What happened in 1971 that made headline news? This timeline shows you all the biggest events from 1971, including the sentencing of Charles Manson and his followers for the Tate-LaBianca murders, and the anti-Vietnam War protest march in Washington D.C. It was also the year that Walt Disney World opened in Florida and an unidentified man known as “Dan Cooper” hijacked a plane above Washington State.
Whether you remember the year or not, 1971 was a fascinating year filled with interesting events that grabbed the attention of the world. A 1971 newspaper is the perfect way to look back on the year, letting you read a genuine newspaper from the time and discover even more about what was happening back then.
- Charles Manson sentenced for Tate Murders
- Anti-Vietnam War protest in Washington D.C.
- Unidentified “Dan Cooper” hijacks plane
January 2: After the passing of the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act in 1970, cigarette advertising was banned on television and radio from this day onwards.
January 2: The Ibrox disaster occurs, in which the crowd at an Old Firm football game in Britain was crushed while trying to leave the stadium. The disaster happened in an exit stairway at Ibrox Park in Glasgow, Scotland, and led to 66 deaths and over 200 casualties. Before the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield in 1989, the Ibrox disaster was considered the worst British football disaster in history.
January 5: The body of former world heavyweight boxing champion Charles “Sonny” Liston is discovered by his wife at their home in Las Vegas. It was suspected he had been dead for around 6 days before being found, and there are many theories about his death, despite the police declaring his death a heroin overdose.
January 5: The first One Day International cricket match is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with Australia beating England by 5 wickets.
January 6: Chemists at Berkeley announce the first synthetic production of a growth hormone.
January 6: Returning to his homeland in Canada, Neil Young holds his first concert there since before his days of fame.
January 8: In Minnesota, Voyageurs National Park is established.
January 10: In Belfast, the IRA tar and feather 4 men in a punishment attack after they are accused of criminal activities.
January 10: French fashion designer Coco Chanel dies at the age of 87.
January 11: Detroit Tigers player John Hiller suffers a heart attack at the age of 27, but makes a comeback to record 38 saves.
January 12: Reverend Philip Berrigan and others, including a nun and priests, are indicted by the United States Federal grand jury for a plot to kidnap Henry Kissinger.
January 12: Bombs explode at the home of Robert Carr – the UK Employment Secretary.
January 15: My Sweet Lord, a single by George Harrison, is released in the UK.
January 17: Sinn Féin end their 65 year abstentionist policy at a party conference in Dublin, and agree that any elected representative could take their seat at the Dáil.
January 17: Super Bowl V takes place, where the Baltimore Colts defeat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13. With just five seconds remaining, Jim O’Brien scores the winning points on a 32-yard field goal to win the Colts the NFL championship.
January 18: The resignation of Interior Minister Kazimierz Świtała is demanded by strikers in Poland. He is replaced by Franciszek Szlachcic when he resigns on January 23.
January 19: At the Charles Manson trial, the Beatles’ Helter Skelter single is played. Manson was obsessed with the single and believed it was telling him a political message, unintended by the Beatles themselves.
January 20: In Japan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s parents meet.
January 20: Marvin Gaye releases his single What’s Going On, all about police brutality.
January 22: Power to the People is recorded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
January 23: Britain is now allowed to sell arms to South Africa after a compromise is reached at the Commonwealth Conference in Singapore.
January 25: Charles Manson, along with three of his women followers, are convicted of the Tate-LaBianca murders.
American actress and model Sharon Tate in 1969, the same year she was a victim of the Manson murders
Image: Wikimedia Commons
February 3: In Belfast, a series of house searches take place by the British Army in the Catholic areas of the city. This results in gun battles and serious rioting.
February 4: Rolls Royce announces bankruptcy and becomes nationalized.
February 4: In Brazil, a government exhibit that was being constructed collapses, resulting in 65 deaths.
February 4: The second-largest stock exchange, the NASDAQ, is established in New York City.
February 6: Apollo 14, the third crewed mission to land on the moon, launches to return to Earth after landing on February 5.
