Any year can hold moments of great significance, but 1971 was special for the United States as it entered a decisive phase. After a decade of turmoil, the country was looking for a fresh start and these events were the catalyst.
Henry Kissinger’s Secret Journey to Beijing
In the late 1960s, US President Richard Nixon and National Adviser Henry Kissinger began to think that establishing diplomatic relations with China was the most appropriate counterweight to tensions with Moscow. Nixon made some encouraging, but vague statements, while Kissinger, for his part, tried to communicate with China through French and Pakistani envoys, and made little progress.
Many believed that the point of contention was the United States ’recognition of Taiwan independence and the policy of the Chinese. But classified documents released by the National Archives in 2001 revealed that China was looking forward to dialogue.
The writer Daniel Cass, published in the American Wall Street Journal (WSJ), noted that Kissinger’s secret trip in July to Beijing contributed to the largest shift in global politics since the end of World War II. The trip also paved the way for Nixon to meet with Chinese President Mao Zedong the following year, setting off 50 years of diplomacy, trade and travel between the two countries.
Competition for phones
The Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling against AT & T’s in a blow, the first of its kind, to the company’s monopoly on long-distance and commercial telephone services. The biggest beneficiary of all was MCI, a small company that was about to change the telecom world by entering the competition.
After the FCC’s decision, William J. McGowan, the visionary founder of MCI, raised $ 110 million to create a new nationwide telephone network that would end exorbitant long-distance phone calls. He fought for nearly a decade of litigation until the landmark ruling in 1980 that granted his company access to the switched network connections needed to compete.
The end of the Bretton Woods system
During the third year of Nixon’s first term, the US economy faced severe levels of unemployment and inflation. In mid-August, Nixon held secret meetings with his closest economic advisers for 3 days, to announce a new economic plan that included a clause stating that the United States would not allow foreign governments to exchange dollars for gold.
With this decision, Nixon terminated the Bretton Woods system, which had regulated international financial relations since the end of World War II. The closing of the “gold window” severed the link between the dollar and gold, thus setting the stage for an era marked by instability in currency exchange rates, active monetary policy, and central bank intervention in the global economy.
But this policy failed, and a new inflation occurred that reached record levels, which the economist Ben Bernanke described as “the second most serious mistake made by monetary policy in the twentieth century,” after the Great Depression.
The opening of the kingdom of magic
When Walt Disney World opened in Florida in 1971, company officials and Orlando police expected crowds of 200,000 people, but only 10,000 attended the opening. Disneyland was a disappointment for The Walt Disney Company. Soon motels and attractions surrounded the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, which opened in 1955.
The opening of Disney World was not intended to be a larger version of Disneyland. Rather, the goal was to revolutionize the world of entertainment, and to provide an example of the “City of Tomorrow” that will eventually include the “EPCOT Center” theme park and the Disney Kingdom of Animals, And Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The goal was to create a new paradigm in the entertainment industry that would later become the greatest achievement of every travel and entertainment company.
Intel 4004 chipset release
In November 1971, Intel launched the world’s first microprocessor under the name “Intel 4004, setting off a revolution in the computer industry during that period. And although this processor was soon replaced by better products, It paved the way for modern computing.
The year 1971 was full of remarkable achievements for the United States, such as the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution related to lowering the voting age to 18 from 21 years of age, and this period was also marked by a wave of innovation, optimism and growth.