America was at a historic crossroads in 1971. The war in Vietnam increasingly was seen as unwinnable, while triggering ongoing unrest in cities and college campuses across the nation. The economy was challenged with rising inflation and rising trade deficits. In August 1971, the British ambassador turned up at the Treasury Department to request that $3 billion be converted into gold. That same week, President Nixon ordered a freeze on all prices and wages in the United States.
In the Communist world, America’s problems were trumpeted as the inevitable collapse of capitalist imperialism. Russia and China stood triumphant over a declining West. And what did Nixon do? He stunned the world by traveling to China. His goal: To drive a wedge between the two Communist superpowers.Read More