-Carl Raspe, Holger Meins and some other members of Red Army Faction are arrested in Frankfurt am Main after a shootout.
  • June 3 - Sally Priesand becomes the first female U.S. rabbi.
  • June 4 - Angela Davis is found not guilty of murder.
  • June 14- June 23 - Hurricane Agnes kills 117 on the U.S. East Coast.
  • June 15 - Ulrike Meinhof and Gerhard Müller of Red Army Faction are arrested in a teacher's apartment in Langenhagen, West Germany.
  • June 15- June 18 - The first U.S. Libertarian Party National Convention is held in Denver, Colorado.
  • June 16 - 108 die as two passenger trains hit debris of a collapsed railway tunnel near Soissons, France.
  • June 17
    • Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee.
    • The United States returns Okinawa, occupied and governed since the WW-II  Battle of Okinawa, back to the government of Japan.
    • Chilean president Salvador Allende forms a new government.
  • June 18
    • A British European Airways Trident 1 jet airliner crashes alongside the busy A30 Staines bypass, killing all 118 passengers and crew.
    • West Germany beats the Soviet Union 3-0 to win Euro 72.
  • June 23 - Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the C.I.A. to obstruct the F.B.I.'s investigation into the Watergate break-ins.
  • June 26 - Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney co-found Atari.
  • June 28 - U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that no new draftees will be sent to Vietnam.
  • June 29 - Furman v. Georgia: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

July

July
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 
24 25 26 27 28 29 30 
31  
  • July - U.S. actress Jane Fonda tours North Vietnam, during which she is photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
  • July 1
    • The Canadian ketch Vega, flying the Greenpeace III banner, collides with the French naval minesweeper La Paimpolaise while in international waters to protest French nuclear weapon tests in the South Pacific.
    • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms becomes independent from the IRS.
  • July 2 - Following Pakistan's surrender to India in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, both nations sign the historic Simla Agreement, agreeing to settle their disputes bilaterally.
  • July 8 - The U.S. sells grain to the Soviet Union for $750 million.
  • July 10 - A stampede of elephants kills 24 people in the Chandka Forest in India.
  • July 10- July 14 - The Democratic National Convention meets in Miami Beach. Senator George McGovern, who backs the immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam, is nominated for President. He names fellow Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate.
  • July 15 - The Pruitt-Igoe housing development is demolished in Saint Louis, Missouri.
  • July 18 - Anwar Sadat expels 20,000 Soviet advisors from Egypt.
  • July 21
    • Collision between two trains near Sevilla, Spain kills 76 people.
  • July 23 - The United States launches Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.
  • July 29 - A national dock strike begins in Britain.

August

August
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 
28 29 30 31      
  • August 1 - U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdraws from the race after revealing he was once treated for mental illness. He was eventually replaced by Sargent Shriver.
  • August 4
    • Arthur Bremer is jailed for 63 years for shooting George Wallace.
    • Dictator Idi Amin declares that Uganda will expel 50,000 Asians with British passports to Britain within three months.
    • Huge Solar Flare knocks out cable lines in U.S. One of the largest flares ever recorded. Event begins with appearance of sunspot on Aug 2, Aug 4 flare kicks off high levels of activity until Aug 10, 1972.
  • August 10 - A brilliant, daytime meteor skips off the Earth's atmosphere due to an Apollo asteroid streaking over the western US into Canada.
  • August 12 - The last U.S. ground troops are withdrawn from Vietnam.
  • August 14 - An East German Ilyushin airliner crashes near East Berlin killing all 156 onboard.
  • August 16 - The Royal Moroccan Air Force mistakenly fires upon, but fails to bring down, Hassan II of Morocco's plane while he is traveling back to Rabat.
  • August 21 - The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida renominates U.S. President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew for a second term.
  • August 22
    • John Wojtowicz, 27, and Sal Naturile, 18, hold several Chase Manhattan Bank employees hostage for 17 hours in Flatbush, Brooklyn, N.Y.
    • Jane Fonda makes an antiwar broadcast from a hotel room in Hanoi.
  • August 26- September 11 - The 1972 Summer Olympics are held in Munich, West Germany.

