On This Day

December 1971 in History

Events in History

  • Dec 1 Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensify assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.
  • Dec 2 Soviet space probe Mars 3 is first to soft land on Mars
  • Dec 2 United Arab Emirates (Trucial States) declares independence from UK
  • Dec 2 Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujeira, Sharjah & Umm ak Qiwain form United Arab Emirates

Appointment of Interest

Dec 2 Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is appointed President of the United Arab Emirates

  • Dec 3 India invades West Pakistan claiming hundreds of lives and starting the full scale Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
  • Dec 4 The UN Security Council calls an emergency session to consider the deteriorating situation between India and Pakistan
  • Dec 4 The Indian Navy attacks the Pakistan Navy and Karachi
  • Dec 4 McGurk's Bar bombing: the UVF explode a bomb at a Catholic-owned pub in Belfast, killing fifteen Catholic civilians and wounding seventeen others; this was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during 'the Troubles'
  • Dec 5 Libya nationalizes British Petroleum concession
  • Dec 6 Lewis Franklin Powell confirmed as US Supreme Court justice
  • Dec 6 A woman dies trying to salvage property from the Salvation Army Citadel in Belfast after bomb which started a large fire in an adjoining building
  • Dec 7 An off-duty member of the Ulster Defence Regiment is shot dead by members of the Irish Republican Army in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
  • Dec 9 Lewis F. Powell Jr. appointed to US Supreme Court

Nobel Prize

Dec 10 West German Chancellor Willy Brandt receives the Nobel Peace Prize

  • Dec 10 William H Rehnquist confirmed as Supreme Court justice
  • Dec 11 The Libertarian Party of the United States is formed
  • Dec 11 A bomb explodes outside a furniture showroom on the mainly-Protestant and loyalist Shankill Road, Belfast; four civilians (including two babies) were killed and nineteen wounded
  • Dec 13 John Sinclair (sentence: 10 yrs, sold 2 marijuana joints) is freed
  • Dec 14 Golden Gate Bridge lights out all night due to power failure
  • Dec 14 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • Dec 14 The Pakistan Army executes an estimated 1,111 of East Pakistan's intellectuals during the Bangladesh Liberation War
  • Dec 15 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 16 Vijay Diwas (Victory Day): East Pakistan's independence (as Bangladesh) from Pakistan is recognized internationally after India's army occupies Dacca, and 93,000 West Pakistani troops surrender
  • Dec 16 Don McLean's 8+ minute version of "American Pie" released
  • Dec 17 Cease fire between India & Pakistan in Kashmir
  • Dec 17 Radio Bangladesh begins transmitting
  • Dec 18 People United To Save Humanity (PUSH) formed by Jesse Jackson in Chicago
  • Dec 18 US dollar devalued 7.9% in Holland ($1=Ÿ3,245)
  • Dec 18 Three members of the Irish Republican Army die when the bomb they were transporting explodes prematurely in King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.
  • Dec 19 NASA launches Intelsat 4 F-3 for COMSAT Corp
  • Dec 20 Pakistan president Yahya Khan resigns

Historic Publication

Dec 20 First preview issue of "Ms" magazine is published in the US launched by Gloria Steinem

Historic Event

Dec 21 UN Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim as 4th Secretary-General

  • Dec 21 A publican is killed as he tried to remove a bomb from his pub, Northern Ireland
  • Dec 22 UN General Assembly ratifies former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim as Secretary-General
  • Dec 22 USSR performs underground nuclear test

Historic Event

Dec 23 US President Richard Nixon commutes remaining 8 years of Teamsters labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa's 13-year jail term for bribery and fraud

Historic Event

Dec 23 British Prime Minister Edward Heath visits Northern Ireland and expresses his determination to end the violence

  • Dec 24 Peruvian Airlines Electra crashes at headwaters of Amazon, killing all except Juliane Margaret Koepcke found 10 days later
  • Dec 25 Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) formed by Jesse Jackson
  • Dec 25 Worst hotel fire in history kills 163 at Taeyokale Hotel in Seoul
  • Dec 28 Hashish now falls under the Dutch Opium Law (Opiumwet)
  • Dec 30 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • Dec 30 A member of the Irish Republican Army is killed in a premature bomb explosion in Santry, Dublin.
  • Dec 31 Lt Gen Robert E Cushman, Jr, USMC, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • Dec 31 Edmund Compton, then Northern Ireland Ombudsman, is replaced by John Benn

Birthdays in History

  • Dec 1 Peter Van de Veire, Belgian radio-presenter
  • Dec 10 Brian Nichols, American spree killer (on trial for rape when he escaped from custody and murdered the judge presiding over his trial, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy and later a federal agent), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dec 13 Miguel Angel Martinez Soto, mariachi
  • Dec 18 Barkha Dutt, Indian journalist
  • Dec 19 Liz Cho, American television reporter
  • Dec 21 Fenton Keogh, Australian celebrity chef
  • Dec 23 Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, British socialite, born in Hampshire (d. 2017)
  • Dec 28 Frank Sepe, US bodybuilder, born in Rosedale, New York

Deaths in History

  • Dec 1 Arthur B. Spingarn, American lawyer and civil rights activist (NAACP chairman 1940-65), dies at 93
  • Dec 4 Shunryu Suzuki, Zen teacher, founder of San Francisco Zen Center, dies
  • Dec 6 Jan Altink, Dutch painter/co-founder (Plough), dies at 86
  • Dec 7 Milton Rosmer, British director (Murder in the Red Barn), dies at 90

Ralph Bunche

Dec 9 Ralph Bunche, American UN delegate, first person of color to win Nobel Peace Prize winner (1950), dies at 67

  • Dec 9 Sergey Konenkov, Russian sculptor, dies at 97
  • Dec 10 Jo [Jozef Maria Laurens Theo] Cals, Prime Minister of Netherlands (1965-66) and Minister of Education, Arts and Sciences, dies at 57
  • Dec 11 Maurice "Mac" McDonald, American fast-food pioneer (b. 1902)
  • Dec 12 Jack Barnhill, Northern Ireland senator, assassinated
  • Dec 12 John A Emmens, art historian/poet (Dog of Pavlov), dies at 47
  • Dec 13 Max Mell, Austria artillery officer and literary (Donauweibchen), dies at 88
  • Dec 15 Paul Pierre Lévy, French mathematician (b. 1886)
  • Dec 18 Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Russian poet and editor in chief (Novyj Mir), dies at 61
  • Dec 22 Godfried Jan Arnold Bomans, Dutch writer (Eric), dies at 58
  • Dec 22 Renee Evans, entertainer, dies of heart attack at 63
  • Dec 24 Maria Koepcke, ornithologist (b. 1924)
  • Dec 31 Vikram Sarabhai, Indian physicist (b. 1919)