February 7: Switzerland holds a referendum on women’s suffrage. Women are given the rights to vote in state elections, but not in all canton-specific elections.
February 9: An earthquake in the San Fernando Valley, California, results in 64 deaths and more than $500,000 in damage.
February 9: Satchel Paige is the first black league player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
February 10: Bill White becomes the first African American baseball announcer.
February 11: The Seabed Treaty is signed by the United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, which outlaws nuclear weapons.
February 12: The founder of the American department store JCPenney, James Cash Penney, dies at the age of 95.
February 13: In the Vietnam war, South Vietnamese troops invade Laos with the backing of American air and artillery support.
February 14: A secret taping system is installed in the White House by President Richard Nixon.
February 15: Great Britain begins using decimal currency, abandoning the pence and shilling system that had been in place for 1,200 years.
February 19: The single Another Day is released by Paul McCartney in the UK.
February 19: The chat show Parkinson, presented by Michael Parkinson, debuts on BBC 1 in Britain.
February 20: An error message was sent from the National Emergency Center to US radio and TV stations, ordering them to go off the air. The error wasn’t corrected for another 30 minutes.
February 20: 74 people are killed when 50 tornadoes hit Mississippi and Louisiana.
February 23: The Beatles member George Harrison is fined and has his driving license banned for a year.
February 28: In Ontario, California, a new world record is set by Evel Knievel when he jumps 19 cars.
March 1: Causing an estimated $300,000 in damage, but not injuring or killing anyone, a bomb explodes in the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
March 3: In South Africa, Winnie Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and second wife of Nelson Mandela, is sentenced to prison for one year.
March 5: Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven is played live for the first time in Belfast at Ulster Hall.
March 5: East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) is occupied by the Pakistan army.
March 6: A mental hospital fire in Burghölzli, Switzerland results in the deaths of 28 people.
March 7: After 47 days, the British postal workers’ strike comes to an end. It was led by UPW General Secretary Tom Jackson.
March 7: In the Racecourse Field in Dhaka, the political leader of East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, delivers a famous speech to ask the masses to prepare to fight for national independence.
March 8: In boxing, Muhammad Ali’s 31-fight winning streak is ended by Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The fight was called the “Fight of the Century.”
March 10: An amendment is approved by the United States Senate to lower the voting age to 18.
March 11: Rocker Jim Morrison leaves the United States for Paris, in an attempt to revive himself emotionally, as well as escape the jail sentence he was given when in Miami. After leaving, he will never go back to the US.
March 14: To escape taxes, The Rolling Stones leave England and head to France.
March 15: On ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, “chat rooms” made their first debut.
March 16: Blues musician Muddy Waters wins his first Grammy award.
March 18: A landslide into Lake Yanahuani in Chungar, Peru kills 200 people.
March 25: The single She’s a Lady by Tom Jones goes gold.
March 27: American singer Mariah Carey is born in New York City.
March 31: Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is born in Perin, Scotland.
March 31: The major coffee house chain, Starbucks, is founded in Seattle, Washington.
The first ever Starbucks coffee house in Seattle, Washington
Image: Wikimedia Commons
April 1: All restrictions on gold ownership are lifted in the UK.
April 5: Canadian traveler Fran Phipps becomes the first woman to reach the North Pole.
April 5: United States Lieutenant William Calley is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai Massacre. His sentence was later reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals, then the Secretary of the Army reduced it to 10 years. In the end, he was paroled by President Nixon in 1974 after only serving roughly a third of his 10-year sentence.
April 5: In Sicily, Mount Etna erupts.
April 6: British Prime Minister Harold Wilson claims that a draft Bill for the imposition of direct rule is in existence when a debate was being held at Westminster in Northern Ireland.
April 9: The single It Don’t Come Easy is released by Ringo Starr in the UK.
April 9: In one of the key events in 1971, Charles Manson is sentenced to death for his murder crimes. A year later, sentences for California Death Row inmates are commuted to life in prison.
April 14: Fort Point in San Francisco is declared a national historic site.