September

September
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 
25 26 27 28 29 30  
  • September 1 - Bobby Fischer defeats Boris Spassky in a chess match at Reykjavík, Iceland, becoming the first American chess champion (see Match of the Century).
  • September 4 - The first episode of The Price Is Right is hosted on CBS by Bob Barker. Gambit and The Joker's Wild also premiere.
  • September 5- September 6 - Munich Massacre: Eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich are murdered after 8 members of the Arab terrorist group Black September invade the Olympic Village; 5 guerillas and 1 policeman are also killed in a failed hostage rescue.
  • September 14 - West Germany and Poland renew diplomatic relations.
  • September 17 - Uganda announces that there are Tanzanian troops in its territory.
  • September 18 - São Paulo Metro is inaugurated in Brazil.
  • September 19 - A parcel bomb sent to the Israeli Embassy in London kills 1 diplomat.
  • September 21 - Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos issues Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire country under martial law.
  • September 24 - An F-86 fighter aircraft leaving an air show at Sacramento Executive Airport fails to become airborne and crashes into a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor, killing 12 children and 11 adults.
  • September 25 - Norwegian EC referendum, 1972: Norway rejects membership in the European Economic Community.
  • September 27 - The Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China is signed in Beijing.
  • September 28 - The Canadian national men's hockey team defeats the Soviet national ice hockey team in game eight of the 1972 Summit Series (La Série du Siècle), 6-5, to win the series 4-3-1.
  • September 29 - Sino-Japanese relations Japan normalizes diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China after breaking official ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan).

October

October
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 
30 31
  • October 1 - The first publication reporting the production of a recombinant DNA molecule, marks the birth of modern molecular biology methodology.
Jackson, David A.; Symons, Robert H.; and Berg, Paul. (1972). Biochemical Method for Inserting New Genetic Information into DNA of Simian Virus 40: Circular SV40 DNA Molecules Containing Lambda Phage Genes and the Galactose Operon of Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 69(10), 2904-2909.
  • October 2 - Denmark joins the European Community. The Faroe Islands stay out.
  • October 5 - The United Reformed Church is founded out of the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches.
  • October 6 - A train crash in Saltillo, Mexico kills 208 people.
  • October 8 - R. Sargent Shriver is chosen to replace Thomas Eagleton as the U.S. vice-presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.
  • October 12 - On the way to the Gulf of Tonkin, a racial brawl involving more than 100 sailors breaks out aboard the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. Nearly 50 sailors are injured.
  • October 13 - Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571: A Fairchild FH-227D passenger aircraft transporting a rugby union team crashes at about 14,000' in the Andes mountain range, near the Argentina/Chile border. Sixteen of the survivors are found alive December 20 but they have had to resort to cannibalism to survive.
  • October 16
    • A plane carrying U.S. Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana and 3 other men vanishes in Alaska. The wreckage has never been found, despite a massive search at the time.
    • Rioting Maze Prison inmates cause a fire that destroys most of the camp.
  • October 17 - Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visits Yugoslavia.
  • October 25
    • The first female FBI agents are hired.
    • Belgian Eddy Merckx sets a new world hour record in cycling in Mexico City.
  • October 26 - Following a visit to South Vietnam, U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger suggests that "peace is at hand."
  • October 28 - The first flight of the Airbus A300, the first airliner built by Airbus
  • October 29 - The Black September group hijacks a Lufthansa Boeing 727 over Turkey, and demands the release of 3 of their comrades still held for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games.
  • October 30
    • U.S. President Richard Nixon approves legislation to increase Social Security spending by US$5.3 billion.
    • A commuter train collision in Chicago kills 45, injures hundreds.

November

November
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 
27 28 29 30      
Nixon's landslide victory in the electoral college during the 1972 Election .
Nixon's landslide victory in the electoral college during the 1972 Election .
  • November - At a scientific meeting in Honolulu, Herbert Boyer and Stanley N. Cohen conceive the concept of recombinant DNA. They publish their results in November 1973 in PNAS. Separately in 1972, Paul Berg also recombines DNA in a test tube. Recombinant DNA technology has dramatically changed the field of biological sciences, especially biotechnology, and opened the door to genetically modified organisms.
  • November 5 - A group of Amerindians occupies the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • November 7 - U.S. presidential election, 1972: Republican incumbent Richard Nixon defeats Democratic Senator George McGovern in a landslide (the election had the lowest voter turnout since 1948, with only 55 percent of the electorate voting).
  • November 11 - Vietnam War: Vietnamization - The United States Army turns over the massive Long Binh military base to South Vietnam.
  • November 14 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 1,000 (1,003.16) for the first time.
  • November 16 - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization adopts the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage .
  • November 19 - Seán Mac Stíofáin, a leader of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, is arrested in Dublin after giving an interview to RTÉ.
  • November 22 - Vietnam War: The United States loses its first B-52 Stratofortress of the war.
  • November 29 - Atari kicks off the first generation of video games with the release of their seminal arcade version of Pong, the first game to achieve commercial success.
  • November 30
    • Vietnam War: White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler tells the press that there will be no more public announcements concerning United States troop withdrawals from Vietnam due to the fact that troop levels are now down to 27,000.
    • Cod War British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home says that Royal Navy ships would be stationed to protect British trawlers off Iceland.

