The following events occurred in February 1972:
February 1, 1972 (Tuesday)Edit
- Four days after Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld had found that Klaus Barbie was living in Bolivia (as "Klaus Altmann"), the French government requested his extradition. Barbie was not brought to justice until 1983.
- In a private White House meeting between Billy Graham and U.S. President Richard Nixon, Graham voiced his concern that the Jewish "stranglehold" on the media "has got to be broken". Graham had to apologize for anti-Semitic remarks after the tape of the conversation was released by the National Archives in 2002.
- Democrat Edwin Edwards was elected to the first of his four terms as Governor of Louisiana, defeating Republican David C. Treen in the general election by a margin of 57-43 percent.
February 2, 1972 (Wednesday)Edit
- Following the funerals in Derry of 13 of the persons killed by British paratroopers in Northern Ireland on "Bloody Sunday", a mob, estimated at 25,000, poured into Dublin's Merrion Square and burned down the four story British embassy in Ireland. Due to threats and attacks earlier in the week, all important records had been removed and the building was unoccupied.
- Born: Naheed Nenshi, Canadian politician, Mayor of Calgary, in Toronto
- Died: Genaro Vázquez, Mexican guerilla leader; Natalie Barney, lesbian pioneer
February 3, 1972 (Thursday)Edit
- The 1972 Winter Olympics opened in Sapporo, Japan, with 1,006 athletes from 35 nations marching in the opening ceremony at Makomanai Stadium. Schoolboy Hideki Takada lit the Olympic flame.
- The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new rules for cable television in the United States. American systems had to carry at least 20 channels (including public-access television). The reform opened the door for new cable television networks.
- "Tutankhamen's curse" claimed another victim nearly 3,300 years after the death of the boy pharaoh (1324 BC). As King Tut's mask was being placed on a plane to be taken from Cairo to Paris, the museum's Director of Antiquities, Gamal Mehrej, died.
February 4, 1972 (Friday)Edit
- Kenneth Kaunda, the President of Zambia, moved to turn the African democracy into a one-party state after the new United Progressive Party (Zambia) (UPP) had won a by-election in December. Simon Kapwepwe, who had been Kaunda's Vice-President until founding the UPP in 1971, was arrested, along with other party members. Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP) then became the only legal party.
- The 1972 Iran blizzard, which would kill more than 4,000 people, began, lasting until February 9.
- Born: Giovanni Silva de Oliveira, Brazilian footballer, in Abaetetuba
February 5, 1972 (Saturday)Edit
February 6, 1972 (Sunday)Edit
February 7, 1972 (Monday)Edit
February 8, 1972 (Tuesday)Edit
- A state of emergency was declared throughout the United Kingdom by Prime Minister Edward Heath as the coal miners' strike continued, and mined coal dwindled.
- NHL star Bruce Gamble suffered a heart attack after tending goal for the Philadelphia Flyers in a 3–1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and was hospitalized the next day as the team traveled from Vancouver to Oakland, bringing an end to his NHL career. Gamble would die of a heart attack in 1982, hours after practicing with another team. Some accounts state, erroneously, that Gamble had collapsed in the middle of the Vancouver game, or that he died while playing hockey.
- After four months, a strike by the 13,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which mostly served West Coast ports, was settled. The strike had been interrupted by a Taft–Hartley Act injunction that had expired earlier in the month.
February 9, 1972 (Wednesday)Edit
- The 1972 Iran blizzard ended after seven days, during which as much as 26 feet of snow buried villages in northwestern, central and southern Iran. An estimated 4,000 people were killed, particularly in the area around Ardakan.
- Died: Chico Ruiz, 33, Cuban-born American major league baseball player, was killed in a car accident a month after having become a U.S. citizen
February 10, 1972 (Thursday)Edit
- In Calama, Chile, where it is said that no rain had fallen "for more than 400 years", rain fell in a downpour and caused mudslides.
- David Bowie opened his concert tour with his new alter ego of "Ziggy Stardust", starting at the Toby Jug Pub in Tolworth.
- American and South Vietnamese forces completed a 24-hour period of bombing strikes against North Vietnam, with almost 400 bombing strikes carried out in some of the heaviest raids of the Vietnam War.
