Watergate Scandal Timeline


Watergate Hotel Scandal

June 17, 1972 2:30 am

Block, Herbert Lawrence. “Who Would Think of Doing Such a Thing?” Who Would Do Such A Thing, HERBlock, 1972.

On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested while attempting to repair the surveillance equipment at Democratic National Committee headquarters. The cartoon depicts that the men were doing an inside job for the GOP and being paid to bug and tap into the surveillance tapes. Nixon in the cartoon shows the facial expression of not knowing anything yet him and his administration know exactly what is going on form their suitcases.

Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 1991; NARA, College Park, MD.

This photo is evidence obtained during the arrest at the time of the attempted bugging of the offices. The "Plumbers" were caught in attempt to bug and to access surveillance in the Watergate complex. The Plumbers were acting against democrats and sought to frame and discredit them in effort to aid Nixon's re-election campaign.

Investigation of Watergate

June 17, 1972 3:00am - august 25, 1972

Block, Herbert Lawrence. “The Dark At the Top of the Stairs.” "The Dark At the Top of the Stairs", HERBlock, 1972.

Investigators follow the evidence trail of the Watergate incident and come to a common ground of the White House being involved in it. Yet, when they turn to Nixon’s administration for answers they were given no answers. As seen in the cartoon, Nixon denounces any conversation of the government being involved in the scandal.

Re-election of Nixon

November 11, 1972

“Nixon at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.” Nixon Archives, White House Press Office, 18 Nov. 1973

Nixon is photographed "Working the Crowd" during his re-election campaign tour. Not phased by the accusation whirling around at the time of the scandal attacking the Nixon administration, Nixon continued his Re-Election Campaign only to win the election by a landslide.


Conviction of Liddy, Hunt, and McCord

September 15, 1972 - January 30, 1973

Images, Historic. “1972 Press Photo Watergate's G Gordon Liddy E. Howard Hunt Jr James W McCord Jr.” Historic Images

G.Gordon Liddy, Nixon's former lawyer and E.Howard Hunt, former member of the CIA and James W. McCord Jr. helped organize and try to cover up the break in at Watergate by acting as the White House Plumbers unit . They are both convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident. Hunt served 33 months in prison and Liddy served nearly fifty-two months in federal prisons.

Watergate Hearings

May 17, 1973 - June 27, 1974

“ Archibald Cox Getting Sworn In As Special Prosecutor.” The Washington Post, The Washington Post, 25 May 1973.

Archibald Cox was sworn in as an independent non-biased prosecutor. Cox investigated the possibility of corruption and offences within the Nixon Administration. The image shows Cox swearing into his position to maintain integrity during his investigation. This was necessary because the investigation primarily searched for evidence of a cover-up.

Block, Herbert Lawrence. “Late Returns” Late Returns, HERBlock, 1973.

The Watergate Senate Committee starts to televise the Watergate hearings on television for all Americans to see. As seen from the cartoon many Americans that had voted for Nixon into office were discouraged to see a man they trusted in office to disregard the law and betray them. This will begin to introduce many Americans caution in selecting who they have in office and worsen tensions between political parties.

White House Photo Office Collection, 01/20/1969 - 08/09/1974; Nixon Presidential Materials Staff, College Park, MD.

President Nixon is photographed at a press interview in regards to the Supreme Court case. The Senate had created a special committee to investigate the Watergate Scandal and it's relation to the Nixon Administration because of the risk with it being so close to the presidency. The press conference surrounded the preceding of the trial.

Saturday Night Massacre

October 20, 1973

"Saturday Night Lively"
Printed October 1973 in Michelle's Universe
The Saturday Night Massacre is when Nixon fired Archibald Cox and abolishes the office of the special prosecutor due to Cox issuing a subpoena to Nixon, asking for copies of taped conversations recorded in the Oval Office, but Nixon refused. Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resign after. This urges the impeachment of Nixon.

Wang, Amy B. “The Saturday Night Massacre: 'Your Commander in Chief Has given You an Order'.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 11 May 2017

The Saturday Night Massacre led to a large public reaction. The Washington Post made sure to comment on the issue the next day. The Watergate scandal and the rising concern for corruption in the Nixon administration only grew after the Saturday Night Massacre. With suspicion of Nixon and his motives growing.


Supreme Court orders Nixon to turn over the Tapes

July 24, 1974

The Supreme Court Unanimously agrees and orders Nixon to release the tape recordings of White House Conversations. The Supreme Court declared that "Executive Right" did not give the president to withhold evidence in trial. This ultimately is the major step that led towards the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Ford White House Photograph Collection, 12/06/1973 - 01/20/1977; Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, MI.

Still whilst the supreme court did demand the tapes that ultimately ended the Nixon Administration, President Nixon did manage to nominate his predecessor Gerald R. Ford to be his vice president. The Nomination accepted, Ford was to become president soon after becoming vice president. This image showing a meeting between Nixon and Ford, in regards to Ford's nomination.

Block, Herbert Lawrence. “Record Shop” Record Shop, HERBlock, 1973.

The cartoon shows the time gap in the tapes that the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to release to be brought into trial. The tapes that were brought were not all there, and there was in fact an 18 minute gap in one of the tapes that was set by Rose Mary. The gap and the missing tapes led the Supreme Court to demand all of the tapes and to declare that "Executive Right" doesn't apply during trial.

Resignation of Richard Nixon

August 8, 1974

“Richard Nixon Resigns.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/richard-m-nixon/pictures/richard-nixon/richard-nixon-giving-farewell-speech.

Richard Nixon became the first president to resign from office. With incriminating evidence against him and an impeachment in process, Nixon was forced to either resign or ultimately be impeached from office. His Vice President Gerald R. Ford filed the role of President immediately after Nixon's resignation.

Block, Herbert Lawrence. “Untitled Cartoon” HERBlock, 11 March 1974.

The image depicts Richard Nixon in an hourglass that is running out of time. Nixon had incriminated himself in the tapes and had was running out of time and options. The image shows how Nixon was helpless and could not prevent anything at that point.

Block, Herbert. "Resignation" Resignation, HERBlock 1974

Nixon faced two options at the end his term, resign or be impeached. Richard Nixon after a long struggle in attempt to redeem his administration was simply forced to resign in order to prevent himself from being impeached. Nixon in doing this became the first american president to resign from office. The cartoon shows the hand of America putting down the letter of resignation for Nixon to sign and him signing it. This shows american disappointment in Nixon and how the american public wanted him gone.