This Week in History

 On the same day in 1973, President Richard Nixon agreed to hand over the tapes from the Watergate scandal that were under subpoena. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

On the same day in 1973, President Richard Nixon agreed to hand over the tapes from the Watergate scandal that were under subpoena. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Over the coming days we will celebrate several events that helped shape the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown in history.

On Oct. 23, 1942, the Second Battle of El Alamein began between the Axis and Allied forces in Egypt during World War II. An eventual victory for the Allies, it marked the turning of the tide during the North African campaign. If the Axis powers had been able to hold Egypt, they would have had complete control of the Suez Canal and access to the Middle Eastern oil fields. The Allied forces were led by British General Bernard Montgomery and faced off against German General Erwin Rommel, one of Hitler’s best military leaders. This battle also coincided with the Russian victory at Stalingrad and the United States Marines’ taking of the island of Guadalcanal, greatly increasing the Allied momentum at they prepared for the liberation of Europe.

On the same day in 1973, President Richard Nixon agreed to hand over the tapes from the Watergate scandal that were under subpoena. These tapes held the recorded conversations from Nixon’s office regarding his administration's attempted cover up of the scandal and multiple abuses of power.

After a series of court battles, it was revealed that members of the president’s team had bugged the offices of political opponents and used the FBI, CIA and IRS to investigate anyone they deemed threatening or suspicious. The story was mostly uncovered and advanced by journalists, including Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post. Woodward had an anonymous source, who was only referred to as “Deepthroat,” that helped guide them in searching for the truth.

After the tapes were handed over to the Senate Committee, it became increasingly clear of the scope of the administration's crimes and Nixon faced mounting negative public opinion. He eventually resigned the Office of the Presidency on Aug. 8, 1974 and Gerald Ford was sworn in shortly afterwards. One of Ford’s first official acts as President was to pardon Nixon from prosecution of any crimes he may have committed. It was revealed in 2005 that “Deepthroat” was Mark Felt, the Associate Director of the FBI from during the early 70s.

On Oct. 25, 1962, American author John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his writing style and literary accomplishments. His masterpiece is often considered to be The Grapes of Wrath, but other notable books include Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, Cannery Road and East of Eden.

Lastly, on Oct. 26, 1881, the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. The fight was between a group of outlaws named the Cowboys, and the three Earp brothers along with Doc Holliday. The most famous of the brothers, Wyatt Earp, was a lawman of the West and came to settle death threats against the police by the Cowboys. In a short 30 seconds, three of the outlaws were killed and three policeman injured, and only Wyatt walked away unharmed. The event has since passed into Wild West lore, and has been portrayed in several books and movies throughout the history of Hollywood. However, none immortalized it better than 1993’s classic, “Tombstone.”


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.