- Ras Al Khaimah joins the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as its sixth nation.
February 11, 1972 (Friday)Edit
- As the nationwide strike of British coal miners continued, Secretary for Trade and Industry John Davies told the House of Commons that the government was ordering a massive shutdown of Britain's industry. Davies added that "Many, many people—perhaps millions—will be laid off." 
- President Georges Pompidou of France and Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany jointly announced in Paris that the two nations had agreed to form an economic and monetary union.
- TIME Magazine concluded that The Autobiography of Howard Hughes, written by Hughes "with Clifford Irving" was a hoax, and that it had been plagiarized.
- The Nassau Coliseum was opened in Uniondale, New York, on Long Island, with the first event being an American Basketball Association (ABA) game. The New York Nets beat the visiting Pittsburgh Condors, 129–121, as Rick Barry scored 45 points.
- The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals was signed in London.
February 12, 1972 (Saturday)Edit
- TIME Magazine won the right to publish excerpts from Clifford Irving's "autobiography" of Howard Hughes, a day after cancelling declaring that it was a hoax. TIME had discovered also that much of the work had been plagiarized from author James Phelan.
- The first delegates to the 1972 Democratic National Convention were selected, with 1,508 needed to win. A caucus in Arizona awarded nine delegates to Edmund Muskie, six each to John V. Lindsay and George S. McGovern, and four uncommitted.
February 13, 1972 (Sunday)Edit
February 14, 1972 (Monday)Edit
- A week before his visit to Beijing, President Nixon removed restrictions on American exports to the People's Republic of China, which had been in place for more than 20 years.
- The animated TV special The Lorax by Dr. Seuss first aired on CBS.
February 15, 1972 (Tuesday)Edit
- U.S. Patent No. 3,641,591 was granted to inventor Willem J. Kolff for the first artificial heart.
- José María Velasco Ibarra was overthrown as President of Ecuador. Velasco, who had been President on four other occasions, and was facing re-election, prepared to address the nation after learning that a coup d'état was planned. Upon arriving at the Channel 10 studios in Guayaquil, he was arrested, placed on an Ecuadorian Air Force plane, and flown to Panama. Velasco was replaced by General Guillermo Rodríguez Lara, who cancelled the election.
- The 1972 Yugoslav smallpox outbreak, officially the Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft, was signed in the Norwegian capital by Denmark, France, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, to take effect April 7, 1974.
- Cod Wars: On the same day, Iceland announced that it was terminating prior fishing treaties with the United Kingdom and West Germany, and that, effective September 1, it would not permit fishing within 50 nautical miles (57.5 miles or 92.6 km) of its coastline.
- The United States granted copyright protection, for the first time, to sound recordings. Previously, only the written musical and lyrical compositions could be protected from reproduction.
- Ibrahim Hoti returned to Kosovo from Iraq, beginning the chain of events leading to a smallpox epidemic in Yugoslavia.
- Born: Jaromír Jágr, Czech hockey player, in Kladno, Czechoslovakia
- Died: Edgar Snow, 66, author of Red Star Over China
February 16, 1972 (Wednesday)Edit
- The Republic of the Maldives hosted tourists for the first time, as 22 Italian visitors arrived at an airstrip on Hulhulé Island, and were taken to accommodations at three guest houses in Malé. In 2009, there were more than 600,000 visitors annually to resorts throughout the Maldive Islands 
February 17, 1972 (Thursday)Edit
- British Prime Minister Edward Heath narrowly won a vote in the House of Commons on whether to ratify the treaty for the United Kingdom to join the European Community. Heath turned the matter into a vote of confidence by pledging to resign and to call new elections in the midst of a crisis, saying that "If the House will not agree ... my colleagues and I are unanimous that in these circumstances, this Parliament could not sensibly continue." By a margin of only eight votes (309–301), the bill passed.
- The Volkswagen Beetle broke the record for the most popular automobile in history, as the 15,007,034th Beetle was produced. Between 1908 and May 26, 1927, a total of 15,007,033 Model Ts had been produced.
- Born: Billie Joe Armstrong, American musician, lead singer of Green Day, in Oakland, California.
February 18, 1972 (Friday)Edit
February 19, 1972 (Saturday)Edit
- Radio Hanoi broadcast a live press conference to display five newly captured American prisoners of war.
