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Watergate: Resources and Activities

John Simkin

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A group of teachers and historians from different countries have agreed to work together on producing resources and activities on the events surrounding the Watergate scandal. If you are interested in joining us please add a short biography to these two threads:




So far I have began to produce an online, linked, chronology, an overview of Watergate and a list of biographies:




These are all organic pages and will be constantly developed. Therefore I welcome suggestions on how the individual pages can be improved and ideas on new pages.

I have also collected together evidence that relates to these individuals (extracts from memoirs, newspaper articles, letters, documents, etc.)

Other resources will include debates on the forum on particular issues relating to Watergate. Students should find the disagreements we have on these issues helpful in their studies.

We also have several knowledgeable people who have agreed to try and answer student questions on Watergate.

My main objective is to create a resource centre for educators and students who wish to study this subject.

I would like this thread to be a discussion about ways we can improve the resource section. I also would like some ideas on the range of activities we could provide for the students.

So far I have had offers of help from educators in the UK, USA, India and Sweden. Hopefully this list will expand over the coming weeks.

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Here is a blog in which the bloggist, who claims himself to a journalist from India, covered the watergate. He has traced the events, which it seems, he has collected from the media reports.

The address of the blog is as follows: http://valhallaviking.blogspot.com/2005/04...te-scandal.html

He has identified the effects of the scandal on the American legislation and judiciary also.

Further on another posting at the following address http://valhallaviking.blogspot.com/2005/04...ious-gates.html

he has written a write up. Well it is not directly related to Watergate, but it has something in it, which may help the commentators to explore different aspects of the influence of media over the general perception.

I hope that effect of media, the activitism of journalists and its effect on the body politic will also come under scanner during this debate.

As a teacher, I feel the role of media in contemporary history should be studied as a separate subject. It is just an opinion. I will appreciate if some comments and criticism also come up on this aspect as Watergate scandal, as I understand, was work of media and kept alive through media.

Thank you very much for these links.

It is an excellent idea to look at Watergate as a critique of democracy. The United States has led the way in showing the importance of negative campaigning. In 1971 Nixon arranged for the formation of the Special Investigations Group (SIG). This was run by two former intelligence agents Gordon Liddy (FBI) and Howard Hunt (CIA). The group was informally known as "the Plumbers" because their job was to stop leaks from Nixon's administration. However, it was not long before it was used to shape the 1972 election. This included smearing Democratic candidates who, according to the polls, would defeat Nixon at the polls. In this way they got the candidate that Nixon would find easiest to beat (George McGovern). The SIG was also involved in the plot to get George Wallace to withdraw from the campaign. By May 1972, public opinion polls were showing Wallace with 21% of the vote and posing a serious problem for Nixon. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer ended Wallace’s participation in the 1972 election.


It seems to me that the removal of George Wallace from the 1972 presidential campaign was far more important than bugging Larry O’Brien’s phone.

I have long suspected that the Watergate break-in was not the real reason why Nixon was being blackmailed. Was this just Howard Hunt’s way of applying pressure on both Nixon and the CIA. It was only when they murdered his wife did he realize that this time he had taken on more than he could cope with.

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