1972 History Events: What Happened in 1972

1972 is remembered as a dark year in history. It was the year that at least eight Arab terrorists assaulted Munich’s Olympic Village, murdering 11 Israeli athletes. It was also the year that the Watergate Scandal began, with police apprehending five individuals who attempted to bug the US Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate complex. It was also the beginning of the largest political scandal in contemporary history.

In an effort to achieve peace, Britain, on the other hand, was able to take direct control of Northern Ireland. Gov. George C. Wallace was shot at a political gathering in Laurel, Md., in the same year, and Alabamans were dealt another blow. Furthermore, everyone who had received the death penalty had reason to rejoice because the death penalty was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in this year. Women dominated the Grammy Awards, winning all four major categories, giving them a chance to shine in popular culture.

In 1972, Time Inc. broadcasted HBO, the first pay television network. To cap things off, Gloria Steinem’s Ms magazine debuted this year. This year, video game fans may applaud the gaming community, just as they did when Atari debuted the first video game, Pong’s arcade version. For the Scientists, 1972 marked the beginning of Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scanning in England. RCA in the United States invented the compact disc almost at the same time. However, in the field of health and nutrition, Bryan B. Malloy, a Scot, and Klaus K. Schmiegel, an American, developed the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine). It was also at this time that the final US foot forces left Vietnam, and President Nixon signed the Black Lung Benefits bill into law.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 1972.


(February 21, 1972)
President Richard M. Nixon of the United States conducted a state visit to the People's Republic of China, ending a 21-year diplomatic standoff between the two countries.


(March 14, 1972)
The Godfather, an epic drama about organised crime directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, received widespread praise upon its release.

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(May 21, 1972)
In St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Michelangelo's Pietà, a sculpture showing the Virgin Mary supporting the corpse of the slain Christ, was attacked and seriously damaged.

(September 01, 1972)
The American Bobby Fischer becomes the world chess champion in Reykjavík, Iceland, after defeating Russian Boris Spassky. photo source:

(September 09, 1972)
The Cave Research Foundation's exploration and mapping team finds a connection between the Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park, creating the longest known cave route in the world. photo source:


(October 13, 1972)
It took over two months to uncover the wreckage of a plane (Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571) hired by the Uruguayan rugby team that had crashed in Argentina's Andes Mountains. The tragedy attracted worldwide notice after it was discovered that the survivors had turned to cannibalism to survive. photo source:

(November 08, 1972)
HBO, the American cable television network, had its début with the 1971 film Sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman. photo source:

(December 07, 1972)
The last crewed journey to the Moon was led by American astronaut Eugene Andrew Cernan, officially terminating the Apollo programme. photo source:

(December 11, 1972)
The Apollo 17 mission marks the sixth and final time an Apollo spacecraft has set foot on the lunar surface. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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1971 History Events: What Happened in 1971

1973 History Events: What Happened in 1973