- The TV show All in the Family first aired what became its most famous episode, which ended with black musician Sammy Davis, Jr. giving a kiss on the cheek to America's most popular bigot, Archie Bunker.
- The Asama-Sansō incident, which would soon be watched on live television across Japan, began when five members of the Japanese Red Army began a standoff in a mountain lodge with a woman hostage.
- Died: John Grierson, Scottish documentary filmmaker (b. 1898); jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan (shot and killed at Slug's, a New York bar, after completing a concert)
February 20, 1972 (Sunday)Edit
- In the United States sixty million people tuned in to watch live television coverage of President Nixon's Monday morning arrival in Communist China, starting at 9:30 pm EST, 6:30 pm PST. The three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) split the cost of $8,300 per hour for satellite broadcasting during the eight-day visit, and each sent eleven persons on the trip.
- The best live performance of The Dark Side of the Moon by British progressive rock band Pink Floyd took place one year before the best-selling album was released.
- Died: Maria Goeppert Mayer, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906); Walter Winchell, American journalist (b. 1897)
February 21, 1972 (Monday)Edit
- At 11:30 a.m. in Peking (now Beijing), Richard M. Nixon became the first President of the United States to visit the People's Republic of China, ending more than 22 years of hostility between the two nations. Nixon greeted China's Prime Minister Zhou Enlai with one of the most famous handshakes in history. "When our hands met", Nixon would write later, "one era ended and another began", while Zhou told Nixon on their trip from the airport, "Your handshake came over the vastest ocean in the world – twenty-five years of no communication." 
February 22, 1972 (Tuesday)Edit
- Ahmad bin Ali Al Thani, who had been the Emir of Qatar since its independence in 1971, was removed from office by unanimous vote of other members of the Al Thani family. Ahmad, who had failed even to organize a government and had used the nation's wealth to support an expensive lifestyle, was replaced by his cousin, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, who ruled until 1995.
- In retaliation for the killing of 13 Irish civilians by the British army on "Bloody Sunday", the Irish Republican Army exploded a car bomb outside of a mess hall reserved for officers at the Aldershot, England, headquarters of the 16th Parachute Brigade. Seven people were killed by the IRA bomb, and none of them were soldiers. Killed in the blast were an Army chaplain and six waitresses.
- Died: Tedd Pierce, 65, American animator
February 23, 1972 (Wednesday)Edit
- The hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 649 ended in Aden International Airport after Palestinian gunmen released their last hostages, the 14 member crew. The Boeing 747-200 had been seized en route from Delhi to Athens on 22 February by five gunmen and forced it to land in South Yemen, where all 172 passengers (including future Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II) were freed. The release came after the government of West Germany paid a five million dollar ransom.
- After 16 months in prison, black militant Angela Davis was released on bail when a white farmer posted most of the required $102,500.
- The Environmental Protection Agency published its first regulations requiring unleaded gasoline to be made available at all gas stations.
February 24, 1972 (Thursday)Edit
- Twenty-eight men on board the Soviet nuclear submarine K-19 were killed when fires broke out in three of its compartments while the sub was submerged. The twelve survivors remained trapped inside the sub as it was towed, over the next three weeks, from the Arctic Ocean back to the Kola Peninsula.
- For the first time since the Paris Peace Talks (concerning the Vietnam War) three years earlier, the two Communist delegations walked out of a session. The groups were protesting the recent surge in bombing by the United States. The talks resumed the following week.
- Manon Rhéaume, Canadian ice hockey player who became the first woman to play in the all-male National Hockey League, appearing in preseason games in 1992 and 1993; in Beauport, Quebec
- Richard Chelimo, Kenyan long-distance runner who briefly held the world record for fastest run of the 10,000 meter race; in the Marakwet District (d. 2001)
February 25, 1972 (Friday)Edit
February 26, 1972 (Saturday)Edit
February 27, 1972 (Sunday)Edit
- The Addis Ababa Agreement (1972) was signed at the palace of Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie, bringing an end to the First Sudanese Civil War after more than 17 years and more than 500,000 deaths. Ezboni Mondiri Gwonza of the South Sudan Liberation Movement, and Sudan's Foreign Minister, Mansour Khalid, signed an agreement to end fighting in return for recognition by the Islamic governments of political and religious autonomy for the people living in the southern half of the nation. The agreement lasted until 1983, when fighting broke out again.
