Queen's University

40th anniversary of Watergate break-in: Queen's University expert

2012-06-18

Queen’s University history professor emeritus Geoffrey Smith is available to talk about the 40th anniversary of Watergate. The break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex on June 17, 1972 in Washington eventually lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Professor Smith taught a history course at Queen’s called “Conspiracy and Dissent in 20th-Century America” and Watergate was a major part of his course. Professor Smith feels the scandal gave the general public a reason not to trust their government.

“Watergate changed the public’s attitudes toward politics after 1972-73 and I don’t think it’s come back,” says Professor Smith, who grew up in California and admits he is not a fan of President Nixon. “Nixon and the Watergate scandal made it clear that conspiracy fears and theories were not the property of a lunatic fringe on either the left or the right, but part and parcel of the ongoing American political process.”

Professor Smith’s book, To Save a Nation: American “Extremism,” the New Deal and the Coming of World War II (1973) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history and was reissued in paperback (1992).

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi (office: 613.533.6000 ext. 77513, michael.onesi@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (office: 613-533-2877, Anne.Craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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