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President Nixon in the Oval Office / Courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration

The Watergate affair resulted in the first resignation of a U.S. president and served to further deflate public faith in government. What began in June 1972 with the arrest of five men who were attempting to break into and wiretap Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington spiraled into Senate committee investigations that traced cover-up efforts to President Nixon's White House and re-election efforts.

Before Nixon's resignation in August 1974, former campaign aides G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord Jr. would be convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping. Top administration officials would resign or be fired.

The investigative reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post proved pivotal in revealing the truth about this sordid episode in American politics.

This special report coincides with the 30th anniversary of the break-in and with a rare public appearance of Woodward and Bernstein at the University of Maryland. 

Special report produced by Reginald Hart; edited for the Web by Chris Harvey. Oct. 16 story edited for print by Steve Crane. Published Oct. 16, 2002.

Copyright 2002 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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Related Links

Main Story:

Woodward and Bernstein: Trust Key to Reporting (Oct. 16, 2002)

Background Story:

Nixon Tapes to be Offered at National Archives II (Dec. 12, 2001)

Interactive Quiz:

Test your knowledge of the affair.

Web Links:

President Nixon's biography from the White House

The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace

President Nixon's Aug. 9, 1974, letter of resignation on The National Archives site

FBI Freedom of Information Act Watergate files

Nearly 1,800 hours of Nixon White House tapes are available for reproduction.

Audio Links:
(from History and Politics OUT LOUD)

The "Smoking Gun" tape, which established Nixon's involvement in Watergate (June 23, 1972)

The president discusses media coverage of the break-in. (Sept. 15, 1972)

Nixon and Special Counsel Charles Colson speak on the bugging of George McGovern. (Jan. 8, 1973)

Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman tells Nixon he will survive Watergate. (March 20, 1973)