- The New York Times carried on its front page the troublesome World3 forecast of a group at MIT for the century ahead, writing that began "A major computer study of world trends has concluded, as many have feared, that mankind probably faces an uncontrollable and disastrous collapse of its society within 100 years unless it moves speedily to establish a "global equilibrium" in which growth of population and industrial output are halted." The study, soon published as The Limits to Growth, was funded by the Club of Rome.
February 28, 1972 (Monday)Edit
- Before departing People's Republic of China following an historic visit, President Nixon of the United States signed the Shanghai Communiqué with and Premier Zhou of China, setting out agreements to improve diplomatic relations and to prevent the hegemony of any nation (including the Soviet Union) over the "Asia-Pacific Region".
February 29, 1972 (Tuesday)Edit
- "We now have evidence that the settlement of the Nixon administration's biggest antitrust case was privately arranged between Atty. Gen. John Mitchell and the top lobbyist for the company involved", was the opener to Jack Anderson's syndicated column. "We have this on the word of the lobbyist herself, crusty, capable Dita Beard of the International Telephone and Telegraph Co. She acknowledged the secret deal after we obtained a highly incriminating memo, written by her, from ITT's files." The subsequent investigation by the Nixon Administration into the source of leaked information was one of seven improper activities cited by the Watergate Committee in its final report.
- Born: Antonio Sabàto Jr., Italian actor, in Rome
- Richard Breitman, et al., U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis (Cambridge University Press 2005), p427
- Roger Bruns, Billy Graham: A Biography (Greenwood Press, 2004), pp122–123
- "British Embassy Burned In Dublin", Winnipeg Free Press, February 2, 1972, page 1
- Tom and Jerry Caraccioli, Striking Silver: The Untold Story of America's Forgotten Hockey Team (Sports Publishing, 2006), pp48–49
- Patrick Parsons, Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television (Temple University Press, 2008), pp264–265
- Sukhadev Prashad, World-Famous Supernatural Mysteries (Pustak Mahal, 1993), p61; "New Victim of Pharaoh's Curse?", Oakland Sunday Tribune, February 6, 1972, p1
- "United Progressive Party", in An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945–1996 John E. Jessup, ed. (Greenwood Press, 1998).
- "Central African Republic", in Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements, Volume 1 (Taylor and Francis, 2003), pp286–287
- Larry Berman, No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam (Simon and Schuster, 2001), pp119–120
- Anthony Corrado, et al, The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook (Brookings Institution Press, 2005), pp20–21
- Peter Dorey, Wage Politics In Britain: The Rise And Fall Of Incomes Policies Since 1945 (Sussex Academic Press, 2001), p122
- "Heart Attack Sidelines Bruce Gamble", Winnipeg Free Press, February 10, 1972, p46
- Damien Cox and Gord Stellick, 67: The Maple Leafs, Their Sensational Victory, and the End of an Empire (J. Wiley & Sons Canada, 2006), pp71–73
- "123-Day Dock Strike Settled", Oakland Tribune, February 8, 1972, p1
- "Thousands Missing in Iran Snow", Oakland Tribune, February 10, 1972, p1
- Mel Goldstein, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Weather (Alpha Books, 2002), p37
- Christopher Sandford, Bowie: Loving the Alien (Da Capo Press, 1998), p89
- "400 Bombing Runs Hit Reds", Oakland Tribune, February 10, 1972, p1
- Kourosh Ahmadi, Islands and International Politics in the Persian Gulf: The Abu Musa and Tunbs in Strategic Context (Routledge, 2008) p96
- Oakland Tribune, February 11, 1972, p1
- TIME February 21, 1972
- "Irving Book Is Hoax, Says Time", Oakland Tribune, February 11, 1972, p1; "The Fabulous Hoax of Clifford Irving", TIME, February 21, 1972
- "Barry Directs Nets To 129–121 Triumph", Bridgeport Telegram, February 12, 1972, p15; Peter Botte and Alan Hahn, Fish Sticks: The Fall and Rise of the New York Islanders (Sports Publishing LLC, 2002), p85