December

December
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
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4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
  • December 2 - Edward Gough Whitlam becomes the first Labor Party Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years. He is famously sworn in on the election night and his first action using executive power is to withdraw all Australian personnel from the Vietnam War.
  • December 7
    • Apollo 17 ( Gene Cernan, Ronald Evans, Harrison Schmitt), the last manned mission to the Moon to date, is launched.
    • Provisional Irish Republican Army kidnaps Jean McConville in Belfast.
    • Imelda Marcos is stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant; her bodyguards shoot him.
  • December 8
    • United Airlines Boeing 737 from Washington National to Chicago Midway crashes short of the runway, killing 43 of 61 onboard and 2 on the ground.
    • Over $10,000 cash is found in the purse of Watergate conspirator Howard Hunt's wife.
    • International Human Rights Day is proclaimed by the United Nations.
  • December 11 - Apollo 17 lands on the Moon.
  • December 15 - The Commonwealth of Australia ordains equal pay for women.
  • December 16
    • The Constitution of Bangladesh comes into effect.
    • Portuguese army kills 400 Africans in Tete, Mozambique.
  • December 19 - Apollo program: Apollo 17 returns to Earth, concluding the program of lunar exploration.
  • December 21
    • East Germany and West Germany recognize each other.
    • ZANLA troopers attack Altera Farm in north-east Rhodesia.
  • December 22
    • Two small earthquakes are felt at about 9:30 and 10:15 local time in Managua, Nicaragua.
    • Australia establishes diplomatic relations with China and West Germany.
    • A peace delegation that includes singer-activist Joan Baez and human rights attorney Telford Taylor visit Hanoi to deliver Christmas mail to American prisoners of war; they will be caught in the Christmas bombing of North Vietnam.
  • December 23
    • A 6.25 Richter scale earthquake in Nicaragua kills 5,000-12,000 people in the capital, Managua; President Somoza will later be accused of pocketing millions of dollars worth of foreign aid intended for relief.
    • The Pittsburgh Steelers win their first ever post-season NFL game, defeating the Oakland Raiders 13-7, on a last second play that would become known as The Immaculate Reception.
  • December 24 - Prime minister of Sweden, Olof Palme compares the American bombings of North Vietnam to Nazi massacres. The US breaks diplomatic contact with Sweden.
  • December 25 - The Christmas bombing of North Vietnam causes widespread criticism of the U.S. and President Richard Nixon.
  • December 26 - Former United States President Harry S. Truman dies in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • December 28 - The bones of Martin Bormann are identified in Berlin.
  • December 29 - An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-1011 crashes into the Everglades in Florida, killing 101 of 163 onboard.
  • December 31 - Roberto Clemente dies in a plane crash off the coast of Puerto Rico while en route to deliver aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.

Undated

  • Designated International Year of the Book by UNESCO.
  • The last major epidemic of smallpox in Europe breaks out in Yugoslavia.
  • The United Kingdom begin to train Special Air Service for anti-terrorist duties.
  • First women admitted to Dartmouth College.
  • The Yellow River dries up for the first time in known history.
  • The Somali alphabet is developed for the Somali language.
  • Worship of Norse gods officially approved in Iceland.
  • Women are allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon for the first time.
  • The Second Cod War between the United Kingdom and Iceland.

Deaths

January - March

  • January 1 - Maurice Chevalier, French entertainer (surgical complications) (b. 1888)
  • January 6 - Chen Yi, Chinese communist military commander and politician (b. 1701)
  • January 8 - Kenneth Patchen, American poet and painter (b. 1911)
  • January 10 - Aksel Larsen, Danish politician (b. 1897)
  • January 14 - King Frederick IX of Denmark (b. 1899)
  • January 16 - Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., American record producer and creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks (b. 1919)
  • January 26 - Mahalia Jackson, American singer (b. 1911)
  • February 11 - Jan Wils, Dutch architect (b. 1891)
  • February 19 - John Grierson, Scottish documentary filmmaker (b. 1898)
  • February 20 - Maria Goeppert-Mayer, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1706)
  • February 20 - Walter Winchell, American journalist (b. 1897)
  • February 22 - Tedd Pierce, American animator (b. 1706)
  • March 13 - Tony Ray-Jones, British photographer (b. 1941)
  • March 21 - David McCallum, Sr., British violinist and the father of David McCallum (b. 1897)
  • March 24 - Cristobal Balenciaga, Spanish couturier (b. 1895)
  • March 27 - Sharkey Bonano, American jazz musician (b. 1704)
  • March 27 - M. C. Escher, Dutch artist (b. 1898)
  • March 29 - J. Arthur Rank, British industrialist and film producer (b. 1888)

