20 Notable Events in 1972

1972 was an interesting year. I was only born in 1977 so I have no recollection of this year personally but I’ve read up a lot about this year in history.



In a previous post talking about Wimpy in the good old days a photo of the popular South African fast food chain’s menu from 1972 is included in the post.

Here are 20 Notable Events in 1972:

1. Hewlett Packard introduced the world’s first pocket scientific calculator, the HP-35 in this year.

Scientific Calculator in 1972

2. Rose Heilbron became the first woman judge at the Old Bailey in London in the United Kingdom in 1972.

3. In Denmark Margaret II succeeded her father, King Frederick IX as the Queen regnant of the country.

4. Shoichi Yokoi (a Japanese soldier) was discovered on the island of Guam in 1972. He had spent 28 years in the jungle. He was the third last Japanese soldier to surrender after the end of the 2nd World War in 1945.

Shoichi Yokoi - 1972

5. Yugoslavian air stewardess Vesna Vulović was the only survivor when her plane crashed in Czechoslovakia. She survived after falling 10,160 meters in the tail section of the aircraft.

6. The Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, Japan in 1972 and the Summer Olympics were held in Munich, Germany in the same year. American Swimmer Mark Spitz won a record 7 gold medals in the Summer Olympics in this year.

7. The Munich Massacre occured on the 6th of September 1972. Eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics were murdered after 8 members of the Arab terrorist group Black September invaded the Olympic Village in Munich. 5 guerillas and 1 policeman was also killed in a failed hostage rescue. This massacre later became the subject of the Steven Spielberg film Munich in 2005.

8. Mariner 9 sent back pictures from the planet Mars. In the same year, Pioneer 10 (the first man-made spacecraft to leave the solar system) was launched from Cape Kennedy in the United States in the same year.

9. Volkswagen Beetle sales exceeded those of the Ford Model-T when the 15,007,034th VW Beetle was produced.

10. The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon. The spacecraft returned with 55 grams of lunar soil.

11. In February 1972 US President Richard Nixon made an unprecedented 8-day visit to the People’s Republic of China and met with Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Richard Nixon - 1972

12. The Club of Rome (a global think tank) published its Limits of Growth report (a book modeling the consequences of a rapidly growing world population and finite resource supplies).

13. The French Connection won the Oscar for Best Picture. Gene Hackman also won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the film and William Friedkin (who went on to direct 1973’s The Exorcist) won the Oscar for best director.

14. The 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone diamond was discovered. It ranks as the 3rd largest gem-quality diamond and the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered.

Star of Sierra Leone - 1972

15. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney co-founded Atari in 1972. They released Pong in the same year which would go on to be the first commercially successful video game in history.

16. George Carlin was arrested by Milwaukee, Wisconsin police for public obscenity, for reciting his “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” at Summerfest.

17. A Fairchild FH-227D passenger aircraft (Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571) transporting a rugby union team crashed at about 14,000 ft (4267 m) in the Andes mountain range near the Argentina / Chile border. 16 of the survivors were found alive. They had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive.

18. The British Army killed 13 unarmed Roman Catholic civil rights marchers in Derry, Ireland. The incident is referred to as “Bloody Sunday” by future generations. This was the inspiration behind the protest song Sunday Bloody Sunday by Irish rockers U2.

19. Five White House operatives were arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee. This was the beginning of the Watergate Scandal.

20. Don Mclean released “American Pie”.

Well, there you have it, 20 notable events that happened in 1972.

Which event did I skip? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Phillip Gibb

    more notably
    I was born in 1972
    much cheering, fan fare and celebration
    yayyyy

  2. Deirdre

    We are busy with a reunion and this is a great place to do research on! Thanks!!

    1. Running Wolf

      Deirdre: Glad I can help 🙂

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