- Antarctic Challenge: Conflicting Interests, Cooperation, Environmental Protection, Economic Development (Duncker and Humblot, 1984), p99
- "The Fabulous Hoax of Clifford Irving", TIME, February 21, 1972; "Time Wins Right to Print Excerpts From Hughes Book", Oakland Tribune, February 11, 1972, p1; "Irving Book Is Hoax, Says Time", Oakland Tribune, February 13, 1972, p2;
- "Medal Standings", Oakland Tribune, February 14, 1972, p37
- M. Paul Holsinger, War and American Popular Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999), p38
- "Nixon Lifts Some China Trade Bans", Oakland Tribune, February 14, 1972, p1
- Ben Ikenson, Patents: Ingenious Inventions, How They Work and How They Came to Be (Black Dog Publishing, 2004) p16
- John D. Martz, Politics and Petroleum in Ecuador (Transaction, 1987), pp88–89
- Douglas J. Cusine and John P. Grant, eds., The Impact of Marine Pollution (Taylor and Francis, 1980), p184
- John E. Jessup, An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996 (Greenwood Publishing, 1998) p300
- Richard Schulenberg, Legal Aspects of the Music Industry: An Insider's View (Billboard Books, 1999), p202
- "CNDLS". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- Maldives Online Guide
- "Heath's Government Survives by 8 Votes", The Post-Standard (Syracuse), p1
- Volkswagen website Archived 2009-07-29 at the Wayback Machine
- Rudi Volti, Cars and Culture: The Life Story of a Technology (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), p49
- "Death Penalty Is Illegal, High Court Rules" Oakland Tribune, February 18, 1972, p1
- "Five New POWS on Hanoi Radio", Oakland Tribune, February 20, 1972, p1
- Kathleen Fearn-Banks, Historical Dictionary of African-American Television (Scarecrow Press, 2006), p12
- Frederick J. Spencer, Jazz and Death: Medical Profiles of Jazz Greats (University Press of Mississippi, 2002), p75; "Jazz Trumpeter Morgan Slain", Oakland Tribune, February 20, 1972, p36
- "China TV Cost: Over $3 million", Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach CA), February 27, 1972, Tele-Vues section p23
- Glenn Povey, Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd (Mind Head Publishing, 2007) pp154-155
- Yafeng Xia, Negotiating With the Enemy: U.S.-China Talks During the Cold War, 1949–1972 (Indiana University Press, 2006), p193; "Now, in Living Color from China", TIME Magazine, February 28, 1972
- Rosemarie Said Zahlan, The Creation of Qatar (Barnes & Noble Books, 1979), p112
- "From the Archives", The Guardian, February 23, 2009
- "On This Day—23 February1972: Hijackers surrender and free Lufthansa crew". BBC. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Michael Newton (2002). The Encyclopedia of Kidnappings. Infobase Publishing. p. 175. ISBN 978-0816044870. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Angela Freed as Judge Grants Bail", Oakland Tribune, February 24, 1972. Rodger McAfee's neighbors in Caruthers, California, were infuriated and his four sons were expelled from school."Freed Angela", TIME Magazine, March 6, 1972
- Lead in the Human Environment: A Report (National Academy of Sciences, 1980), p469
- Norman Polmar and Kenneth J. Moore, Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines (Brassey's, 2004), p113
- "Reds Walk Out of Paris Talk", Oakland Tribune, February 24, 1972, p1
- "Miners Vote, End Strike", Oakland Tribune, February 25, 1972, p1
- "Buffalo Creek Disaster". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Retrieved April 27, 2005.
- Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Requiem for the Sudan: War, Drought, and Disaster Relief on the Nile (Westview Press, 1995), pp 7–10
- Charles T. Rubin, The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism (Rowman and Littlefield, 1994), p130; "Mankind Warned of Perils in Growth", New York Times, February 27, 1972, p1
- Robert G. Sutter, Historical Dictionary of United States-China Relations (Scarecrow Press 2006), p152
- "Mitchell Settled ITT Case", Jack Anderson, San Antonio News-Express, February 29, 1972, p7-B
- The Senate Watergate report: The Final Report (1974), p206