April 14: The blockade against the People’s Republic of China is ended by President Nixon.
April 18: Scottish actor David Tennant, famous for playing Doctor Who, is born.
April 19: Charles Manson’s followers, known as the Manson Family, are sentenced to the gas chamber.
April 19: Sierra Leone becomes a republic.
April 20: The US Supreme Court unanimously upholds busing as a means of achieving racial desegregation in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.
April 22: The launch of Soyuz 10 occurs, making it the world’s first mission to the first-ever space station. The docking was unsuccessful and cosmonauts came back to Earth.
April 24: An unforgettable event in this 1971 timeline is the march on Washington D.C., by around 500,000 anti-Vietnam war protesters. Another 125,000 march in San Francisco. It became the largest demonstration against a United States war in history.
April 28: In the United States Navy, Samuel Lee Gravely Jr. becomes the first black admiral.
May 1: The Amtrak Railroad in the United States begins operations.
May 3: In East Germany, Erich Honecker succeeds Walter Ulbricht as the Communist party leader.
May 3: 13,000 anti-Vietnam war protesters are arrested by the Nixon administration in 3 days.
May 3: The English Division 1 football league championship is won by Arsenal F.C. after they played at the home ground of their rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
May 3: It is concluded that 60% of Americans are against the Vietnam War as the Harris Poll is taken.
May 3: An attempt to disrupt government business in Washington D.C. is taken by anti-war militants in the 1971 May Day Protests. As many as 12,000 are arrested, with most released later on.
May 5: A race riot occurs in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, New York City.
May 5: The Deutsche Mark in particular is threatened when the US dollar floods the European currency markets.
May 9: The female world record marathon is run by Elizabeth Bonner, with a time of 3:01:42.
May 9: Liverpool F.C. are defeated by Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup final.
May 12: Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones marries Bianca Pérez-Mora Macias, actress and model, in St. Tropez.
May 12: Most of Burdur, Turkey is destroyed when an earthquake hits.
May 13: Jefferson Airplane member Grace Slick is seriously injured in a car accident after speeding home from a recording session late at night.
May 15: William ‘Billy’ Reid, member of the Irish Republican Army, is killed in Belfast by British soldiers.
May 16: A constitution is adopted in Bulgaria.
May 18: After putting forward demands to President Nixon, the Congressional Black Caucus are met with 60 rejects.
May 18: The final victim of Wayne Boden, Canadian serial killer known as The Vampire Rapist, is found in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
May 19: Mars 2 is launched by the Soviet Union, becoming the first spacecraft to crash land on Mars.
May 21: In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the National Guard mobilises to put a stop to a riot.
May 22: 10,000 people are made homeless and over 1,000 are killed when a 20-second earthquake hits Turkey, destroying most of the city of Bingöl.
May 23: An air crash occurs at Rijeka Airport in Yugoslavia, killing 78 people who were mostly British tourists.
May 27: A Romanian passenger airplane is hijacked by 6 armed passengers, who forced the aircraft to fly to Vienna.
May 28: The second solo album by Paul McCartney, Ram, is released.
May 30: At a Grateful Dead concert, over 30 members of the crowd were hospitalised after drinking apple cider spiked with LSD.
May 30: 5 people are killed after a train crashes in Duivendrecht, Netherlands.
May 30: The first satellite to orbit Mars, the US Mariner 9, is launched.
May 31: The creation of Bangladesh is announced by the government in exile, in what was previously East Pakistan.
Anti-Vietnam War protesters marching in Washington D.C., April 1971
Image: Wikimedia Commons
June 1: TV host Ed Sullivan holds his final TV show on CBS.
June 5: American actor and former rapper Mark Wahlberg is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
June 8: North Vietnam demands that the United States end their aid to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
June 11: Neville Bonner is the first Indigenous Australian to become part of the Australian Parliament.
June 13: Excerpts from the Pentagon Papers begin to be published by The New York Times. The Pentagon Papers were classified documents that carried information on the United States’ involvement in Vietnam.