April - June

  • April 2 - Gil Hodges, baseball player (b. 1924)
  • April 3 - Ferde Grofé, American composer (b. 1882)
  • April 4 - Stefan Wolpe, German-born composer (b. 1702)
  • April 7 - Abeid Karume, President of Zanzibar (b. 1705) (assassinated)
  • April 8 - Andrea Feldman, American actress (suicide) (b. 1948)
  • April 11 - George H. Plympton, American screenwriter (b. 1889)
  • April 16 - Yasunari Kawabata, Japanese writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)
  • April 26 - Fernando Amorsolo, Filipino painter (b. 1892)
  • May 2 - J. Edgar Hoover, American Federal Bureau of Investigation director (b. 1895)
  • May 4 - Edward Calvin Kendall, American chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1886)
  • May 6 - Deniz Gezmiş,Turkish revolutionary (b. 1947).
  • May 13 - Dan Blocker, American actor (b. 1928)
  • May 22 - Cecil Day-Lewis, English poet (b. 1704)
  • May 22 - Margaret Rutherford, English actress (b. 1892)
  • May 28 - King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom (b. 1894)
  • May 31 - Walter Freeman, American physician (b. 1895)
  • June 13 - Georg von Békésy, Hungarian biophysicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1899)
  • June 13 - Stephanie von Hohenlohe, Austrian-born German World War II spy (b. 1891)
  • June 22 - Vladimir Durković, Serbian footballer (killed by a Swiss police officer) (b. 1937)

July - September

  • July 2 - Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (b. 1876)
  • July 7 - King Talal, King of Jordan (b. 1709)
  • July 19 - Hezekiah M. Washburn, American missionary (b. 1884)
  • July 21 - Ralph Craig, American athlete (b. 1889)
  • July 28 - Helen Traubel, American soprano (b. 1703)
  • August 5 - Harry Hylton-Foster, Speaker of the British House of Commons (b. 1705)
  • August 11 - Max Theiler, South African virologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1899)
  • August 14 - Oscar Levant, American pianist and actor (b. 1706)
  • August 28 - Prince William of Gloucester (air crash) (b. 1941)
  • September 5 ( Munich massacre):
    • Yossef Romano, Israeli weightlifter (b. 1940)
    • Moshe Weinberg, Israeil wrestling coach (b. 1939)
  • September 6 ( Munich massacre):
    • Luttif Afif and four other Palestinian terrorists
    • David Mark Berger, Israeli weightlifter (b. 1944)
    • Ze'ev Friedman, Israeli weightlifter (b. 1944)
    • Yossef Gutfreund, Israeli wrestling referee (b. 1932)
    • Eliezer Halfin, Israeli wrestler (b. 1948)
    • Amitzur Shapira, Israeli athletics coach (b. 1932)
    • Kehat Shorr, Israeli shooting coach (b. 1919)
    • Mark Slavin, Israeli wrestler (b. 1954)
    • Andre Spitzer, Israeli fencing coach (b. 1945)
    • Yakov Springer, Israeli weightlifting judge (b. c. 1921)
  • September 15 - Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1887)
  • September 19 - Robert Casadesus, French pianist (b. 1899)
  • September 21 - Henry de Montherlant, French writer (b. 1896); suicide

October - December

  • October 1 - Louis Leakey, British paleontologist (b. 1703)
  • October 5 - Ivan Yefremov, Soviet paleontologist and science fiction author (b. 1707)
  • October 9 - Miriam Hopkins, American actress (b. 1702)
  • October 20 - Harlow Shapley, American astronomer (b. 1885)
  • October 24 - Jackie Robinson, baseball player (b. 1919)
  • October 26 - Igor Sikorsky, Russian aviation engineer (b. 1889)
  • November 1 - Ezra Pound, American poet (b. 1885)
  • November 5 - Reginald Owen, English actor (b. 1887)
  • November 14 - Martin Dies, Jr., American politician (b. 1700)
  • November 25 - Henri Coandă, Romanian aerodynamics pioneer (b. 1886)
  • November 28 - Havergal Brian, English composer (b. 1876)
  • December 3 - Bill Johnson, American musician (b. 1872)
  • December 21 - Paul Hausser, Waffen SS general during WWII (b 1880)
  • December 22 - Jimmy Wallington, American radio personality (b. 1707)
  • December 24
    • Charles Atlas, Italian-American strongman and sideshow performer
    • Gisela Richter, English art historian (b. 1882)
  • December 26 - Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States (heart failure) (b. 1884)
  • December 27 - Lester B. Pearson 14th Prime Minister of Canada, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1897)
  • December 31 - Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player (b. 1934)

Nobel prizes

  • Physics - John Bardeen, Leon Neil Cooper, John Robert Schrieffer
  • Chemistry - Christian B. Anfinsen, Stanford Moore, William H. Stein
  • Physiology or Medicine - Gerald M. Edelman, Rodney R. Porter
  • Literature - Heinrich Böll
  • Peace - not awarded
  • Economics - John Hicks, Kenneth Arrow