Nixon in the Den

He was one of America’s most successful presidents on the international stage, lauded as a world statesman who thawed the cold war. He was reelected in one of the biggest landslide victories in American history, capturing 49 out of 50 states.

This being said however, Richard Nixon was the only president to ever resign from office, forced out of the Whitehouse in abject disgrace. Over 40 years on and Nixon remains a towering ruined figure but who was the real Nixon?

In this film we see leading historian David Reynolds take a fresh examination of Nixon’s controversial career and embattled presidency. Reynolds reveals how Nixon was both Jekyll and Hyde, a bizarre mixture of near greatness and incorrigible pettiness. It was this combination helped leave an enduring mark on history but also is what makes Nixon such an intriguing character.

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  1. Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon are portrayed as being bitter political competitors, but it is shown that Nixon was entirely supported by Rockefeller since 1962 when Nixon went to work for the law firm of Rockefeller’s personal attorney John Mitchell, while also living in as a neighbor of Rockefeller in a high rise which Rockefeller owned. Nixon was elected president on a platform of anti-Communism, but he appointed the ultra left wing Henry Kissinger to the post of foreign policy advisor, who has served Rockefeller for five years as an advisor on foreign affairs and was a paid staff member at the CFR.

    In a 1967 New York Times article it is explained that Rockefeller is planning to built ten rubber goods plants including two synthetic rubber plants worth $200 million in Russia to go along with new automobile plants. The Nixon Administration had increased trade with the Russians tenfold, including building the world’s largest truck factory at the time for the Soviets which could be converted to the production of tanks as has been done with similar plants during World War II. The Rockefellers constructed a $50 million aluminum processing plant which could be used for the manufacture of fighter jets. Also the article explains that the Rockefellers have a monopoly on the transfer of technology to the Soviets.

    Despite Richard Nixon being perceived as being a conservative, an examination of his actions shows him to be very liberal, with the public perception of him being Conservative allowing him to push programs through that liberals would not be able to get away with doing. Columnist Stuart Aslop wrote at the time: ”.. If only the Liberal’s Pavlovian response to the Nixon name could be eliminated, they would realize how far left he is. .. For one thing, there is a sort of unconscious conspiracy between the President and his natural enemies, the liberal Democrats, to conceal the extent to which his basic program, leaving aside frills and rhetoric, is really a Liberal democratic program. Richard Nixon is the first ‘real Republican’ to be elected President in 40 years— and it is not in the self interest of liberals to give credit to such a President for liberal initiatives… When the President cuts back real military strength [ during the Vietnam war ] more sharply than in a quarter of a century, the liberals attack him for failing to ‘reorder priorities.’ The President, in his rhetoric about a ‘strong defense,’ plays the same game. …”

    More information on Nixon here