June 16: Rapper Tupac is born in East Harlem, New York.
June 17: The Okinawa Reversion Agreement is signed by representatives of the United States and Japan. The agreement declares that the U.S. will return control of Okinawa.
June 17: “The War on Drugs” is declared by President Richard Nixon.
June 18: The logistics and delivery service FedEx is founded in Tennessee, United States.
June 19: In Columbus, Georgia, a state of emergency is announced after racial disturbance breaks out.
June 21: Ken Harrelson, Cleveland Indians baseball player nicknamed “The Hawk,”, retires from playing baseball and begins playing professional golf.
June 24: The film by Robert Altman, McCabe and Mrs Miller, is released. The film stars Warren Beatty and Julie Christie and features songs written by Leonard Cohen.
June 25: Where I’m Coming From, the album by Stevie Wonder, is released.
June 28: American entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk is born in Pretoria, South Africa.
June 29: Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are sentenced for two drug offences. Jagger was sentenced by the judge for three months for the possession of amphetamines, and Richards to one year in jail for letting cannabis be smoked in his house. The sentences were revoked in August after an appeal, as they were seen as harsh sentences for first offences.
June 30: The three-man crew on Russian space mission Soyuz 11 return to Earth dead, making them the only people to die in space. Their death was caused by the crew capsule depressurising when preparations were made for re-entry.
June 30: The US Supreme Court rules that the Pentagon Papers may be published in the New York Times, in the case New York Times Co. v. United States.
June 30: The film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the children’s film based on the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is released, starring Gene Wilder.
July 1: North Carolina ratifies the 26th Amendment, becoming the 38th state to approve of lowering the voting age to 18.
July 1: An accord about the Falkland Islands is signed by Britain and Argentina.
July 1: The debt acquired to build the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is paid off.
July 1: Washington state becomes the first state to ban sex discrimination.
July 3: American rocker Jim Morrison dies of heart failure at the age of 27. He is found dead in his bathtub in Paris.
July 5: The 26th Amendment is formally certified by President Richard Nixon and becomes part of the United States Constitution, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.
July 6: American jazz musician Louis Armstrong dies at the age of 69 from a heart attack.
July 9: US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger travels to the People’s Republic of China to negotiate a detente between China and the United States.
July 9: The number of troops from the UK in Northern Ireland is increased to 11,000.
July 10: 101 people are killed in a failed assassination attempt on King Hassan II of Morocco.
July 10: The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) is established in the United States by women such as Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm and Gloria Steinem. The NWPC is a grassroots organisation focusing on supporting women who seek offices at all levels of the government.
July 10: The Address to the Women of America is made by Gloria Steinem.
July 12: Mexican serial killer Juan Corona is indicted after committing 25 murders.
July 15: President Richard Nixon announces his visit to China in 1972.
July 18: In the 58th Tour de France, Eddy Merckx from Belgium wins his third straight Tour general classification, as well as points and combination categories.
July 21: After spending 7 years of exile in Mexico, gangster Sam Giancana returns to the United States.
July 26: The 4th manned landing on the moon takes place when Apollo 15 is launched.
July 30: Bangladesh is released by George Harrison.
July 31: After landing on the moon, astronauts on Apollo 15 take a 6 and a half hour electric car ride on the moon.
August 1: The Concert for Bangladesh, a pair of benefit concerts organised by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, takes place in New York City. 40,000 people attend.
August 1: After winning the Dixie 500 in Atlanta, Georgia, Richard Petty becomes the first NASCAR driver to win a million dollars in career earnings
August 6: At Muie College, University of California, the third San Diego Comic-Con International opens.
August 9: Major League Baseball player Satchel Paige is inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
August 9: A 20-year treaty of friendship and cooperation between India and the Soviet Union is signed.
August 10: The first book in the Mr. Men series is published, with Mr. Tickle as the first book.
August 12: The president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, lets go of diplomatic relations with Jordan due to border clashes.
