On This Day, July 15, 1971 – Richard Nixon Makes Surprise Announcement He’ll Visit China

1971 – During a live television and radio broadcast, President Richard Nixon stuns the nation by announcing that he will visit communist China the following year. The statement marked a dramatic turning point in U.S.-China relations, as well as a major shift in American foreign policy.

Nixon was not always so eager to reach out to China. Since the Communists came to power in China in 1949, Nixon had been one of the most vociferous critics of American efforts to establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese. His political reputation was built on being strongly anti-communist, and he was a major figure in the post-World War II Red Scare.

By 1971, a number of factors pushed Nixon to reverse his stance on China. First and foremost was the Vietnam War. Two years after promising the American people “peace with honor,” Nixon was as entrenched in Vietnam as ever. His national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, saw a way out: Since China’s break with the Soviet Union in the mid-1960s, the Chinese were desperate for new allies and trade partners. Kissinger aimed to use the promise of closer relations and increased trade possibilities with China as a way to put increased pressure on North Vietnam – a Chinese ally – to reach an acceptable peace settlement. Also, more importantly in the long run, Kissinger thought the Chinese might become a powerful ally against the Soviet Union, America’s Cold War enemy.

Nixon undertook his historic “journey for peace” in 1972, beginning a long and gradual process of normalizing relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. Though this move helped revive Nixon’s sagging popularity, and contributed to his win in the 1972 election, it did not produce the short-term results for which Kissinger had hoped. But, Nixon’s visit did prove to be a watershed moment in American foreign policy – it paved the way for future U.S. presidents to apply the principle of realpolitik to their own international dealings.


1099 – Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders.

1410 – Poles and Lithuanians defeated the Teutonic knights at Tannenburg, Prussia.

1789 – The electors of Paris set up a “Commune” to live without the authority of the government.

1806 – Lieutenant Zebulon Pike began his western expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine, near St. Louis, MO.

1813 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s representatives met with the Allies in Prague to discuss peace terms.

1834 – Lord Napier of England arrived in Macao, China as the first chief superintendent of trade.

1870 – Georgia became the last of the Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.

1876 – George Washington Bradley of St. Louis pitched the first no-hitter in baseball in a 2-0 win over Hartford.

1888 – “Printers’ Ink” was first sold.

1901 – Over 74,000 Pittsburgh steel workers went on strike.

1904 – The first Buddhist temple in the U.S. was established in Los Angeles, CA.

1916 – In Seattle, WA, Pacific Aero Products was incorporated by William Boeing. The company was later renamed Boeing Co.

1922 – The duck-billed platypus arrived in America, direct from Australia. It was exhibited at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

1942 – The first supply flight from India to China over the ‘Hump’ was carried to help China’s war effort.

1958 – Five thousand U.S. Marines landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to protect the pro-Western government. The troops withdrew October 25, 1958.

1965 – The spacecraft Mariner IV sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Mars.

1968 – Commercial air travel began between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., when the first plane, a Soviet Aeroflot jet, landed at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

1972 – NASA’s Pioneer 10 spacecraft became the first to enter the asteroid belt.

1973 – Nolan Ryan (California Angels) became the first pitcher in two decades to win two no-hitters in a season. (California)


1980 – Linda Ronstadt made her dramatic debut in “The Pirates Of Penzance” at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park.


1981 – Steven Ford, son of former President Gerald R. Ford, appeared in a seduction scene of “The Young and the Restless” on CBS-TV. Ford played the part of Andy.

1985 – Baseball players voted to strike on August 6th if no contract was reached with baseball owners. The strike turned out to be just a one-day interruption.

1987 – Taiwan ended thirty-seven years of martial law.

2006 – The social networking service Twitter was launched.

 

Source: On-This-Day.com; History.com

 

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