Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nixon Issues Pardons

The state of TIAH

August 8th, 2006

in 1945, President Truman calls off the use of the atom bomb against Nagasaki; the destruction of Hiroshima has only caused the Japanese to harden their defenses. As the days went on, though, and refugees from Hiroshima spilled out into the rest of the country, many Japanese began to push for a surrender to the Allied forces. Rumors that another bomb was ready and waiting to be dropped on any city in the island nation spread like wildfire, and people panicked whenever a bomber flew overhead. The Allies, seeing this general chaos building, began dropping leaflets from bombers describing the nuclear destruction that was waiting to rain down on them if they didn't overthrow their rulers. This successful propaganda campaign toppled Emperor Hirohito and General Tojo, who were displaced by the Japanese Citizen's Committee on September 23rd, 1945. The JCC then negotiated peace with the Allies and formally ended the war on October 1st.

in 1974, President Richard Nixon of the US issued an extensive pardon for virtually all of the Watergate conspirators and his former Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, who was facing bribery charges in his native Maryland. This enraged his opposition in Congress, which had been hoping to avoid impeachment by getting Nixon to quietly resign. Trickey Dick refused to give up without a fight, though, and threw pardons around like candy to keep people from testifying against him. It wasn't until he had the FBI arrest Congresswoman Barbara Jordan that the Congress decided he had finally overstepped his authority in a way that they could impeach him. The House formally drew up the impeachment papers while Jordan languished in a federal prison, and Nixon threatened the rest of them with the same fate. The general public didn't stand idly by while this was going on, either; Washington DC was shut down by protests on 4 different occasions during this hot summer; one of the marches organized by the Students' Non-Violent Coordinating Committee even surrounded the White House for seven hours on August 17th, until Nixon agreed to release Jordan. The Congresswoman returned to her seat in the House on August 20th, to a standing ovation from her colleagues. She led the impeachment charge against Nixon, and it was obvious that the Senate was going to vote for removal from office. President Nixon asked the military leaders at the Pentagon if they would stand beside him should he defy the removal orders; although a few unknown generals answered the president affirmatively, the majority let him know that their oath was to the country and the constitution, not to him. On September 4th, 1974, hours before the Senate's vote on impeachment was scheduled, Richard M. Nixon resigned his office, and left Washington a broken man. He attempted to salvage his reputation afterwards, but memories of his autocratic actions during the summer of '74 remained fresh in everyone's minds for years afterwards, and he died a pathetic shadow of his former self in 1982.

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