August 12: Due to the violence in Ireland, 3,000 people from Derry and Belfast flee to the Republic of Ireland.
August 12: American tennis player Pete Sampras is born in Washington D.C.
August 15: After 110 years of British rule, Bahrain gains independence.
August 15: A 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents is announced by President Richard Nixon.
August 18: New Zealand and Australia decide to withdraw their troops from Vietnam.
August 22: The arrest of 20 of the Camden 28 is announced by J. Edgar Hoover and John Mitchell. The Camden 28 were Catholic left anti-Vietnam activists who executed a raid on a draft board in Camden, New Jersey.
August 25: Thousands flee Bangladesh and eastern Bengal due to floods.
August 26: It’s announced that the New York Giants will leave the Bronx for New Jersey in 1976.
August 26: In the first million dollar contract in NHL history, Bobby Orr signs a 5-year contract with the Boston Bruins.
August 31: The female world record marathon is run by Adrienne Beames, achieving a time of 2:46:30, beating the record set previously in the year.
September 3: John Lennon leaves the UK to go to New York City and will never again return to the UK.
September 3: Qatar gains total independence from Britain.
September 3: The team involved in Watergate break into Daniel Ellsberg’s doctor’s office. The burglars were trying to find information about Ellsberg to discredit him.
September 4: An Alaskan 727 plane crash results in the deaths of 109 people in the Chilkoot Mountains.
September 5: Pitcher for the Houston Astros, J R Richard, makes his debut by striking out 15 Giant players to achieve a 5-3 win.
September 6: To discuss the disruptive situation in Northern Ireland, British Prime Minister Edward Heath meets with Irish Prime Minister Jack Lynch in Chequers, England.
September 6: At a rally in Belfast, William Craig and Ian Paisley speak to a crowd of around 20,000 people to call for the creation of a ‘third force’ to defend ‘Ulster’.
September 11: The US Open Women’s Tennis final takes place, with an all-American final between Billie Jean King and doubles partner Rosemary Casals. King beats Casals 6-4, 7-6.
September 11: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev dies at the age of 77 from a heart attack.
September 12: In the US Open Men’s Tennis, Stan Smith, American tennis player, wins his first Grand Slam event in his career, beating Czech player Jan Kodeš 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6.
September 13: The Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev is buried in Moscow.
September 16: Members of the Ku Klux Klan are arrested in connection with 10 school bus bombings.
September 16: Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev meets with West German chancellor Willy Brandt.
September 18: The first Cup Noodle is marketed by Momofuku Ando in waterproof polystyrene containers.
September 21: A state of emergency is declared by Pakistan.
September 23: A 21 year old robber steals the painting The Love Letter by artist Jan Vermeer from The Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.
September 24: After being caught spying, 90 Russian diplomats are expelled from Britain.
September 28: József Mindszenty, a Hungarian cardinal, is allowed to leave the country after spending 15 years in refuge in the US Embassy in Budapest.
September 28: It is reported by the New York Times that more white youths are becoming interested in black gospel music.
September 28: The Misuse of Drugs Act is passed in the UK, banning the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
September 29: As many as 10,000 people are killed off the Bay of Bengal when a cyclone and tidal wave hits the area.
September 29: The orbiting Solar Observatory VII is launched.
American tennis player Billie Jean King
Image: Wikimedia Commons
October 1: This 1971 timeline wouldn’t be complete without the opening of Disney World. In Orlando, Florida, Walt Disney World opened on this day, becoming the most visited vacation resort in 2018 with an attendance of more than 58 million people.
October 3: Billie Jean King, American tennis player, is the first female athlete to win $100,000 in prize money in just one single year after she wins $4,000 from the Virginia Slams Tournament in Arizona.
October 6: The MLB National League Championship takes place, with the San Francisco Giants being defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates 3 games to 1.
October 8: Imagine by John Lennon is released.
October 14: In Memphis, Tennessee, two people are killed as a result of racial disturbances.
October 14: In Vancouver, Canada, Greenpeace is established.
October 17: In the 68th World Series, the Baltimore Orioles are beaten by the Pittsburgh Pirates 4 games to 3.
October 18: Public hearings on police corruption are begun by the Knapp Commission in New York City.
October 19: The final issue of Look magazine is published.
October 20: The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.
October 20: Rapper Snoop Dogg is born in Long Beach, California.
October 20: Edward Kennedy, senator in the US Congress, calls for all-party negotiations to create a United Ireland and for British troops to vacate Northern Ireland.
October 21: In Scotland, the Clarkston Explosion kills 22 people.
October 25: The People’s Republic of China and Belgium create diplomatic relations.
October 25: At a General Meeting of the UN, it is agreed to admit the People’s Republic of China. The next day, they vote to replace Taiwan with China.
October 27: Gerard Newe is the first Catholic to serve in the Northern Ireland government since 1920.
October 28: Britain is the sixth nation to have a satellite in orbit.
October 29: The number of US troops in Vietnam falls to 196,700, a record low.
October 31: The critically acclaimed album by Pink Floyd, Meddle, is released.
West German Chancellor Willy Brandt
Image: Wikimedia Commons
November 1: The Eisenhower dollar is put into circulation in the US.
November 5: The Los Angeles Lakers NBA team begin a 33-game consecutive win streak.
November 8: Led Zeppelin IV, the 4th studio album by Led Zeppelin, is released. The album goes on to sell 23 million copies in the US.
November 9: American mass murderer John List kills his family at their home in New Jersey before disappearing and moving to Colorado.
November 13: The Mariner 9 becomes the first space probe to orbit another planet by orbiting Mars.
November 15: The 4004-processor is advertised by Intel.
November 16: Air activity is increased by the United States when fighting got close to Phnom Penh, in order to support the Cambodian government during the war.
November 18: Omar is granted independence from the United Kingdom.
November 19: Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World opens.
November 22: The Cairngorm Plateau Disaster becomes the worst mountaineering tragedy in British history, when five children and one of their leaders are killed by exposure in the Scottish mountains.
November 24: An unidentified man, going by the name of Dan Cooper as seen on his plane ticket, hijacked a Boeing 707 aircraft between Portland and Seattle. He extorts $200,000 ransom before parachuting out of the plane, disappearing for good and his fate unknown. The case remains the only unsolved skyjacking case as of March 2008.
December 1: The famous Christmas song, Happy Xmas (War is Over), is released by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
December 1: Forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and Ba Ray, Khmer Rouge rebels intensify assaults during the Cambodian Civil War.
December 2: The United Arab Emirates announce full independence from the UK, and Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan becomes the President.
December 2: As the first spacecraft to reach Mars, the Soviet Mars 3 lander lands on the surface, transmitting for only a few seconds before going silent.
December 3: The jail term of Jimmy Hoffa is commuted by President Richard Nixon.
December 3: The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 begins when West Pakistan is invaded by India, going on to claim hundreds of lives.
December 4: An emergency session is called by the UN Security Council to discuss the deteriorating relationship between India and Pakistan.
December 4: During a Frank Zappa concert, the Montreux Casino burns down, and is memorialised in Smoke on the Water, a song by Deep Purple.
December 9: At the age of 67, the first person of colour to win a Nobel Peace Prize, Ralph Bunche, passes away.
December 14: The Golden Gate Bridge loses power all night due to a power failure, meaning there is no light all night.
December 14: During the Bangladesh Liberation War, roughly 1,111 East Pakistan intellectuals are executed by the Pakistan army.
December 16: The independence of East Pakistan is internationally recognised when India occupies Dacca and 93,000 West Pakistani troops surrender, leading the day to be known as Vijay Diwas (Victory Day).
December 16: American Pie, the popular song by Don McLean, is released in a 8-minute version.
December 18: Jesse Jackson forms People United To Save Humanity (PUSH) in Chicago.
December 18: American golfer and course designer Bobby Jones Jr. passes away at the age of 69.
December 18: For the second time in history, the US dollar is devalued.
December 19: The premiere of A Clockwork Orange, the film by Stanley Kubrick based on the book by Anthony Burgess and featuring Malcolm McDowell, takes place.
December 20: Gloria Steinem’s magazine Ms has its first preview issue published.
December 23: Edward Heath, British Prime Minister, visits Northern Ireland to express his determination to end the violence.
December 25: The longest game in NFL history takes place between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs, with the Chiefs losing to the Dolphins 27-24. The game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds.
December 25: In Seoul, the worst hotel fire in history happens at the Taeyokale Hotel, resulting in the deaths of 163 people.
December 25: The 23rd Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is born.
December 29: The UK gives up his military bases in Malta.
December 29: The first Australian McDonald’s opens in Yagoona, Sydney.
American cult leader Charles Manson carried out many murders in the 1960s with his followers, the Manson Family Cult. Despite never actually killing anyone himself, his crimes led him to become one of the most recognized criminal figures in history. While it’s believed 35 killings were carried out including the Tate Murders, due to lack of evidence, not all of them were tried.
When Manson and the Family were arrested, it was not actually on suspicion of the murders. It was because it was believed they had vandalized a portion of the Death Valley National Park, something completely unrelated to the murders. They later became associated when Susan Atkins confessed during her hold in detention on suspicion of murdering a man named Gary Hinman in an unrelated incident. Detectives realised after this that Manson and his Family played a part in the killings.
Following the horrific Tate murders carried out by Charles Manson and the Manson Family, the jury in the murder trial convicts all of the defendants of first-degree murder on January 25, 1971. Charles Manson headed to state prison for 7 counts of first-degree murder, and 1 count of conspiracy to commit murder. Manson was sentenced to death for his crimes, but escaped death due to a change of law for California Death Row inmates in 1972. He then spent the next four decades in prison, being denied parole 12 times before his death in 2017. It was quite normal in the 1970s for people convicted of murder to get out relatively quickly, sometimes after 10, 15 years, but the public were so afraid of these killers getting out.
When the trial was carried out, it lasted nine and a half months, making it the longest murder trial in American history. It was also one of the most publicized and was called the “trial of the century.”
On April 24, 1971, the largest ever demonstration opposing a US war took place when 500,000 people marched in Washington D.C. On the same day, 150,000 people demonstrated in San Francisco.
The event was set up by the organization Vietnam Veterans Against the War and was a crucial step forward in the campaign to stop the war in Vietnam. The demonstrators were aiming to attract as many people as possible to the march to prove to United States officials that members of the public were going to demand to end the war that they so disproved of. In the crowd were a few members of Congress but no presidential candidates for 1972. The crowd also consisted of older war veterans, who had been through the experience of World War Two and the Korean War.
On November 24, 1971, one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of the FBI began. An unidentified man, calling himself Dan Cooper, bought a one-way plane ticket to Seattle, Washington from Portland, Oregon. He boarded Flight #305 and was never to be seen again after the incidents that happened on the plane.
“Dan Cooper” was wearing a business suit and while waiting for the plane to take off, he ordered a bourbon and soda. After getting the attention of the stewardess, he gave her a note stating that his briefcase held a bomb and that she should sit with him on the flight. The man showed her a mass of wires when he opened the briefcase, indicating there was a bomb in there. She was told to write down what he demanded, which included four parachutes and $200,000 in twenty-dollar bills.
Cooper then hijacked the plane when it landed in Seattle, getting the demanded money and the parachutes in exchange for the 36 passengers on board. With a few crew members kept on board, Cooper demanded that the plane take off and head towards Mexico City. When the flight was in Washington state airspace, Cooper jumped out of the plane at the back, with the money and parachutes. The plane was landed safely by the pilots, but it remains unknown what happened to Cooper after he left the plane.
The investigation into the hijacking was open for years after the incident, but investigators have had no luck in tracking him down or identifying him. His tie was left on the plane which was useful for DNA testing, but no man was ever connected. It could be said that Dan Cooper didn’t even survive his parachute jump, but this has never been confirmed.